Update with flowers and bread!

I still haven’t felt inspired to do any more than work on my sock(s). Though I have got beyond the heel now! sock latest

I would have got a bit further but when I had got about this far I realised that I had dropped a stitch a couple of rows after finishing the heel and the only safe way to sort the problem was to undo back to that point stitch by stitch!

Not much to show, so I thought I would share a few more of the highlights of my week with you.

Now a few weeks ago when my daughter came down she brought me a bunch of flowers. At the time I was still pretty weary and my granddaughter kindly put them in a vase for me. The flowers lasted well and when they were all gone I rather fancied buying some more but I have been shopping with a back pack lately and flowers would suffer in a back pack.

But then on Tuesday my brother came to visit me and brought lots of flowers! This time I felt up to arranging them myself, not that I have any special skill at this, but they looked so lovely in the vases that I decided to take some photographs.

I don’t have an ideal place to take photographs and by now it was the evening, so don’t expect something exceptional.

First I took some pictures on the dining table.

There were enough flowers for two vases!flowersand similar flowers to the above with roses and ?. flowersThe roses are much redder than this but, as someone very colour conscious, I frequently bemoan the ability of cameras to capture colours accurately.

I then took the flowers upstairs to the study to take against a more neutral background but this was taken at ISA 800 by artificial light so I adjusted the colours a bit to restore a green tone to the walls! flowersand flowersThe flowers were much more open on Friday so I took a picture of the first vase from above. flowersThe other flowers didn’t make an attractive picture from above so I just photographed one of the roses. roseI was also making some more bread: a white loaf this time, so I photographed that. bread

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My latest project.

I have finally decided what to make to get back to crafting – socks!

I chose socks because apart from the toes and heels they are just so easy, perfect for ‘Crafty Coffee’ mornings, watching TV and totally not stressful or challenging. I don’t feel up to challenging!

So what socks?

Years ago when I was wanting to make the first pair of socks for myself, I fell in love with some really soft looking sock wool called Mini Mochi and bought enough to knit two pairs of socks. Now my favourite of course was the darker rainbow one but I didn’t want to risk making a mess of knitting it up, so I used the pale rainbow one for that first pair. Now the socks are indeed the loveliest softest socks imaginable and still are, but they do lose their looks a bit when you wash them. As you can see in the above picture. (several years later).

I hand washed them at first but found that they were no worse for being tossed in the machine. (Maybe this is a comment on my hand-washing abilities!)

After this I tried out lots of different types of sock wool (again as you can see in the above picture) but was sort of saving the darker rainbow wool for when the light ones wore out.

Well they haven’t worn out but I can see that the area around the heel is getting a bit thin and I wanted something really soothing and delightful to knit so I decided that now was the time.

The wool I am using now does seem more even in thickness than the earlier ones but maybe I am just not remembering very well.

I wasn’t aiming to make matching socks so I just picked up a ball and started with the end of the yarn – a dark orange. Starting with orangeWith a short row toe this is the underside of the sock.

I am almost back to the orange! I love the way the colours change!

My latest make

Unfortunately, I am feeling less well than I did last Monday but I still felt that I wanted to share what I had intended for today.

The only creative thing that I have completed since I have been ill is a pair of socks for my younger daughter’s birthday.

I had finished the first sock and was about a third through the second when I went into hospital. I thought at that point I had plenty of time to complete the pair but in the event it was a bit of a struggle to finish them off just in time to put in the post. socksThe yarn was Regia Galaxy. An interesting pattern in the colours I thought!

Two hats and a dishcloth

I have been feeling a little out of sorts lately, not sure which project to start next, so when I heard that the Apostleship of the Sea wanted hats (among other things) as Christmas presents for seamen, I decided to make one.

I found a pattern suggested by the Apostleship of the Sea in a different area which said that aran weight was best. Now I have quite a bit of yarn left over from making thisbed jacket because I adapted a pattern with three quarter length sleeves and a fitted body and so had to guess the amount of yarn to buy and I over-estimated.

The yarn is a lovely soft 100% merino wool so should be great for keeping seamen’s heads warm on chilly days.

