Friday, 31 May 2013

Knotted, erm not!

With Cassie's bolero all done and dusted I quickly cast on to swatch for Knotted as per my plan. However, it wasn't long before I spotted a flaw in this plan.  There was no way I was going to get gauge.  The yarn feels a lot thinner in my hand than other DKs I've knit with and while the finished product may have ended up growing a bit I wasn't going to rely on that from such an early stage.  So Plan B comes in the form of Ysolda's Cria.  While I was flipping through Little Red looking for ideas for my next project I spotted Cria and saw that a lighter DK would be a suitable yarn and when I checked back, as luck would have it, the gauge suggested was the gauge I had been getting when I swatched for Knotted.  I duly cast on and got to work.
This is what I have so far.  It doesn't really look like anything because due to some knitting jiggery pokery, stitch picking up and short rows you kind of knit round and out from the shoulders, so what I have at the moment looks a bit bunched up and weird.  I have to say that when I started knitting and following the instructions I did think to myself that they were a little crazy and wasn't entirely sure how it would all pan out, but I had faith and I seem to be getting something that resembles a cardigan.  At the moment I'm planning on making the short sleeved version, mostly because I have some super secret future projects I'm eager to get to.  But if this turns out to be a reasonably quick knit then I might be tempted to knit a longer sleeved version because I do love the look of the buttons on the cuffs.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

FO: Cassie's Two Tone Bolero

Despite all the angst about running out of pink Kidsilk Haze, Cassie’s bolero is now finished and actually it ain’t half bad.  I had a sticky moment where I thought the arm holes were far too small, but I’d fastened the ends of the bind offs too tightly and once they were loosened all was well.
Because I know that there are 2 shades of Kidsilk haze here is does seem kind of obvious to me, but I actually don’t find it too jarring and I’m glad that I didn’t rip back.  Cassie looks super cute in it too so overall I’m pleased with it.  Again the pattern I used was the Baby Bolero by Yarn-Madness and I’ve managed to discover that the main yarn I used was Wendy Mode Chunky along with the troublesome Kidsilk Haze.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Stashdown Yarn 3

My third choice of stashdown yarn was this handspun yarn, made from 50% BFL, 30% Baby Alpaca and 20% Silk which I purchased from Picperfic.  Her new shop is here.  I spun the yarn as a 3-ply and then plied them together with gold sewing thread so it is kind of a 4-ply.  I've measured it as around a 4-ply weight and I have about 200m to play with.  Because I don't have a great amount of yardage for a 4-ply I was a bit stumped when I started to look for a pattern.  I don't really have enough for a shawlette and I couldn't really think of anything smaller that I wanted to make, so in the end I plumped for making a baby item.  Once I realised that it wasn't so hard to choose.  I've been thinking that I need to make Cassie some legwarmers for a while.  If she's wearing trousers when I put her in the sling I find that they get all bunched up, it's hard to pull them down and I worry about her getting chilly ankles.  Legwarmers are the answer to that and these Baby Frog Legs are perfect.  Nice and simple, because I'd like to finish them quite quickly, I'm looking forward to making these.  I'd better check the yarn goes with our new woven wrap when it gets here in the post!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Stashdown Yarn 2

The second of my Stashdown Trio is some Rowan 4 ply Soft which I bought in a cone a lot of years ago.  I've finally got round to winding it into balls so now I know for sure that I have around 500g which gives me around 1750m to play with.  Now, apart from socks, I very rarely work with 4-ply so I knew that choosing a garment for this yarn was going to be a tall order.  Especially as I've attempted to knit with it before and gave up once the endless rows of stockinette with tiny needles became too much and poor old Hanne from Rowan Studio 3 has been sitting in a drawer for years until I finally ripped it back last week.  I'm pretty sure that I have actually moved house 3 times since it went in the drawer!  So from long neglected yarn to long neglected pattern books, I have decided to try knitting Laika from Ysolda's Little Red in the City.  Like Custom Knits 2, which I mentioned yesterday, I received Little Red as a gift at least 2 christmasses ago and I still haven't knit anything from it so I'm glad to be finally trying one of the patterns.I'm hoping that the lacy pattern should add interest and distract me from the fact I am knitting with 4-ply.  I guess we'll see.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Stashdown Yarn 1

