Saturday, 30 January 2010

Knitting just to be knitting.....

(Gorgeous god-daughter Gen says thanks to everyone for their kind comments on her first knitting project! She has worn the hat to school where it is a hit.

And look - she's started on the mitts. I've convinced her that knitting in the round on dpn's is no harder than knitting on two needles and she's flying along.)

My own knitting so far this year hasn't been particularly exciting and I find myself working on projects just because I want to be knitting and not because the project itself particularly inspires me.

I started a Desert Rose shawl by Renee Leverington (aka Goddess Knits) as part of a knitalong on Ravelry. But after finishing the first chart I've come to the conclusion that I'd really prefer the pattern in a much finer it has sort of stalled and sadly I think it will be relegated to the frog pond soon. The colour is perfect I think --- I just need to find it in a finer laceweight and then I'll start the pattern over again.

I also started an Icarus shawl in this gorgeous blue Posh Yarn Eva 2ply. Posh Yarn is lovely hand dyed yarn which has joined the ranks of limited supply but HUGE demand yarns - and rightly so. The colours are gorgeous and the base yarns are always high quality. I haven't been fast enough to snag some in the Sunday night scrum for ages but happily I do have a nice stash I scored just before its popularity went through the roof!

As with the Desert Rose I'm not convinced I've paired the right yarn to the pattern but despite these misgivings it continues to grow as the pattern is easy enough to work on mindlessly while watching Columbo re-runs. (Lately I've developed this really peculiar fondness for Columbo on Sunday afternoons.)

Knitting that I'm knitting just to be knitting is fine -- but I really want a project to inspire me. One that has me obsessively knitting far into the night and forgetting to get on with other (probably more important) things. And as I was wondering why that inspiration well seemed dry at the moment I realised it is probably because I'm so far behind on my blog reading. Ravelry and its pattern search are useful tools -- but my best source of inspiration over the past couple of years has been other blogs. So tomorrow is blog catch up and be inspired day!! In the meantime if you know of anything you think I might particularly like - let me know.

But before I can commence the great blog catch up of 2010 I need to do my taxes today. The deadline is midnight tomorrow so if I get them done today it will mark the first time in ages I've done them (sort of) early! Fingers crossed for a refund.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Look at What I Made!

A knitter!!!
Some of you may recall that last year I gave gorgeous god-daughter Genevieve her first knitting lesson -- and she was a bit of a natural.

Hoping to encourage her I gave her some needles and a skein of Noro Silk Garden and helped her cast on for a hat. She completed a few rows of the knit 2 purl 2 pattern and I sent her home with instructions to complete 30 rows.... and then it went a bit quiet.

I didn't like to ask her too much about it as I didn't want her to feel obligated to knit. As much as I love knitting, I can appreciate why it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea.

Anyway - last night Gen
turned up for our usual pizza and
gossip evening and just as I popped in The Office (American version) DVD Gen announced she had something to show me and dashed off brought out AN ALMOST COMPLETED HAT!

How talented is she?! One knitting lesson and she goes off and produces 30 amazing rows with no help!

I taught her how to decrease and she finished off the final few rows in no time at all. I did the seam for her and there it was..... a hat!

She popped it on her head and her smile and squeals of delight told me she was hooked. Next week we cast on for matching fingerless mitts!

It might seem a bit early to declare anything 'the best of the year' yet -- but I'm pretty confident this little hat will be my favourite finished object of 2010.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Last of 2009

Happy 2010! Hope it's off to a good start for all of you. I've been back in London for a week and Christmas seems like forever ago. But before I can move the blog out of the noughties I need to catch you up on my Christmas knitting.

Christmas sneaking up on me meant that I hadn't actually started any Christmas knitting before December which allowed me to be creative in my knitting planning/timetable. Due to comings and goings of the recipients I needed my Mom's first (for the 25th), my niece's for the 27th, my sister's for a day or two after that and goddaughter Gen's for when I returned.

My plan was clear, start with Mom's and get most (or all) of it done before I got to NB. While there I could knit up my niece's and my sister's gift and then work on Gen's on the way back. Easy peasy.


Suffice to say that the knitting gods weren't working any miracles for me. In combination with changing schedules (my sister was now coming BEFORE Christmas) this meant my sister received a ball of wool and some buttons (with a note proclaiming them to be Magic Wool which if left with a friendly knitter woud become a Nantucket Jacket), my mom got a box with cardigan pieces and a promise that I'd seam them up soon. My niece and goddaughter fared better and both got completed gifts! WooHoo!

Ma's gift was the Katharine Hepburn cardigan (available as a free pattern from Knitting Daily) in Rowan 4ply Cashsoft (not Rowan pure wool as I mistakenly said last time!). I used smaller needles than called for -- 3.5mm for the body and about 10 skeins of Rowan 4ply Cashsoft for the middle size.

The pattern is clear and it's a pleasant knit. Simple 12 row repeat - relaxing with just enough going on to keep your interest. The yarn is gorgeoously soft and great to knit with. I seriously underestimated how long the cardigan would take to knit -- and had to resort to knitting it in front of my Mom to make any progress at all! (It was a desperate move - but proved that all knitting looks the same to non-knitters. I told her it was my sister's cardigan and she believed me!)

Mom seemed very happy with the gift which made it all worthwhile. (Apologies for the photo -- my fault for photographing it in a hurry just before I left!)

My sister's cardigan is the Nantucket Jacket from Interweave Knits (also in the Winter 2006 Interweave Knits magazine). Knit in Rowan Pure Wool Aran (just over 4 skeins) on 5 mm needles it was a quick knit. If I were to make it again I'd change the collar shaping. I haven't seen it on my sister yet so I can't declare it a success or failure - as I think the fit of this cardigan is key.

My niece Kali got a wrap which some of you will find familiar -- I made the same wrap last year for my goddaughter! It's based on the Aimee wrap in Kim Hargreaves Thrown Together collection. I realised today that the only photo I took of Kali's is this one - which shows off the label but doesn't do the wrap itself much justice.

It is 3 skeins of Kidsilk Haze knit double on 5.5mm needles. As a reminder here is a photo of Gen's so you can see what the wrap looks like unfolded!

The last knitted (oops crocheted) gift of 2009 was a Flourish scarf from Kim Hargreaves Heartfelt. It worked up quickly on a 9mm hook - especially as I didn't include the fiddly beads. I used 5 skeins of Kid Silk Haze (the pattern says 4) and it is the fluffiest thing ever. Perfect for a 15 year old in the coldest UK winter in 40 years I think!

Enough of 2009 -- I'm off to find some knitting projects for 2010. If I had learned any lessons from this Christmas of course I'd be starting on gifts for next year --- but I haven't!