Friday, 25 June 2010

Phew! Two shawls blocked...

Now that's got to count for progress!

Here they are:

My Aqua Malabrigo Lace Shawlette

Pattern:      Traveling Woman
Yarn:         Malabrigo Silky in Bobby Blue (27)
Needles:    4mm
I used just under 2 skeins. Bought from Loop Knitting in Islington, London. They just moved to gorgeous new premises!

Alpaca Shawl in Dark Red

Pattern:     Gail/Nightsongs
Yarn:        Artesano Alpaca 4 ply
Needles:    4.5mm

I must check the remainder of the yarn to figure out how much I used. I bought four balls but I've got lots left over.

I was quite worried that this alpaca wool wouldn't block well.  So far it's looking good but I haven't exactly worn it yet.  It's too warm outside for that, so I will need to blog about this shawl when it gets autumnal again (let's not think of that just yet).

Latest state of play:
16 WIPs
20 Completed projects (yay!)
 8 projects in hibernation (yup, chucked another couple in there for good measure)
I'm afraid I am sneaking a newly cast-on project in there.  I was desperate to cast on a Niebling doily pattern in a white cobweb yarn that is so wonderfully soft and beautiful to knit with!  I am hoping this is going to be a shawl.  Right now I'm at the stage where I have to repeat the same two stitches times two over two rows about 20 times, it's getting a touch tough to get through...
I really should complete a couple more projects - for the variety!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Something has to be done

My crafty state of play:

15 completed projects
 5  projects in hibernation (Not even going to worry about those)
22 unfinished projects (Arrgh! Mea culpa, mea culpa...)

This is not good.  This is really terrible in fact. Even worse is that I actually thought there were 17 WIPs on my Ravelry page but I missed counting a row of five, whoops-a-daisy.  (Counting properly has a lot going for it).

Something has to be done!

If I look at all of those then I'll be struck by paralysis.  Not gonna, therefore.

So this is the plan: I'll pick only a few projects to focus my attention on.  That should reduce procrastination.

First success to be reported: my Blue Jitterbug Lapis Kerchief - I only wove in the ends (numbered two, so no problem) and blocked it because I wanted to show it as completed on my Ravelry page! Plus wear it too, of course.  That might have had something to do with it after all...

Absolutely up-to-date state of play:
16 completed projects
5  hibernating projects
21 unfinished projects (I must be mad)

I will pick the five projects that I can finish the soonest.  Which are all stuck at a stubborn 95%!  For various not very good reasons...

My heathered blue doily by Niebling
Because I finished the knitting part and 'just' need to cast off: after three sessions I'm not even half way round - which goes a long way to explain why this is so difficult! Still, not long to go so that's the decisive reason to complete it.

Main reason: because I love knitting this and it is has exciting design challenges.  I am making the pattern up as I go along, starting from a plain hem (it will lie flat with lots of blocking), slightly fitted to the waist.  Then I did a turned hem cast off for the back and carried on the front with decreases either side.  The photo does not show it properly, I had to fold the top in half vertically to avoid the top rolling down too much. I am knitting a facing for that top of the front piece and then I'll do straps.
Challenge: I am splitting this yarn from 6 ply to 3 ply and ran out so will need to split another ball.  Then full steam ahead!  Can't wait.

Alpaca shawl in dark red
I just need to block this Alpaca 4 ply and it would be fabuloso!  Main reason against: I quite like sitting on the seat that I use for blocking, so that one requires a bit of planning.  Should be one of the easiest to complete, he-he.

Oh shoot: same reason as above!  It just needs a good block.  I really need to have a word with myself!

Photo evidence to the contrary (I did knit up the neckband since then) this is very close to finishing.  I only need to sew down the centre facings and attach button loops. Oh, right: buttons!  Completely forgot about those - I should think about what to choose, can't believe that this didn't occur to me before!
The reason why this project is still a WIP is that the weather got much nicer and warmer and I didn't feel like working with wool. The yarn is very gorgeous: Mirasol Qina, a lovely, though slightly heavy quality.
That shouldn't stop me though.

