Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I heard, back in Jauary, that there was such a thing as “finishitupitis”. It’s the opposite of “startitis”, something which I have contracted more than once. Normally this occurs just after I bought yarn, or when a new issue of knitty comes out. Sometimes the arrival of a magazine or even spotting something in a shop can trigger a case of startitis.

Well, it seems that I may have contracted finishitupitis this time. All I’ve been able to think about over the past week is how I want to finish the projects I’m currently working on.

I looked at, and even knit a little bit with the Fyberspates Scrumptious which is going to be Tirrold from the Scrumptious Collection. Then I put it back in it’s little ziplock bag and put it in my craft room.

I thought about how my recent handspun would make a nice scarflette or similar.

I thought about a secret idea that I’ve had for a Christmas gift (I know he doesn’t read the blog, but it’s always best to be safe).

I decided what pattern (monkey) I was going to knit with some of the yarn my parents brought me back from Nevada. (I can’t believe I didn’t blog about it, so here are two teaser pictures, the sock yarn is on the left)



And I made a mental note of it.
Then I picked up the baby cardigan I have been working on.
I knit on the remaining arm for a bit. Garter stitch in the round is not a lot of fun! Then I picked up and knit both button bands, sewed on the buttons and voilà:

Garter Yoke Baby Cardi 2

Pattern: Garter Yoke Baby Cardi by Jennifer Hoel
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Ecobaby Fairtrade, just more than 2 balls (3rd ball was just for the button bands) in the pale green colour
Needles: 3.5mm circular
Modifications: None really. I chose the garter stich button band option which I think looks lovely. I might consider working button bands as part of the fronts if I were to make it again.
Verdict: It’s a really cute baby cardigan, and simple to knit too. While this one lingered longer than it really aught, that was mostly because this was the second cardigan of this pattern that I have knit in succession. So, if you’re making 2 I’d recommend getting a really long circular and doing them two-at-a-time!

Garter Yoke Baby Cardi 2

Moving on, I picked up my “Fangirl Socks”, which were inspired by the Yarn Harlot as I briefly mentioned when I started them over a year ago! I’ve finally finished them.

Fangirl Starfish Socks

Pattern: Basic Vanilla sock recipe, plus simple rib sides and only short length
Yarn: Zwerger Garn Opal – Regenwald (Rainforest). Colour 2675 “Isabella die Meeresbiologin” (Isabella the Marine Biologist) – about half the skein
Needles: 2.25mm 80cm circular needles for two-at-a-time magic loop
Modifications: I used a standard heel flap rather than Yarn Harlot’s short row heel.
Verdict: They’re great! The Opal yarns are good value and pretty hard wearing (my other pairs made with Opal yarns have stood up, both in colour and texture, to numerous machine washes in my front loader (on a wool setting, of course!). The sock pattern is just a vanilla sock, but the ribs down the side make it interesting enough to not be boring.
They're only short, which is great for a summer sock. If we get any more summer this year I'll let you know how they go on. Failing that, they are still good socks!

Fangirl Starfish Socks

That just leaves my woven bag and my Après Surf Hoodie to be finished. While the bag is going to take the least time (it just needs sewing together, lining and a strap) the hoodie will be a challenge. I usually don’t like to have only one thing on the go at once, but perhaps this bout of finishitupitis will last long enough to get me at least on to the hood!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Continuous weave?

I read an article in Yarn Maker recently about something called Continuous Weave. This is a type of weaving where the warp and the weft are made from the same strand of yarn at the same time. There’s a pretty good website here about it. , as well as this one about making a tube with a circular (or square) bottom.

Well, I was inspired, and as it said that I could do this with any symmetrical shape I decided to give it a go with a rectangle. It seems, though, that by any they didn’t really mean any in the literal sense of the word – or perhaps it’s symmetrical I should be defining better here.

As far as I can tell, it can be done on: triangles, squares, circles, hexagons (with sides of equal length) should work too. Rectangles? Not so much. You see, I believe that you need the same number of warp “pegs” and weft “pegs” to make the weave work. On a rectangle this isn’t the case.

By the time I realised this, however, I already had a lovely rectangular frame (made by my husband) and as he put a lot of work into it, I decided to have a go at weaving in a slightly more conventional manner (well, sort of).

I “warped” the frame by wrapping the yarn on the diagonal across the whole frame, and then using the principle of weaving a “loop” of yarn that is used in continuous weave, I began weaving on the frame.

Weaving Experiment

What I ended up with is actually quite pretty, I think. This is noro sock yarn held double. It’s possible to “cast off” the edges to keep the fabric from unravelling once you’re finished too.
I’m pleased with the edges as shown in this pic, but I did a crochet chain along one edge which I’m less pleased with. I might have to pull that back and re-do it properly.

Weaving Experiment

Then all I need to do is fold it over and make it into a bag. When it was on the frame I thought I might need to line it, but it’s spring together quite nicely as a fabric now. I might still decide to line it though, I think it will feel more finished if I do.

Weaving Experiment

This was a practice run, and I’ve learnt a lot in doing it. I’m going to have a go at a square and do it properly. I think I’ll use some thick card to do that, save poor hubby’s woodworking skills for when I need them!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Make do.

