Friday, 26 February 2010


Knitting has definitely slowed in the last week or so, but I am still getting through project bags and making progress on my larger projects.

Here's the contents of project bag 3:

Some left-over Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran, 3.5mm DPNs and the pattern for Nautie byBeth Skwarecki, published in Knitty.
This was a really well-written pattern but the knitting was a little fiddly as the spiral shell had to be stuffed as it was knitted and simultaneously coiled. I found that no matter what I did, the stitch securing the coil was always a little on the loose side, but it didn't seem to matter in the end as the loose end from the shell cast-off is used to sew the coil in a little more securely anyway.

I did make a modification to the pattern as written - instead of knitting the head as a separate piece and sewing it in afterwards, I picked up stitches inside the shell and knitted the head on as I went, stuffing it before closing it up.

Once again, it's a pattern suitable for a newborn onwards as there are no hard bits or attached bits to swallow. My sister has seen it and already requested one for a friend of hers who's expecting the week before me - I'd better get my skates on!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Productive Weekend

The project bag system is still going strong. At the weekend, I sat down and finished the knitting on the major project I've been working on for weeks (more on that another post - I've got a long way to go before I consider it a 'finished object').

I rewarded myself with another dip into the project bags and completed another little knit before I knew what had happened!

Bag number 2:

This time the contents were a pile of left-over 4 ply bits and pieces, another bell-in-ball cat toy, 2.25mm needles and the pattern for the Toadstool Baby Rattle by The Purl Bee. This pattern is beautifully constructed and written and was a joy to knit. There is almost no finishing, barring the weaving in of a few ends and it is stuffed as it is knitted. The cat toy goes into the bell of the toadstool, covered in a little polyester stuffing.

The finished rattle is just the right size for tiny hands, and once again should be suitable for a newborn onwards, as there are no small parts or hard bits. I still have lots of 4 ply left-overs and a couple more cat toys, so might need to knit another of these for a friend...

Friday, 12 February 2010

Bag Number One

These small-project bags were intended as a reward for getting a chunk of larger project knitted, but I decided that to get the ball rolling, I would knit the first one straight off. So, what was in the bag?

A ball of Regia Crazy Colour sock yarn in Jupiter, from John Lewis' sale, a set of 2.25mm DPNs, a cat bell-in-ball toy and the pattern for Celestine Sox from Berrocco.

This pattern is knitted as twelve points, with each point being joined to the adjacent points with picked-up stitches. The last time I knitted this (a couple of years ago) I tried to be very clever and used a provisional cast-on to avoid the picking up stitches, but in the end it was very fiddly and the lack of a firm cast-on edge anywhere reduced the definition of the design.
The first 11 points are knitted, the ends all secured and the toy is stuffed (standard polyester toy stuffing).

This time I put a cat toy in with the stuffing so that as the toy is rolled around, or shaken, it jingles. I'm hoping that this star will have a long life as a baby / toddler toy...

The last point is then picked up and knitted closed with a little more stuffing added as the point grows.

The finished toy should be suitable from birth as there are no sharp bits and nothing that can become detached / swallowed. It's even washable!

And did it work RE getting me back on track with my large UFOs? Well, last night I sat down and knitted several rounds of the (300+ stitch) edging on the shrug I'm knitting, so progress is being made - only 10 round and the bind-off to go...

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Overcoming inertia

About a week or so ago, I was reading Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's blog, and something she posted about making up her own sock clubs - essentially a series of bags, each containing all the makings of a sock - got me thinking about how to overcome my knitting inertia.

The main problems as I see them are two-fold: I'm working on three projects at the moment, one is large and boring (but I'll like the outcome), the second is a very dull 2x2 ribbed scarf in 4ply (very boring but the Resident Radiologist will like the outcome) and the third has stalled, waiting for more yarn; the projects I'd like to be working on are in my ravelry queue, where I gaze at the pictures, browse my stash list for good matches, and then promptly forget the combinations by the time I get home.

The solution was presented by Ms Pearl-McPhee: make up project bags containing everything required for the project. Genius.

I now have a collection of about eight bags containing the pattern, yarn, needles and any extras required for (mostly small) projects I'd like to knit in the near future. All I have to do when I'm struggling to keep going with one of my larger projects is pick up a bag and get going. No thinking, no procrastinating, no indecision about yarn, just knitting.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


While I was in a really productive knitting spell, which lasted until a couple of weeks ago, I powered my way through over 50% of this little knitted baby cardigan. Nothing held me up, not the very fine yarn, the 2.5mm needles or the slightly unusual construction.

Then I ran out of the pinky-orangey yarn.

And that's when everything went pear-shaped... I started this project knowing that I didn't have enough yarn to finish it, but also aware that since I'd only bought the yarn a few weeks earlier, I would easily be able to get some more from my LYS. So, on a Saturday morning two and a half weeks ago, I went to said yarn store, only to discover that they'd SHUT DOWN two days earlier!

This really came out of the blue as I know the owner of the yarn store and there had been no warning. The upbeat notice on the window said that they'd moved - TO EDINBURGH. This really isn't a move, she's had the Edinburgh store for well over a year, it's really the closing down of the Glasgow store. It's not like you can just pop round the corner to the Edinburgh store in a few minutes (and for some reason, I can't get their website to function properly on either of the computers I have access to).

Then, to cap it off, it turned out that the knitting meetup which was associated with the yarn store had also been abandoned (and we were due to meet up the next week). Thankfully, some core members of the meetup group got together and organised a new venue so it will continue, but to say we felt let-down would be putting it mildly!

Thankfully, there is a light at the end of this project. A knitting friend who passes the Edinburgh store regularly is going to pop in and pick up another ball of the yarn for me, and some time soon, I'm going to Edinburgh to cash in the completed loyalty cards I was saving to see me through my maternity leave. I've lost the momentum on my knitting though, and this set-back seems to have been the catalyst.

Monday, 1 February 2010

More little hats

I think that I might have this little baby hat pattern out of my system by now, but then again, maybe not... there are still a couple of new or anticipated arrivals that I haven't knitted for.

These two were run off this week, using up more left-overs from my Rainbow Chain Baby Blanket.
The blue one was requested by my Mum as a gift for a colleague who has just had a baby boy.
The pink-red one is for my pilates instructor who has just gone on maternity leave and is expecting a little girl in a couple of weeks.

The pattern is Berry Baby Hat by Michelle Sabatier, on RandomStitches.
The yarn is all Pisgah Peaches and Creme 100% cotton aran weight.
I used 4mm DPN needles.
I modified the published pattern by going down a needle size and casting on 72 stitches. This made 8 repeats of 9 stitches and I purled the last stitch in each repeat for a bit of texture.

On the renovations front, all the major work is done and we're just waiting for the decorator to get going. Sadly, I misplaced my camera for a week so I couldn't record the changes. Some of the improvements are invisible (work done under the floor in the dining room), others aren't very striking but make me happy (proper wooden window sills in the dining room and nursery and a hinge-down hatch for the attic) and others make a huge difference (building a cupboard round the boiler in the kitchen - hiding the boiler and exposed pipes, gaining a bit of storage and covering up the many hideous strata of aged wallpaper exposed in the boiler corner).