Thursday, November 22, 2007

Russian Blue Cat grey

A couple of months ago my cousin Terrie had a look at my blog here and then told me about a hood scarf that she had bought in the early 80's in NY and lost over the years. She described it as the color of a Russian Blue cat. I shouldn't have been surprised by her description. She's always loved animals, even as a child. I remember her dream vocation was to be a "vet" when we were kids. She didn't wind up being a vet, but she does raise exotic and not so exotic animals, and makes a fair living doing it. So everythng relates to animals with her.

I did get a few laughs trying to describe the color I was looking for to the girls in my LYS's. Being springtime down under, the shops were'nt brimming with grey wool, Russian Blue cat grey or otherwise. I wound up ordering the yarn in the swatch above from my LYS here in the bridge. It's Natural Harmony, a New Zealand wool, and the color was the closest thing I could find to the pictures of Russian Blue Cats I found on the internet, despite how it might appear in the photo. (For some reason, my pictures have been coming out with a pink tinge lately...cheapo camera) It has a fabulous texture, even though it's not the warmest option I could find. Still, apparently warmth doesn't matter, so long as it makes her look like a young Audrey Hepburn. Of course, I'm a knitter, not a magician. Still, ya never know...

Soooo, never mind the UFO's. I'm going to start this baby tonight, by hook or crook. I'm just going to borrow a few ideas and then design this myself, so I'll post the pattern later, assuming it turns out allright.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My Denise Needles

I got these babies back around June. I was quite frustrated. I had this pattern that required 100cm long circulars. I could find 40's and 60's and 80's, but could not find a single pair of 100's in any needle size, much less the ones I needed, anywhere in South Australia. I searched all the LYS's that I know of, both country area and in Adelaide. On the one hand, this was fun, as I had a few browses thru uncharted territory, but it was also rather frustrating because I was not finding what I needed. I extended my search to the internet, and when I did, I ran across these babies, sold out of the US, called Denise Interchangeable needles. I went to their home website and had a read and was most impressed. They are simply remarkable. The needle heads snap on rather than screw on like some of the other interchangeable sets, which means they are less likely to come loose during knitting. I have done practically all of my knitting for the past 5 months on them, (a considerable amount, I assure you) and they haven't come loose once. They also have tons of tricks you can do with them, which I won't go into hear but you can read about at the website if you are interested . You WILL be amazed, particularly if you buy some. I wish I'd known about them as a beginning knitter. The entire set cost me $95AU (the pink set is $5 more than the blue and that extra goes to breast cancer research). I could have saved heaps of money and time chasing down the various sizes of needles, straight and circular. One flaw I would point out for those of us who live in "metric needle" countries is there are no 7mm or 7.5mm sizes in the set. Otherwise, you get all sizes from 3.75 to 10mm, in virtually any length for circular that you could imagine. Anyway, I tracked down the only dealer of them in South Australia from the "shops that carry denise" section of the website. She only had an online business, no shop, and she lived about as far from me as you can go in this state without going bush, but I'm not known for my patience when it comes to getting what I want, so, with the business owners kind permission, I set off one morning after work and drove out to her home and picked them up. Never mind it would have probably only taken a couple of days to mail them :)

Anyway, love em love em love em. It was hard to get a picture of them as they are generally constantly in use, but the other day I finished a peice of a project and realized I had them all free, so I decided to snap a few shots while I had the chance, so I could show them off and crow about them on here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Summer UFO's

I've been working, more or less simutaneously, on the vest for hubby in Paton's Techno Fleece (a yarn discontinued with good reason) and a jacket for myself using two strands of Bendigo Wool's 100% Alpaca (a sensuous feast for fibre lovers). However, the season is upon us ...Christmas that is... so I have ceased work on these projects until further notice and have stored them for the summer, or at least part of it.
I have, at this stage, finished the body of the vest for hubby, and like only picking up a million or so stitches on fuzzy, ill tempered yarn to do the trim and thus finish the work. Fussy as this yarn is to work with, I would like to get done with this thing if for no other reason than to have the torture completely behind me. However, that is, at this stage, unrealistic. It won't be wearable for some months, and I daresay, at any rate, I could use a break from it.
The jacket is a pet project of mine, which I have mentioned earlier, with THE alpaca I fell in love with in Bendigo and still cherish to this day. I have finished the back and one side of it, and although it isn't pictured here, the other side has progressed to the point where I need to start decreasing it for the arm holes.
Now, however, the need to finish off some more urgently needed Christmas knits, such as the bookmark mentioned in the last peice, has persueded me to put these two beauties down and pick up the less impressive but quicker knittables. Also, on my trip to Bendigo I also picked up some cotton and a pattern for a summer top that would be more appropriate for the season. I reckon I might start it as a bigger project I can pick up in between Christmas projects. It would be nice to have it finished to wear this summer, and as I have a nice holiday-on-the-beach planned for January, that would be the perfect time to finish it off.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Easy peasy bookmark pattern

