Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Tottie Tank Tops Two

Winter is here - I'm chilly inside the house and yesterday DH had to work in the snow! I'm not sure what happened to autumn - I think it blew away in the gales. The crazy weather is no doubt a sign of the terrible things we are doing to our planet.
Regardless of the weather outside, my needles have been clacking away and I've managed to finish two stripey tank tops (age 3-4) from the Rowan Family Collection. Between the two I managed to bust almost 3 balls of Jaeger matchmaker DK (left over from DH's Celt) and 2 balls of Patons DK (I think) out of the stash. A modest inroad, but it was worth it. I love these tottie tank tops!
I knit both flat (as instructed) using 4mm dpns (not mentioned in the instructions), so that there was no need to cut the yarn in order to achieve the original stripe pattern. I also changed the shoulder shaping on the second tank - and rather than cast off 3 stitches on one row and the last 2 on the following row, I just cast them all off together. I dont think such refinements are required in this pattern or for boys of this age. The different stripe pattern on the second tank (light grey with dark grey stripes) was dictated (or inspired!) by the yarn available.

Both tanks are nestling in the gift stash ready for despatch. I tried the first one on the bean the other day - he's 21 months now - and although the tank was big on him, it was quite wearable. As a result I decided that the smallest size (3-4) would do for a 2yr olds birthday, and immediately cast on for the second tank. All in all I think the second one took about 2-3 evenings to knit and one to finish. The bean will get one too once I've got a few other things out of the way...!

Between tanks I managed a bit of WIP wrestling and finished the first sleeve on the bobble cardigan. One sleeve and one front to go, so the end is in sight (yoohoo). Yesterday I cast on for another gift project - some child's mittens from 'Hats, Scarves, Gloves'. I'm knitting both mittens at the same time, and I'm already up to the thumbs. Thumbs, is it hallowe'en yet?

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Autumn knitting & babies

Well, the autumnal air has done something to me, and I just had to pick up some odds and ends of copper coloured yarn and knit myself an autumn. I decided to go with the gift pouches in last minute knitted gifts, and turned out two in no time at all.

These are knit with an unknown yarn that I inherited from my grandmother. It's soft and light and has a slight sheen. I knit the first one as instructed, fastening the base with a 3 needle bind off. For the second bag, I decided that I preferred a seamless look and used good old Kitchener to close the base.

With those out of the way (filed in the gift stash) I started ferreting for another project (completely ignoring the current WIPs..). With various small birthdays coming up (one aged 3, 2 aged 2) I thought I would get started on a stripey tank from the Rowan Family book. It's proving to be a quick and addictive knit (I've finished the back, and I'm up to the armholes & neck shaping on the front). It's made much easier by knitting flat using DPNs - this means I can manage the one row stripes without having to cut the yarn. I'm already planning to knit another one or two of these - they look so good...

Finally, huge CONGRATULATIONS to friends Helen & Stephen who recently welcomed a new daughter to the family. Baby Iona was born at home in a pool - the same pool that her older brother Digby was born in, and the same pool that our little bean was born in! Welcome little one - cant wait to meet you!

Edited to add:
Congratulations also to Gayle - a near neighbour - who had a little girl on Sunday last. Her son Jack is a day younger than the bean and we shared many coffees and chats about baby things in the early months. We bumped into her on Saturday: she was ready to pop and slightly trepidatious about the prospect (Jack was a breech baby and born by c/s) but with a head down baby this time, she was all set for a normal delivery. Go girl.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Catch up #3: socks again

Despite the disappointment of the yarn shopping in Denmark, a couple of weeks ago I went to see my parents. Because of building works at home, the bean and I spent a week in the Marches where I grew up. While we were there, we nipped over to Hay-on-Wye - a small market town, nestling high on the banks of the river, and just across the border in Wales. Hay is most famous for its numerous second hand bookshops, and latterly its literary festival. I just know it for its crooked lanes and stone cottages - the same today as 30 years ago.

While we were there I stopped in at bedecked - which not only has scrumptious buttons, but also has Rowan, Colinette and other delicious yarns. I fondled quite a few things, but nothing asked to be carried away home. Just across the way on the other side of Back Fold, I stopped in at another shop - a cooperative of weavers, spinners and knitters, which has many wonderful things inside. Some handpainted sock yarn - an alpaca merino mix - looked rather good, was well priced and just had to come home with me.

Its from Jenny Cook in Gladestry, and feels lovely. I couldnt wait to wind the skeins. I'm itching to cast on for some new socks, but I must finish Other Things. humph.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Catch up #2: socks

We were on holiday at the end of August, staying with some very hospitable friends in Denmark. They live in a farmhouse at Selso, close to Skibby and less than an hour from Copenhagen. While we were there I planned to revisit a Copenhagen yarn shop I spied last time we were in Denmark, but events conspired against me and I didnt make it. I settled instead for the offerings of the local supermarket in Skibby, which had sock yarn with aloe vera, very reasonably priced too! Not bad for a dinky place in the Danish countryside - I dont think there are many British supermarkets with yarn, let alone sock yarn....

I bought 4 balls - two plain, two variegated. A couple of weeks ago, I cast on with the variegated yarn to make myself some (more) socks. As usual, I kept things short in the leg and kept my fingers crossed as I made the second sock. Bingo. It worked. A pair of socks in less than 50g.

To make things even better, I asked my mum to try the first sock on when I was visiting the other week. It fit, so rather than put the completed pair in my sock drawer, I've put them in the gift stash ready for you know what. Christmas.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Catch up #1: smitten

There's so much to catch up on that I'll have to pace myself.... Well. The ravelympics were a disaster. I didnt really get off the start line, and neither of the WIPs I was meant to be wrestling were. They are still WIPS. My excuse? The Olympics distracted me. A Lot. I was too excited/busy shouting to knit. It was fantastic - we were an Olympic house morning, noon and night. We cant wait till London 2012. It. Will. Be. Great.

One of the things that distracted me at that point in August were mittens. I managed to borrow a copy of Zoe Mellors 'big book of kids knits' from the library and set to work making as many pairs of mittens as I could from a large ball of lilac yarn that I bought in a charity shop. It ran to 4 pairs. Here are 3. Cute eh?

I also started knitting the bobble cardigan (but without the bobbles) from the same book for the bean. This is also charity shop yarn - and is knitting up fine (although I did have to change needle size to get gauge). But it does make me sneeze and give me itchy eyes, so I've come to a bit of a stand still. I cant decide whether to skein the unknit yarn and wash it before carrying on, or just carry on....