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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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substitution suggestions?

I could make mitts like these but perhaps it's time for a change

I could make mitts like these but perhaps it’s time for a change

I’ve said before that I don’t make resolutions with and for new years and that I don’t really have defined plans for what I might knit during any year. Of course, there are things I have an idea I’ll get around to doing, anual goals I might achieve such as birthday knitting  – YoungB’s new jumper comes into that category; but he’s having second thoughts about which design he’d like, hence it’s already stalled! – and others that I wouldn’t have foreseen in any planning – cousins with cancer and jungle-themed birthday parties might come into that category in terms of unexpectedness – but which require my doing something. Well, to me they do. Others might do different things but I suppose my response to bad times as well as good tends to be handmade gifts: mitts when Youngest Aunt had a heart attack; a moebius cowl for a friend when her mother died; a cowl and bandanna for the cousin. It’s what I do and I think it’s too late in life to try to change my habits, at least in that respect.

Then there are all those serendipitous little things that happen along – new babies in the family and so on – and other things that you decide on a whim you’ll make. Today’s plea for assistance relates to an item in the whimsical category. One of YoungB’s mates is turning 21 soon. Her party takes place at the same time as the family’s jungle-themed one so YoungB won’t be here. However, he’ll certainly catch up with both birthday girls at some point. I offered to knit some fingerless mitts for the friend. She’s also a scientist and her fingers would get cold in winter, too, and handknitted, woollen, fingerless mitts would be a wonderful, impossible to replicate gift (well, I suppose they might be found somewhere if you knew where to look, but not at prices affordable by an impoverished uni student; as if there’s any other sort).

We’ve decided on the these mitts (another of the many wonderful, free patterns on Ravelry) but not yet the yarn. I’m wondering if Bendigo‘s sock yarn, that blue, self-striping colourway, might be an OK substitute (colourways available in other yarns might be better but aren’t available in 4 ply). What do you think? (I’m not against attempting to find something closer to the specified yarn but I am loath to order from an overseas supplier if I can find anything local that’s remotely similar; and I’m also fairly impoverished, being still unemployed and all that, so there are budget constraints at all levels.) I accept it might not be quite as subtle a result as the yarn specified and, indeed, may well be far too strong for the delicacy of the design, but – well, has anyone used it that I could see made up? Or do I need to just buy some, start knitting and see for myself?? (It would be no hardship at all to do that, of course, because if I thought it wouldn’t work for the mitts, I could use it to make socks.)

Lincraft‘s Hand-Dyed Effect (in either of the Rock Garden or Regal colourways to capitalise on the blue favoured by the birthday girl) might be a good substitute but it’s considerably dearer and its quality unknown even though the fibre composition is similar to the Bendigo yarn. There’s a shop in town that sells Noro yarns so I could pick up some sock yarn when I’m in that vicinity (employment agency interviews and things of that sort invariably happen in town). I love the unexpectedness of Noro’s colourways but suspect they also might be too strong for the subtlety of the Hedgerow pattern. In addition to the financial consideration, there’s a time constraint, too, and it’s quite pressing, so I need to find something suitable immediately if not sooner. Yesterday would have been good!

Or, of course, if this gets all too difficult and headache-inducing, I could use a different mitt pattern. There’s no shortage of those, I know, or I could stick to this designer’s work that I keep coming back to (and of which I’ve made a goodly number of pairs and they’re all lovely). But the Hedgerow one is lovely, too, in a different way; and a 21st birthday is a special occasion. So if you have any yarn substitution suggestions, I’d be forever grateful. Thank you.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2014 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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ever knitted the same item multiple times? have I ever!

Vogue Knitting asked:

Do you have a favorite pattern you have knit more than once? I think many of us do. Have you knit one pattern more than 5 times??? Mine is this one skein NORO hat. What is yours?

Of course I have. I wasn’t surprised that their one pattern is a hat. My go-to items tend to be balaclavas and beanies and it’s easy to see why they are. In cold climes, people need warm head covering. A basic beanie pattern is open to a lot of imaginative reinterpretation.

I have a broken-rib pattern that knits up quickly and can be made to look very different depending on how you choose to do it: do you have a turn-up or not? If no, how do you treat the ribbed edge? Do you vary it simply by being smart with changing colours? Or knit it at a firmer tension than the patterns asks for? At last rough count, I’d made about 10 of those. The pattern came from what I believe to be a now defunct women’s magazine way, way back in the early 1970s.

Another of my hat recipes is a chunky, garter-stitch one that’s even quicker to make. I think I made four of those last winter, one or two the winter before and at least one for myself many years ago. I call that a useful pattern too. Like the broken rib pattern, it’s from the early 1970s, in this case for a Villawool Inca jacket and cap.

Then there are the half a dozen or so balaclavas I’ve knitted for various friends and family members, often at their request because they’re out in the cold and need the wind-blocking properties that a good balaclava provides. Boy was happy to receive one for use under his motorbike helmet. That doesn’t qualify as a quick knit, not for me anyway, but it’s a good, basic pattern from an old Patons book; and it’s one that you can play with.

I’ve also made and given away five or six pairs of fingerless mitts, using a free pattern from Twinset Ellen on Ravelry. They’re quick, they’re warm, they’re easy, they’re small and portable during construction (which means I can knit them on the bus) and they’re funky enough that Boy and Dr B both use theirs in public. Gasp.

Otherwise, feather-and-fan baby singlets (three that I can remember making from a Patons pattern), blackberry stitch booties (three pairs I can remember, and I think it’s sometimes called bramble stitch; again, a Patons pattern) and plain jumpers would head my list of things of which I’ve made multiples and would make again. What about you?

Edited 12/4/12: You can also find the pattern for the fingerless mitts at Twin Set. Just scroll down to Handed Yes, Fingered No, Mitts that Fit for a PDF download.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Knitting

 

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