Monday, March 14, 2011

flash as... a video

a little video to demonstrate how to work that kfPSOkb. That's that little manoeuvre that I use in the underarm cast offs to make it nice and neat in the milo. If you've only ever knit the milo, in some later patterns I decided to give it a name, and kfPSOkb made the most sense. That's knit front pass stitch over knit back.

Anyhow, here's the video. Hope you like!

PS I have no idea how to get it to go smaller so it doesn't overlap on my side bars, sorry!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

the year of the sweater

This year is already quickly becoming the year of the sweater.

I started the year frantically knitting dishcloths and now have a lovely stash for pressies and for us, of about 12.

Apart from that it has purely been sweater knitting, which is such an American word but here in Australia we don't really have a word that covers both cardigans and jumpers, so sweater it is.

Here it is almost halfway through March and to date I have finished eight sweaters, yes eight!!! Granted, one was a doll's cardigan but I'm still counting that. AND I have another three on the needles!

So far I've finished;

an Olearia

a Baby Surprise Jacket

a school cardie

a February Baby Jacket

a Poppy

two versions of a new design I will blog about soon (so no photos today)

and something for Toby, which is what I'm going to share this post.

This gorgeous little jumper is a test knit for a fabulous New Zealand designer, Sara
h Wright. It's called Matariki and was a complete pleasure to knit!

It's knit topdown and seamlessly in dk weight yarn. I used Jo Sharp for this, the Silkroad Tweed DK for the green and white and the Classic for the blue. The photos don't capture it but the blue in the stranded work is an exact match for little nubs throughout the green.

I knit the 18 month size for Toby and just added some length so it will fit him through winter.

The pattern gives some excellent advice on working stranded knitting and would be a great stepping stone for anyone wanting to make the leap into stranded knitting. Some of the other testers had never tried stranded knitting before and they had no problem with this pattern and produced some awesome garments!

The pattern is sized from 18month to size 10 and is a definitely unisex.

You can find purchasing details for Matariki over on Ravelry HERE, so go on, go and check it out!

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Elizabeth's Almanac: February

Have I mentioned that I'm working my way through the year of patterns from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac? I'm sure I have, I probably mentioned I cheated a bit and didn't make the big aran jumper for January, instead substituting it with a Baby Surprise Jacket, one of EZ's other patterns.

February, however, I stuck to the schedule and knit the garment allocated to the month; the Baby Sweater on Two Needles; better known as the February Baby Sweater. Only I didn't really make mine baby size, more like a five year old size. A lean five year old, but yes, a tad bigger than baby size.

It's a fun knit, quite an easy one when it comes down to it but written in more of a directional manner than instructional, as is typical of EZ's style.

It is a pattern where you do need to read ahead so you have a good grasp of what's going on or you may miss crucial aspects of the garment; like creating buttonholes in the garter stitch section of the yoke.

The knitting group at my LYS is doing a bit of a Knit-A-Long with the Almanac this year, and this was our first project.

I made a few simple mods to the pattern; mostly with some of the basic construction aspects and narrowing the sleeves. I also knit the sleeves circular rather than flat as per the pattern. If you want to know more about the mods I used, I took fairly scrupulous notes about the pattern and added them to my Ravelry Project Page.

The yarn for this is a lovely New Zealand yarn, Wadsworth Alpine Merino/Possum in an 8ply weight. It's good to see the New Zealanders are making good use of all those feral possums we so nicely sent them!

It was a lovely yarn to knit with, with just a touch of guard hairs present. But this yarn really comes into its own after a wet block. Oh my gosh!! It is so lovely and soft, with a beautiful fluffiness to it. Totally divine and quite a surprise!   My good friend Fiona brought it back from New Zealand with her quite a few years ago and it has been languishing in my stash awaiting the perfect project. I used 200grams pretty much exactly, I love getting such a large garment out of 200grams!

To get this one to fit my five year old, who is lean by the way, I used the dk weight yarn on 4.5mm needles. This is quite a plump dk weight and in US terms would definitely pass as a light worsted, so I knit it as such.

And you know what, I do so love this pattern so much I'm knitting a second one; this time in the perfect yellow. Stay tuned for that as I have just the sleeves to go.

The Almanac's project for March is the Difficult Sweater, a stranded sweater knit in worsted. The swatch for this pattern, quite handily turns itself into a hat. Guess which option I might be taking here.

What are your knitting plans for March?

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The school cardie

I swear I just blinked and it's suddenly March!

Ever so slowly I'm getting used to this school gig thing. It's now like, what four or five weeks in? maybe more, perhaps?

To be honest, I am really really enjoying the walk to school in the morning when the sun is still soft and the grass often damp. We give ourselves 30 minutes to get to school and this allows a bit of amble, time to stop and look for curly eucalyptus leaves, investigate any possible fairy sightings and talk about the necessities of life with a five year old.

It's been a big change for all of us, and I'm feeling somewhat ambiguous about Lily going for the full week of school in a few weeks time instead of having Wednesday off. I really do love our Wednesdays together. I do so love having one day of the week where I don't have to get up early.

The big challenge for us this year has been, and will be the school uniform. The school dress was always going to be a sure fire winner as it's so symbolic of a school girl. and just like most preschoolers, Lily was desperate to be a school girl.

The shoes, however, were always going to be an issue. This is a girl who has refused to wear socks for the past year or so. Apparently they annoyed her, the seam across the top of the socks was just too annoying to deal with. Do your kids have that issue with socks? It seems it's not that uncommon! I thought she'd refuse point blank on the school shoes too; with them being black and all, so she started the year in her Saltwater Sandals. But then it got wet, and the shoes were essential...and she so loves them!!

The other challenge was really mine. Just quietly, I'm not particularly fond of the saggy blue windcheaters that inevitably fade so quickly. Not when there is lovely wool that can be worn.

Using the 70s fondness for ribbed knits as my inspiration, I decided to knit Lily a school cardigan. Apart from it needing to be navy blue, I wanted something comfortable yet not baggy and daggy; something that would move with her and give her some growing room. And of course, it needed to look good.

I'm pretty pleased with the way this came out. Even more important, Lily loves and happily wears it. Personally, I think it's much nicer than a faded windcheater, and it will probably work out cheaper as well. I knit this in a superwash DK weight yarn, Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury. It used a bit less than 300 grams, so at a cost of about $24 I think that's pretty good. Being wool it doesn't need to be washed as often as a windcheater, and when it does I can throw it in the washing machine. And she'll get two years at least out of it.

I think it would be a pretty cool cardigan in any colour, and definitely not just for school. The pattern will be heading off to testers probably early next month.

Next up we've got to tackle the lack of a winter dress or skirt option as part of the school uniform. Yep, this is a girl that ain't gonna wear pants!! Not a chance.

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