February 16, 2010

Ravelympics: Day 5

Filed under:Hats,Knitting Olympics,Spinning,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 10:21

…Or Knitting Olympics, or just plain knitting-while-you-watch-the-olympics… whatever you want to call it, I’m doing it! The whole idea is to set yourself a challenge and try to complete it within the olympic window (17 days). As I said before, I set myself the challenge to finish off my Minimalist Cardigan. Needless to say, I haven’t even touched and instead, have launched myself with full gusto into the Flying Camel spinning event.

Remember the red stuff I posted at the weekend? It’s all plied up now and drying on the line. It turned out lovely and I can’t wait to knit with it. Yesterday was a bit of a struggle for me because I wasn’t feeling very well. Luckily for me, I remembered that I had a mixed batt from Laura Hogan sitting in my stash. I promised myself that if I did all my work and got through my lesson in the evening, I could start spinning this up when I got home.

You can’t see it very well on the bobbin but it is a mixed batt of regular merino dyed green, white and bright pink with blue silk mixed through it and some creamy, fluffy, silky bits through… AND some blue sparkly bits too! The sparkly bits tend to show up out of the blue (I’m so funny!), which delights me no end. Of course, the whole point of the Knitting Olympics is to challenge yourself. I’m using this batt to teach myself some new things: I’m spinning ‘from the fold’, I’m using a long draw drafting technique and I’m planning on Navajo or chain plying the bobbin when I’m finished. If you’re not into spinning, all this means is that I’m hoping to end up with a fluffy, light yarn as opposed to a smooth, dense yarn (which was the way I spun the red stuff).

Of course, I couldn’t just procrastinate on the Minimalist on one front. I cast on for a balaclava on Saturday, too, for the Hat Halfpipe event.

It’s From Russia With Love. Doesn’t it look snug? I’m using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and so far, have already used nearly two balls for just the neck part. Just as well my head isn’t very big. I hope everyone elses’ projects for the Olympics are going smoothly!

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February 15, 2010

FO: Liesl

Filed under:Cardigans,Finished Objects,Sweaters — Aileen @ 08:00

This has been finished for ages and ages but I didn’t get around to taking photos until the weekend.

Pattern: Liesl by Ysolda Teague.

Yarn: Garn Studio Alaska – same as for Girl Friday! I think this only took about 5 or 6 balls.

Needles: 7mm.

Modifications: None but I did knit a much smaller size. I made the 34″ size because I didn’t want to button it at the front, I just wanted it to hang open at the sides. I had also read elsewhere that the feather-and-fan pattern really grows lengthwise when you block it, so I took that into consideration when I was knitting it. I knit the sleeves and body about an inch too short; they blocked out just the right length.

Again, this is just a wearable design that goes with pretty much everything. I think I’ll probably make a larger size in cotton for the summer to wear over tank tops.

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February 14, 2010

For the day that’s in it

Filed under:Spinning,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 15:37

I have been spinning some lovely Ashford Merino-Silk roving this weekend. This is completely down to a conversation I had with Eimear on Friday about how great spinning is. I came home from tea (tea-knitting: every other Friday in the Tea Garden on Ormond Quay from 6.30 until about 11) and just had to start spinning straight away!

Actually, this isn’t what I spun on Friday. I had some blue Merino-Silk left to spin so I finished that off and then plied the two bobbins together. When I did that, I realised that I had spun the second bobbin in the other direction so when I plied it, one half started unspinning itself while the other half got really tight. It is an … interesting… yarn. So, I started afresh with the red stuff. With the second bobbin, I tried out a new drafting technique which worked great. It’s a bit more inconsistent than the first bobbin because I wasn’t used to it but hopefully when I ply it up, it’ll balance out. I’m gunning for a sport-weight 2-ply to knit Quant… and of course, it qualifies for the ‘Flying Camel’ spinning event in the Ravelympics!

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February 13, 2010

FO: Girl Friday

Filed under:Cardigans,Finished Objects,Sweaters — Aileen @ 23:25

I finished this up a few days ago but it took a few more days for it to dry out from blocking.

