Saturday, February 26, 2011

Giving it away

I finished my Ishbel shawl. Its knit in Malabrigo sock, which is soft and squooshy and the colours are wonderful. It was a fun knit, the lace was simple enough to do in all sorts of public places, including the Speigel Garden. So why is the picture of it on the floor, rather than me proudly parading it? Well, there are a couple of issues with this shawl: In some lights the colours are almost identical to my Annis shawl

But the main one is that I like to wear my shawls like scarves or handkerchiefs. If I do that with Ishbel, this is what I get:

I look like I'm wearing a bib! So I'm going to give it to my mother who has been hinting (where hinting means saying "will you knit me a shawl?") and she can wear it in the traditional triangular style, where this lace really shines.

Now I'm off to work on Leon's next jumper.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Leon's winter set 2011

Every yea rthat Leon and I have been together I have madehim a winter set, a hat, scarf and mitts. There's been a variety of these. The first year I think I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino and a Jo Sharp pattern. We'd only been dating three months, and I knit Cashmerino for him! The second year I designed my own scarf and hat, which I was really proud of, but knit it the rather more economical Bendigo Woollen Mills yarn. Our third year together year I used Noro to make vertical stripes, it was all very sophisticated. This year I took it a step further and spun my own self stripping wool. Some of it is sheep and most of it is alpaca. I'm really happy with the way it looks, although as a relatively new spinner some of the alpaca is rather dense. In fact, I suspect the scarf could be used as an improvised weapon, in a pinch. Weaponised knitwear aside, I'm really happy with the way these came out and I hope Leon feels warm and loved all winter.

Friday, February 18, 2011

FO - Handspun Owls

After the drama of the needle size Owls was a remarkably fun, quick knit. I actually finished it last week, but we didn't get a chance to take photos, since the weather has been warm and humid and this is not the sort of jumper that can be put on for a brief photo shoot and then stuffed into a small bag.
It took me a week from start to finish, and reminded me of how much I love stocking stitch in the round. I used most, but not all of the 620 meters of wool that I spun. Knitting with my handspun was interesting and very satisfying, and I'm pretty content with the quality of my first attempt at long draw. It is certainly next to skin soft, and warm enough for any day Melbourne might throw at me.
I learnt a knew way of doing short rows - Sunday Short Rows which I found both easy and understandable, something I have never found with wrap and turn short rows. I was afraid of making the jumper too short, and may have erred on the side of length, but it's soft and warm and squishy. At the moment I only have one set of eyes on it. I'm considering doing more, but Leon expressed the opinion that it is effective this way and I should leave it, so I'm going to respect his opinion on the matter.
I suspect this warm, comfy jumper will get a lot of wear come the cold months. I have some of the same wool left over and I think I'll spin it up for matching mitts. I can just imagine walking out on a crisp winters evening, all warm and snug.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Not quite enough yards of heaven

As I mentioned last time, I've been spinning up some silk to ply with the red SioZ merino singles. I had 100grams of the merino and 50grams of silk, bought from the Handspinners and Weavers Guild. Silk is heavy, so I knew I had to spin it thinner, which was the effect I was going for anyway. Light thickish merino wrapped in a filament of silk. I needed 181 meters, in order to make the 198 yards of heaven shawl. I plied it yesterday - as an aside I had to run it through the wheel twice to get the amount of twist I wanted, might be time to invest in a high speed head for Little Gem. When I had it on the niddy noddy I measured it: 171 meters. I'm ten meters short. I've got plenty of the hand dyed merino left, so I'll try to pick up some more of the silk next time I am at the Guild. Ten meters away from heaven!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Richmond KAL: February Fun

The theme for the Richmond Knitalong for this month is February fun. I didn't originally plan to participate, I didn't have any toys in my queue and wasn't really thinking along those lines. And then this story developed: One of my work colleagues is pregnant. She thought she was having a boy, and I was disappointed, because I really, really wanted to make the February Baby sweater, which I did make and gifted to my little niece. I then decided to make something out of left over blue Rowan Cotton Glace. And then my colleague announced she was actually having a girl, not a boy. At this point I decided, rather than make a jumper I'd make a toy. Specifically the Mushroom Rattle:

I love the way this looks, although the bell is very muted, despite using a proper cat toy in a ball. It only took one night to knit and it's really cute, if ever so slightly phallic. And although the recipient will not know or care, I love the fact its made out of Socks that Rock and Dream in Colour Starry. I wanted to use some Wollmeise too, but I thought the random white I found in my stash might look better than the dark green. When I went to put it in the box where I store all my presents until they are ready to be gifted (I tend to panic and knit my gifts six months early) I realised I already had a little girls set in the gift box that I didn't gift because I didn't love the way it pooled, so I might wrap it all up together for her. Too easy.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Works in progress

I went up half a needle size for Owls, and got gauge, or close enough. I'm between pattern sizes as well as being slightly off gauge and so I went up a pattern size as well. So far its looking fine. I don't think I'm going to run out of yarn, I think its going to fit me and the handspun fabric I am knitting is so warm and squooshy. The weather has gone oddly cool - normally this time of year we have days and sometimes weeks where it is above forty degrees, but not this year. At least knitting this massive, warm fluffy jumper has been a comfort.

I made my first yarn purchase for the year. These two Wollmeise Skiens,
bought from a Ravelry destash. The green / yellow will be perfect for Romi Hill's Mia Shawl (Rav link) No idea what I'd going to do with the other. To (probably mis)quote Jen "I'm just going to hold it and pat it and call in George".

I've been spinning up some red 100 percent silk,

to ply with my Sioz red Merino, which is redder in real life, although in some lights does look more pink than red. I'm very much looking forward to plying it, the results should be interesting.

And now I'm off to the St Kilda festival. Because I'm volunteering for the RSPCA this morning and there won't be anywhere secure to put my stuff I'm taking a bag that is only big enough for a water bottle, phone and wallet. No room for my knitting. Hopefully I won't regret that later in the day.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Owls fail (or at least a temporary setback)

I swatched for Owls after finishing Annis. I discovered three things:

1) On 6.5mm needles my gauge is over by 3 stitches per 10cm, and the fabric is far too dense
2) I don't have any suitable larger needles
2) I don't really feel like knitting anything else right now

So, I need to go back to the knitting shop and buy some even larger Knit Pro needles. I'm worried that by going up, up, up in needle size the jumper with use more yarn, but there is nothing I can do about that, except knit it up and spin more if I run out.

In the meantime I am doing some gift knitting and focusing on spinning some red wool. I love red.