a mini cardi, a maxi sock

I’m feeling relatively accomplished, because I have sort-of one and a half finished objects since I last posted. Namely, the white baby cardigan I started a couple of weeks back, and the first of the knee length socks I’m knitting for my sister. I had a few ups and downs with the cardigan – or rather, lefts and rights. I’ve knit the body with a simple cable on each front, each cable twisting towards the button band, so it seemed sensible to knit each of the sleeves with the corresponding cable. Storming through the first in no time, I added it to the body stitches still on my circular needle to free up my DPNs. The second sleeve went really quickly too, so I added it in – it wasn’t until after I’d joined it all together and knitted three or four rows that I realised I’d done the second sleeve with the same cable as the first. Cue gnashing of teeth, and a spot of faffy frogging.

Once that was done, I have to admit I put it aside for a while and worked on the massive sock, because while picking up stitches for button bands isn’t an impossible job, I find it’s not so easy to do it while watching a bit of Kolchak or whatever as knitting a bit of stockinette sock is – even when that sock’s got four stranded deer prancing about on it. Once I’d got the other side of the stranding I picked the cardigan up again, having forgiven it for the cable incident, and decided it was going to be my ‘morning knitting’, sat at my laptop with a cup of tea after breakfast – the stranded sock somehow better suits lounging on the sofa with the chart and an oatcake and a cup of something warm, knowing I can sit for a good hour or two without feeling like I need to put it down and get on with the day.

Anyway, it’s now waiting on a spot of end-weaving, and some buttons –

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The main reason I’m knitting at the laptop at all is that I’m having massive issues with it just now. It’s getting on for seven years old, and needs some attention, if not replacing/handing on to one of the kids. Sometimes the keyboard doesn’t work properly (and this is the second keyboard it’s had, as I replaced it a good three or four years ago), and two of the keys are missing. It’s struggling with the simplest of tasks, having not coped with its last few updates terribly well, which basically means that it takes a good half hour to get its house in order after being switched on in the morning. Then, once it’s up and running and I’ve got online, as I’m clicking here and there I find myself twiddling my thumbs waiting for pages to load, particularly if they’re image heavy, or full of Flash-y nonsense. It’s been a good workhorse, and I’m not getting a new laptop any time soon, so I’m using the waiting time to knit – mostly I’m browsing patterns and yarns and whathaveyou anyway, so it doesn’t seem odd, and I remember what dial-up internet was like, so I know how to be patient. One knock-on effect of this, though, is that it takes me a long time to do anything with my photos, and consequently, to post to my blog, which isn’t ideal.

Anyway, I’ve cast on the red baby shrug, and need to cast on the second sock and start thinking about christmas knitting (I’ve already dithered so long that the red Drops Safran I was going to order is currently out of stock, yikes). I’m pretty pleased with the sock so far, though I’ve got my usual is-it-long-enough wobble about the foot – but I know for a fact the leg is long enough, as I visited my sister last weekend and she’s tried it on (and is really happy with it, thankfully!). As you can see from the photo, I didn’t go with the little dotty bits down the leg, opting to keep it clean and simple instead. I particularly like the decrease seam at the back –

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The deer look a little bumpy but I’m hoping a wash will settle it nicely, it’s not overly tight or loose, as far as I can tell. In fact, I’m really pleased with how it’s come out –

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So much so, I don’t think I’ll have any trouble with second sock syndrome, and it’s putting me nicely in the mood to finish off the christmas stocking I need to get done!


textbook startitis

Once again I’m just back home after visiting down south to see family where, at the weekend, I handed over the little pink baby shrug (and had a cuddle with my grand-niece). My sister had bought a pretty little dress from a shop close to where she lives, and they made a nice little set –

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She’d also bought a little pale grey dress, flecked with bits of red, for a long-time friend’s new baby granddaughter (who I knitted a little Yoked Baby Sweater for, back in August – a pattern that’s really easy, but also really cute). After our friend saw the photo I’d taken, she asked if I’d be able to knit one in red to go with the little grey dress. She’s always been one of those neighbours that’s like family, so I told her I was more than happy to (and honestly, it’s a fast and satisfying little knit, nice easy telly knitting), and thought I’d try and find some yarn for it while I was there.

