Friday, 28 December 2012

Secret Santa

I can finally reveal the knitted projects that were made for Christmas gifts.

The first is a Neat Ripple Cushion made for my Mum. It's the Neat Ripple Pattern by Lucy of Attic24. I made an 18" cushion. 


The yarn is Rico Design Essentials Cotton DK and there is such a lovely array of colours to choice from. It lends itself well to crochet and I used it in my African Flower Bucket Bag
I crocheted one piece 18" by about 42" then folded over and crocheted together on the edges and a few tiny buttons to close it.


Also, Mum got a pair of fingerless mitts that are my own design. I used Rowan Pima Cotton DK, which is beautiful yarn and made a lovely soft fabric but it was a little tricky to work with in fair isle.


It has lots of different elements, broken ribbing, vikkel braids, fair isle, corrugated ribbing and an I-cord bind off.



Sunday, 16 December 2012

Handmade Christmas: The Tree

I thought I'd share my Christmas tree with you!



I've made a few decorations for the tree.
This flat ceramic bauble is double-sided and from the photo above you can see the Christmas tree on the other side.
A ceramic glazed santa
Hardanger embroidered decoration and it's filled with cloves so it smells very Christmassy
Secret Garden folded fabric blocks with lucet cord and beaded tassels

And, it's not just me. These are Mr's contributions, a wood turned bauble and a star for the top of the tree which is made from white leather (a strange material for a star but it looks nice)


These are a few tree decorations that friends have made for me over the years.


Going through them all, I've realised there is not one knitted decoration. That will be something I'll have to remedy for next year!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Möbius Methods

After having made quite a few möbius cowls recently (see this post). I've been doing a bit of research into the background of möbius strips and the different ways of making a möbius shape in knitting.




The Oxford English Dictionary defines a "Möbius strip";
"/'mə:bɪəs/ ► noun a surface with one continuous side formed by joining the ends of a rectangle after twisting one end through 180° ORIGIN early 20th cent.: named after August F. Möbius (1790-1868), German Mathematician
Though it was independently discovered by Johann Benedict Listing at the same time.

One of the main practical uses for a möbius strip is for drive belts; but I think that the best use is in knitting (though perhaps I'm a bit biased).

There seems to be two main categories for making a möbius; flat and circular.

Flat




The first option is for the cast on edge to be the long horizontal, the piece is worked flat and then twisted and sewn along the vertical edge. This would create an obvious seam in the work.



The second option is when the cast on edge is the shorter vertical edge, again worked flat, then twisted and then the cast on / bind off edge is sewn together. This is very similar to the first option and again this would create a seam.

The third option is to provisionally cast on along the short vertical edge and then it is grafted together at the end.

Circular

All the following require circular needles.


This option is to cast on with circular needles and then make one twist in before joining in the round. So the bottom edge will be the cast on and the top will be the bind off.


The next three options all involve what I consider a little bit of magic. They are started at the middle of the strip and then the piece is worked on circular needles around the entire edge of the work. Therefore, all the outside edges will be the bind off edge.

The first one involves a regular cast on, such as a knitted or long tail cast on. Using the same circular needles that the stitches were cast on, the same number of stitches are picked up from the cast on edge.

The second and third options are relatively similar. They both require a provisional cast on. Cat Bordhi's Moebius Cast On is made using the needle tip and the cable of the same needle and the other is the Alternating Cast-On for Moebius from June Hemmons Hiatt’s “The Principles of Knitting”, which uses two circular needles of the same size.


I'll leave you with a joke from "The Big Bang Theory". Why did the chicken cross the möbius strip? To get to the same side.


References
The New Oxford English Dictionary (1999) Oxford University Press p.1187
Flynn, Mike, Infinity In Your Pocket (2005) Elwin Street Ltd p.25
Hemmons Hiatt, June, The Principles of Knitting (2012) Touchstone pp. 368-370
Patmore, Frederica & Haffenden Vikki, The Knitting Book (2011) Dorling Kindersley Ltd p.197
Wikipedia, Möbius strip, Retrieved 05.12.12. from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%B6bius_strip
Bordhi, C - Intro to Moebius Knitting, Retrieved 05.12.12 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVnTda7F2V4

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

FO: Möbius Cowls

I feel like I've been on a production line of knitting recently! I've produced 4 möbius moss stitch cowls for Christmas presents. 



