Country Strife

The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Is It A Bird?

It started out as a bottom-up triangle.

However, it became apparent last night when I switched to a longer circular needle that it was morphing...

Why I carried on and knit another one and a half repeats I don't know...

In the cold light of day, having laid it flat and given it it's freedom it is clear that it wants to be a semi-circle...


Unfortunately I had started out with a sharp point for my 'triangle' but then changed my increases to try to achieve a flatter triangle for a wider shallower shawl.

 Tonight, Matthew, I want to be a stealth fighter plane...


However, not a total waste of time. I like the way the cables and lace interact and I have charted it. Just need to get rid of the pointy tail... Also gets over the problem of deciding what to do at the top of the triangle to get a nice, clean straight edge that fitted in with the stitch pattern. Many more options to finish off a semi-circle.

So, for a bit of nostalgia rip it up and start again...


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Shawl With No Name

So I now have 4 tests running...

I don't know about other people but I suffer a bit of a downer once the initial excitement of getting a design completed and written up. Especially if I am really excited about it, post it for testing, and expect everyone to rush to want to make it. And then wait... and wait... Again, maybe it is the time of year. I have lots of love but only two testers for my Monet Sunset shawl. And again ran into the problem of 4-ply/fingering/sock yarn covering such a wide range of yards/gramme. Wollmeise is beautiful yarn but is on the heavy end of this category. But my lovely testers are going to order new yarn that is nearer this weight...

Talking of new yarn, this came in the post yesterday :)


Three lighter weight sock yarns, Fyberspates Sheila's sock in scarlet/pink that I just couldn't resist and my first foray of actively buying lace weight (just 50 g for trying out). I am no longer cold sheeping, but being a lot more discerning about the yarn I buy. And sticking to the rule that I cannot buy more yardage than I have used year to date.

Anyway, back to the downer. I mope around for a few days. I stare at my stash. I may wind a skein or two to make it feel as if I have done something. I stare at them some more. I stare into space trying to visualise what they would make. I cast on and start a swatch. I don't like it. I rip it back. Repeat...

I normally resort to knitting socks at this point. But not this time.My original choice of yarn was wrong - variegated and a bit knobbly but good enough to prove the maths, show me what I did and didn't like with the idea, and jot down the bare bones before I ripped it out and started again. So I have reverted back to my Wollmeise. So far so good... No name for it yet...





Saturday, July 12, 2014

Monet Sunset Shawl

I am still at the point of designing out of stash. This is very noticeable if you look at my pattern page on Ravelry... My socks will have a matching (or half matching) scarf.

Helagon short = It's Stripes Jim
Helagon long = Boing Boing socks + Stripes - TNG


And my new shawl is no exception.

Thriller - the other half of my Helagon short - is an in-your-face variegated colourway, and it was quite hard to decide what else to use with it. Black would be an obvious choice, but I wanted stripes so it wouldn't work as the skein contains black, so sections would 'disappear'. And I don't actually have any black...

As I laid out my remaining skeins and partials of Wollmeise I had a mad idea. The WD Fritzi Frizzante that my Stripe Me Up socks used may just work. A sort of blazing sunset at sea...

So I knew I wanted stripes, but not boring regular stripes. And I knew I wanted stocking stitch. And I knew I wanted wide but not too deep. And I knew I didn't want paired yarn overs down the spine. And I knew I wanted vaguely triangular but not an actual triangle...

I did get myself into a bit of a pickle wrt left and right leaning increases on purl rows but I now have these completely sussed:

Knit :
M1R = back front front; leans to the right as you look at it - logical,
M1L = front back back; leans to the left as you look at it - logical
Purl:  and here is the confusion
M1PR = back front front; leans to the left as you are looking at it - illogical
M1PL = front back back; leans to the right as you are looking at - illogical

Whoever came up with naming the purl increases the wrong way round to my thinking deserves to be shot!
If you know which edge you want the stitch to point at 'as you are looking at it' then do the requisite increase stitch no matter if you are on the right side, wrong side, knit or purl...

I will get some better photographs once it has finished blocking, but this was it as I started to pin it out:



Approximately 70" wide and 27" deep at the tip...

I have got a couple of changes to the pattern for the placement of some increases to stop them stacking, but apart from that I am really happy with the design.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

I'm Not Stalking, Honest!

