Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Blessed Christmas

card from : : lights from our Christmas tree

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Would you?

Would you frog this store bought hand knitted Aran cardigan if you had several dry cleaning burnts on it? I don't send my woollies to the dry cleaners anymore but those were the days when I thought wool keeps better minus the water !

It was bought 10 years ago and has seen me through many winters. There's too many memories associated with it, like I was travelling with my late father when I gave some lame excuse for going into this shop near Hampton Court to buy it. I remembered explaining why it costed much more than 'Made in China' machine knitted ones......

I'm sure if I give the recycled wool a good bath and knit it up into an Aran vest I'd have many more years out of it still. Well, I got as far as taking the scissors out this morning but they went back into my sewing basket after the photography session! One of these days....

I've got 2 WIPs, one of which cannot be blogged about till after the New Year since I'm taking part in the celebrating Christmas and New Year the KC way mystery project.

This is Thorn and Thistle from IK Summer 06 and I'm knitting with Catania cotton.

I'm a little undecided about adapting the cardigan sleeves shown in the ensemble into short sleeves for the top. Anyway, that can come later.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

On time..

Phew! so I made it, but I'm not planning to get into another 'deadline' situation like this again. (I hope!) Dilly dallying and wondering off to other projects, serves me right really.
I never got round to the pair of matching socks......
DH's jumper was finished late Thursday night, blocked and ready for packing by Friday. It's on the way to the airport now and I've finally got something to blog about!
Pattern : none, measurements from an old jumper
Chest Size: 48"
Yarn: Rowanspun 4 ply ( 100% pure new wool )
Amount: 16 x 25 gm x 162 yds (with some yards left over)
Needles: 2mm and 3mm

The body and sleeves were worked in the round, shoulders with short rows and 3 needle cast off. I find the shoulder seams (pic below) are definitely neater compared to the step-cast-off and seaming method.

And here's the last of the hats for 3 teenagers on a skiing trip tomorrow. That's our Christmas tree in the background and the cyrstal globe used for all my hat pictures.

I used 2 strands of black DK wool and I'm not certain if this is 'broken rib' but I think it's a nice 'hat stitch' and more interesting than the usual k2p2 ribbing. The stitches are dense and give the hat better structure, that is, if you don't intend for it to go into a smallish handbag since it's bulkier than a Beanie.

So!, it is now ME time and I'm about to make myself a nice cup of tea while I decide on what to cast on this evening :)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Detouring consequences

I work well under stress, but this is cutting it a little too close. I've got to the first sleeve with DH's jumper and I really really must have it washed and blocked by first week December!

I had also planned a pair of matching socks....oh dear! any suggestions how I can summon the knitting elves to stop by?
The consequences of too many detours.....

Since it's mostly knitted in the round there's not much finishing, only the sleeves to attach and the collar to pick up but I'm still in a panic.

Turns out that I have less hats to knit for this winter.
Here's 2 out of three, just one more for the nephew.

This one out of a double stranded DK wool bouncle, is a tad too tight so I'll probably knit a slightly larger one with the same yarn. There's plenty left over from this cardigan I knitted last year.

This is knitted with my handpainted chunky wool . Notice how the colour pools? I was a little disappointed with how the striping turned out until my daughter and the receipient said 'it's cool, I like it', and so, if the 'customer' is happy, I'm happy :)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Diamond Fantasy Shawl

It's a 'shawlette' really, and has just made it's first outing to church this morning.

I went for the scarf size plus one repeat, using up the 2nd hank which had a little more than half left over when I reached the recommended pattern repeats. It covers the shoulders just right and is surprisingly very warm. Definitely going to be a 'work-horse' shawl for me and looks rather chic tied round the neck, just perfect when travelling in colder climes. Not to long nor bulky, definitely a repeat knit this one.

All in all, it took about 4 days and will be a quick gifting knit. Oh yes! the I-Cord cast off. It was a first, took a lot longer than normal casting-off and for those of you who'd be like me, wondering and worrying if I've got it right, shoulder on and see if you like the effect? If it looks good, why worry? continue to the finish!!!

Here it is, resting fully on my knitting-chair so as you can gauge its length from the back view. Now, I did take some back poses and the pictures were so awful they were deleted as soon as I set eyes on them. Is it true, ladies of a certain age should not be photographed from the back???? :)

Pattern: Sivia Harding Diamond Fantasy Scarf

Size: 25" x 57"
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss, Black, Fingering
( 70% merino wool 30% silk )
Amount: 2 x 50 gm x 220 yds (with some yards left over)
Needles: 4mm

Notes : Pattern recommended Scarf size plus 1 repeat

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Black Diamonds

So it's my Saturday off work and I couldn't wait to settle down with a mug of white coffee to knit hubby's jumper and try short rows on the shoulder seams instead of the usual step-cast-off. Just a few more inches and the back should be done.

