Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Hoodie - Progress

DD1's hooded cardigan is coming along rather nicely.

I finished knitting the hood this morning.  Rather than working the back as two separate halves, I did it as one piece and then did a three-needle cast off instead of casting off each half and mattress stitching the seam up the back.  I think it looks neater that way.

This is the tip of the hood, where there are decreases.  At first, I did ssk on the last two stitches of the first half and k2tog straight away on the first two stitches of the second half, but it was a bit gappy in the middle, so I ripped back and did ssk, k2, k2tog, which I think looks neater.

 This is the three-needle cast off seam on the right side.
The inside seam of the hood.
I think this definitely looks neater than sewing the seam and as it's unlikely that the hood will be worn up, this seam will probably be visible when the cardigan's worn.

Finally, a sideways look at the hood.  I'm sure there are better-shaped hood patterns out there, but I hope this will look better once it's attached to the body of the cardigan.

I'm not going to sew the hood to the body as the pattern states.  I left the stitches at the top of the cardigan on some waste yarn, so I'll pick up a few stitches on the right band, knit along the stitches on waste yarn and then pick up a few stitches on the left band.  After that, I'll pick up stitches along the edge of the hood (probably 3 stitches for each 4 rows) and then I'll adjust the hood stitches so I've got the same amount as at the top of the cardigan and then I'll do a three-needle cast off.  That should give a nice firm, but neat-looking edge to the top of the cardigan.  It sounds more complicated than it is!  After that, I'll have yarn ends to sew in, a few stitches to sew together at the underarms and then I'll need to find buttons to sew on.

With regards to my mother-in-law's scarf, I've admitted defeat on what I was trying to do as I still wasn't happy with it and I've decided to maker her a garter stitch Baktus scarf instead.  I think I'll get a better scarf for the amount of yarn I've got.  The Baktus is a great pattern - very easy, but it looks nice.

Progress to date:

It shouldn't take me long to finish this off and get it blocked ready for hubby to take it with him when he visits his father and stepmother a few days after Christmas (DD2 and I will be staying at home with Jess - to cut a long story short, mother-in-law doesn't like dogs and we don't want to put Jess in kennels for just one night).

Apologies for the poor quality of the my photos by the way - I've no idea why I'm taking particularly bad shots at the moment.  I might have to consult the camera manual.  The poor light with this horrible weather doesn't help much either.

Talking of the weather, we're fortunate in that we live halfway up a hill that's part of a tidal river valley, so our house isn't at risk of flooding, but I know that there are many out there who must be worried, so please take care and if you have to drive through areas where the roads are at risk of flooding, be especially careful and test your brakes after you've driven through flooded bits.

I'm hoping the weather will brighten up for a couple of days.  The high winds at the weekend blew off part of the felt on the roof of the chickens' house and I'd like the wood underneath to have the chance of drying out a bit before I nail it back on again.

I'll be back soon, hopefully with the cardigan finished off (well, maybe without buttons - must consult with DD1 about the type she'd like) and I'll also tell you about the next thing that will be on my needles.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Hoodie Update

I've been steadily knitting away on DD1's hooded cardigan and I've now got it to the point where the body and sleeves are done and the button and buttonhole bands are completed.

(the colour's more green than that but it's a horrible windy, murky day today and I've had to switch on the lights in the lounge).

I shall be casting on the hood later today and will be browsing the internet for buttons.  I'm thinking of going with wooden ones, but will check with DD1 when she gets home from school.

I've made various modifications to the pattern which I'll detail when I do an FO post about it.

I've also been knitting away on the scarf for my mother-in-law, but I'm not happy with it.

I like the yarn (well, I would say that, wouldn't I - I spun it myself!).  I like the fabric that's knitting  up.  What I don't like is that it isn't getting wide enough as quickly as I'd like.  So, I think I'm going to frog it and instead of doing increases at the edges every other row and increases down the spine every four rows, I'm going to carry on doing the spine increases every four rows, but increase at the edge on every row.  I'm sure I've got some navy chunky-weight acrylic in a box or bag somewhere, so might do a test (might go up to a 6mm needle as well) to see how it looks rather than keep frogging and re-knitting the handspun yarn.  It's all rather frustrating as I can picture in my mind how I want it to look .

Hopefully I'll have sorted it out by the next time I post.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

I, too, have made a hat!

Looking on the feed thingammy  of blogs I follow on Monday, I noticed that Lucy at Attic24 was proudly announcing through her entry's title that she'd made a hat.  I duly read through, admired and decided that this was the type of hat that I, too, was going to make.

Later on that morning, I had to go into Colchester to collect some things I'd ordered from M&S so paid a trip to Franklins, the main yarn shop in the town.  I came out with three balls of King Cole Merino Blend DK.  One in dark red, one in a leafy green and one in dark blue.  I should have bought two balls of the red as crochet eats yarn more quickly than does knitting.  I also bought a ball of Wendy Roam Fusion sock yarn, some short 5mm KnitPro tips and an 80cm KnitPro cable (it's a size I use a lot) but let's forget about those additional things that jumped into my hands, shall we.

I was busy on Monday afternoon, so it was Tuesday morning before I got the chance to introduce hook to yarn, but off I went and by Tuesday evening, I'd finished the main part of the hat.  Because of only having one ball of the main colour yarn, my hat is more stripey than Lucy's and I didn't have enough red  yarn to do a final round of trebles, so did doubles on that row - I don't think it's made much of a difference to the hat at all.

Wednesday I got waylaid by other things until evening, when I used some needlepoint wool to add a row of running stitch through one of the contrast stripes.  This morning, I did two more rows of running stitch using other colours in other stripes and then I made a crocheted flower to go on the side (making it up as I went along), using the colours already in the hat.  I'm rather pleased with the flower.  I didn't want anything too ruffly, but I didn't want something two-dimensional either.

