Friday, September 30, 2011

StashDownUnder - September 2011

I had a good month this month!  I can't say no yarn came in, because I did receive two lots of red 4ply for my Beekeeper insanity, but nothing that I bought myself!  So that's not too bad! And I somehow managed to have a HUGE knitting month, so go me! Heh!

This month:
In:  2 x 50g balls
Actual balls used:  10.5 x 50g balls
8ply equivalent: 15.5 x 50g balls (LOTS of 4ply knitting this month! plus a couple of balls donated to Guild)
metres used: 1,138m

Year to date:
Actual balls used: -7.75 x 50g balls (I might just come out neutral by the end of this year!)
8ply equivalent: 78 x 50g balls
metres used:  9001m

I thought I might as well do my Beekeeper update today too.  This month was a good month, I managed to do 34 sexypuffs - yes, more than one per day!  Hurrah!
I also tried out the crochet version, which is free on Ravelry.  I had to modify it a bit, to ensure they match my knitted puffs in terms of size, but that is easily done.
And I like the bit of texture that the crochet puffs give to the quilt.  Red and texture!  I might have to try a moss/seed stitch puff sometime soon!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Knit for Connor month: Lillen Pantses

Even though this is the second project I've posted in my Knit for Connor month, it was actually the first completed.  It just took me a while to put in the elastic (as usual, it's the final touch that makes the garment useful and wearable that takes me forever!).

I recently bought the MillaMia book The Close Knit Gang.  It's a fab little pattern book for toddlers, with really cute and stylish garments mostly sized up to about 5 yo.  I chose the Lillen Pant(ses) pattern first, as I thought it would be a really good way to use this yarn - from stash - woo hoo!
Pattern:  Lillen Bottoms 12-18 mo size, from The Close Knit Gang.  These are really cute little pantses, knit flat in two identical pieces.

Yarn:  The MillaMia yarn (which is lovely, by the way) is really a sport/5ply yarn.  But since I am trying to knit from the stash, and my stock of sport weight yarn is fairly limited, I thought I'd use this skein of Wollmeise 100%, in one of the club colours, Saami.  It's a colour that really screams out to be used for kids, I think, given the primary colours!  I even swatched, to check whether I'd need to knit a size (or more) up to make up for gauge differences.  I was surprised to find I got gauge with the suggested needles, even though the WM is really a fingering/4ply weight.  I used about 115g of the 150+g skein.
What was really interesting was that even though the two pieces are knitted the same, one piece pooled and flashed substantially more than the other! (it is actually much more obvious in the photo than in real life, although once you have seen the photo, you can't unsee it in real life!)

I am also glad the WM is machine washable!
Sticks:  3mm and 3.25mm KnitPicks Options.
Time:  25 July 2011 - 12 August 2011. 

Modifications:  The pattern has a ribbed waistband. I didn't really think it would stay up very well, especially with a crawling baby (Connor hadn't yet started walking when I started these!).  So I did a stocking stitch turned band (with provisional cast on) to act as a casing, so I could put elastic in.
I also did garter stitch on the "hem" of the pantses, rather than moss stitch - only because the moss stitch fights too much with the varigation of the yarn.  If I was making these in a plain yarn, I would probably do the moss stitch.  I would also make them a bit longer!  I made these to the pattern length, but I think they could be a little bit longer.  Just a wee bit, mind!
I'm quite happy with these!  Gotta love a child who is too small to reject the handknits! (hopefully he will never reject the handknits, heh!)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

August was Knit For Connor Month: Pembroke vest

As winter was drawing to a close, I started to feel a little guilty about the amount of knitting (or, more accurately, the lack of knitting) for Connor. So I thought I'd better rectify that and set aside August as Knit for Connor Month!
I have managed to get 3 things done (well, the third is almost done, heh!) and each will be transitional pieces into spring and will also, I hope, fit him next year as well.

Pattern:  Pembroke vest by Kirsten Kapur.  A lovely, classic and free pattern which goes from 6mo to 8yo (I made the size 2).  I do love a good cable, and this vest has cables aplenty!  I wish there was a better way of managing cables and decreases, as it can look a bit funny to just stop cabling, but I'm not sure whether there are better alternatives (please enlighten me, if you know!)
Yarn: I had 3 x50g balls of the blue yarn, Karabella Aurora 8 (col 1555) and 20g of the white in the same yarn.  And I used it all, except for about 10g of the blue. I wasn't sure if I would have enough blue for the vest, so I decided to do the ribbing in the white.  And I knit the front first, as I figured if the cables ate up lots of yarn, I could do the back plain. But as it turns out, it was the white I ran short of, so the neckband ribbing is blue and white stripes. Which I think is quite effective, if I do say so myself!

Oh, and can I just say, I love this yarn!  So soft and lovely to knit with, and shows up a cable so beautifully.  And makes such a beautiful sproingy fabric.  Yum yum yum.  One of the balls did have a couple of knots in it, quite close together, which I discovered when I was knitting the neckband.  Grrr, more ends to sew in!  I'd still use this yarn again though, just lovely.

Sticks:  3.75 and 4.5mm KnitPicks Harmony Options.

