Heather Knits

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

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A swatch and some progress

I had just about given up all hope of Blogger actually allowing me to upload any pictures when finally I managed it. It seems that whenever Blogger is being irritating enough for me to start researching alternatives it pulls its socks up and I think I'll just give it another week or so. It is still in the back of my mind to possibly change hosts though so those of you who use something other than Blogger, what do you use? and what do you think of it?

Back to the knitting content:

At knitting group on Wednesday Masumi was knitting a blanket for charity using a lovely wave pattern. She generously let us write the pattern down so I had a go:

I think it would make a great scarf. A very easy pattern too as it is only a 3 row repeat. I knitted this sample out of some left over Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted, colour Get Knitted .

After knitting group I headed down to Farham to see if the new Interknit Cafe had any of her new stock. Last time I was there only about a third of what she was hoping to stock had actually arrived. She had a lot more this time though is still expecting more! I see an excuse for another outing on the horizon.

Some of the yarns that had arrived are by Garn Studio . They have some lovely yarns, at pretty reasonable prices. Of course some had to come home with me :-)

This is Inka 72% acrylic, 28% wool, knit on 7mm - 8mm needles for a tension of 16 sts x 11 rows to 10cm. The colours are just fabulous. I bought colour 5, and my Mum bought some in one of the other colours. It contains really long lengths of each colour, similar to Noro (but without the bits of Japanese countryside) which is why the balls above look to be completely different colours even though they are actually the same dye lot. Garn Studio have loads of patterns you can download for free on their website (in English!) and I had a very fun time printing a load out. The pattern I am going to knit with the Inka is Jacket with Circle Pattern . It looks fun and I think would work with the multi-coloured-ness of the yarn. I am slightly concerned about the way the sleeves join on as in the picture they look a little odd. The model is standing in a rather artificial pose though so that may make a difference.

I was so keen to start this that I got out my Denise needle set to do some swatches only to discover that a 7mm needle which the pattern calls for lies between a US size 10 1/2, and a US size 11. I swatched with both the 10 1/2 and the 11 but there is a big difference in size (a 10 1/2 is 6.3mm and an 11 is 7.7mm) and the fabric produced wasn't what I was after. I have ordered a 7mm Addi Turbo to use, and am going to actually finish up some of my other projects on the needles while it is in transit.

As well as the Inka I also found a few other bits to come home with me.

Two balls of Garn Studio alpaca, it also came in a fantastic kingfisher colour although she didn't have any in. She is going to order some and it should be in in a week or so so I will have to work out what I would like to knit with it. A ball of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK, the colour is actually slightly darker than this. I bought just one ball so that I can do some swatches and see what sort of thing I would like to make and then go back and buy enough to actually make it. And finally three balls of Patons DK cotton, this is the same as the 7 balls I bought last time I was in the shop, and is even the same dye lot! ( a customer had returned it). I should now definitely have enough for a T-shirt thing for me so I am very happy.

Those of you with long memories may remember my patchwork jumper I started knitting during the Knitting Olympics . I have finally started knitting on it again and am nearly up to attaching the first sleeve to the body (I haven't actually started the second sleeve).
With the help of the Big Royal Dig this is progressing quite well.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


The bathroom is finally finished!

The plumber finished on Wednesday but had to come back yesterday to replace one of the tiles which was cracked, and to sort out the taps on the washbasin because the hot and cold had accidentally been connected the wrong way round. We are all sorted now though and I had my first shower in the new bathroom this morning :-)

The sock is plodding along. I got quite a bit of it done yesterday while at the photo shoot for the first issue of the new Yarn Forward Magazine . I am the technical editor which sounds slightly scary but actually I am enjoying it. It was great to meet Kerrie and Laura and to see the designs which will be in the first issue. They also took our photos too for the magazine which was hilarious. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will realise I am one of the least photogenic people ever. I think it is probable that after a whole day of me Kerrie and Laura are realising that I am a little barmy, I hope they aren't regretting their choice of technical editor too badly.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


The shower was fitted yesterday and I finished the blue and green socks - pictures of them to follow.

I have started what will be a multi-coloured left-over sock but haven't progressed very far with it yet. It is enjoying taking over bathroom-admiring duties though.

More to follow soon, our power is being turned off so they can plug the radiator in in about an hour and then I am going out for the day to meet up with my parents and some friends, the sock is coming too.

Monday, August 14, 2006


We spent the weekend painting the bathroom ceiling, here is the sock admiring our work.

I don't think anyone will mistake us for professional decorators but I think it will do.

The sock is coming along, I'm now about half way down the foot and am hoping to finish today or tomorrow. It is handy to have something which is easy to put down and take up again and doesn't require too much concentration, yet the pattern helps to make it not too boring.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


At last Blogger has allowed me to upload some photos. I have been trying since yesterday. I'm still not sure what the secret is.

Anyway, we have tiles now! This is the view on Friday night:

and a close up of the sock with one of the tiles:
There is no grout yet and there are still some gaps in the tiling but it is coming along.

