Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Timeless classics

Not much to report today. I was a good Bee and spent most of the evening packing. Got most of my books boxed up now. I came across two old craft books from the 1970s. One is the first in a 120 (! - don't worry, I don't have the rest) volume series of craft books from 1978 called Stitch by Stitch, and the other is a copy of Vogue Crochet (how to crochet + patterns) from 1972.

Now, either I'm more attuned to styles from the early 70s rather than the late 70s, or there really is a reason why Vogue is so timeless!

I want to make almost every single pattern from the Vogue book - from the suit to the dress to the shawl to it all! Shame I can't crochet - and don't worry, I'm not planning to get a new obsession just yet.

Unfortunately virtually every pattern in the Stitch by Stitch book is very dated - I quite honestly couldn't make anything (knit, crochet or sewn) without adjusting it in some way.

I will certainly look out for a Vogue Knitting book in charity shops. I know that some designers I've seen online have had patterns in Vogue - makes me hopeful that patterns I'm attracted to now also won't date.

Anyway. I'm off to bed soon. I broke from packing to watch Lost, and I carried on with my Sonnet sleeves while watching - halfway done now at least. Still have no Denise needles, and I don't know what to take with me to knit at the weekend when I travel... Decisions decisions.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Technical Bee!

I have managed - flookily on the first attempt - to add a set of links in my side bar. I've put 'Completed Projects' in there, as a way to keep them all [two] of my, well, achievements together.

I've also had to turn on word-verification for comments. I was quite disappointed when I received 5 comments - my first ever! - in quick succession to find out they were spam. It's a bit of a faff, but saves me from disappointment ;)


I just couldn't help myself...

I had a stressful day at work, and did intend to do some packing when I got home. I kinda ended up knitting instead... and it wasn't even my Sonnet sleeves!

I decided to follow this pattern to knit a baby gnome! It took me 4 hours from start to finish.

When I was halfway through I mentioned to Mr Bee on the phone that I was knitting a gnome, my mum overheard and said she wanted one. So I gave it to her but I do have to say I don't think she's very impressed. She says it's a clown and she wants me to sew a face onto it. To be honest I think it will look scary with a face!

I was able to use up 2 of my tiny balls of wool that I had when I unravelled everything I knitted [crappily] as a kid, so it was good to put them to a fun use.

And here we have a picture of the cute little thing (before it gets a scary face). Unfortunately the pictures really don't do it justice, and the angle I used makes the hat look a little odd. I switched colours after the brim, and used the colour change to make a little pattern - but in the pics it just looks a little like a mistake! But I can assure you he's very well co-ordinated in the flesh ;)

A picture of my baby gnome

Now for some reason the colour is a little screwed... The body is coming across as orange, when in fact it was pink. I did use orange scraps of fabric for the stuffing in the body, so maybe that's what the camera is picking up on.

Another gnomey picture

Here it is against a different background - not much difference, I just couldn't decide which picture to use :P


Monday, August 29, 2005

My knitting knowledge Increases!

I finished the body of the Sonnet cardigan today :) It's been a productive Bank Holiday weekend - I also read the book I took with me and did heaps and heaps of laundry ready for packing. I've now started on the Sonnet sleeves. Following a hint in Stitch'n'Bitch Nation, I'm knitting both sleeves at the same time, on the same needles, with separate balls of wool. This means I can keep track of everything, and also that once I finished one sleeve I don't need to do the whole process again!

It has meant I've had to learn to increase! Not at all as hard as I expected, once I got the hang of it. I started off trying the Bar Increase, but screwed it up the first time. So then I switched to Make One Increase and that worked just fine. I'll try bar increasing on my practice knitting.

In other news I've tried the needle gague on all the needles I have from my grandmothers. Their needles all have the old British sizing on them - such a dumb system. It *started* at size 14 (=2mm), so by the time you're up to 8mm you're on size 0, 9mm = 00, 10mm = 000 !!! Crazy.

