Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Finished! And about time too…

After 18 months on the needles (a goodly proportion of which was spent languishing at the bottom of my knitting bag) the hoody is done. I don’t know if it is because it took so long to finish it and in the end it seemed like a bit of a chore, but I am not as pleased with it as I expected to be. On the whole I like it - it is warm and comfy to wear, but when I look at it I keep seeing all the little things that are not quite right.

So here it is, being modelled (properly, just for Kai and my apologies to the rest of you, but don't worry it won't happen again in a hurry) by me.

Pattern: Debbie Bliss Cable Jacket with Hood, Debbie Bliss Number 4.
Yarn: Welsh Aran Wool (Sweetpea) from Trefriw Woollen Mill, North Wales
Needles: 4mm and 4.5mm to get gauge

Changes to pattern: Increased length of arms and made a shorter hood in stocking stitch with additional shaping. I picked up the stitches as per the pattern and knitted in st/st for about 8” then split into two halves, working on each side separately. The shaping was done by decreasing at the centre edge as follows (keeping to stocking stitch with the garter stitch border):
decrease 1 stitch on 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd rows
decrease 2 stitch on next 4 rows
decrease 4 stitches on next row
decrease 2 stitches on next row
decrease 4 stitches on next row
cast off
Repeat on other side to create a V shape in the centre of the hood, which when sewed up makes a rounded hood shape.

So I currently have NO WIPS! This feels a little strange and I shall be casting on for some Zebra socks this very night.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sew What?!

The knitting is finished, the sewing up is finished, the ends are tied in, the edges have been pinned flat and steamed. The zip has been ordered and is on it's way, so I thought that I ought to face The Fear Of The Sewing Machine...
A few test runs with a tension swatch proved that machine sewing on knitting isn't so bad, the machine goes over it neatly and there was no bunching, jamming or tangling. I'm still very nervous about using my sewing machine, I've had it about 2 years and don't use it nearly as much as I should. I got one that could do all these fancy stitches, with the idea of doing creative embroidery and all that malarky, but so far I've managed to make one cat cushion, alter a couple of shirts and edge a dozen hankies... ah well. I shall have to get some lilac sewing thread tomorrow in town and then I'm all set for when the zip arrives and I can sew it in. I think I have read almost every resource on the web about sewing in zips (thanks to Badger and Fiona for their tips) and am as prepared as I could be. Eeep!

We went to the pub for Sunday Lunch today as it is the start of My Birthday Week and I am making the most of it :) We were very good (well, as good as people who are going to the pub to stuff their faces with too much food can be) and walked there and back. We went the 'off road' way, up a farm track and over a field, which is nicer than walking up by the main road. The going wasn't as muddy and wet as we'd worried it might be and at the farm we met these chaps who've just moved into the neighbourhood in their smart new abode.

Room With A View

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Hood ;)

Last night I finished the second sleeve, then pinned the arms to the body pieces and tried the jacket on. Carefully. Pins are sharp.

It was a tense moment and I was greatly relieved to discover that it fits pretty well. I knew it would be short in the body, but it is very cropped looking and I am glad that I decided to add a couple of inches to the sleeves otherwise it would look small on me.

The hood/collar decision has been made. I knew as soon as I put it on and looked in the mirror. It is exactly the style of a hooded top, especially when the zip is put in. Also, the front has too much detail and it needs a hood to dress it down a little. The Welsh Sheep Wool that I'm using is thick so I have decided to do a plain stocking stitch one rather than the rib of the pattern (which I have read bad things about) and I am using an existing hood on a cardy that I love as a template in the hope that this one will sit in the same way.
This is my plan anyway. I am sure that any moment now I will start to regret embarking on a vast expanse of plain stocking stitch, but for now I am enjoying not having any cable twists, patterning or shaping to worry about.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Carry On Knitting

I have decided to stick with the sleeves as they are. Mainly because the rest of the cardy is going to be so busy and patterned that I think people are unlikely to notice the plain st/st section under the arms. There'll be a point on either side where it will look a bit odd, but I think only people who are familiar with 'aran' style designs are actually going to notice (this has been borne out of experience today of trying to descibe what the 'problem' is to friendly non-knitters) - and the knitters will be too polite to comment ;)

I can live with it anyway, which is really all that matters, and the seam under the arms will look neater than it would on reverse st/st.

