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!