The sock is coming along too, I am nearly at the heel. Here is a close up of the pattern on the leg, apologies for the lumpiness but the pattern shows up best when slightly stretched and it was easier to photograph on my hand than on my leg!
The pattern actually isn't a proper cable it is a pair of twisted stitches one after the other separated by a plain round. I am enjoying doing it but the yarn (Alpaca blend sock yarn from Alpaca Plus ) is thicker than the sock yarn I am used to using and the fabric produced is practically bullet proof! The fact that this yarn is thicker also means that there are fewer metres in a skein which I discovered after knitting the first sock (a beige one which I don't think I have photographed) and weighed it to discover it weighed 65g and there is no way I can make a pair out of 100g. I have three different colours with 100g of each so I am making a pair with green legs and blue feet, and then there is the lone beige one and I am going to make the pair for it a multi-coloured sock using up the left overs. The other problem with trying to do twisted stitches with this yarn is that I have snapped the tip off my Brittany birch sock needles twice now, I snapped the second one last night. Luckily it is just the tip though so I could just sand paper it and carry on.

m mentioned in the comments for the last post about doubling the ridiculously fine yarn. Would this work ok for lace? I haven't much experience of knitting lace and although I have happily used several threads knit together on a firmer fabric I don't know whether this would work on something so open as lace. Talking of lace knitting, what needles do people recommend? I think this yarn is going to require some pretty small needles. The smallest circulars I have are 2mm and are Inox I think, I see on the KCG Trading website that both Addi and Prym make a 1.5mm circular and am considering one of these. I have some 1.5mm dpns so thought I might do some experimenting with them so see if I can create a fabric I like before I dash off buying all different sizes of circular needles.

I'm not sure I will get to the swatching today, this weekend we have been painting the bathroom ceiling. We did the sealing coat on the new plaster yesterday and the first of the proper coats of paint. We are going to do the final coat today and then go down to my sister's house for a much needed shower! We went there yesterday too and it is so nice to be clean and not to have to do the strange contortions needed to wash my hair in the kitchen sink.

Friday, August 11, 2006


The sock has been hard at work again. So hard in fact that I finished the first sock and started the second. Here is the new sock with the new bath!

Installed but not plumbed in, this was the view last night.

And here is an exhausted sock admiring the new floor:
I'll ask the sock what its availability is for DIY in other people's houses Daisy !

While the sock (with the aid of the plumbers) was hard at work yesterday I had a nice little trip to Fibre Crafts , the official excuse being my Mum's birthday today and I was trying to find her something. They didn't have the book she was looking for (Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan) so I bought it from Amazon but I did treat myself to 3 books. Heirloom Knitting by Sharon Miller, Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle, and Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls by Martha Waterman. I have this hankering to knit a shawl, to knit lace, and to knit something ludicrously complicated, I'm not sure yet whether these three things will manifest themselves in the same piece of knitting or not.

As well as the books I gave in and bought a skein of Shantung silk yarn , the colour is Gentian I think and is the most fabulous colour ever.

I have been eyeing this yarn every time I go to Fibre Crafts for years, it feels lovely and comes in the most beautiful colours. The one downside is it is ridiculously fine. For scale, the knitting needle in the photographs is a 1.5mm dpn.
I think it may have been a moment of insanity which persuaded me that knitting with this would be a good idea. I shall give it a go though, it will keep me busy for a nice long time :-)

Thursday, August 10, 2006


There has been progress on all fronts here. This is how the bathroom looked last night, with the sock in progress reclining on the windowsill:
All the interior has now been taken out, and although you can't see it the ceiling has been replastered.
As you can see the sock has been progressing well too! I am hoping finish this one and cast on for its mate soon.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Knitting with beads

This is some more catching up with things I have been doing but haven't got round to blogging about.

At the April meeting of our knitting group the theme was knitting with beads. We had a go at four different methods of incorporating beads into our knitting, these were all methods which required you to thread your beads onto your yarn first.

Here is the sample I produced, the yarn is Size 8 perle cotton, and the beads are No. 11, or at least I think that is what they are. These were some pre-strung beads I had left over from knitted beaded baubles I made a few years ago so I am not entirely sure what they are as I haven't got the ball band for the yarn or the bag for the beads any more.

The first two zigzags on the sample show slip stitch beading. This is when, on a knit row you stop just before the stitch you want your bead to be in front of, then you bring your yarn forward, slip the stitch purlwise, then push a bead up the yarn so that is sits in front of the slipped stitch, and then bring the yarn back and continue knitting as usual. You can do the same thing on a purl row but then you will bring the yarn to the back to place the stitch, and forward again to continue purling.

The difference between the two zigzags is that for the first one the beads were all added on the knit rows and on the second one the beads are all added on the purl rows. I think you could probably do a mixture of the two which would be quite interesting but you do have to be careful about getting the beads too close together or they wont lie flat.

