And In With The New…Knitting

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During Easter I took the time to give the stash a bit of an airing and (predictably) now cast on a pile of things. I have even bagged up some Christmas sock knits (yes, I do know it is May). I had the slightly embarrassing conversation with Mummy KnitBug where I revealed the full extent of where the stash went (which is basically like admitting to how much you weigh, although it is possible that I might actually weight less than the stash – what a frightening thought….). The conversation started with asking what colour she wanted, which she said could be anything I could spare from the stash. This then led me to admit that she could pretty much name any colour and I would have it (for example I have a few different shades of purple) and yes, I did in fact have the requested bright pink/blue.

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Dolly Mix has progressed well, and has got the planned 6×6 (36) squares completed; to cover a double bed I think I need about 12×12 (144) squares but I knew before I started that there wasn’t going to be enough to do this in one hit. The point of the blanket is to use up scrap DK (from projects, free magazine yarn or from knit kits that don’t catch my eye) and not buy more yarn! So (as planned) I am now going to rest it until the summer to give me time to generate more scrap DK acrylic.

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One potential source of yarn is the now started crochet kit by Attic24 bought at last year’s Ally Pally. I usually resist kits, as in my heart I know that I can do it cheaper (or in a better colour, material or with massive design changes) but I would have bought the finished blanket (if available) as it is such a perfect balance of colours. For once I “want that one” and have no planned changes. I am still very much at the starting blocks, but given that projects can languish for years, a six month wait is practically a rush starter. I am considerably slower on crochet that knitting, so it might be done for winter (2015? 2017? 2049?). Hopefully I will speed up as I go and chew through all 84 rows (with 213 stitches per row) nice and quickly.

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Last (but not least) I have now flown through the blue yonder shawl. This is from the very lovely 4ply that KnitWit bought me at Christmas (which is incredibly soft) and I chose “Timpani” from Sock Yarn Shawls. This starts off with a plain section, which should show off the subtle blue/lavender purple colour wash and then ends with an interlocking rectangle lace trim. Things got a bit interesting when I completed the original number of repeats, popped in a little lifeline and then attempted to squeak in another pattern repeat before the trim. For those that heard the howl of frustration, I didn’t! but my trusty life-line meant that it was annoying and not soul destroying.

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As a top tip, I have used dental floss for my life-line; not as random as it sounds! The hive mind of Ravelry rates it for life-line as it is slightly waxed (making it easy to remove), stronger than sewing thread (so less likely to snap) and easy to stash in your notions case. However, the minty fresh aroma is definitely a little odd with the lavender scent generated by the anti-moth herb bag.   Let us hope the smell fades over time!

LouBug

 

 

 

 

Spring Knitting Clear Up

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More catching up from Easter – I have definitely been busy this Easter! I have finished (and I have started) a hefty chunk of things and I am definitely feeling a bit smug. Ok, some of the planned things didn’t happen (paging the log cabin blanket) but all in all a good haul.

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First up, the mighty green cardi. This has been resting in the WIP box due to uncertainty over the trim, but on closer inspection I decided that the trim was a go-to-launch and then finished-it-off. The lace is called “Vandyke lace” and it is reasonably reversible (the difference is only really noticeable on close inspection). It is close to the original plan of a leafy style lace, but without the mirroring/reversible problems that I found.

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The buttons are actually coconut shell (from John Lewis) and I like the way the cream-brown sets off the green. I still have some more Rowan Calmer (but in bright teal) so I might make a third one to the same base recipe, but perhaps I will do a wavy theme trim this time. I will definitely keep my eye out at this year’s Ally Pally to see if there is anymore (perhaps in grey/silver or navy blue?) as there is nothing as nice as good yarn on a discount. Each cardi has about 3-4 balls left over, so a striped bonus one is also going to be in the offing!

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I have also dusted off a lace-weight shawl (as I seem to be all about the shawls this month). Made from baby camel and silk “Eat to the Beat” by “I knit or dye” it is really soft and has a fantastic sheen to it. At an eye watering 100g to 800m it is literally sewing thread weight and I have already had a little frog/argument about tension. Yep, I had to pull back the first two repeats TWICE to get a sensible tension (it was too open and the pattern looked wrong), but third time is the charm and I have moved past the fatal second repeat, stretched it out and everything seems to be on-track.

But definitely a no TV, this is a quiet pattern!

