Monday, August 31, 2015

Fronts Knitted

I had a knitting-free weekend. I thought I'd just quickly finish knitting the fronts of my cardigan this morning. Five hours later..... These jobs always take me longer than I bargain for!

Friday, August 28, 2015

On The Podium (Just!)

My traditional doily was awarded 5th place in the national competition. 'Damning with faint praise' is the phrase that comes to mind, but hey, those judges are very difficult to impress. The winning doily was tatted in size 100 thread and exquisite.
My Under an African Sky doily was also judged, garnering 69% as opposed to 81% for the other one. Here's my translation of the judges' comments: " Appearance Original but not typical of tatting. This section [of the competition] was intended to bring attention to a technique of historical cultural significance. Workmanship Only three kinds of stitches, single, double and picots, are historically used.   Interesting article from Africa with its own value. "  I'm pleased with the positive last sentence and happy that I achieved my aim of flying the flag for modern tatting. Tatting was the floating section for the competition and won't be on the agenda next year.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Back and Forth

Back and forth, I'm making progress on my cardigan fronts. At one stage I thought I'd just knit in the evenings, but it would be very slow if I did that. With 4 ply yarn and 3 mm needles, progress is necessarily slow. I told myself yesterday that I have no need to feel guilty about working on just one project instead of several!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Another Colour Conundrum

I bought a whole packet of yarn so that I would have enough matching yarn to complete my cardigan. But the ball at the top looks quite different to the ball at the bottom. Yes, it has the same dye lot number. I thought that the orange would just be inside the ball, but I  'rummaged' inside the ball and it is only in the very middle that any orange appears. And there's a stretch of darkest green that is not right at all. I'll leave the ball for now and hope that I don't need it. Worst case scenario, I'll use it for bands and collar. Random dyeing is all very well, but there should be some degree of consistency!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Colour Conundrum

Here's my problem: if I knit the cardigan fronts as usual with variegated yarn, the fronts will not match each other and the stripes on the fronts will be twice as wide as the stripes on the back. I don't think that would look good. Hmmm. The answer, I decided eventually, is steeking. I'm knitting the two fronts together and will then cut them apart when I've finished. Yikes. I'm working 5 extra stitches between the two halves. That's where I will secure the knitting with two lines of sewing, cut and then fold the extra stitches back to form a facing.

I did do a little sample to make sure it will work:

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Back Is Done

I finished the back of my cardigan a few days ago but haven't yet cast on for a front. I've taken time off to deal with cauliflowers and things and must now get back on track. I've left my markers in the back to help me match the fronts to the back.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Cauliflower Day

The weather has suddenly warmed up and the cauliflowers in Jack's garden won't keep long. Yesterday I prepared one of these cauliflowers for the deepfreezer and made the other into pickles -  10 bottles in a thick piccalilli sauce and seven in clear, spicy vinegar. Today it took me more than two hours to get the kitchen clean again!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Little Bit Of Africa In Canada

Brenda Spears, who lives near Toronto, has completed her Under An African Sky doily and sent me a photo of it. I'm delighted to see  her version and see my pattern in use! Thanks Brenda.


The violas and pansies have flowered prettily right through Winter. The weather has warmed up very suddenly, so I wonder how much longer they will last.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Protecting the Edge

I'm not sure where I read this tip, but I thought that as this cardigan is to be for a competition, I'd try it. I put the bottom of the work in a plastic bag so that it doesn't rub during work and become scruffy.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Reading The Pattern

How did I do that? I've knitted nearly half the back (well, a third perhaps) and just realised that I have been knitting an 8-row pattern instead of a 12-row one! It looks ok so I'm going to carry on regardless.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ignoring My Swatch

I'm a great one for lecturing people about the importance of knitting swatches and tension squares. I take my own advice.  I even bought more needles so that I would get the right tension. But when I started knitting yesterday with the 2.5 mm needles, it felt awkward and slow and the fabric a bit stiff. I knitted 8 rows, a pattern repeat, but wasn't happy. I left the rib intact, knitted on 2 mm needles, but started the main part again with 3 mm needles. Yes, it will be bigger than the pattern says for that size, but it zips along much more smoothly and I think the fabric looks fine. Also, there is a better difference between the needles used for rib and main part. That was one of the criticisms on a previous entry for the knitting competition, that my rib and main part were too similar.

