Yarn Gone Bad

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I have always said that there is no such thing as bad yarn, just bad project matches. Unfortunately, that makes it hard to get rid of ugly yarns, but it has (on occasion) paid off with deep-sea stash dives unearthing unlikely (but perfect) yarns. My best success story is a pale pink cotton yarn that made a hideous crochet spiral scarf (I now realise that the pattern called for 4ply mohair, not DK cotton). It could have doubled as a pot scrubber and sat around my neck like a dead tentacle. This went on to be frogged and sent back into the stash (to think about what it had done) and eventually went on to make my favourite hearts and diamond shrug, which has now been washed to tatty and still worn. Good yarn. Bad pattern. Lesson learned.

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In a break from shawls (because I have started to chain knit them) and in an effort to tidy up the yarn pile, I decided to cast on a quick stash busting granny square blanket. So, time to tie on a safety line and delve deep in the stash. And sure enough, deep in the lower strata I found a bag of semi-forgotten yarn in just about the right quantity.

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This yarn is ok, but it was a gift from another knitter and in the balance of things not something I would have bought for myself. The colour is fine but I am all about the texture and it feels like old cotton wool/candy floss with an odd “crackle” feel to it. Yep, it is 80s acrylic at its finest, and with a slight mock-mohair halo. But never one to look gift yarn in the mouth, I accepted it but it quickly sunk deep into the stash with barely a ripple (a bit like the car/swamp moment in Psycho).

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Near it (perhaps for emotional support) was an equally texture-hideous yarn. Bought because I really cannot resist sparkly yarn that was 50% off and then (as the yarn fumes receded) slightly regretted it as I couldn’t imagine having it near my face and hair in the originally planned scarf. Static nightmare. Together, however, and in a blanket I spot a win.

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So the plan is to use the four different sparkle yarns to break up the wide stripes of the red. Time will tell if there is enough yarn for a full bed blanket but I can always do something clever on the boarder to make it wider.

LouBug

 

 

 

 

Blue Yoner #knitting

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Sorry for the hiatus, but Easter is my busy season (main GCSE marking) and KnitWit was off tripping around the world. But I’m back and although the blog was left hanging, I have been knitting like a demon. So where were we?

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The socks are done! Sorry for the old photo, but they are currently in the wash! And I have now moved onto this rather eye popping pair (Jitterbug “popsicle” which is the green one on the right) as my lunch time knitting.

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I think I will re-name them as I see a more spring/wood/meadow feel (for me a popsicle is more reds and oranges). I cannot think of an eye catching (ear catching?) name, but I fancy something a bit Lord of the Rings – like Fangorn or Buckleberry would work (or indeed simply call them “Hobbity socks”).

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As I have been (unsubtlety) reminded, I have been re-miss in not mentioning the lovely blue yarn that KnitWit gave me with my Christmas bundle, the often coveted “Malbro” is a heady mix of merino and silk and has been carefully positioned for maximum petting for months now. Whole Ravelry groups are devoted to this stuff and it is clear why; crisp colours, fantastically soft and supporting Women’s co-operatives in Peru; a feel good yarn on many different levels. Over Easter I took it from its petting perch and wound it into a ball and get it ready for use. It is 4ply but far too nice to use for socks (and I love socks!), so I have decided to give my “Sock yarn shawls” book another airing.

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The variegated blue/purple needs some room to shine, so a solid starting triangle (with a lace edge) is the way forwards. This pattern (Timpani) is the current firm favourite, as it has the solid start and the large blocks on the lace will carry on showing the colours off. I was tempted to do this earlier with some bright pink Jittterbug, but in my heart I know it would be a bit too dayglow for my taste in jackets.

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I will admit I also chose the solid block start as it is a speedy way to knit and I have already got most of the body triangle done. Onto the lace!

LouBug

A Small Issue Of Casting On

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As I mentioned, I have had a small series of “making” explosions recently. Firstly yarn. Even I will admit that my recent level of yarn purchasing has tipped from reasonable to rebellious. I love, love, love all of it (and it is all beautiful and I will use it…eventually).The guilt is setting in and I think I had better buy sensible things (like work clothes and underwear) for a bit and knit down the stash.

