Meanwhile, back at the (designing) ranch…

While doing the boring knitting of the red cardigan, I have been convinced by Frax to start thinking about the design of my next cardigan. I spun this yarn with a particular garment in mind, modelled vaguely after my favourite bought cardigan, and now I’ve washed and set half the yarn, wound a ball, and have proceeded with swatching. The pattern is a drop-stitch rib from Vogue Stitchionary vol 1, and I’ve now frogged back the stocking stitch to reknit it with some drop stitches incorporated to see how I like it. The yarn is lovely, exactly how I wanted it to be, and very soft, and I really like how it’s knitting up – I just have to decide on a design…

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At an impasse

Since finishing the push-me-pull-you socks and sending the pattern off for test knitting (thank you, Frax!), I’ve been in a bit of knitting no-woman’s-land. I did start making Henry, but three rows in I started placing markers so I’d know where I was, and I’ve already gone wrong somewhere, and I can’t summon up the enthusiasm to work out where, and how to fix it. I’m still technically knitting the two interminable cardigans, although as I said yesterday, I think I might frog the purple one. I’m planning (always ;-) to resurrect the red one, but it’s dull knitting and the design decisions are all already made. Juno is OTN, but I don’t want to knit either cotton or lace, so that leaves me with nothing I want to knit. I’ve got lots of spinning projects in planning, and some in progress, and some of these even have relationships with planned knitted or woven things, but none of them are ready to go, and what I want to do is knit, not spin.

So I’ve been spending some quality time with my Rav queue, and with the advanced pattern search, and with my stash (in virtual form, because it’s easier to see that way!), and trying to work out what to do next, and I have a bit of a problem: my queue has metamorphosed while I wasn’t looking into merely a list of ‘things I might make, some day, with some mods’, and not things I’m queuing up to knit now.

I think what I want to knit now is a hat. But I also think there are at least two hats lurking in my head: one is a hood, which might even have a yoke, and the other is a pull-down-over-my-ears hat which has space at the back for me to tuck my hair into. Beret-like, sort of. And I need a hat: I only have one sensibly-warm hat for this cold weather, and, well, its warmth is the only way it’s sensible – it’s a pointy stocking cap with a tassel. I love it, but it’s slightly sillier than I like to be at work. I’m wearing a lot of red this winter, and my favourite gloves and two of my current rotation of scarves are red, so ideally I need a red hat to go with them, but I don’t have any appropriate yarn available, or any available fibre with which to spin appropriate yarn. (There’s the yarn and fibre that will be leftover from the red cardigan and the red leaf wrap, but I need to finish the projects before using the leftovers!)

Hence, impasse.

Also, I want a new hand-made cardigan, because I’m loving my existing ones so much, but I really shouldn’t cast on for another cardigan with two so hopelessly stalled. Should I? But sitting waiting in my stash is some purple slubby singles yarn which I spun for a cardigan. And the cardigan in my head is loose-knit, airy and drapey, so it’ll knit up quickly. And it might break the cardigan-block. Or it might make it worse, and leave me with three cardigans on the needles.

And all this while, my fingers are itching to knit.

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Metaphorically cold feet

I am having serious doubts about this cardigan. I’ve had them for a while, and have been ostriching about them, but I’ve just got the thing out and tried it on, and the doubts aren’t going away.

Possibly I should have been warned by the fact that I’m a good way further on than shown on the left, but have taken no more photos – I take lots of photos of things I’m happy with. Current progress is to just below the underarm on the body, and about a third of the way down one sleeve – enough to start getting an idea of fit, and it’s not good. The neckline is too wide. This can be fixed with a brooch holding the fronts together, but that then does slightly peculiar things with the rest of the line at the front. And the shoulder increases, as I feared, are not sitting flat but bunching.

So the project is now officially on the at risk register. And I’m going from here to Ravelry to search out a successor…

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Operation separation

Today, The Princess Bride and the push-me-pull-you socks have been vying for my attention. I’ve had to pause in my knitting during particularly interesting bits of book, and pause in my reading during particularly interesting bits of sock. The socks are now finished; the book has about a third to go.


