Tag Archives: knitting

Long time no blog

Over a month ago, I was half-heartedly whining about having only one thing on the needles, and the need to go and cast on for something else. Now I once again only have one thing on the needles (the same thing – selbu modern, which I’ve hardly touched in the meantime), but in between I have knit lots of things. My course kindly provides the required reading in A4-photocopies, which are conveniently flat, making it easy to knit and read at the same time as long as I choose my knitting carefully, and I’ve been doing a lot of reading since I last blogged. Sadly, I haven’t yet worked out how to blog and read at the same time.

Immediately after hitting ‘publish post’ on my last post, I did indeed go and start preparing to start something else – I wound some handspun yarn (peacock) into a ball and started swatching. I’d been thinking for a while that this wanted to be a scarf in a peacock-tail lace pattern, and now it is! (Although it still needs blocking…)

Peacock scarf, unblocked

While knitting the scarf, I decided that I really needed a new hat. This is my own design, although I misjudged the width of the ribbing – it’s this wide so I can fold back the hem, but I don’t like how it looks folded, so I wear it unfolded and covering most of my face ;-) I’m planning to make another, with less ribbing, and then perhaps publish the pattern (heh, I’m always saying that and never do. Eventually!) The hat got christened on a very rainy Reclaim the Night march, and kept my head warm and toasty and dry throughout, so I am declaring it a success!

Pink pixie hat

When I said I only had one thing on the needles, I was using a rather strict definition of the term, because one of the off-the-needles things is a single mitten, the pair for which I’m going to cast on next. This is a modified version of Susie’s reading mitts, worked upside down, with a different gauge and thumb gusset, and with the hem edges knit into the fabric rather than sewed down later. The lace pattern, which was drew me to the mitts in the first place, is unaltered :-)

One finished modified reading mitt

I spun the yarn for this over my birthday weekend, having given myself the weekend off all study-work and work-work (I’m still behind on both kinds of work because of this, but it’s an article of faith that I don’t work on my birthday). The yarn is rather more brown than I usually like, but I think the colours suit the pattern, and I’m enjoying how the colour shifts in different kinds of light, looking sometimes more purple, sometimes more brown, and sometimes more grey. This is chain-plyed to keep the colour changes intact, but I’ve got half of the fibre still unspun, so I think I’ll two- or three-ply that to see the difference in finished colours. I’m getting quite interested in achieving different colour effects in finished yarn from the same fibre, and I’ve got some ideas about other ways to play with this, which I’ll blog about if I get round to doing it before I lose interest in the idea!

If this doesn’t sound like quite enough knitting in a month to be called ‘lots’, it’s because about half of my November knitting has been on gifts for people who might conceivably read this blog, so the rest will have to stay unblogged until after Christmas!

Not enough to knit!

I currently only have one thing on the needles! And unfortunately, it requires too much looking-at to be practical to knit while watching TV or reading, but it’s moving along slowly:

Selbu modern in progress, favoured side

What had brought about this strange state of affairs is finishing off two things in the last week: the dragon’s breath scarf, and the swimming coriolis. This is the scarf in its unblocked state:
Unblocked dragon's breath scarf

And this is it held taut-ish to show the pattern off:
Dragon's breath scarf held taut
(That’s the edge of my Wisteria sleeve visible on the left, and the edge of Making Money by Terry Pratchett (which I haven’t yet read) on the right.)

I’m planning to only lightly block this – I like how it looks like very complex cables as it is now, and I think blocking it completely flat would lose some of its charm.

These are the swimming coriolis:

Finished swimming coriolis
They look rather more leftovery (which they are) than I hoped, because the roll of the cast-off edge obscures most of the second band of the variegated yarn, so I’m rethinking my original intention of giving these as a gift – I don’t think they’re nice enough :-/

I’ve got various other projects (all gifts) wandering around in my head, but I haven’t got round to doing anything concrete like swatching or sketching or even winding the yarn into balls. Unusually, I want to be already knitting rather than starting to knit, which is a bit of a problem when most of my knitting time isn’t well suited to my sole current project. I’m hoping that writing this post will serve as a kind of catalyst, and prompt me to go and do one of those things, but I’m sufficiently distrustful of today’s energy levels (I’m coming down with a cold) to avoid saying that I’m going to go and start something as soon as I click “publish post” ;-)

Catching up

This is Ella blocking, all flat! I’ve worn her a couple of times, and she’s nice and warm, and I’m pleased I paid attention to alternating the more- and less-variegated skeins in knitting her.

