Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Funnel Neck

Firstly, thank you all for your kind comments on Forecast - and my tights! I've been wearing wacky tights ever since I had my own money to spend on them (around twenty-three years-ugh). The very best red tights I have ever worn are the ones by Charnos. You can't get softer, stretchier, smoother, anywhere else. And the waistband isn't too narrow or tight. Charnos. Brilliant.

The next project is under way:
Funnel Neck , another top-down knit. I did the neck bit and then started on the increases for the yoke, but after about seven rows of the yoke I realised that the increases looked awful, really messy. I knew the method I was using would leave little holes (picking up the bar between stitches, with the left needle, front to back, and then knitting) but I thought they'd make a nice, ordered pattern, like on Forecast, and the Glamour Cape. But no. I think it had something to do with fitting in the increases with the K1P1 ribbing. Anyway, I ripped back and started the yoke again, this time picking up the bar between stitches with the left needle, from front to back, and then knitting into the back of that stitch. The difference is unbelievable. No holes at all! The only way you know something's been happening in the increase areas, is the fact that the ribbing diverges and seems to make rivulets. Great. The method is the M1F on this site.

Now the only thing remaining is to make it fit - for me, not an easy task. Already I'm using smaller needles and knitting the next size up, without so much as a nod to the correct tension. Luckily the yarn (Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed, picked up for a song, from Jannette) is wonderful to easily rip back and then pick up all the stitches again. The yarn seems as though it's already felted - is that possible? It's the least splitty yarn I've ever known. I love it.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Well, here it is! I took about twenty photos in an attempt to find one I liked. This cardi is so snug, it leaves track marks in my arms, where the ribbing is! The dress I'm wearing is made from extremely unforgiving jersey, and completely wrong for the cardi; it looks much better with a pair of jeans or denim skirt.

Forecast is a simple pattern to knit, and a real pleasure. I'll be looking for another top-down pattern to knit, as it's so much easier to try as you go and to make alterations. I'm hoping to make another Forecast, but next time I'll make the ribbing on the body, and especially on the sleeves, a little looser.

I did learn some new skills on this knit: simple cables, reading a simple chart and purling backwards (when making the bobbles).

Pattern: Forecast
Needles: 4mm and 5mm (instead of 3.5mm and 4.5mm) and 3.5mm for the sleeve ribbing
Yarn: Cascade 220 The Heathers
Modifications: I started the sleeve ribbing above the elbow, though next time I think I'll stick to the original.

Now I just have to do another 8 or so repeats on the Edwardian Lace Stole. Sigh. I'm going to Mayfair to get a haircut next week, so can do some on the train (sold some stuff on ebay to pay for it. To think I could have bought some yarn).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

At Last - Progress So Far

Of course, now that I have made the effort to post about Forecast, it's so gloomy outside that it's impossible to take a decent photo. We'll have to save that for the grand showing of the completed garment. This may include a gapping between the button bands and, in fact, severe stretching of fabric all round. I did want my Forecast on the snug side, but I think this may require a generous dusting of talcum powder in order to get into it in the first place. Put it this way - it will either be so snug that it'll make me look really slinky, or it will be so snug that it will show off all the bits I don't want to show off. Extra bits (though I don't have as many of those as before - ha!).

I've been enjoying this knit so much I will make another. I already know that on the next one I'll start the ribbing higher up - just under the bust - and I might do the original sleeves. I tried my current Forecast on so many times, in an attempt to get the ribbing to start just where I wanted it but, weirdly, once I'd got a few rows of the ribbing done, it turned out that the top section was longer than I thought. Having said that, I am still very happy with it. On the sleeves, I've started the ribbing above the elbow, instead of nearer the wrist. I'm happy with that, too. My only concern is that the upper, cabled part of the sleeve may not be as snug as I'd like, in comparison with the lower, ribbed part - and this may make my arms look a bit chunky. If the upper part was huge and puffy that would be fine, as it would be obvious that it couldn't possibly be my real arm!

I expect you all know that this is knitted from the top down. I really enjoy this way of knitting. It does make it so easy to monitor progress and make adjustments as you go, something I've not been confident about doing in the past. It's just so brilliant to be able to slip the garment on and see it coming along, even if I need at least two pairs of hands to hold the fronts close together (to see if they actually meet in the middle).

