Friday, December 19, 2008

merry christmas

and a very Happy New Year to both all my blog readers!

Well, I finished the Christmas jumper, at last. No weaving in ends on Christmas Eve - phew. And what a nice festively fun project this was. You can almost hear those sleighbells jingling as you knit. I'd thoroughly recommend it, although anyone attempting it might benefit from reading the list below.

Things I learned from the festive jumper knitfest

  • Dalegarn Baby Ull is the stickiest woolliest yarn ever. It's kind of like knitting with goosegrass. This is of course a very reassuring thing if you are planning on steeking anything. Not so great for sewing up / frogging though.

  • Never attempt to spit-splice white yarn late at night whilst drinking red wine.

  • Similarly, if you have recently cut your finger, do not continue to knit whilst it is still bleeding. (Seriously - what is wrong with me? Why can't I ever just put the needles down?!)

  • Following on from the previous two points, Dalegarn Baby Ull machine washes nicely at 30 degrees.

  • nice scarf
  • Steeking is actually quite good fun, if you have the cojones for it. Well, it's probably more fun better than attempting to stranded-purl on the wrong side.

  • Although lots of people on ravelry ummed and ahhed about whether the jumper would fit over a baby's head, i found there to actually be tons of room. My gauge swatch was about half a stitch looser on the width. I thought with 4 ply, this would be close enough. And indeed the sleeves seem to fit pretty well, but the jumper is a little wide in the body and neck. There was no need to make the neck opening 10 stitches wider, as I did. If you do, you may discover such hilarious unintended consequences as those depicted here.

  • Have a great festive season everybody!


Monday, December 15, 2008

literary meme

I couldn't resist this one.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Underline those you intend to read
3) Italicise the books you LOVE.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (love the David Lean film version)
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (some of!)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis - not sure why this is in again after the Chronicles of Narnia!
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Alborn
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton (I read the Magic Faraway Tree)
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams (I had the picture book of the film when I was wee, it was ace)
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (again, when I was very small!)
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Some great books in here I thought. I seem to have italicised rather a lot. I think I am a bit of a bookslut. And I don't appear to have read many books written in the last century. I tend to favour the Hardy / Dickens style of bleak tales of poverty throughout the ages. Or scifi. I don't like happy endings really. Or romantic fiction, although Wuthering Heights has enough death and bleakness in there for me to like it. There are a couple of modern books in there that I have read just to be polite, but generally I run a mile when someone tries to lend me any kind of glossy paperback that they have just really enjoyed. I am basically a misanthrope who hides in the dusty classics section of the library.


Thursday, December 04, 2008


mother, chill out with the needles ffs
Rubbishknitterjunior wears: tweedy earflap hat (on ravelry), woolly childhood (on ravelry), blanket of many browns (on ravelry)

I think you know you have been overdoing it a bit, when your son looks like this. Well it's been a bit cold, and we had to walk the dog. I may have got slightly carried away with the wrapping up.

Unfortunately, though, the recent febrile knitting atmosphere in my house has resulted in another flare up of tendonitis. Bugger. I am off to the doctors in a couple of hours to seek sympathy and painkilling medication while I can still get it for free. But it has rather delayed my Christmas knitting, just as I was starting to see the end in sight.... grrr.

bag of lovely if messily packed jumpers
Btw, if you are getting bored with the gratuitous Woolly Baby shots, don't worry there shouldn't be too many more. I have just received a rather lovely bagful of handknitted jumpers, passed on from a sibling. They are all very lovely and there are plenty here to keep the wee man warm this winter. So I really have no need to be making him anything else for now. Apart from possibly some more bootees. Oh and finishing the jumper I'm making obv. But after that I can make more stuff for meeee and other deserving individuals at my own discretion. Which is a fine thing.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Noooo! Don't do it!
I has it.

Weird. I've been looking forward to this bit for ages, but as The Steek looms larger on the horizon, so does a nascent feeling of fear. At first the idea seemed like fun, but now I've spent about a month knitting this jumper, it seems rather like madness to cheerfully attack the thing with scissors.

