An abrupt change of plans

There are several bits and bobs to report on the knitting front, my fellow knitters.
Firstly, I have a guest post over at Let’s Knit! It’s about tension squares, a worthy subject. They’ve also put lovely flattering words about my blog in their actual magazine, which I’m pretty chuffed about!

Also, a few weeks ago Susan Crawford put out a call for sample knitters for her next vintage knitting project. Naturally I was all over that like a kitten on a laser pointer. So as of now I’m thoroughly stuck into recreating a piece of knitwear from the Shetland Isles museum. It’s a lot of fun but unfortunately there will be no advance sneak peeks of this one! The blog will have to go a bit quiet whilst I go hogwild with sample knitting.

Perhaps of more interest: My Tyrolean Cardigan pattern, originally featured in The Knitter, is now up on sale on Ravelry for your convenience and knitting pleasure. It’s a good Autumn cardigan, so if you start making it now, you’ll be done in time!

(C) The Knitter

(C) The Knitter

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Pattern: Pipsqueak Shawl

My first shawl pattern! Another little milestone, and another step in my ongoing mission to put fair isle on everything.

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I’m so pleased with how cute this came out! This is a bit smaller than a standard shawl, more of a shawlette, and is great as a wrap, or folded as a scarf. As of now, it’s a bit too hot (tropical almost??) in the UK for wearing such a thing, but I figure if you cast on now it’ll be ready just in time for the first Autumn breezes to hit.

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As always, my patterns are available for sale on Ravelry, and you can buy Pipsqueak by hitting this button right here:

Pattern Details:

Dimensions:
The finished shawl is intended to be approximately 160 cm wide and 30 cm deep at its deepest point.

Tools:
3.0 mm (US size 2)circular 100cm
3.25 mm (US size 3)circular 100cm

Also required – tapestry needle

Gauge:
Matching gauge is not essential but recommended if you want to achieve the stated dimensions.
Garter stitch is 5sts/13rws per inch on smaller needles
One repeat of Chart B is 7.5cm/ 3” wide and 5cm/ 2” high on larger needles

Yarn Requirements:
4-ply wool or wool mix yarn in the following quantities :
Yarn A (Red) – 684 m/750 yds
Yarn B (White) – 184m/ 200 yds
Yarn C (Green) – 12m /25 yds
Yarn D (Brown) – 1m /1 yd

Sample uses Jamieson & Smith 2-ply jumper weight (114 m/125 yd per 25g ball)

 

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Unwind Brighton

This weekend I dragged my carcass out of bed at an ungodly hour and all the way across the country for Unwind Brighton, and forgot my camera. Phone snaps will have to suffice, even though they can never quite capture the colour of a truly awesome yarn.

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The marketplace was small, but densely packed with extremely fancy indie yarn, a much higher proportion of yarn to fibre and accessories than I’ve seen in other shows. It was also completely stifling in there! Most all of Brighton was covered in a hot humid haze with little wind. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a total pansy in hot weather so I didn’t end up spending that much time indoors in the end. I went off trying to find elusive breezes and catching up with friends. Friends who know where huge ice-cream sundaes are being sold, thank god.

Some things I did enjoy from the show though:

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The Little Grey Sheep, by Well Manor Farm. These guys own 300 sheep, all lovingly bred for their fleeces. I got chatting to the ladies running the stall and they said that they’d recently crossbred Merino sheep with Gotland sheep and the offspring were almost ready for their first shearing. What an intriguing prospect! I’ll be keeping an eye on them.

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Madelinetosh ‘unicorn tails’. Madelinetosh is so amazing but way the heck out of my price range. It’s good to know there are ‘tasters’ available from L’Oisive Thé, a French yarn shop.

Not shown: Old Maiden Aunt getting ransacked! I saw at least one knitter making purchases based purely on what she could physically carry.

Finally, I splashed out on some Kettle Yarns Co. yarn. This is an indie dyer after my own heart – all yarns are extensively wear-tested so the fabric should last and last without pilling.

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This particular yarn is called TWIST. It’s superwash Blue-faced Leicester in 4-ply. The colourway is Morse-Grellow. I haven’t quite decided what to do with it, but it’s got to be something a bit punky, a bit distressed maybe?

 

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Road trip!

I have had a lovely holiday, thank you very much. We saw sights! We ate nearly a whole family-sized sack of haribo sweets! I got stranded on a zip-line over a quarry, which was possibly the highlight of the week.

