Friday, 31 October 2008

Update: Prismatic and Swallowtail

Now that the Prismatic Scarf is done, I have gone back to my Swallowtail Shawl again. Before I knew that merino shouldn't be washed, but only aired, I had already soaked my Prismatic. It turned out to be much narrower than it was so I bocked it too, which has left it with a very wavy edge. I am not happy with it and am trying to stretch it once in a while. Perhaps I will have to soak the edges again to smooth them.

After the scarf, I wanted to use up the rest of my Sirdar Blur yarn. Originally, I planned to make the Ice Queen cowl with beads, but it turned out that I need more yarn for it than I thought. So I undid it and tried again with some lace yarn. Once I discovered I had twisted the whole thing while knitting in the round, I gave up. One day I would like to try again, but for the moment I have had enough.

So it is back to Swallowtail! I also ran out of yarn here, shortly before the end. I just had two more edge lace charts to go, but it was clear I didn't have enough yarn for it. Luckily, I used a lifeline for once and undid 20 cm of knitting... That means I have only 10 extra repeats of the budding lace pattern rather than doubling it. I am having some difficulty with the lilly of the valley pattern now since there aren't as many stitches as necessary for an even knit. That's a bit frustrating and I am improvising now and hope it will look okay once it is finished. Since the rows are shorter than last time, it is all going a bit faster and is much pleasanter too.

I hope to finish the shawl soon so I can take more photos on which it doesn't just look like a scrunched up bundle of knitting. Still, I have no idea how or where to block it once I am done!

Saturday, 25 October 2008


After exactly 7 days, I was able to sew in the ends of Mark's birthday present. I have yet to wash and perhaps block the scarf a bit before wrapping it up, and I am a bit jealous now because I like it more than I thought I would. The design, as I said in a previous post, is rather simple and a mannlier one than my usual favourite patterns. Still, I do like the regularity and simplicity of it. What is more, I love how soft and warm the scarf feels even thought it seemed too hard while I was knitting.

  • 100g Schachenmayr Nomotta Extra Merino (colourway 51)
  • 3mm straight needles
  • tapestry needle
  • row counter (till I got the hang of it)

Prismatic is a reversible scarf, though that does not mean you get the same pattern on both sides. They are very similar, however, so that I don't mind the slight difference. The only issues I had arose from the supposed i-cord selvedge that looks nothing like it ought to even though I knit everything according to the pattern. Instead, I have exactly the type of wavy edge it was meant to prevent. Luckily, it looks good nonetheless.

Mark's birthday is only in January! I wish I could show him the pictures already, but I will have to hold back till then. Luckily, he knows he can't come to look at my blog till after his birthday, so there is no chance of him finding out. Unless he is peeking.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Teddy's Need Gifts Too

It's true. Since I met Mark, I have been liking teddies even more than before. In fact, I have just sent him one of mine to take care of till I can move in too. In that same package, I sent a few little extras for his oldest teddy and the new Percy because their owner keeps getting surprise packages and they don't. I considered that, since Percy already has a big backpack, Teddy deserved his own little bag - from lovely Koigu yarn, no less! - and I even added a little book: A Tale of Two Teddies, by Dickens, of course. I knew he wanted to read it. As promised, Mark documented the event.

Teddy's gift came wrapped and tied with a ribbon. It even had a tiny name tag so he would know it was for him. As you can see, he was quite excited about it.

It looks like he took his time opening the gift and I bet he really enjoyed unwrapping it. I don't think he usually gets to do that.

Then, finally, the big moment! The bag! And the book, which he really hadn't expected. Piggy in the background is looking quite envious, don't you think? The bag really suits Teddy and I am sure he will enjoy it. At last he has a place to keep his odds and ends.

Percy, too, received a mysterious gift with his name on it. Since he already has a bag, I wondered what he might need. He is a sailor, you see, so I assumed something to keep him warm would be the right thing.

And I was right! He liked his blue scarf and put it on right away. It consists of simple cables in blue yarn. I had to guess the length, but it is evidently just right. I have no idea what else he keeps in his backpack, but now he will have a scarf to store in there during the warm days too.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

WIP: Prismatic

Yes, oh yes, oh yes! Finally, I have something new to add to my blog! I was missing the updates. As it happens, this wasn't even a planned project, but rather the result of a spontaneous and predictably perilous dip into the local yarn shop. Oy.

