Sunday, November 25, 2012

Back to where I was

Things have been ticking along here, some knitting, some spending, some sending, some sorting and even some gardening. The cardigan seems to be back to where I was before the last frog. Feels like a much better and me-sized version now.

Here is the top of the sleeve, I do like the slight puff that increasing every row gives at the top of the cap. When I worked the yoke again I decided that the critical measurement was as for all fitted garments, the width across the back. So instead of knitting the shoulder seam to the length, I knit the shoulder increases until the back was the width of the back of my favorite cardigan. That gave me a shoulder some three cms shorter than it should be, but this fits, and fits perfectly. My explanations that the shoulder constructed this way may require negative ease in it, I will test that theory in the next version. Now I am working the body .... progress should be reasonably quick, if I'm not distracted by other things.

There has been some serious yarn acquisition, four skeins of Lizzy Bennett and five of Wiloughby. Blue faced leister fingering weight. I had originally wanted to knit the cardigan in the Lizzy Bennett colour way (reddish) but didn't have a second colour to go with. A cry of please help to Sally of veranda yarns resulted in these two colors being offered, and I couldn't decide so got both. The will be more lightweight cardigans in the near future. I seem to have graduated from buying single skeins to stashing garment quantities of yarn. Just between you and I this might be getting serious.

And there is a birthday this week, for my one masters student, right on the day she hands in her thesis. So I thought something hand knit was in order. This is the yarn that might become something, probably wrister a or mitts. Tonight will involve winding into a ball and starting the project. Handspun Romney, 49g, if 100 grams does two socks, then 49 grams should do two wristers. After all a wrister is pretty much just a sock without the foot and heel. I know she likes blue, and I know she found the winter in Dunedin cold. Her home is shanghai and she says that is colder but the buildings are warmer. I believe it and given the boiler at work spent much of the winter being replaced ... It has been a cold year to be a poor student in Dunedin. Something warm and hand knit will remind her of her time in Dunedin, or that is the plan. Take care and I will leave you with bears new rose bed, nine new roses, two species, three David Austin, and two chosen by Toby. Plus some underplanting, and new contain plants around the door. The men in my life like roses ..... I like that. Elder cub was slightly surprised at the cost of roses, and the hard work required to dig over a garden and plant, still he insisted on being helpful. I like that as well. And yes .... The house desperately needs the windows painted. For now it seems easier to disguise that with mass planting of flowering things ( I only semi joke). And I managed to send away some post.

Na Stella

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Frogging ....and third time lucky?

I frogged, got to the point of dividing my contiguous regauged Tempest inspired cardigan for the underarms and found that it was way to large. Oversized large, and not in a cute I've borrowed this from my boyfriend, but in a what were you thinking, didn't you notice? way. So I documented, with photos and measurements and frogged. Surprisingly the frogging took much less time than I imagined. Oddly disturbing to be reminded that to undo is often easier and less time than to do.

I've now restarted, and this time the size looks more me-sized. Much more the size of thing I wear and see left hanging over the back of a chair or the bed. In hindsight I didn't really think through the effect of the back neck increases. I knew that the increases curved the back neck, like dressmaking darts do in a funnel neck garment, I intellectually knew that adding increases would increase the back width. I had added two sets of six or seven increases ... and I just didn't think through that would make the back two inches wider. I then worked the shoulder increases to fit a fitted garment, not one with a dropped neckline caused by a wide lowered neckline. So my shoulder sleeve meeting point ended up way past my shoulder, somewhere down my bicep. That all added up to be way to big. Something I didn't really see until I had divided the sleeves from the body and cast on. Oh I tried the knit on at several points but it seemed to be always scrunched up on the needle and didn't sit right on my shoulders. I thought that was the scrunching, now I know the scrunching was due to the oversized nature, and that it would never sit well on my shoulders.

So here we are ... with much fewer stitches, looking like a top down cardigan instead of a large wobbly grey blue thing. And now I understand the way the shaping works, and feel happier with how to fit this to me.

