Friday, May 26, 2006


Mary 2 Me 1

I will not be beaten. I know I said the next posting would be about a completed Mary, but at least this is a start. I am starting the right half - for the second time. It would help if I was reading the correct pattern chart!! When I am level with the left half (two rows before armhole shaping) I will do the armhole and neck decreases for both sides at the same time. Don't you just love circular needles.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

So little time

Do you ever have those days where you say to yourself,'if only there were 20 more hours in the day' , so you fit it all in? I'll say no more on the subject then.

On to bigger and better things - Liam is all finished and modelled below. Number 1 son loves it to pieces - I have to take it to my constructed textiles class, ergo he is not a happy bunny. The ribbon edged cardigan is all sewn up. It fits beautifully. All I have to do now is buy the ribbon. I'm still gearing up for Mary, so I've started making cushions from stash yarn and from the frogged cotton silk aran yarn. The cushions are from the Debbie Bliss book number 3. I've made myself a promise that the next post will be about a completed Mary - I'm using her as my incentive to start a log cabin blanket using stash wool cotton yarn - wells that's the theory........

I'm also very proud to be mother to number 1 son. He's got the bug!! He's cast on for a hat.

Monday, May 15, 2006

In the pink

Is it just me?
It's confirmed. I am the world's worst mother. How do I know this? Well, when your sick son presents with a high temperature and intense pain, the first thing I think with glee is, extra knitting time. No school runs for the rest of the week, no cubs, no rugby, and no library (he is back on his feet and off my hands from tomorrow). However, I feel totally vindicated. Having received my copy of
Yarn Harlots latest offerings - Knitting Rules! I found a piece of myself neatly described on every page. For instance, my level of yarn involvement is level 4 - Obsessed. This is me down to a tee.
"The knitter spends all of her free time knitting, and the time she considers
"free" is expanding. She is likely now neglecting housework with a vengeance and
is dreaming in knitting code. The "obsessed" knitter stalks other people to
stare at their sweaters, and would rather sit on a train for nine hours where
she can knit comfortable, rather than drive. This knitter has discovered books
on tape, buys yarn like it's a job, and dreams of a way to make money from
knitting so she wouldn't have to waste good knitting time earning a
She's even described my filing systems down to a tee. Her insight into my knitting world, never mind anyone elses is scary, or maybe I am truly a geek of the knitting world. A thoroughly good read with interesting tips and tit bits, I wonder if it's going to be put on to CD......

Knitting news.....
We have grey weather at the moment, so I'm offering indoor pictures to the best of my limited
abilities. The ribbon edge cardigan pieces are finished, but are not yet sewn up. I've started 2 cardigans' in pink for summer. One is in chunky pure cotton, by Laines Du Nord (Cleo). I bought this cotton last year on impulse from Loop, got it home and then had no idea what so ever, what to do with it. Because of sick sprog I've been taking time to look through past knitting magazines and books and came across a pattern using double stranded cotton to the Cleo spec, what a piece of luck (Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2000 back in the day when there was a UK edition). I'm making a few modifications as I go. For starters, the pattern only goes up to a 36 and I'm shaping the sides. The second is in a very similar shade of pink, but is Jaeger Sienna, a 4 ply yarn. I want something elegant for the evening which isn't thick. I want something along the lines of Jinny, but without the beads. This time I'm drawing on Rowan patterns from Book 25. Of course, all is being dutifully recorded in my knitters journal. I have to admit that I originally scorned the idea of a journal, until the comments about me being a bag lady became too tedious. I've always been known for carrying large hand bags, add a few knitting projects, knitting books and yarns that I want to match colours to and life was becoming impossible. It all came to a head when I got a ball of yarn stuck around someone's boot heel on the bus. I spent one weekend catalouging my stash, cutting out my bits of yarn and I think I managed to reduce the load in my bags by almost half - now that's got to be a good thing. The only problem is with the sections of this particular journal. It focuses more on creativity, i.e. on the premise that you want to design, rather than log your progress or catalogue your stash for ease. However, it is the best one I have come across for my basic needs. And you never know, it may spawn the designer in me.
Saturday proved very productive, although Ms S couldn't make a knitting session, Ms L did. She has progressed from garter stitch to stocking stitch and is enjoying the experience. On her one piece of work, she is on her third set of needles.
She started on bamboo, went on to circular metal and is now on straight
metal in a larger size. She found the differences quite remarkable. I'm meeting up with Ms S tomorrow for a mid week session. I'm beginning to feel like Mss Jean Brodie and her girls. I'm definitely trying to lead them into the enlightened, uplifting, sexy world of knitting!!
P.S life sucks when your text and pictures won't go where you want them too!!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Mary has become contrary

