Thursday, June 24, 2010


who's taking who for a walk

Yay, Tempest is finally finished! (Just in time for the hottest weather evah, when you really have to be some kind of masochist to don a woolly cardigan. I had to wait till evening, eat seventeen icecreams before taking these photos, then jump into a bath of icecubes afterwards.)

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out in the end. This sock-yarn-on-oversize needles idea is full of win. Because sock yarn is so pretty and fun to knit with, it quite literally flies by. Especially when it's lovely handdyed 100% merino Wollmeise (colourway Gazpacho). The stripe is Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply. It really didn't feel like it took all that long to make a cardigan out of it at this gauge. Even though I made a couple of modifications:

skipping through meadows
  • First, and most obviously, I missed out the stripes. I wasn't planning on having any at all but a catastrophic pooling issue made me go for a sweep-it-under-the-carpet monostripe approach. A sensible person would probably just have gone with the stripes as suggested in the original pattern, and would have been completely fine. In many cases, the pattern is written in reference to where you are in the stripe sequence, saying things like 'start decreasing after you've done 3 stripes'. This makes for a lot of unnecessary mental arithmetic if you're doing it in a single colour, which is fine as long as it isn't too late at night. (i.e. Count 58 rows. Laugh at a funny thing on the television. Lose your place and start again. Repeat until bedtime)
  • I also made it longer. By quite a bit actually - the straight bit below the waist shaping is twice as long as it should be. I'm very glad I did this, as I feel that my midriff is best kept under wraps at all costs, and in a light fabric like this it adds very little extra weight.

Stuff I like:

  • The delicateness of the fabric - see, it floats, like a butterfly! But doesn't sting like a bee! Swirliness in knitting I consider to be a Good Thing.
  • The seams. These are about a billion times tidier than normal, thanks to Audrey and Corinna from my knitting group. They basically talked me out of the evil ways of backstitch and showed me the delights of mattress stitch. Why, why did it take me so long to realise how awesome this is! So neat, and you can do it on an angle really easily. I have attempted it before but I somehow reached the conclusion that it was slower than backstitch so not worth it. Everybody: it's not truuuuuue! Backstitch is soooo 2k9! Srsly.

Stuff that's rubbish (there's always something):

  • The buttonholes. They were done horizontally, by casting off two stitches then casting them on again on the next row. I foolishly used backwards loop cast on for this, which is far too loose, and means there is an annoying strand of yarn lurking around to snag an unwary button. With hindsight, i should have cast on by knitting-on. It's possibly fixable. I mean, I am almost certainly too lazy to frog back past the problem area, but I might try buttonhole stitching round each one, it may help prevent excessive cursing as I attempt to free myself from the cardigan's embrace.
  • I also sewed most of the buttons on slightly wobblily on my knee whilst approaching the end of a long car journey from Stranraer, because the child was asleep and you have to seize these opportunities, even though a voice in my head was saying 'nooo, wait till you get home and you will do a better job, you clown'. I ignored the voice by turning up the stereo.

Ah well, at least with my new woolly creations I have neutralised the weather-related damage caused by making that sundress... you can all relax and fire up your barbecues again... phew!


Monday, June 14, 2010

red and green should deffo be seen

I'm having a bit of a red and green phase at the moment. For some reason I only seem to be interested in things with at least one of these colours, preferably both. I could spend hours grinning inanely at traffic lights. I blame this pot of lilies in my back yard, that waited until just before i went on holiday for a week before flowering gloriously in my absence.


My new job, right in the middle of the old textile district in town, is also proving rather dangerous. I can see Abakhans from the door, its massive piles of ubercheap fabric and yarn grin temptingly at me as I nip out for a lunchtime sandwich. So I tend to accidentally return to my desk with random pieces of fabric like this, because it has a nice shade of green in, and makes your eyes go funny in a good way. Blink a few times and the pattern bounces around all over the place. Hours of fun.

But the most exciting event of the week by miles is... look! Guess where my cardigan is?

Yeeeeeah it's in the sink, being washed.... that means it's really nearly finished.... it's all sewn together, just needs blocking and buttons and we're there... WOOHOO!