Monday, 7 July 2008

I’m a Fingerless Glove Fanatic!

When I joined the Ravelry group of the above name (FGF) I had knitted just two pairs of mittens but in the last few weeks I have upped my total considerably. I went through my sock phase, like many before me and now I’m knitting hand warmers galore. I mentioned Robin Melanson’s Knitting New Mittens & Gloves in my last post and now I have the pictures to show my efforts from this book.

I’ve already posted pictures of my first project from this book (Glaistig purple gloves) and I’ve got four more to add.

The Gothic hand warmers were a lovely little knit and very satisfying, particularly as I got the RYC Silk Wool DK for 50p from the John Lewis Clearance bin (I love a bargain!). They are knit on 4.5mm and 4mm DPNs and the only bit which is at all tricky is the little diamond pattern. I opted for a string of beads rather than sequins. They feel great on and are a good way of using up a leftover or bargain ball of yarn.

The Filigree gloves were knitted with some old yarn I found in a charity shop - Phildair Chatoga (2 balls). It is a soft cotton in an extremely bright turquoise with very strange little acrylic rainbow sections. I’m not sure how much I’ll wear these but they were fun to knit and the colour made me feel bright and happy (unlike the current weather). I used 3.75mm DPNs rather than 4mm and they were finished in no time.

Next comes Tapisserie and the chance to learn a new technique- knitting fair isle in the round . I had tried knitting continental style once before and ended up with my left hand feeling like a claw but using both hands, continental style for the green yarn, throwing the yarn for the purple, it worked reasonably well. I have pulled a bit tight but for a first attempt it’s not too bad. These are a little big to wear on their own but are just right to wear over a long sleeved top / sweater and I think they’ll come in handy in winter.

Now, to my latest effort from this book, Box Pleats. I have knitted one glove so far using Rowan Damask (another sale purchase!) in a green colour way. I’ve never come across this type of pleat before (you distribute the stitches on 3 needles, bend them back concertina style and knit off all 3 at once) so that made it interesting. The pattern calls for beads but I decided against this. I quite like the first glove, although the yarn is a little strange. It looks quite pretty and it is reasonably soft, but it has a straw like quality which I found slightly odd.

Why knit so many fingerless gloves / pulse warmers? Well, I was getting a bit fed up of the things I was working on and these quick, fun projects reminded me knitting is fun. A few days and you have a finished item and can move on to a new colour, new type of yarn and new technique. Also, the more I wear them the more I am convinced that protecting, warming and adorning your wrist area is comforting and satisfying and it has been done for centuries! My Dad even requested a pair of wrist warmers and says they make him feel cosy and warm when he meets a friend for coffee outside (Glasgow can be damp and miserable , even in summer I’m afraid). So I’m sure this will not be the end of my fingerless glove fanaticism.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Cheeky Little Monkey

Here is my little nephew, being held captive for the photo, in his monkey jumper. It is a bit big but I wanted it to fit during the winter.

In this photo he is walking on his dad's feet- the perfect opportunity for a back view shot.

In the last post I promised pictures of my muir stole but that was before I became obsessed by fingerless gloves and wristmarmers! Muir has been cast aside (for the moment) and I have knitted 4 and a half projects from Knitting New Mittens and Gloves instead. I haven't taken any photos yet but will post some soon.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Sewing Up - Uughh!

I like knitting. It can be relaxing, challenging, satisfying and fun. Sewing up however I do not like. It takes me much longer than it should and I’m never happy with the end result. In fact all it does is make my knitting look worse. So over the last couple of days I’ve been sewing up and have done no knitting at all- none. The sewing up in question was on the Cheeky Monkey Jumper and on a pair of lacy fingerless mittens. It astounds me every time how long it takes me to sew up a sweater for a toddler - hours and hours! How is that possible ? I’m just rubbish at sewing obviously. Anyway, it’s being blocked and will be delivered to gorgeous little nephew in a few days (not by post this time).

Proper pictures to follow when dry.

