Friday, 31 July 2009

Aestlight blocking

I finished Aestlight last night, although I redid the cast off this morning. This is the small size. Actually, that's definitely not the pattern's fault, but the wool I used. My opinion is that the person who bought this and gave it to me was duped. It's decidedly hand spun. Very poorly in places. Parts of it seem lighter than laceweight. It was bought at a stall at the NSW Spinners and Weavers Guild Open Day some years ago. I have no idea now who the vendor was, but I hope anyone else who bought anything from her got a better buy. What was sold as 5 ply, a bit heavier than fingering, is mainly 8 ply. I hate to think what size it would have turned out had I decided to do the large size. I could probably have used it as a blanket.

Why redo the cast off? The instructions said to cast off loosely and suggested possibly using a bigger needle for it. Aha, I thought. I'll save myself the trouble of changing needles and do the cast off recommended for Ishbel. Knit two, pass the slipped stitch over, place remaining stitch back on left needle and repeat till end of row. I did that, but it was so loose it was wavy and making frills.

So I waited till the better light of day, unpicked the weaving in of the end and carefully pulled back the entire row, picking up each stitch as I pulled it out. This of course gave me heaps of yarn to redo the row. It was difficult, however, as this is hairy wool and it grabbed. Still it's done and at least I had a proper edge.
This is the birdsnest lace in close up. Another blogger had trouble getting hers to look as she wanted so I've given this close shot. It is this band which has the only purls at all in the pattern.

The shawl is easy to do, the pattern is nicely written and well set out. I'll probably do another one soon, but will get some weight better suited to make a cosy warmth for my neck. This is too heavy to drape properly as in the photos I've seen. It will be warm around my shoulders in my chilly room. So I'll put it around my shoulders and pretend I'm a Shetland crofter woman spinning. I think I'll be glad for conveniences like sanitation and gas heating.* Still, interesting history

I don't have the length required in any one colour in the weight the pattern asks for. Actually, I do have some of the sock yarn from the Knittery, now closed. However, it's the "thin" sock yarn, and I think I'll want something just a bit heavier. Oh well, an excuse to shop. I might walk down to Lindfield to go to Greta's. The weather's nice and the walk pleasant.

I think that blocking would have been easier if I had blocking wires to use. However, I don't. I pinned and re-pinned and did it again. Just had a thought. I have a birthday coming up. If someone should actually ask for a suggestion, I'll have an answer. I never give hints as I prefer surprises, but if someone asks...

* Not meaning that the Shetland Isles don't have the conveniences today of modern living. However, I think life there a couple of hundred years ago would not have been easy. It looks a fascinating place to go. I'll put the Isles on my wishlist of places to visit, along with the Scottish Highlands, Wales, Ireland and Brittany.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

update on Aestlight

I've been powering along on this. It's a very simple construction with parts which are deathly dull. Ishbel's basic triangle is stocking stitch. This is all garter stitch. There are really only a few dozen purls in the whole shawl and they come in the birdsnest lace pattern. I've done everything except the second half of the border on the long sides of the triangle. There's nothing difficult about the shawl at all, no problem with stitch counts as many people had with Ishbel. The pattern is clear and looks good printed out from the download. Each page is enclosed in a solid black frame with a good deal of space around it. To me this is really a little thing, but it shows thought was put into the writing up and presentation of the pattern. What's one more page when this makes all the pages clear to read?

The border edging is simple but boring. Sixteen rows per pattern repeat. It joins to the body of the shawl every second row except for the part which eases around the lower centre point. Then it's joined every fourth row. Now I can usually cope with lacy repeats and finally learn them. After 16 sets, I still have only bits of the pattern memorised and my wool makes it hard to pick out just what to do without consulting the pattern.

I think the wool is a large part of my boredom. It was sold at a Spinners and Weavers Open Day several years ago as handspun, 5 ply Romney. It was not my choice but bought for me. Handspun it definitely is. However, there are lots of lengths which seem much more like 8 ply (DK). It's in its natural colour, a milky coffee brown. I spent a lot of time deciding what I might overdye this with. I've used dye before but on light colours and cream to a deeper colour. I'm not sure about the brown, milky as it is. Perhaps aubergine or a deep reddy brown? Or dark green? When I spread out the shawl as much as possible after turning the border point, I think I might leave it as rustic coffee handspun. I've already considered a second shawl and will get colour from there.

