Wednesday, 31 October 2007

In Which Much Progress Is Made

Exciting progress on the sock... I woke up 1/2 hour before my alarm this morning, so took the (extremely rare) opportunity to have a cup of tea and turn the heel on Regia Sock the Second.

This is my quickest sock ever. Usually each sock takes me about a month - I lose interest in the whole process for a while, but this one has me hooked. I'm pretty confident that I'll be at the toe by the weekend. I've decided I'll probably stockpile this particular pair to give to one of my male relatives at Christmas - the colours here are pretty masculine, and nothing says "I didn't have a clue what else to get you" like a handknit pair of socks. Plus I've done them at least a size or two larger than I wear.

Even more exciting than the socks is the Sublime Mohair cardi. Work has commenced, and continues apace. I am loving absolutely everything about this - the speed at which it's growing (the picture represents about 2 hours or so knitting), the yarn, the colour (both of which are shown very poorly in this photo...), it's like knitting a cobweb. Only a really gorgeous dusty green cobweb which is going to look just so cool with jeans or over a dress... This is the back, I'm hopeful of getting to the shoulder shaping by tomorrow. I am going out tonight for dinner, and there is a large amount of wine on the menu, so knitting may well be shelved for tomorrow...

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Mohair Here

I'm pretty much frothing at the mouth this morning - my shipment of Sublime Kid Mohair has arrived for the Art of Knitting Cardi. I have to wag a disappointed finger at the Royal Mail however, who saw fit to leave 30.00 worth of mohair sitting on my front steps all day yesterday, regardless of rain and people who might steal it. Bad effort, Royal Mail.

Anyway I took safe delivery when I got home from work yesterday, and it's so much more gorgeous than it looked in the picture online. I've got it in the Venetian Green colourway; I tried taking a photo of it this morning but wherever I pose the ball of yarn, in whatever degree of sunlight, I couldn't accurately get the colour to show up. Look it up on the interweb anyway, it is definitely the right choice for me.

I'm confident that it will knit up quickly (it's on 7mm needles so hopefully...) because I'd really like to wear this cardi at Christmas.

The sock also continues apace - I know I've had more knitting time last week with the extra commuting, but I'm already at the heel flap. If I can bring myself to put the mohair cardi down for a minute I might actually turn the heel this week.

Friday, 26 October 2007

The Legendary Cath

Progress on the sock has been very reasonable. I've done about 13cm or so, and let joy be unbound, the striping pretty much matches up. Can't say I enjoy a 2 hour commute to work, but the sock has certainly assisted in easing the woe.

This is my 3rd pair of socks ever. When I first starting knitting, I really wanted to be able to do socks - I taught myself to knit in the round, I looked at dozens of (American) patterns, and I couldn't get my head round the technique of turning a heel at all. Short row shaping I could handle, but what is a gusset and what does it do?

Fortunately, my brother had the good sense to get engaged to a girl whose grandmother knits. The gran is a lovely lady, she is the Legendary Cath, and over tea and biscuits one afternoon she taught me to turn a heel, in about 1/2 an hour. She gave me a set of three patterns (a plain sock, a ribbed sock - which is the pattern I'm using for the sock above - and a "fancy" lace sock, which I have knitted already for myself). The pattern must be from the 1970s but I understand it - and consequently I can apply it to any sock pattern out there. Thank you Cath - I still owe you that Sunday lunch we talked about, hopefully the hip replacement has now settled and we can get you up the stairs to my flat!

Today is pay day, and let joy be unbound part 2, I have bought the Sublime kid mohair. It was the cheapest I have seen it on the internet, although I'm not necessarily guaranteed the colour I wanted. That said, I would happily wear any of the colours on offer, so not a problem. Can't wait to get going with it...

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

I Knit Weird

The sock is under way (here it is on the left), and I've made good progress so far. This is my only opportunity to blog this week as I'm commuting to London until Friday, and I'm not allowed to blog in the office (and too knackered to do it in the evenings), so there will most likely be a great deal more progress next time.

I've noticed that I hold the needles in my right hand in a really weird way. This has happened unconciously - not because holding needles in the traditional way is a problem for me, it just seems to work better if I grip between my first and middle fingers.

"The Claw" - I fail to see a real problem with "the Claw Method". The knitting happens, it happens pretty quick, so the end result is the same. I don't remember when this started, I've knit things on 15mm needles before and I'm sure I can't possibly hold them like this. I'm not sure from this photo whether I'm quite in the "pinky up" position... it would be lovely to think I knit a bit camp.
Sometimes I end up with a bit of hand cramp, but who's to say I wouldn't get that with holding the needles in the standard way? Maybe this is why I can't crochet... can't hold the needle properly?
It is now 2 days until payday, which means 2 days until I spend lots of money on Sublime Kid Mohair for the Art of Knitting cardigan. We will starve if needs be, I must have that yarn.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Hubby's Birthday

Many happy returns my darling P :) xxxx

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Blooming Bag Pattern

Yarn: Ry Soft Lux in Clover, 64% extra fine merino wool, 10% angora, 24% nylon, 2% metallic fibre.

