Saturday, April 05, 2014


Today's post is another in the line of finishing and plodding. There is a baby due at work, the mother leaves at Easter to make that transition from working couple to family of three with the 'responsibility' of a child. I've been there, and survived, and like most parents found that it was both more work and easier than I imagined. Easier in that at the end of the day if your baby is alive, growing, feed, warm, and showing an interest in the world you have succeeded, more work in that it takes all your mind, all your waking hours and some that you would rather be asleep during. Scary in that there is this little helpless living person totally depent on you, and wonderful in when you get it right they smile, sleep and grow.

A few months ago, well last year to be truthful another work friend gifted me a fleece. I embarked on my first real project of fleece to knit project, I washed, flicked, carded, spun, plied, knit, and blocked. The finished blanket is 580g, and probably more a cot blanket than a crib blanket.

The pattern was Quadrature for Kerrigan, but foreshortened. As I carded and spun I realised that I either had two fleeces, one short dark grey brown, blocky locks and soft, the other longer, grey less soft and paler grey locks. At first I processed the locks as they came to hand, then as I got more a feel for the fiber I began to select out locks of simillar colour and feel. I ended up wth skeins that varied in colour, at first more variegated and then either light or dark grey. I decided to use the different colour skeins to mark the transition in the pattern from blanket center to blanket border.

I loved the pattern but was a little confused by the options. I'd been attracted by the stocking stitch center, and the garter border with the twisting cable at the corners. As I read the pattern I realised there were options, I could have a stocking stitch edge or other variations. I knew I was working with the yarn I had ... Rather than spinning yarn to make the pattern as written, so I followed the pattern as a guide rather than a rule. When I realised that I didn't have enough yarn to complete the boarder with its three twisted bubble cables I decided to finish the blanket with a single bubble at each corner and mid point. It still has a nice wide boarder but I wonder how much more dramatic it would be if the boarder was the size specified in the pattern.

I also needed a more portable project and fell back on washcloths. I prefer the term wash cloth over dishcloth as ours are used for more than dishes. I had three colours of sugar and cream cotton, in size medium. I love the colours but find this weight dries to slow here to leave damp, even when wrung out the cloths are cold and wet to pick up and use later. Bear wanted some heavier clothes to use in cleaning and this seemed a perfect solution. Knit thick durable cloths that could be used then tossed into the laundry. Patterns are double bump, Chinese waves and snakes and ladders, 5.5mm needles and all cast on 41 stitches. I think I have enough yarn left to knit a multi stripe one or two.

This week was iD fashion week in dunedin, so there have been lots of talks and shows and events ... All of which coincided with a blood test revealing a rather low iron count. Some how knowing I had a physical reason to feel tired made me feel more tired. Good news is I'm taking iron and vitamin c tablets, eating lots of high in iron foods, and cutting back on the iron sapping foods and activities. I am looking so forward to this coming week, of having a little more energy, plus Deirdre Nelson is talking at work, and it's only a few weeks until the next holiday.

Take care, na Stella


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Finished object ... Or FO!

Today there is an actual real life finished object, a knitted one. Finishing things often has a follow in effect, it can lead to a feeling that there is space, time, and the opportunity to begin something new. That is a very real danger of finishing projects, and comes in part from the feel good sensatio. (Dopamine?) of finishing and the desire to set up a situation to repeat the sensation. There is at least in this knitters world, a much more stratightforward path towards the excitement and happiness of finishing, to choose another work-in-progress(wip) to finish. That is what I did - not with one but with two WIPs.

The infinity cowl is all done, there were some dramas along the way (reported here - rav link so you have to sign in to read). Mostly to do with my stupidity, and how far I could knit whilst worried and yet not worried enough to stop and check. Short version is that when casting on for a möbius you need the circular needles to twist around themselves exactly half a twist ... I had a full twist and a half so an extra twist in my scarfs. Didn't bother little cub but it did bother me. And the bonus with frogging was that I could slide it off the needles and check if my estimated cast on was a good size.

I cast on 350 stitches on 2.75mm needles, and worked three rounds of knit, then three rounds of purl until I had nine knit sections. I cast off with larger needles (3.25mm,or maybe 3.5mm I forgot to note down the details) using a three stitch icord cast off, the icord was a nice rounded edge that mirrored the rolls of the knit and purl welts. At some point I weighted the yarn before and after a round, and discovered that a round used 1.76 grams, using that I estimated I needed to leave 8-10 grams to work the cast off icord edge. I may have got a littl bored at some point and added a row of k2tog YO eyelets .... But littl cub didn't notice until after the fact and seems to like it, her exact words were - it's Ok don't undo it,

There is just on eight grams of yarn left - so I might have been able to squeeze another round or three in ... But maybe not. Little cub has plans to use this to make a simillar cowl for her AmericanGirl Dolls (Kit &Saige). I'm not quite sure how to knit a doll sized one ... But we can fathom that out together.


