Saturday, October 28, 2006

Clap v2.0

I've had to bond with Clap v2.0. I finished this a couple of weeks ago but...well...didn't really like it. I felt a bit guilty about not liking it, so we decied to spend some time together bonding. We went to SnB together, we went to work together, we sat on the couch and worked on other knitting projects together. We even went to the Christening together.

The trouble all started with blocking. I am still confused about whether or not to block a clap (i'd really like to know what other people think). I didn't block the first one, and I love its curly-goodness. But the curling means it can really only be worn as a 'scarf' and without blocking it isn't long enough to sit comfortably like a wrap. But it has such lovely ridges and bumps, which is a (perhaps the) beautiful feature of the pattern. So when this clap curled even more fiercely I considered the block. Then, with the reckless abandon a few beers inspires, one night I just blocked it.

Then I regretted it. Blocking it changed those lovely little ridges to flat stripes. I suspect I blocked it a bit too heavily (I didn't think there was such a thing as a 'moderate' or 'light' blocking.) It's merino, so it stretched like the clappers (seems 'clappers' can run and stretch).

But I was rewarded by perseverence. The more I wore it, the more the little ridges came back and it reclaimed its curling shape. But it's a gentle curl now, more like a wave than a Shirley Temple ringlet. And the blocking gives it a really nice size. I can wear it as a wrap, with one end over a shoulder and the other pinned on the opposite shoulder. I can pin the edges at the front and wear it as a 'top'. It can be a scarf, or a stole. Lovely.

We have now made our peace and happily accept each others' company. Don't you just love happy endings :).

Pattern: Clapotis by Kate Gilbert from Knitty.
Yarn: Artyarns Supermerino Colourway #111. This is gorgeous yarn, the colours are just beautiful. It's pretty reasonably priced for hand-painted too. This lot came from Yarnbow. It was 6 skeins if I remember correctly.
Needles: 5mm Addi Circulars.
Modifications: Given I ran out of yarn towards the end last time I did one less set of increase rows. This didn't really affect the size once it was blocked though. It's actually bigger in dimensions now than the pattern version.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Meet Gertrude.

She likes sitting quietly and reading craft books. She doesn't mind the odd Pina Colada, but don't get her started on walks in the rain. She's had issues with that ever since her silly boyfriend wouldn't pay the $4 for parking when they went to see a Gomez concert and she had to walk 20 minutes in a flash-flood inducing downpour to get back to the car. And the gig was a bit suckful.


She came via special request from SadieandLance, who's caught a bit of soft-toy mania I hear. I love her, 'ET arms' and all. Thanks Bee, you're 'Grate' (for all you sub-editors out there that was intentional! Go to the site and have a listen.) The pattern is here.

Turns out Gertrude's a bit of a knitting mentor. She's got me using the porcupines.

This isn't anything yet, just my training wheels :)

Monday, October 23, 2006

First-best sewing friend

Babies. They're coming at me from everywhere at the moment (not my own, of course). This usually isn't a problem, I went through a baby-knits frenzy about 6 months ago and i've still got a stash of hand-knits with no home, but it's getting hot here. Too hot for baby cardigans.

How thoughtful of Martha Stewart to solve this conundrum for me.

This is a great pattern. Although it took me about an hour to figure out how to read it the first time I made it. Is it just me and my lack of sewing ability or is this a confusing pattern? Only thing I do differently is sew the inside ties in the seams. Anything to avoid hand-sewing. Which leads me to this:

My binding foot is my first-best sewing friend (it and my quick unpick ;). Notice the bias-binding around the neck? Well stifle that groan and buy one of these. Binding and material go in the front, perfectly sewn bias binding comes out the back. No hand-sewing required. However I should clarify that the bias-binding isn't always perfect...occasionally for some inexplicable reason (like your needle sitting in the wrong place) it will not catch both sides. When this happens you can swear and throw the tape measure across the room. That is a perfectly reasonble, mature, adult response.

This little top went to one of my all time favourite babies, Frances (seen here in part of my great baby cardigan explosion.) She was christened yesterday and took it all with dignity and grace. That is she didn't scream her lungs out like I would have. Not a peep.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Crochet Me.

I've never really been sure about Crochet jewelry. You can do come cool stuff with wire, but yarn? It always seemed a little odd. Like knitted dog coats*. Interesting, possibly functional, but a tad conceptually challenging. Of course this means I want to make both!

Pattern: Wisteria from Arboretum by Colinette.

Yarn: Colinette Tao in 'Madras' from here (for the Aussies). 100% Silk. Hand-dyed. Yum.

Hook: 3mm hook from KMart. Ridiculous. The hook, not KMart.

Measurements: I wasn't sure about the size of the neckband or the length. But both are good. The bottom flower sits just above my boobs. Cool! I didn't think you would appreciate a shot of that, so here's a not quite finished (shorter) version.

Modifications: I couldn't quite put mine together like the picture. I somehow ended up with two of the littlest circles left over. Oh well.

Comments: What's up with British Vs American crochet? You'd think they would at least use different terms. I was going along quite happily until I realised I was Crocheting 'American' on a 'British' pattern. Silly me. This yarns is so soft and lovely though. Very light too. I have about a half skein left so let me know if it takes your fancy and you want one! I would definitely recommend this as a beginner-type project. If I can do it anyone can!

This is probably my first crochet FO other than the odd bookmark. If anyone has any crochet advice for me I'd love to hear it, seriously.

Yes...I think I can handle this crochet jewelry thing. Dog coats here I come!

I managed to put a finished object thingo on the sidebar too (woohoo!) Check it out if you're interested, there's a couple of baby things there I haven't blogged about here.

*I don't dislike dog coats. My family dogs always wore them in winter. I just think they're...well...odd? Possibly related to the fact that a 'stalker' sent me a dog-coat pattern book once. It was quite the mystery.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Can you guess?

I've been on a Finished Object high since the shawl. Nothing done yet, but I've got lots on the go. Wanna sneak peak?

There's been some sewing:

Some knitting (ok so this one may be a bit obvious ;):

And some crochet. Some very beginner crochet:

Thanks so much to everyone that left a comment on the shawl. Double digit comments, I'm feelin' the blogger love! I'm especially chuffed cause I like to read all your blogs!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Forest Canopy Shawl

May I present my first lace knitting project, the Forest Canopy Shawl. Thanks you to Buzz for the excellent modelling job (she thinks she's a celebrity and tries to get in all the photos)

A big shout-out to SadieandLance, Stephanie, Brenda and Meg (how cool is that calculator!) this first-born shawl is dedicated to you. I was trying to come up with an appropriate amalgamation of your names to call the shawl but couldn't make it work (BrestMes? No, I don't think so.)

Pattern: Forest Canopy Shawl from I'm knitting as fast as I can.

Yarn: 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Yarn in Bittersweet from here. I hope I haven't broken some lace knitters code by using sock's so soft and lovely.

Needles: Addi circulars 80cm 4.5mm. I found these mostly fine with this pattern, a couple of times I could have used something sharper, but that was generally on rows that I had attempted to unknit. And it's best to avoid sharp object when I unknit.

Final Measurements: 66 inch wingspan, 28 inch length (the finished dimensions on the pattern were 52 x 23, so I could possibly have blocked it a little longer...)

Modifications: I wasn't game enough to deviate from the pattern! The only thing I did was slip the first stitch of each row because otherwise my edges get a bit sloppy. I also did an extra 4 repeats on top of the number in the pattern because I still had more yarn and I wanted it to be a little bigger. But the pattern said it was OK to do this so I don't count that as breaking the rules!

Blocking: I did it! My first blocking experience, yay for me! I tried to follow these instructions, which are pretty clear, but I still managed to get confused. I did the string thing along the top but when I pinned it all out it just wasn't sitting flat and stretched along the string. It wasn't 'grabbing' it properly or something? So I just put a few pins along the string to get it to sit and tried to do it so I didn't get a scollopy top edge.

I wish: I hadn't had to unknit and/or rip about half of the thing by the time I finished it. I suspect being able to use stitch markers would have helped me out here, but there wasn't anything about them in the pattern and I couldn't figure out how to work them in. Oh well.

Overall: Two thumbs up. I enjoyed knitting this. It took me about 2 weeks or so, which isn't too bad (I think).

Friday, October 06, 2006


To whoever thought of lifelines in knitting - Thank You. You have saved the small piece that's left of my lace-knitting sanity. Without too much exaggeration I think the amount of this shawl that I have unknit would roughly compare to the amount that I have knit. But I love it.

I need some advice though. The pattern is for a 'shoulder shawl', but I've decided that often these shawls are made for 'narrow' people. I like to be able to wrap up a bit more in a shawl (therefore everyone must prefer that, right?) So I've decided that since I had to start a second skein anyway, I'm just going to keep going...(and here's where you come in)...But when will it end? Sweet Lord when will the lace-pain end! How will I know? Should I just keep going until I'm going to run out? The rows are getting soooooooo loooooooooong now, what will they be like after a couple more repeats? How will I account for blocking growth? Arrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Please advise.

I don't have much to offer, but I'll dedicate this first-born lace shawl to you. And you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have rescued me from the clutches of a potential existential crisis...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Um, so I haven't posted in a while. I did suspect I would have commitment issues. I like to read blogs more that I like to write my own, I think. I don't think I'm really a 'work in progress' blogger, either. I can't think of enough to say about things to sustain multiple posts on them, so this may be more of an infrequent finished object type blog. Yes, that makes me feel better.

Having said all that, here's a WIP (oh dear). I've been looking at some of the lovely lace shawl patterns that seem to float around in blogland and have wanted to have a crack at them. Then I saw that a very clever blogger had designed one just for me! Ok, maybe not me specifically, but for wannabe beginner lace knitters like me. Check it out:

Wanna close up?

It looks much better when you pull it out a bit and all the stitches open up. This one will have
to be blocked, methinks. It's been knitting up pretty quickly, actually. Except for the un-knitting. Oh my, the rows, and rows, and rows of unknitting. One little missed YO and back we go. Take a note people, Drink. Knit. Bloody Idiot.