Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tea cosy non-pattern

Since you asked, Donna Lee, the striped tea cosy is done in a slip stitch pattern I improvised, worked over a multiple of 4 plus 3 stitches (keeping in mind this is worked flat, not in the round):

(after a few set-up rows)
1. P
2. Change colour: (K3, sl1) repeat to last 3 sts, K3
3. P
4. P

The wool was 8 ply, the needles 4.5mm - though I think I would have preferred 4mm.

The base curls up, and if I did it again I would start with some ribbing to avoid that, which would also draw it in around the bottom of the teapot a bit.

I tapered the pieces at the top, and put in a row of eyelets before casting off. It's made as two flat pieces which are sewn together just at the top and bottom, leaving space for the handle and spout.

Monday, September 17, 2012

What was that craftster motto again?

 The first tea cosy sparked a request for another one in the same colours and design. For various reasons, I was happy to do it for this person, but I was stubbornly determined not to repeat myself exactly so I made some little modifications. Just double seed stitch instead of seed/irish moss, and the flower colours reversed. Now I'm looking at these pictures, I wonder if maybe it could have used an extra flower on one side.

The stripey one I made earlier in the winter. It took a lot longer to complete, for such a little project, and I think I'd use self-striping next time! I usually don't mind ends at all, even lots of ends, but somehow it didn't seem worth it for a tea cosy. This, I suppose, could be considered a prototype - if I ever get around to trying again with a few tweaks. It was maybe going to be a gift, but I wasn't totally thrilled with it. But at least now my teapot  has its own cosy and my tea stays warm a bit longer. (We usually drink all the tea in one go anyway so I've never seen an urgent need for one).
010_stripe cosy

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Teal leaves


This is the Falling leaves scarf I made for my sister, but it's written for bulky yarn and I used a worsted weight - Misti Alpaca Tonos again - (same colour, even). When I showed the pattern picture to my sister I tried to warn her that it would come out a bit smaller and more delicate.... but in hindsight, I didn't really get the message across and she was surprised when she saw it, having expected the leaves to be much bigger.


Given the smaller gauge, I thought I'd need some extra repeats to get the right length. I actually did a quick block while it was on the needles, before knitting the tapered end, to check how it would look. And in spite of this caution, it still ended up too long. The photo above is how it is designed to be worn, pulled once through the loop. A bit droopy and not much good for keeping the neck/throat warm.


She found a couple of ways to loop up the extra length though (above and below). And isn't that green jumper gorgeous? She wins at op shopping!


I think it looks pretty good and I think she is happy with it. But it's such a nice and quick pattern, if I come across a likely bulkier yarn, I'll do it again for her at some point.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Never knew no good from bad

So, a few weeks ago, we were still in the dead of winter. My bigger knitting project (a cardigan) wasn't progressing, other creative ideas/execution not really flowing...work was voraciously eating up most of my capacity*, and I wasn't happy about it. And I had a cold head!

*I know, this is a bit modern jargon-y, but it's the best description - not necessarily lack of time (though that too) but just having nothing much left when I get home.

It didn't take long to find a use for the Dream in Colour 'Smooshy' wool that turned out to be the wrong colours for Mum. And it's lovely stuff.
Me and my hat
This is the 'Skinny Skid' hat (slouchy version) from West Knits. It's not perfect, but this is the first hat I've made that I'm happy to wear out and about. I realised long ago that beanies are pretty unflattering on me. Plus, a beret or something with a little slouch causes less extreme hat hair. As long as I only have it on for a little while (mainly on the way to work), my unsophisticated hair style isn't much affected.

The pattern is a really interesting construction, starting with a double-knit band, one edge of which is cast off to become a sort of pocket. This was my first time double-knitting. It's not hard, but pretty slooooooow (this may have been related to my 'capacity' problems of recent weeks), made worse by having to do it all twice.

I started out knitting this as the designer intended, with two different colours. The band has one colour on the inside and one outside, then the body of the hat has single-row stripes throughout. I knit the whole band and a few rows of the rest when I decided that my two yarns (the other one was a dark purple) were too different in thickness - particularly obvious in the double-knitted part where my gauge was looser anyway. Also, although I had cast on for the largest size, the band felt very tight around my head, so when I started again I cast on a few extra stitches. In the meantime I had looked carefully at others' finished hats and concluded that I wasn't keen on the striping, so I decided to just work with the one colourway. The pictures published with the pattern show a striped hat, but the two colourways are quite close and it's a subtle effect.
Bells took these photos. Thanks!

I blocked it on a dinner plate, the common method for berets and tams, and then used the iron to steam the top of the hat thoroughly, trying to reduce that 'pouchy' effect. It's still not as smooth as I'd prefer. But I love having a warm hat to wear on icy mornings.

Now of course, it is spring, and there are a few icy mornings to come but the days are beautiful. My capacity problem has mostly dissipated, and I'm onto the sleeves of my cardigan - it's this one, with a couple of modifications. I'm also whipping up another tea cosy for someone who asked very nicely. Things are looking up and I feel more like myself again.

Sunday, September 02, 2012