Posts Tagged knitting
Back in January I showed you a pattern for a rather comfy jumper, perfect for lockdown. I thought I might be able to get it finished for Miss Tialys the Younger’s birthday on 24th February.
This was the pattern
This was how far I’d got with it when I wrote the blog
and this is how far I’ve got with it now.
Yes, yes, I know it’s exactly the same photo enlarged but the sad truth is that really is about where I’ve got to again having had to start from scratch on more than one occasion. At one point, I had knit up almost the whole thing, excluding one sleeve, knowing there were two or three mistakes but thinking they wouldn’t show. How wrong I was.
Fisherman’s Rib. It seems like a simple enough stitch to do – a variation of k1, p1 rib in that you knit into the stitch below (k1b) instead of the usual knit stitch – and it is! The problems come if you should make a mistake by not putting the needle in the wrong bit of the knit stitch or, heaven forbid, drop a stitch altogether.
Not having the heart to take one of my own before ripping it all out, I’ve tried to find a photo of ‘a mistake in Fisherman’s Rib’ to show you the horror but couldn’t, even though the fact there are many, many tips, tricks and YouTube videos showing you how to put them right means I’m not the only one making them. I tried unknitting (or tinking, or frogging) then I tried unravelling rows and picking the stitches back up again but I couldn’t get them back on the needle the right way round. I thought I had succeeded at one point so carried on knitting but it left an obvious line through the back of the jumper and I knew I’d never be satisfied if I left it there. Nightmare.
In the end I undid it all right back to zero and was just going to leave it. I don’t like giving up though so I thought I’d try one more time and use a lifeline. For the non-knitters amongst you – and heaven knows why you’d have read this far as the pants would surely have been bored right off you by now – that means threading a piece of wool through a row so that, if a mistake occurs later on, you don’t have to rip out the whole piece but only as far down as the lifeline. Obviously, as you progress with a few inches of faultless knitting, you take out the lifeline and move it up to create a new one.
Needless to say, since inserting a lifeline I haven’t made a mistake but there’s still a long way to go and it’s last chance saloon for this jumper because, although I really like the effect of that raised rib, and I’ve been able to use stash yarn, life’s too short to grapple with it repeatedly when I could be getting on with something else.
Anyway, the 24th of February came and went with no jumper for Miss T. the Younger.
However, I’d spotted on a blog somewhere, something else I fancied having a go at so I abandoned the needles for a hook, found some double knitting yarn in the remains of my stash and made these instead which, as she’s just moved into a new flat, served as a little house warming gift too.
Ahh! I’d forgotten the more ‘instant fix’ joys of crochet.
If you are a knitter, have you ever tried Fisherman’s Rib and, if so, did you manage to get to the end of a project without tearing your hair out?
If you are not a knitter, I apologise for the non-quilting/dressmaking/general crafting/gardening/animal based content of this post and, be assured, I will be back to one or other of those subjects -or something else altogether – before too long.
In the meantime, and as compensation, here’s another couple of woolly jumpers.
Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.
………Possibly Due to Repetitive Strain Injury (mostly of the knitting/crochet/sewing kind) or Possibly Not.
Unfortunately I have still not found the diplomas, certificates and whatevers that qualify me as a medical doctor – but I’m sure I took the hippocratic oath some time in the past – or was it all a dream?
However, pressing on regardless – though only gently as I have had a hurty hand – I tried out some remedies to see if anything would help before I have to go and sit in a germ ridden waiting room at a Doctor’s surgery where actual certificates are displayed, money has to be handed over and tests are prescribed.
These are my findings – in order of testing, not effectiveness.
1. The Potions
An anti-inflammatory taken at night when the pain first started which helped me get a bit of sleep. Normally, a glass of wine would have done this job for me but, in a cruel twist of fate, I’m doing Dry January so this remedy was denied to me.
Useless on this occasion.
This seemed to work although that might be because I froze my hand so effectively it was not capable of feeling anything anyway. Also, I didn’t wrap the ice up well enough on one occasion and gave myself freezer burn thus making the cure worse than the ailment. Use with caution.
A useful aid to impress people at Zumba/Pilates classes where I don’t mention knitting but let people imagine me hurtling down the mountains on skis, falling off my carbon steel bike, jogging on slippy ground, etc. (none of which I actually do) – but not that comfortable and too bulky to do anything much whilst wearing it.
Well, anything’s worth a try isn’t it? It’s quite pretty too.
My zumba/pilates teacher recommended rolling a small ball (my one is a cat toy) between the palms of your hands for a couple of minutes every morning. Apparently it ‘gets the fluid moving’. You can also use it under your feet but I don’t recommend that first thing in the morning unless you are fully awake. Ask me how I know.
