Wednesday, May 31, 2006

the heart of it

I'm making Kiri (find the pattern at Polly's blog) out of Jaeger Java. 55% rayon, 25% acrylic and 20% silk. Sort of between dk and 4ply, 50g gives about 130 meters/ 140 yards.

It has a nice drape and fantastic stitch definition with a slight sparkle to the colour. A bit splitty, but reasonably nice to work with. It was inherited from my mother's stash and been sitting in mine for a while. I think its about 10 years old, but I'm not sure. But the really notible thing about it is the way its balled. With foam insides. Look.

I've never seen that inside yarn before. Weird. When I'm finished I feel these bits of foam should be put to some crafty use. Not sure what though - cushion stuffing?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

dna blanket FO

This blanket was my mother's idea. I'd named the Rosalind scarf after a cousin of mine. As Rosalind-the-person is about to have a baby, mum thought Rosalind-the-scarf should too, and suggested a baby blanket. The final piece should have the same name as the baby, but mum forgot to check the spelling, so its either called Claire, Clare, Clur or Clair (or another spelling I've not encountered - maybe if a Middler is reading they could tell us!).

Designwise, I used the chunky chart from the original scarf pattern, but for dk weight wool so it only measures a few cm's wide. Then I picked up from the side and worked the main part using a lacey crochet stitch which I'm saying I came up with myself.

Some might think this crochet stitch was formed by accidentally forgetting the difference between British and American crochet nomenclature and so mis-reading the Happy Hooker, but they'd just be cynical old poos. Ahem. Then I single crocheted round in the CC to bring it all together.

I think it worked well in the end, although all that white and yellow meant I kept getting cravings for a boiled egg.

Friday, May 26, 2006

in the bag

my backpack, its blue
I've been tagged by Marion my Estonian SP7. Apparently Estonian bloggers have been doing lots of shots of the insides of their bags. Luckily, not only did I have a camera in my bag but my latest FO - so this nose into my luggage can include some knitting content.

Above you can see the bag itself. All cower to its huge and stuffed-to-brim-ness. No laptop today, so its actually quite light for once. Plus I'm having an amazing two nights in a row of sleeping in my own bed, so no shots of dirty panties today, sorry.

handbag contentsContents of front pocket, the handbag-type bit. Pens - please note the getknitted biro and purple board-marker for teaching. Purse, lipbalms, ipod (yes, that is a non-knitted ipod case, it was a present and its too amazing to knit a replacement) Imperial College id card, keys phone and funky Guardian travelcard holder.

The first of the two large pockets contains gym-kit, which you don't really need to see. There are trousers, a small towel and a tshirt. I wasn't going to show you the sports bra anyway.

toiletriesHiding under the kit is a small internal pocket where I keep toiletries stuff like shampoo for after gym, cocoa butter etc.

This pocket seems to collect various forms of anti-cold and anti-lactose tablets too.

back pocketFinally, the back pocket spilling out onto the desk. A few books for research, a big package full of presents to be posted to a friend and my makeup case. The purple bag with a panda on it is my knitting bag - you can't see inside there because it's full of secret Bakerloo stuff. And the yellow and white thing in the front is the baby blanket I've just finished for my cousin, as her mum's passing through London today.

It's a shame the inside of my knitting bag is classified. I'm quite intrigued to know what other people have in theirs too. So I won't tag anyone's hand/day-bag but if anyone reading this wants to flash their knitting bag on their blog, consider themselves well and truely tagged.

Will do proper FO shots of the DNA blanket in a day or so.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

they're watching me

Swatch show, showing a sneak of Bakerloo. The camera's doing that weird thing with the red in the purple which distorts it a bit. Face to face this stuff reminds me of The Hulk. That or CND's old logo colours. Mad scientists either way.

The scarab's not especially meaningful - my brother's just been on holiday to Egypt.


For various personal reasons I've been taking the tube a lot recently and discovered that knitting on the Underground is different from the bus (I do most of my knitting on the top of big red double deckers).

You have less elbow space, the lighting's not so good and its so much more bumpy. But the main difference is how much more public it is.

