Thursday, January 31, 2008

Started a new hat

I am very excited about my latest project as for the first time I have written my own pattern and so it'll be all my own. Here's my progress so far

It's not enough to see what it'll be like yet, but I'm hoping for a beret-like style with cables and ribs, I just hope that what I have in my head can translate properly into knitting. I'm basing it a little on the pattern on Lydia McNeil's blog, for a tweedy tam, but changing the top part into eight cabled sections with gradual decreases.

I'm finding that 4 double points are a little more unwieldy than 3, but I think I'll find it easier once I'm a little further into the pattern. Anyway, must go, about to start increasing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Finished my Gauntlets!

and here's a rather myspace-y photo of me modelling my new gloves. It was a pretty long weekend's knitting (I'm a slow knitter) but I'm so pleased with the results and have been wearing them almost all the time since then.

The pattern was pretty straightforward, although I was amused when the pattern for the right gauntlet gave me a left one - maybe the writer knits inside out. I love the braids, watching how straightforward stocking stitch turns into these interwoven cables.

I'm now planning a matching cable hat, just watch this space.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I dream of legwarmers

I was watching an anime series, Bokura Ga Ita, the other day when I noticed one of the characters wearing these cute legwarmers, check it out:

and here:I thought to myself, how cool are those! I know they're very popular in Japan, especially with schoolgirls who wear very short skirts all year round as their school uniform, but I don't believe I've ever seen anyone wear them in this country. I'll freely admit that I like Japanese stuff in general, but these struck me as being so cute my next thought immediately was 'how easy would they be to knit'.

They just seem to be a tube of stocking stitch, slightly larger circumference than the leg to get that baggy look with some ribbing top and bottom to hold them in place. I'm thinking of knitting them in a nice cashmere blend to get that lovely soft fluffy feel, need to start shopping around for yarn now.

However, with wool for three different projects arriving any day now, I really need to stop adding to my to knit list. I think these'll be on the back burner for a while.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Purple Cable Gauntlets

Following in the cable theme, this is my current project - a pair of purple braided gantlets, or fingerless gloves.I've never really seen the point of fingerless gloves before, but now that I commute to work and our office can be really cold at times, a pair of gloves which you don't need to take off in order to type, read or even knit is pretty appealing.
I really wanted a cable pattern, wishing to try out cable knitting and finally found this one for symmetrical braided gauntlets for free!
I substituted the yarn with a ball of Rowan's kid classic in Victoria to match my hat and the scarf I have in progress. I was a bit worried at first that the yarn would knit up too small, but it seems to give reasonable stretch and has a lovely soft, fluffy feel. These are going to be some very warm gloves.
After a couple of evenings work (I had to start over several times before I got the hang of knitting on the double points) I have just started to increase for the thumb and hope that the gloves will be nearly finished this weekend. The pattern doesn't seem to entirely match the picture, I think I'm going to end up with an extra braid overall, but that's not too much of a problem. I love how the braid pattern is coming out in the Kid classic yarn, very subtle but pretty.

Christmas Tree Decorations

Our Christmas tree this year was covered in little decorations I had crocheted, finding little free patterns all over the internet. I taught myself to crochet because it's much easier to find these little crocheted decorations than knitted ones. My favourite is this little snowman, taken from the little holiday ornaments on the Patons site. He was very easy (and cheap) to crochet in some scraps of acrylic wool and only took me just over a day.

Our tree was also covered in a range of various little decorations, most notably a little angel , snowflakes and a log basket filled with cinnamon sticks.

I also made a couple of crochet decoration presents, a cute reindeer head for my mum and this pretty little angel for my grandma. The angel's wings turned out a little longer on one side than the other, not sure if that was a problem with my counting or the pattern, however I don't think my grandma noticed.

I found all of these decoration patterns at the Christmas decoration section of Crochet Pattern Central, a good source of free crochet pattern links.

