Monday, July 30, 2012

Not quite the effect I was aiming for

As mentioned last post, I've been making matchy matchy sock for my dressing gown. I knew they fit, because I've been trying them on as I go (as an aside, I got to knit the toes three times: the first time they were too short, the second time I managed to turn them 45 degrees. Third time was the charm)

So when I finally finished them, and sewed in ALL the ends I felt very confident that I would be happy with them. And then I put them on with their matchy matchy dressing gown pal and started laughing: I kind of haven't stopped. I knew they might be terribly matchy, but I didn't expect the sum effect to be hilarious! All in all they completed "outfit" is both comfortable and comforting. A win all around.
Oh look, both cats have snuck into this photo

Thursday, July 26, 2012

On socks: making, frogging and darning

After finishing the dressing gown, I decided to make matching knee high socks. I often wear handknitted knee highs around the house, they are so warm and comfortable. I decided to use this pattern from Knitty, although I  changed the hight, the stitch count, the yarn weight, the rate of decreases and the needle size. Also, I decided to change the heel to an afterthought heel to make it replaceable, because walking around on my carpets wears through the heels of my indoor socks through. Unfortunately, after I put in the first heel last night I realised that the afterthought heel pulled the whole sock down in a way that a heel flap and gusset doesn't, so it was too shortt. I'm going to have to do some rethinking and frogging to make it work - perhaps the Crystal heel (also from Knitty) and moving the heel down two stripes?
I don't like to frog immediately, I like to think and plan before I rip, so last night instead of knitting I pulled out the darning pile and reinforced the heels of a couple of pairs of my house socks. I had been putting this off for a while,  knitting new socks instead of repairing the old ones, so it was good to get it done. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dressing gown complete

As I have said a number of times, I love knitting stocking stitch in the round. The simple joy of knitting around and around and around satisfies something basic for me. So, when I decided to make a knee length cardigan I converted it into the round. When I was done with the knitting I used this  Kate Davies tutorial to reinforce the steek. Then I cut it, and used her "steek sandwich" idea to ensure a nice, covered edge. This is particularly important for this pattern, because you can see the inside of the facing, particularly on the hood.
I loved using this technique, rather than knitting backwards and forwards, which all the turning and purling. The edging done this way is so very neat. The only thing I would have done differently is I could have knit the hood in the round and steeked that too, but being that this is only the second time I've steeked I didn't think about that until after I had knit it. All in all I am incredibly happy with the way this cardigan / robe has come out. It was a comforting knit that has produced a comfortable garment.
We took action photos, while I was cooking dinner because that's what this garment is for; throwing on around the house wiht my trackies. Perhaps it would have been more acurate to take pictures of me sitting on the couch, knitting and watching TV.

Pattern Modifications:
After knitting the hood joined in the round, adding 5 stitches to place the steek.
Finished the sleeves with ribbing, rather than garter stitch
Used a sewn hem on the bottom
Did the belt in stocking stitch, with i-cord edging, and the belt loop were knitted
Steeked the fronts and applied double sided stocking stitch facings

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bendigo 2012

Every year, coming up to what we call Bendigo, but what is officially titled the Australian Sheep and Wool Show I consider not going. I say thing thing like "I have all the yarn I need" or "I'm feeling skint" and this year I just feel tired. Even though lovely people had offered me lifts up and back and even a bed for Friday night I just wasn't feeling it. I've just got back from a month overseas, I bought a crazy amount of yarn at Woolfest and I'm just tired. I'm also training for a half marathon, so I have to fit running into my schedule somewhere. So, by Monday night I had decided I wasn't going. But, when Robyn was leaving Richmond knitters she mentioned she would be driving up, leaving at 9ish and coming back at fourish. Perfect. I got to go to the show without getting up early, and come back the same day.
I was relatively restrained with my shopping, which is good, because the stash box is pretty chockers.

