Thursday, 23 July 2015

Oh, the tension!

The wire lady's been looking a bit sad lately. Could be because she doesn't have a name and is a bit dodgy on her feet, but I suspect it's more that she's been wearing the same little jumper for several weeks. I's a nice little jumper, but a girl needs a change now and then. I had one or two scrummy yarns I'd never made a sample for, so I set about finding a pattern.

I chose this one:
Lovely! Free! Entirely suitable for one of the yarns I wanted to use and it would be nice and chunky because I had to use the yarn double. I chose my yarn colours and set off. And then I did something I never do: I checked my tension. I spend my life telling people to check their tension. But for me, nope, can't be bothered. Anyway, it turned out I was getting a perfect 13 stitches to four inches and I felt pretty smug. See, I told myself, I don't need to check tension!

I'll cut to the chase: when I'd knit up the right front, it reached down to my knees. There might be designs where knee length is desirable and attractive, but this wasn't one of them.

So, I'll just say this: if you're substituting yarn, check the row count on your tension square as well as the stitches. You always do? Oh, right. Just me then...

Friday, 3 July 2015

The 5 Hour Baby Boy Sweater

A free pattern from ravelry, this, altho' I think the pattern it's based on has been around for a long time. And it's only a baby boy sweater if you purposely avoid the holes that come from making an extra stitch in the conventional way. And if you put the buttonhole on the boy side of the band. And it's only a sweater at all if you come from the USA or somewhere else where they call cardigans sweaters.

Anyway, see the difference in size? That comes from knitting one in aran and one in a wannabe - but not quite making it - aran. No worries for me - the blue one's a sample and the green one's a charity knit - but it's a pattern you might want to check your tension on if size matters, because even the proper aran one came out smallish. Plus, there's an issue with the sleeve instructions which required a little fudging. Hey ho. It's a free pattern - it'd be churlish to complain about the need for a little fudge.

Anyway, pretty cute. I think this might become my favourite for baby charity stuff - quick to make, but interesting enough to keep your attention.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Ten Poems About Knitting

A poetry book about knitting! Who'd have thought it?? Fab little collection anyway of poems old and new, sad and happy, long and get the idea.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Patricia Roberts

You know a knitwear designer's famous when you ask your Significant Other if they remember you having a knitting pattern book by Patricia Roberts back in the eighties, and they say yes. But that's what happened this morning and then I went off to find the book and I can't. Oh no! Of all the many fantastic knitwear books I've bought over the years, why did it have to be that particular very fantastic one that went missing? Did I look at it one day and think: these are all very eighties - time to let go? Did I lend it to someone? Did I never unpack it after we moved in twenty five years ago?

Well, I'll have a better look later, but in the meantime someone very kind has uploaded all the Patricia Roberts patterns to ravelry. Not the instructions, just the photos and signposts to where they can be found (mostly in books in secondhand bookshops, I think). Very well worth a scroll through for a taste of the more exciting end of eighties woolly fashion. I wasn't as adept or cavalier about yarn substitution at the time and some of the designs would've required PR's own yarn but I did make probably the most conservative garment featured - Some Like It Hot.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Just lately I've mostly been...

...making and re-purposing squares.
The knitted ones are for the Nepal blankets that we're making out of donated yarn. I'm not a fan of garter stitch, but if I switch to the much faster stocking stitch they'll be a different size and shape so I'm sticking with it. Each one takes me 2 hours, which seems like a long time to knit a plain square. Then I realised that a while ago I'd taken apart an old afghan, that I crocheted in the 70s, and rescued the squares that the rabbit hadn't wrecked with her teeth and claws. They were all washed and ready for edging, which I was working my way through slowly, slowly, very very slowly, as the advert doesn't say. Anyway, however slow it might be to edge them and sew back together it's going to be much faster than knitting garter stitch squares, so at the moment I'm doing both. (Plus a child's bolero, plus a toggled neckwarmer, plus my never ending vintage jumper, know how it is.)

Friday, 29 May 2015

Has the interest in knitting dropped?

That's the title of a thread on ravelry at present. It veered off course a little, as discussions tend to do, but started out with the premise that many small, woolly businesses are struggling at present and wondering whether that's due to a general downturn in the attraction of knitting as a hobby.

What do you think? Has the interest in knitting dropped? Or is it just the likelihood of buying from a small wool shop that's dropped? Is there such a choice of festivals and shows these days, where you can often get something other than the commercially produced yarns, that knitters save their woolly money up for those and eschew the other stuff? Are people knitting down their stash? Are they ordering online from the big boys? Or have so many small wool shops opened that there's just loads of choice and yarn money is being spread more thinly?

I'm interested to know because we've just had the very quietest week since we opened and I'm wondering why... I think it's partly due to all the above and partly due to the influence of programmes like The Great British Sewing Bee turning people onto sewing rather than knitting. Sewing's so much quicker - I wish I could do it. (Honestly, you'd never know my grandma was a tailoress!) Might be time to put away my knitting needles and crochet hooks and get my old, cheap sewing machine serviced and ready for action...

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Finished objects

Isn't it wonderful when you find odd balls of wool that you'd forgotten you had and think: hmmm, what can I make with this...? I'd found the 200g of green Silk Embrace, a (now discontinued) luxury alpaca/silk mix chunky, and the self striping Mochi Plus aran on Saturday, so between the craft market on Sunday and coming back to work today, I finished these three.
 The red mittens are made in chunky acrylic and are a prototype from a guesswork pattern which needed tweaking before the following pair, so if you know any men with medium sized hands but very, very long thumbs, I have just the pair of fingerless gloves for them.