The U shaped sample is adding the beads between the stitches on garter stitch. There are no slip stitches here, and the beads appear on the side away from you when you are adding them. To place a bead between two stitches you simply knit to the appropriate point, slip a bead up the thread so that it sits right next to the stitch you have just knitted, then you knit the next stitch, anchoring the bead in place. This is the same method used for the knitted baubles and also for the Victorian bead purses I have seen. If you add beads on all rows you get a reversible fabric. For this sample however I decided to only bead on one side so every alternate row is just plain knit. You can create interesting shaping by having more beads between each stitch.

Finally the rather pathetic line of beads at the top of the sample is my attempt at close beading, this is bead knitting rather than beaded knitting (which the other methods are types of) and the bead actually sits on the stitch rather than in front of it in the slipped stitch method, or between stitches in the garter stitch method. I found it incredibly hard to get the bead to go through the stitch, probably because I knit quite tightly, close beading I feel is not for me.

After the workshop I was inspired to have a go at a bracelet, partially inspired also by one that Janine had made although I wanted something a bit narrower, and I wanted to experiment with increasing the number of beads between stitches more gradually. Here are the results:

It is surprisingly difficult to photograph your own wrist! I think I probably should have waited for Paul to come home so that I could borrow him and his superior photographic skills :-)

Edited to include a slightly better photograph of the bracelet laid flat.

Here is the fastening, using a rather nice button I found in John Lewis.
Although I failed to take a picture of the other side it is actually reversible. This is using the garter stitch beading between the stitches method, and increasing and then decreasing the number of beads between the stitches. This gives a shaped bracelet even though every row has the same number of knit stitches in it. If anyone is interested in the pattern let me know and I'll write it up and put it on the blog.

Monday, August 07, 2006

False start

Well it turns out Brian the plumber had been trying to ring us all weekend to tell us that his previous job has over-run and he can't start on our bathroom today, but unfortunately he had a mistake in the phone number he had for us. So he might be starting tomorrow afternoon, or failing that Wednesday. Oh well, at least I get another couple of days of being able to have a shower this week.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Bye bye bathroom

Here is the sock in progress saying goodbye to our bathroom. At 8am tomorrow morning Brian the plumber will be arriving to rip it out and replace it. You can see why.
The sock is actually green, although due to my appalling photography you can't actually tell that.

Off for an early night now so we can be up bright and early to remove the last few bits before it is all demolished. I am so looking forward to a new bathroom.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Stash enhancement and a swatch

I was hoping to post this earlier but couldn't get Blogger to upload the pictures. Anyway, here is it now.

Last Wednesday at knitting group Mary brought along some dolls clothes she has been making and we had a go at the colour pattern she had been using.

Apologies for the horrid colour choice, this was what happened to be in my knitting bag at the time.
The pattern is actually really easy since it only has two rows, the first row you work a repeat of p3, sl1 purlwise with yarn in back, then the second row you knit while slipping the slipped stitches purlwise with the yarn at the back again (you do need some kind of selvedge stitch on this repeat). Rows 3 and 4 are the same but the stitch you are now slipping is the centre one of the three plain ones from rows 1 and 2. You change colour for each pair of rows. Being a slip stitch pattern, the colours blend and it doesn't look starkly stripey but you only ever knit with one colour at a time. It is a kind of pattern which is actually very restful and has a nice rhythm to it once you get going. It looks better from a distance, and it was interesting to see the colour choices people were using. You got quite a different effect with three very similar colours, to three very contrasting colours. It looked very nice as Mary had done using two colours which were close together and the third was a contrast. I think I will have a bit more of play with this.

After knitting group my Mum and I went to investigate the new knitting shop in Farnham, called Interknit Cafe, it is at 60 Downing Street, round the corner from the central car park. She had only been open a week and only had about a third of her stock so far but it looked very promising. I have signed up to her newsletter and am looking forward to hearing when she gets more stock in.

I did manage to buy 7 balls of Sirdar mercerised cotton DK in navy. This is beautifully soft stuff and I thought would make a lovely summer top of some kind. She only had 7 balls but luckily they were all the same dye lot so I bought the lot. I'm not sure if that will be enough for a top for me but I do have lots of bits and pieces of DK cotton lying around so I'm sure I can think of some way of eeking it out.

I've been having a very good week stash enhancement wise. I think I need to work on being able to knit the yarn up as fast as I can buy it though!

To help me in this endeavor Miriam (she of the Icarus shawl in Interweave Knits) is having a pattern sale, which ends today. I bought the patterns for the Mountain Peaks Shawl and the Lightweight Mountain Peaks Shawl. This download-a-pattern lark is good for the instant gratification too :-)

This lovely parcel arrived the other day.

Sock yarn from Curious Yarns , from left to right the colours are: Sloe, Deep, and Admiral. It feels lovely too, not very soft but not at all harsh. They sent me two little stitch markers too with my order which was very nice of them.

And last but not least, so that I can be organised as I disappear under the ever growing mountain of yarn, a circular needle holder from Stitches Market, the people behind Knitter's magazine.
And this is the inside.

The plastic wallets are all quite large, easily big enough to fit several circular needles in, and have a re-sealable end at the bottom. I am going to have a fun afternoon sorting out all my circular needles and organising them into this holder.