But wait, it's a bright morning with good light to work on a swatch with the black Knit Picks Gloss just arrived. Plenty of time to go back to the jumper or so I thought!

Well, here's the swatch for Sivia Harding's Diamond Fantasy Shawl, see how its grown to almost 5 repeats by the evening?? :) Not a stitch was made on anything else. I just went on and on and oh! the merino silk mix is so soft and smooth, the stitches just flew off the needles. I'm definitely going to buy more if I get a chance to.

I'm back to the shawl now, here's wishing you all a productive week ahead. Happy knitting!

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Was I even thinking, 3 rectangular stole WIPs at a time ?
First, I wanted Cozy in 4 ply cotton to lug around the office. You know, something not too fragile and fancy. Then the Knitpicks Alpaca arrived and I couldn't resist trying out some lace. That was Sivia Harding's Hanging Garden. Then another spree brought Knitpicks Twist for daughter YL's Clap.

It was overwhelming, it was crazy and I will never ever have more than one stole/shawl project in progress ever again! Some of you are probably having an 'ah ha' smile and thinking 'we'll see how long that will last.... '. But I didn't start anything like I had promised myself a few blog entries ago, really!

By the way, I've got enough yarn, just arrived, for 4 lace projects just calling out to be started.....and I'm looking for a wool - silk mix in graduated colours for another Clapotis :)

Just off the needles and unblocked.

Pattern: Clapotis

Size: 22" x 63"

Yarn: Knit Picks Twist, Broadway Lights, DK

( 30% cotton 30% visose 20% acrylic 20% nylon )

Amount: 8 x 50 gm x 99 yds (plus some yards from the 9th ball)

Needles: 4mm

Yes!, I will knit this again and I plan to do so soon - mine! It's such an amazing design and I love the way it drapes over the front. Surprisingly it's not bulky over the shoulders, probably due to the trapezoidal shaping.

However, Twist with ribbon yarn entwined is wrong for this pattern as I forsee the yarn fraying easily at the drop stitch bars. Also, I think it's best in a lighter yarn, the cotton mix is a little heavy and the FO is about 400 gms.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hanging Garden Stole

The Monsoons season is finally here and the phone lines around my area's going to be fried ever so often. My connection has been out for 2 days and so here I am, sneaking in an update on my latest FO at the office this morning.
My first lace project

Pattern: Hanging Garden Stole by Sivia Harding

Size: 22" x 70" (blocked)

Yarn: Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud, 100% Baby Alpaca in Smoke, lace weight,

Skein: 1.8 x 50 g x 440 yds

Needles: 3.25mm as recommended on Knit Picks pattern

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Can't wait

I've got to the stage with my Hanging Garden Stole where I'm working on it every knitting minute and just can't wait to finish.

This blob here is 2 repeats shy of the targeted 10 and I've got another lace stole planned cos' I'm hooked!

Strange, only two skeins instead of the three recommended KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud were needed. My tension must be out, but then, the stole when strectched looks like it'd block to required measurements.

Anyways, I'm very pleased with how it's turning out.

I've got to knit at least 5 winter hats by November and here's the stash I intend to use up. They're mostly DK wool except for the self-striping hand painted which is Worsted.

Since I'm not terribly imaginative nor creative, combining them to come up with hats that my teenage receipients will refer to as 'cool' is going to be a fashion challenge for an aunt who dislikes wearing hats.

I reckon if I go with the stripey child's and green hat designs below I won't go too wrong? There's always plain ribbing if I run out of ideas but I very much want to attempt something different. Ideas and links to patterns from you would be most welcome.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Knitting charts

It took almost 2 hours to block, but seeing it all stretched out in its 'glory' was most satisfying.

Pattern: Cozy

Size: 20.5" by 69" (blocked)

Yarn: Bendigo 4 ply cotton in Natural

Skeins: ( 200 + 75) gm x 670 yds = 921 yds

Needles: 3.5 mm

this made knitting much easier...

pinned on kiddie blocks drying near the windows.

