Knitting with Moss

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No, not some new fangled knitting craze (see camel-hair knitting), but me trying out a brand new stitch. Moss stitch!

My reasoning for trying out a new stitch was two-fold. First of all, if I have to knit another snood (and I do – I have to have a matching snood to accompany my lovely wrist warmers!), then it cannot be another garter stitch one!

My second reasoning was something more green…envy! My young knitting novice from the (now defunct) Stitch ‘n Bitch group has gone knitting crazy and was sporting a really nice looking moss stitch snood the other day. This just won’t do – I’m supposed to be the knitter here! Terrible person that I am, and not to be out-done, here I am knitting a moss stitch snood…

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The knitting is coming out surprisingly flat, compared to all that garter stitch, and looks really good. I cast on an uneven number of stitches (advice from Google, of course). I chose 27, as it was similar to the 26 cast on I did for one of my favourite snoods. I’m going to see how it goes, but I’m thinking of knitting the 100g that I have and see how the length goes.

I’ve gone for the k1, p1, k1 rows 1 & 4, and p1, k1, p1 rows 2 & 3 approach. So far, so good.

the killing

After a marathon session of The Killing last night, and after 20 episodes of Danish ‘whodunnit’, to my great relief I’ve finally found out who killed Nanna Birk Larsen. My Danish vocab is now tip-top and life is once again my own – I can now move on from simple knitting plus subtitle reading.  Bring on the snood!

KnitWit

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Mitts United!

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Yes! Finally! My lone Let’s Knit “Shiraz” wrist warmer has been united with its twin! I am taking comfort in the fact that twins, even identical ones, are not actually identical…as this “twin” wrist warmer is a teeny bit different from the other one. I did bite the bullet and rip back three rows to amend a glaring mistake, but let the mini mistake slide. I just couldn’t face messing it up after what felt like a million false starts. I seemed to manage the first one fine, but for some reason the second one felt like a lot more effort.

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The first warmer was, shamefully, started back in October (see original post), and I just haven’t been bothered to start the other one. It was the same with the baby bootie I knitted, I had a brain block at knitting the other one…so it remained alone. If there is a lesson here, it is don’t knit anything that requires a pair. LouBug can breath a sigh of relief – I won’t be challenging her on the sock knitting front just yet!

The original wrist warmer was left languishing in a knitting bag partly because whenever I started the other one I kept doing it wrong and had to start over (another lesson learnt – don’t try and follow a pattern, chat AND drink coffee at the same time). The other problem was, that in my haste to sew it up I completely forgot to leave a gap for my thumb. A short un-picking sesson later and hey presto, a much improved wrist warmer!

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So here they are, united. Short of holding my camera in my mouth I couldn’t quite manage to get both warmers in one shot…but here it is. Complete, finally!!

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As my mind often does, it is now wandering thinking about…you’ve guessed it – snoods! I know, I know, I did make a promise of no more boring knitted snoods. But, with loads of this wool left over and my lovely new wrist warmers crying out for a matching item, what am I to do?

KnitWit

 

The Path to Glory…Getting There!

pillow

I was very pleased to see that my patterns on Ravelry have been steadily growing in number of favourites.  In less than a year, my sock scrap pillow pattern, my own personal favourite, is now on 60 favourites!

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It is only listed on two project – which isn’t as tragic as it sounds, because I know that I am rubbish at using Ravelry to track my projects but I tend to favourite things I print out and then make.  So if everyone who tagged ‘favourite’ for this (plus a few that didn’t use the clicky buttons) made one, then there could be a pile of these pillows out in the world.  Possibly a “me” sized pile…..

It is a very strange thought that ideas I have made are now out there in the world and being used and gifted and adapted.   Which automatically makes me wonder what changes have been made. What else could I do with this pattern? Who have they been made for?

I know that Cat is hard to shift from his (helped by its proximity to the radiator), which makes me wonder if any of these have ended up making the cat-world a nicer place.

It would be fantastic to see some of these, so if you have made one, please link the project on Ravelry so that I can be nosey!

LouBug

Burping & Barking

Brioche

This is a good book.  It covers every conceivable variation of Brioche stitch, with carefully labelled photos and with diagrams on single colour, multi-colour, cables, increase and decrease you could ever need.  So the reasons that it left me in a confused and sulky mess are all the fault of my own stupid brain!

Luckily I remembered KnitWit’s praise of YouTube (something not around in the 90’s when I learned) and one 2 minute clip from “the bearded knitter” later I was well on my way.

It is really quite difficult to re-wire your brain after a decade of knitting a particular way, especially when introducing a different (but tantalisingly familiar) approach. Then add to that newly written concepts such as burp and bark… 

I felt exactly the same way when I first tackled lace and had to cope with the idea of holes being a planned, good thing and it mattering which way my decreases went (especially as it never occurred to me that they leaned either left or right).  But I am stubborn and using face cloth cotton I cast on and fearlessly jumped in.

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So here it is, after (literally) hours of re-starting, swearing and cursing – I give you a piece of knitting that pigging-well looks like mistake rib! 

Seriously, I was boggled by the amount of effort that I had put in to get something that looked only “nice” (with a bit of a dodgy edge).  Ladies and Gentlemen, I had officially mastered “barking” or BrK (Brioche knit stitch). 

The original plan was to do one complete wash cloth in bark and then cast on a new one to try two colour-work.  By this stage that seemed a crazy amount of work and knitting on was far too tempting, so the end result is a little odd (but sort of looks like a toy piano!).

