Friday, 24 February 2012

Tinder Jacket

Two weeks ago I showed you the ribbing and the start of the waffle pattern of the Tinder cardigan/jacket I'd started a couple of days before.


Well, the back's done:

And so are the two fronts:

I started the first sleeve yesterday and have done the ribbing and am about a third of the way up to the sleeve cap shaping.

Here's a close-up of the stitch pattern:

It's all going very well and I think it's going to be a nice length (i.e. bum-covering) and the fabric's nice.  The only thing I've changed is the raglan edgings.  The pattern says that on every right-side row, to k1, p1, ssk, work in pattern until 4 sts remain and then k2tog, p1, k1.  Then, when sewing the pieces together, you do mattress stitch with a half-stitch scene, so you get one knit (V) stitch going up the centre of each raglan, with a purl ridge either side.  However, I didn't really like the way that ribbed edge was working, so I've done k2, ssk, work to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2 and I prefer the smoother look and don't think it will look too bulky when it's finished.  I might also have a one-stitch seam allowance on the raglans and fiddle about when it comes to picking up the collar stitches if I need to.


The only downside to this is that it's been a while since I made anything in a yarn heavier than DK and I think it's aggravating my left wrist, which I wrenched a few weeks ago when out walking Jess and she suddenly saw a cat and took off after it (despite being on her extendable lead).  I think it'll be worth it.  As it's going so well, I ordered some buttons from eBay a couple of days ago - pewter 3/4" ones, which I hope will be big enough (that's the size the pattern said).

As with all Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed patterns, the instructions are clear and I don't find myself scratching my head trying to work out what the designer actually means, or how many times to repeat that part of the pattern, etc.  There's one minor niggle about the raglan edge just after the underarm stitches have been cast off, but it's a very small thing indeed.

Having worked on Tinder almost exclusively over the last two weeks (according to my Ravelry notes I started it on 8 Feb), the Zig-zag Rainbow Ripple blanket hasn't been touched in ages and I still haven't finished the first of the yellow Flusi-monster socks, but I have done some spinning and now have 2 bobbins of the Colinette paintbox merino spun up and one more to go before I ply the yarn.  Photos next time.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Dear Media People

As someone who knits, crochets and spins, it is always pleasing when crafts are featured on your television and radio programmes or in your newspapers and magazine; however, do these features always have to be 'quirky'?  Take this morning's offering on BBC Breakfast.  I didn't manage to catch the whole thing as I was supervising DD2 in her bath at the time, but I've seen the seven minute video that's been put up on YouTube.

I'm sure I'm not alone in sighing at the content.  I'm also certain that the majority of knitters are of the more traditional variety (you know - socks, gloves, hats, scarves that don't look like clown-vomit and sweaters - items you'd actually wear).

Yes, it's lovely to see our craft noted in the media, but would you mind awfully doing a bit more research and interview some of the wonderful designers who offer for sale (and for free) their designs which have been carefully and technically thought out and show off not only their flair for design, but also their technical know-how because designing a garment that people will actually want to make and wear isn't something you can finish in an hour or two.  I'll start you off: Ysolda Teague, Jared Flood, Stephen West, Kate Davies (just four names whose items I've either made or admired and queued on Ravelry - there are many, many more).  How about a feature about independent yarn dyers?

So, come on media people - up your game a bit and give us a bit more than knitted animals and yarn-bombing/guerilla knitting when you decide to do a feature on crafting please.  Such quirkiness only frustrates me and makes people think of knitters as even more weird than they thought we were.

Or am I asking too much?



Friday, 10 February 2012

Two New Things

I mentioned yesterday that I've started two new projects in the last week.

First off, I started some plain socks using some Regia Flusi Monster yarn I recently bought from Kemps at £1.39 a 50g ball.  I'm not sure if I'm going to try and match these - I don't usually bother.  I cast them on at knitting group last Friday morning and if I'd really wanted them to match, I'd have started the JMCO at a point where the yarn changed colour so I could do the second sock the same.  However, I just cast on (because I was probably chatting) and away I went.

They're quite jaunty and bright, aren't they.  I went off self-striping yarn for a while, but I'm liking it again now.

Ooh - the Fairy tin; let me tell you about that.  I was in the supermarket and on my list was dishwasher tablets.  I'm not a particularly brand-loyal kind of shopper - for things such as dishwasher tablets, laundry stuff and loo rolls, it tends to be supermarket own-brand unless there's an offer on one of the more expensive brands.  However, on that day, I spotted this tin.  It cost about 30p more than buying a bag of the same number of Fairy dishwasher tablets, but did I look at the tin and think "must get one for storing the dishwasher tablets"?  Of course not - my first thought was "just the right size to carry a pair of socks or shawl".  In truth, I've got a Finish tin for my dishwasher tablets that I think hubby bought - although the lid's fallen off that.

Anyway, back to new castings-on.  The second thing I've started is Tinder by Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed.  I'm using some Patons Diploma Aran in a steel grey colour that I bought, ooh, probably three years ago now.  As with most Jared Flood designs, the pattern's well-written and easy to follow.

I haven't done a huge amount, but I only cast on a couple of days ago and that ribbing's 4.5" long.

I'll let you know how I get on with this.  Hopefully much better than my St Brigid which is on the back-burner at the moment due to not having time or space to get on with it in peace.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Snowy Weather

When it snows in England, especially the southern half of the country, it's always Big News because it's just not something we're used to dealing with on a regular basis and no matter how many times we say "next year we'll be organised", as a country we never are and there are delays on trains.  This year I was prepared with my camera though, making sure the battery was charged when I read the weather forecast that predicted snow for our area:

I think you can see that we live up a hill - well, it's a river valley really and we live halfway up on the southern side.  It's not until you look down towards the river, or up from the road at the bottom of the hill how steep it actually is.  You really know when it's snowy and icy though - despite 600-ish houses on our development, the council doesn't believe there's enough traffic to warrant gritting the road that runs in a loop up and around the housing development.  They should do one of their traffic surveys on a Saturday, or during commuter/school run time.

