The musings of an obsessive knitter and stash collector

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Just for a change

I could have shown you 11 patterns of lace instead of the 8 from yesterday, but I thought that would be just a trifle boring, even though it does mean that I'm over 25% of the way along the edging! Instead I bring you Hecate about to steal a drink from my mug of squash - this, inspite of the fact that she has fresh water in at least 3 other places in the flat.
I'd also like to apologise to the person who found my blog by searching for 'stash reduction plan' as clearly I am not the person to advise on decreasing your stash!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Very boring?

I'm afraid the next few months could get very boring for regular readers, I'm doing very little except for the lace shawl at the moment, I've set myself a target of the end of November to finish and created myself an immenseley complicated spreadsheet to keep track of progress. I'm actually hoping that I may finish at the beginning of November if I can keep going at my current pace but that just depends on how well I maintain my concentration. This is 7.5 of the 40 repeats for the border which is slightly ahead of my original aim for the first week - all good. It's just a shame that having got this far safely I had to frog part of the Spanish dancer shawl because I had done something most odd to it - and that is plain garter stitch which is worrying.

In order to give you a small amount of variety here we have Ms Noseypaws inspecting something from eBay that arrived gift wrapped!

Not terribly exciting but a jug to add to my Arklow collection, I plan on keeping my shortest knitting needles in it, I'm now the proud possessor of 3 jugs of various sizes all full of knitting needles.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


This arrived today, I'm having something of a lace fixation at the moment although I'll have to just read it and plan until I've made progress on the lace shawl. I've entertained myself by creating a vast complicated spreadsheet to keep track of the progress! At a rough count I have 177,500 stitches to make and at my estimate drate of progress it will be done by the end of November - current estimate the 25th!
The blue Spanish dancer shawl is very nearly ready for the I-cord edging and the ruffle but that can wait until the weekend or next week when I have a week off.

This is as far as I've got with the lace edging, two and a half of the 40 pattern repeats and as far as I can tell I have no errors in it thus far. I'm enjoying the knitting, although I haven't learnt the pattern and I'm not sure if I will, but I am getting to see the pattern as it knits up. I'm afraid you may all get very bored with pictures of ever expanding laceyness, I'll ask Hecate to pose photogenically for a bit of variety.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Here is Hecate testing her climbing and jumping skills - she excelled herself while I was at work today, she got into my knitting bag and unwound part of several balls of wool, pulled the baby cardigan I was making off it's needles and stole the bamboo needle I was planning on testing the lace weight on, she then slept with her head on my knee for 3 hours in total exhaustion!

Yet another test swatch, the border pattern in 2ply, so far I think I like this best, although it isn't natural fibre the stitches show up better and it is easier to knit, I did half a pattern repeat this evening, it took me much longer than that to make half a pattern of the lace weight. I suppose this would have the advantage of being washable too!

Sunday, April 22, 2007


As the blue shawl is now to big to take on the bus I started this one off, it's going to be my bus knitting for the next few weeks, it's yarn that I bought from Coldspring while I was in Haworth, I'm slowly making small inroads into what I bought, although having to stop and get laceweight won't help the stash reduction.

As you can see, the blue shawl is now onto straight needles for a while, the body around 75% done now, it's an awkward bundle at this stage and too much to cart around with me.

This is half a pattern of the shawl edging test knit in ultra fine lace weight, I'm finding it a tricky knit, I need sharp pointed needles but the yarn doesn't grip on metal needles so I spend a lot of time gripping the needles and knitting far too hard. I'm not sure if this yarn isn't a bit TOO fime for what I'm doing but I'll do a little more before deciding.

32 of the 48 rows of the pattern done in 4 ply, I actually like the way it looks even though the fabric is a bit dense and not what I want for a baby shawl, it is useful to have a sample to look at that shows the pattern clearly.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I had hoped to get as far as test knitting the edge of the shawl I'm hoping to make in some lace weight but my first attempt had to be frogged because I seemed incapable of counting to 35! This is my attempt in 4 ply which is going fairly well so far.

