Tag Archives: Easy Lace Cowl

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.



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?


Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Knitting, Sewing


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FO: Fabrique scarf

This is another of those fancy knitting tasks that make you look very clever. Once again, I didn’t pay full price for the yarn – if one can call it yarn; Lincraft Fabrique Ruffle Yarn which is, as the website says, a 100% polyester chiffon rather than a yarn per se – but the experiment was worth the shade over half-price that I did pay. I admit to having had difficulty getting this started. For some reason, the stitches seemed to slip a lot. Obviously, I eventually got the hang of it. I would have to say it wasn’t the nicest feeling article I’ve ever made and the resulting ruffle is scratchy against the skin. It would, however, look great draped around a collar on a jacket. It would add quite a bit of extra elegance. It took less than a week to make, so it’s impressively speedy.

Surprisingly difficult to photograph, but it's just a medium length ruffly scarf

Surprisingly difficult to photograph, but it’s just a medium length ruffly scarf

I am now so snowed under with bits of projects that I don’t quite know what to do next. I’ve knitted almost up to  dividing for the underarm on Nonna’s cardigan, which is now too heavy to be travel knitting and about which we are divided in our opinions. YoungB and I think that Nonna will wear it because it’s a purple yarn with other colours through it, Dr B thnks she won’t because it’s not a solid colour and he’s never seen her wear anything else. That might simply be because nobody has ever given her anything that wasn’t a solid colour; and in the days when she knitted herself, yarns were generally plainer than those readily available today. We’ll see.

I’m about two-thirds done on the Easy Lace Cowl (it’s looking nice and should be warm and cosy; luckily it’s lightweight enough to be still good travel knitting). Fingerless gloves/fingered mitts? Nah. Really quick mittens? Nah. Polar fleece toobs for needy motorcyclists? Oh, I can’t even get to my machine at the moment, I still have so much junk on the table as a result of bringing home all my things from the office. Sporadically, I clear a patch but it’s almost as quickly gone again with some other thing I’ve been asked to deal with. I can just about keep track of the black polar fleece, but it’s in imminent danger of disappearing, I tell you, and I still can’t track down any white.

And then I’m meant to be signing up with job sites and preparing this, that and the next thing for employment folk. Yeah, right. That would be a fine thing if only the technology would play ball!


Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Knitting, Sewing


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still knitting

My workplace is presently a bit strange because everyone is restless (not only those who are going but also those who are staying). So I try not to focus too much on what’s happening there, despite knowing that I have a lot of work coming my way as a result of that situation.

As ever, in order to retain my sanity, I’m still knitting. Honest, I am. I’m still knitting the Easy Lace Cowl because I decided to make it deeper (yes, I made progress on that during the week while commuting). I’m still knitting Eldest Niece’s mittens (yes, I have done a couple more rows of that second one but haven’t yet picked up for the thumb). I’m still knitting the latest hat (halfway through a shaping row and wondering if the cables are going to be lost in the colours). And I’m still knitting the lattice scarf (wow, that’s an amazingly quick knit but best not attempted when so tired you can’t keep your eyes open and definitely something where you do not want to drop a stitch).

I’m also still knitting that Noro Silk Garden scarf that I started for Eldest Son’s 40th-birthday present. You might recall it morphed into something more sober and serious that my menfolk assured me he might actually wear (I don’t know if he does) but I didn’t unpick what I’d already done. I rolled it up and put it away in one of my many calico shopping bags. I picked it up for my travel knitting on Sunday, wanting something gratifying but not requiring huge amounts of concentration – I needed to be able to identify sheep and crops and participate in conversation, you know – and being a straightforward 1×1 rib, it was ideal for the purpose.

So I’m still knitting quite a lot. I’m just not finishing anything.

And now I have an emergency sewing project: some more toobs, please, because one is lost and the weather is getting too chilly to be without such a thing. OK, I’ve tracked down the black polar fleece, must be close to locating the white and am clearing the sewing table. Back soon!


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the difference between H and K

In knitting news, I’ve sewn up one of Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves and, if I say so as shouldn’t, have done a lovely job of the side seam. The fingers? Not so good, but fiddly sewing doesn’t always lead to the tidiest results. YoungB, whose hands are about the same size as Youngest Uncle’s, tried on the finished mitt and pronounced it lovely and warm. I have the house to myself today (for a few more hours, anyway) and intend to finish the second mitt so I can move onto Eldest Niece’s really quick mittens, which are next in line. One thumb and the sewing-in of ends are the only tasks remaining there. I need to finish the back seam on the hat I knitted last week. It’s like any handsewing on dark colours in that it requires good light but I could possibly manage it in the presence of others, so that needn’t be done immediately. I’m still working on the Easy Lace Cowl – there hasn’t been a lot of bus knitting this week, for all sorts of reasons – but there’s no looming deadline on that, so I’ll just keep plugging away at it as the mood takes me.

I'm pretty happy with that side seam

I’m pretty happy with that side seam

So what about H and K? H is a shoe fitting, a wide one. K is an even wider shoe fitting, one I’ve suddenly discovered to be magnificently comfortable. And the difference between those two? It’s whether or not I can even wriggle my foot into a shoe in the first place! In other words, it’s the realisation that, if I want shoes that don’t hurt, I need to pay for very good ones. I’ve had wide feet for most of my adult life, even when the rest of me wasn’t quite so wide. I’m not averse to spending good money on good shoes – in my youth, I regularly wore Footrest shoes because they were comfy and, so long as I avoided one or two designs made on a last that didn’t suit my foot, I knew they fitted almost without having to try them first; and I loved K Shoes when I was living in England because they came in wide fittings – but my income these days is far more limited and therefore can’t be made to stretch to paying hundreds of dollars for shoes.

