Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Two sleaves in progress

Currently knitting: 2 sleaves. At the same time, on the same needles, but using two balls of wool. For baby Michael's dog jumper.

The theory is that at least this way the sleaves will definitely turn out the same length with the same shaping. Because I am not always careful enough using row counters. It requires a level of concentration that I can't always manage when multi-tasking. Which is otherwise known as knitting while watching TV.

I seem to have lost my knitting and blogging mojo over the past couple of weeks. It just seem to takes so long to achieve anything. But I am determined to push over this hurdle. I'm hoping by the time I finish the sleaves, I'll be capable of finishing the embroidery on the front and back of the jumper.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Websites with free knitting patterns

How long is a piece of string? One of my colleagues at work wanted a list of 'all' the websites with free knitting patterns for her mum. As most knitters know, there are literally thousands of such sites; so many that it is amazing that we still manage to go out and purchase patterns. But a computer print-out will never replace the feel of a 'proper' book. So I quickly sent her links to some of my favourites.

MagKnits - quarterly British site which has included my favourite diagonal scarf pattern and a good short-row top for big busted women.

Mostly Knitting - site by Australian knitter Sarah Bradberry. Lots of charts, re-written old patterns, great roll-brim hat and fingerless gloves.

Knitting Pattern Central - as the name suggests, a connection to lots of free patterns (including mine!)

Knitting About - I sometimes find myself going in circles here, but there are some good gems buried amongst the ads.

KnittingHelp - a recent discovery; includes some good basics.

Knitty - it would be sacrilege to leave Knitty out although it is very American-centric. Worth a look just for the obligatory weirdo pattern of the issue.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Your Rights @ Work beanie + free pattern

This beanie is for one of my friends to wear at the upcoming Your Rights @ Work rally. I wanted it to be quite wearable out in public after the rally, hence I decided to just go for a subtle stripe on a basic black beanie.

Pattern requirements:
80 grams black 8-ply wool
small amount of orange 8-ply wool
40cm circular needle - 4mm (or 3.75mm if you are a loose knitter linke me)
set of 4mm (3.75mm) DPNs
Wool needle

(Try not to buy any of the above from Spotlight until they stop offering staff AWAs that leave them worse off than if they were being paid the Award rate. Search your stash and/or support your local wool shop. The orange should be 'safety orange' and can be a bit tricky to find in pure wool - I found the colour in the Naturally New Zealand brand. I thoroughly recommend pure wool over acrylic - much nicer to knit with, warmer to wear and longer lasting. There are machine washable wool yarns available.)

Using black yarn, cast on 120 stitches onto the circular needle. Join, being careful not to twist, and place marker(a scrap of yarn works as well, if not better, than the fancy stitch markers).
K2, P2 rib for four rounds. Break off black yarn.
Using orange yarn, K2, P2 rib for four rounds. Break off orange yarn.
Using black yearn, K2, P2 rib for a further 28 rounds.
Rounds 37-50: Knit.
Round 51: *Knit 2-tog, K13 ** Repeat from * to ** until the end of the round
Round 52 (and all even rounds from this point on): Knit
Round 53: *Knit 2-tog, K12 ** Repeat from * to ** until the end of the round
Round 55: *Knit 2-tog, K11 ** Repeat from * to ** until the end of the round
At this point you'll need to change to the DPNs.
Continue in this fashion until only 8 stitches remain. Cut a tail of about 15 cm, and use the yarn needle to thread the tail through the final 8 stitches. Neatly darn in this and all other ends, remembering that the brim will be turned up when the beanie is worn.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Canberra survival kit

Yes, yes, I know. Nothing posted for ages and then all I do is stick up another photo of yet another Noro hat and scarf set.

And it is not even a diagonal/lace/weird design, but a plain rib. Actually a Prime Rib, but a fairly straightforward scarf by my standards. It's been my 'knitting as therapy' project. I've just been having a fairly 'blah' week and needed something soothing to do.

The yarn is colourway 126, now out of production, purchased off eBay. A bit too orange and green for my taste. But perfect for someone with a different skin-tone. Like one of my colleagues at work who was born in India and is transfering to the Canberra office next month. As any Australian knows, Canberra in winter is hell, with temperatures regularly dropping bellow zero overnight (OK, this may not compete with Michigan or Canada but in Australia we don't have the same set-up for sub-zero climates). We have all been teasing poor Shefali merciously about her future trips to work. So I figured a nice thick woollen hat and scarf set might be an appropriate farewell present.

The hat I did on the tram, a ball of yarn and my needles stuffed in a coat pocket, which turned out to be rather convenient. So I am now starting my 'Your Rights at Work' beanie (black with orange stripe) as a tram project. Once I'm sure I have the pattern right I'll post it here and possibly on the ACTU site if they want it.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

By popular demand...

This is the multi-direction scarf (and hat) that has saved me from Melbourne's cold snap this past two weeks and got all the attention. The scarf pattern is from Magknits (click here for a direct link) and is much easier to knit than it looks. The ribbed hat pattern is my own (click here for the pattern - but I now only cast on 92 stitches and use the 6mm circular needle).

I can't upload any pics of my current knitting as my computer guru (aka my husband) is busy upgrading the system which always seems to entail him taking off programs I use and assuring me that they'll be put back on really, really soon but never soon enough for someone as impatient as me!

I'm now doing the front of the Spot the dog jumper for baby Michael. My knitting as therapy is a very simple prime-rib scarf (in Noro, casting on 24 stitches on 6mm needles) to match another Noro rib hat I finished on the tram last week. This latest set will probably end up being for a friend's birthday. It's crazy; I wouldn't normally spend $50 on a regular birthday present but I don't seem to have a problem giving her a present involving more than $50 worth of wool. Such is the mentality of a true knitaholic!

And in blast from the past news, a YEAR after I designed the CPSU beanie (click here fore a photo), the union decided to run an article about it in their national magazine. Which would have been fine except they wrote the article as though I was still in my old position and workplace - I hope no-one is currently frustrated, trying to track me down!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Back online

One has to love computer hiccups. Without going into long and boring details, I have recovered my email address book but lost all my emails in the process. This has happened a few times which is why I now also use a gmail and yahoo email account to store a lot of my mail in, whatever Outlook, Microsoft, my computer and my computer technician conspire to do.

In knitting news, I finished another Noro hat on my tram journeys too and from work. I found my knitting in public attracted a lot more attention than it usually does. Probably because I was also wearing my diagonal short-rows scarf (it's been very cold here) and beanie. Two knitters I have never met before over the past week have asked me for that scarf pattern. And I got a lot of comments over my knitting. I feel a strange mixture of pride and self-consciousness when people do that.

Today I went to a yarn expo at Coburg Town Hall and managed to leave without buying anything. There was some gorgeous hand-dyed merino wool and mohair, some lovely local handspun and also some good deals on Heirloom and Naturally wool but my stash is approaching scary levels. The only thing I bought was a Nostepinde hand wool-winder (actually the ti tree one in the picture) to make centre-pull balls. I'm sorry to say that my first attempt was not as good as that portrayed by the purported first-timer in the picture.

Anyway, I'll try and post again tomorrow. Good night to all.