Monday, February 29, 2016

Travel Tatting

Getting from here to Perth in Australia involves a lot of waiting about in airports. Being a fidget-fingers, I need something to do while I wait. I pondered for quite a while about what it should be. I have yarn to knit myself a cardigan, which I'd like to do before Winter. I'm sure a circular needle with plastic tips would pass through airport security. But it would be a bulky project to carry along. I decided that tatting would be a better idea. An edging or braid - one row only, no corners, so I can just go on and on. Mary Konior's Curds and Whey should fit the bill. I tatted a small sample, using Olympus size 40 thread.
I like it. So I wound two shuttles full of the thread. These are not my favourite shuttles, but they hold a lot of thread. I made a start to memorise the pattern and snip the starting thread (no scissors on the aeroplane!).
It all fits very well into Wendy's gift bag to make a good take-along project.
I'll be leaving early tomorrow and away for three weeks, so it'll be close to the end of March before I write this blog again and catch up on other blogs. Happy tatting to you all.

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Other Sock

I knitted most of the first sock in one hit while watching cricket. The second one took a bit longer. I knitted it in dribs and drabs on trips to town. But it's done now. I used a three-needle cast off instead of grafting the last stitches. It looks fine, but is a bit bulky.

Done in Time

Aha, I can tick 'finish Penny's jersey' off my to-do list. The great thing about working it all in one is that I don't have to sew pieces together.  To recap, the yarn is wool that I spun on my Ashford spinningwheel. The pattern is The Incredible, Custom-fit Raglan Sweater by Pamela Costello. It is worked in the round from the neck down, which is unusual, but works perfectly fine. I think one would need some knitting experience to use the pattern, which is more a blueprint for designing a sweater than a pattern as such. Having said that, the blueprint is clear and if you take all the required measurements and follow the steps given, it works well. I thought the sleeve instructions were a bit skimpy, but I guess once you've got that far you can work it out for yourself. I'm pleased with how it turned out. I hope Penny will be too.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Owl Bookmarks

I thought the owl buttons would be good for bookmarks. (I wonder why owls are associated with wisdom?) I thought of sewing them to pieces of ribbon, but decided that ribbon would not be robust enough. So I cut rectangles of felt instead.
They'll go into books I bought to take as gifts, These are just a few of them. I might have got a bit carried away because collectively they're quite a weight to carry in my luggage!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Equipment Failure

Oops, my circular needle has broken. I think that the magic loop knitting puts extra strain on the needles that they weren't designed for. Luckily I have another needle in the same size:

Monday, February 22, 2016

One Sleeve

I'm on track to finish Penny's pullover by the end of the week, but it might be a close-run thing!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Bookbag for Annika

Annika is starting school, just one day a week to begin with, and needs a bag to put her books in. I copied a bookbag that my cousin gave me. I've been using it for several years and have only just realised how clever the strap arrangement is. It looks like two straps but is actually one. It reinforces the bottom without obstructing the opening. Aha.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Magic Loop Sleeves

The pattern  is a trifle vague when it comes to the sleeves. It says to use a 16" circular needle and 'decrease one stitch at the beginning and end of the round every inch or so'. I suspect the needle would be too long for the number of stitches by the time I reached the wrist. Rather than find double pointed needles in two sizes, I'm using the same needle I used for the body and using the magic loop method. I also worked out a bit more carefully where the decreases should be. I've scribbled it down on the pattern so that I can get the two sleeves the same:

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Buttons Galore!

There was a parcel for me at the post office yesterday. It wasn't the parcel I was expecting, so I was a bit puzzled. I opened it when I got home and found this wonderful collection of buttons, a present from my cousin. They're very light, very pretty. Here's a closer view:
There are rather a lot of them, I may have to regift some of them, but I'm also thinking of  tatting patterns that use buttons.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Progress Report

I've finished sewing my second blouse and made some progress on the Penny's pullover. Onward, onward.....

Monday, February 15, 2016

Holiday Sewing

I'll be travelling to Perth, Australia, in a couple of weeks time to visit my daughter and her family. I thought I'd make myself some new clothes to take along. I had fun buying fabric last week, choosing an array of colours and textures. So far I have two skirts, a top made and another one cut out.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Round and Round

I've reached the body part of the pullover. The pattern uses the length of raglan sleeve to determine when to cast off for the underarms.  I used the bust measurement to double check, and hooray, it's correct. So I can safely knit round and round. It's a good pick up/put down project in between other tasks.

