Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of Year Round Up

Last year I thought I hadn't done much knitting until I did a quick review of finished projects. I am hoping that would be the case but please take into account that I have learnt to spin this year so much of my time has been taken up with twirling :)

One of my favourite ever projects was the Pi shawl I knitted for Aunty Nancy to give to her first great grandchild. I was pleased with it at the time and happy to be able to knit it for Nancy as she was no loner able to knit due to crippling arthritis. Sadly later this year Nancy died very suddenly and the project became even more important to me. I feel lucky to have met this lady who was my husband's father's cousin and not really an Aunty at all, but when I moved up to Newcastle a few years ago she made me very welcome and told me to consider myself the daughter she wished she'd had. If only there had been more occasions to share our love of knitting with her, but at least we had time for Pi :)

Pattern Elizabeth Zimmerman's Pi Shawl
Yarn Sirdar Snuggly 4 ply, 5 x 50g balls, white, Nylon/Acrylic mix (shudders!)
Needles KnitPicks Options 3.5mm
Blocked (sic) size 46" in diameter.

Over on Ravelry in the Posh Knitters Group we had a fantastic KAL for the Swallowtail Shawl.

Swallowtail Shawl

Posh Yarn, Eva 2 ply lace weight, 1 skein 50g 400 yds, (13g left), Captain.

size 3.5mm needles, blocked size 48" x 24"

I never would have gotten this finished if it weren't for the fabulous photos of other people's finished projects. Ravelry has really become an integral part of my life. I cannot imagine nor being on Rav.

Hmmmm must do more of that KAL thing.
I made an emergency 'I need it like yesterday' shrug for DD1

One Skein Wonder by Stefanie Japel
US 5 / 3.75 mm
US 8 / 5.0 mm
Acrylic from stash.

Then DS2 needed
emergency hat
Basic Hat Pattern by Ann Budd
Needle and yarn
US 8 / 5.0 mm
aran acrylic

'I'm going camping in 2 days and it's very cold, can you make me a hat?'

In May I decided I needed a quick project and Forest Canopy came to mind but I wanted something a little more challenging so I changed it into a half hexagon instead of triangle. Fast and fun, but sadly not really my colours.

Stashbusting FC
Forest Canopy Shawl by Susan Lawrence
Posh Yarn Baby Lucia Disguise

Next project is the first of my handspun yarns to be knitted up, a great pattern for thick and thin singles and I love the colour I accidentally hit upon when doing a little dye ply during the summer, remember the summer?

purple waves
Morning Surf Scarf by Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer
Needle US 4 / 3.5 mm
my handspun
1 skeins = 218.0 yards (199.3m)
purple semi solid
handspun cream bfl from all the pretty fibres
Oh my, then there was August, and I got married!
I made a special stole for my wedding

My Wedding Stole
US 3 / 3.25 mm
Posh Yarn Cecilia
1 skeins = 1440.0 yards (1316.7m)
Later there were hats

bub's bonnet
Bonnet by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Needle US 6 / 4.0 mm
Artesano Ltd Hummingbird
1 skeins = 327.0 yards (299.0
Pattern from elizabeth zimmermann’s Opinionated Knitter,
Katy's Rainbow
US 9 / 5.5 mm
corridale roving
1 skeins = 130.0 yards (118.9m)

I made a cardigan, yes a whole garment, luckily top down in on circs, no seams :)

February Lady Sweater by pamela wynne
44 chest
US 8 / 5.0 mm
Casscade 220
6 skeins = 1320.0 yards (1207.0m)
blue fleck
Christmas approached and the project rate went up, mittens followed

and more mittens

I am half way through a pair for me now, Posh Mittens of course.

DD2 needed some welly socks

and as a final project this year I knitted some more handspun into a scarf.


Happy New Year to all :)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I got a lovely Batt in the Posh Christmas Swap

1aababs 003
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

and I made it into this

I wonder what DD2 got for Christmas?

