Monthly Archives: July 2009

FO: Miss Dashwood Hat

Miss Dashwood Hat

Pattern: Miss Dashwood by Heather Ramsay
Yarn: Rowan Handknit Cotton, 1¼ x 50g in colour: 305 Lupin
Needles: 4mm circs and dpns

I’ve been starting to have a sort out of all my knitting paraphernalia in an attempt to clear some space for the small person’s arrival. My wardrobe is still a dumping ground for odd bags of yarn and a stash of old copies of Simply Knitting and Knitting which I’ve attempted to sell but there are too many and the recyling bin is a far easier option. :-) But while rooting through one of the odd bags, I came across the oddments of Rowan Cotton I’d been saving up for a failed crochet project and realised I had just enough of one colour to make a hat for next summer.

I loved knitting this pattern a couple of years ago, and I’d always planned to make the bump one if she was a she ;-). So finding the yarn and giving in to my hat obsession (which is apparently worrying my little sister since I knitted the cow hat – so I’m now very tempted to knit a Chicken Viking hat for the bump to see if she explodes. *evil grin*) means that I’m jut a bit more organised for next year. It always seems like a sunhat to me, though the original is designed to be worn with earflaps for warmth.

Even the pesky picot cast on which takes a million years to do is worth it. Though I do wish I’d discovered my new bobble method before I’d knitted it.

Tomorrow we’re away to the Cotswolds for the non-walking, sitting-on-my-bum-and-knitting weekend (on my part, at least). I’ve made a start on the Manchester United hat to get the hang of the pattern and hopefully will get it done before the weekend is out.

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FO: Trellis Cardigan

Trellis

Pattern: Trellis by Britta Stolfus Rueschhoff
Yarn: Rowan All Seasons Cotton, 4 x 50g in colour: Pansy #218
Needles: 3.5mm circs

Another cardigan for the pile. :-D

I love this pattern. I’ve knitted it before, and it’s great for a quick cable fix and doesn’t drag on forever. I followed it as written, except for the moss stitch on the sleeves, which I worked as p1, k1 so that it aligned with the moss stitch in the cables.

Trellis

It’s possibly slightly anal to do that, but it bothered me that the pattern was out of alignment after it matched up so nicely on the back and fronts. :-)

The buttons are ones I bought for the first Trellis I knitted but didn’t use, so it was nice not having to wait for buttons to arrive before I could finish the cardigan. Although I do wonder if something pearly would be more suitable. I may come back to it if I spy something else on my travels.

Trellis

Not so happy with the yarn, unfortunately. I knitted my first Trellis in the much-lamented Jaeger Matchmaker Merino Aran, which was lovely. For this one, I used All Seasons Cotton as specified in the pattern and which I had just the right amount of in my stash. But it’s not nice to sew up with. It untwists very easily and I think the cables look a bit flat as well now it has been washed, though the colour is gorgeous.

Trellis

I think like all the baby things I’ve knitted, that it needs a small person wearing it to bring out the best in it. :-D

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Gorgeous garter stitch

February Lady Sweater

I’ve fallen in love with garter stitch. For a long time, I avoided it because it seemed beginner-ish and dull. But I’ve grown to love the texture and the fact that it knits up in a millisecond. So I’d been debating about whether to knit a February Lady Sweater for a while. I didn’t want to commit myself to anything big with the time til the Big Day rapidly disappearing and far too much to organise before then. But the fact is, I wanted one. It’ll look good with the bump and be nice coverage for afterwards when I’m undressing in front of everyone every couple of hours. ;-)

The yarn is Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran from my stash. It’s been destined to be several different projects, but in the end, I think it suits a lace pattern best. The texture is odd as it’s not a twisted yarn but like a length of finely-knitted i-cord. It’s very soft, though, and has a slight sheen.

February Lady Sweater

The hardest part so far was getting to the sleeve division. I had over 300 stitches on the needle and every row was taking at least a quarter of an hour and I was slowly losing the will to knit. ;-) But now it’s done, it’s just lace pattern til it’s long enough and hopefully it’ll be a lot more enjoyable!