Actually I think I was even more nervous about doing the sewing bit. Having very little experience with a sewing machine, and a propensity to tangle threads, distort fabric, make wavy lines and generally ruin stuff, I had very low confidence about this step. I had to steek a test swatch and drink a pint of beer before even picking up the jumper. But I took a deep breath and started sewing it last night. No tanglings, and marginally straighter than a dog's hind leg! I thought I was doing pretty well. Then Mr. Rubbishknitter entered the room, wondering why I was red-faced and sweating, despite the baltic weather and our boiler being on the blink. Oh well. It is sewn now, and awaits the scissors! *takes deep breath*...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

After a short period of sofa-bound flueyness, I just finished the body of the baby norgi. It's actually made me feel quite Christmassy, all those reindeer and fir trees. Am rather pleased with the stranded colourwork. One minor problem is, I didn't really think about it until I got to this part, but there are some alarmingly long floats required in the top section, like 10 stitches or more. In my past experience with stranded knitting, my attempts to weave in floats were a bit of a disaster. You could see it on the right side, it stubbornly refused to stretch by as much as a millimetre, and the knitting puckered up like it was trying to kiss you. So this time, I decided I was going to blithely knit on and leave huge gaping floats. I will report back on the wisdom of this when I have attempted to get it over the wee mans head and trapped various limbs in a forest of inverse reindeer. If it's a disaster, I may go back and tack them down. But right now, I can't really be bothered. Onward to the sleeves! I can't wait to attack this thing with scissors!

I also modified the neckline to accommodate the small fella's not-so-small head, which is the size of a planetoid. Added 10 stitches into the opening, front and back. It looks nice and roomy, so we'll see how it is after the neckband is added. Am thinking I might go with a sewn cast-off on that for added elasticity.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

four ply foolishness

tiny weeny stranded pattern
Q: What do you do when you already have a jumper and a sock on the go, a quilt to finish, lots of Christmas shopping to do, a baby who has recently decided sleep is for the weak, and you've internally sworn not to do a) any Christmas knitting and b) any more baby jumpers?

A: Clearly, you need to start a suitably complex Christmas-themed baby jumper in incredibly fine gauge yarn. Because you saw it and it was cute. And because you've got your sewing machine back from the repair shop and want to have a go at steeking.

Pattern is Baby Norgi from Knitty. Yarn is Dalegarn Baby Ull. It is quite lovely, 100% merino but couldn't be more different from the Sublime 100% merino I am using to make my brown hoodie. It is much more sticky and warm feeling - the other is smooth and cottonlike. The stickiness comes as something of a relief, as I will be cheerfully cutting up this jumper later... *gulp*. It purports to also be machine washable, which I find difficult to believe... not sure I would have the nerve to do it, but we'll see after Rubbishknitterjunior has regurgitated his Christmas dinner down the front. Because it will be finished for Christmas - otherwise it will be completely useless - it won't fit him next year. No pressure then! Even though I'm using 2mm needles for this, which feels a bit like doing keyhole surgery. Lots of fun though I have to say. Haven't done any colourwork for ages, so I had to try and remember how, but it is very satisfying, and the yarn is very forgiving of my sausage-fingered blunderings.

Friday, October 17, 2008

project proliferation

riding to avalon cast on
It seems I went from a short period of craftlessness, to a short period of frenzied overcompensation by starting a cornucopia of different projects. This is going to be Riding to Avalon. I am in dire need of nice warm jumpers that fit post-childbirth, and I have a surfeit of merino. Also I have been doing loads of knitting for other people lately and I decided it was time for something for me, dammit! The hoodie is progressing well, although I was alarmed to note that it appears to be rolling at the hem, despite a garter stitch row to counterbalance the stocking stitch. If I was making it again, I would probably put another garter stitch row in. As it is, I am far too lazy to unravel all that work and am putting my faith in a future stern blocking instead. The lovely shiny needles are Addi turbos kindly lent to me by Cat - thanks for that! The shininess is keeping me mesmerised as I knit.

I'm simultaneously ploughing through a pair of stripy garter rib socks in some lovely Kaffe Fassett / Regia yarn. This picture is a bit old, I'm nearly at the top of Sock 1 now. Plain, toe up sock with a short row heel. Making it up as I go along!

Flitting around between projects like a drunken butterfly, I also made a new hat for rubbishknitterjunior. It's getting a bit chillier now and I decided a warmer, room-for-growing into model was needed. The yarn is some Katia Scotch Tweed that I got out of a bargain bin ages ago when I was learning to knit, but hadn't yet learned the inadvisability of buying odd balls on a whim. So it has been sitting at the bottom of the cupboard for a year or two.