While I'm charging along finishing Cassie's bolero I can get on with outlining my plans for the first of my 3 chosen stash yarns that I mentioned a few posts ago.  My first chosen yarn was 7 balls of Rowan Felted Tweed, which is 350g and 1222m.  I originally purchased this, along with 3 balls of Rowan Kid Classic in order to make Celtic from Rowan 40.  I must have really liked it because I actually bought the same colours of the one in the magazine, quite a rarity!  Clearly I didn't actually like it enough to get around to making it though and after purchasing Thrown Together by Kim Hargreaves I decided that the Felted Tweed would be put to much better use as an Olivia.  Now I've spent some time thinking about this and although I do still like Olivia a lot I'm a bit unsure of whether it would suit me and I've decided to use the yarn for something else.  Third plan lucky, eh?  After a bit of searching I found 2 likely candidates.  Caramel by Isabell Kraemer and Knotted by Wendy Bernard.  I absolutely adore Caramel and I keep coming back to it as a favourite, but ultimately I want to make a stripy one and that would mean using a completely different yarn for the stripes so I'll keep it on ice for the future.  For this reason and also because it is nearly summer now and Knotted seems like a more appropriate garment, I'm going to make Knotted.  It has loads going for it, I can make the basic sleeveless version and then if I have plenty of yarn left I can add a hood and even sleeves as I go.  I like the idea of that after some of the 'running out of yarn' issues I have been having later.  Also I have all 3 Custom Knits books and have yet to knit a single thing from any of them, so I'm happy with my decision.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Decision time

After mulling over my problem with the baby bolero and slouchy sweater I eventually decided that, yes, I would rip back the sweater and that, yes, it was indeed going to be a total pain to frog.  I am going to keep going, but I think the only way to do it without losing my mind is to do 10 minutes her and there until it is done and that isn't really helping me to get Cassie's bolero done.  I've also decided that I really can't be bothered to rip that back, especially as it will again require two strands to be separated so in a radical moment I came up with the idea of just switching to white KSH and carrying on.  Best case scenario is that it doesn't really notice or is just an interesting detail as it isn't the primary yarn.  Worst case scenario is that after a few rows it looks ridiculous and I end up having to rip back and I haven't really wasted much time.  Plus there is always the lazy option of finishing it that way and just chucking the whole thing in a dye bath and the end and hoping I can even it up.  Ahh, it feels good to make a decision.

Monday, 20 May 2013


Progress has stalled a little on Cassie's bolero because despite all of the stash diving I have been doing recently I completely failed to notice the absence of any more pink Kidsilk Haze.  I was certain I had loads of it but while I do have loads of it in white and just as much in a sparkly off white, in pink I have none.  So either I have been imagining yarn or it does exist, just in a 'safe place'.  This leaves me in a bit of a pickle, because there is one place where I can find some...
The pink fuzzy one at the back
This is a Slouchy Cover Up from Rowan Studio 5 and it has been 99% completed for a number of years now.  The side seams need sewing and the I just need to pick up stitches and finish the neck and that is it.  Of course I cna't do that now because I've just used the last bit of yarn for the bolero.  So it's looking like I will either need to rip back the bolero to finish the sweater or rip back the sweater to finish the bolero.  Ripping back an adult sweater to knit half of a baby vest does seem a little bit crazy, particularly as KSH is notoriously 'sticky' to frog and it is knit with two strands held together which will then need to be separated.  Not fun.  However this sweater has been sitting unfinished for years and probably isn't my size any more so do I really want to finish it?  Realistically I'm thinking that it has to go, but I'm really not relishing the idea of actually unravelling it and I'm wondering if it would be quicker to rip the bolero and start that again with another colour of KSH and worry about the sweater afterwards.  Hmm, I have some thinking to do!

Monday, 13 May 2013

WIP: Baby Bolero

While I'm settling on projects for my chosen yarns I've cast on for a quick baby bolero to keep my fingers busy while my mind works.  The pattern I've chosen is this one by Yarn-Madness and I'm using a mystery (probably) chunky yarn from my stash held together with a strand of Kidsilk Haze to help me get gauge.  I quite like the effect of the two yarns together although the fluffiness of the Kidsilk does obscure the cabling and YOs a little.  It feels really great though, sooo soft.  Being a small thing it is growing pretty quickly and I should have it done in a matter of days.  Hopefully by then I will have identified the mystery yarn and it will be a mystery no longer!

