New work

Since the last post, I started my first ever lace knitting project, began the Christmas knitathon, am not substantially further on with the Bob the Builder jumper, and went back to Ireland for a night… It was about the right length of time for a visit home!

My big baby brother turned 40 at the end of October, but the surprise party was on the 10th November. And surprise it was – he’s been like a wasp since his actual birthday because nobody made any fuss, just the odd card and well-wishing, a small token present or two. Organising the party was no mean feat for his wife, as he has been off work with a broken arm for the last few weeks and was underfoot every time she tried to write an invitation or make a phone call. But he was completely fooled. The only tricky bit was that they had to send him into the North on the day on a series of pointless but “urgent” errands, and of course I was coming down from Aldergrove to Kesh, along any route he might take, staying with my sister who he might drop in on for a cup of tea… Any other guest seen travelling down could be explained, but why would I be coming over to Ireland in secret??? It was a good night, there shall be YouTube evidence of the big man DANCING as soon as YouTube deigns to co-operate, and Mum was looking more relaxed, younger and less strained than she has done for years.

I don’t think we’re fully aware yet of the toll on her of caring for Dad in the last few years. None of us knew she had to dress him, for example. I knew she was bathing him, but thought that was just back-scrubbing where he couldn’t reach – ffs TH does that for me! It seems he was more incapacitated than he let on to anyone. The unravelling of his life continues.

So, to wips: the lace scarf was inspired by a cone of black mohair (or fluffy string) I found dumped outside a late neighbour’s house. How grue is that?! She must have been a machine knitter, because there were other bits and bobs – including pieces of knitting machine – lying about, obviously fallen out of bins and not picked up by our delightful and hard-working binmen. The scarf pattern is merely of 8×6-petal flowers with a garter-stitch border, nothing exciting. However it has been frogged about 6 times to date: I have only managed to do 3 rows of flowers, and one of those has only 7 flowers on it. The next row would have had only 5, as the total number of stitches had dropped from 64 to 44! I have no idea how this happened. It’s not as if I’m not well used to textured patterns. It’s not like I can’t count! I checked and rechecked and double-checked the pattern, the number of stitches on the needle, counted and re-counted the pattern stitches off and checked again that the fluffiness or the yos weren’t ‘creating’ stitches – and still I either had too many stitches or too few at the end of each row. The only row that work out right is the one where the Offspring was torturing me for walks and purpo juice and cuggles. If it ever works, I’ll give it to the Offspring’s childminder.

The knitathon is just to make little token gifts for Mum, my sis, and my MIL. Last year I made a skinny scarf and gloves set in eyelash yarn for them – the gloves were actually purchased black fleece jobs, but I knitted matching eyelash-yarn cuffs for them. And didn’t take pics – pity, as it was quite effective. This year, I saw an interesting pattern in Simply Knitting mag. Weeell, pattern. Anyhoo. Tis a baggie. Supposedly, a bedroom cushion (does anyone really have these things, unless they’re selling the house?) which doubles as a nightwear holder (again, does ANYONE use these things?), which presumably provides the cushiony goodness, otherwise you wind up with a nightie case and a teeny cushionpad lying on the floor. There’s 2 yarns, and something goin on between them. Naturally, the two yarns are only available on the second moon of Tau Ceti 6 during the bicentennial eclipse, but only to quadripeds. But I got some Patons Lush (surprisingly soft) to substitute for the sparkly yarn, and for the other I’ve quadruple-plied some thin chenille from the stash. That’s looking good, like sari yarn. I’ll make up two versions, one in blues on eau-de-nil chenille, and the other in autumn colours on wine chenille. I figure I’ll just give them, they can use them as they want. In my sis’s case, (blue/eau-de-nil version) I hope she will use it to pick out colours for her bedroom in the new house. Please God. Anything so long as next visit I don’t have to wander around saying how well I think donkey pink, terracotta and putty beige go together (*shudder*).

On Bob, I’m about halfway up the helmet bit on the front, having begun working flat from the armholes. Ho hum. Erm. That’s about it.

And I should be Ravelry -bound in the next couple of days!!!

