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Archive for August, 2009

Knitting with Nancy

I recently made a trip down to Sheffield to the Summer Craft Candy Fair in the lovely Millenium Gallery. I picked up a few treats for myself, including a bag and needle case hand-printed with gorgeous designs by Plain Jane Textiles– I’m a big fan of her work!  Also on show was some quirky jewellery created from knitted tubes, which had been threaded with pipe cleaners to bend them into shapes. Unfortunately, I failed to pick up the designer’s card, so I can’t tell you who made them. Anyway, seeing this work  prompted me to dig out the ‘Knitting Nancy’ for the first time in about 20 years! So, I’ve been playing around with scraps of yarn from my stash, creating my own little knitted tubes. Eventually I plan to move on from the ‘playing’ stage to actually creating something useful! Here’s Nancy in action:

Knitting Nancy

 

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WIP


This work-in-progress is the first in a pair of Monkeys– one of the most popular patterns on Ravelry, designed by the very talented Cookie A. The pattern is pretty straightforward to follow, and I’m really enjoying it. I adapted it from the instructions to knit on 2 circular needles, as the double pointed set are otherwise engaged in a secret knitting project! Is good to have the Addi Turbo’s back in action. I forget just how lovely they are to work with! the yarn I’m using for these is a standard Opal, which I have on good word is a hard-wearing sock yarn. I do hope so, as the heel on these is knit in plain. All the previous patterns I’ve worked to have involved slipped stitches on the knit rows to create a bouncier, tougher heel pad.

This is my 2nd attempt at the Monkeys. The first was frogged in favour of a plain yarn, as I just wasn’t getting a pleasing result in the self-striping yarn I started out with. Should have taken inspiration from the many beautiful projects on Ravelry- but have only just started using the site to its full potential. Oh well, we live and learn.

Speaking of learning… This is the first project for which I have used a long-tail cast on (aka double cast on or continental cast on). I’m ashamed to say that I have previously used a lazy (but very easy) single cast on method- which in retrospect was sooooo much more difficult to knit into. Am so pleased to have a new method which produces a much neater finish, and is really not that tricky to master. I may eat my words when I try casting on a large project and find my ‘long-tail’ doesn’t measure up though!

Well, I am off to London for the weekend so there will be no postings until next week. Hopefully will make lots of Monkey progress on my journey by bus and train tomorrow 🙂

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Yesterday I took my Mum to an open day at the Knitting and Crochet Guild down the road at Lee Mills near Holmfirth (stopping en route to check out Up Country, and for a cup of tea in Sid’s Cafe!). On my first trip to one of these open days last summer, I missed the chance to view garments from the Guild’s collection. So, this time I made sure to attend the ‘gloves on’ session, where we were shown historic knitted and crocheted pieces which had been purchased for the Guild. It was particularly interesting to see some of the fine crocheted garments- the mind boggles at how long it must have taken to create some of them! Looking around the exhibition space afterwards my Mum was excited to find some information about the Ringwood Glove knitters- a cottage industry from her childhood home in Hampshire, in which some of our ancestors worked in the earlier part of last century.

Aside from a behind the scenes look at the collection, we also participated in  tea and cakes, and went shopping in the ‘Yarn Mountain’. With cones priced at just £1, and other yarns weighing in at 1 pence per gram, there were bargains to be had. It’s fair to say that my stash is looking healthier than it was:

Knitting and Crochet Guild purchases

The knitting you see cast on is the beginnings of some squirrelly swedish mittens (a slight variation on) to go with the cowl this winter.

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Being ultra prepared this year, and knitting my winter accessories nice and early. I had been eyeing up the La-La-Love-You cowl at Popknits for quite sometime, and decided to treat myself to some Malabrigo merino worsted yarn in Verde Adriana (green is my favourite colour) – the yarn recommended in the pattern. I had a few problems with this one. I couldn’t get my head around the instructions for knitting on a circular needle, so opted for double pointed instead. Unfortunately, this meant that I was forever moving stitches back and forth between needles to cope with all the yarn overs etc. Also, being new to lace knitting, mistakes were inevitable, so there was a fair bit of ripping back to be done! It hadn’t dawned on me to run a piece of yarn through the stitches to give me a point to work back to (until Bryony pointed this out to me!)- but this is a technique I will employ from now on (particularly when I get round to attempting the lace shawl!!). Without mistakes this would have been a mega quick knit (for me)- possibly just 2 or 3 evenings.  I have mixed feelings about the finished results. It is lovely in itself, but a touch wide for my scrawny neck! May not provide the necessary warmth in the brutal Yorkshire winter unless pinned…

La-La-Love_You cowl

La-La-Love-You cowl

Which allows me to show off another mini project.. The heart pin I’ve attached here was made in an evening. Such a quick knit, and ideal as a gift. It was constructed in 2 parts, and then stitched together around a heart-shaped piece of card, with a small bit of stuffing adding bulk. I’m simply pinning with a safety pin, but I hope to eventually swap this for a proper brooch pin. Sweet! The pattern was freely available from knitbot, and all it requires is a wee bit of leftover yarn from the stash.

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Jaywalker Socks

Originally uploaded by Berry_Crafter

 

I finished this project a while ago now, but have only just got around to taking some snaps. I’m sure those sock knitters amongst you will be familiar with the ‘crosswalker’, and this slight variation by Grumperina, the ‘Jaywalker’. I was recommended this pattern (cheers Bryony!) as a simple way of progressing from basic ribbed patterns (of which I’d grown tired). These knit up quick, don’t require too much concentration, yet produce an interesting and attractive result. Since the pattern doesn’t have a lot of give, I deliberated for quite some time over which size to make (my feet are larger than an ‘average’ womans). In the end I cast on 84 stitches, and they’re pretty much a perfect fit :-). The yarn was a gift, and came without a label, so I’m afraid I can’t tell you what I used!

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