I've been using lifelines effectively for the first time ever (I tried one on the Edwardian Shawl, about ten repeats ago, but got lazy). The lifelines this time have not been in case of errors - I put one in every time I make a change to the pattern (such as starting the ribbing high up on the sleeve) so that, if I don't like it, I can rip back to the point where I changed it, and not right back to the beginning. This gives me a real sense of freedom within which anything may be possible.

I've included a close-up of the yarn, which was taken in better light, a week ago. It really is lovely in real life; there's a light covering of deep red fluffiness all over it, in the right light. I will definitely use Cascade 220 again.

I just have one and a half sleeves and the edging to do. See you then.

Friday, October 20, 2006


This morning, immediately after waking, I dashed downstairs fully intending to get my coffee and post all about my latest wip, Forecast. It is now 14:46 and I'm still not at the point where I can spare the time, or even make the time by squeezing this or that backwards or forwards a little.

So, in the absence of any toil on my part, I urge you to read
this (You Don't Have to be Pretty-2010.06). I think it's essential reading for a lot of us (women). I loved every word!

Have a great weekend. Will post Forecast on Monday.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Here is Willow, completed and in the correct size. Now, it's quite lucky Willow fits me at all, since I used different needles and yarn to those recommended by the pattern. But it's twice as lucky that it fits so well.

It was so boring to knit just stocking stitch, and in such loopy yarn, for so long. My attention wandered several times and I ended up increasing instead of decreasing (and vice versa), or doing miles more stocking stitch and forgetting to do any shaping at all. This inattention meant quite a bit of frogging! I did make quite a mistake on the belt and it's such a stupid mistake to make that I can't quite believe I did it, even now ( and I was too lazy to put it right). The belt is knitted as part of the back of the cardigan, so you suddenly cast-on about another 160 sts (80 either side) and carry on knitting. The back was of course being worked up in st st and I carried on and knitted the belt in st st too, all the time thinking "this is a bit stupid. Surely this belt will curl like crazy, being just a skinny bit of stocking stitch" but instead of changing anything, I just continued. It was only when I read the pattern again that I realised it said to cast-on more sts and continue knitting. Knitting. They should make these things absolutely clear for knittingly challenged people such as myself. I can't imagine why I didn't just use my head. Now I have a curly belt. I haven't done any blocking yet, but I don't think it'll help much.

The picking up of 300 sts for the edging was a real pain (isn't it always?) but thank heavens it came out okay and if there are any mistakes you can't see them for all the fluffy loopiness. Had this been a plain yarn, however, I'm sure it wouldn't have looked so good. When I'm picking up stitches, whether it's for socks or edgings, sometimes there's a huge gap left between the stitch I've picked up and the rest of the knitting. I don't know why this would be. I pick up all the stitches in the same way. When this happens, I usually reject the stitch causing the gap, and pick up a bit from slightly lower down, or to the side. I always check to see if it looks odd, so tend to get away with it, but I don't know what will happen when I get to do the edging on a plain garment. I think I'll look up how to pick up edging stitches correctly before attempting it. In case you're wondering, all the black bits of Jaeger Siena cotton are there to divide up the edging into equal portions, making it that much easier to pick up the correct number of stitches

Texere sorted out the yarn problem, by the way, sending me the exact match, and in a very friendly and helpful manner. Hurrah for Christine at Texere!

You may have guessed, I've started on forecast. It took me forty minutes to knit one row of about 100 stitches last night (with about ten of those bobbles). This one's going to take me a long time. I already may have sizing issues but will tell you about it next time. Hold on to your seats!

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Thanks for your comments, Kathryn and Alice. Kathryn, I did the swatch and once I realised that all the plain squares on a right-side row had to be knitted and not purled, it all worked out fine. Really easy, actually! Oh, thanks to Carrie, too! I did look at the KAL again and there was a lot of info I didn't spot before.

I appreciate your response to my plea. Thanks, blogfriends. I can't believe I had to be such a drama queen. All I needed to do was try it out.
Real Assistance Required as a Matter of Great Urgency!

Firstly, I've finished Willow and will do an entry on that tomorrow. BUT in the meantime I'm so stuck on my next project, Forecast. I've just got to row 17, where the yoke begins and I realise I don't know where to begin on the simple chart for the cable. Do I start on the bottom row of the chart, reading from right to left? In other words, purl the whole row? And is the next row up, row 18? Or 19? And do I read all of them from right to left? I don't know if the even and odd numbered rows are included or what. I expect it's obvious to all of you, but I've never done a cable or a chart before, so can't tell which way the chart should be read (make sense?).

