Tag Archives: ktq2013

The end of the year

It was a good Christmas this year, one of catching up with friends, relaxing, sleeping, eating leftover Boxing Day trifle for breakfast for the rest of the week etc. Hell, even watching a bit of Jonathan Creek for the nostalgia. Like all British girls of my age I used to have a crush on Jonathan Creek; he was shy and scruffy-haired, solved mysteries, and lived in a windmill. Now he’s the stupid one on Q.I. and everything is ruined and the wedding is off. That’s why I usually stick to the Muppet’s Christmas Carol and Die Hard (the ultimate Christmas movie). 

Now I don’t write about family and friends on here much because they just didn’t ask for that kind of publicity. But it must be said I have lovely relatives…who gave me new and exciting stitch dictionaries for Christmas!

2013-12-30 10.21.39

Stitch dictionaries are my new thing. If you get more than one bit of inspiration from such a book I think it’s worth it and these have already proved their worth. I really recommend the Knit Stitch Pattern Handbook if you like solid textures and intricate cabling. It is the end product of a relentless knitting mind-machine. The Scandinavian book is a much wanted companion to my Fair Isle book – it’s laid out in much the same way – and is great if you want to get slapped in the eyeballs by colourwork motifs. (sometimes you do!)

2013 went much better than I expected in terms of pattern-writing. It seems like so long ago that I was tentatively putting Sashiko up on the internet, and then I worked out two more garment patterns in less than time Sashiko took from start to finish. It just goes to show that you can do anything once you have the right Excel setup.

Sashiko Cardigan(C) The KnitterSnowdrift_main

Then Doomsday Knits came out just before Christmas! Excellent. I’m not sure I’ve gushed about it enough yet, but it’s one hell of a book to be your first!


What other knitting stuff happened in 2013? Ah yes, at the start of the year I was intrigued by the Knit The Queue challenge, where people tried to clear out their Ravelry queues. I, er, completed 2.5 / 9 projects from my queue, whilst adding 6. Whoops. All that designing stuff got in the way, so I think I have a legit excuse.

There will be no highly specific 2014 resolutions because they are clearly not for me. Just to ask myself regularly “How can I be more awesome than I already am?”. It’s a complex question when you stop to think about it. The obvious answer is to write even better knitting patterns, but then, what constitutes better? Something that’s been plaguing me for a while is that I seem to like designing far cutesier stuff than I would ever wear myself. The brain is self-defeating sometimes. It comes up with silly questions that prevent ideas from becoming reality. What do you do with knitted items you have no use for yourself? Has your entire personal style been a lie the whole time? Is there such a thing as too cutesy in the craft world? Well brain let me say this: 1. PRESENTS 2. NOT IF YOU’RE MAKING PRESENTS FOR OTHER PEOPLE 3. HAVE YOU EVEN SEEN TINY OWL KNITS??? Take that!

Thank you for reading this blog post about a grown adult shouting at herself and talking about adolescent crushes. I hope you’ve all had a fabulous holiday, and may the next year be even better than this one. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be spending New Year’s getting drunk in style!




Filed under Ramblings

WIP: Laceweight Blouse

Yep, kicking off another item in the Knit The Queue challenge: an entire blouse in laceweight yarn, on 2.25mm needles. This is the finest gauge work I have ever attempted, at 10 stitches to the inch. This is a marathon! The pattern is “Blouse with Gathered Neckline” from A Stitch In Time Vol. 2.

A Stitch In Time Vol.2

It’s a pretty little design, but I never wanted to knit it as is. I want it a little more modern, a little more casual, and with a wider neckline. My first step is make the sleeves t-shirt length. This has the delightful advantage of making them a marginally quicker knit. When I say quicker, I mean “Hey! The first sleeve took less than 10 hours!”


The yarn is Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace and it had to be in red! Well I say that, maybe some sort of Champagne colour would work too, but red goes with the most of my outfits. It’s not a yarn I’ve worked with before but it is totally delightful and I really like the way the fancy little details in the cuff and fabric came out.


Picot edgings are very easy: a decent amount of stockinette, one row of yarnover, k2tog throughout,  then repeat the stockinette, and fold on the dotted line! I gave this a light steaming to make sewing easier later down the line and the fabric is behaving very nicely. It’s good crisp stuff that won’t get all shiny and matte after a bit of a squish.

So roll on sleeve 2! I am going to have to buy proper lace needles for the body I think. Currently I’m working with sock needles, but I want to continue my modern knitting ways by doing the body in the round. I think it’s the only way I can face 3 inches of ribbing at that gauge. Daunting!


Filed under Projects, WIPs

FO: Ilene Bag

All my projects are fiddly right now. They’re 75% sewing, 25% ribbing on small needles. It was a nice break to make the first official FO of my Knit The Queue challenge: The Ilene bag. It conveniently uses up an entire ball of light green cotton yarn that’s been at the bottom of my stash forever. Plus a lady can never have too many bags right?

Incidentally, it occurs to me that a ladies’ handbag is an excellent illustration of the concept of quantum states.

You know how whenever you reach in the exact item you want is always at the bottom, every time? Well it’s the same thing as Schrodinger’s russian-roulette-playing Cat: Any objects within a closed container will exist in a superposition of all possible physical states until the container is opened and the contents observed, whereupon the superposition will be forced to collapse to a single outcome and now your cat is dead and you can’t find your keys.

Oh, I can guess your comments already: “But Ellen! Schrodinger was only using that analogy to talk about closed systems on a sub-atomic scale! Your handbag problem is probably just down to granular convection and the amount of crap you insist on keeping in it!”

Hush. This is a knitting blog. Look at this bag I knitted.

ilene bag

It’s an entirely practical item for once. It seemed rather small once finished, but then I put things in it. You know how mesh bags are – they’ll hit the floor given half a chance. Luckily this one holds a full shopping trip’s worth of food without whacking me in the knees, so I consider it a success.

Back to the fiddly projects then…


Filed under Finished Objects, Projects

A new knitting challenge appears!

I’m not usually one for New Year’s Resolutions, because as I like to say, “Why do today what you can put off til next year?”. Nonetheless I am taking part in an actual year-long knitting challenge: Knit the Queue 2013, which to say, a challenge to empty out the ‘queue’ list in your Ravelry account. Some people use the queue function to list patterns they like enough to hypothetically knit and so their queue list stretches into the hundreds. On the other hand, some people use it to list only patterns they are definitely, absolutely going to knit at some point and so their queue list stretches into the hundreds.

For this challenge, I have pared my queue down to a scant 9 patterns:

These are all items I was definitely, absolutely going to knit at some point when I queued them, up to 2 years ago. The astute reader will notice these are all very fine gauge projects, with nary a DK weight amongst them. Is that what put me off making them for so long? Probably!

But the challenge is on. Project Number 1 is the His ‘n’ Hers Gloves, using up my one fancypants skein of Wollmeise Sockenwolle.


So what’s the deal with Wollmeise anyway? Some people love it, some people hate it! It’s almost like combining a high quality handpainted yarn with a limited first-come availability and good publicity creates a dedicated and slightly fanatic fanbase or something!

If this whole challenge thing sounds like fun, join the Ravelry group (as started by mooncalfe)! There is also a twitter tag, #ktq2013. Or do you have other 2013 knitting challenges planned?


Filed under Projects, WIPs