In a moment of over-optimism at the end of November about the speed of my knitting I decided that I would knit a little something for both my parents for their Christmas presents. I had had the yarn for both for absolutely ages, and had been meaning to knit them for a while so this seemed the ideal moment!
For Mummy I made the Eleanor cowl from Knitty, in Posh Yarn Marguerite, which is a 4ply weight, 50% cashmere, 50% silk. The colour is called celery.
I orginally bought the yarn thinking I would make socks, but the mixture of cashmere and silk is completely inelastic and would have made not terribly good socks. However I think it does make lovely lace.
For Daddy I made Ann’s Go-To Socks from the Simply Socks eMag from Interweave Press. They are a fairly standard sock pattern. I had to create an extra size two sizes larger than the largest one written because Daddy (like me) has rather wide feet. I used some Schoppel-wolle sock yarn for these.
The picture was a rather rushed affair because I finished knitting these on the day before they left after their pre-Christmas visit, while they were out visiting my Nanny. The picture was taken in the 5 minutes between casting off and wrapping them up 🙂
I wouldn’t say we are Best Friends Forever just yet, but we have now got to the point where our conversations are less stressful, and more meaningful than awkward discussions of the weather.
At the end of November we went up to stay with my parents for a few days. While we were there Mummy and I had a fun day out at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate (where I helped Mummy to choose a very shiny new sewing machine which weighs a third of what the previous one did). We also went to a workshop on making a toiletries bag with Beryl at Knot in Guisborough.
Although I have been to loads of knitting workshops this was the first sewing one I had been to, so I was a little nervous, particularly since I am pretty much a total beginner. Luckily Beryl was very nice, and she put up with my slowness and long list of stupid questions. Everyone else made lovely patchwork bags, but that is a bit beyond my level. Also although I love pattern, I think I love it best one pattern at a time, so I am not really a fan of the effect you get with patchwork when you have multiple different patterns all together. Anyway, my bag may be a bit wobbly but it is just what I wanted and I am very pleased:
And the totally genious part is that it is lined with a shower curtain so the inside is wipeable.
My sewing machine was playing up a bit when we got back home, making grinding noises and doing uneven stitches. Luckily after a trip to a local shop for a service it has been behaving much better and I finished the bag off a couple of days ago. I am looking forward to using it for the first time soon and checking it is the right shape and size for all my stuff (I still haven’t mastered the art of travelling light).
My sewing is rather sporadic and usually leaves rather a lot to be desired. However at Fibre East this summer Anna showed me a lovely project bag she had made, and it was so nice that I had to have a go myself.
Anna recommended this tutorial, which is very nice and clear, lots of photos, and idiot-proof instructions 🙂
It is hard to tell from my photos but the bag is fully lined. It is the right size for a small knitting project, the yarn in there at the moment is two 50g balls. The fabric was a pair of fat quarters sold for quilting that I got from C&H Fabrics in Winchester when I was at the In The Loop conference.
I have some more fabric to make a second bag but at the moment am deliberating about whether I would like the second bag to be the same size or slightly larger than the first. I shall continue to ponder.
In another departure from the knitting, I have done a little bit of weaving. The West Surrey Guild of Spinners, Weavers, and Dyers held a pair of weaving workshops in October suitable for total beginners (there were also tutors there to help improvers), so I went along and had a go.
Sue helped me to warp up the loom, then I had a go at a bit of plain weave:
Then a bit of twill weave:
Then a bit more twill weave where I tried to improve my rather wobbly edges:
I enjoyed the playing with different colours and getting interesting patterns, although I don’t think weaving is for me. It was great to be able to have a go at everything at the workshop, and then borrow one of the guild looms for the following week so that I could have a proper thorough play, but without having to buy all the equipment first.
After our trip to the Alexandra Palace Knitting and Stitching show in October I came down with a monster three-week cold, and spent some time drifting round the house sniffing, coughing, and feeling sorry for myself. The one good productive side of this is that I knitted up 4 hats, which have now had a good wash to remove any lingering germs 🙂
First was an Icelandic inspired hat, I started knitting this at a workshop with an Icelandic knitter organised by Janine at Ash:
The yarn is Istex Lett-Lopi, and I used 5mm needles.
