Saturday, October 29, 2005

My first glove

I am knitting gloves to go with the ribbed scarf for my friend. Armed with Ann Budd's handy knitting recipe, a Japanese pictorial instruction book and a Japanese pattern, I cast on. My friend is very petite and has smaller hands than me. I tried on the glove at every stage of the knitting to check for width and length and I am glad I did. I had to make so many adjustments as I went along that I started taking notes so that I can hopefully reconstruct the second glove with the same measurements.

I tried double knitting the fingers and it worked fine, except that I had to separate the stitches again at the top when I was decreasing, which was rather troublesome. Explanation: In order to double knit I had to put all the stitches, alternating one from the front and one from the back, all onto one needle. So in the end, I just put the stitches on 2 needles (as in the photo here) and knit all the way up. It is much faster this way.

The most difficult part was picking up stitches at the right place, so it won't look too ugly. I'm not too happy with it, but moving on anyway. The fingers are very snug. I started out with looser fingers that somehow looked fat, so ripped and re-knit. Anyway, here it is, first glove all done. And the little finger looks smaller due to a cable running down that side of the glove. This glove is part of the PeacefulPalms knitalong hosted by Nona. I have a question for the knitalongers - How do you weave in and secure the ends? Two of the woven-in ends have already poked out through the front of the glove! I am going to try sewing the ends onto the wrong side with some thread.

Is there such a thing as second glove syndrome?

This is a pair of fingerless gloves that I knit up some time back, just 2 X 2 rib and gusset with increases for the thumb. Yarn: Jaeger extra fine merino dk (dream yarn) in a speckled grey. Trying to see if I can part with it and gift it. Behind the gloves is a Japanese sewing magazine that I just found. While the patterns are really stylish and beautiful, I fear that they are mostly too difficult for me to excute.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

something old, something new

something old

My mother used to knit, a long time ago. She knitted for me when I was very little and she also knitted for others. All of the knitwear have been given away. Only this cardigan (and a few scarves) remain and it is mine now because it fits me. She ran out of the brown yarn and had a dyelot problem. A few years ago, she found her old knitting needles and passed them to me. They are teeny, tiny straight needles. I don't use her needles much as I prefer to use circular needles which are less likely to poke the kids who are always running and jumping around me when I knit. Do your kids sit down quietly? Mine don't - maybe it's something in their diet.

My mum also gave me her old knitting patterns, mostly baby and kids' patterns. I remember wearing a pink cardigan with little people (in white) holding hands like the picture in the pattern above. The one thing my mum did not have was a yarn stash. How I would have loved to get my hands on some of the fine yarn they used to knit with in those days.

something new
Pattern: Geometric Scarf from Vogue Vintage Collection
Yarn: 2 balls Katia Austral
Needle size: 3.5 mm

Here is the Geometric scarf that I have wanted to knit ever since I saw it at Knitter Knatter and Blithe Dance. I was so pleased when my daughter found the book in the library for me. At first, I followed the pattern as written and knitted up the entire first ball of yarn before I became convinced it was much too wide (should have listened to the little voice that was telling me it was too wide right from the start) and frogged the whole thing. I re-knit it to about half the width. I knit 2 balls worth of ribbing just so I could knit the fun part at both ends - the horizontal ribs. When you stay at home too long, this is what happens to you, you get thrilled to bits by silly little things. I like this pattern so much that I'll probably knit it again someday, in a lighter coloured yarn. It would make a good men's scarf too. I have learned that dark coloured yarns look sophisticated, but the stitches, especially cables and patterns do not show up well at all. And now for a confession: I ironed (blocked) the scarf on wool heat setting and something happenned. The whole time while I was knitting, the scarf was a thick, dense ribbed scarf. The ironing transformed it into a light, fluid and drapey fabric. Got you there for a moment didn't I? No, the scarf didn't burn up, even though I put the iron directly on it. I love ironing, it gives instant results!

This scarf is for a friend who recently moved to China. I'm making something else for her as part of a set, can you guess what it is? Hopefully I'll be able to show it to you in my next post.