The LYS in my home town is called Dragonflies, and just so happens to be owned and run by an old school friend who – until this weekend, at least – I haven’t seen since we were at college (I’ve popped in before but managed to miss her, as her mum also works in the shop). She sells lots of crafty bits and bobs besides yarn, does clothing alterations and custom dressmaking, including wedding outfits – in fact, when I walked through the door she was sat working on a wedding dress. I wasn’t entirely surprised to discover she’d opened the shop, I’ll be honest. As a teenager, she was the only person I knew that owned a proper dressmaker’s mannequin – in fact, she’s still the only person that I know that owns one! It was lovely to see her and have a quick chat, and I’m going to make an effort to get along to one of the Knit and Natter sessions they have each week for a bit more chat (I was worried about holding up other customers that’d come in!).

I did come back with a nice christmassy red (in Stylecraft Special DK, which will give me a taste of how it handles before I tackle the S18 scarf) –

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And my younger daughter Heidi bought herself a ball of their Cabaret yarn, in her favourite colours, though she’s yet to work out what she’s going to knit with it – like mother, like daughter, it seems.

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I haven’t cast on the red shrug as yet, though, because before that I’d also promised a baby knit for another grandchild of the same friend – this one isn’t due to arrive until mid-December, but with all these projects on the go, I thought I’d best crack on. Unlike with the previous knits, this time I don’t know if I’m knitting for a girl or a boy, so I’ve gone for the classic option and decided to make a little white cardi.

While I do like the Yoked Sweater, I fancied having a bit of a change – in fact, I fancied having a bit of a play. After a bit of a browse on ravelry and the Drops site for inspiration, I’ve cast on a suitable amount of stitches in some white DK acrylic from my stash, using 3mm needles to make a cosy fabric. There’s a little bit of 2×2 rib, and it’s mostly stocking stitch. I’ve added a row of cabling either side of the front edges, and I’m just starting the first sleeve, which will also have a central cable section. I did consider adding little pockets but I’m having second thoughts, because baby pockets aren’t the most necessary of things!

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My sister’s sock hasn’t been totally forgotten in all this. I’ve been working my way down it steadily, but it’s a complicated fiddly thing (there’s none of the easily memorised stitch repetition of most motifs going on at the moment), and so it’s something I pick up and have a storm through in between doing the easy stuff. I’m one of those knitters that gets easily bored, I think, and having three or four projects to hand keeps me knitting. Still, I’m almost finished with the first sock’s deer panel (I went with the deer pattern in the end, yes). They’re just needing some legs –

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The new projects have just set me off though, because somehow I’ve ended up casting on a pair of mittens with some of the Lima I had in my stash. Next up will be the christmas knits I’m planning for my grand-niece, so I need to order some cotton yarn, and I’ve a pile of stashed Karisma that I think will possibly turn into a jumper and hat for baby R, though I need to work out the most christmassy colours – I’ve got off-white, red, green and blue (they’re colours I bought with christmas stockings in mind last year). Mum fancies a red sweater, so I might just go with white – and possibly a Santa hat to go with it!

Once I get those underway, I want to knit up some other gifts for family. I did knock out a very quick chunky red hat for my youngest last week – it only took a day, I think, but isn’t quite finished because it definitely needs a pompom (I’m not taking a photo until I’ve done that). It’s not a christmas gift, just something practical to keep his little bonce warm now the weather’s cooled off – once this little list of baby knits are finished I’m going to concentrate on making something for my more immediate family, in between making some knits to list in my etsy shop. I’d like to get back into designing, too, but I think that might have to wait until after Christmas.

the trouble with hobbies

I’ve not blogged for a couple of weeks, but I have been busy with knitting and attempts at general yarn-related housekeeping. I finished off the baby cardigan and hat just in time to deliver it before coming home (I put the buttons on while I sat chatting to baby R’s parents, so mum could choose the buttons she liked best – she went for the retro brown ones – which means I don’t have an FO photo!).