The snowflake pattern is based on one from one of the Lopi books though I fiddled around with it a little, Sue suggested the Vikkel braid, and I made the rest up. The yarn is rather hairy and I was a bit worried that I would find it scratchy, but I think it is going to be ok. Even though this is the thinner of the Lopi yarns it still makes quite a nice warm hat, and I predict it will see lots of use in the coming months.
The second hat is a bit cheaty because it is only baby size, but it is very cute. This is for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s first baby (a girl) who is due to be born around Christmas.
The pattern is Beamish by Woolly Wormhead, the yarn is KnitPicks Swish DK (100% superwash merino) in Hollyberry, I used 3.75mm needles, and made the 16in size. This was a quick and fun knit, and I enjoyed the squiggles on the top.
My third hat was also a kiddie pattern by Woolly Wormhead, this time Queenie, but I sized it up to fit me.
I used Artesano Superwash Merino, and 3.75mm and 4mm needles.
The yarn was lovely to knit with, but is quite drapey. I think a slighly more substantial yarn might have been better for this style.
Towards the end of our photoshoot of this one, my Director of Photography said “try not to smile quite so widely”:
I think my modelling career may be on hold. This does rather remind me of the old maltesers advert with the crocodile and the wide-mouthed frog.
The last hat is yet another Woolly Wormhead one, though this time one designed for adults. This is Meret:
I used Cascade 220 which I bought at Ally Pally, 4.5mm needles, and knitted the 22in size.
Another fun knit. It has been rather gratifying to knit some smaller projects where you can actually see your progress and have a finished item in a reasonable time. I shall be all kitted out for the winter too now 🙂
Another finished project! I know it is really quite shocking. Don’t expect too many more of them before Christmas!
We had a little photoshoot yesterday at my in-laws, and I proved once again that I am the least photogenic person on the planet.
I seem to be pulling a strange face and / or doing something a little odd with my arms in almost all the pictures (and we took several! ) My photographer / stylist did what he could with a difficult model, but the cardigan is lovely at least 🙂
The pattern is Sleeves in your Pi by Gayle Roehm, and was originally published in Issue 61 of Knitter’s magazine, then was also included in their collection book called Ponchos and Wraps, a Knitter’s Dozen. It is basically a big circular shawl with sleeves in.
I used 6mm needles and the yarn is my handspun, 70% alpaca, 30% merino in Cappuccino from John Arbon. After all the stressing about whether I would have enough yarn I actually used way less than the pattern called for. In the end I used about 480g which was about 915m (it is about a DK weight), even though I added an extra eight rounds to the main circle before the edging to make it a bit wider.
The cardigan is lovely and cosy without being too warm, and I am looking forward to getting a lot of wear out of it. The yarn is shedding a bit which I am a little worried about. I think I shall take it along to the next Show and Tell session at spinning group and see if anyone has any tips for how I could have spun it differently. Hopefully the shedding might stop after the first couple of times I wash it.
I do still exist! As you have probably already guessed August and September have been rather busy, so time for a bit of a catch up with what has been happening.
First and most excitingly, we have a new nephew! Aaron is now 6 weeks old and we have waved to him on the skype several times, and he has made the grumpy face back at us. I had better get a move on with designing his Christmas stocking, especially given the speed of my knitting.
At the beginning of August I helped Jill Brownjohn to run another Patchwork knitting get together. Here we all are getting a bit of direction from Jill:
This year we went for a more relaxed get-together rather than a formal workshop. We had a discussion about joining techniques for pre-knitted shapes, and those who wanted to had a go at the methods that interested them most. It was lovely to catch up with everyone and see what they had been making over the last year, and I think the format seemed to go down well. We are not sure what will happen in 2013 since the hall we have been using for the last several years in Marlow Bottom may be closed for renovation.
