Sunday, 28 February 2010

good lieutenant

First started and finished project for 2010!

The Vital Statistics
Pattern: Kiddie Cadet by Alice Schnebly available free. There's quite a story behind finding this pattern - a few weeks previously I saw an adorably dressed little boy at the library during story time, wearing an adorable hat. I came home and Ravelry searched - magic, found the pattern, delighted! Not so magic - the name of the pattern really disappoints me. I'm not at all comfortable with militaristic connotations for children's wear.
Size: Baby
Yarn: So yes, I knit this hat anyway, despite feeling uncomfortable with the pattern name; and in green tweed. I wanted it to be a stashbuster and that was what I had in the appropriate weight - Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed in shade Highlander.
Needles: 4.5mm
Start to finish: 15 February 2010 to 23 February 2010.
Recycle/stash content: 100 per cent.
Comments: This was a great, simple knit. It has a great structure, particularly the brim which could be a bit tricky if you were new to short rows but don't let that put you off. I didn't use any insert in this brim but imagine that for a larger size it may be necessary.

Verdict: I do really love this hat and this pattern. Next time I'll be more judicious with my yarn choice.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

applause please

I've done it, I've earned my knitting stripes, I've knit a clapotis. I've also frogged it - never mind.

Clapotis by Kate Gilbert, available from It is a fantastic pattern - a unique concept and extremely well devised, all the way down to the stitches that create a consistent selvedge across all sections. I like this sort of attention to detail.
Ah, rather huge, too huge in fact. I knit 8 rpts of section 2 and 28 rpts of section 3. The width was good (in theory) but it turned out rather too long.
Needles: 4mm Addi Turbo.
Handmaiden Fine Yarns Casbah, a merino/cashmere/nylon sock yarn, colourway Vintage.
Start to finish:
I started this on 31 December 2009 and knit furiously until 5 February 2010. It's taken me until today to accept that it hasn't been a success. I should have known when I couldn't be bothered to weave in the ends ...

Comments: Knitting is harder than you might think. Well, not the actual knitting but the creation of an item that works. I realise now that designers must put in a lot of thought to the mix of pattern, structure, texture and fibre. That was the problem with my clapotis: it just didn't work. For one thing, my choice of yarn was not compatible with the stole that I wanted to create. The Casbah is gorgeous yarn, squishy and drapey but this drape combined with the bias inherent in the pattern just created a too long scarf that was too bulky to boot. And then there was the variegated yarn effect - I didn't like it, it pooled. I loved the yarn when it was all in a hank but not when knit up. I'm curious to see what it looks like when done in garter stitch which I have had luck with before when using a variegated yarn.

Verdict: You knit, you learn. Why did I keep knitting this, even long after I had misgivings? Because I had a brand new baby, because I was spending hours on the couch breastfeeding, because despite the tumultuous change in my life and obligations I wanted to hold on to something of my own. I was knitting, feverishly, to save a sliver of my old life.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

ecklon ex klatt

Also known as a freesia.

After ordering it on 6 February, the final ball of Jo Sharp Soho Summer DK Cotton that I was waiting for arrived in the mail yesterday. It came from Philadelphia, by ground, so perhaps that accounted for the hold up, snow storms and all.

The final colour was freesia, that yellow-green. I was a bit concerned that it wouldn't fit with the rest of the colour scheme for the Icelandic Jacket but I have completed the yoke now and I am absolutely delighted with it. It's not often that I have that 'this-is-what-I-will-knit-for-the-rest-of-my-life' feeling (or crochet, as the case may be). But I've got it now.

