Sunday, 26 July 2009

A Head Cosy....and some lace

Continuing the theme of knitting that looks better with someone in it I present the Loopy Ewe Tea Cosy -- modelled by gorgeous goddaughter Gen. We were rearranging my kitchen/dining room furniture and somehow the cosy ended up on her head.

Despite the warm weather the pizza delivery guy didn't seem to find the cosy hat odd which does make you wonder what else has greeted him on his deliveries.

On the knitting front I've started a lace shawl - Lerwick Lace from Heirloom Knitting. The pattern is included in a booklet which provides background on the history of shetland lace knitters and designs - and guidance and tips on different approaches to knitting the shawl which is made up of 3 distinct components. Although I can appreciate the value of this information I confess that when I started the shawl I found myself muttering - 'just tell me what to do'!

I'm making the shawl with a black cobweb 1 ply shetland wool on 2.75 mm needles. The yarn is quite uneven. In a few places it becomes a worrying sewing thread thickness which makes me nervous about breaks - but so far so good.

The construction of the shawl that I'm using starts on the inside and works outward. I've just completed the centre which is knit back and forth on 149 stitches for 289 rows.

Next I'll pick 181 stitches on each side of the square and knit round and round (with a few increases) for 120ish rows. I expect that may take me some time.

When I've done that I'll knit on a narrow 20 stitch edging. That will take forever but will seem even longer - as edgings always do!

I did this little diagram to show how the knitting works. I'm not convinced it makes anything clearer but it took me 15 minutes in PowerPoint so I'm including it anyway.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Ooops? I've got lots of oops....

On Ravelry recently someone started a thread called "Now show your oops" asking for knitters to post pictures of their mistakes. I considered replying but couldn't decide whether to post the 'destruction of the Babette' or the 'drunken improv knitting' or 'the crown prince denial' or.... And frankly, I didn't have to look to the past -- I could have just picked from the multiple oops'es from my most recent project.

I decided to knit a summer top (Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2003, pattern number 23 - imaginatively titled "sleeveless top") for gorgeous goddaughter Genevieve's 15th birthday. My first oops was the colour. In my continued attempt to use up my stash yarn I chose this green Rowan Calmer cotton/synthetic blend yarn that I bought in the sales last year. It really isn't a Genevieve colour.

No problem - I just decided to change who I was knitting it for, and suddenly Genevieve's birthday present was a late birthday gift for her mom.

I did swatch for this project but (and that 'but' is the clue to my next oops) but I decided that the slight difference in gauge over 25 stitches wasn't anything to worry about. Natually, you clever knitter readers are shaking your head now, because you know that the slight difference in gauge over 25 makes a big difference over 180 stitches.

And I knew that too - but I ignored it.

Until I had knit about 3 inches up the body and accepted that when a design is meant to be form fitting -- you can't fudge a little bit of gauge -- it was definitely going to be too big.

So off the needles it came. And I started again on smaller needles.

The final oops was just a case of being sloppy with the pattern. I was watching the Gilmore Girls (the Gilmore Girls! I hadn't seen an episode since 2002 when I left Canada to come back to England. But last week I entered the 21st century and have digital tv -- and there they were!)(Although I'm a bit lost as they are showing the final season --so I've missed A LOT. When did Rory's father come back? Why did Laurelei and Luke breakup? Where's Dean?) Anyway--I was catching up on the Gilmore Girls and suddenly noticed I had missed some YO, SSK action over about 10 rows.

I dropped the stitches and reworked them to get the YO and SSK's in the right place. If you're new at this sort of repair I can confirm it is easier than it looks. It often looks sloppy but that can be fixed by using a blunt darning needles to pull the excess yarn into the neighbouring stitches. After washing and blocking it looks fine!

The finished top looks ok - but I don't think it shows off well on a hanger. If I manage to get a picture of the top on Caroline I'll post it.

Speaking of things looking better with people in them here is a photo my sister sent me of herself (without her head) wearing her brand new Kim Hargreaves cardigan! Doesn't it look great?

I've just started a lace project -- which I think will take me the rest of the summer to finish at my current knitting levels. More details next post!