Monday, October 17, 2005

my ruffley scarf

Yarn: 1 1/2 balls RY classic cash cotton 4 ply
Pattern: Autumn/Winter 2004-2005 Let's knit series
Crochet hook: no 4/0
My ruffley scarf is done! Thanks to the husband and the kids who went to buy me the extra ball of yarn. I really, really like this scarf. It reminds me of something from those Anthropologie catalogues. The pattern is from the Autumn/Winter 2004-2005 issue of the Japanese Let's knit series. I've wanted to make it for a long time, but the original is done in fluffy mohair which is too hot to wear here. I finally decided to substitute with my leftover cashcotton, but wasn't sure whether it would still turn out ruffley and fluffy. So I'm glad it turned out alright. I'll probably look rather silly wearing this, but maybe I can get away with tucking it discretely at the neck into my jacket. Hmm, handy for hiding the chicken pox marks at the neck, don't you think?
But seriously, I sometimes wonder how and why I choose what to knit (or in this case, crochet). I am a basic shirt/blouse and pants/skirt kind of girl. Yet I have been dreaming of making this ruffley scarf which is not how I usually dress, and I will probably feel self conscious wearing it. Yet I like it so much. Maybe there's someone inside trying to get out. Or maybe I just want to be someone else. Will I dare to wear this out of the house?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

this n that

The husband was in England last month. While he was there, he called to say that he saw yarn shops and asked whether he could get me some yarn. I asked for sock yarn. The first 2 shops he went to did not have sock yarn. But on the last day, he found a yarn shop at the Green Market in Newcastle upon Tyne and he bought Cygnet wool rich 4 ply sock yarn. The yarn is soft and I like the heathery colours. This yarn is special to me because this is the first time the husband has shown an interest in my knitting. He bought enough yarn for me to knit a pair for each of us. He told me that the yarn cost ₤1.50 a ball and when I told him this is the cheapest yarn I have ever come across, his response was that he should have bought more!

The daughter and I finally finished up this bunny from a square she knitted a long time ago. I sewed and she stuffed. The sewing took more time than the knitting. We both think it does not look like a bunny, but never mind. The daughter was thrilled to learn how to make pompons.

I crocheted this out of a leftover ball of RY Classic cashcotton 4-ply until I ran out of yarn. Will have to wait till I can get to Golden Dragon to buy one more ball to finish this.

The daughter went to the library and found these books for me. She's so sweet! There's a pattern in the Vogue Vintage Collection that I have been looking for. So I'm off to knit the stash.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

all kinds of everything

The son has fully recovered and is back in kindergarten. The daughter got chicken pox on the eve of her exams, but managed to cope very well. She is sitting for her last paper today (yippee!). It also turned out to be a blessing because she sat for all her papers in air-conditioned comfort in a special venue with a few other kids who had chicken pox too. Anyway, I'm down with it now myself, feeling fine, resting, being pampered, just don't look at the mirror, I scare myself.

Back to some knitting update. I have some thick white wool yarn (Cleckheaton merino supreme rescued from my first unsuccessful “I Do” attempt) that I wanted to knit into a simple long scarf. I wanted it to be reversible, but not garter stitch or ribbed. I hunted high and low and then I found the perfect pattern on Anna's post about a neck edging. I tried it and yes, it was exactly what I was looking for. Stocking stitch on both sides and absololutely no seams. When I was done with the first ball of yarn the next day, I looked a little more closely to see how to weave in the ends and discovered (yes, I know, I’m so incredibly slow at realising these things) that I had been knitting a tube. I’m really, really happy, to have found this, so thanks Anna, for sharing your idea!! You see, I saw a write-up of this technique a long time ago on craftser but then I couldn’t find it anymore. It is called double knitting. And then later, I remembered that this Knitty blanket also uses this technique. It is very useful for knitting small circumferences in the round.

Anyway, here is the finished scarf. The flowers are crocheted from DK weight cotton and then sewn on. Do you think the scarf is too plain, should I add fringe? Are you wondering what on earth I'm doing with a bulky wool scarf in this heat? It is for an 11 year old girl, my cousin's daughter, newly transplanted from Singapore, having her first winter in Canada.

I've been doing a little bit of tidying up, and came across these two Barbie dolls. The one on the left is wearing a knit tank top and the one on the right is wearing a crochet tank top. Both were made from crochet thread some time last year. I followed this crochet shell tank top pattern . If you like to knit or crochet for Barbie, take a look at that site, there are lots of patterns.

Here's the last thing I want to show you. I sewed this up yesterday (from a pattern in a Japanese magazine called Cotton Time). The sole is made from flannel with a cute picture of Noah's ark. I told my daughter I was planning to give it to our neighbour's second granchild who is due to be born in November. Daughter asked whether the baby's a girl. Huh? Oh, I forgot to ask, so I'll have to make something else just in case.