The mittens are purple but are not the crochet Afternoon Tea Gloves mentioned in my last post. They, unfortunately, had to be abandoned due to an inappropriate choice of yarn (damn you inflexible cotton 4 ply). The new gloves are from “Knitting New Mittens and Gloves”(Robin Melanson) , a lovely little book with some unusual patterns. The book arrived a week ago and I started knitting Glaistig the same day, having bought some purple (again) merino 4 ply from McAree brothers (on sale) the day before . They were a great weekend knit, quick and fun.

The cuff is knitted as a strip in K2 P2 ribbing and the “hand” is a lovely lace pattern, knitted on two needles . It was interesting / easy enough to knit during Euro 2008 ( which has been fantastic so far!). There was a problem finding a plastic buckle and I had to make do with a couple of D shaped rings cobbled together. It’s not perfect by any means but I still am very fond of the end result- I am wearing them as I type!

Now that I’m finished sewing up I can get back to knitting. The Jane Austen group on Ravelry is having a read along / knit along of Sense & Sensibility. I’ve chosen the lovely Muir stole as my project and I’m looking forward to working on it (I cast it on before my sewing exploits). Pictures will appear when there is something substantial to photograph!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Purple Patch

Somehow I have ended up working on two projects in purple. They are not designed to match, in fact they are different shades of purple. The first came about after a visit to McAree Brothers in Stirling a couple of weeks ago. I saw their deep purple Anchor Bamboolo and loved it. It is really soft with a slight sheen (70% cotton, 30% bamboo) and I’m hoping it will make a lovely lightweight top. I have started knitting in the round on 6.5mm needles without deciding how I want the top to look. I have copies of EZ’s Knitting Without Tears and Joelle Hoverson’s Favorite Yoke Sweater Pattern and Teva Durham’s Loop d Loop to hand for inspiration but I’m basically going to see how far my 7 skeins takes me and decide what to do as I go along.

The second project is crochet! I was browsing on Ravelry (as you do) and discovered the Fingerless Gloves Fanatics Group. I’m hardly a fanatic but I would say I’m a bit of a convert. I used to think fingerless gloves were a complete waste of time but a pair of Fetching Mittens and Falling Leaves Wristwarmers later I’ve changed my mind. I gave away the Fetching pair as a gift but I love my Falling Leaves. They do make you feel really cosy- it must be the covering of the pulse points. So I find the FGF group and see they are doing a June KAL and CAL. For some reason I go for the Afternoon Tea Gloves CAL. They are very pretty but I cannot think of a situation where I will wear a pair of lacy “Tea Gloves” ! I don’t go to many upmarket garden parties these days. It’s been fun working on the first glove despite a few problems with the pattern so even if I don’t wear them I’ll have enjoyed doing a bit of crochet for a change. The yarn is Rowan 4 ply cotton (1 ball, size 2mm hook) and I also need buttons for the wrists before I can go any further .

All this purple has distracted me but I must finish off the cheeky monkey jumper . There is very little left to be done yet I keep picking up everything but the jumper - poor little cheeky monkey needs a face. I promise I’ll give him one soon.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Lost and Found

This is my gorgeous little nephew wearing the cabled cardigan. As you can see he is being held so he can't escape or the picture would just be a blur. Well, I'm just glad he got to try it on at all because for the last fortnight it has been missing. I sent it first class with Royal Mail and it didn't turn up. Now it is not a valuable item but I did put a fair bit of work into it and was so disapointed when I thought it had gone for ever. To give the postal service their due they did deliver it eventually. I thought the cardigan might be too small but his mother thinks it's fine and has plenty of stretch in it. I'm making slow progress on the cheeky monkey jumper (one sleeve still to be knitted) but I'm looking forward to finishing the monkey face. I don't know if I'll trust Royal Mail with it when it's finished- I might just wait until I can deliver it to the little whirlwind myself.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Just as I Suspected.

When I decided to try writing a knitting blog it seemed like a good way of keeping track of all my projects and maybe forcing me to think a bit more about what I knit. I did worry that I wouldn't be very good at keeping it up and it turns out I was right to worry - a whole month with no post! Today's post is designed to account for the last month, knitting wise and show that although I'm rubbish at sitting down to write I do manage to pick up the needles.

