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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Rekindling the flame

There's nothing like a weekend away to put the spark back into an ailing relationship. I'm talking of course about myself and the Print O' the Wave stolewhich has been more or less languishing in a plastic bag amongst the UFOs since mid-March. I was reminded of its existence a fortnight ago when I "borrowed" the rosewood circular needle that was holding its stitches to knit the top-down baby raglan. Things were looking pretty grim for the POTW at that point and I even considered ripping back and knitting another Kiri after the fabulous debut of my first one at the Summer Ball last weekend (where it more than held its own against a fabulous Lady Eleanor's stole knitted from Rowan Tapestry - mmm I want one of those!). However, I held my hand. I had knitted more repeats of the POTW and it was looking better than I had remembered. The wave pattern of POTW holds up really well against even strongly variegated yarns and it was looking pretty good.

The final factor was the secret life of stitches feature on last week's Cast-On - frankly I was guilt-tripped into giving this poor abandoned UFO some one-on-one attention and showing it a good time. After all, if I took no other knitting I would have to concentrate on it. The weekend started well with an early dinner at a fancy(-ish) restaurant before I went to catch an evening train which I figured would give me a good 4 hours of knitting time. Turns out we got a bit more than that as I ended up arriving in Manchester Piccadilly (via Worcester, Birmingham and Crewe) at 1.20am rather than the scheduled 10pm the previous evening. Still, lots of knitting time and the POTW got some admiring attention from the nice people who befriended me at Worcester and who travelled with me for the rest of our journey.

On Saturday the POTW got a trip out to south Yorkshire. Mum and I had a great walk around Gargrave during which I spotted four curlews (a first for me and pretty exciting) and gathered some wool (more on the wool gathering in a later post). After the walk we ended up in the fabulous White Cottage Tea Room - I couldn't find a link but it's easy enough to find if you're in Gargrave and it's so well worth a visit - (not a cafe, a tea room!) for a shared blue Wensleydale and apple chutney toastie and the most wonderful chocolate fudge cake.

Next we went onto Skipton where I managed to buy two great skirts (the irony being that we had chosen a day out in Yorkshire over the Trafford Centre because I really didn't need to buy any clothes), one an absolute bargain. I also got some great sheep's wool fat soap from the National Trust shop with the cutest packaging which is going to be a pressie for someone so no photo at the moment.

Anyway, the POTW has absolutely blossomed under all this attention, more than doubling in size and it's looking great.

Print O' the Wave - first half

I finished the first half after 21 repeats and left its two ends (I cast-on provisionally rather than invisibly) on two lengths of yarn whilst I used the waste yarn from cast-on edge of the first half for the second half too. I really didn't think I'd get this far so I was lacking crochet hook as well as waste yarn, however, I've discovered that it's pretty easy to work the crochet cast on straight onto the needle using a second needle (or the other end of your circular) and your fingers.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Happy blogcentenary

100 posts, woohoo! And to celebrate I have my first FO for Dulaan 2008 (I'm being super organised this year) and the first flower on our tomato plants, both coincidentally yellow.

Dulaan baby socks

Pattern source: The Baby Knits Book by Debbie Bliss
Yarn: Debbie Bliss merino dk
Needles: 3.75mm dpns

I still have a couple of balls remaining of the DB merino dk so I'll be knitting a few more pairs of the baby socks and maybe a hat or two.

Tomato flower

The tomato plants were brought round by Aliki a few weeks ago and although they grew green and bushy I was a tad concerned about the lack of flowers (I'm not noted for my green fingers). I spotted the first one this morning and I'm hoping that a few more will have appeared by the time I get back here on Monday morning. Last year with just two plants we didn't have to buy tomatoes for two months and I'm crossing my fingers for a similar harvest this year.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fussy landlords

Blue tits only

Spotted this whilst wandering around St. John's..the boyfriend and I weren't entirely sure how they planned to enforce this.

Monday, June 18, 2007

FO—PBP-03:Top-down baby raglan

The pile of cute baby stuff under the bed just keeps on growing.

Top-down baby raglan

Yarn: 2 balls light green Rowan cashsoft dk, 2 balls cream Rowan cashsoft baby dk
Needles: 3.75mm circular, 3.75mm double pointed needles, 4mm for casting off.
Pattern: My own.

I finished the button band (the last bit of knitting) on Friday night and left the cardigan blocking on Saturday while I went to town in search of buttons. The selection in the fabric store isn't the widest and I couldn't get a good match with any of the green ones, then I found these. Aren't they the cutest?!

Bee button

(I forgot to take a close up earlier whilst it was daylight so it's a bit blurry.)

The cream is a really good match for the yarn and the clear bits seem to pick up the green from the button band around and below.

Although I've specified 2 balls of each colour above you only need a tiny bit of the second ball of each colour. If you were to knit a single colour version (which I might later on when I know which gender to knit for) it would only take three balls with some over for matching bootees or a hat. So...


These are from the Baby Knits Book by Debbie Bliss and they really are a last minute knitted gift and take the least amount of yarn! The turn-over cuff with the snug ribbing underneath is so neat as is the little heel flap. (I don't mind heel flaps when they're this small, and when the maths adds up properly - I hate having to fudge an assymetric heel flap).

