Wednesday, 30 September 2009

10 Balls of yarn…

…does not a sweater make!


Again, I have failed to engage brain when planning and starting a project. I seem to have this automatic assumption that 10 balls of yarn is enough (always) to make a sweater to fit my standard UK size 10 frame. So when I spotted a 10-ball pack of RYC Cashsoft aran going for a song on ebay, I snapped it up. I merrily cast on for the lovely Vine Yoke and knitted happily away. I have done the right front, right sleeve and proceeded happily around the back. Just about to start on the next sleeve I reach into my knitting bag for the next ball and …horrors…only 2 balls left!

At first I tried to accuse the cat of some yarn-pilferage (and we have also had some pretty huge spiders around, whom I was willing to consider as culprits) but then I had to face facts and realise that it's my own daft fault.

Reluctantly I checked the yardage on the pattern (some would say I should have done this some time ago) and sure enough – I am 2 balls short.

So, more yarn is on the way. Not a disaster but more of a 'duh' moment. I'd like to say that I'll learn from my mistakes…well maybe…

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Keep it simple

For reasons that I can't imagine I have never knit a simple, plain sock...never. With my first sock I did a simple 2x2 rib as I was worried it wouldn't fit my foot and wanted to allow for plenty of stretch.

But this time (many pairs of socks later) my sister said she wanted some multi-coloured striped ones, and with some Regia sock yarn in my stash I was happy to oblige. But try as a I might, I couldn't find a simple stitch pattern that worked with such broad stripes - so a simple knit sock seemed to fit the bill.

Despite my misgivings that it would be the height of boredom it is actually quite soothing. The sock equivalent of the ubiqutious garter stitch blanket I suppose. maybe this will be the first of many...

Friday, 18 September 2009

The wonders of the Vine Yoke

I am currently working on my Vine Yoke cardigan from the wonderful Ysolda, after the long-awaited corrections have now been published.

All I can say is that no wonder the corrections took a while to come through - the maths involved in this wonderfully 3-D sweater are mind boggling. And I'm just glad that it wasn't my mind that had to get to grips with it. Heaven knows, I can barely figure out which angle to photograph it from!

It is a really interesting construction - knitted sideways in garter stitch with lots of short row shaping at the yoke. It is quite a challenge for me but (dare I say it) so far, so good. I am knitting it in some lovely RYC Cashsoft Aran which is lovely and squishy - I just hope that it grows a little in length with blocking (according to the pattern it should) as, at the moment it looks a bit on the short and squat side.

Still, it is enjoyable knitting all the same.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Soft, soft, soft

I have been in alapca heaven this week, knitting little cabled armwarmers as a gift for my sister.

They are made from yarn I bought from the Toft Alpaca stall at I-Knit and I can't praise the yarn highly enough. In the words of the advert - "I can't believe it's not butter". It is so soft and buttery and yummy - quite amazing.

The pattern came free with the yarn and there is easily enough left for another (slightly shorter) pair or a beanie.

I haven't knitted with 100% alpaca before and I am definitely a convert. Now I find myself coveting the Toft Alpaca website where they have a beautiful sweater kit - but after my spend at I-Kint I can't quite justify buying yet more yarn....can I?

Maybe I should put it on my Christmas list.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

I-Knit: retail therapy

Just the thing to boost a knitters flagging spirits. My first trip to a fibre festival was good fun and yielded a modest haul - I was quite restrained I think but managed to still bring home some goodies.

The skeins on the right are sock yarns from the Wonderful Skein Queen and the ones on the left are aran weight skeins from the Natural Dye Studio which I hope to make into a hat/armwarmers for me this winter.

I also treated myself to two kits from Toft Alpaca - one to make armwarmers and one to make a hat - both as gifts. I hadn't seen this yarn in person before and fell in love with all the natural colourways - somehow I think I'll be back for more.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Will I ever learn?

Will I ever learn?....To put in a lifeline when working lace.

The short answer: probably not.

Why do we never listen to our inner voice? I am working on a secret project for a swap on the Phoenix knitting forum. I won't post details about the actual project just in case my swappee should comes across the site but I just had to get this off my chest.

The project is a simple lace one, nothing too complicated and lovely relaxing TV knitting. All was going swimmingly and I was well over halfway through. I paused in my knitting and spread it out to admire it, as you do.

"You should really put in a lifeline" piped up my little inner voice

"No need" I answered "It's an easy pattern"

"But it will only take 5 minutes" - the inner voice was starting to annoy me

"I don't have time, and anyway I'm not going to make a mistake" I replied

My inner voice knew when it was beaten and went off for a cup of tea, but has now returned triumphant as I have realised I made a mistake several rows down in the pattern.

My misguided attempt to botch a solution failed and so I ripped back a few rows to correct it. That still didn't work as my yarn-overs failed to match up - hands up who can see where this is going?

Yep - a frenzied ripping solution was the result and I am now the proud owner of ... a ball of yarn.

To give it credit, my inner voice hasn't said "I told you so" - yet.

Monday, 7 September 2009

10 Reasons to knit a baby blanket

Life has seriously got in the way of knitting recently, and all I have felt able to manage has been the simple striped baby blanket I've been working on - nicknamed Munchkin.

The good news is that it is almost finished - and just needs a border added. I'll probably do a knitted-on i-cord but am currently being indecisive. Or maybe I'll do a little matching hat first - Hmmm- decisions...decisions....

10 Reasons to knit a baby blanket:

1. No need to worry about fit or size
2. It acts as a huge gauge swatch - ready for making cute matching items such as hats/booties
3. Regardless of parental style/preferences - almost everyone will find a use for a baby blanket
4. Likely to be used for a long time
5. Simple to knit but can be made as complicated as you like
6. Takes time to knit - this can be a good thing - quick knits aren't always the way to go
7. You can whip up a matching hat for extra pram-style
8. The baby won't grow out of it before you get a chance to wrap and deliver your gift
9. You can experiment with new yarn, stitch patterns etc
10. ...I'm sure I'll think of more later