T’ra
K

Ravelry update:

  • You signed up on October 19, 2007
  • You are #46355 on the list.
  • 510 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 10365 people are behind you in line.
  • 79% of the list has been invited so far

 

I’ve joined the Ravelry waiting list….

There are 14659 people are ahead of me. I’m #46355 on the list!

I’m also on loads of Yahoo! groups, which I mostly don’t read, like

  • antiquepatternlibrary – fantastic resource of out-of-copyright patterns and books (if you have any, consider contributing), or just eye-candy and craft-porn, as you wish.
  • brumstitchnbitch – Birmingham UK, that is. Mostly an announcement site.
  • Crazy_Knitsfor newbies and the more adventurous.
  • CrochetLacefor lace makers who like to include crochet in their lace projects. Covers crochet lace from many countries, but most especially Ireland and Romania.
  • double-knittingMake seamless tubes (glove fingers, socks, etc.) on two straight needles. Knit two socks simultaneously on one set of double-pointed needles. Knit a reversible two-colour blankie/dishcloth.
  • FFCrochet – Lively, friendly, helpful free-form crochet (think doodling with yarn) group, with some of the top fibre artists in the world as members. Love it or hate it, it’s amazing
  • incrediblesweatermachineclub – Another very helpful group, for the Incredible Sweater Machine/ISM/USM, EZ Knittr or Bond. And one day I WILL set mine up and get going.
  • Irish_Crochet_LoversThis group is dedicated to the creation, care and collection of Irish crochet. Learned this from my granny as a child, though it’s a bit of a mystery where/how she learned – it was mostly taught by Roman Catholic nuns but she wouldn’t have had any contact with that route! I still do a bit now and again, but I’m too impatient and goal-oriented for this kind of work.
  • knittycontributors Maybe one day…
  • knittyreader – An announcement site for upcoming issues.
  • nezumiscrochetclub – Often quiet, this group covers any type of crochet-from Filet, Hairpin, Tuisian, Hairpin, Broomstick, Irish to Granny Squares. Less daunting than ICL, where the RC Nuns theory runs strong…
  • wool_soaker_group – Quite chatty and friendly, dedicated to making wool soakers for use as diaper covers (nappy wraps) in all forms: knit, crochet, fabric, recycling other materials, etc.

I’m also a member of AranKnits and Ethnicknits, but too recently to pass comment…

I give you…

… the Glory that is Begotha – the Gothic Aran!

Also known as a black mystery-yarn sweater with a bit of cabling and moss-stitch. Still, TH is happy. He’s had it on a few times since, but usually whips it off as soon as he comes indoors because “it’s so warm”, so even when I’ve had the camphone there’s been no opportunity to snap it. Yesterday, though, he came home early and I cornered him in the back garden and wouldn’t let him in till I got the pics.

And here it is, photographing well for black thanks to our wintery sunshine – the stitch detail shows up beautifully. The turtleneck collar is 2×2 rib, over about 76st I think. Clumping a little at the sides because of TH’s simian posture and his habit of mugging for the camera, but otherwise a lovely fit for a nine-stone hank of string.

Sadly, TH is not looking his lovely best. His workplace organised the staff flu jabs yesterday, and he had a bad reaction – hence the early homecoming. We were supposed to be going out to a work do of mine last night, babysitter organised and everything, but in the end I went alone, leaving him with his head down the loo, loving spouse that I am.

Apropos of space-filling, and pointedly ignoring a certain 2yr-old putting in some practice for the Toddler Olympics (All-Out Tantrum event), here’s the Bob the Builder sweater thus far. There’s only 3 or 4 rows of ‘face’ left before I get into the helmet, and the first 4 rows of the logo on the back are in place – not enough to photograph though. And yes, those are nappy pins – I use them to hold the nyims* of yarn not in play. TH’s aversion to washables – odd given he’s happy to be coated in all manner of shite from disintegrating disposables – left me with a surplus. The hair is done in a knit version of bullion stitch for a curly look … that was the plan, but we shall see.

