Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Year Sparkles

Well, Christmas is over and we are almost into 2014 so it certainly is time to take stock of the massive pile of works in progress that are lurking under my dining table.

  • Margot's Rainbow Blanket. This is a crochet project. I am gradually improving at crochet, getting faster and with more even tension. I've made 19 squares and I think I need another 16 so we are doing OK. I did a lot of work on this while visiting relatives over Xmas.

  • Victoria Cardigan in my favourite Louisa Harding Mila yarn in green.

  • The yellow Maria sweater with the orange frills is still in the finishing basket and needs to be sewn up.
  • The blue Flock of Geese shawl remains an early-stage work in progress. I hoped to wear this shawl this winter but I think I've missed the boat. Maybe can complete this for next winter.
  • The red Merlot shrug is still a work in progress and is another Christmassy garment that can be worn in 2014. I am just starting to realise how much I like sparkly yarn, I use it in nearly everything apparently. It's only the baby blanket that doesn't have added bling.
  • Oh look, even more sparkles, quelle surprise. Apparently I have started making a Persephone sweater using Rowan Glimmer Print.

  • The purple Eddard socks are still in the finishing basket, they just need the toes sewing up.
  • The blue Beauty bolero hasn't made any progress since last time.
  • Ha ha, this is getting beyond a joke now. It seems that I have started making a Baby Surprise Jacket in Patons Flower Garden, a yarn that is widely reviled for its synthetic and sparkly qualities.

  • The pink Ocean Sweater is in the finishing basket, waiting to be sewn together.
  • The Edith lace scarf is going to be beautiful but has barely got off the ground and needs more attention than I have time.
  • The heavy cotton Kitsch sweater is still in the finishing basket, if I complete it, it will be great for spring. It looks like I am half way through attaching the neck band.
  • The pink Rosa sweater is still in progress.
  • The Wollemeise Colourful Top looks like it is still in the finishing basket.

I think that's it. Finishing basket: 5 items. Works in progress: 9 items.

Remind me not to start anything new until we have those 14 projects dealt with.

... wait. There's a 15th project. The Jalapeno cotton summer top that I've been making since 2010. Maybe if I can get this done I could wear it this summer (laughs hysterically).

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Crochet Rainbow Blanket

I am attempting to crochet a version of this rather beautiful Rainbow Blanket for a friend's baby. I'm using DK weight yarn so the squares are a little larger than in the original. I'm going to make 35 squares at first, arrange them in a 5 x 7 format and see how it looks. I can always add more squares as needed.

55 Christmas Balls To Knit by Arne & Carlos

For a while now I've been interested in knitted Xmas decorations. Not that I am particularly crazy for Xmas but once in a while I enjoy making handcrafted gifts in a large batch. As you'll recall, one year I did hats for everyone, another year I did those washcloth & soap sets. So I was thinking that maybe one of these years I will knit a bunch of Xmas decs and everyone can have two or three. That being the case, I've been looking out for nice patterns and this book has by far the nicest and most tasteful ones I've ever seen. The photography is also lovely and the authors seem adorable.


I am not supposed to be buying yarn. At all. Nonetheless, I had a slight accident in John Lewis the other day.

Louisa Harding Sari Ribbon. I adore this stuff. I've never figured out exactly what to do with it but I just love it for existing. So pretty. 90% polyamide, 10% metal. Pink sparkly ribbon, what's not to like. 8mm needles, 120m, 100g.

Noro Cyochin. 86% wool, 7% mohair, 7% silk. Thick and soft. I love the colours. I wish I had bought two skeins. I will have to make a skinny scarf. It needs 5 to 5.5mm needles and I have 180m, 100g.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Beauty Bolero

While I am resurrecting things from hibernation ... I don't know if I've ever posted about the Beauty Bolero. Here is what it is supposed to look like.

It was in Knitting magazine 80, which was published back in 2010, but handily you can buy the pattern and I think a kit as well from Purl Alpaca Designs.

I started this in February 2012. I knit the lower back panel, as seen here.