I bought 4 skeins of sock yarn - two of the Jitterbug 110 gram hanks. These are being discontinued which, for me, is a shame, because they are 290 meters, so are the only sock yarn I use that I don't end up with a quarter of the ball left over. I also bought some dark green from Stranded in Oz for Leon and some Malabrigo  because I needed some really boring boy yarn for a friend who is getting socks for his birthday. I also bought 650 grams of mint green leftovers for a jumper for me. These were really cheap (like $10 cheap) and I am obsessed with this colour. 
And that was it. We looked at the sheep, learnt about a breed that looks like goats, watched some shearing, bought some fudge and came home. All in all a very satisfying day. Thanks for the lift Robyn!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dressing gown, in progress

I've made a number of changes to the simple cardigan pattern I am using as my dressing gown pattern. I replaced the garter edging with ribbing on the sleeves and a sewn hem on the bottom. On my old dressing gown the garter sleeves used to get caught up in the spinning wheel. I'm replacing the built in garter front bands with an applied edge, because I found that the old ones flipped under and I wanted a more structured edge. Probably the most significant difference though is that I knit it in the round and am steeking it.
 Last night I finished the arms and body. Today I am off to do a 10 km fun run, and then  when I get home - after a shower - I'll sew down the bottom hem, and get going on that steak.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hot Glue Gun!

My friend Bee had a birthday party on Saturday night. She is a good friend, as well as being my massage therapist and therefore the reason I can still knit. She is also the most crafty non-knitter I know and she makes the best presents. For example, for Leon's birthday she sewed him a "bad" tie. So, for her birthday I wanted to craft her something. I decided to make hair clips for her. I found this tutorial, which said I needed a hot glue gun. I own lots of crafting equipment, including a staple gun, but I've never had cause to buy and use a hot glue gun.
It was really fun! The tutorial was great and I was really happy with the result, turning this pile of stuff

 into these super cute bows.I see more hot glue gunning in my future.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Cookie A sock club, June shipment‏

While I was travelling the June Cookie a Sock club shipment happened. The patterns were emailed and are classic Cookie A. The yarns beautiful, from Plucky Knitter Yarns, a Merino / Cashmere / Nylon blend, in a stunning blue.
I knit one of the pattern already for Leon, and now, when I am considering what to knit next I DON'T WANT TO KNIT THE OTHER PATTERN. Or rather, I don't want  knit it right now. I feel like I have enough socks, for the moment. I want to be knitting socks for Leon and my father and Raph (a friend who is having a birthday soon) or knee high socks, and I don't think this pattern can be converted to make it manly. Now, for most people this wouldn’t be a big deal, but I'm a bit uncomfortable with the idea of leaving it. Just not knitting it now. On the other hand I'm the boss of my knitting and I'll knit what I want and at the moment that seems to be big, warm jumpers. Not really surprising, given the weather.
During all this angst I made one of the biscuit recipes from the June package:

Tasty. The "Cookie" part of the Cookie A sock club has been unexpectedly fun.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Dressing Gown

A long time ago, when I was a new knitter, I decided I wanted to knit a dressing gown. Something to throw on over pyjamas, or to wear around the house when I was lounging. I had in mind exactly what I wanted. Something long and hooded and a little bit wrappy. I searched long and hard and finally found a pattern. Now, this was before I joined Ravelry, which was almost exactly four years ago, so I was hunting around the web. I found this:

# 225 Neck Down Long Hooded Cardigan
from Knitting Pure and Simple. At the time they didn't do digital downloads, and they actually had to mail the pattern to me. The perfect, perfect pattern.

While I was knitting it wasn't the best time in y life. I was living alone, and it felt like all my friends where either pregnant or overseas and I was sick. Not terribly sick, just a horrid cough and I felt tired and alone. All that couch time meant I finished it in three weeks, which at the time really surprised me.
When I finished it it was exactly right. I wish I had a photo of it from then.
And here it is, over four years on:

It's looking more than a bit tired. The wool doesn't feel nice  and is pilling horribly. I keep looking at noticing holes, where I didn't know how to do increases that didn't leave holes. It's also stretched out, and the edging always flips under. I've been planning for  while to make this again, using left over yarn in neutral colours. I cast on Saturday. By co-incidence, I am sick again with a very similar symptoms to last time I was knitting this. Hopefully I will get as much joy and wear out of version two as I did from the original.