Thursday 28 January 2010


It would seem some repairs are in order.

My Clementine Sock:

I'm really surprised at this one, I reckon I've only worn these socks 3 times. And it's Wollmeise, which is such fantastic yarn. It looks like the strand of yarn just broke, maybe a weak spot. Still, it should be fixed in a jiffy.

This, however, I'm not so sure about.
My Druid Mittens:

The whole top of the thumb is gone. And my poor thumb is cold every morning. To be honest, these mittens don't owe me anything, I've worn them constantly since I made them in September 2008. But I love them. My first and only pair of mittens I've made, my first BrooklynTweed pattern, and my first Vogue Knitting pattern. I'm very attached to them. Alas, I think they're for the scrap heap and I shall make a new pair. I wonder if there's a Ravelympics event for mittens? That way I could double up practicality with medal winning!
Bonus! Or, I could try a colourwork pair of traditional mittens. Hmm. I have a €20 voucher for The Constant Knitter who sells Garnstudio yarns. Does anyone know which ones would be best for stranded mitten knitting? Perhaps in a nice navy & cream??

I'm at the heel of the second toe up sock thank God. Can you believe I've nothing else on the needles??? Shock! I'm hanging on by my fingernails waiting on the Ravelympics. But, considering they don't start till Feb 12th, I doubt I'll last that long. We'll see!

Good knitting!

Sunday 24 January 2010

Hats Off

First things first, here's a picture of the Swallowtail finished and off the blocking board:
Apologies for the shockingly bad photo, but it has been really foggy here all weekend, and there is no light at all. The only way I could figure to get the lace to show was to peg it to out white radiator! Hopefully you get the idea.
Here's a close up of the beads:
They really did turn out lovely and sparkly.
I'm going to my nieces joint 18th & 21st birthday parties next Friday so I think I shall debut this to all the family and bask in their collective oohs and aahs. :)
Speaking of bad photos, I really should get some tips from John about how to take better photos. Other peoples blogs have some great photography.
In the meantime, I whipped this up during the week:
Pattern: Koolhaas Hat by Jared Flood
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes worsted, about 1.5 skeins
Needles: 4 & 5mm Knit Picks Options using a 120cm cable and Magic Loop
(See what I mean about bad photos?)
What a great pattern, really easy to do. Knit up like a dream. Only thing is it's a bit too big. I made the smaller of the two sizes in the pattern, but I think it would have fit better with just 4 repeats of the chart than 5. Ah well, at least my ears will be warm! It's not quite as pink as the picture either, more purply pink. Nothing too drastic for wearing first thing in the morning!
I've started my second Lace and Cable Sock from the toe up. Meh. I think this one might be a while on the needles, I'm looking around desperately for anything else to knit other than it.
I spent last night drooling over Victorian Lace Today, especially the Myrtle Leaf Shawl. *sigh*
I really have been bitten by the lace bug! Who would have thunk?
I have the perfect yarn for it too, some mystery laceweight that John got me in Marias Garn in Stockholm last year. I've no idea what it is, there's no tag on the skein. I think it may have some mohair in it.
I didn't even know how many yards there were, so I did some hinky maths last night in order to figure it out.
There are 12" in a foot, 3 feet in a yard. I reckoned 10 yards would be sufficient to get an accurate measurement, so I wrapped the yarn around a foot ruler 30 times and then weighed it. It weighed 1 gram. Therefore, using my bat powers of mathematics (calculator) I reckon there's approx 1050 yards in the skein.
Bearing in mind that my scales is probably not the most accurate, I knocked off 50 yards for safety. And, the Myrtle Leaf Shawl requires 950 yards. It's fate, I tells ya!
So, I think I may swatch for it in preparation for the Ravelympics. Swatching is ok before the events, right?
Good knitting!

Sunday 17 January 2010


Behold, a completed Swallowtail Shawl:

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl
Yarn: Jacques Cartier Qiviuk
Needles: 3.5mm for the shawl, 4.5mm for the cast off

I am insanely proud of this. My first shawl, and it's a beaut! I got my hands on a 0.6mm crochet hook and crocheted the beads on instead of the nupps, and I think they look great.
I could have done a few more repeats of the main chart though, I've ended up with 159 yards of this yarn leftover. I have to find something to make with this, I can't let it go to waste!

