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.





And In With The New…Knitting


During Easter I took the time to give the stash a bit of an airing and (predictably) now cast on a pile of things. I have even bagged up some Christmas sock knits (yes, I do know it is May). I had the slightly embarrassing conversation with Mummy KnitBug where I revealed the full extent of where the stash went (which is basically like admitting to how much you weigh, although it is possible that I might actually weight less than the stash – what a frightening thought….). The conversation started with asking what colour she wanted, which she said could be anything I could spare from the stash. This then led me to admit that she could pretty much name any colour and I would have it (for example I have a few different shades of purple) and yes, I did in fact have the requested bright pink/blue.


Dolly Mix has progressed well, and has got the planned 6×6 (36) squares completed; to cover a double bed I think I need about 12×12 (144) squares but I knew before I started that there wasn’t going to be enough to do this in one hit. The point of the blanket is to use up scrap DK (from projects, free magazine yarn or from knit kits that don’t catch my eye) and not buy more yarn! So (as planned) I am now going to rest it until the summer to give me time to generate more scrap DK acrylic.


One potential source of yarn is the now started crochet kit by Attic24 bought at last year’s Ally Pally. I usually resist kits, as in my heart I know that I can do it cheaper (or in a better colour, material or with massive design changes) but I would have bought the finished blanket (if available) as it is such a perfect balance of colours. For once I “want that one” and have no planned changes. I am still very much at the starting blocks, but given that projects can languish for years, a six month wait is practically a rush starter. I am considerably slower on crochet that knitting, so it might be done for winter (2015? 2017? 2049?). Hopefully I will speed up as I go and chew through all 84 rows (with 213 stitches per row) nice and quickly.


Last (but not least) I have now flown through the blue yonder shawl. This is from the very lovely 4ply that KnitWit bought me at Christmas (which is incredibly soft) and I chose “Timpani” from Sock Yarn Shawls. This starts off with a plain section, which should show off the subtle blue/lavender purple colour wash and then ends with an interlocking rectangle lace trim. Things got a bit interesting when I completed the original number of repeats, popped in a little lifeline and then attempted to squeak in another pattern repeat before the trim. For those that heard the howl of frustration, I didn’t! but my trusty life-line meant that it was annoying and not soul destroying.


As a top tip, I have used dental floss for my life-line; not as random as it sounds! The hive mind of Ravelry rates it for life-line as it is slightly waxed (making it easy to remove), stronger than sewing thread (so less likely to snap) and easy to stash in your notions case. However, the minty fresh aroma is definitely a little odd with the lavender scent generated by the anti-moth herb bag.   Let us hope the smell fades over time!






Lacy Knitted Things


Continuing on my project hoard busting plan, I have now turned my focus on my small pile of lace work on my to-do pile.


I have already mentioned the lovely purple silk scarf/shawl I completely forgot about (from “Sock Yarn Shawls”). Picture the glow of purple shining on my face as I opened the bag expecting to find another pair of socks!

Pure silk (which was a complete git to wind into a ball) bought at least two years ago. I know this as I bought the same brand but in blue last year at the ever wonderful Ally Pally. Photographs do not do it justice, as the yarn has an incredible colour depth to it (as well as a nice fade in/out wash – a bit like stonewash jeans). It should block like a dream. I have been pecking at it – the pattern isn’t too difficult, but there is a lot of it! I shall try to go into full burn over the summer.


What has currently been occupying my attention is this lovely little scarf. Cast on (frogged and bagged after a small disagreement over tension) about three months ago. It is a light jacket scarf called “Summer Stream Scarf” by Asami Kawa which is knitted in two parts and grafted in the middle.  I have made it with Drops Colour Transition Sock Yarn and, because I am me, I have carefully matched the yarn and cast on both ends at once (to be grafted in the middle). I’ve moved Heaven, Earth and all the angels to try to match the colour repeat. Symmetry matters, people!


Now, I am a patient person, but three knot related colour jumps (damn you!) in a yarn that subtly washes into the next colour (so any colour jumps create a hard line that screams out “hello look at me!”) would test the sanity of the saintly. I have thrown the full force of my stubbornness at it (fear me) and I have managed to locate and match in replacement sections to better hide the jumps. In real terms this meant unwinding the WHOLE DAMN BALL and feeding it through my hands in strong sunlight and then performing surgical splices. I would like to say that the whole process took two hours. I really would. But it didn’t, and I don’t really want to talk to anyone about it (apart from the stash, it understand my pain).

I am resisting sending it back into the box (to think about what it has done) as it is almost finished. I know that there is the small matter of the half stitch jump to contend with (always an issue when grafting top to top) which will make grafting a battle.


Still, let’s focus on positives. I wonder if I will find any more lace as I continue my archaeological dig through the project box of doom?


A Strange Parallel Universe


It is a strange thing, but I think KnitWit borrowed my life as well as my house last week! There she was knocking out two complete hats and here I am coming home having barely finished a row. Obviously it is the proximity to my (actually quite tidy) craft room that has motivated KnitWit (it certainly seems to have got her buying books – hee hee, so it begins!).

Similarly it must have been my distance from my stash (and the small matter of being on holiday) that cut into my knitting time.


But I’m back! And with a little help from series 3 of Downton Abby (I am nothing if not bang on trend) I have now finished my Araucania merino yarn shawl (from the lovely Sock-yarn Shawls: 15 Lacy Knitted Shawl Patterns by Jen Lucas).


I am really pleased how it has come out, but as it is worked on the long edge, I do have to admit that working 300 stitch rows did cut into my motivation as it was hard to see it progressing. Happily I finished the main lace panel and then it switched to short row increases and it then seemed to fly off the needles.


Obviously no trip to the West Country is complete without a few yarn shops, and I think I will give a post each to the main three we visited. I was reasonably restrained with all the goodies on display, but the combination of being on holiday and being weak-willed may or may not have led to dipping into the Ally Pally fund early.

Next problem is, where can I hide it?


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