Friday, 30 August 2013

Amazing prizes for Right-as-Rainbow KAL winners

When Katie of Spud & Chloe e mailed Kathleen and I  yesterday with details of the amazing prizes they are awarding to three lucky KAL participants our first reaction was to ask 'do you mean just the patterns or some yarn too?  We were nearly speechless when Katie said 'patterns, yarn and the winner gets to choose the colours'


So here are the details (all participants must use at least one skein of S&C yarn to be eligible for a prize)

Prize 1 is just for beginning the card.  All you have to do is cast on and create a ravelry project tagged with rar-knitalong for your name to go in a draw.  It would help us if you would post a comment on the Right as Rainbow Ravelry thread too (this goes for all your progress up dates and questions - let's chat). The winner can choose either...

Baby Bunting

Leaf blanket

Both these cute baby wraps are knitted in S&C Outer which like all S&C yarn comes in loads of fab colours

Prize 2 Is for finishing, just complete your sweater, and post a picture in your projects for one entry in the draw.  If you make 3 cardis you get three entries!  And you get to choose either

Lovey Dovey


Lucky Number

Both these gorgeous patterns are knitted in the same yarn that our Right-as-Rainbow cardi is knit in, S&C Sweater.   If you have already bought your yarn you will know how very spoilt for colour choice the winner will be

Lastly Prize 3 for creativity, the winner will be selected by Stephanie Lotven, the Right-as-Rainbow designer.  The winner will receive pattern and yarn to make this...

children not included - just the PJ case

And there you have it - three beautiful enticing prizes which should get you (and your knitting friends ) casting on on September 4 and racing to finish at least one sweater by 25 September

Just to remind you here is a recap of the rules

1. We cast on Sept. 4 – this coming Wednesday! You can start after that, of course, but please don’t cast on before. [Gauge swatches don't count.]
2. You must create a Ravelry project page and tag it “rar-knitalong” for us to be able to find you and enter you into the prize categories. [I've given instructions on tagging here.] We’d love it if you’d also include the pattern and yarn information on your project page.
3. The last day to create and update your project pages will be Sept. 25 – so if, for example, you would like to be entered in category 2, you will need to have your sweater(s) finished, and your project page updated to indicate that fact, by Sept. 25.
4. To be eligible for the prizes, you must include one (1) color of Spud & ChloĆ« Sweater in your sweater. Please join the knitalong even if you don’t use the yarn – we want to hear both your yarn and color ideas and your technical questions!  
(thanks to Kathleen for the summary)

My own progress
Yesterday you left me mulling over how to combine the three colours of S&C Sweater I had bought and the three balls sent to me by Kathleen for our exchange.  The yarn lay on my garden table in two groups like the Sharks and the Jets eyeing each other accross the school gym.  I tried almost every combination of stripe with the Grape Jelly as the main colour and Grass for the edging.
I thought about leaving out Cider

But that seemed too plain.  I did not want to knit several colour swatches, as I was wondering how to get a clear idea of what other colour combinations would look like JTH suggested I knitted separate strips - like this

It worked (additional stripes knitted in Grape and Cider) but it's all a bit of a tangle, necessary because I do not want to waste an inch of this yarn by cutting short lengths.  After much shuffling I have decided on this:-

Now I am absolutely ready to begin.  I may have mentioned it before but I am taking my knitting on a trip and from next Monday shall be blogging from a tiny Greek Island.  So a slightly intermittent WiFi permitting you may also find the odd goat, cat or seascape (turquoise of course) may slip into the knit chat.

I do hope many of you are swatching away and getting ready for the start on Wednesday - with fingers (metaphorically) crossed hoping to win one of the fabulous prizes.



PS  Although there is only a select few yarn shops stocking Spud & Chloe yarn in the UK, the lovely Mrs Moon does so in her on-line yarn shop

Thursday, 29 August 2013

More yarn for the KAL

An exciting parcel of yarn arrived to day from Kathleen as part of our yarn exchange

The new balls have been introduced to the residents.  They are quite different (unlike the yarn I sent to Kathleen, she has some duplicates) but for me the challenge will be making yarn from quite different palettes work.

I could do something entirely random or keep some yarn back to make a second sweater.  My first, and the one for the KAL is for The Little Model but I could make one for The Little Brother too.

Thoughts anyone?



Tuesday, 27 August 2013

All Right (as Rainbow) Now (KAL 4)

This swatching lark can be tricky.  Between us Kathleen and I have come up with all possible permutations of the tension square using needles sized from 3.75 - 5mm.  On Sunday I received one of those sort of 'Help' e mails.  K was down to 3.75 needles and she still couldn't get to gauge.

Previously of course I was trying to get some cheap DK to come up to gauge but I needed to begin all over again once I had decided to use the gorgeous Spud & Chloe Sweater.  And with a big sigh of relief I have made it.

