Tuesday, 31 January 2017

WIP Round-Up

Now that I've got my Keith Moon sweater finished (and worn!), it's on to other things.

As usual, I've got a pair of socks on my needles.  I started these right at the end of December and progress has been a bit slow:

The colours haven't come out particularly well in these photos - it's hard to find somewhere with decent light in these dreary January days), but the main colours are claret red, a dark auberginey purple, khaki green and a light greenish-yellow.  The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, which is one of my favourite sock yarns and the colour is Zombie BBQ!  When I saw the yarn online and spotted the colour name, I had to buy it.  Because I knit an elongated gusset on my socks, self-striping/colouring yarns do tend to give me some interesting pooling, but that's part of the fun of multi-coloured yarns and, unless I were to make my socks with an afterthought heel (which isn't a good fit for my feet), there's no way of avoiding the pooling.

Also on my needles (and progress has been very good since I started, to the point where I should cast off later today or tomorrow) is a new scarf.  Back in July 2014, I posted about two yarns I'd handspun, from braids of fibre that had been dyed the same, but which I'd spun differently - link to post.  One of the yarns (the one where I'd blended the colours on my drum carder) was knit into a Norby hat in January 2015.  This hat:

It's a hat I like very much (as does DD2, who has worn it to school today).

I'd been thinking since then about what to make from the second skein of that yarn I'd spun and I'd ummed and ahhed about it, thinking that I'd knit myself a Hitchhiker scarf (but then I knit one just before Christmas and didn't want to dive straight into another).  Then, inspiration hit, as it does, on occasion.  A Norby scarf?  Why not!  Using 3.5mm needles, I cast on 41 sts, knit 8 rows of garter stitch and have then knitted three repeats of the hat pattern, which a 4-stitch garter border on either side.  It's going really quickly as the pattern is so easy to remember:

I think I've got about another 5 pattern repeats to go before I cast off and then I'll soak and block it, which will show off the pattern.  I think I'm going to end up with a scarf 5'6" - 6' long.  I'll let you know!

I also cast on a new sweater last week.  I bought 16 (I think - that's what I could find in my stash anyway) balls of Rowan Purelife when it was on sale somewhere (Kemps Woolshop, probably) a few years ago and started knitting Alice Starmore's St Brigid sweater.  However, a few inches into the knitting, I decided that, although the sweater is nice and is considered one of Ms Starmore's best cabled patterns, I wasn't really getting into it and it wasn't really 'me'.  So, I frogged it, with the intention of starting again with the Na Craga pattern, which I decided I preferred.  Last week I finally got round to knitting a swatched as the pattern suggested and ended up going down a needle size to get gauge (which I thought I might have to do) and I cast on a few days ago and have done about 8 rows of the ribbing so far (this one is knitted in pieces and seamed).

Not quite as bright as this in real life - photo taken in artificial light
I shall keep you posted as to progress and with a few more details about the pattern.

The only thing that's struck me is that the scarf and the sweater are similar colours and I can't help wondering if I've done it subconsciously.  Maybe, with all that's going on in the world at the moment, I just wanted to stick pointy needles into something orange!!!  Voodoo knitting?  Now there's a thought.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Keith Moon Sweater - Finished!

My first finished object of the year.

Yes, Keith Moon turned out to be a very quick knit and I cast off last Friday, soaked and blocked it over the weekend.  Drying was turning out to be a slow process, so having patted it out on Saturday morning, when I got home from work in the evening, I folded a bath towel in half, draped it over the shelf in my airing cupboard and then carefully hung the half-dry sweater over it and left it in there until Sunday afternoon, which worked well (I usually hang socks and other small things in the airing cupboard to dry as well - woe betide any members of my family who use the front half of the middle shelf to stack towels!!).

Here it is:

Before soaking and blocking.  Nice, but a bit wrinkled.

After soaking, patting out and drying.  Much smoother and even.

