Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Not what I thought!

I went fabric shopping today, to my nearest quilt shop, to buy fabric for the course I am doing next week at a different quilt shop.

I bought fabric, I came home, I studied the neat pile of fabric, admiring the colour combinations. I started to experiment so I could show you lot what I bought.

And then I unfolded one of the pieces and discovered all was not what I thought.

One edge of the material is much darker then the other:

Checking online, it's supposed to do this.

Just to be really frustrating, I left the magazine I bought at Kiddo's guitar teacher's house.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tagged: five things you didn't know about me!

Ferret tagged me to come up with five things that haven't previously been published. This was harder then I expected. I kept thinking about things from the past - such as my childhood - and about other people I am close to.

Anyway, here goes:

1) I really enjoy public speaking. This might seem odd, because I am usually a quiet person.

2) I have got into the habit of doing logic problems just before I go to sleep. I don't necessarily expect to finish them at one bedtime. At the moment I am working my way through a collection of 16x16 sudokos.

3) I don't diet. I never count calories or carbs or fat grams or whatever. I just eat what I want, when I want it and don't eat what I don't want when I don't want it. However, my BMI is firmly in the normal zone.

4) You can see a thatched cottage from my kitchen window. Two other houses that are close to mine were built before 1775: over 200 years before ours.

5) I have forgotten more about the vi text editor then most people ever know.

(Vi is the standard text editor for the UNIX operating system, and I worked for a company that was writing software to test the operating system. I had to write the test case for vi, and it had to test every option in the specifications. Unfortunately, I have forgotten most of them. Linux and MacOS are both based on UNIX.)

I won't be tagging anyone specifically, but if you want to do this on your blog, feel free to count yourself as tagged.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Third Finish in Three weeks

On the Angel Yarns board, someone was asking for patterns of birds. I had one in an early issue of Simply Knitting (issue 5, August 2005) so I offered to send it to her.

At that point, the possibility loomed that one day I might be struck by the urge to knit a bird. I haven't such an urge ever before, I could vaguely remember thinking that knitted birds seemed a bit pointless. But what of the future??

Copying the pattern would just add to the paper piles around here (and is illegal anyway, if you are am not keeping the original pattern). The best way seemed to be to actually knit a bird.

So here is Dicky:
knitted bird on wall
bird in the bush
Pattern: Simply Knitting August 2005, issue 5
Time: Jan 20 - Jan 21 2007
Yarn: body - sirdar country style, wings - possibly sirdar tweed
beak - rowan handknit cotton, eyes - sirdar cotton
Needles: 4mm

I also knitted the swatch for the lace cardigan I am planning to make next. The hat is still in progress too.

This level of finishes will soon slow down: I'm starting an Open University course very soon, and that will take up serious amounts of time. For those interested, it's MA290, topics in the History of Mathematics.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hats and Knitting Needles

The cascade had been wound into a ball for one reason only: to make a hat.
The pattern had been choosen and bought - the Funky Flapper Hat
from Ruth Wooly Wormhead. The only thing missing were the appropriate size DPNs - I needed 5mm ones. The Cascade suggested US size 7 or size 8.

The two 'convenient' shops (given that one was in Sussex and the other Buckinghamshire) had only got circulars. Circulars are no good when you are fiddling with 9 or 12 stitches.

A vaguely local, well stocked YS is Needle and Thread in Leighton Buzzard. I rang up on Monday, and asked whether they had any. Yes, they did have DPNs in the right size, yes they were DPNs, not circulars, yes I would be going there this morning. So I went, and I got two sets, 5mm (US size 8) Brittany birches, and some 4.5mm Addis.

(Frustratingly, while I was in the shop, someone else came in and asked if they had any special offer wool. "Not today, but the sale starts tomorrow for a week". OTOH, although they have lots of nice wools - Noro and Debbie Bliss and cobweb and artesano alpaca - I don't need any more right now.)

To make it really worth while going, I decided I'd better actually cast on on Monday evening. To begin with, I didn't read the instructions properly, and what I thought I was supposed to do simply didn't work. I pulled it all off the needles, and the resulting creation looked so sweet I photographed it for your viewing pleasure. Then I frogged it. And then I started again, and got further.

In other news, I didn't get to S'n'B yesterday. Again. And we had a four hour power cut today.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Lichen Sweater Reviewed

My second finish of 2007, but really it was OTN for the entirety of 2006.
knitted sweater
It’s called Lichen, because that is the colour of the Sirdar Country Style I used. Kiddo had felt left out, because the other Kiddo's had been knitted various items including ponchos, scarves and jackets, and now it was his turn.

It is a classic v-neck style with the only modern touch being the hem. Apart from that it wouldn't look out of place in any decade since the 1950s.

