Stashdown 2014?

So trying to get myself back to blogging. I took a bit of a hiatus when I joined Ravelry; then I took a hiatus from Ravelry and even knitting (!) about halfway through 2013.

I think one knitted article a month is do-able. Achievable goals is my resolution for 2014.

I have one skein (199 metres) of fuschia worsted merino; super-soft and lovely to knit but piles like crazy. I am making a double-bump scarf with it – a simple but non-boring pattern. Hopefully it will be long-enough for me to wear; otherwise I have a pink-loving daughter who will surely claim it!.

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big scarf 2The yarn for this scarf had been hibernating in my stash for at least 2 years.  It was one of those yarns that looks delectable in the skein – a super soft, chunky thick and thin handspun – but knitting it up was always far more problematic.  A 175g skein it was always going to become a scarf but finding the right stitch to showcase the yarn AND produce a wearable object was a bit more difficult.  I contemplated a drop-stitch pattern but in the end cast on 10 stitches and did a very simplek1, [ k2tog, yo] X 4, k1  ‘lace’ on 15mm needles.

It was a very quick TV knit and the end result is satisfactory but I felt like I was ‘cheating’, having gone far beyond this sort of knitting over the past few years.  It will al;most certainly be a birthday present for a non-knitting friend.

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The Politically Correct Baby Jacket

politically correct baby jacket - 2My good friend Jackie is having a baby in May and very unusually for this day and age has elected to not find out the gender of the bub to be. So any gifts have to be gender-neutral.

This jacket was knitted out of undyed organic cotton, making it not only gender neutral but politically correct as well.  The ‘buttons’ are knitted bobbles, which is less of a choking risk than plastic, wood or glass buttons (especially as they are sewn on extra-tight).  I knitted the same jacket for Hannah out of a more colourful bamboo/cotton blend. She wore it from birth until 6 months – an eternity in baby clothes time. Initially it was a little big and needed the sleeves rolled up and towards the end she could only wear it unbuttoned but it was a very practical garment and I hope as much use to Jackie as it was to me.

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Washing away the knitting blues

When I lose my knitting mojo; when I just can’t finish or get going on a knitting project, I find knitting a dishcloth is a satisfying stop-gap measure.  Dishcloths are (generally) a fast, easy knit that provides instant gratification. They quickly burn up small amounts of excess cotton stash.

My favourite  pattern at the moment for this is the double-bump dishcloth (pictured above, using Anchor Magicline cotton I received in a swap). The pattern is easily memorised and less tedious than plain garter or stocking stitch. It’s reversible, doesn’t need blocking and looks good in both plain and variegated colours.

Cast on 37 stitches (multiple of 3 plus 1)
Row 1: slip first stitch, *purl 2, k1* Repeat from * to * to the end
Row 2: slip first stitch, *knit 2, p1* Repeat from * to * to the end
Row 3: slip first stitch, knit across
Row 4: slip first stitch, purl across
Do 12 1/2 repeats of the pattern (ending on row 2) and bind-off in purl. Weave in ends.

So what to do with all these dishcloths? Some I use (a baby provides lots of opportunities for this), some I send off to fellow knitters in swap packages and half-a-dozen have just been sent to be included in care packages for the victims of Australia’s latest natural disasters (floods and cyclone in Queensland, floods in Victoria, fire in Perth). A lovely woman on Ravelry that goes by the moniker Ozifarmer has been coordinating such packages since the Victorian bushfires two years ago.

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Stealth arrival

The stealth needles have arrived and I am currently getting over the stress of having paid $32 for five slivers of carbon fibre.  It’s unbreakable carbon fibre, ok?

I cast on a sock on the weekend and although I am only a few rows in, I can report that so far I haven’t yet broken the needles.  They are not quite as comfortable as bamboo but infinitely better than metal needles. There is good ‘grip’ of the yarn – they don’t slide out every time you change needles.  And they are much, much, much stronger than wood.  Will report more if I ever finish a sock.

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While waiting for the stealth needles to arrive I decided to start on another shawl.  This time using some Wollmeise 100% merino that I picked up in a destash.

Wollmeise has something of a cult following amongst sock knitters for its deep colours and extra-tight twist. Now that the euro has fallen even further than the AUD it is even affordable.  In fact given one gets 150g for $30-odd it represents amazing value for money.

I was cynical, I must admit. Could anything live up to the WM hype?  Well, having started and restarted this shawl half a dozen times, I can confirm that the yarn stands up to a lot of tinking.  And the colour is amazing.  I was actually expecting something a little more purple from the destash photo, but this skein of Petit Poison No. 5 is pure blood with lots of subtle dark reds.  I’m not really a reds girl but this is very, very nice. And probably a must have for vampire freaks.

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Well so much for the sock stash…

I just snapped my Harmony circular needle while attempting my first sock of the year.

I bit the bullet and ordered these. Let’s see if the needles made out of the same carbon fibre composite as the skin of the Stealth bomber can survive my over-enthusiastic knitting.

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