Thursday, 22 September 2011

St Brigid - Post 1

I've started a new sweater.

It's St Brigid by Alice Starmore.

I'm using Rowan purelife in the shade Madder, which is a light terracotta-ish orange.  It's lovely and soft, but has good cable definition, but it handles a bit like a cotton or cotton/wool mix yarn, which I found a bit weird at first.  I bought it on sale at Black Sheep Wools and paid £26.something for 16 balls, which made me happy!

Although the pattern says that the small size is designed for a 32-34" bust, the finished measurements is 42" at the underarm, so I decided to go with that one as the next size up should end up being 45" which is a bit voluminous for me.  I also did a quick swatch (yes, I know I should have made a bigger one and washed it before starting the sweater, but I'm impatient and it's designed as a bit of a Sloppy Joe type sweater, so, hey-ho!) and got tension on 3.75mm needles, which I thought would be the case as the tension's measured over double moss stitch and moss stitch always comes out a bit looser than stocking stitch.  I also decided to knit the front and back in one piece, up to the underarm.

So, I cast on.  Because of making it in the round and so that I could balance the dbl moss st, I cast on 4 sts fewer than the pattern said, which  meant 286 sts.  Two reasons for this.  Firstly because, knitting in the round, there's no need for the stitch that would be used for seaming and secondly because for the small size, that meant that the dbl moss st would be knitted over 10 stitches at each side, which means that on rounds 1 and 2, it's (k2, p2)x5, k2 and on rounds 3 and 4, it's (p2, k2)x5, p2 so that panel is symmetrical and I like that!

After I'd done the second round and done a few stitches of the third, I realised that I'd twisted the stitches when I joined them into the round, so there were a few choice words uttered.  My fault.  I'd been lazy and not gone upstairs to get a longer cable for my KnitPros, but thought I'd get away with an 80cm.  Obviously I was wrong as the stitches were a bit too bunched up to see properly.  So, I took one tip from the 80cm and put it on the 100cm, using the KnitPro purple stop thingies on the other end of the cable, then I tinked back a whole round and a few stitches onto the 100cm cable.  Now I was able to stretch the stitches out a bit more, I was able to see what I was doing, so joined them again ---- this time successfully.  I carried on with the 100cm for 3 or 4 rounds before switching back to the 80cm.  Once I started the cabling and the stitches were pulling in a bit, the 80cm was better for manoeuvering them around the cable than the 100cm (still with me?).

Anyhow, I'm happy with the yarn, especially the way it looks when cabled and I'm, erm, more or less happy with the pattern, although there are a couple of little things that are niggling me, but I'll cover those in my next post.

It's taking me about an hour to do four rounds as every other round involves cables.  I'm hoping I'll be able to speed up a bit once I'm through the first couple of repeats.  It's not a difficult pattern, but it is quite detailed and involved.  Most of the time I'm able to do the cabling/travelling stitches without a cable needle, but there are a couple of instances where I'm using a 3.25mm dpn as it's easier.  One modification I've made to the pattern is to mirror the braid cables either side of the central panel.  It's an 8-row pattern, so the braids to the right of the central panel I've started at row 1, but for those on the left of the central panel I've started them on row 5.  I've also made a spreadsheet and printed it out so that I can mark off each row of each pattern repeat as the double moss st is a 4-row repeat, the braids are an 8-row repeat and the twisty vine-type panels are a 22-row repeat (the chart is 24 rows, but the repeats are rows 3-24).

Anyway, here's a progress picture.  I've done a grand total of 16 rounds - in two days.  But, that's 4 hours of knitting, not including the casting on and the cocking-up and re-doing bit!

On my monitor the colour's actually coming out quite accurately - I was a bit worried that the yarn would look too orange.

In other news, I'm halfway through the King Cole Galaxy scarf, but will take photos once it's finished (I did about 8" while watching Angels & Demons last night).  Haven't picked up the socks I've got OTN except to move them from one bag to another and I've done about 2 rows of my Claudia scarf, so that might be something to do this evening (unless hubby gets home at a decent time and is in a chatty mood).

Before I go, I urge you to have a look at the new Brooklyn Tweed Fall11 pattern collection.  I've been drooling since I saw the look-book (at the bottom of Jared's blog post) and have The Wanties for the Bedford sweater and Tinder cardigan/jacket.  If only someone in the UK would stock and sell the BT Shelter yarn, although New Lanark aran might work nicely for Tinder, especially if I decide I want the fabric to be quite firm so it's more of a jacket than a cardigan.

Anyway, I've rattled on again (as usual) and I've a carpet that needs vaccuuming, as well as a smallish pile of ironing to get through before the girls get home from school in a couple of hours.

I'll keep you informed of how St Brigid is going and take another photo once there's a fair bit more to see!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Three Crocheted Cushions

Over the years, I've accumulated a fair amount of DK acrylic.  Some of it is whole balls and some of it is left-overs from other projects.  It was all in a bag upstairs with the rest of my yarn stash.  There was also a separate bag of Wendy Peter Pan DK which I must have bought with a project in mind, but can't properly remember now (it might have been for DD1 when she was going through her short-lived 'I want to knit and crochet as well' phase).  I used up some of the Peter Pan on the Ruffled Cushion I blogged about last month, but still had quite a bit left.  I also had a 50cm square cushion pad and a rectangular one that's 50cm x 30cm, both cover-less.