Disappointingly, most of the DPNs are size 2.5mm - over 15 of them are that size!!! So I shall certainly need to purchase some DPNs for making Tempting. I'll check out my gague on the Denise needles first before I order any. My Denise needles haven't arrived - unsurprisingly since I don't think there have actually been any working days since I ordered them - but dammit! I'm impatient ;)


Sunday, August 28, 2005

A Knitting Friend's Gifts!

Figg, who taught me to purl, has a blog too - KnitFigg.

She also made some fantastic things for me!

First off, these amazing slippers:

Finally, an excuse for me to wear odd socks! :D I believe this pattern is from craftster.

And my kitties have a new toy too... This toy mouse is from the pattern in Stitch'n'Bitch Nation, and in the first picture is shown next to a - clearly inferior - shop-bought mouse.

And here we have the mouse in action, modelled by the lovely Cleo:


Some Tempting Links

As soon as I saw the Tempting pattern on Knitty I knew I wanted to make it. I have the wool, and hopefully the circular needles are being delivered this week. I also bought a needle gauge yesterday, so I can check out just what size all my grandmothers' double-pointed needles are (and hopefully I'll have the right size!).

Anyway. The pattern claims to be 'mellow', or easy. Yet when I read it through I just don't get the instructions for the sleeves. While browsing another blog I came across a link to a knitalong for a different pattern... I thought this was a great idea so I searched for some Tempting knitalongs (KALs).

Here's the first I found on I don't usually go on craftster - far too, well, Tempting! (Today the first consignment of things I'm moving arrived - my 3 crates of fabric and an A3 paper box full of sewing patterns!).

The second link I found - should've looked here first really - was on the knitty forum.

Hopefully they will help me when I get to any tricky parts!


My first completed project - The Cosy Web

I now have pictures of my first creation :) I've been wearing it this weekend when it's been getting chilly, and it's so cosy! Even though the gauge is so loose and weblike, it still traps lots of air.

And here are some pictures...

Picture of my jumper 'Cosy Web'

I think the sleeves are tapered primarily because my casting off (the top of the sleeve) is tighter than my casting on (the lower edge). It is a baggy fit - my body is hidden somewhere under there!

The gauge (if I'm using the phrase in the correct way) is very loose and holey, which isn't quite coming over in the pictures. What appears to be white glare eminating from my chest is actually the white design on my black t-shirt that you can see through the fabric.

Another picture of my jumper 'Cosy Web'

And with this picture you can see that it can even pass as a dress! Although baggy it can still hug the figure.

I'm very proud of my first - self-designed! - knitted garment. I've named it the Cosy Web, as it is so cosy, and it's weblike (rather self-explanatory, huh?).


Friday, August 26, 2005

Quick! Somebody stop me...

Too late ;)

I just placed an order for a set of Denise Interchangeable Needles from The Woolly Workshop, one of only a handful of UK sites I could find selling them, and the best value for money. The set is £31.95, and postage is only £1.96.

I hope these needles are good. They certainly have rave reviews from Amy the editor of Knitty. I do need some circular needles - my existing pair are metal, with a metal cord which twists something rotten, and they're a bit rusty (they're my grandma's). I was planning to get some bamboo circulars from Dragon Yarns, as they have dragons on their website and will be relatively local once I move. However, at nearly £5 a pair it's much better value to get the Denise set. I need a 24" set and a 32" set for Tempting in size 5mm - I think. I don't currently have a set of 5mm needles, so if I bought some 5mms and then my gauge was off I'd have to buy more in a larger or smaller size. So it makes sense to get the interchangeable ones, with a stupidly high number of circular combinations for the price of 7. They do have a 33" rather than a 32" though - I do hope this won't be too much of a problem...

My order came to just under £34... And given that I've just spent £36+ on Within Temptation tickets I think I can justify it in the long run! It also means I can test out my gauge with those needles so I can get the right size of double pointed needles.

I'm going away for the weekend and I have packed my cardigan to knit on the train and while loafing around. I'll also be packing a book to read and make notes on... I wonder which I shall do more of. Hmmm...