Bespoke Shirts

I started making Jack's work shirts almost ten years ago, when we were living with hyperinflation in Zimbabwe. We soon discovered that it had advantages other than economic ones. I can alter the shirts to suit Jack's needs (or whims!). I make them longer so they tuck in easily; sew up the fronts so he doesn't have to bother with too  many buttons; and make the pockets extra long to accommodate his notebook and phone. I made the last batch of shirts just before I started blogging, two and a half years ago. I went a little overboard and made six shirts in a dark green cotton that is so strong I think it's really furniture material. Poor Jack is heartily sick of those green shirts! He asked me if I could find fabric a bit more interesting. No, said the man in the shop. The best I could do was make the pockets and collars in a contrasting colour.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

It's A Shark!

Believe it or not, the rather weird piece I showed you in my last post folds up to become a shark slipper. My neighbour Dorie wanted socks for both her granddaughters. She said that Clara wanted socks that look as though sharks are eating your legs. That had me a bit baffled. Luckily, a few days later I came across the pattern  for these shark slippers on Facebook. Ah, the very thing. You can find the pattern here. Thanks to Crafty Charli for making it available. I had to alter the pattern a bit to make it fit a teenager rather than a five-year-old. And the 'blood' dripping from the jaws is not on the original pattern: that's Dorie's idea.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Giraffes This Way and That

The little herd of giraffes is ready to go to my neighbour for her granddaughter. By reading Sandra Jager's chart left to right on one sock and right to left on the other, I made the giraffes face different ways on each sock. Both were knitted upside down and inside out. I have a notion that working inside out makes it easier to reverse the chart without boggling my mind, because I'm only working each row in relation to the previous one, rather than to the whole design. Though the real reason I work in purl is so that I don't pull the floats too tight.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Best Laid Plans.....

I took Annika's cardigan to town yesterday and bought some things to put with it - a Dr Seuss book called Mr Brown can Moo, some flower stickers and chocolate coins, plus a cute birthday card. I parcelled it all up and took it to the Post Office to send on its way. Nope. The lady behind the counter wouldn't take it. She says the Post Office has 'transport problems' and she doesn't know when they will be over. Whether the transport problems apply nationally or only to our town, I have no idea. I went across the road to a private postal company, but the amount they wanted for the job was way more than the contents of the parcel are worth. I brought the parcel back home and just hope the Post Office will sort out its problems before Annika grows out of the cardigan!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


I'm still working on the giraffe socks, so I thought I'd show you these pictures I took of the sky early yesterday morning. Rather strange cloud formations and the sun just coming up.

Giraffes To Order

I'm using Sandra Jager's chart again to knit socks for my neighbour's granddaughter. The orange wool is handspun, but the rest is commercial sock wool, 80% wool, 20% nylon.

Monday, August 3, 2015

For Annika

Annika's cardigan is ready to be posted off to her in Perth, for her third birthday. I hope it will arrive safely. The parcel with giraffe socks and flower socks never arrived in New Zealand. I have filled in a form to try to trace it, the parcel did have a tracking number, but I don't feel all that confident that it will turn up.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Attaching The Lace

I decided that instead of sewing the lace onto Annika's cardigan, I would knit it on. I picked up stitches around the edges using a circular needle. I'm  purling the last stitch of the lace knitting with a stitch from the circular needle on every wrong side row to join the lace to the cardigan. There are a lot of bits of wool attached to the cardigan - those are my markers to help me pick stitches up evenly. At one stage I thought I'd been too clever for my own good, but I think it's turning out alright: