Saturday, June 30, 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Perugino finished.

It's blocked, dry and all the tassels are stitched on. It looks great. There will be photos at the weekend. Hurrah for an empty Finishing Basket!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Fruit of a good weekend

Folks, it was a good weekend for knitting. I didn't want it to be over, hence not photo-ing and blogging all my efforts until today. As you'll remember, my ambitions for the weekend were to do some blocking on Perugino, and to tackle the rest of my finishing basket at the same time. I am delighted to report the following.

Perugino Throw

Is blocking wetly on the living room carpet. It might not be ready to come off its pins tonight, but certainly will be tomorrow. Isn't it beautiful? In this picture, I'm about two-thirds of the way through pinning it out, working from the right-hand edge.

It took a really long time to put all the pins in but then we always knew that would be the case. Because it was a long job, I was delighted when I had time left over to block these:

Red Jitterbug Socks & Tassels for Perugino

The socks are for my friend Frances in Alabama (I bought the red Jitterbug yarn and my pink Malva and Bali yarns when I was with her).

Notice the Perugino tassels are blocking too. This didn't need much work. They were looking a bit curly because some of the yarn had been knitted into an earlier version of Perugino and then frogged. So I took a basin of water, dipped each tassel and then sort of smoothed it down a bit.

The tassels will be lovely when they are stitched on to Perugino's points. For now, am I alone in thinking there's something slightly horrible about them? Like dead moths or some other sort of insect. Dry, light and brittle-looking. Maybe it's just me being weird.

Now, this:

Rainbow Spa Slippers

These have been in the finishing basket for ages and ages because they needed some slipper bottoms. These were finally obtained from Get Knitted, so I sewed them on this weekend.

Now I have slippers! Yay!

PNB Sweater

As if all that achievement were not enough...

The front and back of the PNB sweater are blocking. Rolled up at the side there you can also see two sleeves, with their raglans reknitted for a nice, smooth edge.

A very good knitting weekend, I think you'll agree. Now I feel more than justified in starting a new WIP - while wearing my slippers.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Other possible contenders.

While the PNB Sweater speeds towards completion and I'm thinking about what to make next, here are three more of the ideas on my mind.

Left to right:

  • Blue Zip Jacket in Bergere de France Chantilly. I'm swatching for this, rather slowly, and searching for a zip and the right shade of cotton 4-ply to use as trim.

  • Bay Sweater in Rowan Kidsilk Haze. Those blue and green stripes are really doing it for me. I would alter the neckline to something plainer. I've been meaning to make this for a long time; Sven bought me some of the yarn for my birthday last year.

  • Myrna Sweater in Bergere de France Ideal. Ideal is a yarn I'm going to sub on this pattern. I am thinking about doing this in a deep wine colour for the lower part of the body, then the bolero-shaped top half in scarlet, or maybe just with a scarlet stripe. Very retro.

Finally, this is the other zip-up jacket I was telling you about:

  • Pink Zip Jacket in Malva. I am swatching and swatching with different shades of 4-ply cotton. I'll show you soon. It's really going to be a great jacket.

OK, I think I really have confessed all my desires now. So: which to choose?

Friday, June 22, 2007

What to make next?

Suddenly I'm making quite rapid progress on the one remaining WIP, the Phildar Nautical Button Sweater. It's time to decide what to make next. Here are some past and present favourites that I could start straight away.

Clockwise, from top left:
  • Grandiflora Shawl in RYC Soft Lux. This is a UFO so I'd feel good about completing it. It's another lace shawl, which might be a bit much after only just finishing with Perugino. It has an unofficial deadline of Xmas, so there's not a big rush. If I did take it up, I might restart it from scratch as I was unhappy with the tension on the piece already knitted.
  • Tammy Blue/Brown Sweater in Rowan Cotton Tape. This is another UFO. I realised today that something strange happened a while ago. There I was knitting Tammy, a blue'n'brown cotton sweater, and Grandiflora, a large lace shawl. Then I was suddenly seduced by the lure of the new and dropped my projects to make - a blue'n'brown cotton sweater (PNB Sweater) and a large lace shawl (Perugino). Go figure. I'm quite motivated to finish Tammy as it's right for summer weather and I still really like it, but do I really want to knit this and the PNB Sweater at the same time? I think not. Too many blue'n'brown stripes.
  • Yellow Kitsch Sweater in Rowan Cotton Tape. On the Plans list. I love this sweater and it's just right for summer, but I would feel a bit guilty starting it when Tammy is not finished.
  • Still Sweater in Rowan Calmer. A new entry into the charts. Rowan Calmer is 75% cotton and 25% microfibre. Cool for summer. An exciting shape. I have a kit to knit this in red.
  • Simple Knitted Bodice in Tilli Tomas silk. Oh, I want to make this. I can't decide on the sleeve length I want, nor on the colour, given a choice between silver and zingy lime green. The yarn is the most luxurious in my collection and I've been putting off using it, for fear of screwing it up.
  • Pure Sweater in RYC Bamboo Soft. 100% bamboo. I have a kit to knit this in the charcoaly colour you see in the picture.