This is the Zauberball I mentioned in my last post, in the process of becoming the dragon’s breath scarf (so named because this is an adaptation of the flickering flames pattern, and red). I’m a lot further on now than in this picture – I just haven’t taken any photos for ages.

I’ve finally finished both Lucas’s Tomten and the red cardigan, both of which were waiting for fastenings, and I’d failed to find the green toggles and reddish-purple ribbon, respectively, I wanted, so in the end I plied some yarn (orange for tomten and the silk mix edging yarn for the red cardigan) against itself twice to make cord ties. The double plying means the cord is stable, and it’s four times thicker than the working yarn, which is a good thickness.

I’ve now got three knitting projects on the go, and they’re all actually in progress: yesterday I worked on all three of them, depending on how much my eyes were free to look at them:

  • Coriolis socks (almost no looking-at required) while working through some of the reading for the first week of my course
  • Dragon’s breath scarf (some looking-at required) while watching TV
  • Selbu modern hat (lots of looking-at required) while listening to music

Snippets of progress

The news in brief:

  • Went with Frax and Kauket to see Brenda Dayne knitting on the fourth plinth on Saturday, and then went to the pub with aforementioned plus a load of other knitters who had come for the same reason. F, K and I were by chance all knitting Coriolis, and we all made decent progress, and I made the acquaintance of an Oxford knitter who knows lots of the same people I do.
  • On the same trip, went to iKnit, and bought a Zauberball in shades of reds. Have made plans for a flame-patterned scarf.
  • Ella is finished and soaking, in preparation for my first ever excursion into blocking. It’s very three-dimensional at the moment, so I’m eagerly awaiting the lace-blocking miracle that’s reputed to happen.

More double knitting

This is the state of the Selbu Modern:

The light side of Selbu Modern

The dark side of Selbu Modern

Since doing a stitch count spreadsheet for Wisteria, I seem to be hooked – I’ve done another one for this, and it’s serving the dual purpose of being a place to note which row of the chart I’ve finished, and telling me how far through I am (currently 36%).

Now I’ve got enough of it done to get a proper look at it, I’ve more-or-less decided that I prefer the dark band, and the light base colour for the pattern. Luckily, these are on the same side of the hat ;-) Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind later, which is why I’m glad I’ve made this as double knitting instead of stranded. It’s loads of fun to knit, as well – I prefer double knitting to stranding anyway – and now I’m over some early clumsiness with the pattern, I’m sailing along and only needing to look at the chart occasionally. I still need to look at my knitting most of the time, which is a bit of a pain because it limits what I can do at the same time, but it’s fun enough on its own that I mostly don’t mind.

One off, one on (the needles)

Having finished Wisteria, even though I’m enjoying both of my other projects and finding both of them easy, interesting and quick, I started getting the urge to cast on something else. The stranded knitting on the starry kimono, and the double-knit-esque hem on Wisteria reminded me of my intention to make some non-sock thing in two-handed knitting, so I stand some chance of finishing it before I get fed up with the fiddliness of the technique. My new short hair and excursions into red in my wardrobe suggested a red hat, and after some Ravelring, I decided upon Selbu Modern. I’m double knitting this, rather than stranding it, because I couldn’t decide which way round the colours should be. Hence this two-sided swatch:

Selbu modern: light side
Selbu modern: dark side

That’s only a little bit of the pattern, obviously. Just enough to measure gauge and make adjustments for the looser gauge of double knitting compared with stranded, and for the fact that the needles I wanted to use are larger than those the pattern calls for, so technically I suppose this is 7/8 of a Selbu Modern :-)

Project promiscuity (Ella)

This is what Ella looks like at the moment (photo taken without flash to better capture the texture):

Ella: peaks and troughs

It’s crazily three-dimensional, with squarish bobbles that pop up or down, and I keep having to stretch it out to reassure myself that it will probably block flat:

Ella pulled flat

I’m only a few rows away from the point where the back splits into the two fronts, which is good going, especially since I’ve been knitting most of this in the same timeframe as Wisteria.

