Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Update and Ally Pally

So, carrying on from last week's entry, an update on progress on my WIPs.

Burridge Lake Afghan - haven't worked on this as firstly I had #1 child off sick for a couple of days as a precautionary measure so the sniffles she had didn't develop into the full-blown coldy virus I went down with the week before. As she had her school's music concert on Weds evening and plays the clarinet and treble recorder, she was at home Monday and Tuesday. Secondly, the weather's got hot, so knitting aran-weight yarn into cables is hot work.

Child Surprise Jacket - finished, except for finishing off and buttons. Not going to worry too much about this as the end of the school year's in a couple of weeks and it's too hot for cardigans anyway.

Tempest Cardigan - finished the back and left front of this and am getting used to the skinny yarn on 4mm needles. Trying to match the way the contrast yarn's pooling in the stripes on each front, but not going to beat myself up about it if they don't.

Granny Square blanket - one more 'patch' or block made. Need another couple of colours of yarn to make 8 blocks before I crochet them together and do a border (unless I decide to make it bigger than that).

Last week I mentioned the 4-ply silk yarn I've got. I cast on for a Clapotis. First off, used circulars, but the non-stretchy nature of the yarn made this hard work, so I switched to bamboo straights. I'm just not in like with this yarn, let alone love. Still, I think I'm going to carry on until I get to the part of the pattern where the dropping-of-stitches occurs and then see if I like it. If not, it'll get frogged and I'll probably admit defeat with the yarn and see if anyone else wants it.

In the meantime, I've cast on a pair of socks. Last year I knitted something like 16 pairs of socks and became a bit socked out. This year, I think I've knitted two pairs. The first pair was Wendy Johnson's Sunrise socks, using the Wendy Sunrise yarn from Lorna's Laces dyed to match up with the pattern. I love these socks. They fit well, wash well and the yarn behaved nicely so there wasn't any weird pooling. The second pair I knit was out of Natural Dye Studio Unicorn yarn in a pretty pale green/pink colourway. I made it into a pair of toe-up vanilla socks for #1 child, who likes them (but may not get another pair if she continues to shuffle along the carpet wearing only socks, thus felting the soles a little bit). So, I went into my Ravelry queue and saw that the next sock pattern I'd got in there (I'm trying to be well-behaved when it comes to my queue) was Jules by Kate Blackburn. The pattern's a sort-of waffle/slip stitch rib, worked over 14 rows. Written for a cuff-down construction, I'm making them toe-up as I prefer to knit socks this way. I went through my stash of sock yarn and decided on the pink/purple colourway of Koigu I bought on sale at Get Knitted at least a year ago and cast on. I've got 8 rounds to go before I start the gusset increases and am really enjoying knitting these. The pattern works with the yarn and they're pink and pretty.

In other news, having booked the weekend off work to go to Ally Pally in the autumn, I'm now not sure if I'm going to go after all. I've got yarn coming out of my ears, including at least enough sock yarn for 15 pairs (possibly 20 if I'm honest), plus yarn enough to make five cardigans/jumpers, plus several balls of acrylic (which will probably become scarves and hats for various charities). There are also quite a few balls of cotton, destined to become market-type bags and/or wash cloths, plus some eyelash yarn (including some that's been OTN for ages to make a cushion cover for #1 child) and various left-over balls which are, again, destined for charity knits. In short, I've got enough yarn to keep me going for a good while (and the above doesn't include the 1200g I've still got knit up for the aran blanket) and I know that if I go to Ally Pally I'll probably end up coming back with more skeins of sock yarn which, although I know will be pretty, I can buy online. There's also my mitred square blanket, which is coming along very slowly (it's a project I knit on while #2 child is in the bath, or last thing at night when I want to do a few rows before I switch out the light). I've been saving up money for Ally Pally since last October by putting £1 in a tin for each 50g of yarn (or 25g of laceweight) and it's amassing (hubby put £10 in there as well, which was lovely of him), but I'm just not sure I want to pay the travel costs for me and #1child just to end up with a few skeins of sock yarn that I don't need. Anyway, I broke the news to #1child today that we might not go after all, so she's miffed with me. Maybe if she actually gets out her knitting rather than gluing herself to the PC at every possible moment, I'll change my mind. In the meantime, there's a good chance that I'll use my stash-busting money to pay for either new shoes, swimming lessons or music lessons for her, all of which seem to creep up on me and catch me unawares in an 'oh bugger' kind of way. Maybe if I leave Ally Pally another year, I'll have knitted up some of my stash, #1child will be a more proficient and enthusiastic knitter and we'll enjoy it more than we will this year.