I’ve also been whipping my WIPs out, and separated them from the stash. The whole lot had kind of got jumbled up together, which really didn’t help, oddly enough. That consisted of the christmas stocking for my eldest that managed to fail to make its debut last year (it’s okay, she’s twenty, she can cope), the Sarah Jane sweater, plus the beginnings of another Isabell Kraemer pattern, half a chunky sock I’d totally forgotten about, and a scarf in Kidsilk Haze (those last three being the projects that constituted the tangled mess in this post). In addition to those there’s the proper finishing of the Season 12 scarf, to make it into a 12.5/13 scarf, but that involves chopping and I need to find a Zen moment to even contemplate going there.

The sweater ‘only’ needed sewing at the underarms and having the ends woven in, so I bit the bullet and got on with that. It took most of one afternoon and the following morning, because whoa –

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However, it’s now finished, and more importantly – it’s wearable!

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I’m quite happy with it overall, though were I to do it again, there’s a few things I’d do differently (including not losing a fair bit of weight between starting and finishing it). I think it needs to be a 4ply yarn for starters, because for me the detail isn’t quite fine enough in DK (I used Drops Karisma). And I think, as the motif is only at the front, that I’d knit it flat. I know some would probably consider that a bit of a nightmare as it involves purling stranded, but I’ve done it before so I know I can – and I would rather do that than have the problem I’ve had with this jumper of the ends showing through from the back at either side of the motifs.

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Also, I did knit this before finding out about colour dominance, and two handed stranded knitting, which while this has three colours, would have helped immensely.

I wouldn’t use a contiguous sleeve either, I’d probably just go for a slightly set in sleeve – raglan wouldn’t really look similar to the original, though it’d be much easier. It’d mean a little more work designing but I think the end result would be better fit-wise. All these things mean that I’m not going to bother sharing what I did to make it, as I’m not 100% happy with it, but basically, I just applied the motif to a sweater pattern that I thought would work with it, and changed the sleeves (maybe that was a mistake, and I should’ve attempted the sleeves from that pattern, because the fit around the shoulders is a little loose). I’d still knit it bottom up though, as that means the stitches aren’t upside down (the original, I think, looks to be knit the ‘right’ way up).

It’s a very comfortable sweater, it’s ready just when I need it, and so I’m considering that a success – and if/when it falls to bits, I will make another, because I do love the design. It’s taken me a long while from start to finish – almost exactly two years, in fact! – though next time I won’t spend hours peering at photos like this one –

because the chart is actually out there on the internet somewhere, if you look about. (I did also spend a good few hours rewatching GotD, but that’s not time wasted as far as I’m concerned.)

And while I love me some stranded knitting, I’m not contemplating knitting this bobby-dazzler from The Monster of Peladon any time soon (it’s sort of tempting in a crazy knitter lady kind of way, I’ll be honest).

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So now my current knitting consists of a pair of socks for my sister, 2.5mm needles, Drops Fabel –

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using this Drops pattern

Oh Deer Socks! / DROPS 122-17 - Knitted DROPS socks with reindeer in ”Fabel” and ”Alpaca”.

Though I’ve obviously done the cuff in off-white, and I’m also thinking I might change the pattern from a deer to something else. My contrast yarn is a mid grey, so last night (after knitting the zigzag border) I was dithering over switching the panel with the deer to white-on-grey, because I like the idea of it being a white hart, plus the diamonds will be like snowflakes. Ish. I think I’ll give it a go and see how it turns out because I can always rip it out and start again if I need to. (Let’s face it, I’ll probably find I have to do that at some point anyway due to the most common mistake I make when doing these charted stranded sock things, namely, starting the next row of the chart when I move to the other side of the sock instead of knitting it twice, and then wondering what the hell is going on.)

