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Eldest Son might have coped with pink but he'd never have worn green

Eldest Son might have coped with pink but he’d never have worn green

I said I’d share some photos of the Noro Silk Garden scarf. It’s perhaps the most expensive scarf I’ve ever made. It has long been a WISP that, you might recall, started life as a 40th-birthday present for Eldest Son. I was howled down when it came to the colour choice and ended up knitting him something much plainer. It’s true that perhaps the green would have been a turn-off for him. The difficulty, of course, was knowing quite how much green was in the mix, since both were described as predominantly blue. It’s not an exciting knit – it’s a long, straight, striped scarf when all’s said and done! – but the colours play nicely together. I blocked it, so it has softened and bloomed very nicely. The thick/thin nature of the yarn has made for some bumpy bits of edging here and there, but I personally think it adds interest.

I used four balls of yarn, two in one dye lot and the other two in a close but not identical dye lot. I couldn’t tell you the dye lot numbers, I’m sorry (I seem to have lost the ball bands). I can tell you that I cast on 42 stitches and, using size 4mm/UK8 needles, worked a 1X1 rib till I ran out of yarn. I did a crochet-hook cast on so that the ends would match, slipped the first stitch of each row and worked two rows from each ball, carrying the spare yarn tidily behind the slipped stitches, but that’s about it. The most interesting thing about this whole project, apart from the “Who’s going to get it?” saga, is that the needles I used were the first pair of knitting needles I ever owned. They were good then and, 50-or-so years later, they still do a fine job.

I hope you’ve been able to finish some of your WISPs this weekend?

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Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Knitting

 

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how hard could it be?

Colour-matching stripes as well as aligning them? It's harder than you might think.

Colour-matching stripes as well as aligning them? It’s harder than you might think.

Do you ever find yourself asking that question? How hard could it be for someone else to clean the loo or change the toilet roll or do any of the dozens of domestic chores that evidence suggests can only be done by one person and that would never be either of the males about the house? Yep, me too. All the time!

Sewing can have those sorts of moments as well. By way of background, let me explain that YoungB has a 21st-birthday party to attend shortly (there’ll be a few of them in the next couple of years) and, given that it’s late autumn and the mornings are darn chilly, we reckoned that a long, knitted scarf would be an ideal gift. Remember the Noro Silk Garden scarf? Yep, we decided that that would do the job nicely. When I said recently that I’d finished it, I wasn’t entirely fibbing. The knitting was certainly completed, but there were still the ends to deal with and it hadn’t been blocked. Those details have now been taken care of. The intended recipient is a young woman whose idea of a great birthday present is some homemade muffins or something equally useful and not wasteful. Therefore, we decided that a reusable shopping bag would make ideal gift wrapping.

Really, making a shopping bag should be easy and why not throw in a couple of matching lavender bags?

Really, making a shopping bag should be easy and why not throw in a couple of matching lavender bags?

How hard could it be to make a foldable, reusable shopping bag? It’s not. It’s just kind of fiddly and when you’re attempting it with minimal measuring tools, getting your lines plumb is more of a headache than you might think. And when you’re trying to cut it out late at night – that’s about the only time I ever do things! – sometimes the difficulties associated with making sure your stripes match are insuperable. I lined up the pieces beautifully but not in the correct order, so although the stripes align from front to back, they don’t match. The handles have the same problem (obviously; and there the stripes don’t even align). Never mind, it’s lightweight, made with bright, cheerful fabric (acceptable for the party theme of 80s or lots of colour), suitable for purpose and if I had half a dozen of them on hand to use instead of gift wrap, I’d be extremely pleased with myself. (Yes, you’re right, that’s certainly something to aim for; but let’s not call it a plan. Okay?)

Handmade fibre gifts from our household generally include a lavender bag. In this case, we decided on two because the leftover bits of yarn are part of the gift, just in case there’s ever any mending required, and they’re in a separate little bag of their own (plastic, in that case, for mothproofing purposes) along with an instruction card detailing the yarn’s fibre content and care. The lavender bags are made with the same striped fabric as the shopping bag and I made them without a hanging loop. All YoungB has to do now is get a card and nut out a suitably 80s costume. With Dr B’s wardrobe available for raiding, how hard could that be?

