Sunday, September 30, 2007

Picture links should now be working again.

A note about Blogger: I finally discovered the bug that makes the clickable picture links not work. I am rapidly learning to blog in html. Thanks for your patience, and please do try the links to check they work.

Secret project unveiled: Diana Bag

So, here's the story. The other day, my mum pointed out that it is my sister's birthday this weekend and invited me to a family dinner. It was my own birthday recently and my sister bought me a beautiful purse. As you know I am at work nearly all the time so I have no time to do any sort of shopping that's not online. I needed to come up with a good present for her. Then I remembered that in my stash I had three balls of Glimmer Print in hot pink, which I bought with her in mind last year. I set about making her a Diana bag. The pattern featured in the Rowan support book for Glimmer Print: 'A Midas Touch'.

Here it is, resting on the ironing board yesterday lunchtime. I was still sewing in the lining, but it was time to get the train to Birmingham so I had to do some 'nearly finished' shots.


Isn't that lovely. I've never worked with fabric before, and indeed I've never made a bag before, so I'm just coming to appreciate the appeal of both.

Here's the front. Those scrolls on the front are made from single crochet chains, same as the plaited handle. You can see the lining is still sticking out at the front in this shot. I stitched it to the edge of the bag on the train, on the way to dinner.

At the restaurant, my mum expertly sewed on the press stud between courses. Thanks, mum.

My sister models the finished product. Happy birthday, sis!

And the job's a good 'un.

In other news: I'm still trying to complete Clara's Baby Surprise Jacket. Wanna see the buttons?





I'm going to try and visit Clara soon, so I'm keen to finish this.

I actually did finish off the Purple Basketweave Socks (links in the archives), and handed them over to my dad. He co-operatively modelled them for me under the table :-)

They fit, so that's great.

And that's all today's knitting news!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Secret New Project

There's a new WIP coming, and the deadline is soon. The very next post, it'll be a FO and I'll show you photos. For the meantime, it's secret so I can't show you anything more than the yarn.


I need to work on it right now. It's coming soon.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Baby Surprise Jacket suddenly reappears

As you may remember, I had to consign Clara's Baby Surprise Jacket to the UFO pile when I ran out of one of the yarns I was using: Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran in a shade of teal that turned out to be discontinued. Nobody seemed to have more. I was pleased this week, then, when a little parcel of the right stuff finally arrived in the post (two different suppliers within a day of each other, actually).

I got up yesterday (Saturday) morning, excited to restart the project. The BSJ is truly a mystery in its engineering. It is, of course, the Elizabeth Zimmerman classic that is knit all in one piece, in a very strange shape, and then miraculously folds up into a baby jacket. The last time you saw it, it looked like a sea monster: http://beelzebubknits.blogspot.com/2007/08/is-it-sea-monster-no-its-bsj.html and it continued to look like one the whole time I was knitting it on Saturday morning.

Because when you're knitting a BSJ for the first time it's near-impossible to see how the strange octopus/jellyfish you're making is ever going become a garment, it's a totally compulsive project. Although I had other plans for Saturday, as the day wore on, I had to keep knitting and knitting, growing the fabric, desperate to reach the point where I could see how it was going to work. Let me tell you, that moment of insight did not come until the garment was finally cast off the needles five hours later - and lo! It magically folded into place.

Here it is, sans any finishing or buttons or whatnot, fresh off the needles:


There is nothing better than a garment rescued from the lost world of the UFOs. There's now only one UFO outstanding: Imken's socks - and I could finish those today if I could tear myself away from Ravelry (thanks to Angel Yarns for sending me some extra yarn to finish the job).

Of course, when I do finish Imken's socks I'll then have four items sitting in the Finishing Basket which means I have to stop knitting my big projects for a bit and get the sewing needles out. I'm trying to look at it as an opportunity to get good at finishing!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ravelry

Beelzebub has joined Ravelry. I'm just taking a quick look around the site now for the first time. It looks huge, beautiful, impressively functional. I'm a member of the Angel Yarns group. Come and look me up on http://www.ravelry.com/people/Beelzebub

Sunday, September 16, 2007

In which Beelzebub rises & knits on

Thank you, kind readers, for your well wishes. I did not like being away from my computer for so long, but I am delighted to report that we are now back on the air, so let's get straight on with a knitting news update. How are all those September WIPs coming along?

