Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bumpity bump bump bump

I have a bit of a backlog of projects to post about.  I don't quite know how this happened, but I'd best get some up here on the blog for posterity!

First up is a new vesty cardigany type thing...
Pattern:  A heavily modified version of Bump by Gina Bonomo. 
Yarn:  4.25 x 100g balls of Rowan Big Wool in Cassis (col 24).  A funny (sort of) story about this yarn.  I bought it a few years ago, maybe 5 years, on sale at a yarn shop in Mittagong (which no longer stocks Rowan yarns).  I had always thought I had 6 balls of it, and so while I was planning what to knit from it, I based my planning on the fact that I had a certain amount of yardage.  And that it's really too hot in Sydney, even in winter, for a long sleeved garment using a super bulky yarn such as this.  So I always figured it would be some sort of vest.

Anyway, I bought this pattern on a bit of a whim, and when I got the yarn out of the depths of the stash cupboard (ok, one of the stash cupboards), I found I had 8 balls of it.  GAAAHHHHH!  It really could have changed my planning entirely.  But by that stage, I was over planning, had bought the pattern, and just wanted to cast on.  So I did.
50g ball of worsted/10ply yarn on left for scale!
And I ended up only using just over half the yarn anyway!!  Now I am trying to decide whether to destash the remainder or keep it for some other project at some time in the future...heh!

Sticks:  12mm and 10mm KnitPicks Options.  It's funny, people think it's really quick to knit garments with superbulky yarn and huge crowbar needles.  But really, it's not that fast!  I mean, the knitting grows quickly, of course, but I find I knit so much slower with such huge sticks.  Nevertheless, I did get a completed vest in a pretty short time!
Hello small hand!
Time:  20 June 2011 - 30 June 2011 (ok, a vest in 10 days, when I was working on other things as well, is pretty quick, isn't it!)

Modifications:  The pattern only gives two sizing options.  I did some extra raglan increases for the armholes (it is knit top down, seamlessly - good for superbulky yarn, to avoid even more super super bulky seams!).  And I did the raglan increases as yarnovers, to give it a bit of a lacey look and also allow some air in (as I was still a bit unsure about whether a vest in this yarn would be too hot for Sydney!). 
I did not do the reverse stocking stitch section on the pattern, which starts just under the bust.  It just didn't really appeal to me.  Instead, I kept increasing on the front edges, and then added a stepped garter edging down the fronts, and around the bottom.  I thought a smoother line would be more flattering in a vest which already adds enough bulk through the yarn.

And I have worn it a few times and have been pleasantly surprised at how cosy but not hot it is to wear.  Yay!  I'm not sure it is the most flattering of garments, but it's red and it's cosy and I like it anyway!

Friday, August 19, 2011

I read a book (or two!)

I have been slowly and steadily reading these past few months. Every train trip (which are rare) allows me the opportunity for audiobook listening, and after my marathon Tour de France knitting, I felt the need to knit a bit less each day and spend some time reading an actual book!

And I managed to finish two books in quick succession, one on audio and the other on paper. It helped that the latter was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - anyone who's read a Harry Potter book knows they are a fairly quick read! I have read it before, but with the last movie coming out, and all the advertising for it, I felt the need to revisit it. And enjoyed it just as much as the first time, perhaps more, because I wasn't reading it in such a hurry to find out what happened!

The audiobook was most enjoyable! Nella Last's War, a wonderful collection of the wartime diaries of Nella Last, an "ordinary" British woman who participated in the UK's Mass Observation Project (where the diaries are held). It was recently adapted for TV, called "Housewife, 49", which is how she headed up her first entry. The book gives an amazing insight into the experiences of women in the UK during WWII, the impact of rationing, and of course the impact of deaths and injuries to so many, not just those in the field of war, but also at home. Nella also displays amazing insights into the impact of war on women (not always approvingly) and has a real eye for detail and a way with words. The audiobook was read wonderfully by Carole Boyd. I found this book a real delight, and enjoyed it very much. I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I must be(e) crazy!

I first saw the Beekeeper's Quilt early last week on Ravelry.  As some designs tend to do, it kept popping up in my friend's activity tab, being favourited and/or queued by lots of people.  And I thought it was cute, but that was it.

