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Heartburn

We moved a month ago. In Bombay we haven’t got a house yet, so most of our luggage is cling film wrapped, corrugated cardboard protected and in a garage.

I fully intended to carry my ASIL with me, but in an evil moment, gave it to be packed. I only have some 4-ply acrylic and a crochet hook. And have been making relentless grannies. So much so that ennui has hit. And I decided not to do anything about finishing off the last hank. Nevertheless I shall not be carrying the project with me to Hyderabad, where I am going tomorrow.

The project began with this.

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It does not feel very harmonious yet. I wonder how it will turn out.

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It will be mostly a join-as-you-go project, but for portability I decided I’d make all the squares from four of the hanks. Which I’ve almost done. Except I ran out of steam on the last hank, and made only three or four.

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I bought some weaving videos from interweave, and watching is making my hands itch and my heart burn to get weaving. No idea when that will be.

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Unfinished business

Pineapple Posy

Remember the packing twine I used for my towel topper a few weeks ago (scroll down)? I had some left over and I badly needed a thingy for a side table (you’ve got to love the Military Engineering Services for the sheer numbers of dinky little tables they provide you with), so in overweening optimism, I started a doily called Pineapple Posy from Pineapple Crochet Designs ed. Rita Weiss. Naturally, the twine ran out, and I ended up with this. It shall remain in this condition forevermore, so in my books, it’s a finished object. At least the pineapples are done!

For my August CAT PAC, a friend sent me lots of blue-themed yarn and the Spring issue of Interweave Crochet, which had the Boteh scarf pattern. I had to start it immediately, so I grabbed the Patons Kroy sock yarn Rosi sent me as a contest prize and set off. The pattern repeat is simple enough, but I had to rip a bit after the second motif, having confused myself with right and wrong sides. Now it is making sense, though, and I’ve made quite some progress. Here it is:

Boteh scarf

Please forgive the blurry pictures, I’ll try and get a better one of the Boteh once it’s done.

I’ve also finished and added a zipper to Jacque‘s pattern that I was testing. Turned out a bit small, but more on that later. Have a hat FO in the wings, also, perhaps tomorrow.

I’ll never understand the fascination of the Larger than Life Bag, though. It’s just some motifs, right? Perhaps I’m missing something.

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Looping along

Magic loop is really magic! I was in a desperate situation, making this pullover, and needing to make the sleeves. I do not have dpns in the size I required, and no way was I going to convert a knit-in-the-round pattern to a knit flat one, just for the pleasure of seaming. So I grabbed my longest circular (it’s actually a size smaller, but then I didn’t have the size required in circulars, either) and googled, and landed upon this site which has pictures explaining how to work small circumference items on two circulars or one circular using the magic loop technique. So simple and so well explained! I never want to go back to straight needles or dpns!

So I’ve come this far:
Merino pullover

Using the NZ merino Shepherd Cynthia Helene that I won from Nona when she was giving some of her stash away. It’s yummy! 400 yards that went from NZ to the US and came to India for me. Now I’m planning it will go back to the US, for a friend of mine who’s having a second boy (something in the water, perhaps?).

Cynthia Helene

This yarn refuses to be photographed in its true colours, but it’s a lovely dark browny kind of shade, named Ginger.
The circular I’m using is Heide‘s, and is some soft plastic-like material, but flexible. I tried using my Denise with the shortest cable length, but found it was too rigid. Must try and see if magic loop works with Denise, as the cable and the tips on this one are all the same piece and fused together, but the cable is quite a bit narrower than the tip, making it difficult to slide the stitches over.

I’m halfway through the second sleeve to the point where the sleeves and the body will be joined together and the yoke worked.

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Can someone explain why my “Yarn and Thread Stores in India” page gets the most spam? Does that phrase mean something it shouldn’t in some language, perhaps?

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Help!

Chart

How do I do the chain loops and the trebles into them? More precisely, how do I move from one chain loop to another? Please help me! This is from Burda Crochet Lace N.227. The picture is clickable.

ETA: With the help of experienced and helpful neighbours at Crochetville, the problem has been successfully solved! What looks like two rows are in fact worked as one (very clever and a technique I’ve never applied before, in this manner, at least) and hey presto, you have the magical “hanging in the air” impression.