I was planning on going to the Open Day last Saturday . When I woke, it was freezing up here and yet again, the North Shore line was closed for track work. With so much sickness around, I didn't fancy a 45 minute trip each way in a crowded railway bus to Wynyard and back and then the train to Burwood, so I stayed home. We have enough germs here. DIL had a cold in Germany, came home coughing, didn't fully get over her jetlag before she plunged into a week of school holiday activities with primary kids. She lasted two days there and was sent home and told not to return. According to doctor, it was nothing to do with swine or any other flu, but a very bad infection. She was extremely ill for over a week and had several courses of a very strong antibiotic. That infection seems to have gone but she has been left with either pleurisy or asthma. Doctor thinks it's asthma, but the Ventolin puffer he prescribed does nothing to help at all. Two of my friends in the medical profession and I think it's pleurisy. She's still in heaps of pain in her chest and for someone who never takes analgesics, she's had several years of Nurofen. Looks terrible with enormous dark circles under her eyes. The doctor said that complications and infections from an ordinary cold are taking 6-8 weeks to clear in most people. So you can see why I missed the bus!

I've given up knitting for a day or so. I was using a spatula to clean stuff off one of our very heavy baking dishes when the dish slipped and jammed the entire top of one of my fingers between it and the sink. There's a huge lump on finger at base of the nail and the finger is many different colours of bruise. It's affecting the knitting so I've stopped.

Edited to add:
Here's a TIP for Aestlight.

The pattern suggests putting the stitches from the garter triangle on waste yarn until they are cast off along with border edge. My wool is a bit hairy and I wasn't looking forward to picking these off the waste yarn.

I cast on with the smallest cable from the Knitpicks Options set. When I'd finished, I unscrewed the needles and put them on the next cable up. I'd have needed this size anyway. I replaced the needles with the screw on caps and voilà all secure. It was a little bit awkward knitting past the caps for perhaps three rows. When I need to cast off, I'll just reverse things and put needles back.

Friday, 24 July 2009


I saw this lovely shawl, Aestlight yesterday. I'm now well through the garter stitch rows. Just lovely and different to my two Ishbels. Triangle is knitted, then stitches are picked up down the two shorter sides of the triangle. I'm using some Romney which I bought at a Spinners and Weavers Guild open day some years ago. It's handspun and undyed, still a warm shade of brown. I'm considering dyeing it later but am not sure what would go well. I'll make the shawl first and then decide.

The pattern is also available on Ravelry, cost yesterday was just over $6.00 Australian. Gudrun has a designer group on Ravelry and there are lots of other lovely things there. Some beautiful hats and berets caught my eye.

Photos to follow when there's more than a garter stitch triangle to see.

BTW I just remembered. The guild has another open day from 9:30 am this coming Saturday at Burwood. St Paul's Anglican Church, a couple of blocks up Burwood Road from the station. Very easy to find. I've spent quite a bit this month and am not sure whether I'll be there. Just realised that's tomorrow. Somehow I keep thinking that today is Wednesday.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

jet neckwarmer

Here's another quick but cosy neckwarmer made from the best part of a leftover ball of Patons Jet. The elements of the pattern, both the cable and the braid are described in the blog in the side bar here to the right, Here's one I made earlier. I've used 37 stitches but thinner yarn and finer needles could use more. Cables and braid placements are entirely up to what you would like, although I have done a purl in between each element to separate them. The six stitch garter edge was to help stop the edge rolling.

I think this one will also be given away. I love the colour and have made one of Ysolda's Liesl cardigans from it, but it's not really my colour so close to my face.Here's the band on the wire model I used earlier for other photos. I didn't realise that one edge was a bit caught up. It's not really like that at all.