Pattern: Girl Friday from Knitty. I made the 37″ size. Normally I would make the 35″ or 36″ size so I had my reservations about this size, but I like the amount of ease. It suits the style of the garment.

Yarn: Garn Studio Alaska from the Constant Knitter. I really like this yarn! I’d never knit with it before. It’s just a nice, good-quality, 100% wool that has good yardage for the price. It blocks out really well, as you’d expect from a pure wool yarn.

Needles: 5mm for the whole thing.

Modifications: Not a huge lot really, I accidentally made the sleeves nearly 20 inches long so they’re very snug! The first time I made this, I decided to take out a pile of stitches either side of the side seams to make it more close fitting. It was a complete disaster and I ended up having to reknit the body entirely. Thankfully, it’s a pretty quick knit so it didn’t take me that long to do again.

I blocked out the band and the collar pretty severely. The 1×1 rib pulled the front up a lot but the blocking did a good job.

My only reservation about the pattern is the kimono shaping for the shoulders. They suit the girl in the pattern but on me, I look a bit like a rugby player. I’m hoping it will sort of conform to my shape the more I wear it. Overall, though, it was a quick knit (especially if you don’t have to knit the body twice) and the pattern was clear and easy to follow. This is a definite keeper for my wardrobe! It’ll go with lots of different things (including pyjamas. Very important).

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February 11, 2010

FO: Alb’s Jumper

Filed under:Finished Objects,News!,Sweaters — Aileen @ 11:00

I started this last November and unfortunately (well, for him) it got left aside until we came back after Christmas.

Here’s the fine print!

Pattern: Top-down set in sleeve pattern from Barbara Walker with some modifications.

Mods: The most important modification I made was about an inch’s worth of short rows on the back, before the armholes, and an inch’s worth of short rows on the collar. I also obviously modified the pattern to include a placket for the zip and the ribbed collar.

Yarn: Karisma, a superwash 100% wool DK from Garn Studio, from The Constant Knitter. What can I say? I love this yarn. It’s definitely not the softest but it is perfect for mens’ knits. The yardage is great for the price. I got something like 15 balls. Of those, three were the contrasting colour but I ended up only using one. So I think that would put this sweater at the €35 mark!

Needles: 4mm all the way, even for the ribbing.

This was my first time putting a zip into knitting. The only reason I even contemplated it was because the original impetus behind this sweater was to make it look like another beloved, but very bedraggled, sweater with a zip-up collar. I was always put off by zips because I thought it would be fiddly and annoying. This one totally proved me wrong and I had it done in about half an hour. I tacked it in, set my sewing machine to the longest stitch it could do, and then adjusted the teeth under the needle for a thick fabric. I went slowly around and it worked out great. I hand-sewed the edges down on the inside so they wouldn’t be too rough against the skin. All the same, I think I will get some grosgrain and put some facing on it.

It fits really, really well. I put this down to his willingness to try it on whenever I requested. When it was first finished he thought there was too much room under the arms. Now that it’s been worn a bit, it has been declared “just right”.

A big bone of contention with Alb is sleeve length. He has short arms and usually the sleeves on his tops and sweaters are too long. These were carefully measured! Although my initial instinct would have been to knit the cuffs to the wrist, he actually prefers a cuff that comes down a little over his hands.

Knitting for men is a fine art. You can never tell what can throw off the balance. For example, there was initially some reserve for the lighter grey stripes in the ribbing. It might have been too fancy. But the stockinette was “nice and plain” (tell me about it). It is both long enough and short enough – and definitely warm enough. I think it is safe to deem this sweater a success!

PS The Knitting Olympics are starting soon! Check out the Yarn Harlot’s post about it – or if you’re on Ravelry, join in on one of the many teams (woo! go Team Ireland!) or just knit your heart out for any number of the events. I’m not sure how much time I’ll be able to devote to it but I think I should at least participate in the WIPs-Dancing event and finish off that Minimalist Cardigan.

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