Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

Bearded men in knitted things

May 3, 2011

I’ve always been rather a fan of facial hair on men, and am fond of saying that I’ve never known a man who looked less attractive with a beard (of some sort). Being also a fan of knitting and knitwear it seems like the obvious combination should perhaps have suggested itself earlier.

In any case it did finally occur to me, and if you’re similarly inclined, head over to my new Tumblr, which is entirely devoted to bearded men in knitted things. Bliss. And every Tuesday I’ll be featuring some of this eye candy here.

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Harriet the hedgehog

April 30, 2011

Meet Harriet, who was knitted as a present for my friend Alex. Alex loves animals of all kinds and hedgehogs especially.

She was made using the pattern Smith by Ysolda Teague. This is a wonderful pattern. The construction is so clever but so easy to perform, and the finished product is nothing short of adorable. I even learnt how to embroider a french knot for the eyes and managed a pretty good one without too much trouble.

The brown yarn is a commercial dk that’s been sitting in my stash for ages (Cleckheaton, I think) and the white is the Bond-Corriedale I learnt to spin with. It makes for a beautifully soft and snuggly hedgehog body, perfect to cuddle up to. Actually this may only be the second time I’ve knitted with my own handspun—I’ll have to get cracking on that.

Harriet is ravelled here, and is busy starting a new life in Japan with Alex.

A purple key sweater

April 29, 2011

Made using this pattern.

This is adorable and I definitely need to make more!

Cabled and green

April 14, 2011

Remember that box of yarn that came in the post last November? Some of it has become a cardigan.

This is Metro by Connie Chang Chinchio, a pattern I fell in love with as soon as I saw it in Twist Collective. Those three-quarter sleeves! That understated cabling, growing from ribbing, flowering briefly, and dissolving back unto that whence it came! The seamless construction! That casual-but-pretty, throw-on-with-any-outfit charm! Perfect.

And then there was that WEBS special of free postage for Knitting Daily subscribers, where they forgot to add ‘US addresses only’. Forty dollars worth of international postage at no charge? Yes, please. I wanted to make this a trans-seasonal cardigan and so set out in search of a good wool/cotton blend yarn (having read somewhere that fibre composed of 50% wool and 50% cotton is greater than the sum of its parts). A user review pretty much made the decision for me: ‘Just buy it. You won’t be disappointed.’ And the winner is Spud & Chloe Sweater.

That anonymous reviewer was totally right. This yarn would be a bargain at twice the price. When you’re knitting it feels like wool, soft, bouncy and without the crispness that cotton and cotton-blend yarns often have, but it’s cool enough to wear in spring and autumn. And according to the manufacturers you can machine wash and tumble dry it (though of course I’ve no plans for any such sacrilege). It’s marketed as a children’s yarn and most of the colourways are pretty strong, but if you can go with that it’s amazing. I would definitely use this again and again.

Knitting such a beautiful, cleverly-constructed pattern from such fantastic yarn was a joy. I hate seaming and tend to choose patterns that allow me to avoid it, but raglans often don’t flatter broad shoulders. Metro’s sleeves are picked up around the armhole, the cap shaped with short rows, and the sleeve worked in the round. I’d heard of this sleeve technique and was anxious to try it. Now having done it twice (once for each sleeve, see) I am convinced this is the only way to knit sleeves. Ever.

The only modifications I made to this pattern were to graft the shoulders instead of using a three-needle bind off, and to knit the sleeves to fit my long arms instead of to the written measurement. I’d be very tempted to make this again, and the only thing I’d change is the size. You’ll notice it looks fairly snug on me, which is a result of the evil gauge gremlins changing my gauge between swatch and garment (again). However the difference wasn’t enough to make it unwearable so I decided not to frog.

Pretty damn awesome, if I do say so myself. Everything about this was good: great yarn, fun to knit, great to wear, good-looking, and a pretty good fit. My green metro is ravelled here.

A fog rolling in

April 3, 2011

This may be my proudest FO moment yet, as this is possibly the most complicated thing I’ve ever knitted (yep, a quick squiz at my Ravelry project page confirms this is so). I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that I’ve only been knitting for five years, and have been doing a PhD for most of that time. Go me! (Don’t ask me about colourwork or steeks, though.)

