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After a two-hour train trip from Bendigo to Melbourne, I am now at the decreases for the toe on the RPM sock! I think I am going to finish before New Year.
As New Year’s Eve comes around, it makes me think about 2009 and my knitting resolutions.
Firstly, I will revisit my 2008 resolutions – entrelac (done!), lace (done!), cables (done!), toe-up socks (done!) and dyeing (NO!). Overall 2008 has been a successful year of learning new knitting stuff. Highlights being the big items; Goth Mermaid Shawl and Peter Davison jumper. But sometimes the simple things are favourites, I love my Noro Striped Scarf and slipped whilst at Wool Baa recently and bought the yarn for another.

Ok, in 2009 I want to try;
– colourwork : mittens for the cold walk to work on wintry Melbourne mornings
– hats : not really a hat person (I got lots of hair!) but want to make a slouchy beret
– dyeing
– spinning
The list is shorter this year, but I want to branch out into other fibre arts associated with knitting.
– more swatching
– pay more attention to row and stitch counts when making garments (jumpers and cardigans are not my friends at the moment!)
– knit from the ever increasing stash (lace weight yarn is so easy to buy!)

What are yours?


Losing my crochet cherry
I am teaching myself crochet. I grabbed a copy of Debbie Stoller’s The Happy Hooker (cos she taught me how to knit with Stitch n Bitch, so I trust her) from Book Depository, grabbed a couple of hooks from Clegs and some leftover yarn and had a go.
1st try the yarn was dark brown, it was night and I couldn’t really see the chains. The yarn was splitting and I was in fifteen types of mess. 2nd try, another yarn, thinner and in a pretty green, also splitty as all buggery. I took a couple of sips of my cider and went to round 3, got out some scrap super bulky (used to make the feral best friend cardi) and this time I could see the chains and I was actually starting to crochet! Yay. But curse that first row of single crochet, what a nightmare!
One comment about this book – in Stitch n Bitch, when you are learning to knit, there is a couple of very simple patterns to help you learn, plain garter stitch scarf, then ribbed scarf. In the Happy Hooker, there are no first patterns, I am basically practising on a swatch. I want to get out there and make some stuff!
I have forgotten the frustration of learning something new, I want to be able to crochet immediately at the skill I now knit (although it has taken me 2+ years to get here!). It is teaching me patience again and the amazing time suck ability of learning something new. The hours flew by. I will be back to better my skills, because I have my eye firmly set on this pattern. I want for the hot summer that will be here in six months (which at 8′ right now, seems very very far away).

Wot’s on my needs?

  • Double Breasted Seed Stitch Jacket

Last night I finished the last piece of the Seed Stitch Jacket for my new niece (who probably won’t fit in it for ages!) during Borat (oh dear, I cried with laughter and spilled my drink at that naked scene). I will put the pieces together today as I have a few podcasts to catch up on and a free morning/arvo. The Nuture yarn is nice to work with, I liked it more than I expected because I have not been drawn to thick and thin yarns before. But the finished fabric is quite nubbly and natural looking. *Pictures to come, I have no batteries for my camera at the mo*

  • RPM sock

Finally after about fifty years of knitting this, I have finished one RPM sock in the now disappeared Knitting Ninja cashmere and something sock yarn and promptly cast on another. Melbourne Film Festival is about to start, so I need to have some socks on the needles to fill in my waiting time, as I am a perpetually on time person. I am keen to cast on another sock in Knitty Rocks, but I can’t find the right pattern. I have been trawling through books and magazines on which stitches show off variegated yarns. Oh well, it will come to me. Top of the list at the moment is from Charlene Schurch (I always want to call her Charlotte Church!) More Sensational Knitted Socks in Stansfield 304 or perhaps in Little Arrowhead Lace.

  • Cascading Leaves Shawl aka the Goth Mermaid Wedding Shawl

I have cast on the wedding shawl! Not sure if I have blogged about this before but I am making a shawl for my friend’s wedding. She is a little bit goth and completely obsessed by mermaids, so I got the lovely Live2Knit to custom dye some black/greens yarn for me. Then I found a pattern which could look like scales (but leaves) in a 4ply yarn because the wedding is the end of October and which means the weather could be doing anything. I was feeling a bit blah last weekend and thought I would clear my mind of funk by concentrating on something complex, I pulled out the pattern and the yarn and all is going swimmingly. The pattern is easy to follow (but I really should read charts, I rely on the written out instructions) and I am up to the 2nd repeat. I just checked out the work so far in the full sunlight (it has been pretty grey here) and the yarn looks beautiful with its subtle variations in greens. Excited!