Karin asked my recently how Mary is doing, and by way of an answer I told her that I've finished the first sleeve on the ribbon edged cardigan. I only felt a mild twinge of guilt that she has been consigned to the back of the wardrobe....So the ribbon edged cardigan is coming on a treat. The sleeves have been the most difficult (if you call it that) to do so far. Because I am not using the stated yarn and the yarn is a heavier weight, I've had to do a little bit of tweaking to make sure the arms are not too long and shape in the right places. I've also been practicing short row shaping (SRS) on this garment too. I did use SRS on Jinny, but that was under the close eye of Karin. Being back stitch queen, I was reluctant to change my ways, however the seam quality is so much better, I've had to convert.

Bee asked how many balls of cotton glace I used to make Jinny, given the extension of the waist. The pattern called for 12 balls (I used the largest size). I used 13 balls. Glace goes a long way and even with a 7cm lengthening, it still only took one ball. I also used just under 4000 beads. Of the 8 packs I had (this took 2 extra visits to Liberty), I have less than half a pack left. Each pack contains approx. 500 beads. Its astonishing when you look at the tiny pack.

Just to show how important it is I finish Mary, I have today unraveled a
cabled sleevless top I made 2 years ago using Debbie Bliss cotton aran silk. I love this yarn, I love the top, it doesn't love me. So, as a break from sleeve island, I unraveled the top, instead of working on Mary. The yarn is destined to be a sofa cushion because I don't have enough to do anything else and it has been discontinued. Must go, Mary is calling me from the wardrobe!!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

From strength to strength

I'm definitely on a roll. I finished Jinny some time ago (February)(Jinny is from the current Rowan Magazine - 39 but couldn't find buttons for her. I chose black cotton glace (by Rowan) because it was in my stash and this year is about depleting my stocks. By the end of the year, there should be no yarns of mass volume in my home. Being black, the stated buttons don't suit. This morning I woke up with a determined attitude. Today is the day, I said to myself, I'm going to find button, or I'm buying hook and eyes!! I found my way to Liberty, I was helped by the lovely Carol and (I've been there 4 times previously looking for the perfect match) low and behold, we found buttons, we tried the buttons in one button hole and it fit (be sure to visit Liberty if you can, all the knitting yarn staff and knowledgeable, helpful and take time with you). Now, I must explain that also previous to this I had been to a general store and bought some buttons - these being my fall back buttons, only to be used in dire emergency. I was a really good girl and only purchased one ball of yarn and dutifully went home. I got my sewing needle and yarn out and of course, the buttons are too big. By fluke the button hole we tried was the biggest one and none of the buttons could go through any other button hole, so I've succumbed to the fall back buttons. I'll still be on the look out for a better match, but life is passing me by and Jinny is lying unworn. My friend is in the process of moving and kindly left me her manikin until she settles in. It came in handy. It's a sad day when the manikin looks better than you do!! I had posted previously about the neck edge on Jinny, however when it's being worn the ripple effect disappears, so I'm pleased. And I love the detail on the bottom and sleeve edge. Lessons learned and observations: I definitely need to wear magic knickers with this top. I knitted it 7cm longer and it finishes in the middle of my round tummy, which is good, it means I have to walk around with my tummy held in (I hear this is good for posture!!). I'm glad I lengthened the top it would have been far too short, even with the buttons undone and worn over a dress. I now know I have short arms, the sleeves should be 3/4 length. It was a joy to knit, the beads were not difficult to add or knit in - it was quite rhythmical in fact. My batch of glace is more than 6 years old, and was full of joins. It's a good idea to unravel a ball of yarn and wind it up again to ensure there are no joins before you thread it with beads.
Other knitting
More good news, whilst knitting on the train today, a lady informed me that there is soon to be a new haberdashers in the main shopping area where I live. The shop will definitely be selling yarn. She even told me where I could find the new proprietress. On my way back to collect sprog from school, I stopped off for a chat, and yes, new store will be opening soon and yes they will be stocking Rowan and Jaeger. I could hardly contain my excitement. I think I may have spooked her by beginning the conversation with "I'm so happy I could kiss your feet". I'm not a willing internet shopper. It has its uses, but I much prefer going into a shop and having a good gawp and feel. They also have a really helpful attitude, I was encouraged to think about all the different types and brands of yarn I knit with to see which ones would be suitable for them to stock. More info when they open. Life is good!!

