July 21, 2007

FO – Monkey Socks

Filed under:Finished Objects,News!,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 13:14

Behold! They are finished!

Monkey Socks Finished

Pattern: Monkey from Knitty.

Yarn: Crystal Palace Panda Cotton, a bamboo, cotton and nylon sock yarn. Super soft.

I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out, but I think I have finally lost my cuff-down mojo….

Toe Up Sock

Toe-ups? Moi? Incredible though it may seem, here before you lies a short-row garter stitch toe and a partial foot. I quite like the toe. It is taken from Lucy Neatby’s Cool Socks Warm Feet and starts with a provisional cast on (always a good sign). You make short-rows all the way around the toes and then join up in the round and continue for the foot. I’m already looking forward to the heel. What can I say? It must be the weather.

I have also been plugging away (and really, there is no other way to describe it) at my Icarus shawl.

Icarus Shawl

It gets wider and wider and each row gets longer and longer. Now, it’s all fun and games on the right side rows but it’s the purling back that’s killing me. I’ve heard of stamina knits but this is ridiculous. I’m not even past the first chart yet! There are three more to go…

I have been swotting up on some finishing technique too. Remember the Lucky lace wrap? I tried four times to sew the neckband on and I just couldn’t get it to work. Even my mum tried. It’s been good wrap weather lately so I dug it out and decided to give it one last go.


You can see more detailed shots here and here.

The fuzzy blue top-down V-neck is motoring along but I didn’t take a photo of it because it looks exactly the same as before, only five inches longer. I tried it on and it fits perfectly. Twice in a row? Seems too good to be true but it’s just a happy symptom of top-down knitting. Speaking of which, I have completely changed my mind about the Cashsilk top. If you are prone to emotional reaction to knitting being ripped out, look away now. Ever since I cast on, it hasn’t felt right and I kept stalling on it. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I had so many issues with the design: the hip darts, the bust darts, the armholes, the V-neck, the shoulder shaping. Now I realise that I would have had none of these issues had I started it from the top down. It makes so much sense! Onward valiant knitting!


July 17, 2007

Pimp My Shawl

Filed under:News!,Summer Sweater Sprint,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 15:02

I have acquired a set of the new Addi Lace needles.

Icarus Shawl
Can knitting get any more bling?

I have been hankering after a nice summer shawl for a long time and finally decided to take the plunge. The yarn? Paton’s Fairytale 2-ply which mysteriously only comes in white. The pattern? Icarus from Interweave Knits Summer 2006. When I was looking for a suitable pattern, I discovered that IK has provided a really good selection over the last 18 months. I really like the idea of a shawl: a snuggly wrap for the summer and a useful scarf that will go with every winter coat.

Progress has been swift on the V-neck raglan. The joy of 6.5mm needles! … and I am past the tedium that is back-and-forth knitting for the V-neck bit.

V-neck raglan

This is a really straight-forward pattern and I look forward to having this useful, cozy jumper in my wardrobe.

In other news, I went to see The Order of the Phoenix today. Listen: even if you detest Harry Potter, I urge you to overcome your feelings and go for the knitting. Every one of the Harry Potter films yields fantastic knitwear which, in turn, yields a strange cross-breed of fan – the Harry Potter fans that knit. Have a look at here and here for an idea of what I’m on about. This latest film has really outdone itself in terms of knitwear. All of Hermione’s sweaters are fantastic – there’s a white ski sweater with lovely cuff and hem detail, a grey sweater with coloured stripes, and the greatest ribbed Gryffindor sweater with tiny little cable details throughout the ribs. Fantastic. She also sports a plain oatmeal coloured stockinette scarf and beanie during the winter term, and a zip-up cardigan with busy colourwork and stripes along the cuffs and hem. Fred and George have matching grey raglan sweaters with orange and brown zig-zags and a zip on one raglan seam. The necks are ribbed but have a rolled brim.

Neville has a great zip-up cardigan in blue, navy and dark green. The criss-cross colourwork detail is all over, but the raglan seams are done in just green, making the seams a prominent detail and alleviating the colourwork at the same time. Umbridge wore, to my amusement, a cropped pink version of the Grannie Smith cardigan. Ginny unfortunately didn’t feature much in this movie; her costumes are always much more bohemian than Hermione’s. She did however appear in a really cool top – cotton or linen, with crocheted granny squares along the neckline. Very effective! The last knit I can remember is a very fine herringbone-stitch cloak that McGonagle wore when Trelawney was being sacked. It really brought home to me how effective this stitch can be when finely knit and reminded me of a sweater I’d seen before. This also got me to thinking of how I keep seeing houndstooth print in unexpected places (womens’ handbags on the street, neck scarves and a woman’s coat last week… unexpected because I always associate houndstooth with winter), and that it would make a great pattern for a small handbag. The dense colourwork would make it very durable, especially if lined.

