Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Maheno Beanie

Whenever I make something knitted for my husband, who is suitably grateful for handknits, and so, deserves them, I am reminded of how wonderful my daughters are at modelling.


This very plain, but rather useful beanie was made in response to a washing accident, when the previous use of this same pattern, in Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra  (unblogged due to model reluctance) went through a hot cycle after a camping trip and turned into a much smaller, felted beanie, and is now worn only under a hood.

 This new version was knitted in Aslan Trends Guanaco (alpaca and merino), which would probably cope no better with washing accidents, but has a lower cost/yardage ratio, is beautifully soft and warm, and available in plain navy blue. Plain navy blue beanies could be boring, but are completely inoffensive to the conservative Australian male, so are worn frequently.

Modelling is apparently a high price to pay for a beanie, and one beanie gets approximately 30 seconds of modelling according to the recipient's modelling tolerance meter.

Fortunately, the beanie is knit in a nice plain single rib, and I don't need any detail shots, although I have lightened photos slightly so that the beanie is visible.


These photographs were taken on a sunset walk to the Maheno shipwreck on Fraser Island.The sunset was better before I lightened the photos, but I am pretty sure only knitters read this blog, so I knew where to leave the focus ;)
Before I read the National Park information sign here, I had a romantic idea that seamen on the Maheno might have worn classic navy blue beanies, but the Maheno was a scrap ship, being towed, when it came loose in a storm and beached here, so probably there were no seamen on it at all.

If there were, though, a beanie like this one would have kept them nicely warm.
 I am making one more test beanie from  this pattern - in Crofter Chunky, then I will add it to the free pattens on the website.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Reveal the contents of your handbag.

A perennial chick magazine topic is the alleged investigation of the contents of a celebrity's handbag. These handbags only ever have a brand new lipstick, some keys and a smart phone inside, but I am pretty sure this is not what most people have in their handbag.

Mine always has quite a bit of beaten up useful stuff, and a partially completed sock -unless there is a partially completed glove, but a sock is much more usual. Socks are portable and by now, I can knit one without a pattern, and not looking very often - not something I can say about a fancy cardigan with lace or cables, much as I enjoy knitting these - It is nice to be accomplished at some sort of garment!
I don't show socks here much because, I admit, they are not very exciting to look at.

I was reminded of this when Lynne commented that making socks could be considered the same sort of strange behavious as knitting a hand towel. Some commercial socks are relatively inexpensive - although somewhat limited in colour and design, and rarely made of wool. Lynne makes socks, so understands these things. Knitting socks requires a different approach to the world.

 I don't see any other swimming mothers making anything useful during hour long pool side waits, and the people hanging around miserably at the doctor's are usually picking up new germs reading ancient magazines rather than producing 10% of a sock.

Watching telly is, in my opinion, merely an opportunity to get some knitting done. Why would you just sit there?

Plain knitting socks, my own plain sock pattern.


Excitingly self stripey Kaffe Fassett sock yarn

Warm feet.
Better than doing nothing.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Wash cloth and hand towel - Strange knitting?

When I first started knitting, it would never have occurred to me to knit something that is readily available in the shops, and not particularly expensive in its most modest versions.
However, my brain has been addled altered by knitting exposure, and when it was getting a bit hot around here to knit woolly things in the middle of the day, somehow I started knitting handtowels to match my bathroom. I am really pleased with them




Doesn't everyone happen to have stray balls of yarn wandering into the bathroom so that you can see how well they co-ordinate with the bath?
Maybe I shouldn't ask that question ;)

I do have a pattern for a washcloth and towel, in Jo Sharp Knit 2, but this pattern book was not in my vicinity when the urge to knit these overcame me, so I had to make it up with a vague recollection of the picture. I think I came pretty close.

The washers are all moss stitch, and the hand towels have a  moss stitch border and a stocking stitch middle.

The yarns I have used are Jo Sharp Desert Garden Aran, 10ply cotton with microfibre.

This yarn makes a lovely absorbent towel or washer after the first wash through the washing machine. However, the Chamba (dark maroon) did run a little for the first week or so, although never enough to stain the pale yarn Solstice permanently, nor to mark the skin.

Having made these humble items, I find them incredibly luxurious to use. They are certainly on the list for my knitting-in-front-of-the-telly projects.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Raglan rib jumper, in Crofter Chunky

A friend of mine wanted to knit her teenage daughter a jumper in Crofter Chunky, having made a few scarves from this lovely soft yarn.
My go-to scarf pattern for Crofter is a 2x2 rib, on generous 7.0mm needles, to give a loose and drapey, snuggly scarf.
Naturally a jumper needs a firmer tension, so it won't fall apart with wear, so we went looking for a pattern.
There were none in the Crofter pattern books in 2x 2 rib.
There were a few on Ravelry in 2x2 rib, but none in smaller sizes that we could discover, and none were quite right - with raglan sleeves and a loose polo neck, as requested, so I made one up.


Sorry, you can't see much jumper here, so I will show you again.


I knit this for my own teenage daughter (size 6-8 in Australian women's sizes), using a much tried technique known as winging it.


I knit from the bottom up, in seperate pieces, to take advantage of the self patterning effect of the Crofter yarn. The repeats are not particularly long in this yarn, and if there are two many stitches to a row/round, the self patterning effect turns into an all-over colourful, non patterned look, which is quite appealing in its own way, but not what I had in mind. I wanted stripes.

Unfortunately, I mislaid the last 3 balls of this colourway (Misty Moor 61) and so did not have enough yarn to keep breaking the ball and winding on during the sleeves in order to make the stripes continuous across the front and back yoke. ( I later found the balls in a scarf kit, with rather annoying timing!)

My daughter did not even notice this stripe mismatch.

I will be trying out this pattern again in a different yarn, I think it has real possiblites. This is just as well, as my friend went home and looked through some magazines, and found just the pattern she was looking for - only about 3 sizes too big. I guess we will be sitting down with a calculator some day soon in order to convert it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Peggy Sue in Bamboo

I love this pattern, Peggy Sue by Linda Wilgus (free download on ravelry).


I've made it in Sirdar Baby Bamboo (80% bamboo, 20% wool DK) for my daughter, in the size XS with a few judicious additions and operator errors alternate design decisions. It took only 5 balls, with mere centimetres of yarn left over, so I am feeling very thrifty about it all.


Most of my changes were at the back. This cardigan is knitted from the top down, and as written has a very straight neckline. In order for the neckline to sit higher at the back than at the front, I added 10 short rows, tapering at the sleeve increases at the back.


I also found the cardigan to be a little tight for my daughter across the back (the advantage of knitting from the top down is trying-on opportunities), so added a few stitches here also.

In the pattern, the waist cabling starts at the bottom of the ribs. I was knitting away merrily in stocking stitch on automatic pilot and failed to refer adequately to my pattern at a crucial moment. This means that I had knit nearly 9 inches of stocking stitch instead of about 9 cm, so my waist cabling is a little shallow, due to a dislike of frogging perfectly good knitting.

This does not bother me particularly, as I still think the cardigan looks great - with jeans, shorts or even with office clothes.