A couple of weeks ago I went to the In The Loop 3 conference at Winchester. A wonderful three days, full of interesting and varied speakers and a lot of cake 🙂 I completely failed to take any photos at all 🙁 I am looking forward to having some time soon to see if I can decipher any of the notes I made. Over-excitement and terrible handwriting are not a good combination. It is a good job there is the conference programme to at least tell me who was speaking so I can always google them when my writing of their websites is incomprehensible. I really hope they will run another conference in a couple of years. I thought the programme was very well thought-out and included a lot of different angles on knitting. Lots of food for thought.
And finally I have finished some fingerless mittens:
The pattern is Wrought Mitts, and I used 2.25mm needles and some orange merino/silk handspun that I had left over from making a couple of pairs of socks. In the end I used about 37g which is about 142m. I still have a tiny amount of the yarn left over which I think will be going in the bag for making City and Guilds samples.
My hands are right at the top of the size range of what the mittens would fit. They are ok, but I think if there had been a larger size I would have knitted that. Over all I am very pleased with them, and think they will come in handy now that the weather has turned a bit cooler.
As well as everything else we have been having a bit of a go at tidying up the garden. It has been biting back, in some cases literally, but luckily the latest batch of nasty insect bites are getting much better. I think I need to find a way to make me taste less nice, I manage to get bitten even when I am covered in insect repellant! Today I had a bit of a go at the pond, clearing out some of the mass of weeds. I managed not to fall in but did get covered in smelly black mud. The poor washing machine will be on overdrive tomorrow.
It was the Olympic cycling road time trials yesterday, so I popped along to a stretch of road about half way round the course, between Cobham and Esher. I took my chair with me this time since the whole thing lasted about four hours.
Here are some highlights of the time trial. First the ladies, here is Lizzie Armitstead, Emma Pooley, Judith Arndt (who won silver) who has just overtaken Marianne Vos, and Kristin Armstrong (who won gold):
And here are the men. Chris Froome (bronze), Tony Martin (silver), and Bradley Wiggins (gold):
There is excitement when Chris Froome arrives because he has just overtaken Sylvain Chavanel.
I had a lovely time. It was a very festive atmosphere, a group a few hundred yards up the road had brought a big gas-fired barbecue and were making quite a party of it. I had a bit of a walk to find my spot, but once there I had a nice picnic, and read some of my magazine and did a little bit of knitting. As you can probably hear on some of the videos there were some people with a cow bell on my right, and others with what sounded like the kitchen sink on my left. The kitchen sink lot started off with the cacophony approach, but actually became more musical (or perhaps I became immune) during the day.
It was a great fun day out, and I have enjoyed seeing some of the Olympics in real life.
I recorded the telly coverage of both this and the road races so that I could watch the whole thing later since although you get a lot of atmosphere actually being at a race you really have no idea who is winning. It has been fun and slightly odd seeing them riding down roads I know very well, particularly in the road race. Today I drove on part of the road race course to go to the tip 🙂
I have been doing a little bit of knitting, and am getting on with the Christmas presents! This year I am going to be organised!
Here is a hat for my new nephew (due next week):
The pattern is Doodie by Woolly Wormhead. I used 3.5mm needles and Artesano Superwash Merino. Baby hats are excellent instant gratification knitting.
This is the first time I have used this yarn and I really enjoyed it. It is a very nice soft squashy yarn which feels lovely to knit with and makes a very nice fabric. The only difficulty I had with it was that it turned my hands turquoise. I thought it would not be the mark of a good auntie to turn my nephew’s head turquoise for his first Christmas so I have given the hat a nice wash before it is wrapped up. Turquoise can often be a difficult dye colour.
It has been an action packed weekend! On Saturday we braved the crowds in London and went to the ballet to see Swan Lake. It has been more than 25 years since I last went to the ballet, and it was lovely. We had great seats, and the seats in front of us were unoccupied so we had a fantastic view.
We caught up watching the men’s Olympic Cycling Road Race in the evening, and then yesterday I braved the weather and went out to watch the ladie’s Olympic Cycling Road Race on the road.