This is my first Swallowtail, knitted in a yarn that might be the most beautiful in the world. Ever. Softness, colour, smoothness, sheen, stitch definition: it ticks all the boxes. I found it at k1 yarns in Edinburgh when I was there last year, and the label identifies it as Belle Epoque Hand Dyed Yarns silk sock in Haar. It’s 50% silk and 50% superwash merino but is lovelier than any wool-silk blend I’ve seen before. The friendly assistant explained to me that ‘haar’ is a sort of fog they get in Edinburgh, that rolls along the cobbled streets. I think the name is perfect.

I managed to knit this entirely without mistakes which is probably another first for me. Turns out the ‘no knitting when tired/drunk/upset’ rule actually works! This was also my first encounter with nupps, which frankly I don’t see the reason for. Purling 5 together was never going to happen for me even with a pure wool yarn, so I used the cheat of older and wiser Ravelers, i.e. slip 2 knitwise, purl 3 together, pass slipped stitches over. And even that was a harrowing experience. From now on, this girl is saying NUP! to nupps.

I guess they are kinda pretty though. But only kinda.

My misty swallowtail is raveled here. And unfortunately, you can’t buy Belle Epoque yarns online, so get yourself over to Edinburgh. And bring me back another skein too.

Two pairs of red socks

March 27, 2011

I’ve finished two pairs of simple red socks lately.

The first pair are nice thick woolly house socks for cold winter nights, knit with some vintage red icelandic wool that was given to me by a friend’s mother. The way the weather has been in Canberra lately, they’ve already had a road test. Preliminary results are very positive.

The second, altogether more svelte pair, were knit with some gorgeous Artist’s Palette smoothie sock I picked up at Woolfest in the UK last June. The camera doesn’t really do the colours justice. You’ll have to take my word for it that they’re the most beautiful mix of reds I’ve seen in ages.

My red socks are ravelled here and here.

Summer of the shawlette

March 20, 2011

One of the nicest things about being a knitter is knowing other knitters. Especially when those knitters knit you something rather beautiful. You really appreciate the thoughtfulness and effort that someone’s put into a knitted gift when you’re in the habit of doing the same thing yourself.

This beautiful citron shawlette was made for my birthday in December by my good friend Suzie, who is an amazing knitter and deserves to have minstrels sing ballads in her honour. And being a knitter who understands the needs of other knitters, she kindly included the ball band in the gift, to satisfy my fibre curiosity. Naturally I have since lost the label but if memory and tactile examination serve, it’s got a large amount of something wonderful like cashmere or alpaca, and some merino. That’s about as precise as it’s getting today, people.

Everyone comments on this when I wear it. And I’ve discovered something even better than saying, ‘I made this myself’. It’s saying, ‘My friend knitted this for me, she thinks I’m worth all the time, money, and effort she put into this, and don’t you think I’m just the most blessed person on Earth?’ Which is rewarded with many strange looks, as the non-crafters just don’t understand.

Luckily everyone can appreciate the subtly varying shades of lilac and smoky blue, the beautiful softness, and the meticulous construction. None more than me, though!

When January rolled around I realised Suzie’s own birthday was coming up soon, and what better way to thank her than in kind? Luckily we are kindred spirits and I happened to have a skein of Malabrigo sock in my stash in a purple I knew she would love. And damson seemed like the obvious choice of pattern.

Because I’m an adult who’s completely capable of organising her own life and not at all prone to unrealistic assumptions about how much time I have, I of course started this shawl at T minus 2 weeks and knit feverishly every evening, every lunchbreak and at most social events. Totally not overestimating my abilities at all.

Because wonders will never cease, I managed to get it to Suzie only a week after her birthday. That’s me: reliable, realistic, and winning at life. Still, Suzie seemed appropriately pleased, and the project made me realise that damson really is a fairly quick knit, and shawlettes are probably the best knitted gift you can give a female friend or relative, given the lack of sizing issues.

My purple damson is ravelled here.

Socks

November 10, 2010

I just discovered these socks for your chairs, by chris&ruby, via inspire me now.

If that’s not the cleverest and cutest way to stop furniture scratching your floors, I don’t know what is. And the best part is you could easily knit them yourself!

Happiness in the post

November 9, 2010

There’s nothing like a big box of yarn to brighten up your Monday.

I’ve been rather busy

August 4, 2010

Spinning

Knitting

Dabbling in other crafts

And travelling!

And I promise to tell you all about it as soon as I’ve got a minute :)