Thursday, September 30, 2010

I caught a virus

I swear I did. It crept up on me unannounced and unwanted. I wasn't looking for it and I had no intention of succumbing to its seductive powers. I thought I would be immune and able to resist but I should have known that resistance is always futile. Darn it. It took me a while to recognise the symptoms, feeling slightly light headed, heart racing and hours lost in contemplation. I caught the virus here . It was definitely a virus that made me follow all the links and drool over the wonderful patterns. I must have been feeling ill to add to my every increasing list of would like to do projects, 78 at the last count and those are only the ones I'm admitting to. I hope I feel better soon.
But alas while my immune system was down I was hit by another virus. I caught this one here It was a particularly virulent strain. I was powerless against its onslaught and the easiest thing to do was ride with it. So I cast on something new. It was the only thing to do, the only way of being cured. I mean the purple dress is at a too hard stage. My brain needs time to process the complicated mathematical equations needed to make it fit. Ulrike needs the pattern and that was burnt accidentally by CNG who thought it was rubbish. The sock needs the heel turning and that's fiddly. I can't remember what row I'm up to on the black wrap with two lace pattern repeats and I'm bored with my calico top which is not knitted with calico.
So under the influence of this virus I hunted out a ball of Sublime cashmere which was given to my by the owner of the local yarn store a year ago. It was a nice gesture but I did wonder what on earth I would ever make with just one ball.

By coincidence I bought a knitting magazine yesterday and in it I found the perfect project. A narrow scarf, with a simple but sweet shell pattern and I was away. I don't feel guilty at all. I mean I couldn't help getting sick, could I?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Making modifications

I have just learnt that no matter how long you've been knitting and no matter how much of an expert you might think you are, knitting has a cunning way of reminding you, sometimes via a lot of frogging that you're not as clever as you think.
It started with a dress, the most elegant, romantic dress. One with style and panache that I knew without any hesitation would be perfect. Perfect to knit and to wear. A dress made for summer evenings, for picnics and cocktail parties. A dress that would stun all who saw it.

The dress is from Vogue Knitting and can be downloaded here
So full of excitement I cast on 288 stitches and began the first round. Three rounds later I realised it was twisted and had to start again. I'd also realised that 288 stitches was going to be quite wide and although there is a lot of shaping the finished bust size was still going to be generous on me. So I decided that I could just do less pattern repeats, so instead of 288 sts and 12 repeats I cast on 216st. Easy I thought. No need for nasty complicated maths that hurts my head and makes me want to swear. No good if I happen to be knitting in my break at work. Sailors might be masters at cussing but it's still not ladylike or officer like.
But then then five decreases into the pattern and about 110 rounds I begin to think that it might be too small. After all it gets to just 12 stitches in each repeat which is only 108 stitches in total. I decide no worries I won't do all the decreases. I stick at what seems like a safe 14 stitches in each pattern repeat. Still easy peasy no complicated maths.
Until that is I get to the waist shaping and realise I can't just make 2 stitches in each repeat because then the next row doesn't work and suddenly I'm up to my neck trying to figure out the maths to make it all work. It requires several pieces of paper, two cups of tea and two painkillers (for the headache). Finally I think I see what to do. I will just take the waist up to 18 stitches per repeat and adjust from there, because now I have to keep track of how many rounds in order to get the armhole shaping in the right place. I'm thinking that might be important, or I'll either have an evening gown with orangutan arms or a scrunched up tunic. Now having roughly figured that one out I realised I have made a mistake in my thinking right back at the beginning. I have to divide for the front and back to shape the armholes. This requires an even number of pattern repeats. That's why 288 divided by 24 equals 12. 216 divided by 24 equals nine and no matter how much I fume I cannot make nine and even number. Maybe it's time to let this one rest awhile, until I see how to make the back and front equal without destroying the pattern or the universe complies and makes nine divisible by two.
Lessons learnt here. Read the pattern all the way through before starting out on your modifications. It saves a lot of pain killers.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rain and yet more rain

