Saturday, 24 April 2010

Tank Top Progress

I really can't call this Honeycomb anymore. It's just a stocking stitch tank top. Progress is going well, if slowly (reminds me of the Simple Yet Effective Shawl I made over a year ago. If I had just stuck with the one skein of yarn that the pattern called for, instead of pushing on with two, I might not have got so fed up).
Anyway, not much to show; I'm just letting you know that I haven't forgotten to blog, but I don't have any interesting FO's this week. People have mentioned before in the Comments that they like seeing my progress as well as the FO, so here you go.
I'm past the wasit shaping, and increasing for the top section before doing the straps. There's still a long way to go, but it's getting there and I like the colour.
I'm wondering about what to tackle after I've finished this. A jumper perhaps... but I'm getting ahead of myself: concentrate, Rowan.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Ding Ding, Round Two

Yes, I immediately cast on for another Side Slip Cloche as soon as I'd finished the oatmealy one.

I love the colour, fit, softness of the yarn and just the whole thing.
This is one of those rare patterns that is just so clever I wish I'd written it myself. It's also really fun to knit, and has the bonus of looking and feeling wonderful when it's finished.
I made this one in Rowan Kid Classic, and again managed to get the whole hat out of one ball, just. This yarn gives a lovely halo and is very soft and warm.

The only difference with this version was that as the ball of yarn seemed smaller, I decided to start the band with only one ruffle instead of two, which the pattern calls for. When I finished the hat in the end I had enough yarn so just knitted up a second ruffle, picked up stitches above the lower, larger ruffle and bound off the two rows of stitches together. This has resulted in a row of unnecessary bumps on the right side, but you can hardly see them and it's not a big problem. If you didn't know, you'd just think it was part of the pattern. I had first tried to pick up stitches on the band, knit the smaller ruffle in reverse and cast off, but no matter how many versions I tried, the cast-off edge was completely straight and didn't curl like the ruffle edge should. Therefore I changed it, knitted the second ruffle separately and attached it, which worked out better.

I don’t think I’ve got this one out of my system yet, so if anyone wants one, please just ask: I’ll be happy to make one for you.

Have you read this book? It's The Friday Night Knitting Club, by Kate Jacobs.

If you have read it please let me know what you think, but don't tell me the plot as I've only just started it.

I'd heard of this book a long time ago, but never got round to getting it for myself. Then Jayne brought it to Knit Night one week. She'd bought it in a local charity shop, and it turned out that this actual book belonged to Victoria, who's also in our group. She had read this very book and taken it in to the same shop when she'd finished it. So now it's come full circle; the whole group is sharing it, and it's my turn to borrow it.

I love that we're all sharing it. It's meant to be really good, and some of our own characters may even feature in the book! Happy reading and knitting.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Side Slip Cloche

We like? I do. I had so much fun knitting this hat. I saw the pattern for the first time about a month ago and have wanted to make it very since. It's the Side Slip Cloche by Laura Irwin, which is in her Boutique Knits book. Though it's not exactly the weather for such a warm hat now that Spring is on its way, I just had to do it, and plan to wear it all next Winter.
Heather kindly lent me the pattern, and I knitted the band on Friday night, finishing it this morning after I'd left the band to block yesterday and overnight.

It's great to know that I can make a hat so quickly (2 evenings' worth) and with just one 50g ball of yarn, though if I wasn't such a tight knitter it would probably be much slouchier, which may look better. I had to use a 4mm needle instead of 3.75mm, as I only had straights, not a circular in 3.75mm. However, I think it worked well, and the cloche would have been even smaller if I used the smaller needle, which wouldn't have been good.

The ruffle is so pretty, and great fun to make (imagine a 3-needle-bind-off without the bind-off, one of my favourites!). Some people who have made it on Ravelry mentioned that the joining part of the ruffles is difficult to work out, though I can honestly say I didn't have any such problems; if you're making one, just look at the photo of the designer's one and you'll work it out.

