Monday, 22 December 2008

Merry Christmas

I'm going off-line from now until some time after Christmas, so I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

I hope that you've all got your Christmas knitting finished and can relax and enjoy the holiday.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Winter Warmer

I love cuddling up with a hot-water bottle and over the last year, hot water bottles have become a permenant fixture for me in the colder months. Last November, the Resident Radiologist and I moved into an oldish house which had been sitting empty for the best part of a year. There was no residual warmth in the place from the comings and goings of previous owners, the boiler was inefficient and expensive to run, and to top it all we had to get woodworm and damp-rot treated in the attic which necessitated the removal of all the loft insulation (not that there was much) in early January and we didn't manage to install more until the spring.

There were quite a few evenings in the first year when I would be sitting with my feet on a hot-water bottle, hugging another go try to get a bit warmer. While we have made several improvements for this winter, including more insulation and a super-efficient boiler, the house is always going to be on the cool side and I still love my hot water bottle.

My favorite hot water bottle only had a temporary cover which I'd made from a bit of polar fleece about five years ago, and which was very effective but was getting a bit tatty. Finally I've got round to making it a new jumper:

The pattern, as I mentioned in my last post, is based on Jessie by Kim Hargreaves for Rowan. I've looked for a link to this pattern on the Rowan website but can't find it any more but here's a Ravelry link. I've used some left-over Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (not quite two balls) in a grass green with pale yellow for contrast.

The cashmerino aran comes up perfectly to gauge but I know from a cover I knitted for my sister that it was a tendency to grow, so I took a couple of stitches off the totals for the front and back.

I also fancied a cabled cover so I ditched the intarsia heart motif and added four chunky cables down the front. These should also pull in a bit and help the cover stay snug.

I've yet to get round to finding the right buttons, but the cover has already been pressed into service.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


Apologies for the break in service - I've spent the last week trying to get my head around Proteomics Bioinformatics on one of the Wellcome Trust's Advanced Courses at Hinxton Hall in Cambridgeshire. Needless to say my head now hurts but I think I've learned some useful stuff.

Before I left, I suffered from a spate of Startitis, something I don't usually succumb to but which I have a bad case of at the moment.

First I cast on with the Fyberspates Aran for a February Lady Sweater...

This is a great pattern and I think that I will adapt the top-down raglan for my own patterns in the future as it ensures a great fit with little guess work.

I also cast on for a hot water bottle cover with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran...

The pattern is loosely based on Jessie by Rowan (which I've used before as written) but I've ditched the intarsia heart this time and added some cables. I'm also using a contrasting colour for the edges.

Finally I cast on for some baby socks for a friend...

The yarn is some left-over Regia Bamboo Colour sock yarn.

Not content with this plethora of projects, I took some yarn and needles with me on the course and started (and finished) a forth project - but more on that another time.

A little after-thought... an incident from the course I went on just goes to show how universal patterns have become due to the internet. I was walking from the dining room to the teaching room one morning thinking that the sweater being worn by the girl in front of me (a scientist from New Zealand) looked very like a Central Park Hoodie and that her hat looked pretty like Odessa. The more I looked, the more I was sure, but was unwilling to ask as non-knitters can take it pretty badly if you ask if their jumper is hand-knitted. The next lunchtime, I had just resolved to ask her when she came up to me to ask if the scarf I was wearing two days earlier was Clapotis! Apparently I'm not the only knitter to go round pattern spotting!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Brown Paper packages...

... not quite tied up with string in this case. Brown paper nevertheless.

I was very excited collecting this from the post office a few Saturdays back - I wasn't expecting it to be quite so big. I had taken advantage of the Fyberspates sale (Jen was clearing out old stock before her house move) enjoyed the following beautiful sight when I opened the packaging...

Ooooh yummy!

There was some aran weight Blue Faced Leicester in the Spring Greens colourway,

Some Blue Faced Leicester sock yarn in the Lagoon colourway for the resident radiologist,

And some Blue Faced Leicester sock yarn in the Fiesta colourway (fabulous name - really captures the look of the yarn perfectly) for me.

I've been pretty good with knitting from stashed yarn lately so I didn't feel too guilty about this little haul. Also, the aran weight was bought with a particular project in mind and is on the needles already so it's not even going to make it upstairs to the stash storage drawers!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

His and Hers...

... new socks for winter. (And most definitely not matching! The Resident Radiologist and I are not really matching sorts of people.)

In this case, the only real overlap (besides both items being hand-knitted socks) is the pattern, my standard fall-back, top-down, heel-flap sock pattern.