I had enough to make two hats and here they are. I don’t feel the sewing up of the seam is perfect but it won’t show too much if worn round the back.

Another thing that I have made recently is a new dishcloth, as I reported I would be doing when I showed you this yarn. yarn

This time I made it bigger than last time, using 40 trebles across. dishcloth I used the same two rows of three border from my book as before although I chose it independently! Dishcloth foldedBecause it is bigger than before it does take longer to dry but I like it in use.

What was I doing on Saturday?

I met up with my eldest and family and had a couple of meals and had fun in an Escape Room. After we escaped!

Although this is not my photograph and therefore I do not own the copyright I am sure the Escape Plan guy won’t mind as this can be considered  an advert. He was keen on us passing on the word.

The Escape Room is located in SE London in Iliffe Yard.

We had great fun. We had been there previously for a Second World War prisoner themed escape and this one if anything was even more fun.

If you are interested in learning more here is a link – https://escapeplanltd.com/ Highly recommended.

I also took with me the socks I had made for my granddaughter (which I have shown you previously). socksand the hat I made for my daughter. hatMy camera really didn’t like this yarn. The colour is much more of a vibrant peacock blue. Imagine the above but brighter and a little darker. The above has been edited by me for colour but nothing I could do would get it the correct shade.

Here is another photograph of the hat standing up. hat in the roundIt is alpaca and merino wool, wonderfully soft.

The pattern for the hat came from Debbie Bliss and here is a closer look at the stitches. knitting stitchesThe hat was very popular and my daughter put it on immediately!

Socks and a Blanket

This is all I have for you this morning, I am afraid.

Still doing less knitting and crochet than normal but have managed to do the small amount of knitting and crochet to finish the socks for my granddaughter and complete the main body of my Symmetrical Granny Ripple blanket.

I am going to add the pattern for the blanket to Ravelry when I have finished it but am not sure what to call it. My original Granny Ripple blanket is called “Soft Granny Ripple” though that name was not chosen by me but the lady who persuaded me to let her put it on Ravelry.

So here are the sock for my granddaughter. Short ones, as requested. socksThe yarn is Regia (One of my favourite makes of sock yarn). Nothing much on the ball band. Colour 0525 which I have found on-line called Papillion. I think I must have picked it up in Hobbycraft as my other sock yarns seemed a bit dingy for a teenager.

And here is the body of my “sea and sand” colour blanket body of blanketbased on the four times fourteen rows that form almost half of the blanket I made for my daughter. Completed sea and sand blanket

Stylecraft Special DK in the following fourteen colours:-

White, silver, parchment, camel, mocha, turquoise, sherbet, aspen, teal, royal, bluebell, denim, aster, cloud blue.

selection of yarnsAs with my other sea and sand blanket, I am not going to fill in the ripples, but have not finally decided on the edging.

A Sock addiction

Well I’m not really sure that I have a sock addiction 🙂 but I haven’t made any socks for a long time and from time to time I get a craving to make some more.

I normally force myself to resist this temptation because I have enough already but recently I discovered that both my daughter and granddaughter have the same size feet as myself and would both love me to knit them a pair of socks.

So!

I have a stash of sock wool because of some that has been passed on to me for free, Yay! so I offered my daughter a choice of yarn. Two balls of sock yarn

and she said that she preferred the one on the left.

Here are the pair I made her. A pair of socksIt’s hard to get socks to look good when lying flat which is why when I knit them for myself I also photograph them being worn!

I have actually bought some more sock wool to make a pair for my granddaughter New sock yarnand when I know how long she would like her socks to be, compared to her mother’s (her mother wanted fairly short ones!), I will start a pair for her.

I could have used the wool to the right in the picture at the top but I thought maybe it wasn’t quite her sort of colours.

I do like Regia sock yarn!

More Fair Isle experiments

Because yes, the cowl and hat were in their own way experiments in knitting fair isle.

Now, looking back, I don’t think that my parents were very good teachers, though I learnt a lot by watching them. However my mother knitted too fast for me to learn much by watching and so fair isle knitting was a matter of picking up that you used two colours for a row and twisted them together every so often so you didn’t have long hanging strands but also twisted them back the other way so the yarns didn’t get tangled plus seeing the back of my mother’s fair isle.