The second pic shows the reverse: all in all, quite neat; most of the tails are on the (inside) left, due to the way I am knitting on the colours (i.e., leaving a long tail to be knitted on the next row). Hopefully this will be tidier in the making-up stage. I really do not enjoy putting garments together, and tbh I would not be dying about picture-knitting/intarsia if it wasn’t for seeing the picture appear row by row. Such a pity knitting in the round and intarsia don’t go together…

WOOT! TG4 is on the Idirlíon!! Ros na Rún here we come!!!

T’ra
K
Oh for Pete’s sake – Aran? Irish? black? Begorra? Begotha? Catch up peeps…

* – a mangled anglicisation of the Irish mion (m-YUNN), meaning a very small amount, what can be held in the palm of the hand with the top finger-knuckles straight and fingertips touching the mid-palm.

 

Hurrah!

The Gothic Aran is finished!

Apart from one thread inexplicably left hanging from a sleeve, it is done, laundered, and tried on by a very chuffed hubby. Back-to-front at first, being himself, but ye gods what a fine fit when it was on. I short-rowed the back of the collar as prescribed in EZ, which was rather nasty with the moss-stitch panels, but what a difference it makes. Fits him like a glove. Pics later, once my camphone is recharged.

IBC’s Bob the Builder sweater is well under way. I’m putting the face on the front – it’s up to the mouth atm – and the logo on the back, which I haven’t got to yet. The sweater shape is reversible (front same as back, not inside-out reversible), so it would be nice to have a different view on each side. I’m knitting in the round again. I read somewhere that intarsia couldn’t be done in the round, but didn’t get why, since Fair Isle is traditionally knitted in the round. Now I do. Duh. Wool ends up at the wrong end of the knitting. I’ve got a partial solution which cuts down on the bitties of yarn hanging at the sides: leave a long tail when starting a new colour, that can then be used to knit the next row. In the case of the outlining black yarn, the tail may be enough to complete all stitches required.

And I’ve started a little something for Halloween – rush job, special request from TH. Fingers crossed…

Update

Not a lot to say, nothing completed.

TH’s Gothic Aran proved trickier than anticipated – not disastrously so, not even challenging really, just fiddly around the collar. It worked in the round, which is good, but TH’s broad shoulders and slender frame mean that while the front and back are completed to the base of the neck, I need to knit up the shoulders another inch/inch-and-a-half to reach the same point, nibbling off stitches from the front and back as I go. Oh yes – I decided late on to go for EZ’s fake raglan method of reducing the yoke, which looks well, despite some very awkward fudging when the decreases started cutting into the moss-stitch panels. Now this shoulder problem is turning it into a combined EZ raglan/saddle sweater.

But this is what comes of taking a pattern for an aran, running it according to another intended for Fair Isle, then changing mind 3/4 of the way through and finishing via a third for a plain sweater, discovering that the final bit needs to be fudged via a fourth (also plain), all the while using an unidentifiable yarn and a needle size not recommended in any of the patterns – and therefore a totally different number of stitches. Hey ho – at least I did swatches this time. I do get TH to try it every so often on to check the fit (so far, perfect).

I do feel that I’m working in the true EZ spirit though, winging it and not being scared. And occasionally lying down in a darkened room to recover.

I have also made it through the ribbing and into the body of IBC’s Bob the Builder sweater, and have done the charts – modified one of Bob’s face to fit better on the sweater, and made another of the Bob logo, though I think some surface embroidery is going to be necessary to get the detail in on it. I’m also very taken with the idea of a knit or crotchet BtB ‘hard’ hat… Hmm. When am I going to get my stockings made, I ask you?

The Drops that broke the SIL’s streak

This is the little set I made for my nephew. The only negative point my SIL made was that it was a pity it wasn’t bigger because he’d grow out of it too fast. But look at the folds at the waist, and the cuffs are rolled up. Mind you, look at the socks. They must be four-year-old’s socks, poor kid.

In the second photo, it looks like the collar’s loose enough to go over his head without opening the buttons. The hat I made in a hurry, so I didn’t put the pattern on it. I was already in Ireland, and had to make it overnight. It’d have taken a couple of days if I had put the pattern in. It’s a long rectangle, seamed up the back and across the top. It should have pom-poms, but I made i-cord horns at the corners instead.