Green Silk Happiness (StitchDiva Simple Knitted Bodice)
Soon after we last spoke of this, I frogged most of it due to it being too large. I frogged it right back to the point before where the garment joins under the bust. Frogging was a total 'mare. The sequinned yarn absolutely hated being frogged and I ended up shredding the bottom hem to get it undone. The lace panel around the middle came undone a bit more easily, thankfully. At the bust line, I had to make a decision. Was I going to frog back even further and basically reknit the whole top in Size 1 instead of Size 2? (Pros: would narrow the potentially flappy arms. Cons: the sleeves might end up too tight under the armpit.). In the end, I decided not to frog back any more. I joined the garment in front under the bust. Then I knit a round in which I reduced my stitch count by a massive 28 stitches to bring it down to the required number for Size 1. And I'm now knitting the lace panel again on that, smaller number of stitches.


You can't really see the shape of it here because it's compressed on a short circular needle, but I've tried it on and I hope & believe it's going to be a lovely shape. The version I just frogged was too shapeless and sack-like. I think that Mark II is going to gather noticeably under the bust and go all clingy around the waist until I put the darts in on the lower panel. Va-va-voom.


Central Park Hoodie
This is coming along really well, I've just completed a sleeve. I can't believe I used to be scared of cables. They are really no effort and what a dramatic effect!


I've started the second sleeve today and I'm just past the ribbing.


Perugino II
This is making super progress, and what lovely fabric it's yielding. This is so much quicker and easier than the first one, it makes me ponder the merits of knitting everything twice.


Don't tell anyone but I have a kit for a third one in my desk at work.


Basil in Rowan Summer Tweed
During the slow recuperation from illness that has characterised the last couple of days, I needed something very, very simple to knit. Simpler than socks, even. Something that didn't require me to count, think or even look much at what I was doing. Well, in my knitting room lurked some rather lovely Rowan Summer Tweed in a shade exactly like popcorn. It's 70% silk, the rest is wool and it's very textured, not a super-soft fibre at all. It's got personality though, and with a texture like string it's dead easy to work with by touch instead of sight.


And here's what I'm making. It's 'Basil' from the Summer Tweed pattern support book.


An ultra-simple, plain V-neck sweater in stocking stitch. There isn't even any ribbing on the cuffs, that's how minimal it is. It is perfect no-brainer knitting. Of course, now I'm feeling a little better I want something more challenging again, but this will do perfectly for times when I am tired or under the weather and want something easy.


Sock News

Sven's Arsenal socks are coming along. There has been a lot of measuring and trying on. I think we are finally there with the sizing now. The only thing that troubles me is that I know I cast on 64 stitches, so how did I have 66 stitches when I got to the end? It is driving me a bit mad because I want to know the exact spec to use for Sven's socks in future. And because I now have to knit another sock exactly the same as this:


Ian's rainbow socks are doing well, they are my new travelling socks and now I'm back at work they'll get at least a couple of rows each day as I travel between home and office.




First Sweater for DS
Well, clearly I don't need any more WIPs but let's add an item to the Plans list just for fun. The sweater you see below is called Edan and it's in Rowan's new Pure Wool pattern book. I'm actually going to be knitting it in RYC Cashsoft DK, in a shade called Poppy. Nice pattern, isn't it? I am excitedly waiting for the yarn to arrive. I am happy to add this sweater to the WIP list as it'll be the first that my DS has let me make him. Having seen me knit a few nice items for myself, he finally conceded that he would like a sweater and approved this pattern. He chose the yarn himself from Rowan shade cards so I'm as sure as I can be that he's going to be happy with it. Not being married to my BF, I obviously observe the Sweater Curse (and in any case it's his own mum's privilege to knit for him) so I have been aching to knit a sweater for my DS and I'm thrilled that he's finally on board with the idea. I'll show you the yarn as soon as it arrives.

Also coming up next time: I'll show you some Lorna's Laces sock yarn and some sock patterns to make your mouth water. Until then ......

Friday, September 14, 2007

Beelzebub has been ill

Friends, I am sorry not to have posted for ten long days. I have been as sick as a dog, unable to rise from my bed. Today is my first day back at work, and thank goodness it's Friday. Normal blogging service will be resumed this weekend with lots of lovely yarn to show you. Thanks for your patience until then!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Casting On

It is a good thing I have some time off work this week. I try to knit to a schedule and the start of September has ushered in both Perugino II and Central Park Hoodie, other WIPs and UFOs notwithstanding. Let's take a look at how they're both doing.
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Perugino II
This yarn is gorgeous. I loved making Perugino I because of the great variety of colours and textures in the six hand-dyed Colinette yarns it used - it turned out to be such a beautiful and dramatic throw that I simply had to make another. Now, while Perugino I was all about bloody reds, bluish purples & apricot pinks, Perugino II is another colour story altogether. Look at these babies:

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L-R: Mohair, Giotto (silky ribbon), Mohair, Tagliatelli (soft cotton tape), Mohair, Giotto.
Once again, these colours have me absolutely entranced. This is the Woodland colourway, chosen by the recipient, Brafia. It's not the colourway I would have chosen for myself, so once again I've had the amazing experience of being convinced by Colinette that you shouldn't say you don't like any colour until you've seen it expressed in their yarn. Last time, when making Perugino I, I liked the ribbon yarns best, but this time the mohair has me completely under its spell. That olive green you see on the far left is actually many colours on close inspection, some of them gold. It's sumptuous, there's no other word for it. And the brown mohair, which I thought would be chestnut, is actually the colour of hot cocoa with swirls of whipped cream floating in it. It's like knitting a fluffy chocolate cloud. I am in love.
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Central Park Hoodie

Oh, this is going to be really lovely. Check out my swatch.