I've never been stuck on my knitting before. I'm stomping around in frustration. Please friends, help, or I may have to go and eat all the golden syrup or something terrible.

The bad thing is, I know nobody reads blogs on Sunday. Ooooooh, tantrums.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Good Grief

I was just sitting here thinking how I should do a knitting post and, in a bid to delay, checked Bloglines for any new posts on my fave blogs, only to find that Cherry (oh, thanks so much, Cherry, you lovely thing), has set me and a few others some homework. So, I have been tagged and must now think of five things that feminism has done for me. I will try to keep this short, as I tend to ramble (not about feminism in particular, for heaven's sake......just about anything at all).
  1. Given me the right to claim an inheritance and have ownership of property/finances. It wasn't that long ago that the females of the family were not allowed any claim on inheritance at all. Their brothers/sons could kick their own mothers out of the house if they wanted, once good old Dad had pegged it. That is so not on, it makes me mad to just consider it.
  2. I didn't have to be considered a spinster by the time I was twenty, though some of my relatives were already getting at me by then. Not because I had no boyfriends, but because I wasn't MARRIED AND HAVING CHILDREN. I mean, way back in the day, you were really at a social disadvantage if you weren't married by your mid-twenties. You wouldn't have stood a chance in the Tudor Court, for instance ( not that I'd have wanted to). You would have been well and truly past-it and on the scrap heap and quite good-for-nothing.
  3. I can travel about without a chaperone. I have freedom. I don't have to be watched over 100% of the time, even if I just want to walk 100 yards down the road on a sunny evening.
  4. Ha ha, I can lift weights and run about a lot and get out of breath. That may not sound important but the choice to do it is.
  5. I have many more choices in life than I would have done if not for feminism. Many, many more.

Of course there are loads of much more important reasons, but these just jumped out at me first.

I'll do a knitting post tomorrow if I get time.

Oh, I should tag some people. Sarah, Frankie, Debby. So sorry!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Ants in My Pants

Or something, anyway. Something that's making me want to jump about all the time and not sit still. I'm not talking about restless legs, although they're no joke, I can tell you. I had those restless legs when I was pregnant and it's very annoying. No, I mean I just cannot apply myself to anything for more than about fifteen minutes at a time. I start feeling so bored. You know, like...right, what shall I do next? It's ridiculous. I think it's something to do with having a lot of energy at the moment, as I'm okay when applying myself to something like cleaning the bathroom or hanging out washing. Or maybe they're tasks that have an end in sight and that could explain it. Thing is, this is really bad for my knitting. It's not that I don't enjoy knitting any more. I do, and that's the annoying thing. Like reading, I used to be able to do it all day, given half a chance. Now, I read one chapter of my book (currently The Boleyn Inheritance) or knit five rows of my KSH and that's it. Ants in my pants.

Even blogging has taken a direct hit. I'm still very happy to peruse the blogs of others, and still very much enjoying myself doing so, but actually bothering to think of something to put on mine is just too much. Too much in the way of thinking. Too much effort.

What can I do? Maybe my attention span has shrunk. I'm not kidding when I say this, but I think I've got treacle in my brain or something. A hundred times a day I'll forget what I was doing, where I was going etc. How will I cope when I'm seventy? Sure, I'll still be riding my bike, but will I be.... "see that old woman on the bike over there? Yeah, she's not quite right, poor dear. Fit though. Packs a powerful punch". I'd better start exercising my brain a bit more, I think.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Not So Fast

The knitting in the photo above is the reason that the Edwardian Stole still won't be finished any time soon. A friend of mine really quite fancied one of those floaty scarves, knitted in the KSH, on large needles. Who am I to deprive her of this (her birthday is 12th October)? So, here we go again. The only nice thing about knitting with KSH on large-ish (7mm) needles is being able to look at the beautiful silky lustre of this yarn as the light catches it, something I've only just realised the Edwardian Stole is lacking; the black is just not pretty to knit with at all. Mind you, I prefer knitting the black lace pattern to the interminable k1p1 of the scarf.

Another reason for stalling on the stole is I got a copy of the book Eats Shoots and Leaves at the weekend in St Alban's, which is a lovely town. It's a book on punctuation (or lack of/misuse of same) in current times. I've wanted it for ages and it hasn't disappointed me; it's funny and informative. I'm hoping to learn something from it.

It would be great if I could start Forecast sometime soon but I just can't do it without finishing one of my WIPs first. Still, the yarn is sitting there, ready and waiting.