He’s such a sweet child. He’s very interactive – tries to get your attention and then burbles and babbles at you with a serious little expression on his face as if he’s trying to hold a conversation. Mum says if you sing to him, he yodels and crows along until you stop!

Tiny Husband’s sweater continues to knit up fast. The body and one sleeve are complete, and on a long circular needle ready for the EZ finish, and the second sleeve is well underway – 23r in, 100r to go. I laundered the two swatches I made from the yarn, one wash at 30deg only, one wash at 30 deg and tumble dry at 90deg. No effect, except maybe a very slight felting at the cast-off edge on the second, without shrinkage. Unfortunately this leaves me none the wiser as to fibre content. I was veering towards thinking it was wool again, as I read somewhere about one-plied wool that was intended for felting, but I doubt even superwash wool would survive being tumble-dried until, well, dry. Hey ho. So it is probably synthetic.

I just had another great idea for a sweater for my son. When I was pregnant we called him Ickle Baby Cthulhu (Destroyer of Waists, Bringer of the Nappies of the Elder Gods, etc.) or IBC for short. It was quite a theme. We even found a little line-drawing of a Cthulhu in a nappy, which I used as an icon on my pregnancy blog, and a plushie Cthulhu was the first toy we bought for him. So I spent most of the day making a Cthulhu chart for a little sweater… To add to the Bob the Builder (yarn purchased) and the Thomas the Tank Engine sweaters already planned.

And sod the baby socks. I want THESE. I’ve already fed my numbers through the Hourglass Knee-length Sockulator – though I’d rather have over the knee, maybe stockings? Something to scare the kids at school with…

Bwahahahahah!

According to mum, SIL is delighted with the Drops Norwegian set I sent her, and the ba hasn’t been out of it since! She was thrilled with the colours and the pattern, and was particularly floored by the label.

Pics to follow once mum sends them over…

Hubby’s sweater grows apace. I have the body completed to the EZ seamless sweater join-up point, and one sleeve almost done after a bit of a hunt for 6mm dpns – I had to settle for 40cm circs in the end. I also had to adjust for TH’s elongated torso, as he’s 6’1″ but his chest’s barely 36″. I’ve decided to do the collar as a polo neck, so he can roll it up or down as the weather dictates, and I’ll probably have to twiddle the decreases so they don’t interfere with the Aran panels. TH can’t wait to get his Goth Aran!

I’ve also begun the calculations for a version for my son – I think the panel plus 7st to either side will be big enough for his wee chest. don’t know about the sleeves yet. I’ve also found a Bob the Builder chart which I might try on the grey marl background, and a Thomas the Tank Engine one currently under consideration. So that’s four ideas for him so far, including the Drops!

My own pinwheel cardi has stalled because – aaargh! – I’m running out of wool. As it’s vintage, the chances of getting any more are pretty much nil. And it’s RED, so I’ll never match it… So I have to finish the sleeves, see how much wool is left, then unravel or devise a trim to suit.

And God help me, I want to knit socks

Designing!!

This is my first attempt at designing something from scratch!!! Details are sketchy below, as I want to market this in some form, either the item itself or the pattern based on it. So be warned this is copyright to me, do not copy, or attempt to recreate/sell or otherwise use the details here for personal gain: this is simply a record for information only.

Though that should be from scratch-ish, now that I think of it… the sleeves from elbow to wrist are the same as those of the shrug I made my sister – using needles of different sizes to create a lacy effect. However, with this the lower sleeves start wide, and are reduced towards the elbow. There’s ribbons threaded through at the elbow.

The top however is solid, small needles throughout, with stitches increased towards the middle and then reduced towards the opposite sleeve, where the large needle is re-introduced and stitch number is increased towards the wrist. In the centre portion, a circle for the head is removed by placing stitches on a small circular needle to be knitted up later as a collar. Mine is Dracula’s cloak-shaped, with points that stick up round my head, but I have plans for other shapes, including a Scottish Widow’s hood. I also have plans for a tight-sleeved (possibly gloved) cyber version in fluorescent colours and stripes, and possibly an open-fronted all-lace one in some yummy Astrakhan wool.