Time: 14 - 26 August 2011.  I am amazed at how quick I knit this.  Especially as I discovered when I'd finished the front that I had done the armhole decreases on the neck, and the neck decreases on the armholes.  GAH!  What an idiot!  So I lost a day and a bit in unpulling and re-knitting these (yes, you heard right, I actually frogged and re-knit!)
Bottom one re-done ... much better!
Modifications: I used short rows on the shoulder shaping so I could do a 3 needle bind off but otherwise knit the pattern as written.  If I was to knit it again, I would change the ribbing so that the pattern flows neatly out of the ribbing.

I wasn't sure I liked the middle cable (some people on ravelry have actually changed it for a different cable) but the more I look at it now, the more I like it.  In particular, I like how it is designed to open out at the neckline, the designer has placed it really well on the front.
I'm very happy with this pattern, the yarn works so beautifully with the cables.  In fact, I liked it so much I might just pull out my hibernating Must Have cardigan, which also uses this yarn, and get back into the cabley aurora 8-y goodness!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Um, yeah, I think I really must BEEE crazy!

So the other day I was surfing Ravelry and decided to have a look at some of the other Beekeeper Quilt projects.  One of them very helpfully linked to an online calculator to work out how many hexagons you need for a hexagon quilt (sewn).  You plug in the size you want to make it - in my case, queen size bed size - and how big the side of your hexagon is, and it tells you how many you need.


I need to make 1829 sexypuffs!  1829!!!!  (just in case you thought I'd typed it wrong the first time!).  I put the numbers in the calculator 3 times just to check I hadn't done it wrong the first two times!

I was thinking I needed to make about 800.  And figured it would probably take me two years to do that.  So I had to do a little rethink.  Now I'm aiming to make a sexypuff a day.  And even then it will take me more than 5 years to finish this thing.  Heh heh.  Let's see how we go!

I'm going to keep a running tally in my sidebar, as to how I'm going each month.  In August, I managed 28 of the little fellas.  Not bad, considering I started on the 8th of August.  I've been thinking about how I'm going to put them together (design wise).  The original quilt is randomly put together (as far as I can tell) but what do you think of this? 
They sort of look like flowers, right?  I've got lots of the plain red (about 1kg) so I thought I'd surround a variegated flower (with a plain red centre) with plain red flowers, which have a variegated centre.  Any other suggestions?

Sunday, September 04, 2011

You can never have too many

You can never have too many pairs of red socks, right?

I needed a nice easy portable project a while back (um, in February...) and what better choice is there than stocking stitch socks with a pretty yarn?  (let's not mention that I actually wound this yarn in May last year to take to hospital with me.  Yeah, it never left the project bag!)
I finally finished them, and seem to have taken almost as long to get around to posting them as I did knitting them!

Pattern:  Just my basic cuff down plain vanilla socks!  Although I did add some calf shaping into these.  I think I started with 72 stitches and steadily decreased down to 64, as I moved down the leg.  I did a tubular cast-on and twisted rib, and my favourite eye of partridge heel flap, and wedge toe. 
Oh, I did do something different, I did a dutch heel, from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks.  Thought I'd try it out, as others have commented on how they like it.  I don't mind knitting it, but I don't think it fits my foot as well as a regular heel.  Good to know!
Yarn:  A new yarn for me, Cascade Heritage Handpaints, a lovely blog prize from GeekKnitter.  I like this yarn, it feels nice but still sturdy, and I like how the colours behaved, with a subtle blue and purple stripe effect.  I would use this yarn again for sure.

Sticks:  2.5mm KnitPicks fixed circular, for magic looping - my favourite method for plain socks.

Time:  2 February 2011 - 1 August 2011.
And a nice little bit of leftovers which go straight to the Beekeeper Quilt yarn fund, heh!

Friday, September 02, 2011

StashDownUnder - August 2011

Yet another month goes by ... with a little yarn in, and a little bit more yarn out.

First, the ins.  I had some yarn leftover from my Lanesplitter Skirt.  So I did the honourable thing, and returned it to the shop.  I exchanged it, of course!!  Heh heh.  And I decided I'd get enough yarn for a cute little stripey cardi for Connor, which meant I had to buy a couple of extra balls as well, to ensure I'd have enough.
Sorry about crappy flash photo!  Red, charcoal grey and silvery grey
And while I was there I might have picked up a nice ball of red heathered yarn for my Beekeeper Quilt (yes, I must bee crazy, buying yarn for it when I have so much already!).  And some of my lovely knitting buddies also donated some leftover red yarn to me already, so I've counted that too.
This month:
In:  5 x 50g balls
Actual balls used: 8.5 x 50g balls
8ply equivalent:  12 x 50g balls (lots of 4ply knitting this month!)
Total metres used:  1070m

Year to date:
Actual balls used:  -16.25 x 50g balls (gah, still behind!!)
8ply equivalent:  72.5 x 50g balls
metres used:  7863m

I left you last month with a flash of two yarns I was planning on using in a new project.  Well, here it is!
(again with small hand for scale!  This is partly why I am posting less!  so much harder to do photo shoots now!)

I think I shall be able to wear this as a fluro safety shawl, heh!