Sunday, July 15, 2007

In which I learn a stern truth about life

Want to know my stern truth, O readers?

Sock yarn. It's gorgeous. It calls to you, Make gorgeous vests of me! Knit me into a fine lace shawl! Shower your wardrobe with my variegated beauty!

But you know what sock yarn is very, very best for?

Socks. Mm-hm. No more poor sad random camis for my Lorna's Laces, no. She's coming home to where she belongs. That said, she's quite the most expensive sock yarn I've ever bought, so nothing but the most beautiful pattern for her.

Pomatomotamus, Hippopotamus or... well, you know what it's really called. When this pattern first came out I thought to myself, "one day, when I'm a really clever knitter, I'll make that pattern. One day." Of course, that was nonsense. This pattern is beautifully written, clear and elegant, and fiendishly, fiendishly clever. You don't have to have any brain at all to follow it. The fiendishly clever one here is Cookie A. I tell you. This is an old pattern, so you've probably drooled over it already, but look, look at the clever heel flap:

with the scales of the pattern flowing into it. Beautiful.

I'd forgotten how wonderful socks are for taking the edge off. Small and manageable and elegant and so very silly. There's a lot of changes coming up ahead, and I need some truly beautiful socks to help me stride through them, I think.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

FO: ravelled bolero

Or, you know, insert pun of your choice about shrugging or boleros here. It's done! Done! All nine inches of ribbing, done!

FO: Rebecca Bolero

Pattern: Bolero mit Lochmuster, from Rebecca 31, in the larger size

Yarns: Vintage Jaegar Langora, 70% lambswool 20% angora 10% nylone, in colour 353. It took 12 20g balls. Far more than I thought.

Needles: 2.5 and 3mm circs

Time sucked: A month. I wasn't knitting constantly, but still, 3mms take their time

Pattern modifications: I didn't knit it in merino? Also, I am incapable of picking up stitches to order, counting what was it? 366 stitches exactly along the outside edge? How can any mortal figure out what intervals to pick up at? I just pick them up, damnit. Hence, the ribbing probably flares more than it should.

Here's a back view:

Not the neatest lace graft ever, but it will do, it will do.

Verdict: Well. I got gauge all right, but angora is considerably less stretchy than merino, and it's quite a bit baggier than I thought it would be. When I think shrug, I think vanishing little confection, just hugging my shoulders; this has more the ease of a full-on autumn cardigan. So, on the one hand, I'm not that sure it's all that flattering.

On the other hand, even before I'd finished the ribbing, I was more than a little tempted to just cast it off and wear it a few days this week, such is the gap in my wardrobe for a fluffy brown shoulder-warmer this cool, unpredictable summer. It's perfect for the colours I wear. It's small enough not to look wintry, it's fluffy enough to look luxurious, I will wear it and wear it. I hope. Also, it's a Rebecca pattern, the second I've knitted, and they're just so nifty, you know? Here's the Eureka moment when I folded the blocked garment together...

and the polyhedron did become a jacket, after all! Like a miracle! It feels thought-through and properly designed, is what. And maybe some day I will put on half a stone again (probably, indeed), and I will still be grateful of fluffy fitting warmth around my shoulders, and in general, I'm pretty happy.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

good lord, Blogger pictures seem to be working!

Hooray for posting yesterday! I totally got my knitting mojo back. Knitting mojo hooray!

That means, of course, that my work mojo is for the birds. But oh well. It's July, it's cold and wet, and to be honjest, no-one is actually paying me to do work, so yes, sod it. So! While the peculiar polyhedron is drying, I've been busy, oh so busy...

Swatching for Serrano, for one thing, in my Russian wool-angora. For a wool angora blend, it isn't half stiff, and that's after I've washed it with conditioner. The gauge is odd: 26 stitches and 32 rows, I think, which is slightly off the Serrano gauge; but the designer gives two gauges, one blocked and one unblocked, which suggests that the yarn she's using has an awful lot more bounce in it than this one. So I don't know. I might actually write to her once I actually commit to the project, because from all I've read, it's a tricky, complex design, and I might as well get it right from the start. That doesn't sound like me, does it?

