Sunday, December 17, 2006

The last blog before 2007

and whats on the needles, well ongoing with the Kangaroo jersey for my Toby, aged 7. I have been lazy with updating the blog, lazy or busy, not sure which. Just the blog has been lower down the priority list than finishing study, christmas baking, wrapping prezzies, tidying up ... getting on top of the washing.

Don't you just love that saying, who in their right mind would want to get on top of a pile of dirty washing?

Progress photos, Toby is here testing the kangaroo pocket, and it works, kind of boring knitting, but what the boy (and his dad want). But first the background work behind the kanga jersey. I completed the swatch a while ago, scanned it with a measure tape, washed and dry it and scanned it again with a measure tape for scale. I have done this with the last few swatches, and it provides a great record and counting teechnique for gauge. I print it out at between 100 & 200% and the stitches are easily countable, I can tick each stitch off and use the measure tape as a scale to find 10 cm or 2 inches or whatever.

Here is what came out of that. I measured a top that fit Toby, and used gauge to work out my stitch count for various parts of the jersey. I did a bit of math, just planning and working. Then I did a bit of sketching of what could be. I know that most 'designers' would sketch first, but I do lean towards the maker side of design. So before any thinking about how 'it' can be I have already quantified some limits, like the width of this jersey, the proportions, sleeve lengths, and such. so mine is a made jersey, no developmental leaps in this one. The next two pages in my work book show playing and planning how the shape and stripes can be, and the pocket. I really wanted to knit it in the round as much as possible, not to sew it in. It took me a lot of over thinking to work out a very simple solution was th best and most straightforward. Sometimes I can be brainy-stupid like that.

So my design, cast on half required stitches, plus 4, garter for a few rows, 2x2 rib for 12 rows, garter for a few more rows. this is the hem for the front, repeat to get the hem for the back. that gives me a narrow yet 'manly' gansey type hem. To join these two hems I overlaped the last 4 stitches of the front with the first 4 of the back, and knit one stitch from front together with one from the back. This technique reduces the pull of stress on that join stitch, repeat for the other vent. I put a stitch marker at the mid join mark.

Then I knit abut 4 cm straight in the round, to give the pocket some depth. I didn't want small toys nd collectable cards falling out. Starting the pocket flap, about 7 cm in from the side seam, in this case 30 stitches in, and kniting back and forth, stocking stitch. I wanted slanted openings, I drew vertical ones but like the look of the slant on the sketches. less boxy maybe? to achieve that slant on the knit rows I knit the first 2 stitches tog, and the last 2 tog, ssk'ing the last two to make them lean in the right way. I continued until this slanted edge looked wide enough to let a hand with a toy in easily. I strung these stiches on a yarn holder and broke the knitting yarn free.
To make the inside lower bag of the pocket, I picked up and knit stitches on the inside of the hem, the top of the garter edge. I picked up across the width of the pocket plus 3 extra each side, so the inside flap was 6 stitches wider overall. I knit back and forth until the inside flap was the same height as where i had started the pocket flap, and then joined this into the body stitches. I used the same technique of overlaping the extra 3 stitches behind the first and last 3 of the body stitches. Knitting two together.

I then knit the body until it meet up with the top of the flap, and this took ages. It repeadedly seemed like one more row would be enough and then, once done, still another row was required. I knit across the top of the pocket, knitting the pocket flap stitches into place with the body stitches. And above you have Toby demonstrating that there is a working pocket in the kangaroo jersey. I have now completed a few more rounds and have sewn the little open lower edge of the pocket lining into place. This last photo shows that little line of almost invisable seaming.

For us this holiday season brings travel, we are off to visit distant relatives this year, which involes a plane and lots of exitement from our two small people. But not any space to update or check blogs or mails so bog until the new year. My fav podcast cast-on is off air until Brenda is better, so i am sending get well wishes her way.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

children and knitting, don't mix

well they do, but sometimes it is heart-breaking. My wee darling loved her new jersey, and we made it clear it was in the special occassion clothes collection. Days with mum, shopping, or parties, not day to day at creche. Well after a week or so, she had a rough night, wet the bed, and was really upset. Such a big deal rides of being a big girl, on being grown up, not wearing nappies to bed, and in a fit of consolation we let her chose her own clothes for school. What did my wee girl choose? Her new merino jersey, I was secretly pleased my work was more desirable than the kidi fashion shops purchases, and neither her dad or I had the heart to tell or no. We did elicit a promise not to do any painting wearing the jersey.

This is a quick photo record of the state of the jersey when I picked her up after school. She attends a montessori school, so as part of that the children take care of the classroom. They prepare the work, and they clean up. She told me quite indignently that she wore an apron while painting. This mess happened as she cleaned up the paint tray. Well, it washed, it seems clean, no trace of paint, and dried yesterday in a lovely warm breezy spring day. Poppy helped me with that, amidst much discussion about it being quicker to take a jersey off before dealing with paint, than to wash and dry it. Poppy agreed it was quicker to take it off, we will see if mum (me) is brave enough to send it to school again soon, as a test of lessons learnt.

Quick post this time, not much to say, started a new hoodie for 'the boy', who is miserable with a head cold. Will post pictures once beyond he hem edge. Will have a kangaroo pocket, and will try and post images of my prep work, the swatch and sketches use to develop the design with. Not that I am a great at sketching, but they are a form of communication and I have got to start somewhere.

