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Monthly Archives: June 2013

delivered FO and almost FO

On Thursday I made the long trek south to visit Youngest Aunt. Her place is not really all that distant but, because you drive through busy urban and suburban traffic all the way, it takes quite a while to get there. Thursday was sunny and surprisingly warm, meaning that we were able to sit out in the backyard and swap travel tales. I finally gave Youngest Uncle his fingerless gloves/fingered mitts just before he headed out for work on his old commuter pushbike; he was very pleased.

While Youngest Aunt and I talked, I knitted more of Middle Niece’s Easy Lace Cowl.

Soon to be finished and blocked

Soon to be finished and blocked

Presently, as you can see, it’s very tall and narrow, but the 2 ply/laceweight yarn will undoubtedly squash down well. Also, it will lose height and gain width when I block it. By now, I can’t have many pattern repeats left: possibly only one and certainly not more than two. My fingers became too cold to knit by lunchtime, so I stopped then. After lunching al fresco – it was too nice a day not to seize the opportunity, even if we did need our jackets – we moved indoors for a short slideshow of the most recent OS trip then went for a walk. What could have been a nicer way to spend the day? Travelling home again was horrid, but there’s simply no way to avoid heavy traffic.

Once I’ve done those couple of rows on the cowl, and they won’t take very long, which of my UFOs should I pick up next? Nonna’s cardie, for which I admit I’ve presently lost enthusiasm? The Noro Silk Garden scarf, of which I need to tink a few rows because I seem to have lost a stitch (I don’t know how, probably simply by getting distracted at some point and not noticing)? Or should I start some mittens for myself?

Whatever your knitting dilemmas are, I hope they’re keeping you warm.

 

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Posted by on June 29, 2013 in Knitting

 

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party pooper

The last time Karen hosted a Pyjama Party Sewalong, I finished mine in time but was defeated by technology when it came to showcasing photos of same. This year? I was going so well! All cameras charged and functioning, computers working OK most of the time. I’d bought the fabric, laundered it and even ironed it (yes, that’s quite possibly what caused any recent seismic disturbances in this part of the world). I had it laid out on my sewing table with the pattern and everything, all ready to cut out. It’s a pattern I’ve used on numerous previous occasions, so I knew the actual sewing wouldn’t take long at all. But then? Then we had unexpected visitors from interstate – a delightful couple of busy days, but although some knitting might have happened when I wasn’t driving, I certainly wasn’t able to do any sewing – and that was that. So, really, I think that had better be that. No more parties for me. I obviously can’t be relied on to do anything in time!

That’s not to say that, in between feeling very glum about the whole employment scene and not wanting to waste blog time moaning about same, I haven’t been busy. I’ve finally finished Youngest Uncle’s fingered mitts/fingerless gloves (at this time of year, good, natural light for sewing can be in short supply but the need for the finished article quite pressing, especially now that Youngest Uncle is home from a tropical holiday). I’ve knitted a beanie for myself. And I really am about 99% done with Middle Niece’s Easy Lace Cowl.

I ended up making Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves/fingered mitts using a knit-it-flat-then-sew-it-up pattern from the Patons Winter Warmers Book 483. It’s pattern 37, Knitted Family Gloves or Mitts. I used Cleckheaton Country Tartan yarn, which knits up beautifully, and made the Man’s size. I’m happy with the results and I’m sure Youngest Uncle will be too (I’ll be delivering them tomorrow).

Test-driven by Dr B, whose hands are very large. They'll certainly fit Youngest Uncle.

Test-driven by Dr B, whose hands are very large. They’ll certainly fit Youngest Uncle.

And, as I said, I knitted a beanie for myself. Strictly speaking, when I said the colours of that balaclava weren’t my colours, I was wrong. The colours are fine but those particular shades are perhaps not quite dark enough for me. On the other hand, although the beanie sports a similar colour palette, the shades are much darker; in fact, a little too dark for me. But let me remind you of YoungB’s witty wisdom that any colour is your colour when you’re cold. I’ve been wearing this beanie and loving how warm it is.

