Thursday, April 30, 2009

And for my next trick...

I have finished Pioneer!  It is lovely, and whilst quite a lot more revealing than I'd hoped for, actually looks quite sweet over a vest top.

I actually had a bit of an accident casting off the main body - instead of using a good lace castoff (k1 *k1 ssk*) I did some sort of variation on knit two together, it was only until i was in bed that i realised what I'd done wrong, so whilst watching an episode of "Girls of the Playboy Mansion" I undone and re-cast-off.  Now I can get it on over my head!

Even though most of the detail is on the back and sleeves (which everyone else can see because I'm not so tall)  The Sleeve edges and bottom edge are knit in double moss-stitch, which i hate knitting but like the fact that it breaks up the rather plain front.


I won't win any awards for my crochet however, as for the life of me all those crochet stitches it listed looked completely the same and so i just crocheted 5-stitch chains and joined them to each stitch on the neckline.  It sort of folds inwards, but to be honest it doesn't look that bad.

Vital Statistics:

Pattern:  "Pioneer" by Kbomb, Featured in Knitty

Yarn:  Stylecraft Life 4ply in Mint Green.  Used about 108 grams.

Needle size: 5.5mm

Size: Extra Small

Time Taken: Roughly about 7 days of assorted knitting time.  One of these days I will time myself!

Friday, April 24, 2009

When knitting goes bad

I'd like to introduce you to one of my knitting failures: the Prosperous Hyacinth tank top.

I started this pattern, "The Prosperous Plum Tank" by Joanna Cohen at the end of February this year, and it took me three attempts at the picot edging before I got it right.  This aught to have been the first warning.

The pattern itself wasn't so bad, mostly it was just two charts although you had to keep an eye on increasing and decreasing for it to fit.  Now I'm usually a bit warey when a pattern is intended to be fitted, as I'm a pretty old-fashioned shape - small and skinny, but curvey up top.  I find with a lot of modern sizing that even the extra small sizes are still quite baggy and in future I'll be resizing a lot of the knitwear I make for myself.  This leads me to the second big red warning sign - four whole inches of negative ease,  when I'm already knitting the second to smallest size, and (as i realised later) using a stretchier yarn than they recommended!  Needless to say although I thought I could wing it with the next size down, I can infact fit two, or maybe even three of myself inside the finished garment.

The pattern called for a DoubleKnit 100% cotton yarn.  I substituted for Sirdar Denim Tweed in "Hyacinth" (hence why I renamed it) which is a 60% acrylic, 25% cotton, 15% wool mix, somewhat stretchier than intended.  It was a bargain - almost half price when i bought it (as it was discontinued) and I loved the colours IN THE BALL.  As you can see it knits up in a cammoflage pattern suitable only after an extended session on acid.

I knew this was going to be one of those projects that I was never going to be entirely happy with, but at the time it was just good enough to live with.  But then i cast off.  What really made me mad about this top was that I'd measured the straps, measured myself, held it up against myself at various stages, and allowed for that fact that due to the weight of the rest of the garment the straps would stretch, so i subtracted a few inches to be on the safe side.  After all this, i tried it on and it didn't even cover my chest, I was mortified.  The sizing too is all wrong, the chest increases are too numerous and start in completely the wrong place.  Add to this the stretchy yarn and you'll see why it's now sat under a pile of washing, still the crochet needle stuck out of a  half-hearted and messy crocheted edging.

I guess the lesson for today is that no matter how many wonderfully complicated and correctly sized things  fly off your needles, there will always be one to bring you back down to earth.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Too much yarn, not enough knitting

It's quite possible I've overbought on yarn, especially since I'm 6 inches from the underarm with about 9 to go, with 50g left from my first ball. I'm tempted to knit the last 100g up as socks, but I started some "meida's socks" (Favourite socks, interweave press), got three rows in and then decided that they were going to be entirely the wrong shape. Might have to delve into ravelry to find an easier pattern!