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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A completed project!

I've just finished sewing together my blue-hued jumper, and it's come out really well! It is big and baggy, but not too big. And by accident I ended up with really nice neck shaping - while I was sewing the shoulder seams I obviously stretched the back seam taut without realising. This means that the front neck naturally dips lower and is very flattering. The neck hole is slightly tight - I can't just pull it over my head any ol' way, but I've decided not to biggen it in case it spoils the neckline.

All in all I am very glad I finished it: this is my first completed project! A real beginner's project - you can't get more simpler than 4 rectangles in garter knitting! But it still looks good.

Hopefully photos will follow...


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Knitting without a purpose after all?

I have begun to think that maybe I am knitting without a purpose after all. It's true I don't like to knit aimlessly anymore, unless I'm practising. I have no problems with knitting a sampler rectangle with a range of stitches, but the idea of starting a rectangle with no goal in mind no longer interests me. I like to think I now knit with a purpose.

But do I? The jumper is still unfinished. It is still a collection of rectangles. I'm sure it won't take more than an hour to stitch up, yet somehow I still don't find the time to do it. Instead I start knitting my next project: am I actually going to end up with a completed cardigan or just the body and sleeves?

I had thought that I enjoyed making new knitted garments, but is it just the process of knitting I like? I hope not. I hope this isn't just a fad and I shall end up with a dozen half-made items I end up pulling out in a few years. I'm hoping that the reason why I'm knitting more things is just because of the newness of the hobby.

As I wrote yesterday, I would like to get the jumper finished by the end of this week. I think part of the reason I haven't finished it yet is because it's going to be pretty shapeless! Maybe I just don't want to be let down ;)

In other news I think that I may well pull out the blue rectangle with the ghosts. I think I'd like to try armwarmers - a blue ghosty one and a green (from my existing stash) batty one. But... no more new projects until existing ones are finished!


Knitting with a purpose


~*~My Current Projects~*~

* Blue-hued webby jumper ~ just needs stitching together! I have a goal to finish it by the end of this week.
* Dove blue snowflake armwarmers ~ one is knit, the other is half knit. If I find more of the same wool I will finish the other one, sew them up and try them out. They may get pulled out, I'm not sure...
* Electric blue with ghosties ~ originally going to be a skirt, now I'm not so sure. I've made the front panel, but I'm using the rest of the wool for practising (while trying to knit the back panel I used metal needles instead of plastic - same size - yet ended up with a much tighter gauge). May well get pulled out...
* Blue/ grey Sonnet cardie ~ my current current project! See below:

The Sonnet cardie from I'm knitting this in Wendy Pampas mega chunky (takes 12mm needles). I'd bought the wool because I liked it, but didn't know what to do with it. I also had some new size 7mm bamboo needles. I looked around on the internet for patterns for this type of wool, but couldn't find anything. Eventually I came across this pattern - the beauty is that you decide the gauge! So I'm using the 'wrong' needles too. It's simple to increase and decrease with casting on and off, so hopefully it'll be a nice introduction to following a pattern too. Knit mainly in garter stitch, with some box stitch which I enjoy, and it's knit sideways. It's going to be jolly warm!

I knit the front panel at the weekend and ran out of wool. Mr Bee & I worked out how much more I'd need to buy and I went to pick some more up today. Annoyingly there were only 5 balls left - I think I need 6-7, and even more annoyingly those ball were made up of 2 different dyelots. And the shop aren't getting any more in. So I bought it all. I'm doing the back in the other dyelot and I'll hope no one notices ;) It is a common brand, and sold in most wool shops, but I can't guarantee they'll have the right dyelot, so I'll risk it.

I've done about half of the body now - it's relatively quick to knit up, especially as I'm still quite slow.

~*~My Future Projects~*~

* All the turquoise German wool ~ is going to be made into Tempting - another pattern. It's so beautiful. I need to get more circular needles though, so I shall wait until I've completed some other projects. I've done a sample swatch with the wool in a rib pattern and it's gorgeous.