Make do: to use what you have rather than buying new.

Hubby and I have been talking about our next holiday. We’d love to go away somewhere sunny in February. But, looking at the finances at the moment, I’m not sure we can afford to this year.

In an effort to save us some money, I’ve decided to make a commitment. Initially it was going to be yarn based, but I think I might have to extend it to include fibre.

I’m going to commit not to buy any new yarn or fibre for the next 6 months. I will work entirely from stash.

I think that should be quite straight forward, as I have 39 different lots of fibre (including over 2kg of alpaca) and 125 different yarns (over 200 balls/skeins) in my stash (not including handspun).

I am going to make one exception for Hethe, a laceweight cardigan which would be knit from Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace. I love the Scrumptious, but it’s £15.99 per skein, and I’d need two skeins. That’s £31.98 – which isn’t bad for a sweater, I know.

Using some maths, I can work out approximately the yardage for my size (rather than going for the full 2 skeins, which it might not be.)
The pattern comes in 6 sizes: 6, 8-10, 12-14, 16-18, 20-22, 24-26.
The actual bust sizes for these are: 34, 38, 42, 45, 50, 54 inches.
(I guess that this means that it’s got a bit of positive ease, because I’m not really an 8-10 but my bust size lies in that range, this is something to consider because I don’t like my clothes to be baggy.)
Anyway, the pattern also states that for these sizes you need 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3 skeins of yarn.
Now, since I want to make something between the 8-10 and 12-14 size, I’m not going to need the full 2 skeins, as that would make the 16-18 size too.
I can either do the maths on just the three sizes which require 2 skeins, or on all sizes.

To be honest, I like to do both.

If the 6 needs 1 skein (1000m) and the 16-18 needs 2 skeins (2000m) then:

1000m=1000 + ((2000 – 1000) / 3)
=1000 + (1000 / 3)
=1000 + 333.33
=1333 m
=1333 + ((2000 – 1000) / 3)
=1333.33 + (1000 / 3)
=1333.33 + 333.33

To extend that across all sizes:

So, my least amount of yarn likely is 1333 (if I make the 8-10 and my lower estimate is right) and the most is 1800 (if I make the 12-14 and my higher estimate is right)

I’m currently thinking about getting the yarn from colourmart, as they have some nice extra fine merino, which isn’t quite the same as merino silk, but it is lovely. They sent me a sample of their cashmere (seen in the swatch below as the grey) which was heavenly. Sadly, that probably wouldn’t be cheaper than the Scrumptious! They also kindly sent me small samples of some other yarns I was interested, and I made this swatch to see how they knitted either on their own or plied up:

Colourmart Swatch

Anyway, after that, I’m knitting only from stash.

Other than to save money, I think it’s important to prove to myself that I can knit from stash.

To aid myself (and my sanity!) I’ve been going through my stash and my queue on Ravelry and pairing up yarn with patterns I want to make.

Yarn Pattern
Tsuki - Hand Dyed Lace I dyed this yarn myself with some Kool Aid. It's realy bright and summery!Aeolian (shawl)
Violet Green Bourette Silk 4ply Amiga (cardi) The name of this pattern appeals to my inner geek
Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Aran Angostura
Abstract Cat Merino/silk laceweight This is what's left from my wedding shawl, I hope I can squeeze another shawlette out of it! If not, the edging might have to be another colour.Annis (shawlette)
Noro Kureyon Sock Brandywine Shawl
Debbie Bliss Stella Climbing Vines Pullover
Noro Sekku Etherial (shawl)
Violet Green Gloriana Bluefaced Leicester 4ply Sock Yarn Gail (shawl)
Rowan Summer Tweed Hey Teach I'll have to rename this "Hey Business Solution Designer" - or perhaps "Hey Code Monkey"
Violet Green Stellar Lace Capelet
Fyberspates Nef Lace Laminaria (shawl)
RYC Cashsoft Chunky Little Blue Sweater
Louisa Harding Kimono Angora Moebius Cowl
Sublime Yarns Organic Merino Wool DK Poet's Pullover
Sublime Yarns Angora Merino Selene Pullover
K1 Yarns Laceweight Linen/Cotton Summer Affair (cardi)
Violet Green Mulberry Merino 2ply Lace swallowtail (shawl) (make big!) My last swallowtail is more of a scarf, I'd love to make a much bigger one, but I don't think it would look as nice in 4ply.
Noro Kureyon Tempting
Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace Tirrold (tank)
Fyberspates Sparkle Cashmere Whisper (cardi)

But, for the time being I still need to work on my 3 WIPs; the hoody (Still on the sleeves), the baby cardigan (also on the sleeves!), and the socks which are on the foot.

I have also cast on for a moebius from some yarn a friend gave me (on the condition I knit something for her from it) but it’s not going well. Partly because it’s mohair, which isn’t a lot of fun to do this pattern with (hence the angora in the queue to be a moebius. I might send that to the frog pond and think about something else with that yarn. Something a bit simpler, perhaps. I’m not sure that my friend would wear a shawl, so that’s out of the question. Hmm…