Babies are pretty useful for using up these kind of scrag ends of yarn. The wee fella looks a bit bemused by the whole thing, but I'm sure he appreciates the extra headwarmth. The pattern is made up, but based on a photo of me as a nipper, wearing a similar model. Am I really going to post this? Well, I can't really embarrass myself any more than I have done already on this blog, so here we go with some lookeylikeys for you. Don't laugh. My cheeks are slightly less prominent now. I left off the pompom on his hat so as not to compromise his masculinity.

RubbishknitterjuniorThe author, a short while ago


Tuesday, September 30, 2008


nyom yom yom
I think I may have gone too far with this brown obsession...

Look what I accidentally bought from Kemps wool shop clearance section! A load of lovely Sublime extra fine merino. Sooo soooft! And very lively and springy... possibly the stretchiest swatch I've ever knitted up in plain stocking stitch. So lively it's skipped out of the door and is halfway down the road already. I think it wants to be Riding to Avalon. (Well, don't we all really? Sounds infinitely preferable to Manchester, especially on a day like this where rain can be measured in oceansful.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

blankets and socks

blanket coverage
Well, I undid the final stripe, wove in all the ends, put it through the wash to get rid of the musty dusty 20-year-old yarn smell, and here it is in its full glory. Mr Rubbishknitter thought that social services should be called for wrapping a baby in something this brown. He has a point, but if you can't enjoy a bit of 70s retro brownness on a sunny autumn day, and use up a big pile of free yarn in the process, when can you? And you can pretend you're in an episode of Life on Mars.

It's a Ripple Afghan. 5mm crochet hook, started with chain of 98 stitches. I went for an ordered repeating pattern of colours. This has a pleasing bad-acid-trip effect, but I suspect a better way of making this would have been to use random colours - then you can keep adding to it with scrap yarn until you have One Blanket to Rule Them All, if you like. I was a bit stuck once I had run out of the brown which I had the least of. It is a good size for the baby, although sadly not quite big enough for snuggle-down-in-front-of-the-telly type purposes. But a nice project to keep your lap warm while you make it, if you are too tight to turn the heating on most of the time, like I am.

a peg for each zig
Here it is drying nicely on the line. (Yes I did make the peg bag too, some time ago). It's all aran-weight 100% cotton which makes a nice soft fabric after washing... mystery brand, a nice present from a friend of mine who was having a clearout a while back.

I also got the Addi Turbos I'd ordered. Hooray! I've never done a sock on two circular needles before. It is pretty straightforward - as Cat Bordhi says in her book, there's only one mistake you can really make, which is to knit the stitches from one needle onto the other. This is easily fixed, but I am a bit of a numpty and do seem to keep doing this. So I wouldn't go quite as far as to say it is soaring, but it is at least gently floating above the ground.

I love these needles. Look how shiny they are! I know, shameless corporate endorsement. I have no soul. If Addi would like to reward me for this by sending me a massive boxful, I would be delighted to furnish them with my address.
mmm stripy
You may notice these socks are neither Charade nor Jaywalker. Predictably, having vacillated between the two patterns indecisively, I decided to do neither and make up my own as I went along instead. Doing it toe up so I can maximise my mileage out of the pretty yarn.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

crochet catastrophe

On the Blanket of Many Browns, I ran out of yarn this close to the end of a stripe. Aran weight yarn disappears so quickly when you're used to socks! As the yarn is at least twenty years old I doubt I would be able to get more. So I think my only option is to rip back this stripe and end the blanket before it starts. I guess this will give a reasonable sized blanket for a baby, but I am slightly disappointed to finish it now. Mostly because that rather unbelievably leaves me with no other crafty projects that I can currently get on with! Having failed to decide on a sock pattern for my Regia Landscape yesterday, I thought I'd cast on regardless and start a generic toe up pattern. Inspired by reading Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles, I determined to give this method a try. Unfortunately, the circular needles I used have a large, pointless lump betwixt cable and tip, which operates much as a speed bump in a road might. This meant that my socks weren't so much soaring as flying too close to the sun then falling Icarus-like in a singed heap to the ground. In despair, I gave up and scoured the internet for Addi Turbos. Finally managed to find some in stock in the UK, but from a shop which is currently in the middle of moving premises, so I have to wait for them to unpack all the boxes and play find-the-needles-in-a-haystack before they can post them out to my troubled sock. Gah!

