Sunday, November 15, 2009

how I learned to stop worrying and love i-cord

damian, it's all for yooooou
Some quick, not very exciting but very necessary knits. I made a hat and mittens from 2 balls of James C Brett Merino DK, which seems to be the new budget merino in Abakhans, having superceded King Cole. It is both soft and cheap which is important for toddlerwear. The child seems to submit to wearing these quite happily - on a few occasions I have returned from walking the dog and found both hat and mittens to be still on the child, which is nothing short of miraculous. It must be comfortable to wear, or maybe it is just so bloody cold recently he is frozen into inactivity, a bit like Jack Nicholson in the final scene of The Shining. Pattern is winged, idea shamelessly based on Britt's impossibly cute tiny-mittens-on-a-string that she showed me the other day and a similar earflap hat which I had previously made for the child and has mysteriously disappeared. (I checked all the forlorn looking woollens on local railings to no avail).
Both are very simple. The hat is worked upwards from the brim in moss stitch, then in stocking stitch with purl ridges up to the crown where I did an 8 pointed decrease. I then picked up stitches around the brim above each ear and knitted triangles downwards until I had 4 stitches, then went into i-cord. I don't know why but I have had a bit of a mental block about i-cord up till now. I think I just overestimated the time it would take by about a squillion times. Previously I have always gone for crochet chains for ties, on time-saving grounds, but I was amazed to finish both hat and mittens-on-a-string including i-cord within a week of childnaptimes. It took, like half an hour to do the mitten string, which isn't long when sitting comfortably on the sofa in front of the telly. And I think the result is better - the cords are quite smooth and sturdy to the touch, and consequently take a few less microseconds to tie under the chin. Always a win when trying to shepherd a kicking screaming toddler away from the swings and into the pushchair. And I defy him to lose any of this iteration of warm things without a gargantuan effort. Btw if you are wondering, I didn't make the handsome cabled cardie in the top photo, that was Auntie Hilda. (But I did sew the patches onto the jeans after excessive crawling gave him ripped denim knees and a bit of an alarming 80s soft rocker look).


Thursday, November 12, 2009

box of delights

This is what the postman brought me yesterday. A big box of treats from my new favourite person Kate B! I think she took pity on me after seeing my jumper made from scraps. It's a ridiculously generous present, with looooads of yarn in this box. There's a whole toddlerjumpersworth of lovely navy blue aran weight wool, and some nice cheerfully bright skeins of sock yarn to bring a bit of colour to a grey drizzly day. I love it... thankyou very much Kate! What with this and my speed knitting win, the yarn cupboard is looking a lot healthier now, and I can start plotting some exciting new warm stuff.... yay! I'm not sure exactly what yet, but the awesome yellowy orangey skein on the left whispered to me that it might want to be a triangle scarf when it grows up.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

new things to squish

squish me
In case you were worried about the yarn levels in this house after the last post - it's all ok again! I went to Manchester Yarn Day, which was the funnest day out ever. So much lovely hand dyed and handspun yarn around, there were all kinds of opportunities for stroking, prodding and admiring. And lots of sitting around drinking tea, meeting nice people, chatting and knitting. I did a couple of the free workshops. There was one on spinning, by Kate from Green Eyed Monsters which was all kinds of awesome. Unfortunately, though, someone had stolen my fingers and replaced them with sausages immediately prior to the event. Everyone else seemed to end up with yarn, whereas I had an amorphous blob of an unknittable substance that veered crazily from sewing thread to candy floss in consistency. But it was immensely good fun. As was the Speed Knitting event. I got a bit overexcited about this and demanded a soundsystem playing Eye of the Tiger and a satin dressing gown with Rubbishknitter embroidered on the back. Sadly these weren't provided but somehow I managed to win!
cherry purse
The prize was a basket of lovely goodies from the Manchester Yarn Collective - one skein of 'just peachy' sock yarn and a cute cherry purse from Green Eyed Monsters, and a skein of yellow laceweight from Krafty Koala (the label fell off in the excitement but it is unbelievably soft - I think some sort of cashmere blend). I am clearly having an extremely lucky day and should probably do the lottery or something. So amazingly, I almost got away without spending any money, but unfortunately when I went up to the stall to say thankyou for my prize yarn I leaned on a skein of lovely soft chocolate brown merino sock yarn from Skeins and it was so soft and warm I accidentally bought it. Ah well, I managed to spend less than a tenner and it was a pretty awesome haul! And there is hope yet for spinning skillz in the family...
spinning skillz


Friday, November 06, 2009

the ghosts of knitmas past

jumper top view
We're still a bit brassic in this household, with neither myself nor Mr. Rubbishknitter currently able to locate any form of paid employment. The child is still a trifle too young to sweep chimneys and the dog has far too nervous a disposition to be of any use to anyone, having spent most of fireworks night trembling and hiding in the cupboard under the stairs.

Being on the rock'n'roll means my credit card is gathering a fine layer of dust and my yarn cupboard is looking considerably less full than usual. So I have resorted to stuff like this jumper, which is made from all the leftover bits of machine washable dk yarn I have been able to find in there. Pattern is Five Fruits by Amanda Kerr (sorry, no non-ravelry link since the demise of magknits), although my colour scheme is a lot more random than suggested and would indicate to me that the fruit should really just be tipped straight into the compost bin. I made mine a bit bigger than the biggest size and made turn back cuffs for extra growing room. It was super easy and quick, just a straightforward top down raglan. The great thing is that, as well as using up a load of remnants, I can play Knitting Reminiscences by looking at the stripes. Most of them are left over from hats from ages ago. I do seem to make a lot of hats. There is a nice soft stripe of Rowan Cashsoft dk in beige left over from my Deep V tank top (which is complete bar the steek finishing, although as I have worn it twice already without bothering to do this, maybe I should give up on the finishing and count it as done.) I have no idea where the purple came from. Kate B if she is reading this will be distressed to learn that I have never yet made anything purple. (Nothing personal against it, just there are lots of colours out there that I like!) I think maybe I bought it ages ago when learning to knit, it was some kind of inexpensive looking wool / acrylic blend.

mining for bogeysflitting between scenes of destruction
Anyway, the wee man is warm and so are my hands because I haven't needed to take them out of my pockets! (OK that doesn't entirely work because I needed my hands to knit the jumper, but you know what I mean. And strictly speaking I had to buy buttons and one extra ball of blue but they don't count, right). Apologies for photo blurriness, it's remarkably difficult to photograph a toddler whilst he rampages round the house at high speed hellbent on destruction.