The weather here in NZ at teh moment can only be described as wet. Now it is only just spring so I'm not complaining too loudly and we do get to see the sun, just not it would seem at the weekends just lately. The rain pours down and mostly that makes me happy. When it rains I feel totally justified in curling up on the sofa, ( my rocking chair is still in my house not at CNG's)fire blazing and needles going hell for leather. Perfect. I know that I'm not alone in finding this sort of day just great but it got me thinking about what would happen if the rain didn't stop. I mean Noah built an ark and took two of every kind of animal, except for unicorns who clearly didn't get the memo in time. I'd build an ark, or more correctly I'd find a man (CNG) who could build an ark for me, coz even I know that a knitted one isn't likely to be totally waterproof even if felted. Then I would fill my ark, with every type of yarn and not just two of each ball. There are only so many projects that use two or less skeins. I'd also have two of every type and size of needle, because different yarns need different needles and although I might not use my 2.25mm very often I wouldn't want to discover out at sea surround by nothing but water that I actually did need that exact size to get gauge. Then I'd have to take two of every pattern, just in case one got a bit soggy around the edges and there might not be electricity for a while so no photocopying, plus I wouldn't be able to look it up on Ravelry.Then I realised that if I printed of my favourites and my queue from ravelry I might just be responsible for a world wide shortage of paper, not to mention the weight of all that paper, might just sink the ark anyway. Oh and I'd need to live to be 510 to stand any chance of finishing them all. Well let's hope the rain stops soon.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Not much (knitting) luck lately

I seem to have hit an all time low point in my knitting over the last couple of weeks. I'm a little bemused but it's as if all my tools and instruments are out to baffle and confuse me. I swear they have a mind of their own when left in the knitting bag overnight. Perhaps they are taking some revenge for the works forgotten and neglected or perhaps now I've tipped into my forties my skills have up and vanished as the neural pathways in my brain erode faster than a freshly picked flower with out water.
Firstly, the beautiful Crofter jumper that was to be part of CNG's birthday present just wasn't right.

Here in the pattern it looked manly and rugged, the colourway seemed to be just right for a man outdoors. As I knitted with the same colour, it just appeared a little well, peachy. valiantly, because as you all know I am not one to give up I continued even though the nagging doubt grew and grew. I knitted it large, because I know my man likes a bit of room in his sweaters, but even so I was worried that it was going to be too small. Maybe I brought the bad karma on myself, but as I sewed the final seam, I had to face the truth. On me the jumper looked stunning. The colour was perfect for me and although roomy still a flattering fit. On my man, it looked girly and too tight. I refused to photograph it because I just felt so dumb to have stuffed it up. Never mind CNG was very kind and understanding.
So I continued with the brown vest. I felt onto a winner with this one, the colour he asked for and a pattern already tried and tested but knitted the next size up coz he didn't want to look as metro. As seen below in the earlier stages.

The deadline for his birthday was fast approaching and I felt the heat as I spent Friday doing the neckband. I swear I had another ball of yarn so I could do the arm bands, but though I hunted in every ridiculous and non ridiculous place I could think of and a few I couldn't the ball was no-where to be found. No where. How could that be, balls of yarn don't just check themselves out of my stash, or any bodies stash for that matter. I've never before run out of yarn, but it would appear that was exactly what had happened. I was looking at an almost finished vest and less than 5 grams of yarn. What to do. So I did the only thing a sensible knitter would do, since frogging seemed way too drastic and jumping up and down on it too dramatic, I did a row of crochet around the armholes. Problem solved. CNG knows no different and while I'm not thrilled with the end result it does work, sort of.

I'm also working on a pattern called Ulrike from Let's Knit, a slouchy over vest perfect for spring days. I cast on the required 77 sts and did the rib and several rows of pattern. I was using a cotton and acrylic mix and I frogged it twice because something just wasn't right. It felt too dense, too tight and after some discussion at knitting group I finally pulled it off the needles and cast on again with a bamboo and cotton blend, Sirdar's Flirt. Much better. Maybe I'm back on track.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Scented Yarn

While browsing blogs, instead of doing my work, (I am the queen of procrastination when it's something I don't like doing) I came across the following link.
I have to say I'm intrigued. Has anyone tried it out there?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Signature colours

Colour has always been important to me, but more so over the last year or so as I've been able to let my natural inclinations come to the forefront. For many years there was a misconception in the family that my favourite colour was pink. I can't remember how it started except that it wasn't my choice and suddenly lots and lots of my things seemed to be pink. Family and friends gave me pink presents. I even owned a pink motorbike, but all the time only I knew it wasn't my favourite colour.
My favourite colour has always been purple, deep royal purple, but any shade is too be loved. When I was free to finally buy my own car, I chose a puprle one. It was a deeply satisfying moment. I knitted a purple sweater and bought a purple Ipod. But last night I noticed that I have another favourite colour or more correctly colour combination. It was CNG who noticed first and I was surprised but even as I started to deny it I realised it was true. I love neopolitan ice cream colours, pink brown and cream all together.

I have pjs in this colour combo, a running outfit, my knitting bag and a half finished blanket. Guess I've been busted. I want some yarn in this colourway now. I just don't think I will be happy until I've made something with yummy neopolitian yarn. And I know exactly what to make with it. A laptop case for my new laptop. Just need to find yarn and a pattern. Better start hunting.
Hmm I wonder if they make a neopolitian colour car?