Life With Yarn

Archive for October 2013

The clocks have done back, the evenings are darker and the mornings that bit colder so my knitting is all about the upcoming festivities and keeping warm. 

On the needles

Aniron is still on my needles this week and had a bit of love – I’ve joined the shoulders and joined under the arms so I’m now working my way down the body. It’s quite a straightforward knit but it’s heading to the backburner so I can get on with some gift knitting.

My only other cast on – which I have literally just cast on before writing this post – is a straightforward cowl for my husband. The mornings have a slight chill to them at the moment, but nowhere near enough to justify a scarf, so he likes the idea of a cowl. I’m using some left over Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply in black and just doing a rib edged stocking stitch cowl. Hopefully I won’t lose my mind with so much stocking stitch!

 

Off the needles

I finished my Ceres cowl earlier this week. It’s a lot bigger than the original pattern – it’s even bigger than I intended but I didn’t want to be left with yarn that would just sit there because it wasn’t enough for a new project but I couldn’t get any more of it. 

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The yarn has some lovely colours in it and one side of the cowl really works with the variegated yarn and breaks it up nicely. Strangely, and without any planning on my part, the other half has pooled into stripes. I like both effects so will be wearing it a lot over the coming weeks and months.

Today I also finished my Starry socks, which are my own design. I admit they had been languishing over the week and I hadn’t really planned to finish them this week, but one of my podcasts had been running a Socktober knit a long and so I decided to get them done to enter that. I completed the 2nd sock in a day and a half of knitting which I’m very happy with. The pattern is currently with some testers and I’m hoping to have it up for sale by mid November.

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It just fell into my bag!

No yarn shopping this week, I’ve been too busy working and having fun over the half term holidays. I do have a pic of last week’s yarn, although not the greatest shot:

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This is Miranda Lace in ‘Floorboards Creak in an empty house’. The photo shows blues and greens but there’s more greys, purples and maybe browns in it. It’s lovely anyway and destined to be a laceweight cardigan at some point, maybe when winter has passed and it starts to get a bit warmer.

 

Christmas planning

I know some people don’t like to think about Christmas until December, but I am not one of those people and I make no apologies for it. As far as I’m concerned, once Zoe’s birthday is over and done with in September, I can crack on with Christmas. This week I’ve been trying to come up with ideas for the many presents I need to buy. I also plan to cast on another cardigan – the Austin hoodie as mentioned before – for one of my sisters. I wound the yarn this week for it, a lovely undyed merino and silk mix. I had hoped to finish my Aniron first but a 4ply weight cardigan will not be quick and deadline trumps selfishness at this time of year. I’d rather wait on knitting for me and do the gifts early rather than still be knitting on Christmas eve like a crazy lady with fingers that hurt a lot. Other planned gifts include socks for my husband, possibly bed socks for the girls. Zoe has also shown a bit of interest in her Barbie doll for the first time in months and would like more clothes for her, so I am going to try and do some of those as well. I think that might be it for the knitted gifts. I plan to do some baking related gifts as well for people but those are very much unplanned right now. Our cake is baked though and I’ll be doing the Christmas pudding in November. Christmas works well in our house – I do the majority of the prep in the months before but my husband cooks dinner on the day which means I get to relax a little bit then. 

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On the needles

I’ve been busy this week, taking advantage of some down time in my ‘normal’ work to get cracking with the knitting. I’ve cast on 2 new things and have been dividing my time unevenly between them and my cast on from last week. First up are my Starry socks which are my own design. I did a version of these over the summer but wasn’t entirely happy with them so I’ve modified the pattern a bit and am now in the process of recruiting test knitters (so if anyone is interested in testing knitting for me, please get in touch). I’ve finished one sock and have started the toe on the other.

