Sunday, September 26, 2010

And for a change...

And for a change, here's another FO!

A while ago (November last year!), I was visiting with my buddy D, who, in a fit of optimism, had bought the yarn and pattern to crochet a scarf for her daughter. In a similarly inspired fit of optimism, I offered to do it for her, because we all know crochet is quick, and the scarf only used 2 balls of 8ply/DK weight yarn.
Yeah, you already know how that turned out, just by the date of this post! But now it's done, huzzah!

Pattern: Aroma by Donna Yacino, published by Berroco. A crochet scarf using a pretty motif and bands of filet or basic shell crochet between the motifs.
The pattern is relatively easy, but has that annoying "at the same time" business which tripped me up more than once. It's also completely written, and could have benefitted by using charts. I also think it could have been written to avoid some of the cutting and rejoining of the yarn (and thus minimising the number of ends to be sewed in). And finally, if I was to make it again, I'd also make it symmetrical - ie work from both ends into the middle. That's a relatively minor quibble though.
Yarn: 2 x 50g balls of Berroco Latitude, a very interesting cotton/rayon yarn comprised of many plies of slightly variegated yarn all wrapped with a fine strand of a darker colour. It's a mite stiff to crochet with but I think will wear nicely. It is slightly difficult to sew the ends in however! I imagine if you were knitting with it, especially stocking stitch, you'd probably have to separate the plies to sew them in in a way that avoids bulk.
Hook: 4mm

Time: 2 December 2009 - 30 August 2010. But really, this is a project which could be completed in a few days - I finished one ball of yarn some time ago (probably January) then got sidetracked, until mid-August, when I finally got it out again, after a timely prompt from D!!
Note on pattern: Interestingly, the pattern specifies 3 balls of yarn are required. I had some left from the 2 balls I used (not enough for additional motifs though). And I made the pattern exactly as specified, getting a length of 136cm/53".
You can see from the pattern picture however that the filet/shell sections between the motifs are much longer than the pattern calls for (with a specified total length of 158cm/62"). Clearly that's where the extra yarn went! Bit of a fail though on the part of someone at Berroco! Good way to add length though, if you want to, without making extra motifs.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Adventures of RoseRedia Jones

In which our intrepid archeologist, RoseRedia Jones, undertakes a dig in the region of KnittingBasket...

It was the Spring of 2010, when RoseRedia Jones decided it was time to explore KnittingBasket, in the corner of LoungeRoom, right beside Knitter'sChair. Armed with only a few rudimentary but useful tools (hands, camera), this is the sight that faced RoseRedia:
Taking a slow and methodical approach, RoseRedia cleared away the first layer of debris, consisting mainly of the most recent items belonging to the Knitter which she discovered were termed WIPS. Also the Notions Pouch, which appeared to see a great deal of use.
More WIPS were discovered on the next layer, these appeared not to have seen any action for some few months.
The next layer revealed even older WIPS, and Sock Blockers, which clearly had not been used for at least 4 months. Also apparent on this layer were partial used balls of yarn, clearly discarded in the Knitter's eagerness to move onto the next project.
RoseRedia also discovered next to KnittingBasket a separate box, which appeared to contain even older WIPS, many of which had not seen action for about a year. RoseRedia assumed this Knitter had a problem termed Startitis (and also, Messiness).
The lowest sub-stratum of the KnittingBasket revealed a hodgepodge of used and unused patterns, yarn labels, further partial balls of yarn, and various cords and knitting sticks.
RoseRedia felt a certain sense of achievement when she finally reached the bottom of KnittingBasket and WIPBox. She may have also had to confront her fear of spiders, even though of only the DaddyLongLegs variety, but fortunately, there was no evidence of her greatest fear, the moth.
She sat back to carefully note the discoveries and treasures revealed by the dig:

Yarn: 7 partial balls, 2 full cones, 8 full balls
Project bags: 7 empty
Ziplock bags: 14 plus 3 which were damaged or dirty beyond repair
Patterns: 9 used, 1 in use, 2 unused
Computer cables: 3 with a known use, 2 with an unknown use or origin
1 double adapter
1 finished dishcloth just requiring ends to be sewn in
1 booklight, apparently used for knitting in the car in the dark
1 Knitter's Guild newsletter
WIPS: 14
1 Vogue Knitting Reference book
Many pairs of knitting needles and dpns
1 Samurai Sudoku puzzle book
1 2008 taxpack (!!)

RoseRedia carefully sorted and replaced all that was salvagable and required for use within KnittingBasket and WIPBox, in the hope that the Knitter would both appreciate these efforts and recommit to finishing some of those WIPS.
Tune in next time for an update on the Knitter's progress...