Which brings me to the KSG hat, I've wound the dyed cashmere merino yarn onto nostephine, and begun to knit the pattern again. This time the yarn, the shaping and the cable are all working together nicely. I have four leaves knit, and need another four before knitting the closure. The hat is sitting upon a wip that has also received recent attention - the Handspun - hand knit baby blanket.

Unfortunately the blanket if made from woollen spun yarn - so fuzzy to look at, and from dark naturally coloured fiber, so too dark to see the details. The blanket is ending up large, and dark and cushy warm but the outside rounds are now long and take ages to knit. I don't think I will have enough yarn spun up, or processed to finish the compete cable chart on th edging but I have a plan to just garter stitch the boarder until my yarn runs out.

And whilst I has fossicking in my work basket looking for things to knit, things that were close to finishing I rediscovered the Sleeven cardigan. I've only the sleeves to do ... So I sat one night and knit a little in the sleeves, good progress so far, I'm about a third of the way down the first sleeve, and trusting that blocking will work its magic with this BFL yarn and even everything up.

There is more happening in the background ... Knitting, and such ... So I promise to come back latter to fill in the details.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Normal knitting resumes

Well if by that I mean sudden project cast ons, while existing projects languish in the wip basket, and distractions like dying yarn and fiber. Saturday was KSG so a new and mystery project that usually introduces a new technique or approach. This class was no different, introducing a hat knit sideways with a cable leaf edge. The instructions were to bring a 2.75mm needle and fingering yarn. I played safe and brought grey yarn left over from a previous project.

I liked the pattern, and loved the construction, but realised that the yarn wasn't really a great match for the hat. So at home frogged what had been knit and hunted out something more suitable.


I dug this out of stash, a merino cashmere fingering weight from an Australian Indie dyer who is no longer selling. I've always loved the yarn, how soft it is, but never found the right pattern for the variegated yarn. The colour runs are short so the yarn tends towards stripy ... And not in a great way. While this would make the short row sideways shaping a feature, that isn't a look I am wanting for this hat.

So I decided to overdye the yarn, and while I was doing that I pulled out a soft grey brown fingering possum blend yarn that I always passed by. This was also a yarn I loved the fiber blend of but not the colour.

A few hours latter and I had two blue yarns, possum on the left, cashmere on the right. They are mostly dry as today was a warm sunny autumn day, but I will wait until tomorrow to wind into a ball and start.

Take care from Stella the easily distracted knitter.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Hello, it's been a while since my last post, and things have moved along. Unwind 2014 came and went, and was most enjoyable. This year we had a new venue, which was fantastic, there was a flight of stairs but two lifts for the heavy stuff, and there were chandeliers and stained glass windows and super helpful staff on hand. There was swap shop, a little teaching (zip it), a little learning (the reinvention of Mrs Batty), and a little shopping, and of course spinning, knitting and catching up with previous unwinders and new unwinders.

As before little cub was part of swap shop, this year she was in charge. Friday was trade in day, and the pile of yarn on the table got taller and taller.

Saturday at 8:45 am was opening time for the shop sales, and immediately before that the trader hall was strangely unbalanced, there were a few stray knitters, and a crowd forming around the swap table. With almost no one, traders, buyers or others at any of the other shops.

Little cub used her phone to set an alarm for shop opening, there was some very transparent attempts at bribery. Little cub recognized that a chupa chup was not worth risking her stall holder reputation over. When the alarm went off there was fast activity,

My class started at 9:am, so I hung back, keeping an eye on things. While this was not a Black Friday or Boxing Day sale, I didn't want her to be swept away or buried under a pile of unwind dollars or toppled yarn pushed aside as someone reached for the malabrigo, Vintage Purls, baby yak, Kauai, handspun, or other yummy things.

My class went well, like the other classes, there were 14 knitters and we explored how to plan for inserting a zip into hand knitting. The students had pre-class homework, they had to knit four small swatches as long as the shortest zip they could find. Like a good teacher I had my own samples, blocked and dry ready for demonstrating a range of edge finishes suitable for zips.

I used sock weight yarn for my samples but had two finished garments made from heavier weight yarn. Before the break we explored zips, sources, options and possible edge finishes. Some worked as part of the swatch, most added after the piece was knit. After the break we looked at stitching the zip into the hand knit.

Saturday afternoon I did shop, a teeny little bit at a swap shop after the rush cleared, and much more at several of the vendors. I tried to divide my yarn money around the traders, as there was a great range of fiber, yarn, patterns, knit tools and accessories. I did buy an icord machine, not sure if that is for little cub or myself, but I've always wanted to play with one and didn't want to break anyone else's as I learned how to work one.


In amongst the stashing little cub found this pretty skein on Do Arnots stall, a lovely soft fingering weight yarn with sparkles. Little cub asked if would make an 'infinity' scarf, and if I would make it for her. She explained she was in the middle of knitting a bunny and crocheting a hat. A little quizzing and it turns out a friend at school had a loop scarf that she wore doubled around her neck and little cub wanted one too. I've dug out my copy of Cat Bordhi and started her Purl Ridge Möbius Scarf. Little cub tells me it could be 6" wide, and I'm already at 4".

There was more, but I will save that for another post.

Take care na Stella