The yarn is Rowan Alpaca Cotton. When I went to find the yarn specified in the pattern, Rowan RYC Soft Lux, I discovered it had been discontinued. I knew that in order to achieve very little stitch definition, I needed something fluffy, hence the alpaca, and this yarn was the right weight (worsted). Some people have made it in pure cotton, and others 100% wool, but I really prefer less stitch definition in this hat. The colour is a lovely oatmeal, and I wanted something neutral-ish which would go with most of my coats in winter.

Look at the detail here. Basically you make two ruffles, one larger than the other, then the band, sew it together, pick up stitches round the selvedge edge, and knit up in the other direction, increasing once, and decreasing much later. Much fun was had.

I didn't need the second ball so I think I'll return it and make one in red, because I like elisheva's one so much on Rav (though goodness knows I don't have the colouring to pull it off!). I just love the pattern so much. It's a flirty little Flapper number and I am going to wear it to death!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

It's That Time of Year Again

Doesn't this make you smile? We could be in Japan, not West London! Is this an overladen bough, or what?

Apple blossom in our area always looks like snow (and it isn't long since we had snow). I also often think the covered branches look like furry teddy bear legs!

Last weekend I went to Louise's for a lovely Easter Sunday lunch. We had a great day. Here's a shot of the pavlova (more like a soft merringue) that I made. Let me know if you want the recipe.

Last weekend I wound a skein of lace yarn into a ball for Heather in our group. I must try to remember the name of it. It's the softest thing I have ever touched, pure cashmere, and a lovely acqua colour.
Can you guess what this is? I should have a new FO for you fairly soon.

Is Spring Really Here?

Well, judging by these guys, I think I can safely say: yes! At the very least, it's on its way.

The daffies are out in full bloom here in Brook Green, and we're loving it.

Believe me, I've still got the heating on at work, but the sun is warming things up a bit. Of course, this sunshine yellow really helps!

Monday, 5 April 2010

FO's, But Not Mine

But first, here's evidence of my little Sister knitting. My and my Mum's influence has finally rubbed off on her. It only took a few years! She's making a scarf for her friend in Colinette Point 5. She swears that this is the only thing she's ever going to make; little does she realise that this is just the beginning!
Below is Jayne's scarf. Jayne's a regular at my Stitch N' Bitch in Hammersmith and started working on this scarf as her first ever project. She actually finished it ages ago but brought it in to Caffe Nero on Tuesday to show it off. Doesn't it look great?
And finally, Gardenia below is showing off her Grandson's cricket jumper, specifically made in his club's colours. Gardenia's a new member and a very welcome addition to the group. I took the photo just when she'd finished the neck. All she needed to do then was sew it up (I bet she's done that already by now).

Friday, 2 April 2010

Twit Twoo

I needed some quick gratification last night, so I knitted up this little fella. It was a kit that my Mum gave me for Christmas from The White Company. I loved making it, and it's turned out really well.

The only modification I made was to knit the owl in the round, which I finished off with a three-needle bind-off.

Sewing on the felt parts was fun.

It's basically a striped tube. As I was making it in the round it was a good opportunity to practise jogless stripes. Here's the inside, which looks neat and tidy.

This shows the jogless stripes from the outside. You just slip purlwise the first stitch on the second round of each new colour, then knit the round as normla, though most of you will probably know that. It doesn't look too bad, but it's far from perfect, and I would really have to work on my tension if I was making a garment, where it really mattered as I tend to pull each round very tight to avoid holes, resulting in pulled fabric. Still, it's better than the zig-zags you get with normal jogs.

Compare it to the other side, which is perfect, because of the absence of jogs.

Happy Easter

In the absence of any willow, or any other suitable branches that I could have put in a vase, I hung some eggs on a plant, the bonsai tree.

This pretty little heart is from my Mum (it came in the post!).