Sunday, 31 August 2008

A long way from the line... the Kimono Coat which did not make it anywhere close to a finishing line in the Ravelympics.

That said, I am plugging away diligently and I am happy with progress so far. Yet, as you may be able to see from the fact that the yarn is resting on some kitchen scales in this photo? I am a bit worried that I may not have enough yarn to make it to any sort of finishing line at all.

I hope I do, as my ideas to extend the life of this yarn did not quite work out. So there may be some shallow breathing as I inch my way slowly across this garment!

P.s. there are still no photos of my phyllo as I hope that I have found it a very deserving home. It is headed to a good friend who I managed to persuade to try it on this evening. So I am going to sew in its ends, do some stablising crochet around its neck and then? I will see if I can persuade her to pose in it for me either next weekend or the weekend after that - watch this space!

Monday, 25 August 2008

Twist-Untwist: Dawn to Dusk Scarf

I do not want to go on about this project as it was such a quick knit but just as a bit of context, I thought that you might like to know the reason I made a double layered scarf?

I was over at my parents (one branch thereof). They were preparing to head off to a wedding - a day-to-evening affair. My stepmother was fretting about her outfit and how it would stand up to the transition between day and evening. This is a tricky situation for any woman, right?!

My stepmother had a gold scarf to accessorise her outfit - it was perfect for evening but a bit dayglo-bling for daytime. So after a bit of discussion, the suggestion that won favour was for her to tie the scarf to her handbag during the day and then wear it during the evening to glam up her outfit.

So I decided to make her a scarf for her birthday to help solve this problem in the future - just so she has something that will carry her through a day-to-evening-event.

While I am not 100% there with this idea yet, I am happy that I have made my stepmother a scarf that I think will appeal to both her engineer's daughter heart and her firm views on value. I think that she will appreciate how it is put together and also enjoy the idea of a three-in-one-scarf?!

The pattern that I used is the Single Cable Scarf from One Skein.

Scarf One - the top layer is worked in Misti Alpaca Chunky. I omitted a rib repeat from this scarf as the yarn is bulky and was a bit short on yardage:


Actually, I nicknamed this scarf Twist-Untwist because that is how the top scarf looks to me (cable set against two straight columns) - no science there, then! This scarf took about two train commutes to make, so about 1-1.25 hours? A quick knit indeed - very satisfying.

Scarf Two - the bottom layer is made with Rowan Kidsilk Haze, embellished with shell buttons I picked up at John Lewis. It is worked exactly as per the pattern to ensure that it was wide enough to show either side of the top scarf. As a result, it took just over a single ball as I worked the yarn double. I was about 3" short? Luckily, I discovered a stray half ball of the same Rowan yarn/shade in my stash (left over from my Alice in Wonderland project) and there was no discernible difference between the two dye batches! Lucky again!


I didn't time how long it took to make this scarf. However, it did take longer to make as the kidsilk haze is not so easy to work with. The buttons took two train commutes to sew into place. I added them to both sides of the bottom layer as a light catching, decorative embellishment.

However, they are also intended to be functional as they attach the two scarf layers together. They are simply pushed through the top layer stitches.

Scarf Three - so, all together now:


Ahhhh! Yes, it is a very cuddly, soft scarf (even if I cannot wear mohair for more than about 5 3 minutes)!

I studied 3D design at university once upon a time. Goodness, I suspect that I spent hours, no days, pondering the merits of form over function when I was about 20. I think that we even had to write essays about it. I need to confess that this button solution appeals ridiculously to my practical vs aesthetic nature.

Crikey, two happy projects in a row - now there's tempting knitting fate. Maybe the answer is just that I should keep my knitting simple. I dunno, spend the rest of my life churning out nice, simple scarves?

Hmm, right - now where would the exploration, growth and entertainment be in that?!

Friday, 22 August 2008

Within Deadline!





Omigawd, it's official - I am a Ravelete. Who would'a thunk it?! Better photos later.

(Oh bah humbug - I know that I didn't even dust off my needles for my WIP Wrestling project and I will not have finished my Baby Kimono by the end of the Closing Ceremony...