All are cast on with 124 sts using a möbius cast on. I used the opportunity to try out a few different types of möbius cast on.
The silver and purple ones are cast on using Cat Bordhi’s moebius cast on. I liked the relatively simple way of casting on but the first row was very tight and difficult to do. This seemed to cause the stitches to stretch very slightly but enough for me to notice it!




The silver/white and the silver/pink are cast on using a different möbius cast on, which is Alternating Cast-On for Moebius from June Hemmons Hiatt’s “The Principles of Knitting”. The provisional cast on used for the centre is very similar to Judy's Magic Cast On.



  • The upside of this one was I found it really easy to do and the first row was worked easily without stretching anything.
  • There were no loose stitches, however, I tried to make an alternating knit/purl start but couldn’t figure it quickly so just did the knit in the end. This meant that the middle row was knit on one side and purl on the other. This creates a visible line in the moss stitch but, to be honest, I think both methods do this to some degree.
  • One downside was needing 2 circular needles of the same size; if you had interchangeables it would be possible to have one set and use stoppers until you can remove the 2nd circular. I much preferred to do the 2nd method.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

FO: Lego Man

Since Mr's Birthday has passed now, I can show you his surprise funny Birthday present. He has always been a big fan of Lego and as soon as I saw this guy, I knew where he was destined to go.




The pattern is Some Assembly Required, and was a very clearly written pattern. It was a little fiddly to make but not too much sewing up like some toys. The majority of the pattern was made in the round on DPNs.


The arms have safety eyes as joints, so his arms are poseable. He can be completely separated just like a real lego guy.


Suffice to say, he went down rather well!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

FO: Woolly Wormhead Mystery Hat KAL 2012

There are some SPOILER photos here; so don't continue if you want the hat to be a surprise. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I've taken part in the Woolly Wormhead Mystery KAL 2012. This is the first time I've done this and I really enjoyed it. I normally steam through projects and I was kind of nice to be able to do a project in small portions; made me appreciate the experience more! Also, I'm not 100% sure I would have picked the hat had I seen it first. It's lovely but probably not something I would normally do. It's good to try different things.

It took an awful lot of effort to finally choose some yarn; I kept finding that everything I wanted to do would just go into a 2nd ball to fit the size I wanted. I finally found a yarn that would work with just 1 ball which is Louisa Harding, Amitola which is quite an unusual yarn. It's sold as a DK but it has 250m/50g which is an immense amount of yardage for a DK. It's a single ply yarn with long stripes.


My favourite part of the hat is the brim. I love a brim with a double thickness and it just fits great (well it did until I overblocked it!); I lost a bit of the negative ease with blocking but it still wears well.


Looking at the above photo, it looks like the brim is laying flat (which is what I thought when I sewed it down) but when I was picking up the stitches for the body of the hat, it started to twist. So I had to unpick the join and redo it.

I left the body of the hat a little shorter than recommended and waited to see what the final instalment would reveal. In the end I added an extra repeat (after a bit of frogging). I added some extra length in the crown too, as I had enough yarn left over.

So the finished hat, with my lovely stag button that I bought from Textile Garden and blogged about here.





Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Mustard & Yak

I've some finished objects to show you. I bought a new winter coat last week and thought it needed a new scarf to go with it. I chose a bright yellow to match the brass fittings on the coat.


The pattern is Hana Shawl by Kristina Vilimaite. The yarn is King Cole Bamboo Cotton. It's quite a different construction to other scarves and shawls I've made and I enjoyed the change. It's cast on a large number of stitches along the patterned edge and after the pattern, there is a section of short row shaping to give it a curved shape.



The suggested cast off is a Fake Tubular Cast Off which I've never used before and must say I'm enamoured with it. Very simple to do, not much more complicated than a regular knitted cast off and it gives an interesting edge. The instructions for it are from TECHknitter.