1aasarahshawl 006a
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

And before that you finish one of these

My creation
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Yarn: Posh Yarn, Lei, colour- tradewind.
Pattern: Diamond Fantasy Shawl.
For: DS2's grilfriend, Sarah.

And after Christmas you knit a scarf

My creation
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Fibre from the yarn yard fibre club.
Spun on Majacraft Pioneer (Susan)
Pattern by the Yarn Harlot - one row handspun scarf
result, squooshy!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Flowers in the Rain

This pattern was originally published in Yarn Forward issue 6 - as the copyright arrangement with them has now expired I am reproducing it here for free and hopefully it will be available as a pdf download on Ravelry as soon as the holidays are over and everyone gets back to work. Please bear with me over formatting mismatches between Google docs and blogger and don't hesitate to leave a message if you require pattern support.

This pattern is available in conjunction with Natalie at the Yarn Yard's p/hop so I hope you will consider making a donation to MSF through the link on my sidebar if you use the patern, thank you. Pass it forward. :)

Flowers in the Rain

Wrap up warm against those storms and chills in hope ofmilder days to come.

This pretty scarf pattern is knitted in luxurious
cashmere yarn and a bright colourway to brighten winter days and lead
the way to summer sunshine.

Flowers uses 2 lace patterns, Floral Mesh from Barbara
Walker’s 4th Treasury of Knitting Patterns and 3 variations of the Snowflake Eyelet Pattern from her 2nd Treasury. This scarf is easily adapted to a wider stole size or a narrower scarf.

Instructions for possible adaptations of the pattern are included.

Yarn: Shown here in Posh Yarn, Sophia, Sunbeam (55gms 400yds) 2 ply laceweight, 2 skeins).

Finished size: blocked 11” x 61” (Unblocked size 8” x 52”).

Guage: As this item is not fitted, gauge is not important. Use a gauge you are happy with, if it seems too tight for your tastes, use larger needles, too loose use smaller needles. If you are using a different weight of yarn your finished item size will vary and you may need more or less yarn. The scarf pictured used half of the second skein, approx. 85gms and approx. 600 yards in all.

size 3mm, 50cm circular needles. Needles designed for lace, with tapered points make knitting easier but are not essential, straight needles are fine too.


K knit sts stitches

gs garter stitch (knit every row), ss stocking stitch (knit right side, purl wrong side)pm place marker ssk slip slip knit through back of loopsyo yarn over
K2 tog knit 2 together
Rep repeat Sl2 K1 p2sso slip 2 stitches, knit 1, pass 2 slipped stitches over.


Cast on 69 sts

Knit 8 rows gs

K4, pm, knit Floral Mesh pattern (see chart), pm, K4.

The 4 stitches either side of the Floral Mesh are maintained in gs throughout, to form a border for the scarf.

















3 edge stitches<-------------pattern repeat--------> 2 edge stitches

Mesh Chart


O yarn over,
/ k2tog
\ ssk,
^ sl2 k1 p2sso
blank squares are knit

Lace charts are read from bottom to top and right to left on the right side rows and from
left to right on wrong side rows. This chart shows right side rows
only as all wrong side rows are purl throughout. Start with row 1, a purl row, then at the bottom right of the chart , row 2. The areas outside
the pattern repeat arrows are only knitted at the beginning and end of the row,
the area between the lines is repeated across the row 7 times in all.
So the row starts with the 2 sts outside the arrowed area, then repeat
the sts inside the lines 7 times then knit the last 3 stitches
outside the arrowed area to complete the sequence.

You may wish to insert
markers at the end of each repeat of the floral mesh as this will
make it easier to identify repeats and to count stitches to check for

Repeat the 12 lines of the chart 9 times in total.

Keeping the first and last 4 sts as set.

Change to the snowflake eyelet pattern.

The repeat of both patterns is over the same number of stitches so you can use the same stitch markers
between pattern repeats (if used) without having to move them.

Eyelet Pattern

1 (wrong side) and all other wrong-side rows ---- purl.