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So onto “burping” or BrP – Brioche Purl (no, I am not making this up, this is what the book calls them!).  This is where Brioche comes into its own as it allows you to make two coloured rib with the second colour laying flat (or peeking) through.  As there are no floats, both sides look rather nice.

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Front view with yellow dominant.

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Back view with orange dominant.

The fabric feels nice and spongy (which is unsurprising considering it is two layers thick).  The biggest head-messing step I had to master is that this has to be knitted on a circular needle in the flat because each row is worked in pairs.  So you BrK the yellow, slide the work along the needle and then WITHOUT TURNING BrP the orange.  You THEN turn the work and BrP the yellow, slide the needle back and BrK the orange. 

It is reasonably logical when you are knitting to work out which colour is being knitted or purled, but on a long-term project (I’m thinking scarf) you must use some kind of marker to remind you which yarn is supposed to be used next.  Any advice?

For now, I am going to have a little lay down in a quiet room and with a nice, simple pair of socks.

LouBug

Nordic Noir Knitting

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Like a grubby DVD drug pusher, LouBugKnits’ shared sibling – our brother – has been responsible for hours and hours of my life disappearing. Since lending me The Killing – Danish Nordic Noir murder mystery box set – I have been addicted!

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This murder mystery series has been responsible for two new questions in my life. Number 1, who (but who?!) killed Nanna Birk Larsen? And question 2 – where on earth did CID genius Sarah Lund get that lovely Faroe Island jumper?!!

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The answer, of course, can be found using the power of Google. Someone has even set up a website dedicated to the hand-knitted, un-dyed, organic (hardy northern Faroese sheep) wool sarahlundsweater.com

Genius.

There seems to be as many articles about the murder series as there are about the jumper she wears! The jumper is apparently ‘self cleaning’ due the oils in the wool, which is just as well as it has appeared in every episode so far, and I’m about 7 episodes in…

Anyway, back to the chunky blanket. One (large) square in basket weave is now complete. I plan on surrounding it with a further four squares to thus cover my lap (whilst I watch The Killing, of course) and protect me from the arctic breezes from my fancy, but draughty and annoying, traditional sash windows.

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Practicalities now reign, so I have been forced to complete the rest of this blanket in garter stitch. I can’t concentrate on the basket weave AND be expected to read subtitles and follow an intricate murder mystery plot, now can I?

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Back to the jumper…just to mention that you’d better start saving now if you fancy one for yourself – a mere £236 from designers Gudrun & Gudrun. On second thoughts, where are those 8mm needles?

KnitWit

No More Snoods!

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Okay, okay, this is my FINAL snood – I promise! I think this is number 5, although there may be others lurking in the back of my draw somewhere. The particular benefit of this snood, which clearly puts it a cut above all the others, is that the colour matches the poppers on my new coat.

Yes. This is how sad I’ve become. It is, in fact, enormous so has the added joy of collecting bits of what ever I’m eating and prevents me from seeing where I am walking, as I can no longer see my feet. This is, of course, a small price to pay for a snood that actually matches the colour of my coat poppers.

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I hesitate to use the word “yarn” to describe the material I used to create this giant beauty. It is more like something KnitWit senior would use to tether his boat to a mooring. It is described on the wool band as Supa Dupa Extra Chunky, which is a fair description.

It is a joy to knit for lazy knitters like me though, the snood was whipped up in a matter of minutes (sort of). My newly acquired 15mm needles were put to very good use.

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So, onwards and upwards fellow knitters. My next knitting venture is uncertain at the moment, although my first subscription issue of Let’s Knit arrived a few days ago, so I’ve no doubt there are a few pages of inspiration awaiting me.

KnitWit

Knitting Resolutions

Resolutions

Well, the new year is definitely here and, unlike Cat (see above), we are all back to work again.  The decorations are very much away and the stash has had to settle back into its box after its Christmas goodies expansion.  I fear a stash diet maybe unavoidable (either that or buy a bigger box…)

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Looking back at 2013, my main knitting achievement has to be actually knitting the good stuff.  This may sound a strange thing to be proud of, but I realised that I seem to have fast become a collector of nice yarn – yarn that I would then not knit because it was too nice!

Sock yarn was a particular hard one to beat, as I had gathered a nice collection of hand – dyed, merino and sparkly yarn.  My knitter instinct was to “save” them for a worthy (ie mind blowingly beautiful and complex) pattern.  This was particularly unlikely with the self-striping and haze yarns, as heavy coloured yarn rarely works with complex patterns

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So, both new and long-term residents of the “special” stash have now been forced into the light and knitted up.

I can now even happily knit a basic sock pattern with my nice yarn (rather than feeling like I was wasting it).  The socks in the picture were started on Christmas morning and are Jitterbug (mint choc).

It is hard to see in the picture, but the yarn is sort of aubergine purple with uncooked aubergine green flashes.  This is a perfect example of yarn previously destined to stay in long-term stash as the short, contrasting, colour flashes would make a pattern disappear.  But I shall snuggle my feet in 100% merino decadence instead!

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Looking ahead to the new year, I am going to try to broaden my knitting horizons and learn new techniques.  On the radar is something called Brioche stitch (which creates a two colour surface texture).  It creates a double-sided fabric (a bit like double knitting) but it has a bulk to it (like cables) which apparently help trap heat.

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I am also keen to give Tunisian crochet a go, I have done a sample of it before, but now is the time to try more than just the basic stitch.  This uses a knitting needle length crochet hook and each row is done in two parts.  This looks good for creating scarves as it apparently has good drape and non-curling edges.

What plans do you have for the new year?

LouBug

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