Stashbusting is go, anyway. The socks are stash yarn, and the day before yesterday I finished a baby shrug, knit with some of the huge pinkness you can see in that first photo –

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It’s Sirdar Hayfield Baby Bonus DK, which I bought ‘plenty’ of to knit an outfit for my niece’s new baby at the start of the year (yes, it’s acrylic, but that means easy care, and really, no one with a newborn needs to be worrying about drying things flat and all that). Just before we set off home from dad’s a week or two ago, I popped round to see them (and take a sling round for her to try a bit of babywearing, which I’m happy to say she was over the moon with). All the knitted stuff she had was now too small, so I promised to make her some new bits and bobs. It’s from a Debbie Bliss pattern, and was a really quick knit, which will hopefully fit and keep her cosy while I get on with this pattern –

Sunday Stroll / DROPS Baby 13-17 - The DROPS set comprises: Dress, bonnet, and socks.

More Drops, yes, and I won’t be knitting it from my stash, but heyho. I do have a bunch of RYC Cashcotton 4ply that would probably work quite well – it’s in a pale lemon colour – but it’s very fluffy and I don’t know if it’d be too tickly (there’s angora in there, I think). I knit a cardi for my younger daughter in it a few years ago and she just couldn’t wear it, and we ended up giving it to her best friend (who was very happy with it, luckily!), so I don’t want a repeat of that.

I’m still looking for patterns for Christmas projects for the pile of Karisma I’ve got, not to mention the laceweight. I’m going to need some emergency knitting to fall back on to save my eyes from those socks of an evening, I think (and I’m delaying casting on the S18 scarf as long as possible until I’ve got through the stash a bit more, as I suspect I’ll want to keep knitting on that once I get going – there’s a rumour that that season is up for a blu-ray release next year, so I could save it for a watchalong KAL – but I digress!). I’ve started the proper cataloguing of my stash that I was threatening a few posts back, including going through and taking photos of it for my ravelry notebook (to help with finding patterns for it all, or in some cases, dedicating a purpose for it, as I’m still contemplating another shawl pattern and could use some of it for design work). This is the majority of my stash, bar oddments –


(Vaguely organised, increasing in weight from left (laceweight) to right (aran), with 4ply/sock yarn mid-left/centre, giant pile of Drops Karisma mid-right… mostly)

Oddly, I don’t think it looks as bad loaded onto the dining table as it feels when it’s occupying the boxes and bags I’ve got scattered here and there around the house, but I’m finding the making up of ‘kits’ harder than I thought it would be. Deciding on a pattern is one thing, but – particularly with stranded projects – I’m finding it tricky to then complete a colourway without thinking ‘ooh, this would be nice if I just had a ball of [insert complementary other colour I don’t already own here]’, which obviously is adding to stash rather than destashing, and something I’m trying to avoid! My laptop is slowly filling up with photos of balls of yarn, and loading them all on to ravelry is going to be no mean feat. So far I’ve photographed all the DK, and added about 3 colours to ravelry, so I really need to get on with it.

Piling all that up reminded me of this –

Captain Kirk, up to his chest in tribbles

(Not actual footage of me attempting to reduce my stash. Honestly.)

I’m mostly thankful that I don’t have to feed the yarn, too.



(No, that link isn’t the theme tune, but I still think it’s apt, and it happens to be my current earworm.)

My order from Black Sheep Wools arrived at lunchtime on Friday, which given that I only placed it late on Wednesday afternoon, was pretty good going. I have 900g of scarf-to-be, aka Stylecraft Special Aran, in Emperor, Burgundy and Claret  –

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I’ve given up trying to adjust this photo to show those colours precisely – but I’m happy with them, and think they’ll make a great S18 scarf, and for less than £20 I’m not going to be complaining if the shades are a little off.

After deciding on the yarn I spent a while dithering over sock needles, but in the end that didn’t happen – instead, I ordered another 100cm interchangeable cable, and then I spotted the fabric section. I now own these beauties!