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BOOM! Next explosion was in bag making. I bought some lovely fat quarters on holiday and from Ally Pally, but didn’t really do much with it. Happily they are now fulfilling their craft destiny and keeping my projects looking lovely! Unfortunately, as soon as I have a new bag I immediately want to use it. I would like to say that I simply re-homed an existing project, but we would both know I would be lying.

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Then there was the great stitch marker conversion plan. I have recently fallen in love with the 12mm jump rings you can get at John Lewis. These humble little unbroken rings of metal magically make my stitch markers look a billion times more professional (with the added bonus that they don’t snag). Over a decade of knitting I have accumulated quite a range of stitch markers (I am always on the lookout for little bead charms that I can use). They even have their own special box. Different sets have their own little zip lock bags. I tend to deploy them to match the bag and project. Yes, I know, but it could be worse (I could collect creepy china cats) and now they are gradually getting a makeover. The added bonus of the jump rings is that I can slip a chain into them and they make rather cute pendants.

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All of this has danced around the edge of my small issue with casting on. The Yarn Harlot refers to it as “startyitis” but for me it is more of an explosion. All seems normal and then I look away for five minutes and BOOM suddenly there are several new projects on the go. A lady would not fully admit to the extent of the problem (but I am now out of row counters and anything above 40cm knit pro cables). All I will admit to is that I now have two cardigans, one jumper, two blankets and many socks, scarves and socks.

The real question is, will I actually resist simply buying more counters and cables…..

LouBug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexandra Palace and Grand Plans

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There’s something about Alexandra Palace that has magical special powers, aside from getting me out of bed super early after the GREAT MOVE DAY. Yes, the longest house-move-gestation ever recorded was finally birthed the day before.

My last trip to a knitting show culminated in a comprehensive wittering about our LouBugKnits trip to Olympia. But Olympia suddenly feels like small fry compared to the great Ally Pally.

This mythical beast of a place seemed to have the power to get my auto-phobe sister into her car and tackle London traffic (give me public transport any day – I shudder at the thought, and I actually LIVE in London). Not only this, but my famously “careful with money” sister was suddenly AWASH with cash. The Queen’s eyes, usually blinking in surprise at getting an outing from her darkened purse, were suddenly in the full glare of this year’s Knitting & Stitching Show strip lighting.

I too was feeling rather crazy with the cash, momentarily confused at the value of money after moving house the previous day and spending literally a hundred gazillion pounds on such boring delights as stamp duty and removal men. What’s £30 on Rowan compared with the eye-watering zeros we owe to the government?

The magical special powers seem to have also stretched to eliminate my previous ‘to do’ list. Everything I bought seemed FAR more exciting than any of the other things I have been working on. Au revoir (for the time being, I do like it really) red knitted cowl. Sayonara weird grey basket weave block scarf…sorry son, cold neck for you this winter, I’ve bigger fish to fry!

So here it is – my loot. I did better than LouBug in some respects. Not the amount of goodies bought (of course), just that I had more than £2.00 left in my purse at the end of the trip. Yes, £2.00….oh dear.

First up the inspiration – £6.00 on a goodie bag of Let’s Knit back copies and assorted knit kits, best bargain of the day.wpid-1382534876688.jpg

Knit Kits
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Black Sheep Wools – Always a half-price winner. I’ve already seen a pattern I like the look of for some red winter knits (patterns from my new Let’s Knits magazines, natch). The chunky Rowan would make a great lap blanket – handy for keeping warm in the winter now we’ve handed all our money over to the mortgage company. Rowan down from £69.99 to £29.99 – woop woop! Rowan photo pending…

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This next set of photos are by far my favourite purchases of the day. Sorry yarn addicts, but it was the fabric stalls that got me this year. I could have bought the lot, but figured with my talent contraints (I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with the fabric yet…), my restraint was well placed.

Behold – Fabric!

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I shall be back to report on my progress once there is more action!

KnitWit

Big Green Jumper – Finished!

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The Big Green Jumper is finished! Cast on last year (about October time), it has been part of the Finish-up-February drive. It is now blocked, laundered and ready to go. The recent snow was definitely a great motivator in getting more warm things into my wardrobe and it took the entire Game of Thrones boxset viewing time, but I blitzed it and got it done.

