Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Aqiqa Hat

Image of Baby Hat - Oh Natural!

I went to an aqiqa last night and I didn't have time between hearing about it and going to get a present for the baby. I think a sweater would take too long to make, especially since I'm making one for myself so I thought I would go for a hat. I haven't yet learnt how to knit in the round so I thought a hat knitted flat would be great.

I did lots of searching and I think this looks the easiest and thus the quickist the Liong Brand Baby Hat - Oh Natural! The other bits in the set would be fun to do too but I'm not sure I'd have time.

Here's atesmom's take on the project which I really like as it has no tassle:

Check out her cute matching sweater on her blog

We don't have Lion Brand in New Zeland so I plan to use:

Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky in Teal for $12.95

As the pattern needs 101m, I'll need to buy two of the 65m Cashmerino, I really have to get used to the fact that nice yarn costs $26 just for enough to make one hat, sigh!

In other news my Knit Picks Options are going well on my one-piece sweater Extra Easy, Extra Fabulous Sweater with the arms about 4 inches wide. Unfortunately the wire has got a bit twisted, I'm not sure why this has happened but when I finish the arms and the piece has a lot less stitches I'll get it onto my Swallow Timbergrain Needles and try to untwist it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I forgot my needle!

Can you believe it, I'm sitting on the bus going to a day at work that is centred around an event at 2pm (i.e. lots of time for knitting before then), I pull out my knitting and I only have one needle! So I've got the hefty ball, the 20" or so of knitted back for my sweater where I'm just beginning to cast on the sleeves and no second needle to work with. Oh the disappointment! I blamed my ever patient and indulgent husband for rushing me, I must remember to apologise when I see him.

However now that I'm knitting 58sts = 18" with one 70sts = 21" each sleeves, I'm finding my knitting feeling really a little tight on the needles and I'm not sure I'd be able to get another 70sts onto their 30cm length. These are the needles I have:

Swallow Timbergrain Needles they are 7mm needles and I paid NZ$12.45 for them although they are available alot cheaper online but it was great to have them straight away rather than wait.

But now I think I need a new pair of needles and circular seems to be the way to go. I can't knit in the round yet but I'm sure I can learn from these advanced knitting technique videos on Knitting Help. I've read that knitting flat can be easier on circular needles because its harder to slip sts off the end however you need to do a bit of pulling to get the sts from the filament cord to the needles.

Lots of people are selling Denise Interchangeable Knitting Needle Kits on New Zealand's local eBay equivalent TradeMe but I don't think I need ten sets of needles yet. My LYS sells Knit Picks Options which received a really good review on Knitter's Review which is a really useful site as there is so much forum discussion on ravelry its really difficult to pick out who to trust. I know that Addi Turbos have countless fans but they are not available from shop in New Zealand and Double-Pointed Needles are also an option but I'm not ready for them and nor would they be useful for my sweater project. So I think I'll walk the 2km return journey to my LYS to buy some Knit Picks Options probably in size 7mm for my sweater with a reasonably long cable, I'll have to ask to find out what the recommend. I love how pointy they look, yum!


Monday, May 19, 2008

The Knit Illiterate

I really can't do knitting math, but but its not my fault I should have found a pattern from cheap wool like Lion Brand in New Zealand so that I wouldn't have to substitute yarn. The local equivalent is Sean Sheep Yarn (which for the record is 90% acrylic [acrylic sheep?]) and if you visit the Sean Sheep yarn website you'll see why I don't use their patterns. So after finding the Sean Sheep yarn I decided on buying 3x Darwin Yarn in Mulberry for NZ $12.95 each which is a mauve, pale blue-purple, royal purple variegated acrylic bulky yarn.