But why don't you just get on with the quilt you started? You may think. Well, unbelievably my sewing machine is also playing up. The presser foot has started raising and lowering itself at its own whim, rather than when I press the button. I think it might be haunted. So it is in for repair / exorcism, but won't be fixed till at least the weekend. In the meantime, I need to try and learn how to control my twitchy fingers! *Opens beer, drums fingers repetitively on tabletop*

Saturday, September 20, 2008

highlander - there can be only two

big long socky
So I finally finished the Highland Schottische Kilt Hose [ravelry project link], from Folk Socks by Nancy Bush. This is quite possibly my favouritest sock pattern I have made so far - I really loved knitting these. There are so many intricate and engrossing details; the picot hem, the lacy tops. And yet just when you think the socks are going to take forever to make, you get to the straight bit on the leg, a fairly basic lacy wide rib that zooms along at hyperspeed in comparison. This bit is easy to keep in your head and churn out in quantity and yet so pretty in its simplicity, that it never gets boring.

The yarn is Regia Heather 4 ply in Linen. It took just over 3 balls. There is a slight tweediness to it which I like, and it has that almost indestructible feel to it which suggests that your foot would probably fall apart before the sock did. I toyed with the idea of a supertraditional 100% wool, as I'm guessing they will just be used for occasional wear, but it's a lot of sock knitting to be doing for something just to develop holes immediately and I couldn't quite bring myself to risk it.

The socks did take me quite a while but that's because I've had a lot of other stuff going on this summer, and I've picked them up and put them down many times. I actually rather miss them now. I may well even make some more, as I am giving these away. They're supposed to be sized for a bloke although that's me wearing them in the photos and alarmingly, they seem to be about right. I'm hoping the rib will stretch enough to accommodate an ampler calf! Hopefully it will. If not, I have instructed his missus to steal them. The calf shaping is quite lovely in this pattern, it's my favourite bit I think.

They are mindbogglingly comfortable as well. Sooo snuggly warm... It was difficult to take them off after these photos, but I managed it, and they are on their way to the intended recipient now...

Now I seem to have a lot of empty sock needles. What to do with my Regia Landscape? Jaywalker or Charade? It's a tricky one!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

multicoloured dreams

hey man look at the colours
I think it's the weather... I must have mild sensory deprivation from exposure to perpetual greyness. So without really even noticing what I was doing I seem to have bought some lovely bright stripy sock yarn. Yes, I too appear to have succumbed to the delights of the Kaffe Fassett for Regia sock yarn series. This is Landscape Celebration - a new colourway.
yarny loveliness
Mmmm pretty. And a good incentive for me to hurry up and finish the Highland Schottische Kilt Hose, which have been occupying my sock needles since forever - but I'm nearly at the heel on the second sock so the end is in sight!

In other colourful news, I have started to make a quilt for the wee man, from the wodge of patchwork squares I picked up at the Stitch and Creative Crafts Show. Somehow, even when I cheat outrageously and everything is cut out exactly for me, I still don't seem to be able to get all the corners of shapes to match up exactly neatly. I suspect this is because I sew like a drunk person walks. That mitred corner in the border at the top is all over the place too - I will have another go at that before I take a deep breath and start doing the proper quilting bit, where you attach the warm stuff. Incidentally the big piece of warm stuff under the quilt top in the picture cost me the princely sum of £1... it was the end of the roll. I love my local fabric store. That means the whole quilt will have cost approximately one bargainous tenner to make. Which makes me feel much better about the prospect of potentially ruining it during quilting...


Sunday, September 14, 2008

rainy day hat

leftover elephant hat
Irritatingly, Elijah the elephant used 1.000001 balls of Rowan Wool Cotton, so I thought I'd use up the remnants on another baby hat. I made this one up as I went along. It struck me when I was making the elephant that this yarn has a soft shininess with very clear stitch definition, so would probably be well suited to cables. This stitch pattern has one-stitch cables in a braided pattern across a 1x1 rib. The idea was to keep some of the stretchiness of the ribbing for a fast-growing small head, and it kind of worked. It was also partially inspired by the British summer - the blue-grey pattern reminded me of the rolling raindrops on the windowpane. And now I've finished it, the sun has come out. So apologies to my compatriots if my knitting this hat brought the rain gods out of hiding.

extra points if you can spot the biscuit crumb
I did the cabling without a cable needle, because I am a daredevil who likes an element of risk in her knitting. The yarn colour suits a blue-eyed boy, and I was going to try and get a picture of the young gentleman wearing it, but before I could, he had vomited on it approvingly. Fortunately this yarn is machine washable.