Watched one of those tv nanny programes last week, and trying to put into place less yelling more praise. Seems to be working. Main problem is the spouse, he didn't see the programe and I am not sure i am explaining very well.

More knitting next time

Friday, November 24, 2006

Pink mint merino is finished and I've been shopping !

What is this mystery object? It is an early and much appreciated and very much delightful christmas present. More about that latter, Well the tiny pink mint merino jersey for my 4 year old Poppy is finished, and I am really proud of this one. Finished it late last night, washed and left it to dry on the table on a layer of towels last night. I should have photographed pre and post block, but it was too dark, and way to late.

Anyway obligatory photo now, the neck line was frogged and reapeated, I had short rowed 5 stitches more from centre front to the centre back neck, but when Poppy tried it on, it was clear the back neck was far to high and really unnatural. I had put in a safety line of crochet cotton in the row just above the fairisle, but not at the base of the neck rib. So it was a part way frog to the safety line, but went ok as you can see. Note to self - if short rowing the neck, stop 5 stitches in from the back raglan lines. The sleeves ended up with slightly different fairisle as I realised the floats that resulted on the inside of the body, were just the right length for little four year old fingers to snag. I did have some problems with the corrugated rib curling on the body hem, but tried a different cast on on the sleeves which solved the problem. Either that or the narrow tube in the sleeve hem prevented the curling, guess I won't know until the next time. My fix anyway was a twisted german cast on, followed by a row of 'k1p1' in the main colour before joining in the round and continuing the corrugated rib as set. This one did not curl or twist and looks quite good. I tried sleeve increases in a line, but ended up with increases at the end of each dpn, so four rows. The single increase line was to obvious and I realised that knitting in the round gave me other options for increases. This four point increase gave me a nice even bell shaped sleeve, I like it and will do it again.

I've been shopping for knittery things, first for necessaties, like the 2.5mm dpns, to knit the sleeves on, I had 2 2.5mm circs, addi turbos, and tried to knit the sleeves on those, but magic loop and I just are not yet clicking. So I had these sent over from the UK, for some reason not stocked here, not the 2.5mm bit or the addi turbo. I ordered both metal and bamboo just in case, as my last order had half the needles back ordered. The order wasn't big enought to qualify for international shipping, with just the needles, so I added the needle huggers. Sooooo cute. they did visit my daughters dolls house for a play last week and live there until i reclaimed them for my knitting tool kit. The sleeves were knitted on bamboo, very smooth, will buy again. I had a feeling they were not a heirloom item, maybe a shorter working life, but cheaper to match.

The other shopping I did, just this morning, was the yarn for the next project. My LYS's stock is kind of limited, especially in the line of fine yarns for knitting on 3mm and smaller, but LYS's do need supporting. and that was where I found my pink mint merino. I chose this 5 ply from pattons, in teal and cream. I've used patons before, its ok, knits up neatly, not luxury, and fluffs a little but wears well. Bonus was I had my loyalty card stamped so scored a $25 voucher, so that paid for half the yarn. Cool, downside was it is end of loyalty scheme, with a new as yet unannounced scheme apparently planned. Dark teal Kanagaroo hoodie for my 7 year old boy. He is a tall proverbial bean pole. I will base the shape on the Kangaroo Hoodie in Sally Melvilles Book 2: the purl stitch. But as I like/love/need/want to/only knit in the round, will be kniting it that way not flat. Probably a ralgan, but who knows? I have done a saddle shoulder and that was fun, am thinking very classic, not anything fussy, one wide with two narrow chest stripes in the cream or is that bone? Very preppy. Very trad. Instructions from boys dad, non knitting conservative dressing male in house, to not make it to fussy, not to girly ... well of course it won't be pink, but surely a little fair isle wouldnt damage him for ever. I am still smarting from knitting my first EZ inspired first designed raglan for him 2 years ago, with spiderman written across the shoulder/yoke and a band of spiders fair isled around the hem - he never wore it, well twice begrudingly. Then last year i knit another EZ classic, the Tomten, without the hood as i ran out of yarn. Again he never wore it. So maybe I am blind to something here ... who knows. Some one will like it.

off to down load the latest cast on, i did notice that my LYS had the ashford knitters loom, Brenda reviewed in a recent show and now i want one, how tempting ... 40+ birthday in July and so many tempting things.

... and hat strange wooden thing at the start of the post? An early 20thC rocket? No a 1900's oak swift. All neat and tidy and with the original ribbon hinges. isn't it beautiful? In this photo you can see it open on the table with the old one I borrowed sitting in the distance. this one is HUGE, really large, but totally usable if I tie a yarn or string around it to set the outside length as needed, or rather it will open to suit the skein size. I plan to use mine to wind knitting balls from skeins, not to wind skeins from spinning, or whatever others do with them.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Pink mint in Merino,

I have started Pink-Mint, thats the name I use to think about the latest jersey. And I have to make some decisons about how it will be. I had wanted to steek this one, just because I can, but feel the way the Merino Yarn washed up would not suit that at all, why, well it went very silky, very very slippery when washed. So I have a nagging doubt that even machine knitting could hold the cut edges safe and sound from unravelling. The edges on the washed swatch did fluff up nicely, and would make a fine edge for something with a fluffy fringe. I am however not going to tell my little wearer to be that, or that decision will be made for me - and this is my jersey design. This is intended to be a warm, intricate, my mother loves me jersey for my Josie-Poppy, who will be 5 and off to school next winter. Except all the adults assume she has a Nana who knits, they never assume it is the Mum. I guess they think working mums don't have time or the inclination.

