Beanie With A Brim

I finished this yesterday afternoon, after posting the list of fos for the year, so I had to go back and add a photo to the montage.

I’ve had the itch to knit a hat with a brim for a while now. I based the pattern on one in my old Patons books of hats, scarves and gloves.

The original has a lace leaf pattern. I changed it to a 2×2 cable twist with one purl between. After one repeat I added extra purl stitches between the cables, because I was hoping this would come out all poofy – something like a rasta hat or beret. But it turned out to be a snug fit. I didn’t dislike it that way, so I just ‘went with the flow’.

I left off the pom pom, too. The yarn is Bendigo Rustic 12ply in ‘midnight tweed’. I used some plastic lattice sheeting for tapestry work – bought at Lindcraft – to stiffen the brim.

Being an old fashioned pattern, the instructions are for flat knitting. Naturally I changed it to one knit in the round. I think if I did this again I’d also do a provisional cast on rather than have to stitch down the ribbing. I’d also pick up the stitches for the brim – and use a short row method to avoid seams at the sides of it.

Ah, seams. The things we learn out of the desire to avoid them!

Finished Objects of 2007

I’ve decided on a Knitting New Years Resolution. It’s actually quite shocking. I’m resolving to… knit less in 2008.

Why? Well, I knit a LOT in 2007. The reason for it was the house extension stress. I knit so much because it relieved some of the stress. And I was able to because my back wasn’t sore from working at the computer all day. The interruptions and distractions that meant I got less work done also meant my back was healthier in the evenings, when I do most of my knitting.

I’d really rather not have the stress that led to the knitting, and I’d really REALLY need to be getting some work done FAST, which should mean less knitting – at least in the first half of the year. Do I want to knit less? Well, not really. Especially not when there’s all that lovely stash to knit.

So, looking back at 2007, what did come off my needles, hooks and loom?

Nine garments – three vests, four cardys and two jumpers.

Eighteen pairs of socks. That’s not including the Flow Motion socks, which were frogged, and the socks I reknit the feet of for Dad. I might finish the beau’s latest pair by the end of the year, too. We’ll see.

A felted basket, a bag, six headscarves/headbands, one Totoro, ten hats/beanies, four scarves, five gloves, a pair of pillows and a 70s costume.

And I wove three scarves, two blankets, one table runner and three hand towels.

I’m amazed by the quantity of fos. Did I really make all this? No wonder my sock drawer is overflowing!

Favourite fo: The Sideways Spencer. It looks great, fits well and was a lot of fun to knit. The Sunrise Circle Jacket comes a close second.

Least favourite fo: I don’t particularly like the sari silk pillows. Too novelty-yarn-ish.

Favourite yarns used in 2007: Supreme Possum Merino, Socks That Rock, Jitterbug, Patons Inca.

Least favourite yarns used: Vero, Noro Silk Garden and Mega Boots Stretch contained knots followed by bad colour changes. Vero is also scratchy and appears to be felting and shrinking with wear! Regia Cotton Surf produced saggy, slightly scratchy socks.

Favourite patterns: Sideways Spencer, Sunrise Circle Jacket, Tomato, Kureopatoras Snake Scarf, Butterfly Bows socks.

Most successful design effort: Chocolate socks, Inca Vest, Viking Tree Rune Hat.

Biggest design stuff up: the Goldilocks Beanie came out smaller than I intended.

Best recycling effort: turning the Ribble Socks into wrist warmers and fingerless mitts.

Here are the links (so I can take them out of the sidebar):

Inca Vest
Chocolate Socks
Don’t Sweat It Socks
Felted Basket
Three Headscarves
Crochet Totoro
Wild Things Socks
Goldilocks Beanie
Sunset Hat
Manly Mega Socks
High Verocity Jumper
Stripey Crochet Hat
Stripey Crochet Bag
Purple Obsession Scarf
Grey Kimono Top
Banana Runna
This Ones For Me scarf
Blacksmith Socks
Violet Femme
Scrappy Socks #1
NSG Snake Scarf
Grease is the Word Beanies
Rosey Toes Socks
Purple Curly Whirly
Viking Tree Rune Hat
Sideways Spencer
Hello Possum Hat & Scarf
Holey Moley Fingerless Mitts
Mum’s Black Crochet Hat
Lazy Rib Fingerless Mitts
Handspun Mistake Rib Scarf
Re-soleables for the Beau
Mega Red Socks
Red Scrappy Socks
Sunrise Circle jacket
Ladylike Lace Gloves
Recycled Ribble Wristwarmers
Recycled Ribble Mittens
SC#1 Simple Ribbed Sock
Twirly Tam
Sari Silk Pillows
SC#2 Mosaic Socks
Black Crochet Headscarf
SC#3 Sideways Socks
Red Blanket
Gum Tree Blanket
SC#5 Butterfly Bows
Simple Garter Vest
SC#6 William Street Socks
Blue & Green Headbands
White Diamonds Scarf
Quick & Dirty Socks
Election Headband
SC#7 Hedera Socks
Mum’s Hand Towels
Diagonal Stitch Cardy
70s costume
Beanie With A Brim