7. The Handeze Glove
This was recommended by a fellow blogger and, despite looking slightly creepy, seems to be doing a good job. It’s very comfortable and discreet and doesn’t impede you at all whilst sewing/knitting/crochet but, because of that, I keep forgetting I’ve got it on and start washing my hands or cleaning out the oven wearing it. (well, o.k., not cleaning out the oven because I can’t remember the last time I did that and, anyway, it’s supposed to clean itself although I can’t say it does a very good job).
It’s probably worth wearing as a preventative measure in future and I might buy one for my other hand too.
8. The Rest and Relaxation
Be like Leon
I can report that my hand is actually feeling a lot better. I am getting the occasional twinge but not the constant discomfort I was having before. Of course, having tried all the above remedies, I have no idea which one actually works but I would say the last one is probably the most important. Don’t overdo things in the first place and don’t try to force yourself through a pain barrier – crafting is not aerobics.
So, I managed to get another octagon made for my Eastern Jewels blanket but, heeding my own advice, I took a few short sessions to do it rather than one long one. Patience is not really one of my virtues though so we’ll see how long I can stick to this new and different cautious approach.
important note; In case you are labouring under any illusion – which I doubt – I am, and never was, a real Doctor of any description.
The first snow has appeared on the mountains opposite our house. Despite taking this from my bedroom window on the top floor, I couldn’t omit the wires but there you go – that’s the reality, I won’t whitewash it. I could have gone out in the back garden and taken it I suppose but I happened to be in the bedroom when the photography mood came upon me.
Anyway, with the snow my knitting mojo comes back into play although this embryonic lacy scarf doesn’t look as if it would keep anybody particularly warm but I had a 25g ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze left over from the boyfriend cardigan I made last year and Sheila at Sewchet made some beautiful scarves with this pattern last year so I was inspired. I’ve never knitted lace before and I found the first few rows a little difficult – I kept losing count of the stitches because the yarn is so fine – but once the pattern started to establish itself I was away. I didn’t thread beads on to the first row as the pattern (available here for free) has you do because I’m not sure the intended recipient is a ‘beady’ person and also, that might have been a step too far for my tolerance with ‘fiddly’.
What bothers me a little is how this scarf is going to grow long enough to go round somebody’s neck. I appear to have used about a third of the 25g ball already and it’s supposed to end up around 53inches (135cm) long and the bit above is only about 8 inches so I can’t see that happening. Does a miracle happen at the blocking stage?
Unlike with sewing, I don’t normally have two knitting projects on the go at once but, as the lace will be a gift, I had to make a start on it and I had already begun a second Drew (boyfriend cardigan) in a different colourway as I already had half the yarn I needed to make another one. As you can see below, the fine Kidsilk Haze is knitted together with Rowan Kid Classic so is much easier to handle than the skinny one on its own.
Last year I knit a jumper while my Mum was visiting because she knits and we can have some mother daughter bonding time over the needles. I sort of knew I wasn’t going to like it much so, once finished, it languished in my ‘I Like Big Balls and I Cannot Lie’ knitting bag all summer waiting to be sewn up.
The sleeves were supposed to be holey too but I didn’t do that for a reason I now can’t remember but I’m glad anyway.
It’s O.K. but I don’t love it.
What I do like is the shape – it’s quite hard to find a knitting pattern that is fitted and has a nice scoop neck.
The yarn – and pattern – is from James C. Brett and it’s called Marble Chunky, in case you’re interested.
I like the variegated colour and, if I were to knit it again, which I won’t, but if I did, I would omit the holes from the front too.
As with the vast majority of my knitted garments, I will probably only wear this ‘around the house’ as, although I love to knit, I’m not a big knitwear wearer. Bizarre I know.
It’s always good to end with a cat (or dog) photo in my opinion so here is one of Mac who climbed into my antique bowl while I was trying to photograph it for my shop. (It is a very big bowl)
I was going to use it as a product photo but thought it might put people off who are allergic to cats but it was too cute to waste so I’m sharing it with you instead.
I have finished another big blanket and, this time, it is for my Mum’s Christmas present. Sssh!! I don’t quite know how she’s going to get it back on the plane but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
It has actually got a lilac fleck in it – to go with her soft lilac sofa – but it is very subtle and hasn’t come out in the photos where it looks creamy beige which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Despite having the wool for several more of these, I’m continuing with my Kim Hargreaves boyfriend cardigan ‘Drew’ from her ‘Storm’ book. I’m really liking how it’s knitting up a sort of steely grey and it is sooo soft I can’t wait for it to be finished so I can wear it, although I’m not holding my breath.
Last Saturday night saw two of my baby kittens off to their new homes. I was sad to see them go but very grateful that I managed to get them adopted as France is positively seething with unwanted cats and kittens.