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I have no idea what I will make with them. I know I was talking about needle rolls, and these are only fat quarters so that may well be all I can ultimately make, but I’m so chuffed with them – they’re as lovely as their thumbnails were on the website (the butterflies one is more green than I was expecting, but given that it’s the ‘Fern’ colourway I’m not sure what I was expecting, and either way it’s still pretty fabulous).

They photographed a little easier than the yarn, too! The butterfly fabric is ‘Moon Shine Swarm’, by Tula Pink. The other is incredibly intricate, and the previous photo doesn’t do it justice, so here’s a closer look (you can click on it to view it in flickr if you want to see it at full size) –

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It’s also a Tula Pink design, ‘Elizabeth Ship Shape’, in Plum. And I won’t lie, I bought them because they sent me a little bit of a Lovecraft vibe. I know those are butterflies, but my brain’s thinking ‘all they ever did was clutch, and fly, and tickle’ – and the crimson sailing ships and stars just make me think of the Dreamlands. Perfect.

As it is, I’m not in any great rush to stitch something at the moment, mostly what I want to do is crack on with the rest of my knitting, because I really, really want to cast on that scarf. The tiny cardigan is almost finished; there’s seaming, weaving in of ends, sewing on of buttons and washing/blocking still to do, but that’s less than a morning’s work. I’ve cast on the hat, and am currently in the throes of short-row shaping (I took this photo shortly before the counting and wrapping of stitches started) –


There’s still the question of which buttons I’m going to use, too, as I bought two different sorts from Hobbycraft the other week.

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I like the retro brown buttons, but I’m going to see which ones R’s mum prefers before I sew anything on.

I’m hoping it should all be done and ready to hand over by this weekend – and as I’m away from home (and my stash) I’ve brought more knitting with me, in the form of the yarn for my sister’s sock. She’s going to be here in a couple of days so I might even get a chance to measure her up (we’re close, just not in an I-know-the-exact-length-of-your-lower-leg kind of way – I don’t think she’ll object because knee length socks that aren’t the right length aren’t terribly useful). And if not, I’m seeing her next weekend anyway. Hopefully I’ll remember to ask her what motif she’d like too, as the last time we spoke I seem to remember there was muttering about dolphins and/or waves (from me), but I don’t quite recall if she came to any kind of decision.

I suspect I might cast on the scarf anyway, as it might provide much-needed relief from stranding when my eyes have had enough of an evening, so here’s to a couple of FOs (hopefully not from my sister, ha) and a new WIP or two by the start of next week!

tidy and neat, neat and tidy

(I really don’t think it’s a coincidence that Mr Messy looks like yarn barf)

The last week or so has seen a bit of long overdue tidying up around the house (prime example – we came back from a camping trip in mid July, and have only just got round to putting the tent back in the Big Cupboard, mostly because the gardening jobs we’d planned were rained off).

It’s nice to be able to move around my bedroom without falling over random bits of camping gear again, and as a bonus, while furtling about in the top of my wardrobe I came across an SD card that had no home. (I have a sneaking suspicion it’s one that I borrowed from my dad a couple of years back when we went away on holiday via his house, because I’d accidentally left my camera’s SD card behind during the brief pit stop we’d had there before all setting off for Dorset or Cornwall or Wales, and he’d happened to bring a spare one away with him. Make of that what you will.)

This basically means that I can take decent photos again! Another bonus of the intensive tidying sessions recently also means that we currently have the dinner table clear of general guff at least 90% of the time, which is a marked improvement on its previous record (zero) and also makes taking photos of my projects less of a major operation. I’m currently also fighting off an annoying cough/cold which has meant hunkering down indoors – I keep attempting to venture out and garden (I bought myself some new plants a week or so ago and they need planting out), but germy spacehead feelings send me scurrying back indoors for a sit down pretty quickly, so I’ve resolved to actually attempt to rest. Not easy when you’ve got three kids at home all the time, so energy priorities have to lie with them, and everything else can wait.