Then I stalled. You are supposed to knit the upper back by picking up a bunch of stitches along that top edge. I couldn't make the maths work so as to get the number of stitches just right on my first try, and I didn't want to mangle the knitting by picking up stitches in the wrong place too many times. So I just stalled. For over a year.

I picked up this project a few minutes ago and went across the top row just winging it, trying to pick up stitches evenly along the top edge and hoping for the best. I came in about 10% short of the desired goal. So on the return row I picked up extra stitches at even intervals until I got to the right total. Bingo. No problem. I just let that project sit in a bag for 16 months and that was all that needed doing.


Almost exactly three years ago, on 13 June 2010, I suddenly decided that the Rosa sweater I was half way through knitting was going to be too small. I decide to frog it and that I would have to begin again from scratch, in the absence of any evidence that a 36" sweater would not fit my 36" chest. I was just panicking because it looked small next to the large Central Park Hoodie I was also making at the time.

I'm really glad I just chucked it in a bag and didn't unravel it, because I'm blocking it now and I can't see anything wrong with it. It looks fine. I think I'm just going to carry on.

A reminder of what we are making:

Maria's sleeves

A gratuitous picture of the frilly sleeves on my Mila Maria sweater, just because they are pretty. I have four new jumpers now in the finishing basket. If I block them and sew them up, I can wear them.

Flock of Geese swatches

I did several swatches for the Flock of Geese shawl because, while I like the colour of that blue Cascade wool, I strongly felt that it needed a decorative border.

I tried holding the yarn together with the cream Debbie Bliss silk that I showed you. But the yarns are too different in weight and texture. They didn't hold together well. Had I continued, that cream yarn would have left endless loops hanging, ready to get caught on things. The silk yarn is so pretty, though, and eventually became the newly-started Edith Scarf that I was just telling you about.

Then I tried it with some blue Noro Hotaru. I rejected this option because it makes the Hotaru look boring and conservative, and it deserves better.

Tried it with some white Patons Flower Garden (I know, I am tacky and I have no taste). Rejected this option as too pastoral. I'm not a flower fairy. Also it was a bit too summery, this is going to be quite a heavy wool shawl and not just for hot weather. So I unravelled it yet again.

At last, a combination I'm happy with. Fluffy white mohair. The effect is slightly feathery and actually does remind me of the wings of a bird. All I have to do now is keep going and try not to make mistakes because like everything else I ever make, it's a pain to un-knit.

I didn't know this until just the other day, but I've heard that a problem with triangular shawls is that the points don't hang straight, they go curly. So I might have inadvertently done the right thing putting a relatively stiff and heavy border on.

Edith Scarf

This is a new project (I know, I know).

I became interested in shawls and shawl patterns while working on the Flock of Geese shawl, of which more in a moment. This led me to the Edith shawl which is a free pattern courtesy of Lion Brand and looks like this, and is here.

At first I tried it in this chunky Galaxy yarn. It is a Noro-esque colour, it is soft and it has sequins, what's not to like. OK, well not everyone likes sequins, and it is acrylic, but apart from that.

Sadly, although I like the yarn, I don't think this pattern is good for it. I just didn't like the way it was working out.

So then I thought I would go down in gauge and up in quality, from chunky acrylic to some cream DK weight silk (Pure Silk by Debbie Bliss) that I scooped up for practically nothing in a sale a few years ago and have been saving. I think this is a very attractive pattern and doing it in a more delicate yarn in a neutral colour will yield a much nicer result. So I will show more photos as they happen.

Pink Ocean Sweater hits the finishing basket.

Body and sleeves. Done and done.

Kitsch, now with sleeves.

Still needs a collar adding but all the big knitting is done. That was on my to-knit list for years.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Flock of Geese Shawl

OK, so because I don't have enough knitting projects on the go already.

I'm thinking of making a Flock of Geese shawl out of two skeins of Cascade 220.