Isn't that just rather scrumptious. I resisted cables for a long time because I don't aspire to that 'weekend in the country' look (you know the sort of thing: hairdo like the Queen, headscarf, waxed jacket, green wellies, cable sweater). Then I saw the Central Park Hoodie pattern and realised that cables are not limited to traditional ganseys: they can adorn more urban garments, too. Finally, I discovered RYC's Soft Lux, a highly camp yarn: heavy pink wool with a fine gold metallic thread twisted through it. I realised that the conspicuously frivolous appearance of this yarn could be just the right antidote to the personality of the Cable, which has a tendency to take itself too seriously. I think this swatch, recognisable as the beginning of a sleeve, shows what I'm on about. In a more natural shade, this could be the beginning of a really dull, worthy sweater that wouldn't cause a stir at Balmoral. In in sparkly pink'n'gold, the cable is transformed into something much more lighthearted and we have the start of a garment that you could play dress-up in. Barbie meets Prince Charming. .

I was prepared for gauge issues on this project, as the pattern calls for 17sts to 4" and the yarn wants to do it in 19sts. When making this swatch/sleeve, I shifted up a needle size, from 5mm to 6mm, to see if I could get gauge of 17sts on slightly bigger pins. It worked perfectly for getting the right horizontal, stitch gauge, so I pressed on and knit most of the rest of this sleeve. When I got to the part about shaping the top of the sleeve, I realised my vertical, row gauge was out. The knitting is too big, basically. So - I was philosophical about the fact that this was only ever a swatch, and restarted. I'm going to try 5.5mm needles and see if that works. I'd better not go all the way down to 5mm as I'll definitely take the stitch gauge back up to 19 if I do.

I'll let you know how I get on.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Slow Progress & Fresh Starts

It is a strange old time. I have WIPs that I am aching to finish, yarn shortages, things destined for the frog pond, and new, challenging projects urgently pressing.


Stalled Projects


Baby Surprise Jacket:

I'm so frustrated that I haven't finished this for Clara's birthday. As you know, I ran out of teal Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran yarn and it is at a standstill. Very sadly, I am relegating it to a UFO for the time being. Now I'm wondering if I can quickly whip something else up for Clara in the meantime.


Green Silk Happiness

Take a look at this, before it hits the frog pond:

I am actually still in love with this project, and my willingness to frog most of what you see here is a sign of my affection. On the plus side, the sequinned panel looks great, and so does the 'watery' effect of the changing shades of green on the lower panel. On the minus side, it has absolutely no shaping at the waist and is a size too large. So I am going to frog all the way back to where it joins in front under the bust. I don't really mind doing this because I treasure the yarn and I want to make something worthy with it. The only part that bothers me is that I wanted to have this finished by now so I could get on with other things. Never mind. It will just have to sit on the WIP list and plod along in its own time.



Fresh, New, Sexy Projects


Perugino II

Yes, I am delighted to reveal that there is going to be a Perugino II. As you'll recall, the original was full of vibrants purples, reds & pinks. This one is going to be all about forest greens & chestnut browns. Very Exciting. I haven't unpacked the yarn yet but I will start it this week and show you the photos as soon as.


Central Park Hoodie

An impulsive new entry. I don't know too much about cables, but I really want to make one of these:

In a fit of enthusiasm, I started a mini-KAL with one of my online friends, and today is the designated start day. I am preparing to swatch.

This lovely cabled hoodie is knit to a gauge of 17sts to 4". The yarn I want to use is RYC Soft Lux, which comes with a recommended gauge of 19sts. I'm hoping it'll be OK; we'll have to see what the swatch looks like.

It should use about 10 balls of Soft Lux, I guesstimate.

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Fair Isle Socks

Another mini-KAL is happening. I am utterly entranced by the Fair Isle sock designs of Red Bird Knits and I have to make some, and so I accidentally started another mini-KAL. I have two pairs of plain vanilla socks OTN, so I figure if I finish one of those really fast, then I'll have spare capacity to allocate to a pair of these extraordinary socks.

So there you go. All change for September.