Green, Green Knitting Grass

greengreen

Colour-wise it is interesting that to survive the last rounds of the big red granny, I have been breaking things up by knitting some bright green socks. For those in the know about such things, red and green are on the same cone in the eye (which is why you can be red/green colour blind) and subconsciously I have followed this in my desire to distance myself from the sea of red.

greengreenII

However, the big red granny is now (finally) done – just in time for high summer! But it is nice to know that it will be ready and waiting for me come September, or perhaps earlier judging by last summer

 

greengreenIII

I have also now finished my green on-the-go socks (basic no cuff, rib leg and plain foot). Another outing from the ever lovely JitterBug, bought this time from the “Norfolk yarn shop“ in Norwich. This is a relatively new (but thoroughly lovely) yarn shop in the centre of the town (in one of the side streets) and handily located near a very nice coffee shop. It was a struggle to only buy two skeins but I was strong and (technically) as I cast on straight away only one skein went to stash so really it only counts as one…… honest!

greengreen4

So, two projects done and now to stick to my plan of clearing up my WIP box for summer.   Or at least my more honest plan of getting to the point that I can actually close my WIP box! I am still feeling the heat, so I think I will crack on with some floaty shawls, only three on the go to choose from….

LouBug

Lace Knitting – Top 6 Tips #knittingtips

wpid-wp-1433940815465.jpg

Looky here, a gift – all the way from Alaska! Only a true knitter would go all the way to “The Last Frontier” and find a yarn shop…Behold, the newly crowned wilderness knitter, my mother-in-law. So, fresh from the land of grizzly bears and dog sledging, comes my latest challenge. Lace knitting.

wpid-wp-1433940920147.jpg

Many, many abandoned projects have languished in its wake, but this time I AM GOING TO FACE MY CHALLENGE. I shall knit these mitts, if it kills me! So, a change in approach is called for. Rather than dive straight in, needles first, wailing and thrashing when it all goes wrong, I am going to take a more ‘cerebral’ approach. I am going to consult a book. Not just any old book either – The Stitch ‘n Bitch Superstar Knitting book beyond the basics. Ironically, the chapter in Debbie Stoller’s book is titled “Lace, the final frontier”, which considering my challenge has come all the way from the “Last Frontier” I am going to take this as a sign from the knitting gods.

wpid-wp-1433940868019.jpg

So like a knitting detective, Poirot if you will, these are the clues I have gleaned so far…

  1. The holes in lace knitting, completed with cunning YO (yarn over) manoeuvre, are allowed. They do not spell disaster, as they would with other knitting. They do however create an extra stitch, which can be left if you’re making an ever-increasing shawl shape, or can be counteracted with various ‘knit two together’ variations. So far, so good.
  2. Pick your yarn carefully. The thinnest yarn is lace weight, but in theory any weight yarn can be used. Avoid the very hairy yarns, such as eyelash yarn, or yarn that has bobbles on it or changes size, as nobody will see your beautiful lace pattern. That just won’t do. Also, for maximum compliments, stick with one colour (rather than variegate) yarn, in order to see the pattern clearly.
  3. When picking needles, avoid slippery ones where the fiddly work might slide off in some devastating disaster of lost work and gnashing teeth. Also, those less-than-smooth circular needles should be banished to the knit box to avoid delicate lace work snagging…nobody wants their YO to KO.
  4. Lace charts look a bit like some sort of ancient Egyptian treasure map, but a few clues and they aren’t too bad. Read from the bottom row up, and hunt for the number 1. If the number 1 is on the left-hand-side then you’ll be starting work on the WS (wrong side) of your knitting and following the chart from left to right. If you discover the number 1 is on the right-hand-side, then you’ll be working on the RS (right side) of your knitting and reading the chart from right to left. Got that?
  5. Finally, remember that charts DON’T INCLUDE EVERY ROW! The numbers next to the row should give you a clue – if they jump from 1 to 3 to 5, then the pattern only corresponds to the lace pattern. Every other row is worked plain – for example the back of the work is plain purl (unless in the round, where it would be knitted).
  6. Get yourself some Post-it notes to keep your place…oh and one more thing, go and Google ‘knitting lifelines’. LouBug swears by dental floss, but you can just use opposite coloured yarn. This will mean, if you make a mistake, just ripping your work back to a safe place, rather than high kicking your work over the fence and screaming into a pillow.

KnitWit

 

Australian Yarn Bombing

YarnBomb

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!

IMG_5521

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:

Oz

Australian Prime Minister – Best holiday spot. Ever!