Knitting on the bus, or even in a coffee shop, is in public, but people don't really look for very long. On the tube, people STARE. What's more, they talk about your knitting to each other like you can't hear. "Is that crochet?" (n.b. you apparently pronounce the "t" in crochet when on the district line).

I think it comes down to two things: (a) people sit facing each other on the tube, and (b) they don't really have much else to look at than each other (unless you count the Metro, which I don't). There is a great book based on how tube travelers stare and think about their fellow commuters. Set on a Bakerloo train in fact. 253, by Geoff Ryman. It was one of the first books to start online, you can see the site here.

Publicity aside, my favourite tube knitting moment happened on monday evening. I sat in the middle of two guys both untangling their MP3 player earphones while I was untangling yarn from my addi turbo cable. The three of us must have looked hilarious to all those people.

Those people starring. They stare I tell you, STARE.

Monday, May 22, 2006


I'm stuck with lots of slighly dull WIPs so here's a pre-blog vintage FO. It's "Knitney" (a knitted Britney Spears, for a friend with unhealthy obsession). She looks sad, doesn't she?

For months now I've been on a small projects kick. Clothing just hasn't been inspiring me, even in non-knitting life. I've not really cared much about the clothes I've been wearing recently. Obviously I check they are clean and I'm always fussy about colour combinations but I've not really enjoyed clothes, not wanted to buy new ones or felt especially excited by the idea of dressing up.

But this is starting to change. Not only am I itching to cast on a jumper (yes a whole jumper, maybe even three) I've actually been inspired to design a cardigan. A shaped and elegant piece, cotton (or cotton mix), 4ply, with delicate ribbing round the waist and some lace panels. It'll probably wait till the end of the summer. But it's an idea. And the feeling of inspiration is back.

Still, my priorities are finishing the Bakerloo project and doing a few presents due for July. Plus, my cousin Anne has challenged me to a London/ Yukon knitting swap. All very exciting. Watch this space.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

knitting for children

Various far flung cousins of mine seem to be big on the whole reproduction thing. Plus one of my best friends from university, Chris, is about to have his third. I'm working on a blanket for cousin Rosalind (her of the DNA scarf fame) and have just finished this set for Chris' brood.

They were great stash busting pieces. A small Haiku which I modified to a smaller size and to base it on st st. That's for the baby. Then for the two big sisters a Kate toy and a crochet scarf. I did the Kate in some bits of DK I had lying around, so its a bit smaller than the pattern. The red body is made from sock yarn, two strands held together. This gives a nice thick fabric which I think is important for toys - Susan at yarnbar has posted up some cool felted monsters recently, I think felting for toys is a great idea.

The other modification I made for Kate was to start with a figure 8 cast on, and on a similar topic I'd like to declare that the sewn cast off is wonderful. Why anyone uses anything else for toe up socks I don't know.

Friday, May 12, 2006

happy thoughts

My kitchen is covered in popcorn. The bath has confetti in it. Why? My flatmate is putting on a play. Go see if you are in London with nothing else to do this evening. She knits too! But not on stage. Yet.

Although, she is a bad knitter. She told me they only stretchy bind-off option was 1x1rib on huge needles. She lies. I plan to spend some time this afternoon learning some - it may help the secret Bakerloo Magknits project.

I had a very exciting package this week! From Veronique. Two skeins of wool, one a deep turquoise, the other a rich brown (pictured). She read in my blog that I was thinking of making myself an exchequered - she's right those colours are great together. I plan to cast on as soon as I've got the next bit of "promised knitting" over and done with (socks for birthdays, and my mum wants me to do a baby blanket for my cousin Rosalind). It was a lovely gift and cheered me up no end.

Oh and I caved. I ordered the Happy Hooker. Said flatmate and I both want to get better at crochet. I've been really inspired by some samples of crochet scarves Kerrie has been showing off - she says they'll be up on the hipknits site soon.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

project bakerloo

I'm knitting a secret. Codename: Bakerloo.

It should be coming to a Magknits near you soon, so no WIP pics here. I love the photo I've added instead though, there is something subversive about it. "Footwear" on "Pavement" - both on a wall. I took it in York back in March.

All I'm saying is that it's oddly constructed and I'm doing two versions - one fair isled in in Rowan cashsoft, the other st st in some pretty Fyberspates stuff. Cashsoft is amazing to work with.

