Little green froggy

Today I had another visit from the little green frog. Rrrrribbit!

I finished the body of my crazy stripes a couple of days ago, but I’m just not happy with the bottom hemline where the front left meets the back. I’ve trawled through a lot of finished projects on Ravelry and many seem to have quite a wobbly hemline over the hip in just that spot, and I don’t think it’s something that can just be blocked out.

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One project, fortunately, had some notes about just this issue, including a record of what she did to fix it. She was making a different size so I’ve done a little maths myself and think I’ve come up with my own solution, so I’ve ripped back 48 rows (thankfully much shorter ones than last time I had to frog!) and am reknitting to hopefully achieve a better looking line. I quite enjoy a bit of knit-maths but still I hope the numbers stack up!

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On the plus side, my new stitch markers really came in handy for this one!

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Momentum

The gloves did indeed carry momentum. Knitting is progressing steadily on my crazy stripes cardigan. Indeed there are actually several stripes involved now!

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It’s still portable enough that I can take it with me. I got a few rows done during the boys gymnastics classes this week, and even managed a bit whilst I was sitting waiting during rehearsals today.

I’ve just begun the short rows, which requires a little more attention to counting and turning, but hopefully things will continue apace.

 

Crazy times

Life has been rather stressful recently. They do say that moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do in life, and I’m inclined to believe them. We’re finally making some progress, so just hoping for no more major spanners-in-the-works.

In the meantime, I’ve finished all my shows and am taking a break from rehearsals. I read two Game of Thrones books back to back and needed a break from that too (partly also to let the hubby catch up with me a bit), and so at long last, I’ve picked up my knitting needles again after too long away from them.

I dug out all my projects and potential projects to decide what to work on.

  • There’s the Clanger which is waiting (in many many pieces) to be stitched together.
  • I have a Leaflines shawl which was nearing the final stages before it stalled, mostly because I decided it was in the wrong colour. I bought a beautiful grad in autumn colours at Unravel this year, which I don’t think I ever got round to photographing, ready for a second attempt at this pattern.
  • I’m sure I have a couple of balls of Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace kicking aorund somewhere, that I’ve had thoughts of turning into some kind of top-down jumper, probably Electricity, but could I find them!?
  • And then there’s Stripes Gone Crazy, which I have loved the look of since I first saw it. I bought the yarn for it at Unravel 2015, but haven’t had the time or courage to go ahead with it before now.

I finally took the plunge and swatched for Stripes Gone Crazy. I was more than a little terrified, since my last cardigan is such a terrible fit, and I’ve never really properly worn it. I knitted a guage swatch, which I’ve never done before, and then spent about a week agonising over the maths. I knitted another swatch, did more maths, realised I probably don’t have quite enough yarn, especially given my tight guage and the fact that I therefore need to knit a larger size than I thought, and took the plunge anyway.

The pattern is really detailed and well written with plenty of explanation and diagrams where needed, and I feel like I’m in good hands. I’m on page 6 already, and here’s how far I’ve got!

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More knitting, less blogging.

I’m sure I’ve been knitting a lot more again recently, but somehow I keep managing to forget to take photos of things, and though I’ve continued reading various blogs, I’ve not had much inclination towards actually writing anything. Actually, that also has a lot to do with life being very busy (though, when is it not!?) at the moment with rehearsals and kids and househunting (and all the stress wrapped up in that) etc. I knew that buying/selling/moving house is reckoned to be one of the most stressful things you can go through in life. Our first house purchase was fairly straightforward, but this move just seems ridiculously stressful and uncertain, and beset by problems of all types, and we haven’t even got to the packing stage yet!

April seems to have turned into birthday central in the last couple of years. My youngest Pickle, my niece and my mum, as well as various friends and children of friends all seem to have their birthdays within just a few days of each other. My niece requested some clothes for her doll, so when I mooted the idea of knitting a little something, my mum helpfully provided me with a bag full of assorted yarn and knitting needles while I was staying with her during the holidays. Fortunately I had my preferred circulars with me, so I had a go at winging it on a little jumper, inspired my a doll’s cardigan my mum found for me. Unfortunately, my estimation for how big to make the neck hole was a little off (dolls have BIG heads!) and I got rather frustrated and I left off before making sleeves for it, instead making it into a little tank top type thing with button down shoulders. It was more than a little dodgy, but hey, button practise is good for kids, so mum claimed it for use by her childcare children.