This blog was set up for me to track my thinking progress as I plan and execute my knitting. So at this stage I am going into the details of what decisions I made in designing the new jersey and why. I am im part inspired by Wendy(see sidebar), although my knitting is no where as fast or productive. I ask my students to document the decision making processes on the designs and making they produce, so here I am using this to document the same in my work. Trying to be a reflective practioner, learning, improving through investigating my own work practice.

Ok so about a week ago I started the rib, having decided that corrugated rib in the round was quite attractive and unusual in a hand knit. I like to show off little clever technical aspects in my work. I do like the way the floats on the back push the purl bumps forward - making a nice textural contrast. I had a quick play with casting on in two colours, one stitch from each yarn, but was obviously having an uber dyslexic day and soon decided not to add to much learning to this curve. Turns out I as right - not so much a steep learning curve but a frustrting one this week. Gauge on my washed swatch is around 9.4 sts per inch, or 3.7 sts per cm, using 2.5 mm needles. Yarn is Naturally Haven 4 ply Merino in mint and pink, and Schoeller and Stahl Baby Merino in winter white. I am using a size chart which suggests a size four needs a finished chest of 27 inchs, and a size 6 28.5 inchs. I calculated I needed a 27.75 inch finished size for my 5 year old to be next year, making 252 stitches for the body. I rounded this up to 260 stitches, which is divisable by 4 so fits lots of the small fair isle repeats I want to use.

I first started the rib and had ribbed around 1 cm when i discovered the tube was twisted. All 260 stitches on 2.5mm needles. Bother, briefly wondered if about continuing on for a mobius scarf then I cut the yarns and cast on again, in tubular rib edging - and it went well, except I found I had switched yarn order over my fingers about 3 cm in, and the rib was flicking or curling up plus there was a very prominent switch in yarn floats on the back. I assumed that the switch in yarn cary so breaking float pattern had caused the flicking up - or curling. I frogged, and cast on 260 stitches again, this time on 2 mm needles, as I had also noticed a little flare in the lower edge. The tubular hem was a nice treatment, and looked great despite the curl, so I used smaller knitting pins to cast on to tighen it up. Again a few cm's into the rib and I realised this stitch, corrugated rib, curls, and curls and curls, despite how lovely the tubular rib looks the curling was bugging me. A whole week of knitting and nothing but a 4cm band of curled corrugated rib to show for it. You can see the curl in the close up on the right, and the lovely tubular rib edge.

I did a search on corrugated ribbing, as had little response to my querry on knitters review. In my search I found a link to rjconklin. who had researched curling corrugated rib. Apparently the solution is to have more purls than knits. Problem, I wanted 1x1 rib, not a chunky 2x3, or 1x2. What to do? A second search found a Wendyknits post, that women is amazing, who suggested using a long tail cast on, and steaming, but it does look like she used a 2 purl rib so who knows if that would fix it. Another cast on, at this stage I think I am up to my 5th?, and gosh darn it, only had enough tail for 210 stitches, so a little more frogging and up to cast on number 6, 260 stitches, and rib, keeping the purl yarn wound over the index, the knit yarn over the indes but wound on the 2nd finger, and we are now here -

I have completed a few repeats of the fair isle I am using on the lower body section, repeat over 4, with a plain or ground colour row between each pattern row. I am looking at Josie-Pop flit around my bedroom, and notice she is wearing a blue sknow flake sweater I knitted last year, which is shaped at the waist, now I wonder if I do this to this next one.

Long weekend in New Zealand, labour weekend, Monday off work, celebrating the introduction all those years ago of the 40 hour week, imagine working longer for less as our grandfathers and grandmothers did. Today is Monday, and I get to blog, photograph, fold washing, yesterday we had two little girls over for a play date, and the day before - Saturday, we had two swimming lessons, one princess party to go to, one boy visit and out for dinner. Today I am happy to do little, but knit, fold washing and think about the short week at work.

Take care.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Bohus Blue shimmer pickies :-D, and whats next?

Well, here are the images of Blue shimmer, knit from a bohus museum kit, is finished and has been worn. She is light, beautifully warm and the sleeves start the day just over my knuckle and by end of day have shortened to a wrist length. I know this happens now, with elbow bending and wearing distortion sleeves 'shrink' so I knitted her with long monkey arms. I finished her a week or so ago and then it took two nights to seam up. i used matress stitch, in the same Bohus yarn. I had left live stitches at the sleeve and body hem, and these I kitchenered in place. I am quite proud of the result. I even remembered the hems had 10% fewer stitches so kitchenered up 9 stitches, and kitchenered the next hem stitch one stitch away.

I have worn her, had comments and been told I look like I am about to ski. We are having a wonderful run of sunny, clear warm spring weather. Far to hot to wear Blue shimmer, so she shimmered on the river stones under our washing line for these photos.