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FO: Blue (Pink) Rabbit Hat

Pink Rabbit Hat

Pattern: Blue Rabbit Hat by Mel Clark
Yarn: New Lanark DK Yarn, ½ x 50g of Ecru and about ¼ x 50g of Blossom
Needles: 3.25mm circs and dpns

Blame the weather for this post. Sort of. I’ve got three FOs drying at the moment, but the miserable weather means that I’ve had to resort to using my electric fan to encourage them to dry and apparently it dries wool faster than cotton. So the hat is revealed first.

It stands to reason that I’d knit this pattern, and really I don’t mind being doomed. But I had intended to wait until I bought some DK yarn til I looked through my stash on Ravelry and realised that I had some leftovers from the Deep V Argyle Vest. I’d hardly used the pink, because I just bought it as a good contrast for the crocheted steeks. So I had yarn all ready and was fed up with sewing up a baby cardigan with a yarn that untwisted itself and made the sewing even more of a pain, and casting on a hat was a much more appealing option!

The pattern is lovely. Really simple to follow and I love the end result. I did amend the bunnies slightly buy moving the tail up one row on the chart as it was distorting the base of the bunnies, and also made their ears shorter as they were looking like hares. Speaking of the bobbles, even if you never knit the hat, the pattern is worth keeping just for the bobble recipe. I’ve tried various methods over the years and they all without exception look more or less like skin tags rather than juicy round bobbles. But these sit flat against the knitting and are nicely rounded. I’ll be doing all bobbles like this from now on. :-)

Pink Rabbit Hat

The yarn is great, of course, and softens up nicely after washing, so I’ve no qualms about it being too itchy for a baby’s little head. It does make hat number eight for this baby, but who’s counting… ;-)

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Doomed

How can I avoid knitting baby hats when patterns like this one are lying in wait to tempt me?! :-(

The pattern is Blue Rabbit Hat by Mel Clark. I don’t know whether to buy some yarn and cast on immediately, or just stay away from Ravelry until October. :-D

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Purple Friday

Trellis

Trellis

Miss Dashwood - in progress

There is progress on the Trellis cardigan after having a break for knitting pant-wearing superheroes and lace. :-) And I may also have given in to the hat urge yet again… but I’m planning ahead!

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Aurantium awe

Today started off very badly. It began with a ‘phone call from my bank telling me that there had been fraudulent activity on my debit card, so I went through the last month with them and apart from the fact that I only ever seem to buy yarn or food (!), all was well. But still they wanted to cancel my card and reissue me with a new one, leaving me with the £3 I had left in my purse, and this on the one day that Mr B isn’t working from home. Fortunately, that was enough to get the bus to and from my midwife appointment and to buy a pint of milk so I could have a fortifying cup of tea when I got back home. Although then the midwife was half an hour late so I spent a long time waiting in a very boring corridor trying not to fall asleep, which was actually pretty easy as I was sitting on probably the world’s most uncomfortable chair.

But the midwife, when she arrived, was lovely. I know the systems vary even in different parts of the UK, let alone other countries. Here there are a team of community midwives who exclusively cover the homebirthing mothers. No idea how big the team actually is, but I have seen about six different midwives so far, so ideally I should have someone for the birth who I’ve met at least once before. But now I really do want to have this midwife at the birth. She was a lovely tiny grey haired Irish woman who reminded me of my grandma (who isn’t Irish or a midwife but is tiny and has grey hair) who looked like she must have delivered thousands of babies and kept patting my hand reassuringly at random points during the appointment. Sometimes it’s nice to be mothered a bit, even when you’re thirty four years old and also going slightly grey around the edges. ;-)

So I felt much better after being poked and prodded and I have lovely lace to share as well. :-)

Aurantium Shawl - Clue 1

Though I do say it myself, this shawl is looking good. :-D

Clue 1 of the Aurantium Shawl was released Monday evening, so I spent yesterday in the lace zone and managed to come out of it with my brain intact and not having torn my hair out in frustration.

