A Scarf for a Pilot

I have mentioned a few times that I was doing secret knitting with a deadline of last Saturday, and yes, I did finish it on time!

 

Here I have the lovely recipient of the scarf modelling on the golf course (isn’t it nice to have a willing model, usually it’s me trying to take a photo of myself!).

 

Pilotscarf1

 

Pilotscarf3

He picked the reddish wool himself (I had to make him, because he’s very sensitive to itchy things, like my warm jerseys…).  Here is a close up of the pattern on the scarf:

 

Pilotscarf2

 

It was such a bright shiny day, I apologise for the glow on the photo!  Also, you can see that it is not yet cold enough in Tauranga for a scarf (a scarf and a tshirt?!), lucky us.  Today we climbed up Mount Maunganui, and it was so hot!  I can’t believe that it is already June, although I think that I will get a reminder when I go down to Wellington at the end of the month.

 

Happy Birthdaaaaaay!  (I have to admit that I did not bake that perfect Pavlova – it was my Mum!  Thanks Mum!)

Pilotscarfcake1

Advertisements

Tastes and Toes

I’ve recently discovered the most amazing website.  I don’t know if you’ve heard the term “Food Porn”, but this site is definitely full of it.  It’s called TasteSpotting and collects photos and descriptions of food sent in by people (and edited by humans), which you can then click on to get the recipe via a blog or something.  It’s so delicious.  I haven’t been able to stop looking at it for the last two days, but luckily this turned out to be productive, because last night’s dinner (and today’s lunch – can’t wait!) came out of it!  This is my first ever risotto (I won’t count being the designated stirrer of my friend’s lovely mushroom risotto).  It’s not a hard recipe, but not one you’d want to cook in summertime, as it involves a lot of standing at the stove and stirring.

 

Lemon Risotto with Peas and Leeks from Kitchen Grrrls.

It’s also the first time I’ve cooked leeks.  I think they are nice because they give bulk and nutrition, and feel like onions, but don’t have a super distinct flavour, so they let the lemon flavour of the risotto come through.

 

Here is the finished product:

I have to say, risotto doesn’t photograph very well…  But it tastes delicious!  I can’t wait for my lunch!

Now for the toes part:

If you’re a sock knitter, you may know what that is.  That is a sock being knitted from the toe up.  I’m pretty darn excited about this, as my boyfriend the Pilot will attest to – I keep interrupting whatever he is doing to point and say “It’s a toe!  It’s a toe!”.  I’m pretty sure he understands how exciting it is… Hmm..

 

Anyway, after numerous failed attempts at various ways of casting on, I used Judy’s Magic Cast-On, which is indeed magic.  I tried two other ways, the Short Row Cast-On and the “Easy” Toe (not so easy for me), and the Magic Cast-On was definitely the easiest way to do it for me.

 

I decided to knit these socks toe up because Alice told me that the wool knits quite tightly, and also I want to use all of it!  I love the idea of toe up socks because of that – when I was knitting my last pair I just kept stressing out that I would run out of wool just before my toes or something!  So this method, because it starts right at the end of the toe means that I can keep increasing until the sock seems big enough around for me.

 

Right, back to work.

 

The Stockholm Scarf Experiment

Questions:

Once I started my Stockholm Scarf, I realised that I had some questions about the pattern:

a) Where do I hold the yarn when slipping stitches?  Does it get held to match the preceding stitches (in front for a purl, or back for a knit), or the following stitches (ditto)?

b) Do I slip the stitches knitwise, or purlwise?

Hypothesis:

I’m probably overthinking, and it doesn’t really matter what I do.  But on the other hand, I could knit 10 rows of 252 stitches and then discover I’ve done something terribly wrong.  That’s 2520 stitches, and that’s a lot of stitches to re-knit.

Method:

Knit a swatch with the following pattern variations (do click on the above link to look at a copy of the pattern, it may make more sense!).  I’ve included the pattern for Row 2 to give an example of how I did it (once again, look at the pattern link above for context!).  I want to see if there is a major difference between how the pattern turns out with a few different combinations of where I hold the yarn, and whether I’m slipping the stitches knitwise or purlwise…

1)  hold the yarn as for the preceding stitch, slip one purlwise

e.g. ROW 2:  K1, P1, K1, YO, K1 [hold yarn in back], S1-purlwise, [bring yarn to front] P2, PSSO

2) hold the yarn as for the following stitch(es), slip one knitwise.

e.g. ROW 2:  K1, P1, K1, YO, K1 [hold yarn in back], S1-knitwise, [bring yarn to front] P2, PSSO

3)  move the yarn *before* slipping one, to match the following stitch(es), slip one purlwise

e.g. ROW 2:  K1, P1, K1, YO, K1 [move yarn to front], S1-purlwise, P2, PSSO

4) move the yarn *before* slipping one, to match the following stitch(es), slip one knitwise

e.g. ROW 2:  K1, P1, K1, YO, K1 [move yarn to front], S1-knitwise, P2, PSSO

Results:

As you can see in Figure 1 (a) and (b), there is not a huge difference between the different methods of doing these stitches.  Remember that there is not really a “right” and “wrong” side to this pattern, since it is reversible.  I just wanted to show what each side looks like.  The “right side” is the one where you are working rows 2 and 4 (the ones with all the flash stitches in them) and the “wrong side” is where you are knitting rows 1 and 3, with just knit and purl stitches.  Of course, if you’re knitting in the round like I am going to do, everything is the “right side”!  It shouldn’t make a difference to how the stitches look with the variations on where you’re holding your yarn, and how you’re slipping your stitches though…

Figure 1 (a) “Right Side”

Figure 1 (b) “Wrong Side”

Discussion:

So, you can judge for yourself.  They all look quite similar at a glance, but I have decided that I do prefer Variation 3, which is where you move your yarn to match the following stitches before slipping the stitch purlwise.  The main point of difference can be seen in the purly bits, they just look tidier and nicer than the other ways of doing these stitches, in my opinion.  A close up of this variation can be seen in Figure 2.

Figure 2: “Close up of Variation 3”

I should also point out that I have knitted these swatches on 4mm needles, and have decided to knit the Stockholm Scarf on this size also.  I like the tighter stitches and the slight sturdiness of the fabric more than the somewhat loose fabric that the 5 mm needles were producing for me.   The original pattern calls for a 6 mm needle – wow!  I think I must be quite a loose knitter, because even with the 5mm needle I was losing stitches left right and centre.  I think that’s also to do with the Paton’s Totem Merino, which is quite thin for an 8ply/DK yarn…  Anyway, I’ve cast on more stitches than the pattern calls for  (it doesn’t matter how many stitches you have for this pattern, as long as they are a multiple of 7 when knitting in the round, or a multiple of 7 + 2 flat).  I think I have 301, hopefully it’s long enough!

Conclusion:

I hope this helps anyone else who is thinking of knitting the Stockholm Scarf pattern, and tends to overthink things as I do!  Hello and welcome if you are going to knit this along with me and Alice!  I also found this chart (Ravelry link) from Love and Knitologie to be very helpful for knitting in the round.  I’ve never been much into charts, but this totally makes sense to me!  Also, her scarf is teal too, so I’m biased!

Two Cowls for Sisters

I said yesterday that I cast on a new project, which is neither a tea cosy nor a pair of socks..  It is however, a cowl.  I’m using the Stockholm Scarf  pattern (available for free!) which looks so gorgeous and warm.  I have 50 g balls of merino (Paton’s Totem, which I got cheap because the colour has been discontinued)…  Starting this project made me remember that I forgot (what a funny phrase) to show you this:

It’s a cowl that I made for my sister, finished just before Easter… I used the pattern for A Noble Cowl, but made it longer so that it could be wrapped around twice (I don’t like the picture of me modeling it, so sorry that’s not going up here!).   It’s also knitted with Paton’s Totem Merino, in a dark grey – it was going cheap as an end of the line also…  It’s lovely to knit with, though it’s so slippery that you have to be careful not to drop stitches!  It’s a crepe wool, I’ve tried to find out what is different about crepe wool, but all I get is how to make pancakes!  I’ll have to ask my Mum about it…  Anyway, I bought three balls (all that was left at the shop) and made my sister this cowl.

Here is a close-up of the lace pattern, it’s like interlocking shields (although I also think they looks like tropical leaves), and is so pretty .  It looks fairly difficult, but once you have done a few rows, there is a pattern (haha) to it, and it’s fairly easy to pick up.  As you can see in the top picture, the cowl is starting to curl at the edges, which I don’t quite like because you can see the “wrong side” of it.  I’m sure non-knitters don’t notice the reverse stockingette stitch sneaking out from behind the “right side”, but it does bug me a little!

That’s why I decided to use the Stockholm Scarf Pattern for *my* cowl, because the lace is reversible!  What a clever idea.  I’m having a bit of trouble figuring out if I’m doing the stitches right, and already frogged the first 4 rows when I realised that converting the pattern to the round did not just mean reversing the knit and purl stitches in the uneven rows.  Luckily I found some helpful posts through Ravelry, so I’m on to the second round of the second round!  I’m still having trouble with some of the stitches, because the pattern does not have much detail (if you’re a knitter, have a look – I don’t know whether to hold my yarn in front or back when I slip the stitches, and whether to slip them knitwise or purlwise…).  I’ll let you know how I go – at the moment I am just holding the stitches where they ended up *before* the slipped stitch (ie in front if the preceding stitch was a purl, behind if it was knit), and I’m slipping the stitches purlwise, which tends to be the default.  I’ll have to knit a few more rows to see how it looks, but hopefully it will look good, even if I’m not quite doing it right!  I’ll let you know how it goes…

Taming Runaway Needles

Aaaages ago I saw this on Crochet with Raymond (scroll to the bottom of the post) – a case for knitting needles.  My knitting needles were always running around the house, stabbing me in bed, hiding in the couch, so inspired by the holder Alice has, I decided to make my own.  I actually made this quite a while ago, but I’m going to show you another organise-y thing I have just made, so now is a good time to show it off!

This is how it usually looks – well, when I don’t leave it open with needles jumping out of it and running all over the house…  When I open it up, it looks like this:

Plenty of space for all of my needsles and other bits and pieces.  I buy all of my needles (apart from circulars and my sock needles) at various second hand shops.  I just bought a new set of 4s and 5.5s, and am on the look-out for a nice set of 4.5s, because I only have a plastic set, which have blunt ends and are hard to knit with…  I was so excited at the second hand shop when I found my needle gauge too, it has metric one one side, and US on the other.

My needle case has a flap at the top to keep all of those pesky runaway needles in place:

It’s actually made of some old curtains that used to be at my Nana’s house…

And this is my new organise-y thing, stitched up using my new sewing machine (oh look, I’ve left a scrap of fabric on the table, how lazy of me…).  What is it, what is it?

I bought this fabric at the Sallies – they had a whole bunch of upholstery fabric.  Most of it was quite ugly, but in amongst it there was this lovely blue piece.  I still have plenty left over.  But what is it?!

It’s a sock kit!  It’s got everything I need for sock knitting, and is just about the size of a book, so is easy to transport.  In the top left it’s got a zippered pocket for a tape measure (cut down to 20 inches, because you don’t need more than that for socks!), a darning needle, and stitch markers.  Below that, there is a pocket to put a pattern or other notes (how to do a kitchener stitch??) in.  On the right side, there is one pocket for my needles – it has plastic at the bottom of the pocket so that my needles don’t poke through, and also plastic on the inside of the top flap.  It was a bit loose for my needles to stay put, so it’s also got a ribbon sewn on so that I can tie them up!  The other pocket is for my stitch holders and crochet hook (for catching and pulling through dropped stitches!).

So there it is!  That’s how I’ve tamed my runaway needles and other knitting related bits and pieces.  I am on the look out for a socks-in-progress sized tin, or nice container, so that I can transport my socks-in-progress without stabbing myself or others with tiny pointy sock needles…  I don’t have any socks-in-progress (SIPs?) at the moment though, I have finished my “secret” knitting for a certain someone, which I will share a bit later, and have cast on my newest project, which is neither socks nor a tea cosy!  Too many projects!

$1.50 For Craft Work

No, not a situation vacant…

 

I had an exciting day yesterday.  I went to buy a new pair of shoes, partly because they would show off my new socks nicely, and found them to be almost half price!  Then I went to the Bernina sewing store to see about buying a new sewing machine.  It’s something that my Mum and I have been discussing, our old machine is heavy and never seems to be able to co-ordinate the tension between the bobbing and the top, constantly gets jammed up and breaks threads etc.  So we are the proud new owners of a Bernette 56 machine.  I have been making something, which I will show you when I’m finished, and the machine sews very nicely indeed!

 

After that, I went to the Saint Vincent De Paul second hand shop (it was on the way home, I swear!).  As you might have guessed from previous posts about my new-old teapot (Waipuna Hospice), and my crocheted blanket (Sallies), I do like a bit of second-hand shopping.  OK a lot.  And moving recently from Wellington to Tauranga, I’ve definitely been able to indulge in it.  Sometimes I plan my trips so that I can hop off one bus, pop into the Sallies, and then hop back on the next bus!

 

Anyway, yesterday at the Vinnies, I came across these three plastic bags, marked “$1.50, for craft work”:

 

Are you excited already?  I was!  I couldn’t choose which one I wanted, so I got all of them…  I felt a bit cheeky though!  I was so excited to get them home and open them up so I could see what treasures were inside!  This is what I found:

Various crocheted doilies.   Most of them have been cut, or are missing a circle or something.  I always want to cut up doilies for crafty things, and always feel too guilty to do so!  Not the case when the job has already been started for you!  The one with the big pointy flowers/stars on it at the top there is hardly damaged at all though, so I might have a go at mending the little unravelling bit and just using it for its intended purpose…

Some bits and pieces of white fabric, including some gorgeous delicate fabric with embroidery on it (machine done, not by hand though..).  It looks like it used to be a table runner, and someone has chopped it in half.  One half was in one bag, and the other in another!

A little pink fabric envelope with a lovely little scene of a garden and a bird house stitched on to it, edged in pink lace.

I think this one might be my favourite – an embroidered cloth with crocheted edging.  The colours are so pretty, light pink, blue and yellow, with some brighter red/pink highlights.  It’s only got a tiny bit of damage, you might be able to see it there in the lower left, to the right of the embroidery..

Some applique flowers – it looks like someone has done these by hand, although I’m not sure because they are so perfect and delicate!  They are on a white cloth, which isn’t edged or finished.

And finally, hiding in the middle of one of the packages, this lovely embroidered cloth with a crochet edge.  It’s more damaged than the other pieces (as you can see!) but I’ll have to figure out some way of using hose lovely flowers – red, purple and blue!

So anyway, that was my day yesterday!  How exciting!  Now, I’m going to get back to my sewing… I’ve been so busy that I haven’t even cast on for my new projects, and haven’t yet finished my secret project for a special someone, and the deadline is Saturday!!  Luckily, it’s a project of flexible length, so I can always just “finish” it if I run out of time before I run out of wool!

Upcoming Wooly Projects

Last night was the first night in a long time that I had no knitting projects on the go (well, I do have one, but it’s a secret project and I can’t knit it when a certain someone is around!).  So it’s definitely time to start on my next projects.  The other day at the Waipuna Hospice shop, I found the most gorgeous tea pot for $6.  It’s a lovely lemony yellow colour, and it’s also very large – I’d say at least tea for three!  It has a strainer inside it (like a little net basket) so it’s easy to make “real tea”.  The only thing it needs is a cosy to keep it nice and warm…

 

I’m thinking of making a tea cosy like Alice’s Spring Explosion one, I think it would go wonderfully with the bright yellow! I’ll have to go through my wool stash and find some colours for flowers.  Then there is just the small matter of learning how to crochet…

But I am also going to start another pair of socks (I can’t just have one pair, because what would I do when my other socks are in the wash?!?).  I have this loooooovely Magic Merino For Socks By Touch Yarns for my next pair.  It feels soooo soft and warm, I can’t wait for it to be on my feet…

It’s 80% merino wool with 20% nylon thrown in for good measure, and is made here in New Zealand, which is brilliant.  The shade is Remarkables, and it’s actually a little more pinky purple and darker than the photograph shows, I still have to work on getting my exposures right…

Anyway, as you can see I have balled it up (I split it into two parts, making sure they were even by weighing them on the kitchen scales!).  I don’t have a yarn winder, but I did have help:

This is Paris – she’s feeling a little camera shy, probably because I kept telling her off for messing with my wool!  In the end she sat very patiently just watching the yarn appear from the inside of the ball as I wound it up.  She was transfixed!  Maybe I will get a better picture of her later – she likes anything I do related to Wool or Spoons!

There is one more project I want to start (once I have finished the secret project!), but I’ll tell you about that later so I can put up some photos of the ingredients (6 balls of ingredients!).