2 K4 *ssk, yo, K1, yo, K2 tog, K3; rep from *, end K1


4 K5, *yo, sl2 K1 p2sso, yo, K5; rep from *


6 Repeat Row 2


8 Ssk, yo, K1, yo, K2 tog *K3, ssk, yo, K1, yo, K2 tog: rep from *


10 K1, *yo, sl2 k1 p2sso, yo, K5: rep from *, end last rep K1


12 Repeat Row 8

Repeat the 12 rows of the snowflake pattern 15 times in total.

The next lace pattern is a variation of the snowflake eyelet.

Insert 2 rows of ss between row 7 and row 8.

Remember to keep the first 4 and last 4 sts in gs.

Repeat the 14 row snowflake variation 11 times in total.

Add a further 2 rows of ss between rows 7 and 8 (4 additional rows in total). Repeat this variation 5 times in total.

Knit 8 rows gs

Cast off using a large needle to ensure a loose edge. The model was cast

off using a 6mm needle.

(with wires or by threading a string along the sides and end and
stretching damp knitting, pinning out and leaving to dry. Unpin when
dry and ENJOY!


You can make the scarf longer by adding repeats of any or all the
patterns as desired. Remember you will use more yarn. Making it
narrower or wider is achieved by subtracting or adding repeats of the
charts across the scarf. Both patterns have an 8 stitch repeat so add
or subtract multiples of 8.

If you would prefer a simpler scarf you can use any of the 3 variations of the Snowflake Eyelet pattern, either singly or combined as you choose. Adding the gs border at both sides and ends helps to prevent the scarf from curling. Or for a slightly more complex scarf you could knit it entirely in Floral Mesh. Both patterns are easily memorised and read in the knitting so either alternative will just call for stamina.

You can also make the scarf longer by adding further rows of ss between
the snowflakes to spread the design out more adding as many repeats
as you wish. Alternately add another lace pattern after the first
snowflake pattern in place of the snowflake variations used here,
e.g. any of the eyelet or honeycomb patterns would look good.

The scarf pattern, as written, produces an asymmetric design. If you
would prefer to finish the second side symmetrically you can adapt
the pattern by knitting additional repeats of the first Snowflake
Eyelet pattern to make this section longer and then repeating the
Floral Mesh. Both the lace patterns used are virtually identical
inverted. If you want to be sure they will mirror each other exactly
then you should knit until the scarf measures half your desired
length (or until half the yarn is used) and, leaving these stitches
on waste yarn, cast on and repeat the patterns so that you have two
matching, identical halves which will then need to be grafted
together using Kitchener Stitch.

Copyright © 2008 jacqui walker. This material may not be reprinted without permission of the author; this pattern may not be used to produce items for sale.For reprint permission, or technical assistance, please contact:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hmmm, Mittens again?

1aamitts 003a
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Yep, I am nearly mittened out, these are for DD2's teacher. I wanted to do a nice sophisticated black and white butno, DD2 had different ideas! Miss would much prefer red and white 'the same as mine' - so here they are, NHM#9 in theyarnyard's Bonny 4 ply.

Done, next?

Have I got time to do a pair of socks before the 20th? Hmmm, probably not.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Book Meme - thank you Panperoxide :)

This one is originally from the Big Read. Apparently they reckon most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Underline those you intend to read. - underline's playing up for me... going to put a note instead...
3) Italicise the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list so we can try and track down these people who’ve only read 6 and force books upon them.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - J D Salinger
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger - Will Read
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy - Will Read
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini - Will Read
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood - will read.
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel - will read
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro - will read
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Hmmm - how many of them since I finished my Drama and English Degree back in 198mummble mummble? Not many! If I could include the ones I've started it would be a much longer list LOL

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fear Not the Fair Isle

1akgloves 001
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Mittens, mittens, they're everywhere and I love them.

I finished DD2's mitts and I am now planning a pair for the teacher for her hristmas pressy. Poor lass she shivers so on the playground at home time and I think a coat may take me until DD2 has left school LOL but mittens are 'doable' so I will do.

DD2 turned her hand over for you so you can see the palm.