Hecate was determined to get into these pictures - she's a proper little madam today, full of herself and determined to be involved. I've managed half of the 48 row pattern repeat, I plan on making a whole repeat and keeping it so that I can see what I should be doing better when I embark on the actual yarn.

I am a little worried that I may not have time to complete this by Novemeber as the 48 row repeat has to be doen 40 times, but then the venter is knitted in teh round and I suspect could be simplified if neccessary, add to that the fact that teh center is just knitting and decrease every other round make sme feel a little more hopeful. I just need to get my hands on the yarn I need and put away everything else except for some bus knitting to avoid the temptation of starting anything else. Luckily I can knit the other baby clothes I have promised on the bus as I don't see myself making lace on the bus!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


This Spanish Dancer shawl is well on the way to the finish, I've got down to 161 stitches from the original 401 which makes me feel as if I'm on the home stretch, I'm no whoping that by the end of this month this will be another finished object. My knitting plans, alway subject to a great deal of change are no wbeing changed again, I've very recently heard that a very dear person to me is expecting her first child which means I'm now hunting for a lace weight shawl pattern that looks great, is challenging but won't defeat me, bearing in mind that I still have commitments to make baby clothes for 2 other people - I'm going to be very busy in the next few months.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I disliked the way the increases had turned out on the other baby sweater that although I had reached this point on the back of the cardigan I frogged it back to the start of the shaping and reverted to my old method of increases, it still isn't perfect, it isn't symmetrical but it is better than the first try. That's all I achieved yesterday as I was very tired, I still need to sew on the buttons of the sweater and get it posted off to where it belongs.
My big sister is up visiting so I won't be around tomorrow - I'll be off playing at happy families.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Waiting for the buttons!

This has been an annoying pattern, doing the neckband required DPN's, now I have no problem using DPN's but the pattern reckoned that you could fit the stitches on straight needles,can you imagine trying to strain a circular neckband straight?

It's all sewn up and the ends sewn in, it just needs the buttons adding, I experimented with Elizabeth Zimmerman's method of doing increase with half hitches and it has caused gaps in my sleeve seams but I think a judicious bit of needlework will fix it, I shan't use that method again though as it's made the finishing look scruffy. It is at least a finished article and I've found the pattern for my Noro sweater and all the finished bits. I've uncast off the finished sleeve so that I can lengthen it and will get back to it once the baby cardigan is done.
I have my year end appraisal to work tomorrow so I'm off to finish writing up my notes, hopefully I'll be back tomorrow reasonably sane and in once piece!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Controlled startitis!

I just have the cuffs, neckband and seaming to finish on this now, I think the neckband is going to be tricky as you have to join the shoulder seams first. This prospect has put me off so I've distracted myself from teh thought by doing some spring cleaning, I've removed two big sacks of trash from the flat so far, and found a home for a huge bag of yarn in a cupboard, this has made space in my bedroom, not a lot but more than I had before.

I've cast on the back of a first size cardigan, also needed as part of my commitment meeting endeavours and quieting my need to start something else new after finishing 3 things last weekend! I've still only cast on 2 things for the 3 I finished, very restrained for me. I sorted through some of the UFOs and dug out two more to work on when the baby rush is done, I've found the finished bits, the yarn and the patterns for both which is amazing me. I just wish I could find the second handset for my telephone which is bleeping forlornly somewhere but can't be seen, once it stops bleeping as the battery runs down I'll never find it!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Believe it or not!

