Endpaper Tam

Notes: I cast on 160st and knit the same rib used in the mitts. Then I increased 1 st for every 2 to get 240 st. Changing to the larger needles, I divided the stitches into 4 sections of pattern with the last st a purl to emulate the mitt’s ‘seam’ st.

When I ran out of red yarn I knit a green round, then purled a round, then decreased for the top with paired decreases either side of two stitches, at eight points every four rounds.

Since the yarn is thin and soft, this is a very slouchy tam. But that’s the way I like ‘em!

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I have to confess, I feel both guilty and amused that so many commenters have guessed the pattern I mentioned disliking last post. Though I guess I’m only guessing that they guessed correctly. Like Lynne, I’ve wondered how the pattern could be tweaked to make it more flattering, then I remember that I don’t like knitting lace and have plenty of other patterns I’m dying to knit or crochet.

Most of all I love Jessica’s ploy of queueing ugly patterns to torment her daughter. You are my kind of evil.

I started Swizzle yesterday after winding my test ball of Bendy Alpaca into three cakes so I can knit the yarn tripled. After only a few hours knitting I ran out of yarn just two rows before finishing the back. It felt almost naughty to be knitting that fast! But now I have to wait until my order arrives before I can continue. So patience must follow instant gratification.

The first Froot Loops sock grew a bit. It’s neither a fast or slow pattern. Neither too fiddly or too boring. But I’ve got a hankering for a big project now that Swizzle is on hold. Not sure I’m quite up to starting Alex yet. But the Inca Jacket… hmm. That is tempting.

Fadulous!

Y’know, I could write yet another update, or I could actually write about something. So here goes:

Lately I’ve been thinking about knitting fashions, and how wierd they can be.

Used to be I’d note that a pattern was appearing on a lot of blogs lately, and that’s how I’d pick up on the latest fad. Generally I prefer to avoid fads just because I hate being a ‘follower’, but I have crumbled occasionally (Pomatomus, Fetching, to name a few). But there’s a big grey line between something being a fad or a really good pattern, and whether a pattern sits closer to the fad or not-fad side of it probably depends on individual taste.

A few years back there was a pattern being knit up everywhere called Klaralund. Noro yarns were new on the scene and this was THE pattern to knit.

But my problem with this pattern was that it was ugly. The stripes went around the body in one big tube, making even the most svelt model look waistless and frumpy. The stripes over the shoulders and around the arms had a touch of the Mitchelin man about them.

I had a fancy to rewrite the pattern with the stripes in both sections going the other way, and call it Dnularalk, but thankfully I was too broke to afford the yarn, and there were no similarly dyed cheaper yarns on the market.

Nowadays the place for fad watching is Ravelry, particulary on the ‘friends activity’ page. This feature is a devilish one, as most of the time my ‘friends’ have excellent taste and my list of favourited patterns keeps growing and growing.

But I’ve been seeing one very ugly garment appearing there a lot lately. One that has shapeless elbow-length sleeves that look like wide cardboard tubes. One that has a plain bodice from shoulder to bust, where a curtain of lace begins right on the widest part of the bust line and hangs down so the wearer looks like they’re that size all the way down. Honestly, if you wanted to look like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, in drag, this would be your perfect project.

But judging from Ravelry, it’s very, very popular. And it’s been favourited among those knitters and crocheters I’ve friended. I don’t want to offend friends, or anyone who might love this pattern, or have made it, so I’m not going to mention the name of the pattern. And heck, I’ve knit some things that were ugly, gave me a wierd body shape suggesting uneven boobs or didn’t realise were meant for supermodels with eating disorders, enormous fake boobs and coathanger shoulders over the years.

Does anyone else look at popular patterns, shake their head and wonder? Any particular one that you just don’t ‘get’?

I may look back and cringe at my love of slouchy tams in the 08s and wonder how I could have spent so long knitting up the Endpaper Tam:

Maybe it was the cashmere yarn fumes. Yes, it must have been that. And that stranded pattern is lovely. (I stand chastised by the girls in the Doubleknit podcast on my misuse of the term ‘fair isle’.)

I’m certainly not immune to pattern saturation in Ravelry. Here’s that Robin’s Egg Blue Hat everyone’s been knitting, sans button.

The end at the crown is hanging out because I wanted to show how much yarn was left when I finished. I’d frogged the Wedgie Beanie to knit this, and it turned out the Robin’s Egg Blue Hat used almost exactly the same amount of yarn.

It just needs a nice button, and I reckon I’ll find one at The Button Lady’s stall at Camberwell Market.

I’ve started another pair of socks:

Froot Loop from Knitty.com. I haven’t abandoned the Spiral Socks. It’s just that there’s a stretch of stocking stitch to do that I’m saving for travel knitting.

