Wednesday, 25 September 2013

WIP: Socks for Cassie

Seeing as how it's starting to get a bit chilly here and seeing as how Cassie seems to need an entire new wardrobe, I thought it would be good to knit her some socks. I've never knit socks for her before and I don't really have a go to pattern for toddler socks (any recommendations are gratefully received). I started to do a quick Ravelry search and then I remembered that my Mother-in-law had bought me a kiddies sock book a while back and that I hadn't tried any of the patterns yet. I'll be honest, it's not ideal, most of the patterns are DK and I much prefer 4ply for socks, but I thought I'd select a pattern anyway, they'll be a quick knit and perfect for indoors and to go under wellies when the weather really starts to turn.

The pattern I chose was Flower Power from Cute Knits for Baby Feet, there are no projects aside from mine on Ravelry so this is a picture of what they are supposed to look like.

I'm won't be bothering with the little flower, but I am sticking with the contrast heels and toes. I'm using the same yarn as the mittens I just made and after this I'll be using it again to knit myself a hat. I'm getting my money's worth out of that colour combo!

The first sock is done, from the time I got to the heel until the time I cast off I was not convinced that there would ever be a second sock. It looked too large, the heel was a mess and the toe not much better. However, I've sewn up the worst of the holes and tried it on Cassie and it fits so I will make the second one. If I ever knit it again I will be making some changes to the whole thing though. I'll save my thoughts on that for the FO post though.


Saturday, 21 September 2013

FO: Robot Mittens

The robot mittens are done. Small as they are they represent a pretty massive achievement for me as well as leaving me with a big space on my 'things to try' list! Obviously I don't think that I have cracked colour work overnight, I still need a lot of practice, but I've finally made the first move and I'm pretty proud of the results. The second mitten was a lot smoother sailing than the first. I'm beginning to find my rhythm and refine my technique. Despite this the second mitten is actually inferior to the first, but that is due to a few mistakes I made in the knitting and not down to the execution of the colourwork. The mittens themselves have come out fairly large, not quite big enough for Cassie though so I think they'll be ok.

I haven't quite decided on my next project so I'm working on my blanket in the meantime. I've done about 30 rows but I'm holding off on taking any pictures until it's long enough to uncurl a bit and actually look like something.

Again the pattern for the mittens is Mini Motif Baby Mittens by Nett Hulse. I used around 30g of Cygnet Wool Rich Aran for the background and about 10g of Debbie Bliss Merino DK for the motif.


Thursday, 19 September 2013

Skills upgrade

I've cast on and done quite a bit of work on both of my new projects.  I'll share my progress tomorrow, but for today I've been musing on number of firsts these projects have been providing.

As a knitter of over a decade, I'm always pleasantly surprised and excited when I realise I'm about to do something I've never done before.  I'm aware that I still have lots to learn even now and that it's easy to get stuck in a rut of doing the things I know and not really stretching myself.  Sometimes that a thing is new is purely a coincidence, for example I'd never made icord until recently because I'd never happened to knit a pattern that required it.  The same goes for illusion knitting, which I'm now doing for the very first time.  In reality there is nothing new there at all, it's just striping and knitting and purling according to a chart, but it's an effect I've never used before.

Conversely there is colourwork which is a different ball game altogether.  Its is something that I've been wanting to do for a long time.  I've have patterns in my favourites forever, but I've purposefully been stalling because it means learning new skills.  I'm rather proud that I am stalling no longer now that I have started my baby mittens.  Starting as I meant to go on I cast on using the new-to me- suggested cast on (tillybuddy's very stretchy cast on).  I had to watch the video a few times before I got it, but I can do it now without the video and it's quite fun.  I'm definitely interested in adding a few more cast-ons and casts off to my repertoire now.

The colourwork itself is going ok and I keep reminding myself that I'm not going to perfect a new technique as soon as I start.  The first mitten is done and it's acceptable but there is certainly a lot of room for improvement.  I'm going to reserve judgement until both mittens are knitted and blocked.  So far I haven't really found my rhythm, I'm still experimenting with different ways to hold my yarn, make my stitches and deal with floats.  The results are encouraging though and I'm very much inspired to keep at it.  I'm going to be sure and pick another colourwork project very soon to keep the momentum going.  I'm not sure I'm ready for a full on fair-isle sweater yet, but who knows, maybe one day!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Breaking the rules

After all of the drama when it came to getting my last project off the ground you'd think, just a few days later, that choosing my next project would be equally tiresome.  Luckily this is not the case and I'm all set and ready to cast on not one but two new projects.  Obviously this breaks all the rules I set myself to stop me flitting from WIP to WIP without ever finishing anything, but this really is a one off and I do have my reasons.