IMG_5715

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

IMG_5674

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.

wpid-wp-1431081351750.jpgwpid-wp-1431081255128.jpg

KnitWit

Sheep Shop Cambridge

sheep shopsheepshopcambrdige

Thanks to the Sheep Shop in Cambridge for including the loubugknitwit blog on their Local Woolly Bloggers page! LouBug speaks very highly of your shop and now has enough Sparkle Duck yarn to sink a ship!

KnitWit

 

 

What I Talk About When I Talk About Knitting

Screenshot 2015-03-13 13.35.09

Guest blog post on the Let’s Knit website! Yippee! Let’s Knit Blog

I like to knit, as does my sister, LouBug. I also like to run. LouBug does not. In fact, knitting is probably the only part of our lives that overlap. There’s a great book I read recently by Haruki Murakami – What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. A whole book about why he loves running, what he thinks about while he is running and how running is integral to his well-being. I guess this is the point of our blog, LouBug and KnitWit. We write about what we’re thinking while we’re knitting (and about the amazing things we knit, of course!).

croshrug

LouBug‘s shrug pattern 

We started the blog a couple of years ago in very different circumstances. At the time, I was buried under a couple of small children and LouBug was preoccupied with the workload from a very stressful teaching job. Having a creative outlet, something to show for our day and something separate from our drudge and daily lives was really important for us. Fast forward a couple of years and the doom clouds have now lifted – now we just knit and blog for fun!

LouBug and I are like chalk and cheese, Laurel and Hardy. I studied science; she studied art. I like gritty dramas; she likes science fiction. I like running; she likes… erm, not running. You get the picture. What we do have in common is the love of having something to show for our time. We sisters are busy bees; we like order and plans. We do share some genes after all. LouBug’s love of knitting started way before mine, however, as her skill and mountain of knitted produce duly shows.

sock scrap pillow

LouBug’s pillow pattern

In the spirit of order and lists, here are my top five reasons why I love knitting:

1. Nobody is watching. A botched stitch or two is not going to get my pay docked. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. There’s not much in life that you can truly say that about.

2. One row or 100 rows, it doesn’t matter! Only got 15 minutes? Who cares, all of these rows add up in the end. As if by magic, something wonderful appears.

3. People think I’m clever and artistic, even though I really am NOT! I hated art at school and have a lower-than-average artistic ability. And yet, here I am, adorned with beautiful knitted creations.

4. It gives me an excuse to write. I knit a bit, then write a lot. Oh, how I love to broadcast my thoughts and opinions. Knitting is my vehicle. It could well have been something else. Now, of course, I’m addicted to the knit. Save yourselves, there’s no hope for me now!

5. Hmm, number 5… erm… well, I get to watch people who really love knitting and have spent a lifetime perfecting their skill. It’s like a secret world that I’ve just about scraped into. And it’s quite fascinating…
If you’ve got this far, then well done. As a reward, you can have some images of knitting. The good, the bad and the ugly (namely the accidental “knitted bib”).

IMG_5482

Out of all the things I’ve knitted in my knitting life, scarves are by far my favourite. I feel a list brewing…

1. They are easy and portable. Or perhaps not-so-easy and portable. Either way they can be transported in my bag to random events and worked on.

IMG_5478

2. They are a cheap-skate’s option for plastic surgery. I’d like to add I’m not at that stage of life yet, but they do have an excellent way of hiding a scraggy old neck, or a fat neck, or perhaps even a neck covered in lizard scales. Very handy.

IMG_5481

3. They are almost at eye height, attracting the maximum amount of compliments (shallow, I know).

IMG_5480

4. They can try complicated stitches, which in my case involves perhaps a cable or two, without fear of botching the whole thing and chucking millions of pounds worth of yarn in the bin in a hissy fit.

IMG_5483

5. For the commitment-phobic, scarves are the perfect project. Garter stitch, cables, chunky lace – all of these can all be achieved in just a few days with the correct yarn purchase. You could even try your hand at super chunky yarn if you’re prepared to use giant 15mm needles. The downside to the super chunky yarn is that it’s so massive that one can’t see one’s feet or indeed crucial coat zips or buttons. Oh well…

IMG_5486

For more knitting ramblings, see the KnitWit posts over at the LouBugKnitWit blog. If you don’t like ramblings, skip the KnitWit posts and head straight for the more informative LouBug posts and free patterns. She does far more knitting, and far less rambling…

KnitWit

Knitting for #WorldBookDay #RoaldDahl

IMG_5487mr twit

(image thanks to http://www.roaldahl.com)

Tears, tantrums and threats…not from my six-year-old, of course, from me. Just to get him to wear my AMAZING knitted World Book Day costume! Gold star for anyone who can guess who he is…anyone? The clue is in the bits of food hanging from the beard. It’s my favourite Roald Dahl character Mr Twit of course! This is such an excellent book, it is outstanding. The copy we have at home has since been passed down to the next generation, but was first purchased as a wedding present for Mr KnitWit. What better literary example does one need of marital life, than The Twits?