I didn’t bother taking a pic of the baby blanket. It looks like the last pic, only with more stripes. But I have snapped a swatch:

For Swizzle. First I tried Bendigo Alpaca doubled, then tripled, but it still wasn’t thick enough. As a last resort I washed the swatch. And it dried exactly on gauge. So I’ve ordered more yarn from Bendy.

I tell you what, at a gauge of 9 st to 10cm, this is going to be one fast project!

I Love Patonyle Socks

They’re so cute! I love them!

Pattern: A Pair of Hearts socks by Donna of Random Knits.
Yarn: Patonyle (of course).
Tweaking: Reduced stitches to 56. Added another heart repeat to leg, and needed another on the foot to fit my ice skate feet.

These were fun, easy and fast. At the moment my preferred sort of sock to knit is one with a little detail that keeps it more interesting than stocking stitch, in solid or semi solid yarn, and these fit that bill perfectly. I was going to knit them in burgundy, but I already have a lot of burgundy coloured sock but not many in white or natural.

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Still working away at the baby blanket and Endpaper Tam. Both seem to be taking forever, so I may end up throwing in something short and sweet to break the tension. Oh, and I finished weaving the Eucalyptus Placemats, but haven’t done the stitchwork yet. I’ll hold off photographing them until that’s done.

Isn’t if funny how when you take time off between one work project and another you seem to have less time than usual? I’ve been rushing about in a mad catching up spree, and spending very little time reading knitting blogs. Or blogging. But I’m sure as soon as I start the next work project I’ll be back to my old routine.

A Crafty Routine

Every evening begins the same at the moment. First I set a podcast going and get five rows of the baby blanket done:

I had to rip eight rows when I realised it was starting to get a little trapezoid. But I think I have a handle on how to stop the stitch count growing now, and I’m getting faster at finishing my five rows.

Then I knit a little on the I Love Patonyle socks. I finished the first one the other night:

Here’s an example of how wierd my feet are. I had to reduce the cast on by eight stitches, but add an extra heart to the length of the foot. Yep, I have ice skates for feet.

Then, if I’m feeling up to it and don’t have tv shows on I need to look at (and to be honest, with the Olympics on there’s not been much teev watching going on around here – not really something that floats our boat), I work on the Endpaper Tam:

Which is fiddly and slow going. I can manage no more than about five rounds at a time. But I love how it looks and feels. I’m halfway through the leftover red yarn, so hopefully I’ll get a decent length of pattern before having to start the green top.

I’ve also been working away on the Eucalyptus Placemats:

Five done and one more to go. The yarn has been full of delightful surprises, shifting colour constantly. The first placemat is half dark and half light, but I don’t mind. I love the randomness of them. I’m thinking of stitching some leaf outlines on them in the linen warp thread – a different leaf shape for each mat.

I’ve also been reading the Eco Colour book I bought back in June and getting inspired to try natural dyeing for myself. There are so many plants in that book that I have around my house. But I’m especially keen to try eucalyptus dyeing, as there seems to be a great range of colour that can be achieved and the process is so simple. Yesterday I bought an enamel cook pot from an op shop for making the dye in. I need to find a strainer, muslin, and our camp stove. And, of course, to gather leaves from the lemon gum that hangs over our drive and provides me with heaps of free mulch.

Who knows, it might help to clear my sinuses at the same time.

Pattern for a Yarn; Yarn For a Pattern

There has been more book aquisition! The beau and I dropped into Borders on the weekend. My hopes of finding Vogue Knitting were dashed, but then I’m not sure I want to pay the inflated airmail price anyway. In the knitting books section I found Knitting New Scarves. Though there aren’t any scarves in this book that I’m itching to knit, the techniques are intriguing and give me ideas.

The other two books here I ordered from The Wool Baa. The Patons Inca book I bought because I have lots of the yarn and I want to make a jacket. There are two patterns in here I like:

Close to what I was thinking of, but I don’t like the way the collar sits around the neck so I’ll omit the shaping there. In fact, I might also pick up stitches and knit sideways rather than knit a separate collar and sew it on. That’s a lot of sewing. I’m also thinking I might knit a size larger than I normally would, so it isn’t so pulling-open-ey. But that’ll depend on whether I have enough yarn.

I like this, but I’m not really into wide belts, and I suspect you’d need one to pull this off. However, it did occur to me that I could knit in a fake belt, in a stitch pattern that might pull the waist in a little. Hmm.

There’s enough of this yarn to knit both jackets. Ironically, the colours of the two batches of Inca I have are brown and red, but I’d have to knit the longer jacket in brown because there isn’t enough of the red.

The other pattern book was double the price, but contains a pattern I’ve been lusting after for over a year. Alex:

In this case, the pattern came before the yarn rather than the other way around. I’m hoping to knit this in the dark blue possum merino I bought in New Zealand, as it seems to knit up more like a 10ply/aran than a 8ply/dk.

Unfortunately I don’t much like any of the other patterns in the book. In fact, some of them are downright frumpy and ugly.

Both of these projects require the right buttons. I can see some button shopping in my future. In the meantime, I’ve been working on my uncharacteristically long list of wips:

The baby blanket grows slowly.

The first I Love Patonyle has sprouted a heel.

And the Endpaper Tam has burst into colour.

(Okay, enough with the garden references.)

Starsky

A long time obsession fulfilled at last:

Pattern: Starsky from Knitty.com
Yarn: Naturally Naturelle Aran 10ply

When I first saw this pattern I liked it, but didn’t love it at first sight like I did Tubey. But as my love of Tubey waned in the face of the impossible task of finding a non wool yarn substitute that was stretchy enough, and wouldn’t cost the earth, Starsky kept catching my eye. A bit like lusting after the handsome guy who won’t look at you twice only to realise his best friend is actually a much better prospect.

(Not that I’ve ever been in that position. And it strikes me that using men as an analogy for knitting patterns is rather wierd and a bit scary.)

Anyway, I made these changes:

I rejigged the ribbing so it was symmetrical and matched up, as best it could, with the cable pattern.

I knit the body in one piece.

I picked up stitches around the armholes and knit the sleeves top down.

There’s heaps of yarn left over. The meters per gram must be a heck of a lot bigger than the specified yarn. I could knit a vest. Or lots and lots and lots of Calorimetrys.

New Yarn, New Priorities

Yesterday afternoon my order from Bendy arrived:

Three balls of Cotton in snow for the Musical Baby Blanket, four cones of Classic 3ply to use as warp, a ball of Alpaca in raven to try out for Swizzle, and a ‘test’ ball of the new Allegro in amethyst.

My friend’s baby show is in 16 days. I did some calculations last night and decided there’s not much chance I’ll finish it in time. I’ll post it over to her later. But it’ll have to be my main priority once Starsky is done, though I’ll still work on the socks when I need a break.

Last night I finished the collar of Starsky and started on the belt. Oh my. That belt is going to take a while. Probably no longer than a sleeve, but it’s going to feel a lot longer.

In the meantime, I have the jacket soaking downstairs, and will pop down in a minute to spin it out and block it. You have to work out the postion of the belt loops by putting the jacket on and seeing where the belt wants to sit, and since a wash makes this yarn relax and bloom it really needs to be blocked before I position the loops.

I have to admit, I’m really excited about this one. I’ve been wanting that jacket for so long and really enjoyed knitting it.

Easy Sock Knitting

Last night I took a break from Starsky to knit on socks. This cute pattern, ‘A Pair of Hearts’, was created recently by Donna of Random Knits and when she made it available yesterday I decided to cast on straight away.

So far an easy, fun knit. I’ve reduced the number of stitches to 56, and because the hearts are to one side of the foot enlarging or reducing makes almost no difference to the pattern.

I’m not usually this spontaneous. But lately I’ve got so many sock pattern lined up and I’ve been unable to decide which to start. It was going to be Froot Loops, then the Edelweiss Socks, then Coriliolisleiolis (or whatever it is) from the Cat Bordhi book. Each time before I got a chance to cast on something another pattern would come and grab my attention. And what I really wanted was something simple enough to be knit in waiting rooms or the car.

The other reason I was hesitating to start the Cori-ahstuffitletscallthem-Spiral Socks is that to use the New Pathways book you have to go to the back and do some sums and measurements to get your base numbers and I just hadn’t roused enough enthusiasm to. And you have to work out gauge, too. For every yarn you pick up. Urg.

But after knitting a few repeats of the Pair of Hearts socks (which I’m calling the ‘I Love Patonyle’ Socks) I realised that I could work it all out using Patonyle as a base yarn. More than half my stash is Patonyle, and if I pick up another yarn I’ll just compare the wraps per inch and adjust to compensate for any differences.

So I measured up gauge and whipped out my foot measurements and got stuck into doing the math. All was fine until I got to the toe length equasion, where I ended up with a 20cm toe. After some frustration and puzzlement, I finally worked out that a part of the equasion was in inches. It didn’t say it was in inches, and there are inch to cm conversions throughout the rest of the instructions to encourage you to let your guard down. As you can imagine, there was some cursing at this point.

When that was all sorted, I flipped to the sock pattern. Which told me to go to the back of the book for instuctions on a specific toe. Which then told me to go to the front of the book for instructions of a specific cast on. At this point I was muttering more curses, thinking I could get the book spiral bound, and wishing I had a truckload of post-it notes.

Following the instructions, I ended up with four needles bound together with six stitches with four stitch markers between them.

It was like knitting with a cranky echidna with piercings.