Today has been far too warm to consider neckwarmers, but tomorrow may well be back to winter. It's been very warm in Sydney, in the 20s. Ridiculously warm actually for the time of year, but a change has moved through. It's still not cold, I have only one thinnish knit layer on my top, but the sun has disappeared and it's very dark at 4:30 pm. It's also extremely windy here and the jacaranda outside my room is blowing wildly. I took advantage of the warmer weather and pruned a lot of bits and pieces in the overgrown front garden today. Not a real pruning, but a chopping at some of the rubbishy privet which is a noxious weed and some wisteria which took over the place last spring. The owner knows the privet should not be there but he had let it grow way beyond my ability to do a great deal with it. He said my son could chop it down, but I rather think he should have done it himself several years ago. He now thinks someone else can do it and save him the effort, or so it seems to me. I cut quite a bit of it some months ago, but it had a lot of fresh shoots, all about 2 metres long on it.

I spent quite a bit of time re-arranging my room the other day and have sorted through a lot of my wool. There's more in the garage, packed away, and when I finally get a place of my own it will seem like Christmas opening boxes which were packed a long time ago. I did sort out two quite large plastic totes which are full to the brim, almost overflowing, of just sock yarn. Hmmm.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

catch up

This little pair of socks is for Finn, my youngest grandchild who turns four today. His favourite colour is orange, although I note he also included his two-tone brown socks in that shade. However, he definitely picks out orange in cups, plates etc as "his." This is Heirloom Jigsaw sockwool which has an orange stripe in amongst those other bright colours. I hope it suits his tastes! I made up the pattern, although I'm sure I've seen something similar. Certainly, it was not knowingly copied from anywhere.

The pattern is a 4 stitch repeat. A rib of three plain and one purl. Every fourth row, I did a yarnover before the three plain and slipped this yarnover over all three plain stitches, just before the purl. Three rows then are just following the stitches as they present, three plain and one purl.

He asked me to mend his two tone shades of brown socks which I did last year and which still fit him. According to him, the cat broke them! A thread had been pulled out quite a long way. I've fixed them up, smoothed out the pulled fabric and woven ends in. I hope he's pleased with them. He loves socks from me and was very upset that a pair, two years old, were really far too small for him to wear.

This little pair is for Winterwarm. A collection point has been set up for Sunday 23rd August at the Craft Show for goods for Winterwarm. I have quite a nice little pile of assorted garments now and will be pleased to give them away. I'm currently doing a headband, earwarmer type of thing, knitted in two colours in moss stitch. These are Patonyle, I had ten balls of this bought at a sale, so have plenty to use up. These are knitted in double yarn, so should be both sturdy and very cosy.

Here are more presents, again for grandchildren. The cardigans are crossover ballet style from a Sirdar pattern. The blue is in a Cleckheaton Country 8 ply wool and is for Miss 8, who turns nine next month. It looks big but it will still fit next year, I hope. This has been finished for a while now, but was sewn together only yesterday.

The deep purple is for her little 4 year old cousin whose birthday is in September. It's made from Bendigo cotton, one 200 gm ball having a reasonable amount left over. The third little girl will get one too, a sort of belated present, even though I did give her something on her birthday. Hers will be pink Bendigo cotton, short sleeves again. I've done one front of that one.

This last picture is for a headband for me. My desk is in the corner of my room and looks out through two windows which face basically west and south. This house is about 80 years old and the window frames are loose. Lots of wind as we are up high. I've stopped the rattle by poking some paper in in strategic places, but unfortunately that doesn't stop the draughts. My ears and head have been chilly here for the last few days.

I've been participating in Lynne's winter textured knitting. I've given a wrap-up of my last few weeks of textured FOs in the post below. I seem to be working on a mid-month to mid-month basis, where Lynne gives a wrap-up of textures at the end of a calendar month. It all works out somehow in the end and this band will go into my next month's finished knitting.

This lovely pattern is called "Homes of Donegal." I can find lots of references to it but the only pattern I could find came from Knitting-and. Once I realised the basic mistake I had made in the second row, it was fairly plain sailing. The pattern is over 19 stitches and there are three types of cable, all done on an odd number of stitches. The crossover, right at the beginning, is done on a 3/2 split. Stupidly, I did not see that the 3 stitches were placed to the back on the cable, so I placed them on the front. This threw my count out progressively through the 26 rows of the pattern. I couldn't work out why my little homes were migrating to one side and I made lots of little ??? on the printout questioning the stitch count.

One I realised where I had gone wrong, I ripped it all out and started again with no problems. I really like this pattern, and as I knitted I was thinking of different ways of using it. I love the names of the old patterns. Lots of different braids, homes of Donegal, print o'the wave shawl, Shetland patterns. All very evocative to me.

I've blocked it and will sew ends together when it's dry. I didn't stretch it lengthways, but pulled it slightly over the width to open up the pattern a bit. The garter stitch goes at the back of my neck and was done because a full pattern repeat would have made the band too long. Again it's some Bendigo 8 ply, probably Classic, but I've had it leftover for a while.

Friday, 17 July 2009

little bits of texture

I just love this braid and the picot eding as well. You can find it here or on Ravelry as Fascine braid socks. Another post on my blog explains teh reference. While the picot flares, it fits just fine and looks great.

I decided to devote one post to texture. Then when I come to report to Lynne, everything is all in the one post.
This little hat will be worn by some unknown to me child. A band of moss stitch around the bottom is a bit of a change to a rolled edge or ribbing. The yarn is Patons Smoothie which is a thickish acrylic and some Anny Blatt kid mohair green. Yes, I know, somewhat of a contrast, sublime to ridiculous or the opposite. I bought the mohair on sale and I've tried all sorts of things with it. It is the second of two balls bought some time ago. The other was a totally different colour. I've started various things with this ball and been dissatisfied . However, the cheap and the expensive together has made something totally different from either. The hat was done on 4 mm needles and the fabric is very firm. However, it's also delightfully soft to the touch. As I said, something totally different. I think I perhaps have enough left for a pair of small mittens to match.

Hat colour has more pink than blue tones in it. The mix is really quite pleasant to the eye as well as the fingers.
Another hat of the same mix and again it is really much softer in tones than appears here. A different bit of texture this time, some crocheted circles. All extra warmth and just something different. I need to check the Winterwarm site to see if there is anything about collections this year yet on it. The little hat was very quick to knit.

More texture is in some more penguins as the first were so thankfully received. And yet more is in the Ishbel beret, completed last week sometime. This was an enjoyable knit, although I'm still experimenting with the size to do. The band fitted well before blocking, but the lace looked dreadful. Blocking has shown the lace, but stretched the band somewhat. It's not really too big, but felt more comfortable before being blocked. I may go down to the smallest size given in pattern and then do an extra repeat of the first pattern chart to make sure it's slouchy enough for me.

Added a couple of weeks later; I've worn this beret several times now. After a haircut, it fit me much better and I really like it. It's the same Bendigo luxury wool as the second Ishbel shawl. It's very comfortable, I'd hardly know it was on my head, but it's also fairly warm.

What's even better, is that every time I wear it, I get compliments on it. When asked where I bought it, I tell them I made it myself. Much envy.

Monday, 13 July 2009

crafty old bag ladies - NOT!

I read lots of other blogs and found this over at the Wiblog the other day. Semele and her friend have done a wonderful makeover on a colleague's desk while he was on holidays. Some crochet and a lot of knitting too.

If you'd love a laugh at the beginning of the week, have a look here! Link will take you to start of comments, I think. Lots of hilarious photos are above the comments. There are even knitted covers for shoes, the keyboard, box of mints and more.

Monday, 6 July 2009

the socks I just had to make

When I saw these socks, (pdf file)) which are also available on Ravelry, I just knew I had to make them. I actually noticed the braid before I read the title and was immediately reminded of the bundle of rods and axes carried by the lictors in ancient Rome. These were called fasces, the plural of fascis, which meant a rod. Almost two metres long, they were a symbol of strength in unity and of authority. Fascine is a good word to describe the braid. The other word from the same base, "fascist" has had its original meaning corrupted and now is usually associated with dictatorship and authoritarianism. Now I have a classical education, did Latin Honours in my first degree and taught languages, especially Latin, for many years. So these socks had an instant appeal.
The wool comes from Needlefood in NZ. It is the most gorgeous colour, a mix of deep crimsons, not the more blatant red shown here. I bought four lots of sockwool and love all the colours These socks have used about 85-90 gm of the skein. I liked knitting the wool although I did find in several places that the plying was so loose, the different plies were obvious.

While the picot edge flares when the socks are flat, it fits well and feels comfortable. I've done other picot edges and find that almost all flare, even when I'm careful not to knit too tightly. These fit well, and after all, how many times will anyone else see them flat like this? I used dpns and had instep stitches on one needle and the remaining stitches split between two needles.

I was inspired by the braid to look up some more knitted braids and I've made a note of several braid patterns. Some could be well used on hats and others used in conjunction with ribs and cables and other textures.

This weekend has been very chilly with a strong cold wind here. I've been glad of my woolly socks. I went to the Greek Drama Day at Macquarie Uni last friday. This is held in a large draughty theatre, so I wore warm tights underneath my woollen skirt, along with a pair of black socks and some deep red boots. A couple of light layers on top and my charcoal semi-felted woollen jacket, a recent acquisition. A bright scarf gave a splash of colour. I had warm feet all day, which was just lovely. Judging by comments I could hear around me, others were not so fortunate. It's mid-afternoon here now and the outside temperature is just scraping 9 °.

I flicked the override switch on the heater during the weekend so it stayed on all day.. I had two grandchildren here and one had a nasty cough so I wanted the place warm. It's certainly quieter here now that it was yesterday. Poor little Finn had fallen on Saturday morning and had bitten his tongue quite badly. He wasn't very happy for a lot of the time and didn't eat much. Being hungry didn't help either. I had a bit of trouble getting him to sleep on Saturday evening. Nothing was right although his bigger sister went to sleep quickly. In the end, I put him in my bed and he settled. That meant I swapped beds later on and when his parents arrived here very late after their evening out, his mum had to get in with him. Still, we coped, as one does. I've spent a lot of today washing towels and linen from the weekend.

Son and DIL are due home Friday morning, early. They seem to have had a good time and the filming he did has gone well. However, it has been hot. They'll get a shock if Friday morning is as chilly as today was. At 9:00 am, it was 3 ° here. Their plane arrives abut 6;00 am.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

ishbel beret

Ishbel beret which was actually finished a couple of weeks ago, but I forgot to take a photo. I really do not like the camera and the mirror method for photography, but as I'm here by myself for almost another two weeks, I'll make do. The light is not quite right but was too bright with either light turned on or using the flash. I took several photos which turned out reasonably until I took a closer look. The beret was still inside out from taking it off the blocking dinner plate. OOPS!

My head is in between sizes and when I made the Cairn hat from Ysolda's collection it was a bit sloppy on my head, so I passed it on to DIL. I did the smaller size this time. When I finished it, the fit around y head was just what I wanted, comfortable but secure. However, the lace needed blocking to show it off. When done, the lace has opened up well, but the band is loser than I would really like.

I loved doing the beret, it was quite quick and fun to knit. I'm wondering what to do. Go down a smaller size in the instructions to allow for blocking stretch in the band and use bigger needles perhaps? I could add another repeat of the first chart which would make it a bit slouchier in the smallest size given. Hopefully the band would then be to my liking. Will have to think about this.

Have been doing some charity knitting for Winterwarm and want to do some more socks in double thickness of Patonyle. I've done a couple of warm hats. Pictures later as I'm trying to keep my textured stuff this month all in one post.

I'm also well down the second sock of my lovely wool from Needlefoods. That also has some texture in the form of a knitted braid and some ribbing. The braid really appeals to me and is a good alternative to cables. Again, photos later.

My friend was very happy with my little penguins I'd done for him, so I've done some more of those too. No photos of these. A penguin is a penguin is a penguin.

Now to put on a hat and walk down the highway to Coles. I've had a fairly nasty cold which has left a residual cough. The wind has just started to pick up here, so will go now while the temperature is still fairly mild. I might even treat myself to lunch out.