Friday, September 30, 2005

Two stitches forward, one rip back

It took 3 attempts to get the neckband right. But I have suceeded in my aim of knitting the sleave in the round from the armhole down. One more sleave to go.

I think I will have enough purple and multi-coloured yarn to knit a matching hat. The entire project will end up having cost me less than$15 and a few days knitting. While buying an outfit at Target may cost about the same amount, at least I can be sure Gabi will not meet anyone else in the same clothes.

I'm also itching to start on another hat project. Like most knitters I've been drooling over the Japanese Noro yarns but balking at the price. I was able to pick up a couple of balls during the post-winter sales (yay Sunspun) and am contemplating a ribbed hat.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

OK, maybe there is a use for novelty yarns

I'm not a fan of wool blends but I couldn't resist this high quality super-chunky 50:50 lavender yarn that I got on sale at Cleggs. Regularly $4.95, now $1.95/ball. It's been in my stash for quite a few months looking at me reproachfully. Unfortunately there were only 5 balls available which meant only enough for a toddler jumper. And because I think longer jumpers with decent-sized sleaves are the way to go, I really needed to stretch the wool. I went diving through my stash and found a multi-coloured novelty yarn that also called for 6mm needles. Obviously a match made in stashland.

The novelty yarn is obviously for the front of the chest - I haven't yet decided if I will thread it through the eyelet holes as well. I'm contemplating a few bows. Or maybe not.

This has been one super-quick knit - thoroughly recommended for impatient people like moi. In less than two days I have done the back and 3/4 of the front. I did the bottom part "in the round" on 40cm 6mm circular needles. Since learning how to knit in the round I have become a fan of avoiding needless seam-sewing. The real trick will be if I manage to pick up the armhole stitches and knit the sleaves down in the round.

I have never done this before and am not following any pattern. Nothing like knitting on the fly!!!

Aren't I lucky to have a surrogant niece to practice my knitting on! According to Rachel, Gabi has already reached the age where she knows what she likes so I hope this jumper will come up to her standards. It certainly feels very soft and comfy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Make your own fury bird wings (top right hand photo). Free pattern at your local Spotlight store.

Call me a snob but I think it would be hard to find anything more hidious than the novelty yarns and patterns being promoted by Spotlight this week. What is that woman in the bottom left-hand corner wearing?

I have learnt the hard way that no matter how tempting they look, novelty yarns are a BIG mistake. Pure wool, cotton and mohair are often no more expensive and produce a far nicer and longer-lasting garment. Anything I've made with a novelty yarn inevitably looks tacky and mis-shapen.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Wow! Photos!!!

Firstly, thanks to Sharon and the nice people at the Blogger helpdesk who let me know that some of the Blogger servers have a fault on them. I cleared my cache and cookies and history and got onto a server which is allowing me to upload photos.

The top photo is my second scrapyarn hat, an adult-sized beanie made with a small amount of teal, about 40 grams of Cleckheaton tapestry yarn, about 15 grams of the cream tweed, 20 grams of pale grey, a tiny amount of dark grey and pale blue yarn.

The bottom photo is my "not-so-horrible" roll-brim baby hat. You can't get away from the fact that it has orange and brown in it, but otherwise it is surprisingly non-pukey.

Monday, September 26, 2005

2nd scrap-yarn hat begun

I'm getting very annoyed by my inability to upload phots. I've checked all the help pages and sent an email to the support staff to no-avail. But what can one expect from a free service?

So let's see if I can give you a visual impression using words and possibly colour-coded font.

As the title suggests, I've started a second scrap-yarn hat. the first few rows of the brim are a beautiful rich teal (a bit bluer than this). But not quite as purple as this. Imagine a colour in between.

I'm now using a yarn called Cleckheaton Tapestry which is sort of those variegated colours.

I can't wait until I can upload photos again!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Hideous Hat project complete!

Still can't upload photos. But the baby hat is complete and not quite so hideous as the ball of wool indicated. However, my husband offered to burn it on the basis that it would make us look bad if I gave it to anyone. Even the most irritating smug-faced parent.