My friend Angie, not an avid knitter, gave me heaps of wool bits and peices a couple of weeks ago. Remember the nursery rhyme "Baa Baa Black Sheep, have you any wool"? Yep, you guessed it: three bags full. Now, for the most part, I'm a big project girl. My knitting is sort of an extension of my sewing, and I prefer to make clothing. Of course, a colourful variety of bits and peices are just dandy for sewing up fuzzy knits. It beats buying a whole ball of yarn just to do the stitching together. However, after I finish this project of Chris', I'm going to attempt to avoid the furs and the eyelash for awhile.

Anyway, Christmas is sneaking up on me, so it occured to me that some of this yarn would be good to use to make either Christmas decorations or little presents, such as bookmarks. I looked at various bookmark patterns on the internet, but they were either too complicated for a lazy knitter like me and sort of "doily-ish", or I just didn't like the looks of them.

So last night I decided to come up with something on my own. Something quick and easy but attractive. I drug out the "three bags full" and dug out some gold 8 ply cotton (at least that's what it appeared to be, there was no label) and a pair of 3 1/4 mm needles. What design would be easier than a cross? Nothing, I reckon. Perfect for the Christian friends and rellies. (I would have posed the finished bookmark with a bible, but I realized I don't own one. What a heathen I am!)

Anyway, here's what I came up with:

Guage: not terribly important. Whatever you get using 3 1/4 needles and 8 ply cotton will be fine. I would warn against dark colours, as the cross pattern is somewhat subtle and the darker the colour, the less well it will show up.

c/o 19

Rows 1-3: knit

*Row 4: k2, purl 15, k2 (purl row)

Row 5: k* (knit row)

Repeat from * to * (rows 4 and 5) until work measures appx 7 cm, ending with a row 4 (purl row).

Cross pattern:

Beginning with a knit row:** k8, p3, k8

Purl row: k2, p 15, k2**

Repeat these two rows 12 times, ending with a purl row.

Row 13 (of cross pattern): k4, p 11, k4

Row 14: k2, p15, k2

Row 15 to 18: Repeat rows 13 and 14 twice more.

Row 19: k8, p3, k8

Row 20: k2, P15, k2

Row 21 to 24: Repeat rows 19 and 20 twice more.

Row 25: k

Row 26: k2, p15, k2

Row 27: k

Row 28: k2, p2tog, p to last 4 st., p2tog, k2

Repeat rows 27 and 28 until there are 5 stitches left.

On last 5 stitches: k one row, then on next row k2tog, p1, k2tog

On last 3 stitches: k3tog.

Leave a tail and do what you like with it. I did about a 4 cm crochet chain with it, but you might have other ideas.

There it is! Possibly the easiest bookmark ever.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Coconut Ice Blues

Almost a year ago, I did one of those impulse Ebay buys. It's called Wendy's Coconut Ice. I have no idea of how long it has been discontinued, but I'm guessing a few years as I can find practically nothing about it on the internet, least of all a pattern for it, and the ball bands are a bit aged. It's a funny "feeling" yarn too, soft but slick to the touch. You can really feel the slickness as your knitting. I knitted up a guage square months ago so that I could perhaps find a pattern to match the guage, which using 4.5mm needles got me 17 stiches to 26 rows, spot on what the ball band says it should be. (A phenomenon that doesn't seem to happen to me often).

Anyway, I got 10 50g balls of turquoise with white flecks and 3 balls of off white with a slight bluish tint to it. It's absolutely georgeous, but I haven't a clue what I'm going to do with it still. I'm open to any suggestions at this point.