I did change yarns after all: I think the seasilk is gorgeous, but it wasn’t showing the pattern well and I wanted something floatier. A quick stash raid revealed a skein of Knitwitches Cashmere Laceweight, which is a heavier laceweight at 930m to 100g, knits up beautifully and is so soft I keep stroking it against my thigh cheek. And it’s purple. The yarn was a present from Kai back in 2007 (!), so definitely not the oldest yarn in my stash, but proof I do tend to hoard stuff for a loooooong time…

Now that I’m using a finer yarn, I will probably have to enlarge the shawl to make it a reasonable size. Not talking about a tablecloth-type shawl, but just something a bit bigger than a neckerchief. But having a set portion to do each week will hopefully mean that I don’t get too bogged down with it and it’ll be done before smallest person puts in an appearance. :-D

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Bad mother

After giving DS2 his Captain Underpants toy on Friday, DS1 started asking where his toy was. Apparently a hat is not the same as a toy. Even a Manchester United hat. Now the problem is that DS1 wants a Sackboy, for which I do have a pattern. But it’s this one (Ravelry link), an Alan Dart pattern knitted in about a million sodding pieces and with about ten years’ worth of seaming to be done.

It might not be too bad: I’m hoping I can convert parts to be knitted in the round to avoid as much seaming as I can. In the meantime, I have yarn in a DS1-approved colour:

Sirdar Click Chunky

and clearly I now know my place. :-P

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FO: Captain Underpants!

Captain Underpants

Pattern: Captain Underpants by Shelly Hattan
Yarn: Oddments of DK from stash
Needles: 2.5mm dpns

I’m not a big toy knitter. I like the idea of knitted toys and have a lot of patterns for them, but when it comes down to it, the idea of having lots of tiny bits of knitting to seam and stuff and sew together puts me off.

But I had to knit one of these for DS2. He’s a huge fan of the Captain Underpants books and has read them all several times. Plus the pattern was really simple and all knitted in the round (except for the cape), so there was no seaming and just a bit of sewing, which suits me fine. :-D The yarn is just oddments from my stash of various acrylic yarns and nothing very exciting.

I’ve been secretly knitting him over the past couple of days while the small people have been at school, which meant getting in as much knitting during the day as I could, then having to hide everything at 3.00pm before they finished for the day. Now I just have to figure out the best place to put him for DS2 to discover when he gets home today!

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Last lace

Aurantium swatch

I wasn’t planning on knitting anything lacy or shawlish this year as my concentration levels are pretty rubbish at the moment and stocking stitch is my new best friend. :-) But Diane told me about the Socktopus Mystery Shawl knitalong on Twitter and because the shawl uses less than 400 metres of fingering/4ply yarn, it really shouldn’t take too long and I’ll have something nice to get baby sick on at the end of it. ;-)

So week one has been posted and I have swatched. Not entirely sure about the yarn choice as the pattern doesn’t seem to “pop”. I might change to sock yarn; I have plenty in my stash after all!

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Breaking the hat ban

Oh dear, this does look bad. But it’s not a baby hat, and I had already decided to knit it AGES ago. Honest!

DS1 is a huge fan of Manchester United. So when I saw this pattern appear on Ravelry, I showed him it and he was practically leaping around the room at the thought of having a special Man U hat, how could I refuse to knit him one? Seriously, getting any sort of enthusiasm from an 11 year old about anything is rare, so I need to make the most of it. I thought I’d be safe from teenage apathy for a couple of years at least. :-(

Stuff for ManU Hat

The pattern is designed by Tori, who also designed the beautiful Hippocampus mittens that were in the Winter ’08 issue of The Inside Loop (and I will knit them one day, I will!) She’s designed a range of football club hats to raise funds for a new football ground in Lillehammer, which they clearly need from the photos, so if you know any Man U/Liverpool/AC Milan/Barcelona/Juventus supporters who might need their heads warming, then here is a good place to start looking for patterns. ;-)

I’m using the yarn specified in the pattern. It’s Dalegarn Falk, 100% wool and machine washable (my heart sang at that point because you really don’t want to know what happens to small boys’ hats over the course of a winter and I don’t think a gentle soak in some Eucalan would cut it) bought from Dragon Yarns and feels really nice. Will be interesting to see how it blooms after washing.

