Sunday, 10 August 2014

I'm Back and Less Shitty

I haven't posted anything here in six months, probably because I've been busy posting incredibly filtered Instagram photos every hour or so. At the risk of sounding like a cottage cheese ball, a lot has changed. I am a better knitter, well at least I think so today, and I am more interested in living a better life. The latter has ultimately led me to various activities and a lot of culling, some of which may appear on these pages and may well not be knitting related in the obvious sense. What I mean by that is that the act of creating something has led me to try out other creative acts and experiences, some I have felt like sharing. It's funny how enjoying something or feeling the benefits of putting in some thought or physical effort can make you want to share it with others..or try and convert them...or bore them rigid. Basically, I make and do loads of shit these days and everyone is going to know about it.


Saturday, 1 February 2014

A New Hope

The knitting bug is back in full force. I am officially addicted to yarn. All it takes is a sweet DK or nice charcoal fleck and I'm ready again. This time, I'm serious as Rhythm is a Dancer.

To fill the bits of time between loading the oven and eating dinner, or those between not sleeping and pretending to sleep, I have taken to trying out test patches of stitch patterns. I've also managed a bit of crochet after a particularly frustrating video tutorial (that I won't link to) made by a woman not-so-naturally-gifted in the audio visual department. Anyway, all that led to this..

garter rib, pinstripe, honeycomb stitch

..and it's gone back in the bag to make way for, wait for it..The Jumper. That's right, I'm going to make a jumper. I have ludicrous visions of me wearing said jumper, pristine of knit, perfect of fit, reluctant to wash, batting away compliments as if it was as easy as lighting a cigarette. I know I'm in for a much harsher reality, even half a row into the knit, but let's try.

The pattern I'm using is one from the lionbrand website and I chose it because it's free, I could follow the instructions and it doesn't require circular needles or have any fancy cabling. The required basic skill set includes only knitting, purling, decreasing and sewing. I'll worry about my shocking edges when I get there.

I've bought my materials, an online order from Wool Warehouse that arrived on my doorstep within 36 hours via regular post and even came with some free pom pom making rings. What service! They also have a great selection and if they added Cascade yarn to their site, I'd never go anywhere else for yarn again.

So, no one talk to me, i'll probably be counting or knitting backwards for the foreseeable future.




Sunday, 27 October 2013

"I knit so I don't kill people"

Winter is upon us. We don't get an Autumn/Fall in Manchester, we get a soggy and windy pre-Christmas dragged-through-a-hedge arsehole of season chill. This requires knitwear, hats and boots to keep the hair under control and prevent the feet from absorbing enough moisture to service a third world country.

However, there is just too much work and chore in life for adequate time to knit all that is required. I've not had a proper knit/rest for at least two weeks, well, until today. In that time I seem to have hoarded a large amount of mismatched yarn, patterns and equipment with no real vision over what I'm making. I need some order, I need some time, I need a week off work with no need to wash or go anywhere or do anything. In fact I need no job, I need loads of money, a personal trainer, a shop stocked with cascade yarn all of my own, a lottery win...it always ends with a lottery win doesn't it? Either that or a fantasy involving winning the This Morning competition.

Anyway, back in the reality of my bedroom (because I don't use the room I have dedicated to craft and suitcases full of unworn clothing) I have decided to knit the Jared Flood/Brooklin Tweed Rosebud hat, the bigger version. It's the most complicated looking pattern I've tried so far but it's actually fairly simple. 


Rosebud by Jared Flood
The cable is big but very easy to do. The only problem I'm having is with the sore fingertips from pushing the stitches around the circular needles. Here's how It's looking so far:

Plain old garter stitch 


Cable just forming


Sunday, 29 September 2013

Oh, Pretty Yarn! AKA 'Add to Basket'

I've been on a yarn spree again. I chose 564 patterns I wanted to try out, including a couple of gifts I want to knit and yet again, I need just one more piece of equipment to make any of them. If you are in the UK, I'd recommended Wool Warehouse for your supplier if you are as impatient as me. I receive next day delivery service on a standard delivery charge every single time.


In the intermittent delivery period, while I wait for my 97 pence cable needle, I decided to try and knit another hat on the circular needles. As my head is huge and the last ski cap was a little like trying to squeeze ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag, I decided to base the pattern loosely on the Vermonter Hat pattern I tried last time and increase the amount of ribbing rows on the brim and increase the crown of the hat in length by a few more too. This is what happened this afternoon...




Now, I will go as far as to say I am neat. I am neat as fuck. This shit isn't even blocked yet and I can't stop looking at my neatness. However, it is still on the tight side and the wool is a little stiff when knit-up so the hat stands to attention when worn on the head and looks a lot like an acorn, or a pear. I'm sure it would look a lot better on a smaller head but there are no smaller heads here right now. 