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As well as working on these, I cast on Aniron by Luise O’Neill. For this, I’m using my newly acquired sale bargain of Louisa Harding’s Grace Handyed which is 50% merino, 50% silk. It is lovely to work with, so soft and handles being ripped out and reknit quite easily. This is handy because when I marked up the pattern for my size, I made a mistake and ended up knitting 8 rows before realising, so they had to be ripped back. I’m not very far into it – I’ve done the back shoulders and am now working on the upper back.

I’ve also cast on twice with Easy Knits Deeply Wicked which I bought at Woolfest in 2012. It’s been sat in my stash waiting for the right project and I decided upon a cowl. The first one I tried didn’t really suit the variegated nature of the colours so I finally chose Ceres Celebration cowl. I’ve made my slightly longer than the pattern calls for because as much as I’m currently loving cowls, I don’t like things too tight around my neck. This is a lovely, easy stitch pattern that really works with variegated yarn so I’m looking forward to finishing this and wearing it soon.

 

Off the needles

Only one thing off the needles this week, although it still needs a final finishing touch, but my Owls jumper by Kate Davies is finished. I can’t show pics in case my sister is reading this – she knows which pattern I’m doing but I want it to be a bit of a surprise. I still need to get buttons to sew on for the eyes but otherwise, it’s done. Once I had the new dpns, I finished it in 3 days – you’ve got to love bulky yarn for quick knitting. I’d definitely make this again – quick, no seaming, what could be better – and I’d definitely use the yarn, Rowan Cocoon again; it did shed quite a bit but it was lovely and soft and very wearable. I hope my sister likes it.

 

It just fell into my bag!

I’ve been a little too trigger happy with buying yarn in the last couple of weeks. Twice I’ve fallen for yarn in the Posh Yarn updates. The first two pics are actually from last week, I just hadn’t photographed them in time for last week’s post.Image

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The top picture is Posh Yarn Natasha Sock in ‘Last night I dreamed of our old house’ which is a gorgeous 50% camel/50% silk blend described as “dusky pink, sage, milky coffee, all with a silvery shimmer.” The bottom picture is Posh Yarn Harriet DK which is 100% wool in ‘You couldn’t possibly know’ which is a lovely dark blue. This is what I’m going to use to make the Tink Tank. I also bought some lace from this week’s update but it’s not photographed yet, so that’ll be in next week’s post – it’s an alpaca, cashmere, silk lace in a greyish colour and will be a cardigan at some point.

I also bought this:

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This is Trailing Clouds Mind the Gap self striping sock yarn. I’ve seen a couple of podcasters using this over the last month or so and so decided to get some. The colours are the colours of all the tube lines in London. These will be socks – possibly plain ones or I might just do a simple cable on them or something – with this yarn it is all about the stripes and too much of anything else will definitely detract from them.

Non-knitting related purchases have mainly been second hand books – I’m slowly gathering the Wallander series and found 4 very cheap last weekend, along with Nigel Slater’s first Kitchen Diaries. I should really be separated from my purse – I have more yarn than I can knit with right now (although not at what is known as SABLE quantities – stash acquired beyond life expectancy) and our bedroom floor is very close to disappearing under books – I think they may be the carpet of the room soon. It doesn’t help that my current read The Scramble for Africa by Thomas Pakenham is slow going – fascinating, educational and a great history of European involvement in Africa, but slow going nonetheless.

 

Family life

I realised the last time I did this, I forgot to mention the major excitement in our house last month – Zoe was awarded a Blue Peter badge. For those outside the UK or not familiar with it, Blue Peter is a show for 6-13 year olds which features a wide variety of things – crafts, recipes, presenter challenges, guests, et cetera, and they very much encourage the children to send in pictures, emails, questions, etc. I watched it as a child, as did my mother, and now Zoe does – she loves it and sent in her first picture in August – I photographed her drawing and emailed it in. We didn’t see it on the show but I explained that they get lots and lots of things and can’t show everything. I thought that was the end of it, so imagine our total surprise to receive the badge in the post one Saturday morning. I am, I admit, slightly jealous, I always wanted a badge myself, but of course I am also immensely proud that Zoe has one already.