Pottering in the house is something I felt up to yesterday (the day before was a no-show, I took advantage of my husband being off work and went for a lie-down for much of the afternoon), so I resolved to do a bit of blogging, take some progress pics, and – prompted by having had a quick watch of that Mr Messy video – decided to start going through my old stash, picking out the various yarns I’ve had lying about for SO LONG, and do three things. Firstly, put them in their own bag. Secondly, try and think of a suitable recipient for them, based on things like colour, and yarn weight, and potential Thing the Yarn Could Be. And thirdly, decide on a pattern to use, either one that I can design myself and make some notes, otherwise, find a pattern online, print it off, and bag it all up. There is a lot of stash in this house, and it’s not a big house, and I really think I need to get on the case.

First up then, here’s a recent photo of my spinning, which I’ve been doing off and on –

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I did take a break during the warmest weather, because the whole thing stuck to my sweaty hands and wasn’t working at all, the result of which was mostly that pile of not-spun-and-not-spinning-up bits and bobs, which total about 3g all together . Not great when I’ve only actually spun up about 13g, given that I only had 50g to start with! I’ve found the fibre spins up a lot easier at a certain single thickness, below which it’s a bit hit and miss for me just now. This will inevitably mean that there are parts of this that are decidedly on the thin side overall, but I’m hoping the end result won’t be too horrible.

I’ve made reasonable progress on the tiny cardigan, despite most of my knitting being in low light conditions (4ply dark blue yarn with tiny needles didn’t help, though you’d think a pattern that mostly involves k1p1 or stocking stitch wouldn’t cause me as much bother and frogging as it has done).

Here’s where I’m at just now –

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I’ve got about another 30 rows to go (some of which won’t be very long as I’m at the yoke decrease stage), and then the bit I’ll admit to not looking forward to – the button band. Hoping to have that done in the next couple of days so I can cast on the hat, and once that’s done, crack on with my sister’s socks. These are likely to be another marathon knit, being yet more 4ply on even smaller needles, and knee length – albeit not in dark yarn, so that should help! I’m thinking of designing a motif for them myself.

I was just browsing through the needles on blacksheepwools.com (to get my order up from £20 to £25 because that’s their free delivery limit), and while they do stock lovely KnitPro Karbonz, the only interchangeables they do are wooden (Symfonie, and a Norwegian company I’ve not heard of before, Lykke). They’re fine enough, except the reason I need more interchangeables (notably, sizes 3.5mm, 3.75mm and 4.0mm) is that I have a great talent for snapping them (as does my husband’s knee). Now, if I can remember not to leave them on the sofa where they might get kneeled on, and not to stuff them into bags that aren’t big enough for all the stuff I’ve stuffed in them, I might be okay – the question is, can I? I might just get some new DPNs, which seem less prone to snapping (the interchangeable needle tips always snap at the metal barrel bit). I need to hurry up and make a decision though, so I can get my scarf yarn!

I found a couple of projects doing their damnedest to become yarn barf whilst checking whether or not the single interchangeables in my bag were the result of snappage or the other needle still being attached to a project –

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Given that one of those projects is Kidsilk Haze I was expecting untangling to take a while, but thankfully it all came apart in about a minute (you can’t see the third project, it’s a sock just off to the right out of shot). I’m not sure how these three WIPs ended up out of their own bags and into the same one, because it’s not something I regularly do, but that’s all been sorted out now.

And today I felt even better still, and the kids needed a run to the toyshop to pick up something for a friend’s birthday, and the toyshop happens to also be almost next door to Hobbycraft, so now I have buttons for the little cardigan, and hopefully my next post will contain a Finished Object, rather than yet more progress pics!

a short and sweet (and blurry) post

A quick catch up for now, as I don’t want to leave huge gaps in my blog and get out of the habit again! Last week we visited family in Aberdeen, thanks to a fairly last minute week off for my husband, which meant we could spend a bit more time with his family than we usually get, and while the weather wasn’t the best we managed to cram quite a bit in. We had a day out at Crathie Castle (one of Aberdeenshire’s many castles, and one we get to make use of our National Trust membership at), but as I left the SD card for my camera at my dad’s house when I visited there a couple of weeks back, all I had with me was my phone – so here’s a terrible photo of a rather beautiful castle –