There was another minor (potentially major) hiccup when I ran out of thread, and this morning’s expedition to the local craft store only led to a paler shade. Another expedition in the afternoon to another craft store yielded what the husband assures me is the same shade, only packaged in 20gm balls rather than 50gm. We shall now resume our scheduled crocheting.

Another remarkable thing is that facing the prospect of having to redo the entire doily in a colour I had more of, I wasn’t daunted. There are very few patterns I ever redo, so that says something about this one, I think. How about you? Do you usually redo patterns, or never?

Also, WordPress now has an Advanced toolbar in its editor. I must explore it sometime, and see if I can post tables, for example.

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Pins and things

Here are the pins I used to block my last doily. 40 to the package. Must buy more.

Pearlised pins

And here is an in-progress shot of my latest WIP, a baby dress for my friend’s daughter. There are some errors in the pattern, but they are manageable.

Baby dress

I’ve now finished it, but have lots and lots of ends to weave in, then I shall wash it and try and find a proper medium (teddy bear?) to display it so that the stitches show better. The pattern is from Crochet World June 2005, but I found the stitch pattern also in one of my Harmony Guides. Ain’t that nice? I’m using Anchor’s knitting cotton (which is probably equivalent to bedspread weight). Stash thread. I haven’t bought new thread/yarn for ages (except to send off to friends).
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Cordelia sent me this magazine (way back when the Post Office hadn’t yet decided to devour her mail to me) in July 2005, OMG, we’ve known each other for nearly two years now. Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.

The blogosphere is abuzz with news of the new knitting/crochet community called Ravelry, and the concept sounds quite interesting, especially the part about being able to keep track of your projects, stash and notions online. I’m a digital geek. It’s still in beta, though, which means, I can’t join yet 🙁 I have sent in my name for the list, though.

In book news, I’m reading Martha Grimes’ The Horse You Came in on, which is a Richard Jury mystery, except it’s set in the US. Hmm. And the story keeps getting interrupted by a story within a story, which I don’t think I like. It’s slow going.

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Bamboo

Bamboo purse handles

I went looking for an embroidery frame at a craft shop and I struck it lucky, finding these bamboo bag handles. The upper ones were Rs 50 a pair (about a $1.10) and the lower ones were Rs 40 a pair (about $.90). Now all I have to do is make some bags. But you know, I prefer my bags to be shoulder ones, so that my hands are free. Time was, all my trousers had pockets so my wallet could be in them and my keys, and I could swing my arms freely around. Alas, now all my trousers are pocketless and I am laden with a handbag with my cell phone, keys, wallet, pens and things. Sigh.

Now I want you to cast your mind back to when you were younger, the world was friendlier and everyone loved everyone else. Remember the last time I showed you some respectable crochet? It could be this or this, neither of which were truly respectable, actually. Anyhow, I am now showing you some work in progress:
Baby blanket

This is a baby blanket using the Offset Shells stitch pattern from one of my Harmony Guides. I seem to remember Cordelia told me the yarn is Lionbrand Woolease (she sent it to me via my uncle in Houston whom my sister visited on her way back from Hawaii). The skeins are label-less, so I haven’t a clue what colour it is supposed to be. It’s about 40 inches wide and I’m close to the end of the second skein, with one more left to go. I shall make this as big as it gets and then pop it off in the mail to one of two friends with small children. There’s another one being made, also from a Harmony Guides stitch pattern and it’s a bit er, unorthodox, shall we say? I haven’t got a picture of it yet, but I shall soon.

I am happy to report I successfully used the Russian join on this one which leaves me with two less ends to weave. I’m not quite sure how exactly to manipulate the yarns when you’re trying to join two different coloured ones, though, so as to get the join exactly at the stitch you want it.

In happy book news, a branch of Crossword has opened  in this town and it’s walking distance from my house. I visited it the first day and bought Pico Iyer‘s Falling off the Map. I’ve never read him before.

But currently I am reading Alan Clark‘s (colourful chap) Diaries and it’s an interesting experience. I bought it at a discarded books sale at the British Council Library in Hyderabad, along with a bunch of Reginald Hills that I haven’t blogged about. My sister has a deep fascination with Maggie Thatcher and this book has several insights. And I’m learning things I never thought could be true outside books about how British politics work. Also Clark met George Courtauld (Travels of a Fat Bulldog) at an airport in Latin America. Now I want to go back and see if Courtauld refers to the meeting. Except I don’t know where to look for the book. I think my sister had borrowed it from the BCL on one of my Hyd trips. Sometimes it all sounds like Alice in Wonderland. Things like the Queen’s Messengers, and tea parties are actually true!

