Finish up February – the Big Knitting Push

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Momentum is building, Rows are being worked through. Things are being done.

Nothing has actually been finished, but I have been quite disciplined and focused on a few older projects which has helped them to gain momentum.

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I started my main push on the double knitted star scarf, which was progressing well (two more stars done) but I have hit the wall.  Double knitting is interesting (and in fairness I plan to use it again) but it requires full attention at all stages which makes it feel frustratingly slow moving.

Admittedly this is because you are knitting the front and back at the same time – so obviously it takes longer as it is twice the amount of work. It can be disheartening to spend a full evening and only progress by 11 rows.  I am totally with the plan of shortening it to a snood (paging KnitWit!), but that still leaves three (to be honest probably four) stars to go.  Hopefully it won’t have to have another 18 month time out….

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This weekend I have been blasting the cobweb scarf and it has grown impressively since I last blogged about it.  The main panel (58 stitches wide and a staggering 264 rows long) is done!

It was going nice and quickly by the end as I got into the rhythm of the pattern and I am already considering using the lace pattern to use up the recently frogged pink sparkly yarn.  My advice for anyone doing this is put a stitch marker between each repeat as it really helped me to speed along as my brain keyed into “stitch marker means YO” so all I really had to do was keep track of whether it was a knit or purl row.

I have now started on the trim, and after a few false starts I have got my head around how it joins to the sides.  The next challenge is the corners (I will have the book clutched to me like a security blanket), which I think I understand but I am a little wary of.

Definitely time to insert a life line!

LouBug

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Fox Off!

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It’s a Fox Off! The combination of LouBug’s knitting ennui and my ever optimistic/deluded attempts to knit-compete with my dear sister has led us to this. LouBug has been momentarily defeated by a cobweb lace scarf, so a perfect time to strike. Get her while she’s down.

We’re both to knit the lovely fox pillow and share our wares on the interweb. Tragically I’m already on the back foot (having never attempted colourwork properly before), but one must soldier on.

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LouBug has kindly sourced me some half-decent yarn, with a combined cost of about a fiver (a far cry from the £30 Rowan alternative). There is an outside chance LouBug has sabotaged the knitting loot, perhaps it is just colourful spaghetti? This is a risk I must take…

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The pattern is from my trusty Let’s Knit (“Oliver”) and once complete it’ll look tots amaze in close proximity to my much-loved draught excluder (curse my sash window feature/heat sucking nightmare – the need for draught excluders on window sills isn’t normal, surely?!).

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I haven’t actually cast on yet, and I would bet my last quid that LouBug has probably already finished the pesky cushion already…but wish me luck anyway!

KnitWit

Ratty Toerag

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Here is my latest offering to the Knitting Gods. Hee hee hee. My new ratty friend was knitted from a pattern in this month’s Let’s Knit supplement:

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As ever, this knitted animal effort of mine has a very similar “quality” to my last creation…Franken Elephant!

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A wonky eye, a wonky head, even a curly foot. Darwin himself would have been proud to use this rat as a woolly prop as be bellowed “Do you see? Survival of the fittest! This rat cannot live!”

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This poor runt of the litter was good fun to knit though, and involved my first foray into the devil four pointed needles for months and months. The thing to remember is, of course, KEEP THE WORK FLAT! I tried to remember this as I unravelled for the fourth time…

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A good piece of advice was, however, taken from the sacred pages of Let’s Knit. Instead of faffing about doing an icord for the tail, I dusted off my knitting dolly thing. Amazingly it created a perfect ratty tail.

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Much to my own untold personal joy, I have taken to hiding Toerag in various cupboards so as to freak out Mr KnitWit. And what else is knitting for, but to create untold personal joy?

KnitWit

Basket Weave Cushion

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This basket weave square is the Madonna of my knitting world. It has changed direction so many times, morphing into different things along the way. It started life as a giant basket weave blanket, then changed direction to a basket weave “feature” blanket with garter trim as I was feeling lazy and has now settled on being the front of a cushion cover. I did ponder whether I could make a scarf out of the thing at one point. Desperate times.

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By sheer luck it was the perfect size to cover the front of an old cushion I had lounging around on the sofa. The knitting gods were clearly shining down on me – or maybe they couldn’t bear the thought of a world where one more of my snoods was unleashed. The backing wasn’t the most classy of affairs, but a salvaged pillow slip. More tatty than vintage, but still a bit of a waste to throw out (despite the matching duvet cover being chucked some time ago after going through a mysterious process of shredding and disintegration).

Still, it does the job. I hand sewed the knitted square onto the top and sewed the pillow inside. Quite labour intensive, but I couldn’t think of another way of doing it.

