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”.

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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:

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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.

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Scandinavian cowl, coming along ok:

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

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Finished Objects. Lots and lots of finished objects.

One reason there was a dearth of knitting projects in the run-up to Christmas was that I was trying to finish some other stuff. There were more needle-books to make:

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minion hats to finish for the childrens’ stockings:

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a quilt top to finish (this has been on the go for literally years. Now just needs batting, backing and quilting. Ok, there’s quite a lot of work there. Calling it ‘finished’ is a stretch.)

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and a chair to finish putting together. (There’s going to be a matching one when I get around to turning the fourth leg, another stretcher, making another seven spindles…)

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They were all done by Christmas and since then it’s been socks all the way, pretty much. Regia Jet Set for The Husband (I’m always grateful he’s got small feet):

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Macha socks from Violet Green for me (I got the yarn for Christmas and was hoping there’d be a Nemain colourway to go with it but no. Any other fans of Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry books will know where I’m coming from.)

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And a pleasing self-patterning Regia 4-ply – also going to be for me.

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On the needles right now – some mittens for a friend. Of which more later.

The ‘Good Wife’ haul

A combination of a new laptop and a new Netflix subscription has meant that I am somewhat belatedly viewing Good Stuff That Was On TV Ages Ago. We don’t have tv so I never see stuff when it’s actually being broadcast and take occasional recommendations from friends about what’s awesome. Netflix thus gave me four whopping seasons of The Good Wife that I charged through while knitting. So the collection below is What Got Made during Good Wife

Starshine sweater for The Bear

This one’s been blogged before when I made a hugely embarrassing mistake and knitted the yoke pattern upside down, but here’s the finished article:SONY DSCIt’s knitted in Rowan Pure Wool DK. As usual with the GarnStudio patterns, their measurements are small – this is the 7-8 years size, fitting a 5.5 year old perfectly.  I can only assume Nordic children are smaller!

Socks

Three pairs, because it’s super easy to knit plain socks in front of exciting legal happenings without thinking about it. One for me, one for Husband and one for Oldest Boy. First time I’ve knitted a pair for a child, and goodness me it’s quick! They’re an amalgam of yarn left over from two of my pairs of socks – the same sort of yarn in two colourways.

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I’m now done with Good Wife (no  more seasons on Netflix) and am on to House. I’ll see you in seven seasons.

Falling out of love

It started so well. The yarn was fluffy (but not too fluffy) and full of promise. The colours – delightful greens all of them – shaded beautifully one into the other. My first sock striped its way to fruition and was cosy, comfortable and everything it had whispered it would be.SONY DSC

How is that promise betrayed!

Approaching the heel for sock number two I became uncomfortably aware that the stripes in this section of the ball were Not The Same Depth as the stripes in the first section of the ball. Just a couple of rows out on each colour but enough to make about a centimetre and a half’s difference before I’d even got to the heel.SONY DSC

And then, oh then there was badness. The bright-green stripe I was on, instead of shading through olive into deep teal, simply stopped. A mishmashed join and then abruptly straight into the dark teal.SONY DSC
There is a hard line across my sock where no hard line should be. These socks will never match. Can you hear the sound of my heart breaking?

And lo! out of the rain came Socks…

This is what happens when it yaks it down with rain all weekend and I have sockyarn.SONY DSCViolet Green‘s excellent Solemate yarn in Floribundissima. Which is all good! except that now I need more sockyarn. Luckily there’s a yarn store just down the road that sold me this little ball of luciousness:SONY DSCI also have this in the stashSONY DSCand I suspect that I may lose the mental battle to only cast on one pair. I have two pairs of sockneedles and I like having several things on the go. Apart from the guilt.SONY DSCAfter all, when it’s started you get to see how pretty it’s going to be 12,000 stitches later…

Il pleut

It’s raining, and the skies are black, and the weather forecast says it’s literally never going to stop, so what else is there to do on a day like this but knit a sock?SONY DSCThe pattern is my usual one – toe-up on two circular needles with a ribbed cuff, and I think these are for me. I’ve saved a fortune (she lied to herself) by filling my sock drawer with handknitted socks and the yarn-leftovers are SO useful for adding to the never-ending linen-stitch scarf that is currently sitting at the bottom of the sockyarn stash.

The yarn is from Violet Green and it’s their Solemate yarn, in Floribundissima. Let it rain, who cares!

Striking a blow for feminism…

There’s a bit of background required for this knitting story.

We don’t have TV so the children are reliant for their visual entertainment on my husband’s and my memories of what we watched when we were children – we buy old series on DVD. So they have an encyclopaedic familiarity with Bagpuss, The Clangers and Ivor the Engine and no knowledge at all of Peppa Pig and the other CBeebies delights.

Spiderman and His Amazing Friends is one of these blasts from the past – Spiderman lives with two chums in a platonic flatshare and they join up to defeat criminals.SAHAF

One of the reasons I like it is that it’s basically nonviolent but also because the fact that one of the superheroes concerned – Firestar – is a woman isn’t even a Thing. It’s not done for tokenism, it’s not done to be politically correct (this series was made pre-PC) – she’s just there because she’s good at her job. She doesn’t take a backseat, she doesn’t have to be rescued, she gets good lines and equal screentime; she’s smart, funny and effective.

And it made me think about 80s cultural icons: Ripley in Alien; Julia Roberts – just as bankable (and earning as much) as her male counterparts; Mrs Thatcher (whatever your opinion of her politics). Bringing up a daughter you become acutely aware of things like science toys being labelled ‘for boys’; of the Early Learning catalogue selling Doctor costumes exclusively modelled by boys (and nurse costumes modelled exclusively by girls, of course); of Amazon restricting its ‘girls’ recommendations to cooking, cleaning and ironing. So solid female role models – for both girls and boys – are worth treasuring wherever you find them. (Let’s not even get into the fact that although you can find Superman, Batman, Spiderman toys in every size and configuration under the sun, it’s hard to buy female superheroes.)

Which is a long way round to explaining why I wanted to make a Firestar costume for one of the Sindy dolls.firestar

You can find Sindy knitting patterns on the internet (some people, bless them, make a hobby of finding old ones and sharing them for free) but I was pretty sure I was going to have to wing this. So I found a pattern for boots, and a pattern for leggings, and a pattern for a bodice, and figured I could use all that as a basis.

I used a temporary cast on for the boots, then once they were done I reattached the yarn to the tops of them to carry on up the legs. Joined the legs at the top and knitted in the round over the bum, did some decreases for the waist and some matching increases for the bust (I’d split at the back by this point), then divided for the armholes and the V-neck. The same as knitting a V-neck sweater but considerably smaller! Did a three needle bindoff for the shoulders (I’d made it a little short in the body so that it pulled tight in proper superhero-lycra fashion!) and picked up stitches for the arms. This particular Sindy rather handily lost her hands about thirty years ago (she’s one of my old ones) so the gloves were considerably easier than they might otherwise have been.

So here’s the finished article! Complete with flames on the gloves and boots. It’s hard to do flames when no reputable yarn manufacturer makes bright orange yarn, so we had to make do with a sort of peach. It’s all in Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply.

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