For a while now, I have been resisting the urge to knit a baby blanket.  We have quite a few already, both hand made and shop bought and with so many projects in the queue I don't really have the time to commit to a larger project.  My resolve has been tested when I see all of the lovely blankets that the ladies in my due date group on Ravelry have been producing, but so far I have resisted.  That was until I saw the Star Illusion Blanket by Katie Ahlquist.  This really appeals to me and I have to make it.  I have accepted that I can't work on this exclusively, I have too much else I need to finish before January and I have therefore also accepted that this will most likely not be finished before baby is born.  The idea is that whatever else I am working on will be my main project and I will try and get a couple of rows of this blanket done each day if I can.  Once it's done, that's it, I'll be a good girl and there will be no more secondary projects.  Probably..

So what's my main project?  These little motif-mittens.  I'm really excited about casting these on.  They are cute little mittens and they have colourwork, which has been on my 'to master' forever and these are the perfect little project to help me take the plunge.  There is a choice of about 8 motifs for these mittens and I have chosen the little robot for mine.  I love stuff with robots on but these things can be few and far between for little girls.  I love the idea of making them in super girly colours but with the distinctly non-girly motif because that's how I roll.

Monday, 16 September 2013

FO: Tinker

Tinker is done and way faster than I'd anticipated. After all of the false starts and changes I made before I started this project I'm very pleased to say that I love it. It fits Cassie really well and she looks great in it. I think she likes it too, I tried it on her head yesterday, needles and all, with just a few rows to go and she threw a bit of a tantrum when I had to take it off her and continue knitting. I think we'll have another knitter in the house before too many more years go by!

So, vital statistics? Pattern: Tinker by Woolly Wormhead in the 19 inch size. Yarn: Araucania Azapa, I used around 70g. It is lovely and soft and squishy, but it is a little hairy and sheds a bit. I would absolutely knit this again, but I think I might have a break from cables for a little while!



Despite actually knitting with stash yarn at the moment, it doesn't look like my stash chart will be showing much of a downward trend this month. Yes, I have actually bought some yarn. Not much, just one skein, but I will also be receiving another skein quite soon too. I don't feel too bad about it, I'm taking part in a little swap with the lovely ladies from Cassie's due date group on Ravelry and it seemed a little rude to order just one skein of yarn. I felt it was best to order a second one to keep it company in the envelope during the journey.

The yarn is a sock yarn in a lovely peacock shade. I won't add too much else about it seeing as its friend will be a surprise for someone. I'm really looking forward to seeing what I receive and what part of the world it has come from. I took a long time choosing something 100% British that it would be a little difficult to get hold of anywhere else, it would be quite funny if my parcel ends up coming from inside Britain! Anyway, I still need to get some yummy treats and assemble my package so I can get it winging its way to who knows where. Such fun.


Saturday, 14 September 2013

Progress: Tinker

When I first started knitting Tinker each row was taking me so long that I actually considered casting on another, simpler, project so that I could see some sort of progress to keep me going. It has been a lovely surprise then that I'm seeing quite a lot of progress on Tinker itself. Whether this is as a result of cabling without a cable needle I don't know, but I'm quickly becoming a convert. I wasn't too sure at first, but once I hit the left leaning cable section the difference was pretty marked. I'm now halfway through the knitting and I'm really pleased with it so far.

Cracking on, I should have an FO in a couple of days, yay!


Friday, 13 September 2013

New skills

Seeing how slow going Tinker is going to be I thought last night that it was probably about time for me to look into the witchcraft that is cabling without a cable needle.  I've never bothered before because most of the cables I've knit in the past have involved cabling just a few stitches every few rows and it's no problem whipping the cable needle out for a bit and then popping it away again.  The cabling in Tinker, however, is very frequent and I'm swapping needles every 3 stitches or so, so it had to be worth a go.  Despite the whole operation looking a little alarming in the pictures, with my knitting in hand it took me about three seconds to figure it out and I was off.  My verdict?  I'm not convinced that it is actually any quicker for me, but it is certainly simpler for such small frequent twists.  Given my current limitations (yes I will admit that baby brain is making me pretty stoopid these days)having to keep track of one less needle is a major bonus.  Of course this means that the popular spectator sport of 'watching mummy frantically looking for her cable needle' will have to stop for a while!  Clue: It's in my hair.  Every time.  Except when it's on my lap obscured by my giant tum.