So neat it sets my teeth on edge
Simple materials

Anyway, for a simple quick knit, try this very vague pattern loosely based on the Vermonter Hat pattern:

Materials

  • 8mm 16 inch/40 cm circular needle
  • Chunky or Super Chunky wool that is designed for 8mm needles. I used Sirdar Hayfield Super Chunky in Oats
  • Set of four or five 8mm double pointed needles - five is easier
  • Stitch marker
  • Tapestry needle


Gauge

I don't know, I didn't measure. I'm not up to this stage in my knitting life yet.

Instructions

  1. Cast on 44 stitches any god dam way you want. I did it using my regular thumb cast on.
  2. Place your stitch marker on the right needle and join for working in the round - watch this if you don't know how.
  3. For the brim, knit as many rows as you like in K1 P1 ribbing i.e Knit one then purl one without stopping until your brim is as wide as you want it to be. Don't drop any stitches or it will go horribly wrong.
  4. For the main section of the crown (before you want to start decreasing and making it narrower, knit every row until you feel you'd like to start tapering down.
  5. Start decreasing. You will need to change to your DPNs at some point here. If you don't know how, watch this - I used the Vermonter decreasing method without the purling, which is as follows:

Rounds 1: Knit
Round 2: *K2tog, knit 5* repeat all the way around
Rounds 3: Knit
Round 4: *K2tog, knit 4* repeat all the way around.
Round 5: Knit
Round 6: *K2tog, knit 3* repeat all the way around.
Round 7: Knit
Round 8: *K2tog, knit 2* repeat all the way around.
Round 9: Knit
Round 10: K2tog all the way around

Now there should be 6 stitches left on your needles. If not, it doesn't really matter. Take your needles out carefully and using the working yarn threaded through the tapestry needle (or using your fingers), thread the yarn through the open stitches then pull it tight like a drawstring. Neaten up/secure the loose thread as you like.

If you want, make a pom pom and sew it on top to conceal any hideous mistakes you might have made in the last minute. Done.

Now, i'm off to look at my impossibly beautiful garden rose that has bloomed twice the size of the picture below. Pure melancholy!


Rose from my garden



Sunday, 15 September 2013

I've made a goddamn hat.

I've made a hat. It actually fits on my head. I'm making a noise only dogs can hear, I'm that delighted.


Proud of hat, ashamed of hair
I noticed someone on Tumblr (If it was you, thank you!) trying out The Vermonter Hat and had managed to finish it over night. I took a look at the free pattern on Ravelry made by Abi Gregorio, realised I could probably do it with a few small purchases, and it worked a treat. It took four hours, no tears and only some minor hesitation when changing from the circular needles onto the double points when closing up the top. I highly recommend the pattern for a first attempt at a hat.

What I did do wrong was fail to check the gauge/tension of the yarn I was using so it came up a bit small, which I expected after the first round as it seemed a bit child-sized . So, check your gauge, knit a square and measure it to make sure it matches the pattern gauge.

Now, what the hell next...oh yes, the sweater is on hold, not a quick enough knit :/

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Er Wait.. Oh...My..Freakin..God.I'm.Knitting.DoubleSidedInTwoColours!

Side 1
Just a quick note before I start punching the bed in sweater hell.

I was messing around with two colours of yarn recently and started a pot stand pattern in the Tech Knits book. It's a double strand cast on so you basically just cast on stitches as normal but holding two colours of thread together as if they were one. Note: The cast on stitches need to alternate in colour. I cast on 70 stitches in total.

Row 1: Knit the first stitch which is, say green, using only the green yarn to wrap the needle. Bring both the green and blue yarn to the front as if preparing to purl, then purl the next stitch (blue) using only the blue yarn. Move the working yarns to the back of the work again is if preparing to knit, then knit the next stitch (green) using only the green yarn. Keep doing this to the last stitch, which you should purl.


Side 2
If you follow these instructions should they make any sense whatsoever, you will notice that you are basically purling one side of the work in one colour and knitting the other side in the other colour AT THE SAME TIME. It's magnificent, and it works so well so easily.

For Row 2: Do the same but reverse the stitches i.e. Purl the knits and knit the Purls.

Edit: Keep repeating rows one and two until you're ready to cast off.



Sunday, 11 August 2013

Cross Stitch - takes bloody ages!

I'm having a break from cross stitch. It's wonderful, fun and good results come easily if you use all the tips on offer on the web, but results are slow and I just got a new piano that I already love dearly and am excited to get home to at night.

Piano and cat


In light of this, I've picked up the needles again in quieter times, as even piano practise has to stop to allow the practise to sink into your finger muscles (finger muscles?). Well, for me it does.
I'm currently practising garter rib on a fully loaded needle and have decided to turn it into a pillow when it's big enough.

Garter rib.


How to:

Cast on a multiple of 8 stitches plus 4 extra stitches.

Row 1: knit 4, *purl 4, knit 4 repeat from * to end.  (in English, just knit 4 purl 4 alternately to the end!)

Row 2: purl to the end

Repeat the above two rows until the piece is as big as you want it.