Heather Knits

Where Heather waffles on about knitting and anything else which crosses her mind.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

At last

Finally! Here are the pictures of the finished Shapely Tee :

and the back view:

Technical Details

The pattern is the Shapely Tee, a free pattern designed by Joan McGowan-Michael of White Lies Designs. I used some DK cotton yarn I had lurking in the stash and the recommended size of needles, US sizes 5 (for the edges) and 6 (for the main body), using my Denise needle set. I am going to weigh the Tee soon and see how much yarn I used.

I twiddled with the pattern a bit after having measured my favourite knitted top and found that the bust needed to be a couple of inches smaller than the hip. So I knitted the 44 inch size up to the waist, but then only did 3 increases instead of 5, and so had 4 fewer stitches in both the front and the back at this point. I worked the armholes for the 44 inch size, and took the 4 stitches out of the centre of the neckline, so making the shoulders narrower. I worked one set of short rows for the bust.

Thoughts on the pattern

I really enjoyed knitting this, and it is very comfortable to wear. The short rows at the bust are very effective, and certainly help the front and back hang to the same length. I have loads of similar yarn in different colours so I can definitely see another Shapely Tee in my knitting future. I think in my next Tee I will try knitting the body circularly, I am not really a fan of seams. Also I will have a go at picking up stitches around the armhole and knitting the sleeves down, I will also make the sleeves a bit longer. All in all I am very pleased with how this has turned out and am looking forward to having another go with a few improvements.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The obligatory Ally Pally post

Better late than never I suppose!
My parents came down to stay for the week, so that Mummy could come along to Ally Pally too. They live in North Yorkshire, and I am deeply jealous that she is going to the show in Harrogate as well, but unfortunately I am busy that weekend. Anyway, we went on the Thursday which was very crowded for most of the day but did thin out a bit about an hour from the end.

I thought the knitting selection was much better this year than it has been previously, there were a lot of stands, and a lot of variety. I was really quite restrained :-)

Our first stop was Get Knitted where I bought yet more sock yarn :-)

From left to right, this is: two skeins of Cherry Tree Hill, two skeins of Lucy Neatby Celestial Merino, and a skein of Fyberspates. I have been eyeing the Fyberspates and the Celestial Merino on the Get Knitted web site for some time now and they are even more beautiful in person.

I also got a skein of Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb from Get Knitted. The colour way is Irving Park, and I am going to make one of the Curly Whirly scarves from the free pattern Get Knitted are doing if you buy a skein of LL Lion and Lamb, or Shepherd Worsted.

It was really nice to be able to feel all the Lorna's Laces yarns, I have only played with the Shepherd Sock before and wasn't sure what the others would be like. They are all incredibly soft, and I can see will be dangerous to my credit card in future.

I also found the following little gems at Kaalund. They had the most beautiful range of colours, I think these are going to become a pair of scarves.

And last but not least, I got some of the 2ply from House of Hemp.

The room House of Hemp was in was incredibly hot and the lights weren't particularly good for seeing the colours of the yarns which was a bit of a shame but the temperature was fine in the main hall.

All in all a fantastic day was had, we met up with some family friends for lunch which was lovely, and I bumped into quite a few fellow bloggers, including Mary and Dawn, and Mary and Janine from the Surrey knitting group, and Rosie who I took a workshop with a couple of months ago. I'm off to stroke the yarn again ...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Excuse me while I psychoanalyse myself

Well I haven't blogged for a couple of weeks, and after having a think about it this seems to be the reason: I had promised a picture of the finished Shapely Tee and still haven't managed to take one. So I have been thinking of loads of things that I wanted to blog about but for some reason have felt that I couldn't post them until I had a picture of the Shapely Tee, which is rather daft really. I have decided that I am not going to let that worry me now, so I'm afraid I shall go back to wittering, and hopefully a picture will appear soon, when the alignment of the planets is favourable (otherwise known as finding a time when I am wearing the Tee, my personal photographer (also known as husband) is available and it isn't raining). I think I have been trying too hard to get my posts in some kind of coherent order (if not entirely succeeding), please bear with me while I now disregard order entirely and ramble on. So from now on, when I promise a picture of a finished object it will appear, just not necessarily right away.

Anyway, now that the existential angst is out of the way, on with the knitting. I have started Mummy's Christmas present, (if you are Mummy please look away now) it is going to be a pair of alpaca socks to combat the cold feet. I have just passed the heel on the first sock, after having done the heel three times during a conference on Euclid the weekend before last. Pictures of sock in progress will follow soon (don't hold your breath).

Back to what seems like endless hemming of a piece of chiffon. It keeps getting chewed up when I try and sew it on the machine so I am doing this by hand, only one more seam to go, but I need it for the workshop I have booked at the Fantasia tomorrow. Why do I always leave these things to the last minute?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

My first meme

Well Tari has just tagged me, so I will now bore you all to death with more information than you could possibly ever want to know about me.

Ten years ago:

10 years ago I was 18 and just starting university. It was great, I met loads of lovely people I am still friends with, and found my course really interesting though difficult. I made the mistake of not taking my knitting with me the first term, being worried that my room would be too small for all my stuff and I wouldn't have time. I quickly corrected that after Christmas and my knitting became an integral part of my room and evenings in. If anyone is interested I went to university here.

Five years ago:

5 years ago I had just left university, we had just moved into our first house (where we still are, with the amount of stuff both of us hoard moving would be a nightmare!), and I had just started my first proper job with Enron (and the less said about that the better!).