There, I found some of that wonderfully cuddly merino yarn and this time I couldn't resist and bought three skeins of it, enough for a scarf for Mark. Now, I didn't mean to make yet another one, especially since he only got one from me for Christmas last year. Still, it always bothered me that that scarf was rather hard because it is made of cotton. Merino is much softer and certainly warmer too. So I simply bought the yarn and thought, what the heck.

Until then I didn't even know exactly what I was going to do with it and what kind of a pattern I might use. It's not like I have a stash of patterns for manly scarves, you know. My usual lacy stuff won't be quite to Mark's liking, I'm afraid. A quick search on Ravelry brought me to Prismatic, a beautiful though very simple pattern. I love it already and am enjoying knitting it immensely.

I particularly love the regularity of the design. It actually consists exclusively of knit, purled and slipped stitches. The horizontal stitches in the photo above are slipped stitches, the ones that fascinate me the most in this scarf. As usual, the pictures do not do justice to the real colour. It is a nice blue that I will try to catch in future photos.

Besides the yarn, I also finally bought some row counters! They will be useful for any larger projects in the future (keeping count of Swallowtail is a lot of hard work!). I think I might look for those counters that you simply press to increase the count. They seem easier to handle than mine that you need to twist all the time. Mine are similar to this one.

So when I am not working, I am knitting this beautiful scarf, maltreating the row counter, and making sure I have sustenance to see it all through.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Tutorial: Eye of the Partridge Heel

I've seen pictures of socks with the Eye of the Partridge Heel like the one above (not my own knitting) a few times and find it quite interesting due to its structure. Since I can't sleep tonight, I've done a quick search and have come up with the following pattern:

Gail's Simplified Eye of the Partridge Heel

Row 1: Sl 1 purlwise, *k 1, sl 1 knitwise,* repeat from * to * end.
Row 2: Sl 1 purlwise, p to last stitch, k 1.
Row 3: Sl 1 purlwise, sl 1 knitwise, *k 1, sl 1 knitwise,* repeat from * to * last 2 sts, k to end.
Row 4: Repeat Row 2
Repeat these rows till heel flap is about 2 1/2 in or desired length.
As the title says, it is a simplified version of the original heel, but I haven't found that particular one yet. If I do, I shall edit this entry.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Wetten daß...? Food for Thought and Knitting

This weekend I regret not watching one of Germany's most popular and long-running live shows that I used to watch when I was younger. Wetten Daß...? (also known as Wanna Bet?) actually had a bet involving knitting this Saturday!

In every show, the audience suggest bets of which they choose one to be either won or lost by the end of the show. This time, the host Thomas Gottschalk bet that there would not be 10 women from Nuremburg, the host city, who could knit a jumper with the famous Nuremburg bratwurst instead of needles. That's something I would have loved to see, even more so because the women actually managed to do it! Since Gottschalk lost, he was dipped into a big jar of mustard in the end.

The use of food may spark discussion and I have heard some critical voices already, which I do not wholly agree with, however. True, there is famine elsewhere in the world, so letting good food go to waste like this seems very wrong. But then again, this is an old argument I know very well from parents, including my own, trying to guilt their children into eating up. Just because you eat up your plate is not going to help starving children in Africa, after all. and there are other ways to try and help. Such an approach - guilting anyone into doing anything - is far worse, in my opinion. Mind, I wouldn't want to knit with sausages or be dipped into mustard, but as a one-off bet and entertainment - why not? It's fun! It's supposed to be.

As far as I'm concerned, we ought to rediscover the pleasure in food and forget the warning of our parents not to play with it. Why not play with it? There is so much you can do with it, so many ways to enjoy it. Nobody would have bothered developing the art of cake decoration, for instance, if being playful with the ingredients hadn't been allowed. The reasoning behind parents' warnings of this kind are completely unrelated to enjoying food, at any rate: children are meant to eat up and not make a mess, that's all. I would advocate playing with food in order to develop a healthy appreciation of food.

For those who are interested, here is the vid of the sausage knitters:

And here's a video of Gottschalk being dunked in mustard after losing this bet:

Tutorial: Twisted German Cast-On

Today Chris, Mark's mum, asked me to help her remember the Twisted German Cast-On she learnt in Get Knitted's Fair Isle workshop recently. At first I was at a lost since I never used it myself and didn't know what it was. After some quick searching, however, I found a few useful websites with videos and photo tutorials. The best one, in my opinion, is the following video.

This is an ideal stretchy cast-on for I ought to use if I ever knit socks top down again since I usually make them too tight.

I am glad that Chris asked about it because, even though I had to research first, I learned something new myself.