Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Stockings

No change in my reading matter since last week (well except to add a few things) since I have not had much of a chance to actually READ between homeschooling and knitting!  I did have to return Outliers to the library before I got to finish it though- hopefully I will be able to get it back again soon!  I shan't put a hold on it though until I have finished what I have in my list- starting with the James Garner biography, which I have been enjoying :)

My knitting has been doing quite well though.  I finished the second stocking (the red one) for my son.  It turned out rather larger than the first because I switched to a circular (16") to knit it- mainly because I had tension issues with the double pointed needles.  You can see the changes I made to some of my charts in action on his stocking- such as the slightly larger gap between snowmen.  You can also see that I plan to go back later to do the stripes on the candy canes- although I am not entirely sure this bought me much time (if any).  I tried out one or two new patterns there too.
Underneath you will notice my 'Quick Knit 1940's Style Sweater'- to which I have added a sleeve today.  I shall start knitting the front next, while I wait for my wool for my son's Christmas gloves.  I shall probably start my own stocking soon too!

Yarning along again with Ginny this week- take a gander at the other participants!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dickens, Garner and Mittens...

So there is really no connection between all three of these- except that they are in my photo :)
For this week's yarn along, you can see several projects going at once.
I took a short break after finishing DD's stocking, before starting her pair of 'plain mittens' that she asked for as a Christmas gift.  You can see the crocheted 'string' which will hold her mittens in place within her coat sleeves.  I have always loved these because they seem so sensible.  I saw once, either in a knitting book or on a knitting blog, where a knitter made these for herself so she could not lose her handmade mittens.  Since I don't want her to lose her mittens, and I am sure she doesn't want to lose them either!
Now they are finished, I am waiting on a yarn delivery for my son's gloves.

I could only work on these at night, when she wasn't around, so during the day I started work on DS's stocking.  This time my main colour is red :)  Same pattern as before, messing around with the motifs a little and of course changing the order so they are different.

And then, I just had to start one of Alan Dart's Dickensian Mice (or click here for a similar pattern if you cannot see Ravelry).  I managed to get hold of this pattern last year, after Christmas :/  So I REALLY wanted to make them this year.  I learned a couple of things.  1.  Sport weight is too heavy for this really- even though it says DK (it is an English pattern), sport is too thick to use easily on the small needles.  Maybe go up a size or two?  2.  The fingering weight yarn worked find- but not really in conjunction with the sport LOL

Finally the books- you'll noticed two previous (unfinished) books there, and a new one.  The new one (on top) is the James Garner memoir.  It's a very good read, even though I do not agree with him politically!  The writer has managed to write it as though Garner is talking directly to you- very well done!  It is called: The James Garner Files and is by James Garner and Jon Winokur.

Join in the fun or just visit the yarn along over at Ginny's Place: Small Things.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Two Finished Objects

Today you can see TWO finished objects!  I spent today knitting- because we're having an Indian Summer, and I have taken the opportunity to let the kids out to play rather than keep them inside- the next few months will do that enough!
First up, the Christmas Stocking:

I finished this one LAST night.  It is far from perfect- as can be seen in the photo below!  This is the back- complete with ad-libbed extra stitches which I used just to carry the extra yarn across.  I eventually fixed my graphs- but too late to do the back of this stocking (since I finished it before fixing the graphs!)

But that is OK, no-one really looks at the back anyway- here it is hanging.  You can see that the heel is maybe a little large, and perhaps the foot could be bigger.  I am still pleased with the way it came out.  I shall try my changes out on the next stocking!  Then I will upload a pattern to share.

Here are the fixed graph- arranged in number, with a couple of extra charts I made.  I also made some changes to the tree graph to make the yarn carrying a little better.  The graphs are upside down so you can knit from the cuff down.  I would highly recommend knitting the candy cane in two colours and duplicate stitch the red stripes on because they don't look as good knitted in as I did it.

And finally, my second finished object...

The three hour sweater.  Yes I adjusted the colour again- so you can see the detail.  This indoor lighting is killing my photos!  Unfortunately I only just finished this one tonight.  It probably took a total of about 8 hours or so- maybe 10.  But there were a couple there taken up with frogging and re-knitting things.  Like the sleeve I mistakenly used the wrong needle for.  Or the re-knitting of the body to lengthen it.  So certainly NOT a 3 hour sweater, but it IS a quick knit :)

And the book?  Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell.  It is a fascinating story about what makes for successful people.  It uses some well known success stories as examples.  An interesting read!

I am joining in with the yarn along over at Ginny's again this week.  You can participate or see the other participants here.

ETA: I keep meaning to post the link to Tasha's Vintage Knitting College- where she is giving tips and techniques for those who are interested in doing their own colourwork.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Knit Along: Wednesday 9th November 2011

Not much in the way of reading this week.  I have spent almost all my time trying to get my kids to do their schoolwork.  Which means constant supervision- which means that although knitting might get done, no artwork and no reading (because those take WAY too much concentration!).
On my needles this week is a Christmas stocking for DD.  I was originally going to make ME one, because I dislike the store bought one I have.  The idea of a country style, folk art stocking really appealed to me.
Only once I got my yarn, DD wanted HERS first!
I started out by using some worsted weight yarn- acrylic, so I could wash the stocking.  It was HUGE.  Except to DD who told me it was not big enough -she, apparently, wants it big enough to put a folding scooter in.  At least that is today.  Yesterday it was a trumpet.  The day before it was a recorder...
I am not a huge fan of huge stockings.  My house is small and four of them would just NOT fit.
So instead, I went with my own design, using some of Knit-Picks Palette yarn.

I cast on 96 stitches, joined to knit in the round, and K2, P2 for 1 inch.  Then I knitted  2 rounds before starting the holly chart below.
I have a chart for each of the family member names too- with a slightly more fancy font than you normally find :)
I knit that chart, before knitting 2 rows, then a green diamond pattern, 2 rows, 2 rows in snowman background, then the snowman chart.  When I am finished I shall type up all my instructions for you!

2 of the charts I am using, come from the Little Cotton Rabbit's Mini Christmas Stocking charts.  I highly recommend her stockings and mini bears for Christmas decorations!  Another chart I also got online, but the bird, holly, candy cane, snowman and swirl are all my own.  Not all of them fit ideally into 96- you might have to add a couple of stitches surrounding them- or do as I did and totally forget that and just make a joining pattern on the back.  I will show you that next time- when I hopefully remember to photograph it!

My art has not totally gone.  Apart from knitting charts- I have also been working on this...

A portrait of my son :) in pastel pencils.

P.S. You can click the pictures for more detail.

P.P.S.  See the other yarn along participants over at Ginny's Place :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Yarn Along: Wednesday 2nd November

Ginny over at Small Things Says:

Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr.

Not much knitting has been going on here.  Well... SOME has.  I had to frog my 3 hour sweater yoke after I realised I had not yet made my top long enough.  Here it is in its almost completed form.  I toned down the colour in my photo so you could actually see detail and not a red blur. 
I am knitting the yoke flat so I didn't have to figure out how to knit the sleeves.
The book is an anthology of urban fantasy stories by a bevy of authors- from straight mystery authors to fantasy authors.  A lot of fun :)
I still have other books on the go, but this is my 'strictly for fun' book right now.