Anyway. The rest of the film was pretty good!

PS: Check out here for a free Bellatrix Lestrange sock pattern! (opens pdf) The first of three they say!


July 16, 2007

Summer Sweater Sprint #2 – FO Lace Leaf T-shirt

Filed under:Finished Objects,News!,Summer Sweater Sprint — Aileen @ 12:49

I finished this last Thursday!

Finished Object Lace Leaf Tee

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cathay in Petrol Blue.

Needles: 4.5mm Denise.

Modifications: This was intended to be an off-the-shoulder t-shirt so I drastically reduced the number of stitches to cast on for the neckline – I think I had about a hundred. If anyone really wants to know, I have it written down somewhere. I didn’t leave the edges raw, as in the original design. The neckline was very floppy so I put a row of double crochet around it – it worked very well. I did the same on the sleeves. I also put in ‘phoney seams’ at either side of the body. I did this by slipping the seam stitch every second round. I didn’t expect it to have any difference on the structure of the garment but it really does have a stabilising effect, and I think I will use this technique from now on.

A better look at the crocheted neckline and sleeves

I don’t like the garter stitch at the bottom. I have only worn it twice and it has already stretched out a lot. When I finish writing this, I’m going to rip it out and put in a rolled bottom. I nipped out to This is Knit for a quick visit yesterday and to my amusement, Lisa was wearing her’s! She finished her’s off with a purl row and then a few rows of stockinette for a rolled bottom. I much prefer it and it hasn’t stretched anything like mine.

The recent lack of blogging was due to the fact that I do work for a living from time to time! I had a concert in Kilkenny. Today I’m turning around and getting stuck into a concerto I’m playing in Sligo next month. Thankfully, the knit goes on (and on) and I have lots of in-progress things to show in the next post. See you soon!


July 9, 2007

Anti-Wrinkle Knitting

Filed under:News!,Summer Sweater Sprint,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 17:15

They say too much sun gives you wrinkles. I, however, am increasingly of the opinion that too much rain can also give you wrinkles. Impossible! I hear you cry, unthinkable! Well, let me ask you this: is it possible to walk out in the rain without scrunching up your face to the point where you look like you’ve been pickling away nicely in a jar somewhere for the last decade? It can’t be done. Look for yourself the next time. Given this eternal summer rain monsoon of misery, you’d think anti-aging rain creams would be filling shelves all over the world! Just think of the marketing opportunites in the west of Ireland alone!

There’s not much one can do whilst waiting for such a necessary product to be created – or for the sun creams to be relabelled – except nurse one’s Rain Wrinkles… or knit something that will, if not cover them up, at least flatter them.

Lace Leaf T-shirt
Lace distracts from Rain Wrinkles

(I think if I’m enduring rain to get these wrinkles, I may as well give them capital letters). Don’t the sleeves make much more sense when you see them like that? I really like the lace detail down the raglan seam.

Raglan Lace Leaf T-shirt

Upon the advice of Lisa, I decided to put in a phoney seam on either side of the body, underneath the arms, for stability. I say phoney seam because I am working in the round. To the best of my knowledge, there are two ways to do this. You can knit the body, then drop the stitch you want as the seam edge all the way to the bottom (if you’ve been working bottom-up) or to the armhole (for top-down). Then you take a crochet hook and pick up every second or third stitch. If that sounds too messy to you (it does to me), you can just slip the seam stitch every second round when you’re working in the round. It has pretty much the same effect.

Seam Lace Leaf T-shirt

I wouldn’t have thought it necessary, but Lisa knitted her’s before mine, also out of Debbie Bliss Cathay. She said that because of the glossy nature of the yarn, it tended to twist around a bit when it was being worn. I would find that really irritating, so I figured I should err on the side of caution (always good to err isn’t it? Except when it leads to error…Have you erred today? I hear it’s good for Rain Wrinkles).


July 8, 2007

T-shirts and socks

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

Am I being too hopeful or is the weather starting to pick up? Just a little bit? I have continued with my optomistic knitting of the Lace Leaf T-shirt just to spite the rain.

Leaf Lace T-shirt
Hope springs eternal

It’s turning out quite nicely isn’t it? For those of you who are unfortunate enough to be uninitiated in the ways of top-down knitting, the head goes through the hole in the middle and the bits either side are actually the sleeves. Clever, non? I tried it on last night and to my joy, the neckline is not only exactly how I want but I only have two more increases to go before I divide the sleeves off and go hell-for-lace for the hemline.

Monkeys are monkeying along too. I jumped on the bus up to Sligo yesterday and on the way, picked up stitches for the gusset and went on my merry way decreasing the gusset stitches away for the foot. Glorious though it may sound, the sock still mostly looks the same!

Monkey Sock Knitty