Sunday, 30 November 2008

WIP: Mojo Socks

It's high time I got back to socks again! I've been wanting to knit some more for quite some time now, but there were a few other projects I had to finish first. So now I finally found a good use for my last two skeins of beautiful Koigu. Since intricate patterns don't work with this particular colourway, my only choice was a cable pattern or Mojo, really. Luckily I've had an eye on the Mojo pattern for a while and cast on the first sock last night.

It's a really easy pattern, so I don't expect complications of any kind. I made minor alterations to the toe (I prefer to make my on custom type) and I haven't turned the sock inside out while knitting as decribed. At this point I am not sure why that's required anyway - maybe I will find out by the time I get to the heel. Even though I usually make my own custom heel, I intend to give the described one a try. If it doesn't work, I can always unravel it and go back to my own kind again.

I've really missed knitting socks! They are my favourite type of knitting, to be honest. I am looking forward to getting on with these and having some more pictures to show later.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Mr Jones in November

It was that time of the month again when I arm myself with knitting needles, yarn and a pillow and head towards Giessen- at the end of November a group of knitters and crafters got together to enjoy a long afternoon at Mr Jones. As usual there was a lot of gossip, knitting, quick lessons, and good drinks and food. Since the days are shorter now and night comes early, it was a bit more difficult to knit in the half dark of the bar, but it was as good a day as always.
Normally, I happen to be one of the very early arrivals, but this time I came an hour late and was surprised by a big hello I hadn't expected at all. The pictures above were taken by Nina and Friederike within the first few minutes of my arrival. I was wearing some of my latest finished projects and they had to be shown, of course. (This is also the first time I have seen myself wearing my Swallowtail and the reknit hat. )

Unlike at most meetings I had enough money on me for a change to not to have to worry about what I would have to eat and drink. I see it as my duty to sample the Mr Jones menu before Mark's next visit. My photos of their food has made him want to go try it himself one day, so I am just ordering things for research purposes, you see. Yeah, that's it. Research.

Both Mark and I liked the sound of the Mr Jones burger, but I ordered it without chips. It was okay, but nothing special, and it could have done with some more cheese and sauce, to be honest. Still, it had two slices of meat in it, which was very welcome, as I hadn't eaten anything all day. I was mainly impressed by the triangular plate it was served on. The Bailey's shake I had with it, however, was as great as it was last time, so no complaints there.

The greatest culinary disappointment was the New York cheesecake, I'm afraid. Mark and I both love cheesecake, so it was clear I'd have to try it. Unforunately, it was very cold and extremely dry. It had no particular flavour at all and even the very generous amount of cream was bland despite the sprinkling of cinnamon. The strawberry purée looked gross and like something you don't want to think about any further, but it tasted okay of... well, fresh strawberries. All in all it lacked the creaminess and sweetness cheesecake ought to have. The best I ever had was in Bath. Why the kitchen staff stuck the fork smack in the middle of the cake is a mystery to me. I picture deadly fights in the kitchen with flying cutlery whenever I look at it.

But back to the actual knitting: as always, some of us were able to get tips on how to improve our knitting, there was a lot of pleasant gossiping, and we learned more about each other. I am very happy I came across this knitting group because it has always been a good chance to spend part of the day with pleasant people doing what we like to do in company instead of alone. At the same time we could see the latest knitted and crocheted items, some of them worn by the crafters themselves, get jealous of there skill, and be motivated to try some of it ourselves.

Since our next meeting would be on Christmas Eve, we've decided not to meet in December, which is a shame. Still, seeing how busy that month usually is, it makes perfect sense. I am looking forward to the next time in January and hope to see everyone again.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Wolltausch/Yarn Swap

Ich habe noch ein 50g Knäuel Schachenmayr Nomotta Extra Merino (8-fädig), Farbe 51 übrig (siehe Bild). Das reicht sicher noch für eine Mütze oder ähnlich kleines, daher biete ich es zum Tausch an gegen 50g Merinowolle in einer anderen Farbe. Blau steht mir nicht so wirklich, also suche ich etwas in Rottönen (Rot, Rost, Violet, Lila etc.). Ich nehme aber auch gerne 100g Sockenwolle und da bin ich auch für andere Farben offen. Einfach anbieten!

An entry in German for a change! I am looking to swap 50g of Schachenmayr Nomotta Extra Merino (8-ply), colorway 51 (see image above) for similar merino yarn in a different colour. I'd like colours such as red, violet, purple, burgundy etc. However, I am also open for 100g sock yarn. In this case I am open to all kinds of colours, really, so just offer me something and I'll let you know what I think!

EDIT: Offer closed.