One year ago:

We had recently got married, and I was still feeling suitably smug about the knitted wedding dress. I really am going to get round to making a matching cardigan for it, any century now.

Five yummy things:

Hard to pick just five! I think I would go for (in no apparent order, and certainly not together)

  • Chocolate blancmange - always reminds me of my maternal grandparents, as part of going to visit them was the ritual of always having bread and butter, and ham with lettuce and tomato for tea, followed by chocolate blancmange. Then we would all sit down in the lounge with our cups of sweet tea and our knitting (well not my Dad or my Grandad but never mind).
  • Chinese - I love Chinese food, we had it for our wedding reception.
  • Tea and a biscuit - ideally Twinings Rose Pouchong (or whatever it has been re-branded as) and something like a digestive biscuit, I'm actually not that bothered about chocolate biscuits.
  • Chocolate fudge (my Mum's recipe) - this doesn't really have the texture of fudge but is incredibly addictive.
  • Dried apricots - I love them, and have to buy them in small packets to stop me eating oodles all in one go.

Five songs I know by heart:

Due to the rather obsessive personality, rather than knowing lots of songs a bit I tend to find I get hold of a CD and play it again and again until I pretty much know all the words, so there are rather a lot of songs I know by heart. Also I'm afraid my taste in music could be politely termed as eclectic and I really have no clue about anything at all recent. So I shall go for songs which particularly mean something to me.

  • Rutter's Requiem - I love this, there is so much to it, I sang it in my school choir and again twice at university. In a similar vein I also love Ubi Caritas (can't remember the composer), Bruckner's Ave Maria (I think that is the right one, the one which starts with just the sopranos and altos), and Locus Iste (the tune from the beginning of Mr Bean).
  • Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen and American Pie by Don McClean - I have listed these together because they were on our kitchen tape when I was in my 3rd and 4th years of university. We had the lyrics blu-tacked to the kitchen cupboards and many a happy hour was spent singing along with the tape while cooking, and then arguing that we had heard the words wrong. Note this is the original American Pie not the Madonna travesty which I loathe with every fibre of my being - I had to walk out of BHS on Wednesday because they played it
  • Just about anything by the Eagles - I had a big Eagles phase at school and still like lots of their music. I don't think I have a favourite song, although I do remember thinking it a great achievement to be able to play the intro to Hotel California on the piano.
  • Lola by the Kinks - when we were younger me and my sister spent a long time making tapes to play in the car when we went on holiday (we both get car sick and so having a tape on whiles away the time). Lola was on just about all of them, with an assortment of other jolly sixties tunes.
  • Sister Josephine by Jake Thackray - another tune from childhood. My parents have a record with this on sung by a group who they were friends with, and I loved it, it is a hilarious song.

I actually found this one rather difficult since a lot of the music I like doesn't have words.

Five things I would do with a LOT of money:

  • Pay off the mortgage! Then buy somewhere big enough to actually hold my stash
  • Be able to not work and still not worry about the money
  • Go to Stitches in the US and attend lots of workshops
  • Set up a fund for university for if / when my sister has children
  • Support knitting designers (I could probably do this by buying even more patterns :-) )

Five places I would love to escape to:

I'm not sure I really feel the need to escape, so I'll write down places I love or would like to go:

  • Brittany - many happy summer holidays as a child spent in and around Locquirec.
  • New Zealand - I have never been, but it looks beautiful and has wool!
  • Germany - Again I have never been but would like to once my german has improved. My sister lived in Heidelberg for a year and loved it. Also think of all that sock yarn.
  • San Francisco - my sister and fiance have just had a holiday in the region and she reckoned I would like it.
  • The Scilly Isles - my parents went there for their honeymoon, I have never been and the flowers look lovely.

Five things I would never wear:

  • Anything pastel or white, I just look ill
  • Anything which involved my stomach hanging over my waistband, not an attractive look especially with my stomach!
  • Stilettos, I would probably just fall over and they look really uncomfortable
  • See-through underwear, I just don't see the point really (OK that is probably more than you wanted to know about me :-) )
  • A bikini - I have yet to find one I actually like and which likes me.

Five favourite TV shows:

  • Jeeves and Wooster
  • History of Britain with Simon Schama
  • Agatha Christie's Poirot - which reminds me I have one which Paul recorded when I was out last week still left for me to watch
  • Location, Location, Location
  • Grand Designs

Five things I enjoy doing:

  • Knitting! - wow, bet you didn't see that coming
  • Reading - although I don't seem to have time for as much of it as I would like
  • Playing music, I play the trombone, piano and recorders, all with more enthusiasm than talent
  • Dancing (Egyptian)
  • Visiting interesting historic things, I love a nice castle

Five favourite toys:

Paul is more of the gadget person in this house really but I shall see what I can do

  • Knitting needles and yarn! Again, what a surprise.
  • This computer, I spend far too much time playing on it.
  • My digital camera, so much fun but I am a long way from an expert.
  • My sewing machine, it isn't a very fancy one and I don't use it very often but it has quite a few fun stitches on it which I really must find a use for ...
  • Books and films.

Five people to do this meme:

I'm not sure I really know anyone who hasn't already done this. I shall tag Mary though because she has just got a blog and so might not have done it. Otherwise if you are reading this and interested then consider yourself tagged!

And now for a complete change of subject ...

Today was the Design for Knitting day at the V & A. A really interesting day, a good variety of speakers and a great opportunity to catch up with people and admire the things they had knitted.

I wore my Shapely Tee and my newest knitted socks! Pictures will hopefully be up soon, as soon as I take them.