It began a little loosely but that was the garter border I worked to try and make my swatch lie flat, once I got going my 22 stitch swatch was a fraction of a stitch wider than 4 inches.  I also get 28 rows to 4 inches too but that is far less critical as the pattern gives length in inches not rows.

I did try the 5mm needles too, this square was 5 inches wide, but it was nice to see how the colours will work together on the yoke

When we first began to talk about the KAL and I decided I would make the cardigan for The Little Model, some may have thought I was a little deluded.  How was I going to make a size 18mo fit a 4 year old?  Well she is very tall (no problem I can knit the sweater longer in body and sleeves) but very slim and I have checked the measurements.  The chest measurement given for the largest size still gives TLM some wriggle room.  Don't believe me?  Well here is proof, TLM in her new school uniform ready for 'big school' in a week's time

Look at that school cardi!   And it's the smallest size!!

This might be the moment to mention the beautiful rosewood needles I have treated myself to (well August is my birthday month)  They are absolutely perfect for little projects, in particular swatches.  They may even encourage me to swatch more... I have them in 3.5, 4, 4.5 & 5mm  (Have I mentioned this before?  I may have...)

I have also wound of three mini skeins that will be winging their way to Kathleen as my part in our colour swap.

So I am now all ready, together with Kathleen, to talk you through the KAL, step by step in our blogs and   in the thread on the Ravelry, friends of Spud & Chloe forum.

The Ravelry forum is for all participants - if you are joining in, please post your comments.  Tell us just what you are thinking, how are your swatches turning out?  Do you need a colour swap partner?  Are you knitting the sleeves on DPNs or are you using magic loop?  AND most importantly of all are you having fun?

Don't forget lift off (or is it D-Day or even K-Day) will be 4 September.  We will continue to promote the KAL on Facebook, Twitter, Ravelry and blogs but we would be so happy if you could spread the word.  We are up to six knitters but it would be great to have more.

Oh! and I have a beautiful new knitting bag, made by my clever cousin the textile artist Sharon Verry.

I have already mentioned that August is my birthday month and this was Sharon's present to me for my 60th (Earlier this year for her 60th I made Sharon a shawl in the Metalouse pattern).  Perhaps a non knitter might think that a dolly bag is not suitable as a knitting bag, surely one needs a long thin bag to contain the needles.  But not of course if you use circulars and DPNs.  Not only is my bag a thing of beauty in my favourite colours but it is just right to hold all I need for the KAL

Sharon makes all sorts of things with her silk fabrics, scarves, bags even jewelery.  There are lots more photographs on her website and you can buy her work at The Guild of Ten  in Truro Cornwall.



Friday, 23 August 2013

Exciting developments at the Right-as-Rainbow KAL

In my last post you left me swatching for the Right as Rainbow KAL, swatching like mad because I was using a different yarn and was preparing for a major fudge to get my work to run to gauge.

Well the lovely people at Spud & Chloe, the makers of the recommended yarn got wind of our KAL and asked to join in the fun AND offered prizes!!!  I also looked again at Kathleen's blog and noted how much she praised Spud & Chloe sweater.  What could a serious knitter do? I always say I put too much love and time into my knitting not to use the best yarn (after all you can buy a sweater made of cheap yarn on the high street any time, can't you?)  So I should (as some Londoners say) put my money where my mouth is, should I not!

Thus, taking the plunge, I ordered some of the correct yarn in three colours from Mrs Moon (I think the only stockist of S&C in the UK) and it arrived yesterday

I have Grass, Cider and Grape Jelly.

The colours are fabulous and the squishy texture, heaven,  just as Kathleen described it.  

Now this yarn retails in the UK at a pretty hefty £12.99 per 100g skein, not too much for such lovely yarn but the yoke stripes use so very little, it does make the cardigan rather expensive.  I came up with a plan.  I will swap some lengths of these colours for three of Kathleen's. So if you are tempted to join in but are a little put off about being left with most of 5 100g balls at the end consider finding 'a pair'* 

We suggest you post on the Ravelry thread that Kathleen has begun for the KAL, state what you are willing to swap (use the official S&C colour name and say how much you have available to swap) and see if you have a swapping partner out there.

Spud & Chloe are going to keep us guessing for a little bit longer about the prizes but here are some of the rules of engagement.

We all begin knitting our sweaters on 4 September, the KAL ends on 25 September.  Unlike other KALS this one isn't strictly a race, we are all going to knit together on this - it is fine to race ahead but there isn't a prize for first past the post (although all finishers will be put into a draw for teh finishers prize).

Kathleen and I will blog about our own progress and also join in the Ravelry discussions.  If you have any questions (technical or otherwise) please post them on the Ravelry thread so that the questions and answers can be seen by all participants.