I'm thinking through my stash at all the different things I could try this with - Shetland wool, assorted worsted weights, what size would it come out if knit in 4ply? - and all the possible colour combinations of course - ah, this must be the lure of colourwork. Super easy in crochet because although you are effectively crocheting stripes, the different heights of stitches and crocheting into gaps creates colour sequences. I'm even thinking of some variations ... I really could be doing this forever.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

perle 8

I got some thrift shopping in today - hooray! And at a thrift store that I had not known existed what more (and I pride myself on knowing these things). The Northwest Thrift Store (14130 Juanita Dr. N.E., Ste. 108B Bothell, WA 98011 (425) 820-2662. 10:00am-7:00pm. Mon-Fri 10:00am-6:00pm. Sat 12:00am-5:00pm) is what I know op shops to be like in Australia - it's small, friendly and interestingly does not have that thrift store smell so familiar to the big chain places.

For a smaller place I did suprisingly well - a set of red Tommy Hilfiger queen size cotton interlock sheets which I will use as backing for the wagga (yes, I'm still working on that); a grab bag with some Filatura Lanarota 100 per cent cashmere yarn, enough to knit a baby hat; some cute boys trousers and Timberland shirt; two childrens books; and another grab bag with a few skeins of DMC embroidery floss and a few balls of coton perl
é 8.

Coton perl
é 8 - whoo-hoo!! I always look for this at the thrift store and while fine crochet thread like Cebelia is easy to come by, this was my first success finding it. Some time ago I was consulting with a quilting friend (that's you Justine) about the estate sale quilt and how I could go about working on it. She recommended coton perlé 8 for the quilting and when I had the epiphany that it comes in 200-odd colours, well, that was it for me: I started collecting. Because why be required to go to the shop to find a matching colour if you could just consult your stash instead? I have about 40 so far, mostly purchased from ebay. Now I'll have to start working on that quilt.

Sunday, 14 February 2010


Yesterday afternoon with a couple of friends I headed down to Tacoma for a few hours at the Madrona Fiber Arts 2010 Winter Retreat. I was, alas, underwhelmed. I didn't take any classes so cannot account for those but the marketplace and teachers' gallery in the evening didn't hold much interest for me. It was lovely though to be out and about, to go out for dinner and to chat and laugh with friends.

And I knit two rows on something long neglected - the faux prussian stole. The last time I worked on this was on the train on the way to Sock Summit (notice a pattern here? I can't afford to wait for knitting conventions to get a few rows done on this!) and I ran out of yarn. I had put another ball into the project bag but yesterday evening found myself without a darning needle with which to make a Russian join.

Luckily I was surrounded by knitters - I think that half of the restaurant could have lent me one. So, join made and two rows knit - small victories.

What always worries me about going back to a project after a significant pause is that I will not be able to recover where I left off, or understand where I was up to. This apprehension actually puts me off picking something up again and so the pause becomes a break becomes a full-blown holiday. Thankfully I had worked out a good method for keeping track with this project - the edging repeats every 12 rows but the lace motif repeats every 96 rows (yes, really) so you need to keep track of both which edging row and which pattern row you are up to.

It was fun to knit this again and I am going to make an effort to keep at it, even if just bit by bit.

Friday, 12 February 2010

potato love

Some writing paper from the thrift store folded in quarters, half a potato and an ink pad (which only just made it); 23 Valentine's cards for child care tomorrow.

Thursday, 11 February 2010


In the last couple of days, in an attempt to use up some stash, I have managed to acquire five new balls of yarn. I have had some Jo Sharp Soho Summer DK Cotton in colourway Cloudless (at left) since days of yore, or at least since very early in my knitting career; it could well be one of my first stashed yarns. I bought it before I understood gauge and it wasn't a great colour for me anyway. I have since used it to knit a child's jumper and perhaps some other oddments.

The desire to use it led me to the Icelandic Jacket (centre) which requires three extra colours, only one of which I am counting amongst my new five (Calico on the right). Thoughts of crochet led me to the Bergamot jacket which led me to a yarn store (or two) in search of the pattern book and some hooks and basically at this stage, all was lost.