Time to start another project. I really need to catalogue my yan (that will be a very LONG post here). But I'm contemplating another scrap-yarn hat. One feels very virtuos producing something out of nothing. I may enter this hat in Southern Cross Knitting's variegated yarn competition. There has to be a prize for the most creative use of less than one ball of 1970s yarn!

The Horrible Hat

"Oh my God, you are actually making something with that?!?"

Nothing like support from one's husband.

Unfortunately you'll have to take my word that the baby hat is half done as I get an "error on page" message everytime I try to upload a photo of it. Grrr!

My friend Tash reckons I should sew a designer label into it when I've finished and pretend it's some retro-chic item from Carlisle or Brunswick Street. Double-passive-aggress a trendy parent who then feels compelled to make their kid wear the putrid hat because it's "designer".


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Truly Hideous

I cannot bare the truly hideous orange vergiated yarn to remain in my stash. But what can be done with 40 grams of 1970s yarn?

I've started a roll-brim hat for a six-month old baby - I'll probably have to use some more of the salvaged cream-tweed to finish it. But then what can I do with it?

A passive-aggressive gift for a particularly annoying parent? You know one of the really smug ones who think the greatest honour is to offer you the privledge of changing their kid's dirty nappy? Why shouldn't they have a hat to match their backside?

My husband is offering to throw the yarn away for me. He thinks I'm just a mean old woman. I reckon all my kid-free friends know exactly where I am coming from.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Curly soloution

OK, I'm a complete chicken. I couldn't face the verigated orange wool. But what to do with a half-knitted cream tweed beanie still on the needles?

A vague memory stirred inside me and I dived to the very bottom of the "my mum's old wool" pile. There was the back of a child's jumper knitted in the cream-tweed wool, more than 30 years old. I teased open the knot holding the knitting together and started the glorious unravell. I was actually quite surprised at how easily the yarn unwound.

After more than 30 years the unravelled yarm resembled cooked 2-minute noodles but I was able to role up a few small balls. I've started knitting with one of the used balls and although the yarn is very curly, the re-knitted stitches are indistinguishable from those made with the unknitted wool. I may even have enough yarn for a second matching beanie!

Of course I had to get all gung-ho and unravelled a pale blue piece of knitting that looked like it may have been part of a toddler's overalls, and then a bright green pair of baby-pants.

Yay, more yarn! I'm contemplating what to do with it next.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Vintage Knitting

The picture on the top is the beginnings of my latest beanie. I'm knitting in the round, 120 stitches of 8-ply wool on 3.75mm 40cm circular needles (I seem to be a loose knitter and always have to go down a needle size).

Now this might look like a perfectly normal and dare I say it boring bit of knitting. But look at the picture of what yarn I am using. Yes VINTAGE wool from my late mother's stash. Original 1970s Patons Totem wool, a tweedy cream and brown twist. And because I am sure there will not be enough for a whole beanie (I think there was well under 100 grams in total), I've also pulled out the verigated orange and brown that I am certain is from the same era so I can create some totally hideous stripes that someone might find hip and fashionable in this retro-age.

Or if it is a complete disaster I can always unravel it again.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Subversive Cross Stitch (TM)

I probably would never have started knitting if it wasn't for my crappy eyesight. I used to do cross stitch but I was finding it harder and harder, especially to distinguish the subtle colour changes. However after stumbling upon this website I am seriously tempted to take it up again.

All the time was doing pretty floral bookmarks when I should have been working on my "LIFE SUCKS AND THEN YOU DIE" sampler.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hats, hats, hats

The problem with knitting adult jumpers is that they take too long. The VERY BIG GREY JUMPER was knitted over at least two years.

In between I knitted at least half-a-dozen jumpers for babies and toddlers. But I am selfish. I want something for myself. That I can finish quickly. That is not a scarf.

That is why my house is now covered in hats.

I initiallyused a pattern out of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Knitting. It is very simple and satisfying and great if you want to make a 12-ply yarn tea cosy.

It was relatively simple to adapt the pattern for a stocking stitch hat, but my hat knitting has really taken off now that I've learned to knit in the round. After the first few rows it is great to mindlessly knit the same stitch over and over again.

