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Monthly Archives: March 2013

derailed plans

Happy Easter, one and all, whether you celebrate it as a religious or secular feast or simply consider it a well-earned long weekend to be spent with family.

My plan was to knit; specifically, to finish Eldest Niece’s birthday mitts. I’ve managed to derail myself by running out of yarn for them. It’s entirely my fault; I decided to make the cuff a bit longer and Eldest Niece has long hands, so the mitts are long. Drat. If that was my weekend knitting plan – as I’ve said, it was! – then I’ve scuttled it nicely (I’d need to go into the city to buy more yarn unless, by a fluke, the localish branch of Lincraft would have a matching dye lot; but if I were making the effort to go that far, I’d go into town where I could guarantee matching the dye lot). I’ve started on sewing up Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves but, you know, I need peace and quiet and good light for that, none of which appears to be forthcoming.

Dr B has also derailed my plan by ordering me – he would say he asked but I’m telling the story and that’s how it feels to me! – to be involved in a project that’s his but would, I agree, look better with my neater writing (a pile of labels for a lot of keys and sorting out his key cabinet; but without his first identifying each key, I wouldn’t know what to write on the labels anyway). Also, the little mending job he asked me to do on his motorbike cover? I’ve finally managed to do it. It wasn’t entirely little. It was repairing a seam that runs the length of the cover. I used whatever thread was in my machine – white, as it happens; I could show you a photo but it’s, like, you know, boring – and muttered a lot. If I’m honest, it probably took me longer to clear sufficient space to sew an article that large than to repair the seam. It was, after all, straight sewing. The main thing is, it’s fixed.

Then there’s the little bombshell in the shape of realisation that YoungB’s birthday party is next weekend, not the one after. Yikes! We’d had several discussions and Dr B had assured me the party was to be in a fortnight. Yeah, but he was wrong! Oh, well. What gets done gets done and, you know? The kids won’t care much as long as there’s plenty of food and drink and a marquee to provide protection from any inclement weather. That much, at least, has pretty much been organised by YoungB.

So in my spare moments, in order to maintain some semblance of sanity and calm, I’m knitting a nice, warm hat to cover someone’s head during the chilly weather that’s definitely on its way. How about you?

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do you remember?

That would be, do you remember Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves? They were last seen on 30 August last year and they’re about in the same state now as they were then. Well, that particular version is.

I changed to a Paton’s pattern in the flat because I couldn’t wrap my head around the instructions for the pattern in the round. The fault, that time, was definitely mine not the pattern’s. Had I had more experience knitting such things, I might have known how to fix the problems in the first pattern I tried and, similarly, not been flummoxed by the second pattern. But, you know, for years I’ve worn sheepskin mitts purchased while on holiday in Scotland or fake leather/suede gloves which have been suitable and warm. I’ve had no burning need to knit my own gloves or anything with fingers; so, although I did knit a pair of gloves a very long time ago, I’m not confident with what I’m doing and it’s perhaps not surprising that I was struggling.

In any case, with a (second) deadline pressing and lots of other bits and pieces of Life occupying far too much good knitting time, I decided that a flat pattern might be a better option. I was right. It was quick. Even so, there were not quite enough hours for me to finish the mitts although I did complete the actual knitting. I took a photo of them in their unblocked, ends-everywhere state to show Youngest Uncle that, really, they were almost done! When I showed him the photo (phone cameras are useful things, aren’t they?), he said they looked all right. That’s actually high praise, though some might think it sounds like a put-down.

You get the idea, right?

You get the idea, right?

Were you to suggest that I should try to find an excuse to knit more gloves so I can practise, you’d have a point; but knitting for no reason is not an exercise that appeals to me greatly. I’ve far too many real knitting projects lined up (and, ooh, one of them is a jumper I want to knit for YoungB). Fingerless mitts I can make quickly and they’re well within my capabilities (as you might recall, my own were lent to Nonno and they have, I think, been put in the charity bin since his death in spite of my requesting they be returned to me). I will make more of those at some point. Adding in fingers, full or truncated? Not impossible; but perhaps I’ll decline next time such a suggestion is made!

