Category Archives: FO

fo1: unst redux

the first finished objects for 2012 are the lovely unst socks by nancy bush

this is my second attempt at these socks. i messed up the pattern AND sizing the first time and then messed up the yarn (spud and chloe fine in ‘shitake’) when trying to rip back. but i wanted to do them so much because i had initially started them as part of a KAL with alison and fiona, and they finished and i didnt. so i picked up this lovely koigu yarn from calico and ivy in perth, and started again.

im glad i did. this is a really easy pattern, with only 4 pattern rows, two of which are knit, and the actual stitch pattern easy to remember. its the ‘columns and arches’ stitch pattern and it comes up a treat in this tightly twisted yarn

(apart from where the knitter makes mistakes, but in socks for me i dont care). i did make one serious miscalculation however. i upped the stitch count by a whole pattern repeat (so from 56 stitches to 70). 56 stitches is way too small for me, especially on 2.25mm needles. i forgot however, that koigu skeins are a bit shorter than usual. so i ran out of yarn right near the end of the toe

i decided to just finish the toes with what i could reclaim from the aforementioned spud and chloe. it was a pretty good match, and i dont think you’d know if i didnt tell you. i will wear these a lot, they fit well and the colour goes with everything.

i would defintely recommend this pattern to start with if you’ve not knitted nancy bush socks before.

im enjoying knitting socks at the moment, and started another KAL with fee and al yesterday at lunch after knitters guild meeting. this time its wasabi peas from interweave knits

but i am not a green yarn lover, i dont own or wear a single green thing and dont intend to start anytime soon. so, in line with my ‘knit what you want with the yarn you want’ motto for 2012, i’ve started mine in madelinetosh sock in ‘tart’, which is my favourite colour of hers and will match my stripe study shawl. im calling them ‘tarty peas’

we’ve made a few mods to this pattern so far, including upping the stitch count, changing the cuff and modifying the actual stitch pattern! i’ll let you know how they work out, and hopefully there will be no mishaps with pattern or yarns this time.

k xx

toe fetish, with interruptions

these last two weeks before christmas at work have been crazy. im having most of january off and suddenly everyone wants me to finish everything. of course, its not happening. i have two more meetings today and then i go into serious wind down mode. my currently throbbing right wrist will thank me, if nothing else, although i suspect thats got more to do with knitting than work! and i think its from knitting furiously for at least a week on tiny 2.25mm needles.

first i had to fix that toe issue on those stripey socks. so i got everything set up for my sock surgery on thursday, turned the offending item inside out and set about trying to unpick a judy’s magic cast on.

not as easy as it sounds, and neither is unravelling a toe when there are decreases to be dealt with.

it got a bit messy at one point.

scissors were required.

right after i took this photo i decided to go cool off with some laps in the pool.

it hasnt even been hot here yet, just a bit humid and muggy, with so much rain and cloud, but the sun came out and i decided to just jump in there. i was pretty happy, my first swim in 8 months and i did a kilometre no problem, including 400 metres non stop (usually i break it up every 100m with a kickboard lap). it felt great to be in the water again. im not a fan of summer but i’d be happy for it be warmer OUTSIDE the pool than in (the water is warmed slightly so it was 27 in and 22 out!).

of course, swimming makes me ravenously hungry, so i made a little afternoon tea before getting back into the sock surgery,

which, once past the decreases,

proceeded without further problems!

i finished them up last night, and they are almost a perfect match.

the lengths are now even, but there is a slight difference in the actual shaping of each toe. i dont think the recipient will mind.

i had another toe issue this weekend as well, which involved the Unst socks ive been working on in that yummy koigu stuff. i forgot that koigu skeins are a bit sparse, and i went down a needle size PLUS added stitches, and forgot to adjust the length of the leg accordingly. i thought i might get away with it. people i had lunch with on sunday thought i might get away with it.

but i didnt. i ran out on the train on the way home.

so close! so i decided to risk it and join in some closely matching spud and chloe fine (the yarn i originally started these socks in!) i only had about 8 rounds to go, and im pretty happy with how it turned out.

you can really only tell if you look really closely, and who’s going to be looking really closely at the toes of my handknitted socks, especially when they’re inside my shoes?

so even though i should start the second unst straight away, i think i need a bit of a break from the tiny needles. there’s some madeline tosh prairie and a jared flood pattern calling my name.