1. Joined at the ribbing, just before casting off.
2. Just after casting off, looking like what would happen if Georgia O’Keefe was a knitter.
3. Immediately post-separation. Outer sock still inside-out on the left; inner sock on the right, right-way-out as it has been all along (my first real sight of the right-side!)
4. Both socks right-way-out.
5. On my feet, with the stripes lining up! (With bad colour matching – the other photos are a better match.)

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Nearly finished push-me-pull-you

These are very close to being finished. Double knitting the ribbing is a bit fiddly, but it’s a joy to be able to read my knitting again after acres of reverse stocking stitch, even though since it’s ribbing I rarely actually need to read it. I have misknit several stitches on the inside sock, knit instead of purl or vice versa, but nothing two minutes with a crochet hook won’t solve.

The ribbing has also given me a glimpse of what the right side will look like – the pic to the left is the socks turned partially inside out to see the variegated ribbing, since the colour changes have worked out so I’m on red for the outer sock, as seen in the big picture above.

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A new way to secure fringe

This is the end of my new scarf, finished today. It’s much more warp-dominant than I was expecting, so the colour changes between the two weft yarns aren’t as noticeable as I’d hoped, but it’s very pretty, and much smarter and more sensible than the cherry pop scarf.

The finishing is a new thing I’ve learnt: hemstitching. All my previous scarves have had their fringes secured with knots, which are fine, but this is less bumpy, and the weft yarn makes it a decorative edge as well as a secure one.

And R complimented it without me even having to tell him it’s new :-)

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Disaster has struck!

(But to save you any anxiety, the situation has now been saved. Phew.)

I was knitting merrily away on the push-me-pull-you socks while watching The Professionals, when I noticed a bit of green from the variegated yarn on the red side. Oh noes! I had accidentally twisted my two yarns together about four rows back. Four rows isn’t much to frog, but picking up the stitches again – alternating the two yarns, and on the wrong side – was not an option I was prepared to consider. I thought about just leaving it, and fixing it when the socks were finished and the right side was visible, but that would mean I couldn’t separate them, impairing my ability to weave in the rest of the ends as I go, and making the knitting messier and the finishing task harder. I couldn’t produce more than about 2cm of free yarn at the relevant spot, and am not at all sure of my ability to tie a secure knot after cutting such a short length.

After examining the problem, and discarding all the alternatives, I came up with a solution: I dropped the two guilty stitches (one on each sock) back down to the row before the twist, and held them out of the way with safety pins (which was a risk – I must get some of the coil-less variety). Then, forced by necessity to break the no-peeking-at-the-right-side rule, I un-interlaced a bunch of stitches either side, sewed in another length of yarn along the path of the twisted strand (on the red side, to make matching easier), and screwed up my courage to cut the yarn at a point where its path was duplicated, to give me enough spare yarn at the twist to tie a knot (fortunately, I remembered to untwist the yarn before tying the knot ;-)

Situation saved. And in some ways, I like having to fix this kind of mistake in my knitting – I enjoy thinking about the structure of the knitted fabric and working out what to change to make things work again.

(Following the spirit of the no-peeking rule I resisted the urge to take a picture of the bit of the right side which was briefly revealed. It looked nice, though!)

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More double knitting






The first pic is the push-me-pull-you socks just before turning the heel, joined at the middle.

Second pic is the red-toed sock just after turning the heel (the other sock is tucked inside, as it is while I’m knitting).

Third pic, the variegated-toed sock, ditto.

Fourth pic, both socks conjoined, just after the heel turn, with the ends still straggling and the hole at the join still very visible.

Fifth pic, same thing a few rows on and with the round beginning moved to centre back instead of the side. Ends all woven in, and holes closed up reasonably well (how good this looks on the right side is yet another thing I don’t get to see until they’re finished!)

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