Wednesday, January 17, 2007

more little knitted things

So the last weekend of my holiday looms, and the kids and I are planning to drive north to Waimate to visit my dad - aka Grandad. He is in his 70's and moved north to warmer climes to keep his vintage truck (1930-40 brittish bedfords) and tractor(Case tractors only) collection from rusting. Of course he now lives 10 mins from a beach and we don't mention salt air causes rust, nor do we mention the last 2 years running farmers in his area have been snowed in for weeks at a time with no power or running water. Waimate for those not of New Zealand origin is a Maori place name, and pronounced Why-mat-ee. So this weeks post is a tad early, as he has not comes to terms with a mobile phone, let alone a computer or the 'net'.

I am begining to think this might be a year of small projects, little things, not any less complicated but of short duration. Then again it just might be holiday lag, and a real project will be required once work and the year resume full strength again. Unusually for me I have two projects on the go at once. Widdershins is finished, has been worn and washed. The second sock fitted as nicely as the first - so both my feet must be simillar! They were a snug and warm fit under a pair of army green converse hi-tops. I forgot to photograph them in use, so the image today is of them in wash. I don't usually hand wash hand knit socks, but was washing something else - so in they went.

Next little project was a blanket for Poppy's dolls houseout of the last of the pink mint Merino yarn used earlier. I had been cruising knitty and came across the recipie for Mrs Hoovers baby blanket by Kristi Porter. I readily admit to being a technique junkie so wanted to try, and using the last of the merino to knit a blanket for the dolls house seemed a good idea. I've double knitted before, and that part was sucessful as you can see, but the use of a 2nd colour on the reverse tested me somewhat. I eventually worked out the twist required to secure the second colour to the blanket, but did not like the way the green twists showed thru for the first half of the blanket. So frogged - just like the blog title. I also realised that while a nice technique it would be a little heavy for the dolls house, more of a mattress than a blanket, so knit up a mock patchwork blanket in my favourite dish cloth pattern. Alternate squares of stocking and reverse stocking stitch, 5 stitches and 6 rows, on 2.5mm knitting pins, with a slipped stitch edge. You might just notice little double knit pillows at the head of the bed - I couldn't quite let the technique go without a use. The wee wooden doll is Poppy, she lives there with other dolls like Jack, atomic betty, Polly Pocket, Barbies little sister Kelly and friends, and many many MacDonalds toys, my little pony, more polly pockets and some pupies.

The other wee 'tidy' up project is a hat for Toby to match the kangaroo sweater. I have been listerning in to the Ready-set-knit podcast, I am only caught up to episode 4 or 5, which for them is just before christmas. Its a two part podcast per week, with part two starting with a knit along for a design your own hat and then moving to problem solving with Pixie - their in house knit-expert. She is good. The hat issues inspired me to start my Toby's hat. I already had my guage swatch done for the sweater, and had used 3.25 mm pins, but for some reason automatically went down a size to 2.5mm pins for the hat rib. Just about every pattern tells you to do that, so it is an automatic response in some way. Result was a 'pop-off' hat, one that would stay on for a minute before slowley but surely narrowing and sliding off the top of the head. Luckily I worked this out around 4 inches in. So two frogs this post. Not sure if it is the smooth worsted yarn, the Bamboo Addi dpns I am using, or the use of singe rib, but I unusually have a serrious problem with laddering on this project. It will be hidden by the deep fold up brim/cuff, but my usual fix of tightening the first 2-3 stitches on the needle is not working. A few machine washes should take care of it.

Funny how making new things always sparks a web search to see what else in the same genre is out there. Searching for hats, i came across this wee gem at knitty by Brooke Higgins. She designed it to counter all the hats with horizontal stripes, and it seems a good modern solution for my man this winter. I am not keen on acrylic, but maybe in a two toned lofty wool or merino or even cashmere? Anyway I was so intrested I had to knit one right now, but being stash deprived, had to be creative. I realised that it would make a great dish-cloth pattern. So out come two untouched balls of magic garden cotton from my tiny teeny stash - I kid you not - my stash consists of 2 balls of wool/cotton/lycra sock yarn in a bright orange and purple ugly colourway, 2 balls of magic garden and a bohus rose collar kit. My real stash is books, knitting books, fashion theory books, patternmaking books, garment construction books, fashion history books, tailoring books, fashion inspiration books, knitting social history books, and vintage versions of all of these.

So the dish cloth details, 30 stitches, size 3mm bamboo needles, first corner I forgot to slip the first stich of the return row, and ended up with a rather bulky junction of the stripes - but 2nd corner is under way now and is looking much neater. The hat recipie knitted with a double ply of yarn, but not for this dish cloth, the neat trick is to always twist the yarns the same way at the end of the row and you get a neat rope effect along the edge. I know I should have provisional cast on, and kitchenered the ends together, but with the stripes am hoping the join will be hidden by the optical illusion of the stripes. Using circulars and the wee short 5" brittany's has made me slightly and surprisingly intolerant of long straight needles, I ended up taking a craft knife and sand paper to my bamboo straight knitting pins, shortening them to better fit a dish cloth. A polish with wax and good as new and easier to use.


KathyR said...

Hi, Stell! This really is a small world! It is great reading a blog from someone else in the South Island - but your Dad lives in Waimate? So do I!!! I love reading your blog and seeing what you have been making. You are a lot more prolific than I am.

KathyR (from Knitters Review)

tapmouse said...

I'm enjoying seeing all your little things! I have a 6yo son, but he's not into dolls, though I was supposed to (and started) a small sweater for his "Blue" (Blue's Clues) beanie baby...