Yes, I know, it’s not as if I’d be spending it every week and one can rationalise it over an annual budget and so on; but sometimes you just can’t stump up that amount of money at one time in the first place. Finding cheap shoes that fit is problematic (read, impossible). I can get away with sandals in summer, though even they can be less than ideal if they have straps in the wrong places (in the interests of full disclosure, I admit to having had problems with swelling feet since I fractured an ankle in a vehicular accident a very long time ago) but I can’t wear sandals all year. Those of you who live in truly cold climes will laugh to hear me say that my feet get too cold, but that’s the way it is for me. Therefore, I need closed shoes. Closed shoes that fit are hard to find. My head hurts trying to solve the dilemma.

Youngest Aunt offered to buy me some really nice shoes as a birthday present, so off we went with a particular brand in mind (one that Youngest Aunt herself wears). It turns out, however, that they are indeed lovely but don’t fit me. My feet are too wide for most of their styles. The woman who served us was extremely helpful at suggesting an alternative brand, and obviously good at her job: I ended up with two pairs of shoes (the second pair is not home with me, but still in the shop and being purchased on lay by; not all shops offer lay by so I was happy indeed about that option). They’re both black, which is of course functional and pretty much OK with pretty much anything, but they are very different and don’t look at all as if they’re meant for the same task.

The shoes I brought home look like granny’s dancing shoes or perhaps something that Phryne Fisher might wear. They’re comfy and elegant (and nobody is more surprised than I am that my feet aren’t screaming because, gasp, they have a small heel). I suppose I should now hope that no-one decides to have a summer wedding that might require my purchasing light-coloured shoes or, heavens, I might have to buy some of those! (No, there are no weddings in the offing that I know of; but there are lots of youngsters at marrying ages and a couple in long-term relationships, so who knows?) At least now I know what size shoe I should be looking for.

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Posted by on April 13, 2013 in Knitting, Musing


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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?


Posted by on March 13, 2013 in Knitting


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just another small FO: starry bandanna

As well as knitting steadily on my two current projects – the easy lace cowl is nearly finished, too – I sewed a bandanna for my cousin. Her hair has now started to fall out as a result of the chemotherapy and, although she’ll probably wear a wig quite often, sometimes she’ll want a bit of protection without all that bother. I popped this in the post to her the other day.

Patterned with stars for someone who is a star

Patterned with stars for someone who is a star

It’s made from some pretty, cotton quilting fabric that was lurking in the specials box the last time Dr B and I were out shopping (it’s one of my cousin’s favourite colours, of course). You’d be proud of how carefully I measured it and its hems. I was quite proud, I can tell you; no evidence of my usual slapdashery! Being a firmer sort of cotton than what I used for Dr B’s bandannas, it held a finger-creased hem nicely, so I didn’t have to iron it much at all. There are some matching lavender bags to make everything smell sweet and to help keep the moths away.

I’ve known for years that I let myself get sidetracked quite easily and that that’s why I rarely undertake large knitting tasks (I delegated the knitting of YoungB’s baby shawl, for example). It means I can drop whatever I’m doing to respond to cases of genuine need. It also, alas, often means I’m struggling to finish things I’ve been trying to do for a long time and should really have finished long ago. You remember Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves? Yeah, I’m still going on those nearly a year after I started them. But, you know, I have at least three weeks up my sleeve before his next birthday; at least. That should be bags of time. Shouldn’t it?

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Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Knitting, Sewing


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old ladies

I’ve turned into one of those. Not the nice sort but the “My old lady lets me go and ride my motorbike while she stays home and works” type. I’m rebelling by refusing to do housework in their absence. Rather, I’ve been knitting. Dr B and I made a trip to buy some craft supplies – for something HE needed – before they sailed out this morning but any plans I might have had for the day were so thoroughly derailed that, well, I’ve knitted another inch or so of my Easy Lace Cowl and fixed up a mistake I’d had to tink in the Summer Shimmer Scarf by way of having my fun while they have theirs. There has to be justice in life, some sort of balance in the Force and all that.

They were, in fact, talking about bikes – pedal and motor – the other night, discussing various motor capacities and other intricate features (I assume they’re intricate though I am, of course, wilfully ignorant on such points). Dr B asked what would I be talking about had I had a gaggle of my friends over? Premium knitting needles, I said. Then I proceeded to tell them all about Addi needles with click-on ends and interchangeable middles and bamboo and rosewood and all the various other interesting needles and crochet hooks I read about. I don’t actually use any of those and am reasonably satisfied with the results I obtain on those I’ve been using for years. Their eyes were spinning nicely.

This is my idea of the way things should be, but I reckon I’d have a higher body count! (Image remains copyright of the original artist.)

Tomorrow we’re visiting a friend whose industrial sewing machine will make light work of the chore I’d have done for Dr B today had my machine had the grunt. Four layers of belting? Not really, even with a walking foot and a new needle. The friend is a bloke. There’s SOME balance in the Force, after all.


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