LouBug

Australian Yarn Bombing

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I have been away, but I have brought gifts! Behold: A photo of my first ever yarn bombing spot. This was taken whilst strolling along one balmy evening along the Sunshine Coast in Australia. Yes, I’m showing off – I’ve been all the way to Australia with two small children and survived to tell the tale. Medal please!

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The trouble with planning such a big trip (oh yes, boo hoo me!), is that it requires huge amounts of time and effort to plan, and then to recover from. Plus bringing two pointy sticks on board aircraft appears to be frowned upon. These are my slacker excuses as to why I have neglected this poor blog for approximately the last 400 years (yes, it really has been that long).

Anyway, as a brief interlude between knitting projects – a holiday slide show:

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Australian Prime Minister – Best holiday spot. Ever!

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I can assure you that this kangaroo was alive – it was just VERY lazy

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Koala – Also very lazy!

Okay – enough holiday snaps. To ease me into life in the northern hemisphere once again, I have dug out my striped blanket. Really nice to knit (knit, knit, knit), and it should be completed in about the year 2020.

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KnitWit

Blue Yoner #knitting

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Sorry for the hiatus, but Easter is my busy season (main GCSE marking) and KnitWit was off tripping around the world. But I’m back and although the blog was left hanging, I have been knitting like a demon. So where were we?

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The socks are done! Sorry for the old photo, but they are currently in the wash! And I have now moved onto this rather eye popping pair (Jitterbug “popsicle” which is the green one on the right) as my lunch time knitting.

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I think I will re-name them as I see a more spring/wood/meadow feel (for me a popsicle is more reds and oranges). I cannot think of an eye catching (ear catching?) name, but I fancy something a bit Lord of the Rings – like Fangorn or Buckleberry would work (or indeed simply call them “Hobbity socks”).

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As I have been (unsubtlety) reminded, I have been re-miss in not mentioning the lovely blue yarn that KnitWit gave me with my Christmas bundle, the often coveted “Malbro” is a heady mix of merino and silk and has been carefully positioned for maximum petting for months now. Whole Ravelry groups are devoted to this stuff and it is clear why; crisp colours, fantastically soft and supporting Women’s co-operatives in Peru; a feel good yarn on many different levels. Over Easter I took it from its petting perch and wound it into a ball and get it ready for use. It is 4ply but far too nice to use for socks (and I love socks!), so I have decided to give my “Sock yarn shawls” book another airing.

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The variegated blue/purple needs some room to shine, so a solid starting triangle (with a lace edge) is the way forwards. This pattern (Timpani) is the current firm favourite, as it has the solid start and the large blocks on the lace will carry on showing the colours off. I was tempted to do this earlier with some bright pink Jittterbug, but in my heart I know it would be a bit too dayglow for my taste in jackets.

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I will admit I also chose the solid block start as it is a speedy way to knit and I have already got most of the body triangle done. Onto the lace!

LouBug

The Lure of Casting On #knitting

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The best laid plans get a raspberry from Cat. I have failed to knit any of the things I planned to finish. The log cabin blanket seems to have turned into a knitting black hole (I know I am adding rows, but the damn thing seems to be the same size). The green cardi has been given an airing but I cannot face sorting out the trim, too much frogging and testing is required for an end-of-term fried brain.

I wish that I could say that the socks were now done. But I can’t as they have sat lonely to one side, this is my busy week in my two-week timetable so my sneaky lunch knitting has been impossible. Now, normally I find that as soon as I finish the heel, the foot whizzes along, especially on the second sock (I am luckily rarely hit but second sock syndrome). This is helped by my size 4-5 feet, and it always feels like I am going downhill (oddly I can find the leg section more like going uphill, go figure). There is only a few hours work left, but my TV knit time has been consumed with other things.

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A couple of years ago I made this blanket for a friend who was having a baby. Of all the knit gifts I have given, this was the hardest to part with (even though it was happily received and enjoyed). I always promised myself that I would do one for me as well. Most of the yarn was free magazine yarn, or left overs, and the only yarn I bought was the black and white (as I wanted to ensure I had enough of it and that the dye lots matched).