Monday, 21 June 2010

I am a bad blogger

I started this blog with the intention of contributing to it regularly. I shouldn't have made that commitment in my mind as I always seem to rebel against such things. No idea why - I just do. It's like setting myself knitting deadlines of the x rows per day on y project variety so I get things done. It just doesn't happen - I think I resent the formalising of my knitting in such a way.

Anyhow - it's been months and months and months since I last updated this. On my birthday, in fact. So, what have I been up to knitting-wise?

Well, quite a lot really, but some things are still hanging around from last year.

Such as, the Burridge Lake Aran Afghan. I finally finished the first panel last week and cast on for the second one. I had a look around Ravelry at some of the other versions of this lovely pattern to have a look at the middle section cables in more detail, if there were any closer-up shots than on the pattern site. I noticed that one Ravelry member had written a chart for the this section, so I though 'woohoo' and had a look. I then saw that this chart was an amended chart to the one that the designer had added to the pattern page, so I went and had a look. That's when it all started to go a bit pear-shaped. I spent almost the entire morning trying to fathom out why the chart didn't seem to work compared to the one I'd written out for myself when I first started knitting this (I used the new chart for the first couple of rows before something didn't seem to be Quite Right). I think I worked out that the new charted pattern is reversed from the written instructions (which had an error in them that wasn't difficult to spot if you're familiar with the way cables work). Unfortunately, it wasn't until I got up to about row 19 that I realised that it wasn't Quite Right. Anyway, I went back to my own chart, changed one thing and am hoping that the mistake in the first row won't be noticeable once the border's on (the cables cross the wrong way on the outside sections). Anyway, I've now done 2 x 24-row repeats on this with another 14 to go for this section!

Other things on the needles at the moment are:

- Child's Surprise Jacket. I'm making this in Sirdar Bonus DK in royal blue as it's intended to be for DD1 as a school cardigan and royal blue is her school's colour. Hit a glitch as I ran out of yarn so had to buy a new ball for the sleeves and it's a different dye lot, so there's a slight variation in colour. DD1 says she doesn't mind as a. no-one else will probably notice and b. it's only for school anyway!

- Tempest cardigan. This is a funny one - well, for me anyway. It's 4-ply/fingering yarn knitted up at a DK tension (20sts/4" once blocked), so the fabric's very drapey and it's a bit outside my comfort zone. I'm using two colourways of Unicorn yarn from the Natural Dye Studio. One colour is semi-solid light green and the other is pink/mauve/light green. The pattern's striped and with the colours I'm using, the striping is subtle due to the light green in the pink/mauve colourway blending in with the other colour. I quite like it though and the more I do of this, the more I like it. The yarn's beautiful (70% baby llama, 20% cashmere, 10% silk). I've finished the back and have started on one of the fronts. As the fronts are (obviously) knitted on fewer stitches - 50 for the size I'm making - the yarn's pooling. On the first pink/mauve/green stripe, it pooled at the side where the button band will be, so for the second stripe with this skein, I've joined the yarn at a place where it will pool on the opposite side, to balance the pooling. Just got the remember to make sure I do the same with the other front now!

- Crocheted Granny Square blanket. Using a mix of Patons Diploma DK and Wendy Mode DK. I'm aiming for a block effect, a bit like a patchwork quilt and have done four blocks so far. Not sure at the moment how big I'm going to make it. I'll see how heavy it gets.

That's it. Four projects - just four. Although...... I've got some 4-ply 100% silk which was going to be an Ishbel, but got frogged as it just wasn't working out. It's a tricky yarn as it's quite splitty (tried crocheting with it but very quickly realised that was not one of my best ideas) and it's quite a thin 4-ply. It's something like 700 metres per 100g skein (I've got just the one) so I'm now thinking Clapotis. Doesn't need proper blocking (I gather that silk doesn't have much memory) and the amount of yarn I've got should make a decent-sized scarf.

Will try not to leave it so long next time. Will also try to find my camera (I think I know where it is) and my camera charger (no idea on the location for that) and fathom uploading pictures!