FO: adrift cardigan

before i started the previous two new projects on the weekend, i had actually finished something, and a rather ‘epic’ something, in the form of the ‘adrift’ cardigan. all the photos of me have a stupid look on my face (me and photo-taking not good at the best of times, but in a busy cafe this morning? eep!). so you get headless shots, but you know, its about the cardigan, not me, right? so here it is

pattern: adrift by carol feller. a really well written pattern, with a lovely short row collar, and easy top down construction. yarn: elsbeth lavold silky wool in ‘bristol red’. sticks: 4.5mm knitpicks options. mods: well, the sizing, mostly. the actual pattern is written for malabrigo lace. i will burn in hell before i knit another garment out of that stuff. its called lace for a reason, and even then it felts if you look at it. i chose the elsbeth lavold because of my experience with it for summer solstice. very light and pretty durable. but of course, its an 8ply (although i really think it knits more like a 5). so i looked at the numbers and my brain exploded. thankfully i’d done a swatch, and the brains trust was able to work out that from my gauge, i could just mostly knit the 36inch size. this seemed to work out, for the most part.

i do think its probably a bit big. the body seemed to take forever, and the back of it seemed too short, so i kept going, not realising that that was also going to make the front of it way longer. d’oh. so sometimes i feel like im wearing a blanket, albeit a very lightweight one.

i like the style, generally, but the curled up stocking stitch edges make it very casual. it really only goes with jeans. i tried it with a flowy skirt and tights the other day. not a good look. and quite possibly, the whole flowy foldy thing will be way out of fashion next year. all that aside, i would knit this again, but i’d make it shorter and probably do the 3/4 sleeve option.

for now, its a good seasonal-transitional piece that i’ll probably wear a lot before summer kicks in with a vengeance.

k x

another FO: greenfield cardigan

obviously im on a bit of a roll with the whole ‘finished object’ thing. it feels particularly good to have this one finished, firstly because its an actual garment and i didnt think i would get one done this year, the rate i was going, and also because winter has hit with a vengeance here, 100kmh winds roaring up off the snow and icy pacific, and i really needed something warm and woolly to wear. and boy, did i get what i asked for. i am wearing it for the second day in a row, and managed to get some pictures this morning:

so here it is, the greenfield cardigan from new england knits , in the berocco ultra alpaca light i originally picked up at looped yarn works in washington DC. they had a whole wall of it, and i fell in love. it was a beautiful yarn to knit with, and its come up really well in the garter stitch after blocking. it did grow where i wanted it to, length wise, so im glad i stopped knitting when i did, and it does get a bit of fluff pill on it, it is alpaca after all, but its really easy to just lift off as i see it. however, i made quite a few modifications to this pattern. i didnt do the neck cast on as directed, i could see from the picture it was already very scoopy, and i might be wide in some places but across the shoulders isnt one of them. so i followed someone elese modifications on ravelry to cast on less stitches and then start the raglan earlier. its worked out quite well, and sits pretty much where i like it.

i didnt do the leaf pattern on the front panels, i actually had an idea to make little pockets and sew them on, and i might still do that because i have two whole skeins of yarn left. i also added slightly different shaping in the body. the pattern says to do some decreases then increases, but i skipped the decreases entirely. i increased under the arms every 8 rows the entire length, and then about half way down i added some back increases to add some swing (every 4th row i think). i didnt want it to be a tent, but i did want flare. i think it sits pretty nicely.

(god i need a hair cut and that is so not my actual colour!). also, i added button bands. i started knitting the buttonholes in to the bodice as directed, but i could see i would need a bit of extra width across the bust, and some stability as well to stop the garter stitch from stretching. so i picked up and knitted 3 stitches in every 4 along both front edges and added three button holes. when i sewed on the buttons tho, the third one sat too low so i cut it off and am sticking with two.

a note about the buttons. they are a present from knitabulous who picked them up in liberty in london when she was there earlier this year. they make a lovely contrast against the black, and go with my winter colour scheme of red, black and grey. they make me smile everytime i look at them!

im really happy with how this has turned out. its not particularly fancy, just a basic black that will go with everything. i wasnt sure about the garter stitch, a bit wary of the possible bulk, but the yarn is not quite a DK so it sits pretty flat, especially after blocking. and the garter stitch with the slightly flared sleeves and the top buttoning actually gives it a kind of classic 50s look. i might not knit this pattern again but i would definitely use the yarn. its lovely and soft and not at all scratchy or heavy, and most importantly, really really warm! im just a little bit happy that its freezing cold and i can wear it lots!


FO: conwy socks

it feels like forever since ive had something finished to show, and something relatively substantial. hats dont count really, do they? and of course, its pouring rain and the light is bad and i cant get a decent photo, but let’s plow ahead anyway. so here they are:

the conwy socks! this is the only shot from outside that’s usable –  i wanted natural light to show the depth and complexity of the colour in the yarn but you’ll just have to take my word for it. its wollmeise twin in mitternacht that my wonderful friend george bought back from pfaffenhoffen for me, and its divine. the photo below is close to the true colour:

these socks represent a couple of firsts for me. they’re the first socks ive made in wollmeise, and they’re the first cabling ive done, ever. its only a little two stitch cable and rosered showed me how to do it just slipping the stitches, and after the first few repeats i had it worked out.

its a lovely simple pattern, like all things nancy bush, and i followed the instructions as written for the most part. a couple of modifications: i knit the legs on 2.5mm needles because they seemed pretty tight and were destined for man legs, then swtiched to 2.25mm for heel and foot. also, i used 3 needles not 4, so i modified the toe decreases slightly and kitchener stitched them closed.

the yarn was beautiful to work with. at first i found it a bit splitty but that was mostly from my cabling inexperience, once i got better at that it was lovely and smooth and the resulting fabric is so amazingly thick and woolly and luxurious.

of course, i am giving these away (these are the first knitted thing trent will have from me in about a year!) but i see some red wollmeise socks in my very near future.

here’s hoping it stays cold a while  yet and he gets some wear out of them.

k xx

FO: hat – a study in stripes

its getting cold out there. this weekend i am willingly driving myself and my dog to a place where i know it gets REALLY cold. i was going to camp on site, but reason has prevailed, and ive booked into a pub about 20kms away from the farm we’re working on. gotta love those old country pubs. especially good to know they have all the good beers on tap (sarcasm). seriously though, im really looking forward to it. apart from the 6 hour drive. its hard to knit when youre driving. also, did i mention it would be cold? so, i made a hat.

its the corbin hat, and the pattern uses sock yarn, but i used the filatura di crosa sport wool i got from clegs in melbourne recently. the colours are similiar to the ‘tart’ and ‘cloak’ from the stripe study shawl, buts it not really meant to match. i just love those colours at the moment. i did do the hem with the last bit of tart

and its nice and smooth against my forehead. i have, however, made it slightly too long

i wanted to get the aesthetics of the stripes right, and to stop a repeat earlier would have made it too short. it should sit down on my head a bit snugger than this,

but apparently an air pocket at the top is good for keeping the heat in. i knit the pattern pretty much as is, except for the extra repeat, and i used 3.25mm needles for the slightly chunkier yarn. it really is very warm, and i’ll be glad i have it for this weekend, but thats enough with the accessories now. i started the first sleeve of the greenfield cardigan last night

and was reminded again of how much i hate sleeveland, made worse by the use of magic loop and doing garter stitch in the round. ugh. but it will be worth it, this yarn and pattern are turning out to be a perfect match.

so im off early tomorrow morning, and not back till late sunday night. im pretty confident 3G phone coverage will be less than adequate but hopefully i can squeeze out a tweet or two!

have a great weekend, whatever you’re doing.

k xx

work trip, with shawl

i may have mentioned that i was headed to melbourne for work this week. i know lots of people have been to melbourne lots of times, and some people i know even live there, but i do like it very much. it has lots of charms, like good coffee

and cute alleyways

and lots of shopping options, much better than sydney. i was in the market for a new work bag, bigger than a hand bag, and i saw plenty i liked but they were out of reach budget wise. i will have to reassess that situation. is there a perfect bag out there, that can carry work things, files, computer, books AND knitting? ive been looking for a few years now, i just might have to take out a small personal loan to get it! i did manage to spend some time in yarn stores. the morris and sons melbourne store was very pretty, with a really lovely little sit and knit corner,

and a big table for classes etc. a much better space than either the sydney store or granny square. but nothing new yarn wise. i headed down elizabeth st looking for clegs. last time i had been there they had a wall of rowan that i wanted to revisit. except, it was gone. it was now a wall of patons and cleckheaton. they had some nice yarns from naturally nz, and a few bits and pieces of rowan, and then a whole heap of crap. the only thing that interested me was the filatura di crosa range, and i picked up 4 balls of this new sportwool ( a nice lofty soft DK) and a variety of colours in the unbelievably soft baby alpaca.

i dont know any stores in sydney who stock these guys properly, like a full range of the good basics, and it annoys me. its beautiful stuff, all from italy, great colours, and wears really well. its not always cheap, but its value for money. of course we dont want that, do we? sigh.

anyway, i spent wednesday night in my lovely spacious hotel room desperately trying to finish the stripe study shawl.

i wanted to wear it to my meetings on thursday, and i stayed up late and got a cramp in my hand casting it off. i couldnt block it obviously, but i lay it out on the hotel floor and figured it would be wearable as is:

which it would have been, if only melbourne hadnt been so damn warm! it was no cooler than it was when i left sydney, and although it was cloudy and people looked at me weird for wearing sunglasses, it was nowhere near cold enough for a heavy big shawl. so i didnt end up wearing it, which is kind of ironic, really. im glad i didnt, the meetings on thursday were hard work, and i needed to be on my toes. they went really well though, it was a totally wothwhile trip and the people i talked to at the uni i visited were extremely helpful, really above and beyond what i expected, and they looked after me all day and made time for “very important people” to talk to me, and i was completely exhausted at the end of it!

i slept very well thursday night, and woke up to another cloudy day on friday.

i didnt want to spend any more time in shops looking at gorgeous things i couldnt afford, so i headed across the river for breakfast, then walked along southbank

and up to the arts centre and the gallery, which i hadnt been to before.

it was really great, a very impressive collection of european art, with an emphasis on italian renaissance. there was a lovely tintoretto and some wonderful dutch pieces, including a couple of rembrandts. i stopped for a break in the really lovely tea room

peppermintally refreshed, i headed up to the small but impressive contemporary collection that included a rothko, through the gallery store (where i bought nothing! unheard of for me), and then out through the fantastic foyer.

then i walked back across the river

and into the city

to pick up my bags and head home. i crashed pretty early friday night, and hardly had time to breath before jumping in the car yesterday and heading down to kiama where some ladies that i knit with had an exhibition and sale at the old fire station.

i had been hoping to put some stuff out myself but i just havent had time, so i was content to sit and knit and watch the passers by admire and pay money for some lovely things. i took girasole down with me, and we found a spot for it on the wall.

oh look, its a circle! easter show people, if you’re watching, this is what it could have looked like. then knitabulous and i headed outside and she took some photos of me wearing the stripe study shawl.

i wont bore you with the project details, you can check it out on ravelry if you arent already knitting one! but i am really happy with it. its big enough for me to wear comfortably, although i do want a shawl pin to hold it on myleft shoulder there

and the yarn (madeline tosh sock in ‘tart’ and ‘cloak)’ is just gorgeous. smooth and soft and very warm.

i ended up using almost all of a second skein of tart, and i wouldnt have got another row plus cast off out of the cloak, so it needs more yarn than the pattern says for a really big one, but its worth it. i dont have a photo but the point does come well down the back. i am not a huge fan of the triangular shawl for wearability, but i think this large, more contemporary style, suits me more, and is definitely something i will wear a lot.

now i just need to finish the greenfield cardigan and i will feel ready for winter.

k xx

red head

im a brunette actually, but, at the risk of perpetuating certain (gendered) stereotypes, i do sometimes feel like a fiery tempered blazing red haired demon. i have been feeling very ranty lately, im not sure what its about, just getting a bit sick and tired of the same old human stupidity, and i think the increase in social media and online life makes it harder to regulate what you let in. im a big believer in the power of anger for social and personal change, and i dont want to be one of those people who says ‘you cant do anything about it so whats the point of caring’, but i do need to find a way of not letting said human stupidity get to me (and my blogging!) so much.

i think being creative in my own life is one way i try and bring some balance. i dont mean creative like some great artist or anything, but i do mean finding ways to appreciate the beauty and small things in life, and maybe contribute to that in some way. knitting has been my main avenue for this over the last few years, and i really have become dependent on it as a form of meditation. when i was doing my phd i just couldnt read for pleasure anymore, and doing something with my hands was a great alternative. it gave my brain a break, the simple counting of rows and stitches and pattern repeats a blessed relief, and at the end of the day i had something new and pretty to show for it (unlike a phd which takes years for no immediate return and sucks the very soul out of you along the way).

