Monday, 28 January 2013

Clearing the backlog #3 - A pair of shawls

These shawls have nothing much in common except for the fact that they're both for me and both knitted in 4ply, but in the interests of clearing the backlog before the baby arrives, I'm pairing them up for this post.

The first shawl was knitted in the aftermath of the first Glasgow School of Yarn. Stephen West was one of the tutors and brought a selection of his samples with him. I'd seen the pattern before and not really given it a second glance, but having seen it in person, I absolutely loved it.

The pattern is Akimbo by Stephen West and I knitted it in Old Maiden Aunt Merino-Nylon-Cashmere 4ply in the colourway 'Seen the Ocean' and Fyberspates Sheila's Sock in the colourway Violet on 3.5mm needles.

All the way through I was worried that I was going to run out of the Sheila's sock, but in the end I had a few metres left - enough for a few hexipuffs!

The second shawl was something that I fell for at first glance, but didn't get round to knitting for a while. It is also the source of the biggest ever knitting mistake I've ever made (but more on that later).

The pattern is Colour Affection by Veera Välimäki and I've knitted it in three different colourways of Clan by the Yarn Yard. They don't have names, but one is a darkish grey (that I was lucky enough to buy for a song as it had been dropped and badly tangled, and then lucky again as it wasn't too bad to untangle), one is a beige and the last is a dusky mulberry. I wanted shades that would tone well and give a muted but classy look. I think that the Yarn Yard shades are perfect for this as they are always slightly understated.

I knew a few folk who had knitted this piece and all had said that the process was long and very boring, but it was worth persevering as I wanted the finished shawl. With this in mind, once I reached the third colour section, I stopped counting as such and just kept knitting on the basis that if I counted, I’d only realise how much further I had to go. One Thursday at knit night, a friend sitting next to me commented that I might be further on than I realised, so maybe I should count… Not really believing this, I counted at the end of the row… I was 54 rows over… at almost 400 stitches per row… that’s almost 20 000 stitches extra! By far and away the biggest knitting mistake I've ever made and it added to the dull knitting by slightly over two weeks!

There was no way on earth that I was going to rip all the extra, so my colour affection is slightly larger than most (and I actually find that it's quite a nice size, so maybe it wasn't such a bad mistake after all).

I modified the published pattern slightly by working a yarn-over two stitches into every row, then dropping it in the next row to make the edge slightly less tight and relax the curve a bit. I also carried the non-working colours up the edge of the work instead of cutting and weaving in every two rows. Unfortunately, I've carried them with a little too much tension, so once side of the edge is tighter than the other, but it doesn't look to bad once its on.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Clearing the backlog #2 - Little Hats

These all started when DD needed a new hat for the winter. She's getting to the stage where she has an opinion about what she wears (especially the colour) and would generally prefer pink. I'd generally prefer anything but pink (especially in large quantities), so I reckoned that a compromise could be reached.

Years ago, I signed up to a Lorna's Laces sock yarn club from Get Knitted for a year. Two skeins every month... and at the very most I've used a couple of those skeins. I keep saving them for special. One of the colourways, Fandango, struck me as the perfect compromise for this hat. It contained pink, but was nicely balanced by purple and a white/pale grey.

I chose the Charlie's Sock Yarn Hat pattern by Aimee Alexander and knitted the toddler size in the round on 3mm needles.
The pompoms were made on my new pompom makers ( I decided that two circles of cardboard like I used to do as a child was way too fiddley for adult fingers, especially when the pompoms are only 1.5 inches in diameter). These pompom makers are definitely the way to go and I now own a collection of them from minute to huge.

Shortly after I made the DD's hat, a good friend of mine had a little boy who obviously needed  a hand-knit hat, so I knit another in the baby size using Regia Galaxy in the Saturn colourway...

and then I made another toddler one in Regia Sock Yarn in the Zanzibar colourway for his big brother who is a little older than DD because his little brother couldn't have all the fun.

This pattern is excellent. It sizes up well, and the turned brim is lovely  and warm over the ears. I also think that it looks better than ribbing. I made a minor modification in that I used a three needle bind-off at the crown instead of lots and lots of kitchener stitch.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Clearing the backlog #1

I had an idea that I would spend the week between Christmas and New Year getting to grips with blogging from my tablet and simultaneously clearing the backlog of knits I have from the last couple of years that I've not got round to blogging about. I was sucessful on neither count and here I am on my laptop, well into January. Nevertheless, the backlog will be cleared and as I look at my list, I realise that my projects fall nicely into pairs, or sometimes threes...

Today we have his and hers jumpers...

The resident radiologist was the recipient of a new jumper last Christmas (2011).

The pattern was Ben by Norah Gaughan and the yarn  is New Lanark Donegal Silk Tweed Aran in the colourway Forest. I knitted it almost entirely in the round on 5mm needles.

Sadly, it wasn't quite done for Christmas, but got finished up in January 2012 and has been work plenty since then.

The other jumper was for me.

The pattern was Beatnik by Norah Gaughan again (and blogging about this today is the first time that I've noticed that both jumpers were by the same designer!), and the yarn is Drops Nepal in a lovely apple green shade (the first picture gives the best reproduction of the colour). Again, I knitted in it almost entirely in the round on 5mm needles and used Carol Fellor's method for knitting top-down set in sleeves in the round with no need to seam.

 Sadly, this hasn't really been worn much yet. I finished knitting it in May 2012 by which time it was too warm for a heavily cabled alpaca jumper and now my growing bump is stopping it fitting to well. Hopefully I'll get some good use out of it next winter!