Saturday, 30 August 2008

Knitting therapy

Bx-f42977 is becoming very familiar to me these days. I've been trying to work out how to make my blog the front page of my website and changed my blog onto a custom domain in Blogger. First big mistake. Blog disappears - if anyone was wondering what was exactly happening yesterday......

Since I'm not all that gemmed up on tech speak, I realised that I couldn't get the page into my website and thought I'd maybe wait until I had done more detailed research on it. BUT, when I tried to switch back to my blogspot url, all I get is - Bx- f42977 - we cannot complete your request.

Late last night, my blog reappears online at the old address. I can post but not view. The view goes to the web address which is now error 404. HA.
Thoroughly fed up of computers and my lack of understanding tech speak. If anyone knows a quick and easy way of fixing blogger or even putting the blog as your website front page - in basic english - I'd be eternally grateful!!!!

I'm off to knit! Need some therapy :-)

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Plan B?

You may remember this purple verity from a while back - the one I decided to knit with two strands of DK Rowan wool for a chunky, warm beret. Yes, and the problems that arose from that chunkyness - the very tight headband that threatened to cut off circulation to the head! Well, my sister has sent it back for me to fix and I have been pondering over the solution. Two choices - take back the K2tog row which will increase the amount of stitches to stop the band being too tight or choose a looser stitch for the band as the selected seed/linen stitch is too firm and it needs to ----s-t-r-e-t-c-h-----
The easiest thing would be to try and substitute another stitch and if that doesn't work take more drastic measures and take back the decrease row. So I've been scouring the pattern books looking for something that would sympathetically fit....

Sample 1 - Double lace rib.
Way too loose and busy for the rim of the hat but would be nice on a garment (Note to self - must remember that)

Sample 2 - Variations on a twisted Rib
Has potential and I very nearly chose this one as it has a little stretch but not too much.

Sample 3 - Crossed Rib
Knew this wasn't going to work pretty early on as it was a 2x2 patterned cable and too loose and chunky, not delicate enough.

Sample 4 - Double Mock Rib
Looked better in the book than as a sample but think it would look more raised in a finer yarn but not for this.

Sample 5 - Corded Rib
Nice stitch definition, easy sl/psso that gives a clear textured finish. It also echos the slipped decreases in Ysolda's beret pattern rather than markedly contrasting which I feel the rib samples would do.

Sample 5 - Corded Rib

So off I went and knit, knit, knitted. This stitch is a variation of the slip pattern in the so-called scarf so I was happily surprised at already knowing what I was doing!! BUT! I also fell into the same trap of forgetting to knit into the back of the psso stitch every time to create the new knit stitch so I had lost a few stitches and it was obvious that there were mistakes. On the good side, I now know how to rectify this re-occurring mistake without having to take two rows back now! Bonus! I don't think watching the new Poseidon adventure film helped either:-)

So, the finished purple verity beret. I think the pattern looks good, it fits with the feel of the hat and I can get it on my head - just. It just doesn't seem to stretch as much as I had thought. Maybe I should have looked at the 2x2 ribs more carefully or taken back the decrease row..... But first things first. My sister's head is smaller than mine so maybe it will be a comfortable fit???
If not we can always go to plan C.....

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Snow White Rose Red

I've been beavering away finishing this lovely Rose Red beret over the weekend. All finished but not blocked yet. But I thought you'd like some photos of the progress anyway. It's been a little while since I knitted the red one and I'd forgotten what a lovely pattern this is to knit. Watching the pattern progress is fascinating and all the details just 'fit' so well together. It inspires me to rush away and design my own but it's also a little scary as it sets a very high benchmark, don't you think?

The next challenge is the Gretel cabled beret or the mittens in the new Vogue Knitting magazine for fall. The bobbles and cables look lovely and I think they could have excellent potential for christmas presents. I know, I know, but do you know there is only 4 months to go? If I want to make things this year I should have started already!! Mild panic!

Maybe this snow white can be first on the Christmas Pressie Pile of Achievement! I've also come to the decision that although once I was a tight knitter - think squeeking needles - I am now decidedly relaxed and may have to start dropping down a needle size to compensate! I was getting concerned that the purl stitches meeting the plain were a bit on the loose side. Not that anyone will probably notice but it didn't seem to keep its tension as well as the rest. Hopefully blocking will even it out so I will be happy with it. I could always knit another one on the smaller needles to compare the results...... I know, christmas list first..... But it could join the Pile of Pressies :-)

So, gretel beret, another rose red beret, Vogue mittens x 3, no make that 6, and some so-called scarves. And Ysolda's got another hat pattern coming out soon. Better be making a start!

Saturday, 23 August 2008

So-called scarf

Just a quick update in the knitting front - this is the start of the 'so-called scarf'. Don't know why that's it's name but, hey. It's a lovely textured stitch which I thought would work well with the hand dyed yarns and show off the variegated effect. So far so good. Although it is an easy pattern, I keep forgetting to knit into the back of the psso stitch at least once a row and keep having to retrace my steps till I've found the culprit - more one step forward and two back!

But I think it is coming out nicely for all that - if a bit slow! It probably doesn't help that I keep getting sidetracked into other projects and this pattern seems to work best cumulatively. A good few films on the telly, I'll get on a roll and I should be fine! So far, no dye on the hands! This reassures me it was me deliberately overdyeing the purple skein more than the rest and not the whole batch of yarn!

Major thanks to melissa aka craftywoman aka yarn dyenasty for the comment after the 'dyeing to knit' post. Very clear instructions to get all the dye out safely without felting the yarn! Thank you so much! It is increadibly helpful. I also noticed on her blog site that she is going to be running podcasts on the secrets of dyeing soon so I'll keep you posted. Maybe I'll hang on before I dye the next lot..........:-)

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

A maker's nature

At last I've got round to uploading my photos of heather verity. For once the weather wasn't to blame! The decision to change workrooms was only meant to take a small time and resulted in redecorating, waiting for paint to dry - all the while my computer was disconnected........
But the re-occuring problem I always have is how to fit it all in? Too much stuff and not enough space. Ahh, the perfect workroom, with pigeonholes of co-ordinated yarn and fleece, space for all the threads, fabric, buttons, ribbon, lace..... but in all honestly, I'd probably need a huge warehouse and the more room I have the more I will fill it! I don't think the notion of thinning out is compatible with my hoarder's nature!

But back to the verity. Although it has felted a little, it does have a lovely feel to it. I think the YO's have lost a bit of their crispness which is a shame but overall it's good - and it fits! The colour of this is really difficult to match as you can see - each picture has a slightly different tone. I feel the last picture is the closest but hey, it changes colour in the different light so all of the above!
It is proving difficult to match a button for this - grey is too dull, purple too strong, a pinky one could work or a wooden one.... Somehow none look just right. Oh dear, I may have to add to my button collection!

And this is why I have no room for anything and have spent DAYS organising and reorganising all my 'stuff' - buttons, threads, yarn, more yarn, fabric, books, more books.... Sometimes I wish I just concentrated on one discipline - my partner devoutly wishes I HAVE ONE DISCIPLINE!! - but I can't help finding all textiles interesting - melting plastic (stored plastic bags and tyvek), collage (boxes and drawers of papers, lace, letraset, image transfer paper....), drawing with stitch, printing, machine and hand knit, felting, weaving, spinning, dyeing, - the list goes on.

So have I finished? The loft is a little fuller and everything has a home of sorts for now - except for those annoying little 'bits' that are sitting cluttering up the floor looking accusingly at me when I think of doing some knitting rather than tidying up:-) And I want to get back to my new hat in the rose red pattern by Ysolda! I'm calling it 'snow white' - as it's white coloured this time. (Anyone else remember the ladybird book 'Snow White and Rose Red''?)

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Dyeing to knit

Have now finished winding all the dyed skeins into balls on the wool winder. Aren't they pretty all together? The trick has been trying to get photos that match the exact colouring of the yarn. You think it has taken perfectly, then download the pics to find a totally different shade and spend the rest of the day on photoshop trying to 'match' the colours in dismal light because it hasn't stopped raining in, oh, a month? Sorry about the moan, I'm just getting sun withdrawal symptoms (SAD). I heard a new one the other day - CRAP - consistant rain affected person! Don't know if it's real or not but it should be if it isn't!