i really needed some good old knitting therapy this weekend, so i set about finishing a couple of things. first was sock number one of the ‘evening stockings for a young lady‘ and i am pretty happy with this:

i wont give any more project details until i’ve finished the second one, but that wont be for a while now because im going to finish sock one of the conwy’s i started a while ago. (keeping things balanced see?!).

i also finished the spur of the moment beret i started.  i dont know what compelled me to knit a hat this weekend, i think maybe i just wanted to knit with the lovely string cashmere. it was so beautiful to knit with, and the finished product was lovely and supersoft

i thought about not blocking it, it being cashmere and all, but i really wanted the peaky bits to flatten out and for it to droop like a proper beret, so while i cooked cindy’s yummy pear and honey cake, i wet it and let it dry around a plate. i think it was a good idea:

(the cake was pretty good too):

it has become a fair bit drapier,

and is probably too loose around the rim, but it feels great to wear:

the pattern is hannah fettig’s early morning beret, really simple and easy and i knit exactly to the pattern (although i probably could have made it bigger in the head and more ribbing for the rim). i have about 45g of the second ball left, so im thinking some ribbed wrist warmers.  who wouldnt want to be draped in cashmere?!

and when knitting a hat doesnt quite restore your equanimity, there is always the thought of a 3 day week at work, followed by nearly 2 weeks off for easter and our annual local knit camp retreat.

i can not wait.


FO: celaeno shawl

in the quest for the perfect set of red accessories this coming winter, (hedera socks item one, a pigeon hat in bluesky alapaca/silk to come), late friday night i finished the celaeno shawl. i took it to guild yesterday unblocked

and blocked it when i came home

and took it off the pins this morning

i didnt block it too fiercely, because i do want it to be smallish, and its meant to be rounded along the top so it sits on the shoulders nicely. which it really does, and then wraps around the neck just so. youll have to wait for winter of photos of me wearing it! but even on a hot day like today i can appreciate how lovely this is going to be to wear, in its all divine parisian alpacky goodness, with the gorgeous contrast between the garter stitch body and the stocking stitch border:

and the stunning detail of these little flowers:

it was an easy shawl to knit for the most part, the flowers were a little tricky with fuzzy alpacka because they required a make 7 from 3 stitches on one side and then a knit 5 together later. i made a mistake at one point and spent a night tinking back a row that required a sl3tog, k2tog, psso. tricky.

other than that, and skipping the addition of beads, i made no mods and the  details are as follows. the pattern is romi hills from 7 small shawls (no shawlettes here either thanks), knit in la droguerie alpaca purchased in paris as a gift from ailsa, on 3.75mm knit picks options cable. a confession, however. i ran out of yarn, right at the end. i thought i had enough when i started but then the border ate it up a lot quicker. i didnt frog it though because i had a plan that i thought might work and it did. i ran out about 20 stitches short of the third last row, so theres was one row and then the cast off to go. a certain lovely missfee had given me a lovely ball of red packy lace weight for my birthday, i checked, and it pretty well matched.

i held it double and had no problems finishing with it. i dont think you’d ever pick it, but this is one of the little traps that comes with knitting yarn that comes from a long way away in another language! i’m perfectly happy with it though, and wouldnt change a thing.

and im thinking i might have a touch of shawl flu again. i started another one yesterday. more about that later.

k xx

FO: Not-Shur’tugal Socks

And now for something completely different. Knitting! one good thing about not going to canberra for the weekend has been plenty of knitting time (as well as plenty of knitting-socialising time. so much that my head hurts). but i did get the not-shur’tugal socks finished, finally:

in case you didnt know, these are for the s62011 sock club, the first pattern of which was shur’tugal, which i didnt like (short version) and because there are no knitting police, i chose an alternate pair, cookie’s hederas. i have been meaning to make these for ages, and with the reissue of the pattern in the wonderful knit. sock. love, i had sizing options! so i went up to the largest size and they really are lovely on:

i probably could have got away with the medium size, but i dont want to stretch the lovely malabrigo sock yarn (in ravelryred colourway), and these just slide on. ive not been this happy with a pair of socks in a long time.

i knit them exactly as per the pattern, and its a very easy one to remember and joy to knit. and even though they are not the same socks as the majority of people are knitting for the first s62011 installment, i still finished them on time, and that is a very good feeling. i am going to do the nominated pair for the second installment, nutkins, and i have a very smooshy yarn picked for those:

but first, i have an alpaca shawl to finish.