I knit the pattern mostly as written, with just a few modifications:

  • The sleeves in the original have a slight bell shape, which isn't really me and which I think I'd find impractical for my lifestyle, so I cast on fewer stitches and just increased at the same rate as the pattern stated until I had the right number of stitches.  The sleeves are also full length rather than three-quarter.
  • In the original, the hem facings of the body and sleeves are knit in the same colour as the lower band of colour (CC1 - in my case, the blue) and the i-cord edging is knitted in the second contrast colour (CC2 - green for me).  However, I'd read comments about people running out of CC2 and having to buy more, so I used blue for the body hems and green for the sleeve hems because I thought that might use my yarn more efficiently, because buying more roving in the same colours and then spinning them up to the same thickness would be a pain.  I also (as you can see from the photos) used different colours for the i-cords, so green for the bottom and neckline and blue for the hems.  You can see the facings (before the i-cord was knitted on) in the photo below (it's the same photo from my last post about this sweater):

  • Many of the examples of this sweater I've seen on Ravelry have the neckline/collar standing up a bit, but I wasn't sure I wanted that look, so I deliberately knitted a little bit more tightly for that part, which pulled it in just a teeny bit, so the collar/neckline sits flatter.

Am I pleased with it?  Yes I am.  My only niggle is aimed at myself, because one of the skeins of yarn I spun was slightly thinner than the other three, but that's my fault for not making a spinner's control card so I could keep checking while I was spinning the yarn.

Would I make this sweater again?  Yes, I would.  It was a quick, easy knit, but with several nice features such as the faced hems and i-cord edgings.  Would I change anything if I knitted it again?  Probably.  I might put it a few short rows across the back yoke of the sweater so it sits higher than the front.  I might also sew down the neckline/collar facing rather than picking up stitches on the wrong side and doing a three-needle cast/bind-off as I think it would look neater.  As it is, I might sew a length of ribbon around the neck edge, just to finish it off and hide the cast-off line.

So, have I cast on anything since finishing this?

What do you think?  Of course I have, but I think I'll leave doing a WIP round-up for next time.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Keith Moon: A Sweater

I had this idea that the next time I wrote a blog entry, I'd be showing you some cakes of yarn and maybe six or so inches of knitting.  However, in the week since I last posted, this sweater has been flying off my needles.  It's helped that the yarn is an aran weight:

This is the handspun merino which was my big spinning project during 2016 (I didn't do much spinning at all last year).

I cast on 6 January and by last Thursday, I'd got the body done, up to the armholes and I cast on the first sleeve on Friday morning and by Sunday morning, that was finished and joined up to the body:

The pattern is Keith Moon, from the Yokes book by Kate Davies.  It wasn't a design that immediately made me think I wanted to make it, but as I saw more and more examples and interpretations on Ravelry, the more I liked it and decided to spin the yarn for it.  As I'd got some blue and green in a mixed bag of pencil roving I'd bought from World of Wool, I decided to use those colours for the stripes.

In the original, the hem facings are knitted in the same colour, but I decided to be a bit different and used the blue for the body hem and the green for the sleeves.  I've also changed the sleeves.  In the original, the sleeves are three-quarter-to-bracelet length and have a flare at the cuff.  I started off following the pattern, but decided I'd be happier with a narrower cuff, so cast on fewer stitches and just increased at the same rate as the pattern said to.

On Sunday, I cast on the second sleeve and by this morning:

I'm about 17 rounds away from finishing the second sleeve.

Give it another few days and I reckon I'll have a new sweater to wear.

We woke up to a cold, frosty morning today.  We had a bit of snow last Thursday.  It didn't settle, but I had to drive up to DD1's school for her GCSE certificate presentation, which wasn't pleasant as in the places where there are no streetlights, visibility was poor as the snow was coming towards me.  It was clear by the time we came back though, which was much better.  When I took the rubbish bags out for collection, I looked up and saw the sunrise.  My word: I haven't seen one like this for a while, so I grabbed my camera and dashed outside to snap a couple of shots before the opportunity passed:

Lovely colours; quite inspiring.  By the time I took the recycling boxes out 20 minutes later, the sun had risen and the sky just looked light grey, so I'm glad I managed to catch the above shot.  It always surprises me how quickly the sun and moon move around the sky.

