Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Measure of FO's

There are times when I am in love with my Finished Objects and there are times when I wonder why on earth I even bother knitting at times. 'Lacy Waves' has been finished but I'm sorry to say that it has a tale of woe for you.
For once I actually decided to block all the finished pieces out to the stated measurements before I even started sewing 'Lacy Waves' up. I was so pleased with myself for being professional (so I thought) and taking the time and effort to do things properly. I did make a little adjustment to the pattern in that I did a three needle bind off at the shoulders and was pleased with the result. It was when I washed the pieces that I had a bit of a surprise - the wool decided to grow despite all my careful washing. The body length up to the armhole had grown from the 14" I'd knitted to 17.5" and the body width was also larger than intended. The arms were longer but I wasn't bothered by this as in the pattern photos they did look like 3/4 length and I rathered longer sleeves. And at any point in my careful blocking did I realise what lay before me? Not at all.

Lace Insert detail.

Impatient for everything to dry and realising that Emily would soon be back from Nursery to trample over my knitting blocked out on the floor I started sewing the damp mass up. At this stage I was still pleased with how soft the washed wool was and how neatly I was sewing the garment up but as I sewed the last seam it dawned on my that the stupid thing looked massive. I knew the pattern wasn't going to be my usual fitted garment anyway but this was bigger than it should have been.

The fitted sleeves were loose and baggy and the body was overly wide threatening to fall down all the time. Admittedly I had yet to crochet round the neck but at this stage I knew that 2 rows of crochet were not going to save this. 'Lacy Waves' had drowned to become a Bagpuss jumper - saggy and baggy but not loved. Well, I lie - I did/do love the lace insert which was a clever piece of textural knitting combining lace and cables but the rest of the jumper is an utter waste of time. And what cheap and badly behaved yarn was this knitted in? Jaeger Matchmaker DK so I can't even blame that. What happened with the tension square you may very well ask? I hang my head in shame here and know my downfall - no tension square. It was the right sized needles - why bother?

With no smaller size 'Lacy Waves' pattern I'm not sure what I'll do now about reknitting this again. And the yarn itself worries me a little - will it grow again after reknitting? So far the plan is possibly to knit 'Daphne' the lovely little cardi that Mum has just finished and hope that the smaller needle size will keep the yarn in check but for now that yarn is going to sit in a corner out of my way until I'm less disappointed with the whole fiasco.

On a brighter note I do have some photos I promised you last time of some Monkeys I found hanging round in the woods by Mum last week - thank goodness no-one saw me with my feet up a tree taking photos of my socks! I'm still really pleased with these even if they have a tendency to fall down a bit for what ever reason. The Lana Grossa Mellienweit is lovely and woolly and such lovely soft colour blending - will be interesting to see how it wears.

Also as requested here is my bobbin of handspun. Blended on the drumcarder predominantly using shades of purple, blue and pink hand-dyed Texel and Cotswold curls with odd bits of yellow and red thrown in for good measure. The photo doesn't really do the colours justice as there is so much more variety in the colours than can really be seen here. Still need to finish the other bobbin to ply this up with so will report back later with the finished yarn and it's details.

Whilst at Mums I cast on for yet another project - not something I really needed to do as there are so many around the house. Can you tell what it is?

Can you tell where the deliberate knots in yarn end and the unintentional ones start?

Okay - it's a 'Scarf with the Striped Border' (not the most exciting title!) from 'Victorian Lace Today' knitted in some HipKnits lace weight silk which is such a slippery thing it will not stay in a ball and is permanently making it self into knots whether I like it or not!

More pretty things for you all - goodies from our trip to the Colinette Millshop! I did very well and resisted most admirably (could this be due to a certain 2 year old causing major distractions?!) and came home armed with this small offering:

The blue and yellow are both 'Jitterbug' from the sale room in unknown colourways and, as always, another cone of 4ply wool for my collection - such good value I can not resist! And all lovely bright colours for happy socks!

Whilst at Mums we had a lovely walk round a local lake that I've driven past so many times but have never actually walked round. What a pleasant surprise that was. Emily had a whale of a time running round with the dogs and playing 'Pooh Sticks' on the bridges and it was such a lovely day - we even managed a pic-nic!

Emily plays 'Pooh Sticks'

And why the surprise at the lovely location? Can you see the building in the photo below? That is the decommissioned Trawsfynydd Nuclear power station, something I've always grumbled at and never really before seen what really surrounded it. The only drawback to it going is that the funding has gone for the visitor centre for the lake and so there are no more details available on all the lovely walks surrounding it all.

Well, all those photos have put me in a better mood now. I shall ignore that pile of green for a while and forget the excitement of a lovely lacy jumper gone sour. Ah, knitting - why do we inflict ourselves with it?! Sorry about the photo heavy post will try to keep it brief next time!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Stocking Stitch Slog

Well as I feel like I'm virtually up to date with every ones blogs again I'll allow myself to post. Saying that there's not an enormous amount to blog about right now. I'm trying to do two things at once as always and am working on Norah Gaughans 'Lacy Waves Top' from 'Lace Style' again. Now I've not shown you this before as quite honestly there's not a lot to see. The back is plain stocking stitch - no shaping until the armholes and neck / shoulder. The front is much the same - 14" of plain stocking stitch, nice mindless knitting but not exactly the most exciting photo in the world. But just to show I have been doing some knitting here is a dull photo of stocking stitch for you all.

The pattern does get more exciting later on with the lace sleeves and lace insert panel for the front of the jumper but for now it is a little dull and a bit slow growing as a result. I've decided that I do like my knitting to keep me thinking to some extent or another and so these 14" have been a bit of a chore at times, still not far to go till the armholes bringing shaping and things to think about!

WIP number 2 at the moment (obviously not including those lost in the UFO pile) is another pair of 'Log Cabin Socks' from Hand Knit Holidays but these are the larger size this time which will hopefully fit my Dad. I wanted to make him some thick warm socks as he does Motor Racing Marshaling (those guys in the orange suits round race tracks) and stands round in the cold for hours - these will hopefully do the trick for him! Knitted in a chunky yarn on 4mm needles (I'm doing the magic loop as usual) I'm using some Sirdar Denim Chunky as I don't think I could trust Dad not to sling hand wash only socks in the washing machine so at least these will be safe in the machine and not shrink on him but still have some wool content.

It is a great pattern - quick growing and a straightforward cable pattern that whilst easy is enough to keep you from being too bored. I'm on the heel flap right now so am whizzing through them - pity not everyone is having chunky socks for Christmas!! I think I'm safe to post about Dad's socks here as well but other Christmas socks may have to be kept secret for a while!

My Monkeys have of course been finished and unfortunately the camera battery ran out as I was about to photograph them for you so a bit of a delay for that.

I've also been playing with my drum carder making my own batts out of my hand dyed fleece and playing with blending colours with really satisfactory results, well at least I'm pleased with them! As with Monkeys no photo so far but I'll get one done as soon as possible. I've one bobbin of purpley mauve shades and I've started spinning up a bobbin to ply these with. Original plans were for some plain Welsh Black but I'm now thinking of blending some more coloured fleece in with this to see if I can get subtle flecks of colour coming through the black. It's proving to be a good way of getting used to the drum carder and figuring the best way to use it and is fun seeing what happens to these pretty batts once they're spun up. Not sure what the yarn will end up as but so far it's nice and fine so depending on the yardage possibly socks - now there's a surprise!