And, here it is, modelled on an upturned pudding basin:

Here's the flower:

And here's a bad photo of me wearing it:

I shall  wear it when I take Jess for a walk this afternoon and when I go and collect DD2 from the station later.  In fact, I shall probably wear it lots of places over the next four or five months :D

Back now to knitting DD1's hoodie (coming along nicely, but a bit slowly) and mother-in-law's Christmas scarf (one false start but I've tweaked the pattern and it's ok now).  I've also got a pair of bright socks on the needles for those times when the pale green and natural shades of the other two items becomes a bit too bland!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

It started off easy....

.... but then my husband and father-in-law got involved.

I have two mothers-in-law (and two fathers-in-law).  The reason for this is that my husband's parents divorced years ago, before I knew him, and both re-married.  As we don't make any distinction between grandparents and step-grandparents with our children, in my mind I refer to them all as my in-laws, not my step-in-laws as a. all four are very nice people and b. it would make life far more difficult than it needs to be.

Anyway, one of my mothers-in-law recently had surgery - shoulder replacement and she's scheduled to have the other one done early next year.  Thinking ahead to Christmas, I thought to myself that I have plenty of yarn in my stash and she's the sort of person who would probably appreciate a hand-knitted scarf.  Easy, you'd think.

So, one evening when I knew hubby was going to be phoning his father, I asked him if he'd find out what colour coat my mother-in-law wears the most.  Still easy,  you'd think?  No.  Turns out she has two or three coats that she wears regularly.  Oh well, I thought, I'm sure I've got something fairly neutral in my stash.  The conversation between hubby and his father moved on.  Father-in-law said that mother-in-law likes big scarves that she wraps around her neck.  Hmm.  Not exactly what I had in mind.  I know she's probably not someone who would wear something very lacy and certainly not ruffled or frilly. 

After hubby got off the phone (I'd wandered off during the latter part of the conversation so didn't get to hear the rest of hubby's side of it) he began telling me the sort of thing his father thought mother-in-law would like.  It started to get even more complicated.  Something 'tweedy' or 'not completely plain, but - you know - with bits in every once in a while'.  I began to wish I'd never considered making her something, especially after hubby started searching online for what he thought would be a suitable yarn.  Most of what he came up with I discounted on the grounds that it would be too scratchy to wear around the neck.

Hubby went off to work and I had a bit of a think about it and then made a decision.  200g of an alpaca/silk blend from World of Wool were soon winging their way to me in the post (those guys at WoW are very fast at processing orders) along with some other 'fluff' that happened to jump into my basket.

I divided the 200g of fibre into three more or less equal bumps:

Then I spun each bump into a single before plying  them into a proper three-ply yarn (as in three separate strands rather than navajo/chain plying).

I ended up with 181g/approx 205m of a brown/cream tweedy yarn that weight-wise lies between aran and chunky:

It's 181g  because the fibre was very flyaway and after every spinning session I found myself brushing fluff off my trousers and also because I completely forgot to put my jumbo flyer and bobbin on the wheel when I started to ply, so ended up wasting some of it when I realised what I'd done and switched to the big bobbin/flyer rather than making two skeins.

My plan is to make a triangular scarf with a five-stitch central spine so it doesn't end in a sharp point at the end.  Stocking stitch, with a row of reverse stocking stitch every six rows to give a bit of interest, I think.  I'm also going to do increases every right-side at the edges, but every other right-side row at the centre so it comes out as a wide but not too deep triangle rather than a traditional almost-right-angled-triangle shawl.

Hopefully you'll see what I mean in a couple of weeks as I'm planning on starting it soon.

In the meantime, DD1's hooded cardigan is coming along very nicely. I've done the back and front  up to the armholes, finished one sleeve and added that to the back and fronts and am nearly halfway up the second sleeve.  As this is a fairly mindless knit, I'm also nearly halfway through Andre Agassi's autobiography which I started last week around the same time I started the first sleeve.

I'll be back soon with more about the hoodie.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

An Admission of Disappointment

I steam blocked my Color Affection scarf/wrap the other day and I'll just come right out and admit that I'm a bit disappointed with it.

Not with the yarn - being a bit trumpet-blowing, I was really pleased with how I spun the yarn.  Not with the pattern itself and the way the colours work; the way the stripes flow around the scarf making it asymmetrical is one of the things that attracted me to the pattern:

It's the top edge I don't like.  It's not straight and I pinned, steamed, re-pinned and re-steamed, but just couldn't get it to lie flat.  There's a lumpy bit right in the middle where I cast on.

I think what I might do is carefully unpick the cast on edge and maybe the first few rows of knitting, one stitch at a time and then cast them off.  I also did the modification I'd read about on Ravelry of a yarn-over between the first two stitches at the beginning of each row, dropping the yarn over on the next row to give the edge a bit more flexibility and I'm glad I did.

All in all, it was an enjoyable knit, even though the rows did get very long towards the end, but I'm not sure it's something I'll wear except at home to keep my shoulders warm on chilly days.  It's very very big and I think I'll find it a bit bulky, especially with the coat I've got.  In addition, I never seem to manage to drape shawls or wraps effectively around my shoulders - maybe I'm the wrong shape.  They droop, flap and fall down and I end up feeling irritated.

Here it is folded up - I think you can get a bit of an idea of its size.

I think I'll mark this one as a process knit.  Happy I made it, but not so sure I'll wear it.

I'm off now to start a new spinning project.  There's a bit of a story behind this one - I'll tell you in another post.