Friday, February 12, 2016


I took some time out from knitting to do some bottling. Jack has had a prolific crop of tomatoes in his garden. They're not very attractive tomatoes, but when they've been cooked up with onions, also from the garden, and a few other ingredients, they're fine. I freeze the tomatoes as the first step. Half defrosted, the skins come off easily and they can be chopped. Then I defrost them completely in a colander so that the water drains out. They cook quickly then because all that water doesn't have to evaporate off.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


I've made a start to Penny's V-neck pullover. So far, so good. The test will come when I reach the underarms and the bust size must then be correct. Maureen tells me 2000 people have downloaded the pattern from Ravelry, so presumably I"m on fairly safe ground.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ready, Set...

I rolled my spun wool into balls - funny how there's always one ball that gets into a tangle and takes ages longer than the others to roll! I printed out the pattern, The Incredible Custom-fit Raglan Sweater by Pamela Costello, which I found on Ravelry. It uses a construction I haven't used before, knitted in the round from the neck down. I like to try different methods of construction. Penny sent me her measurements, so I filled them into the pattern as per instruction. Then I knitted a swatch. I wasn't happy with my first effort, so I changed to a slightly smaller needle and thought that looked better. Using the swatch I could work out the gauge and then determine the number of stitches needed. Right. I made a start, though I was fairly sure it would be a false start. I just wanted to see how the increases looked, what problems cropped up and so on.  I think the increases look fine. But I'm not happy that I don't have the knitted rib pattern symmetrical. Rather laboriously, I've used graph paper to work out where to start so that the last rib will be the same as the first. Aside from aesthetics, the symmetry will help me make sure I've remembered all the increases. Now to begin....

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Greedy Rabbit

Mine is a rather greedy rabbit because my most carroty thread is a size 10. Thanks very much to Jane Eborall for organising her Tat-it-and-see. It's a fun way to start the tatting year.

Monday, February 8, 2016


I always promise myself that I'll spin enough yarn to complete a project before I start knitting. I usually give in to temptation and renege on that promise. Not this time though. There is enough here to knit the V-neck pullover my daughter requested. I can wash this as one batch and wind it all into balls before I start swatching and working out stitch numbers.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Day 13

Jane says the tat-it-and-see is not over yet. But this is clearly a dancing rabbit! Jane was sneaky, having so many think it was a frog for so long.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Amigurumi Cat

I crocheted another animal from the pattern book I was given, this one for a baby yet to be born. I'm not sure what the definition of amigurumi is, so I may be stating the obvious, but I really like the way the parts are crocheted in 3-D. The pieces of the toy have to be sewn to each other of course,  but there are no seams in the different pieces. So making this is not quite as fiddly as it looks.

Day 12

Well, Jane kept us guessing for a long time, but surely this must be a rabbit? I'm just glad the frog idea wasn't right!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Cricket Socks

I knitted this yesterday while watching cricket. Jack won tickets to the game, South Africa vs England, so we made the four-hour journey to Bloemfontein to watch the game. It might be mildly eccentric to knit while watching cricket - certainly I didn't see anyone else doing it! But it doesn't bother anyone else and at the end of the day I have a sock. Or I should have had a sock. I was just congratulating myself that I just had the toe to do and plenty more overs to sit through, when a tremendous dust storm started. Horrible. And impossible to knit through. The players went on until eventually it started raining. England won according to the Duckworth Lewis system, in case you're wondering! I will have to finish the sock at home.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Treat

Our post box has been worthy of its hire lately. This book arrived through the post, safely and timeously, somewhat restoring my faith in the postal system. I'm busy spinning wool for a pullover and crocheting another animal so I haven't tried any patterns from the book yet. But the wonderful thing about owning the book is that I don't have to hurry, I know the book will be there when I'm ready to start experimenting.

Day 11

The instructions for today were necessarily tricky, to get the curve going in the right direction. I had to read them a couple of times to understand them!