Sunday, 29 November 2009

Purging Evil Yarn

One thing about me, at heart I'm a hoarder. I'll hang onto stuff for ages, years even, after it's become apparent to me (and everyone around me) that it's just clutter, with no use or reason to be in my house. This includes yarn. Yarn such as this:

It's a giant cone of very, very thin yarn that I got off eBay. I saw the colours, and some random numbers which would have told me that it was thinner than sewing thread, had I bothered to find out what they meant. Needless to say, I ignored the numbers, and bid for the yarn.

(Apparently everyone else must have known what the numbers meant, cos I won it and got it quite cheap)

On the cone, the colours are quite nice. The photo on eBay was obviously taken in very bright light which made it look much more autumn-y. So even if you ignore the tiny, thin threadlike yarn that looks loose on 2.25mm needles, it still had something going for it, didn't it?

No. It did not. I tried knitting up a swatch of the yarn (on 2.25mm needles, of course), and aside from the fabric being all loose and holey, the colours looked awful. Seriously, seriously bad. The brown and salmon-pink pooled and mixed together with the white to make it all look . . . dirty. It wasn't dirty, but the colours together just looked like sludge. So, disheartened, I put it on the shelf in the spare room.

It's stayed there for a couple of years now, being studiously ignored by myself, and I swear even the other yarn in the stash gives it a wide berth! Yesterday, I got this fantastic idea that I could cast on double the amount of stitches I would need for a scarf, and knit it in a tube. This would increase the thickness of the terribly thin fabric, and it would look fab, all drapey and wonderful (I'd forgotten about the hellacious colour mixing).

Today, I cast it on. I would have needed 140 sts for a relatively skinny scarf! But I persevered and knit a couple of rows. The stitches caught on the end of the cable as I knit magic loop, and I had to tug at it to get it past. And even though it didn't actually squeak, this was some seriously bad acrylic. It felt . . . slimy, even though it wasn't actually dirty. Shudder. I am by no means a fibre snob, not at all, I love to knit with acrylic and in fact that's mainly what I do knit with. You can get some really wonderful acrylics, I think. This however, was not one of them.

Anyway, have you noticed the past tense all through this post? Yup, I gave up. The scarf has been ripped (actually I couldn't even bring myself to do that, I just broke the yarn and threw the tiny amount of knitting I'd done into the bin). And the yarn, well, it is no longer considered part of my stash. Ordinarily I would put it in the charity shop with no further thoughts, but this yarn is so bad. I'm half tempted to throw it straight in the bin. However, I don't think my Scottish frugality will let me do that, so I guess it'll be going off to the charity shop.

Maybe somebody out there will actually like the yarn. Maybe somebody will be able to find a use for it. Personally, I doubt it, and kind of hope that no-one else gets suckered into buying it, but I guess it's possible, and as long as there's that hope I feel too guilty to just plain chuck it.

Actually, it's kind of a release. In my head, it's now gone, even though it's just in the hallway waiting to vacate the premises. I'm not one for stash purges (too hoard-y), but this one feels goooooooood!!! Now to cast something on, in some nice yarn!!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Bias Stripe Cowl Pattern Available For Sale!!

Hi all!

I've been designing again! I've gotten really into cowls recently, and ideas just keep popping into my head. It helps that the weather around here has become much colder recently, so I'm inspired to make warm things to wear :)

Bias Stripe Cowl

This is my Bias Stripe Cowl (ravelry pattern page link). It's a stripey cowl with a difference!

It's knit on the bias (hence the name!), which creates interesting and funky diagonal stripes. The rib-type pattern creates stripes perpendicular to these, so your neck and face are framed in diagonal stripes. It creates an interesting knit, and it looks so lovely peeking out from under a winter coat.

Bias Stripe Cowl - detail

It's knit straight then joined together with a 3 needle bind off (instructions are included). Links are included with instructions on how to do a provisional cast on.

This pattern is an excellent stash-buster, taking about only 30 grams of each colour. And with that in mind, I wrote the pattern for 4 weights of yarn - fingering, DK/light worsted, aran and chunky.

Bias Stripe Cowl - worsted
Aran/Worsted Weight Version

Bias Stripe Cowl - DK
DK/Light Worsted Weight Version

You can purchase this pattern on ravelry, or you can use this download link: and it costs £2 for the 5 page pdf.