This picture is unblocked. I ordered a set of blocking wires and pins from IKnit 10 days ago, and they still haven't arrived. I really hope they get here tomorrow, I want to block and wear this baby!

I also finished the first toe up Lace & Cable Sock:
Apologies for the crappy picture, the light is really bad today.
I don't really have anything to say about this sock. It's kind of a bit meh.
I did overestimate how much yarn would be needed for the ribbing and ended up with a bit left over. I could have done another 6 or 7 rounds of pattern. I suppose that comes with practice. Although I'm unsure if toe up is the method for me. I tried the Tubular Bind off for the cuff and failed miserably, so I went with my original idea, the tried and true EZ sewn bind off.
Not much else knitty to report, other than I want to knit more lace. Now. Damn the second sock. In fact, I think I'm going to leave it for a little while anyway, and cast on the Koolhaas hat. It got forgotten in the pleasure rush that was the lace shawl.
After that, I'm breaking out Victorian Lace Today. Oh yes.
I bought a bird feeder for the garden as the little birdies were looking a bit hungry, and yesterday morning I caught them having a party. A pool party. Two were bathing in a puddle in my flower bed while a couple of others were looking on, and some others were chowing down on the nuts:

I couldn't get any pool pics or a better one of the feeder as they scarpered when they saw me approaching the back door. But all they needed was a stereo playing some party tunes and they were having a real shindig!
(Note the party lights? Yeah. I'm sure they were adding to the birdie party atmosphere, but they're Christmas lights hubby still hasn't taken down as the ground is too soggy to unpin them and put them in the shed. You'd swear we had quicksand for a lawn and he was in mortal danger!)

Monday 11 January 2010

Change of Socks

So I gave up on the Diagonal Lace Socks and changed the pattern to the Lace and Cable Socks.
I found errata in the Diagonal pattern and lost the head with it. Errata + me = blood boil & frog.
I think these are looking much better. I'm past the heel and on the home stretch of the first sock:

Not looking too bad. I'll just have to try extra hard to cast off loosely. I think I'll do EZs sewn cast off. That's nice & stretchy.

In good news, my beads arrived this morning! Really quick service from I-Beads.
I ordered 4mm bicone Swarovski crystals:

Sorry for the crappy picture, but beads being the sparkly things that they are, the pictures kept blurring.
The only problem I have now is the application. I was planning on using a crochet hook to apply them. The smallest hook I have is 1.5mm and it doesn't fit through the bead hole! I might try with a sewing needle, but I have a feeling this could get messy.
I could also thread the beads on the other end of the yarn, but that involves unwinding lots of laceweight (huge knot potential) and counting how many beads I'm going to need (not good math potential).
We'll see what happens.

I'm still off work, schools are meant to be closed till Thursday, but it started raining last night and hasn't yet stopped, so the roads are way better. Hopefully they'll do the sensible thing and reopen them tomorrow, but I doubt it. Irish government + sensible decisions does not compute.

Until then I'm getting cracking on the Swallowtail!

So yesterday we decided to make a proper snowman.
Then we decided to make a "different" type of snow creature:

Meet Perkins, the snow bunny. Alice named it. We'd no snow face feature supplies (does anyone?), so I had to delve into the spices. Can you spot them?
A Star Anise nose and cardamom pod teeth. I think it looks like a vampire bunny.

Good knitting!

Friday 8 January 2010

The Big Freeze

It's freezing here. Freezing and I'm trapped in the house. Daughters school decided not to open until Monday, so I've had to come up with two extra days leave from somewhere. I don't know where yet, but I'll worry about that next week. Only problem is that the cold is meant to get worse next week, with lots more snow, so they better not say they're remaining closed next week!

