Sunday, 29 June 2008

bad hair days and berets

It's very definitely a bad hair day today and will be till I hear from DIL about a cut, colour etc. Long overdue. Not only is it a bad hair day, but the photos are not good either. I find taking photos of hats etc very awkward and am never satisfied. It's been a fairly stressful week and the stress is showing in my face and skin. Little sleep hasn't helped either. The beret is an attempt to cover the bad hair!

This beret is much slouchier, if that's a word, than the first one I made. It's made in 12 ply and as the label shows is partly prefelted. The wool seems to come in two thickish strands and looks a bit like the merino/possum wool mix. It's soft and easy to knit. I had a pattern sort of worked out in my mind and then had a look at the tension on the ball band and took fright. I upped the number of stitches to cast on. It seems I was right in the beginning with my own idea. The beret went on, but felt loose and I thought it would slide around my head with any movement. I didn't relish pulling it all back, so picked up stitches around the cast on edge. i spaced these out, a bit like applying ribbing to a sewn T-shirt. Measured the edges and divided into quarters. I cast on a quarter of my stitches in every quarter of beret already completed, did similar number of rows as original ribbing and turned it to inside and hemmed new ribbing down very loosely. Voilà, it worked and now fitted comfortably. of course the double thickness helped, but I think it also needed the reduced number of stitches.

I used just over two balls of the wool which was nice to knit, soft and non-splitty. I bought it at Lincraft in the city. I'd gone in to get my hearing aid fixed and decided to investigate their sale.

There was a lot of yarn I would not buy as it was feathers and other acrylic stuff which makes my hands ache quite badly. I had no real plans so wasn't looking to spend up big. However I bought this, some 8 ply for another hat, and some Sullivan's sock wool, black, black, black.

This is for a pair for myself to satisfy Miss Seven. When I was last at her place, I wore navy trousers, black shoes T-bar shoes and handknitted socks of a royal blue colour. She took me to task. "Grandma! You really need someone to help you get dressed! Those socks do NOT go with those shoes. Don't you have any black ones?" She actually wasn't being cheeky to me, just concerned. She has a good dress sense and is usually well co-ordinated herself, although I would have liked a picture of her at two years, winter clothes, blue denim sunhat and a hand me down pink satin Barbie nightgown over the top. I used to mind her and she wore this combination all day!

I've just turned the heel on the first sock which I started yesterday afternoon. The wool has been mostly good, much better than I expected. However there was a patch about 30 cm which was rubbed thin and unravelling and had a knot in it. There was only one remedy for that, a break, cut out the offending part and join in new end. Oh, one other gripe. The band says 120 gm but gives no idea of length.

I've also finished a pair of toddler socks for a friend's little boy. However, I had downloaded the latest lot of photos before I even remembered that they should have been photographed.

BTW, I love my mirror, although the photo is poor. It works well either vertically or horizontally. The wood is old, from Maitland original hospital which was demolished some time ago. I bought it for about $50 at Paddington Markets about ten years ago.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

miss mopsy's beret

Why Miss Mopsy? No real reason. Just because the name came to me. Perhaps because I was planning on a "flopsy" beret. The photos are terrible. late afternoon in June. Cloudy day. difficulty of hiding my face and still holding camera to take photo from awkward angle. And certainly not helping was what I found to be an almost flat camera battery. these are the only possible shots from over twenty taken.

I've always liked berets and there are lots around this winter. This is my take. I'd searched patterns. Most were for much thicker yarn than I wanted to use. Some were for fingering and sock yarn on small needles. That's a lot of stitches and rows to knit. I really wanted a black beret, but decided that I' d make the first attempt in 8 ply wool. My black was pure alpaca 8 ply and i wasn't sure how the pattern would work with that.

I like what I made up, but have a few suggestions for it.

The band is great. I think I'd make the next one on 4 mm needles for the band and 4.5 for the actual hat part. I'm a loose knitter and didn't want it to be too big. A bit sloppier would be good. Either bigger needles or a longer knit in the body with the eyelets to give a bit more length.

I used Knitpicks Options circular needle, 4 mm, and went down to 4 mm double points when there were too few stitches for the circular.

So here are my specifications and my pattern.

Wool: 100 gm 8 ply (DK) wool. 100 gm. I started with a full 200 gm ball of Bendigo Classic and have well over half of that left. However, if you make the body longer, this will take more wool.

Needles: 4 mm circular needle, 4 mm dpns I suggest using the 4 mm for the band and possibly 4.5 mm for the body of the beret..

Tension: 22.5 stitches/10 cm. (4 inches)

Abbreviations: kn - knit
p - purl
tog - together
YO - yarn over

Instructions:Using 4 mm circular and cable cast on, cast on 100 stitches and join, being careful to avoid a twist in the knitting. Knit in kn 1, p1 rib for 2.5 cm. (1 inch.)

Change to 4.5 mm circular if desired.

Row 1: *Knit 1, knit front and back of next stitch. Repeat from * to end of row. 150 stitches.

Body of beret: Place marker at beginning of row and knit 10 rows.
Pattern:Next row: *Knit 2 together, YO. Repeat from * to end of row.
Knit 5 rows.

Repeat these six rows once.

Next row: *Knit 2 together, YO. Repeat from * to end of row.