Don't Let it All Unravel

Live Earth short film shown at the Encounters Short Film Festival
Director - Sarah Cox

Monday, 24 November 2008

WIP: Nereid Gloves with Fingers

In March I knitted a pair of fingerless gloves based on Cookie A.'s Pomatomus pattern. After finishing my first pair of proper gloves with fingers only recently, I decided to simply add fingers to my Nereid gloves as well in an attempt to make them more wearable. They were nice as thes were, but I already have a pair of fingerless ones that I ended up wearing far more often. Also, it bothered me that the section covering the knuckles was unevenly long so that they didn't match properly. Instead of fixing that, I thought I'd prefer them as a spare pair of gloves when the other is in the wash.

I picked up 9 stitches on each side of the glove (back and palm) and cast on 6 more. (I only left the thumb stitches as they were.) That worked very well and I could keep the ribbing as well. This, incidentally, is what makes the fingers fit even better than in my first gloves, which I am very happy with. It also makes the Pomatomus pattern merge with the fingers without a hitch. I hate to admit that I like these gloves even better than my Koigu ones now! Someday I might knit these again with another yarn just for the hec of it, particularly since I wasn't able to knit with twisted stitches when I first started my Nereid fingerless gloves. It doesn't matter much, but the pattern would have been tighter and thus prettier.

I am very happy with this glove and hope to finish the second one soon, ready to wear in our cold weather now. It has snowed, so this is the perfect time.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

New Magazine: The Knitter

Mark brought my attention to a new knitting magazine from Bath's local Future Publishing. I already knew of their magazine Simply Knitting (and still keep an eye on their job section). Its upcoming sister magazine The Knitter is aimed at more advanced knitters and offers at least 10 challenging patterns. The images above are of some that will be featured in the first issue in January. Look at those gorgeous pillow cases!
“Experienced knitters want a magazine with challenging patterns and inspirational ideas to really push their skills,” says Juliet Bernard, The Knitter’s new editor. “As the editor I’m looking forward to showcasing patterns by the best designers from around the world. As a knitter, I can’t wait to start knitting them!”(Simply Knitting)
I like the idea of a mag for advanced knitters and the more elegant air of The Knitter. Best of all, it has 100 pages! No wonder it costs a bit more at 5.99 Pounds. Still, I am sure it is worth it and will definitely take a look into it once I have the chance. I can hardly wait!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Recycling a Hat

As I am trying to use up my stash at the moment and not buy anything new, I spent the last two days reknitting my vanilla Besotted hat in time for the snowfall expected today. It looked great the first time I made it, but it was a bit big and loose even for my large head. A few minutes ago I finished the reworked version and it still fits. I wish it were just a little deeper so that I could pull it over my ears completely if it gets too cold. As it is, the hat has the usual size of a well-fitting hat. I will be taking it with me to our knitting meeting this Wednesday and since it is meant to be very cold with snow, I will find out exactly how good this hat is now. Last year it was perfectly warm and I loved it.

Apart from Besotted, I will also be using my new gloves for the first time and wear my Swallowtail shawl along with a warmer one just in case.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Glove Love

My first glove with fingers is finished and it fits, well, like a glove, actually. I've still got lots of yarn left from the first skein, to my surprise. I'd like to experiment some more with different ways of knitting gloves because these here were improvised completely.

  • 2.5 mm DPNs
  • 2 skeins Koigu KPPPM
  • tapestry needle
  • row counter
  • Twisted German CO 60 sts
  • 30 rows rib

Example (right glove):
  • k3 p1 cable (with 3 sts) p1 k all. M1 for gusset (use cable needle on every 5th row)
  • increase gusset till 21 sts (row 21)
  • k 15 more rows without increases
  • set aside gusset stitches and continue knitting in the round
  • on row 11 knit smallest finger (use 15 sts and CO 8 extra)
  • pick up 5 sts from finger and knit 3 rounds
  • similarly, knit all remaining fingers with 23 sts total

I began at the cuff, trying out the Twisted German Cast-On, and I must say that it is the best cast-on I know. It looks very neat and is stretchy. The rib-section was worked over 30 rows before I began the hand section (mainly knit in twisted k-stitches) with the thumb gusset increases and cable section. I increased the gusset till I had 21 stitches, then put it on a spare thread and continued working the hand in the round.

After passing the knuckles I began working the fingers over 23 stitches (some had to be picked up, of course, otherwise the fingers would have been too tight). I began with the pinkie, then knit two more rows in the round before moving on to the other fingers (of course I forgot to continue the cable pattern over the index finger the first time...). Generally, I knit this glove so as to fit my hand in particular so this may not work for everyone and I am not giving a detailed pattern.

The final bit was going back to the thumb gusset and picking up the stitches from the spare thread. Again, I used 23 stitches, picking up two between thumb and hand. It is a quick knit, though it can be annoying to knit the fingers. My preferred method is to do them in the round over two DPNs. I had to try the glove on several times in order to make sure it fit just right, so this is not the sort of thing I'd knit for someone else unless they were on hand for fitting sessions every few minutes.