The Cabled Cardigan is finished! This one really dragged on towards the end but I'm pleased with it. The problem is I think it is probably a bit on the small side. It's been posted down to my nephew so I'll have to wait till it arrives to see if it does fit.

While the cardigan was waiting to be completed I needed a quick project as a distraction so the net scarf below was knitted in the garden. I like scarves, even in spring and summer, so I knitted up some leftover Jaeger Roma (bought for £1 a ball at the tail end of the John Lewis sale in January) on my favourite wooden 10mm needles. I cast on 20 stitches and every row is [s1, (k2tog, yo) until last stitch, k1]. The fringe is copied from the Lady Elenor stole from Scarf Style and was fun to knot (not knit). This was perfect for knitting in the sunshine - quick and easy and I like the end result.

The last pair of knitted socks for my Dad was at Christmas so he was due a new pair. These are plain toe up socks knitted in Regia sock yarn. I really like the colour and plain socks are great for knitting while watching TV (these were knitted through two Champions League Semis).

I was in Hamilton last week and I picked up a ball off Lang Super Soxx Cotton from Stitching Time. It was a real bargain at £4.95 so my Dad is also getting a bonus pair of socks in a stripy cotton blend. Again, they are toe up, my current method of choice but I'll probably return to cuff down for my next pair for a bit of variety.

After some easy socks it seemed time to try something new. I've never really been a fan of picture knits but thought it might be fun to try a bit of intarsia, at least once. In the 50th issue of Knitting magazine I saw a pattern for a cheeky monkey jumper which would look great on my gorgeous little nephew. The pattern called for Debbie Bliss Cashmerino but as I still had half a bag of Jaeger Matchmaker left over I decided to use this instead.

Finding a nice brown yarn for the monkey wasn't that easy but I settled on Sublime Extra Fine Merino and bought a ball each of brown and cream. The jumper has the word cheeky on the back but I've decided to use duplicate stitch for that rather than intarsia. The front didn't go too badly although having the various strands hanging did get on my nerves but I think it will look good when the monkey gets his eyes, nose and mouth.

So that's my output for the last month with the monkey jumper and cotton socks still on the needles and several more items in the early planning stages.

The football season is almost at an end and I'm looking forward to the Champions League final but so much of this season has been sickening. The Scottish league becomes more of a joke from day to day and the fiasco of the UEFA cup final in Manchester was disappointing and disgraceful. The point is being made all over the internet but it is worth repeating. Scottish fans of all clubs and the national team have been fantastic at away games for years (Celtic fans even have awards from FIFA and UEFA) but repeatedly when Rangers play there is violence and trouble with the police. Please don't judge all Scottish football fans by their example.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Update on Socks and Cardigan- not much to report!

There was little knitting progress to report over the last week or so and then when I did manage to finish my pink socks and get back to work on the cabled cardigan, the broadband connection went down. I hadn’t realised how dependent I am on the internet. A few hours of knowing I couldn’t go online and there seemed to be endless things I needed to check or find out. Not to mention no access to email and Ravelry . This is not meant to suggest I do anything important or productive online - I don’t- but I still got withdrawal symptoms almost instantly.

My knitting has been on and off lately. I enjoyed knitting the embossed leaves socks but the little cabled cardigan has been getting on my nerves. When I did finally make myself try to finish it I picked up stitches for the button band on the wrong side (the seam edge)! I couldn’t believe I could make such a stupid mistake but it serves me right for chucking it aside to cast on the socks. I’m back sorting out my mistake now and it shouldn’t be long until it’s finished - just the collar and sewing up to go.

Here are my finished pink socks. I like them a lot and will probably knit this pattern again. I didn’t break the yarn at the gusset; one of my favourite thing about socks is you don’t break the yarn until you’re done. Also, at the toe I decreased until I had 20 stitches then grafted them together but other than that I followed the pattern. I bought some Ranco Solid sock yarn this week which would look good in a lacy pattern so maybe I’ll knit some green Embossed Leaves.

The alternative would be to knit Monkey socks from, just for a bit of variety but I’m not sure I like the finished sock as much as Embossed Leaves. I tell you what, why don’t I stop worrying about what to knit next and go and FINISH THE CABLED CARDIGAN!