Sunday, 30 September 2007

WARNING - yarn pr0n!!

At the Colinette course yesterday - Knitting in All Directions - I was feeling quite restrained.
I bought just 7 skeins of Wigwam in 'Morello Mash', a gorgeous deep cherry colour, just enough to knit a textured v-neck sweater.

I then wandered around the shop for a while, having a squish of this yarn and that yarn, feeling quite smug that I could resist the loveliness all around me and that I hadn't gone mad and bought all the lovely skeins of yarn I could see hanging everywhere.

And then I happened to see this - Iona

As the Borg would say "resistance is futile"!!! ;0)

I *had* to have it. It's probably one of the most expensive yarns in the shop and I really don't need another WIP at the moment but I had to have it. It's such a beautiful colour that words fail me when I try to explain just how beautiful it is. It's so gorgeous I'd happily have its babies and cook and clean for it for the rest of my life! Seriously, it's *that* gorgeous!

I quickly gathered up all the skeins on the shelf - well, I didn't want anyone else getting their mitts on it, did I?! ;0)

When the fog of pretty-yarn-frenzy had lifted slightly, I realised it might be a good idea to have a flick through the pattern book that accompanies this yarn to see what I could actually knit with it. There are at least 4 things in the book I want to knit - my family will be pleased that buying Christmas presents for me this year will be a doddle! ;0)

I spent most of last night looking longingly at my lovely blue Iona (and trying not to get any drool on it) and then wound it into cakes this morning ready to get knitting with it tomorrow. I can't wait. :0) I still don't know which design I'm going to knit but that doesn't matter because they're all so pretty. ;0)

A strange thing happened to me on the way home yesterday and I'm now convinced that fate somehow intervened and I was *meant* to buy this yarn.

Let me explain - the colourway of this yarn is 'Salty Dog' - I know, not the prettiest of names! Anyway, as I was driving home after the course yesterday, I happened to be flicking through the radio channels. These days I very rarely listen to the radio in the car as I always have my i-Pod plugged in. However, I'd forgotten to charge my i-Pod so was stuck with the radio. ;0) As I surfed the different channels trying to find something half-decent to listen to, I heard a woman singing a bluesy sort of song, maybe from the 1940s (ish). But the spookiest thing was that this song was called - "I'm a Salty Dog".

What are the chances of that?! Spooky indeed! I'm now convinced that I was *meant* to buy this yarn. ;0)

Oh, I'd better tell you about the course I went on! ;0) It was called Knitting in All Directions and was excellent. I met up with Joy and it was lovely to have such good company all day. :0)

Colinette herself was teaching the course and started us off knitting mitred squares. We knit 2 of these and then moved on to mitred rectangles -

In this photo (in the darker yarn) I have 2 mitred squares on the bottom and a rectangle on top. To the left (in the lighter yarn) we then picked up stitches along the edge and knitted a garter stitch piece. I was amazed at how this worked. Until I tried it, I just couldn't see how it would turn out.

We then moved on to equilateral triangles -
here are 4 small triangles. Next, you could pick up enough stitches to make a larger triangle along one edge and just keep going until you get the effect you want.

Finally, she showed us how to make shells. These would make a really pretty border - unfortunately, the yarn I chose doesn't really show up the pattern but you get the general idea. ;0)

I had such a good day and would definitely recommend Colinette's courses.

I've come away with loads of ideas of how to use up all my spare yarn by knitting cushion covers and throws - in all directions!

Thursday, 27 September 2007

My stash diet ends in style

I knew I wouldn't be able to stay on my stash diet until Christmas. It may have come to an end early but at least I did it in style! ;0) It doesn't help that I've been off work ill this week (feeling flu-ey) and I always tend to buy lovely stash to cheer myself up.

The first of my goodies to show you are these incredibly cute stitchmarkers by Viknits (available on e-bay via the link on her blog).

They arrived quickly, were very well packaged and are very detailed - they're gorgeous!