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We also had a look inside, where I took probably the worst photo of a spinning wheel ever (and it was a pretty one, too) –

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followed by a slightly better photo of a yarn winder –

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In my defence, it was very dim in there. There was a little sample card in a basket of fluff underneath the spinning wheel that I’m assuming was yarn that had been dyed with various plant dyes. I took this frankly useless photo of it –

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(The dark sample in the middle reads ‘Tansy’, if I remember right, and there’s Onion Skins, Chickweed, Heather and Lichen below it, but I can’t make out the rest, so presumably it was the result of a demonstration or somesuch of dyeing with plants.) We had a wander round the garden afterwards, but I won’t subject you to any more bad photos just now.

Over the next few days, we visited the Science Centre, took the kids for a bike ride along the start of the Deeside Way to Duthie Park, went swimming and crazy golfing (not at the same time), and finally on the way home met up with a friend who we’ve not seen in ages for a cup of tea in the newly refurbished and only just reopened Ballater Station (the other end of the Deeside Way), after which I drove us home through the Cairngorms, a drive I don’t do often enough. Now most of these activities make knitting a tad on the tricky side, but I’ve managed to get a fair bit of the baby cardi done. In fact, earlier this week I’d just about reached the part where I needed to bind off for armholes and cast on some sleeves. I realised that I still hadn’t got a 2.75mm circular needle, but that was fairly easily sorted – my favourite circulars are Addi needles, and I usually get them from amazon, as we have a Prime membership – and they showed up just in time (this was helped by the fact that despite the stitch pattern for this cardi being quite simple, I’ve had to frog back a row or two on more than one occasion). So, they’re here now, and recent mistakes fixed, I’m on to the sleeves. (As it turns out, the sleeves are knit flat, so I could’ve carried on without too much trouble!)

My birthday was at the start of this week, and my sister-in-law thoughtfully sent me a gift card for Black Sheep Wools.  I checked their website first and it turned out that they don’t stock Addi circulars, but this really is a non-problem as it means I get to spend my gift card on yarn instead, haha! And I already have an Actual Project for Me in mind, namely, another Doctor Who scarf, this time in Season 18 colours.

There’s a great Facebook group for DW scarf knitters, Stitches In Time, which as well as having a very helpful and enthusiastic community of knitters and cosplayers, has lots of helpful info on suitable yarns. They have an acrylic DK weight listed that I’m currently umming and ahhing over, as really, the scarf needs to be knit in at least an aran weight. It’s Stylecraft Special, and the colourways listed are Emperor, Claret, and Copper – annoyingly, the Claret isn’t available in the aran weight, the closest alternative being Burgundy. It’s neaaarly the same colour – but not quite, and there lies my dilemma. As it is, the colours aren’t an exact match for the original anyway, so I should probably just bite the bullet and get the aran weight ordered, and um, a needle gauge because mine still hasn’t turned up.

(I suppose I could buy another SD card too, but I’ll be going back down to see my dad in a couple of weeks so it hardly seems worth it… what’s the betting that’s also where I’ve left that needle gauge?)

for your babies

I’ll be honest, I didn’t think finding a few cute cardigan patterns for a baby boy would be too difficult, but I’ve spent the last few days going round in circles and coming out in the same place, namely, this pattern from Drops, called Little Hadrien. I’ve knit two baby jackets already this year, the first for my niece’s baby, the other being the one I posted about last time, but both were for baby girls. (The last pattern I knit is a unisex design, but is still more of a matinee jacket than a cardigan, I think, and as well as that, it’s always nice to try something new.)

