September 30, 2006

Yarn pr0n… and more!

Filed under:News!,Stash,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 13:52

I have been having such a good break here in Galway. I always feel guilty for leaving piano behind for a day or two, but in hindsight I’m always glad. Things are starting to get going now. I have to submit my days for examining for the Academy (I’m not on probation anymore! Horray for contract work!), and I just got my first phonecall from a student looking for lessons in St. Pat’s. As tedious as I find teaching, one day a week won’t kill me, it’s usually entertaining enough, students being what they are, and it is a guaranteed income. I haven’t been working for the last month and I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrell right now!

Yesterday afternoon was warm and breezy, perfect for having a wander around town and picking up some woolly requirements. First up is the Kidsilk Night for my sister’s birthday shawl.

Although Yarn didn’t have the black I was hoping for, I think this deep purple will suit my sister well as she has auburn hair. I made a tough decision and went with a blue-grey Kid Classic instead of lilac. There were only three balls in this colourway available so I hope I won’t need a fourth. It is for a shrug so I’ll probably just make the sleeves a little shorter. They’re a bit puffy in the pattern and four balls seems rather a lot for what is just a pair of sleeves!

Lastly, I got another skein of Kilcarra handspun. I have stopped myself from buying single balls of wool, but I found a skein that I bought about six months ago in the back of the drawer during the week. There isn’t really enough in it to do something substantial, so I picked up another skein in the same colourway. I’m planning on a hat, some fun handwarmers or perhaps some snuggly socks. I think I’ll have enough for socks in two skeins.

Also on my travels I picked up a copy of Knit Today, a new publication that I quite like, and a copy of Vogue. I stopped buying Vogue about a year ago because I had issues with the lifestyle it promoted (in the same vein as Sex in the City: you are not complete without a cocktail dress and a pair of $5,000 shoes). However, I love looking at well-made clothes and find Vogue very inspiring. Almost too inspiring: I woke up during the night last night thinking about a lovely rust-coloured vest I saw in a ‘Freedom’ pattern book about three weeks ago, thinking how a navy fair-isle equivalent would suit a wine cord skirt I have, and contemplating the glory that is double-breasted coats. Truly, I should get myself onto a sewing course. I have the lurve, but lack the skillz.

Both Gatsby Girl and Pomatomus #2 progressed excellently on the bus. I have already started my gusset decreases on the sock! However, there has been more incorrect cable woe so I won’t post a picture until I have dropped back and recorrected them. I’m really happy with my new gauge and it seems that the row gauge is pretty much spot on! This never happens to me. I give all the credit to my dodgy algebra :D

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September 28, 2006

Success!

Filed under:News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 22:12

I took a year and a half of Higher Maths until time restrictions (a seven hour round trip on Saturdays for piano lessons :D insane! but true!) meant I had to drop it and take Pass instead. I have had no use whatsoever for anything I learned in that class… until today! I was determined to fix up my Gatsby Girl. Using (fairly dodgy) algebra, I used my gauge from 1. 3mm st st swatch; 2. 3.5mm st st swatch; 3. 3mm ribbed swatch to predict what needle size I would need to use to get proper gauge! On the whole, this operation took far longer than actually knitting said swatch, but was much more entertaining. My brand of maths always carries such risk! Living on the edge, that’s me.

So although I have no pictures to show tonight, I have been just zooooming along with my Gatsby Girl. Knitting on 4.5mm needles is more fun than 3mm needles (depending! depending on what you’re knitting! before lace maniacs get their yarn over and ssk me to death). Tomorrow, I’m getting the bus to Galway to visit Alb so I’ll have four hours of uninterrupted knittage and readage of paper. (I love how dangerous broadsheets are to read on the bus. Everyone avoids you but still sneaks a look at your crossword.)

There will be a green Pomatomus heel to show tomorrow too! And, all being well, some Kidsilk Night for my sister’s birthday present, possibly some Kid Classic and maybe even some cotton. It all depends on what I find. I’m excited about seeing Alb too, you know :D

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September 27, 2006

Oh Hamlet, where art thou? My knitting tragedy needs a skull

Filed under:News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 20:00

Is there anything worse than struggling on through densely knitted cable work… twisting cables by mistake twice… correcting them by dropping down 5 rows and picking up and re-tiwsting the stitches with a tiny 2.5mm crochet hook…. forging ahead until the first ball ran out…. and discovering that it is too small!

Firstly, let us admire my freshly-corrected cables.

Now, let us admire said cables with a measuring tape that reveals the truth: a 13″ width.

I know this top, due to the ribbing and cabled bodice, is meant to have a little stretch. But even a LOT of stretch only just makes it cover the width of my back. Hmmm. Where’s the lesson to be learned? Where did I go wrong? The obvious answer is gauge. The magazine (IK) doesn’t specify over what type of stitch the gauge is to be measured. After some consideration, I knitted my swatch in stockinette stitch. I suppose it would have made sense to swatch in rib and a cable in the middle, but I have knit lacey and cabled items where the gauge was given in st st. I should have taken two things into account. I had to drop from 3.5mm to a 3mm needle to get my “gauge”… and I didn’t realise that since it is a ribbed bodice, it will have more give, and a slightly bigger, more relaxed, body is preferable to a very stretched body.

Oh well. I’ll just have to start again. To make it up, I ploughed on ahead with Pomatomus #2! I have just finished the leg tube.