But I’m saving this to start at the beginning of August. I want to get as much knitting done before October, anyway – even winter hats! – but Mr B is off for a gentle stroll some serious walking with the small people and some of his work colleagues in the Cotswolds for the weekend. So I am tagging along and planning to spend the day sitting on a comfy chair with my knitting and a regular supply of tea and food while they’re off sweating. :-) So this should keep me occupied for the day! We’re staying here, so it’s not exactly roughing it. ;-)

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FO: Cow Print Hat

13504 Cap from Dale #135

Pattern: 13504 Cap by Cloud Nine from Dalegarn #135
Yarn: Rowan Classic Cashsoft 4ply, in colours #422 and #433, approx. ¼ x 50g of each
Needles: 1.5mm (eek!) and 2mm dpns

One more quirky hat for the pile. :-) When the bump is 11 years old and refusing to wear anything remotely interesting, I will make sure I have plenty of photos of her wearing her weird and wonderful knits to taunt her with. :-P

I said in my previous post about this pattern that it isn’t the simplest pattern to follow and that carried on with the decreasing for the crown of the hat. After the first round of decreases, I was completely lost as to where I needed to go in the pattern so I just carried on with winging it and made up my own random cow print. :-) It worked just fine and I hope doesn’t look too different from the main pattern.

The Cashsoft 4ply is from my stash so I feel virtuous. I really like using it for stranded knitting because it gives such a neat result and is really soft. I doubt it would steek well, sadly. *pictures piles of slippery unravelled knitting and a useless crocheted steek*

This will definitely be the last baby hat I make for a while. If you see me queueing anything hat-shaped on Ravelry, feel free to poke me with a pointy stick!

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Ahh… that’s better!

Trellis - detail

Now the Moo hat is done, minus sewing on the ears, I decided to go ahead with the urge to knit something on bigger needles as I’m not quite feeling like more tiny needle knitting! Fortunately, I knew exactly what I wanted to knit.

I’ve made Trellis before as a baby gift, about four years ago now. IIRC, it was my first ever cabled project and a really enjoyable knit.

Trellis

I’m using Rowan All Seasons Cotton like the original pattern. More stash-busting, as I got these four balls as my Rowan International membership gift when I was last a member. The colour is a gorgeous purple/lilac/mauve and I have just the right amount to knit the smallest size, so it must be fate. :-)

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Mooooo..!

First of all, I just need to point somewhat frantically at the countdown ticker on the left. 100 days to go! When I say the baby is due in October, it seems like ages away, but it’s less than 15 weeks (assuming she arrives on the due date, ha ha ha). *knits faster* I should have got a bit of a clue from the sudden explosion of bump that has appeared:

Bump at 25+5

I’ve given in and bought maternity jeans after wearing my old, big girl trousers for the past few months and ironically I feel slimmer because they’re not flapping around my legs. And the comfort of a huge stretchy cotton tummy panel cannot be underestimated. :-D

So, to the knitting. I really do not need to make any more hats, but when they have ears on, it’s hard to resist! Plus I had suitable yarn in my stash. The pattern I’m making is from the Dale of Norway #135 I bought last week; picture of hat here top right, page 7. I wonder how many other animals I can make this poor child look like? ;-)

Moo

It’s an interesting knit. Partly because there’s no real symmetry to the cow print pattern, which means paying attention on every row. And though the directions for the hat itself are clear, the total stitch count for the hat doesn’t match the stitch count for the pattern chart and there’s no indication of where to start on the chart. So I just winged it! The randomness helps as it’s impossible to tell that it *isn’t* supposed to look a certain way. :-)