Friday, September 05, 2008

joy division oven glove

Dance dance dance dance
With apologies to Half Man Half Biscuit. We moved house recently and my trusty oven gloves went walkabout somewhere between residences. Consequently I now have an array of angry looking burns on my thumb. (I took a photo of these too, but decided it was a bit too minging to post). As I also had a set of fat eighths from the Stitch and Creative Crafts show last weekend and some polyester wadding lurking in the cupboard, I decided enough was enough, and a home-stitched solution to my pain and suffering was needed. Then the titular HMHB song came on the radio, making me laugh rather a lot. So I couldn't resist making this. Now while cooking, I will smile instead of screaming in flesh-searing agony. Or setting fire to another tea towel.

Ooh ooh tropical diseases
I used this tutorial to make the oven glove. Not too hard for a novice seamstress. The writing is reverse applique, done rather terribly on the machine. I ran out of the burgundy thread after doing this bit and couldn't be bothered going out in the rain to get some more, so finished off the seaming in green. I know! I've literally ripped up the sewing rulebook with my devil-may-care attitude!! The best bit was the quilting on the palm, I am rather proud of its neatness. The rest of the seaming is a bit higgledy piggledy but it appears to do the job of holding stuff together.

Ooh ooh chemical alarm

Ooh ooh I'm a little blasé

It used up 3 fat eighths of fabric. Probably could have had a bit left over of the flowery stuff if I hadn't accidentally cut out the palm piece the wrong way round first time. I very nearly had to do all my baking left handed. Even now, as Mr. Rubbishknitter kindly pointed out, the writing is upside down if you are wearing the glove and holding your hand vertically. Ah well, it was an entertaining learning experience that has resulted in a useful thing. Right, off to bake some scones... :)


Monday, September 01, 2008

elephant in the room

Look out! What's this, emerging from the depths of the savannah?! It's Elijah the elephant. I enjoyed making this, although if I made it again, I think I would make the limbs separately and sew them on. Making it in one piece is nice in some ways but the picking up of stitches involves levels of contortionism and wrist acrobatics that isn't really my thing. I know it's not really fashionable to say this, but I'm not sure I subscribe to the anti-seaming-at-any-costs school of thought which appears to be the general consensus amongst knitters these days. Don't Phear the Needle, I say. I'm a bit old skool, I know. Retires to rocking chair with pipe.

In other news, I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at the GMex Manchester Central at the weekend. I had intended to buy yarn but there seemed to be a preponderance of variegated and/or sock yarn, and less of the dk solid colours I was after. Or massive bulk packets of the stuff, which I am not really looking for right now. Well, not the the stuff I saw anyway. Ah well. Instead of buying yarn I appear to have been sucked in by the many patchwork / quilting type stalls. Bit silly as I live next to a really cheap fabric shop. But look! Mmmm... pretty... colours... I just need to learn how to make a rubbish quilt now. Lordy!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

enter the rubbishseamstress

So due to a misunderstanding with a utility company, I ended up suddenly and unexpectedly having some spare money. Hooray! The obvious thing to do then, rather than paying bills or buying sensible things like groceries, was to run to my nearest sewing machine emporium and spend it all on a shiny new Brother. I had a mild feeling of guilt about this as I'm not good at spending large amounts of money. This soon dissipated though once I'd had a go on the new toy. So much fun! Even breaking a needle almost immediately didn't dampen my enthusiasm. I have no idea what I'm doing here obviously. I've never done anything with a sewing machine before. Don't even remember doing anything useful with one in school. But anyway, I skipped along to the fabric shop that's conveniently situated about 2 minutes walk from my house, and bought some fabric scraps from the bargain bin for £2, partially mitigating the guilt of forking out a rather larger sum for the sewing machine. I then attempted to make myself a bag using this tutorial from craftster. And I sort of managed it!

Cockily, I even added a zip, even though this wasn't part of the tutorial (living in one of the rainiest cities in the known universe, bags that have the top open to the elements are pretty useless). I didn't make a particularly good job of this - the ends of the zip are a little untidy. And the appliqued flowers are falling off a little. I did them first, before I could really sew in a straight line, which was ridiculous overambitious. But hey, it was all part of a 'learning experience', and now I have a fally-aparty slightly-bigger-than-a-handbag bag that nicely accommodates purse, phone, books / magazines, nintendo ds and a small knitting project. Ideal!!