Needles: 6mm
Finished Size: 14" by 9"
How to make it:

Cast on 56 st
K 5 rows
Row 1: K5, P to last 5 st, K5
Row 2: K
Repeat rows 1 & 2 until 55 rows have been worked.
K the next 19 rows
Repeat rows 1 & 2 until a further 95 rows have been worked (I find placing a stitch marker at either end of the 60th row helps with seaming)
K 5 rows
Bind off.
Fold and seam (inside out) from beginning to stitch markers.

Strap: Cast on 6 stitches and knit until strap measures 50 inches, sew to side seams inside bag.

Felting: Fill sink with hottest tap water - submerge bag. Start agitating bag with hands. Scream in agony due to hotness of water. Attack bag in fit of rage with potato masher. Mash bag in hot water, screaming obscenities for about 15 mins or until it looks felted. Squeeze out excess water, stuff with a towel, leave to dry.

Flowers: I got the pattern from this nice lady (link below) - I made three and just sewed them on after felting it.

I didn't line the bag, but I only intend to use it for light use (ie. transporting some cash to the pub, and less cash back). I was pleased with how this turned out, feel free to make it if you can follow my crap directions.

Following yesterday's post, I spent all of about 2 seconds deciding on the next project - the sock won. I've got to commute to London for a week next week, and double pointed needles appear to be a bit more train friendly than hulking great straights.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Awful Cheap DK Acrylic Nastiness Blanket

It is a very strange thing for me to have absolutely nothing on the needles. I would love to be one of those focused, dedicated people who can work on one thing at a time, but I'm not. Usually I have 2 or 3 things on the go at any one time at least. Today, I am project free.

Last night I had a rush of blood to the head and finished a baby blanket I've been working on for more time than I care to mention. I started knitting it about a year ago - then lost interest in the nasty acrylic yarn, the colour, the pattern, and left it. My cousin in law had a baby (my godson) so I wanted to make him something special. Godson is now approaching his first birthday, and I can't help but feel a blanket which would only really fit round a newborn might be a bit redundant.... Anyway, last night, I finished it, and did a lap of honour of the living room to celebrate. Here it is, modelled by the lovely Cow.

It's a basic corner to corner blanket, knit in awful cheap DK acrylic nastiness, but it was a useful exercise to practice, was started well before I bothered actually learning anything about different yarns, and I did learn that I never want to knit a blanket again in anything other than gorgeous chunky cashmere that knits at at the very most 2 stitches to the inch. I put a great big purple stripe down the middle to stop myself from getting snow blindness. Pattern is from the free pattern website, Knitting Pattern Central, which is possibly the coolest website in the world and can be found in Google.

Here is some detail. If I'm absolutely honest, it was as dull to knit as it is to look at - but at least it's done.
So I'm going to celebrate with a new project. I have a sock hanging about which needs a friend - it's in Regia self striping yarn which is slightly exciting, and I was really pleased with how the first sock turned out. Or I might just shelve that for a bit longer and make a hat (I like cabled hats. They're quick and cabling rocks). I am desperate to knit the mohair cardi in The Art of Knitting magazine, but even buying the yarn on e-bay will set me back more than I can afford. So it must wait until after payday (which luckily is next Friday. Unless I cave in before hand and make P go without any lunch for the next week).
The Bag (which I really need to think of a name for) is still slightly soggy, so I don't want to carry out the final adjustments until it's all dry and done. The strap is way too long, so I'm going to fold and sew it (which should also make it a bit stronger). I also knitted up some little roses to go on the front. After it's completed, I intend to parade proudly up and down the street in front of my house, wearing it and waving at pedestrians.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

If you blog and no one is reading, does it make a sound?

After two years of knitting, and finally getting reasonably good at it, I have decided to run a blog. It seems to be the thing to do these days, and I read enough of them... I want to join in. I am a realist - I am aware that it's only going to be me reading it for now. But one day, someone might have look and wonder who the hell I am. Hence this post of introduction.

Here I am, I am Sam, in my green stripey hat (but featuring no eggs and ham this time) and surprisingly coordinating t-shirt. This is rare and will not happen often, I usually follow the "complete mess" style of clothing where nothing matches and something is usually held up by a safety pin or bit of string.

Here's a bit of biography - I'm (currently) 28 but have plans to get older, I live in Surrey (UK) with my husband (P) and no children. I do not own a cat but that is only because I can't be bothered sweeping up hair - both me and P have long rock star hair which is enough for any household. I work (from home) for a relocation company, it's pretty dull but the money is OK. I like music, gigs (P is in a punk band), festivals, cooking and knitting. Lotsa knitting.

I am at present blocking a bag that I knitted last week and felted today. I made up the pattern so I'll post it when I have a picture of the bag (which will be a phone picture I'm afraid, as is apparent from the picture of me... it's the closest I have to a proper digital camera). I will also post my felting method - I'm totally new to felting so again I made it up as I went along.

I suppose the main reason I'm starting to blog is to get in touch with some other knitters, for advice, yarn swopping and generally chatting about knitting. Plus I like to write, and long hand diaries are so 20th century.