Other stuff

  • I have not gone to Bendigo. I feel a bit like the girl who couldn’t go to the ball, but I decided that I didn’t need any yarn. I am already booked up for the rest of the year with projects! Goth Mermaid Wedding Shawl for October, Blue Bayou Mitred Stole for Schwester 2 and Extermiknit for the Spud in November. Then there’s Christmas. Plus anything for me in between!
  • Gusseting brought along the new Norah Gaughan Berroco pattern books to SnB last Sunday and I snapped one up. I had decided previously that Norah is pattern porn. I have Knitting Nature and it is amazingly beautiful and inspiring but I am lazy and the patterns are just too fiddly. I thought this while looking through Woodland Gothic, beautiful but scary hard and would do my head in. But then I took a look at Objet d’Art and there were some easy patterns in there for the slack arses like me! So I grabbed it. I am now planning to make Acton and Currer.

dr who jumper

Originally uploaded by knotmad

Yes, it is finally finished. After six months of slogging through this, trial and tribulations of the frogging and re-knitting of the entire back, it is finally done.

I can’t wait for the recipient to try it on tonight! I have tried it on and it is too big for me (especially around the shoulders), so I assume it will fit him.

What have I learnt from this project? Technically – cables. In other ways – read the pattern carefully, persistence -that I can finish a large project but it is good to take a break if the pattern is driving you nuts.

My Dr Who expert friend has advised that the brown on the neck colour work is not wholly accurate, but I think the pattern is not strictly accurate and at this stage I don’t give a flying frack!

It’s over! Now to other things….

44cm into the last sleeve! Woo hoo! Almost ready for the decreases. The sleeves are a bit longer than the pattern, due to the long arms of the recipient.

However, the other interknit story that has caught my eye concerns Dr Who knitting. Blogger Mazzmatazz has been ordered by the BBC to remove her free adipose pattern from her site. The pattern I am knitting from is the Joy Gammon ‘Dr Who Pattern Book’ published under an arrangement with the BBC. From reading the Dr Who threads in Ravelry, poor Mazzmatazz has also had people sell her pattern on ebay, however it was available for free from her site. The lovely Ravelry community jumped all over this ebay seller. But has this attention from the BBC been a result of the pissed-off ebay seller dobbing her in? It is a shame, as this pattern was developed by Mazzmatazz through her own creative efforts and she was not profiting from her pattern. The BBC should be embracing this type of creative behaviour by creating another book like Joy Gammon or working with Mazzmatazz. There are so many fan-fiction fan craft on the web, why have they chosen to target this particular pattern? Boo BBC boo.

Dear Peter Davison cricket jumper,

It has been fun, we have had great times together. Watching the West Wing together. When I took you to my yoga retreat at Gaia. Good times. But our time together has become a bit stale. I need to knit other things, I think we should take a break.


Forever Knit.

Now I have got that out of the way. I have been working on my first toe-up, which was great fun. I used Charlene Schurch’s More Sensational Knitted Socks as my guide but knitted plain. I was getting very muddled about the structure, how the heel flap was knitted in the same order as a top down sock. However, trying it on, I think that structure fits my foot better. I am converted to toe-up. Or now I am just multi-socksual.
I have also picked up Quant again and that is coming along beautifully. I think it will make a nice little birthday gift for sis. Once I got the hang of this entrelac malarky, it is not hard that really!

I have been working exclusively on the Peter Davison cricket jumper from Joy Gammon’s famous Dr Who Pattern Book.
This is my first cable project and my first time knitting with cotton. I got over the cable phobia and a few issues with the pattern and now see that cables aren’t that scary!
I bought cotton instead of wool in a tizz when buying from a Bendigo sale. But now I think it was a serendipitous mistake. The stitch definition is lovely and crisp. The recipient of the jumper is the type of man who never wears a coat, so a cabled woollen jumper would probably have been too heavy for him. I am making the largest size and was initially concerned about the sizing, but stressing less because the cotton will most likely stretch.
I had to frog about 10cm from the armhole decrease, I blame the Three Burials of Melquaides Estrada.

I am in a jumper mood at the moment and gone off socks. I have been purchasing jumper quantities of yarn and have a couple of pattern queued up in Ravelry.
I bought a 5 ply Heirloom Easy Care for the Gathered Pullover, Paton’s Jet Alpaca for the Citrus Yoke Pullover and Vintage Hues for Cardigan with Circular Yoke and Pockets. Thanks to Damo, I scored some new Merino Deluxe DK and am looking for a suitable jumper, perhaps something from Knitting Nature like Ogee Tunic or Turbulence U-Neck.
Better learn to knit faster I think!