Saturday, August 02, 2008


rubbishknitterjunior wears newborn slip-stitch hat by rubbishknitter
I know I've been a bit quiet, but I've been busy! So here are some of the things I have been making recently.

  • A son, born last Sunday

  • A slip stitch hat for newborns

The former was 8lb 12oz and quite cute.

The latter was made up out of scrap yarn during a sleepless night last week while I pondered whether I was in labour or just having indigestion (with hindsight, I suspect a combination of the two). I have never really done much with slip stitch patterns, so was quite surprised to see how it's not just the pattern but the texture that is affected - it looks kind of like ribbing. The hat's also actually been very useful. Amazingly, it fits perfectly! And newborn babies seem to be a bit rubbish at regulating body temperature, even in summer - any bits of baby that aren't under a blanket generally feel freezing. So if anyone else is interested, here is a quick attempt to write up the pattern (it was reaaaally easy, takes approx. one sleepless night to make)

Newborn slip-stitch hat

Yarn: Oddments of Rowan 4 ply cotton in leaf green and purple, scrap of Debbie Bliss Cathay in turquoise (I know, this is a slightly thicker yarn, which is a Knitting Crime, but it was the most suitable scrap yarn i could find in the cupboard at 1 am!)
Needles: 3 mm double-pointed
Size: Large-headed newborn
magic hat of sleepiness

  • Cast on 100 stitches over 3 needles, join to work in the round.

  • MC (leaf green): Do about 10 rows of k1, p1 ribbing

  • CC1 (turquoise): repeat around: [k1, sl1 purlwise]*

  • CC1 (turquoise): k

  • CC2 (purple): [k1, sl1 purlwise]*

  • CC2 (purple): k

  • MC (leaf green): [k1, sl1 purlwise]*

  • MC (leaf green): k

  • Repeat last 6 rows another 6 times (or possibly 5 would be enough if the intended recipient is blessed with a more normal head size!)

  • Start decreasing, maintaining slip stitch pattern:

  • CC1: [[k1, sl1] 4 times, k2tog]* around

  • CC1: k

  • CC2: [[k1, sl1] 3 times, k1, k2tog]* around

  • CC2: k

  • MC: [[k1, sl1] 3 times, k2tog]* around

  • MC: k

  • CC1: [[k1, sl1] 2 times, k1, k2tog]* around

  • CC1: k

  • CC2: [[k1, sl1] 2 times, k2tog]* around

  • CC2: k

  • MC: [k1, sl1, k1, k2tog]* around

  • MC: k

  • CC1: [k1, sl1, k2tog]* around

  • CC1: k

  • CC2: [k1, k2tog]* around

  • CC2: k

  • MC: [k2tog]* around

  • Break MC yarn and pull through remaining stitches. Break other yarns and weave in ends. Place on baby.


Thursday, July 10, 2008


Slightly delayed reaction (have just moved house and haven't managed to unpack the internet yet), but i got tagged by brittunia, so here goes.

  • What I was doing 10 years ago:
    1998. Er... I had just got my first Proper Job in the dot-com boom era, so I was probably playing network Quake in the office.

  • What 5 things are on on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

    1. Go to the library and hunt down some internets (done!)

    2. Unpack some stuff

    3. Cut toenails (harder than it sounds when 38 weeks pregnant)

    4. Pick raspberries and blackcurrants from the allotment

    5. Make more jam

    (Although realistically, I have very little energy for these things at the moment so I suspect many tasks may be delegated till tomorrow. A more likely list would have 'lengthy afternoon nap' in there.)

  • Snacks I enjoy:
    At the moment, fruit, fruit and more fruit. My dream meal would be like one of those spreads they have in films about ancient Rome, where the table is groaning with big plates of grapes and figs and stuff.

  • Things I would do if I was a billionaire:
    Sort out world peas and save the planet and that. Pay off my mortgage. Get another allotment with some bees and chickens. If I had any money left over, buy a sofa, a piano, a sewing machine and Family Ski for the Nintendo Wii.

  • Places I have lived:
    Only in England, rather boringly. Southport, Cambridge, the wilds of Cumbria, various bits of Manchester. As of last week, a shiny new house on the other side of the allotments.

If anyone else is reading this and wants a go, consider yourself tagged!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

what did the postman bring?

Sock yarn! hooray!