1akgloves 002

I added her initials and will put a cord on them and thread it through her coat sleeves, in an atempt to stop them getting lost. Or if lost, to find their way home.

What are their chances, do you think?

Meanwhile in other news, I have been spinny spinny spinning with Sarah. Sarah? Yes, Sarah!

1apioneer 001

My new Majacraft Pioneer. Did I tell you about Sarah? Oh I did! Well, she's wonderful and we make beautiful yarn together. Photos to follow because some of it is secret. Shhhhhh! Don't tell anyone, promise? Good I knew I could trust you to keep a secret LOL

Happy spinning and knitting and lots of mittens to you.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

All the way from New Zealand

1apioneer 001
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

May I introdce you to my Pionner by Majacraft?

When I bought Julia earlier this year what I really wanted was a Matchless or failing that a Majacraft - any of the Majacrafts would do, lovely wheels. But the price was out of my reach and I didn't want to wait and save up LOL so I got the Louet Julia instead and I am very hapy with her. We have tried each other out now and settled into a routine of reliable spinning and comfortable lightweight, I have plied and navajo plied and 3 plied and I am happy with how she spins.

So what did Majacraft do to cause me to buy wheel number two? The brought out the Pioneer, an entry level, no bells and whistles, basic wheel that is in my price range. So I bought one of those too and today we are a two wheel household.

I am keeping Julia, DH and I discussed the relative merits of selling on a used wheel and he persuaded me it would be better to have two. I do love that man!

I do realise, by the way, that is I had saved up since I wanted a wheel I could now have a top of the range Majacraft for about the same price as these two seperate wheels LOL but the what would I get if I won the lottery? Why, a Matchless of course.

There's no pleasing some people!

The Pioneer, as yet unnamed, are getting used to each other, boy the Majacraft wants that yarn badly, it pulls it out of your hand way more than the Louet, LOL but we'll get used to each other and just look at the size of the bobbins! Now I need time to spin up allllllll my stash.

Happy happy joy joy!

I bought the Pioneer from Designscape Concepts as it worked out cheaper to buy it in NZ and pay for it to be shipped here even when you added on the VAT duty slapped on by customs than it was to buy it here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Finished and the Mitten Mania continues

1amitts 001
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

I finished the pair and by doing the second one on the next size up dpns and blocking the first one HARD they fit. DD1 has swiped them and they are parading around school. I am a litle concerned she will loose them and be very upset, but at 15 yrs old she is probably too old to have them threaded through her coat on a cord. DD2 however is not! I have cast on for a pair for her and finished the bulk of the first one for her last night. I added a thumb this morning and it is blocking as we speak. I finally found a use for all the palstic inserts from baked potatoes that I have collected over the years, they're great for cutting up to block mittens. See! I knew they'd come in useful for something.

1amitts 002

my swimming lesson knitting now that the FLS is off the needles is this shawl. It has an unusual construction, using increases along one edge only and then shrt rows to acheive a trangle with long wings which tie behind your back, great easy carry along project as its just gs. Miles and miles of gs!

My creation

I received the second part of my Zebisisdesigns fibre and spindle club yesterday - isn't that pretty :) Mmmmmm merino. I am having fun spinning n's fibre for this month too which is also merino. Not enough time to spin because I am knitting more again. But my new wheel is waiting for me at the parcel force depot - I got myself a Pioneer from majacraft and by importing it saved money, so it was a bargain, right? Right!

1ablues 001

Meanwhile, if the Posh melee has meant you miss out on Posh Yarn then head over to Socktopus or Purlescence who are both stocking Cariad Yarns now, Posh's sister company, the blue skeins at the bottom of the photo were my consolation to myself this Sunday when I couldn't get any Posh :) the other cakes are from stash and I am going to make something wonderfully Emily, a cardigan, a throw, a wrap???? I don't know, what do you think?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mad for mitts

1aglove 005
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

I've done a tiny bit of fair isle knitting but never anything as 'difficult' as this, and I loved knitting it. Luckily the great pattern helped - here's the other side and the paw print and fish bones are just the best bits
1aglove 004
I can see many more mittens in my future. This one (I still need to knit it's pair) used 13g of cream and 12g of black. It's a little small but I am going to block it hard and try to knit the other one more loosely. Only two evenings to do this so could have them ready for the weekend when snow is forecast. Brrr!