The worst part really was having to knit the ribbing on 1.5mm needles. I needed to go down to 2mm needles to get the correct pattern tension, so following the convention of going down two needle sizes for the ribbing, that’s what I ended up with. Though it was over quickly enough, it’ll be a different story when/if I choose to knit a cardigan from the book and have to cast on around 200 stitches on 1.5mm needles. I’ve prepared for this by buying a 1.5mm circular needle, which is really just two toothpicks held together with dental floss and frankly gives me the willies. I may go and dig out some aran weight yarn instead. :-P

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FO: Pea Pod Baby Cardigan

Pea Pod Baby Cardigan

Pattern: Pea Pod Baby Set by Kate Gilbert (currently unavailable :-( )
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK, 2½ x 50g balls in colour: #18006
Needles: 3.5mm circs

There’s a lot to be said for knitting with yarn thicker than sewing thread. ;-) This cardigan took just three days to complete and I made sure it wasn’t waiting around for buttons this time.

The pattern is very simple and quick because of all the stocking stitch, but interesting because of the lace panel. I followed it as it was, except for the sleeves, which as written are knitted flat, seamed and then sewn into the armholes. Instead of that, I picked up the sleeve stitches around the armhole opening after seaming the shoulders (and actually, I did this with a three-needle cast off instead of casting off and then sewing them together, so that’s another modification) and then knitted the sleeve downwards. This was really simple, especially as the row count is given for the sleeves, rather than “knit to x inches long”, so it was just a case of following the directions in reverse and not minding that the ribbing pattern is the other way around. :-)

Pea Pod Baby Cardigan - detail

The yarn is a lot fluffier than Baby Cashmerino, which is a shame; there isn’t the same stitch definition and it picks up random bits of fluff very easily. But I love the colour – definitely not pink and a bit of a change from purple – though the dye ran something chronic while it was soaking which I think is pretty usual with reds from experience, but still disconcerting! I didn’t find any knots in the yarn, though so yay for that. Somewhat surprised that I used so little yarn. I knitted the 6 month size which takes 5 balls of DB Cotton Cashmere (94m per ball = 470m). I used less than 330m of yarn. I bought 5 balls “just in case” and didn’t even break into the fourth, which is slightly annoying as that’s close to £10 worth of yarn not used, and it’s not enough leftover to knit much else other than accessories. Maybe I’ll make a scarf with it. :-)

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Catching Up

Thanks to those of you who voted in my yarn shade dilemma. :-) The winner by a clear margin was “Damask”, so that’ll be the colour I buy. I really need to take you lot with me every time I go shopping to help me make all my decisions. With the heat and the expanding bump, sometimes making the simplest choice is impossible.

Due to the weather, my Wimbledon knitting didn’t progress and has been put away in the corner in disgust. Also, I had new squishy yarn to play with, so I may have cast on for the Pea Pod cardigan…

Pea Pod

…there’s a lot to be said for four hour men’s singles tennis finals. :-)

I’ve also been swatching for a couple of the designs in the Dale pattern book I bought on Friday. Every pattern is knit at the same tension, which is helpful. Except that I seem to be the world’s loosest knitter and am having to contemplate knitting edgings with 1.5mm (US 000 I think!) needles. My love of 4ply yarn might be wavering. ;-)

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Belated birthday goodies

Belated birthday goodies

Five months late, but I finally spent my birthday yarn gift certificate at Stash today. :-)

It’s been a very non-knitting sort of week due to the evil heat. I’ve spent most days in very little clothing with an electric fan wafting over me in an attempt to cool me down. So my Wimbledon knitting hasn’t progressed much further than the photos from last week. Fortunately, today was better and trekking into town wasn’t that bad and hopefully I can pick up the needles again now the temperature has dropped below 30 degrees, especially as I have new goodies!

I bought five squishy balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK in a lovely rich cranberry red colour which is earmarked for a Pea Pod Baby Sweater (Ravelry link). I also bought a Dale of Norway baby pattern book for some steeking fun ;-). You can see all the patterns in the book here. There are hats with ears, so it was kind of calling out to me!

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