As in this photograph. 0548-mothers-fairisle-reverseWhen I tried, even years later when I was an adult and was desperate to learn, what tended to happen was that the stitches were very uneven and the foreground colour tended to pull. As well, I could never sort out a method of twisting the yarn that I could remember, so at the end of the row the yarns were wound round each other many times.

0548-my-fairisle-reverseFor the cowl and hat I let myself have strands across the back for one to three stitches and so there wasn’t the same pulling.

Deciding to put the balls of yarn, one on the right and one on the left helped to remember which was which and I soon started to think of the one on the right as the ‘top’ yarn and the one on the left as the ‘lower’ yarn.

Having later read about fair isle on line I found that this was a distinction that was made.

And thus I learnt to twist the top yarn ‘under’ the other and then on the following stitch to pull it over again and so lose the twist. Doing the opposite for the lower yarn.

Now it was time to see if I could knit fair isle like my mother

In THIS POST I talk about how I was using the English way of knitting for the right hand yarn and the continental for the left, although picking up the yarn continental fashion hurt my wrist.

But now I decided to hold both yarns in my right hand, holding the yarn with three fingers while the forefinger separated the two yarns and the thumb helped with the twisting.

I started with a circular needle as then every row would be knit. 0556-circular-knitting-right-sideI used the checkerboard pattern my mother had used for the knitting bag and some of the patterns from my plan for the hat, including the one I didn’t use. The reverse looks like this. 0556-circular-knitting-reverseI was pleased that it looked as if I had finally cracked it! So I decided to undo my sample and knit up some more fair isle with straight needles. 0556-flat-knitting-right-sideand the reverse. 0556-flat-knitting-reverseIt took me a while to feel comfortable with the purl rows. In the end I decided that treating the right hand yarn as if it was the lower yarn for the purl side and vice versa seemed the most natural.

All I need now is a reason to knit something which requires fair isle knitting! Plain colours next time though so that the patterns show more clearly.

Addendum

For anyone who like me finds the instruction of twisting yarn for fair isle that merely says twist clockwise and then twist in the opposite direction is not helpful enough here is what I do.

When I am using the left hand ‘lower’ yarn and wanting to make a twist, I pull a loop of the yarn back towards me under the other (right hand – top yarn) and use this yarn to wind round the needle, thus moving it above the other. For the next stitch I pull the main part of the yarn and knit with that. Restoring the status quo.

When knitting with the right hand ‘top’ yarn I pull a loop forward under the other yarn and knit with that, then pull the main yarn up and over and knit as normal. This removes any twist.

This way you undo the twist as soon as you make it and so never have to remember what you did last time.

If you want to twist frequently like my mother used to do this is the way I think of it.

If all you are doing is knitting one stitch of a colour in a sequence, you knit as normal. If you are knitting two stitches you knit the one after the other as described above. For three or more stitches: if it is an even number you simply work every two stitches as above. For odd numbers work the first stitch as normal that the rest of the stitches as for an even number.

 

Just add a Hat!

After I made the cowl, I decided to offer it to my daughter as I still have all the hats and scarves that have featured on this blog and much as I love the cowl, I wasn’t sure if I really needed it.

However, I also had about half the yarn left and thought that it would be fun to make a hat to match the cowl. My daughter said that she would like a hat as well so I only hope her head is the same size as mine! 0553-hat

Now when I say match, I wasn’t going to use the same fair isle patterns as the cowl except for the rib. Google is always good for ideas and I copied out some of my favourites.

Traditional fair isle patterns normally have vertical or horizontal symmetry or both but some of the designs on the cowl only have rotational symmetry so I wanted to incorporate some of those. 0548-chart-for-cowlI am very fond of the Greek Key pattern so I included that early on for the hat.

Although I worked on the design on my computer, I copied it out onto squared paper to use a guide.0553-new-pattern

In the event I decided not to use both of the blue zig-zag on green parts of the design and replaced the second with a smaller purple on green section. (I didn’t use the last red and green part at all.)

Now what have I learned in the process of making this hat? Well a couple of things!