And that's those five projects that I ought to be able to finish soon.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Unfinished projects

Hibernating: Balmoral Thistle doily

There are quite a few blog posts out there about WIPs, stash-busting and suffering from Startitis.  I thought I'd take that for inspiration and as my cue.

I already blogged about one of my manic periods when I started way too many new projects but not so much about the state of affairs going on.

At last counting (as of Monday this week) there are 17 unfinished projects... just quickly checking my Ravelry page to make sure... Oh my goodness! Crikey, how could I, I've missed out a row: there aren't 17, there are a humongous 22!  I knew there were a few but this is a lot worse than I thought!

Something has to be done.

I had already sorted out those that I won't be continuing with any time soon: I sent them off into Hibernation! Quite rigorously and without any pity...

There is an early project: a silver yarn handbag in raspberry stitch that I am not really sure how to attach to the frame (the hinged opening thingy) so it will have to wait until inspiration strikes (& until I'm keen on it again).  There is a purple round thing that I thought would make a lovely cushion or seat pad, but it came out way too small so it languishes until I've thought of a use for it.  I'm sure I'll find one, eventually... {cough, cough}...
There are two extremely gorgeous doilies for which I've unfortunately run out of yarn (see the Balmoral doily above), so these will have to wait until I make my mind up about whether to frog them, or what (More like: 'or what'!).  The fifth hibernating item is a wasted attempt to do something with a silvery grey acrylic that I don't even like touching - so not a good buy but I have the same yarn in another two shades and I can't bring myself to just get rid of them.  It's not growing on me, in fact this will probably be the one that I'll chuck: pack it all up (yep, the other two cones too) and see if a charity shop takes pity on me and takes it off my pitifully pleading hands...

I can list 14 completed projects (a couple more if you count all the little neckwarmers separately, but I can't be bothered) - which unfortunately leaves 22 unfinished...

Big sigh!

Since the beginning of the week I was able to finish one project: my Colinette Jitterbug kerchief in blue (my second shawlette in this yarn, loved the first one in pink, felt a second one in blue would be just the ticket) so that reduces the count down to 21.  'Big' difference (as if)...

Let me just keep on grumbling quietly to myself here.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Hannelore plans

I saw a lovely lace pattern called Hannelore that Lacefreak blogged about. I fell in love!
I wanted, no: 'needed', to get this pattern and knit it just as soon as possible.
NB: there are also lovely pictures at Ars Una, Species Mille's blog.

I looked online, then at ebay, set up a search reminder for 'Burda Spezial E418', googled it again - but no joy. Then I found this project on Ravelry and realised that the pattern had also been published in 'Band 408' (that's volume 408 to you and me) by a company called Beyer Verlag. So back to googling and ebay and any other place I could think of.

Then Amazon posted the item: 'Kunststricken. Decken, Garnituren, Spitzen: Bände 408 und 760', saying: 'Not yet available but can be pre-ordered'. Hah!
Guess what? I did. (Big surprise)

It was supposed to arrive some time in late April if memory serves. It took a little longer - I got it some time in May. I don't mind: this is a treasure!

The two volumes are not bound books, they are more like brochures or folded booklets and come in a wallet that also contains the two sets of charts. And a loose leaf sheet of either errata or supplementing information.

Band 408 has more complicated, highly lacey looking doilies, the items in Band 760 are a little more robust looking, if that makes any sense. These patterns do not seem quite as complex with more stockinette stitch in them. The items in both are really lovely!

My Hannelore pattern that I was so desperate for turns out to be quite small. I must check Lacefreak's blog entry again to see how big you can get this if you use larger needles - I was rather hoping to be able to wear this as a shawl! The size in the book is that of a cushion cover, not quite what I had in mind!

I am playing around with yarn choices and have not yet decided what to use (my Silkbloom Extra Fino from BC Garn would be quite nice?) - I have this in undyed as well as my usual choice of strong pinks.
There are so many projects in these volumes I want to make that I started a medium sized one first: Image 20 on page 12 (I didn't find a name for this). I will post about this soon.

