Monday 31 December 2007

A small CPH woe

I am motoring along with the Central Park Hoodie. Concerted knitting on the back piece since I finished the Christmas knits meant that I finished it on Boxing Day; I short-rowed the shoulders and will connect them with the main piece with the three-needle bind-off. I read few tutorials on this and decided it was not going to be difficult and was definitely the way to go, but unfortunately I didn't bargain on reaching the short rows at the same time as a cable row, and this led to quite a lot of head-scratching. Then I had a problem picking up the wrap with the stitch but I think it's OK. I'll have to wait until I attach the fronts to be certain, though.

I was slightly concerned about the back being all the same colour, since I used nearly 3 balls and the joins between them are obvious to me (the 2nd ball had greater variegation than the others). I consoled myself with the fact that, to the untrained eye, it wouldn't notice. I checked the labels for dyelots but there were none - it must be a kettle-dyed thing, sadly I'm too ignorant of such things to be sure.

Then I cast on for the left front. I am 4 cable repeats in. As you can see from the picture, this piece is quite considerably darker than the back. I am fairly worried about seaming it and it looking like I used two different colours of wool; I am very worried about joining a second ball which is the same colour as the back, and it looking just terrible. But, I guess there isn't anything that I can do. Boo. I am sort of hoping that when I finish the whole sweater and wash it, gently, that the colour will even out a bit.

It's sod's law that the first time I break my own rules and try and knit a whole garment, something like this happens.

But, check out my swanky new Knitpicks Harmony needles! I LOVE them - so smooth and lovely to knit with. Unfortunately one of the 4mm tips won't screw into any of the cable ends, but I am hoping a trip to Get Knitted will sort this out toot sweet, as they say.

Wednesday 19 December 2007

More quickies

I am barrelling along with my Central Park Hoody and managed to finish my first ball of wool on a trip to London a couple of weeks back, but then it occurred to me that Christmas was almost upon me and I should get on with some gift knitting.

So here it all is....

A cupcake for Pam at work for secret Santa...Pam is the staffroom mummy and always nagging us to bring in cakes for Friday breaktime, so I knitted her this. Well, I knitted her another one after this because I made several fairly serious mistakes with my first attempt (pictured) and I wasn't happy.

In the course of this, I discovered that the local Poundland stocks soft acrylic in DK and a wide range of colours, for only £1 per 100g. How exciting! This means I can buy some pale lemon balls to knit Mother Hand a sweater she wants and can't find to buy.

Then, I bought some suede lacing and made my friend Kath a whip...'s not quite finished because I needed cable ties and I only just got some. This was really fun to make and super easy; the 30m I bought made 2 with a bit leftover, although that doesn't really add up because the tails account for 12m and then there's a knitted bit, and with 7m left over....well, you don't have to be great at maths to work out that perhaps Jillybead sent me too much.

Finally, I knitted Ali a beaded cuff bracelet...

SO. Pretty. I love it! It was really fiddly to start with, and I couldn't do the tapered end I wanted to, but happily the project takes to shaping and wiring together at the end, so I was happy with it in the end.

I have now cast on for Mr Z's binary scarf: I was putting it off, since I've never done Fairisle and have no desire to. But I think it will be OK. I'd like to finish Binary and CPH over the Christmas break; you never know. I also need to find something for friend Jo, who I don't want to feel excluded when I dole out knitted gifts to Ali and Kath. I think I will make her some reusable facial pads and a little mesh bag to wash them in. Time is running out, though.

It's the last day of term for the kids today. We finish in about 1 hour and 19 minutes. Roughly. It can't come quick enough. Last night I took my tutor group out on a trip, where I was almost thwarted at every turn by incompetents at both Pizza Hut and Bowlplex (if only I could find the time/energy to write a letter of complaint), and spent much of my time trying to prevent the boys from feeding all their money into the fruit machines. Now they're back. I will come back and add to this later today, after I've consumed a bottle of chenin blanc in the bath.

Edit: I was in such a hurry I forgot to add the pictures, even!

When I got home, I had a 2 hour bath and a 3 hour nap, and I'm now coddled in a duvet watching Die Hard and thinking every day should be like this one. I have been feeling positively inhuman for the past couple of weeks; to quote Bilbo Baggins, "Like butter spread over too much bread." I couldn't catch up on everything by the end of term and this put me in an even worse mood. Plus, on Monday I had to drive down to Calshot for a one-hour course to refresh my knowledge of ski bindings. This utterly pointless waste of time involved a 4-hour round trip and when I arrived and the instructor said, "Wow! You've come along way - do you have to come all the way down here?" I had to restrain myself. I tell you, sometimes it feels like I've had more training in the name of this damn ski trip than I did to become a teacher. Hopefully it will all be worth it, and I won't end up having 2 weeks off with an ear infection afterwards, like last year. With 6 staff members to 32 kids we should have enough leeway for some evenings off.

Anyway. Tomorrow is TD day and I managed to avoid fire extinguisher training (the story goes, that the head didn't put anybody in History on that list because we're in mobiles and they'll go up so quickly if they catch alight that we won't be able to use an extinguisher; how comforting) and first aid training, so I have an entire day of faculty time stretching ahead of me, a prospect that I find disturbingly thrilling. Ian doesn't seem to have a great deal planned, so I am hoping to get some reports written and some marking done, and then slope off a little early to the Limpley Stoke hotel for the Christmas party. I'm even more thrilled at this. For the first time, I'll be stopping over in the hotel, and not even driving home the next day. I feel a very drunken night coming on.

Also tomorrow, in my absence, we can expect the arrival of Mother Hand's latest silly purchase. Now, I don't really think it's silly - I just think she is. When I went to see her in London for her birthday a couple of weeks back (note to self: never again - London on a Saturday in December = NOT FUN) she handed me an envelope wrapped in wedding paper and was barely able to contain herself as I opened it to instructions fo a pink Smeg fridge freezer. I'm rarely speechless, but on this occasion, I didn't know what to say. How exciting! We've been putting off doing the kitchen since we got married, but may have to move on that soon, since the new fridge freezer will not fit neatly into the space left by the old one.

Monday 3 December 2007

I *heart* quick projects

I love things that knit up quickly.

A couple of weeks ago, somebody on one of the fora I frequent asked if someone would have a go at knitting a marine coloured snood she had been bidding on, but had lost. I offered to oblige - I quite like a challenge. I had to order the yarn because they didn't have the right colours in Get Knitted last weekend. The yarn arrived yesterday, and by the end of the evening the snood was done. How was that for speedy?

Speedy Snood
Pattern: I made it up.
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride bulky in Jaded Dreams and Aztec Turquoise (2 strands held together). I JUST had enough.
Needles: 12mm straight
How I did it: I knit the whole thing in garter stitch. I cast on 50 stitches, knit 2 rows, did a row of YO,k2tog, knit 10 rows, another yo row, knit 6 rows, another yo row, knit 10 rows, YO row, knit 2 rows, cast off.
I wanted to knit it with a moebius cast on, but I wasn't sure what needle size I would need and didn't want to fork out for more circs than I required. So, I knitted it back and forth and added a twist to the rectangle when I sewed it up.
I got about 2 stitches per inch, but the first time I cast on 70 stitches and after 8 rows decided it was much too wide and frogged it. Even with that it only took about 3 hours, and that was with distractions; also my hands were very mariney when I'd finished.

Babushka will sit on her own and make you feel guilty.

We colour corrected the last one because it is a very tealy colour, not as blue as the pictures made it. But it's too green in the last one - the telltale sign is that my eyes are green, too - my eyes are not green, at all.
I REALLY like it. I am only sorry it is not for me.

Finally, Ester pictures! Here we go -

Very warm! But definitely going in the wardrobe until the spring.

Don't worry - I can't see myself wearing it closed very often...

I have quite a lot of the silk left, so I am thinking of knitting Lelah (a patterned boob tube type garment) to go with it.

And I also swatched for Central Park this weekend, since the extra Maya arrived with the yarn for the snood. I was bang-on with the suggested needle size, both horizontally and vertically. I am slightly gutted that I didn't manage to cast the thing on this weekend, but it just got too late today and I had too much work to do. I am going to aim to have it finished by the end of the Christmas holidays. We'll see.