Mitts seem to be everywhere, Posh Dee has just sold out of her mitten kits and Natalie at the YArn Yard is on the verge of releasing her mystery mitten.

I am pressing on with my Tess d'Urberville shawl as it's all garter stitch and an easy chat and knit project. Did some moe this evening whilst educating 15 yr old DD about musicals - last week it was Sound of Music this week we watched the Wizzard of Oz and next week we have Oklahoma, lots of singing badly and pop corn :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Giving makes you feel good

As we approach Christmas and the nights have already drawn in I am beginning to wonder what I will get the gang for presents this year. Pausing to reflect how lucky I am to have my lovely family I also want to draw your attention to those who are not so lucky as ourselves. Natalie over at the Yarn Yard has had a brilliant idea that will keep on giving and giving I hope for years to come. Visit the information about p/hop here and think about making a donation next time you knit a free pattern. With so many areas in the world where doctors and nurses are in short supply and much needed, this is an excellent charity to support and following the example set my Stephanie, the yarn harlot, we can all say a little 'thank you' in a way that will have a positive impact, for the good fortune we have enjoyed and continue to enjoy in our own lives. So, a present for DD1 DD2 DH DS1 DS2 baby boo and one for MSF.

I am working on a pattern to add to the list of free patterns that are connected to the p/hop project and in the meantime have had the good fortune to use another free pattern to make DD2 a little hat to keep out the chills, using my hand spun too.

My creation

and I also finished my February Lady Sweater another free ravelry pattern

My creation

buttons are vintage glass ones from my button stash :)

I will be making a contribution to the p/hop in return for these two free patterns and the fun I had knitting them.

Finally another good cause that you just have time to support. Anne has been having an auction to raise money for a Cancer charity. The details are over on her blog go make a bid, you might just get lucky :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

lifelines in lace

1antarcticlifelines 001
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Once you get into the rhythm of knitting, the project grows and grows and then you begin to wonder if it is time to put in a life line. If you are wondering, then the answer is 'yes' and best to do it before you make a mistake that you can't recover by tinking as frogging lace back past a mistake and picking it up again is hard.

Maybe not impossible, but hard.

So what is a lifeline and where do you put one?

A life line is a thread or yarn passed through the stitches in a row of knitting which will stop the work unravelling if you need to take the knitting off your needles to pull it back to correct a mistake.

In a complicated pattern it is easy to loose your place and a lifeline will not only provide a safe place to frog back to, but will also help you find your place if you need to count up how many rows you have done. For a lifeline to work properly you need to keep a record of where you place it, write it down LOL

In the Antarctic pattern the wrong side rows are purled, as they are in many lace designs. This makes it relatively easy to insert a life line. It is possible to insert a lifeline on a pattern row but take care with yarn overs; actually this type of lace with pattern on all rows possibly benefits more from the use of lifelines.

Using a thread of a similar or lighter weight than the knitting yarn, take a sewing needle and pass the thread through each stitch on your needle after you have completed a purl row.

1antarcticlifelines 003

A contrasting thread is a good idea because you need to knit the next patterned row without picking up this thread with the stitches as you knit. Once you get the thread through all the stitches on your needle you can tie the ends together to stop the lifeline pulling out. Take a little care to make sure you don't miss a stitch or pick up the wrong row. If you have stitch markers in don't pass your lifeline through then too or you wont be able to move them until you take the life line out.

1antarcticlifelines 004

Ideal places for lifelines are before major pattern changes, adjacent to shaping changes (not applicable to this pattern but useful in lace garments) and before knitting a pattern repeat that you may need to pull out if you are not sure you have sufficient yarn, so that you can use the yarn for a border or edging.