Firstly

If you are planning on making a hat it is much easier if you start with a pattern.

I started with the idea that the cowl although it slipped over the head easily was quite snug so the same number of stitches would be a good place to start. I did use a smaller 3.75 (UK 10) circular needle for the rib but it was not until I had got fairly far on and was wondering if now was the time to start decreasing that I thought a pattern might help to make sure I got it right.

So I spent hours trawling through fair isle hat patterns on Ravelry only to find a whole variety of needle sizes and tensions even for DK yarn and a wide range of stitch counts and increasing and decreasing. None of them that fitted in with what I was doing!

I found a decreasing look that I liked in the photographs which involved: skip two stitches, knit one, pass both slipped stitches over.

However I did not like the look so much when I had knitted it so it had to come out. I had also chosen six decreases a round and since it seemed best to have one of these decreases mid back where the row changed, I didn’t like the slight point at the front.

Now life was so busy last week that I didn’t feel up to taking a photograph so you will have to imagine.

So I undid back to before the decreasing (more on this in a moment) and tried again.

This time I chose seven decreases a round – easy as 19 x 7 is only one more than 132.

But then came the moment of truth. The hat was going to be too big! 😦 I was a bit unhappy that I had to remove the purple and green bit that I had thought of as leaves and a sort of parallel to the leaf pattern in the cowl but it had to be done! So using the same method I had used before I decided I would have to reduce the length by a couple of inches.

Here is a quick photograph I took with my phone at Crafty Coffee on Friday when I was just beginning to pull out those two inches. 0553-ready-to-undoSince the method I used is something that worked well. I thought I would mention it for anyone who finds it helpful.

This is the second thing I learned

Risk free way of undoing several rows without doing it stitch by stitch.

I heard (reading US blogs I think) of people putting in ‘life lines’ when they were knitting in case they needed to undo part of it later. I wasn’t sure what they were but it gave me an idea.

I took a needle and a piece of thin string and carefully went under the front part of every stitch on the row I wanted to go back to. (I chose a row where I was only using one colour.) I counted the stitches to make sure I had the right number then took a circular needle and threaded it through the same stitches and counted again. I then felt confident enough to remove the original circular needle. Finally I removed the string. In the photograph you can see how it looked just before I removed the string. I then undid the rows and sure enough when that was done all the stitches were neatly on the needle ready for me to start knitting again.

I added in a couple of rows in blue and then decreased after a red row. Originally I had thought I would just use two or more of the colours as stripes for the top but then I realised that I needed to continue the fair isle patterns to make the top as thick (and warm!) as the rest. 0553-top-of-hat

This time I decreased by a combination of K2tog through back loops and a normal K2tog.

And here are the hat and cowl together. 0553-hat-and-cowl

I still have about a quarter of the wool left but I don’t think it would be enough for mittens!

The cowl is fnished

I am pleased to announce that I managed to finish off the cowl this last week. 0549-finished-cowlI have to admit that I haven’t finished the ends and I haven’t ironed it but I wanted to show it to you today.

Just a bit better ironed. But really pleased with it!

0549-ironed-cowl

I have learned a lot!

When I continued the cowl after last week’s post, I did allow myself to not catch the yarn even when doing three stitches as  a way to speed up the knitting.

However when I got to about half way, I started to read advice on how to knit these two colour patterns and found that there were a lot of differences which was confusing but, reading what it said in the needlework encyclopedia I inherited for my mother, I did manage to start knitting with one lot of yarn held in the right hand and the other in the left, whereby the yarn on the right is thrown and the yarn on the left is picked up. It was more of a strain on my wrist but I even managed to work out how to catch the yarn for longer runs without leaving the yarn twisted. Here is the back. 0549-wrong-sideI find that there is more than half the wool left and so making a hat to match might be in order but this leaves me with a dilemma.

Next time I would like to try knitting more traditional fair isle patterns but they normally have reflective symmetry horizontally or vertically or both whereas the patterns in the cowl mostly have rotational symmetry so a hat done like that might look non-matching even if the colours were the same.

However I am going to have a break from knitting now and so plenty of time to think about it.