Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Steek Challenge

Now I know I made a promise on twitter that I would chat a little on buttons this week but I haven't got there quite yet.  My eternal problem is I get diverted and last week a bunch of us at knitting group  agreed to try steeking, we would knit something suitable, bring it (and our scissors) to Monday knitting group and plunge in with the scissors all together.

Here we are, on Monday night

Scissors poised

And so we went...


The idea began with Cathie finding a suitable pattern (on Ravelry of course) Steek this coffee cozy  Now, if I had paid proper notice of the instructions, instead of rushing off on a frolic of my own, I might have avoided problems later on.  But I got so involved in the looks of the thing I forgot to check up on the technicalities.   I decided to make a cosy for my cafetierre rather than a mug-hug and last week just happened across this lovely mitten pattern by Mary Scott Huff - perfect!   All went well at first, I charted the design

And got knitting

Found a vase suitable for blocking

And then it came to the stage of reinforcing the steek (that's where you cut).  The trick is to crochet two rows of reinforcement catching in two stitch halves where there should be knitted parallel vertical lines, one of each colour.  Just like Claire has here (the original pattern has detailed instructions)

That way you will have secured one stitch of each colour firmly to the other.   I realised I had failed to do this but, fingers crossed, all seemed well as I cut.  Then, disaster, as I put extra strain on the stitches, picking up the stitches to knit the overlapping opening, one or two of the grey stitches pulled out

All a bit messy

But with a little bit of sleight of hand and some firm back stitching along the line of stitch pick ups it is holding steady now.

inside lined with felt to add extra insulation

some fancy buttons and...

All done



PS after the nerves some smiley faces

Monday, 11 November 2013

Growing Pains

Before I embarked on the Right as Rainbow KAL I measured the intended wearer very carefully.  Chest, back neck length and arms.  When it was finished I proudly announced to The Little Model's mother that THIS TIME I hoped the knitted object would not be too small, having measured her so carefully.  To which TLM's mother replied 'But she has grown an inch while you have been away'.  !!!!! You will recall that JTH and I spent the whole of September on a beautiful Greek Island where the knitting (and blogging) took place, alas all that time back in the UK someone was growing very fast.

When TLM tried on the sweater the body was fine, but the sleeves?!  They were two inches too short and lengthening was not going to be a simple task.  The sleeves were knitted from the bottom up and I had no more of the Plum coloured yarn.

nothing but a few unravellings

But it's all right now because I used a cunning old trick to add  some extra stripes.

Slightly Grumpy  Little Model

Happier when encouraged to Be Silly

Perhaps those who remember the Make-Do-And-Mend war years or the 1950s when our parents could not kick the habit also remember how our mothers would lengthen our hand knitted sweaters, by 'pulling a thread'.  Here is how I did it (using some spare yarn in Pumpkin as the deep plum was too dark to show well in photographs)

Thread a life line in and out of the first row of stocking stitch
(I used strong linen thread)

Snip through a single purl bar on the last row of K2P2 rib

carefully pull out the yarn from the last rib row

the rib will fall away from the stocking stitch.
The stitches on the upper part will
be captured by the life line

pick up the stitches on the stocking stitch section,
use a finer needle if that is easier

Knit up the extra inches (I kept to the same pattern as the yoke)

Once the extra length is done re knit the rib

Finally, I have learned a new techy skill.  While I was away knitting and enjoying the Greek Island I made a slide show of my knitting and island pictures but it was not till this week I finally worked out how to incorporate it into a blog post!

I hope you enjoy it



Wednesday, 6 November 2013


Although I am beavering away at Secret Knitting Projects, I do have a few FOs to show you and this FO comes with an exciting announcement for future sock accumulation!

I have already mentioned (I know... quite a few times) The Small and the weekend knitting retreat that I helped organise.  In case you didn't see my post over on the blog, or don't want to click on the link here, I would just like to say two words - GOODY BAGS.  No knitting event would be complete without a bag of little somethings and here are some of the contents of the goody bags we gave to our guests at the Small Wool Gathering

For a proper explanation of all the contents I refer you to The Small blog, today I am going to chat about just the socks.  Well of course the socks did not come ready knitted in our bags - For what would be the use of that for knitters?  There is a huge amount of pleasure in wearing hand-made socks but equal amounts in the making - is that not so?

My tiny problem was that we handed out the bags with the skeins of beautiful merino/nylon sock yarn (Twist by indie dyer Linda of Kettle Yarns) about 5 minutes before the sock class (where we learned a new technique called Auto-Pilot Sock from Amy).  So... I barely had time to rush to the wool winder before casting on and knitting-like-the-wind and forgetting to take any photographs.

In no time I had finished the first sock (while a passenger in the car driving to a family party)

And! Lo! there was another opportunity to photograph yarn in the ball and work in progress but did I take it?  No, too busy clickety clacking (on my new carbon fibre DPNs, that may have had something to do with it, I love using new kit)

Consequently I can only show you the FOs

Amy's clever sock technique results in a very attractive three legged set of increases and decreases that sits over the ankle bone

I spent a little time today draping the socks over various pretty locations, eventually settling on using my jewellery box which is a 19th C work basket.

After I posted the picture of finished socks on The Small blog Linda and I had a bit of a chat.  Lots of encouragement took place, her yarn being so lovely to knit with and she being so kind about my socks and the pretty lace pattern I chose for the legs.  The upshot of this little mutual admiration society meeting was that early in the new year I am going to lead a Knit-A-Long on sock making using some of Linda's yarn.  I'm very excited about this and have already bought more Twist from Linda

Bright colours to banish winter blues of you not think?  I will be posting more details of the sock KAL early in January here on the blog (and in the Kettle yarn Ravelry forum) but briefly we plan a KAL for absolute sock virgins.  We will knit a tiny 'training sock' first to practice the basic technique then make a pair of grown up socks, perfect for keeping the winter chill at bay.

We will be knitting socks in one of two traditional ways, toe up or top down.  I will not be referring to Amy's new innovative Auto-Pilot sock.  This is not because I do not favour Amy's technique but because Auto-Pilot is new and Amy's idea.  Although ownership of knitting patterns and techniques is a slightly grey area (occasionally something new hits the knitting world that is more unvented rather than invented) I have no intention of even borrowing a technique from Amy who is currently teaching it at knitting events and yarn shops around N America and the UK

So please watch this space for some socking for beginners



Ps I thought you might like to see a close up of the inlay on the top of my lovely box.  The inscription on the small sliver of mother-of-pearl is To Isabella 1851