Stash Flashing

It’s that time of year. The time for looking back. The time for considering goals for the new year. The time for flashing stash…

This is how my stash looked at the end of June, after six months of knitting from the stash:

This is how it looks today:

Probably even larger than what it was at this time last year. But this doesn’t bother me. You see, my aim with Knit From Your Stash was to clear out some old yarn and bring in better yarn. That’s where a yarn diet isn’t like a food diet. You don’t get rid of fat so that you can then put on better fat. (Well, you might try if you could decide where the new fat went…)

Major stash enhancement came in the form of a gifted stash from a deceased knitter, a trip to the Australian Country Spinners mill shop, a shopping trip in Canberra, order from the Blue Mountains yarn store, and ‘rewarding’ Bendigo Woollen Mills for finally setting up a website.

The Breakdown:

1. Cotton stash: larger mainly because of the adopted stash and leftovers from projects.

2. The varigated sock yarn stash: shrinking.

3. Solid and mostly solid sock yarns: increasing, but currently on hold during Sockless Summer.

4. 5ply Bluebell stash: adopted stash added to it. Used mainly for crocheting. Might cull in future.

5. 4ply and thinner stash: warp yarns being added to the last remaining laceweight. Still a potential source of culling.

6. 8ply stash: one fair isle project ready to go, plus some baby alpaca for a vest and a scarf/hat.

7. More 8ply: one cabled cardy project ready to go, plus a packet of blue 8ply

8. More 8ply: misc yarn

9. Bendigo stash: lots of Classic – including yarn for Sweetheart and Neon for a scarf

10. Handmade stash: some of my handspun plus handdyed 8ply.

11. Thick and fancy stash: 12ply, bamboo, silk, boucle and more.

12. Thick and neutral: including Naturally Sensation (10ply), Merino et Soie

13. Inca stash: two large lots in browns and blues.

14. Handspun naturals: undyed, and includes warp yarn for a jacket project.

As always, I’ve left out the small batch of acrylic I keep for craft purposes, and the tub of odd balls leftover from projects. I don’t really consider them stash, because it’s more likely I won’t use them than I will.

This stash examination brings up a few questions:

Did I stick to my stash manifesto? Well, I did buy yarn thinner than 8ply, but it was warp yarn so I think I can excuse that. I also bought small amounts of yarn with the intention of knitting scarves and hats, but only time will tell if I was deluding myself. And though I managed to ignore yarn bins in op shops most of the time, I did succumb once. But mostly I’ve stuck to the manifesto relatively closely.

Will I try to knit from my stash again? Probably, but not yet. I still have to knit the projects in my Knit From Your Books challenge. But after that I might, because it’s a good way to get myself to knit the projects waiting in my stash. And keeping the stash restricted those tubs would be good, too.

Since I’m not spinning, what going to happen to the fibre stash? I have a few ideas, including felting projects and weaving with roving. And I might still pick up the spindle now and then.

All in all, I’m much happier with the contents of my stash now than I was this time last year. Only trouble with looking through it is I want to start about six of the projects waiting in it.

Our Tank Filleth Over

This hasn’t been a good week for knit blogging.

Firstly, it’s been the first interruption-free, tradie-free week we’ve had for… longer than I can remember. So I actually been getting somewhere workwise. That can make my back a bit twingy, so I’m keeping my knitting or crochet time in the evenings short so I don’t add to the strain.

Secondly, all I’ve been working on is the costume for the 70s party. The Woodstock Duster just needs some ties and the ends sewn in, the cap is done, and the ‘flares’ to add to the legs of my old jeans are done but still need to be sewn in. I don’t want to take any photos until it’s finished.

Thirdly, we’ve had so many thunderstorms here I’ve been using the laptop on batteries so I don’t have to keep turning the computer on and off, and the laptop doesn’t have a good program for editing photos.

Fourthly, and with so much cloud and rain, the light hasn’t been great for taking photos anyway.