If you are wanting a longer beret, do another pattern repeat here.

Knit till hat measures 10 cm (4") from cast on edge.

Begin decreases:
Next row: *kn 3, kn 2 tog. Repeat from * to end of row. (120 stitches left)

Knit around for 2.5 cm (1") from decrease row.

Next row: *Kn 2, kn 2 tog. Repeat from * to end of row. ( 90 stitches)

Knit around for 2.5 cm (1") from last decrease row.

Next row:*Kn 1, kn2 tog. Repeat to end of row. (60 stitches)

Knit around for 2.0 cm (0.75") from last decrease row.

I changed to double point needles here.

Next row: Kn 2 tog around row. (30 stitches)

Knit around a further 2 cm (0.75")

Next row: Kn 2 tog around row. (15 stitches)

Next row: Kn 2 tog seven times, knit 1. (8 stitches)

Next row: Kn 2 four times. (4 stitches)

Break yarn and use a wool needle to draw yarn end through the four stitches left. Draw up stitches, take yarn through to wrong side of hat and fasten off. Darn in ends.

An alternative ending would be to use the 4 stitches left and make an I-cord stub or a longer I-cord and tie a knot n cord at base of cord near beret.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

vintage hues bag

Four photos chosen and I can't upload them! What a pain. OK, so I'll try the slow and painful way which now seems to have worked. One by one, instead of as a group. I really don't like iPhoto, one of the, to me, drawbacks of the Mac. I used to use a legit copy of Photoshop when I had a PC and found it useful, convenient and quick and in line with not only my expectations but also my capabilities. I'm currently investigating photo editing which will run on the Mac. Nothing amazing is needed, I'm not a graphic design person and my skills are definitely verbal rather than visual, but I want something more than the very basic editing capabilities that iPhoto gives.

Knitting has been happening. Last year when my life was falling apart, I knitted and knitted. Around a dozen pairs of socks in a few weeks, mostly adult socks, as well as other things. Things have slowed down somewhat this year as I have settled down here with son and DIL, although there is always something on the needles. However, I have a fairly major appointment with my solicitor in a few days and I just realised that the pace of knitting has picked up again. I also realise that when I'm stressed, I change to being someone who concentrates on the process rather than the finished object. I bought some Anny Blatt fine kid mohair in Tapestry Craft's sale. I planned on treating myself to a luxurious scarf, quite long so I could tie it in various ways. I found lots of lacy scarf patterns which I liked and tried many of them. Process, remember? They were undone. Too this, not enough of that, wrong colour for the design. Whatever. I have settled on a very easy mesh lace pattern which seems to suit the yarn. I don't often make much for myself and I'm not really a scarf wearer, but am enjoying the prospect of having this one for myself. It's a bit of "be kind to myself." I've indulged in a couple of knitting books and also some books of a more academic nature from the Uni Co-Op bookshop to which I have belonged almost since it began many years ago. More pampering.

I've made some bed socks for my eldest grandson who wanted them so desperately that he had no colour preferences. He's nine. I've also done several pairs of small socks for a friend's toddler and something for her second child due in October.

I mentioned a few posts earlier a "yurt bag." I'd been considering a bag when I found the post and decided to try. The bottom is Cleckheaton Vintage Hues, made a bit bigger than the bag which inspired me. I felted it in a pillowslip in the washing machine and then it went through the drier. Son's drier is an enormous commercial gas Kleenmaid drier which has a much gentler action than most of the domestic electric driers. I think I would really like it to have felted a bit more. That's experience for you. I also think I will undo a few bits where I joined the patterned strip to the felted bottom and do them again more carefully.

The pattern strip yarns are all Cleckheaton again, and the purple is a crepe. All 8 ply, as I wanted ease of movement in that part of the bag. I had trouble finding patterns to use and ransacked my stitch books. Some patterns, particularly the lacy ones were gorgeous, but went for thirty or so rows. Most of my sections are 19-21 rows in length. There's a mosaic, several lacy panels including mesh and a zig zag, a couple of slip stitch, a cable, basketweave and plain old stocking stitch. Not only did the rows have to work, but the pattern width was also a limiting factor in my choice.

Around the top I knitted I-cord, nine rows on three stitches for each of the loops which were attached as I knitted. The drawstring cord was a bother. I had nothing here to use which wasn't packed away in a box somewhere in the garage downstairs. I wasn't going exploring. I bought some twisted cotton cord and tried to dye it. It obviously was not pure cotton as it did not shrink at all and didn't take the dye, even with a mordant. So the first time I used the bag, it was threaded with the white cord. Then yesterday, DIL and I made a very late afternoon visit to the fruit market at Gordon. While we were messing around in the temperamental lift in the building, DIL saw some cord in Rubi and Lana's. (The lift has glass walls.) It was obvious they were closing, but I hopped out and ran in. I found this silky but strong cord and bought some. It's great to use, but I'll have to be careful how I carry the bag as it's very thin cord and could well be as nasty to my fingers as plastic shopping bags are. I'll still keep looking.

I've used the bag a couple of times and it's been given some good attention. On the whole, I'm very happy with it. Not least of its good qualities is its warmth! It's been quite cold here, very windy and wet for several days. I sat with the bag on my lap the other day and was glad of an extra layer!