(No apologies for bad puns on this blog, and if by chance there’s anyone out there that doesn’t know what the title of this post refers to – click here!)
In the last week or so, I’ve come to the conclusion that it might be helpful for me to get some project bags sorted. I was checking out the blogosphere to see if I could maybe find some knitters out there that were working with plant fibres exclusively, and also to catch up with some old favourites (my reading of blogs has gone the same way as my writing), and two of the first blogs I managed to wander through/stumble into contained links to bag patterns. The first, Nicola Knits, had several beauties, though they were either sewn or crocheted, neither of which are crafts that I can honestly say I excel at. Her workmanship is certainly something to aspire to. This is the first time I’ve come across her blog, so I’ve added her to my Reader list. She’s also a plant based crafter, so I’m hoping I might pick up more useful info when I get a minute to leaf back a little through her posts. (She also has links to free knitting and crochet patterns of her own.)
The second blog was one I’ve read before, The Knitting Needle and the Damage Done. It stood out when I first stumbled across it years ago because I’m a fan of Neil Young – as, presumably, is she. Not project bags particularly, she’s recently posted a pretty comprehensive list of patterns for knitting all manner of bags, though many of them are felted, which is generally a wool thing so those are out (also another area I’ve not really any experience of, aside from a few laundry mishaps). I quite liked a couple of the shoulder bags, and there was a link to Amy Singer’s book, ‘No Sheep for You’ –
It’s been out for years and I’d forgotten all about it, so that was a handy reminder, and I need to check out the rest of the patterns on ravelry. It’s not entirely plant based (many of the patterns use silk), but I’m sure there’s some useful info in there. Actually, I’ve just noticed that the ravelry blog’s most recent ‘Eye Candy’ post was all about bags, so maybe something subliminal happened there – I certainly wasn’t aware I’d noticed that post until just now! Anyway, I’m still looking for ideas and who knows, project bag envy may motivate me to get a bit more use out of the sewing machine I bought last year.
Last week also saw my dad’s birthday, and I managed to get a pair of socks knitted up and sent to him, though there was a last minute cock-up because he has two letterboxes, one of which is large enough to fit an A4 envelope through, and one of which isn’t, and it obviously wasn’t the regular postie delivering his mail that day so he had to go and collect it from the sorting office the day after. I didn’t manage to get a photo of them before I sent them off, so you’ll just have to take my word for it, but they were navy blue – the same shade of Drops Fabel as the Tardis socks that I knit for my husband, and made to similar measurements (nothing complicated, 68 sts on 2mm needles, 2×2 rib for an inch or two, then decrease to 64 sts and carry on, working top down with a short row heel and a grafted toe).
With those finished, I went back to working on my Sarah Jane Smith Sweater, which had finally reached the stage where I needed to pick up stitches for the collar, so obviously it’d sat about for a bit waiting for me to get round to it. I got that done in one evening, and now it’s at the stage where I have to graft the underarms and weave in some ends. I’ll be honest, that isn’t great for late night tv knitting, so it’s been sidelined again, and I ended up rifling through patterns on ravelry, for a sweater I want to knit for myself with some yarn I bought around about this time last year (or whenever it was that Drops were doing their end-of-summer cotton yarn sale). It’s Drops Safran in white and blue –
(I was obviously in a slightly seasidey mood when I bought it.) I was on the hunt for a good stripey boatneck sweater pattern, but after a couple of evenings I still wasn’t getting very far. I was browsing on my phone, mostly, and it’s not terribly easy to navigate your way round ravelry with a teeny screen, particularly when your eyesight isn’t the greatest and you’re overdue a trip to the opticians by a good few months. I couldn’t bear not having anything to knit whilst watching telly, though, so I ended up starting another sock, this time for my sister –
Turns out I need to frog this and start again with more stitches, because after speaking with her, she’d most like a pair of knee lengths for wearing with wellies, so they’re not quite wide enough. I’ll have to go and have a browse of the Drops site, they have plenty of long sock patterns.
Anyway, I switched to pattern hunting on the laptop and found something that looks like it’ll work a treat, namely, Purl Soho’s Striped Spring Shirt. I’m thinking it’ll probably be spring by the time I get it finished if my track record with sweaters has anything to do with it – and possibly not next spring, either. The good news is that it looks like I’ll have enough yarn to do both this, and a little hooded cardigan and matching stripey socks for my cousin’s brand new baby grandson, who I had the pleasure of meeting this Monday. He’s a real cutie, and I’ve promised his mum I’ll pick out some suitable patterns so she can choose the one she likes best (I’ll share my picks in my next post, because why not, eh?). I’m hoping this yarn will be better than the Drops Paris I was knitting him this pattern with, which, at the halfway point, started to have patches of grubby looking dye distributed liberally through the yarn – it almost looks like machine oil marks, but it’s not. Either way, it was very frustrating as I’d hoped to give her the finished item as a gift while we were down there. I’m going to have another trawl through ravelry, and last week when I took the kids to the library, I picked up a couple of books for myself – ‘Tag You’re Knit!’, by Mary Bonnette & JoLynne Murchland, and ‘The Knitter’s Year’ by Debbie Bliss.