Anyway, it's all very pretty, but cold and Jess our labrador has found the snow particularly Good Fun as she ploughs through it head first, although she did give me a funny look when she bobbed down for a wee the first time we were out in it.  I don't think she realised how cold it would be :lol:

I'll be back soon with some knitting stuff.  I've cast on two new projects in the last week.....

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Catching Up

It's a fortnight since I last blogged - how time flies.  It's not that I've been particularly busy, just life carrying on and before I know it, we're closer to the half-term holidays than Christmas and, well, I'm sure you all know what I mean.

Still, I've been knitting and crocheting and spinning and I've got some finished things to show for my crafting time, and also some WIPs.

The first FO is a pair of plain socks:

These are just made to my usual sock 'recipe', so nothing special about them.  The yarn is Regia Design Line Garden Effects and I used 73g of yarn and my 2mm KnitPro circular.  I'm quite pleased with the way they've turned out, but the yarn did look prettier in the ball.  I think I was expecting more green than the burgundy and teal colours - those two seem to overpower the green and purple.

The second FO is a cowl.  I've made a couple of cowls before, but for my older daughter and her friend and not for me.  The pattern is Ptarmigan by Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed and I bought and downloaded it ages ago, but hadn't got round to knitting it.  I used Mirasol Miski yarn in Jade and a 4mm circular.  The pattern stated a lighter-weight yarn and 4.5mm needles but I usually have to go down a needle size with JF/BT designs - I think Mr Flood knits more tightly than I do.  The idea was to stash-bust by using this yarn, but I mis-calculated the amount I'd need, so ended up buying a third ball.  After I'd finished knitting, I weighed the cowl and it's taken 118g of yarn, which is 177m according to Ravelry.  I'll wear this when I'm walking Jess, our labrador as she gets rather excited when we're out and has on occasion caught the ends of my scarf when she's jumped up at me.  Here's a photo:

I blocked this using the blocking wires my husband bought as part of my Christmas present - the first time I've used them and I have to say they did make the job much easier.

I've also been doing some spinning.  I finished off some cream roving I'd had on my wheel for ages (I think the sheep breed is Jacob) and have to soak, whack and hang it up to dry.  When I started spinning it, the idea was to use it on the yoke of a sweater or cardigan, but I still haven't completely made up my mind.  After I'd plied that yarn, I started on some merino roving I bought from Colinette last year not long after they'd started selling roving.  All (or most) of their yarn colourways are available in roving and I bought two lots - Raspberry and Paintbox - and on the wheel at the moment is the Paintbox.  Anne, one my friends from knitting group also bought this and we'd talked about how we were both a bit disappointed when it arrived.  This is a third of it:

See what I mean?  It's mostly natural roving, with splodges of colour here and there.  As it comes in packs of 150g and I only have standard sized bobbins, I decided to divide it into three, try to spin it thinly and then navajo ply it.  So far, I've spun up one-third of it:

I'm going to wait until I've spun the rest of it before I ply and I've no idea what it's going to look like when it's finished, or what it will be.  At the moment I'm considering knitting it into socks, especially if the yarn turns out to be Not Very Beautiful.  Spinning is still very much a learning curve for me!

 The other thing I've done is frogged and re-started my St Brigid sweater.  However, it's not coming on very quickly at all.  I haven't even done one pattern repeat yet.  I don't seem to be able to get into the flow of the pattern - I think it might be because I've had too many distractions.  It's not a pattern to be knit with two children and a young dog around and hubby's been working at home a lot recently, so not much time available where I can sit down with it and get on uninterrupted.  I frogged the first attempt as I decided that working it in the round up to the armholes wasn't going to work particularly well and that seams would make it hang better and also mean that setting in the sleeves would be much easier (i.e. much less maths to do to adjust the pattern).

This is the pathetic progress so far:

I haven't done much crocheting on DD2's Rainbow Ripple blanket either, but need to get on with that as she keeps getting it out of my work-basket and draping it over herself, despite the many ends that haven't been darned in yet.  Maybe she's hinting!

So, that's me caught up.  Like the rest of the country, we're going through a very cold spell weather-wise at the moment and I've got the heating on most of the day otherwise the house starts to feel damply cold, if you know what I mean.  Last week, we had thick fog and couldn't see across the river to Suffolk:

(photo was taken through the bedroom window and it was also raining)

Today, although it's very cold, the sun is now shining and the sky is blue, so I popped out of the front door and took a quick pic:

I'm now going to brave the cold (and maybe wear my new cowl!) and go and do a bit of shopping.  I went yesterday, but forgot a couple of things we need and today I've decided to make a pasta bake for dinner so need to get some ingredients for that.  Fingers crossed, I'll have time between now and DD2 getting home from school to do the shopping, walk the dog, do some spinning and maybe cast on for another pair of socks - some stripey ones in Regia Flusi Monster.  I noticed the other week when I was hand-washing a pile of hand-knit socks that some of mine are looking decidedly tired.  It always makes me a bit sad when hand-knits have to go to yarn-heaven, but it does mean that I have an excuse to make some more.  These will be knitted socks - one day I'm going to have a go at crocheting a pair; but not today!

Thanks for reading and hopefully the next time I post, St Brigid will have grown, I'll have at least another bobbin of the merino done and DD2's blanket will be closer to completion.