Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I'm knitting, I'm knitting, I'm knitting

well, after that four days of not knitting, I'm knitting again and really enjoying it so am making fine progress on the Fair isle baby blanket. Today I'll show you just how much progress, and report on how a new sock begins with the almost mandatory 'new project frog report' and lastly I've been shopping again, and in my defence I have so little stash. We are still in the depths of winter, so little natural light to photograph with outside work hours - and Bear was off work today, so made the majority of the photos in this post - Thank you very much Bear.

First up, this is where the blanket was on the 17th of June (12 cm), and then again today (23 cm). So 11 cm in 3 days, I say 3 as the photo made on the 17th would have been early in the day, and I would have knit that night, but I have not yet knit today - the 20th. And just so you know - the blanket is not narrowing, its just the photo angle and that the lower portion was steam blocked which relaxed it. At least that's what I am hoping .... otherwise ... no don't even think about tension changes.

I was so pleased with the speed at which the blanket is growing, that I have started a new sock. Which sock to do was a difficult decision, something by Cookie, or Diamante? Cookies socks are so clever with their use of lace in an intelligent way, I like stylised formal patterning so these appeal. And there are several free cookie socks to knit first at Knitty, to warm up on so to speak. Diamante - on the other hand this is a serious toe up gusset heel sock, suggested by Suzzane as an alternative worth considering and having improvements in fit over Widdershins. Widdershins is my current standard sock. So what did I choose?
Cookie A's Pomatomus! But Diamante is next, and then another cookie, and then ...

The yarn is Pronatura Trekking 75% superwash and 25% bamboo, which is marketed as a non synthetic viable alternative to the polymid and nylon reinforcing used in other sock yarns. And I bought it online, I try not to think about the cost of shipping internationally - its just part of the cost of this hobby. Its lovely to work with, not super soft, but has little memory when frogged as I have discovered. Its a little more variegated than I had hoped but not really stripy.

There was a small moment of confusion when I went and looked out 2mm and 2.75 mm and then couldn't work out when each was used. I'm not even going to let on how long it took for me to realise that the 2 was for size US 2 and the 2.75 was the metric equivalent. Not that I needed both US 2 and US 2.75! Duh!
I used the channel island cast on from Monste Stanley's knitting hand book, a sort of a combination of the thumb method and yarn overs. It produces a lovely twisted knot or small picot along the edge. This is one full repeat of the lace pattern, which is take 4 or so. Half way through the first repeat when the increases turn to decreases - I discovered I had mis-read the directions, so frogged the pattern section. Knitting it again a 2nd and 3rd time - simple errors in patterning occurred, I kind of lost the repeat - despite it being a very simple to remember repeat to knit. And somewhere I got confused between K2 tog and K2tbl and even introduced from who knows where ssk. So I frogged the 2nd and 3rd time. Just frogged back to the ribbing, not further. And the 4th try, I finally grew up and used silver jump rings to mark the repeats, and remind me to increase and decrease and sorted that I would use ssk.
So whats the genius of this pattern? What do I like appart from it is simple to remember and predict after a few lines are knitted. Well what the others don't seem to tell you is it is knitted ribbed lace, so super super stretchy! How cool is that? I am still a newbie to lace, so probably you have all already discovered the magic of lace which uses ribbing, but for me that is a revelation.

So there was some shopping, and as I am one without a large stash, please those of you on yarn diets and those knitting from just the stash - please ignore that I am buying yarn and you are not. On my last visit I noticed a new brand in my LYS, Sunbean St Ives, from West Yorkshire, reasonable yarn, and thinking of cables and lace rib which do seem to eat yarn, I got three 50g balls in this dark forest green tinged with brown shade. And the other yarn, well I've had my eye on this yarn for a while, it been in a large basket in the center of the shop for the last few months, but on my last visit it had moved. Named Rare Endare and made from Aplaca and superfine merino, this is one of the few yarns available locally made from luxury fibres. I had planned to acquire some so when it wasn't on show I did a mild panic. Luckily I asked and was pointed in the direction of the newly shelved stock, so selected off white or bone white and a pale blue to knit a hat based on this for Toby, black or dark grey would be better - but there was none. After I left I realized I could dye it darker. Toby is 7 going on 8, but like all kids exposed to media is also going on a kind of teenage awareness, and the idea of a hat with pirate bones appeals, I can knit that, and in bone white and pale blue it will be less punk.


jussi said...

the blanket is coming along beautifully, and don't you just love that Trekking, the bamboo does hold up well as an alternative to nylon (and it has the anti-bacterial properties bonus!)
great to find another NZ knitter

Cass said...

Wow the blanket looks great! Nice progress!

jussi said...

Hi Stell,
I'm sorry to reply here, but couldn't find your email address, I'm afraid I bought the Trekking from the US - but I think sockmonster in Oz might have it - and her prices are great, I'll be putting the hats on the website on saturday - alternatively I can email you the pattern!