I used Style Your Own Kids' Knits, by Kate Buller to design it - the only pattern I could find for this style of garment, for this age of child. The book is a useful reference, giving basic patterns for jumpers for children aged between birth and 10 years old. Each age group has a basic design, showing how to vary the neckline and front, to make jackets, v-neck and round-neck sweaters. You can change them further, using the suggestions on edgings and motifs. The one quibble is that every design uses the same Rowan cotton, and it gives next to no advice on how to substitute a yarn with a different tension. Overall, though, an excellent book, well worth getting (it did help I bought an unused copy from a charity shop).

Pattern: designed using Style Your Own Kids' Knits, by Kate Buller
Yarn: Sirdar Country Style 50g balls, wool/acrylic mix
Colour: Lichen (shade 516)
Needle size: 4mm and 3.25mm for ribbing
Quantity: 4 whole and 3 part balls - six balls would have been ample
Stashbusting[1]: 1
Yarn seller:
Dianne's Knitting Yarns www.cpu-enterprises.com
Cost: £8.95 for 10 balls
Time taken: Nov 2005 - Jan 2006

It would have been faster, but I had to redo the neckline three times. First time it was too small, so I had to increase the length of the jumper. Second time, the "v" was awful, so I frogged it, and worked on other things for a month or two (this is why I always make big clothes for kids). Third time, it worked.

When I handed it to him, Kiddo said "ooh" in a pleased tone reminiscent of the Librarian. He immediately put it on, and has been wearing it ever since. OK, all afternoon.

The photo was taken outside, just as it started to rain.

[1] For stash busting purposes, only yarn used since Oct 2006 (the Ally Pally trip) counts towards stash-busting. I am currently at thirty balls in, six balls out.

PS I have more then one child, but I call them all Kiddo here, to preserve their privacy and confuse anyone trying to do a websearch on them.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Lichen - done!!!

The Lichen jumper for Kiddo is finished: I started it over a year ago, and now it is ready to wear. More details later.

This is also my 100th post. I'm not going to write a gooey post about blogging etc, because if I did, I'd spend so long trying to get it right that I wouldn't post for months. Then I'd be too embarrassed by my absence to post at all.

Pay it Forward Meme

There has been a meme going around the blogoshpere where the blogger offers up five pieces of art to anyone who wants them, and in return each person receiving one offers up five pieces on their blog. Yesterday Kate and Ferret both offered, and I asked for them, so now it is my turn to offer.

There is a slight hitch in that I haven't got anything made and anyway I don't actually have a recognisable style. I wouldn't call what I do "art", more craft, and if the term art is to have a meaning, then I'm sticking in the craft camp. Not out of any kind of false modesty, more that I'm not even trying to push the boundaries in a way an artist should do.

I haven't decided exactly what to do: I think quite probably either something knit related, or embroidary. I quite fancy the idea of doing some embroidered handkerchiefs, but I've also made up a pattern for knitted flowers, which I can claim as entirely my own.

If I do do embroidered handkerchefs they will be non-twee, not the kind of thing you'd give to your Gran. Or at least, not the kind of thing you'd give to my Gran.

Friday, January 05, 2007

New Ball

Look at the ball of wool that Kiddo and I wound yesterday!
ball of cascade
Yesterday morning it was a hank of Cascade 220, sent by Caitlyn in the One Yard Fabric Swop. This morning it was a ball. The first hank I have ever wound!

It might surprise some knitters, but hanks seem to me to be a recent innovation in knit-retailing. Only in the last five years have I seen yarn sold in hanks: for as long as I've been buying it its been in ready-wound balls.

Of course, I have wound balls before, but always from the tangled remains of another ball. Never from a hank.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Recently Made

I feel I ought to start the New Year on a positive note full of good intentions, with lots of old projects completed ready for the coming year.

It isn't to be, unfortunately. I came home from our post Christmas trip (seeing all my nephews and most of my nieces) with a heavy cold, that has left me snuffling along, coughing and sputtering. Instead of completing a number of old projects, tidying up the knitting corner, and photographing presents received, I've been doing nothing very much.

I did however finish the Funky Fur scarf for Kiddo. The photos were taken outside at dusk.
Funky Fur Scarf
Yarn: Funky Fur Magic from Sirdar
Pattern: Basic stocking stitch
Dates: 26th Dec 2006 - 3rd Jan 2007
Stash Reduction: 0

Using 4mm needles, and I cast on 30 stitches.
Row 1 - knit
Row 2 - k3, P24, K3

It used approximately 2.5 balls, one from John Lewis, one from a market stall while we were away, and the half left over from a hat I knitted Kiddo.