Saturday, 11 May 2013


This year's Blog Week, more than anything, saw me really taking stock of the yarn in my stash and in a way rediscovering it and the lovely yarn hidden within it.  While I am aware that compare to many knitters my stash is fairly modest, I have decided that it is too big and that it is time to use some of it.  That's right, a stashdown is in order, despite this oh so tempting DROPS sale which is currently goading me!  That said, I'm quite excited to get started, especially as it's a wonderful excuse to start a very interesting spreadsheet and accompanying graph.  Here is the starting point:

So what is the plan?
First and foremost, no more yarn.  Looking through my stash made me remember how much great yarn I have and yet whenever I choose a project I always end up buying more yarn for it.  I think the reason for this is that most of my stash was purchased with a project in mind but as I am constantly spotting new patterns that I have to make now those yarn languish, patiently waiting for their project to come to the top of the queue.  With this in mind I'm going to try an experiment, choosing projects to go with yarn rather than the other way around.  I'm going to start by choosing 3 long neglected yarns, working out what project I wanted to make with them and if I still want to make it.  If so I'll just make it and if not I'll pick a new project and make that.  Drumroll please..... this time the yarns will be:
Rowan Felted Tweed, grey, 7 balls of.
Rowan 4-ply Soft, black, 1 cone of (probably around 10 balls worth)
Handspun, brown, pink, gold, 1 skein of
Let's begin!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

FO: Shrug for Cassie

On her birthday Cassie received an absolutely beautiful dress from my aunt and because it really is perfect for a special occasion I thought she could wear it to a wedding that we have coming up soon.  This being England it is necessary for her to have a have something to keep her warm but I didn't want to have to cover up her lovely dress.  After a recommendation from a fellow Raveller I decided to make a Confection Baby Shrug by Tonya Wagner in light grey Drops Paris.  My plan was to get started on it on holiday but, disaster, when I was getting the yarn down from the box on top of the bookshelf I managed to drop one of the balls right down behind it.  Ack.  Because I didn't want to run out of yarn miles away from home I took sock projects on holiday instead.
Face forward Mummy? I'd rather empty the laundry bin all over the floor actually.
On my return I decided to just go for it, 2 balls might be enough, right?  And surely given a bit more time I might be able to rescue the yarn.  And would you believe it, 2 balls was enough to knit the shrug......but unfortunately it was not enough to cast off.  Typical.  It might now be worth mentioning that the bookshelf in question is almost floor to ceiling and takes up one whole wall of the dining room so I'm not being dramatic when I say it is lost for the time being.  Eventually I decided that it would be acceptable to cast off with different yarn and chose a dark grey wool which actually barely notices when the shrug is being worn. but is quite a nice little detail when you look closely.
The pattern itself was really easy and quick.  Even though I really hate picking up stitches there weren't too many and  certainly not too many that it would put me off knitting it again.  I almost certainly will make another one because it will be perfect for Cassie to wear while she is in the sling.  I often find that she needs her arms covered but putting her in a cardigan just adds another layer of fabric between me and her and I end up with a lovely baby shaped sweat patch on my back.  I think this shrug will be a great solution for that sticky problem!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

New Book

Before we set off on the birthday car journey of epic boredom, Stu handed me a copy of Animal Hats by Rachel Henderson as one of my presents.  I didn't get much a chance to look at it at the time but I've since managed to flick through it a couple of times.  There are some really fun hats in it and I'm not ashamed to admit that I will quite happily wear hats with ears and faces so there are definitely a couple I will make.  Awesomely this book includes knitted, crocheted and sewn hats so it's a crafty best of all worlds!  A lot of the projects involve a small amount of colourwork so this is a perfect book for someone, like me, who is getting ready to dip a toe into the world of colourwork.  I'm also very tempted by the crochet patterns and I might even start one soon as I am very eager to get my crochet skills up to scratch again.

All in all, the boy done good.

Saturday, 4 May 2013


The Eden Project
After what seemed like a lifetime in the car we have just arrived home from our lovely holiday in Cornwall.  Because we are all tired and there is lots to do I am just going to drop a few holiday snaps and run.  However, today is my birthday and I know I've got at least one knitting book so I'll definitely have something to talk about next time.
Cassie enjoying her freedon at Eden Project
Meerkat at Newquay Zoo
Cassie strokes a goat
Aww, I wanted to steal this little fella!
Cassie's first time on the beach