#innocentsmoothiehats

Here they are, my first efforts towards the Innocent Big Knit! I started off with the easiest pattern to get started, but there are loads of Innocent patterns to choose from.

I used 3.25 needles and cast on 28 stitches. After knitting two rows, I then knit/purled my way through an additional 12 rows before k2tog for one row and p2tog for one row. After sewing up the seam and adding a rather fetching pom pom, hey presto – and Innocent Smoothie hat!

The deadline is the 31st July 2017, so I’m going to see how many I can knit and see how elaborate I can get…

KnitWit

A video ‘homage’ to my knitted cakes

Guess who’s discovered Animoto? Beware – this video might be one of many…it’s seriously addictive!

KnitWit

Knitting with purpose

IMG_0157 (2)Bonjour dear readers. For the eagle-eyed amongst you, you may have noticed that there has been a slight blog ‘hiatus’. There can only be one of three explanations for this:

  1. 1. I have been frozen in time like Han Solo frozen in carbonite.

2. I have been trapped in a hellish Groundhog Day moment, where however much I knitted and posted, the clock set back to zero each day.

3. I have been busy and distracted and had a lapse of enthusiasm.

Hmm- now which could it be?

I’m not sure what triggered the cliff-falling-off dip in enthusiasm. The most sensible explanation would be the starting of a full-time job. The combination of that time-Hoover employment status, and the slightly uneasy realisation that my little home was slowly filling up with knitted stuff (how many woolly hats does one family need?) combined into a perfect storm of knitting apathy.

I’ve re-visited over the months and wondered and wondered how to bring the blog back to life…but with purpose. Well, now I think I’ve got it. After several years volunteering for various things, I’m back in the volunteering saddle. Whether donating knitted squares for blankets (for our fellow, chilly humans or our four-legged friends); knitting stuff to sell at fundraisers; or just championing other people’s work – I feel a sudden revival in knitting enthusiasm and purpose. Watch this space!

KnitWit

Green, Green Knitting Grass

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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.

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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

 

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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!

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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

Sea of Knitted Red

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I am so done with this project. An unending sea of red. Mile after mile of crochet and a row that literally took two hours to complete. Two damn hours people, which is also a lot to frog back when I ran out of the original red with half a side to go (you might have wondered what the animal like howl was you heard in the breeze). I have fudged it by doubling my substitute red with a white to hide that it almost but not quite matches (the thickness was also wrong, but the double thread compensated for this).

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I did manage to keep the spirit of the stash blanket going. The trim of white/silver thread was a stash dive, as was the purple (bought at a bring-and-buy table at a yarn group weekender). It does give the edge the nice border I wanted. I am now left with a small bag of leftovers and I think I will use them to make a couple of flowers for the granny garden blanket, as it would be nice to have them completely used up.

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I am now officially cured of the will to do big projects, so I am going to focus on the small and quick for a bit. Here are some photos of my new favourite winter blanket (drum roll please)…..

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I do like the Doppler effect that the contrast rows give; but frustratingly I realised that if I had done 10, not 12, rows of block red then the last red block would have been the same width as the other two *sigh*. Luckily, I saw the sanity in not frogging back the whole damn thing and decided that even my infamous wish for balance and perfection in my projects had its limit.

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The size isn’t very clear from the picture, and surprisingly Cat wasn’t lurking with intent, so here is a picture with a book in it for scale. After weeks of suffering under a blanket, time to do some light summery knits!

LouBug

 

Lace Knitting – Top 6 Tips #knittingtips

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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.

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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.

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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

 

A Small Matter of Casting On #knitting

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Oh dear, I might have gone a little nuts. Even Cat is face-palming at the horror. I have now accidentally cast on all my spare row counters (even I am not sure how many I have) and I also broke the rules and solved the problem of running out of knit pro 3mm tips by buying more. Basically a large casting off bomb went off last week and I am still dazed and confused as to what happened.

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It all started off innocently enough. Knit-knit-knitting at my log cabin blanket. Cro-cro-crocheting at my big red granny. And generally picking at other projects. Then I started strolling though some yarn books and accidentally started another Calmer cardi (to join the purple and green one). Lovely shade of pale teal and will look lovely with a wavy border, reliable yarn and the self-designed pattern for the body already a proven success (it will even be made with the same needles). Logically it does make sense to make a start on an autumn weight cardi now so that it is going to be ready in time. So far, so reasonable.

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The pair of socks was also an accident, I wanted a simple pattern but also some lace, and I have been meaning to use the yarn for a while. Just ignore the other four pairs shall we. Between them they cover plain, lace, colour work and simple rib. The moody grey/teal is nice with the mock cables though!

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As previously mentioned I have been chain knitting shawls recently and looking through my brand new Sock yarn Shawls II book it would have been rude not to try one. The first book has already proven to be a firm favourite and I will admit to a loud squeak when I spotted number two in the Amazon pre-order list of temptations. The second book builds on the first and has a good mix of classic triangle shawls and long and skinny sideways ones. It has also included larger two skein shawls (some in contrasting colours, some in the same), which are based on 70g balls.

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The yarn doesn’t photo well, but it is basically a pale mushroom grey with a sparkle thread running through it. And it will look awesome next to my big white dress (dum dum di dum), or alternatively on exotic location for the honeymoon. The yarn was bought from Olympia a few years ago (it was apparently dyed to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee) and I have been saving it for something worthy. And people, this pattern is gorgeous! Luckily I have 150g of it, so I should be able to make one long enough to wear as a proper shawl (opposed to the triangle forward style) and I might dip into my bead collection when I cast off to give it a bit of extra bling.

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I also accidentally cast on this blue shawl (I was comparing book 1 and 2 and fell in love with it) which basically means I am now making both cover photo shawls. I absolutely love this Tardis blue yarn (and had to put my foot down when Mr LouBug tried to claim it for socks). I need to come up with a suitable Dr Who name for it, (perhaps River’s Song, or Timey Wimey). I regret nothing on this one and I am impatiently getting to the lace section, to the point where I will start it 12 rows early (to allow an extra repeat). Wearing my Blue Yonder shawl, I have found that the large triangle does make it bunch up a bit under the chin, lace tends to sit better (as seen on my Purple Happenstance) so there are practical as well as impatient reasons behind this.

Blimey, I had better get knitting.

LouBug

 

 

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