Friday, 29 March 2013

What's on my needles!

OK. I have a confession to make... I'm having awful trouble being faithful to just one piece of knitting at the moment. This is not like me. I'm by nature a monogamous knitter, tending in general to have a fairly linear approach to projects. I start a project, knit on just it fairly exclusively (the odd dabble with a small bit of crochet doesn't count) till I finish it up in a reasonable time frame before I begin the next thing. That is, unless irreconcilable differences arise between the knitted object and me the knitter and we can no longer bear to spend time in each other's company and it goes and spends time in the naughty corner till I decide exactly how to deal with its recalcitrance.  And we shouldn't really mention the small issue I have with sewing things up... But now, I'm cheating on the cardigan I started making in October for future Doctor daughter with a pair of gloves, a couple of cowls, some beanies and knitted help with a homework project for one of my young taekwondo students. I feel vaguely like that skanky girl at high school who picked up the entire football team at a party but couldn't settle on just one of them.

So how much exactly is on my needles (or just off them) at the moment:

1. Garter stitch gloves from Interweave Knits Winter 2013.
I started these in late January but have stalled. There are three main reasons why:
One: I went and played in a Cowl KAL for Feburary and knitted most of two cowls instead,
Two: there is a massive knot in my yarn and it's going to end up in a lace bit and probably be on the right side of the garter stitch, and
Three: I don't like how the lace is coming up around the arm area of the glove. It's all bunchy with a weirdly large number of decreases being made in the last row of the pattern.
In fact, I'm not sure I like them at all. They even didn't want to photograph very nicely....
Bunchy Lace
Now the dilemma is do I finish them and give them away / sell them? I'm leaning towards frogging!

2. The BFF Cowl: which for ever after shall be known as The Misbehaving Cowl.
If ever a project deserves severe punishment for intransigent behaviour it is this one. I am currently on Mark III version of the cocoon stitch loop of this cowl. It's partially my fault that it is my third go at this link. It's mainly because I chose to use unlabelled and unweighed seconds from a spinning mill that I had in my stash because I was so enamoured with the colour combination of bright blue and green given in the original pattern (even though I know I can't and shouldn't ever wear green as I makes me look like a walking corpse). Oh and I didn't feel like knitting a tension square. And didn't really check that the pattern called for worsted weight (not the DK I was using).....
This is where I started. I had to frog this as the tension was too tight with the needles suggested in the pattern. So then I knitted the tension square I should have started with. Then I began again.With bigger needles.
I got to 11 repeats before I ran out of yarn... I needed 13 to make it long enough. I sat and contemplated it for a few days and then decided to frog the lot. Then I raided the stash and started again...I was still feeling the blue and green combination from the initial pattern so I dug out this (worsted weight this time) pure wool in bright blue with white flecks.
But now I don't like it. I've decided I wouldn't wear it. It doesn't go with anything in my wardrobe. (And I got distracted for a little while by a birthday beanie). When I came back to it I frogged it again and, don't tell anyone, but I went and bought some more wool - a rich rusty red.
And here's Mark III - Gorgeous colour that I'd actually wear. Interesting pattern to knit. (And I'm still loving it even though this is essentially the third time I've done it).
Moral of the story - preparation and care and planning and thorough reading of the pattern instructions at the beginning of a project leads to satisfactory results. And beware of using stash yarn without checking weight or yardage! Have I learned my lesson? Probably not!

3. Laptop cozy
I got a new work toy in late February - a tablet computer. It has a screen I can write on with an electronic pen. This is the world's most wonderful invention when you lecture maths and stats. I can write on my PowerPoint slides whilst I'm projecting them! Normally typesetting mathematical equations is a tediously slow process. I've had a loan one for most of the last two years and wouldn't want to be without one. So when the loan program shut down and they were gifting the just out of warranty tablets to previous users of the program I jumped at the chance. As it came without a bag, I decided it needed it's own knitted sleeve to protect it as it's carried it around to its various classes.

The yarn is one of those printed acrylic self patterning yarns and it only cost $4. And with 8ply (DK) and 4mm needles it was a fun, mindless and quick knit. The laptop loves its laptop cozy. The cat clearly likes it too.
4. Homework help: (pouch for baby kangaroos). Abby, one of my taekwondo students, knows I knit. (Her mum knits too). As part of a school project she is recruiting people to help make things for Wildlife Victoria: a wildlife rescue service. She and her Dad made some possum boxes and she recruited some knitters to help make Joey Pouches. These are knitted drawstring bags used to house orphaned joeys (baby kangaroos). How could I refuse such a request? It wasn't going to take very long and it's for a good cause.
The only stipulation was that the yarn used had to be wool not acrylic. I had this yarn I found in a moving sale for my local favourite op shop (thrift store) for a while. It's a homespun fairly greasy wool with some flecks of other fibre. Perfect! And yesterday at training I delivered it to the excited recipient.