Anyway, more close-ups of the yarn..... If you look closely to the bottom right of the picture above, you can see the purply one has lost its centre. That's because it is sneakily attached to some knitting at the time of photo. Now it is finished, blocking and drying - slowly. I wanted to try the variegated yarns to see how they looked knitted.

Ach, well, now there's a story....

Dyed the yarn - okay overdyed the purple one to death, I admit - and the water ran clear on finishing. Hooray I thought.

Dried skein.

Wound skein into ball.
Started knitting up yarn, la, la, la, la, la.

Began noticing a steadily more obvious purple stain spreading over my palms and fingers as I knitted away.
Washed hands, carried on knitting.
Washed hands, carried on knitting.
Finished knitting.

Heather verity - isn't she nice?

SUPER WASHED knitting to get rid of any excess dye. This is 100% merino wool so I tried hard not to felt the lovely knitting with too much agitation - marginally unsuccessful.

Tried vinegar, tried soap, dye decided to leave knitting rapidly and required 'gentle' rinsing, rinsing, rinsing.... hence a little felting.

As this has been knitted into a hat, it better not have any dye left in it! No-one wants a purple forehead or the colour to run in the rain!! Only joking - it won't run in the rain, can't promise no purple forehead!!

Anyways, lesson learned! It's fine to improvise and overdye for creative projects but not if you want to have prolonged contact with the skin! I'm not even thinking of this in a top!

I'll leave you with some close-ups of the dyed yarns where you can see the variegations in the ball. Tomorrow, hopefully the beret will be dry enough after it's vigorous washing to be modelled and photographed - if the light is okay and the rain stays away, just for a bit, please?

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Interlude - Japanese dolls

As promised, some quick pics of the Japanese dolls I found last week. They were sitting on the shelf in the British Heart Charity shop - new stock but with reduced labels all over them. The woman said they were just in and going fast so if you hurry there might be some left.....

Three little maids from school are we....

There are little ones as well - I do like the detail on the kimono's and how each one's different. I did have fun placing them for the photos as if they were having conversations.... The girls look as if they're on their best behaviour under mother's watchful eye!

If you look carefully they have faintly rosy cheeks. I think the original traditional dolls were made as children's toys and were made of wood, hand painted and lacquered - and are now very expensive collectors items. So I'm quite happy to have my ceramic copies - they are very cute in their own right!

Have you noticed their eyes are different? Now I've got to think where I can display them - maybe a little narrow shelf where they can cheer up my workspace? I've also seen a picture of nesting japanese dolls - that would be quirky too! I do love the russian ones for the clear, graphic detailing and folk patterns and I imagine Japanese ones would be able to fit into this catagory very easily. If anyone sees any do let me know!

Anyway, time for the girls to say goodbye for now, they may make an appearance another time.... but for me it's back to the knitting:-)

Friday, 1 August 2008

computerless - no longer :-)))

Alas, my computer has bitten the dust - again. I know. I think the poor thing has about had enough. So, I won't be blogging for a week or two until I can afford to get it fixed.
I will still be able to check e-mails on another computer so I can keep in touch:-) Hopefully it won't be for too long.......


Computer is fixed! All I can say is that John's dad is a miracle worker and I'm glad he understands all this stuff. Apparently the front USB ports had shorted out and we thought they had fried the chip on the motherboard rendering said brand new motherboard useless. BUT, I took out the USB cables attached to the board hopefully to bypass said knackered bit and hey, it's started!
First thing I am going to do is BACKUP all my files!!! I know we all mean to and I actually did about a month ago when John's system crashed and we had to format the whole computer, reload windows and install every single driver and programme, but there are new photos, websites, etc I would rather not lose or have to reload.

So off I go.... Hopefully I can now upload my pics of the japanese dolls I found yesterday - sooo cute, you just have to see them!


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