Christmas Stocking

I went a bit Christmas decorations crazy last year, having a whole flat of my own to decorate for the first time, I made a lot of little knitted and crochet decorations the biggest project of which was my Christmas stocking.I found this pattern in the free patterns on the Patons site and knitted it in a cheap acrylic wool. I couldn't find a good gold-like colour for the contrast diamonds so they aren't very noticeable here, although they show up much better to the naked eye. The top seemed to be much longer than it should and due to time restrictions I decided to only knit it half the length it should be and stretch it out a little, I still think it looks pretty nice. I couldn't find any little bells for the edging but may be able to find some to add for next year. Am also planning to knit a second stocking in green next year so that I have a pair for either side of the fireplace.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Cable Crazy

After seeing the Highland Stocking pattern in Rowan's Magazine no. 42, I decided I just have to knit them. While I am saving up for both the magazine and the yarn (7 balls of kid classic isn't exactly a cheap knit) I have gone a bit cable crazy, searching for cabled glove and hat patterns which would match.

There's just something about cables which intrigue me, maybe it's the mathematician in me looking for pretty, mathematically interesting braids to knit. Braids can also look quite Celtic, a look which rather appeals to me at the moment.

I didn't think much of the other patterns in this magazine at first, but some a really growing on me. The alpine shrug and Neaty and Narvic cardigans are most definitely on my to-knit list. The Rannoch dress is also lovely, but I'm not sure I could afford the wool to knit even the sleeveless version. I seem to have so many patterns on my to-knit list at the moment, there's no way I'm going to get even half of them finished before I see some new must-knits when the next magazine comes out.

Holiday Vest

I bought the Rowan book Tuscan Retreat a while back, containing a selection of designs based on the Holiday yarn. The yarn has been discontinued for a while and so I was able to buy up some cheaply to knit this Isabella vest
I tried to make the vest a little longer than in the pattern, but couldn't add too much length due to yarn shortages (there's not much leftover yarn in this one). The final length seems OK, it hangs just about level with the top of my belt on a fairly low-waisted pair of jeans, hardly a crop top. The pattern, once established is easy enough, although I had to start over several times before getting the 3rd row with the 'make one's correct. It's a little ambiguous about whether you should m1f or m1b, I decided that m1b is the intended stitch in the pattern and it seems to look correct. The decreases are a little tricky to do keeping the pattern correct, as the number of stitches changes in some rows, but with a little thinking and working out where to make your decreases it's not too bad. This was also my first time picking up stitches, not an easy feat on this pattern as it's hardly stocking stitch! I followed the pattern exactly, even though it seemed to give me too many stitches up the left side of the neck. Blocking helped to reduce the wrinkles, however, and you do need that stretch in the neckline when you wear it, so I am pretty pleased with the final result.

Fleece Artist Poncho

Trust me, this poncho looks much better on than it does on the hanger.

I bought the pattern and wool in a Fleece artist kit which I thought was pretty good value for less than £25. The design knitted up very quickly with lots of yarns overs. Unfortunately I finished it just when summer had finished and it became too cold for something with so many holes, but I hope I get to wear it more when it warms up again.

I love the triangular shape of the poncho, created by sewing two rectangles together, short sides along the long edges. It's a little tight in the neck which is a touch itchy, but only because I'm not used to wearing wool. The yarn is a nice blend of kid mohair and silk, thicker than Rowan's Kidsilk haze and feels quite a bit like the Kid classic. The pattern is quite pretty and very easy to knit once you get the hang of all the yarn overs. I hadn't knitted anything lacy before so this was a good pattern to start on.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Flower Hat

So this was the first proper thing I knitted, from a pattern.

The pattern comes from the book 'Fun and Funky Knitting' by Emma King which I borrowed from my Mum. I copied the pattern exactly, just substituting the bright pink yarn for a nice dark purple. It is knitted in Rowan 4 ply Soft (Victoria) with trimmings in Rowan Wool cotton, which is used double and nice and soft and stretchy. I found that the hat turned out a little too big for my head and sticks up a little at the top, but then I do have a very small head. I just have to pull it down a bit further than normal, at least it keeps my ears nice and warm.

I like the little flower detail on the side which makes it a little more smart and feminine than your regular beanie.
I'm halfway through knitting the matching scarf from the book, but have run out of wool as I'm making it much longer than the one in the pattern. Unfortunately my favourite internet stockists, Kangaroo, have run out of the particular shade I need, so will have to wait until it comes back in stock. I also have plans to knit the tweedy gloves as well, maybe once I have finished my current gauntlets.

New Year, New Blog

Well, a new year seems like a pretty good time to start a new project and here's one I've been thinking about for a while: blogging my knitting works. I've been knitting for a little over a year now and although as yet my knitted collection is somewhat meagre, I have recently been flushed with enthusiasm and anticipate many garments will be knitted over the coming year. How exciting!