Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thank you Baby Cardigan

You might recall a few months ago I was the lucky recipient of another knitter's (thankfully small but good) stash (the mother-in-law of one of the mums in my my mothers group).  I promised you (and myself) that I would make a little something out of some of the yarn I received for this knitter's granddaughter.  I hoped that this is what the knitter would have wanted.

Last week, I handed over this:
I used some of the Heirloom Merino Magic from the gifted stash.  I didn't have enough of one colour for a whole garment, so thought this was a good pattern for colour-blocking while still being pretty (I didn't want to do stripes as I figured I'd be doing enough stripes for Connor over the next few years!).  I used the cream (2 balls) for the fronts and bands, a whole ball of lilac for the back, and almost a whole ball of green for the sleeves.  I had a ball of blue as well, I initially thought I'd do one sleeve green and one blue, but after finishing one sleeve, I knew I'd have enough for the second sleeve.

Pattern:  Provence Baby Cardigan by Cecily Glowik MacDonald.  This is an easy pattern, mostly stocking stitch with a moss-stitch edging and pretty lace leaf motif on the front.  I did make some modifications to the pattern (see the mods section below).

Yarn: Heirloom Merino Magic, 3.5 x 50g balls
Sticks:  4mm KnitPicks Harmony Options (3.75mm for the neckband).

Time:  9 May 2011 - 3 June 2011

Modifications:  I knit the body of the cardigan in one piece - which meant I had to do INTARSIA!!!  I swore never to do intarsia, ever!  Although really, just changing colour twice in each row, in a straight line up the side "seam", probably doesn't count as real intarsia.  But I still did it, and it worked!  Although getting the two balls of cream and one of purple tangled every so often was annoying.  But hey, no seaming!
I also knit the button band at the same time as the body of the cardigan.  This resulted in a bit of a puckered button band (may have also had to do with my not-so-great buttonhole skills!), which probably wouldn't have happened if I'd knit it separate and seamed it on.  Thankfully blocking evened it out, mostly...

And I knit the sleeves in the round, from the top down!  They were basic drop sleeve style sleeves, so it was easy to pick up stitches from the armhole and knit downwards, decreasing at the same rate as the pattern specified increases.  It was a bit messy under the arms, but I stumbled through and fixed it up when I darned in the ends (there were small holes where I'd joined to knit in the round.

I also added neck shaping on the back (so it would come down a bit lower on the back, not right up against the neck).  This was partly because I was worried I'd run out of the lilac yarn with a row or two to spare!  as it was, I only just squeaked it in!

And finally a three needle bind off for the shoulder seams.  And thus no seaming at all in this garment, woo hoo!
And best of all, the mum was very touched by the gesture.  It really is a lovely thing to knit for others.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

JustintimeforWinter Bandit

The magic of blocking lace never gets old.  Unlike my back, which feels it after a sustained period of bending over pinning lace onto a blocking mat.  Even when that blocking mat is up reasonably high, on my kitchen bench.  Heaven forbid if I ever have to block something huge on the floor!!
So this is the result of my most recent pain in the back!

Pattern: Springtime Bandit by Kate Gagnon Osborne.  A very nice, easy lace shawl (and also free!).  Originally done in worsted weight yarn, but as I used fingering/4ply, I did extra repeats - it is very easy to add extra repeats, no need to do any recalculations for the edging or anything, just add the repeats until you are done, and start the edging.  A very good feature of shawl patterns I think, is the ease of adding extra repeats.  In this case, the pattern calls for 4 repeats of the body charts, while I did 7.  And ended up with a shawl about the size of the original, heh!
Blobby pre-blocking lace
Yarn:  Wollmeise 100% Merino, in Admiral.  Yes, another Week of Wollmeise project done!  (hmm, that makes 2 out of 7 complete.  Not really that much cause to celebrate, heh!).  I tried to use as much of the skein as possible, but found I had 32g left after binding off.  But not to worry, I don't think I could have gotten an extra repeat out of that much anyway.  Maybe it'll be enough for a wee pair of socks...

This is a gorgeous navy/black colour, it works so well for lace because it is so dark, but you still get a gorgeous depth of colour.  It's just hard to photograph well!
Sticks:  4mm KnitPicks Options.  I'm glad I chocse the nickel sticks for this yarn, it made it much easier to knit at night!

Time:  1 September 2009 (heh!) - 9 June 2011.  Despite this, it's actually a lovely quick knit!

Modifications:  Only the extra repeats, noted above. 
Inspired by Al, I took some lovely "Victorian Lace Today" style photos at the WWKIP on Saturday.  Love how the sun shines through the lace.  Nothing like it to make you feel like a clever knitter! 