I'm off to do some household chores and then I'm going to crack on with that second sleeve.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

2016 - A round-up

I'm going to admit to being a little bit lazy.  I was going to find photos of things I completed during 2016 and make a photo mosaic type 'thing', but then remembered that I put tags on my projects last year, so - ta-da - I'm able to link to my Ravelry projects page instead and if you type 2016 into the search box, it should go to a page with just my 2016 FOs showing.  Well, most of them because there are a few projects that I didn't list.

Anyway - in total, I knitted, crocheted or wove just over 20.4 km of yarn, which is 12.7 miles (that's more or less the distance to my parents' house and back).

There were:

Blankets: 9, including 4 preemie-sized ones (to be donated to the local hospital, I think).  7 were crocheted and 2 were knitted and 3 were from the same pattern.

Cardigans: 2.  One for me and one for DD2.

Cushion covers: 1 (the crocheted spiral one).

Dog bowl mat: 1 (crocheted with yarn leftovers for my mucky dog who drips water after she's finished drinking).

Hats: 8, all knitted.

Sparkly hedgehogs: 6 (and I've got yarn for 2 more).

Scarves: 5 (3 knitted, 2 woven).

Socks: 7 pairs.

Sweaters: 3 (all knitted).

Tea towels: 1 set of 3, woven using the same warp.

I think it was the crocheted blankets that pushed the yarn total up so high and I'll be surprised if I get through that much yarn in 2017.

I didn't get much spinning done last year.  I spun the yarn for a sweater that's currently on the needles and one other skein, but that was all.  Poor Betty (my wheel) must have felt rather neglected, but since the girls went back to school last Thursday I've had her out, spinning some yarn that I plan to knit into some socks.

Here's the link to my project page on Ravelry:


As I said earlier in this post, if you type 2016 into the search box, it will filter so just last year's FOs show up.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Last finished items of 2016

I hope you all had a Happy Christmas and enjoyed the New Year celebrations.  It was a bit full on here (as usual) and I worked my usual shifts on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.  Don't tell my husband, but I didn't mind that much as it was quite nice to get away from the excitement at home, especially as by the time we'd finished putting up the tree and the decorations, the downstairs of the house was looking a bit like Santa's Grotto!  We had a quiet New Year's Eve and all the decorations except for the outside lights were taken down, packed away and the boxes put back in the loft on 1 January.

I did manage to finish off a few things before the year's end:

Plain socks in Scheepjes Invicta Everest (I think).  A yarn I'd not used before and, whilst it's ok, it's nothing special, to be honest and I'm not sure about the striping sequence.  It would make a good stripy scarf though and it's a reasonably priced yarn.

Thicker socks in Regia Adventure Color 6ply.  Plain socks again (no point in doing anything fancy when the yarn's already patterned).  I used a 2.75mm needle for these and I think they used 100g of the 150g ball, so I've got to think of what to do with the rest of it as it's a shame to throw away one-third of a ball.  I'll have a search on Ravelry for pattern ideas.  These socks are very comfy and will be useful for wearing with my new ankle-length wellies (a Christmas present from my in-laws) when walking Jess in colder weather.

Hitchhiker scarf.  This is the second time I've knitted this pattern and probably not the last.  The yarn's some of my hadspun.  I bought a bag of pencil roving 'waste' from World of Wool and for this 180g skein, I pulled off random lengths and spun two bobbins of singles, then plyed them together to get a colourful yarn.  I wore this to our annual festive season family get-together and my brother-in-law admired it (and wore it), so I've let him keep it!

A Hitchhat (from the same designer as the Hitchhiker scarf).  This was more handspun from the same bag of pencil roving at the Hitchhiker scarf.  For this yarn though, I pulled off shortish lengths of the fibres and put them through my drum carder and made two batts, one blue-dominant and one red-dominant.  I then spun each batt into a single before plying them together, giving a heathery yarn.  I'm really pleased with how the hat came out as it's an interesting construction, knitted on the slant in four sections and then grafted together.  If I made it again, I'd probably go up a needle size as I did have to stretch it a bit when I washed it to get a bit more length.

So, that's it.  I had a fairly productive 2016, craft-wise and will do a round-up in a few days, once the girls are back at school and I'm able to get back into my usual routine.