 

I’ve really lacked some knitting mojo this week. I have wandered round the house picking up yarn and seeing what I might want to knit with it and then putting it away again. I think I want to knit more clothing – practical things to enhance my wardrobe – but even then I’m stalling about what to knit and with what.

On the needles

I’ve been a bit scattered this week. I cast on Owls by Kate Davies for my sister for Christmas and was going great on that; first time knitting with bulky yarn and it just flies by! After a couple of days the majority of the body of the sweater was done and I just needed to do the sleeves and then join the whole thing for the yoke. That was when I discovered I didn’t have any double pointed needles in the right size and the only circulars I have are quite long – I can’t get to grips with magic loop when circular knitting, I much prefer dpns. So the sweater is back in the bag waiting for the arrival of some new Knit Pro Symphonie rosewood double pointed needles.

After that, I was struggling with what to knit next. I spent a couple of days working on my Sock Yarn Blanket. I’m now on the 6th row – each row is about 25 squares wide, which is huge, so I’m planning to do about 20 rows in total. 

I did have the Starling cardigan on the needles last week but I ended up ripping that out. I think the yarn was too thin for the cardigan and I wasn’t entirely happy with it – so I’m on the look out for a decent yarn for that pattern and a new pattern for the yarn.

With the colder weather though, I’ve had a real desire to knit jumpers and tops and practical things to keep warm rather than beautiful lace shawls, but I’ve struggled to decide upon something. I eventually cast on a pair of socks that are a modified version of a pair I designed over the summer. That pattern needs to be written up this week and sent out to some test knitters. It should be tech edited as well soon so I can release it.

 

Off the needles

I seem to have spent a lot of time casting things on but not getting much further than that. I did cast on and finish a hat:

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This is the Short Rows Wavy hat by Lee Meredith, knit in Crystal Palace Yarns Mochi Plus which my husband bought me as part of an anniversary present. It was a very quick knit, cast on one afternoon and ready to wear on the nursery run at lunchtime the next day. The yarn has lovely colours and is so soft.

 

What I’m stalking

Like I said, I’m on a real clothing kick this week so I have been endlessly looking at my queue of patterns on Ravelry as well as just general searching. I have a few top/sweater quantities of yarn now: the Louisa Harding Grace from last week and some Posh Yarn in 3 different quantities plus some undyed yarns I bought at Woolfest back in June. So I have the yarn, it’s been very much a case of finding the right pattern. I have pretty much decided to make Aniron by Luise O’Neill with the Grace, Tink Tank by Megan Williams of the Stockinette Zombie podcast in a dark blue yarn from Posh Yarns and Kage by Kirsten Johnstone in a purple yarn from Posh Yarns. So those will probably be among my next few projects.

As well as stalking a whole bunch of patterns and obsessing over tops, I also had a clean up of my Ravelry queue. Everyone uses their queue differently – for me, it’s patterns I’d like to make at some point. So I had a clear up of that and removed some patterns that I’ve changed my mind about. I’ve also linked a whole lot of patterns to yarns I have in my stash in an attempt to try and use them but what I found is it just makes me buy more yarn for newer patterns. So I’ve been going through and cleaning it all up and unlinking yarns. I’ve come to the conclusion that unless my yarn buying becomes a problem (ie I have no money because it’s all spent on yarn or the spare room explodes with yarn) then I’m not going to get stressed about it. It’s the same with books: I have hundreds of books, a lot (possibly even the majority) of which are unread. But they will be read at some point, just like my yarn will be used at some point, so I’m no longer stressing about it.