The sock i was knitting,... well i lived up to the blog name and frogged it. The yarn has been skeined and washed and dried, and needs to be wound into a ball again. I just plain lost my place, I had tried to knit a those socks from a brank new and untested for me pattern, a toe up with a full heel gusset, and in cables, from Wildershins, but I like a firmer gauge. So .. I tried to size it up, and lost my way mid heel flap, and couldn't be bothered deciphering a fix so, frog, frog, frogged it. I am not sure i was fussed completely on the cable and varigated mix anyways. Its here if you care. Brooke - I aplogiese, I love the idea of Wildershins and will make them in a much more suitable yarn to do them real justice.

So, whats on the needles now, we i really want to knit Poppy something for next Autumn and Winter, in fine yarn. I have Bohus Rose collar in kit form to knit, but wanted something nwhere i could be a little more creative. A visit to my LYS and i picked up a merino 4 ply, thats fingering to the rest of the world, in smooth merino mink, pink and soft white. And I have been having a play. I decided to play with a corrugated two colour ribb - two images here, one of hte front and one of the reverse. This is what happened when I knit it flat. For some reason , knit flat the floats for the back row are 'hidden' and the stitches larger on the front, yet on the right side row the opposite happens. It is cute and texturally interesting but I coundn't understand why people would use this kind of effect on traditional jerseys.

So this is my sampler so far, i am just picking odd and probably not connected graphs for small motifs from PGR Knitting the old way. Small motifs as Poppy is only 4, and next year she will be 5, but she has tiny fingers that will catch long floats and snag them. As i worked Switched to knitting the sample as if in the round, that is i knit all rows, and to avoid the tangle of threads across the back I cut and knitted the yarns together in twos at both ends. Reatively easy as each row usually has two yarns. As I neared the finsh I tried a simple 2x2 ribb, as I decided the corrugated rib was not right for this project, to bulky, to textureal. Then I began to wonder if knitting corrugated ribb required knitting in the round (I posted a question to KR here) so maybe some one will tell me. I like the final knit in the round version and thats what i will use (again two images, front and reverse sides shown).

Now i just have to cast off, in alternate or in pink - still deciding, wash, dry, determine gauge, measure girl, add on ease and growing room and make my maths work. I love the planning and sorting stage, so fullof hope and promise.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

purl with colours/colors & yarn in left hand

This post was suposed to be a celebration of finishing Blue Shimmer (which I have done) and details of how I blocked and stitched but .... today on Knitters Review Forum I noticed a request for details or info on how people purl with two colors. Much earlier in my blog I provided details and images of how I knit with two colors in the left hand. This is a companian piece to that. I don't know if there would be any value in visiting that post as well. Blue shimmer details - update and the next project very soon - we have fast broadband now and it is sooooo much easier.

These are images I took ages ago when I was working on the colour yoke of Blue Shimmer. It is way overdue and time to dig out the images and write the how-to details. I have also got images of using the finish or norwegien purl in a rib - which i find easier so that comming soon to a blog near you. In the process I think I have also got smarter about uploading and preparing images. These images were saved for web as .gif and the size reduced to 300 across, with an upload time of 11 seconds each on dial up - so I hope they load quickly.

Before I start I do need to point out that to get even colour work (I live in NZ which uses the English spelling so for me colour has a u! - I can spell - sort of) I make sure the stitches are spread out flat not scrunched up on the right needle as I knit. That way the floats are made long enough and my finished work is very flat and dosn't pucker - a trick I learned reading Wendy's blog. That woman is amazing, she seemed to knit Bohus Blue shimmer in less than a month - it took me 9 months.

I used to knit a more 'conventional' purl but since finding the finish purl have used only this way for colour work. I find it almost impossible to knit a more 'conventional' contintal where the right forfinger sweeps the yarn into place when I have two colours in the left hand - some people probably can, but I have not mastered that yet. Notice the yet, I have realised that in time nearly all things are possible. I think I do ok for some-one who is self taught from books and the internet.

Step one, Purling with two colors carried in the left hand,I arrange the yarns so both are over my first finger. I find the yarn wound around that finger has the 'evenest' tension, the one wound around the next finger also comes over that finger but gets slightly looser after 10 or 20 cm's of knitting, so I use that for the yarn which has the longest floats. I could wind it around my pinky and have tried but ... that seems to snag and upset the fore-finger wound yarn so i leave it as is.

I lift the yarn you are wanting to make the purl stitch in so it sits over the left hand needle, to do that i scoop the left hand needle tip under it.

Slide the right needle into the next stitch on the left needle purlwise, then I twist the right needle up and over then down under the purl yarn to pick it up. I bring the needle tip down and scoop or hook the yarn thru the stitch on the left needle.

This takes me to a point where I have nearly completed the stitch, I used to have problems keeping my purls stitches as firm as my knits but realise i need to make sure the needle is pushed all the way thru for both the knit and purls. I did have a bad habit of knitting on the tips of the needles so the knit stitches were smaller, and purling on the fullest part of the needle. Now I have worked that out it is much easier to notice when I am making that error and correct myself.
I push the right needle against the left needle and keeping the two in contact swing it around to the back of the work. I make sure the needle is right thru the stitch, that is not just the needle tip, but the widest part of the needle and then I slip the new stitch off and drop the old stitch.

make sure you tug your finger away slighlty to seat the purl stitch in place and remove any slack in the yarns before the next stitch.

To work with the other colour is very simillar, just pick up the yarn colour that i required and lift it over the needle to start.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Spring is here!

Well September in new zealand means spring, Usually that would mean a heavy hit of nasty cold rainy blustery weather, but since thrusday we have had balmy, warm, sunny weather. I was so convinced on friday with two nice days behind us, and the weekend upon us it could not last. But the pesimist in me was wrong, wrong, wrong. Ain't that great?