Meanwhile, while I was waiting to do the parental post-pub-crawl pick-up, I made a start on some really quick mitts for Eldest Niece. She’s a teacher and already finding the morning temperatures uncomfortably brisk, so I reckoned that a pair of thick, warm mittens might be just the go for keeping her fingers warm when she’s doing yard duty. I don’t have the required yarn or size of needles. Instead, I am using Lincraft’s Premium Luxe yarn, a 100% wool that comes in a range of lovely, solid colours. The ball band suggests 12 mm needles as the best size. Not for me! I am using 7 mm needles (which I could find in the shops AND which I can hold comfortably enough to be able to knit; obviously larger DPNs might be found in a specialist shop but during a half-hour lunch break, you can only walk so far). You can immediately see a problem here, can’t you? Thinner yarn, smaller needles. No problem. I’m knitting the larger size. Eldest Niece has long, slender hands so the trickier thing is estimating how long to make the mitts and that would be true no matter what needles and yarn I used.

I like to be positive about patterns that are freely available, as the Really Quick Mitts pattern is, so I will only say that if you download it, beware. It is not as well set out or indeed written – let’s say it’s unclear or at best confusing – as it might be and there are mistakes in it. But if you can push past those relatively minor details – it might mean you have to do your own calculations about increases (I had to tink three or four times, which is a right pain when you’re knitting in the round, because I was convinced the fault was mine) – then this truly is a quick knit. I’m almost finished the first mitt and I only started it last night. Famous last words again, but they will probably be ready in plenty of time for Eldest Niece’s April birthday. Anyone want to bet on that?

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Knitting

 

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bus knitting

By bus knitting I do not mean that I am knitting a bus or anything for a bus, merely that I knit while travelling on a bus (or perhaps that should be in a bus). My current bus knitting is the easy lace cowl (Ravelry link). Yes, it’s making splendid progress for something that grows by only four rounds a day! True to name, it’s an easy pattern, easily remembered. There’s only one pattern round, by which I mean a round that is other than straightforward 5×2 ribbing. My commute is about two rounds’ worth, so I’m careful to work just enough of the next to indicate to me where I need to pick up: one repeat of the pattern past the round marker or one less than the round. So far, the system has worked well. Some days I am too tired to knit and other days the trip is too bumpy. Tonight’s homeward journey was definitely in the latter category.

I haven't quite decided whose neck will be kept warm by this little beauty

I haven’t quite decided whose neck will be kept warm by this little beauty, though it will probably be Middle Niece’s

The yarn is soft and fluffy and presently keeps my hands warm on days when the bus aircon is at a temperature where peripheral vascular shutdown is a likely outcome for passengers. It’s a colourway described as a blue mix and so it is, with a lot of soft grey in it too. I have another two untouched skeins – I’d bought it originally with something quite else in mind but, you know, this project came along and I thought it would knit up nicely – that I might use to make something else that will keep my hands warm on the bus now that winter is on its way. Laugh at me now: our overnight temperature dropped to 20 degrees and we were shivering; and for tomorrow the forecast minimum of 13 degrees has us shaking our heads and agreeing that we’ll need to rug up for our morning activities. Anybody else wanting some more hot weather for a while or is it just me?

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2013 in Knitting

 

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the end of a very long week

Life can change quickly and sometimes it does. Last Saturday we farewelled Nonno for the last time, laying him gently to rest in a grassy cemetery on a day as sunny and bright as you could wish for. Only his close family and a few friends threw rose petals onto his coffin. We exchanged stories over a long lunch where a few tears were shed and much laughter was shared as we related tales of his inventiveness and more bizarre exploits. Only those who knew him well could believe, and perhaps understand, the streak of madness in his sanguine approach to a spot of impromptu restorative dentistry: fibreglass.

But life rolls on and I have been knitting, despite temperatures in the 30s and a percentage of humidity that makes me want to leap off a cliff (I hate humidity, always have; but there aren’t any nearby cliffs and it would take far too much effort to get to any). Last night I was steadily working away at Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves (or fingered mitts, you might see them thus described in some quarters) and admiring the evenness of my output. I’m not praising my knitting so much as the yarn, Cleckheaton’s Country Tartan. It has never failed to give me a reliable result. I will have the gloves/mitts finished for Youngest Uncle’s birthday and that will be another little achievement. I promise there will be no fibreglass involved.

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Knitting, Musing

 

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