I'm a bit obsessed with shawls, all of a sudden. I seriously thought that I had no use for them and then I realised that I own a shawl that I wear all the time when going out in the evening in summer! It's a triangular wool/cashmere number that I bought a year or two ago from Marks & Spencer. I love it, it is useful, it's easy to carry when you're not wearing it, you can drape it however you want around your body, etc. I'm slightly stunned that I was wearing and enjoying this garment while persisting in the belief that I don't wear shawls.

My M&S shawl is mushroom colour, which is a good neutral shade but I have plenty of yarn and a lot of shawls are quite easy, if large, knitting projects. If I had a couple of shawls in other colours, I would wear those too. That's why I'm continuing to browse patterns even though this one is kinda underway.


Merlot is annoying. The resulting knitted fabric is just lovely, the pattern is cute, the instructions are simple. It is just so damn fiddly. You really have to look and concentrate on what you're doing. I think I am going to try and do a set number of rows on this each day in the hope that that will help me eventually reach the end. I think this project may also have contributed to my suddenly knitting 3 other sweaters, all in quite chunky yarn.


This is another sweater for which I've had the yarn and pattern stashed since 2005. I am so glad I finally got around to making it! I think this explains all the knitting I've done recently. Suddenly, my stash is bothering me. I want to see it transformed into something. So yes. Here's the pattern I have in mind, I think it's by Lois Daykin, it was in Rowan magazine, the summer edition for that year.

The pattern:

Cotton Tape is quite a heavy yarn, you knit it on 7mm needles. This makes for quick progress. Here you see the back and front completed. I've also finished knitting the sleeves since this photo was taken, so that's another item for the Finishing Basket.

Ocean Sweater

I've had this yarn and pattern since 2005. Seemed like it was time to do something with it.


Yarn. Ocean is a very light, synthetic, ribbon yarn.

I've made the back of the sweater, it took no time and was ideal holiday knitting as it is very lightweight, contains no wool or natural fibres and thus was resistant to things like sun, sand and even sun lotion.

Mila Maria

That orange and yellow Louisa Harding yarn I was excited about. I knit that into a sweater so fast. It's in pieces, in the finishing basket.

Colourful Top

I haven't sewed this together yet but I have blocked it and joined the shoulder seams, so we're almost there.

Eddard Socks

The Eddard socks are complete, they just need the toes grafting together and closure of those little holes that you always get where the heel flap separates from the instep. I will get the recipient to try them on for size before doing that.

This was a nice pattern to knit. I might even make another pair. I now realise that I didn't interpret the instructions for the cables exactly the way the author intended. It was only a small difference that isn't at all detectable by looking at these socks, but I thought I might knit another pair anyway to see how it comes out when you are doing it properly.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Four sweaters and a pair of socks

Erm, yeah. Since we last spoke, there has been some knitting.

Full details in a moment.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


This is making progress, it's a lot of fun to knit. Not quick though because the bobbles slow you down. I can see it's going to require quite a lot of knitting to complete the whole garment.

Eddard Socks

These are slowly coming along. I need to get on with them and stop being distracted by Merlot. I really hope I haven't made a mistake about what row I'm on. I am not that great at reading knitted fabric when it is cables.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Louisa Harding Mila

I am a little bit obsessed with this new yarn. It's 91% cotton and 9% polyester. Gauge 18 sts and 26 rows, 5mm needles. It is soft and has a ply of golden sparkly stuff in it. It looks like sweets. I am obsessed with the colours and the gold sparkle. I have a few balls in yellow and orange. Look at this.

 And now look at the pattern support. I can't stop looking at this pattern book. I keep looking at that red, orange and pink sweater which is nearly identical to the red, orange and pink Colourful Top that I've almost finished making, which just shows what a creature of habit I am.

I am seriously thinking about making that top there with the frilly hem and sleeves. Seriously. I think it is because the yarn is frivolous and therefore it seems to need a frivolous design to show it off. I am thinking about making it in yellow with orange trim. It will either be awful and tacky or amazing. I think I'm willing to take a chance on it. I'm desperate to see how it knits up.