I've actually reached the sleeve shaping on the front of the baby sweater despite getting home late from work and faling asleep in front of the television! I'm pleased with how quickly this is growing - I'm even more confident that I'll be able to post it off at the beginning of next week and clear such an old obligation that I made for myself.
It's typical of me I'm afraid that I slow down in winter and find myself failing to do the things that I've volunteered for, shockingly bad manners but not intentional. I always expect to cope with the grey days much better than I actually do, I get my light box out later than I should and spen the winter desperately trying to recover from letting myself get too low before taking remedial action. Next winter I have a friend deputised to tell me to get my light box out on Octover 1st - we'll see if that makes a difference!
Anyway, it's definitely spring, I go to work in daylight now and I'm beginning to find energy again which is a relief, all those poor people that I owe emails and knitted items too may actually get them soon!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

It's a back

Including the button band on the neck and because of the way the pattern works I've done half the sleeves except for the cuffs! I've had a soft spot for this style of sweater ever since I misguidedly knitted myself a yellow one when I was in my teens, not being a slim teenager I looked like a demented canary, or to anyone who remembers the old BT adverts - a rather tatty Busby!

Just to show willing, I've even cast on the front although it hasn't grown very much yet, I'm still hoping to get this finished very quickly so that I can post it off and cross off one of my very ancient commitments. Next thing to start will be for my friend's new baby Ian as I made a load of things for his big brother Connor so it is only fair!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Not startitis!

Considering my plans to finish more UFO's this month you could be forgiven for wondering why I cast thi son yesterday and attacked it with determination to get it half way up the back (with integral sleeves) already. I have fallen sadly behind with baby clothes, I owe two people clothes for babies that are already here and I have two more friends expecting babies this year, this is my attempt to at least get something made for the baby that was born before Christmas! If I crack on at this speed I can get it finished and sent off in the next two weeks, that will remove one weight from my mind, then I can go back to my UFO clearance. In the mean time I shall carry on bus knitting the blue shawl on the journeys when the driver doesn't try to get the bus to fly - on those trips I just hang on!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Burying my nose in a book!

Firstly, I know I'm supposed to be in UFO finishing mode, but, I'm late with two baby outfits so I've cast on the back of a sweater using up the rest of my yarn from my sweater - still stash busting and it should be a nice quick knit that I can get in the post in a couple of weeks. I did get a little of the blue Spanish Dancer shawl done on the bus today but the driver this morning was driving so fast I had to stop knitting so I could cling to my seat while we went round corners.

I don't expect to get anymore knitting done tonight and possibly not tomorrow night as this arrived today and I'm afraid once I start a book I have to finish it - I haven't yet organised a holder to enable me to read while I knit, I listen to audio books normally. I actually read too quickly to make a holder a really practical proposition unless it can turn it's own pages.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Finished objects

I'm pretty much over excited today - I finished sewing in the sleeves of this sweater and I've almost finished sewing in the few remaining ends as well, I'm very pleased to have one of my UFO's from last year finished, even if it does draw attention to how many more I have waiting in the wings!

Even better, I've finished sewing up this amazingly bright item and I've darned in all the ends as well, this has been hard to finish as not only is it not a colour that I like but I had to wrestle with knitting fancy patterns in 4 ply with far too much moss stitch for my liking. also the pattern being incorrect deraile dme for several months until I sat down and woirked out that it wasn't that difficult to fix once I stopped panicking!
With these two items and the finished shawl this month I can now count almost a kilo of yarn gone from the stash as I never count it as gone until the item is finished - if I get on and finish a few more lurking UFO's I'll motor through at least the edges of my stash!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Cracking on with UFO's!

I've come back to this toddler's sweater that I began before Christmas, I'd reached the neckline on the front and then found that the pattern was incorrect and lost heart. Buoyed up by finishing teh knitting on my sweater yesterday I dug this out and had another look at it, I figured out how to adapt the pattern I got it to this point by lunchtime today.

After an afternoon nap I figured out the neckband and cast it off twice, once with the correct needles then again with needles two sizes bigger having failed to take into account how tightly I knit! I still need to sew seams and knit thr armhole ribbing but for tonight I intend going back to sewing up my sweater as I left it on one side while I went back to this. My plan is to reward myself once these two UFO's are finally finished by knitting myself a pair of socks as it's been an age since I did a sock and I want to get back in the swing of them before I attempt the fancy pattern from Sibille.