...but in fairness to my poorly right hand, it seems that the Phyllo Yoked Pullover, circular needles affair duffed my right hand. Honest - even typing this week has been a painful, cramping challenge - now, clearly - this is the excuse that I am going to pull out when my Baby Kimono is only a 1/3rd complete when the bell rings on the end of Closing Ceremony.)

Thursday, 21 August 2008

The Daydreamer

I just saw this over at TeeWeeWonders blog and I think that I will let it speak for itself because it does seem to sum me up quite well.

(Mind you, it should - as the test is all about self perception and I am the one who answered the questions!)

Now the following may account for the reason that I thought I might have a chance of finishing three things in 17 Ravelympic days, despite the fact that it takes me weeks, if not months, to finish anything!

Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test...

NBPC - The Daydreamer

Nature, Background, Big Picture, and Color

You perceive the world with particular attention to nature. You focus on the hidden treasures of life (the background) and how that fits into the larger picture. You are also particularly drawn towards the colors around you. Because of the value you place on nature, you tend to find comfort in more subdued settings and find energy in solitude. You like to ponder ideas and imagine the many possibilities of your life without worrying about the details or specifics. You are in tune with all that is around you and understand your life as part of a larger whole. You are a down-to-earth person who enjoys going with the flow.

The Perception Personality Types:


Take The Perception Personality Image Test at HelloQuizzy

Monday, 18 August 2008

I now have blog envy...


It's very simple. I spent the whole weekend in Hereford setting up this blog for my mother*.

Yup - please do abandon this simple, single page layout blog to head over there, lend her some encouragement and admire her new, Wordpress multiple page layout blog! It's not quite all there yet but it's early days. It will take her a little time to knock its rough edges off and mould it into the shape that she is happy with.

No, please do not mind me. I'll sit just over here with my simple, single page Blogger blog set up...sniff, sob...too worn out to even insert a picture in this post know, knit.

'Cos even though I was too lost in blog-set-up-ville to knit a stitch over the weekend, I'm very close to the finishing line in one of my Ravelympic projects - Scarf Stroke.

I am a long way off in my Baby Dressage event though. After ripping the sleeve out three times, I worked out that my gauge was off, in a rather odd way - it seems to be correct vertically but wrong, width wise.

It is a sideways knit. So my tentative solution? Um, to follow the width stitch instructions for 6-12 months but the vertical instructions for 1-2 years. Not very scientific. Goodness know how it will turn out.

The only thing that I think I can guarantee? It won't be turned out by the end of the Closing Ceremony on the 24th August!

Pictures of knitting progress soon.

* * * *

*Notes: Hence no pictures of the phyllo yet - I think that photos will have to wait until next weekend now as the evenings seem to be getting dark very quickly these days!

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Rubber Ducks: a National Obsession?!

As it is the Olympics, just let me be a bit British, for a moment.

This week, I truly enjoyed reading this post very much indeed.

You see, I am quietly convinced that those of us who live across the whole of the British Isles hold a place in their heart for certain, offbeat things that render us, almost-but-not-quite, incomprehensible to the rest of the world.

No, not Roobeedoo's raspberry jam (although that looks yummy and I do not even like jam) but her local, rural art installation. I love it that, just when everyone thinks that they have got to grips with what the United Kingdom is all about, someone conjures up something fairly left field, like a rubber duck in a pothole, on the side of a road - beat that, if you can!

Now, just in case you think that I am making up our nation's affection for the very glorious, yellow, rubber duck, I would like to share some photos from an annual event that the Fella and I happened to take part in on New Year's Day.

Now this is an annual event in Wales - a fair old distance from Roobeedoo. If you look at the photos, it is an event that even gets spectators.

Oh and this next slide set? This is a world record breaking event that took place at Hampton Court in 2007 - it beat the world record by 40,000 rubber ducks. Apparently.

Y'know, I was informed by a colleague today that China is racing ahead in in the golds medal table at the Olympics this year.

I think that's great! Yet trust me, if it came down to Olympic rubber duck racing? The gloves would be off - I would be there, doing my best to ensure that Britain would be on the podium taking Gold, Silver and Bronze*!

* * *
*Notes: possibly only likely because no other nation had thought to train in a sport that involves the Winnie the Pooh sticks principle?!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Just because it does not appeal to me...