I don’t normally create costumes for such school dress-up day occasions. They are usually put together in a semi slap-dash way, knowing full well that half the costume will be discarded/destroyed by morning break. But when deciding on a costume for this year’s World Book Day and my eldest suggested Mr Twit, I just couldn’t resist the challenge of the Knitted Beard.

IMG_5489

I’m confessing my knitting naivety here, but who would have thought there would be so many images and patterns of knitted beards in the world? It is like a secret, slightly weird, sub-culture of people wearing knitted beards. Anyway, I thought I’d go for the ‘high end’ option of the knitted beard world, and began my pattern search on Ravelry. The perfect beard soon loomed into view, although it was actually a pattern for a Santa beard, it did have great ‘beard’ potential. The pattern was thanks to Maisha, who has a great knitting website full of ideas and patterns (plus it is translated into English, for those whose Danish is a bit rusty).

There’s both written and photo tutorials on how to do the all-important ‘loop stitch’, which is central to the whole ‘beard look’. To complete the slightly scraggy look, I knitted on 10mm needles with three strands of yarn (which combined was perfect for the needle size). I knitted with a grey and black chunky yarn and a white eyelash yarn.

The problems I encountered were two-fold. First problem was getting my child to wear the bloomin’ thing. Much thrashing around and complaining about looking silly (fair point). The second was easier to deal with, as it involved further knitting. As the beard had difficulty staying on the face, I knitted a square of the loop stitch to act as hair and sewed the whole thing to a hat. Et voila! Mr Twit was born!

So don’t forget readers, “If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” Roald Dahl, The Twits.

KnitWit

I Couldn’t Resist!

resist

I will admit it, it is starting to nag at me. But I will never power through finish-up February if I don’t stick to the “no casting on” rule. For those that don’t know, finish-up February is an annual (self-imposed) task aimed at finishing or frogging long-term projects. Each year I attempt to end February with six free row counters and a spring cleaned project box. Not casting on is the real toe curling, mind bending, teeth suckingly difficult part. The only exceptions I make are to ensure that I have my “ready to go: easy sock” knitting (as there is no way I am knitting a blanket on a train or trying to knit lace at knit-night). Even then I have to be strict about when I knit it.

resist2

Winners so far have been my orange socks, green mittens, shawl/blanket and Hooty the owl. So with those fresh under the “done!” banner, my eye now turns to the sad pile of forgotten and unloved project bags. I have already gone through these and I was pleased to find that there were no projects so far gone that the only hope would be to frog and return the yarn to the tender embrace of the stash. The downside is no easy row counter wins! However, I am pleased that I have racked up four so far.

resist3

So, the remaining projects have been aired and ranked. The plan is to focus on one at a time and power through. With a half term holiday’s boost, the current next-to-the-sofa knitting is this silk shawl. You might remember it from last year, as it went along in fits and starts (the chart is a bit eye watering). I picked it back up ready to finish and then threw it at the wall. It hit a tiny little whale sized snag that basically involved frogging the whole damn thing and restarting. Yep. A big time rookie error meant that I forgot that lace charts traditionally only show half the chart (it is repeated to make two identical triangular parts).

I realised a problem was brewing when I tried laying it out flat and the stupid thing pointed at the top not the bottom. Perplexed, I looked at the picture and with stomach dropping dread I realised that the book had two triangles meeting in the middle and I only had one.

resist4

Such was my horror, upset and anger that there are no photos to mark this horrifying discovery. Please enjoy a photo of Cat looking cute instead. You might have heard the unearthly howl. That was me. I am feeling much better now.

resist5

I ripped it back, had a medicinal glass of wine and Let It Think About What It Had Done for a week. I have now restarted it and have only just reached the point where frogged yarn meets new yarn (the crimped curl starred at me every time I looked at it).

resist6

Thankfully, the chart seems much less daunting and with my unintentional practice go, knitting quite quickly. The silk is hard to see in the picture, but it does have a really nice sheen to it that should block like a dream and whisper soft kisses to me every time I wear it. Fingers crossed I should have it done in the next week or two!

resist7

I must not cast on, I must not cast on, I must not cast on, I must not cast on, I must not cast on, I must not cast on, I must not cast on…

LouBug

 

 

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: