Thursday, June 30, 2011

tank top thursday

I'm starting a new blogmeme because I missed WIP Wednesday. I suspect I may be the only immediate participant (although I could probably talk round fellow tank top fans Audrey and Vikki).

I love tank tops me! I have a couple of shop bought ones that I basically wore on alternate days throughout the whole of last winter. They are just really comfortable, nice fitting and cosy to wear. The lack of sleeves never seems to adversely affect my core temperature, they are easy to throw on under a coat, and they chime quite well with the massive-geek-about-town look that I generally favour.

It's silly, really, that I haven't made more of them so far. So this is one I started knitting last week to use up some leftover bits of lovely Shetland jumperweight, and to start on some beautiful Wild Fire Fibres Shetland handspun, from the trunk show. The bottom bit is 25g-ish of Natural Shetland, which I think is now renamed Shetland Supreme. The blue stripe is just under a 25g ball of Shetland Spindrift in Blue Lovat, and the dark brown is the handspun. I'm foolhardily making it up as I go along. I did a provisional cast on and a knitted hem, which gives it a nicely weighted bottom edge. There's some stocking stitch and a bit of fair isle type twiddling, because it seemed rude not to in Shetland yarn. I was thinking I was just going to be brave and wing the neckline but, jammily, I have just discovered High Street. This pattern is also bottom up and one of the sizes has exactly the same stitch count as my top! Which is full of win, as I am essentially quite lazy, and was nervous about the potentially ruinous amount of frogging and reknitting of lovely handspun that would inevitably follow any attempt to improvise the difficult bit. My gauge is smaller so it may need a bit of modification, but hopefully I can minimize Crimes against Shetland *makes sacrifice to appease ancient Pictish gods*. If it works out ok I'll write up a bit more detail for fellow trainspotters tank top enthusiasts.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

straightening out the circulars

down in one
Dear readers. How do you all store your knitting tools? Are you super organised, or a needleslattern like me?!?

I'm not a messy person really, but my knitting areas can get a bit chaotic. Little scrag ends of yarn, too small to rehome but too big to throw away, adorn every surface. Pattern printouts flap forlornly out of bookshelves. Needles often end up down the side of the sofa, and I seem to have one less pin after each blocking, making walking around the house barefoot something of an adventure.

I think there are a few reasons for this. Knitting is my relaxation time, and I don't want to spend it doing boring stuff like tidying. Also my principal knitting time is late in the evening, whilst flaked out on the sofa. I'm generally in a fairly low energy state, gawping at the telly/internet, with parts of my brain already shutting down in disgust that I haven't made it to bed yet.

I bought my Knitpicks Options interchangeable circular needles, like, years ago. I can't remember when. You can tell it's been a while because they've been renamed to Knitpro in the UK for a few years anyway. I love these needles, and there is always at least one piece of knitting attached to them. For the reasons of laziness outlined above, during this long period of mindbogglingly heavy use, they'd been kept in the original packaging. This is a piece of flimsy cardboard threaded with a piece of elastic. Inevitably, a couple of weeks ago, the elastic snapped.

The needles were basically now all just mixed up in a heap at the bottom of my knitting bag. I was driving mr. rubbishknitter up the wall, pausing the tv every 5 seconds while I wandered round the house looking for needle sizers. Trying to find two matching tips and a suitable length of cable was seriously eating into my precious knitting time. This was not good. I did what everyone does in a crisis. I went to Etsy.

And after a bit of rummaging around, I found this whole section devoted to interchangeable needle organisers. *Cue choir of angelic voices*

And in less than a week, despite shipping all the way from the US, I have got my organiser and I bloody love it.

It is beautifully and thoughtfully made by a nice friendly lady. There is plenty of room for all my interchangeables and cables, a little pouch for notions, and some wider pockets for cables.

It even fits nicely in the side pocket of my knitting bag. I went crazy and tidied that too, shovelling out the detritus of a billion battered ball bands at the bottom. Look how much room for knitting there is in there now! Two whole skeins of lovely Wild Fire Fibres handspun and a couple of balls of Shetland Spindrift... nice. Now if you'll excuse me, i have an appointment with the sofa...


Sunday, June 12, 2011

broken stones

moody indie kid about to write some poetry
This is a quick toddler jumper I made as a sample for Wild Fire Fibres' stall at Woolfest. Sample knitting, I can't get enough of it these days. Who would have thunk that someone with the online moniker rubbishknitter would be entrusted with such a task, not once but twice in a row! Bwahahahahah all your lovely yarnz are belong to me! Anyway this particular yarn is a beautiful hand-dyed bouncy merino, Zeus DK, in colourway Broken Stones.

whole jumper
I had two skeins and I wanted to pick a pattern that I could use up every last inch of the yarn on, so I went for Runaround Raglan. I knew I had about enough yarn for the second size, and as it's top down I figured I could just keep going on the body and sleeves until I ran out. I quite like long sleeves on the wee man, you can fold them up when he's eating his tea or fold them down if you're out for a walk on a cold day, whilst also slowly unfurling them as he grows.
daisy daisy
I'm not much of an expert in hand-dyed yarn pooling prevention, but Vikki cunningly suggested knitting each row using alternating skeins, so I gave this a go. It worked really well - I think with something as irregularly shaped as a jumper, you would be extremely lucky to get to the end of a single skein without some kind of Pooling Incident, such as I had with my tempest cardigan.

I quite like this pattern for hand-dyed yarn. The cables running along the raglan increases and down the sides give you a bit of knitting entertainment, but with all that stocking stitch it's simple enough texturally to show off the colours in the yarn. It also avoids the over-the-top cabled/lacy/hand-dyed too-many-things-going-on-at-once trap. And really quick to make. TDRs are so full of win if you're a bit strapped for time.

It's a good fit too. Nice wide neckline so it's super easy to put on and take off, accommodates a chubby toddler belly, and has a bit of growing room. I was thinking it would be a snug fit by winter when he needs it, but frankly today's alarming balticness has underlined the need for woolly summerjumpers in northern England. (My sis in Cumbria just last week lost some of her veg patch to ground frost! I know!)

Now if you excuse me I'm going to get back under my summer sofablanket... please to be bringing me a brew and biccies, cheers