Yuki is making great progress. She still looks a little like a guinea pig crossed with a gremlin but now she is a fat one. Being left alone with just one sibling, far from getting her bullied, is making her more playful and very strong.
I think she’s going to be a diva though.
Her brother – temporarily called Mac (short for mackerel because of his fur markings) may henceforth be called Mog. If you live in the U.K. you will no doubt be aware of the T.V. advert Sainsbury’s has produced for Christmas. A mini story featuring Mog the cat that has taken the viewing public by storm (usually it’s the John Lewis ad). My daughters grew up with Mog books – delightful stories by Judith Kerr – so despite the fact the real Mog is a girl and has a white chest and paws, they think we should call Mac, Mog.
This is what he thinks of that idea.
For those of you who haven’t seen it (can there be anyone left in the U.K. who hasn’t) have a look. It’s very cute and Christmassy and has a lovely message – plus the cat is hilarious.
Some time last year I made a knitted jacket called ‘Shale’ from Kim Hargreaves’ Storm collection. I wasn’t 100% happy with how it turned out, mainly because I had substituted the wool and it came out too big for me but also because I wasn’t keen on some of the features such as the back vent, buttoned cuffs and one too few buttons (to my mind anyway) on the front. I blogged about it here
Despite those things, I really liked the texture the stitch created and the style of the jacket so, nothing daunted, I bought more yarn and made it in the XS size, omitting the fancy details and adding a button a little higher up.
I’ve used these vintage buttons for now because it’s hard deciding what to use but, if I see something I like better, I’ll change them.
I really like the texture and it does actually feel like a jacket rather than a cardigan.
The mannequin is sporting the buttoned up version because I’m such a lazy baggage I couldn’t be bothered to change so I pulled some jeans on under my dress and then just folded the hem of the dress up a few times to make it look like a top with the result that it made me look hippy when I buttoned the jacket up. So I’ve just used the photo of me demonstrating the open version.
This is the next thing I’m doing from the same pattern book and this really is supposed to be a ‘boyfriend’ cardigan.
I promise I won’t accessorize it like this. ( If only I could get away with such things any more).
I decided to knit this using the Rowan wools recommended but as you use one strand of Kidsilk Haze and one strand of Kid Classic throughout it worked out rather expensive. I scoured Ebay until I came up with somebody who, miraculously, had the 11 balls of Kid Classic I needed in a soft grey colour so I bid quite high as I was determined to get it and it still worked out a lot cheaper than any of the other sellers. I found somebody selling the Kidsilk Haze to go with it at £4 a ball – which is about half the price of everywhere else – bought and paid for it and then they told me they were waiting for stock. The next day they refunded my money. I threw a bit of a hissy fit as I probably wouldn’t have embarked upon this project if I’d had to pay full price – or I’d have found substitutes – now they’re saying it is still in the system and, when it comes in, they’ll send it to me anyway without charging me again. If that happens it’s a good result for me but, if it doesn’t, I’ll be naming and shaming them as I don’t like the practice, becoming more and more common, where sellers take your money for something they need to order from another supplier without always knowing they’ll be able to get hold of it. Rant over (for now).
Do you think I’m compensating for not being able to add to my fabric stash because of my fabric fast by knitting like a woman possessed? I must confess that I nearly fell off the wagon on Thursday. I went to Ikea in Toulouse with a friend and, as we were walking round, I spotted the curtains and blinds section and noted again the fact that their fabric selection is diminishing. My friend realised she needed the loo which we had just gone past so she backtracked, leaving me alone and unsupervised. I vaguely wandered over to the fabrics and wasn’t interested in any of the home furnishing weight stuff but noted the plain cottons they have for 3.99 euros a metre and, as my stash is sadly lacking in ‘plains’, I thought I’d buy a metre of the black cotton. If you have ever bought fabric in Ikea you will know that you cut your own and then weigh it and stick the resulting ticket on it.
This is how far I got – literally – the scissors were open and the fabric was between the blades – before I remembered that I have 11 months to go until I can do such a thing again.
Still, I’ve cast on for another one of my huge blankets. The weather has an autumnal feel in the mornings and evenings now and I think I can bear to be covered in wool from time to time and this will be for my Mum’s Christmas present. It’s a funny colour – lilac mist I think – it’s beige with a lilac fleck in it but, to be honest, it’s mostly beige unless you look very carefully in good daylight.
Do you do ‘research’ when you’re making something? By which I mean trying to find the materials at the best possible price. It does take up a lot of time and sometimes I think I’d rather just pay the top end price and be done with it but, to be honest, I secretly enjoy it.
I recently decided I needed a yarn winder. One of those gadgets that you use to wind a lovely, neat ball of wool when you buy it in a skein or when you need two balls of yarn for socks or an intarsia project. One of those gadgets that make it so that the yarn emerges from the centre of the ball and, therefore, doesn’t shoot off across the floor with a cat in hot pursuit. I know you can use your two hands but why do that when you can have a gadget that does it for you in at least half the time and when the result is much neater than I can manage.
