Saturday, 26 July 2008

Ta Dah!

The Aran Sampler Scarf revealed! *

I REALLY love this scarf. It's knitted up in handspun courtesy of my uncle (what a lucky neice I am!), it's nicely rustic, and smells all woollen and eucalyptusy (mmm).

I also really love it, cause I designed it myself!

I charted the cables, and figured out how to move them around the fabric as I went. Hooray for lead pencils and graph paper. I even unpicked some bits to improve the flow of the cables from one section to another.

The photo below shows the grafted section of the scarf. If you pick it up and feel it, you can find it, cause I wasn't as careful with the tension as I could have been. But the variable texture of the yarn hides it pretty well.

At some point in the future (hopefully not too far away), I will sit down with the charts and write up the pattern.

And in aesthetic opposition to this lovely scarf is the most ugly sock I have ever knitted. But, twas for a good cause. My brother broke his foot, and ripped some tendons from the bone, so no normal socks for him this winter! I made this pattern up too ... just a basic ribbed toe-up sock, worked in worsted weight yarn to speed up the process.

* Sorry Mike, no jumper for you :)

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Grafting Rib (wordy knitting instructions)

Due to popular request (Princess Pea). I am about to write out instructions on grafting ribbed sections of fabric.

First a few 'disclaimers':
  • I'm sure I'm not the first to have figured out this (or another) method of grafting ribbed knitting.
  • The basic technique I use stems from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitters Almanac. It has lovely pictures, and a very workable set of instructions. I think it's one of the best knitting books I've ever bought, and if you want more practice at grafting, buy it! (the Book Depository usually has it for a good price).

So here goes (I might get around to taking some photos and adding them later).

  • I usually start with a piece of scrap yarn threaded through the live stitches so that I don't accidentally lose them. I pull it out stitch by stitch, as I weave through the stitch (if you don't the stitches have a tendency to sit a bit crooked).
  • Lay the two pieces of knitting flat on your lap with the live stitches (loops) facing each other.
  • Take a blunt needle threaded in the grafting yarn (usually the same as what the fabric's knitted in).
  • Starting with the bottom piece of knitting (closest to your tummy), with the purl bumps facing down, thread the needle DOWN through the right most stitch, and UP through the next one to the left.
  • Switch to the top piece of knitting, thread the needle DOWN throught the rightmost stitch, and UP through the next one to the left.
  • Switch to the bottom piece of knitting and go DOWN in the second stitch from the left (the one you went up in before), and up through the next stitch to the left.
  • Switch to the top piece of knitting and go DOWN in the second stitch from the left (the one you went up in before), and up through the next stitch to the left.

Get the idea

Now for the rib part

  • When you get to a section of purl bumps, go down through the next stitch on the bottom piece (the last stocking stitch stitch), then flip your sections of knitting over, and rotate them so that the thread is no on the top piece of knitting (ie 180 degrees).
  • The approaching purl bumps have now become standard right side stocking stitch. Go up through the next stitch on the left (top piece).
  • To finish off the last of the stocking stitch, go up through the partially woven stitch on the bottom, and up through the next stitch to the left (on the bottom piece).
  • Continue from here on as if it's normal stocking stitch. Whenever you approach a section of purl bumps, flip and rotate, and carry on.

It makes a lot more sense as you actually do it ... you can see how the weaving works (especially if you use a contrasting colour). Knit up a couple of swatches (4x4 rib would be good to try), and have a go. I'll work on some photos to add, that may make it a bit simpler.

Monday, 14 July 2008

I feel clever

Can you guess what this is ???

Aside from poorly taken photos, that is (stupid sun going down early in winter).

It's two bits of ribbing that I've grafted together! My theory worked! It is possible!

I've been studying up on EZ's grafting technique (in the Knitters Almanac), and it's opened a whole new world of grafting. No more purlwise, knitwise off, knitwise, purlwise off for me. My favourite technique is now to have the live stitches on a piece of yarn that I pull out as I go, and join the two sections with their loopy bits top and bottom, sitting on my knee (or table if my back gets sore).

If you flip the sections over and rotate 180 degrees when you come to the purl section, it works out nicely. I'm sure there's a clearer way to explain it, but can't convert my head instructions into workable English at the moment.

So why have I mastered this amazing feat ?????

It's blocking at the moment, and I don't want to spoil the surprise....

Sunday, 6 July 2008


Yesterday was a nice Saturday. Lots to do, but not too busy.

I started the morning mashing potato to make focaccia (an interesting but really yummy recipe).
While the dough was rising I popped down to the shops to stock up on some fresh veges, and replenish staple food stocks. I just love 'popping' down to the shops on a Saturday morning - not a big shop, just picking up items for use on that day.

Ingredients at hand, back at home I made a herb, rocket & blue cheese frittata (gotta eat that blue cheese somehow), sauteed mushrooms, chargrilled banana chilis and roasted grape tomatoes to go with the focaccia that was now proving.

Most of the cooking was finished just in time for the arrival of two of my sisters in law. We had organised a lunch date to watch Northanger Abbey (that had been shown on the ABC recently).

Corn chips and salsa at the ready, we sat down to watch and eat, pausing momentarily to clear more room on the coffee table as the food was distributed.

Northanger Abbey was so good that we decided to watch Mansfield Park as well (which wasn't so good). Joe got sick of the mess in the kitchen (I'd already cleaned up once, and was working up to round two), so washed up and repacked the dishwasher.

The rest of the afternoon was spent making a bookmark to give to a dear friend for her birthday ... the party was that night (nothing like a deadline to get things moving). I finished the tassel in the car, as we drove to Newtown. (forgot to take a photo).

Dinner was delicious Thai food, with a bit of a kick! We had a great time meeting Leanne's friends from her new church, and catching up with her and other friends we hadn't seen for a while.

We were back home by 10:30. Joe to rewind the hard disk recorder and watch the first stage of Le Tour. Me to read in bed for a bit, before turning off the light.

Pretty humdrum? Yeah I guess, but the kind of humdrum I like ... food, friends, fun. My kind of Saturday.