...doesn't mean that I do not get it.

I haven't mentioned the Hyperbolic Crochet exhibit at the South Bank to date - simply because it does not appeal to me. I feel tentative about posting this as a lot of people I know have been very enthusiastic about it and contributed to it. So maybe there is something important here that I have missed?

No mathematically impaired explanation from me could possibly outdo this Online Exhibit from the Institute for Figuring: Hyperbolic Space. Read it - honest - even to a "no numbers" brain like mine, it's good.

I need to say that I really like the way that it has been possible to express a 3 dimensional realisation of ideas and research in crochet because it is difficult to create an equivalent model or surface in another way. (Crikey that sounded very arty farty.)

Also, it is very cool that the resulting forms look like a coral reef - no really, it is cool. I do realise that this is quirky, interesting plus makes a really good, valid point about pollution and global warming. I appreciate that all sorts of people have worked really hard on it, even learning new techniques in order to contribute to it. It is just that...

...what can I tell you? It's just not my sort of thing. I have tried to like it. I have - honestly. I just do not. Um. I am really sorry about that.

However, if you have not seen it yet and would like to make your own mind up or contribute to it, then you need to get along to the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank before Sunday, 17th August!

Monday, 11 August 2008

Eleanor Scarf

Now, it's not often that things turn out better than you think they will. I'd like to introduce you to Eleanor, a very simple yet strangely elegant, lace scarf for my sister. I hope that she likes it.

I made the pattern up (such as it is) and although I would be very happy to share it (if anyone is interested in having it), I think that there might be a slight snag. Here I need to explain that I have not ever seen the pattern so I could be wrong. However, from some pictures that I have seen on the internet, I think that my scarf stitch pattern looks a bit close to the Montego Bay scarf pattern?

Albeit that pattern uses a luscious lighter weight yarn and my scarf is made out of a more humble, heavier weight yarn, is narrower and has a different edging. So I am not sure whether it is okay for me to share my pattern? I am very happy to blog it, if the consensus is that it is okay. That is, if anyone would like it?

There are more photos on my Eleanor Scarf project page, if you would like to see pictures of its back and front. The same pictures are here on Flickr too (just in case you have not yet signed up to Ravelry).

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah...'s amazing what you can sort out while you are avoiding something that you don't want to do - namely, ripping out part of a sleeve for the brand new baby kimono coat project.

I got stuck on this project. I did not like what I had done. So it has been hibernating for over a year. However, the problem has been resolved, the item finshed and its ends sewn in.

I could almost do a dance of joy, right about now. It's in the sink. It will be blocked to within an inch of its existence, then it will be gifted, well over a year late, to my sister.

A very belated birthday present. I hope that she likes it!


Well perhaps, only in my case - I really feel like I am limping slowly out of the starting blocks!

As you may already know, Ravelry has organised the 2008 Ravelympics. An enormous number of people have signed up to try to complete an astonishing number of projects during the summer Olympics in Beijing.

That folks - is 17 days. Now, when have I ever managed to finish anything within 17 days?!

Let alone three things. Shuddup, yes, you did read that correctly: three things.

Okay, let me be honest here - I only signed up for three events because I wasn't sure what to work on. Then, as it turned out, I did not notice that one of my projects had not registered correctly, so actually I am down to a choice of two things to work on over the next two weeks.

It's a shame, as I thought that I had entered the Vomituous Lake of Plastic Nastiness into WIP Wrestling. It's 80% done, so it's completion is achievable and I thought that you might get a giggle out of seeing it finished, as I have been so rude about its plasticity!

So, what am I doing instead?

Choice 1 - Baby Dressage: a sideways knit kimono for a 1-2 year old.

Pretty, eh? It's Rabbitworks Fibre Studio DK Merino-Alpaca in the Raspberries colourway.
Except that I have not got correct gauge. I have gone down a needle size but I am still out. So I am going down a garment size, in the hope that it will give me the correct sized outcome. I just hope that I have enough yardage, as the 1-2 year old size needs about 89yds more yarn than I have. Fingers crossed.