My lifeline has gone in before the start of chart 2 :)

By the way, this yarn is really nice to work with and the knitted fabric is gorgeous, Natalie's colour is a delight too. Thankfully the cold virus has left me and I am clear headed enough to knit lace again. I'm still not sure this is the right pattern, I haven't enjoyed this first section much really :( the pattern is irregular/random and despite the warning not to worry about completing exactly as per the chart, I still don't like making 'mistakes' - I am looking forward to the next chart though as that is a 'proper' pattern which should be easier to follow :) Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Bad Blogger

1aspindles 003
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

I have been very lax :( But I will have a quick photo round up so you'll see where I am :)

and where I am is mainly spindling :)

1asimonside 005

I'm currently working on this

and navajo plying :)

I also made this with my Knitter's Loom

1weave 001

And, finally, can't believe I didn't show you how thw stole turned out LOL we tied the knot

1weddingmine 116a

and my Mum thought the stole was lovely

1weddingmine 113a

Phew! Glad that's all caught up them :) Hopefully I will be blogging a little more regularly as, now that the cold lurgy is receeding, I hope to be knitting more lace and blogging some techniques here :)

How is everybody? Long time no 'see'.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Antarctic Adventure - choosing a needle size.

When Natalie at the Yarn Yard asked me to test knit her new laceweight yarn, Machair, I was delighted. I chose turquoise (as a rest from purple!) and she sent me a skein of the loveliest yarn. The Machair is 70% baby alpaca, 20% silk, 10% cashmere. 1200m/100g. Unbelievably soft. The kind of yarn you have to go back and stroke just to check it really is that soft. I checked several times, it is! I would it into a cake pretty quickly, I wanted to get this crack stuff cast on.

I cast on straight away for some swatches, with 1200yds per 100g I guess it's a 3.25 needle but it's a good excuse to get knitting so I did a 3.25mm and a 3.75mm just to be sure. Knitting swatches to choose needle size for lace is always involves a deal of personal preference. There really is no right or wrong size. You are looking for a balance between the openness of the holes and the denseness of the fabric stocking stitch sections of the sample.

After knitting the swatch it is important (but frustrating when you want to get started) to soak and block (stretch) the swatch in the same way that the finished piece will be soaked blocked. Wetting the yarn allows it to stretch without breaking (hopefully) and as it dries the shape and stretch is blocked in to the finished piece. There are differing methods of wetting the sample but I usually just chuck it in a bowl/sink and leave it for at least 20 minutes. If it were pure silk I might only pin it out and spritz it with a water sprayer to dampen the fabric but this yarn should block nicely by my usual soak it method :) The waiting is the hard bit.

After they dry and you unpin them they will probably shrink back a little but the 3.25mm size needles give a more solid background to the holes of the lace so I chose 3.25mm to knit this lace (the sample on the left in the photo below).

Actually I had already decided from the unblocked swatches that i preferred the 3.25mm test but blocking would just confirm this choice and also makes for better photos LOL

The Knit Picks needles are nice and pointy - I would actually prefer my Addi Lace needles but they're holding another project that is waiting for me to get around to finishing it. (sigh.)

After much indecision I finally chose Antarctic as my pattern, thanks to Steve for this suggestion :) I downloaded the pattern (available in English thankfully) and printed off my charts and instructions. So now I am all ready to go and looking through the pattern this is an ideal project for a lace novice as the cast on couldn't be more straight forward.
For most of my knitting life, best part of 40 years, I only knew one way to cast on, the way my Mum taught me. After discovering knitting on the internet I discovered there are many different cast ons but that the one I have been using all along is a lace cast on. It was meant to be LOL.
You are only casting on 7 stitches and it wont affect how stretchy the finished edge is you can use whatever cast on you are familiar with. If you'd like to learn the lace cast on it can be found here. Eunny's lace guide is excellent for all aspects of lace knitting, look here for everything. For the lace cast on scroll down about 1/3rd of the page.

So next time ... getting going and how to read charts :)