Hers: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in 'Girly Stripe'. 68 stitches around on 2.25mm needles to fit a UK6.5 foot. A fantastic injection of colour to combat a very dark Glasgow November.

His: Schoeller + Stahl Fortissima Colori Socka Color. 68 stitches around on 2.25mm needles to fit a UK11 foot. A lovely soft heathered colourway chosen by the resident radiologist himself.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Knitted Bangle

Sadly, I can't remember where I first came across this idea so I can't give proper credit, but needless to say that the original idea was not mine.

What I do remember, though, was seeing a photo in an up-market magazine (possibly Scottish Field) and thinking '£70 for a cashmere-covered bangle - what a rip-off'. So I, in turn, ripped off the idea and made this alpaca-covered bangle for about £3.50.

The core bangle is a cheap plastic one from Claire's Accessories. I then cast on 64 stitches with Artesano Alpaca Inca Cloud yarn on 2.25mm DPNs and away I went. I had thought about grafting the end to the beginning, but to get enough tension to keep the cover taught, I ended up casting off all the stitches, then using a varient on mattress stitch to bring the ends together.

I really like this (and it keeps my wrist lovely and warm) and am now on the look-out for other old bangles of various width to cover.

Monday, 10 November 2008

French Market Bag Redux

This is a bag I've been hankering after for a while now - a big, squashy, bright version of the dinky one I made about a year ago.

The pattern is French Market Bag and this time I knitted it in Debbie Bliss Soho. I used almost nine balls of yarn and the pre-felted bag occupied the whole width of my dining room table.

I knitted it on 5.5mm needles ( and would have prefered 6.5mm if I'd had them as circs), and felted in a standard cycle at 40C.

The handles are long enough to go comfortably over my shoulder (diagonally if needs be) so I can distribute the weight of my shopping.

The colour is a real pick-me-up in a fairly dreary Glasgow November and will be invaluable at the Farmer's Market.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Irish Jig

This is mainly a visual post. The yarn is the latest installment of the the Lorna's Laces Sock Club from Get Knitted 'Irish Jig'.

It's probably not going to be my favorite LL colourway as the yellow is a bit muddy, but it's nice and spring-like so makes a good stash addition. I suspect that once it matures in the stash for a while, the perfect pattern will make itself known and it will all work out well.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Woo Hoo

I don't think that I've been so happy to finish a project in a long time. But then again, this is probably the biggest project I've ever knitted. And I wasn't too keen on the colours ( my sister's choice). Having said all that, I'm delighted with the way this mitred square blanket turned out.

I pretty much designed it myself after seeing a photo of a similar blanket on Ravelry. The yarn is Jaeger Extra Fine Merino DK in colours Rose petal (982), Cream (931), Natural (937) and Ocean (940). I was one ball of Rose Petal short so I substituted a ball of Rowan Extra Fine Merino DK in pale pink which was a pretty good match (the square knitted with it doesn't really jump out and sock you between the eyes - second from left, bottom row, below). I used a 4.5mm needle throughout.

Here are the techi bits - I cast on 55 stitches per side, per square and decreased two stitches in the middle every second row. I picked up stitches for subsequent squares whenever possible to minimise seaming. I seamed when necessary using double crochet stitch. The blanket is just over 6 feet square.

I picked up the stitches for the border on 4 circular needles. There are 1320 stitches in the border! This meant over an hour per round!
It's off to it's new home with my sister on Sunday... and I can cast on for something new...

Thursday, 9 October 2008


This was a very quick little project to occupy some time while I was waiting for yarn to arrive.

It's an dodecahedral star, knitted modularly and stuffed with toy stuffing before finishing the last point. The pattern is Celestine Sox. I used Regia Bamboo Colour sock yarn and 2.25mm needles.

I modified the pattern slightly (as ever) in that I used a provisional cast-on and then just released stitches from the life-line as I knitted the subsequent pentagons, instead of picking up stitches.

It was a really quick knit - about four evenings total and will make a great baby gift which should have a much longer useful life than a jacket or jumper because as the baby grows and becomes mobile, the star can be kicked about and chased. Each point is just about the right size for a small hand to grasp.

I have several friends having babies over the coming months, so I can see quite a few of these in my immediate future.

In my life outside of all things yarney, the Resident Radiologist and I have been making the most of the few dry, sunny, weekend, autumn days that have come our way in recent weeks by getting out onto the hills around Glasgow. A couple of weekends ago we did the Queen's View walk to the Whangie and back over the hill.

(That's Loch Lomond in the distance).