No, what would be more like me would be bating into a vest top in the round without the slightest thought for swatching or design. I took my lovely Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock for this first try, and put in the sweet eyelet pattern above... but I got only about eight inches into it before I had used half the yarn available, and the fabric was far too dense. A shame, because it's cute, but no good. This is in the nature of a perverse project for me, seeing if I really can get a camisole out of two skeins of pricey sock yarn, so I will not be defeated! Not I! I will rip back and start again on larger needles and with a more open stitch pattern...

This is the beginning of Katie's Razor Cami, a light sexy knit with sufficiently skimpy yardage to make me think that I might get there. Except, of course, that it's a non-shaped tube just like Orangina, and we all know how well that went. Not well. So my plan is to knit the first skein as far as it goes, block it, and Think Again. I think this may have to have a solid bodice with darts, if the yarn holds out, if if if. Designing on the fly and me: not the best of histories. But it's fun. And best of all, I'm knitting from stash, right?

So! To finish up, more from Family Knitting. This time, it's for the fellas. Roll up, oh dream hunks!

This set is called Big Softie. Presumably because Mr. Blonde Beard is mug enough to take your first fair-isle attempt off your hands, smile gamely while wearing it, actually think it's a thoughtful present, and hold out hopes for a proper date next time. Keep hoping, Mr. Blonde Beard. You know the knitting lady's affections are engaged elsewhere...

Mr. Star Spangled is a-coming knocking, with a veritable galaxy of Romantic Love tumbling down the back of his royal blue cardi! You can't compete, Blonde Beard. No. Knitting Lady has fallen hard, and is about to present Mr. Star Spangled with the ultimate romantic gift...

A King of Hearts themed tank top! But look! It's not just a natty reference to the dashing pursuit of Solitaire, the only thing that filled Mr. Star Spangled's life until Knitting Lady turned up. No. Do you see what she did with the heads? YES! Mr. Star Spangled's head is the King of Heart's head! What a card!

Dear sweet god. Whatever about the Cold War, the nuclear threat and mass emigration, if ever I saw an argument for thanking the stars we don't live in the eighties, it's that creepy jumper. Brrr.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

family knitting

What? What?! A whole month since I updated?

I have been knitting. Just not very fast. Good grief. How did that happen?

Anyway! The Rebecca bolero is knitted and blocking, ready for assembly.

angora bolero, blocking

Well, it fits the schematic. If any of you can offer any hints, any slight hints whatsoever, as to how on earth this strange polyhedron possibly turns into a garment, you know, those would be very welcome. Really. Any advice welcome!

So my next project...

cupboard of doom

Is somewhere in the bottom of this cupboard. Yes. Our house is on sale at the moment, and the yarn was hurriedly stashed away in order to give the house that Aspirational Urbanite as opposed to Crazy Knitting Lesbian Ladies look. It's in there, I know. Somewhere. I'm just not sure that my mental energies are equal to battling through it...

Remains only our old favourite, wild futureknitting fantasies. And while in a charity shop, my eyes alighted on a book called Family Book Of Knitting, gloriously and unabashedly from the 1980s. Classic knitting, I thought, hardly changes at all! Look at all the cute 1940s knitting patterns there are out there! I bet with a little change of colour, these patterns will look fresh and funky in a second!

And look at the cover pic. Very funky, non? I'm not about to knit quite that much fine-guage lurex, and boob tubes aren't really me, but this is pretty great, right?
And then... you open the book. And it is hard to figure out where the glory even starts. Let's start here, though, will we? Gilt-Edged Cardigan
Gilt-Edged Cardigan
Perfect for wearing with Bacofoil skirts! And for disguising ill-fitting bras! And... for matching wedding cakes? Yes. Maybe something with a waist?

Those of you who struggle with hair straightners, just think. One whisk of the time travel wand, and you too can tgravel back to 1983, where frizz is cultivated. That's true femininity, right there. Sure, it's a lot of stocking stitch for one skirt, but if it's going to give you milkmaid hips like that, who's complaining?
Paisley Skirt And Top
OK, you don't like the bunchy waisted look. It's dated. Family Book Of Knitting does have the answer though...
Mustard 'n' Dress
Look, with a trilby over your eyes, no-one will ever know it's you. That's got to be a comfort, right?