As this is for the
Extra Easy, Extra Fabulous Sweater I'm substituting a much thinner yarn compared to the Wool-Ease which swatches at 8 sts by12 rws as the Sean Sheep Darwin is 13 sts 18rws I got a bit confused about which size from the pattern to use. I initially cast on 52 for the medium size, then made a mistake and frogged it, then recalculated so cast on with 40 and realised it was too short and frogged it. Using the calculator Convert a Sweater Pattern I've found I need to cast on 58 stitches so that's what I've done. It's very difficult when starting a sweater, even after you've swatched to be sure that it will be the right size and especially with a slightly stretching acrylic with a loose

In another news I got:
Knit Aid: A Learn It, Fix It, Finish It Guide for Knitters on the Go
Knit Aid: A Learn It, Fix It, Finish It Guid for Knitters on the Go for NZD $13.17 in the mail and I've been picking it up every ten seconds while I've been knitting since. Mostly its a skills book, listing the stitches that will be used most regularly along with things I haven't dared try yet, like stitching in the round, Kitchener stitch and short rows. There is also some details of knitting skills, using multiple colors, a photocopyable pattern sheet, a gauge measure and needle size identifier. I usually knit in front of dvds (which we watch on the computer) or on the bus so I don't have access to the net to look up instructions so the book is very useful.

I've also got to the top of the waiting list for Ravelry but as I have no batteries in my camera my notebook is not that interesting yet, although I will upload some photos soon. Here's a great version of the sweater I'm working from Ravelry Cutema's Extra Easy Extra Fabulous Sweater. It's great fun to see how other people have used the yarn you have and how other people have knitted up your pattern.

I've finished listening to Cast On, wah! I'm so used to being able to listen to a new one when I want. I've had a listen to two episodes of Yarn Craft which is quite interesting but because there's no Lion Brand here some of the information is quite irrelevant.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My First Sweater

So I've decided I will make the Extra Easy, Extra Fabulous Sweater from Lion Brand Yarn Free Pattern Database but as Lion Brand Wool is not available in New Zealand, I've had to be creative with yarn substitution.

The yarn the sweater is designed around is the
Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Oatmeal which has a gauge of 9 stitches for 12 rows to 4"/10cm on a ginormous 9mm needles. Here's a swatch of the colour:

Click to view detail of 640-123

I went to my local yarn store Knitting World and talked to the clerk about a substitution. There is not equivalent in thickness to the Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in New Zealand, so she suggested I could either use two strands of a thinner yarn on the 9mm needles or a yarn that is slightly thinner than the super thick Lion Brand and use the stitch count in the pattern for the larger size so it will end up being smaller by using a thinner yarn and needle. I thought using two strands of yarn would lead to disaster so I decided on this:

Patons Inca in Shade 7001 50g/58m using 7mm needles and a gauge of 13 stitches by 18 rows to 4"/10cm

I used this guide to substituting yarns to work out what to use instead of the
Lion Brand. I did two swatches of Patons Inca one using the gauge on the ball at 13 stitches by 18 rows which accurately came out at 10cm and another according to the pattern of 8 stitches by 12 rows which came out at 7cm. So taking my measurements I would be a Small if I knitted in Lion Brand so what I need to do was stitch in a bigger size which would give the equivalent of a 36" bust. I've cast on according to the 2X size with the Patons Inca which at a 52" bust x 0.7 = 36" bust, well hopefully. I've knitted my first ball which has got me from the eight rows of garter stitch and an inch and a half up the stockinette stitch which will form the lower back. Looking at my piece spread accross two needles it looks to be about 18" which is right on gauge, hurrah! I only bought one ball as the clerk suggested I knit up one ball and see if I liked it.

Now however I'm happy with the yarn and the gauge so I need some new balls. I used this guide to work out how many yarns I will need to buy. In the original project working in size 2X then 8 balls would be required with each
Lion Brand ball being 97m, so 776m in total. EAch Patons Inca ball is 58m as its 50% wool, 30% acrylic and 20% alpaca vs. the Lion Brand being 86% acrylic, 10% wool, 4% rayon so the Inca ball will be heaver per metre so is shorter for the 50g ball. So I need 776m of yarn using 58m balls, equalling a whopping 13.379 balls of yarn which will need to be rounded up as you can't purchase 0.379 balls. Yikes, even at the cheap NZ$6.50 a ball that is NZ$91 but I guess that is pretty similar to the cost of a new sweater if you bought it new. I'm not sure it will be the most attractive sweater but it will be warm, be able to be chucked over everything and with the rising cost of heating, wearing a thick jersey is a good idea. Also using thick yarn makes it easy to pick up mistakes and this is my first sweater so I'm sure I'll love it no matter what it ends up looking like. I'll take the bus down to the yarn shop at lunch time and will try to barter a discount due to the number of balls being purchased.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sweater Idea