Yesterday we had a downpour so sudden and ferocious that the storm water drains were overwhelmed, our new guttering overflowed (it has little holes to prevent overflow going into the roof, thankfully), water lapped up against the side of the house and spilled into the kitchen a little, and we discovered that our extension leaks in three places.

Our new water tank filled so quickly the overflow wasn’t coping and it was pouring back out of the filter. But we have a full tank now! Woohoo!

Today we popped into an op shop to see if we could find costumey bits for the beau. Instead I found three balls of inca in a nice blue and a pair of wooden-soled cloglike shoes that’ll be perfect for my costume. As I plonked the yarn down in front of the stash I realised it’s nearly time for my regular six montly stash photo.

But it’ll have to wait until closer to the New Year. Or at least until this strange warm yet rainy weather passes and the light is better for photos.

Two FOs for the price of one!

I have two finished objects for you today. First, there’s the Diagonal Stitch Cardy. I finally sewed in the zipper this morning.

I like it, but it’s not quite what it pretends to be in the book. The photos with the pattern suggest a structural rigidity that I can’t imagine this yarn (Rowan All Season’s Cotton) ever achieving. I’ve probably knitted a half-size too large, which doesn’t help, but I don’t think a tighter fitting garment would have been any different. Cotton like this is drapey.

That said, I like it and I can see myself getting a lot of use out of it. Lightweight cardigans always come in handy during Melbourne summers and the neutral ‘cookie’ colourway will go with almost anything. And probably make me hungry all the time…

The second finished object I photographed is Tomato:

I gave up on the camera timer and went for the old fashioned ‘pic in the mirror’ shot. As you can see, I got three-quarter length sleeves out of the yarn. After trying it on I decided I liked them like that. And it gives me the excuse to make wrist warmers.

The thicker cotton (Blue Sky Alpaca Dyed Organic Cotton) and tighter gauge means this garment holds its shape very well. The designer suggests ways to raise the neckline if knitters find it too daring, but on my chest there’s not much chance it’ll scandalize anyone! Because of the heaviness of the yarn I doubt I’ll ever wear it on days much warmer than low 20s, but it is nice to have a jumper I can wear against my skin for once.

So that’s two of my Knit From Your Books projects done, which means I’m halfway through. I’m having second thoughts about the Jo Sharp pattern I’ve chosen, and I don’t want to tackle the Snapping Turtle Skirt during summer, so I’ll probably start Sweetheart from Domiknitrix next.

Of course, now that I’ve spent an hour struggling with timers and lighting in the attempt to come up with some half-decent photos, the sun comes out.

Pleasant Distractions

I’m not feeling too great today and it’s probably all my own fault. Too much crochet on the Woodstock Duster (it grows so fast it’s addictive!) has got my neck all out of whack and hurting. Too much rich restaurant, take-away and party food has got me an upset stomach. Too many late nights aren’t helping, either.

Tomato is finally dry. It’s raining. Both of these things are good, except that the latter means getting a decent photograph of the former will be too hard. Especially for a sick chocolatetrudi.

Kate_Knits_a_Bit of Knights [Don’t] Do Knit asked me for more details of my knitting Christmas list item #3, so I’ll distract myself by day-dreaming up the perfect sock knitting bag.

Firstly it would be just the right size for a sock project, containing needles, needle protector, sock in progress, one sock (for when I’m working on the second), pattern (folded) and yarn. It would be self-supporting, as in it won’t fall over ever time I tugged on the yarn. It would have a little loop or handle that I could slip around my wrist if I had to pick it up in a hurry.

Secondly it would be made of a fabric that the sock needles couldn’t poke through, robust enough to survive rubbing up against the rest of my handbag contents, and in a colour that wouldn’t show scuffs and dirt from living in my handbag or travelling about. Like a deep red, blue or green. Or even navy, chocolate or black.

Thirdly it would have a simple stylishness, whether plain or patterned. I’m not into flowers (except roses), hearts or girly girl sorts of things, but I do like simple graphic patterns or prints. In my imagination my perfect sock knitting bag has little ball and knitting needle designs on it, elegant cats, stars, or even skull and crossbones for a bit of piratey fun.

Now that my imagination is all stirred up, I can’t help wistfully picturing a little red bag with white edging and handle, with minis printed all over it. (The car, that is, not the skirt!) I seriously doubt there’s any fabric like that in the world, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

What would your perfect knitting bag look like?