The ribbon edge cardigan is coming on a treat. Just the sleeves to do now and an outing to find some matching ribbon. We had glorious weather today and a defective train. Added together this equals extra knitting time in the beautiful sunshine

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Back in the swing

Startitis Continued
I feel like shouting from the rooftops in a euphoric way, Yes, Yes, Yes!!! Life is good. I have single handedly (is this a word?) unblocked my knitters block. And all it took was some stash yarn and two sticks!! I’m zooming along on the ribbon edged cardigan from the Debbie Bliss Cathay book. It calls for Cathay (obviously), but I have chosen to knit with her DK cotton yarn instead. Why? 2 reasons; the pattern only goes up to a 38inch - I need 40-42, and the DK cotton (in a lovely shade of blue) is in my stash – I’m hoping that working with a slightly thicker yarn and larger needles (4mm instead of 3 ¾ ) will give me the extra room I need for a comfortable fit. I've almost completed the back. I have some cotton cashmere, but have earmarked that for something else. Cotton cashmere can be a good substitute for Cathay in that it has a similar drape. My pet hate is recalculating patterns to fit if they don't go up to my bust size. It isn't rocket science but can be quite brain teasing/testing if there are patterns and charts to contend with, especially cabling. My experiences so far have resulted in drop sleeve garments where they should have been fitted, or very loose around the waist area because I increased the stitches to fit the bust area too soon. I’m sure there are websites that can help you recalculate, but my experience to date is that my dimensions on paper are not quite the same in reality – I wonder why that is??

I’ve had a good weekend knit wise. Saturday, a lady came over to my house to learn to knit. We met whilst I was knitting on the bus on the way to work at the beginning of last year (yes, its taken this long to organise). She came with her two sweet children, a boy and a girl, (both under 6 years old) who were as good as gold whilst they were here. Shea, not to be left out of the teaching curve, taught the little girl to finger knit. Ms S was given a long lecture on different types of yarn, (being a yarn snob and a purest I warned her against anything containing acrylic and polyimide), and taught how to recognise the constituents of yarn. We went through yarn bands and the information contained on them. It was quite fascinating to do, I didn’t realise just how varied the information on the band can be. We chatted about knitting and yarns for a good 3 hours before I let her near the needles. Low and behold, the girl is a natural. She really did take to it like a duck to water. Both she and her daughter went away clutching yarn with big smiles on their faces to carry on practicing.
Bank holiday Monday saw me sorting through my stash. No pictures, the day began entirely grey and we didn’t have sunshine long enough for photos. The result was a catalogue of what I have (not so), neatly recorded in my knitter’s journal (which has been sitting in the bookcase begging to be used for a good 8 months). I dutifully cut off little snippets to stick in the journal and wrote out quantities and characteristics of the yarn. It is much better than carrying about a lone ball of yarn which is then completely annihilated by the dross in the bottom of my (suitcase) hand bag despite my best efforts to keep it in pristine condition.