In the meantime, here's what the Silkbloom yarn looks like:

PS: I just realised that I didn't mention that these patterns are by a gentleman called Herbert Niebling. I think he was a genius! I've even found a picture* of him again (plus mini bio. He's not on Wikipedia!), though it took some doing - searching Google Images for his name brings up millions of doilies!

*: I just love that pot of Alpenveilchen on his table (on a balcony?) that he is apparently using to weigh the chart down! How endearing is that...
And very dapper he is too: the glasses and clothes are very 1950s/60s Germany.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

My Portland Gussets

My Portland Gussets in blue - I am very happy with these!

Yarn: Uschi Sockengarn*
Needles: 2.0 mm (15 cm short DPNs, very useful!)
Pattern: Yarnissima/Three Irish Girls
Inpiration: Ignorant Bliss who makes the most gorgeous things!

I was knitting both at the same time, with two sets of DPNs which went swimmingly until I realised that I'd forgotten the five gusset decreases on the other edge (Chart 2). The instructions even say, very clearly: "Don't forget the gusset decreases" - which I had read, and processed, and proceeded to not take any notice of, as you do. I was going to highlight them in yellow, forgot, and there you are: I got to five inches from the toe up of BOTH socks so of course I had to rip them down. Unforunately those decreases start quite early on. Darn. That ought to teach me.

The nice thing was that I really enjoyed knitting these - and this way I got to do a bit more knitting, har-de-har! The pattern is lovely and relatively easy to follow. The only difficulty lies in remembering if you already knit those rows without increases or decreases. Sounds easy but I kept losing track (knitting in front of the telly has its disadvantages) and had to count rows from the last increase or decrease.

I was a bit nervous about trying these for my first pair of socks in something like twenty years or so. I had knitted socks before (all of one pair, woohoo. Yep, one single, lonesome one) but at the time hadn't appreciated that walking around in them would put them to quite a bit of wear - so I'd only gone and picked completely unsuitable yarn. The couple of holes from the first few wears very quickly turned into one big hole that extended to almost the entire length and width of the sock, that is to say: its entire sole... whoops.
I had lost my mojo in terms of sock knitting and hadn't attempted another pair since.

Another reason was that I hadn't actually encountered any proper sock wool back then, and remained blithely unaware that there was such a thing. I still wouldn't know today if it wasn't for the Internet. Isn't the spreading of knowledge a wonderful thing?
I love the Internet - I started using it pretty early on, with one of those modems that made this lovely doodely noise. Hearing that made me feel so empowered! It wasn't a 28.8 (or whatever) but the next one up 33.6 (my decimals could be way off), so a bit of time before the advent of broadband.
I am finding it particularly wonderful where crafts are concerned. What did we do before we could check things out on Ravelry, or Knitty, or just google stuff? Gosh, all of that was such a huge Effort! Reference libraries and buying books, or latching on to people who might know a bit more than you - wringing them dry for every last little bit of knowledge...

But anyway. Socks, first pair thereof in a long time. Very pleased. Downright chuffed in fact! ...must make them again: in pink, I feel The Need! Which will, in turn, necessitate more yarn buying (oh no! My evergrowing stash! Best wait a bit)...

* I got this sock yarn from a German supermarket so I can't provide a link. It's nice sturdy yarn.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

London Crafts shops

Have you seen my page on London Crafts Shops?

I just updated it after going to Klein's in Noel Street last week. They have an amazing amount of trims, braids, ribbons and anything else that comes by the meter. Even in leather and rubber! I wouldn't be surprised if there are any glow-in-the-dark ones (I'm only kidding)...
Quite an old-fashioned shop that must have been in its location for a consider number of years. It is filled to the rafters. There is also a small downstairs area with fabric dyes, a small amount of yarn and bits and pieces. They also do others bits like tassels and bag handles.

Did I miss out any shops?

I have not yet had a chance to go to the yarn shop near Bethnal Green, nor those in West London.