Winging it

I’m having a creative streak it seems. In the last few days, I’ve cast on two new knitting projects.

A couple of years ago, in my early days of knitting, I made a very basic stripey red and yellow garter scarf for Pumpkin. It’s terrible and tatty, but he still wore it last winter and probably will this year. Recently, Pickle has been asking for his own scarf to wear. He’s quite particular about what he wants – he certainly knows his own mind – and his ideas seem to be largely based on his brothers scarf. Yellow and blue stripes.

I trawled Ravelry with him for pictures, but nothing really matched his description, so the best thing to do, I figured, was just to wing it. He chose the colours he wanted out of my modest stash of Stylecraft Special DK and I got to work. I wanted something with a bit more structure to it than Pumpkin’s stretched and straggly thing, so I YouTubed double knitting and here we are.

It’s 25 stitches wide and I’m just going to see what happens as I go along. The double knitting is pretty easy once you get started and have figured out how best to hold the yarn.

I also spent some time trawling Ravelry for something new for myself. I had ideas of ripping out my very first cardigan, March Basic, which I’ve never really worn, and reknitting it into some sort of tunic. Whilst looking for tunic patterns, I came across something else which took my fancy.

Studying the photos and the various projects listed, I realised it used a leaf motif I already knew from a hat I’d previously made, and I could figure out the general construction. Since I wanted to modify the shape of the garment a fair bit away from the design I could see in the photos, I figured I wouldn’t buy the pattern but just figure it out for myself. I cant decide if that’s cheating or not? What are the ethics of not buying a pattern when you’ve been inspired by a photo of it, but want to change it? Answers on a postcard.

Anyway, I like a bit of knit-maths and can use a good brain workout every now and again, so I’m just going to go with the ‘wing it’ approach on this one too. There’s been a certain amount of ripping and tinking and fudging so far, but here’s what I’ve got.

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Do you always use a pattern or do you enjoy working things out for yourself?

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Time for a round-up

I haven’t managed to track down any of the Stylecraft Special Aran that I need for my so-very-nearly-finished cardigan without resorting to online purchasing, which may well be a dangerous game, so I’ve moved onto other things.

Pumpkin requested a scarf, so I’ve mostly been busy working on that.

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It certainly won’t win any awards, but the boy seems to like it, so it’s good enough. It’s his favourite colours, and designed with a loop at one end that he can tuck the other end through, which should help to keep it on better than just having it wound around his neck. I did a sort of horizontal ribbing effect which I thought would make it a bit cushier and cosier around his neck. It actually made it quite stretchy, so it’s ended up much longer than I intended, and the narrower section of 1×1 ribbing that was supposed to help keep it in place in the loop actually overshoots it by quite a long way. Never mind. It’s all a learning process.

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Rather an untidy edge.

Speaking of learning, does anyone know why the edge of my knitting does this strange thing with one large loop and one loop pulled tight and what I can do to make the edge neater?

After the scarf, I ventured back to my crochet hooks and worked on keeping a promise I’d made before Christmas to make an Elsa/Frozen inspired hat for the seven year old daughter of a very good friend of mine.

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I used pictures on google and pinterest for inspiration, but didn’t follow any particular pattern. I’ve not made a hat for a while, and it took several attempts to get the right combination of stitch type and number of increases to get the shape right, but I got there eventually and little Miss Elsa was really happy with her surprise gift.

This cute little ducky fell off my hook next.

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I’m a member of a crochet group on Facebook which sets challenges every month or so, and the challenge for January was linked to The Little Yellow Duck Project (see website here for details).

“The Little Yellow Duck Project involves people around the world handcrafting little yellow duck gifts as random acts of kindness that are left in public places for others to find. A special¬†tag¬†on each one invites the finder to take their gift home to brighten their day and to visit this website to register where they found their gift. We hope that the stories and information found here will encourage them to pledge their own random act of kindness by registering to donate blood, bone marrow, organs tissues.”

So this little guy just needs a tag (when my printer feels like behaving) and then he’ll be sent off on an adventure somewhere.

Now I’m happily settled into the stockinette rhythms of my first knitted hat, and trying to learn the art of knitting without having to watch what I’m doing all the time, so I can watch TV at the same time. Speaking of which, I’m off to watch Castle. Have a lovely evening!

Cosy cables

So it seems my last post was quite possibly the most boring post imaginable. Let’s go back to knitting. In fact, let’s go back to around this time last year when my sister half-jokingly asked me to make her a new hat. I had only just learnt to knit at that point, and already had a crochet project on the go (and it still is, though there’s perhaps less of the ‘go’ about it) so didn’t want to take anything else on. Fast forward to this autumn, just as the weather started getting colder and I suddenly recalled my sister’s request.

By the time I spoke to her about it, she’d actually already bought herself a new hat, but now wanted a scarf/cowl/snood to go with it. We both trawled Ravelry for suitable patterns, but finding nothing that quite fitted the bill, she brought me the hat instead and I took inspiration from that.

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Having already tackled cables for Hermes’ scarf, this looked fairly straightforward, so I took note of the pattern repeat, and guesstimated a rough measurement of how long it would need to be, and started from there. My sister had chosen a ball of James C Brett Marble Chunky, so I had 200g to play with.

I cast on 264 stitches in the round, and began with a section of 2×2 ribbing. The cabling section had an 11 stitch repeat; K3, P1, Cable across 6 Knit stitches, P1. I crossed the cables every 4th row (more or less – it’s easier to lose track when working in the round rather than back and forth). I then finished off with another section of 2×2 ribbing.

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Mostly it was very plain sailing, but I encountered a bit of brain mush in the middle of the cabling section and had to frog a couple of times which was very frustrating. After that I stuck in a lifeline every few rows which was most certainly wise.

I had calculated that I would use 50g for the first ribbing section, 100g for the cables and 50g for the second section of ribbing, intending to use the entire ball if possible. I actually ended up with a fair amount left over, as I should have done one more repeat of the cables before starting the ribbing again, but I was unsure at the time whether I would have enough for that. Ah well. My only other regret was that, as with Pumpkin’s socks, I should have gone down a needle size for the ribbing as it’s a bit too loose in comparison with the cables. Unfortunately that means it turns out at the edges and sits a bit funny when being worn, but I’ll give it to my sister and see whats she thinks of it anyway before I start frogging the whole thing! Maybe next time I’ll remember.

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Now my hooks are back out of hibernation and I’ve just got a couple more Christmas decorations to crochet to make it into parcels in time for tomorrow’s last posting date!