Sunday, 25 October 2009

Progress

Yesterday I finished my first Sanquhar glove. I'm pleased with it, though I think I could do better next time. I still have some difficulties keeping the yarn tension right in a few parts of the pattern. I adjusted the length of the fingers and thumb as it seems my fingers are rather short! I'm going to leave starting the second glove for a little while to get on with other projects.
This morning I did a job which I have wanted to do for three years. I needed a shelf in the hall for winter gloves, scarves, boot socks and hats. Every winter I end up rummaging in coat pockets to find gloves and hats, instead of having them to hand. The shelf in question has been sitting in the loft for ten years, awaiting a use. Of course, living in a 180-year old house means that none of the walls are flat so the shelf has a slight lean forwards, but I'm glad to have this done finally.
By nature I am a hoarder (much to the frustration of my mother when I was young), so I never throw anything away unless it is completely unusable. Eighteen months ago I put a pair of trousers away in my stash cupboard as they were no longer wearable and today I finally found a use for them. They have now been resurrected as a cover for a draught excluder which keeps the cold air out of the living room on windy nights. I joined two legs together , took up the slack material on the back, sewed together the ends and hey presto! a pretty draught excluder.

My resolution for this winter is to make something each week with an item from my cupboard. Let's see how long I can keep it up!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Latest Bargains

I went to the woolshop today to buy a short 4mm circular needle for Mum's Christmas sweater sleeves. While there I browsed the noro and araucania yarns somewhat covetously, but managed to restrain myself on the basis I had no time to knit anything for myself anyway. But when it came to the bargain basket, I just couldn't help myself. So I bought these skeins of mid blue cotton...
and these of dark blue, for 75p each. And then I spied...
this Bergere knitting cotton in white, so I bought 5 skeins for 75p each too. All this is destined for socks next year - I will try dying the white cotton when I've knitted it up.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Weekend Knitting

So I started the Christmas knitting this weekend, beginning with this sweater - Lochalsh - from The Knitter Magazine issue 9. This is the bottom border, just a couple of coloured rows to do at the top now and it's plain knitting up to the yoke. It's knitted in the round, bottom up. This is the first big fairisle project I've done since I switched to knitting portuguese style (I got some practice on the Sanquhar first) and I have to say that I'm knitting fairisle faster than before using this technique. Once you get the hang of the pattern, it's easy, but it took a while to get the right number of stitches on the needles at the increase - I counted them several times but didn't get it right. Is it just me or is it much harder to count stitches on circular needles than on straight?

I really love the picot edge which is done rather cleverly with a row of yo/k2tog stitches sandwiched between two sets of stocking stitch. Then you fold it back and knit the cast on edge into another row to form the nice edge. Having done this before, I was aware you can get out of synch - you should just match cast on stitch to needle stitch but somehow it doesn't quite work out that way and you go off course. So I checked regularly and corrected by "missing" a stitch every so often. All in all, a nice project and easy TV knitting.
This is the Sanquhar so far - I'm almost up to putting stitches aside for the thumb, should get there today. It's looking good!

Friday, 16 October 2009

The yarn for my Mum's Christmas sweater finally arrived today. She's very happy with it - it is to be a fairisle style sweater, with pattern at the sleeve ends and yoke. She loves bright colours - can you tell?
So I have finished the cuff on Sanquhar glove version 2 - here it is. It is a snug fit and quite unlike any other gloves I have ever knitted, more like a leather glove as the fabric is dense and not very stretchy. But oh, so warm...

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Sanquhar again

I started my Sanquhar gloves on 2mm (UK14) needles, instead of the 1.5mm (UK16) needles prescribed by the pattern. As I went along I realised that they would turn out too big, so decided to order some 1.5 needles (and some 1.75mm as insurance). If you're in the UK, you can get them from English Yarns. I couldn't find them anywhere else. Very fast delivery too.

So I started the gloves again, keeping the earlier version so I could compare sizes. The 1.5mm is just the right size. You can see the two compared above. I've taken an inch off the width - on the main section of the gloves I calculate the new diameter to be 8.5-8.75 inches instead of the 9.75 in the first version.

My hands are 8 inches in diameter, so allowing for the effect of the thick fabric (with the stranded yarn on the inside) and for some ease, I think these will be just right. You may also notice that the quality of the knitting has improved too - I had problems with too tight/too loose in various places on the first attempt, but I have now mastered the two stranded technique in the portuguese knitting style I recently adopted. So now it's full speed ahead...

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Unusual knitting

This morning I finally got around to putting photos away in albums, dating back to 2006. It took me two years to go out and get the photo albums! Anyway, I really wanted to post this - I found it in a church somewhere in Suffolk, I think, in 2007. It was in May, so presumably this is a depiction of the Last Supper placed on a piano in the church for Easter.

I'm not one for novelty knitting, but I couldn't resist taking a picture as it is so clever.
I finally started my first ever Sanquhar project - a pair of gloves in the Duke pattern, from the Scottish Rural Women's Institute. More details on this style of knitting are on the Sanquhar Group on Ravelry, but basically it is a form of knitting indigenous to Sanquhar in Scotland. It really deserves to be better known (I had never heard of it before the group popped up), so our little group is making the effort. There are four patterns available from the Scottish Rural Women's Institute in Edinburgh, and I am knitting the pattern which is the most popular.

I recently switched to knitting Portuguese style (there are videos on YouTube) which is very different to English/continental knitting in that you sling the yarn around your neck and flick it over the stitches with your left thumb. It's less tiring, and creates a more even tension for me. The best thing is that when knitting in the round, the natural stitch is the purl, not the knit, and by purling to create stocking stitch you end up with the right side always on the outside. It does mean that when reading patterns in the round you have to read purl for knit and vice versa.

I thought working two colours in this way would be more complicated than using the throwing technique but actually it's easier - all you have to do is decide to take one colour over the other when changing yarns, and one colour under. That keeps the yarns from tangling, but it definitely goes quicker than changing colours with the throwing technique.

I'm hoping that the yarn for my Mum's Christmas Sweater will arrive this week so I can get started. Not long to christmas now...