My Hetty cardigan is looking much more like clothing now. I got as far as one sleeve and then decided I wanted it to be a full-length sleeve rather than the pattern’s shorter sleeves. I took diligent pictures each day of the trip and am not letting my recently accquired gif skills go to waste:

HettyprogressYou’ll notice I made some pretty spectacular progress after the first day, when we drove straight to Scotland. We went to Edinburgh Zoo (penguin parade!!!) and ate all the Scottish food.

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We went to Newcastle and had a good drive around the whole area, including a slightly terrifying late night drive up to Kielder Waters and the observatory. It’s a fantastic ‘dark skies’ area. At one point we drove past an owl, just casually sitting on the side of the road, which made the whole trip worth it alone.

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For some reason we thought it would be a good idea to drive to Bangor the morning after that! In a historic slate mine in the area, there exists the longest zip-line in the country. It’s about a mile long – you get strapped into a very large harness and trussed up superman style before coming down at 60mph from the peak of this hill…

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right over the lake, and to a platform some distance away. You might be able to see the zip-line in this one, although you can’t in the previous pic.

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It was absolutely flippin glorious, only muggins here got hit by a crosswind halfway down and stopped about 10m short of the platform before sloooowly sliding all the way out to the edge of the lake. Naturally the instructors had procedures for this kind of thing and soon a guy on a rope was hauling himself out to rescue me. The really fun part was that he was in a sitting position and every time the ground team gave another pull on the rescue rope I went facefirst into his thighs, which is a hell of way to introduce yourself to someone. My only regret is not cementing the awkwardness of the situation by calling him a sight for sore thighs.

After that we stopped by Chester and headed off to our final destination of Alton Towers. Not much point showing ride pictures here, as they’re all the same: T looks mildly pleased and I look like I’ve just been slapped awake.

But the main thing is I ended up with this!

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Oh and here’s a final pic for any Stewart Lee fans in the house…

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WIP: Hetty

I’ve managed to make some spectacular progress on the Hetty cardigan. Even using 4-ply instead of worsted, it’s still a quick knit. Tight, cropped cardigans are handy like that. So after a false start where I miscounted the stitch gauge and 10 days of correctly calculated knitting, I’m already over halfway through the body. Not too shabby!

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What’s more I intend to make even more spectacular progress. We’re spending the whole of next week having a road trip around the UK to see some touristy things we’ve always liked the sound of, but been too far away from to just go casually visit. I’m looking forward to it a lot. Me and T actually have quite good fun sharing long car journeys. We commute to work together, which I think makes learning to chill out in a car a necessity. Otherwise, every commute becomes The Commute of Feelings: Airing Of Work Problems and Why Are You Driving Like That. We throw some good car dance parties. We’ve become very good at placing snacks in each other’s mouths. It’s very harmonising.

In between my turns at the wheel will of course be knitting. How much will get done? Up to one sleeve? One and a half? The whole flippin thing? Tune in next week and find out!

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Taking my own advice

I should’ve put this up last week but oh well – I have a masterclass about using Excel in Issue 72 of The Knitter! Out right now!

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I haven’t properly upped the nerd quotient around these parts and this tutorial is a step in the right direction. I feel like Excel is a handy (not saying it’s the best!) place to start picking up the concept of using computers as logic tools, linking together lots of simple operations into a complex database processing machine. That’s without getting into simple macro-writing, which I like to futz around with occasionally. Anyway, the above masterclass is nothing so complicated, just a way to dip your toes into applying gauge changes to a pattern.

Having an example spreadsheet saved on my computer has actually worked out really well: I have decided to knit Hetty by Andi Satterland, but in 4-ply instead of worsted/aran weight. It’s pretty much doubling the amount of stitches per inch. So whilst changing the numbers is easy enough, some other changes are needed to keep the original look. Specifically I have doubled the width and height of lace motif. This way the pattern will stay proportional even in thinner yarn (Jamieson & Smith 2-ply again, on sale!)swatch

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Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2014 – Day 7: Looking Back, Looking Forward

I wasn’t too sure what to write for this final day: it’s about looking back on your last year in knitting,and what you want to achieve in the next but I already did a retrospective at the start of this year!

So I suppose I’m going to have to look to the future…what plans do I have? I have a number of ideas, but I suppose the most persistent ones are:

1. Make this awesome jacket:

Tara Jacket by Ashley Rao

Tara Jacket by Ashley Rao

2. Haul this thing out of hibernation and finish off all the edges (why did I design this so have so much finishing??)

whwip02133. Somehow figure out how to translate old school tattoo flash into knitted lace (at the time of writing I have literally no idea how that would work)

 

I hope you enjoyed reading all my posts this week! The rest of them are collected here.

You can see what everyone else is posting on the final day here.

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