Monday, October 26, 2009

Update of sorts

The last eight months or so has been stressful. First my mother's cancer got worse very very fast. She died late March, 61 years (not) old. My sister got home from Australia just hours before Mum slid into unconsiousness and she passed away two days later. Then there were grief and funeral planning and funeral and all the administration needed. Plus all the usual work and kids and activities.

Then we stumbled upon a new house. A very nice new house, larger that our old one, with rooms for everyone (including a third floor studio space for me!) and a rather smaller garden. We had originally planned to extend our old house with an extra bedroom and office but after much agonising we decided to move instead. So the summer was filled with putting our old house on the market (which includes a lot of cleaning and removing of clutter and stuff), showing it to prospective buyers and finally selling it. Hiring a contractor to finish the two rooms plus storage that wasn't finished in teh new house. And planning for the move. The actual move took place mid-September, about five weeks ago. We finalised the sale of the old house two weeks ago. It feels So Good to be done with it! Now we can concentrate our efforts on the new house.

My father has been a tremendous help through all this. I think it has been a help for him to have things to do, he's mostly retired, and suddenly a widower with too much free time. Picking up the kids at daycare and school and activities when DH and I didn't have time. Fixing and mending stuff in the old house. Transporting loads of crap to recycling. Housing a room full of boxes that we suddenly didn't have room for. Being handyman in the new house, fixing this and that, installing things and building things. He's still at it, because of course we are not done. I don't know what we'll do when he takes of for almost three months in Australia on 1 December! He won't get much of a vacation though, my sister has a long list of what she'd like him to help with down there...

Stress has taken its toll though. I have been ill twice this autumn already, and I'm never ill usually. Now I've had tonsillitis requiring anitbiotics a few weeks ago, and now DH and E and me have all been down with some sort of flu. I'm at home today too with a sore throat and general tiredness. Bleh. The younger kids have been ok though.

There has been knitting through it all! My sanity saver, really. Mostly smaller things, socks, fingerless mittens, a few simple shawls. I have finished my Must-Have cardigan and I love it. It was a bit on the tight side when done, but it has grown slightly with wearing and I'm so happy with it. The only negative thing with it is that I have a tendency to be cold at the upper chest, so a v-neck isn't the best option for me. But I can always put on a backwards shawl! I haven't had time for much picture taking either, so I have no nice pics of anything lately. Must make DH work a bit for his socks (that I also finished :-)

Right now I'm working on Through The Loop's Socktober mystery sock. The last clue (the toe) is due on Thursday, I may be on track then. right now the foot is done on sock number one and the gusset decreases are just started on sock number two. It has been a very enjoyable mystery pattern, varied and nice looking too.
There is also a Baby Surprise Jacket for SIL who is expecting her first baby in March. I'm using one strand of Drops Fabel sock yarn in green, blue, orange, yellow and one strand of Drops Alpaca in a light green. That will be gender neutral enough I think. I will probably make matching Djevellue if I have enough yarn, I think I do.
I had to start the learning sock from Cat Bordhi's new book Personal Footprints. I must say that I'm a bit dubiuos about this method, It looks very complicated to me, and a new learning sock is needed for each gauge. Hmm. I absolutely love her previous sock book though so I'm giving it a try.
There are also a few simple bus projects, a sock and a sock yarn hat.

I have missed blogging, sometimes I write posts in my head but there has been simply no time. I have very few knitting friends (and I have managed to be ill for the last two kntting groups as well) so blogging is a way to "talk" about knitting. I try to keep my projects up to date on Ravelry though, so take a look there if you like.

Because blog posts are more fun with pictures, here are our tiny bare garden with our newly planted fruit trees (apple in the front, pear at back left, cherry at back right):

And my (very messy and only halfway unpacked) studio:

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Domino Sunset Shawl

I've finally managed to write up the pattern for my domino knit shawl. Enjoy! I'm very fond of my shawl, it's big and cosy to wrap up in on a chilly evening. (ED: I forgot to credit Sabine for the idea. I saw her shawl on Ravelry and was inspired to make my own version. She also gave some hints on how to get started. Thanks Sabine!)
Please contact me if you find any errors or oddities! Or if you need help. I've done my best to write this up as clearly as I can, but you never know.