Cheerful, self-striping yarn again but this time a slightly flatter crown than my previous beanie

Cheerful, self-striping yarn again but this time a slightly flatter crown than my previous beanie

You won’t be surprised to hear that this pattern also comes from the Patons Winter Warmers Book 483. This time I used pattern 15, Knitted Cap and Scarf. I made the Lady’s size, used Bendigo Woollen Mills’ Murano and didn’t bother with the striping (given that the yarn provided that anyway). Once again, I loved the yarn but was disappointed that there was a knot. And this time, I didn’t see the knot coming, so ended up having to tink half a row. Oh, well, no biggie. At least I wasn’t knitting anything complex.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. I hope you’ve been keeping busy, too?

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Knitting, Sewing

 

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but this one was never for me

Of course I didn’t finish the beanie, even minus the pompom. So there I was this morning with the temperature close to zero – the Canadian coach admitted to feeling cold so we reckoned we were allowed to as well – and no woollen beanie. What to do? Borrow Dr C’s? No, that would never do. I might fall and it might end up in the lake. We wouldn’t want such a fate for a harmless piece of headwear.

So I ended up wearing this instead!

So I ended up wearing this instead! It’s my trusty old favourite, Patons Book 483, pattern 26, Knitted Family Helmet

A long time ago I was making a balaclava for a then-colleague. Loss of a major contract and resulting diminution of workflow saw her move to the opposition. Somehow, we lost touch and, despite my best efforts, I was never able to get the completed balaclava to her. it has languished in my FO box for a few years now, awaiting its moment. These are not my colours, having been chosen specifically for the colleague whose colours they are. But, as YoungB pointed out, any colour is your colour when you’re cold. True, that. So I rolled up the balaclava and used it as a beanie.

As it happened, I tripped on some uneven paving and over I went. The balaclava/beanie remained firmly in place, keeping my head warm. I admit that I was very, very tempted to roll it down and use it as a balaclava, because my face was uncomfortably chill. I thought that might be too wimpish altogether and, well, you know, too embarrassing for YoungB who was out there on the lake putting in some good work in a single scull. Besides, I have some pride!

Now that there’s less urgency about a beanie for me, I shall push on with the last few rows of Middle Niece’s Easy Lace Cowl – which remains my commuting knitting and of which I managed a few rounds on the way home from rowing this morning – and then, but only then, finish the beanie. Famous last words? Could I finish the beanie by Wednesday (rowing training again) AND the cowl so that I could deliver it to Middle Aunt for delivery to Middle Niece? Stay tuned. 🙂

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Knitting, Rowing

 

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this one is for me

Those from truly chilly climes can stop reading now, but anyone who considers temperatures below 10 degrees cold enough to need a good beanie will understand why I’ve decided that, no matter what else I knit, I have to knit a decent beanie for myself. It’s not that I’ve never had one. Why, I remember knitting any number of decent beanies back in the 70s – photos from winter beach holidays provide evidence of all the younger fry happily sporting such made-by-me items – and at least one of them must have been for me. I had a silly one that I knitted to take to Italy, where I knew it was going to be damn cold and I was right; minus 22 will do your head in nicely if it’s not covered. It was made from a collection of leftover wool and had a matching scrappy pompom made specially by one of my patients. I loved that beanie and the pompom (because of its provenance), but I couldn’t say for sure what happened to it. It might have been lost in one of the many moves. Or Dr B, who hated it and hasn’t a humorous bone in his body, might have surreptitiously disposed of it.

I’ve made lots of quick, acrylic beanies for YoungB and a balaclava for myself in the meantime and they’ve done the job well enough most of the time. Even unique, labelled beanies will disappear from child care (a couple of YoungB’s hadnknitted beanies did), so I wasn’t anxious to use good yarn that would benefit others. Sorry if that’s selfish, but I was cranky enough about having things stolen (the children might easily have mixed things up but the adults would have known what did and didn’t belong to their own child; and the adults could easily have read the identifying nametag). I didn’t need to feel angry as well about the yarn involved! I used wool for YoungB’s first balaclava, but we agreed that by then he was old enough to speak out in defence of his ownership and that the balaclava probably wouldn’t be a casualty; nor was it. We still have it.