But then something happened, and I'm not even entirely sure how.  But I couldn't stop thinking about it.  And how nice it would be all done in shades of red (how unusual for me!  Heh heh!).  But I didn't buy the pattern straight away.  I figured if I still couldn't stop thinking about it after a week, then maybe I should buy it.

And yesterday, I did!  And I went stash diving and gathered up my red sock yarn leftovers (reds and red-purples and red-oranges and a few red-pinks).  I also just might have bought a ball of heathered red yarn last weekend at Morris & Sons, and I have quite a bit of solid red 4ply/fingering yarn which MissFee picked up for me at the Wang mill last year.  But funnily enough, I don't actually have that much variegated and semi-solid red yarn leftovers.
And I made my first hexapuff.  And my second, and third, and fourth, and fifth (and I'm knitting my sixth right now!).  Each one uses somewhere between 11-15m (according to others on Rav who have knitted and then frogged one - I can't bring myself to do that, heh!).  So I'm going to have to accumulate some more red leftovers (or use whole skeins of sock yarn, which is perhaps a good idea - I mean how many pairs of red socks do I really need, heh!!)
I figure if I can make 5 each week then it will only take me, oh, nearly 2 years, to make one to cover a queen size bed.  See, I told you I must be(e) crazy!  Is anyone else going to join me?

Friday, August 05, 2011

Dashing through the snow!

Even though the weather is saying it is spring (or even summer - we've had temps in the mid 20s - that's I think mid 70s for our US friends- for the last few days) it is still strictly speaking winter.  And so I should be able to still get some wear from a recently completed project.  And I know that another small project, a gift for a friend, will get some wear later this year when it accompanies the new owner on a trip to Europe!

This second project actually came first, a warm black hat for a European winter visit, by request for a birthday gift.  I bought some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, and found myself with a ball and a bit leftover, so decided to make myself some mitts with it!

Pattern:  Autumn in Garrison by Kate Gagnon Osborn. A nice quick free pattern!  It didn't turn out quite as slouchy as I had expected, but it's got a bit of slouch and I know the Cashmerino Aran is reputed to stretch, so I erred on the side of less slouch rather than more!
It's so hard to photograph black knitting!
Yarn:  Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, 1.5 balls in black (col 300300)

Sticks:  4mm for ribbing, 4.5mm for main part of hat.

Time:  6 June 2011 - 12 June 2011
Can't beat that!  A hat in a week! That's pretty good for me!  Especially as I was working on another couple of things during that period!

Pattern:  Dashing by Cheryl Niamath, another freebie, from Knitty Spring 2007.  This is the "male" version of the very popular Fetching mitts by the same designer, but fortunately comes in a small size as well as man-sized.  I chose this pattern because I really like the extra length on the arms - I wear a lot of 3/4 sleeve garments in winter, so the longer line mitts are really good for covering that bit of wrist and arm that otherwise would be exposed!
See, I told you it was hard to photograph black!
I really like the way the thumb is added.  I'm sure this is very common, but it's kinda fun to undo those stitches and pick them up to knit the thumb!
Yarn:  Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran as above, 1.5 balls!

Sticks:  4mm dpns
Time:  13 June 2011 - 20 June 2011 - again, another quick project!  Love that these can be knitted so quickly, and I am very happy with these, the fit is really good and the black is so versatile! 

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

StashDownUnder - July 2011

Quick post - because this month, I bought no yarn!  I think my blowout last month really did have an impact on my stash acquisition methods, heh!  I went to a lovely yarn store (Sew and Tell, at Berry) on Sunday and I Did Not Buy Any Yarn!  I didn't even buy any knitting books, which is my usual fix in a yarn store if I don't buy yarn. 

And I had a really good knitting month.  Yay for the Tour de France KAL!  I learnt this month just how much knitting you can get done when you actually knit in all your spare time, and not faff about on the internet!  Amazing!

This month:
Actual balls used:  10 x 50g balls
8ply equivalent:  11 x 50g balls
Total metres used:  1,106m

Year to date:
Actual balls used:  -19.75 balls
8ply equivalent:  60.5 balls
metres used:  6793m

And since a blog post with no photos is too boring, I'll leave you with a flash of the two yarns I'm very excited to be using in a project which will be started shortly. 
Can you guess what pattern this yarn will become?