The inspiration is shown in the second photo. Us gothy types can suffer a degree of discomfort as a result of our dress, especially when the weather is too mild for a heavy coat but still chilly enough to require some covering over bosoms and arms. I could see a less ornate version being suitable for wear over strappy summer tops for those barbeques on a breezy summer twilight. It’s not really a poncho, too short even for a cropped sweater – it should not obscure the delightful outfit below it: about nipple-length is right.

I call it the Corset Cosy (TM).

Ay thenk yew.

More hats and a scarf

Back when I started knitting again, I went on a bit of a hat-making frenzy – partly because hats are quick projects, partly because Ickle Baby Cthulhu was fast growing out of the many hats we had – indeed, many never fitted in the first place. I don’t want to sound like my SIL, but IBC’s head is HUGE! Thank God for c-sections. He’s not even 2 yet and all his little sunhats this summer were age 6 sized. Otherwise he is but a sturdy 12 to 23-month size.

The first ever hat I made for him was Lion Brand’s free pattern Strawberry Patch Cap. I did check most carefully for equivalent-sized yarn – Lion Brand is not to be found here – but I did not do a swatch, haha! I rarely do, naughty me. I do try to match up the right needle-to-yarn size unless I’m going for a particular effect, but it’s easier to knit a bit of the pattern, see how it’s going size-wise, then frog if necessary and knit a different size given in the pattern (assuming I’m actually following it that religiously) – so if my 36in chest size sweater is coming up a 40in, I knit up the 32in size instead. Easier than faffing about with gauges. Obviously the 32in pattern is going to be shorter, but I always measure it off on the wearer rather than rely on the pattern – on the few occasions when I’ve done swatches, if I got the stitch-gauge right the row-gauge would be skew-wheef. Elizabeth Zimmerman recommends ignoring row-gauges and measuring your work for the intended wearer as you knit, and who am I to argue with someone who made a living knitting?

I used red and green acrylic DK from a pound shop. It was soooo sweet, though TH disapproved.

The next one was a Knitty pattern called Baby Tart. As I had green DK left over from the Strawberry Patch Cap, I did the “pie” bit in green, and used some black DK for the “filling”, as sepals and berry. I call it the Blackberry Cap, or the Blackberet, hnurh, hnurgh, hnurh. I had real bother with the pattern for the bobbled berry filling – maybe it was having to look in 3 different places to work it, but it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Not one I’ll be repeating, I think. TH again not appreciative of my artistry, and IBC ungratefully had a growth spurt before it was done.didn’t approve – it’s okay for IBC to wear a leopardskin fun-fur hat with horns, made by one of TH’s friends, but wearing a hat made by his mummy might give him a complex, it seems. Or wearing a cute and eminently suitable sailor suit to a wedding. Bah. Sadly, IBC tipped it out of his pram and it’s never been seen since, so this is the only evidence of its existence. Quite Tyrolean I thought.

 

I also crocheted the Pompom Hat from Craftown, in black DK with a red stripe around the hatband. However, after a couple of tries I abandoned the pattern and constructed it by measuring off IBC.

 

 

 

Last October I started working at the school, leaving IBC with a childminder during the day. This entails wheeling him across an exposed and windy area in less than clement weather twice a day. Anorak hoods wouldn’t stay on, and throwing hats out of the buggy was tremendously entertaining, so I hit on the idea of making a balaclava. After quite a search I found a straightforward one on knitlist. Naturally I made it up in basketweave stitch rather than the stitch pattern recommended, just to be awkward. It was amazingly easy to make up, and IBC can’t whip it off – result!

 

 

 

It left a bit much of his face exposed, and, since I had some black and green DK left, I made a second one. This I made a bit longer in the head, and with longer ribbing round the face. Also when I picked up the stitches for the ribbing round the front, I used the same short-rowing technique for the top flap of the balaclava to build up the ‘chin’ section to cover his mouth and nose. The ribbing kept this piece elastic enough to pull down if it wasn’t too cold, which was an unplanned bonus. The black and green pattern was supposed to look like dragon scales, but this was not so successful… TH attempted some dry wit by suggesting I knit him an armalite to go with it.