Project promiscuity (swimming Coriolis)

While knitting Wisteria, I’ve also done some other knitting…

Swimming Coriolis in progress
After I’d finished the heel (eye of partridge, which looks gorgeous with this yarn) of the first sock, I weighed the remaining yarn, and discovered that it’s not going to be enough for two full socks, so I immediately put the live stitches on waste yarn and cast on for the second sock with the other end of the ball. These will have contrast legs, but I haven’t decided on yarn for them yet. The available one that goes best is the dark red Dream in Colour Smooshy that went with this yarn for the push-me-pull-you socks, but there’s more of that leftover – probably actually enough for a whole pair – so I’m reluctant to use it. None of my other sock yarn goes as well, so these might end up being very short socks. On the other hand, the DiC is a suspect in a hat-in-planning I’m thinking about, which would probably leave enough to finish off these socks…

Wisteria: fibre to FO in a month

It turns out that there were a couple of errors in the stitch-count calculations for Wisteria that I was talking about in my last post. It further turns out that I shortened the body length on the fly (the stated length might have nearly reached my knees!), and that when I double-checked the weight of fibre, it was even more generous than I had thought. The upshot of this is rather than needing to buy more fibre to finish, I’ve actually got about 110g leftover – enough for a pair of socks, or a hat, or a laceweight scarf. The leftovers might end up being my first attempt at dyeing fibre, but in the meantime I present my finished Wisteria!

Finished Wisteria

Apart from the body length, I made two other mods: my first ever short row bust shaping, which has worked well, and a split double-faced hem in place of the hem cables. I wasn’t keen on a horizontal band of cables around the widest part of me, and I like split hems for fit, and I’m very pleased with how it’s worked. I came up with about four different ways of working the hem, swatched a couple, and decided on this…

I put the back stitches on a spare needle, and worked across the front, knitting into the front and back of each stitch, doubling the stitch count. Then I worked back across the wrong side, knitting each stitch that was created on the previous row, and slipping the ‘original’ stitches with the yarn in front. Then back to the right side, I knit the ‘original’ stitches, and slipped the ‘new’ ones with the yarn in front. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The effect is like double knitting, takes a bit longer, but is less fiddly because it only needs one end of yarn at a time. It creates sealed sides as well, which gives it bonus points over just knitting the hem flat and folding it. I used a standard cast off, except with k2togs for each pair of stitches instead of plain knit, thus attaching the front and the back to each other and making a pretty chain of stitches along the bottom.

The other I’m-so-pleased-with-myself idea in the hem is that the yarn is made from the same singles as the main yarn, but in two-ply instead of three, so the hem is barely any thicker than the main body of the jumper, while not looking and different.

I’m wearing the finished item as I type, and loving it :-)

Counting stitches

Because I’m a geek like that, and because I’m trying to work out how much more fibre I need to buy, I’ve just constructed a spreadsheet to work out how many stitches there are in Wisteria. Interesting facts:

  • There are 57,170 stitches in total, including my mods: 6 rows of short row shaping in the bust, and a 6-row turned hem in two ply (hem stitches counted as ⅔ of a stitch each, as opposed to the main three ply yarn) instead of the hem cables
  • I’ve knit 22,993 stitches so far (40%)
  • The proportions of total stitches used in the yoke, body, and sleeves are 26%, 38% and 37% respectively
  • I need to buy about another 250g of fibre to spin enough to finish (probably a bit less, since the fibre weight is generous, although I didn’t make a note of by how much, so I’m working on the advertised rather than the actual weight)