Now I've still got to make the second glove. I am looking forward to the cast-on, which has never happened before! That Twisted German one is just too good.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Swallowtail in the Sun

All right, all right. This really is the last post I will make about this shawl. The sun came out for a bit today and I seized the opportunity and my camera. This is the result. All I need now is a photo of it on a person.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

A Big Knit 2008 Beneficiary

You might remember Blueberry, the teddy I made just for fun some time ago. Last time I packed a box of goodies for Mark, Blueberry climbed in when I wasn't looking and travelled all the way to Englnd as a blind passenger. Luckily, he has his scarf with him and my old Piggy for company. He found a good home with Mark and his teddies and has been enjoying his time there, waiting for me to move in too.

As it is getting colder now, Mark visited his local Sainsbury's to buy some of the behatted bottles of Innocent Drinks smoothies. The hats on them were made for charity and you can read about The Big Knit here. By buying these, Mark helped to keep both elderly people and Blueberry warm at the same time.

I like the idea very much and wish I had known about it earlier. Next year I hope to knit some little hats too to send in. It is a great way to use up scraps of yarn while doing something helpful at the same time - and it's not every day that you see bottles wearing hats in the shops! So if you see them anywhere near you, please consider taking one home with you and doing a little bit of good that makes this world just that bit warmer.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

WIP: Gloves - With Fingers!

As it gets colder, I notice that my fingerless gloves won't do in winter. Since the only pair of gloves I have are from the shop and don't fit properly, I am knitting my first pair of fingered gloves now. I am using Koigu merino wool and decided on a very simple pattern - there is a single line of cables going from the wrist up to the tip of the index finger, which should make it look interesting without diverting attention away from the pretty colours. The gloves shouldn't take long to knit, depending on how uch I feel like doing a day. They should be fairly simple to make, so I am not worried. They will be beautiful to wear once finished.

Swallowtail (blocked)

Of course the day I finish blocking my Swallowtail is the day after the sunshine. As a result, the images aren’t of the best quality, but I shall add new ones as soon as the sun comes out again and I can take pictures outdoors. Also, please ignore that there seems to be a missing peak towards the end – I didn’t notice it was flipped under the shawl when I laid it out on the floor. Rest assured that nothing is missing.

Taking out the pins once the shawl was dry was a very exciting moment since it was the first time I could see it properly. It turned out so much better than I thought it might and I am very proud of the result. I can’t wait to wear my Swallowtail on Wednesday when I go Christmas shopping! It looks great with the beads and the colours go together ver well too. The beads weigh down the shawl only a little bit, which is a very comfortable feeling when wearing it.

In the end I blocked it all on a wire through the top and using pins for the rest. All in all, my Swallowtail is 2m wide! I could have stretched it even more, but the couch I blocked it on wasn't big enough. As it is, it is lovely and I am glad, actually, that I couldn't make it quite as large as planned. Having 10 extra repeats of the budding lace pattern was quite enough. All the work was certainly worth the effort, seeing how well it turned out despite a few mistakes. Even if you look closely, you are unlikely to see them.

My next large lace project will have to wait for bit, however. I want to have more leisure to do it, as it will take some time to finish. All in all, I needed a month to finish this one, though that includes time I spent knitting parts I had to frog in the end. Unfortunately, those parts were the bits that took longest too. But, as I said, I am very happy with my Swallowtail and shall wear it proudly!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Knitting is a Science

After seeing this I, too, want a nine-dimensional hypercardigan. With bells.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Swallowtail (Unblocked)

It's done! In another one of my sleepless nights I managed to finish the last few rows of the shawl and the elastic BO (have to remember this one for future socks). I still have to find a way to block it properly though. I've added transparent glass beads with a pink core to the scalloped edge and I like the look of it. Only one of my mistakes is visible, but since it is symmetric, one might think that's how it ought to be. I wish it had worked out better and according to pattern, but that can't be helped now and I am certainly not going back to those rows to correct errors! This took long enough already and nobody is going to see them anyway.

Luckily, I had just enough beads left for the edge - I really wasn't sure at first. I am glad I finally found some use for them because I tend not to need such small beads for anything else. Swallowtail is the first project I've knitted with beads and I must say that it was interesting and not at all tiring even though I had to insert the beads separately for each stitch instead of having threaded them onto the yarn before starting the shawl. This way, however, I think it looks even better than it would have any other way.

I am hoping that the shawl will stretch quite a bit while blocking because it is a bit too small for my liking. I am very happy about not having knitted it with only the required 14 pattern repeats of the budding lace because that would have made it much smaller. As it is, I have a total of 24 repeats while knitting everything else according to pattern, disregarding a few improvisations required in the lily-of-the-valley repeats due to the unusual stitch count.

All in all I am glad this is over because it took me quite some time to finish without being difficult. I like the result, on the whole, but I long to do something else again, something quicker. Soon I will be able to start a Secret Santa knit, I think, and then there are an unfinished pair of socks and a number of left-over yarn that need to be dealt with. For instance, I'm thinking of making my first pair of gloves with fingers - oo the challenge! I think my purple Koigu yarn will do nicely.