Tuesday, 29 January 2008

A Finished Object...

At the weekend, I finally got the sewing machine out and put the zip into the draught excluder that I knitted ages ago.

After stuffing it looks rather like a snake that's eaten something bigger than it was, a bit lumpy and bumpy, but nevermind, it does cut the draught out.


Yarn - cygnet wool-rich aran (the colour is best in the top photo).
Needles - 3.75mm DPNs
Pattern - start with 6 stitches, increase 6 stitches per round to 90ish, knit for a bit, leaving opening for zip, then decrease and cast off.

This didn't work out as planned. The yarn was meant to felt and it didn't (I guess that wool-rich is not the same thing as wool) so it should have been smaller in diameter and tighter (which would probably have taken care of the over-stuffed snake look).

The gathered pullover is at the vest stage. The body is knitted and the shoulders seamed (three needle bind-off) but the house is just too dusty from the contractors to block it before starting the sleeves (I want to try top-down, set-in sleeves).

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Photos and Gathered Pullover

I finally gave up on the lack of daylight (even at the weekends - it's really been that dreich) and managed some surprisingly decent photos in a dark room with the flash on.

Here are the first batch of squares for the sock yarn blanket...

I know that I've already broken one of my self-imposed rules and not woven all the ends in yet but hey - I always need room for improvement.

I've also got my mjo back for the gathered pullover. Its amazing what a couple of episodes of Grey's Anatomy on DVD can do for extending the length of a tube of stocking stitch. I had been finding this slow going, but miraculously on Monday evening, I added about 5 inches without really noticing. A couple of days later (including waiting in yesterday morning for a contractor to arrive) I'm now over half way through the cable motif.

As usual, I've made some modifications to the pattern as written.

1) I changed the hemline from a rolled edge to a sewn up facing (and I think I did a pretty good job of the sewing up, even if I do say so myself!).
2) I've lengthened the body so that it falls mid-hip on the real (long-backed) me as opposed to the me in my head.

3) I've added some shaping to the body by changing needle size. I started on 5.5mm (pretty much getting gauge), then shifted down through 5mm to 4.5mm for the waist, then back up to 5mm over the rib cage and through the motif. I think it should block out pretty nicely to fit well without hanging off me.

It's the BigKnitOut tonight so I'm hoping to get up to the armhole and v-neck divides.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Bad blog

I'm afraid that today's post counts as a bad blog in my book - a post without pictures (relevent ones anyway), but daylight appears to be a fairly distant memory in Glasgow...

I've been completely ambushed by an unexpected knitting obsession lately. Perhaps it speaks to my Scottish calvanist upbringing in that it uses up all the odds and ends of stash that I hang on to but which are good for very little. On the other hand, perhaps it's all I can wrap my brain around at the moment in the midst of house renovation and keeping track of contractors.

And this obsession is................................... 4 inch squares... lots of them... all knitted on the bias (no gauge issues here)... all knitted in sock yarn, 4 ply or skinny DK... all knitted on 3mm needles... all knitted in garter stitch.

It started off with a couple of squares for Oliver's Blanket. I could use up some left-over sock yarn and contribute to a good cause. Then the house-move got in the way and I didn't finish them in time for the big sew-up. I found them again a week or two ago and finished them off... then, despite the fact that I've got a gathered pullover on the needles, and an unbloggable project on a crochet hook, I pulled out my stash of left-over ball-ends and knitted a few more, and then a few more again. This has blossomed into a four-squares-per-evening habit.

And what am I going to do with all these squares? Sew them up into a blanket of course, and during the course of my square knitting frenzy, some rules have appeared to clarify themselves in my mind regarding the blanket:

1) No yarn will be purchased especially for this project (with the exception of possibly yarn for the border and sewing up). This should help moderate the obsession as in another week or two I will run out of appropriate left-overs and have to wait for more to be generated as spin-offs from other projects.

2) All the ends will be sewn in as I go along (to alleviate some of the madness that finishing will bring).

3) No squares will be sewn / crocheted together until all the squares have been knitted so that I can decide on a good layout once all the pieces are before me.

4) No yarn heavier than skinny DK will be used.

5) A minimum of 225 squares will be used ( should make a 15 square x 15 square blanket - approximately 60 inches to the side)

Needless to say, this is going to take some time, as of last night, I only had 21 squares!

Finally, as I really can't bring myself to post without pictures, here's a beautiful sunset over West Cambridgeshire that I photographed from outside my in-laws front door on Boxing Day...

PS The Resident Radiologist, who has been known to lurk here occasionally, has a big job interview tomorrow so I wanted to wish him the very best of luck.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Stash, glorious stash....

... no space in which to store it.

Yes, Twelfthknit, you were right, two drawers in the new study devoted to yarn stash just wasn't enough so I'm having a wee rethink. I'm also offering balls left-over from old projects for sale / swap on my Ravelry page (MaryD) so if you're short of yarn for something, have a little look.

Until I get it sorted though, here's some lovely eye candy from the sales:

14 balls of Noro Cash Iroha from the John Lewis sale, 10 in ecru, 4 in brick.

15 balls of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed DK from Ebay in colourway Skip. I love this yarn and especially this colourway. It's been discontinued so I've been watching ebay for some time...

Enough Regia sock yarn for another pair for the Resident Radiologist, from John Lewis,

4 Balls of Debbie Bliss Soho from John Lewis, currently destined to be another French Market Bag, this time as a gift.

I'm also knitting properly again - a project requiring more than one set of needles, multiple balls of yarn and sleeves! I've cast on for the Gathered Pullover in the current Interweave knits. I'll post some progress shots once it's a bit more than a small circle of wool. As with pretty much everything I knit, I just can't resist meddling a bit. Instead of the rolled hem, I've knitted a turned-up hem with a facing as rolled hems just seem to keep on rolling on me and before you know it, they're round my ribcage!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Happy New Year.

And with a new year comes new knitting (and stash - more on this later)...

I've finished the knitting on the improvised draught excluder I was making for the back of our kitchen door. I used Cygnet Wool-rich Aran yarn which I had in my stash and cast on 6 stitches on 3.75mm DPN's. I increased six stitches every round until I had 96 stitches, knitted a tube for a few inches, knitted flat for several more inches to make an opening for a zip, went back to the round for a few more inches, then decreased back to six stitches and pulled the yarn through. I then crocheted round the zip opening for a couple of rounds to make an edging.

Finally, I tried to felt it to get it to pull in a bit and tighten up. This failed, twice... once and 60C and once at 90C! Never mind, it's knitted at a fairly tight guage so it should be fine.

The zip has still to be procured but is to allow me to remove the stuffing (probably lead curtain weights and plastic bags) for washing as anything kicking around on our kitchen floor is going to get pretty filthy.

There are modifications I would make if I were doing this again:
1) Check before I start that my yarn felts!
2) Use garter stitch at the edge of the zip opening to prevent the edges curling ( the crochet edging doesn't really solve this).
3) If yarn isn't going to felt, only increase to about 60 stitches.

More photos to follow once I put the zip in and do the finishing.