Monday, September 06, 2010


I realised a while ago I had failed to knit a red garment for Connor! I had to rectify this immediately (it certainly wasn't due to a lack of red yarn in the stash!). I wanted a quick and easy pattern and so searched Ravelry for seamless raglan type cardigans - and found this pattern and couldn't resist the elephants marching around the belly!
Pattern: Bellyphant by Jennifer Little - a bottom up seamless raglan cardigan, available in 3 sizes. It actually has stripes all the way up the body and sleeves (above the elephants) but I decided to keep it plain, so I didn't have to fuss about matching the stripes on the sleeves to the body (not that it would have been too difficult, but I'm all about the easy-ness at the moment, pretty much). Also I had enough of the red yarn for the whole garment. As I was using 4ply/fingering yarn, rather than 5ply/sport, I made the 6-9 mo size, to try to ensure a 3-6 mo size outcome.

This was my first time working fair isle flat. It wasn't too bad, but I did only have to do it for 11 rows. I'm not sure I'd like to do it for a whole garment. Some of the floats were quite long (longer than for "traditional" fair isle) so I had to catch them as I was knitting.

Yarn: Patons Patonyle in red (from the Mill Shop, via MissFee - thanks!) - about 80g, and Patons Patonyle in grey (col 0068) - only about 5g. This is a staple sock yarn, sturdy and machine washable - and long used for baby garments in Australia too. And both from the stash! And the buttons from stash too! (I do have to sew another 2 buttons on, but I was desperate for Connor to wear this cardigan on Saturday when we were catching up with friends, and I only had time to sew on 4 buttons during our car ride there).
Sticks: 3.25mm KnitPicks Harmony Options - a good idea for this garment, because once you add the sleeves to the body, it helps to use a long cable and kind of magic loop the next few rounds, because the sleeve joining method is a bit tight - which the pattern very nicely warns you about. I also magic looped the sleeves, two at a time. Not my favourite method of working sleeves - it always seems to take longer when working two at once - but it does ensure the increases are in the same place and the sleeves are the same length!

Time: 28 July 2010 - 28 August 2010. Not bad! I really wanted to get this done so it would see Connor out through the end of winter and into spring. Because of course it won't fit him for that long. I can definitely see myself making it again for him next year.
Modifications: None really, except as noted, but if (when) I do make this again, I think I would do it top down rather than bottom up (unless anyone can tell me why that would be a bad idea?). I didn't really like the method for joining the sleeves to the body - using a three needle bindoff for 4 stitches, on each sleeve at the underarm. It leaves big holes on either side of the bind off, which you sew up using the yarn end, which is not a big deal, but it just seemed messy. Not to mention it was difficult to work the first few rounds after that, as the pattern warns. I also confused myself and I think I bound off an extra stitch or two on at least one of the sleeves, because my stitch count was off after attaching the sleeves. I just missed two of the raglan decreases to make up for it.

I'd also knit the sleeves first, thus avoiding having to the cut the yarn at the end of the body so I can use it to do the sleeves, then rejoin it. For a seamless project, I ended up having to weave in 14 ends!!
I am, however, inordinately pleased with how the neck ribbing matched up with the raglan decreases. I don't know if that's an outcome of the pattern writing or just pure luck!
Even though he sicked up on it about 20 minutes after I first put it on him (well, I hadn't blocked it before that first wear anyway, so lucky!), I think Connor approves (must have been the blocking that made the difference!)

Friday, September 03, 2010

Keeping Track - August 2010

Even though I do have an FO or two to show you as a result of my August efforts, I'm afraid more yarn came into the stash than out of it.

Not to worry... since sock club yarn doesn't really count (much)
And gift/prize yarn, beautifully wrapped:
doesn't count at all:
Thanks so much Lyn!
I feel I should also make an exclusion rule for lovely organic cotton bought from a new yarn store (on the basis that supporting a new yarn store/cafe venture should give me a leave pass) but I guess that would really be pushing it! I'm going to make a stripey something for Connor out of this.
In: 6 x 50g balls
Out: 2 x 50g balls
YTD: 29 x 50g balls - 3.5 balls per month, woo hoo!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Spring has sprung!

The grass has riz, etc...

All week the weatherperson has told us today would be 25C (77F). The first day of Spring, 25C!

I was so excited, expecting to wake up this morning and see a lovely sunshiney day, and maybe only wear a t-shirt, for the first time since early May. But no, it's overcast. Not cold, but not the expected lovely sunny spring day (although as I'm writing this, the sun is poking through the cloud cover, so there is still hope!).

But we can look at some flowers at least...
First blooms on my little magnolia tree.
Violets spreading through my side garden bed (where I had originally planned, when we moved in, to have a vege patch...heh! I can't dig up the lovely violets, now can I?!)
White violets! Who'da thunk it! I did not even know there was such a thing until I spotted this one in my garden.
I also noticed yesterday that the leaves on my jacaranda are turning yellow - they'll be close to falling off, ready for it to burst into bloom later this spring. And so the cycle continues.