Tuesday, December 28, 2010

happy chrimbo

aestlight 1
Hope you all had a good one! A bit late with my festive wishes, sorry. It's been a bit chaotic round here lately, mostly due to a lot of stupidly last minute christmas knitting. At least now most gifts have been given I can provide photographic evidence for this.

aestlight 2
This shawl is another Aestlight. It's for my sister in law who lives in a mightily cold part of Cumbria and recently commented that she didn't have a scarf. Horrors! So I made this, because I already have one and knew it would be a useful neckwarming device. It's also a pretty speedy knit with that big garter stitch section.
aestlight 3
The yarn is Posh Yarn Lucia, which has been lurking in my stash for ages, ever since I won it in a competition on Ravelry. It's a luxuriously soft merino/cashmere blend, but at 393m per skein a little low on yardage for a decent sized shawl. With this pattern it's very easy to switch colours for the edging if you run out of yarn. So that's what I did - I went for a King Cole Baby Alpaca DK edging in a solid blue-green shade ('Lichen') which almost perfectly matches one of the shades of the semi-solid sock yarn. Being very slightly heavier at the edge makes the shawl hang quite well I think, although the Posh Yarn was quite fat for sock yarn so there's surprisingly little weight difference. The King Cole was really amazingly nice. I have already made tonnes of things out of their budget merino, which is brilliant stuff. The baby alpaca is totally different and much more luxurious, so very impressive that they've got it so right here too, with the pretty spearmint colour and irresistable softness. *Rubs crystal ball* I can see more of this yarn in my future!
festive sock
For sis#1 I made these simple stocking stitch toe up socks. She loves pink as much as I generally dislike it. You go into her kitchen to make yourself a cup of tea and fill up a pink kettle against a pink wall from a pink tap as pink-clad children play with pink toys on a pink floor. It's like sensory deprivation, you can't see the edges of things, and when you leave the house everything looks a bit greener than it should do because you have worn out all the pink-specific neurones in your retinas. (Cara - you would probably love my sister's house!)
festive socks
So I thought she would appreciate this pink and green stripy yarn. Even I quite like pink when teamed with green, it's a classic combination, like gin and tonic or pop-tarts and crack cocaine. This is from my neverending skein of Green Eyed Monsters sock. It's the fourth project I have made from one skein. Seriously - it's like the magic porridge pot in yarn form! When I bought this skein, the lovely Kate from GEM said it was slight seconds and if I still wanted it she would wind me some extra to compensate for the knots. I think she may have been a little overgenerous, by about the distance from the Earth to the Moon. The best thing is, THERE IS STILL SOME LEFT! I might start a sock yarn cosy for my house.
Anyway, I tried to use up some scrap yarn christmas things up a bit with some dark green leftover regia for the toes, heels and cuffs. I wasn't sure about it at all to start with but I think the end result is actually quite festive. They ended up a tad on the large size, I think 62 stitches around is a bit much for plain stocking stitch on my sis's wee feet, but they might shrink a little bit in the wash, or I guess they could be bedsocks. Sis looked pleased anyway.
mmmisti alpaca
I finished my other sis's present on Christmas Eve, and I'm afraid I didn't manage to get a photo. So imagine a chunky hat made out of this lovely Misti Alpaca yarn, a bit like this one but with a stupidly large and fluffy pompom on top instead of a crochet flower. I was inspired by Vikki H's lovely Misti bobble hat and basically shamelessly copied it. It's a great quick-but-luxurious one skein project, and other sis was also pleased with her prezzie.

There are still a couple of things left under the tree that I rubbishly failed to finish in time to give to the correct people before they disappeared for the festive season, so the christmas present round up will be completed at a later date...


Monday, December 13, 2010

chunkystripy hat

Unsurprisingly, around the time it got Really, Really cold, there was a bit of knitting queue reprioritisation - my Christmas present knitting stream was put on hold for some emergency warm stuff.

Now Mr Rubbishknitter never usually asks for knitted things. I'm always offering but he just says, I'm not that bothered, wouldn't you rather spend all that time knitting something for yourself? Which is entirely fair enough I think. I certainly don't like to foist unwanted knitted items on people; I dread falling into that stereotype of the homemade gift giver where the recipient opens it and smiles politely, then feels obliged to perpetually wear something they actually hate.

So I was quite surprised when out of the blue the other day, he asked for a hat. And not only that, he described what he wanted in incredible detail. The colour shades, the thickness of yarn, the shape of hat, and even knocked up a picture of the stripe pattern in photoshop!!1!!1eleventy!!1! I didn't want to put him off by being too eager and casting on before he'd finished the sentence, so I just nodded casually. But of course I was secretly really, really pleased about this! While I don't want to force people into unloved woollens, obviously I do get quite excited when people actually want me to make them something. So I extracted all the required information, then went to my LYS the next day, bought yarn and cast on before he could change his mind.

This is the result.

It's knitted out of King Cole merino blend chunky, in wine red, navy blue and cream. I really do love King Cole for their affordability and huge colour range. And the chunky weight is super warm, like a duvet for your head. Which comes in mighty useful right about now.

The design is basically Mr Rubbishknitter's, my only addition was the 2x2 garter rib stitch pattern. He wanted it quite baggy, so I thought ribbing might counteract that a bit. I cast on 68 stitches and carried on in garter rib and stripes till i got to the crown, where I decreased along four evenly spaced lines till I got to the top. It was unbelievably quick to make, and the result is so satisfying warm, I think I may have fallen back in love with chunky yarn. So fickle! A couple of snowflakes and the laceweight is left sitting forlornly at the back of the drawer waiting for me to call. (Sorry laceweight)

He wanted it really long so it could be pulled down over the eyes. I think he may have been subliminally influenced by Dr. Seuss.

the cat in the hatmr rubbishknitter

Anyway, back on with the Christmas knitting now... mostly... honest. Ahem, apart from maybe these wafer thin robot mittens I appear to have just cast on for me. *whistles nonchalantly*


Sunday, December 05, 2010


I don't really have a whole load of exciting stuff to show you at the moment. I've finished a couple of things, but they are for Top Secret Christmas Knitting. They're so well hidden I'll probably never find them again at present wrapping time.

But I wanted to avoid falling into the perennial trap of spending November and December just doing Christmas knitting, and failing to make myself enough nice warm stuff. This has been facilitated by getting the bus into work, rather than cycling in during the snowy weather. (I tried to keep on cycling but fell off the other day on a patch of ice. Fortunately I was wearing so many layers that I was uninjured, i just sort of bounced. But took it as a warning that my rubbishbike isn't perhaps the Torvill or Dean of the two wheeled world.) Getting the bus = an extra hour or so of knitting time per day. Woo, and indeed Yay! So I've started another cardie for myself as a Christmas-knitting-background-task.

It's using the uberluxurious Austermann Alpaca Silk that I picked up recently from aces new LYS Purl City Yarns. On a cold winter's day, picking this yarn up is an unimaginable treat. Like falling into a bath of melted chocolate or getting a surprise cuddle from a giant panda. So unsurprisingly, given its knittingcrack tendencies, I'm making pretty good headway on this project. The pattern is Audrey in Unst from the Twist Collective. I like the combination of speedy stocking stitch with an achievably limited area of interesting lace, and the vintagey feel. I'm also intrigued by the construction - the body is worked seamlessly bottom up, then the sleeves are picked up at the armholes and shaped with short rows. Couldn't be more different from the Tempest seamfest that was my last cardie, so we'll see how it pans out. I'm a bit further on than this picture indicates, at about the waist now, but I keep failing to remember to take nice photos during the woefully short hours of available daylight.
woo, it's my project list
Another, geekier, thing I have been playing with these long dark winter evenings, is the newly opened Ravelry API. Which may potentially interest you knittertypes. I love coding. There, I said it! I've already got a free knitting row counter app in the Android market, County, and I enjoyed making that very much. So imagine my excitement when it became possible to access Ravelry data on my fone!!! My project list, it is in my pocket!! Excitement that I'm not sure many around me share, now I can bore people down the pub with tales of my knitting adventures. Nowhere is safe! But it's fun to play around with, and might become some kind of Ravelry based app one day.