On to knitting.
I've finished the Budding Lace Chart 2 and the next chart is the beginning of the nupps, so I've gone as far as I can go without the beads. I can't get into the city to get any, so my only option would be to order online. I'm not 100% au fait with beads, so I'm a bit nervous I'd order the wrong ones, although a friend recommended 4mm? I wonder should I just try the nupps, or put this to one side until I get the beads? I'm really enjoying knitting it and I'm afraid if I put it down it will languish. I need to think some more about it.
So, in the meantime I have cast on these:
Diagonal Lace Socks from Wendy Johnsons book, Socks From The Toe Up. This is a technique I wanted to learn as I always have lots of sock yarn left over at the end of making a pair that I don't know what to do with. This way, I can keep knitting till I run out.
I chose Judys Magic Cast On and it was really easy to learn. I'm not really feeling the love for the pattern though. I think the yarn overs are a bit big and the pattern repeat a bit short, so all I see are loads of ssk lines and big holes. I'm trying a couple of repeats knitting into the back of the yarn over to see if that pleases me more, otherwise these may end up going to the frog basket in the sky and I'll try a different pattern. It's all learning though, right?
And lastly, I hope to cast this on today:
Jared Floods Koolhaas Hat. I've wanted to make this hat for a ridiculously long time, and I figure this cold snap is the perfect opportunity. The yarn is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted and it's yum. I may end up having to Magic Loop this hat as I doubt I have dpns in big enough sizes. That'll be interesting. I haven't magic looped for ages, despite it being how I learned how to knit socks.
So fingers crossed Alice's school opens and I can get out of this house on Monday! I feel a bit trapped at the moment. Lucky I have my trusty knitting to keep me company (and sane)
Happy Knitting!

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Round Up

So I counted up my FOs for 2009 and I reckon I completed 29 projects, broken down thusly:

Cardigan: 3
Sweater: 2
Scarf/Cowl: 4
Baby: 9
Charity: 4
Dress: 1
Socks: 4
Lace: 1
Afghan: 1
Hat: 1

Out of those FOs, what was knitted for me:
Socks: 4
Scarf/Cowl: 2
Lace: 1
Cardigan: 2

So I think I was a fairly generous knitter last year! I also think I went baby mad for my friends little girl. Not as many FOs as 2008, but not far behind and they did include the Afghan. I'm rather pleased with those stats! Apart from the lack of socks. 4 pairs is not good.

Right, onto my first FO for 2010!

Pattern:Cauchy from Sock Innovation
Yarn: Sirdar Pure Cotton 4ply, one ball
Needles: 2.5mm Addi bamboo dpns

I barely had enough yarn to finish these, check out the leftovers below!

I was very nervous towards the end I can tell you! There must have been only about 12 inches of yarn left. And this yarn has been discontinued, so I was in trouble if I ran out!
Thankfully I didn't and hubby loves them.

I started these on Dec 5th and finished on Jan 5th. Not bad when you consider all the madness that was in between! Hospital waiting rooms are great fodder for sock knitting.

My first project for 2010.
Swallowtail Shawl Take Two!

I decided to make a Swallowtail Shawl from my gorgeous Qiviuk. Behold the loveliness (sigh).
I had to take a picture of it in the recent snow we had. I LURVES it.

So here's the progess so far. I'm actually really proud of this. The first time I tried to make it was a total disaster. I suppose that shows how far I've come since I last tried it. It's going great now, although I still find it difficult to concentrate on it if the tv is on.
I was thinking of using beads instead of nupps, to make it that bit extra special. What do you think? I've nothing suitable at home, all the beads I have are a bit large or the wrong colour. Maybe I should splash out and get sparkly Swarovski beads? After all this is the king of yarn.

If I do decide to get them, I'll have to buy them online, so if anyone knows of a good site or what size beads I should get (laceweight yarn) I'd be very grateful.

I've been trying to come up with knitty resolutions for 2010, but so far I'm drawing a blank.
I shall ruminate on them for my next post.

I'm back to work on Thursday (ick) after a lovely long break. Not long enough, but that's life!
In the meantime we are trying to enjoy the last two days we have off together.
I give you Sprout, the Snow Duck:

It hasn't snowed enough for a proper snowman, so we improvised and made a duck with sprout eyes and a carrot beak. Isn't she great?

Good knitting!