I then discovered the self-patterning 6-ply Opal sock yarn which means I can mindlessly knit a hat that LOOKS as though it is really complicated but isn't. The hat on the left was knitted using the roll-brim family hat pattern in the Spring edition of Southern Cross Knitting. I made the beanie followng the same pattern but knitting 30 rows of knit 2 purl 2 initially. As the yarn is thinner and knitted on smaller needles, I simply chose a larger size to get a finished product that fitted me.

The accidental designer

When I first started knitting I must have made at least a dozen scarves in feathers and mohair and wool and every other yarn imaginable. I learned to cheat and take short-cuts from the very beginning.

I struggled with the then-new feather yarn initially until I realised how much easier it would be if I alternated a few rows of feather yarn with regular wool and other novelty yarns in toning colours.

"Wow! What a fantastic idea, to make a textured stripe scarf!" commented one person.

Oh yes, OF COURSE, that's what I was trying to do...

Still struggling with feathers, I found it was easier if I knitted it with a strand of 8-ply yarn in a toning colour. The added bonus was that I could knit on much larger needles and finish the scarf faster.

I then combined 8-ply wool with 12-ply mohair (as I only had a couple of balls of mohair and needed to stretch it), knitted on extra-large needles for speed (and created a fashionable lacy look). The I discovered the drop-stitch.

A shop assistant at Spotlight mentioned that I didn't need to bother alternating knit and purl rows when using loopy mohair or other fancy yarns because the stitches were invisible under all the texture. Wow! What a good idea.

The praise kept coming as people misinterpreted my every act of laziness and cheapskateness for creativity.

Then I got bored.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A photo!

This is me wearing the CPSU hat (pattern available via the side links) and the very big grey jumper.

My husband is not a conehead

I am trying to work out how my husband who is at least 8 inches taller than me with a huge barrel chest can possibly has such a tiny head.

It doesn’t look tiny. But it seems a beanie knitted in a standard women’s size is still too big for him. And his head is kind of short and round, meaning that any hat knitted to a standard pattern is too long for him.

“I am not a conehead,” he complained, putting on my latest effort. I was so upset and frustrated; not only was it knitted in a beautiful pure black wool with perfect tension; for the first time I had not fudged a single stitch as I made the item.

Jeff realized that I had finally gone over the edge.

“See, it’s perfect now!” he said rolling the brim up several times.

Maybe it is the buzz-cut hair.

I am a complete failure as the loving knitting wife. I tried to knit him a jumper but was so paranoid about it being too small that I ended up making a jumper at least 3-sizes too large. It is still very warm and cozy and I wear it myself most of the time.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The great unpick

Well today's knitting activities could best be described as "reverse workflow".

After staring blankly at the cardigan with its far too short bands, I had no inspiration. So I just unpicked the bands and have shoved the whole lot in a bag to contemplate at a later date.

We're getting on to spring and Gabi won't need the cardigan until next March at the earliest. I have time.

I then painfully unknitted two rounds of my beanie to remove the start of the CPSU logo. I've decided to just knit this up as a basic black beanie. Maybe Jeff (my husband) will accept this one. He's not the easiest person to knit for. All my hats to date have been too loose or had too short or too long ribbing or too thick seams for him.

I'm knitting yet another roll-brim hat in the Opal sock-yarn - it's my lunchtime/morning tea break brain-dead project. I have a vague plan to knit up a box full for next winter and try my luck at the craft markets.

I realise that I should be posting pictures of my knitting but I just can't find where they have hidden themselves on my computer. Hopefully they haven't been deleted permanently.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The downside of knitting in the round

I have discovered a downside to knitting in the round. It is crap for intarsia, picture knitting. You knit your new colour accross and it is on the wrong side of the picture when you get to the next round.

If you want to put a picture on your hat, knit on two needles.

Feel free to use my pattern for a simple two needle 8-ply beanie on the CPSU Beanie link.

And don't bother with the Patons Winter Warmers Pattern unless you want the brim to fall into your eyes.