One of my favourite pieces of dialogue in Alice:

“Whose job is it to answer the door?” (Alice)

“Why, what questions has it been asking?” (the footman, I think).

Oh, and I bought a so-called bamboo cotton sari the other day at a craft fair from a persuasive Jaipuri salesman. I wonder how authentic it is. It qualifies as a party sari (for naval parties where Kanchi and Venkatagiri would be too aunty-like). Don’t know how long it will last. All glamour and glitter.

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Ambition and uglification

Almost a year ago now, I inflicted myself on Secret Pal 8 (or was it 7?). I never heard from my downstream partner whether she even received the stuff I sent or if she liked it, but my upstream was a darling! I got lovely lovely things from her, which I still take out to pet and inhale, and finally decided to do something with (I have a UFO with some of the yarn she sent, but more of that some other time). This was some 50% silk, 50% wool yarn she hand-dyed just for me.
Close-up
Yarn by woollywormhead.co.uk

It occurred to me that this yarn might be nice for socks. So I wound it up and set off. I cast on 68 stitches (!!!, who, me swatch?) and found it was too big, so I frogged, and cast on 56 and went up to this:
Woollywormhead's sock

The striping was fascinating, but the fit was unfortunately off, yet again. It was too big even for the husband. I was using dpns in size 3 mm because I have 4 of them and the only smaller size set I have (which seems pretty small) has only 3 needles. Waah! So, could I possibly knit socks on just 3 dpns? I do not have any implements smaller than this, unless you count crochet hooks, tapestry/sewing needles and safety pins. It appears I have the following options: (click to read the whole sorry tale)

Continue reading Ambition and uglification

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Cotton is good

Dishcloth #3

I don’t use dishcloths actually, but I find infinite satisfaction in having a Finished Object™, and one, moreover, which uses stitches/stitch patterns new to me. And I find that cotton yarn has this wonderful definition in it, which makes the stitches stand out. Over at the Dishcloth KAL, they’ve announced prizes for the three top (as in most prolific, I suppose) dishcloth knitters. The top two are pounds of dishcloth cotton and the Mason-Dixon knitting book. Sigh. While I covet both wildly (imagine the miles of dishloth-y things that could be made with a pound of the stuff!!! and that baby kimono…on second thoughts, maybe the cotton is better.) Anyway, I fall way, way behind in the counts 🙁 That’s ok, I’m still having fun putting off other work making just as many as I can.

So here’s two more.
Dishcloth #3

Dishcloth #4

The regulation details about these:

Yarn: Caron Cotton Tales (white) and Rio from Reynolds (pink), both 100% cotton. I can’t find websites for either yarn. Caron must have discontinued this cotton and perhaps Reynolds is one of those rarities, a brick-and-mortar-only company (Do they still exist in the US of A?). I just got to a Reynolds site and there is no mention of this yarn at all. The Rio yarn is made in Brazil. The Cotton Tales is plied and softer than the Rio.

Needles: Oh dear. I don’t remember now. But I think 3.75mm Pony straights.

Pattern: Kitchen Cotton Dishcloth and Woven Dishcloth, both from the Dishcloth Boutique
Time: I’m slow.
Size: 7.5″ x 8″and 7.5 x 9″ square

Extra: #Nothing, really. Oh yes, the imaginatively named Kitchen Cotton cloth is fully reversible. Which you have to love about a piece of knitting or crochet.
Ok, the eagle-eyed among you might have spotted that spiky purple thing in the background behind the pink dishcloth. That is yet another project I have started. It’s a free Bernat pattern and although I am making it for a boy, those are the colours in stash and that’s what I’m using. *insert mulish look* Using stashy acrylic, it’s coming out way bigger than I think it’s supposed to, but my friend says her baby is big, so that should be okay. I got to just after the armholes decrease and then inexplicably stopped.

What I find hard to understand is why this cardigan was designed in pieces instead of making it one piece up to the armholes and then splitting it up. Funny. Especially when you think that in crochet making things without seams is so much easier (and you don’t even have to resort to circulars/dpns etc) as you only ever have one stitch to think about. I read somewhere that having seams makes garments drape better or something. Is that true?