So what have we done with this windfall of fine sunny weather? Well like all good southern people, and I mean souther in a pacific sense, that is close to the icy Antartic, with cold rather than tropical weather. We made sure the house was aired, the fire place dust wiped away, the washing done and out on the line to dry, the porch tidied up, and we even did some gardening. I kid you not, we really did. Look at our newly spruced up porch at the start of this post.

And bohus, well that stocking stitch is a bit of a bore, and while I consider myself a stoic knitter, one who will finish unless the thing is really ugly, well, acres of the stst stuff in the flat can be rather tedious. Or as a more well known knitter has put it here, interminable. I have completed the short rows for the front, and the arm hole shaping so have only the front proper to do. Knit to the end, turn, purl to the end, turn, knit to the end, turn, .... .... .... ... Still that nagging doubt about having enough yarn to finish, which I shouldn't as there is technically enough in the kit for the largest size, and I knit the smallest. I did knit it longer than patterned. And that comment about knit until its finished unless it is looking really ugly, we that was sparked by the new tee shirt logo on the panopticon - "Did you knit that on purpose". How cool is that, might have to get me one of those this summer.

And the cat, yes this blog has a cat associated with it. There is something about knitting blogs and cats, they seem to go together, blue cheese and broccolli, mushrooms and wine, small children and fingerprints on glass doors and windows. The cat is, a girl, around 8 years old, Yo-yo. sweetest little furball you ever met. She puts up with two kids with no complaints, and given we are not cat people, both having cat allergies, so there is no lap sitting and no cuddles, she puts up with us.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I'm in, the baby-bohuser is back for a long overdue update

And after a long break, I'm able to get back to blogging. What happened ?- Life, small children, study, winter, friends, lots and really nothing. But I'm back to the blog. After what seems like a long hiatus, I am finally updating. At home, earlier today I still could not access my blogger account. I could not even access the home page to log in, so this is a remote update - from off site. Not big deal to anyone except my photos are not here to upload. I will try again latter. .. and latter I did try, only to find my broadband modem no longer flashing like a christmas tree, but with 3 non blinking steady lights. So a quick power down of everything, power up the modem, then the mac, and here we are. Good, sure, speady access to blogger.

Blue shimmer, well she grows still slowley, but faster than the back did. Fewer stitches you see, much fewer. Sleeves sure are faster to knit than the back, I have only the hem on the last sleeve, to do, then the front. I have two compete skeins left of yarn. I am a little concerned that they might not be enough to finish. I have made the sleeves longer, but am knitting the smallest size so should be fine - but two skeins seems not enough. I have mentally tried to imagine the sleeve - which took one skein - as a area equivilent to the back which is the same as the front. Well minus the short row neck line shaping. It is a little like doing metal gymnastics. Before I start to use that last skein, if it seems to far to go to get to the hem, I will email Solveig Gustafsson and ask to buy another skein. That way I can alternate the yarns in with a new and old skein to prevent any dye pot dissimilarities. I had hoped to make Mrs Beetons, by Brenda Dayne, with any left overs. Worrying that there will not be enough yarn makes me a little sad. Although there is always the next Bohus- Rose collar and the left overs from that to look forward to ....

Thank you, Bertandfelix, for your comment(s), Lovely blog you have. Again I suffer from slightly green envy, maybe mint or sage? at the thought of being in a workshop learning Bohus, and other wonderful stuff, sourrounded by like minded people. Here I am surrounded by those who love fashion and design, but have more of a Margiella or Nom-D interest. The idea of spending months re-creating a vintage peice seems odd to them. Only slightly green mind you, in the nicest possible way. I realise I am just a Baby-bohuser, nearly fiished number one, 2nd in the drawer wanting to be done, and plans for more. There are many more experienced Bohusers out there. New Zealand is a great place to live, mostly green, mostly friendly, mostly warm, mostly affordable, aparently all that most people want. It just so far from much of the world, my friends in London can get to New York on a special deal, return for around $300 NZ, for me to get to new york from here is $2500. Really big difference in the amount of savings required there. Still we have internet, jobs, and I drive thru the town green belt to work every day, takes around 7 minutes max from home to work, park outside and get to teach fashion to degree students - how cool is that?

Socks, toe up, gusset heel,
Progress, well, maybe before one modifies a pattern just because they like a firmer gauge, one should really understand the pattern. I did make notes, I have kept track, I am good at math, but some how have lost my way mid heel. That coupled with the fact my LYS is out of extra balls of yarn to match and it looks like I really need one - lets just say that sock will be ravelled or as my blog title goes knitknit frog-ed. Now there was a reason for that title.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

left sleeve begins, and tamagotchi takes over

I finished the hem on the back of Blue shimmer! that last little bit seemed to take forever, but now I am happily onto the left sleeve. It was on the instructions for the left sleeve i discovered that the instructions include specific details for increasing 3 stitches in from each edge. These should have applied to the back, and while I read the pattern thru before starting I did not remember this bit was there. On the back i increased at the edge, thinking it would then be part of the seam. So the sleeve has fully fashioned shaping, and the back hasn't. Argghhh. when seamed - the row of fully fashioned shaping should run between the back and front, I am not re knitting the back, no way. Current dilema is do I fully fashion the front to match the sleeve, I think I do, or do I make it match the back, could be the best option. Will keep you posted. Any way photos of progress, the hem is 4 cm deep, with the stitches parked on a waste yarn, waiting for the garment to be sewn up, then I will kitchener the stitches down loosely so no ridge on the right side.