I would be happy if I could choose one of these. Don't get me wrong, there are other things I want to make. There are two zip-up jackets I'm swatching for, and that lovely pink Bali bamboo crying to be used, but we'll talk about those another day.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Perugino in post-production.

The Knitting Tree is festooned with tassels, which marks a momentous occasion. The Perugino Throw has finally made it off the WIP list and into the Finishing Basket. The 23 tassels hanging from the tree will be blocked at the same time as the throw, and then stitched on to its points when it is dry.

I might get a chance to do some blocking this weekend, and I aspire to clear the rest of my Finishing Basket at the same time, now there are three items in it.

What's especially exciting about Perugino making it to the Finishing Basket is that now I can nominate something else to go on my WIP list. I will continue to knit on my socks and PNB sweater while I ponder the delicious dilemma: which project will it be? Tammy? Grandiflora? Something from the Plans list? Or will something completely unexpected enter the game? Don't miss the next exciting instalment to find out.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Back of the PNB sweater is done

This week, New York, and the back of a sweater.

My calculations didn't work out quite as planned. I knit 44 rows of raglan but I ended up with a piece about 2cm short. It is entirely my own fault for not measuring the row gauge more carefully. I ripped back and worked out that I needed to knit 50 rows to get to the right length. This is including 20 rows of decreasing 1st at each end. If I'd wanted to be really, perfectly accurate, I would have calculated how to do this every 2.5 rows, to be sure of producing a perfectly smooth slope on the raglan. However, I was still taking short-cuts so I took the simpler strategy of decreasing on every knit row *except* for on three of those knit rows, which I distributed evenly throughout all the knit rows available. In other words, on every fifth knit row, or thereabouts, I just didn't decrease. This means there are 'blocks' of about 3 rows where no decreasing is happening which doesn't make for such a perfectly smooth line on the raglan edge, but I think it can be teased into position when I stitch on the straps and block it.

So there we have it. A sweater back with an acceptable, if not perfect. raglan edge. The back is exactly the required size: 52cm high, of which 16cm are raglan, and 20cm wide at the top on 37sts.

While I was ripping back and reknitting the raglan on this thing, I tried out a few methods of decreasing. Here's the formula I finally decided on. Left-leaning decrease: k1, ssk. Right-leaning decrease: k2tog, k1. This seems to be the method that produces the most similar appearance of the outer-edge stitches on each side of the work.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Phildar Nautical Button Sweater: Raglan Shaping

It's been a slow knitting week because I've been on my travels again. Paris, Barcelona and finally Hamburg, which as you can see here has a great lake in the middle.

Despite the relentless work schedule, I have been knitting the back of the PNB Sweater. Here's a photo of it earlier this evening when I was getting ready to start the raglan shaping. With some trepidation, I measured it, and guess what, it's a perfect 36cm in length.

As you'll recall, we're pretty much rewriting this pattern from scratch because the measurements and instructions in the original are so terribly wrong. So it was time to do a few calculations for the raglan shaping.


  • Row 1: K: Cast off 3 sts and knit to end of row (82sts)
  • Row 2: P: Cast off 3 sts and purl to end of row (79 sts)
  • Then continue in st st until 42 rows are complete, decreasing by 1 st at EE of each K row.

Row 43: K: Cast off 39 sts.

This should yield a raglan piece that is 16cm high and 20cm wide at the cast-off row. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Perugino: Tassels

We're into the last 10% of Perugino. I had to divide the remaining yarn - random balls in 6 varieties - into amounts I could divide into 23. It took longer than I thought, but there was a good reason.

We have to make 23 tassels to sew on the ends of Perugino. I can't decide whether to sew them on before or after blocking everything. Maybe after.