A few months ago i tried my hand at teddy knitting. I knit a traditional bear from Jean Greenhowe's "Traditional Favourites" in blue acryllic. Although the baby for whom it was intended was still a little small to really understand it, mum on the other hand was thrilled, and has asked for some more! I'm now debating the football mascot doll from "Mascot Dolls" also by Jean Greenhowe, knit in their favourite team colours.

Between (and sometimes during) knitting, I've had a manic week. I met a lovely bloke on friday night wihlst at a friend's house - is picking up an escaping ball of wool the modern equivalent of picking up a lady's hankerchief? Sunday was spent at a horse show, sitting mostly in the sun watching the ponies go round. Took plenty of photographs but I will only bore you with them on request. Oh, and i might be getting a puppy...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pioneer of Tomorrow

Well, it's been a busy weekend.  On Saturday afternoon my yarn was delivered for my Pioneer top.  Saturday night was spent not in some swanky club being plied with expensive drinks by cute boys, but infact sat on my friends couch watching the golden compass and swatching like mad (and also curling my hair).  Turns out to even come close to the right gauge, i need to use 5.5mm needles, compared to the 3.75 it says!  Why oh why can UK yarn people not make and sell a cheap sportweight yarn? Come on people, there must be money in it!  Needless to say it's coming out quite loose, almost lacy, as you can see here:


Still, nice to wear over vest-tops in the summer.

In other news, Kita (my horse) has lost about 25kg so far on her diet and exercise regime.  This is great because I've found a really good dressage instructor but in order to get lessons I need to take my horse to her yard and (to put it bluntly) I'd be embarassed by the state she's in at the moment.

I've got 3 days left of working this week, and then on sunday I'll be stewarding at a show at Abram Hall Riding Club.  Can't wait!

By the way, if anyone knows of something i can put in my hair to use with curling tongs to make curls stay in for more than 5 minutes, let me know!

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's been a while!

Well it's definitely been a while since I wrote to you all last, I hope you're all doing well and keeping as busy as I am!  There's lots of news, but I'll try and keep it brief.

I've finished a few bits and peices, like the fern and waves lace scarf for my mum on mother's day and Amused from Knitty winter 2008.  I'm also about a third of the way through knitting The Great American Aran Afghan.  I joined a knit-a-long for this one, but it's not particularly taxing - just needs a lot of concentration!  The real challenge will be joining all the squares together, there are 24 and a border!

I seem to be having issues with socks.  On the whole, sock knitting is not difficult as long as you follow the instructions, listen to advice people give you and concentrate on you're grafting.  My problems are with sizing.  I tried a pair from the Violet Green Sock Generator which weren't too bad, but a bit short - not a problem when you can just add a few extra rows.  I did however find them really baggy and I can't decide whether it was the pattern or the yarn.  I've done maybe three rows of Media's Socks from "Favourite Socks" by Nancy Bush, but they've gone on the naughty pile because I'm not even 50% sure they'll fit me!

I've just ordered 300g of Stylecraft "life 4ply" in mint green for Pioneer from the latest knitty (spring 2009).  Not 100% sure I love the colour, but will have a bash at it anyway, if in the end I hate it, I'll frog it and turn it into something else - I have a friend who loves that colour and I'm sure I could find a pattern to make her smile!

On a related knitting note - The Angel yarns forums went down in dubious circumstances, so we have all moved to Pheonix Knitting Forums.

I've been doing lots of non-knitting related stuff too. I got my first peice of coursework back from my degree and got a really good mark, so I'm really proud of myself for that!  Exams on the 2nd of June though!  It's going to be tough because I work as a polling clerk, and polling day is on the 4th of June this year so I'll be dead on my feet by the end of that week!  I've also been seriously thinking of putting my horse in foal, but given she's a little fat at the moment, step one is getting her fit and it's taking a lot of work!

Finally, I've spent a lot of time reviewing products on under the nickname Poison_kitty.  Currently I don't have that many knitting-related reviews, but the few I've written have been received really well, particularly a review on Denise Interchangable Needles which earnt me my first crown!  Future reviews will feature more knitting books, so pop over and have a look.