Hope your weekend went well, mine was long, starting with the school show Friday night ( I got home in the wee small hours of Saturday with aching feet, despite wearing flats all day). Saturday went in a long tour of all the graduate exhibitions, another long on my feet day. Today has been mucky, some cooking, some printing, some tidying up ... But now it is time to knit and I am all enthused to see progress. Fewer stitches not only means a better fit but shorter rows so the cardigan seems to grow faster.

The care, more soon, with the show done work life becomes less hectic.

Na Stella

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Little tracks

Today's post is about making progress, of the slow and steady kind. Te past week went in a haze of coughing and sniffling, starting with smallest cub on Monday home from school and feeling miserable. Bear was out of town, and so I was the duty- parent. Tuesday was a normal Tuesday with cubs at school and me at work. Then the rest of the week went in a round of first me joining little cub in her cold, then elder cub. Bear came back and seems to have escaped the contagious period, and little cub was at school Friday. I' m hoping this week brings a nice relaxing normal work week, will full health all around.

I've been making slow progress on the newest cardigan, a few more stripes done, and beginning to think about shaping the under arm. I've been reading Barbara Walkers from the top, and realize the shapping I have developed based on my experience with drafting patterns for sewn garments is the same as Barbara's recommendation for shaping the body and under arm curves! Not sure if that is great minds think alike, or zeitgeist, or even duh! I'm tending towards great minds as that makes me feel cleverer. After a week of feeling like my head was full of thick goo - I'm taking any positive thoughts I can muster.

My next knitting project was going to be socks, Handspun socks ... But I've struck a hitch, I can't find the yarn. Not I can't find yarn for there is plenty of that, plenty of sock yarn to hand, and a local supplier happy to sell me more. My problem is that I can't find the yarn I want to use. Recently I spun a green-blue sock yarn from a skein of vintage Purls sock blend, I cabled the yarn and planned to knit a pair of socks ... the yarn looked a little under plied so I ran it through the wheel again adding a little more ply, and sat the yarn in the yarn bowl in the living room. Yarn bowl you ask, what is a yarn bowl. Well around the house there are some lovey items of glass, ceramic, brass or wood that are just there on display because they are too pretty to put away, and because we choose to put the ugly stuff like the crock-pot and the vacuum cleaner away and leave the pretty stuff out. We have more 'stuff' than we have spaces to tidy it to. end result is some things like the lovely large glass bowl in the living room end up being a temporary storage space for spin type project bits and pieces. Right now there is a spindle collection, some more sock yarn I've divided into four to spin into a four ply, and a wee pencil case that stores various fine dpns. There 'should' be a skein of marbled cabled blue green sock yarn here ... but there isn't, still aftr checking all the other places i can think of and not finding it I keep looking in the bowl just in case it has reappeared.

So I've been looking into all the odd places I may have tucked the yarn away in a fit of tidiness and thoughtlessness, I've been finding other things. One of those was a stack of paper that bear brought home. The company he works for recently rebranded, we won't even discuss from what to what, but its just the latest in a long list of changes this time so the firm can create a commercial identity separate to its current owner for a variety of reasons. The paper was old letter head, some heavy thick corporate letter paper, some gridded engineers calculation pads - all with the companies former logo and address printed at the head and foot of each page. Bear hates wasted, loves fountain pens and good paper, so brought the paper home to be used here rather than be thrown out at his work. There wasn't much, a few half used pads, and a part stack of nice letter head paper. But since I couldn't knit the socks I wanted to and as I was bored with the new cardigan ... I made some book blocks from the discarded paper. The first batch were square backed journals ....with rounded corners thanks to Stampbattery who loaned me a corner punch. I've now bought my own.

The second batch were inspired by Zoomer, who showed me her quarter bound books. I loved the look of the spine all plain and serious and the cover more colorful. I want to make more like this .... many more. I love the aesthetic, but also realize this makes decorative paper go further. I get more books for each sheet I buy.