I think Hecate has had enough of me being at home now, she seems to have spent most of today climbing around the flat and ambushing me every time I've gone past her!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Almost finishing things off!

The sweater is almost done, I need to finish sewing in the sleeves and catch down the neck band and it's done, just in time for an Easter heatwave!

The third Spanish Dancer shawl from Knitty is finished, I have a few ends to sew in but that's all. I'd like to say hello to all the people who've called in at this blog to see the shawls, you're all very welcome! The Spanish dancer shawl is a very easy knit, I find the main body ideal for knitting on buses and in waiting rooms although I wouldn't want to try doing the ruffle under those circumstances simply because of the multiple circular needles.

I've tried to get a close up of the tip of the shawl to show the ruffle although I haven't been very successful! I'm going to experiment when I do the ruffle on the blue shawl, the last increase row I'll use the other end of the ball and cast off at the same time rather than wrestle with so many needles!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Ruffling shawls

I've been shopping through my stash and found this laceweight, once I have the last two Spanish Dancer shawls off my needles I think I'll use it, I've quite a few lace shawl patterns so it's a question of finding something challenging but not impossible!

Yesterday afternoon I started the casting off of Spanish Dancer shawl 3, I sat there plodding along with it last night, it's the MOST tedious part of these shawls but is ultimately very satisfying.

As you can see, I've plodded to good effect and am well past the half way point now, I'm taking a rest from it until tomorrow now, I have some plants to get into a new planter (to replace one of the ones I had stolen last year) and a mountain of housework, Hecate is safely asleep on top of the boxes in the corner of my office in the highest place she can find in teh flat so I may be able to get on without help - although I doubt it, Ms Nosey paws is always under foot!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Two shawls and a rabbit!

It's been a week for Easter gifts - I brought these home from work with me today, a gift from my best friend at work, she knows my dislike of housework well and the mug is MOST appropriate!

The blue shawl is onto the second ball of yarn, I'm making this one very slightly larger than the others - I'm clearly insane!

I'm doing the last increase row on this shawl - I'm around a quarter of the way along and recalling exactly how tedious this bit is, luckily I'm off work until Tuesday now so I should get this finished and catch up on the many many emails that I owe to people!

Monday, April 02, 2007

An Easter gift

I received a parcel today from Sibille - I hadn't expected an Easter gift and was very surprised (and cheered up) to meet this delightful sheep!
This lovely sock yarn, so much for me not increasing my stash for a few months, but it is lovely. A chocolate bunny which I shall try and stay away from until the weekend.
Last but not least a pattern for an interesting pair of socks to challenge me to start knitting socks again! Thank you so much Sibille - a most unexpected and appreciated parcel! The good news is that the red/purple/blue shawl is onto the ruffle and should be finished by the end of the Easter weekend, I shall get out some sock needles as a reward then I promise!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

March progress

Despite the fact that I seem to have been very busy with knitting in March I haven't finished very much, I finished a shawl, a hat and one afghan sqaure for the charity afghan. I'd hoped to get the latest shawl finished but as you can see, it hasn't quite happened, I've reached the I-cord stage but still have to do the ruffle which I expect will take most of the easter weekend. The sweater isn't quite finsihed either and I've realised that I should have taken into account that I was making the neckband in the round, before the rib I was supposed to so 3 rows of knitting, which I did, but I should have done one purl to make it look right. I'm going to persist and hope for the best though and I'll see what it turns out like. I hate frogging on DPN's so I'm resisting it.
I don't want to go into details of how much the stash grew in March - I think it turned out to be a net increase of about 20kg - but I don't intend buying anymore yarn in the forseeable future - but how many times have you heard that before?
Plans for April
  1. Finish the red shawl
  2. Finish the lilac/white/blue sweater
  3. Finish the bright green sleeveless baby sweater
  4. Get on with the blue spanish dancer shawl
  5. Carry on with the odl Noro Kureyon sweater that I began I August 2005!
  6. Get on with the learn to knit afghan again!