The sleeve progresses well, up to the first decreases after the underarm. this should go quicker having much fewer stitches, and i am wondering about a hem or a ribb cuff? The pattern is for ribb, 8 cm, but I like hems, as you may have noticed. I dont mind ribbing, but wonder if it will go with the other hem.

I am trying a new sock, this is my pool project, the one I take to the pool and knit while wee ones have swimming lessons. This term my oldest is in at 9 am saturday, so I lane swim while he learns then we have a play swim.
My poppy-girl is in at 12:15 - Yes you would think with the same surname some one would put them in classes closer in time. This is the first term I have not had the energy to complain. Any way I change quickly and knit while she learns - so less knitting but more exercise this term. an way new sock, based on one in knitty summer 2006 by

and the tamagotchi, this craze is back, and my boy who turned 7 really, really, rally wanted one for his birthday, so after much teasing and then a sale advertised on T.V which resulted in 2 of the three stockests in Dunedin selling out the week before the said birthday, after much searching we bought one - full price. Then his school pal Bebe gave him one, so now we house two of the critters. Well the longest one has lasted is around 7 days, but they beep, they require attention, and they get in the way of family life. but he loves them and yet dosn't care if they die. Weird.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

bohus, back nearly done, nearly, nearly nearly

Ok, so knitting back and forth in stocking stitch for night after night is not any where as much fun as the colour work. Last night I put in a place marker and in a little over one hour, drank one cup of tea and knit just over 1 cm. Bohus blue shimmer goes sooo slow when the colour work is done. Any way progress shot, the one of the whole garment lying on the floor was not in focus, so here is a close up of where I am up to. The zero of the tape is sitting on the shoulder neck rib section. I plan to only do a few more centimetres. I wish now I had measured the row count of my swatch before I washed it, as I am a little worried about loosing length in the first block/wash. I really don't want this to be a midriff baring number, but more of a just under the hip bone classic length. Then a 5 cm faced hem I think, very loosely sewn down so the ridge on the right side is minimal. Pinocchio here is my cute tape measure, which i have to keep hidden from roaming 3 year olds and 7 year olds (no they are great, and don't touch my stuff - unlike visiting kids) but isn't such a great idea?

So I saw this opal in the window of Elna Jans Patch, Dunedin, the most well equipped quilting and embroidery shop in Dunedin, and I fell for it. It is nothing fancy, just Patons patonyle, 4 ply , colour 4314 lot 743220. 80% wool and 20% nylon. Last night I swatched on 2.75 and 2.25 mm dpns, the wool band recommend using 3.25 mm but I do like a firm gauge to my sock. Strangely I usually like my sock gauge really tight, and habitually knit on 2mm and 2.25 mm, in this weight, but I think I like the 2.5 mm this time. This image was after washing and overnight drying in front of the fire embers - lucky sock swatch, it shared the residual heat with our cat Yo-yo. The colours are soo pretty but are they me? I have been tending towards the intellectual fashion look, so my socks are mostly black, white, and grey - classics really. Where will this wee pretty number fit in I wonder? I am sort of thinking that those really frosty mornings when the busses run late and the hill streets where I live are treacherous, a good pair of sturdy light weight tramping shoes are in order, and these socks would fit in those fine. Of course this needs the tramping shoes and the change into shoes at work. I do seem to have a colour problem right now, every time I buy a pretty colour top or such from somewhere I instantly see many old women in the same top, and I start to doubt my choice. And I mean old in the kind of wear bumpy shoes, roll when they walk, don't use lipstick and don't get hair cuts old.

I was listening to lisa on maths for knitters, who does a fantastic job of explaining without diagrams or illustrations to help how knitting maths works. I am a learner who learns by doing, and understanding, and i do get maths and knitting, but find it really great to hear how she uses maths in her own work and why.

Reading some posts on knitters review and realise that i need to knit a v neck something, or square neck, maybe this or this or maybe both? The reason, that round necks are fun, but not very flattering, especially when high round necks. there was thread discussing why something that was fun to knit and a challenge technically often didn't work out to be flattering. I realised as much as i love the knit all in one, and the EZ no seams techniques they really don't suit many gals. we need chest skin on show, not clevage, not boobs, but some skin or the waist to neck area is just one big blob. There was some discussion of raglans, but I think the real problem is the neckline. Something that says see I have collar bones, and see my shoulders are not one dark width. So Rose Bohus will be attempted as a cardie after my next one. What to knit with, Rowan I think, which is stocked locally but mightly expensive, so some saving to do.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Its been a while.... and I have more mail

...and for lots of little reasons, but no one really good reason. Whats been keeping me from updating the blog?
Well ... Study, or lack of study, in that a whopping big assignment was due, and i had not done anything, at, all, for it. So a week of heart pounding panic, damp palms, lying in bed wondering if I should be pulling alll nighters, and then deciding that I was to mature - read old enough to know that all nighters are not effective.
What else, well... I was really nice and lent my camera to a collegue who needed to put together a digital portfolio for her masters proposal. And so camera-less for a weekend, I felt unable to blog. Whats a blog without photos, I would ask myself.
And I have been feeling blah, not all out sick, not feverish, not off my food, but just tired of an evening blah. Just down and not even feel like knitting blah.