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So say hello to my version of the “Dolly Mix” blanket. I am still all about the mitre squares and I have now accumulated enough different colours to make a start. Unlike the baby blanket, I intend this to be a full-sized double bed blanket (so about 12 by 12 squares), which is a tad ambitious I admit. The nature of the mitre squares mean that I can stop at each full grid point and assess. The plan is to knit up my current range of colours and then rest the project until the autumn, by which time I will hopefully have enough to finish it. The pattern is basically cast on 41, knit 4 rows black and then finish the mitre up with about 10-15g of DK yarn.

I really like the way the black makes the colours pop and (unlike the log cabin blanket) each square takes about 40 minutes and with each shrinking row it feels like it is speeding along. Hopefully it will help to kick-start my knitting/finishing mojo!

LouBug

Following The Knit Winds

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My knit winds are still blowing due “finish up” and flush with success from my mitre cushion I knit on and resist the urge to cast on. I am trying to concentrate on one project at a time (which is crazy talk from me as I usually run between projects like an ADHD kitten on a sugar rush). It has the bonus of getting things knit quicker, but the down side that big projects don’t get nibbled at and still remain big.

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Currently on my radar is the green cardigan. This stalled as I was stuck on the trim (the cuff pattern didn’t really work for the trim) and I am still unsure of the current plan. I am tempted to do a simple k2p2 rib (like the purple version) and add the cuff trim to the last 10 rows to link it together. This will involve ripping out the current trim (which is about a quarter done), and I am even tempted to combine the old trim on the neck line and the new plan for the front. We shall see.

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My on the go sock is creeping along (helped by a few sneaky lunchtime knit sessions), and I am tempted to make a quick pair of sock finger-less mittens with the needles afterward. These are light weight open mittens to wear when driving, as I can keep my palms warm while having a good grip with my fingers on the wheel. I am looking thoughtfully at purple and grey leftover yarn (a Christmas knit from a few years ago). I tempted to use some fluffy sock yarn (which I wasn’t a fan of on my feet) to make some super snuggly cuffs. But (of course) I am committed to finishing things up first!

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I also want to finish my log cabin blanket, mainly because I want to start my crochet kit from Ally Pally! There is about half left to do, but it does chug along quite easily as it is all garter stitch which makes it a good TV knit. It would be good to finish this in the next few weeks before it gets too warm to want it on the bed. The downside is that each round is getting longer, therefore more of a job to get done, which does feel like running uphill. In heavy boots. In the rain. Carrying a big bag. This might have to be one of those knits where I break up the repeats with other knits.

Unless, of course, the knit-winds change and the lure of casting on grows too much.

LouBug

 

March Madness #knitting

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Spring is officially in the air and nature is starting to wake up. Even Cat is leaving the safety of the bed to strut in the garden. Normally I run free of the self-imposed finish-up February and start casting on like a mad thing. Except I don’t seem to be. Normally I am ruing my lack of self-control and trying to rein it back in. But not this time. This time I am all about the finishing of things.

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I have no idea why, but I am going to stick to my new year’s knitter-lusions and go whereever the knitting winds take me. And right now I seem to be all committing to one project and riding it all the way home.

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Say hello to the now finished mitre square sock yarn scrap pillow number 4 (free pattern is available!). It was a bit of a push to complete the last row of squares, but I did it and had enough “but I want this colour next” feelings to cast on a token square for pillow number 5. It is a nice way of using up variegated scrap (personally I break up colour repeats into separate balls), as it allows me to create different stripe combinations to my heart’s content. Clashing is good!

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There is also the added bonus that the back (which looks like a hairy rug) will NEVER be seen and (as long as my knots are tight) I do not have to weave in a billion ends. Top tip, if you do have a rug-like effect brewing, try not to have really bitty ones near the edges as you will have to weave some in (they catch in the sewing machine).

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So here it is, all sewn up and stuffed (tip: back the knitted part – I use the same red denim as the back). It will prevent stress on your billion ends and stop sneaky bean bag balls from leaking out. It has now been given pride of place on top of the stash box and the previous mitre cushion has been demoted to general use. Personally I love the rainbow square! It is made from seven different yarns and with eight rows per colour it fits exactly.

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Happily, I think that I have used up the best part of a medium freezer bag of scraps in the process, which helps justify my hoarder-like tendencies in keeping them. “Free” yarn, hard-wearing and sweet shop colours; all with the added bonus that Cat loves sleeping on them and I can dot them around the house in the winter (and garden in the summer).   It brings happiness to the world and minimises cat hair on the sofa!

It is good to finish things!

LouBug

 

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