And that, I believe for the moment, is that!

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Ah... A Knitting Blog.

I thought this was the ideal way to log my current obsession. Hopefully I can keep track - and on top of! - my wool* stash, and not start too many works in progess!

I have suddenly become obsessed with knitting. Every few years since the age of six or so I've picked up needles for a while, but quickly tire of knitting without a purpose. All I could do was rectangles in garter stitch, knit incredibly slowly, incredibly tightly, with very wobbly edges... A dear friend has been knitting for some time, and then a month or so ago, on the day of Live 8, Mr Bee finally let me go to Hobby Craft. Within those hallowed walls I was like a kid in a sweetshop. At first I managed to limit myself to a couple of packs of buttons, but then my eyes set upon the mezzanine floor... the knitting floor.

I decided upon an electric blue ball, and a dove blue Sirdar snowflake ball. I got the cheapest needles there - children's 4mm Pony needles, one red one yellow - with smiley faces on the ends. We went home and watched the concerts, and I began to knit an electric blue rectangle, knitting little ghost shaped buttons into it. I decided that this wasn't knitting without a purpose, this would be the front panel of a skirt.

When I finished this panel I moved onto the snowflake wool. Another rectangle... this would become an armwarmer. Unfortunately I ran out of wool before I finished the second armwarmer. On a hunt for more wool I found a giant cone of 'twizzle' wool for only 99p in blue hues. I thought the funnest thing to do with this wool would be to knit it on big needles, so I picked up a pair of 10mm. I began knitting another rectangle: this would be the front panel of a jumper - big, holey and webby from the thick needles and thin wool.

I finished this rectangle and made a further 3 - a back panel and sleeves. Currently they're hanging up awaiting seaming - the loose gauge means there's a lot of stretch and sag in the rectangles, so they need to hang fully before they're stitched together.

Then my friend visited and showed me how to purl, and her Stitch'n'Bitch book. I discovered that I do actually knit right-handed after all - as a lefty I've often turned down the help of others thinking that they can't help me properly. I was quite upset to discover I was knitting right-handed all this time. But I was thrilled to learn how to knit properly. I bought my own copy of S'n'B, and due to a mix up ended up with Stitch'n'Bitch Nation as well. Both books have nice patterns I hope to try soon.

I've bought more wool since. Two more cones of the blue hued twizzle (partly because it's cheap but partly as I'd like to make a blanket), a skein of Wendy shimmer in a similar colour combination to the twizzle, and some blue and grey Wendy Pampas along with my first pair of bamboo needles.

Then there was the holiday to a German Goth festival... The festival and band t-shirts were so expensive I decided to spend my money on... yeah, you guessed it! I did buy some actual wool this time. I was surprised to find out the 'wool' I'd bought from Hobby Craft was either 100% polyester or acrylic. In Germany I was surprised at how cheap the wool was - as cheap as cheapy acrylic in the UK. I bought 4 balls (actual balls) of beautiful pearlescent turquoise yarn - about 55% Merino wool, the rest is synthetic. I also picked out a ball of white/grey/black-hued pure Merino from the bargain bin. I have to say, I much prefer the feel of the mix, it's so soft.

My friend thought I was bonkers when I went back and bought a further 6 balls of the turquoise... But I wanted to make sure I definitely had enough to finish a project. All in all I spent 20EURO/ £14 on 11 balls of wool that would cost me about £33 in the UK.

I've also pulled out everything I've knit in the past and balled it up. This wool doesn't amount to much, but can be used for accenting - at the moment I'm using it to practise on. I have all the needles from my grandmothers - though I do need to get a needle gauge and sort out what I have and haven't got.

I knit when I travel. I knit when I watch TV... I guess this may all have been triggered by the need to procrastinate, but ultimately I do enjoy it, and I have a feeling that this time, I won't be putting those needles down any time soon...

* Yeah. I'm English. I mean yarn.
** Yes, I mean skein.

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