Swatching all day, ripping all night

Ah swatching, I will admit it is useful, but oh how I hate it. Yesterday alone I must have made about 6 of the stupid things, nearly every one dashing my hopes that it would be my last. After completely failing to decide on a new project, I put all thoughts of knitting temporarily aside and dived into my stash looking for something suitable for a swap I'm taking part in. As I'd suspected there was nothing inspiring lurking there, but I did come across some Wendy Freedom Wool in chunky which looked promising for Lollie. Could Lollie be back on? 3 swatches later I can safely say no, Lollie is not back on, but as I had Twisted Woolly Toppers open I rediscovered Tinker and wondered if the Azapa I'd originally wanted to use for Lollie might do for that instead. It took a couple more swatches but yes it will indeed do. Hoo-flippin-ray!
Not much to look at yet
Of course, nothing is ever that easy (ha ha ha, easy? ha ha) and after a slow cable cast on and 1 set up row I started to cable and.....nope the instructions made no sense. The chart just didn't work with what I had on my needles and I could go no further. I checked the Woolly Wormhead board on Ravelry because surely someone else must have had trouble making sense of this? Nope, nothing. What was I missing? I am ashamed to admit that it probably took me another 20 minutes to realise that *P2,K2,P2* does not equal *P2,K2* in any way at all. So back to the beginning it was for me. All is fixed now and I think I've got it right. I have a feeling this is going to take a wee while though, the (admittedly uncomplicated) cable pattern is repeated every 6 stitches and there are cables on nearly every row so an FO is probably not all that imminent. It's a cute hat though, it will be worth it.

It's all gone a bit wrong.

Knittingwise, things have not really been going to plan lately. This is rather a shame as it is getting pretty autumnal and chilly here, just the way I like it. After failing miserably to knit the Lollie hat for Cassie I began to swatch for the Baby Sophisticate, only to fail miserably once again to get gauge with my chosen yarn. I began to wonder if I'd gone mad and completely changed my knitting style overnight, but I check the pattern comments and a few people mentioned that they had problems and to try a chunkier yarn. In an attempt to kill two birds with one stone I tried a swatch with the Araucania Azapa I'd intended for Lollie, but again, no dice. And now I'm flummoxed. I can't decide what to do and this is very odd. I want to just cast on for another project but I just cannot decide on one. I should just move down my queue, but I keep wanting to find alternatives for these patterns I've had to give up on, be it alternative patterns or alternative yarns. Why am I being so indecisive?
My sis, me, my bro and SIL to be and Cassie
Not much else seems to be going quite right either. I didn't find any dresses I liked for my cousins wedding on Saturday, so I ended up wearing the same dress I've worn to the last three weddings I've been to. Luckily it fit over my tummy so it wasn't a total disaster. We had a lovely time though and the happy couple were happy so that's all that counts.
I'll gloss over the horror that was this morning, as I got up just in time to witness one of my cats barfing all over the hallway only to move closer and discover that not all the little piles on the carpet were barf...... Cheers kitty, that's just what I needed!

Friday, 6 September 2013


We’ve had a resurgence of really quite hot weather for the last few days so I haven’t really fancied knitting at all.  I got as far as casting on for the swatch for the Baby Sophisticate and knit around half a row before declaring myself too sweaty and giving it up as a bad job.  Today, however is pretty grey and considerably cooler, though still warm, so maybe I can get at least the swatch done tonight.  But first today I need to go shopping for a nice dress to wear tomorrow as my cousin is getting married.  We’ll gloss over the pieces I have all cut out and ready to be turned into a dress for this event, I just haven’t found the time or the enthusiasm to get any further so now I’ll be last minute shopping for a maternity dress that I would happily be photographed in.  Wish me luck!

Even more exciting than a wedding, well for us anyway was our second ultrasound scan yesterday where we had a jolly good look at baby.  She is doing really well and we’re happy to have it confirmed that it is definitely a little girl.  She gave us a big old flash to let us all see right at the beginning, before proceeding to run away from the sonographer for every other observation she wanted to make.  She was wriggling all over the place playing hide and seek.  It was very hard won but we finally got this really sweet shot of her little face.

So cute.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Lollie no go

After winding the yarn for Cassie's hat and knitting a swatch (something I seldom do) it fast became clear that I wasn't going to get gauge without going up several needles sizes, so that project is going on the back burner while I choose either different yarn or a different pattern for the yarn. Incidentally the pattern I had chosen was Woolly Wormhead's Lollie and I was planning to use some lovely Araucania Azapa.

Sadly this is all wound up again

No matter, I'm just going to move down one on my queue and make a Baby Sophisticate instead. I have some bright pink and turquoise Drops Nepal to knit this in, the main colour will be the blue, with pink stripes of decreasing size going up from the bottom. I will be swatching again, there's nothing like a swatch being way off to remind you why it is necessary!


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

FO: Garter Stripe Baby Socks

Another pair of baby socks done, once again these are super cute as only tiny little socks can be. The pattern was Garter Stripe Baby Socks. I'm not sure whether I'll make these again, the result is very sweet but the heels and toes are a bit of a pain. Maybe I will make them again but using a different method for the short rows, it was a little fiddly and the insides are a bit loopy. I still have quite a lot of yarn leftover so I'm thinking I can probably squeeze one more pair of baby socks out of it. Maybe for another baby I've just found out is due the same time as ours.

Next up, however is yet another Woolly Wormhead hat, this time though I'll be knitting for Cassie in case she's starting to feel neglected. This will probably be the only one I'll be making her this year, she has got a relatively tiny head (just like her mummy) and all of last year's hats still fit her just fine. I just need to wind the yarn into a ball and get swatching. I should have some progress to share tomorrow.