Last Sunday I bought some Posh Yarn Emily, which arrived today in a squishy pink parcel.
I had 2 x 100g of 'Fells' and 2 x 100g of 'Hula'. I think the Fells might become a Forest Canopy shawl (mainly because of the gorgeous green colour) but I haven't decided yet. I'm not sure what the Hula will become, I just liked the colour. ;0)

On Monday this week this month's package arrived from the Under Cover Club. It normally arrives at the beginning of the month but was a bit late because the Yarn Grove were waiting for delivery of a new colour. It was definitely worth waiting for - a beautiful cranberry red, deeper IRL than these photos.

The patterns for this month were Twisted Sisters (above) and All Fools' Welt (below). Each square took just a day to complete.

Also included in my package this month was this beautiful J. Knits sock yarn and cute sock bag. I was the winner in last month's prize draw for showing completed squares. (It's a good incentive to get them finished!)
It's a lovely bright daffodil yellow and blue. I'm now on a search for the perfect pattern. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. :0)

Elsewhere in my knitting, I've done another 6 squares for my aunty's afghan, so only 2 left to do now.
On the left is Tiny Eyelet Rib from Vogue Stitchionary Vol. 1.
Below is Susan Rainey's Sweater square from the Great American Aran Afghan book.

To the left is Chevron Rib and below is Eyelet Hearts, both from Vogue Stitchionary Vol. 1.

All these squares were knit with 5mm KnitPicks Options needles and Cascade 220 yarn.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

More squares, more bobbles, more cables ;0)

More afghan squares, I'm afraid. ;0)

The first is Ann McCauley's Bobbledy Aran from the Great American Afghan Book, in Cascade 220 yarn (Ice Mint) with 5mm KnitPicks Options.

The second is Eyelet Posies from Vogue Stitchionary No. 1. Again, same needles. same yarn but different colourway - Lavender.

Now, when I knit something, I tend to recall what I'm watching on the TV at the time, even years down the line.

Nice to know then, that 5, 10 or even maybe 15 years in the future, when I see my aunty's afghan, I'll remember watching "Larva" on Sci-Fi last night.

Alien, bat-like, parasitic creatures erupting from animals and people and sucking them dry. :0?


Hmmmmmm ....................... maybe I need to re-think the kind of TV programmes I watch!?! ;0)

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Halfway There

With only 14 weeks left to Christmas, I thought I'd better get a wriggle on with my aunty's afghan. So I will be (almost) exclusively knitting squares for it till I get it finished.

I am now officially halfway through. This is my 8th square - Barbara McIntire's from the Great American Aran Afghan (see previous post for details).

I love the central celtic braid cable - it's very easy but looks so effective. I used 5mm KnitPicks Options needles and Cascade 220 in Oatmeal (I *love* this colour!). This needs hardly any blocking as it's almost exactly 12" square so I won't lose any of the lovely texture.

I've just started my next one - Ann McCauley's Bobbledy Aran square - this time in Ice Mint (turquoise). Did I mention that I love big bobbles?! ;0)

Monday, 17 September 2007

Amount of yarn used for Hemlock

In the comments yesterday, Annette asked how much yarn I used at row 101 of my Hemlock. Looking back at my notes scrawled on the pattern ;0) I used approximately 250 grams of aran yarn. The border took 23 grams. If I'd had the staying power, I really could have made it quite a bit bigger. ;0)

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Sucked into the Hemlock-along

Yup, even though I've got about 7 WIPs on the go at the moment, last week I was sucked into the Hemlock-along after seeing it mentioned on the Angel Yarns forum. The original is on Brooklyn Tweed's blog here - it's gorgeous. :0) Anyway, I ordered my yarn from Kemps Wool Shop very very late on Friday, 7th September and it arrived first thing Monday, 10th September. This is the first time I've ordered from them but it certainly won't be the last - I am VERY impressed with their service. :0) I went for the 400g Sirdar Bonus Aran with Wool (80% acrylic, 20% wool) in Buttermilk. I wanted something cheap and cheerful (this is £3.99 per 400g ball) that I can throw into the washing machine. Even though it's mostly acrylic, the yarn feels gorgeous to knit with and I'm already lining up a few other projects to use it with. ;0) I used 5mm KnitPicks Options needles and changed cord length once.

