Two posts in one day! I thought it was better to separate them as they are about completely different things. So, back to our usual fare: knitting!
I finished knitting and blocking my Owls sweater, and am wearing it right now. It looks fabulous – it’s so close-fitting and well-shaped it’s actually a very sexy sweater, despite being made of a chunky woollen yarn. The sleeves are very tight – it’s a bit of a struggle to put it on, and I certainly won’t be wearing it over any long-sleeved tops, but it’s perfectly comfortable once it’s on. Hopefully the upper arms will give a little with wear. The reason it’s not completely finished, and I’m not boring you with FO pictures, is that I don’t yet have any buttons for the owls’ eyes. It’s very hard to source 34 identical buttons – neither of my local craft shops carry that many of the same kind. I found some on the Internet, but the site wanted me to spend a minimum of £5, and I didn’t want anything else! Eventually I found some plain plastic fisheye buttons on Ebay, and ordered two packs. I hope they match the sweater!
I have finally bitten the bullet and cast on for my first stranded project. I opted for Ziggy, which is a pattern for crazy zigzag socks in Noro Kureyon. I chose one of the more muted colourways, full of greens and browns and greys. The pattern has already gone through several creative stages:
- At first I planned to knit the socks toe-up, as specified by the pattern, and to stripe the Kureyon with some steel-grey Patons Diploma Gold 4-ply. I decided to cast on 72 stitches, as various people on Ravelry have commented that the socks are tight, and I have size 7 feet.
- After being foiled late one evening by the magic cast-on and deciding to leave it till the next day and find a video, I had a think and realised that I don’t particularly like toe-up socks anyway. So I decided to knit them cuff-down, and cast on 72 stitches on my lovely new wooden KnitPro 2.75mm needles.
- About 3 inches into the first sock, I realised several things. One, at 19 rows the cuff was too long. Two, the first colour in the ball was a dull khaki and I didn’t like the way it knit up in ribbing. Three, at 72 stitches on 2.75s, the cuff was too loose. And four, I didn’t much like the way the Noro was knitting up with the Patons.
- So I frogged it, and this is what I’ve ended up with so far:
This time I cast on 66 stitches on 2.25mm needles. I only knit 10 rows of ribbing, and then I changed to the 2.75s. On the first colourwork row, I kfb every other pattern repeat to increase to 72 stitches. And I’m striping the Noro with itself, as the pattern specified in the first place. I like how it’s going so far, althoughI hope to get some more contrasting colours coming through soon so you can see the zigzags more clearly.
Last weekend I had to buy another ball of yarn for my Owls sweater, and when I ordered it from Cucumberpatch I was completely won over by the RYC Cashcotton in their sale. Some background: I completely fell in love with Kate’s Manu cardigan when I first saw it on her blog. I decided I had to knit it just as soon as the pattern was available, and that I wanted to make it in red. I liked the fuzziness of the Shilasdair yarn, and would probably have been happy to make it in that. But the Cashcotton seemed to fit the bill: wonderfully soft, fuzzy, and a glorious colour called “red pepper”.
I wasn’t sure how much I would need, as the pattern isn’t published yet. According to Ravelry, Kate used 4 skeins of Shilasdair, or 1488 yards. I am less petite than Kate, and I assumed I would be making a bigger size. So I bought 11 balls to be on the safe side, which gives me 1562 yards. I wonder if I should maybe have got a 12th ball, as I did need more yarn than the pattern indicated for Owls (also designed by Kate) – the price of being tall with monkey arms, I suppose! I routinely make patterns longer than specified, and I forget that eats up extra yarn.
Anyway, there is a fire burning in the grate and I’m off to put on the kettle and pick up my knitting…