I'd also looked at the African Flower crochet motif several times and admired the way other Ravelry users had made it up into bags, throws, blankets and cushions and decided that I'd make some African flowers into a cushion cover for the square pad.  However, it didn't work out that way.  As it grew, I decided that I'd prefer to make it into a rounded hexagon shape.  I made 20 flowery  hexagons in total - 19 for the front and 1 for the back.  The 19 were sewn together and then I went about the business of filling in the gaps.  This turned out to be a bit tricky and after several aborted attempts, I used short-rows to fill in the shallow triangles between each hexagon.  This is the front:

For the back, I used the 20th hexagon and then crocheted rings around it.  Mostly treble crochet (UK) with with the odd round of doubles as well.  I just kept going until it was the same size as the front and then crocheted the two pieces together using double crochet.  

Although this was a stash-buster, I ended up spending nearly £20 on a 24" circular cushion pad!

After that, I still had bag of yarn left and still had two cover-less cushion pads.

Via the Tangled Happy blog, I'd seen a pretty baby blanket on the Tarekices blog and decided to use the pattern, but working it in rounds using up various colours.  I used lighter-coloured shades on the treble-cluster rounds and darker/brighter-coloured shades for the dc rounds.  I crocheted a chain that was slightly less in length than the width of the cushion pad and worked the first round by making the clusters first in the top loop of the chain then turning the work and doing the second half of the round along the bottom edge of the chain.

I'm rather pleased with it:
and here's a closer-up pic of the stitch pattern:
After that, I still had a bag of acrylic yarn, so I made a simple, striped treble-crochet cover for the rectangular pad.  As with the square cushion, I made a chain slightly less than the width of the pad, then crocheted across the top and bottom of the chain and carried on from there so it was like a bag.  Once it was big enough, I put it the cushion pad and slip stitched the top edge closed.
So, there we have it.  Three cushion covers made over the last couple of months:
And I've still got half a bag of acrylic to use up! 

I might use it to make BSJs with wide stripes.

I need to finish off the baby cardigan I've got on the needles as well.  This is a Feb Baby top-down cardigan, but will be short or three-quarter sleeved due to yarn constraints. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

A long-overdue update

I admit that crocheting takes me longer than knitting does.

Which does make me wonder why I decided to crochet a scarf using laceweight yarn and a 2.5mm hook, but I did (mainly because I didn't know what else to do with the yarn - I'd tried knitting a Kadril Estonian lace-type scarf, but it wasn't really 'me' so I frogged it).

I'd completed 57 rows and was thinking how well it was all going, so thought I'd weigh the ball of yarn so I could get an idea of how long the scarf would be if I used it all up.  I know that I started off with 50g (which is 500m according to Ravelry).

Those 57 rows?  They'd used 10g of yarn.  Yes, only 10g.

Still, the yarn's 100% cashmere and the scarf is beautifully soft and the pattern was easily memorised, so I guess I've just got to plod on with it and hope that it's not spring by the time I finish it!

Here's a closer-up pic taken with the flash on so you can (hopefully) see the stitch pattern better.  The pattern's the Claudia Scarf by Rebecca Jackson and is a cluster of 5 trebles then treble-chain-treble between each cluster.  It's going to need blocking when I've finished.
In other news, I started another scarf yesterday.  It's for DD1, who is 11 and has just started High School, so her other scarves, which are generally of the pink/bright colours variety just aren't going to cut the mustard now that she's practically a grown-up!  I spotted the yarn in my LYS.  It's King Cole's Galaxy yarn, which is 65% Acrylic, 31% Wool  and 4% Soft Payette.  I'm not entirely sure what Soft Payette is, but I think it's the thin sequinned thread that runs through the yarn.  Yes, that's right - sequins.  Little irridescent shiny ones, every 20 or so centimetres. Link to King Cole - - I'm using the Neptune shade. 

My camera and laptop appear to have had a(nother) falling out, so I shall show you some photos and give more details in a few days, once I've knitted a bit more than the few inches I'd done so far and to give some more stats on the scarf.  It took me ages just to get the two photos above uploaded.  One day I shall treat myself to a new camera - but not this month as I got the bill for DD1's music lessons this morning and now that DD1 is in High School, I think we're going to have to buy a new printer (the old one can just about manage to print text, as long as we don't mind it being rather fuzzy).

I can find time for my blog and to actually knit a whole row without risk of interruptions now that the school holiday are over and hubby (who very kindly decided to take a few days off work starting the day after the girls went back to school) is back in his office, at least for the next week and a bit.  Phew!  The last seven weeks seem to have gone by very slowly.  Not that I don't enjoy their company, but it was lovely this morning to be able to have a bath without someone coming in to talk to me!

I've also got a couple of other FOs to show and tell, but those will have to wait too as there's something I want to finish off so I photograph them all together.