Thursday, 23 June 2011

Summer Mystery Shawlette

I mentioned the Wendy Johnson Summer Mystery Shawlette the other week and how I'd finished knitting it, but needed to do the blocking thing.  Well, I did that yesterday and here it is:

I used Posh Yarn Martha fingering/sock weight yarn in a colourway called Cheerfulness Breaks In.  The main shade is a tomatoey red, with bits of toffee, purpley red and bronze and it took 72g.  It was a skein that I bought online, received in the post and thought "hmm, not so sure about this", wound it into a ball and thought it looked better in the ball than the skein, knitted it up and decided that I really like it after all! 

I also gave my Shale Baby Blanket a bit of an iron and that's now been put away in my bag of knits for Romanian orphans and street kids.

The blanket's folded into 4 in the picture.  The pattern's written for aran/worsted weight yarn, but I used DK acrylic and I think I added an extra two pattern repeats to the width.  I'm tempted to make another one of these using thicker yarn, but I don't really need any more blankets at home.

Deco's coming along, albeit slowly.  I still haven't shaken off this cold and I keep making mistakes in my knitting.  I'm nearing the end of the second sleeve cap, but I've had to tink back a couple of times because I wasn't happy with the way the stitches were lying, so thought it might be a better idea to put it to one side until my head's less fuzzy and I can concentrate. 

I also had to rip back the heel of a toe-up sock I'm making because I decided I needed more rows in the foot as it felt a bit tight when I tried it on.  I'm using Wendy Happy bamboo yarn and I'd forgotten that I tend to knit a bit more tightly with this yarn (no idea why - maybe because it's quite slippy and I'm using a metal-tipped circular) so need more rows than usual.  I decided to rip back to just after the increases for the gusset and add the extra rows just before the heel.  It'll give me a bit more 'lift' at the front of the ankle.  I've also changed my mind about the heel flap.  Usually, I do a slip-stitch heel, but this time round I think I'll do linen stitch instead, just for a change.

With  all this tinking and ripping, I was a bit fed up, so I browsed a bit on Ravelry and had a look at examples of the Baby Surprise Jacket.  It's a pattern I've made four or five times now, but while I was looking, one BSJ that had been knitted using two yarns alternated every two rows caught my eye in particular and gave me an idea of using up my left over half balls of acrylic DK and so I cast on for some simple garter stitchery.  I'm about three-quarters done on this so I'll show you photos soon.

I'm trying to resist casting on something new now.  I want to make Jared Flood's Rock Island (can you tell I love his designs?) and have the yarn for it, plus I've earmarked a skein of Fyberspates sock yarn to make a Pimpelliesse scarf (garter stitch with a simple lace edging), plus the rest of my queue on Ravelry.  I want to get Deco finished or at least further along before I do that though.

And I haven't touched my Granny Stripe blanket in weeks either.

Oh well - more knitting and crochet and less time playing silly games on Facebook would help (those games steal time!).

Hubby's taking a week off work from tomorrow, so I may not get the chance to blog next week as I've got a lot on too.  A parenting workshop on Tuesday morning and an open event Tuesday evening at the school DD1 will be starting at in September.  Open afternoon/evening at DD2's school on Wednesday, plus DD1's school concert that evening and then DD1 has her induction day at High School on Thursday (but I'm hoping hubby will take her to that).  That's on top of the usual 'stuff' of running the house, two children, two dogs, four chickens and one husband!

Friday, 17 June 2011

DECO - one sleeve finished

I've neglected my Deco cardigan a bit this week.  I've got a cold and was feeling a bit sorry for myself, so I finished knitting a shawl instead.  The Wendy Johnson Summer Mystery Shawlette.  It's waiting to be blocked, but that won't happen until next week.

This morning though, I got on with the cuff of the first sleeve of my Deco cardigan and cast it off at knitting group this morning (then I worked on a plain sock for the rest of the time there as I didn't want to be picking up stitches around the armhole as well as trying to carry on a conversation).

I made the cuff a bit shorter than the pattern called for.  I did 112 rounds of stocking stitch for the arm length and then 28 rounds of the Deco slipped rib pattern before doing a 'normal' cast off as I prefer a firm cast off at the end of sleeves.

The short-rowed sleeve set-in gives a neat 'seam'.  I'll need to tweak a couple of stitches when I do the finishing off, but I'm happy with the way it's worked out.

And here's a pic of the whole sleeve and shoulder:

One  more sleeve, two button bands and the collar to knit, ends to sew in, two lengths of ribbon to sew in as band linings and then buttons and snaps to sew on, blocking and then it'll be wearable!  It seems quite a lot when it's typed out.

In other news this week, there's been more helicopter activity here over the last few days than usual.  We're about 20 miles south-east of Wattisham air-field and it's been reported in the press that HRH Prince Harry is there for a few months training in Apache helicopters.  At least this time the helicopter flew right over and didn't hover over our housing estate doing manoeuvres (which I'm sure they're not supposed to do) which we had a couple of summers ago.  This was the best picture I could get - it was sunny and they do fly quite fast!

Friday, 10 June 2011

More Deco - with progress photos

I've been going great guns on my Deco cardigan, mainly due to my husband having to stay in London for three nights, which meant after I'd got the girls to bed, the rest of the evenings were mine to knit more or less without interruption.

