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Monday, July 24, 2006

More finished objects

On Sunday evening I finished off two pairs of socks which had been languishing in my knitting bag for a few weeks now and learnt a couple of valuable lessons along the way.

1. There will be knots in your yarn at the most inconvenient places. I had congratulated myself on finishing the first black Jaywalker sock with about eight inches of yarn to spare, thus avoiding adding to the stock of 10 yard balls of sock-yarn in my stash. However, by the time I reached the second knot in the ball of yarn I was using for the second sock I started to worry that I'd cut things a bit too fine. It all worked out in the end, but only just.
2. It is not a good idea to knit black socks in the cinema. That one I really should have figured out for myself before I dropped a stitch somewhere near one of the double decreases and had to rip out about ten rounds.Mistake rib alpaca socks

Anyway, the black DK Jaywalkers and the Mistake Rib Alpaca socks are now neatly paired up and can be added to the sock-pile (my bid at pre-emptive Christmas knitting). The picture of the black Jaywalkers didn't really do them justice but they are beautiful (in a very subtle sort of way).

Friday, July 21, 2006

Almost too hot to knit

It's been scorching this week and I've finally had to give up on all of my wool-based projects. There's something intrinsically wrong about knitting socks in black merino double knitting when it's 33°C outside. The cashmere cardi is a little better for the heat and I got lots done last weekend whilst watching the final round of the Scottish Open (golf and knitting just really seem to go together). However, the sad truth is that, beautifully soft as it is once washed, straight off the cone it's rather string-like and my hands were beginning to cramp up.
So I'm knitting with cotton, Rowan cotton tape to be precise. I'm knitting a scaled down version of Clapotis, partly as a trial run to knit a full-size version with the Colinette Tagliatelle that's burning a hole in the drawer under my bed (where I keep the stuff I feel really bad about never managing to knit with), partly because I'm not sure quite how much cotton tape I actually have or will need.

Friday, July 14, 2006

New project

I started work on the cashmere cardigan on Wednesday and am about a third of the way up the back. I really like working in cashmere as it has really nice stitch definition although it is prone to splitting, I'm already a little worried about whether this will make it difficult to pick up the stitches for the collar. The pattern is from the Debbie Bliss Baby Knits book and I plan to add a shawl collar like the one I saw at Stash at the weekend.

Although I'm not usually one for swatching at great length (or at all sometimes) I actually knitted, washed and blocked a proper gauge swatch as the owner of the yarn shop warned me that the gauge would change after washing.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Ta da!

I finished and blocked the River stole on Sunday evening. Whilst drinking a cup of tea and musing over my yarn purchases in John Lewis' coffee shop on Saturday afternoon I realised that I had two largeish projects (the River stole and the Argyle sweater) currently on the go in addition to three pairs of socks (in various states of done-ness). And although I am by no means an advocate of project monogamy I really couldn't justify casting on with any of my new yarn until I'd knocked some of these off. So..I knitted through the Wimbledon final, and through the world cup final, and through extra time and penalties, and through Today at Wimbledon, and finally got the thing blocked and pinned down (finally a use for the futon!) during the World Cup Rowing (go GB!) at about half-past midnight. I'm going to unpin it after work and am quite eager to see if the pointy bits will actually stay pointy.

Stash Yarns

I made my first trip to Stash Yarns on Saturday and could not have had a nicer time. The shop was light and welcoming, the owner (Nathalie - I think) was friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful, and the selection of floor-to-ceiling yarns was amazing. In addition to the baskets of sample skeins in baskets on low tables with chairs (so you can sit and knit) there are also knit-up projects such as a gorgeous Clapotis in Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb, a cardigan in the Colourmart cashmere and socks in Koigu so that you can see what the yarn will look like when knitted. After about an hour and a half of browsing and fingering and knitting a couple of rows on the sample skeins that are ready cast-on and browsing again, I finally came away with:
1 skein Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Jeans: I think that this should be sufficient for a pair of short ankle socks, possibly the Jaywalker socks from Magknits. The owner did warn me that she thought that one skein might not be enough but I plan to knit them toe-up using the >magic cast-on which I finally mastered at the weekend.

2 skeins Koigu in a bubble gum pink: I'm not entirely sure what to knit with this. I had thought I would use any Koigu purchase to knit Baudelaire (despite being terrified at the thought of those cable increases) however it might be just that little bit too pink.

1 cone Colourmart cashmere in lilac: I was so glad that there was a knitted example of this in the shop, otherwise I might have hesitated to buy it as it really doesn't look or feel at all cashmere-like on the cone. However, it gets softer and more fluffy with every wash. I'm going to knit a baby's cardigan with this, using the kimono pattern from The Baby Knits Book by Debbie Bliss and adding a ruffled shawl collar and sleeve edgings.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

More weekend knitting

I finished the first sock of this pair last weekend at my parents' house "up north". The pattern on the cuff is from a Sarah Dallas top in Rowan 32. It's not quite as clear as I hoped it would be due to the fuzziness of the yarn (Jaeger Matchmaker Alpaca which I bought in the John Lewis sale about a year ago) but I hope that it will be more distinct with blocking. The great thing about sock knitting is that you can try out patterns from sweaters that you see where you don't particularly want to knit the whole garment but love the pattern. The toe is finished off with the three-needle bind-off. I have mostly been grafting sock toes lately but I finished this whilst watching the England Portugal game at my brother's flat and I didn't have a yarn needle to hand.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Like a River

This is my first foray into lace and shawl knitting and I have to say I love it! I was inspired to buy the yarn (Kidsilk spray in a really pretty shade of dusky pink) after hearing Brenda Dayne describe blocking her shawl in an episode of Cast-On, my favourite knitting podcast, and how it turned from a formless jumble into something beautiful. The River stole (Rowan 38) is about 7/12ths done and I find that it knits up really quickly and easily. I was surprised because I had read a few negative comments about knitting this but I really like the pattern. The repeats aren't particularly interesting but the rows are pretty short (just 62 stitches) and I'm stil thrilled at finding I have the right number of stitches left after each row! Hopefully I can finish off the last five repeats before the end of the summer as it's definitely a summer garment.

Finished objects 1 - Bell pattern socks

I think that Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino has to be one of my favourite yarns for sock knitting. It's very soft and strong and has great stitch definition. I knit these for my Mum using a bell stitch pattern for the cuff and a short-row heel.

Argyle sweater

I have just completed the armhole shaping on the back of the Argyle sweater from the May issue of Magknits. I am knitting it in the Debbie Bliss Merino DK which I bought in the sale from my local yarn shop.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Hello?... Are you there?...

Wow, names are tricky. If I have to go through so much indecision just naming a blog, imagine what it'll be like when I have children. Maybe I'll just buy a big book of names, close my eyes and stick a pin in. Of course it would be the child who would actually have to live with the name. I went through a lot of choices. Some, the best ones, had already been taken (grr). Others, were OK but I didn't really answer to them (I did think of the Constant Sock Knitter but that seemed kind of wordy). So this is me now.

Anyhow, I plan this blog to be mostly about my knitting and a little bit about my running. I knit and run, though not at the same time. Bear with me here, I'm just getting started.