I'm knitting another pair with a slightly more fancy cuff, though I might rip back and knit over 30 stitches instead of 32 as the lace pattern gives a slightly larger gauge and also doesn't go exactly into 32 stitches (and at this scale a 2 stitch "blank" column is quite noticeable).

Yesterday was meant to be another "Spin Sunday" but I went out on a bike ride instead to atone for the previous night's excesses at the Summer Ball so I'm no further forward with Sockapalooza than I was last week. The boyfriend is out tonight so this looks like the perfect excuse to rent a good movie and get in a couple of hours tonight, hopefully I'll remember how!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Top-down baby raglan cardi

More progress on the top-down baby raglan which is starting to look very cute. I've worked out the underarm sleeve shaping (2 mirroring decreases on alternate rows and then 2 mirrored decreases every 4 rows). This should get me to the top of the cuff with 25 stitches remaining. Just one little issue. The sleeve length needs to be 14cm, but is that 14cm from the shoulder or the underarm? I'd been going from the underarm but I'm starting to worry that it might look like a cardi knit for a baby orangutan. Any ideas? If no-one has any suggestions I'm going to finish knitting the first sleeve as per spec and then see what it looks like.

I'll be taking the cardi along to the Bluestockings meeting this evening. I'm really looking forward to it. We're trialling a new pub as our regular venue (the one where we met up for WWKIP day on Saturday) and I'm looking forward to such luxuries as working lightbulbs and not sitting right next to the kitchen!

Monday, June 11, 2007

New WIP - PBP-03: Top-down raglan cardi

Top-down baby raglan

I bought the yarn for this in the Rowan sale at Whittaker's some time back. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do but hadn't got any further on than sketching it out and knitting a gauge swatch. The thing that was holding me up was that whilst I had measurements for chest, armhole and height to shoulder for a baby sweater I didn't have a neck measurement and couldn't work out how to get one (short of going up to random babies with a tape measure).

Yesterday, feeling somewhat socked-out and not having another project on the needles*, I pulled out the yarn and the notebook and decided rather than worrying about it any longer to "Just do it!". I worked out the neck measurement from a similar necked cardi in one of the Debbie Bliss books (turns out it was quite easy to do) and once I'd got that I fairly raced along. I'm now on the third stripe below the armholes with about 5 to go, then I just need to knit down from the top of the sleeves and knit two button bands. The sleeves are looking a little bit wide at the top at the moment (think wizard's robe style) but I think they're OK and they should look more normal once I've done the decreases. Besides babies need lots of arm room for squirming and gurgling right?

* Actually I did have Print O' the Wave on the needles, but then I took it off the needles so I could knit this on my Lantern Moons.

Sock washing day

For some reason this image reminds me of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. There was jst nowhere else to dry the handknit socks.

Sock washing day

I don't know if there's room for 10 (count the socks) dwarfs in the bed!

Sunday, June 10, 2007


The PicKnit in the Parks for WWKIP day didn't quite come off - the weather was a bit too uncertain for picnicking - but we had a great time knitting outside at the pub nonetheless. Lara came along with her Kiri (which looks great).

Lara's Kiri

Katie was knitting on the amazing technicolour waistcoat.

Kate and Ellen

I got a couple of mini hats done for Innocent and then worked on the Elfine's socks. I bound them off yesterday evening amd they look great - they're the best fitting socks I've ever made.

Elfine's socks - ta da!

This morning I made banana pancakes from Nigella's Domestic Goddess - I generally prefer English pancakes but it's so much fun dropping fruit onto the base of the American ones and they're definitely easier to flip over.


Friday, June 01, 2007


In which my second Elfine's sock catches up with the first and I finally come up with a pattern for Sockapalooza which I will be knitting as soon as I've spun the damn yarn.

After languishing on the back burner for a week whilst I played away with the Vinnland socks I'm back on the straight and narrow and am now past the heel on both the Elfine's socks [Update: I bound off the first sock on Wednesday and the second is well on the way to completion]. I think I just needed a little break from the smaller needles. Having said that, it's surprising how quickly this pattern whips up, even on a set of 2.5mms.

Elfine's socks

I know that lots of people (kind of including me) have picked this pattern to knit for Sockapalooza and it does make really pretty socks.

I say "kind of" including me, because I've made some adjustments. I really wanted to make the left and right socks mirror each other, rather than be an exact pair, partly to avoid second sock syndrome, partly because I like the idea of marrying the pattern and the form of the item, rather than just picking a stitch pattern and then knitting a rectangle and a tube*.

Sockapalooza test sock**

Pattern close-up

The first eight rounds are knit as per pattern but after that the pattern is adapted to create a triangular panel on the outside of the instep. The rest of the foot is knit in plain stocking stitch which continues until just past the ankle, there will then be a diamond shaped panel on the inside of the cuff and possibly a single leaf at the same point on the outside of the cuff. That's a bit of a fuzzy description but I've not written the pattern out yet so it's a bit vague in my head!

* Not that there's anything wrong with that. A lot of my favourite socks are knit that way, I just thought that for Sockapalooza I should a bit of an effort.