The shawl is started at the tip and worked row by row from right to left. You can make it with any size squares. Just cast on an odd number of stitches. Swatch and play with different sized squares to see what suits your yarn. Do you want solid squares or striped? Big or small?

The nice thing about working from the tip is that you can check the size as you go and stop when the shawl is just the right size. I blocked my shawl very lightly so it hardly grew at all. If you don't like my special neck, just fill in the space with another triangle.

Try to weave in the ends as you go, either when knitting one of the first rows of a new square or with a needle after knitting a few squares.

Yarn: Kauni Effekt EU (yellow-orange-red) or another yarn with loooong colour shifts. I used 1570 m (1720 yards), you'll need more if you want a wider and/or rufflier edge than mine.
Needles: 3 mm (or size to get a fabric you like) circular needle
Gauge: 24 stitches/10 cm (4”) The sides of my squares are about 18 cm (7”) long.
Size: about 188 cm (74”) across the top edge and 94 cm (37”) down the back, including the 5 cm (2”) wide ruffle.

Square 1 (tip)
KCO 81 sts.
Row 1: Knit until 1 stitch remains, p1.
Row 2: Sl 1 kwise, k 38 (until 1 stitch from middle stitch), sl 1 kwise, k2tog, psso, k38, p1.
Row 3 (and all odd rows): Sl 1 kwise, k until 1 stitch remains, p1.
Row 4 (and all even rows): Sl 1 kwise, k until 1 stitch from middle stitch, sl 1 kwise, k2tog, psso,k until 1 stitch remains, p1.
Work until you are about to start a right side row and you have only three stitches on the needle: sl 1 kwise, k2tog, psso. Pull the stitch a little larger, cut yarn and pass the end through the stitch. Do not pull tight. This is the ”waiting stitch”, you will use it later.

Square 2 (right edge)

Right edge square: KCO 40 sts, PU 41 sts from the left edge of square 1, leave the waiting stitch from square 1 alone. 81 sts.
Row 1: Sl 1 kwise, knit until 1 stitch remains, p1.
Proceed from row 2 on square 1.

Square 3 (left edge)
PU the waiting stitch from square 1, plus 40 along the right edge of square 1, KCO 40 stitches. 81 sts. Row 1: Knit until 1 stitch remains, p1.
Proceed from row 2 on square 1.

Square 4 (right edge)
As square 2

Square 5 (inside)
PU the waiting stitch from square 2, plus 39 stitches along the left edge of square 2, 1 stitch in the middle of the V between squares 2 and 3 and 40 sts along the right edge of square 3, leave the waiting stitch from square 3 alone. 81 sts.
Row 1: Sl 1 kwise, knit until 1 stitch remains, p1.
Proceed from row 2 on square 1.

Square 6 (left edge)
As square 3

Keep working like this, adding rows of squares until you have 6 rows of squares or the shawl is the size you want it to be.

Top edge Triangles
Knit the triangles just like the squares but add a decrease at the beginning of every row by working an ssk instead of the sl 1. When 4 sts remain: ssk, k2tog, slip first st over the second, cut the yarn and pull out the end.
Leave out the middle triangle for slimmer fit around the neck.

Top border
PU stitches all along the top edge, one stitch in each ssk, from the right side. The exact amount is not important, I didn't count mine, but don't pick up too many, the finished edge should be nice and flat.
Round 1: Sl 1 kwise, knit to end, p 1.
Round 2: Sl 1 kwise, kfb, k to neck edge, kfb, kfb, k to neck center, sl 1 kwise, k2tog, psso, k to neck edge, kfb, kfb, k to end, p1.
Repeat round 1 and 2 for a total of 3 garter ridges. BO loosely. Do not break yarn but go directly to the side border (2 ends less to weave in!)