I have noticed a problem with my rib. I seem to have a consistent loose column of stitches that form on the left hand side of each repeat. Where I bring the yarn forwards to purl. Can you see? It doesn't happen on the leading column of knit stitches. I've tried to pull the yarn tight, like I would on dpns, but it is still happening - how do I eradicate it?
Mind you, this project is only Choice 1 because I am about to rip out the second start on the sleeve.

This is my first attempt, which shows some pooling. Which I quite like. However, this is going to a non knitting, French-Italian couple. So I am nervous, in case they do not like it.

The second attempt (not pictured) seems to have resolved the pooling but I am finding that the yarn tangles hopelessly when I try to work with the inside and outside of the same yarncake. So I think that I need to rip back and work from two different yarn cakes.

So two false starts and nothing more to show for it yet than a tension square and a picot cast on.

Choice Two - Scarfstroke: a test knit for Robynn

I do not pick up the pattern and the yarn for this until after work tomorrow - so that has not yet been started. From the pictures that I have seen of the scarf, some of the stitches look like they will be interesting to work (read super-slow to work in my case).

So, if you are keeping an eye on the Ravelympics over the next two weeks...

...look in one direction for the enthusiastic leaders, racing over the finishing line with finished objects.
Then turn, look back at the direction that they came from, and there, way behind the stragglers in the slow lane, yes - that little, very slow moving speck on the horizon?

Yup, that's me, with my two projects.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Of course, we all knew - right?

The fact that when you wet cotton, the fabric has a tendency to grow?

Here is my phyllo yoked pullover, blocking. Except that I decided not to pin it into shape - on the basis that there is no way to pin the back, so why pin the front?

Now, I have put a standard adult sized clothes hanger into some of the last photos that follow, just so that you have context for its scale... me, this purple beauty? It is is truly a bit on the big side for me:

As context, this pullover is draped across the bed in my spare room. The bed is almost a double one and the sleeves on this pullover, dangle over each side. If it wasn't for the fact that I'd like to wear this pullover, I'd be utterly delighted that I had managed to complete a project of this magnitude. Really.

A Lazy Afternoon in Brighton

It's Saturday morning, the phyllo is soaking in preparation for blocking and I am sat here with a mug of good coffee. You know, it has been a week and a bit since the Fella returned home. For some reason, it is at everyday times like this that I miss him the most - he should be here drinking Saturday coffee with me!

As a result I have found myself flipping back through our July photographs. There are surprisingly few (we rarely remember to take our cameras out with us). However, one time that we did remember, is an afternoon where we decided to sneak off during the GB Open, as two naughty children absconding from school a much needed break from the competitions. We jumped into the car and took off to Brighton for some fresh sea air and a look around the town.

We wandered through the South Lanes, which are a little maze of shopping alleys in the town centre - has anyone else noticed that there seems to be an abundance of jewellery shops there? I am ashamed to say that I got so close to one window display that that my nose (or was it my forehead?) bounced audibly off the glass, much to the delight of two passing shoppers.

We also strolled along the North Laines, which are a long ribbon of connecting streets with little independent shops and cafes etc. Now, while it was great to be able to walk along a street without falling over a chain coffee shop every two metres, I was left with the nagging feeling that Brighton might not be an entirely sheep friendly town.

All head, no fleece.

Ok, what happened to their bodies? Do I need to start digging up Brighton patios? Are these intended as knitter horror film props, or what?! After the shock of that grisly discovery, we headed to the seafront to take in the sea air along the pebble beach.

We paddled in the sea. Well okay, I paddled in the sea while the Fella gentlemanly kept my handbag safe.

We strolled along the pier, shared an obligatory small portion of fish and chips, won a round of Dolphin Derby and took advantage of a very obvious photo opportunity.

Then, at the very end of our afternoon, we headed to a fish restaurant for dinner before pootling gently off home to face the next round of events.

What a fabulous, lazy holiday afternoon. There are some more Brighton photos here.

Opps – time to start phyllo blocking. I am not sure that it will dry in time to take photos this weekend? So, as it seems to be almost dark by the time I get home after work at the moment, I may not be able to take any pictures until next weekend. Please bear with me!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Phyllo Yoked Marquee

Ooof! Note the 100% progress bar on the right of this page?