 

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2014 in Knitting, Sewing

 

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just nuts

If I may change sporting analogies for a moment, I’m almost through the red buoys, only about a bow ball away from the finish line with the Tarrantino scarf – that is, it’s knitted and I have only the ends to sew in. It will not be getting blocked. Amen.

The second Simple Linen Apron is almost finished but I foresee a small-hours effort trying to achieve that goal since Dr B’s very late plan change for today’s timetable has thrown everything into chaos of an extremely high order. I wonder, after all these years, why I should be surprised by that; but, you know, he still has the ability to knock my feet out from under me!

You’ll see why it’s back to work I go. Let me say only that, along with nuts, there had better be some chocolates and plenty of cherries. Then I might think it’s Christmas. The Advent calendar today reached the closing punctuation point of “Merry Christmas To You” and so, this must be the time to wish all of you just that: a very merry Christmas, however or whatever you celebrate.

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2013 in Knitting, Musing, Sewing

 

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it’s supposed to be summer

Arguments rage as to when summer begins officially – in Australia, we don’t start our seasons coincident with solstices and the like, but arbitrarily on the 1st of the relevant month; I have no idea why such a decision was taken or by whom but it was and a long time ago – but whenever it’s meant to be, our temperatures lately have been too cold for comfort. Well, for my comfort. The upside to the continuing chilliness is that it’s still perfectly all right to whip out your knitting and whizz through a few rows between time trials at rowing. So today, that’s what I did. That purple scarf? Mate, I’m on the home straight! And, you know what? One of the coaches came up to congratulate me for knitting. Yeah. Trendy as, that’s me!

She and I talked about knit and natter sessions – or stitch and bitch, whichever it might be wherever you are (and perhaps that varies according to mood) – then for a little while about knitting for payment and knitting whilst commuting on long bus trips – the two are linked, because it’s possible, we agreed, to bowl over a lot of knitting in a six-hour bus trip – and the joys and attractions of Arans and Fairisles. Dr B just sat there and grinned. Of course, he probably couldn’t hear half of what we were saying because he didn’t have his hearing aids in (he’d taken them out for cycling purposes) but obviously he caught the gist of it because, once the coach had returned to her rowers, he felt absolutely obliged to point out that, in the big scheme of things, fancy knitting is decadent. Plain knitting? Perhaps allowable. Anything else is beyond what’s required for immediate survival and therefore has to be considered wasteful of time and resources. Hmm, yes. You can tell, can’t you, that YoungB did a philosophy unit this year?? Me? I just kept right on with my very plain knitting. I mean, it doesn’t come much plainer than a long, straight, garter stitch scarf.

Of course, I haven’t really started any other of my Christmas crafting, unless you count pulling out relevant patterns, ironing fabric and ensuring some clear space for sticking PDF patterns together prior to eventual cutting out of fabric. I consider all those things progress, because I’m much more easily able to do something for a few minutes if it’s all just waiting there; but I’m scarily aware that, help, the Advent calendar is at the halfway mark and I have such a busy weekend coming up that there’s little likelihood of doing any sewing. Too bad. What gets done will get done and what doesn’t get done I plan not to mention. Out of sight out of mind, and what the eye doesn’t see the heart won’t grieve and all that. What about you? Do you have a good plan for making light of the unfinished projects and instead celebrating what you have achieved?

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Knitting, Rowing, Sewing

 

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and then a grey morning comes along

Sparkly, innit? That's exactly what it was NOT like this morning!

Sparkly, innit? That’s exactly what it was NOT like this morning!

Yesterday I was exhorting YoungB to make sure he kept cool and hydrated. Today I’m telling him to rug up and keep warm. It’s been a bit like that lately, with the weather fairly unpredictable and seeming to vacillate between (relative) extremes. (I know, I know, it’s either extreme or it’s not. Divergent conditions, then?)

He and I were out early this morning, he to row in a quad that had first to be rigged, I to stroll around the lake. I took my knitting in the hope that I would do a few rows in the car while I was waiting for him to finish training and pack up. I didn’t. There are occasions when even garter stitch is too taxing and I think the morning fell squarely into that category. As I said, at this time of year we’re like everyone else: tired. But, you know, gloomy or not and tired or not, I’d really better get cracking on that scarf or it won’t be under the Christmas tree!

I hope that your weather isn’t proving too much of a deterrent to your crafting endeavours; and, of course, that your afternoons turn out sunny even if the mornings are not. Luckily, that’s what has happened here.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Knitting, Sewing

 

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FO: chevron-style scarf

The little scarf I made is just a single-repeat version of this lovely pattern which is, as I said, simple enough to require minimal concentration. I used 6.5 mm needles and one skein of Moda Vera Faith yarn which is described as 2ply/laceweight. After blocking, it’s about 6 inches/15 cm by 68 inches/172 cm. It wasn’t intended to be for me (I had it in mind for the FO/emergency gift container) so it was nice to find a recipient for it at a family dinner recently. We were celebrating what would have been my Dad’s 100th birthday and a newcomer to the family, hailing from a warmer clime, didn’t have a warm scarf. Obvious answer? Giver her this one.

Remember, it's about the scarf, not whether I've tied it well or it.suits me!

Remember, it’s about the scarf, not whether I’ve tied it well or it.suits me!

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2013 in Knitting

 

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not smug, just satisfied

That would be me as I start finishing off a few projects I’ve had lying about the place for a while, including the chevron-style scarf that wasn’t really lying about the place so much as something quick to keep me occupied while I thought about which other project to tackle next. I don’t like huge amounts of unfinished projects although I think they’re a necessary part of how I knit (different projects for different purposes). I’m even just about ready to get back to Nonna’s cardigan.

More immediately, however, I tinked a couple of inches of my Noro Silk Garden scarf and am now making good progress on that. Being simply a two-row sriped 1×1 rib (knitted with two balls of yarn and definitely inspired by Jared Flood‘s mouthwatering version), it’s good sit-and-knit stuff and does me nicely for commuting in the car (if perhaps not so well in a bus because it’s on straight needles). That will be a good thing to have out of the way and ready for use. Winter is definitely here, however late it might have been in its arrival, and I need a good, thick scarf. The chevron-style one is lovely as a neck warmer but it’s not really heavy duty enough for those cold, cold morning walks that I undertake while YoungB rows and Dr B cycles.

As to Nonna’s cardigan? Yeah, well, I’d have been a little less hasty about using the old one as a sizing template if I’d seen her in it before I cast on for the new one. I washed and mended the old one, as much as I could, and sent it back to her. Then we happened to go out somewhere and I saw her wearing it. Though I don’t doubt it was originally the right size, by now it’s obviously too small. Oh, dear. So I’m actually going to have to frog 13 inches of work on a cardigan knitted in one piece to the armhole. You can see why I’ve stalled on that for a while. I know she’ll love a new cardigan and all that, but, you know, I’m feeling a bit defeated there and wondering if I’ll actually have enough yarn. We’ll see. I’m sure I can come up with some sort of solution, but I need to keep knitting while I’m thinking about what that solution might be.

Once I finish the Noro scarf, I have a couple of other small projects that I can probably get back to before I need to tackle the cardie again (I’ll frog it and leave the yarn to de-kink in the meanwhile). There are some mitts and a pair of lovely socks (the latter for myself) that ended up at the bottom of the list for a variety of reasons mostly relating to other people’s need for other, more important and definitely more urgent, things. Those little undertakings deserve to be shaken off and finished so that I can then devote some serious time to the Ursula mittens, doing a cardie of some sort for Nonna and making a start on YoungB’s jumper (that would be the one I’m going to make for his 21st birthday in three years’ time; if I start soon, I should finish it before the due date). In between times, I have to convert some old pillowcases to garments for a ski trip – don’t ask; just think uni students and general silliness – and get our messy house into some semblance of order! Yeah, right.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2013 in Knitting

 

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