I currently have three tests threads all on 'Watch' in the Free Pattern Testers group - my two scarves and the Stripe Me Up socks.

So I am checking the threads fairly frequently as I sit watching Wimbledon with laptop in front of me...

And it is with alarming regularity that someone has just posted the minute or so before I check...

So I am responding pretty quickly to a lot of posts...

Iolaire is due to finish on the 16th July. All has been quiet for a couple of days. A few errors have been caught and also a few good suggestions on making things easier/clearer that have been incorporated into the pattern. I am really looking forward to seeing the finished scarves :)

Iolaire-Iasgaich test started last Sunday and I am very pleased to say that all the places were taken a couple of days later. It was very useful having the gap between starting the two tests as I could check and correct things that were picked up on the first test that also applied to this one before my testers started. A few minor errors have been trapped so far, but nothing to cause me to pull my hair out... I am awaiting with interest how the testers using the charts get on with the table I have used once all the shaping has been done. I had originally charted it all but due to the nature of the changing cables and lace starting at different points the charts for this section were almost longer than the scarf itself!

Stripe Me Up socks has been a little more interesting...

Now, I am a one at a time toe-up kind of girl. And this design is certainly best suited to knitting them that way. Cuff down one at a time is also very doable - they will start off more difficult as the strands used to make the stripes will be longer than toe-up for the leg, but once the leg is done the foot will feel like a breeze. I was very pleased to get five testers. Unfortunately I am now down to three. One has withdrawn as she has injured her hand, which I hope recovers soon. I don't think it was due to this test... And another has withdrawn as she couldn't cope cuff-down with keeping the strands untangled. I have put tips in the techniques on ways to aid this, but maybe there was a language barrier. My three remaining testers are all doing two-at-a-time... I did put a warning in the test request:

I would be happy for testers who wish to make a pair taat to do so at their own peril :)


And I only asked for one sock for the test needed to be completed...



Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Playing with Banners


I am toying with the idea of starting my own Ravelry group sometime in the future.

As if that wasn't scary enough I need to design a group banner and a badge image.

So I have had a play around with a couple of free banner sites.

And then Paul said I could use LibreOffice Draw.

My first attempt is up above.

This could take longer to decide on than knitting a sweater...

Paul's attempt to be arty is below... I think simple is better.


He insists I put up his second effort


Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Murray Mania Promotion

I posted a promotion in the Patterns group on Ravelry for my sock patterns at the start of Wimbledon, based on how well Andy Murray does.

Starting at 10% off for Round 1 and going up another 10% for each further round he wins. BUT, if he loses the promotion ends at that last point.

Currently at 40% off.

Dimitrov in the QF seems to be the tipping point for a few people... It will be a tough match and I think it could go either way depending upon which version of Andy Murray turns up. I will certainly be cheering him on...

I will be over the moon if the promotion gets to 70%, especially as I missed seeing the final last year as I was travelling back from Penang to Bangkok.

Alas, the sale is over :(

Monday, June 30, 2014

Stripe Me Up

I finished the prototype of my new sock design just over a week ago.

It achieved its purpose

Proved that the double stripe technique worked
My idea of only applying the stripes to two thirds of the sock didn't look as good as I hoped
I had a much better idea of how long I needed to cut the strands
I knew that I don't really like the variegated yarn for the stripes
I knew to use the same weight yarn for the colourwork
I solved the mystery of the difference in strand lengths - I am pulling the yarn tight on the first stripe of the needle
And I still have a perfectly wearable new pair of socks :)

So on to the next version - double stripes all round. And another lesson learned - the double stripes are at a tighter tension than the rest of the sock and while this did not make much difference when I was not striping all the way round it made a significant difference now. Half an inch and slightly less stretchy made for a tight sock for me but perfect for 'Small'.

So that was 'frogged' and on to working on a pair of 'Medium' sized for me. Maths done, pattern updated and cast on again. And my calculation for strand lengths is pretty accurate but I have added a little contingency in to the pattern (better slightly too long than too short).




Really pleased with how they turned out. And unlike my other 'stripe' sock patterns these can also be made cuff down. I wouldn't recommend two-at-a-time but I already have a tester lined up who wants to try :)



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