I wanted coloured charts and my Hanging Garden, with symbols in black, was driving me cross-eyed, so I sat down and charted another on Msoft Excel which took just over an hour. Isn't this worth it? The right side columns are row counters.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Almost there

I've got a few new projects lined up and no, no, no I'm NOT casting-on any till Cozy and Clapotis are finished. The additional 3 hanks of Knit Picks Twist should arrive for the final lap of Clap in a week or so.

Here it is, almost 50" done and 20" to go, should take another few days, not too difficult to keep temptation at bay right? Thing is, some days I can get more than 10 repeats knitted and some, hardly two!

The 8th Lunar month Autumn Mooncake Festival is just over and every year I loathe to throw out the prettier wooden boxes the cakes come in these days. I'm using them for yarn, hopefully, after much cleaning and airing there'll be no residue scent. There's a few more being aired but these are my favorite. The long ones with satin wrap covers are perfect for straight needles.

DH's jumper, in Rowanspun 4 ply, has to be completed in November which is not that many weeks away but it's such an easy knit that the 300 stitches on 3mm needles don't seem such a lot since most of the knitting is done while watching TV.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Little purse

What do you do with 10 m of hand painted yarn that you can't wait to see knitted up? A made-to-measure toiletry purse for my daughter!(for stuff you'd want to hide on the trip from the classroom to the Ladies)
I tried out the Turkish cast-on which seems easier than the figure-eight technique. Here's the attempt, the purse is knitted with magic-loop and attaching the button is the only sewing needed. Now casting-on for toe-up socks doesn't seem so daunting.

I've just had another satisfying yarn painting morning, finishing remnant kool-aid and Wiltons sitting in the fridge since the last attempt. The colourway is almost the same except this time I have some projects in mind.

I used the 3 hanks of natural wool left from the baby blanket and 255 m of worsted will be just perfect for 2 small winter hats for a niece and nephew.

1. ready for micro-waving..........2. nice and dry...................3. hats....soon

These Rowan offer back issues arrived several days ago and I've got to admit this is the first time I've ever owned one and now I've got 4!!!
All six for GB 25 Pounds plus postage. Now that I'm a true Rowan fan (yarn and magazines) I'll be on the lookout for more offers like this.

All in all, a most satisfying week, don't you think?

Monday, September 25, 2006

A quick update....


Pattern: Simple sock in three sizes (Cat Bordhi-Socks soar on two circular needles)

Yarn: Knit Picks Dancing (41% cotton 39% wool 13% nylon 7% elatic)

Amount: approx 310 yds

Needle size: 2 mm & 3 mm (casting on and off)

The pattern is highly recommended for beginners, concise and easily understood with helpful tips and tricks not provided in most sock patterns.

Clapotis is waiting for more yarn to arrive from Knit Picks.

And yes ladies, I hear you, as soon as Fushia Gable is laundered I will model it for posting here. You know, I wore it on my ill-fated trip and it was very nearly left behind at the hotel. (shudders!!!)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The End?

Thank you, to those who knew I was in Bangkok for a project meeting, for your SMSes and concern. I managed to find a taxi to the airport and caught the earliest flight out with help from the friend of a friend who did the flight changes after being woken up with frantic phone calls from another friend of a friend (I guess).

I pray this is indeed the ending to the drama I last blogged about. What else can beat walking right into a military coup two hours I landed, checked into the hotel and went out for a late dinner?
BBC World and CNN were reporting about tanks and a coup right in the area near my hotel when the reception to BBC was suddenly cut off while CNN came back intermittenly. All the local stations were playing patriotic music videos. No news is really bad news in such a situation, especially when the phone calls started coming from family, friends and woken up bosses. There was talk of a curfew and it did occur to me I'd have to find my way to the airport immediately if I want to get out quick. But there was no way of knowing if the streets were safe or if a taxi is available at that time.
After much deliberation, the hotel seems safer and since there was nothing I could do till the morning I tried to get some sleep in between taking peeks out of the window to see if there were vehicles on the road as that would mean there's no curfew enforced.
Surprisingly I was quite calm, largely due to the behaviour of the hotel staff who went about in their usual friendly and helpful manner. Infact I noticed the same calmess throughout the next day, at breakfast, the driver and airport staff. Every Thai exudes an understanding and reassuring attitude towards us even when the hotel lobby was choc-a-bloc with guests trying to find taxis and dealing with the crowd at the airport.

So that was that! In and out of Bangkok within 24 hours, nothing accomplished but an experience to remember. In retrospect, it would have been safe for me to stay on, but then the worst could also happen. Meetings can be resheduled.