Today wasn’t so great for the ole practice. I am dog tired after yesterday. I probably would have gotten most of my work covered except I had to go to registration at DCU. What a fiasco! We just don’t exist to them. Last year, I paid my fees and didn’t even get my student card. It’s caused me a lot of bother over the year so today, I was not leaving without my card. This involved running all over the campus in the rain. I did get to show off my queue-jumping skills and probably even jumped my biggest queue yet of over 100 students waiting to pay their registration fees. This was completely unintentional (though on some subconscious level, probably not) as I came through the wrong door and was mistaken as the person next in line :D

Ah knitting, why do you punish me so? Sometimes knitting takes on the punitive air of sewing and I don’t like it one bit. Down with sewing machines!

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September 26, 2006

Le Sigh

Filed under:News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 17:04

I knew it was too good to last! Yesterday was my first proper day back at college and many things were decided – not just what classes I’ll be doing, but all my repertoire was finally decided on too. There is good news (like doing some mad contemporary irish pieces, a Chopin scherzo after thinking I wouldn’t be doing any Chopin, and finally listening to the contempoary sonata I’ll be doing and being glad that I actually really like it)… and there is not so good news (my concerto is hard but cool enough to compensate). The bad news? Revising music you are memorising while knitting cables is a bad idea.

After the smashing one-inch progress I had to show in my last post on Gatsby Girl, I managed to twist all my cables the wrong way! So I ripped out about the extra inch and a half I’d knitted and started to reknit… only to do the same bloody thing again! Speaking of reknitting, I seamed up Bliss finally, last night, only to discover that I had overcompensated on the neck band. It is far too loose and floppy. My only solution is to rip it out again and reknit it. SIGH!

My mum, upon seeing my Clapotis, has decided she wants a browny-beigey one to go with her coat for Christmas. I think, partly because it’s my mum’s Christmas present and partly because I love working with it, I will go with more Lion & Lamb. It sure beats designing a cardigan for her, which was my only other alternative.

Green pomatomus socks and my Alien Heads are progressing nicely but they still look the same. I may just refrain from posting pictures until they look a bit different :} (I’m too lazy to get my camera out :D)

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September 24, 2006

The news at minoon

Filed under:News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 12:10

I’m afraid my posts haven’t been keeping up with the sheer volume of knitting going on… I struggled through the week. At the time I always call it an attack of the crazies, but in hindsight it was more of the horrible come down and bummed-outedness that comes after an exam. I have a bad habit of thinking about everything all at once and then getting overwhelmed. But hey! that’s what knitting is there for. So here’s what I’ve been at whilst trying to stave off the urge to blow up something!

Hot off the needles is my Clapotis. I got thoroughly over-excited and knitted it so fast that I didn’t have time to join in the knitalong over at This is Knit. I am delighted to have finished it because it is still too warm and humid to wear a jacket, but chilly enough to need a little something extra.


cry me a clapotis…

I made a Clapotis when the pattern first came out in 2004, in an aran-weight yarn and 6.5mm needles. I also made it to the recommended width. All told, the thing is a monstrosity and more of a wrap than a scarf. I don’t really wear wraps. This time around, I used two skeins of the Lion & Lamb (as much as an indulgence this was, I just couldn’t justify a third skein), and only did four repeats of increases instead of the recommended six. The width is just perfect, I was able to make it just as long as the original and even have enough L&L left over to do some matching brooches or something.

Of course, because I’d finished something I was allowed cast on for something else :P Here’s the humble beginnings of ole Gatsby Girl, from this winter’s issue of Interweave Knits.

This is going to take a while. To get gauge I had to drop down to 3mm needles. Thankfully, the wool (pure laine, from Phildar) isn’t making too dense a fabric. Even so, this is going to be a very warm top.

I made good progress on the last repeat of alien heads at the Knitting group yesterday afternoon. It was lots of fun and a great break from things. I’m looking forward to the next one already! I’m sad to be finished knitting my alien heads – it’s st st from here until the finish. But hopefully it will fly along a bit quicker than the lace pattern.

The knitting group was good fun. I got to meet Isobel again, Cheryl, Holly and Ger and Martha and two other girls whose names I can’t remember :} sorry! There was coffee and knitting and ‘some’ ball winding. Joy!

I’ve even been doing some dreaded sewing up. I finally found it in me to rip out the garter stitch border on Bliss and re-knit it. It was just far too pulled and tight. This time, I picked up my stitches using a crochet hook and it worked out much better. Now I just have to sew the side seams and set the sleeves. I don’t mind it, but it’s just tedious and I keep putting it off.

Lol can you see the difference in colour between the body and the neck band?! The extra wool I ordered from Phildar were not only a different dye lot, but a completely different colour. The sleeves are much lighter than the body too. You know what? I don’t care!

My Granny Smith has finally been unpinned and is also waiting to be sewn up. Bah! I need elves to do it for me in my sleep so that when I wake up tomorrow morning, I’ll have a fully sewn up cardigan waiting for me :D

In other news, I found a great quick-knit shrug in an old magazine a few days ago… and! I highly recommend you buy Woman’s Way this week because not only is there a not-disgusting knitting pattern for a bolero-type-top, but there is a fantastic recipe for blueberry muffins and other yummy desserts. Go! Buy! It’s only e1.30!

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