In my wanderings I managed to pick up (left to right) a ball of Rowan Revive in colourway Ironstone, Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Peridot, Rowan Lima in Lima and Rowan Felted Tweed in Camel. They are all curiosity purchases, the first two as possibilities for Bergamot, the second two as options for Tim's Great Garment of 2010 (TGG10). I'll swatch them up and probably end up knitting four more baby hats.

Bergamot isn't looking too hopeful though. Thank you so much for all the colour suggestions - navy, grey, oatmeal, cream - all of which, alas, are contraindicative to this being a project for me; as lovely as I think that Bergamot would be in any of those shades they are not ones that I can wear. A rich plum on the other hand, lovely on me but I can't see Bergamot in it. Perhaps we are an ill-fated pairing, this project and I?

ps. The other two Soho Summer shades are still in transit, otherwise it would have been seven.

Monday, 8 February 2010


Is it possible for a pattern to just infiltrate your brain? When I need some knitting supplies (mostly needles or to check out books) I like to go to The Weaving Works in the U-District of Seattle. And every time I walk in the door, my eye is caught by a poster for the Rowan Purelife range. And that poster features this cardigan/jacket - Bergamot.

At first I didn't like it. Then I found it quite interesting. And now, well I'm thinking about what yarn I might make it from.

I'm in a crochet frame of mind at the moment as I am planning to make the Icelandic Jacket (Ravelry link) from Adorable Crochet for Babies and Toddlers by Lesley Stanfield. I am hoping to use up some Jo Sharp Soho Summer DK Cotton that I have had forever.
This got me to thinking about crochet jackets, got me to thinking specifically about this one.

Thing is, this is one of those patterns that I find it difficult to imagine in any colourway other than that presented by the yarn company and this yellow/tan is not something that I could/would ever wear. But it seems to need something in a neutral shade - is that perhaps the styling of the whole thing? Am I mad?

Or perhaps I've just been drinking too much Earl Grey tea lately.

Saturday, 6 February 2010


Wow, I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I unearthed Woolsthorpe - I'm much further along than I had thought. Back, left front, right front, one sleeve - done! And it's half seamed already as well. I seem to have gotten stalled on going upstairs to grab a pair of 3.25mm knitting needles with which to cast on for the second sleeve's cuff. I had thought that I had stalled half-way through the shoulder shaping on one of the fronts - I really dislike that when you have to figure out where you are up to and is it the same as the other side and did you make any changes that you have now completely forgotten about?

I'll be casting on the next sleeve for this pronto. Then there will be the button band, the buttonhole band, collar and one more pocket band. Plus the rest of the seaming. I have also allayed my fears about fit - I was already pregnant when I started knitting this and so chose the size based upon my Wallingford which is from the same pattern book. I'm still pretty buxom but the fit is good and I'm sure that it will button up nicely, ah, sometime in the future. So assessment - doable, in the near future.

And speaking of Wallingford (actually officially called Wallington)- hooray! My project is illustrating the page for this pattern in Ravelry.

I'm particularly delighted about this because a) I was pipped at the post to be the first person to complete this pattern, and b) it is knit from a recycled yarn and I love to promote that.

Next up for review and assessment: a knitted veil in Peruvian wool.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

tender buttons

I've had some button luck lately. I bought a Moth cardigan at Value Village the weekend before last. I didn't like the cardigan, but I do love the buttons. As you can see, buttons and garment have since parted ways - now I need to make something that requires four buttons. Ah, any excuse.

And several, several weeks ago, I finally mastered a knit buttonhole that I am happy with - extremely happy in fact. I have never been satisified with the basic 'k2tog yo' buttonhole and upon Di's advice tried the one-row buttonhole which I believe comes from Vogue Knitting: the ultimate knitting book. This is a very neat and tidy buttonhole with good sturdy edges and no stray loops for buttons to get caught in. I heartily recommending having a look at it.

I have put it to good use in the front left side ribbing of my woolsthorpe cardigan. Yes, long neglected but still in the works, as are many of my current knits. The next few posts will be a review and assessment of the current knitting situation.