On my own behalf, I’ve been accustomed to working in airconditioned buildings where I haven’t had to worry greatly about my head being cold, so the walk to and from from the bus was about as much as I needed to consider and therefore my acrylic balaclava, worn down as a proper balaclava or rolled up and worn as a beanie, did the job. That’s no longer the case and I changed my mind very quickly the other day when I was out on a long walk, wearing a little acrylic beanie I’d made for YoungB some years back – I have a small head, so the size difference was negligible – and feeling distinctly that something wasn’t working. My ears were cold!

Having enjoyed the results of recent beanies knitted with decent yarn, I last night cast on one for myself in some more of Bendigo Woollen Mills’ Murano yarn, this time in shade 021, a blue/green/purple mix. They’re definitely my sorts of colours (not only appealing to me but also quite good with my greying blonde hair and accompanying fair complexion). Just for variety, however, as well as speediness, I decided that this time rather than a fancy pattern with cables I’d use pattern 15 from Paton’s Book 483 as my basis. It’s a fairly plain ribbed affair, getting its fun element from stripes but it’s a slightly different shape from others I’ve made recently. Because the yarn I’m using is self-striping, I’m just ribbing to the point where the pattern says to start stocking stitch. And, you know, it has a pompom. We’ll see about that. I might make one. Then again, I might not.

The question, really, is whether or not I can finish it in time for tomorrow’s early morning walk around the rowing course.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2013 in Knitting

 

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responsibility

Yesterday I had lunch with Library Lady A, an old friend (we go back nearly 40 years and have a lot of shared history; YoungB and her youngest are the same age). We decided pub grub would be a better, quieter answer than attempting to hold a long conversation in one of the city’s many food halls. I enjoy the variety of food available at all of them and particularly love the Asian halls at the Central Market, but they are so noisy that you cannot hear yourself think. Conversation is definitely out of the question there and we were intent on talking. The pub was, as we’d hoped, considerably quieter. The food was perhaps a little more expensive but it was plentiful and tasty and, you know, we were able to have alcoholic liquid accompaniments. Winner.

Library Lady A is a knitter. She introduced me to the delights of sock-knitting. She knitted a lovely little beanie for YoungB when he was a baby (using the same pattern that I’ve just used for Dr C’s beanie). I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that, along with swapping news regarding family and kids at uni, mutual friends and the like, we talked about knitting. She’d recently finished a scarf for her elder daughter and needed some new project. She’d seen a wonderful ‘fingerless gloves with a flap’ sort of affair in use in a TV program and chased up the pattern, which intrigued her and she was eager to try. Like me, she’s not one to knit for no reason, so that there are a couple of males in the family who will use the resulting mitts (or she herself, perhaps, as she’s a keen gardener) is all to the good.

I exclaimed with her over the pattern and then, by way of giving her a source of even greater inspiration, I told her about Ravelry.

Do you think she’ll ever forgive me?

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2013 in Knitting

 

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and then there are the babies

You know how I had a sort of rough idea of what I might be going to knit and sew this year? And then it got tossed on its head almost immediately? Well, I now have to factor in some not entirely unexpected but still unplanned-for baby knitting; at the moment, I’m looking for something quick! Baby blankets made in thick yarn will be the answer, I suspect. I’ve spent some time on Ravelry looking for pretty, simple patterns and found many. I have a number of patterns among my collection already but most are lacy, some are complex and I think all of them are large, so perhaps not necessarily the best option for something that might be used as a pram rug (though, yes, most could be scaled down). Why a pram rug and not a blanket as such?

YoungB had a fantastic pram rug that had been knitted for him by Great Aunt J. It was blue, yellow, grey, pale green and white – sounds awful, but wasn’t – and looked a bit like a Mondrian painting: modern with block colours and some unexpected combinations. It was gorgeous. Of course, it clashed terribly with his bright orange lambswool (though it was fine with the neutral one), but that didn’t really matter. It kept him warm in his car seat and in the pram and it was light enough to pack into a bag and take along wherever we went even minus the pram. Given that background, you won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve picked out some 12-ply yarns to make a couple of similar items. My usual baby gift is bunny rugs and I’ll probably sew a couple of those as well (flannelette comes in such pretty designs and colours as to be almost irresistible). None of it is going to be difficult, I promise you.

