Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Woolly Wormhead's Mystery Hat Knit Along

I like a mystery. It usually helps if it's Scandinavian and has knitwear in it. This project satisifes at least one of those criteria already - and maybe two, because none of us except Woolly Wormhead know what the hat design is...

I have been deep into the Stash and swatched some Rowanspun 4 ply, but don't think it's quite right.

Then discovered what I believe to be (the ball band is long gone since it was recycled from a top I made for the boy when he was still unborn) some kind of  DK weight merino blend in a smashing almost raspberry red. And it knits to gauge so it's a done deal.

I have never done a KAL before (I did once start a mystery scarf, however  the lace chart got the better of me in week two and it was abandoned) but this is a small project and should be achievable. I also know it'll be a well written pattern, as Woolly's always are.

Here's another 'mystery hat' for you (or gratuitous picture of Cumberbatch, possibly):

A mystery solving hat

P.S. Those socks are finished (!)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sock of AGES

Socks are useful as knitting projects because they are small, portable and, in my case, fairly brainless knitting. I admire the many intricate sock patterns out there but can't understand why you would put in all that time and then stick them in shoes for no-one to see - for example look at these stunners from the Twist Collective . But then I am an habitual 'sensible' shoe person, and wearer of slightly too long trousers, so my feet are invisible. The heights of sock complex-ness for me is maybe a little 3 x 1 rib up the cuff, or a Jaywalker and/or self striping yarn. But - back to the portability, you can take them anywhere, and knit on them anywhere. In theory...:

I really don't have clown sized feet
This pair of socks has been on the needles for about two years, I am pretty sure they've been to Beautiful Days (twice), Cropredy (probably twice as well), and Musicport. It's hard to knit outside in the blazing sunshine (or, lets face it) pouring rain, and even harder when your diet mainly consists of cider, or they would have been finished by now.

They have definitely been to Heathrow,  Seattle, Battle Ground Washington and Bend and Portland Oregon. And yet still, here they sit, an inch away from being finished. If certain carriers would allow you to knit while in transit (what do they think knitters will do?) they would have been finished by now.
The needles of doom
If I hadn't become horribly distracted by the Madelaine Tosh in Knit Purl in Portland, and forced to swatch just to see how it knit up in the car on the way back to base, and yet again be beset by the booze too nice to turn down problem (I'm looking at you Deschutes Brewery),  they would have been finished by now.

But most af all, if I hadn't hidden them at the bottom of the knitting basket, only to have them surface again when searching for supplies for another project, they would have been finished by now (this more than one project thing probably isn't helping...)

I don't think I (or they) can take much more, so I have made a decision. I will finish them tonight. If no-one reminds me about that tune I'm supposed to be learning...

So VERY NEARLY finished...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Not Knitting but Sewing...

...last week was the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace.

Dazed crafters in front of the Ally Pally organ
I went with my friend Janey (a truly marvellous quilter and excellent accomplice in stash building). This meant I didn't only fondle wool and fleeces, but also had a good look at the beautiful fabrics on sale. I was quite dazed what with all the yarn fumes, early start and low caffeination levels, which I think is how I ended up with some sewing.

Euro Japan Links had Shonai Sashiko Samplers on sale. I thought, what's the harm? It can't possibly be as addictive as e.g. sock knitting. How wrong could I be. Two evenings later the sampler is finished and I Want More. Started on Saturday night, by Sunday morning I had this:

Two panels down, two to go...
By the end of the Freakzone on Sunday evening, this:
I am sure it shouldn't be this wobbly

These four stitches are from top left: Rice Stitch (my favourite), Persimmon Flower Stitch, Fish Scale Stitch, and Hemp Leaf Stitch.

It all went pretty well for the first three, but the Hemp Leaf panel is a bit skewed (maybe the strange music was to blame):


The wonky Hemp Leaf panel is driving me a bit insane. I keep telling myself it's a sampler so it's practice. But it might have to be re-done all the same. I think I also need to stitch a bit less tightly as the sampler did become increasingly puckered as I filled it up.

I found the process of stitching Sashiko really calming and quite meditative. I can't say I've ever found the same with counted cross-stitch (usually, that makes me want to cry). So I am off now to buy the other two samplers.

There is more about Sashiko here:

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

rams and yowes (multi-coloured)

This is a Kate Davies pattern, if that means nothing to you find out about her at - she designs the most beautiful knitted items. They are, apart from the fantastic designs, a joy to knit as they are so well laid out and easy to follow. When I saw rams and yowes I knew I had to make it.

I'd already made 'sheep heid' in (for me) record time. I did this in the natural Shetland colours from Jamieson & Smith the pattern was written for. For 'rams and yowes' I decided to use those up, and a lot of the many, many 'left over from other projects' balls of colourful Rowan (Yorkshire Tweed, Rowanspun etc. etc.), Jamieson & Smith and Hanne Falkenberg wool I seem to have accumulated. All these are 100% wool and, I felt, were still appropriate for the pattern.

I spent a good few hours arranging balls of yarn together on the floor, and then a few more going cross-eyed in front of Excel spread sheets to get the colours to (sort of, I later discovered) work together, and came up with my plan.

This is the result:

I did all my rams in natural Shetland colours, my yowes decided they wanted to be colourful ladies, so how could I deny them.
 I tried to pick up the colours in the sheepy part of the blanket in the border, to tie it all together (however this meant I lost the gradual shading from dark to light in Kate's original design)...
...and picked up the pale purple again in the centre (some of my decisions were based on how much of which colour I had in my stash!). I'm not sure this grey/brown combo really shows off the second row of rams as much as I'd have liked.
It's also a bit crinkly round the border, which I believe I could fix by going down a needle size the next time I knit it - because I do think I need another one.
Here are the yowes again. All the time I was knitting it they reminded me of the 'Mo'hairs'* in Margaret Attwood's 'Year of the Flood'.
*multicoloured sheep used for growing replacement hair. You should read the book.

First Post

Who ever knows what to write in a first post? Not me.

I'll be posting things here mainly to remember what I've been making out of wool, though I expect other things might creep in here too (even cotton, you never know...).