On returning home, I got a little more accurate information on the size of the doll, and then rooted around Ravelry for a suitable pattern, which turned out very much better! Apologies for the terrible quality phone-photo, but it turned out rather sweet.

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Pattern: Sweater from Snickerdoodle by Kristen Rettig

The pattern was good and easy to follow. I made the mistake of slipping stitches at the start of rows for the first few rows, which distorted the front edge a little, but you can’t notice it much when the buttons are done up, and my nearly 4 year old niece won’t mind anyway! The buttons were chosen by Pumpkin. I really liked the top-down seamless construction, and want to try it again on a bigger garment at some point. It was a very quick knit and has been safely packaged off to my niece today.

I’ve got a couple more things on the go at the moment; a pair of fingerless gloves for the hubby (which may or may not get done til the weather gets colder again!) and another baby ripple blanket which I’ll hopefully get finished very soon.

Snuggly

I realised I was rather chilly this evening whilst putting Pumpkin to bed. I found myself mentally skimming through my wardrobe for an appropriate jumper or cardigan I could throw on for the evening, and you know which one sprang to mind? Yes, my newly finished cardigan of doom snuggliness!

It’s been finished for a week now, and I still haven’t managed to get any decent photos, so here’s a quick shot I took on my phone, and a close up of the buttons I used.

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As you can see, it’s a little short in the body, which is a little frustrating, given that I thought I had added some extra length into it, but it’s certainly not a fatal flaw. The sleeves are lovely and long, so I can tuck my hands into them to keep warm.

The collar is a little gapey at the back of the neck, but again, not fatal. The fit around the waist could also have been a little closer, but it has a bit of shape to it, and a bit of ease means it’ll fit over layers of clothing in the winter without being too bulky.

All in all, it’s really not bad for my first ever knitted garment!

It’s done!

It’s done, it’s done!

The cardigan of never-ending doom is really, truly, actually, completely, wearably finished! Buttons and everything.

It won’t win any prizes, and I may not even wear it out of the house! But it is finished. Hurrah!

Pictures to follow, hopefully.

Excuse me while I happy-dance around the room.

Maybe now I can allow myself to work on some other things again and more regular blogging may resume.

Roundup time

All has been a little quiet here for a while, so I thought it was time to do another quick roundup of what I’ve been up to.

Our back garden has just been completely re-landscaped. We got rid of some rather overgrown conifer trees and cleared the whole space, levelled the ground and returfed everything. It’s much lighter and brighter and so much better. It’s much more practical and appealing for the boys to play out there now. I know, because I’m desperately trying to keep them off the grass until the turf has rooted in! And it’s much lower maintenance which is great for a non green-fingered bod like me, although I’ll still have space to plant a few bulbs and things.

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Lots of space for Pumpkin and Pickle to play

I am between theatre activities at the moment. My current group has just auditioned for its next musical production. I went along to one of the dance workshops, which was hard work but good fun, but ultimately decided not to audition for the show. This is partly so that I am a bit more free over the summer, to go visit my folks for a week or so perhaps, or to go away for a few days as a family, without worrying about missing rehearsals. However, I am getting a little antsy about not having a show lined up, so I’ve just joined a different theatre group, who mostly specialise in plays rather than musicals, so I’ll see what comes up with them.

Knitting has got me all frustrated at the moment. I went back to the bane of my life cardigan, and have started knitting the button-hole band, but I just can’t get the edge to look right. The button side I slipped the first stitch of each row and it kept the edge tidy, but doing the same on the hole side doesn’t seem to have the same effect – I keep ending up with a little bump around each edge, rather than a nice neat series of V’s. I guess a picture is probably more useful here.

Nice neat slipped stitch edging

Nice neat slipped stitch edging

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Horrible little bumps around each edge. Where did it all go wrong?

