Monday, 27 August 2007

What to do?

Big news in the Knitter's life at the moment... I heard just before I went on holiday that I've landed the research grant I applied for last November. Just in the nick of time really as I only had a contract until the end of this month. I now have another three years guaranteed in Glasgow which makes life simpler and more secure once more. On the back of this, the Resident Radiologist and I can now sell our house and buy a bigger one (more room for yarn -wheeee!). This means that in the short term, I'm going to be even more harassed than I was as we try to get the house in shape and get it sold, but in the longer term, there is going to be a pretty happy knitter!

In the midst of all this activity, I've once again found myself in a bit of a knitting interlude. I've finished the biggish projects I had underway and am currently just picking away at a couple of little things - socks for the Resident Radiologist and Wisp for my christmas knitting / gift stash.

This may not seem the best time for more projects what with the necessary packing away of my stash (sob) to make the house seem tidier, but I need something to keep me sane. Here are the options:

Monkey socks - for me
Jaywalker socks - for me
Christmas crochet scarf - for the resident radiologist (Rowanspun 4 ply)
Nantucket jacket (still on the list from last time, still no yarn for it)
Tank Top (still on list from last time, yarn - Freedom Spirit - still in stash)
Debbie Bliss A-line jacket- for me (DB Pure cotton - not sure I have enough though)

I really need to get these into some sort of order. Obviously there is a deadline on the scarf, but I can't bring myself to start it just yet. The time has probably passed for the DB cardigan as Glasgow has seen the last of the summer (such as it was) and feels distinctly autumnal again. This last point would make the tank top seem a better option and as the yarn has been in the stash for over 18 months, it's probably long overdue. The nantucket jacket would also fit the autumnal bill but as I don't have the yarn, then it should probably wait (though I absolutely love it!). Finally the socks are ones I've wanted to do for ages and I have some wonderful Koigu in my stash and some equally beautiful Lorna's Laces that I bought in Boston for them. I've never done anything beyond standard plain socks before and I feel the need to start branching out.

This mental splurge seems to have clarified matters and the tank top appears to have won, with the socks as sideline projects. Phew!

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

A knitted double helix

Sorry for the break in transmission, I've been on holiday in sunny Boston but more on that another day...

I know that us scientists have always been considered to be a bit strange, and I suspect that the following is just going to confirm that suspicion... but I'm going to show you anyway!

Let me present a bit of knitted DNA:

My PhD student who is currently writing up her thesis (and is therefore constantly on the look-out for more interesting things to look at) found this site on the web, forwarded it to me and the rest is, as they say, history. It spoke to me on so many levels you just wouldn't comprehend. I particularly liked the thought that the first attempt she made was a left-handed helix and as DNA is right-handed, she then set out to correct the turn. I also love the way that the base-pairs are represented in colour and always with the correct pairings.

I've knitted this in Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran and stuffed it with machine-washable toy stuffing and will be giving it to a friend who has a 4 month-old baby. I think it will make an excellent pram toy and my friend (who is also a virologist) will appreciate the biology and the washability!

A finishing nightmare

I don't normally take photos of the wrong sides of projects as I don't do any fair isle colourwork and I think that would be the only thing normally worth looking at the back of. This is an exception though...

Can you see all the ends? I counted and there are almost 100 ends per glove to be sewn in! I had to show someone who understood what this means as the gloves are for my sister (to match her scarf and hat) and she's not a knitter, so I don't think she fully appreciates the implications of getting stripey gloves.

Having said that, they've been a pretty fast knit, from this...

to this...

in a week. A couple of evenings TV knitting per glove, then a whole evening per glove sewing in ends.

The yarns are all approximately 4 ply cashmere and merino blends. Some Debbie Bliss cashmerino baby, some RY cashsoft and some Jaeger matchmaker. I'm going to have a fair bit of yarn left over from the gloves so maybe she needs some matching bedsocks as well!

Fully-grown tendrils

I've actually been on a bit of a finishing spree lately, first Betty, now Tendrils and there are a few more small projects on the final lap as well.

Tendrils was a dream to knit, the yarn was beautiful to work with (if occasionally a bit splitty and variable with respect to shade).


Pattern: Tendrils by Sivia Harding in Knitty.
Yarn: HipKnits Silk Aran.
Needles: 5mm straights.
Beads: Rowan knit-in beads (2000 of!)

The finished wrap hasn't been blocked yet and I'm not sure it would benefit from a blocking anyway as it's so heavy it stretches itself out when worn. It's currently 65 inches long and about 18 inches wide and has a really cosy, heavy drape. The beading in the centre of the cable isn't too obvious but just catches the light a bit during movement, which is what i was hoping for.

I had a little bit of yarn left over so I have used it to knit a small purse to match the wrap. This isn't lined or had the zip put in yet so I'll post a photo once it's done.

I haven't yet decided whether to dye the wrap and bag to cover inconsistencies between dye-lots or just to learn to love the variability of hand-dyed silk.

Presenting Betty...

... at long last!

This post is actually a couple of weeks overdue as I failed miserably to get a photo of Betty in the mirror, then tried to wait for a happy conjuction between the weather, the time and the resident radiologist's photographic skills (eventually gave up on the weather, this is Glasgow!).

The details are as follows:

Pattern - Betty from Rowan 38.
Yarn - Rowanspun DK in colourway Thorn (this was a bit thinner than the Yorkshire Tweed recommended for this project so I had to knit 50% more rows to get the correct length).
Needles - 3.25mm and 3.75mm straights and DPNs.

I knit the bodyflat and used three needle bind off at the shoulders and mattress stitch on the sides. I then knit the sleeves in the round and whipstitched them into place. I'm still not completely happy with how the sleeve caps have gone in, and I might take them out and try again at some point.
The stitches at the neck were left live on stitch holders, then put back on needles to knit the collar. I much prefer this option to picking up stitches, especially when the stitch pattern is not simple.

In the two weeks since I finished Betty, she's been worn many times and is fast becoming a staple of my wardrobe. I may even need another one some time...