Sunday, October 21, 2007

italian tubular cast on for monkeys

For no apparent reason, I felt a faint sense of guilt about the cast-on I used for my endpaper mitts. The pattern suggests you use Italian tubular cast on, as it gives a neater edge for 1x1 ribbing. However, when I came to start the mitts I was on a ferry to Ireland, and didn't have access to any nice friendly internet resources which might entice me to try this (such as this page). Faced with either sitting watching the waves for several hours, or starting the mitts with my standard long-tail cast on, I decided to sack off the fancy cast-on and start mittening. So when I started these monkeys I felt I should really cast-on in the Italian tubular style as a sort of apology to the now completed mittens. Was this a good idea? Well, i heard that it wasn't recommended to do this for socks, because 'it gets fiddly'. This to me sounded like a challenge! One which the socks very nearly won. Illustrated is a few evenings worth of knitting... what the picture doesn't show is the swearing and frogging that was involved in getting thus far. In the end, I did 2 rows of slipping alternate stitches then pulled out the guide yarn. Then breathed a sigh of great relief as i was finally able to actually start the sock. The cast on looks quite neat but if I could rewind a few days and start again, I would probably use that time to read War and Peace and do long tail cast on instead. The yarn is Stroud Supersock semi-solid in a soothing autumnal chestnut shade. I think my retinas needed something a bit less eye-searingly bright after the aforementioned mitts.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

yarny bargain up for grabs

Fancy your hand at the elizabeth bennet cardie? Put off by the price of the recommended yarn? Now's your chance to snap up a bargain... I have just ebayed my remaining 10 balls of cascade cloud 9 (I only used 9 balls, so this should be more than enough to make another one). Go on, treat yourself!!

Look, look at the luvverly yarny goodness!


Friday, October 12, 2007


I finished these endpaper mitts about 3 weeks ago, but it's incredibly difficult to take a picture of your own hands wearing gloves. So after a couple of fruitless afternoons trying to train the dog to be a photographer, I got someone else to take a photo. And here it is! These mitts are made of 4 ply cotton, which sounds like some kind of insanity. And they aren't particularly warm. But for the purposes of cycling around, they are pretty good - they stop my fingers freezing onto the brakes in the morning, and they cushion my hands from the continual bouncing around over loose stones/potholes/squirrels. So I kind of like them. The yarn was on spesh (jaeger discontinued, again) so the pair cost less than three quid. I really enjoyed making them - stranded knitting is great fun, and I need a lot of practise to get to the stage where the work done by each hand looks vaguely even. Rather than randomly creating hotspots of slackness, where i came back from the pub and attacked the knitting with drunken bravado.

There's also one stitch which is in the wrong colour, that I left in because I couldn't be bothered to rip back. You can see it in this photo. One pint of beer* will be awarded to the person who can tell me where it is. I actually thought it would annoy me more than it does in the completed object. A positive feature of these mitts is that they are symmetrical, so you can wear them upside down and never see the stitchy maverick.

Terms and Conditions
Prize to be redeemed at any drinking establishment in Manchester, England.
Spot it in under 5 seconds, and I might consider throwing a packet of salt and vinegar crisps into the bargain.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

peacocky drop-stitch-lace tank top

It's finished! It should have been a fun, fairly quick and easy thing to make, but I was starting to seriously wonder if it ever would make it to a wearable state, as the progress of this top has been plagued by a series of unfortunate events. The main problem being that about halfway through this pattern, in a fit of incredible stupidity, I lost the book I was making it from. This was shortly after a conversation with a friend, who is into sewing, about how great knitting is because you can take it anywhere. She was jealous that she couldn't whip a sewing machine out at a picnic and knock off a couple of tops whilst idling on a hillside. I grinned smugly as my needles whirred. So it serves me right really, that my inability to even go to the corner shop for a pint of milk without my knitting has eventually had disastrous consequences. I just hope that someone else on the train journey from London to Manchester is now enjoying my copy of Fitted Knits.

The other fairly obvious problem is that is it too small. This is because nearly everyone I have seen make this top has complained that it was too big. So I went the other way, overcompensating ridiculously, with quite hideously unflattering results. It's made of debbie bliss cathay though which is 50% cotton so I'm holding out some hope that it will have a bit of give in it, and hopefully if i wear it for a bit, it will eventually get baggy enough that passers-by don't have to be subjected to a relief map of my internal organs. It is pretty stretchy anyway, cos its mostly ribbing, and on a more positive note it's actually incredibly comfortable and quite warm. So it's currently a dogwalking top. Maybe if I can stay off the pies for a bit* it will become a wardrobe staple.

So, for the benefit of other knitters, my modifications to the pattern were:
- cast on 136 stitches (i think i have to spend some time coming to terms with the concept of ease)
- knitted in the round, as I am too lazy to seam
- knitted through the back of the loops for the stitches around the yarn-over, to give better stitch definition
- made up the whole top half, based on vague memories of the book, and other pictures of this top on the internet :)
- failed to add buttons. This was due more to indecision than design - i may yet do this if i find some suitable.

* highly unlikely, as a really nice bar serving lovely pies has just recently opened near me

The dog was unimpressed by the top. He had found a bone and was enjoying that, in a stereotyped way. Apologies for the dodgy photos, they were taken on my rubbish camera in the murky mancunian twilight. In this one I also look as if I have been auditioning for a part in Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Seven Odd Things About You

I got tagged by Yan Tan Tethera. I'm usually too curmudgeonly to do these kinds of things, but I am quite bored tonight so I'll play. I'm not passing this on to anyone in particular, but you can join in if you want :) It feels wrong posting without a picture so here's a nice autumnal view from my kitchen window.

  1. I love autumn and winter. I think I have inverse SAD.

  2. A couple of weeks ago, when I opened my front door on Saturday morning, I was rather surprised to find a polecat on my doorstep. It was trying to get into a milk bottle. They are indigenous here but very rare - I have no idea where it came from. I live in the middle of a city, and have never seen one before.

  3. Instead of going to a sunsoaked mediterranean destination every summer, I like to throw the dog, the husband and some beers in a camper van and head to the lake district, snowdonia or scotland, where I can often be found trudging up mountains in the bitter cold and horizontal rain.

  4. I'm a bit of a tomboy. I've never read a Bridget Jones book. I like climbing trees and my favourite films are mostly horror or sci-fi.

  5. I can raise and lower each eyebrow independently. All my siblings can too. I've never met anyone else who can.

  6. I have an allotment where I spent much of last week digging up spuds.

  7. I once met Tony Blair at a party. I was helping to DJ. We accidentally played 'War - what is it good for'.