I’ve only had a quick flick through so far, but it looks like the Debbie Bliss has some nice things for children in there amongst the other patterns (and there’s also a bag or two!). The other is obviously all kids patterns, but I’m not sure how many will be suitable. I did spot some cute little boots in the Debbie Bliss book, and they’re knit with Eco Baby which is a sport weight yarn, as is the Drops Safran –
They’re not socks, or a cardi, but if I think I’ve got enough to do those as well, I will.
I thought I’d maybe make a start by breaking the habit of a lifetime (and considerin my track record with previous sweaters) and knit a swatch, so set about looking for a longish 3.5mm circular. I didn’t think this would be so difficult, given that I distinctly remember that the last time I went on the hunt for a 4mm circular, I kept finding nothing but 3.5mms. But it seems that since then, I’ve broken one of the interchangeable wooden 3.5mm needles I had, and all my Addi circs had presumably gone on some kind of summer migration. After checking pretty much every box and bag that I could find that I thought might have a lurking WIP in it, I managed to find one – which was nothing if not serendipitous, as it was stuck in a baby cardigan that I was aiming to get done for someone whose baby is due later this month.
I’d forgotten that I’d still not finished the sleeves, and we were off down to visit my dad for a few days, and I’d planned to nip round to hand this over. So I set to, and this has also now become a Finished Object (with five dotty pink buttons shopped for, and sewn on) and been delivered – and again, I forgot to take a photo before I did that, but in my defence our visit was nothing short of hectic.
The other lucky thing about that, was that I could tell what size the needle was from the pattern – otherwise I’d have been reduced to rolling it on the table alongside other needles to find out what size it is (it’s a KnitPro rather than an Addi, so it doesn’t have the size printed onto the cable) because my needle gauge/ruler thingy has also gone AWOL. I’m hoping it’ll turn up soon, though I’ve been eyeing up this most fabulous of needle gauges (and it’s my birthday at the end of the month). Wandering into Etsy is a dangerous business, of course, and I ended up also looking at yarn bowls (hence the title of this blog post).
Now, I’ve never used a yarn bowl, much in the same way as I’ve never used a project bag, and so generally my yarn is rolling about in whatever ziploc bag it went into when I bought it. I’m trying to wean myself off those – aside from the plastic issue, they don’t last long with pointy needles, really. I like the fact I can seal them up and keep the bugs and dirt off my yarn (except obviously they’re not very sealed once they’ve been punctured with a set of DPNs) and I don’t think I can afford to buy cedar boxes for all my yarn (apparently a wood with natural moth/insect repellant properties?), but I have to admit they don’t really work either as project bags, or as a place to keep my yarn while I’m knitting with it. Obviously Etsy also has Doctor Who yarn bowls, though mostly they seem to be US based sellers, and the shipping is quite considerable as they’re heavy ceramic bowls. I think I might be better off with something made of wood, to be honest, as I’d be in constant fear of breaking a ceramic bowl that I’d paid fifty quid for and so would likely be too afraid to ever use it, which kind of defeats the object. Mind you, I’m amazed that so far no one seems to have incorporated the seal of Rassilon into a bowl, as I think it might lend itself particularly well to the curly holey bit that catches the yarn in most of the bowl designs I’ve seen –
And finally – speaking of Etsy, I still have a couple of pairs of socks that I knit for my business last year, but didn’t list in my shop as I never got it together before Christmas! If you’re interested, comment below/email me at aminspaceATgmail.com (the AT replaced with @ – it’s removed to avoid my email getting spammed even more than it usually does). I’m happy to post to anywhere in the world, and can quote a shipping price based on your location. I take payments via Paypal.
These are thick, hand knit socks with a traditional Nordic Snowflake pattern, and contrasting toe.
100% merino wool, calf length socks, to fit size 4 to 7 (UK). Foot length is 21cm, leg length (top to heel) is 27cm. They are £20 plus postage.
I also have a pair of wool/alpaca blend ankle socks (they’re very soft) –
Foot length is 20cm, to fit size 3 to 7 (UK), and they’re £15 + postage.