And that's another long-term wip I can cross off the list! I started the year with 17 WIPS, and of those, I have 12 left - so that's nearly 1 per month done.  Let's hope I can keep it up for the rest of the year!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

WWKIP 2011

After two weeks of rain and miserable weather (I suppose it is winter after all!) Sydney really turned on the sunshine for this year's WWKIP.  After a smallish group braving it out in the open for a couple years, and suffering horrible weather for their troubles, the past few years have involved us gathering at an indoors venue.  Not as public as we'd like, but much more weather proof!

This year we were lucky to have a lovely indoor venue with a balcony as well!  Not to mention a bar downstairs where we could decamp after the "official" festivities were over!

So there was a bit of this:
And then some of this:
(How fantastic to be able to sit outside, in the late afternoon, in winter, and have a lovely cold glass of bubbles! Oh, and to knit as well, of course!)

And I took the opportunity to take a few photos of my latest FO, which I'll give you a sneak peek of now, and full details later!
A lovely day, thanks so much to the efforts of the volunteer organisers and the sponsors, including Australian Country Spinners (owners of Patons and Cleckheaton yarns), Jo Sharp, Biggan yarns, Morris & Sons, Ashford yarns, Calico and Ivy and others. 

Sunday, June 05, 2011

For the maths geeks

Last weekend our parents group held a combined first birthday party for our babies (are they still babies once they are one?  I guess so, since he isn't a toddler yet, but he's just so much bigger than a newborn!).  I volunteered to make the cake:

and we also did a gift exchange, so I thought I'd make one of these:

And it was fun - mostly!

Pattern: Celestine Crochet ball by Betsy Myles - a free pattern, yay!  A few people complain on Ravelry that this is a bit of a confusing pattern, or not well written.  I think it's written fine - you start off with a chain loop and steadily decrease to the point, then add another point building on the last one (got to love a join-as-you-go project!), but I did have trouble starting off each new point, more because I kept forgetting how I got it started the last time.  I think I managed to get it right after I'd made about 8 or 9 of the points!  Oh dear!

Half done!
 So I took some pictures, so hopefully I will remember next time, because I would like to make another one, they are pretty fun, and unusual looking - it's a 12 pointed star, a sort-of dodecahedron!  I just like saying dodecahedron, really!

Foundation row for new point
Yarn: Opal 4ply sock yarn col 1232.  Only 32g, so you can easily get 3 of these from a ball of sock yarn.  Or possibly from leftovers, if you'd already made socks!  You can use any size yarn, it will just affect the size of the end product.

Hook: 3mm

Time: 20 May 2011 - 27 May 2011 - a week, not bad!  I think it took me around an hour for each point, with all the unpulling every time I started a new point and forgot how to join the darn thing so it didn't twist and was facing the right direction!

Modifications: I made the pattern as written, but rather than doing the chain first and then the crochet into the previous point(s), I did the crochet into the previous points first, then the chain.  For some reason, this was easier to work out the joining. 

There's also a small error in the pattern when starting the 11th point, you only do 7 chain, the rest are all crochet into previous points.

The last point was very fiddly, but I managed it ok.  When stuffing the ball, I also put in a cat toy to give the ball a "rattle".  I was worried the stuffing might muffle the noise, but it comes out nice and clear, without being annoying loud like some (many?!) kids toys!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

StashDownUnder 2011 - May

I have to confess, May was my fall-off-the-wagon month in terms of the StashingDown...more like StashingUp, I'm afraid!  I've already shown off my purchases from the Canberra Woolfest, and I also succombed to the annual WEBS sale - who could resist Cascade220 at $US4.95 when our exchange rate is so good!

So I bought a jumpers worth, in the lovely Mallard colour which Bells picked last year (in our previous annual WEBS splurge, heh!).  I'm thinking this will be the lovely Metro cardigan.

And since it was also on sale, and I've wanted to try it for ages, I bought enough Louet Euroflax sportweight linen (in a lovely purpley eggplant ) for Jordan

Hmmmm, which to knit first...

Fortunately, I also managed to destash a bit of yarn this month (a very rare occurrence for me!) and thanks to Del, I remembered that crochet dish/washcloths are a fabulous stashbuster! I may have crocheted 5 in just a matter of 2 weeks (yay me!).

This month:
Actual balls used: 9.25 x 50g balls used plus 6 destashed
In this month:  33 x 50g balls
8 ply equivalent: 10.5 plus 6 destashed
metres used: 992m

Actual balls used: 36.75 - 33 = 3.75 balls used (yay, still in the black, so to speak!)
8 ply equivalent: 41.5 x 50g
metres used:  4847m