Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Too busy to knit...

I don't know where the days have gone. Last thing I knew, it was Friday and I was busy, but manageably so. Now it's Wednesday - five whole days later - and I'm so busy I can't order enough things in my head to get on with them.

The weekend was really good, despite the outcome of the rugby. My mother-in-law was staying with us and we went over to Murrayfield on Saturday to watch the Scotland-Italy game in the afternoon and had a take-away food while watching the other games when we got back to Glasgow. I have to say that although I would have loved to see Scotland win, the Italians were so delighted with their first away win that I really couldn't grudge them it.
On Sunday, we had a lazy morning, then headed out to the south shore of Loch Lomond in the afternoon where we browsed the French Market and had a look around the new Aquarium. The aquarium is very well set-up. It tries to highlight native species and has a series of tanks set up to represent various Scottish loch environments.

Now, as I've said, it's Wednesday and I've done almost no knitting. I've finished one baby sock and cast on the other, but still have a hat to do as well and the baby will be born tomorrow. I can't find the pattern I've used in the past for baby socks and hats so am having to make it up as I go along. Thankfully, I've done enough socks now that I've got a pretty firm grip on the principles and proportions. The Lizard Ridge square I was half-way through last week is still languishing in my knitting bag and I've not even set eyes on Klaralund for a while.

I just need to get through the next couple of weeks at work - my grant application has made it through to the next round of consideration, but this requires me to re-write it in the different format they want for this stage. I also need to do a couple more experiments to support the application which are not too taxing, but not trivial either. Finally, I've had a fair bit of undergrad teaching this week and that always leaves me feeling exhausted.

In order to cheer myself up - here's something pretty from my archive. It's the stole I made for my wedding last year. Crocheted to a pattern I adapted from Easy Crocheted Accessories, it's made from two balls of cream Rowan Kid Silk Haze and has around 800 seed pearls incorporated into the crochet. It is about eight feet long and light as a feather. I was delighted with the way it turned out. One of my aunts joked on the day that 'of course, with me being such a crafty person, I'll have made the stole myself,' and when I told her that actually I had, she nearly fell off her seat! Everyone else was very complimentary about it too. I liked it so much, in fact, that I made another one in burgundy KSH with dark red beads and took it on honeymoon to Krakow.

Friday, 23 February 2007

Frantic Friday

Everything seems to be happening today. My mother-in-law is coming to stay for the weekend so the house had to be tidied and cleaned (it's not really big enough for two of us, so to accomodate three, it has to be immaculate). Food had to be bought so that I could get straight on with supper when I get home from work. On top of that, I expect to hear about a grant application I made for a new research project and another application I made for some travel funds so I can attend a conference in Trieste this summer. If anyone out there is harbouring any ideas about working in biological research being glamorous and well paid, think again. The hours are long, the pay is moderate at best (especially considering the length of time it takes to get qualified) and every three years, you have to compete against all the other researchers out there to win grant money to allow you to keep your job! Anyway, rant over and on with the knitting...

I've put Klaralund to the side for a few days as it's boring going round and round on the body and the yarn colour (a dark blue-green) - whilst being a colour I love and am looking forward to wearing - is pretty hard on the eyes in the evening. Instead I've knocked out another square for Lizard Ridge in beautiful pinks, reds and purples (colourway 124) and am halfway through another square (colourway 183). These squares are the ideal small project when I need a fast injection of colour on a grey Glasgow evening.

I really need to get started on another baby gift too. A friend of mine is due to have her third child next week and I've not cast on yet. I'm planning a set of hat and baby socks in a fawn 4 ply cashmerino yarn (can't remember the make). I've made this set before for another friend's baby and it's a really quick knit so I should be OK time-wise.

Here are another few items from my back-catalogue:

The socks are bedsocks / slouching socks for my sister to match the hot water bottle from a couple of posts ago. They are knitted in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino aran and Noro Silk Garden (84). The pattern is Austin from the Jane Ellison Noro Knits book. Personally, I would't knit these socks in the silk garden again - it's too scratchy and shrinks a bit, even with careful washing.

The shrug is the Paris Loop by Stephanie Japel. I knitted it in Noro Transitions that I bought in the Glasgow John Lewis sale last year, when they decided not to stock Noro any more (dreadful decision). It's a really versatile little poncho top which is beautifully warm and I've worn it far more often than I ever thought I would.

Finally, some baby socks knitted for a friend's 3 month-old last year. The yarn is some left over Opal sock yarn and the pattern is this one (scroll down a bit to the hat, sock and mitt set), which is the same pattern I'll be using for the baby which is due next week.

One last thing - a big GOOD LUCK to the Scottish rugby team who are playing Italy in the Six Nations this weekend. I'm off to Murrayfield to watch the game with the resident radiologist, his mother and a friend and I can't wait!

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Rip it!

I was working on Klaralund last night when I started to get the nagging feeling that it was going to be too big - very much too big... To be honest, I've been having this feeling all week, but couldn't muster the energy to spread it onto enough needles to measure. When I did this last night, my feeling turned out to be right, she was over 40 stitches too large (in the round). There was no other option but to rip and start again. I've been consoling myself that at least it will be quicker to get to the same point this time as there are fewer stitches in each round now!

While I had the camera out, I took the oportunity to get pictures of two of my most recent finished objects:

The jumper is Kepler, knitted in Rowanspun aran on 5.5mm needles. I love the way the neck is finished with the applied I-cord and will definitely use this technique again. I adapted the pattern to knit the body in the round up to the armholes, and the sleeves in the round too. I was going to knit the whole of the body in the round and steek the armholes, but when it came down to it, I just didn't have the confidence... next time...