noro scarf

Originally uploaded by knotmad

I like knitting for presents. But Christmas knitting almost makes me despise knitting. It’s the deadline, it’s the finishing, it’s the constant urge to cast on something non-Xmas related.
After a 4 West Wing episode ‘weaving ends in ‘ extravaganza, I am now finished. Ahhh… a big sigh of relief to that. Three pairs of socks, three market bags and a kitty hat are all done and ready for giving. In my usual anally retentive way, I am ready with 2 days to spare. But the last thing I want to do is cast on a sock.
So for something different, I have cast on a Brooklyn Tweed Noro Stripey scarf. I am a little more of the bold colour persuasion than the original, and I have used Noro Aurora for a bit of bling, with a Kureyon. I am loving the colours changes in the Kureyon – red and hot pink being my faves, but I am a little disappointed with the amount of grey in the Aurora skein. I have poked about in the skein and found there is pink and white to come but I want more frequent colour changes! That being said, I still love it. The pattern is a piece of piss, but the fun is in the colour. The weather has taken a little turn for the cooler, which makes knitting a scarf less insane than you would think for a Melbourne summer.
Next thing in my queue, is the Peter Davison cricket jumper, I am swatching to learn cables. The pattern that I am using is not very helpful in the cable arena. It basically says cable 6. I need to fiddle about a bit more, but I was baffled, rifling through my reference books going ‘cable 6, cable 6?’. Is that slip 6 stitches on to the cable needle? But that seems to be too big. Is it slip 3, knit 3, knit 3 off the cable needle? More swatching required to practice this before I cast on proper.
I got a copy of Knitting Nature in the post the other day, but have not had a chance to study it in full. Foreverknit book review to come, only 50 years after the book came out!
Hope anyone reading this has a lovely Christmas. Next entry will also be about my knitting NY resolutions!

Firstly a mention of the wonderful change in government yesterday! Yay, I have waited 11 years for this. Nursing a bit of a hangover today.

Back to knitting.

Moving well through the Xmas gifts, socks and bags… but very keen to start something new. I have been eyeing off the lists of patterns in Ravelry, but next in the queue after the Xmas gifts is the Dr Who Peter Davison Cricket jumper. I bought some Bendigo Woollen Mills 8ply in Parchment for the jumper. This was my first purchase of Bendigo yarns. It arrived quickly and with a shade card to fantasise over. I also grabbed a couple of cones of 2ply (Venetian Blue and Cranberry) to inspire another attempt of lace knitting.

My usual podcasts seem to be taking rests, so I have been exploring Stash and Burn, and enjoying it. I find it more technical than other podcasts, without having a commercial bent to it, which makes a nice change. A whole episode discussing sweaters (jumpers!) just talking patterns! Does anyone know the difference between a sweater and a pullover? Is a pullover a vest? Anyway…

Yarn Magazine – there was a cloud hanging over this issue of Yarn mag, with the news that this could be the last. However, since the writing of the editorial, there has been a purchaser step forward. So now it is just fingers crossed to see what happens with Yarn. This issue contains an article about Ravelry, an interview with Nicky Epstein (I got to meet both article writers at a SnB recently). An article about Bendigo Sheep and Wool show by Damo. There are some spinning articles – I tend to just look at the pictures, I am not a spinner (yet) and I am leaving these to re-read when I know more. Patterns! Felted bags, camisole, crocheted shawl, wedding bags, a vest with amazing tutorial on how to develop a vest that actually fits (kudos to Jennie Pakula for this article!), socks with beading, a ballet wrap, a lace stole in Tofutsies and a lingerie set.

Despite the lovely cold, I have been not knitting up a storm.

I did however receive my lovely sock yarn from The Knitting Ninja in Tulips. Yum. Can’t wait to cast that one on, but I am being very good. Despite the urge I feel to cast on more than one pair of socks, I refuse to buy myself another set of dpns. That way I can control excessive castonitis.

Just as I was thinking I have plenty of sock yarn and DO NOT NEED ANY MORE, I saw the newish Socktopia pattern and desperately want a fiery-orange red skein. And as a good Melbourne girl and recovering teen goth, I need more black in my sock yarns…like this So 80s from Sock Pixie.

Next on my to do list is knit a jumper for my friend. It is from this fabulous book The Doctor Who Pattern book by Joy Gammon. The book published in 1984 contains such wonderful patterns as the Peter Davison cricket jumper (my project), Nyssa’s jacket, K9 toy, jumpers with the Dr Who logo and of course a Tom Baker scarf. There are non-knitting projects too, like Adric’s tunic (I never realised Adric was a gay icon) K9 shoulder bag and a TARDIS sleeping bag. The Peter Davison cricket jumper will be my first foray into cables, so challenging as well as super nerdy!

I will be doing less knitting over the next 19 days, despite the fact that I am on leave from work. Tonight begins the Melbourne International Film Festival and I will be blogging about that too here. I will be carrying my Jaywalker at all times and proudly knit in public while I stand in the ever present queues.