Also, I've finished my Yak hat. It's made from handspun yak/silk which I blogged about here. I just improvised a 2x2 ribbed hat. It's to fit a size 22" head with a little bit of negative ease. It fits me nicely and is lovely and snug. However, it's a christmas present for a friend. The photos might look a bit odd, the hat has a balloon inside it for blocking.





Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Rams and Yowes

Finally finished my Rams and Yowes blanket. It's such a beautiful design I really enjoyed the centre fair isle section.



Having a look at the beautiful blankets others have done, there seemed to be a bit of an issue with wavy borders which I definitely wanted to avoid. So…
When I cut the steek, I steam blocked a section of the blanket to get my gauge (I didn’t bother doing a swatch to begin with). My gauge was 28 sts by 32 rows in 4”. I also made a small garter stitch swatch which was 26 sts in 4”. With that sort of gauge difference, then a 1 to 1 pick up would definitely give a wavy edge.
On the cast on and cast off edges, I picked up at a rate of 13 in 14 sts and on the steeked edges 13 in 16 sts (pu 4, skip 1, pu5, skip 1, pu4). So in the end I picked up 684 sts instead of 780; which is a huge difference. I don’t have wavy edges, though. Hopefully you can see in the before blocking picture the borders look relatively flat.
Before blocking

After blocking
I did a w&t for the border so I was knitting all the time which sped things up. I considered doing the No-Purl Garter stitch which I would have done but didn’t really want to tie in double the amount of ends, especially since there was only 4 rows per colour.
Before sewing the border down, I added a little bit of embroidery in chain stitch. My first attempt was very dodgy, so I ended up writing out the pattern on some parchment and basted that to the border and embroidered through it. Then just pulled the paper out after and it worked well.

I had a big issue after sewing the border down to the inside. I just sat and did it and pulled my sewing tight without checking anything. So when I’d finished I pulled the blanket into shape and proceed to snap all my sewing. I had to redo it without pulling it as tight.
The I-cord border was definitely worth the effort. It really finished it off nicely. Now to place strategically over my favourite chair...

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Baa

I seem to have been really busy this last week or two but not a lot to show for it.

I've been sucked into the enthusiasm of the 2012 Woolly Wormhead KAL. I really enjoyed the Orchid Thief KAL. I've been very good recently and there has been an embargo on stash acquisition, which accidently came to an end yesterday when I bought this:


I've a feeling one ball won't be enough as I've got rather a large head. There is 250m on the ball so I'm crossing fingers.

There's plenty of knitting going on but nothing finished.
Here's a sneak peak of my Rams and Yowes blanket:


Hopefully it'll be finished shortly but I had a minor disaster with it last night. I'd sewn the border down to the inside and blindly did the whole thing without checking the tension of the sewing. When I'd finished I did my usual thing of pulling it into shape and proceeded to snap all the sewing that I'd done. I'd done it way too taut so I'm patching it back up at a much looser tension.

There's also a very cute surprise present for Mr., which I'm loving. It's a fabulous pattern. Here is the link for it if you're curious

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

More Yardage

I've spent a few days recently on my spinning wheel. Here are my latest yarn-like creations:

Remember this? It was some of the Wensleydale/Silk roving I dyed recently - blogged here

It's changed into a 2 ply, 15 w.p.i., 157m/100g - sport weight.


I finished the Faux Cashmere I mentioned last week.


It's 18 w.p.i., 268m/100g.


I've finished the mate to the Teal Shetland - so it's all ready for some fair isle mittens.
It's a very pale green, BFL, 161m, 17 w.p.i. Not identical to it's mate but close enough for the mittens.


I've also made a couple of mini skeins. The sparkle will hopefully become a Christmas tree decoration; 


and the other two are the start of a larger lot of yarns for another fair isle project. The original idea was for some Bandelier socks, so the colours I have are similar but think I might use the same pattern and improvise something else. Don't think I really want make a pair of socks I have to handwash at the moment!