Thursday, 22 November 2007

A request and finishing #3:

Firstly a request for any American readers out there:

I had my first taste of candied yams today (10% of the students at the Vet School where I work are American and to mark Thanksgiving, the refectory put on a traditional thanksgiving lunch) and I absolutely loved them. Could someone who knows about these things please post a recipe for them in the comments? It would be much appreciated.

And now to another FO:

Black and grey socks for the resident radiologist, knitted to my usual pattern on 2.5mm DPNs. The yarn is Trekking XXL which he picked out for himself from A Good Yarn when we were on holiday in Boston in August.

Initially they were a bit short in the foot for him, but after a bit of ripping back and re-knitting, they now fit nicely. Apparently Splat approves too.

Our house move is rapidly approaching - we shall be moving a week tomorrow providing the last few legal bugs are sorted. Consequently, my knitting has taken a bit of a back seat. All I seem capable of at the moment are socks so that's what my current WIP is too.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Finishing #2:

Another long-time WIP has moved into the FO category this week:

The Tendrils Purse:

When I knitted tendrils, I had part of a skein of yarn left over and I was loath to waste it so I adapted the pattern and knitted a short stretch of fabric for a purse. This was some time ago - the same week I finished Tendrils in fact. Since then it has languised in a bag waiting for some time and the attention of the sewing machine.

On Tuesday evening, when the machine was out for the French Market Bag, I remembered the Tendrils purse and resurrected her. I sewed a purse lining using some cream silk fabric unpicked from a worn-out shirt that the Resident Radiologist's parents had made for him 27 years ago in China. I then set a short zip into the top by hand (this was a new technique for me - I usually use the machine, but this was too small and fiddly).

Finally, I sewed the short sides of the knitted fabric to the zip and seamed the edges with mattress stitch.

I'm pretty pleased with the results and the purse looks great with the wrap.

Now all it needs is a loop of ribbon to go over my wrist, but that could take some time...

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Finishing #1:

I may have said this before, but there's something incredibly satisfying about finishing things. Over the last couple of days I've been on a bit of a finishing spree, including proper finishing that included needles and thread as well as the finishing socks kind of finishing.

Here is the finished French Market Bag:

I lined it with some Pucci-inspired swirly fabric I had in my stash that I think tones beautifully with the knitted fabric.

I turned the bag (which has a square base) inside out over a conveniently-sized box and measured up for the lining.

I sewed the lining up on the machine, then attached the lining to the bag by hand, tacking in the corners then going round the top in whipstitch while the outer was still stretched over the box (made things much simpler).

I'm really very pleased with how it's turned out.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Super Speedy

Well, it seems that when my yarn knows what it wants, it really knows what it wants!

The baby alpaca had itself knitted up into the French Market Bag in no time at all... in fact, it went so fast that it was in the machine being felted before I realised that I hadn't taken the 'before' shot. Never mind, suffice to say that in a short 60C cycle, it felted beautifully and shrunk by approximately 50%.

The 'after' shot shows the lovely dense texture of the felted alpaca. I'm not going to have to worry about the handles stretching or losing things through the fabric. Although the bag doesn't need it, I have decided to line it, I think that this will produce a more professional finish and I have a fantastic fabric in my stash which coordinates beautifully - more photos to follow (provided that I'm not too embarassed by lumpy lining or squint seams).

Finally, the other up side to all this - the bag only used a ball and a half of yarn so I've still got another ball and a half to play with!

Friday, 9 November 2007

Oh Wow!

Have you seen the latest Interweave Knits yet? I looked at the online preview on Wednesday and within a few hours, had nipped out to K1 yarns and secured myself a copy (have to move fast on this one - it always sells out pretty quickly).

I'm not usually a bit magazine fan - I've occasionally used patterns from magazines, but mostly my patterns come from the web or books. This time though, I'm hooked!

Here are my must-make patterns (in current favourite order)...

Sweater girl pullover,

Gathered pullover,

Ive League Vest,

Celtic Tote,

Tilting Cable Socks.

This is clearly going to play havoc with my current list of potential projects, especially since I don't have the yarn for any of them. Grumph!

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Does yarn know its own mind?

... it certainly seems to in my hands! Yesterday evening I went home and ripped out the second abortive attempt at a tank top with my baby alpaca yarn, wound it into a ball and stopped thinking. A couple of hours later, without, apparently, much input from me, this had materialised:

The base of the French Market Bag!

This was knitted on DPN's and then a circular needle and was produced in approximately a quarter of the time it had taken me to achieve similar progress on the tank top. It would seem that the yarn knew what it wanted to be and started cooperating once I had agreed with it! If the rest of the bag goes as well, I might be felting by the weekend...

NB My test swatch went into the washing machine this morning before I left for work so I don't yet know if this yarn will actually felt (it's alpaca so it should). If not, it will be back to the frog pond for a third time.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Yarn, Glorious Yarn

Amazing, the fun that can be had, winding up fresh balls of yarn and distracting myself from the never-ending farce that is the tank top!

I think that the tank top is over, at least for the moment. I've knitted myself back to the point where I tried it on last time and found that it was too big, and once again (despite being 30 stitches shorter in the round) it's still the same size. I'm beginnning to suspect that the length of the circular needle is having a major role in dictating the gauge I'm getting. Anyway - regardless of anything else, the baby alpaca is for the frog pond once again.

In the midst of this realisation, there was some solace... new, unripped, still-skeined yarn to wind and a new project on the horizon. This is my unbloggable project so these are probably the last pictures you'll see of it for a while, but suffice to say that it was cast on last night (well - the foundation row was laid, I'm not sure if cast on is appropriate in crochet), and progress was made. The yarn is Rowanspun 4 ply that I won in Ali's blog competition back in April. The colours immediately suggested a design to me and I've been saving them for this project ever since.

Newsflash - all is not lost for the baby alpaca. I've just come across a pattern I've been meaning to knit for ages and it would be perfect in this yarn. I've even got all the right needles, it's as if it's meant to be!

Friday, 2 November 2007

Little things

Well, it's Friday again and I couldn't honestly tell you where the time has gone. My working weeks seem to just get eaten out from under me - I think it might be the new students, they sap my strength, my resilience and my will to live in their first couple of months.

Some knitting has been achieved this week - the resident radiologist's socks were finished but they're a little too snug in the toes so I'm going to have to rip back a little and knit them a little longer.

The alpaca tank top has also had a trip to the frog-pond. My suspicions about its girth were correct and at The Big Knit Out, I put it on to an extra needle so I could try it on and it came up too big (by about 5 inches!). So it was ripped and restarted with 30 fewer stitches in the round. The problem I now have is that the gauge has changed, so where before I was getting 6 stitches per inch over 200 stitches (= 33.3 inches approx) , I'm now getting 5 stitches per inch over 170 stitches (=34 inches) so if anything it's getting bigger! I'm going to carry on for another few inches and if it doesn't look any better, then it's back for another dip in the frog pond.

There have been a couple of little sucesses:

A little knitted voodoo doll for the Big Knit Out...

And a little flower crocheted out of some left-over Koigu that seemed to stitch itself in a few idle minutes.