Sunday, January 28, 2007

5 things (2 FOs, 2 WIPs, one other)

I've been tagged by Louise. It's the meme where you publish five things you've never mentioned on your blog before. Trying to keep with the knitting, this'll include two "FOs", two "WIPs" and only one piece of extra-knitular information.

1) I finished some "red herring legwarmers". It's just Cookie's pattern for herringbone socks, but worked over an extra 12 sts and minus the foot. I used knitpicks essential, from my now not-so-secret pal (roughly a ball of each).

red herring legwarmers

2) I caved and decided to knit some Anemoi Mittens. I fell in love with the pattern as soon as she put it up. I thought about dark brown and bright pink yarn I have in my stash, but wasn't sure the design would work so well with strong colours. But I've since spotted a few others using the same combination, so cast on last week.

mittens wip

3) I finished some chunky legwarmers. I used some black chunky merino I bought at the same time as the green stuff I used on my recycled jumper. Four balls, plus about two thirds of a ball of gold fingering weight I picked up a few months back when I was feeling festive.

black and gold legwarmers

4) My current bus-knit are a load of bits of scarves for these lovely ladies. Due to a major admin mess-up, my grant's over a month late and there is no way I have money to buy yarn with. Finding this project was a great blessing - I can just use up a few half balls in my stash. You don't get a picture because at least one of the stitch patterns might get re-done into a proper design sometime.

5) My eyes are two different colours. Or rather, one of them changes colour independently from the other. Sometimes they are both a sort of green-ish brown, sometimes I look all lopsided because one of them has gone all blue.

Monday, January 22, 2007

a tale of two sweaters

shoulder2 shoulder

Let me take you back to Christmas Sales 2005. Cue weird time-travel music (I'm thinking radiophonic workshop).

My flatmate and I got up very early, managing to be some of the first into the John Lewis* wool department. We'd never done sales properly before and hadn't anything particular in mind. We keenly bagged some very cheap Debbie Bliss merino chunky. It promised a super-warm, super-quick knit and I picked out a jumper's-worth in an icy greeny-blue.

Kirsty had been itching to make a fairly-easy fair isle cardigan. It turned out so well, I thought I'd copy-cat, stealing her leftovers for the colourwork. The result.

But the shape never worked, no matter how I blocked and re-blocked (and re-blocked). It hung oddly. It looked bad. Worse, it never felt comfortable. Loathe to waste the yarn, I resolved to re-knit. I decided on a top-down raglan, and looked for a few balls of a less scratchy yarn for the yoke area where my skin is most sensitive to wool.

So, Christmas 2006 and the sales come round again. Again, I'm one of the first through the door of John Lewis. But this time I come armed with a bit more common sense (and a piece of the green merino, to colour-match). A load of extra fine merino chunky was on sale. For some reason my skin doesn't mind this yarn. They even had a gorgeous dark green.

And so my chunky jumper is re-born.

green jumper

I used the same design I used for the hot-water-bottle cover. It would have been a lot neater if I'd charted the colourwork increases properly, but I was expecting to just wear it around the house - I didn't know it'd would come out so well. It's not super-glamorous, but it's a perfectly respectable garment. Best of all, it feels nice to wear. It just hangs right, which that cardigan never did.

* Literary side-point. This particular John Lewis is built on the birthplace of Lord Byron.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Knit a scarf for London Lions

In recent years the rather "military" tone of London's Trafalgar Square has been disrupted. Pieces of art now occupy a corner that, so far, isn't filled with a statue of some colonialist old gent (or lady, there's rumour they are saving it for Thatcher...).

With the new Mayor of London, we've also re-claimed the square as the heart of London, a public space for reflection and celebration, rather than simply making money from tourists.

But the knitting? Well, to add to this more homely approach to the square, some lovely ladies have had the idea of knitting giant scarves for the lions. They want sections (10 inches wide, whatever length) to stitch together to make the giant thing. They won't present the scarf to the lion until the end of February, so you have plenty of time.

It's all in aid of Cancer Research. More information here. Apparently they've been working on it since October - can't believe I've only just heard about it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I finished a jumper at the weekend. So far, this is the best photo of me wearing it.

green jumper, worm

I'm going to try to enroll the boyfriend into taking a proper shot of me wearing it next week, but it's hard to find a time when me, someone I trust the other side of a camera and the sunlight can all be scheduled together.

I like this photo though. Completely by accident, I realised the background (a section of my bedroom wall) says a lot about me.

The map in the bottom right hand corner is of London, the snippet you can see is roughly where I grew up. Next to this is Barbie. Note, this is Astro-Barbie, standing on the moon. Back when I was an undergrad I had to write an essay with a title something along the lines of "When Barbie's first words are 'Math is Hard', is there any hope for women in science?" I can't remember what my answer was, but I put this pic of Astro-Barbie on the cover.

To the left of Barbie is a postcard of a painting of my primary school. The large poster my hand is actually resting on is a diagrammatic history of the London Underground. I currently live roughly where my wrist is. This is the geekiest poster I own and I love it. Uslan, he of exchequered fame, gave it to me as a birthday present years ago and it always has pride of place in my flat.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

yarn dominance

The first of the legwarmers I'm making based on Cookie's Red Herring pattern. Who can spot the point where I read Veronique's post on yarn dominance?

red herring

It's only one cm at the start, you can't see it unless the light is very good. And I now know, so won't do it for the second one. Do you think it'll even out more in blocking?

For info, they look and feel great worn, but I'm waiting till I've done both before I do the happy FO dance of joy and share it with you all.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

xmas FOs (forecast, legwarmers, armwarmers)

I finished three things over Christmas. Count 'em. They were all done and dusted for the start of 2007, but it took me a while to sort photos.

forecast side and back

First up, Forecast, which I started during the october knitflicks. I used barginous Rowanspun Aran. Like most tweeds, it magically softened up after washing. The colour looks nicest in sunlight, and nothing like the "caviar" the yarn's named after. But I like it, it reminds me of a nice warming wholemeal bread. It's a bit baggy under the arms, but not terribly so - I could probably have made the size down, but it looks ok and is comfortable. I did the same mods as Guavaseeds, except I kept the 5st bobbles and decreased a few extra sts at the start of the arms. I only used 6 buttons, but they are HUGE ones, which I like the look and feel of.

forecast front

Illusion legwarmers. Essentially the lovemeknot socks, sans feet. In brown wool leftover from the hotwater-bottle cover striped with cashsoft 4ply to save my feet from itches. Check out the hidden purple hearts! I need more legwarmers, expect at least two more pairs before the cold season is out.

illusion legwarmers (illusion hidden) illusion legwarmer

Lastly, some armwarmers. A sort of upside down version of the lace up gloves in Alterknits, similar to Ysolda's laceup opera gloves, but in the round from the cuff down. Two balls dk cashmerino to match my shedir. The best thing about them is that you can stick your thumb in any of the spaces between the ribbon lace-up, they can be armwarmers stuck under the wrist, or super-warm top-less mittens worn high up the hand. I need that flexibility in glove-type things. I may make more.

lace up gloves 3