At first it was sunny, this the direction the cyclists will arrive from:
and here are two lovely ladies I met while walking down to the race, Sue and her mum Win:
Sue is seen here in contact with base camp (her other half) giving us updates on where the race was on the telly.
We had about an hour to wait and then the cars and motorbikes leading the race started to arrive:
And then the heavens opened, and the lens cover on my camera got jammed. I am not going to win any prizes for my videographic skills, but here is the breakaway, with Lizzie Armitstead (GB, Silver medal), Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia, Bronze medal), Marianne Vos (Netherlands, Gold medal), and Shelley Olds (USA, she had a mechanical later in the race and so wasn’t in the breakaway at the finish). Shortly followed by the peloton, lead by the German team:
Next came a Dutch rider, and a German, chasing the peloton:
And then another group of three riders:
Then the rain became really torrential, but I did manage to un-jam my lens cap, and the main chasing group came through, lead by the Australian team (I do like their yellow skin suits, very nice and easy to identify), followed by more support vehicles:
Then another smaller chasing group:
And then the final rider of the race, and the last of the support vehicles. I’m not sure if you can read it on the rainy video, but the last car helpfully says “End of Race” on it.
It hailed on us while we packed up and got ready to walk back to the car. Also it was the kind of bouncing rain that not only soaked you but also covered you in grit. All of my clothes went in the wash when I got home, my shoes and bag got a wipe and are now drying in the porch. Great fun though!
If you want to watch all seven videos in the right order (hopefully!) here is the playlist:
With the train journey into London and back for the ballet I finally finished my latest pair of socks:
The pattern is Guitar Man Socks, I used 2.5mm needles, and the yarn was some rather old and wobbly hand spun left over from my Cirque Socks. There were actually 4 small balls of yarn which varied a bit in colour, which explains why one sock is a bit darker than the other. Also as you can see I ran out of yarn on the second toe and so used some left-over mill-spun yarn I had hanging around. I think they are rather fun, and the variations in yarn give them character 🙂
The pattern was fun to do. I have altered it a bit, only doing 8 instead of 10 pattern repeats on the leg (although this still makes a long sock on me), and doing 5 1/2 pattern repeats on the foot. I also extended the patterning onto the toe. I think this heel is a bit pointy for my foot, but it has been fun experimenting with different heel and toe shapings.
The cyclists are having a rest day today so I thought I would have a bit of a break from the spinning and do a spot of catching up and tidying up. Luckily I am feeling much rested after a good night’s sleep, but I think I am starting to come down with a cold, I shall make myself a nice cup of tea in a minute and I’m sure that (along with a bit of trombone playing at band this evening) will make everything better. Trombone playing is surprisingly good for stuffy heads, though I haven’t got to that stage with the cold yet, and I’m not sure it is that useful against a sore throat … hopefully the tea will work for that 🙂
I have been shockingly organised this year and have actually finished the hat for my niece’s Christmas present already. This is a definite improvement on last year when she received her Christmas cardigan in February. Jenny if you are reading, look away now!
The yarn is Bergere de France Sport, and is 51% machine washable wool, 49% acrylic. I used 3.25mm needles for the ribbing, and 4.5mm needles for the main body of the hat. The pattern is one by Fiona Morris which was part of our class notes in France, it is also available here on ravelry.
I hope that she will like it! and that it will be at least approximately the right size. It is a very international hat, the yarn is French and bought in France, the stitch patterns are German, it was knitted in France and the UK, and will be going to my niece who lives in the US.
I have sorted out my photos of the National Exhibition, and hopefully got my head round Picassa Web Albums, so hopefully you can see more of the exhibition here (click on the picture to go through to the album I think).
Let me know if not, and I will try again! I’m afraid I don’t have as many general photos as I would have liked because I ran out of camera batteries, but it gives you an idea of the sorts of things that were on display. There is an awful lot of skill and creativity that has gone in to all these things. I have come away very impressed and with lots of ideas 🙂