Some lovely heathery regia 4ply, colour 2143 (linen), courtesy of woolly workshop. I realised when making the rainbow booties how much I had missed making socks. My other ongoing project is a big crocheted blanket so it feels more interesting to make something intricate and fine gauge again. So I've already cast on for Highland Schottische Kilt Hose from Folk Socks. Which is an awesome book, but I haven't actually made anything from it until now. I am making them as a surprise present for a very nice kilt wearing gentleman I know. This may well turn out to be madness as I have no idea if they will fit or not... I may have to recruit some other male sock models with similarly proportioned calves to test my progress!

Check out that picot hem! I am ridiculously overpleased with this... impossible to convey in a photograph how tactile this is. It's a double thickness, like, er, most hems are i guess, so it feels lovely and solid and nubbly.

Friday, June 20, 2008

bootie call

So I finally found a use for leftover sock yarn! These only used about 20g of zitron trekking xxl i had left from making these ages ago. Here they are in ravelry - for the unravelled, the pattern is Christine's Stay on Baby Booties. A nice fun quick knit. Living life on the edge as I invariably do, I decided to risk running out of yarn halfway through by just using the leftovers from one 100g ball. There are plenty of options really if you do run out - it would be easy to use stripes or do a contrast sole, or do the laces in a different yarn. Or even if you end up having to frog the whole thing in despair, really there's not that much work being lost there. Just a couple of train-journeys-worth (from Manchester to London, interspersed with gentle snoozings). Interestingly, if you are 8 months pregnant and knitting on the train I've noticed you tend to attract fond, approving glances from fellow travellers - like, phew, there's another stereotype reaffirmed - rather than the usual head-craning intrigued stares from people who can't quite work out what's going on and haven't quite got the nerve to ask.

This maternity leave malarkey is great. So much knitting time! Hopefully the postman should be delivering more yarny treats any second now... *drums fingers impatiently*. Good tinkering time as well, I have spent the morning playing with xubuntu on an old laptop, so I can now blog / ravelry / generally waste time from the sofa rather than having to walk upstairs. (Yes, I am getting that lazy.) So if this post looks weird, it's because I have shunned all software usage conventions for the day. Take that, establishment!


Sunday, June 08, 2008

the acceptable face of pink

Check me out, with my pictures of knitting and flowers - I am the new yarnstorm!! (although a slightly less classy version with a woodchip background).

I hate the colour pink. Too much of a tomboy I'm afraid, and I get really annoyed when you go to the shops and every electronic appliance you look at has a Ladies Version in pastel pink with a few useful buttons removed. But I'm trying to overcome my aversion. I've decided that pink is acceptable when:

  • It is given to you in the form of a pretty birthday orchid

  • It is a muted dusky rose-type shade, like in this hat

  • It comes in the form of free cashmere

  • It is used as an accent colour with a tasteful grey

So a friend was having a yarn clearout (friends like these are definitely worth cultivating!) and I was unable to resist this lovely soft cashmere, in what I guess you would describe as fingering weight, although it has no ball band so I can't really tell you exactly what it is. Thinner than sock yarn, it's slightly over-delicate - it broke in a couple of places, so I hope my spit splicing holds up to the trials of baby headwear. But it's the kind of stuff you want to hold to your cheek.

There was only a really small amount of this lovely yarn, so I made it into an earflap hat for the scarily quickly expanding bump in my abdomen. I actually got the idea from a picture of me as a baby wearing a pretty awesome handknitted earflap hat. (I'm not going to post this one! too embarrassing). I couldn't find a similar pattern so I made it up. I've written down what I did, but I have no idea whether it'll fit or not yet, so I don't know whether it's worth putting up full instructions. I kept meaning to buy a grapefruit and test it, as this is supposed to be about the same size as a newborn baby's head. But grapefruits are quite big aren't they, and I don't really feel I can look at one at the moment with terrifying myself. So I'll just knit happily away, try not to think about grapefruits and hope the hat fits someone or something.

It's a pretty simple pattern. I made two earflaps knitted flat, then joined them to knit in the round, casting on a few stitches in between for the front and back. For the first time I attempted Meg's Jogless Jog to handle the stripes. This does look a bit better I think, although you can still tell where it is (look at the photo on the right, at the back of the hat - just on the right of the left hand earflap). To stop the stocking stitch rolling at the forehead I crocheted a border all the way around the bottom edge - just one row of double crochet (single crochet if you're from the USA) in grey. Also blocked it gently to encourage it to calm down a bit.