I’ve tried slipping knitwise and slipping purlwise and neither seems to make any difference to the edge. The two bands feel completely different too; the neat one feels soft and lovely, whereas the bumpy one feels much more hard and stiff. Somebody please tell me what I’m doing wrong, and how I should be doing it! If I can fix this problem, I might actually be able to get it finished and have a FO for my next post!

So, as a distraction from the frustrations of annoying knitting (and because I really am not going to knit anything else until this flaming annoying cardigan is done, I’ve resorted to gaming instead. It’s been years since I really played anything on the Wii, but I’ve had a sudden craving for a bit of Zelda, so I’m working on Skyward Sword. I’m not enjoying the graphics as much as I liked Twilight Princess, and the fighting feels a lot more tactical than any other Zelda’s I’ve played before – I’m more of a whack-it-and-hope-it-dies type player, but I’m not far in, so we’ll see how it develops.

Oh, and has anyone seen the new Clangers on CBeebies? Pumpkin and Pickle are quite taken with it. Pumpkin actually turned to me the other day and said ‘Mummy, for your next knitting, can you knit me a Clanger?’ !! I love his confidence! A quick search on Ravelry revealed several patterns, including an official one on the CBeebies website, so if you’re in the UK you can download it here: CBeebies Clanger Knitting Pattern. I’ve downloaded a copy and will add it to my list of things to make.

Unravel 2015

unravel, a festival of knitting, at Farnham Maltings Click for website

unravel, a festival of knitting, at Farnham Maltings
Click for website

Today I went to Unravel at Farnham Maltings with my new-to-crochet friend (we shall henceforth call her ‘Klutz’, to keep things simple!)

I have never been to a yarn festival before and, oh my! what a feast for the eyes! So much gorgeous yarn, and so many stallholders positively inviting us to come in and squish it all. Beautiful patterns, hooks, needles and notions galore, and oooh! buttons! We both felt rather traitorous that neither of us was wearing a handknit anything!

We were tempted by many things.

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Gorgeous grads

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What do you even do with linen yarn?

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Beautiful fibre – no, I am not even looking down the spinning road…

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Rows of rich earthy colours

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Ooooh I want the whole rainbow!

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But we were very restrained. I went armed with a shopping list, and Klutz formed her shopping list over a coffee after we’d had a good look round at all the stalls and consulted Ravelry.

Klutz, though tempted to branch off into knitting territory, very sensibly stuck to her guns and took a crochet only approach, settling on a gorgeously simple scarf pattern from Baa Ram Ewe and some pretty sparkly sock yarn to make it with.

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I forgot to mention to her that skeins have to be wound into balls, but a hand-winding lesson over lunch in a nearby pub sorted that out sharpish.

And here’s my little pile of goodies

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Two skeins of BFL/Nylon Sock in Charcoal, and two of 100% Merino in Teal from Debonnaire for my next project Stripes Gone Crazy, along with a couple of longer cables for my Knitpro interchangeables, and a free hat pattern for good measure.

Now I have a real incentive to get my cardigan finished. I’m not even winding these babies until I’m done with that one.

How do you fare at yarn festivals? Do you exercise restraint and stick to a shopping list, or do you succumb to the delights of aaaalllll the pretties?

A yarn crisis

I’ve finally finished knitting the sleeves of the never-ending cardigan – wow, that’s a lot of stockinette! After finishing my sister’s gloves, I was determined to finish the cardigan before casting on anything. Yes, I know I’ve said *that* before! Casting off both sleeves is certainly a step in the right direction, only now I’ve hit a snag. I’m out of yarn. I only have the button band to go, so it hardly seems worth buying another whole 400g ball. So, do any of you lovely readers just happen to have a little leftover floating about in your stash, waiting for a home? It’s Stylecraft Special Aran with Wool in shade 3351 Blue Heather, Dye lot 47745.

On another note, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to using straight needles again, unless there is a very specific reason to. (Is there?) Give me my Knitpros any day. The straights are just so awkward and ungainly, especially with the weight of two sleeves hanging from them.