And then you could just pick up at the armholes and make the sleeve downward with decreases rather than upwards with increases. What a pain (working upwards, I mean). Of course, never having designed anything myself, I am not in any way qualified to comment. But I’d really appreciate not having a zillion seams to sew at the end of what is supposed to be a quick project. Not to mention the number of ends that will have to be woven in. 🙁

Anyway, before I go, I’d like to clarify that the possiblity of yarn from Russia that I mentioned last time is not a continuous stream (I wish!) but a one-off offer. And I haven’t even written back to the friend yet.

Also, a confession of crime: I steal cats. Yes. All those photos of cats you see on my blog are stolen from their lucky owners. Well, the photos are stolen, not the cats themselves. But yes, Your Honour, I plead guilty.

To distract you from my nefariousness (I hope that’s a word), here is a picture of the nice spike stitch back:
Spike stitch cardigan

which I might decided to undo and start afresh, this time adding in the front panel stitches to either side, which shouldn’t make that much of a difference, since we turn the work at the end of each round anyway, so there shouldn’t be a jog (jag?) of any kind. Let’s see. The idea is that the friend’s baby will have a sweater for this December.

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Sock and awe

First sock on my foot

Yes! I’ve actually started a sock!!!! I’m using Wendy Johnson‘s Generic Toe-up pattern with Paton’s Kroy yarn and Pony 2.75 mm dpns (set of 4). The reason I’m showing it here is because I don’t know if I will ever finish it. It is a bit loose on my foot, apparently I should have cast on 56 stitches, not 64 for my foot size. But I’m thrilled to see it looking like a sock. Also, the pattern calls for 5 dpns and I’m fudging it by cramming half the stitches on one instead of two dpns.

I’m always in awe of the sockknitters who seem to borrow a toe from here, a heel from there, a stitch pattern from elsewhere and a yarn at random and then magically produce beautiful, perfectly fitting masterpieces. Amazing. And as someone I know would say, “Awwwwwwwesommmmmme”!

Being of uncertain fate, here are a few more pictures of the selfsame sock:
First sock different angle

First sock

Enjoy them, you may never see the finished product!

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Slow and unsteady

This is how I feel:

Snail

because the major knitting project I’m working on now is a baby blanket in Lion Brand cotton for a baby who will be living in Chennai. I *absolutely* have to make something for the baby, so I’m hoping this will be a good thing. I cannot see it wearing any sort of warm clothes ever. Even knitting with this sort of cotton makes me feel it would be too heavy. Maybe I can try making some wearables with some double-stranded thread or something. Hmm. Interesting thought. But I digress.

The pattern is mindless enough (a glorified dishcloth, really) and I was whizzing away in the beginning. Now I’ve hit the widest section (still getting wider) and man, is it slow-going! 🙁

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

Garter stitch baby blanket

Not very informative, but it’s about 29″ each side. I have to get to 36″ for a decent size and it looks like never happening.

Also, I’m on my second skein and fast depleting. There is only one more skein left, which most probably will not be enough to complete the thing.

Two positive things, though. The Denise #7s are working through the yarn like butter through a knife er, a knife through butter. Smoooooooooooooth. And I really enjoy having the freedom to increase the length of the cable at will. I wouldn’t have been able to do this one on my local cable needles.

The other thing is this:
Garter stitch baby blanket

See those eyelets? Those are the kind of eyelets I was supposed to have on my Eyelet Border Facecloth but didn’t. The secret of my success this time was doing my yarnovers differently. Yes, as simple as that.

You see, I knit with the yarn in my right hand, throwing it under and around the right hand needle (makes me English or something, blimey!) to make my knit stitch; but! throwing it over and around the right hand needle for a yarnover. No idea why I do this, but this effectively made my eyelets disappear. For some reason, I decided to follow the same movement for yarnovers that I do for my knit stitch in this pattern, and voila! I have an eyelet. Epiphany.

Actually I think this might have happened because I’m also working on this pattern, where the instructions say yfwd instead of yo, but the effect is the same. Whodathunkit?
(Yes, I know it’s a bit blingy, but I recently was given two skeins of some eyelash that was begging to be knit).

(And yes, I am not very snobbish about novelty yarns, I’m afraid.) 😛