Image of Extra Easy, Extra Fabulous Sweater
Extra Easy, Extra Fabulous Sweater from Lion Brand Yarn Free Pattern Database

You know I really think I could make this, the pattern makes sense, I know how to do Stockinette stitch, when doing the monkey I had to cast off some stitches, hold working stitches on a spare needle and work on others so I think I have all the skills. I would lengthen the sleeves, 3/4s drive me nuts and I'm not so sure about the buttons but they could look cool. I think that color looks cool but would probably go for a black or brown as I am always terrified about staining white and off-white clothes and it would be soo depressing to stain my first sweater. I like how it looks and I'm sure it would be warm so I think I would be prepared to put in the heaps of time required.

The pattern is by Lion Brand Yarn and I'm not sure if they sell it in New Zealand but I'll see. The yarn used in this pattern is Wool-Ease Thick & Quick which is a super bulky roving yarn. From listening to Cast-On I have heard of various types of yarn - fingering, roving, aran but I had no idea what they meant till I found this:



Standard Yarn Weight System

Categories of yarn, gauge ranges,
and recommended needle and hook sizes

Yarn Weight Symbol
& Category Names
lace super fine fine light medium bulky super bulky
Type of
Yarns in
Knit Gauge
Range* in
Stitch to 4 inches
Needle in
Metric Size
8 mm
Needle U.S.
Size Range
1 to 3
3 to 5 5 to 7 7 to 9 9 to 11 11

And Yarn Forward - Tension and Wool Works FAQ which explained that roving has no ply (that's how yarn is categorised in NZ & Australia). The yarn used in this pattern is equivalent to 14 ply so now I will know what to look for to substitute for the Lion Brand when I visit a yarn shop to buy yarn for my first sweater.

At the moment however I have given in to making a new monkey in stockinette using my Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran 330014 Royal Purple and I love it because the yarn is so soft and the colour is gorgeous. The yarn falls so much easier off my Art Vivas and I'm knitting a lot faster than last time.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

So like, where next?

So I finished the monkey and he's awesome and cute. He looks a lot better than the one on the box, I think the way I embroidered the face worked really well. I did the hat and one pompom but they are both horrid. The hat makes him look really strange so although I tried to knit stripes, I don't think I carried the yarn properly.

But now I don't know what to do next. I can't do socks or a hat yet as I don't know how to knit-in-the-round, I definitly couldn't do a sweater yet, they are huge and complicated and argh, scary. So what do I do? I feel lost without the needles in my hand on the bus, cross stitch is really tricky on the bus. I need a sort of second knitting project, I really can't be bothered doing a scarf, they take forever and they are difficult to make look nice enought to wear unless you can make fancy ones like clapotis. So I'm not sure what to do, I might make another monkey in a different yarn using stockinette instead of garter stitch but I'm not sure. Easy Stockinette Wash Cloths would help me practice my stockinette stitch and learn the seed stitch but I have a dishwasher and use a sponge to wipe the bench but I suppose they could be used to pot holders. Hmmm. But I'm not rushing out to make them, maybe I should find a pattern for a new easy toy.

Stockinette Stitch Washcloth

So I decided to buy a knitting book and after reading about it on Craftzine and watching the video I decided to get this one:

Knit Aid: A Learn It, Fix It, Finish It Guide for Knitters on the Go
Knit Aid: A Learn It, Fix It, Finish It Guid for Knitters on the Go for NZD $13.17

& the deal was to get free shipping when you spend NZD $20 so I also got:

The Knit Aid book would probably be more helpful over time in that its designed to be toted around in your knitting bag to pull out if you have a problem, or need to look up a term. I also think the knitting needle size and gauge ruler will be really useful like my:

Cross Stitcher Magazine 4-in-1 Tape measure which has a fabric and needle gauge along with an inch and centimetre measruing tape which is really useful as NZ is a metric country so all my rulers and things are centimetres.

It will be interesting to compare it to the
Ondori book which is a 80's Japanese book and according to review I've read has knitting symbols chart which are often not in normal knitting book.