The last set of books were experimental, made from the discarded paper, the batches of which there were only 20 or 30 sheets. Not enough for a full notebook, but enough for a thinner soft cover notebook. Pink and blue are two 'signatures' each, so around 20 leaves, or 40 pages. The brown and green thicker. They are narrow, as once I cut of the company footer and header I had less paper to work with. The green has the binding sewn through the cover, and the brown is my attempt at a soft cover moleskeine style. I followed instructions I found online to form the spine by curve a soft spine strip over a pencil. I can't find the instructions and a few frustrating days trolling through my browser history has not located it. Maybe I imagined it. I will post a link if I ever find the tutorial again.

Wish me luck in finding the lost sock yarn, and the curved spine tutorial (warning: don't google that phrase without the words bookbinding or it gets all medical),

Take care, na Stella

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Done to distraction.

Today there is finished knitting, if one can count finishing a batch of wash cloths as a project done, and a major distraction arrived at home.

First up the washcloths, all seven of them. I miscalculated and the final washcloth ended up short about a meter of yarn. Something's I will frog, but the final washcloth is not one of them, so I substituted another cotton I had in stash. It's the one on the lower left corner in case you didn't spot the odd corner out.

The washcloth patterns are (clockwise from top left), NaiNai's favorite, double bump by Missy Angus), washcloth for a perfect bath by Linney Pinney, Open star dishcloth, spa day washcloth (wrong side up), in the middle is dewdrops washcloth by tricksy knitter and the last one knit, down in the lower left corner is the pattern revenge washcloth. This and NaiNai's are my favorites, although dewdrops is right up there in the knit again list. The two I am most disappointed with are the two on the far right, they skewed more than I liked.

This came home Saturday, a brand new pistachio green kitchen aid. I love it, it's quiet, doesn't drip oil when stord in the cupboard, and doesn't cut out when run for more than five minutes. We bought the artisan model, and got a free glass bowl (a special deal), so we have two bowls for it, stainless and glass, one with a cover to seal and store mixes (we did that with popover batter Saturday night for breakfast Sunday). We also bought a scraper mix blade. Then I watched the instructional DVD, badly dubbed but excellent infomercial, in that when watching my first thoughts were that I wanted all the extras they were showing me. There was making of cupcakes, muffins, and bread. Then making all sorts of other things like ice cream with additional ice cream bowl, or mincing, grinding, and juicing using even more attachments.

Sometime in the 1960's a British made kenwood chef mixer came into this house, bought for Bears mum, and it is still here. I was given use of it in the 1990's, I used it to make bread, pavlova, and cake all-the-time and then it finally wore a gear out later that decade. We couldn't find parts for the Kenwood A701 at the time so I had the gear replaced, a friend of a friend took the broken wooden gear and machined a hardened steel replacement. A lovely gesture but the result was a mixer built to last forever that was so loud I wanted to wear earmuffs when using it. I understood the simplicity and wisdom of the gear being made of quieter wood not steel. Then I officially inherited it, I used it, when I want to make things that my wee hand held mixer would not cope with - for the wee hand held mixer would overheat if worked to long and too hard and simply stops working until the motor cools down. Here is the new kitchen aid right next to the old kenwood chef, both metal bodied, both with glass bowls, one clear and one milky purex. We have a blender attachment, and bear plans to order a replacement gear, and seals and see if he can refurbished the kenwood. The old ones sell for very little on Trademe (new Zealand's eBay), and I do mean very little, there is one locally sitting unsold sans beater for $15 thatis newer than ours! I suspect they are simply to heavy to ship, and we can't honestly sell one that drips oil when in storage, and is so loud ... but repaired one of the cubs might take it flatting, they both like to bake, and Bear likes to tinker, or likes the idea of tinkering.

Take care, if you have any advise on repairs for a1960's Kenwood A701a or words of advice for a new kitchen aid user ... Please share, meanwhile I'm off to check the littlest cub who is unwell.

Na Stella