I hope you like it as much as I do! :D

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Moscow Ballet - Sleeping Beauty

(I wrote this into my 101in1001 blog, but I thought I'd cross-post it here as it's about dancing. Not belly dance, but dance nonetheless. Plus, it was so good, that I have to tell as many people as possible!!)

Last night I went to see Sleeping Beauty by the Moscow Ballet, at the Alhambra in Dunfermline.

Oh. My. God.

It was amazing!! The dancers were absolutely fantastic, every one of them. They had such amazing control, grace and poise. Last time when I went to see a ballet performed, I hadn't been dancing long, so I was more taken in with the spectacle of it all, but this time I spent quite a bit of time watching the dancers' legs, and I was just blown away with how well they danced. They were all perfectly in time with each other, and I was impressed with how they worked spatially. They were always in the right place to go into the next move, and if they were working with other dancers, they were just right there. You couldn't see them looking around to get spatial cues, they were just there. Amazing!

The set pieces were gorgeous, lovely scenes of the castle and the forest. And the costumes were fantastic! The Queen had a lovely corset-type dress, and all the female dancers had lovely costumes too, tutus and dresses - sigh, they were all so lovely!

I hesitate to say this, purely because I find the expression more than a little puke-worthy, but it was truely a magical experience. The skill of the dancers, the excellent choreography, the set pieces, the costumes, it all pulled me in and entranced me. I got drawn right into the story and the rest of the audience did too. Everyone leaving seemed to have starry eyes :)

This was apparantly the first time that a professional ballet has been performed in Dunfermline, and it was fantastic! The Alhambra seemed to work well as a venue, it has a big stage, and the seating is arranged well. I was halfway back, and I could see everything perfectly. No big heads spoiling my view. The chairs seem to be just at the right height.

I sincerely hope I can go see more of the Moscow Ballet's productions. This one was a fantastic experience, and if they're near you, I would highly recommend you go to see them. Even if you're not into ballet (I'm not in general), these dancers are just so good, and so talented, and obviously work so hard, it all paid off, and the show was amazing!

BPT Modification

From this:

To this:

Modified BPT

About a year ago now, I "finished" my BPT jacket (the pattern is from and can be found here). I wore it for a while, but then stopped because there were some aspects of it that I didn't really like. I had used a yarn which was really too thin, so the fabric was quite drapey. I had elected not to do any waist shaping, so it kind of just hung there, looking all loose and floopy. And because I had used acrylic, the I cord edging rolled like nobody's business! (apparently I cord edging doesn't work on acrylic according to someone on ravelry. So it must be true ;) )

It sat in my cupboard for ages, and I contemplated just ripping it back totally, but never really got round to it (my laziness turned out to be a good thing actually). Then I got the idea, what if I made it shorter, into a cropped cardi? It's knit top down, so I could just pick out the bottom part and rip back up to the chest. Then all I would need to do is add some ribbing, and it would be fine. That would solve all the above problems. The drapey fabric wasn't really a problem at the top of the sweater, just at the waist where there was no shaping, so it hung loose. And ripping the bottom would get rid of that I cord. So I went ahead and did it!

I like it much better this way. Before I could rip out any of it, I had to take the zip off, and I still haven't gotten around to trimming it and putting it back on, but I actually kind of like it without the zip. I wore it when I went to Jewel of Yorkshire in October, and it was great for that time of year, keeping my top half warm, but because it's cropped I wasn't too hot.

I kept the cable on the back running down into the ribbing:

Modified BPT

I like the little detail it adds. :)

This is the first sweater I've modified so heavily, and I have a couple of others that I'm not so happy with that I might change in some way. This mod turned out really well, I think, so it's given me some confidence to change some of the other ones.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

New Twist Collective!!!!

OMG!! Have you seen the new Twist Collective magazine yet????