I managed to finish the first repeat of Hanging Garden on the flight and much as I tried to knit while waiting for the TV channels to come back, I couldn't concentrate.

I'm enjoying knitting this pattern much much more than the Feather and Fan stole I had frogged to cast on this.

Annie and Doreen , sorry, no ball winders but I did find these mother-of-pearl buttons at the airport. Probably paid too much for them but how could I leave without buying anything knitting related? I had planned to look for hand crafted baskets for my WIPs too. Oh well!

I fell asleep on the couch right after I reached home yesterday and just can't bring myself to get up to get into the office this morning so have decided to take the day off to catch up on the knitting I missed out!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Drama after drama

Ever had one of those weeks where everything seems to happen at the same time and left you wondering what's next? My dramas started on Tuesday and went right through the week.

I found out I've got to have at least 2 more hanks for Clapotis and was to-ing and fro-ing with the ladies at Knitpicks to try and rush the additions into the first order made on Monday. Too late, but they've got the same lot, despatched off immediately and were super friendly and helpful.

The next few days were hectic but so far so good till Friday, the major drama, when I realised I couldn't make it out of the country for a business trip on Sunday. Which explains why I'm here blogging instead of somewhere else!.

We went for this on Saturday:

It's a one man show and if you haven't heard the Gospel of St Luke, King James version, told word for word and yet so comprehensible, don't miss this if it ever comes to your neck of the woods. Like Bruce Kuhn the actor said "it's great to have so many of you pay big bucks to come listen to a gospel story!".

The matinee audience was provided with a pre-show drama by me missing what I insisted was a mysterious step, falling with a thud on the theatre aisle and landing on my knee! Walking is a pain since then.

My trip is on and the flight is tomorrow. Negotiating airport steps will be an agony though. My ankle has had all the treatments I can think of. Chinese massage with kung-fu oil, infra light 2x a day, ankle guard to take off some pressure, socks to keep warm at night and prayers for a miracle.

In the meantime I've casted on a Rowanspun 4 ply jumper for DH that will give me hours of mindless stockinette knitting and Sivia Harding's Hanging Garden to knit when I have some quiet time the next few days. Doesn't look like I will be doing much shopping on this trip anyway!

And by the way, the pictures of both the jumper and stole refused to upload, so I guess that's the cue for me to say bye2 and wish all of you and especially myself, a safe and fruitful week ahead.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dropping stitches is fun

Oooh! the joys of un-knitting.It's great, this deliberate dropping of stitches in Clapotis . I find myself rushing with the knitting and anticipating gleefully the rows where the drops are made. Is this a manifestation of the destructive trait that some say are inherent in us?

There's so much written about this pattern so I'm not going to say very much except I'm really amazed at how the designer came up with such a unique knit . It's knitted with Knitpicks Twist in Moonlight.

Fushia Gable (office casual 3) went to the office today and that is why it's looking rather tired and slightly creased at the bottom. It's been a quick and easy knit and for a first try at top-down knitting, I'd recommend it.

Pattern : Green Gable

Yarn : Bendigo, Harmony ROSE, 8 ply,30% wool 69.6% cotton 4% Lycra

Amount used : approx 700 yds

Needles : 4 mm & 3 mm

Mods : Sleeves, body and ribbing were lengthened. Instructions for size 40" followed to achieve chest size 36/38 with DK yarn gauge.

Will knit the pattern again but in a smoother and softer yarn. The lycra content gives this a nice stretch however, the yarn is better suited for a 'rugged' look.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

DPNs, 2 Circs and Magic Loop

Sometimes, the best of plans just don't seem to work the way we want them to! My first pair was knitted with DPNs and this one on 2 circulars while the next pair with magic loop. Then I'd move on to toe-up and other fancy patterns and techniques.

Call them what you will, porcupines, barbecue sticks etc but I miss my DPNs!!! The resting cirular and its dangling needles irritated me so much, I left the gusset and went surfing for magic loop instructions. I switched and am happy I did! How is it that I think 5 dpns look so neat while a 2nd circular drives me up the wall beats me too!

I've been busy knitting, moving from one WIP to the other but with no FO to take pictures of with our new camera. It's got all these cool features, especially the Indoor function that I'm dying to try out, so let me introduce you to my duck collection.

mmmm mm

They're bought during my travels and some are gifts from friends and family. There's duckie pictures on my wall too, but I'll have to take each one separately to show them off properly. Showing them all would make this blog entry crawl I'm afraid.

Happy knitting in the week ahead everyone!