My Norah Gaughan phyllo yoked pullover is finished (except sewing up the underarms seams). I should be celebrating, right?

A whole finished summer pullover worked in beautifully soft, lovely, purple Rowan Cotton Calmer. There should be pictures galore in this post, of me revelling in my finished knit, beaming in a very self satisfied way, right?

No, I am afraid not. I knew that the jumper would be too big (as I am reduced in size from a 46" chest to a 38" chest) but I hoped that it would work on me as an oversized tunic?

It doesn't work - when I lifted it over my head to try it on, it slipped down, whistled straight over my shoulders and shot down my arms (where I then extricated my hands) and sat sullenly around my waist looking like a warped phyllo waisted skirt, with bell sleeves jutting out like saddle bags.


Now my other thought was that if it did not work on me, that it would be sufficiently well knitted to give away - sadly, I am not even sure that I can gift it or swap it in its current state.

Did I mention that my tension using circulars is tighter than when using straight needles? I sort of thought that it didn't look too bad while I was knitting.

However, when the jumper is on? The difference between the body, arms and yoke is extremely visible and I doubt that blocking will even it out.

What do you think - is it worth trying to see if I can salvage the jumper at least (to gift it onwards)? Or good grief, do I just bite the bullet and frog it?

A whole 46" chest, adult sized jumper. Wow. Owch. It is sitting on a bed at home, awaiting my decision.

I might do what all good knitwear stylists do - get some large bulldog clips and take some photos for posterity.

Then I'll take some more without bull dog clips so you can see the real deal and help me decide on its exit?

One day (over the rainbow) I might make something for myself that I can actually wear. It's not happened yet - the lace shaped tee that I made last autumn was only worn twice and now sits in a cupboard feeling very unloved.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Early - Mid Summer Blooms

It feels to me that the year is whizzing past so quickly that I feel like I am running to keep up, yet I am still falling behind.

You see, I can hardly believe that it is August already. The early - mid summer blooms have come and gone in my garden. The compilation on the left show some plants that I managed to catch. However, there were many more that my camera missed - including my clemantis, some wild geraniums, white Astrantia and my remaining delphiniums (the slugs and snails usually feast on these while they are tender shoots).

Mind you, it has not all been a success on the gardening front though. Ahem! I only read the instructions on the outside of my David Austin bare root rose packaging that I received late last autumn. Do you remember - the pink Hero rose I ordered last September that it has taken me three years to obtain?!

Ahh well, the instructions on the outside of the packaging advised that the rose should be placed in a frost free place if it could not be planted straight away. So I thought it best not to open the packet. Instead I put it, unopened, into my garden shed.

Oh, don't ask - if common sense had entered into this equation at all, I would have thought through the fact that something alive should not spend the entire winter in the shed without any light, moisture or air.

I am guessing that the instructions on the packet were intended only for a week or two, not all of the winter into early Spring months. As a result, I opened the packet, took out a very dead looking twig, read the more detailed instructions inside (which pointed out the error of my ways) and I sighed.

On a bright note, it seems that I am afflicted just as equally by gardening denial, as I am by knitterly denial. So I must be an optimist at heart? You see, I planted it out into a pot (just in case). And lo! Here it is, 5 months on:

Yup, as dead as a bloomin' dodo!

Also, have I ever mentioned that my neighbour's garden is trying to take over the earth, one square inch of bindweed and ornamental vine at a time?

The nasty stuff has started to come through their fence and has started to pop up in my flowerbeds - it's a constant battle. Although my tree peony is putting up a good, strong boundary defence, it seems that the darker elements of next door's plantlife decided that my absence at the GB Open was the ideal opportunity to launch another world offensive:

It may not look too bad in these pictures but trust me, these are sly plants. Left unattended, they spread and spread, either quietly choking all in their path or clambering over them with hobnailed wide, vine leaved boots, obliterating out the light for everything below them.

Now I appreciate that a weed is really only a plant in the wrong place but these intruders from next door are total thugs and as you can see from the image below, they seem to work very well in partnership:

So, is anyone else out there battling persistent weeds or bug infestations, in the global battle for greater gardening good this summer?!