Being me, I couldn’t just buy a plastic winder from somewhere in China. Oh no. I have to do ‘research’. Then, of course, I see a lovely wooden winder on Pinterest from a Scandinavian company that costs around 150 euros which is ridiculous, so I go on eBay France and, after much racking my brains as to what one of these things would be called in french (enrouleur de fil, if you’re interested), I saw this.
I was the only bidder – are you surprised? – and I am chuffed as I would rather buy a bit of vintage than a bit of plastic. You can see, on the label, the make is ‘Rapid Plot’ which doesn’t sound very french but I am assuming it is a play on words as the french for a ball of yarn is ‘pelote’ which, if you say it quickly enough, sounds like plot. This dates before 1968, according to the other markings, which just goes to show that franglais has been going long before ‘le weekend’ , ‘le shopping’, etc. I do love a bit of franglais – I speak it myself – but I find it amusing when they use an english word for something but then don’t understand it when you say it with an english accent. This means that when – or more likely, if, – I talk about a local bar which is called ‘Le Lounge’, I have to do some vocal gymnastics and call it ‘le Loooonge’, otherwise I am looked upon with pity and non-comprehension, although that isn’t an unusual reaction to most things I say here to be honest.
Anyway, I digress. After my purchase of the ball winder – note I am using ‘yarn’ and ‘ball’ alternately here to include both sides of the Atlantic – I realised I needed something called a ‘Swift’. Who knew? Again, something that can be done with your own two hands – or, more accurately, the two hands of a willing assistant or, failing that, the back of a chair – can be performed by a gadget. This time, a glorious thing, which you clamp to the side of a table and open like some sort of mad umbrella frame and then drape your skein around its welcoming arms, link it up to your Rapid Plot and Voila! Again, I didn’t want a plastic one but didn’t want to pay too much for the wooden variety.
Because I was at yoga class on Saturday morning, I couldn’t get to a new (very popular) house clearance type shop that has recently opened just down the road and is only open at weekends as they presumably spend the rest of the week clearing out houses of old tut that will end up in other houses until it is deemed, by the new owners, to have become old tut again and so it continues in the vintage and antiques world. So I
told asked Mr. T. to go and have a look and see if there was anything worth having and, when I rang him after yoga, he said something like ‘no, it was a load of crap’ . I don’t trust him as far as this sort of thing is concerned so, on my way home, I popped in myself and spent 100 euros and, amongst the things I bought was a wooden swift, here posing with its friend the Rapid Plot.
Apparently, he had spotted it and knew I wanted one but just because there is a little split in the knobbly bit you push up and down he didn’t buy it and neither did he tell me about it when I phoned. It was only 10 euros, he knew I was looking for one, he knew I would probably go in there at some stage and see it myself so, I had to ask, ‘why wouldn’t you?’ , to which he didn’t have a satisfactory answer. In future, I will not trust him to spot a good thing in a junk shop.
His punishment was that they didn’t take cards and, only having supposed to have gone out for a yoga class, I didn’t have my cheque book on me (who writes cheques anymore anyway?) plus I bought an antique Pfaff treadle sewing machine and this lovely display stand of haberdashery drawers so I had to phone him to come down to the shop with the cheque book and extra car space to get my booty back home. Booty as in stuff I’d bought, not as in the Beyoncé type of ‘booty’ or is that spelled differently?
I’m off to wind some balls of wool/yarn now – just for the hell of it.
As the Royal Wedding approaches, I’ve chosen something topical for my Saturday Selection today.
I’m always amazed at what you can do with a pair of needles and some yarn – remember my Wooly Wedding post recently? – but now, thanks to Debi Birkin at Periwinkle Park, you can knit your own crown. Well, officially, it’s for the teapot but, as Billy Connelly said ‘Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cosy, doesn’t try it on.’
I have had knitting patterns from Debi before and she has some adorable ones in her Etsy shop.
I am off to visit my family and friends in the U.K. in April but, fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I am returning to France the day before the Royal Wedding.
No matter though, forget the china mugs, display plates and commemorative tea towels, thanks to Fiona Gobel’s book I can now knit myself a souvenir.
How gorgeous is that?
Being in France though, I can’t help thinking about ‘Les Tricoteuses’ knitting away at the side of the guillotine as many of the aristocracy were dispatched! Or is that just me?
When keeping warm, there’s no reason not to do it in style. Today’s Saturday Selection is an incredible creation by Irregular Expressions.
I knit and have dabbled in crochet but I do need a pattern. I have always fancied designing my own knitted creations but I’m not sure whether I would have ever come up with something this amazing. Have a look at some of the other creations in this lovely shop.