Monday, 29 April 2013

CraftBomb is a Go!

A couple of weeks ago I posted that I would love to be involved with the first National CraftBomb being organised by Voluntary Arts Week and even had a location in mind. I thought the Upper Chapel Yard in the centre of Sheffield would be ideal so duly wrote to them. They got back and although they loved the idea, the Chapel was being used for weddings and having knitted bits on the statutes might not be what the parties would want.

I hadn't even thought that the yard would be used for other things (doh) so went on the hunt for another place. After wandering round the centre I found a great site just outside of where I work. There is an 'interesting' statue in the centre of the carpark at the Sheffield Technology Park that could do with cheering up so I approached them to ask if some of the Sheffield Knitters could have a go at giving it a going over.

And they said YES!!

So now I am frantically knitting strips of colours and making pompoms using up the acrylic scraps scattered across the house. I'm not sure how many people will be involved so if you'd like to help out, either by making some strips (knit or crochet are equally appreciated) or by helping decorate then get in touch and we can arrange something.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Heel issues

A few weeks ago I was knitting my bus socks and it was coming along in leaps and bounds and I reached the heel turn. It's a short row heel which I don't have a lot of experience with so I followed the instructions in the pattern and although it turns a perfectly good heel I wasn't happy with the results.

I am more used to the top-down heel flap and those socks I have done toe up have tended to have a gusset but not this one. I like a good heel, something that has a nice tight fabric and not holes and I pride myself on not getting holes where the leg and heel join but this heel looked great from the left
But from the right it was just too holey and loose for my taste. (I've slipped it off the needles for the pictures and I know that I am going to re-do it)
So I had a hunt round at work to see if there was a way of doing the same heel without the loose holes - which I fully admit is probably more to do with my technique that the heel itself (and certainly not the pattern) and found this: Cat's Sweet Tomato Heel. It's amazing and I loves it.
 The wedges make a great heel and you can add another if you have mega huge heels but most people seem to be able to get away with doing 3 - like I have. Cat Bhordi is an amazing knitter and to have devised a heel that works so well is fabulous.
It is officially my favourite heel (with the possible exception of a truly amazing gusset and flap)

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Wednesday Work

So this week has been a bit of a slow one and instead of my usual three (or more projects) I have only been working on two.

 First is my Wingspank. It is now up to seven triangle and I think that I will stop at nine so I finish on a garter stitch block.
I've been playing with the idea to add some button holes to the final triangle (just simple yarn overs) to help it stay on but can't quite make up my mind.
I like the way the stripes have turned out and this yarn suits the pattern well. I was a bit worried that it wouldn't get worn this spring but it's taken a cold step this week so I might get some use from it before the summer.

I have also been working on my Sugar Cube Sock design. This is a double knit sock to make it nice and quick. I was planning for it to be a toe up beginners sock with a simple purl/knit motif but have realised that I need a bit more experience at toe up socks.
The foot went well and I worked out how far to go before starting the heel turn but then it got a bit messy and didn't quite work. Also the original design had a moving block across the top of the foot but unless it matched my foot size the block wouldn't have been in the correct place to take the slipped stitch up the front of the sock.
Now I have redesigned it to be a cuff down sock and think that it's working out much better.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

CraftBomb, Craftbomb. I wanna Craftbomb

"What is this?" I hear you say.

It's being organised by Voluntary Arts Weeks and is a showcase for creativity in the arts and crafts. This year they are planning on launching the week with an explosion of colour with the National CraftBomb.
And I want to be part of it. A group of Sheffield knitters are up for it and we are currently looking for a venue. A place that we'd really love to decorate is the amazing bronze statues in the Upper Chapel Yard.

 How about this lovely, but chilly, looking lady wearing a warm scarf and gloves? Or even a multicoloured coat?

Or a bright dress for this beauty?

She wears a lovely scarf and hat, but how about giving her a warm woolly?

I'm going to ask the Upper Chapel and see what they say and if you want to get involved with the Sheffield knitters and our CraftBomb project drop me a line and I can send you the details or alternatively if you'd like to hold an event in your own town why not download the pack from the link above.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Gardening Fun

Well when I say fun I do mean it in the loosest possible way.

I have a great garden. It has grass and trees and a tall hedge that holds the neighbours back and the sun gets there (sometimes). I have planned for ages to grow vegetables but every year things seem to happen all at once I lose the window of opportunity. A few years ago I turned a bookcase into a raised bed and that was great but a combination of squirrels, birds and my laziness meant that only the potatoes did well.

This is what it looks like. Along one side of the garden is a tall privet hedge that has a line of old concrete slabs to give you a place to stand to cut the hedge and then next to that is a much over grown, grassed over bed with astonishingly old roses in but little else. The grass grows freely or should I say, it did.