I do in some ways blame the Bohus, or rather my knitting of the Bohus. Around 3 weeks ago I found a dropped stitch, only I found it 10 cm or 4 inches past the drop point. So I did what any clued up modern knitter would do, I picked up a fine crochet needle and 'knitted' up the stitch as I have done before. But I have never done this in fine wool over such a long distance. What I discovered is that adding an extra stitch between two over that distance pulls a ridge of distortion into the fabric. So I halted, i should have contacted knitters review and asked the gurus there ... but I was afraid that they would give two answers. The first to frog, the second to block. I find flat knitting tedious, and more difficult than in the round or colour work, I really didn't want to frog 10 cm so I knit on. I am still undecided, and as I am knitting a small size may even frog once blocked and re knit that panel. But anyway - here is the progress shot. If you look carefully you can see the tight ridge down along the lower right hand edge. I just keep thinking, 2 weeks of knitting, on 2.5mm pins, and flat - I really don't want to redo it if i can avoid it, and yet I know I am a perfectionist. anyway around 5 cm off the hem fold, as I have decided to have a turned faced hem not ribbing. Then on to the sleeves, and finally the front, before maybe reknitting the lower back with no dropped stitches.

My 40th birthday prezzie arrived last week, rose collar, another bohus. The colours are beautiful. I think I will find an intermediate project to knit and then Rose collar. I want to make her flat, as a cardie, not as a 'sweater'. I think that would add more to my wardrobe than
another sweater.

Toby's socks were done, with 2 days to spare, and he opened them 2nd in the line up of family presents. A birthday seven year old who says 'wow - socks, did you make them for me mum?' gets extra pancakes for breafast in my book!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Bohus on the back burner

Bohus Blue shimmer seems to be on the back burner, although I had mail from Solveig saying the rose collar bohus kit had been shipped. Will need to make drawer space for Rose Collar!

Toby's sock number one is all but finished, a 56 stitch, on 2.25 mm needles, with 2 rows of tubular cast on on my new 1.75 mm german dpns, 1x1 ribb for 4.5 cm, then 3x1 rib. A 'granny square' slip stitched heel, a round heel cup and onwards to the toe. I like a shaped toe, so will degrease every second round to about 12 or 15 stitchs. Very nearly 7 year old Toby posed for the photo, keen on having the pointy dpns as part of the sock, and reluctant to use the floral footstool. Same story last year when i made him a pair of black mittens. He wanted the final mitten to be fingerless and have the dpns retained as spikes. Not a show, not so much the safety issue(well a lot of that) but the scarcity of fine dpn's here, I was not about to let him gallop around the playground with my precious sock dpns menicing the others.

I plan to knit lots of Bohus this week, but have to admit that I do not find acres of flat knitting motivating. And it seems harder to sit and complete a row in a few minutes, at least even with colour work in the round I could pick up and put down for a minute or two at odd times of the day. I have a fear that to halt mid row would leave a hole, but I don't know why I think this. Am I brave enough to try a mid row needle park overnight and see if it is true? Will report on this next sunday.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I have mail !

Many months ago, on the 22nd of March 2006, I found the Girl-Friend shrug pattern, and searched my only two LYS for suitable yarn. It seemed the perfect thing for my wee girl, given it had no front and all the paint/play dough/ and food spills would in theory miss it. Being the end of summer here and being far from the knitting centers of the world I found nothing suitable. Had I been looking for novelty yarn to knit on size 10 mm pins, made of polyester, polymid or acrylic in bold bright colours I would have been happy. So I window shopped on-line, and after much searching found some Regia cotton/wool/nylon sock yarn at I ordered some, two balls. I paid my mastercard bill, pleased at our strong dollar and the favourable exhange rate. Many months passed by, I started a blog, my local LYS rang me to say the latest Opal was in stock, I remembered GF-Shrug, I called in and bought some, I started the GF-shrug, I set a date to finish for Poppy-girls 4th birthday party, I split my knitting time between Bohus Blue shimmer and GF-shrug, I finished the GF-shrug.

One friday night, in early June, Bear came in to the lounge with a small white box, found at our back-door, we knew it was a small white box, as clearly stated on the top right corner were the were the words 'small packet - petit paquit'. So... cute.

Memory stired, vague memories of choosing yarn, what exitment. Scissors were found, the box opened.

Bold multi coloured sock yarn, but what was I thinking when I ordered it? It was more vibrant than I would usually choose. But it is not for me and will work really well with jeans, and soft preschool knit tops for Poppy-girl. Latter that evening, as I tidied up, I slipped the recipt from the box, and a slim flat white packet fell out. I had also ordered a set of 5dpn's in 1.75mm. I guess I decided as these were hard to find, no nigh impossible to get locally, and since I was paying for international shipping I would also get a size I didn't have already.