5. The birthday beanie
My nephew seems to have had a beanie stapled to his head for the last few years. The beanie has a twofold purpose. It hides his ears and keeps his incredibly curly hair under control.
The current beanie may now be qualifying as a health hazard as he never washes it, so I made him a new one for his 21st. It’s made from a ball of what appears to be handspun wool from my stash. This is one of those mystery balls. I have no idea how it found its way into my stash but I know I didn’t actually pay money for it. It’s a gorgeous blue grey and matches his eyes.
So I did it in less than a week and it cost nothing! Ultimate pressie. And then I got a very sincere compliment from the birthday boy: “I thought it was a bought one!”
Thanks to my boy for modelling this! It matches his eyes too and now I have to make him one too. He enjoyed modelling it so much. There's now another one on the needles using the leftover yarn from the homework knitting project...
Pattern: Wurm by Katharina Nopp
Needles: 4mm dpns (actually they are still labelled as size 8 - antique jumper length Aero dpns)

5. Arundel: Clinical Clothes for a Future Doctor
This is the story of the cardigan that started it all.
That moment of opening a new knitting magazine is like a throw back to that childish gleeful anticipation of ripping into a pile of Christmas presents. You never know what you're going to get but you know that there will be at least one thing you like and something you love.

I got my hands on a copy of the Autumn 2012 issue of The Knitter magazine late last year. (I went Newsagent browsing whilst waiting for the local Noodle shop to cook my lunch. This was actually an exercise in semi productive procrastination. I was supposed to be marking an endless pile of scintillating essays and exams). The Knitter is a UK publication that is written for experienced knitters. It's not the easiest to get all year round around here in regional Australia and we're always at least a season or so behind.

And here's the pattern I absolutely loved - a short sleeved cardigan based on a vintage blazer design. My eldest daughter is moving into the clinical phase of her Doctor training. This means appropriate clinical clothing. She has an extensive, quite sophisticated uni student wardrobe after three years of uni in the big city with a retail part time job. But clinical clothing is different. No overly bright colours. Nothing see through and no cleavage to distract the patients. Minimalist jewellery and pared down accessories. Skirts should be knee length or longer. And the biggest indignity of all, no heels. She also has the added issue of being a smallish person both in stature and overall size. And anything made to fit an Australian size 6 (American 0 to 2) tends to be aimed at 16 year old girls who like to flaunt as much of their bodies as possible. Her current way around this dilemma is a wardrobe based on a series of professional looking patterned 1950's and 60's style full skirted or A-line dresses topped with a blazer or cardigan. This should fit right in. It got the seal of approval for both style and colour and so I began.
Pattern: Arundel by Kyoko Nakayoshi
Source: The Knitter, Issue 49 (Autumn 2012)
And here's the problem, I once again decided to use yarn from my stash. There are five balls here and I have part of another ball. The pattern called for five balls (no six balls now I look at it again). They are DK as required and the right weight... The wool is from the 1970's and discontinued... Can't you just see the potential for a massive problem looming?
So I cast on (no translate that, jumped blindly in). I dug out the right sized circular needle (4mm) as this is knitted in one piece to the arm holes. I knitted to the end of the lace section and about half of the stocking stitch section and then measured it against the required pattern dimensions and it wasn't matching the row gauge and there were major issues with getting the shaping for the bands and the collar to match up with the required length to the armhole. So I ended up frogging it all and begin again with a 4.5 mm circular needle (after I purchased one this size).
So I knit up the whole body section and sewed up the shoulder seams. Future Doctor daughter and I went shopping and purchased black yarn for the collar and cuffs and chose some gorgeous metal buttons. I went to start on the sleeves.
Then there was this little problem.... This is how much yarn there was left! I was absolutely sure there was another ball. I pulled the wool storage to pieces but couldn't find any more. I then checked the number of ends I had sewed in on the body bit and realised that this was it. There's a a little bit of it in some squares of the Granny Wants a Latte Macchiato granny rug which I could steal but realistically it's not enough for two sleeves even if I unravelled the squares. So now I have the bulk of a cardigan I love but not enough yarn to finish the sleeves. The daughter and I discussed options - reversing the sleeves, black with a tan cuff (resounding no), different coloured sleeves (maybe - the jury's still out on this one, I like it in a close shade of tan - she's yet to be convinced), trying to find more yarn of the same type (deemed impossible due to the extreme vintage nature of the yarn - none of this colour listed in the Ravelry yarn database) or turn it into a vest (this is the daughter's preferred option - I'm still emotionally attached to the cardigan idea).

Is it any wonder, I'm an unfaithful knitter?

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love you to say Hi. It's so much fun hearing from my cyber friends.