We'd been this way before but not managed to find the Whangie, which you would think was pretty strange, as a 50 foot high rock formation isn't the easiest thing to miss.

This time we realised why. I was actually standing on top of Auchineden, about 8 feet away from the top of this craggy drop before I could actually see it.

The formation is pretty amazing and is supposed to give some weird echoes if you get the spot just right.

Monday, 6 October 2008


... this post contains a real live (knitted) FO!

My knitting has actually taken off a bit lately with progress being made on several fronts. Funnily enough, this was precipitated by running out of yarn on the major WIP I was working on, and being forced to diversify a bit.

Here is my (finally) finished Gathered Pullover by Hana Jason in Interweave Knits Winter 2007.

This was started in Feb '08 (I think) but languished without arms in my WIP box all summer. I just couldn't work out what I wanted to do with them - long, cropped, cuff-up or top down.

Eventually I picked up stitches all round the armhole and worked a short-row cap sleeve (slightly puffed - unintentional but I like the outcome). I then put an EZ applied I-cord round the edge of the sleeve and armhole to prevent rolling.

I'm delighted with the result and have worn this several times already (despite it still having an un-woven in end in one of the sleeves)!

The yarn is 100% merino 4ply from a mystery cone I bought on Ebay. The body was worked in one piece in the round to the armholes, then flat to the tops of the shoulders and grafted together. The hem is a turned hem as rolled hems round my middle just seem to keep on rolling until they sit somewhere round my rib-cage! I went down a couple of needle sizes to introduce some waist shaping, then went back up one to work the upper torso.

If I was knitting this again (which is a definite possibility) I wouldn't bother with the gather either side of the cable panel. I don't think it adds anything and just looks a bit weird.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008


I couple of posts ago, I showed a photo of a back-to-school necklace and shawl pin set I made for my sister. The pin I was very pleased with - that's what I worked on first and the idea had been fermenting in my head for a while. The necklace was an afterthought really - I was enjoying myself too much to stop and it just happened. The thing was, I was never quite sure about it so I sent it to my sister with a note saying that if it didn't work for her - wrong length / wrong style etc just to send it back and I'd rework it... And this is just what has happened... And I'm so pleased that she sent it back because I'd been thinking about it a bit anyway, and I'm much happier with its second incarnation.

Apologies for the photograph - it was (gasp) too sunny in Glasgow to get a good photo showing the colours and the shapes.

This is the product of a couple of hours beading and crimping on Sunday morning while the Resident Radiologist was watching a DVD and playing on his new Wii...

I took out all the small seed beads and bugles and drastically reduced the number of larger seed beads. I also added in some lavender-dyed freshwater pearls I found in a local bead store and some fluorite rectangular tubes from the Scottish Bead Fair. The final arrangement has freshwater pearls (tiny white and larger lavender) on the shortest wire, fluorite tubes on the middle wire and a mixture of freshwater pearls (tiny white), fluorite beads and amethyst chips on the longest wire with a few glass seed beads covering the ends. All the findings are sterling silver and the wire is aculon.

I was enjoying myself so much a pair of earrings 'happened' before I knew what was going on!

I'm delighted with the new finished product and hope my sister will be too.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

I Aten't Dead

... in the immortal words of Granny Weatherwax.

I am, however, waging war on a large and slow-moving WIP which hasn't provided much interesting material for blogging. I will be back soon.... with photos!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Stringing some ideas together...

... I've not really been knitting much lately, though I have finished a long-standing WIP which I'll blog about once I've taken some photos.

I have however been beading.

I've been feeling the urge to get the bead stash out for a while now and last weekend proved to be just the time.

It started with a shawl / cardigan pin I bought (in an unbent form) at Woolfest, which I shaped up with a spring bend (wound one and a half times round a pen) and embellished with bits of amethyst, a few pearls and some other purple and white beads I had lying around. I enjoyed that so much I wasn't quite ready for it to be over, so I got out some monofilament and before I knew it, I had a matching necklace...

These are going to be a back-to-school gift for my sister who's a teacher.

It didn't stop there though - I ripped out a necklace I made a while ago and remade it with a stronger support wire so that it sits better, and the dangles for a pair of earrings to match (I don't have any ear-wires to mount them on at the moment though).

I also made a simple memory-wire necklace with mixed seed beads and horn heshi discs...

a beach-comber style knotted necklace with some embroidery cotton...

And a macrame beaded bracelet.