The hat is my own design to match the Irish Hiking Scarf, also in the picture. The yarn is Orkney St Magnus Angora. The cable band was knitted on 4mm needles, then I picked up stitches and crocheted the crown. I'm really pleased with the way this turned out and aparently the resident radiologist has his eye on it too as he has requested something similar (in a 'man' colour) for our upcoming ski trip. The only problem with that request is that it might require a departure from the current 'knit from stash' mantra!

Friday, 16 February 2007

More FO's from the archives...

Well, I've found my camera - it's amazing what ends up in one's knicker drawer, but of course, the battery was totally flat so still no photos of my current works in progress. It's on to charge now so hopefully I'll be able to get some good shots over the weekend of the socks I'm on at the moment. I've finished the first one and cast on the second one last night. They're my first attempt at after-thought heels and I'm pretty pleased with them. I had heard about the concept a while ago, but just continued with my usual heel-flap pattern until now. The first sock was slightly tricky as I had no reference point for measuring the foot length from and I ended up ripping out the toe once I had the heel in and lengthening it a bit. From now on though, things should be fine as I can use the first sock for reference. I think this might become my favoured sock pattern for a while as the fit is really good.

For your immediate delictation, another couple of items for the archive:

This is Jessie, from the Rowan website. I knitted her in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and Noro Silk Garden (Colour 84). Given that I didn't really know anything about guage at the time, and swatching was an alien concept, I was pretty lucky with how this turned out. I also hadn't heard of intarsia at the time (and didn't realise that this was what I was attempting). Due to this, I didn't consistantly twist the strands together at the edges of the heart, was left with some gaping holes, and had to sew some of the edges together afterwards. It does show a bit, but we live and learn. Jessie is now keeping my sister warm near Edinburgh.

This is the hooded top from Debbie Bliss Special Knits for Babies, with a few alterations as usual. I didn't cast off at the shoulders and top of the hood before seaming the edges together, but left the stitches live and did a three needle bind off. This is my preferred method of grafting these kinds of seams, especially on small items, as it makes the seams far less bulky. I also introduced some decreases towards the top and back of the hood to prevent it being too 'pointy' and give it a softer shape. I knitted this hoodie five times last year (lots of friends all had babies within a few months of one another) and worked out these refinements one by one. After the first one, I think I picked up an error in the pattern. When casting on stitches for the back of the hood, the pattern indicates to pick up twice as many at were cast off at the corresponding back of the neck. When it came to sewing these together, they didn't fit. From then on, I only picked up half the number indicated by the pattern and the pieces went together beautifully. Perhaps I was missing something in the sewing up, but I'm not going to lose sleep over it. This version was knitted in Cashmerino Aran as recommended in the pattern, but I've also knitted it in other aran yarns and it's come out just as well.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Actual knitting content

I had hoped to be able to post some photos of my WIPs and recent FOs today but when I went to get that miracle of modern technology, my digital camera, I couldn't find it and realised that I hadn't seen it since my husband downloaded some photos from it in November or December. Eeeek! At least that means that it should be in the house, but in our house, that isn't too reassuring.

Instead, I present some FO's from my archive:

My adaptation on the leftovers sleeveless pullover by Alison Hansel. The pattern was written to use up leftovers of yarn, therefore getting stripes, but I had some Noro silk garden in my stash that I was desperate to knit up so I used it, with some Jamieson's Shetland Chunky for the bands. I knit it flat as I wasn't sure how the Noro would look in narrower stripes if I knit it in the round. Now, having seen this, I think it would have looked just fine! This pullover looks great with a white shirt undeneath, but is really really warm and rather lacking in waist shaping (I can never resist the urge to fiddle with patterns, and this is one I wish I'd left as it was!).

This is the first pair of socks I ever knitted. Since knitting these socks, I have become somewhat addicted and knit a pair every month or two. The resident radiologist is hard on socks and tends to get through a cotton pair in fewer that 10 wearings but woollen socks seem to foil his sock destroying tendencies. These are knitted in Lana Grossa fun and stripes with the toes in 4ply merino (the RR's feet are UK11, and he likes his socks longish in the leg, so a standard ball of sock yarn is never quite enough). As, even at a pair of socks a month, I couldn't supply him with an adequate supply of socks, and since I don't want to spend my knitting time exclusively on socks for him, I also use this fabulous company which sells machine-knitted, hand finished socks...

Off now to search for the missing camera and to get some lovely food from here with which to spoil the resident radiologist this evening. Hope you all have the Valentine's day you want to have...

Monday, 12 February 2007


Wow - so this actually works. I've been reading these things and thinking about setting one up for ages, but am only getting round to it just now.

You'll need to bear with me for a while until I get the hang of things, but just to get things started, a list of finished objects and works-in-progress for 2007:


Socks for the resident radiologist (Opal)
Kepler jumper for me (Rowanspun Aran)
Hat for me to match Irish Hiking Scarf knitted last year (Orkney St Magnus)
Fingerless mitts for friend's brother (Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran)


Socks for me (Opal Midsummer night's dream)
Variation on Klaralund (Rowanspun 4ply held double)
Lizard Ridge (Noro Kureyon - 9 squares complete so far)

Hopefully, once I get the hang of blogger, photo's and random thoughts will follow, along with some of my favourite links.