And now I have stash, For while I have a good and quality fabric collection to feed my work based hobby of tailoring and sewing, I generally do not have a lot of yarn waiting to be knit. Usually just a few balls of cotton for wash cloths. On Saturday Bear decided that Toby, son number one, aged 6.9 needed socks. Now son number one (there is only one son) will not wear any sweaters, he used to, until he was teased about a spider man sweater one day at school by his 'friends'. Apparently to other 6 year old boys spider man sweaters are babyish and not cool - I think an element of envy came in here given they had only plain polar fleece with nary a spider in sight. Devestating news for a boy of 6 who had helped me plan and chart the spidey bits, and who now avoids all sweater knitting by his mother. He will cuddle up into anything knitted I am wearing, and snuggles on the couch into my discarded sweaters. He will still wear my hand knitted socks, in preference to more commercial ones - so we went sock yarn shopping and got

, well she grows, well on the way with the lower back section, and no rowing out! That is a problem I have recognised in my flat knitting and one I have worked hard on to solve. So nice to see the solution is working, I needed to knit 'firm' and purl 'firmer' .

After sitting with a calculator last night and working out what the ecommended patterns haping will result in I have decided to use most of the waist shaping given but to customise it a little. I have knit to 6cm past the underarm point, and am in the process of decreasing every 3 cm, which will take me to 20 cm past the underarm, a narrowing in of around 3.5 cm, subtle but there. When I tried this on the dress from this point will sit at my waist.

From then on I will use my own shapping. I will knit plain for 3 cm, then increase 2 stitches every 1.5cm, until 10 cm past the waist when I plan to purl a row and continue knitting to complete a 5-7 cm turned up faced hem to replace the ribbing instructed in the pattern. I know I will have to increse in this facing so it fits neatly inside the garment, so will decrease to match the below waist shaping. I will check this shaping as I knit, but I would like something a little shapped, to wear with fitted firm jeans or casual trousers. I will see what that looks like on the back before I start the front.

I also wasn't happy with the length suggested, nor the lack of shapping after the narrowing in to the waist. But maybe those Swedish girls have no hips, all bust and no hips? The ones who visit here on their OE, are tall, blond, tanned, fit, trim, the bike everywhere and have georgous boyfriends. Of course they can't all be like that but those are the ones I notice.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Girl friend Shrug is finished !

Girl friend shrug was finished, and on the party day. But was she finished in time for the party - no. GFS was finished at around 10 pm on the night of the party. Given the party was for a four year old, the party was all over by 4:30 pm, shrug was officially late to the party, and well past bedtime. So what happened? A little thing called responsible roles at work and research funding - thats what they think they pay me big money for. Well they think they pay me big money - I do ok, but I might argue the big money bit. Any way here is the Poppy-girl in the girl friend shrug. btw - have you ever tried to photograph a small exited four year old who had way to much fizzy, chips and sugar the day before? If you had you would know that even on the sport setting this was as good as it was going to get.

Blue shimmer bohus, no progress shot, I have knit all the increase rows for the back yoke, and now am working on the below the arm hole/syce section. I will have to stop dithering and come to a decision about waist shaping very soon. Bear confirmed last night that Rose collar was on the shoping list for my big '4-Oh how did that happen' in July, but both of us are a little easy-osey about delivering prezzies on time.

Knitting demo - how I knit and purl on my Bohus with the yarn in the left hand,

As mentioned in my last post, I am not suggesting this is the best way to knit and purl a Bohus. It is working fine for me, and gives me nice even tension with both yarns. Bohus knitting is famous for its use of both knit and purl stitches to give a textured effect to colour work as well as using three, four or more colours in a single row. When I was researching how to knit bohus found little info which demonstrated how to work colour where there was both knit and purl used. I have a copy of Poems of colour by Wendy Keele, but wanted to learn more about the techniques. Living in New Zealand knitting workshops are few and far between, i searched the net, I quizzed the gurus on knittersreview(see sidebar) and developed a technique which works. Eventually I developed a variation on the continental purl stitch shown in Sally Melvilles Purl Stitch book, and in this video here where it is called the Finish purl. No sadly I do not understand what I take to be Finish, but pictures are universal, and it really sounds pretty. i also aplogise for those with a dial up connection for the number of images in this post, but as a learner I was frustrated by sites that had a before and after shot of a knit technque or had line drawing of the needles with no indication of what the hands were doing.

Anyway, when I knit with two colours in my left hand, I hold the yarns as detailed two posts ago, and then to knit, I start by inserting my right knitting pin into the next stitch on the left needle.

When the knitting pin is through the stitch, I twist my right wrist so the pin is now vertical/pointing up, and scoop under the yarn,

I untwist my wrist bringing the point of the pin down and keeping the yarn under tension 'pop' the pin and yarn back thru the stitch.

Then I slide the stitch off the left needle, leaving the new stitch on the right pin, I tend to give a slight tug of the right knitting pin away from the yarn, at this stage to settle the new stitch in place.

To purl, I first 'lift' the purl yarn into place so it comes over the left knitting pin, this is not so much lifting the yarn as putting the left knitting pin under the yarn and lifting it up. Then I insert the right knitting pin purlwise into the next stitch on the left needle, the knitting pin needs to push through a good distance, so it can be twisted up and 'hook' the purl yarn.

Ater that I twist the right knitting pin down and slide the old stitch off the left pin leaving the newly formed stitch on the right needle. Some times I use my thumb tip to hold the yarn in place as I slip the yarn through the stitch.

I have learned to keep the yarn under tension while this happens, and do this in part by pinning the yarn against the left knitting pin or against a finger to stop it feeding so easily, I also roll my fingers away from the knitting. Most knitting diagrams show the left index finger raised to tension the yarn, but I find that causes me problems with tension and even feed.