I started knitting last Monday evening. I did roughly 2 hours per night during the week and 4 hours yesterday and today - a total of 18 hours from start to finish. I finished on row 101 - I was tempted to make it slightly larger (maybe go to row 121) but to be honest I was getting a bit fed up by this time! There were approx. 500-odd stitches on the needles at this point and just knitting one round was taking forever! ;0)

At 11.45 a.m. today, I decided to call it a day and start on the border. This is how it looked as I started it -

I love the way the border turned out. It really fits in well with the overall design. Even though some knitters have dubbed this the "never-ending border", I must admit that I quite enjoyed the monotony of it. ;0) It was quite therapeutic - although it did take exactly 2 hours to knit. I finished at exactly 1.45 p.m..

After finishing the border, my Hemlock looked a bit of a blobby mess but I was quite confident that blocking would reveal a completely different piece of knitting.

Prior to blocking, I soaked the knitting in the sink for half an hour or so and then threw it in the washing maching for a quick spin. It was practically dry when it came out.
Half an hour later (and I lost count of how many pins!), this is what it looked like. I have to admit, I'm rather pleased with it. It measures about 40 inches in diameter. I would have liked it slightly larger but know I just didn't have the staying power for those last 20-odd rows! ;0)

And this is perfectly adequate as a lap blanket, which after all is its ultimate purpose.
I can see me knitting more of these, probably as gifts, as they're so quick and easy to make and yet look so effective when finished.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Dwti Socks

Otherwise known as small socks. ;0)
'Twt' is the Welsh word for tidy, neat or smart. When I was growing up however, anyone or anything small was known as 'dwti' and it's stuck with me ever since. ;-)

I like knitting socks for small people - they are a very quick, rewarding project because they don't take long to make.

I started knitting this pair at my knitting group yesterday at 12.30 p.m. and finished them about 5 mins ago.
They're for DS (age 5) who is a size 10-11 shoe. He chose the yarn from my stash (Opal Rainforest 'Tiger' and he wanted them for school tomorrow, so he's really pleased that I've finished them in time.
I used my usual toe-up pattern, 52 sts on 2 x 2.5mm Addi Turbo circs. I knit 44 rows for the foot, 42 rows for the leg and 12 rows for the rib. These socks took about 30g, so I have enough left to make a pair for myself. ;0)
The only problem I had while knitting these was the annoying tune I kept singing the whole time I was knitting them - "That's neat, that's neat, that's neat, that's neat, I really love your tiger feet". Not sure who sung the song originally, and these probably aren't even the correct words, but it's been bugging me all weekend. I'll be glad to work on another project to get that song out of my head! ;0)

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

A Bag for Saira

I haven't blogged much lately because I've been knitting things which are for swaps and I didn't want to spoil the surprise for my swap pals. But one swap parcel arrived today which means that I can now show you this -

This was a swap organised on the Angel Yarns forum. My swap partner was Saira.

I must admit that I cheated slightly because I had already knit the back and front of this bag. It was sitting in a dark cupboard, un-sewn-up and forgotten, because I didn't have anybody to give it to. (I was also feeling a bit guilty about not finishing it because it was a Bag Ladies Knitting Group group project and the others had finished theirs.)

Anyway, when the swap was announced I thought this was an ideal opportunity for the bag to go to a good home. ;0) I really enjoyed finishing it (even the sewing up!) knowing that it was for Saira and I enjoyed buying some pampering goodies to go with it. I also added a ball of sock yarn from stash (purple/brown to match the purple/lavender theme/colourway that had developed) .

The pattern came from a Knit Today bags supplement from earlier this year and I used Debbie Bliss Pure Silk DK for the body of the bag (which may have been raspberry) and Colinette Tao silk for the handles and trim in Neptune. To get correct gauge, I used 3.75mm Denise Interchangeable needles instead of the 4mm needles recommended in the pattern.

I bought some more Colinette Tao silk at my last visit which I may use to knit another one. It's very nice to knit with. I wasn't so keen on the DB silk though. Not sure why, but the Colinette just felt nicer on the skin.

Elsewhere in my knitting, I've been making dishcloths for the first time and really enjoying them, although trying to choose a pattern from all the free patterns out there on the net was nigh on impossible! I was overwhelmed with choice - not a good thing for a first-class ditherer! ;0)

I've also got some socks OTN but again can't blog about those just yet. Stealth knitting does not make for interesting blogging! Sorry. :0) More details soon, hopefully.