Side borders
PU stitches along both side edges, including the top border, one stitch for each CO stitch, from the right side. Use a very long circ if available. I used two shorter circs, one for each side. The exact amount of stitches is not important, I didn't count mine (I didn't want to know)
Row 1: Sl 1 kwise, knit to end, p1.
Row 2: Sl 1 kwise, *kfb, k1* to end, p1. I did an extra kfb at the center stitch, but it doesn't really matter. This makes a moderately ruffly edge. If you want a very ruffly edge kfb in ever stitch instead, but you will need lots more yarn.
Row 3: Sl 1 kwise, knit to end, p 1.
Row 4: Sl 1 kwise, kfb, knit to center, kfb, kfb, knit to end, p1.
Repeat row 3 and 4 until it looks right. I did 11 ridges (because I didn't have more yarn) but I think 20 ridges (half the width of a square) would look nice. BO loosely.

Weave in all ends and block lightly. I gave my shawl a bath, squeezed out the water and smoothed it out on towels to dry with just a few pins at the top edge.

KCO: Knitted cast-on. Use it! It makes a good edge for picking up stitches.
sl 1 kwise: Slip 1 stitch knitwise
sl 1 kwise, k2tog, psso: Slip 1 stitch knitwise, knit 2 stitches together, pass the slipped stitch over the new stitch. 2 stitches decreased.

Copyright Malin Nilsson 2009. You may not sell this pattern or any products made from it.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Marching on

I keep writing blog posts in my head but, somehow, they don't get posted... The family is back in the real world now, with two working parents and three kids in daycare/school. Add evening activities for two of the kids and a very sick grandparent and you have busy, busy weeks. I tend to spend my spare time knitting (and Raveling!) instead of blogging.

I've been knitting a lot but not finishing much. I seem to be starting new things instead of finishing the old ones. Hmm. Though I have finished the Noro sock shawl (one skein made a largish scarf)

and a pair of socks, Chevvy from Knitting Socks With Handpainted Yarn (interesting pattern, the fit is amazing, and a great book).

Oh, and a pair of fingerless mittens from leftover sock yarn.

And a small Clapotis.

Wait, I did a pair of worsted weight bedsocks for Mum (Dream In Color Classy from my Twist cardigan).

And a vest.

Ok, so it seems like I finish some stuff after all...

I'm very happy with the vest! Of course it's inspired by Brooklyntweed's vest but I worked it top down without steeks. I have steeked things in the past, no biggie, but I didn't feel like it this time, and I was unsure about the proper fit of a vest so I wanted something I could try on as I went along. I managed to make the striping work rather well without the steeks.

The striping yarn is Noro Silk Garden (yum!) and the solid is Dream In Color Classy. I used the design-you-own-sweater-with-inset-sleeves (but without the sleeves) from the back of Custom Knits. This is a *very* good book. Highly recommended. Lots of good information on fitting sweaters, lots of great patterns and lots of info on designing your own. Most patterns are worked top-down which makes it so easy to try as you go and make adjustments if needed.

The Cobblestone is still OTN. I have to force myself to work on it, don't know why really. I mean, the yarn is nice, the fabric is nice and I want DH to have it *now*. Though it is rather fiddly to work with at this stage. I'm knitting both sleeves at the same time, magic loop, on my longest Harmony cable. But it is only 120 cm/47" long so the sleeves are a bit crowded. Anyway, all the increases are done and I only need to work another 3 inches or so. Then I get to lengthen the body by an inch and put it all together! I expect it will be more fun after that. Short-rows and decreases and everything.

I have finished the main part of the Domino Sunset shawl and the top edging. I guess I'm about halfway through the side edging. I picked up about a million stitches all along the side edges, then I increased in every other stitch to make a sort of gentle ruffle. Now it is a race to see what I will run out of first, patience or yarn!