The sleeve also looks as though it will fit quite neatly into the front and back shaping too, which is a relief.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Am gutted. I am about 4" away from finishing the second sleeve on the hoody and I have spotted a HUGE GLARING WRONGNESS about it. The first sleeve is the same. The reverse stocking stitch isn't reverse at all, it's just stocking stitch so the panel borders don't stand out properly and the material won't match the sides of the body pieces. I checked the errata on this pattern and this wasn't changed, it's clearly how the pattern is written but I still feel rather dumb for not having noticed it before now, when I was laying out the pieces and admiring my handiwork. Ha.

Well, I'm certainly not going to knit the sleeves again. It's keep it as it is or throw the lot in the bin time.

Please send gin.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Little Luxury

It is said that the best things in life are free. They very possibly are, however, you can't beat a bit of luxury now and again. I had (notice use of the past tense here...) some Christmas money to spend and, as I have quite enough yarn to be going on with, I decided to splash out on some Lantern Moon needles.

These are (from left to right) 6mm blonde, 5mm rosewood and 4mm ebony (I got some 4.5mm in ebony as well). They look and feel beeyootiful, smooth and light but strong, and I can't wait to start using them with the lovely yarns that I was given for Christmas.

The DB hooded cardy progress continues. I am now about half way up the second sleeve. Progress was slowed by the recommendation of Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy game, but I got stuck on the Escape from Echo Base level, so knitting has resumed.

In other news, the wind has been making a feature of itself again. We escaped pretty lightly with just two fence panels down, but there has been quite a lot of damage to property and trees around here and this weekend's camping trip has been cancelled :( Still, on the bright side, this means more knitting and game playing time :)

Oh yes, and apparently I am weird about cutlery. Just because I insist that the knife should be placed facing towards the plate. Does this make me weird? I don't think so.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Good knitter / Bad Knitter

Thank you to everyone for their comments about the shawl, I shall have to be careful or my head will get too big for my alpaca earflap hat, but one last brag before I leave off, I've been spotted!! Well, not quite. My glove has been spotted. Jeni from Fyberspates asked if she could use the picture in her on-line gallery and as from today it can be seen with the other reader's creations at

I have been a good knitter and started work again on the DB Cabled Hoody. Am now about 20% of the way up the second sleeve. Still not decided what to do about the hood, whether to try it or just finish the jacket off with a roll collar. I have all these fancy ideas about putting on a cabled edging around the front of the hood (kind of like the collar on the Bergere de France cabled sweater that you see everywhere and is so pretty) so I might give that a try.

On the other hand, I have been a bad knitter. I was looking at patterns and yarns yesterday for some long over-the-knee socks to wear with my big boots, umming and ahhing about what I wanted and how I shouldn't buy any more yarn as I have lots waiting to be knitted up but I did want some new socks. I allowed Rob to show me some stripy ones he was looking at on ebay for £3.99 for three pairs. Do you want them? he asked. Yes, I replied. So he bought them for me. I'm so ashamed.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Warning: Gratuitous Shawl Photos Below

And so my shawl is finished, blocked and duly paraded.

It's the Swallowtail Shawl from Interweave Knits, issue Fall 2006. This is a great pattern to follow with clear charts and instructions, that even a shawl novice like myself could follow. The yarn is Posh Yarns Seraphina (cashmere/angora) in Orchid. Blocking increased the size by about 25%, it is just perfectly small now :)

Close up of the nupps (worth every bit of the hassle) and pointed border...

And modelled (ha!) by me...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Lace: knitting finished

And it's tiny! I know the Swallowtail shawl is quite commonly referred to as a 'shawlette', but blimey! Still, it's very pretty and hopefully the magic of blocking will make it grow a bit.

After dinner (Hot Pot!) I will soak it and pin it out.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Last Day of Christmas... today. The Christmas holidays have ended and it's back to work and normality. We are staying in today, waiting for our new dishwasher to be delivered. I don't know what it is with dishwashers and Christmas, it seems to be the time for them to commit mass suicide. We were advised that delivery could be between 7am and 7pm, it's now 2pm and it is starting to feel like a looooong day! I don't lie in (much!) on weekends any more (sign of getting old I think, I once stayed in bed so late it got dark...but then I don't think I'd actually gone to bed till 4am...) but 7am is a rarity for me.

I have been working on the lace shawl, on to the last section of pattern now and have moved it on to the circular needle to make room for all the stitches. I bought a Clover bamboo 80cm circ, which is very nice but not quite as pointy as I would have liked. The nupps would be very very tricky with this alone, but I've been using a 2mm dpn to help things along anyway so it hasn't made much difference.

