Sunday, 23 January 2011

Double Garter - The Devil's Stitch?!?

Right now, I'm trying to finish off my Kerrera cardi, which I started sometime in Nov/Dec last year. Kerrera is by Gudrun Johnson, whose designs I just adore. I've already knit the Shetland Shorty, which was by her, and I totally want to knit that again. I just love to go to her Ravelry designer page and drool over all her wonderful designs.

I love the Kerrera cardigan, the ones I've seen on other people. It seems to be quite flattering on a range of body shapes. I love the long length, and the way it hangs open at the bottom, and the hood. And the way the border looks is really nice. But it's a pain to knit :/ It's in double garter stitch, which involves wrapping the yarn round twice and then knitting the extra wrap with the next stitch. There's a tutorial with the pattern, and there's a youtube video on how to do it.

It's not hard to do in and of itself, but the extra wrapping seems to make the stitches tighter on the needle for some reason, and I keep having to push them past the join on my circular needle. I'm on the big side border now, the front and the neckband, all the way around in one go. I have no idea how many stitches it is, I didn't even bother trying to count as I picked them up, I just picked up as many as looked right. But it's a lot. It takes between 45 minutes and an hour to do each row, partly because of the many stitches, and partly because of the extra time involved in wrapping the yarn twice and pushing the stitches along. At least it's relatively mindless once you get the hang of it :/

I'm a bit worried about my version. It's looking very "homemade" just now, and not in a charming way. I used yarn that I ripped from my slobaround sweater that I never wore, but I didn't bother washing it first, so it's kinda crinkly just now. The "right" side of the stocking stitch looks ok, but when it gets to the reverse stocking stitch, it's very uneven. I'm placing a lot of faith in the blocking process... Actually, I think that'll sort out a lot of the problems I'm having with it, but it's a bit hard to have faith in it when the knitting is looking lumpy and uneven.

And why is it so difficult to pick up and knit stitches evenly on reverse stocking stitch??? I was picking up all these stitches for the border, and as soon as I hit that bit, it was just torture trying to pick them up and have it look good. I don't think it's just me, I was looking through project photos on ravelry last night, and I can see the same effect I was having on most of them. Nobody else seemed to mention it though, maybe I'm just being too perfectionist-y.

I'm being the same way about the sleeve pick-up stitches too. The sleeve is picked up from the sleeve cap and knit downwards, which is a very interesting construction to do, but mine just doesn't seem to look good.

See, massive gaps! And again, other people on ravelry have the same effect on their sweater, but they don't seem to mention if it bothers them. I did this picking up about five times, but that was the best I could get it to look. Again, placing a lot of faith in blocking! I hope it looks a lot better when it's actually on!

I figure if I still don't like it after blocking, I can crochet a ridge over it or something, but I don't think this technique is one I'll do again. If I make another Kerrera, I'll just change the pattern to knit the sleeves upwards and sew them in. And I might make another one, despite all my whining. I really like the sleeveless ones some people have done on ravelry, and that would cut out the whole problem altogether ;) I just had to come on a whinge a little about my misgivings before I went mad at the thing! :)

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Dilemma - What To Make?

A while ago, I won this yummy, yummy Sundara yarn in a blog giveaway over at

Sundara Fingering Silky Merino

Sundara Fingering Silky Merino

See that shine? Gorgeous, gorgeous yarn! It's the Cactus Flower colourway, and I just love it. I don't know how Lina could possibly have parted with it! But I was very pleased and happy when it arrived in the post, and have been looking for the perfect pattern for it. Now, I have two perfect patterns. And I can't decide!

There's Elektra, by Rosemary Hill, from her booklet 7 small shawls to knit. This one has a benefit in that I've already got this pattern.

But there's also Gaenor by Corrina Ferguson. This would show off the yarn beautifully, I think.

Now, someone has already knit the Elektra shawl in the same yarn and colourway - LAylor13's Elektra - so you can see how the yarn would look with the pattern. Her version is just beautiful!

And there are two versions of Gaynor using Sundara Fingering Silky Merino yarn, in different colourways. There's Lismete's Gaenor, and A2KIWI's gaenor, which are both beautiful too.

Sigh... isn't it nice to have dilemmas such as this? I'm a very lucky person, I know, when this is all that is filling up my head.

So, do you have any ideas which one I should make? I like how both patterns have the garter stitch to show off the yarn, but they both also have lacy bits round the bottom to give interest. I really like the curved shape of the Elektra, I think that shape sits so much better round the neck, but from looking at project photos, it seems the Gaenor is long enough that it would wrap round and sit well too.

Decisions, decisions :D

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Some Toys :D

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you're all having a lovely 2011, and that the whole year is good for you. I have plans (!) for this year, and a great big list of things to do. Not so much resolutions, as just things to get done. I've done some already, like started exercising more, and I've still got to do some, like phoning the dentist and making an appointment. I don't want to do that one, but I guess I have to. :( I also have a HUGE case of NewYearItis, and want to travel, to experience all sorts of new things, and generally get a bunch of stuff achieved. Still, one thing at a time, eh?

I've finally started taking pictures of my knitted and crocheted items from last year (one of the things on the list!) :D

I'll start off on this post with some toys that I made in December. Christmas was quite stressful, not so much for me, but it seemed that everyone around me was super-stressed, which was more what made me stressed. This year, I'm banning all mention of Christmas until December 15th at least! I was getting a bit fed up with being asked if I'd done everything. The way I figure it, I get things done when I get things done. And if they're not done, then they're not done, and I'm not going to stress out over it. Shame no-one else around me seems to have this attitude :(

So anyway, I was getting mega-annoyed with everyone and everything, so I decided to make some small toys to cheer myself up. Not as Xmas gifts or anything, just for me! I just picked some random acrylic odds and ends out of my stash, and away I went. The first one I made was this cute owl:

Knitted Owl
Knitted Owl

Pattern: "Tooley Owl pdf knitting pattern for beginners from fluff and fuzz" by Amanda Berry

This was really easy and fun to make. I glued the eyes and beak on, but I just noticed that in the sample, she's actually sewn them on. I just stuck some fabric glue on before it had been stuffed and put books on it overnight to stick them down fully, and it seems to have worked.

Next up is a couple of Super Mario toys.

Mario Mushroom
Mario Mushroom
Mario Mushroom

Pattern: "Mario Mushroom" by Linda Potts

A Star In The Palm Of My Hand
Mario Star

Pattern: "Super Mario Invincibility Star" by Marte Fagervik

I love all the Mario related knitting and crochet stuff that I see out there on the internet, and I figured it was about time to make some for myself :D

I also made an amigurumi Hello Kitty bumblebee, because I just love Hello Kitty.

Bumblebee Kitty
Bumblebee Kitty

Pattern: "Hello Kitty Bumble Bee" by Armina Parnagian. You can download this pattern from (the link is over on the right sidebar) I love all her Hello Kitty amigurumi, she designs them so cute!!! Here's my bumblebee kitty sitting with my witch kitty, also designed by Armina.

Kitties Together

And just to cheer things up in the cold and snow, I made a crocheted sunflower!

Crocheted Sunflower
Crocheted Sunflower - Back
Crocheted Sunflower

Pattern: "Crochet Pattern - SUNFLOWER" by Sky Magenta

I don't have a particular thing for sunflowers or anything, I just thought this pattern was so cute! :D

All those toys definitely made me a bit happier in the run up to Xmas. They were all quick and easy to make, so there was that instant gratification thing that always feels so good with quick patterns. And they turned out really cute, I like them all. They're brightening up my bookshelves now, and I feel so happy when I look at them there :D