Monday, 24 February 2014

Hoar Frost socks

Just a quick sprint through to say that my latest sock pattern - Hoar Frost - is now released. It is a fun and relaxing knit, with some interesting slipped stitches and a leetle bit of lace. Nothing too stressful and the 4-row pattern repeat is easy to memorise.

As with many of my patterns there are toe-up and cuff down versions so you can go for your favourite style, and there is also a non-lace alternative as an appendix to the pattern just in case you are knitting for someone like my DH who is 'allergic' to lace in all forms.

As an added incentive, there is 50% discount off the purchase price until tomorrow (4:30pm GMT) when you use the code FROSTYSOCKS at checkout.

Friday, 21 February 2014

FO: Irish Coffee sweater

I've loved this tunic-style sweater ever since I saw it and have looked at it longingly from time to time. The designer, Thea Colman (aka baby Cocktails) has hit a real winner here with it's simple styling and attention to detail. As we all know, I am a complete sucker for cables and the unusual notched neckline really jumped out at me.

Casting around for a 'me' project for the Ravellenics I quickly decided that this was The One.

Some lovely Artesano merino dk jumped into my shopping basket at The Sheep Shop, Cambridge and the decision was made.

I cast on during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics and the thing practically flew off the needles. Even the ribbed yoke which I thought would take an eternity (2x2 rib is not my best friend) seemed to fly by. The whole thing was knit in 5 days (with another day to weave in ends and block) - surely a record for me.

The instructions were wonderfully clear and there were lots of tips for customising the sweater to fit. As it happens, I knit the piece practically as written. The only change I made was to lengthen the body by 3" and also to continue with the hip increases - increasing 2 stitches every 2" to achieve a slightly longer and more A-line shape. I also kept the sleevs quite short, just adding a few garter stitch rows and then binding off firmly.

I am absolutely thrilled with how it turned out. The yarn is wonderfully sproingy (useful technical knitting term). It has great stitch definition but is very soft and comfortable to wear. It is warm without being too hot and 'woolly' and it is machine washable which means it will see regular use in my wardrobe - as I am notoriously slack at getting the hand washing done.

Full project details are here

I am now to going to put on my Ravellenic dress, award myself a gold medal and cheer on the GB men in the Curling final today - go Team GB!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

WIPing the sock yarn stash

This year sees me facing up to my considerable stash of sock yarn. As beautiful as it is, it needs to earn its keep in my house and become something else.
I don't have enough to undertake a mammoth blanket such as this wonderful example (or the mental fortitude either) but I do want to be able to make something useful. 

DH commented the other day on these stripey scarves you often see men wearing - long and thin with horizontal stripes. That put me in mind of the Mini Mania scarf - something which has been in my queue after seeing some lovely  examples on Ravelry.

Now, long rows of linen stitch don't sound like fun to me but over 1100 Ravelers can't be wrong. I've picked out a mixture of blues/greys/greens from my stash as well as the odd pop of colour, but I've left out the bright pink. DH's colour choices tend towards the conservative so I don't want to scare him.

Who knows - if I try to do a row per day I might have it ready for him by Christmas.


Monday, 17 February 2014

A handy knitting app

Ever since getting my smart phone a year ago I've been using the handy Ravulous app for android. It's a quick and easy way to upload photos, update WIPs and check my queue when I'm out and about. As we all know, there's nothing worse than standing in a yarn shop ready to purchase, only to realise that you can't remember what weight of yarn you need, or how many skeins. In fact, it's so handy that I definitely wouldn't be without it now.

It has become a lot more useful now though with the recent addition of a simple row counter app. 

Called County Plus it can be downloaded from Google Play and it can be made to synch with your Ravelry account. You can upload your current projects to it and then use the counter to keep track of your number of rows. You can also have more than 1 counter per project - enabling you to keep track of raglan increases and a lace pattern at the same time, for example.

As knitting apps go, it is at the simpler end of the spectrum but jolly useful - and it is a firm favourite on my phone.

Friday, 14 February 2014

A Cheerful FO

Illness has one or two things to recommend it. I might be downing antibitoics and sleeping for England but the WIPs are flying off the needles too.

This week we have some lovely socks - made with the Knitting Goddess Fairy Tale club yarn. February's month is called Snow Blindness and I just loved the shades of blue in this. I wanted to relax and enjoy the colours so I opted for another plain 64st toe-up vanilla sock with a Fish Lips Kiss heel which is rapidly becoming a favourite.

I love the fact that the heel has very little counting and fiddling involved - making it much easier to tackle when out and about. With my normal toe-up heel turn I find that I have to allow enough time to get the turn done in one sitting. If I put it down and come back to it later it's touch and go whether I will get in a tangle or not.

I've also finished my Irish Coffee sweater and it is blocking currently - so pictures will have to wait until a) it is dry, b) we have some sunshine and c) I can locate where DS2 has hidden my phone charger :)

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

In progress..

A brief mention of my Ravellenic knitting today:

The Irish Coffee sweater/tunic by the very talented Thea Colman. I am using Artesano superwash merino dk in a lovely mid-grey colour which I first thought was a solid colour but on closer inspection I was pleased to see little white flecks giving a very subtle tweedy texture to the finished fabric.

The pattern calls for a worsted weight yarn at a gauge of 4st per inch so I went with the dk and was prepared to do a little maths to make it fit. However, the yarn turns out to be quite a thick dk weight and knits up perfectly on 4.5mm needles to get the gauge spot on.

Some enforced bed rest - courtesy of a bout of sinusitis and tonsilitis - has meant that I have done plenty of Olympic watching and knitting (as well as sleeping) and the sweater has grown at a highly satisfactory rate.

I want it to be a decent length - more tunic than sweater so I reckon I have another 3-4 inches to go.

At this rate I'm hoping it will be an FO by the end of the week.

As the dreary weather continues I cheered myself up in the time honored fashion with a little retail therapy:

Who could fail to be cheered by these little rainbow goodies - some wonderful mini-skeins from Joy (aka The Knitting Goddess). A delicious pile of colour waiting to become my next WIP.

Friday, 7 February 2014

A baby blanket FO

Before I start my Ravellenics project I have been working to clear the needles of a few things - mainly because I need them to be able to cast on other things.

One of my husbands co-workers is expecting a baby imminently and so he requested a suitable gender-neutral baby blanket for her.

I was keen to use up some stashed Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino so I resorted to my old favourite - a squishy, simple garter stitch blanket.

As both parents are mathmeticians I thought it was fun to base the stripe sequence on the Fibonacci sequence and so I used the grey in lines of 1,1,2,3,5 in between blocks of cream. In total I think I used 3 balls of the cream and 2 balls of the grey.

I added a simple garter stitch, mitered border in grey and overall I am very pleased with it.

It is on the small side, at approx 21" by 24.5" but I figure that it will be handy for those early months when you need something light to throw over a pram or crib, or tuck into a car seat without too much trailing behind you.

And as an added bonus, I love the way the grey looks to be different shaded on the reverse - a fun optical illusion created by the stripes.

Full details: Mini Genius Baby Blanket