RSS

Tag Archives: Noro Silk Garden

along these lines

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?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Knitting

 

Tags: , , , , ,

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?

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 19, 2014 in Knitting, Sewing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

did I make it or not?

Firstly, happy new year. Personally, I hope 2014 is a better year than 2013 turned out to be but whatever it holds, I’ve no doubt at all that there’ll be more plans made and never fulfilled. I mean, for example, I’m already a year down with my plan to knit YoungB’s cabled jumper and I haven’t yet begun it! (That leaves me two years in hand, I tell myself. Bags of time, absolutely bags.)

Wrapping up with 2013 Sewlutions: if I put the Yalta top as a success and something I could or even would wear to work – and the answer to both of those is yes, since I would never be without at least a short-sleeve jacket in any paid employment, which would certainly hide a multitude of sins – then I came in as a completion. Since my original brief was something like that, perhaps I got there in time. (Excuse the poor picture, I was being lazy about the tripod; and I deliberately didn’t include my face since it’s presently suffering an horrific outbreak of cold sores.)

Wearable and respectable and a vast improvement on my old, faded tops. But is it acceptable to the Mistress?

Wearable and respectable and a vast improvement on my old, faded tops. But is it acceptable to the Mistress?

If, however, we take the view that my main purpose was to use that lovely piece of rayon to make a nice top? No, I failed quite dismally. I could have sat up late on New year’s Eve and done a terribly botched job simply to make the deadline (although, being among the earliest to greet the New Year, I’d have had hours in hand, that’s not actually an option when you know your day is already spoken for). But that’s part of the deal, too: I wanted to do a good job. For once I wanted to have all the seams finished nicely and the neckline tidy and the hems straight. In that case, the Yalta top doesn’t fit the bill either, since I made it in such a rush that there are bodgy bits of finishing. It’s perfectly wearable, just not brilliant.

Also – because on New Year’s Eve I was tired to the point where I couldn’t keep my eyes open even to read a book (rare, but it happens) I went to bed and was so soundly asleep that I didn’t hear Dr B and Eldest Aunt come home from the beachside fireworks display – I didn’t blog about my failure or read Karen’s post on the appointed day. I’ve since headed over to do that, sure she’d have pulled another rabbit out of the hat; and, you know, of course she had! But I had a feeling there’d be others who might also be in that grey area of not knowing quite whether to claim a success or a miserable failure and probably quite a few who didn’t manage to meet either the Sewlution or the deadline. That’s proved to be the case.

In a bigger picture way, I’m quite sure that my muddled output was a product of my muddled year. I did manage to knit a reasonable amount – 14 completed items, if my record on Ravelry is accurate, as well as two cardigans that are frogged or still WIPs, a care shawl that’s also still on the needles and the Noro Silk Garden scarf that’s growing slowly – but my sewing was less productive. I mended a lot of things, though I always think of that as rescuing them otherwise I probably wouldn’t do it! But let’s see, what did I make? A bandanna, quite a few lavender bags, several totes of varying descriptions, a little clutch I didn’t blog about but use all the time and three aprons as well as the galactic Yalta top. Not a large output, I think you’d have to agree. Perhaps this year I’ll manage to get that sewing room back to a better state of usefulness and improve my output.

So I remain uncertain as to the answer to my question but perhaps, if the Mistress is in a good mood, She might reckon I managed to meet the goal of making a top suitable for work. Otherwise I’m in for a terrible time. I hope you’re not also quaking in your boots!

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Knitting, Reading, Sewing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 8, 2013 in Knitting

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 29, 2013 in Knitting

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

gauging by reactions

I’ve mislaid my knitting needle gauge (I’m reasonably sure it’s about the place somewhere but I truly cannot track it down). I could probably get by without it for a while but, as I have a lot of old needles and some of them aren’t obviously marked with a size, it’s something I would eventually need (assuming continued absence of original, etc; and it’s been missing for a while).

Cue present situation with scarves on size UK 8/US 6/4 mm needles. I thought the pair I picked up to start on mark II of Eldest Son’s scarf (Dr B and Boy both reckoned Eldest Son unlikely to wear what I was busy with; in fact, Dr B said categorically that he wouldn’t) were about the same size, but to both eye and feel, they were a little thicker than the metal needles I’d been using for the other scarf. That’s perfectly possible, too, as knitting needle gauge can vary somewhat especially with older needles and different countries; my lovely long, pink Italian needles that I pretended were UK 10, and which claimed to be UK 10, actually aren’t (discussion below). They’re somewhere between sizes but it didn’t matter. I used them anyway and I absolutely loved, and still love, how l-o-n-g they are (15 ins/39 mm or so of good workable space and a bit to spare). That they’re pink is an added bonus because it means they’re extra easy to find.

So, anxious to get started on the next version of the scarf and absent the gauge, I went with the flow. I mean, it’s a scarf. No biggie. Instead of Silk Garden which was decreed too bright for Eldest Son’s austere taste, the scarf is now in two close shades of Cleckheaton Country Tartan (both with a blue base). It’s looking good and it’s lovely and soft and will be very warm. It’s quietly understated and my colleagues think it should be just the shot for A Man (any man). Boy and Dr B, I can tell you now, are less convinced of its appropriateness for Eldest Son although they think it’s perhaps more his style than the Silk Garden scarf.

Long pink metal and short aqua plastic needles

However, I thought I’d better replace the needle gauge because I might need to be more precise about something in the future (near or distant). The last one accompanied some magazine or other that I bought when I was living in England. I don’t suppose the magazine was expensive and I probably bought it for the gauge (perhaps it was an English Women’s Weekly, given their fabulous knitting patterns one of which could well have caught my eye) rather than specifically the content.

I tracked down a sturdier gauge (it’s a pack of two for the wider range of today’s readily available size of needles) whose appropriate slot tells me my old needles, instead of being “maybe UK 8/US 6/4 mm” are actually nearer “maybe UK 7/US 7/4.5 mm”. In fact, they are a size somewhere between UK 7/US 7/4.5 mm and UK 6/US8/5 mm. However, the gauge is confusing, too, setting out equivalents that tells me precision in needle sizes is not a firm concept at all.

It states that 3.5 mm needles are UK 9/US 4. Then it assures me that UK 9 are also equivalent to US 5 and 3.75 mm. My 3.5 mm needles say they’re UK 10, which the gauge recognises as 3.25 mm/US 3. Who’s right? I suppose you pays your money and takes your choice but there is an extent to which it doesn’t matter, so long as you use the correct size to obtain the correct tension/gauge (more confusion around terminology). I’m not giving up on my old needles just because they don’t fit the gauge because the scarf is looking nice.

You might say the scarf likes the old needles and I here admit that so do I. As I said, I do love my pink Italian numbers but the very length that makes me love them means I couldn’t use them on the bus. Those I’m using now are short, which means I can knit on the bus without fear of stabbing anyone or having to adopt a cramped style to avoid annoying someone sitting in the next seat. They’re plastic. Actually, they’re probably bakelite, I don’t know; I believe they’re what might be called vintage (they once belonged to my mother). They’re soft, anyway, and don’t hurt my hands or make them ache. They’re quiet (mind you, I don’t make that much racket when I knit anyway). They fit into my handbag. And what is more, they’re aqua. (Excuse the quality of the photo, my phone was handy and the real camera was not.)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Knitting, Musing

 

Tags: , , , , ,