The prizes will be awarded in three categories

I. Starters! The first category is for anyone who starts the sweater. Just cast on and create a project page by Wednesday, Sept. 25 and you’re entered to win. One lucky starter will be chosen at random to receive a spiffy S & C prize (details on prizes coming soon).
II. Finishers! anyone who finishes a sweater and posts it (tagged, etc.) by Wednesday, Sept. 25 will be entered into a drawing for this prize. Easy peasy: finish a sweater, let us know about it, and you’re entered to win. The more sweaters you finish by the deadline, the more entries you will have in the drawing. Knit five sweaters, get five entries.
III. Creatives! This category will reward creativity in all areas of the knitting: yarn choice, modifications, etc. and it will be judged by the designer herself, Stephanie Lotven 

There are only two rules (to be eligible for prizes) :-
1. At least one colour that you use must be in S&C Sweater (the rest may be anything you choose that goes with the S&C yarn, but if you don't do this you can still join in the fun)
2. You must post your sweater on your Ravelry projects page and post links to your project on the KAL discussion thread
There are more details of the prize categories and rules on the Ravelry thread and Kathleen's blog
Good luck everyone,  I'm off to swatch all over again (and post off some of my colours to Kathleen)



* Pair - a parliamentary term,  MPs  can be absent from crucial votes if they pair with someone of the opposite party and both agree to be absent (I only explain this because Kathleen and I, she from the USA and me from the UK have amused ourselves lately about the saying that we are from 'two countries separated by a single language')  Apologies if you needed no explanation of this, or thought it was not exactly what pairing for a yarn swap means!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

KAL post two - Swatching and resizing

As many of my friends know,  I'm less than diligent about swatching. Impatience is my middle  name.  When I get some new yarn and the perfect pattern I just can't help myself.  I must cast on, get knitting as fast as I can, just so that I can know how the yarn feels knitted up.  If I must swatch I begin with a sleeve, less to un-pick than the back but enough to check gauge AND make knitting progress on my garment.

But this is different. When Kathleen suggested a KAL we quickly got technical and discussed guage, then there is the small issue of needing to make the cardigan in a larger size that the pattern allows for.  In her blog Stephanie does say she is working on adult and larger child sizes but I can't wait, I want to join in the KAL fun now

So I'm Swatching

I have made three squares each with the number of stitches and rows specified in the pattern using 4mm, 4.5mm and 5mm needles.  The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn which is between a DK and Aran weight.  The yarn I have is King Cole superwash Merino DK but it feels thicker than DK as I knit and certainly the texture I get with 4mm needles is too dense.

Kathleen discusses the technicalities of swatching in her first blog on this KAL and I bow to her superior technical knowledge and won't say more about measuring and adjusting.  But she also asks what sort of tension squares people make.  It would make sense to have a four stitch garter  frame around the stipulated tension square to help the work lie flat but I forgot.   Mine of course turned out all curly, so they spent a couple of hours in a small bowl of eucalan solution

Before blocking

No doubt the first thing you notice is that these are not all squares!  The yellow is made exactly to the gauge in the pattern ( 20 stitches, 28 rows on 4mm needles) and came out 3.5 inches wide by 4 inches long.  The blue using 4.5 mm is 3.75 inches square but I miscounted the rows, only working 26.  The red on 5mm needles, would have been the perfect 4 ins had I not miscounted rows again.  The measurements are taken after the pieces were unpinned as wool tends to spring back a little once released from the pins.

I was convinced that I would need to do some maths before casting on to increase the chest size but LM's chest is only 21! Actually smaller than that given for the 24 month size but I shall follow this to allow for growing room.  On the other hand her underarm measurement is 10.5 inches so I will add 1.5 inches here - simples!

DONE!  All ready to cast on tonight



Saturday, 10 August 2013

Yay!! A Knit-A-Long

This morning my friend Kathleen who writes the wonderfully named blog Knit-Like-You-Mean-It. posted this suggestion on her face book page

Anyone for a KAL?

OK so the pattern only goes up to 24 months and The Little Model is four now but she's slim and I am up to a bit of modification in the pattern dept not to mention always up for a KAL.

So later in the morning I swung by one of our three yarn shops, chose seven fab colours and handed over my debit card. As I chatted with the shop lady about how lovely the colours were, how I should get the extra ball in case I run out AND showed her the pattern on my phone, I tapped in my PIN (I'm able to multi task like that)

Uh Oh, this is where things went horribly wrong, PIN refused, three goes then the card was locked. As I blithely handed over another card (it belonged to JTH, why should he mind buying yarn for our grand daughter?) I decided to march into the bank and demand why the PIN I had used for many years had spontaneously become the wrong number.

At the bank I went through the same process, PIN LOCKED AGAIN.  Then as I was ordering a new PIN, it dawned on the bank assistant, the card I was using was not my current account card (don't ask).  Cue huge embarrassment, I had effectively accused the bank of having a wonky computer system, when actually it was me, I had lost my card.  Oh we'll it's sorted now and I have some pretty coloured yarn and have begun swatching.