I was getting pretty frustrated until I widened my search to include 4ply patterns. The yarn I have is Drops Safran, and so I was just putting sport weight into ravelry’s pattern search, and adding 4ply opened up my choices a little. I only had a few criteria, in that I was looking for something that would work in a cotton yarn, and most importantly, something in the smallest size; this one, for instance, caught my eye – Sunnyside, by Tanis Lavallee. The cable detail is lovely, but sadly, it only starts at age 3 months (I’ve queued it for future reference though!). Still, by the time I’d sifted through the rest of the results, the only other real contender was this little jacket, which has an interesting stitch pattern, and is part of a set that includes a hat and trousers – Heim, from a Danish company called Filcolana

I sent the two links to my cousin’s daughter yesterday, and this one is the pattern she’s chosen. I’ve already swatched twice in preparation, but one swatch has come out very slightly too big, and the other too small (the larger one is only off by 1 stitch and 1 row, but as well as that, the fabric’s just not right). I knit the first with a 2.5mm needle a couple of days ago, as at that point I wasn’t sure which of the two patterns I’d be knitting eventually – the first calls for 2.5mm, and the second for 3.0mm, so that was my second swatch.

This means that despite this yarn apparently being a sport weight rather than a 4ply, it looks like I’m going to have to use 2.75mm needles to get my gauge right (probably down to the fact I’m using a cotton rather than wool yarn, I suspect). I don’t think I actually own a 2.75mm circular needle – hard to check for sure when you don’t know where your needle gauge has gone, and a fair number of needles are wedged in UFOs, but I have no recollection of ever buying one, anyway.

Now, at this point I have to say that I as I typed that last sentence, I mistyped the word don’t as dpn’t, which made me smile, and also nudged a braincell or two into action. I quite possibly have some small 2.75mm double pointed needles (charity shop sweeps have left me with random collections of sock needles), but – more usefully – it reminded me that I might have a pair of straight needles in that size, somewhere in my tins of hand-me-down needles, and being a cardigan, it’s not going to need circulars (or DPNs) until I reach the sleeves. So I ran upstairs and had a rattle about, and found these little beauties –

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All of which means I can cast on straight away, hopefully get gauge this time, and get cracking (and have a look for my needle gauge so I can find out if I actually do have any DPNs that size, or if it’s time to go shopping when I get to the sleeves).

Now, all my hand-me-down needles were passed on to me by my mum, who came into possession of them when my (and also my cousin’s) grandmother passed away, and as she said to me ‘you have these, I’m not much of a knitter’. It was my grandmother who taught me the basics of how to knit – and this little cardigan will be for her great-great-grandson, which is lovely, and heartwarming, and precisely the kind of situation that springs up when you’re carrying on family traditions. I honestly believe it’s this feeling of connection that keeps a lot of crafts going, and a lot of knitters knitting. Myself and my brother and sister spent a lot of time with her when we were little, as did our cousins who lived just round the corner from her (though we called her Mamma – pronounced ‘Mamm-ar’ or ‘Momm-ar’ – which is a Derbyshire thing as far as I know). It’s going to be very satisfying to use her needles to make this little cardigan, and I reckon the fact that I’m using Mamma’s knitting pins to knit her grandson something is my cousin will appreciate, too*.

Incidentally – this week’s blog title is brought to you by another song, which popped into my head as I finished this post, possibly as it’s also similarly unashamedly sentimental, but being around new babies can have that effect (it’s what brought about Hucknall’s penning of the song in the first place, by all accounts). And, in a bout of universal symmetry/spookiness, it’s just about the same age as my cousin’s daughter. Just in case anyone hasn’t heard it, unlikely as that seems to me, or in case you have and you fancy hearing it again – here it is (with a big shout-out to baby R, and his mum and dad and grandparents!) –

*Of all her grandchildren – and I’m sure she probably let us all have a go at knitting at some point, if only to keep us amused while we were round there! – I’m pretty certain I’m the only one that’s a knitter now. When I met little baby R a week or so ago, his mum told me that ‘she wouldn’t know how to go on with knitting’. Maybe next time we meet up I’ll bring some needles and yarn along – I suspect, though, she’s going to have her hands full for a while.