This is all a bit of a build up for this weekend really. The Scottish Bead Fair is on in Perth on Sunday and I'm going for a little look round (though I'm going to have to take it easy as I've just come down with shingles so am feeling a little under the weather). Mostly I'm going to be browsing for stash and ideas, but I also have a little list.....

Thursday, 21 August 2008


A month or so ago, I was browsing the Get Knitted site, like you do, when I noticed the link to their sock club. Now, I've been considering the idea of a sock club for some time, and when I realised that the Get Knitted one was using specially-dyed Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, I jumped on the band-wagon immediately.

Here's the first installment:

Colourway 'Fandango'.

I've no idea what pattern I'm going to knit yet, or when, but the yarn is sooooo pretty, I think I might just look at it for a bit!

Monday, 18 August 2008

The before and after shots...

Hanami is off the needles and in blocking. I am so pleased about this I can hardly say.

It's turned out really well and the size is good. Before blocking, it measured 18 inches wide by 52 inches long. I've blocked it to 15 inches wide and 72 inches long which seemed like a good size and proportion and it isn't too stretched so I think that it should keep these sizes and not bounce back in too much.

I used Fyberspates Scrumptious laceweight which is a merino / silk blend and size 3.25mm Addi Lace needles. The yarn was beautiful to work with and I've got enough left over to knit a small triangular shawl (something similar to Swallowtail) or a lace scarf. There was not a single knot in the entire skein!
I knitted an extra repeat of the basketweave chart and an extra repeat of the last cherry blossom chart.

The one thing I think I might change, were I to knit this again, is that I might introduce a little variation into the last chart. After the wonderful flurry of blossom in the second-last chart, the blossom in the last one just seems a little too regimented.

The blocking was a bit experimental - I've wanted to use blocking wires for ages as they strike me as being much simpler and more effective (for straight edges) than a squillion pins, but they're hard to find in the UK. Here I dug out a box of my grandmother's old knitting needles (she had about 20 pairs all 2.5mm or smaller) and used them. It worked like a dream and I'll definitely be doing this again!
You can just about see them in this close-up of the end...

All I need now is to find a gift box to fold it into and the Resident Radiologist can present it to his mother on Sunday...

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Another update

My needles are still clicking away on the Hanami stole for my MIL's birthday and I'm well on with the cherry blossom section.

The occasional drift of petals has started to become a flurry and I'm on the second-last chart.

I'm getting a bit impatient with this now for a couple of reasons; I want to get it blocked to put my mind at rest about the length, and there are so many other things I want to knit at the moment.
Just another week of knitting monogamy and I'll be free to knit whatever I want...

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Still knitting like a mad thing...

... but progress is definitely being made.

When I cast on for Hanami, I thought that I might be on a real hiding-to-nothing to get it finished in three weeks, since currently I'm out playing tennis or doing other things that interfere with knitting time at least three evenings a week. Added to this, the first repeat of the basket weave pattern made me want to cry, I had to tink back or pick up missed yarn-overs so many times.

However, a week later and the basket weave is all finished (8 repeats in total - I added one for extra length), I've completed the transition chart and I'm into chart A of the cherry blossom. I never did manage to memorise the basket weave pattern, it was just too long with too many changes of direction so I always had to have the chart on my lap, but I did get enough of a feel for it that I could tell when something wasn't right.

I'm hoping that the stole will block out quite a bit as currently in it's unblocked blob-like state, it's only about 30 inches long and I'm just over half-way. I generally think that stoles need to be at least 6 feet long to be useful.

I'm out tonight and thursday playing tennis and I don't think that Hanami will make for a good knit-night project as I would probably have to rip out all progress made afterwards to correct a gossip-induced mistake, so there might not be too much progress this week. On the other hand, I thought that about last week and it's amazing what a couple of rows here and there will do.

I need this off the needles by two weeks tomorrow so I can block it before the Resident Radiologist flies down to Cambridge the following weekend.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Blanket update.

Here's a quick update on the blanket I'm knitting for my sister. I've finished the knitting for the central section and woven all the ends in.

I'm currently resisting the urge to sew these four blocks together (they're just laid out carefully in the photo) as I should really finish the squares for the outer rim first.

This project is going on hold for a few weeks though, as I'm currently knitting to a deadline. I mentioned to the Resident Radiologist a while ago that I would knit the Hanami stole for his mother's birthday. Last week he told me that her birthday was at the start of August (I thought that it was September - d'oh). I've been given a slight reprieve as he's not going down to Cambridge to visit until the 24th August so I have until then. So far I've knitted just over one repeat of the first chart, but from now on, I pretty much need to manage a repeat per evening to make sure I'm safely finished in time. Eeek!