As the weather was so lovely this weekend I decided to take the garden by the scruff of it's neck and give it a little shake. Starting closet to the house and next to the slabs, I measured out a 1 metre by 1 metre square and started to mattock off the turf and weeds. Then I dug over the soil with a fork, breaking up the bit lumps and picking out as many roots as I could. Gone went the rose. Then I extended the bed up by another metre and then another and another and by the end of the weekend I had a vegetable bed 1 metre wide by 5 metre.

I ended the weekend having cut back a rather rampant honeysuckle, tidying the raised bed, clearing the rubbish and throwing things away that were too badly broken to be re-used. The compost heap has grown quite significantly and is now covered with a manky tarpaulin to help give it some heat. Along the tree side of the garden I dug out some of the ferns and I 'found' my very sad and neglected rhubarb plant.

Now I just have to wait for the soil to warm up and I shall start my planting.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Wednesday Wonders

Like many knitters I'm never satisfied with having just one project on the needles at a single point in time. There have been times when I got rampant cases of cast-on-itus. No wool was safe and it was caught and made into something. Well I say caught and made into something but in reality I would work on if for a few days then bury it and forget about it. Nothing really got finished and now I am beginning to find the corpses of long forgotten projects as I start to tidy my house.

To help me stay motivated and to keep those things I am working on in the forefront of my mind, I thought that it would be fun to show what I'm working on and if I can manage it, I'm going to try and update this every Wednesday. I also managed to pick up a great 1950s vintage side table that sits next to me and holds my current projects and the bits and bobs that every knitter needs

To start with: these are my bus project - something to keep me amused on the way too and fro to work or if I'm stuck in a queue and am bored. The pattern is Ash Socks by Jenny Blackburn and are available as a free download through Ravelry. I've already done the partner and am just onto the final bit of the foot and then the toe.

They are a good mindless knit with little sections of ribbing along the leg. At the moment they look a bit innie and outie but I think they will fit very well.

The yarn is Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett and although I don't really like the colours, they are just socks.

Then we have my test knit project for Remily Knits. This is Mezair Beaded Lace Shawlette and it's fun to work on but I've had to keep my wits about me. It a crescent shaped shawlette with a lovely beaded edge and a fish like motif in the border.

The yarn is Regia Creativ and I'm not entirely sure that the colour works but it's difficult to know for sure until it's finished and blocked.

Finally I have my Wingspan which has been incredibly popular on Ravelry and it's no surprise why. This is adaptable to any weight of wool and can be as long as you like, you just keep adding triangles.

Mine is being done as the KAL with the Sheffield Knitters group on Ravelryand several people have already finished theirs (and they look wonderful). I've been sitting on this and haven't really done that much but with my other 2 project so close to being completed, I'll probably pick it up in a day or two and carry on.
This is made from Rowan Tapestry and I am alternating the triangles from garter stitch to stocking stitch.

 And that's it, for the moment. Oh, I know that I have other things dotted about the house: 2 blankets that seem to be endless WIP but they will get tinkered with over the next few months or year so I won;t forget completely about them

Monday, 1 April 2013

Quick to Knit Cardigan

At the beginning of the year I joined in with the All Things Vintage group on Ralvery for a Knit Along (KAL). We had a choice of several categories and within that several items as not everyone wanted to knit the same sweater or cardigan.

The choices for the clothing category was either a striped sweater from 1955 or a cardigan from the early 1950s. I went for the cardigan partly because I had yarn in my stash and partly because I thought that it would be easier to up-size it from a 38" bust to a 42". The tension came up slightly larger than recommended so I figured that it would work. It was meant to be 6 stitches to 1" and I got 5.

I used Sirdar Bonus Aran in a lovely lavender colour - well I think that it was bonus aran as I bought it unbanded in two 400g balls for the grand total of £4.99. Whatever it was, it worked really well producing a nice fabric that was not rigid and is just perfect for that awkward time between winter and spring.

It knits up very quickly and I really enjoyed making it despite stalling on the top of the second sleeve for near on a month. And this was the first project that I have actually had to sew up in a long time. I dreaded it but again it didn't take long and looks grand.

I chose some lovely red buttons which contrasts nicely with the purple and makes it look a bit more vintage (I think) and it's great to wear.

It might look a bit short but the style of sweaters in the early 1950s is for garments that showed off the waist so this fits perfectly into that genre of garments. I did notice that the upper art of the sleeves came out a little large but I think that was entirely from knitting it in aran weight wool rather than double knit and I'm not going to be frogging them so it is now a design feature.

It's now inspired me to knit more vintage patterns and I know that I am larger than many of them are designed for but this has given me an insight into what to watch out for net time round and I also know that I have experience of many vintage knitters should I get into a pickle.