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Anyway, now with pillow fever I have spotted a rather excellent pillow in this month’s copy of Let’s Knit. Behold this foxy wonder:

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The recommended yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. At £4.75 per ball, and 6 balls required it seems a little steep for a cushion that (let’s face it), I may make a right hash of. I shall be scouring the internet for alternatives, and reading up on the intarsia colourwork technique, but I think this one could be next on the list!

KnitWit

Back on the Shiraz

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Not quite driven to drink, but almost! Getting the second “Shiraz” mitt done was tricky, but it is done now. As is the moss stitch matching neck warmer. No excuse now for either a cold neck or wrists! My last post on this explains all about the technique.

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The snood feels quite flat compared to the others, which I’m guessing (and hoping!) is due to the weird stitch used.

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For Whom The Frog Croaks

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Well, I have been harsh, critical and decisive (yes, I am the real LouBug).  To help free up stitch markers in my Finish up February plan, it was time to take a long hard look at the projects that had stalled and stagnated.  The tea was hot and the moment was right to begin that hardest of knitting tasks.  Every single bagged project dug out, unwrapped, critically assessed and then either granted new life or frogged.   Many biscuits were dunked to help ease the decision making process.

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My stash busting technique of bagging up potential projects usually works, but not always.  So, three projects that never actually got cast on have now been returned to the stash.  Some have been waiting sadly for over six months and hopefully they will now get to fulfil their fluffy goodness on a new and exciting projects.

Four projects (but only two row counters) have now gone to the frog pond.  They all had less than an inch of work on them and the mojo fled the building a long time ago.

So, please, a moment to mark the passing of:

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The blue bubbles shrug that has not progressed for 18 months (it narrowly squeaked through last year’s frog watch).  The circle pattern is fun, but not really suitable for 4ply cotton. I was one pattern repeat in and the idea of doing another 20 was too horrific to consider.  Considering the issue with tan lines and the dark yarn, the fiddley lace pattern and the simple fact that I have spent more time taking this out of the bag, gazing at it and then putting it back than actually knitting it means bye bye blue.

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The airy shrug that I made hot off the heels of writing my new pattern, but if I am honest two shrugs the same is fine but not three.  I might have another go (as I do like the pattern) when the colours for next summer come out and the need to flash the fashion cred kicks in.  Here is to a neon pink one!

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The two squares started for Queen’s mate (before I came to my senses and decided to reduce the size of it).  Again, 4ply was not a good choice especially considering the draining mojo towards the project.  I have accepted that I am unlikely to every knit more squares for it, it fits the bed – job done.

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The Sparkly pink mohair crochet scarf.  Nice pattern, bad combination.  And yes, it was a complete stitch to frog (after fighting it for 20 minutes, the cast on row was binned without a moments regret).  I am now debating a simple ripple knit stitch as the yarn does have a Crystal Barbie thread running through it which would be delightfully girly to wear.

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However, a surprising winner is the double knitted star scarf.  I had forgotten about this and enjoyed making it but it was too complex to do in front of the TV and so it got forgotten.  The technique creates double sided fabric and I love the way it looks.

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I am not sure I will sustain the mojo enough to do a full scarf, but I am tempted to reduce the length and make it a button together cowl (so it could be a Mobius or a ring) to best show off the two sided effect.

What have you recently frogged/rescued from the frog pond?

LouBug

 

Open Work Infinity Scarf

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Here it is – my latest offering.

After a hasty purchase at Alexandra Palace of about a gazillion of these Rowan merino wool balls (they were half price!), I have been wondering ever since what on earth to do with them all…

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I’d already started on a massive blanket, got distracted by a 20 episode box-set of a Danish murder mystery, and abandoned it (more on that another time, the basket weave giant square has been put to good use, promise!). So what was I to do? Log on to Ravelry of course!

I put ‘Rowan biggy print’ into the search terms and a few crazy things came up – weird elf slipper boots for one, and a giant jumper. The feedback on the jumper was not good. Felting was mentioned at the mere mention of a wash, plus I didn’t fancy fending off comments about how I’d doubled in size over night (this wool is chuuuuuuunky).

A particular picture caught my eye though – a pleasing variation on my snood obsession, and with a nice, easy-to-follow pattern. The link led to www.knit1la.com and the pattern Open Work Infinity Scarf.

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With massive 12mm needles and the super chunky, this scarf didn’t take long. The yarn overs in the pattern also mean that the scarf isn’t too dense.

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Even with my limited attention span, I managed to imprint the pattern on my brain quickly, helped by the fact it is just a 12 stitch cast on – thus reducing the hazard of completely losing track.

Repeat row 1 until long enough to wrap around oneself twice:

Sl 1 (as if to purl), *k1 (yo, k2tog) twice; repeat from * to end, k1 (all credit to Knit 1 LA).

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KnitWit

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