Mmmm. Back to knitting I think.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Hedera's finished

pink hedera socks on flower fabric
Needles - I chose to challenge myself to a whole pair on dpns without breaking out the magic loop and I managed it. Its slower. My knitting fell off them in my bag. The switching needles thing is slightly annoying. Make that very annoying - who wants a fist-full of pointy sticks when sliding across the addi turbo cable is so smooth? There is one advantage - its easier to fix things mid-round. But that's about it. I think I'll stick to the magic loop.

hedera again, by windowHedera pattern - nice. Decent lace socks. Like Pomatomus, but simpler. It's hard to find something to rave about in them - they're just, well, nice. That said, it's not exactly a fair test to compare with Pom's, and the lace pattern does look great considering how easy it is. Personally, I think the small lace repeats would look better with a short row heel, but I know some people hate the short-rows.

Yarn - Jaeger Matchmaker. Not the most durable for socks, but soft and warm with pretty good definition. It was left over from another project, else I would have chosen a grey. There is something stoney about that pattern makes me think it should be grey. Don't know why - I find non-green Pomatomi a bit unsettling too.

hedera in a pile of brown scarvesNext projects? A kate for a friend's toddler, and getting through some of my sock yarn stash with a bit of mindless jaywalking. I have a more interesting sock plan coming up, but that'll have to wait till my non-knitting life is a bit easier. Plus its secret. Shhh.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

best email ev-er

I just got an email from a lovely knitter called Sarah saying a blind friend of her's wanted to knit Rosalind but couldn't because the instructions are charted.

I'm ashamed to say I hadn't thought of that being an issue, but Sarah has written it out to share. It's also in my sidebar next to the pattern.

Thank you Sarah!


My rice crispies are a-popping, the news is going on about the death of chemistry and elephants in London and I'm blogging at half seven in the morning. I probably should fill that cup with something with more caffeine in it than 4ply cotton.

I've not been knitting a huge amount the last few days. I have finished one Hedera and half way through the other, but a load of stitches fell off the needles in my bag (never have that problem with magic loop, grumble grumble dpns grumble grumble) so there is a bit of surgery required on it before I pick it up properly.

The real reason for lack of knitting has been crochet which I set myself as a bank holiday weekend project. I've never really tried crochet before. It was partly because I'd never seem many crochet designs I liked, but with all the happy hookering in the knit-blogosphere recently I've been inspired.

After several hours of just making a mess it started to make sense. I've managed a big cotton circle thin and small double treble (american=treble) scarf for a friend's daughter. The variegated yarn was fun with the big trebles, because of the way it twists together.

I still think I would rather be knitting, but this might change as I get better - there are aspects of crochet I like. When I studied art I was never so good at working flat, and there is something more 3D about crochet.

Right, I'm off to see if there is such a thing as an orange in the house. Oh and VOTE! knew there was something I had to do on the way to work today.

Monday, May 01, 2006

New Magknits, old friends

EDIT: please note, since the demise of Magknits, the pattern is now only available on ravelry (leave a message here with your email address if you're not on ravelry, and I'll see what I can do).

This scarf has a history that's not in the pattern notes I'd like to say a bit about.

I made it for Veronique, who I was Secret Pal for in SP7. I found an old post on her blog saying she'd done the DNA cable scarf as a thank for her supervisor when she finished her PhD and thought I should make this for her.

So, the pictures of the pattern layed out so you can see the helix were taken in London, mainly at a really funky old Science/ Anthropology museum* near where I live but the ones of Veronique are from the whole other side of the Ocean, taken in very New World science surroundings of the university she works in.

It's actually the second DNA illusion scarf I made. The first was a grey and blue one for my friend Gaetan. I did it about a year ago, when he left the Science Museum (where at the time I also worked, we'd started together in Oct 1999).

Geatan used to be a geneticist and was famous for his "fruity DNA" hands on activity, aside from that the museum holds THE Watson and Crick DNA model (actually they hold at least two, but that's another story) which Geatan and I had walked past everyday.

Soon, I'm going to start a sock version of the design, for another ex-Museum person. But that's a bday present, so (slightly) secret.

* the Horniman for anyone interested, don't worry its all politically correct 21st anthropology now.