Toe up socks need not be this difficult and tortuous. I began to suspect this was some conspiracy to set new sock knitters on the 2 circs bandwagon, from which they’ll forever look down on dpns as backward and difficult.

Well, I’m not a new knitter, it’s downright impossible to get long enough 2.25 mm non-metal circs in Australia (and I still can’t bring myself to buy anything KnitPicks), and heck, I like knitting with dpns. So in the next round I got rid of the stitch markers and moved two lots of stitches to one needle. The increases are logical and I find it easier to remember where the start of a row is with three needles.

At last all was going smoothly. By then it was 11pm and my back was aching from hunching over the book and my work, so I packed it all away and went to bed, content in the knowledge those socks were behaving themselves – for now.

Hungry? Here are some cookies I made yesterday using a different recipe:

The beau found a couple of fruit flavourings so I tried them out in the icing. Wow. Those things are mostly alcohol! But they’re very strong, so I doubt you’d want to drink them.

More on Knitting Daily TV

A couple of blogs I read have mentioned the drop off in comments lately. Now that I scroll back, there’s a lot of zero’s below my posts lately, but I try not to worry when this happens. StatCounter tells me if people are visiting. If I worry too much about comments I start writing in a way that I think will generate them. I also start making smaller projects because I can usually be sure of a comment or two for a FO post. Or I go to the other extreme: I stop trying to write well, which is worse – just because there are no comments doesn’t mean there are no readers.

And to be honest, I’m not a regular commenter. But I do love reading blogs and try to find ones that are well written and updated regularly. When I write blog posts I’m writing for someone like me, who doesn’t necessarily comment that much.

Anyway… I though I should mention that I’ve watched three more episodes of Knitting Daily TV, and the show is finding its feet. I decided to note how much time the dvd player said had passed before the ads finished and it was only one minute. It just felt like 10-15! (Probably because of the music.)

The hosts have gained confidence and seem to be enjoying themselves now. I must say, Eunny Jang suits tv presenting very well. One of the other presenters comes across a little spaced out sometimes. And there’s a wierd bit where one says “I hope you come back” to her guest in an almost apologetic way that seems to suggest a guest wouldn’t want to! But overall they’re looking more comfortable.

The projects? I’m still a bit perplexed by the format. There’s lots of instruction given to very simple projects, then they’ll skim over more complicated ones (with the good old ‘the pattern is on the website’ conclusion). The strangest part is where a host and guest demonstrate a project together, but while at first it seems like the guest is demonstrating to the host, then the host takes over and is demonstrating to the guest.

Have I learned anything yet? Um, I’m afraid I haven’t yet. But I’ve found that since I don’t need to watch the really basic stuff, and they only skim over the complicated stuff, I can knit at the same time and rewind if I think something is worth examining again. It’s a nice show to watch and listen to while working, and I can see it might prove to be a source of inspiration.

The show has potential. I’m interested to see how it develops.

Endpaper Mitts and Musical Baby Bib

Yes, two posts in one day!

A friend’s baby shower is coming up. I’d planned to make her a baby blanket, but I’m not sure I’ll have time. And I don’t even have the yarn yet. It’s on order from Bendigo Woollen Mills. But I already had enough yarn to make a baby bib to test out my idea:

I have to admit, I’m having second thoughts. Stitching those musical notes on took a lot longer than I expected, and reminded me that I hate sewing and aren’t very good at embroidery. But I have a few alternative ideas now – something along the lines of scaling up the stripes and crocheting notes to sew on instead – to think about before the yarn arrives.

In the meantime I figured I’d better get some existing projects out of the way.

These Endpaper Mitts are amazingly soft and I love the colour combination. I love it so much I’m thinking of making a hat to match. Probably a tam, with a green brim and top, and the pattern repeated around the middle. My cat approves of the mitts:

Last night I picked up stitches around Starsky’s armholes and knit the sleeve caps:

I knit the sleeves straight onto the garment two different ways before. First I did it by picking up the number of stitches the instructions say to bind off at the top of the sleeve, then picking up stitches each side as I work back and forth. The second method I learned is the one I’m using now, and makes it easier to pick up stitches evenly. You pick up stitches around the sleeve hole – the number of stitches at the widest part of the sleeve (the underarm). Starting at the top as before, you knitting back and forth, turning after working an extra stitch (or two or three to match the decreases per row in the instructions) each row.

It’s much easier to do this if the sleeves are plain. It’s a bit harder if they’re ribbed, and grows more difficult the more complicated the stitch pattern is. If the stitch pattern can’t be reversed for knitting from the top down, forget it. You may as well knit them bottom up and sew them in.

So far Starksy looks as if it’s coming out rather small, but I’m not worried. The swatch grew a bit when it was washed. And blocking will also smooth out and widen the cabled areas, too.