I’ve since made a purple version, with purple ostrich fancy yarn twisted along with the yarn for the ribbing round the face only, for a little girl his childminder also looks after – her favourite colour, and she and her mum loved it. No photos though. The ostrich yarn fluffed out really nicely, like the furry bits on the hoods of those snorkel anoraks all the kids used to wear when I was young. Er. Definitely -er.

So to the scarf. Made in beige (MC) and turquoise (Contrast) ostrich yarn for the ex-manager of the Hub Hazelwell when she left for her new job. Quite simple, just with a hole in the middle about a third of the way along, done by just knitting up the first half of the stitches to the desired length, breaking off the yarn and rejoining it to the remaining stitches, knit up to the same length, then just knit across all stitches as normal to the end. You don’t even need to put the non-worked stitches on a stitch-holder, just leave them on the needle. In fact you could be making trouble for yourself, transferring ostrich yarn onto and off stitch-holders. Don’t do it. Mommy says so.

 

To get ahead, get a hat

A few posts ago, I mentioned a matinee set I made for my niece. Specifically, how closely I followed the pattern for the beret, or bunnet as it’s called in my erstwhile neck of the woods, because I wanted to make one for my son. This was motivated by the fact that he kept slapping my niece’s on his head and running away, shrieking “Hat! Hat! HAAAAAT!” and giggling. So, dear reader, I did.

I guesstimated the number of stitches based on some rough measurements and memory, just made sure it had the requisite 7 segment swirl on top. I made it up in the same Blue-faced Leicester wool I used for the Aran cardi – which I still haven’t found.

For the stitch pattern, I used a single-repeat Tree of Life motif from Shelagh Hollingworth’s book, interspersed with a motif of my own devising (with a little help from Alice Starmore to get it started), repeated 4 times round the underband. My motif was an infinity symbol – an 8 on its side – which is a symbol I’ve always liked, with the forever and ever, amen. Nice combined with the Tree of Life too. For a bit of interest, I put bobbles inside the loops of the alternating two infinities to represent the point singularity at the start of the universe, just to continue the science theme. T’was only too late that I realised the result looked like boobies!

Around the edge, I put bobbles at 7-st intervals. I’m sure I had a deeply symbolical reason – I had for everything up to then! but it escapes me now. All I can think now is that it gives the bunnet a Henry VIII look… Over the top, I did two stitch patterns, both from the 1988 edition of the Complete Stitch Directory, one called Bee Stitch, the other Honeycomb Stitch. They weren’t a great fit into the space, but look okay. Actually, it looks a bit mediaeval, so perhaps I did have a Henry VII theme going on. Reason for Beeing? The Destroyer of Waists has recently become obsessed with flying insects, known collectively as ‘Bzzzes’.

I’ve googled for these two patterns but what comes up is not them – and I’m not certain the Amazon book referenced will contain it, as mine is an older edition by a different publisher, so here goes:

Bee Stitch: Worked over a multiple of 6 st, plus 5. Row 1 & all odd rows (WS) – K. Rows 2 & 4 – P. Row 6 – *P5, K into next st 5rows down, unravelling st in the rows between#, repeat from * to #, end with P5. Rows 8 & 10 – P. Row 12 – P2, K into next st 5rows down, unravelling st in the rows between#, repeat from * to #, end with P2.

 

 

Bunnet Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honeycomb Stitch: Over an even number of stitches. Row 1 &

3 – K. Row 2 – *K1, K into next st 1row down, rpt from *. Row 4 – *K into next st 1row down, K1, rpt from *.

I like that they both use the same principle of knitting into an earlier row. There’s something very fractal-ly about that, similarities across different scales, leaf growth on trees being governed by the same principles that create fjords, etc.

On top, I added a tassle rather than a pompom, carefully set to sit sideways as in the pic. And of course he refuses to wear it…

Inside, my new Subh Milis label!

%d bloggers like this: