A pause

There has been a long silence on the blog due to me having (slightly unexpectedly) decided to do a Masters in Librarianship and Information Science. Which took up all the time I formerly thought of as ‘spare’ and also some that really wasn’t spare at all. There was no room for knitting, reading, woodworking or any of the other things I usually do when I’m not working, avoiding housework or poking facebook.

However, the first semester is now drawing to a close and with only two assignments left there is room to breathe. And knit. So first of all, a confession. The big black knotty nightmare? Is no more. All my grand talk about lifelines turned out to be so much bunkum when I noticed a mistake, decided I could live with it, and so moved my lifeline past it. Then I decided that I couldn’t live with it after all, and – get this – decided to try and frog back past it. Despite knowing all the stuff I said about the impossibility of frogging knitted lace. Literally, I looked at this fragile web of holes and thought “it’ll be fine”.

The Mistake

Reader, it was not fine. So now the poor thing is half-frogged and sitting in a cupboard where it can’t remind me of my own stupidity. I loved the pattern, and I loved the way it was turning out, but I have to go a-a-a-a-l-l the way back to the very beginning and that’s not something I’m prepared to do just yet. I wouldn’t hold your breath.

In the meantime there are socks in Lang Jawoll Degrade, which looks so gorgeous in the ball it’s almost a shame to knit it up:


a kind-of-Hapisk-but-not-really because I’m just striping Debbie Bliss grey 4 ply with leftover sockyarn. Projects for leftover sockyarn are great for someone who knits socks because there are always little balls at the end (if you’re a match-obsessive the way I am). And this is going to be either a blanket or a shawl. Haven’t decided yet, but I like the way the colours are coming.


Scandinavian cowl, coming along ok:


And some FOs because there were children with cold hands and heads so there needed to be hats and mittens…




Bonnets and bootees

I have a history with handknitted dolls’ clothes and I thought they deserved their own post. My great-grandmother, after whom my daughter is named, knitted a whole collection of dolls’ clothes for my mother (after whom my daughter is also named) when she was a little girl. My mother played with them when she was small, I played with them when I was small, and my daughter is playing with them now. How’s that for longevity? Admittedly nearly all of them are somewhat the worse for wear. Moths and washing have done their work and it’s a rare item that doesn’t have a hole, or isn’t slightly felted. But I am very sentimental about these things, and there’s no way I’m throwing them away. They’ve nearly all seen half a century of dolly-wear.

So one more self-imposed mission – replace the items that my great-grandmother knitted, as accurately as possible. And have some fun along the way. To this end I’ve just bought a CD from ebay of 100 vintage knitting patterns – I’m hoping that among them may be some of the right(ish) patterns. Otherwise I’m going to have to start copying things as best I can which will be fairly effortful and therefore something I’m hoping to avoid.

In the meantime and to get my hand in I started on this set of patterns that I found on Ravelry: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/30127289. A baby doll outfit from the New Zealand Mercury Christmas 1936. It’s for a 16″ doll. Now, of course dolls have changed a lot in proportions since the 30s, but with dolls most things fit ok. However, I cannot see that any doll would be able to sensibly wear both these items:

The vest (because it is a vest and not a dress) is clearly for a much longer-in-the-body doll, and the bootees are also for bigger feet than Blondie here possesses. But the bonnet had to be blocked to within an inch of its life to even get it on the small doll’s head and not in this life is it ever going to fit Blondie. I can only assume either that the New Zealand Mercury received some very cross letters from readers who’d tried to knit these, or that dolls in New Zealand have freakishly small heads. It is a pretty stitch pattern though – this is a closeup of the bonnet:

I might try doubling the width and depth and see if Blondie can get a hat too. In the meantime, on with the ‘pilchers’ (I have no idea at all what these are but the pattern gives instructions for them so I’m hoping it will become clear as I knit…)

A bad case of start-itis

The trouble with having too many things on the needles – obviously – is that none of them make much progress, so you start getting hacked off with all of them. The glow of excitement you get from starting a new project wears off (oh, that delicious moment when the pattern starts to make sense!) and suddenly there are just Things on Needles all over the house. Until a couple of days ago I practically had a project on the go in every room, which made me feel perpetually guilty. It’s stupid feeling guilty about having several things being knitted at once, but I feel it nonetheless. Maybe it’s to do with having had a religious upbringing. (In a word – Nuns. Though I don’t remember them ever saying anything about committing to one project at a time.)

However – after an evening in front of A Single Man (not an ideal knitting film, because so much of the film’s nuance is visual) I have at least finished a hat for the Bear.

The turnup isn’t really steeper on one side than the other, but it’s hard arranging a hat and then getting her to stand still enough for a picture! It’s just a simple watch cap but I was pleased with how the decreases worked. If anyone wants the pattern I’ll post it.

A pair of pink-and-purple women’s socks is also one bind-off away from completion, and a pair of blue men’s socks is halfway done. Which makes a nice hole in my self-appointed task of socks for eight friends this year.

More hattage

And more using up of sockyarn.

Henry's hat

An old doll makes a very good baby-hat model. This hat’s just a fraction too short, as I found out when it was put on an actual baby’s head and kept poinging off, so I’m going to extend it. It’s the perfect way to use up lots of odds and ends of men’s sockyarn.

And I can’t resist posting another pic of the pink beret because it presses my  CUTE! button. It looked pretty good on the actual baby, as well.

Esme's beret

Using up the sockyarn stash

I can definitely recommend finding friends who have small girl-babies and using up sockyarn to make berets…

Sockyarn berets

These two took about two evenings and are superlatively dinky. The pink one is Opal Magic Rouge and the blue one is Colinette Jitterbug – which I love the look and feel of as yarn, but am not generally keen on knitted up. I made the Bear a tank top in it that I disliked almost as soon as it was finished and frogged after one wearing.

The tank top that is no more

There’s something about the variegation spread over a larger area that I don’t like – it looks a bit fussy but also like that carpet you get that’s got lots of flecks so it never looks grubby. I’m sure this is just me. I never liked it as sockyarn, either – too thick. But it’s lovely for hats!

Hat-knitting – just in time for the end of winter

Obviously when I’ve got four miles of i-cord to knit, a second sampler aran blanket to finish, a scarf on the go, and two-thirds of a husband-sweater done, what I really really need to do is cast on another project…

Earflap hat-flaps

I’ve been hankering after kntting an earflap hat for the Bear for a while, and have read several patterns. I didn’t really fall for any of them though, so I’ve decided to wing it and invent my own. The principle of an earflap hat is simple enough – you knit the flaps then cast on some stitches for the front and back, then you’re away. But I like the edging that an i-cord can give it, so what I’m keen to do is split the i-cord as the flap part starts, and then knit up the flap separately so the i-cord can carry on round the edge.  Clearly, fiddling with this is far more fun and crucial than actually working on any of the easy-peasy projects that are going on elsewhere.

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