We had a full moon the other night. I spotted it as I was on my way home, big, low to the horizon and framed by windswept clouds. I went up to the local golf course (in the freezing cold wind) and tried to get a pic of it, but didn't really have enough time to play around with the camera before the clouds covered it completely and the rain started, so I came home. This was the best one:

And this is where the sensible people were:

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Review of the Year 2006 - Knitting

Well, another year is over and I'm another year older and probably no wiser. In keeping with the tradition at the end of the year / start of a new year I have had a think about stuff I've completed. Not a bad list, I think, most of it turned out quite well and there were no major disasters. The Debbie Bliss cabled jacket is still on going though and is turning into a bit of an embarrasment, so one of my New Year's Resolution is to get it finished before spring!

Pink scarf, Sirdar Snowflake wasn't much fun to knit with but the end result was very soft and snuggly.
Dr Fish socks, matching mother and baby socks because who doesn't want to dress like their baby daughter.
Tiger Ipod cover, my own design!
Fortune Kitty, it seems to have done the trick :)
Opal Elemente socks, mens, for my husband who complained. He won't be getting any more socks from me.
Cabled cardy, this is HUGE and takes up a lot of space in my wardrobe. I ought to wear it more.
Teddy head purse, or is it a kangaroo?
Patterned alpaca Ear flap hat, I think this is my favourite thing that I've knitted for myself. I've worn it loads this winter and it makes me happy!
Booga Bag, not been used but it was an interesting experiment at felting (I've just ordered a felted slipper pattern from Get Knitted which I'm looking forward to having a go at)
Regia Jeans socks, womens - these were a birthday present for a friend... I shall quote her response as I am feeling like blowing my own trumpet a bit!!..."It's just that the stitching looked so neat and uniform, it looked like it had been done on a machine! That's a compliment by the way..."
Fairisle tank top, not as scary as it looks but the weaving in of the ends seems to take longer than the actual knitting.
Baby cardy and hat, boring.
Tiny Teddy with scarf, this little chap went to a charity teddy bear's picnic and was bought by a little girl. What more could a teddy wish for?!
Smock jacket, this is my favourite baby knit of the year. It was really nice yarn, a lovely pattern and got so many compliments!
Flower scarf, crocheted from mohair that had been a gift from my MIL. I gave the scarf back to her for Christmas!
Hurry Up Spring wristwarmers, x3, a pair for me, a pair for Kirsty and a pair for Pie Princess.
Fyberspates gloves, very purple! I want to make some fingerless ones out of the rest of the yarn and have started scribbling plans of my own design... watch this space!!
Regia Skater socks, mens, a Christmas present for feet unseen. They fit! Hurrah!
Swallowtail shawl, started and going well, I have just completed the first Lily of the Valley chart and am waiting for my circular needle to arrive before I carry on.

My other New Year's Resolutions are using my Denises more and to get over my fear of zips, lace and entrelac. I have made a start on the lace, which is good, but sadly needed to order another circular needle as the Denises don't have the size I need to continue! Bah!

And lastly, to be generally less wasteful. The mince pies at Christmas horrified me as for the past few years I have made my own but in a fit of laziness I bought some. They were individual pies in little foil trays, in a plastic tray, in a plastic wrapper in a cardboard box. For 6 pies! I couldn't believe it. No wonder the world is covered in rubbish.

I seem to have ended on a low note, which is a bit of a shame, so I shall leave with the thought that at least the shortest day has been and gone and the days are getting longer again :)

Books read in 2006

24. Bleak House - Dickens (still reading this one!)
23. Whose Body? - Dorothy L Sayers
22. The Queen's Fool - Philippa Gregory
21. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Return of the Warrior - Kinley MacGregor
19. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
18. A Walk In The Woods - Bill Bryson (DNF, although I might go back to it)
17. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
16. Pirates! - Celia Rees
15. Lullaby - Chuck Palahniuk
14. Going Postal - Terry Pratchett
13. A Fete Worse Than Death - Iain Aitch
12. The Gunslinger - Stephen King
11. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
10. Watching the English - Kate Fox
9. Autumn - David Moody
8. The Portable Door - Tom Holt
7. Small Island - Andrea Levy
6. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - Susanna Clark
5. The Story Of God - Robert Winston
4. Brokeback Mountain - Annie Proulx
3. Smoke and Mirrors - Neil Gaiman
2. Storms of Silence - Joe Simpson
1. How to be a Bad Birdwatcher - Simon Barnes