Drop Everything

I was hoping to post a picture of a finished, blocked and dried Tomato yesterday, but my washing machine decided it wouldn’t spin. I suspect the machine has some safety mechanism to stop it spinning if the contents put it off balance. And since the Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Organic Cotton took in and hold a LOT of water, making it extraordinary heavy, that the machine just couldn’t balance itself with only the hefty garment inside.

So I had to squish Tomatoe between towels and it it dry the slow way.

In the meantime, all planned projects were pushed aside when I realised New Years Eve was only a few weeks away, and I still hadn’t made anything for it. The theme is Life On Mars – the 70s show rather than the biological potential of the planet, though I wouldn’t be surprised if a few aliens turned up.

How can I go to a 70s themed party and not indulge in a bit of crochet? So I whipped out an old issue of Interweave Crochet and ducked into my new local Lindcraft and bought some el-cheapo cotton acrylic.

I also whipped out an old pair of worn out jeans I’d been keeping for a sewing project, and I plan to cut the seams of the legs and crochet in some panels to make them into the grooviest of flares.

Who knows, if there’s time left over, I might whip up a bikini to match. We’ll see.

Thinking Wishful

Caroline from Destroy My Sweater posted a knitterly wish list for Santa on Sunday, which got me thinking. What would I wish for?

At first I found myself listing things like ‘more time and energy’ and ‘never to see or hear from the builder again’ and ‘for bloggers and podcasters to keep blogging and podcasting so I don’t get bored working through Christmas/New Year’. But I don’t think that’s the sort of thing I’m supposed to be listing. So…

1. A beginner weaving class. The Handweavers and Spinners Guild are running one in January but I can’t make it, so it would be great if they ran it again during the year.

2. A friendly local source of 100% silk yarn that comes in great colours, a variety of weights, knits up well and comes at a price that doesn’t equal third world debt.

3. Bags for sock projects, so I can just pick one up and pop it into my handbag when leaving the house.

Spinning Meet

Yesterday’s spinning meet was a lot of fun. There was spinning, there was knitting, there was weaving, there was chat and instruction and yummy baked goods, including a gluten-free lemon cake baked by Rebecca that was to die for.

I took my weaving loom. But I didn’t weave the herringbone hand towel. After finishing the warping on Saturday I decided to make a start on the weaving, and next thing I knew I’d finished it. So I warped up the loom again on Rebecca’s kitchen table and made another towel.

This time a plain weave green one with just four white stripes. I expected that by weaving a mostly green towel I’d use up the yarn, but no, there’s plenty left. Maybe enough for two more towels.

I told my fellow spinning groupies that I was going to corrupt them, and turn them all into weavers. How they laughed! (Well, chuckled anyway.) But by the end of the afternoon they were impressed by how a towel could be whipped up in a few hours, and at least one mentioned aloud the possiblity of inspecting some looms at Wondoflex.

In the meantime, some amazingly thin, consistent pretty singles were being spun up, and some beautiful handspun was being knit. Helen, who makes and sells adorable little beading kits, gave us all a kit each. Mine is a cute pair of sandal earings that I might convert to stitch markers as I use them more than I wear earings. I’ll post a pic when I’ve made them.

Thanks must go to Danielle, who got us all organised. And I have to admit a teensy bit of anxiety that, having decided I’m no spinner, I might find I didn’t fit in. But I didn’t need to worry. I think we’re all so curious and adventurous in so many different fibrey, crafty directions that there’s still a heap we have in common, or can introduce each other to. Which has given me other ideas. Like hosting a dyeing day.

Last night I worked on Tomato…

I haven’t been posting pictures because, well, it looked a bit of a mess. The top down construction leaves the neckline all curly and unfinished, and I had both sleeves and the bottom hem on needles. And I’ve been a bit indecisive.

You see, the yarn is too heavy for a t-shirt, so I want to lengthen the sleeves. But I’m not sure how far I can stretch the yarn. I thought I might make the hem, neck ribbing and cuffs black. But then I began to wonder if I might get away with not buying more yarn and knitting 3/4 length sleeves. I’ve been swapping around, knitting one bit then another, as I tried to decide, and squeezing the last two balls of yarn in a vain attempt to guess how much longer they’ll last.

Last night I decided to knit the hem and neck ribbing, then see how long I can make the sleeves. Once I have run out of yarn I’ll try the jumper on and see if I like the sleeve length. If I don’t, I’ll see if the shop has more of the colourway.

I have to say, though, I’m really liking this form of top-down construction. I bought Knitting from the Top Down a while back but never got around to reading it, but now my interest has been renewed. Now if I could just find the book…