A Small Matter of Casting On #knitting


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.





Following The Knit Winds


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.


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.


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!


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.



Spring Green Knitted Cardigan


Well, the dreaded lergy has finally let me out of its snotty embrace and now I am bouncing back with the energy of a chilli fuelled supernova. As you might have gathered, my attention span on my knitting is either caffeinated kitten or laser ninja. The has resulted in an on-going battle to find free needles and row counters, as even my mighty collection of both groans under the number of WIPs. I sort of solved this over the summer by buying a new storage box (solved is a loose term; solved as in “I no longer have them stacked in a heap” but not solved as in “reduced the number of”).


The latest laser focus has been on my big green cardi. This is based on the same basic recipe as my purple cardi and is looking to be a good wardrobe staple. Although I am stuck on what buttons to use (the ones pictured are the current contenders) it is chugging along nicely. Annoyingly, I cannot actually show you the cardigan, as it is in a bunched up heap – the trim stitches are held on a circular needle. The suspense will just have to be held until it is finished!

I think I have now cracked a good basic cardigan recipe for my supermodel like frame (stop sniggering KnitWit!). It fits well over my ample frame and I am pleased to report that the yarn has previously proven itself over a number of 30 degree wool washes (Rowan Calmer for the curious). This is made from the same yarn and plan as my purple cardi, which I adore, and was very happy to discover (after a deep sea dive into the stash, safety lines were both used and needed) that I had a packet of Calmer in a nice spring green (also Ally Pally – Blacksheep yarns we love you!). The added bonus is that my basic cardi pattern uses about six-seven of the ten balls, which opens up the idea of a nice stripy bonus cardigan. All I need is a couple of balls of a complementing colour (I’m thinking grey) to soften the two bright colours. Fingers crossed that this year’s Ally Pally supplies me with it!

The basic body and arms are now built, but I am in a bit of a quandary about the trim. I like the wide rib trim on the purple one but I am reluctant to make an exact twin as there is something nice about each one being unique. Originally I wanted a leaf theme, but the closer I get to knitting it the more problems I can see. First and foremost is my issue about getting the trim to be symmetrical, and I cannot find a mirror twin pattern I like with leaves. By mirror twin I mean that the left-hand-side has leaves that leans down and it is mirrored with the right also having leaves pointing down. This sounds obvious, but most patterns would end up with right side down and left side up, which is okay but not what I want.


While plotting and planning this, I tripped over a nice mirror pair of lace mesh in my Barbara Walker pattern directory, which I have applied to the sleeves. But (admit it, you saw a “but” coming) it would fail on the trim because the reverse side is obviously different from the front. This will make the back of the collar (which would be seen as it flops over) look badly finished which would annoy me.

So the search is still on. I want a mesh lace panel that looks similar on the front and back and either has an identical left/right bias or is central. Desperate times have led to actual planning, and I am currently test-knitting mesh panels to see how they look (because even I cannot face knitting at least ten rows of a pattern which may or may not work on an edge with well over 200 stitches in it).

Unless, of course I get distracted…


Purple Hug


Drum roll please, I have now finished my purple cardigan!

It is made from Rowan Calmer (cotton and microfiber) and adapted from my first ever self-designed cardigan.  It has now successfully emerged from the washing machine without any dodgy shrinking/growing.  I can now breathe a sigh of relief and let the glory wash over me.


You might remember the mis-adventure of the bust darts (which looked fine on, but all kinds of freaky when the front was opened). I will admit that it did result in the project being left in the naughty corner to Think About What It Had Done.  But I am ever the optimist, so I bit the bullet and frogged back a good 3 inches of side and back and ploughed on.


And here it is (the other arm is there, but fell out of shot).  The shaping went well and is rather flattering when on and I do like the way that the trim gives it a slightly jackety look.  The sleeves work well – the trim makes them easy to flip over (as I am always needing to roll sleeves back at work), without altering the look of the arms.


I especially love the large heart buttons (which I think came free with a magazine about 5 years ago) and the way that the mother of pearl grey works with the lilac purple.  This is actually the first time I have done a proper button band (as opposed to zips or buttons over pop studs) and I was annoyed with the way that the weight of the button made the button holes sag.


Thankfully, the hive mind of my stitch group came up with a plan of sewing a strip of ribbon to re-enforce and stabilise the edge.  Happily I found some organza ribbon (pale pink and slightly sparkly) which doesn’t look too odd when the cardigan flaps open.


Even better, I have been left with four balls left over and, as I have another bag of green, I should have enough from the two yarn bags to make three cardigans.  Nothing like a free jumper’s worth of yarn to make the day more shiny!


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