For more info on my projects, please see my Ravelry project page!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Happy 2009

Aaaaahhhh. Yaaaawn.
I have been off work since the weekend before Christmas and it feels So Good. I'm reasonably rested (because I have a one-year-old that wakes a bit earlier than I would like) and have done mostly nothing for two weeks. Heaven.

Reality is creeping closer though, I'm starting work on Wednesday, and M starts working in two weeks time. Then it's back to dropping children off at daycare and school before work and picking them up after work. M and me are both going to work 90% of full time so that will help a bit. And my parents will pick up the kids some days too.

I have been knitting a lot since my last post, I hardly know where to start... Let's play catch-up, shall we! For details see my Ravelry project page.

My Domino Sunset shawl has five rows of squares now, and the last row is under way.

Then there will be triangles to straighten the top, and some sort of edging I have to swatch. I need to get another ball of yarn too. It is an enjoyable knit, and it is easy to feel the progress as I finish each square.

I got a little crazy and very rapidly knit three pairs of felted clogs for the kids from that Fiber Trends pattern over Christmas. Here they are before felting.

Fun pattern, I will make a pair for myself too (I have ordered yarn) The felting was no fun though. First some manual abuse, then three or four trips through the quick 30 minute cycle of my front loader then some more manual abuse in the sink. I think they are ok now but they are drying very slowly. I have absorbent paper in them but it still takes time.

I finally got enough tired of the ziploc baggie with Harmony needle parts in it so I made a nice case instead.

Everything fits nicely with room to grow. I like that the fabric coordinates with the needles too :-) It's two batik fat quarters from the fabric stash.

Let's see... yes, socks! M asked for more socks. He wanted something red and chose Cherry Tree Hill Sockittome in Sugar Maple, red and orange and yellow. I picked out some suitable patterns for that yarn and he finally chose Dolomite, by Knitspot. It looks great so far!

I modfied the pattern to work from the toe up. Easy peasy, just turn the chart upside down! I think I will do some sort of mini gusset and short row heel. I used that kind of heel on my Loopy socks, see:

It could have been longer but I didn't want to disrupt the nice stripes.

The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in the Loopy Ewe colour. Great fun to knit!

Mid-November M and I went to northern Sweden and Norway with the company we both work with. I made myself new mittens before we went.

I made up the pattern, will post soon. They are knit top down from sock yarn held double. Nice and warm though not warm enough for -15 °C.

On the way North I made a hat from some of my handspun.

It turned out really well. I started it the night before we left and knit on the way to the airport, on the plane and finished it on the first short bus trip up north. It shocked some of my workmates that it was so quick to make :-)

The other travel projects were the Loopy socks above and my first Moebius scarf.

Fun to make and the perfect travelling project.

I don't think I have showed off my finished February Lady Sweater. Here it is:

Colour is most accurate in the first picture I think. I am very happy with it. The Malabrigo is so soft and the simple lace pattern becomes the slightly fuzzy yarn. I also made a matching hat!

Here are some pics of the blocked Adamas:

Adamas blocked out to be very large, but it has a nice drape and the Dream In Color Baby yarn is very nice.

This shawl/scarf is also very nice.

Unfortunately it is not mine anymore...

It was Moms birthday present and I really want one of my own. When I can justify buying the yarn for it. This was made from two balls of Noro Silk Garden Sock and I would like it larger... It is an absolutely gorgeous yarn for shawls but not very suitable for socks I think.

Socks... I made new socks for the big kids. Here are the ones for E:

... and the ones for H:

Oh, and I have started a simple shawl in Noro Kureyon sock.

I have one ball, we'll see how large the shawl gets, maybe it's just a scarf. I tried to make Ziggy's, working from both ends of the ball but the colours turned the same whatever I did so shawl it is!

Now I'm going to knit a bit before A wakes up! M's Cobble stone is still OTN, and I want to finish it (or at least up to the armpits) before I start a sweater (or three) for myself!