 

What I’m listening to

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times, I am a big podcast listener. I think I have about 20 or so on my iphone that I listen to. Most of them are knitting related – the only ones not are Simon Mayo’s weekly confessions, the Infinite Monkey Cage series and The Bugle. The rest are knitting related and I thought I’d share my favourites with you. I love all the podcasts I listen to but the ones that make me smile when a new episode starts downloading are: Happy Spider Knits, The Knitmore Girls, The Knitting Den and Joeli’s Kitchen. I try and listen to a couple every day so it doesn’t get too overwhelming and I find that, as I don’t get a chance to go to any local knitting groups, it’s like having a mini knitting group in my own home. I can often be found talking back to podcasts – at which my husband rolls his eyes!

OK, so it’s been a while since the last post but I basically spent all of September working on paid-for knitting which I couldn’t talk about/post pics of. I finally finished last Wednesday and after taking a day off for my hands to recover, I’m back to working on my own things again. I like sample/paid for knitting but my own WIPs end up severely neglected and I don’t like that.

Off the needles

Firstly, I got a pretty major project off the needles. I finally finished my Mandala shawl and, in my not so humble opinion, it looks amazing!

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That is my king size bed it is blocking on, just to give you an idea of the size of it. I’ll be honest, I have no idea where I’m ever going to wear this and if I did, I’d have to wear it folded in half because it’s so big and then you’d not be able to see the patterning. However, I do not care. I finished it and it is amazing. Zoe suggested I use it as a table cloth and whilst that’s a slight possibility, the way my children drop food whilst eating, it’s not going to happen any time soon! 

As well as this, I did 2 pairs of gloves for my daughters:

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The top ones are for Eloise (yes, I ran out of pink yarn!) and the bottom ones for Zoe. They’re just a basic glove, I measured their hands and then knit to fit. I’m hoping they’ll last until spring – last year, I had to replace 3 fingers on Zoe’s gloves because of holes. I’m not sure what she does at school to be so hard on them!

On the needles

Last month, I cast on Starling by Cecily Glowik MacDonald, intending to knit it for a Teal-tember knit-a-long. But I only got a few rows in and wasn’t entirely happy with it. I ripped it out this week and then ummed and ahhed about casting it on again. We’re heading into the cold weather and I’m not sure a laceweight cardigan is really what is needed now. However, I decided to cast on again and did a quick gauge swatch (not something I always do, bad knitter!) and was happy with the fabric I was getting. I’m only 6 rows or so in and I’m in no rush on this so I might cast something else on as well.

Because it’s getting colder, I want to work more on my Sock Yarn Blanket and I did 3 squares last night. I think I need to get into a regular routine on this – a set number of squares a week or something otherwise I’ll still not be finished for next winter.

Christmas knitting

I’ve got a couple of Christmas presents lined up for 2 of my sisters – Owls by Kate Davies and the Austin Hoodie by Connie Chang Chinchio – which I bought yarn for last week. I think I might cast on Owls soon because I’ve been working with lace and sock yarn so much recently that bulky will be a nice change. I also plan to make some socks for my husband and something for each of the girls. I think that might be the extent of the Christmas knitting this year – don’t want to end up knitting like a crazy lady for all of December and not sleeping!

It just fell into my bag!

This is my excuse for impulse yarn and book buying. As well as yarn for Christmas presents, I also picked up some sock yarn from my favourite LYS Ring-a-Rosie:

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This was a total impulse purchase – I went in to get the yarn for Owls that I’d had put aside and came out with this as well. I also bought some Louisa Harding Grace Hand dyed from Black Sheep Wools

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It was reduced from £9.95 to £3.95 per skein, so I bought enough to make a top for me. It would have been rude not to!

I bought some patterns as well, including Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Without Tears and a couple of circular shawls. What can I say? I now have the need to make more circular shawls!

Family life

Eloise has settled into nursery really well, although she is shattered each afternoon. She’ll probably get used to it just in time for half term in a couple of weeks. We had our first parent’s evening of the year for Zoe last night to see how she’d settled into Yr 2 and the teacher had no problems whatsoever. She’s doing brilliantly in all subjects, but especially maths (or numeracy as they call it now) and should have no bother with the SATs next spring.

 

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