I'd completely forgotten it was coming out, then I saw a pattern come up on my friends activity on ravelry. I'm so glad I caught it!! this issue is amazing! I've queued 14 patterns from it, and I like some of the others, but they're just things that I can't see myself making right now. (but knowing myself, I'll probably queue them all later)

My favourite by far is Bright Star, by Cathy Carron. That one went straight to the top of my queue. It's a cropped cardi, with what I would call quarter length sleeves, an interesting textured stitch pattern, fold over collar, and a cute "space" above the buttons with no neckband. I totally love it!! I can see this will be getting made sometime very soon! Oh, and I just remembered - I have enough bright red worsted weight yarn left over from my Simone sweater . . . OK, I'm going to have to go off and buy this pattern now!

OK, done. :D

I also love:

Kelmscott by Carol Sunday (a lovely lace cardi with an interesting shawl collar)

Farinelli by Ysolda Teague (gorgeous lace opera length gloves)

Ormolu by Barbara Gregory (lovely colourwork pullover that just could end up being my first colourwork sweater)

Frost Tapestry by Robin Melanson (colourwork hat, gloves and neckwarmer)

and Skara Brae by Stephanie van der Linden (pullover with beautiful cable pattern, appeals to my scottish-ness I think).

These are just the ones I'm drooling over most though. I've queued more, and when I was going through the magazine, I was very excited to see all those lovely patterns. Sigh, maybe one day I'll be a proper "grown up" designer, and able to design such lovely things . . .

I haven't been so excited about an issue of Twist Collective since the very first one, and I think this issue may even surpass that one (but I'm not sure about that yet, I do love the patterns in that first issue). With the last issue I had been a bit worried that it was all going to dissolve into cutesy baby patterns, which are lovely enough, but not relevant to me since I don't have, or see myself having any babies, cutesy or otherwise ;) But this issue totally restored my faith in it, and I can't wait to get Bright Star cast on!!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Stuck In The Land Of Rib


I haven't posted in a while because of this:

Never Ending Sleeve

Another sweater for the bf. This one is take 3, the final one. The other two I made, he said were fine, but then it turned out the ribbing pulled in too much, and it felt too tight, and the arms were too tight, and the armholes were too small, so he didn't wear them. Being a complete glutton for punishment, I decided to try make him another one. This time out of DK yarn, not fingering/4 ply!!! But it's still taking forever!! K2, P2 rib has to be the most boring pattern on the planet if you're making a full sweater out of it.

I'm using the raglan pattern from Ann Budd's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, but I'm making a few changes this time. I'm using the 6sts per inch count for the body of the sweater, but the 7sts per inch count for the arms, since they seemed to be too small width-wise the last couple of times. It means I'll need to do a bit of number fudging when I get to the yoke of the sweater (it's knit from the bottom up), but I'm sure it won't be too hard. I'm using Teddy Vanguard DK with 3.25mm needles. I like the tighter fabric the smaller needles makes with ribbing.

The body of the sweater was actually not too bad to knit. Even though it was K2, P2 ribbing, I could feel which stitch was coming next so I could knit and watch movies or something. Now I'm on the sleeve though, and I have to mark off every round so that I can increase every 8 rounds, and oh my god, it's boring! My mind has to be focused on some level where I am in the round, and where I am in the number of rounds, and it's so tedious. Luckily I'm not one of those people who can hide it very well when I'm bored - usually people find out because I'm yelling OH MY GOD, I'M SO BOOORRRREEEDDD! at them ;) So the bf isn't expecting it to be finished tomorrow or anything. Just as well!

When I get too bored, I've been making small projects, so I can start and finish something quickly, and it distracts me. I've made these two skulls:

Red Skull

Pattern: Day of the Dead Crochet Skull by

Yarn: small amount of white acrylic, and red cotton

This pattern crochets up so quickly and is so much fun to make! I'm going to sew mine onto something, but I'm not sure what yet. I was going to sew the white one onto my denim jacket, but it turns out I put that into the charity shop a while ago, and simply forgot that I had done so, so I'll need to find something else to sew it onto.

I also made this choker (I haven't sewn the buttons on yet, but I have blocked it - a minor miracle for me!):

Pattern: Zigzag Choker by clarabelle This is a very lovely pattern, quick to knit up and very pretty. I made mine from red cotton that I had in my stash, but I don't know what brand it is.

I also finished a bunch of gloves and mittens, but I'll write about them later. I just wanted to get this post up, and get back to blogging. And to have something to do besides that ___ sweater. Never again, I tell you, never again!!

till next time ;)