Drum roll please…

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My favourite part has to be the colour, a lovely bold green is just what is needed when spring is both wanted and needed (but with a definite temperature dip).

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The neck line detail works quite well. It stretches shoulder to shoulder and gives it a bit of an elfish twist. The downside is that I have to be careful with what goes under it (plain vest tops only), as it does look weird with a v-neck t-shirt.

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It is hard to see in the main photo, but I also included lace detail on the arms (I freely admit this was because I couldn’t face plain stockinette for 60 rows). It lines up with the lace detail on the front (and there is a line of eye holes across the neck).

I am also pleased with the yarn – it was sales bin-tastic! The yarn had been on the 500g cone so long that it had become squashed into a tape like effect. Mother Nature’s finest acrylic! But after two trips through the wash (I pretty much lived in this last week) it has fluffed back to proper yarn and now sits rather well.

Anyone else managed a solid sale’s bin win? What other bargains have you managed?

LouBug

Shiny!

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Well, my brain is back and firing on all woolly cylinders! The Jitterbug socks have soothed my brain back to normal and now reading a chart doesn’t seem so bad. The shawl I mentioned a while ago is tantalisingly close to being finished and now at the stage where each row is about 300 stitches long.

In a rare moment of sensible-ness I have decided to finish it later, as each row now takes about 20 minutes to do and I know the bind-off will be longer. For the curious, it is “Traveling Woman” by Liz Abinante and it is available on Ravelry. As I had 150g of the yarn I have added another row of repeats (fingers crossed I have enough for the last few rows!), I will show it pinned out when it is being blocked as it looks a bit crumpled at the moment.

I have dug in deep on my stitch marker collection and I thought I would share my current favourites:

These three have come from my fairytale collection (there is also a dragon and a skull but they were too small to photo well). Special mention must also go to tiny teabag and tiny teacup

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These two stitch markers have been my mid-way markers and made me smile every time I have passed them. I am currently on the lookout for a tiny teapot (or possibly a Mad Hatter hat?) hopefully Olympia will have some bead stands!

LouBug

LouBug’s Knitting Commitment Issues

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Keen-eyed viewers will have noticed that you have seen far more projects being worked on than actually finished. Keen-eyed members of my household will definitely have noticed that this is not because of modesty, but the simple inability to keep to the same project for more than five minutes.

I have tried (and failed) to be one of those knitters – we all know the type – the one who carefully finishes a project before starting another. How? How? How do they do it? I would love to be that person, to have that pile of finished items and not that pile of project bags full of guilt lying around the house.

I have tried to create limiting factors, such as different project bags for different types of projects (so in theory I can only have one scarf on the go at once). I artfully place only one bag next to the sofa so natural laziness will make me work on it rather than seek out another. All goes well and then whamo I will see something on Ravelry, or in the shops and then more projects are born.

So why am I like a five-year old at an “all you can eat” ice cream stand? I don’t even think it is a lack of discipline, as I have to be quite methodical and ordered to do my job. I am, by my nature, someone who keeps notes and carefully labels boxes; and at the end of the day I only own so many needles and so many row counters (although even I am not sure how many, best stay in denial on that).

Surely it cannot be as simple as “because the rest of your life is so ordered”, as I don’t under-go a personality transplant when I pick up the needles.

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Some of it is as simple as matching knitting to mood and situation. This pair of socks (mmmm Jitterbug sock yarn) has sprung into being because after a half term of GCSE marking and a week of report writing, my brain is fried. Anything with lace or involving trying things on is a non-starter. Round and round, k2p2, clicking each row off on the counter for 60 rows and then soon to come a heel and foot. It is the knitting equivalent of a ham sandwich, not exactly high cuisine but sometimes all you actually want.

Even my bath mitt frenzy stalled in the face of this need for brain-rest knitting (although it has spawned three design pages in my notebook). Hopefully as the week progresses my brain will solidify from liquid goo back to jelly. Until then it is sock time.

So which one are you? One project from start to finish, or loads on the go at once?

LouBug

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