Friday, July 31, 2015


At yesterday's craft group meeting, we crocheted soapsaver bags. The idea is that you put those little bits of left over soap in there, so that they can be used instead of going to waste. I underestimated how much cotton yarn it would take, so mine is a harlequin version. It has an interesting crochet stitch - you do a treble in the second stitch and then the first, so that they're crossed. It gives a lovely texture. It was a good project for a meeting because it didn't take long, most of us finished or almost finished in the meeting. Too often no one completes the project once they get home!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ginger Three Ways

I found some nice root ginger in the supermarket last time I went to town. After a fairly lengthy process, I now have ginger preserved three ways - crystallised, in syrup and pickled. That should keep us gingered for a while.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Starting With the Fronts

I decided to knit the fronts of Annika's bolero first because it will be easier to match the back to the front than vice versa. I did alter the fronts to make them a bit longer. On the white cardigan in the picture, it looks to be waist length, whereas the red one at the top is shorter. I want Annika's to look more like the white one than the red. It's small, so redoing a couple of times to get it right didn't take long.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Earmarked for Annika

I saw this pattern when I was paging through magazines and thought of my granddaughter Annika. I put a little label in the magazine so that I could come back to it. It's Annika's third birthday next month and this bolero will be just the thing for the occasion.

 I decided to buy yarn for the project rather than spin wool, mainly because I've finished all the wool that has been treated against felting. I went to a little wool shop in town last week, took advice from the owner and bought three balls in this lovely turquoise colour. But when I got it home and started knitting swatches with it, I was annoyed myself for not looking more carefully at the label. The wool shop lady had told me that it's expensive because it's good quality. Really? It's artificial, stiff and thicker than the double knitting it claims to be. Horrible, in short.

So I spun one of the samples that the wool factory gave me. It hasn't been treated against felting and will have to be washed carefully, but Annika's mum can cope with that! The swatch knits up according to specifications and is much softer than the turquoise. I suspect I've been spoilt, working with natural fibres for so many years.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Caught On Camera

Jack is learning to use the camera on his new phone and snapped this picture of me spinning this morning.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Swatches and Needles

The patterns say to use a 3 mm needle, but when I knitted a tension square, it soon became clear that 3 mm was too big. I don't do much knitting on very small needles, so I had to go and buy some needles in smaller sizes. I think I can use 2.5 mm for the main part and 2 mm for the ribbing. I'm told that needles smaller than 2 mm don't exist, so that will have to do. Now, which pattern to choose? I like the one with the cable, but I'm worried that with variegated wool and cables there will be too much going on. I think the other one would probably work better. I'm open to suggestions, here and at next week's craft group meeting. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015


I've finished my Craftree fine thread challenge. Mary Konior's Eternity Rings in size 70 Coats thread. I enjoyed the project, it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.  Fine thread makes for slow progress, it's true. But I didn't suffer gaposis or have difficulty opening rings, problems I've had before with fine threads.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tatting Challenge

Lest anyone think I've forgotten how to tat, I thought I'd take up a Craftree fine thread challenge. Kersti's brief is to tat a frame that will fit on a postcard, using thread size 40 or finer. I'm using a Mary Konior pattern, Eternity Rings, in 'Tatting with Visual Patterns'. The size 70 Coats thread is one of my charity shop finds. I've been wanting to tat with finer threads and use the Visual Patterns book. This is a good project to do both because it's not too big, just a minor deviation from other projects I have on the go.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Motherlode

I think I found the source of the guidelines for the cardigan competition, or something very like it. My cousin has a book called 'The Family Knitting Book' by James Norbury. It's full of cardigans with collars and set-in sleeves, knitted in fine yarn! The date of the book? 1972. Right. No wonder I can't find anything in modern collections. I copied two patterns from the book.

I was less successful in finding a source of yarn. I know there are big yarn shops in the city, with wide selections to choose from, but I couldn't find them. I was sent from here to there, mostly to fabric shops with a few balls of acrylic in a dark corner. I did manage to find a full packet of 4-ply sock yarn in a small specialist wool shop, 80% wool and 20% nylon.

So I have a pattern and some good quality 4-ply yarn, I'm all set.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


My Regency Socks are ready to wear. The pattern was designed by Rachel Gibbs and published in Knit Now magazine, issue 17. The great thing about knitting socks is that they're a small project, so however complicated the pattern, they don't take all that long to knit. I like knitting cables in the round, with the right side always facing. I think the cables give a good fit to the socks. Here are a couple of selfies so you can see what I mean:

The socks are ready to take on a short trip we're going on. It will be Tuesday or Wednesday next week before I write again.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Second Sock Progress

I'm working on the heel of the second Regency sock. It feels as though I'm making slow progress on this sock, but then my bedroom curtains have been shortened and my kitchen floor is clean.

Monday, July 13, 2015


I wonder why it is that I love sewing things from scratch but procrastinate horribly when it comes to alterations or mending? The owner of the cottage where I live gave me some curtains to hang. The bedroom ones are much too long. They have to be shortened. I cut 25 cm off the first one:
To make the job a bit more interesting, I decided to practise blind hemming with my sewing machine. I had to get out the Bernette instruction book to find out which foot to use, which stitch to use and how to fold the fabric. I tried it out first on the lining. It worked fine, though I thought the stitches were a bit too close together, so  lengthened the stitch for the curtain itself.

It looks fine. Here's the wrong side and right side:

Right. Now to do the second curtain so that I can hang them both up. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

One Sock

I've just finished knitting the first sock. The second one should be easier, since I have the hang of the pattern and how the charts work now.

Friday, July 10, 2015

More Socks

I don't need more socks, it has to be said. But when I saw these Regency Socks, designed by Rachel Gibbs, I just had to make them! The pattern boggles my mind every now and then, especially in the evenings. Then I have to leave it for a while and come back to it. There are a number of charts, so a number of chances to get confused! I'd grasped the leg pattern, but the foot chart is different altogether. There is a bit of fudging here and there, but I'm happy with how this is turning out.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


I took my poncho to the last craft group meeting I went to. It was admired, but the general consensus was that I should replace the narrow edging in natural wool with a wider edging in a dark colour. Right. There's no point in belonging to a group if you don't listen to what they say. So I spun some more wool and dyed it dark brown. The colour was very uneven, which was not my intention, but I used it anyway and worked three rows to make a wider border.
I did draw the line at tassels though. I don't like tassels. They soon look scruffy and tend to fall in the soup!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What About The Cardigan?

Having abandoned my cardigan and used the yarn for Jack's jersey, I need to make a Plan B for a cardigan. It's so difficult to find a pattern that conforms with all the requirements of the competition that I've decided to design my own.

I want to use 4-ply wool. The rules say yarn no thicker than double knitting (8 ply) can be used, but I'm told that thinner is better. I bought two balls of 4-ply sock wool to experiment with (and, sneakily, use for a pair of must-have socks!)

An Australian friend of mine sent me a picture of her cardigan to use as inspiration. Marion can't find the pattern, she thinks she must've lent it to someone and not got it back.
I also have that pile of magazines to help me. I thought I might be able to adapt this pattern:

But I'm not really happy with the swatch. I think this lace needs the crispness of the original cotton to work well, rather than fuzzier wool.

How about this diamond from a stole pattern?

It might work. This is definitely not going to be a quick knit and requires some experimentation before I even start.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Ready to Wear

Jack hates having his photo taken, so he won't model his pullover for me, but it fits fine. The pattern is a form of wide rib, so it's stretchy and clingy. The good thing is that it's ready to be worn this Winter! That was the point of my hurrying and scurrying.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Ready To Put Together

Well, the main parts of the pullover are complete. I have to sew them together and knit the neckband. I quite liked working both sleeves at once, but I did discover one drawback. I looked admiringly at my work at one stage and realised that a couple of repeats back I'd done four rows of garter stitch instead of two. On both sleeves. So both sleeves had to be unravelled and reknitted.  If I'd knitted the sleeves separately I probably wouldn't have made the same mistake twice. There is a lot of shaping in these sleeves, so doing them together did mean they were shaped exactly the same.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Two At A Time

I don't normally knit both sleeves at once, but I thought I'd follow Jenn's suggestion and give it a go. So far, so good. It will take a long time to knit across once all the increases have been done, but when I'm done I'll be done and not have to start all over again.