I finished the two fronts and then did the back before joining the shoulders using a three-needle cast-off:

Then I picked up 4 stitches to the left of the underarm stitches (on waste yarn), 36 slipped edge stitches, 1 stitch on the three needle cast-off, another 36 down the other side and then a final 4 stitches to the right of the underarm stitches.  The pattern said to pick up 2 sts either side of the underarm stitches, but I thought this would be a bit gappy later on, so I picked up 4 and may reduce by 2 once I'm working the sleeve in the round, or I may just adjust the pattern a bit.  I'll see how the sleeve fits once I've done the sleeve cap.  I didn't use two 2mm circulars to pick up the stitches, but used a 3mm crochet hook instead.  I would have used my 2.5mm hook, but I couldn't find it.  When I use a crochet hook to pick up stitches, I pick up 2 stitches, put them on the knitting needle and then adjust the tension before picking up the next 2.

Here's where I'd got to on the short rows for the sleeve cap by dinner time last night:

I went onto Carol Sunday's website to see her notes on wrapless short rows as mentioned in the Deco pattern.  The technique works really well and I'm very pleased with it.  I'd suggest particularly looking at the notes about the purl rows as that involves slipping stitches.

Here's a picture of the little 'loop' that's made when you lay the contrast yarn over the working yarn.  It's this loop that you pick up to work with the next stitch you want to incorporate into the sleeve cap:

Here's the sleeve cap:

And finally, here's a photo of the full armhole with the start of the short-rowed sleeve cap:
I'm really pleased with the way this is coming out and will be back with more photos once I've got the first sleeve finished.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

DECO: A Work In Progress

I started Deco a couple of weeks ago.

The yarn's Wendy Mode DK in the scarlet colourway.

So far, I've done up to the armpits on the fronts and backs (it's knitted in one piece) and this morning I ignored the ironing basket and knitted the right front.  I  frogged part of the front back as I wasn't happy with the neck decreases, so when I did them the second time, I purled the last two stitches of each wrong-side row and the ssks at the neck edge are now lying much flatter.

The colour's a bit darker than in the photos, but I can't get my camera to behave.

The other modification I've made to the pattern is on the staggering of the Deco pattern.  The pattern's slip 1 purlwise, purl 3, but the instructions are written so that as the pattern's incorporated across the fronts, you end with a slip 1.  The left front was fine, but with the right front, despite trying practically every tip I came across on the Internet for neat ribbing, etc, the slipped stitches were skewing a bit and the knit stitch to the left was coming out too big and uneven as the rows progressed.  So, I decided to end with a purl 1 instead, which I'm much happier with.  Once it's blocked, all should even out.

Next is the right front.  The pattern says that this will start with a WS row, but if I do that, the stitch pattern will be out by one row, so I'll slip the back stitches to the right-hand point, slip the underarm stitches to waste yarn and start with a right-side row.  I could do the back next, but previous experience has shown me that leaving the middle stitches until last means there's less weight on the left part of the work.

I've also cast on for a pair of vanilla socks using some Wendy Happy sock yarn in the Virgo colourway, which is reds and darkish pinks with a splash of cream every now and then.  Once I start the Wendy Johnson shawl once the yarn's out of quarantine, I'll definitely be in a red phase.  It's not intentional, it's just the way things have turned out, the same as earlier this year when several things I knitted were in purple/green/blue colours.

This morning the postman delivered a pack of 25 ziplock bags I ordered a few days ago so in a couple of days I can start migrating my yarn from the freezer into bags.  I'm planning on putting one or two skeins into each bag and then closing it tightly.  By doing it that way, hopefully if I do suffer a moth attack, only one or two skeins will be affected.  I can but live in hope!

Thursday, 2 June 2011


Not me - my yarn.

I went upstairs to get a skein so I could start the Wendy Johnson Mystery Summer Shawl (I'm planning on using my skein of red Posh Yarn Martha) when I spotted what looked very much like a clothes moth in the bag where I keep my fibre for spinning.  You can imagine my horror, I'm sure.  I haven't been able to identify which type of moth as I squished it pretty damned quickly.

So, all my 'good' yarn's been quarantined for a while.  I have four freezers in total (excessive, yes, I know).  One chest freezer in the garage, one upright 6 foot freezer in the kitchen and then two smaller freezers in the garage.  I won't bore you with the story of how we came to have four freezers - we just did. 

Fortunately, it's around March that my mother phones me to say that the 'lamb lady' who lives in the next village has phoned her to ask if we'd like a butchered lamb in a couple of months, which means June, so one of my freezers was already half cleared out to make way for either half a lamb or one-and-a-half butchered lambs (Mum can't now remember exactly what she ordered).  So this morning I quickly cleared the remaining drawer and armed with a roll of freezer bags and supermarket Bags for Life, got to work shaking out skeins and balls, putting them in bags and then in bigger bags and stuffing them in the freezer.  I couldn't fit all of it in, so the next step will be hanging skeins on the washing line and finding the mesh washing bags I bought to put in socks and underwear so they wouldn't get lost, eaten or tangled in the washing machine (rarely use them though - if at all) so I can put balls of yarn and fibre in them so they can hang on the line in the sunshine (moth larvae don't like bright light, apparently - and I've done some extensive reading on clothes moths this morning).

Fingers crossed everyone that I beat the little blighters.  I think I'm more worried about this than I was when my daughters got head lice at the same time!

The downside is that the currently-unused en-suite bathroom (it's waiting to be renovated) is obviously not a good place for yarn storage as it's too warm and doesn't get enough air circulating (it's small and the window's tiny) so I'll have to find somewhere else to keep it.  The upside is that this has taught me that I need to check my stash regularly and give it a turn over and shake-out and that I should do the same with the shelves where I keep my wooly garments as well.  Vaccuuming inside wardrobes and under furniture is also a good idea, especially as with central heating and global warming, People Who Know Lots About Moths believe that the little whatsits now breed all year round.