When I picked out that lot of yarn, there was only one announcement. Now there’s another, so I can see that there’ll be a further trip to my LYS in the near future. Oh, isn’t that going to be a hardship!

I still have Nonna’s cardigan to finish and despite the thick yarn and large needles, it’s not growing quickly. However, other plans, such as sewing new toobs for motorcycling use, have made progress. The other day, I whipped up a new scarf for Nonna. Ahem. You know, I cut a length of black polar fleece and stitched on a nametag. I didn’t even bother with hems. I mean, it’s polar fleece. It’s not going to fray, is it?! (If it looks tatty when it comes home for a wash, I’ll attend to such niceties then.) That used up a large chunk of the black fabric, so I promptly made a toob from the remaining bit. It’s sewn and nearly finished but I seem to have run out of the wide elastic. I really cannot imagine how that happened but, oh, well, that’ll be something else I’ll need to get when I’m out shopping, won’t it?

And I was told, gently but in no uncertain terms, that motorcyclists wouldn’t wear a white toob. Red might be acceptable but, really, dark blue and black are the options of choice. So why wasn’t that said to me before? I’d have stopped looking for the remnant of white polar fleece and just got on with making toobs from what remained of the black. Blokes. They just don’t listen.

But, you know, with all this stuff I have on my list, well, gosh, I might have to give up looking for a job for a few minutes so I can attend to those other duties. That would be a shame, I don’t think. It’s certainly one of life’s less appealing undertakings, isn’t it? But I’ve sent out another application and haven’t yet lost heart. I’m just pushing on with knitting while I commute to various appointments and the like.

Sorry, I could not find a suitable photo to accompany this post. A black toob? Boring as. YoungB’s original pram rug? Yes, that would have been ideal; but could I find one??? No. Better just post this and get on with the knitting, don’t you think?

 

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bonnie bonce beanie

I like this beanie and it’s just my size (which should mean it will fit Dr C, as she and I are about the same size). I tagged it wrongly last time as being a different Patons pattern, but that’s part of having two books with similar patterns (one very old, one much newer, and sometimes I mix and match a bit from one to the other). It’s properly pattern 22, a Family Knitted Cap from Patons Book 483. I am not a fan of 2 x 2 rib, so I changed to a 1 x 1. Other than that, it’s knitted according to instructions. The Murano yarn that I used is nominally an 8-ply, but it feels slightly heavier to me and has knitted up to a lovely, firm finish (the cables help with that too, of course). And, you know, I even made a pompom. I’m not a fan of them and I don’t much enjoy making them but in this case, I decided I’d do as I was told. Ahem.

My usual hat model was at rowing training, so this is a very odd sort of selfie!

My usual hat model was at rowing training, so this is a very odd sort of selfie!

I like the yarn, too, but was really disappointed to find a knot in it! I mean, part of the joy of a 200 g ball of yarn is that you can just knit for a long time without having to worry about joining. That wasn’t the end of the world and luckily I caught it in time to avoid any tinking. Would I use the yarn again? Most certainly. Would I knit this pattern again? That’s also a certainty as I think this is the third or fourth time I’ve used it anyway. Would I make a pompom for it next time? Uuh, maybe not. And can you see the cables? I think so.

The only thing I had to scratch my head about was the seam. You can see I’ve ended up with distinct stripes and that’s part of the fun. However, they’re not entirely symmetrical in the usual way because they owe their existence to the yarn’s changing colours. Therefore, I couldn’t match them precisely. It’s obvious in a couple of spots that they’re just not meant to match, but I tried to keep it as even as I could. And when I say I followed the instructions, I did misread the bit about decreasing to shape the crown. I couldn’t truthfully tell you what I did there; but no matter; it worked. I ended up with the right number of stitches and I made sure I decreased similarly across any given decrease row. Think of it as a design feature. That’s what I plan to do.

Although this won’t fit YoungB, he’s much taken by it and wouldn’t mind such a thing; except that, as he rightly says, he already has quite a lot of beanies. But I don’t know. Can you have too many knitted hats to keep your head warm?

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2013 in Knitting

 

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