Machine knitting

I don’t often machine knit these days but I’ve just finished a jumper for my partner. This is made from a lot, but not all of, my 4 ply ends of cones and part balls. The colours went together better than I had thought they might although it is not so subtle. I ended up weighing all the colours so I could split them to even them out between the front and back and sleeves. I reckoned that about half the weight would go into the back and one sleeve  and half into the front and one sleeve. I knitted both the sleeves so that they are the same and the back and front up to the underarms, but above that, the back and front are different.

It’s all machine washable wool, or 75% wool/25% polyamide, that is a sock wool so it should wear well.

I brought it with me to California where we are visiting family at the moment, thinking it wasn’t going to be worn but I was wrong as we’ve been on the Pacific where it is notoriously foggy and cool. So it travelled out in the bottom of the suitcase with all the ends waiting to be darned in, and then got finished and then given as a birthday present last week. And it’s been worn almost every day so far.

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I love machine knitting as it’s quick. It’s also a different craft from hand knitting – it’s hard work, noisy, technical and unsociable. There is a lot of prejudice about machine knitting and it has to be said that a lot of it is not well designed but if it’s thought through there’s no reason why it can’t be completely acceptable.

After all this while, this is what I’ve been doing

I haven’t blogged for a while but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been busy …

I went on holiday last week, to Wales where we have a static caravan overlooking St David’s Head. So of course, ignoring the fact that I was looking after two boys, going walking and so on, I took with me lots of knitting.

 

This was, in no particular order:

A hat that I started on the machine and finished by hand. I needed this as I have been out up mountains in strong winds lately and found that my hat has been blown over my eyes and not helped by a flapping hood, so I thought I needed a tight fairly short beanie type hat. I found some stash yarn which I think might be wool and mohair, artisan dyed, from Brooklyn General, New York, some years ago. Anyway, here it is, as planned. Think it will do the trick.

Just to explain a bit, the rib section is made on the machine – took about 30 mins including getting sorted out, then I took it off onto waste yarn. Picked the stitches up on a couple of circulars, I think 3.25mm, and started the crown shaping almost immediately. This was every 14sts, every 3 rounds and then alternate rounds, and then every round.

Machine and hand knitted hat

Machine and hand knitted hat

 

The crown shaping

The crown shaping

Gloves: A new pair of gloves, in the series for my Welsh friends. I knew I wanted to use neutrals, and eventually settled on this rather pinky beige with a dark slatey grey. Neutrals sound easy but I found choosing these especially hard. eventually I chose them for thickness as much as colour, the grey being slightly thinner than the pinky-beige, which means that it will recede when knitted. That will echo the striations in some rocks on a beach on Anglesey which was one of the inspirational images. The I’ve got both hands cast on and am starting with a one and one rib.

The next pair of gloves getting started

The next pair of gloves getting started

The sample on 24 sts

The sample on 24 sts

 

Bonham’s mittens: I also took the Bonham’s mittens which I thought I’d finish. Indeed I did finish the hands, but thought I had brought enough of the turquoise wool, forgetting that I had to knit the thumbs, after completing the hands. So here they are with one having the thumb knitted. These will be translated into a Knitting & Crochet Guild pattern on Ravelry as soon as I can write the instructions.

Bonham mitts, needing thumbs

Bonham mitts, needing thumbs

You might realised that the pattern on the Bonham mitts and the gloves is the same – that is a small chequerboard, 2sts x 2 rows of each colour.

 

And the last project, which I had hoped to spend some time on, is some stash yarn, a discontinued Colinette merino tape, in an inky blue-black and the pattern for a tunic style sweater which my mother knitted for me from her very first hand spun yarn. I wear this for walking most of the year and I thought that I remembered that the pattern came from Paton’s Fashion Knits in the 70s. My mother knitted a lot from this series, so I asked the pattern guru at the KEG collection to see if she could find it. Sure enough, there was a copy in the collection, from 1976 when it was on the cover. The suggested tension for the garment and for the Colinette yarn (tagliatelle) are very similar and I think just a little swatching should sort out some ideas for making the garment in the yarn I’ve got. However, what with boat trips, new caravans to sort out, friends visiting and other distractions, I didn’t get anywhere near this project at all. Another time. I really don’t need another jumper in fact.

Just an idea at the moment ...

Just an idea at the moment …

 

No finger mitts

I think I’ve knitted at least 200 fingers in the last four years and all of a sudden my own fingers are rebelling and saying they don’t want to knit any more just now. Also, I’ve decided I need some nice long fingerless mitts for when I’m volunteering in the Knitting & Crochet Guild Collection as the warehouse is cold all year round and I have some gloves with short fingers but they date from about 1980 and are quite hard to get on and off. So I started these in Rowan Fine Tweed to have something simpler to knit but also to try out some patterns for a pair I’m going to knit for my friend Jan. The patterns that I’m referencing are from one of the oldest pairs I’ve seen, which were being auctioned by Bonham’s in January last year. They are dated 1818 and have a very simple small checkerboard pattern.

Bonhams 1838 glovesThe colours are what I am planning for the next pair in my series of fine gloves for family and friends and it was that that made me look at the patterns more closely. Mine are in white (Bell Busk) and turquoise (Monsal dale I think, all the Rowan tweed shade have names of Yorkshire Dales and Peak District villages) and the turquoise will match my down jacket.

So here they are in a really dreadful photo taken on my phone:

No finger mitts

No finger mitts

But the other thing I should tell you about them is that the thumb gusset shaping is asymmetrical. I did this first on the herringbone gloves knitted from a Japanese chart and then again in a pair that I adapted from a vintage pattern. The I tried it on my latest 2 pairs and really like it. So here it is again.

These will be written up for a pattern that will be available on the Knitting & Crochet Guild Ravelry page, so look out for them. All the patterns there have been donated by their designers to raise funds for the Guild and the Collection.

My exhibition at Prick Your Finger

After a lot of planning and preparation, my gloves went on display in the window of Prick Your Finger, the yarn shop and textile space in Bethnal Green. Consisting of three square frames and a display cabinet, making decisions about what to put in was difficult. In the end, I put in the last two pairs I’ve made in a frame with the design work for one of them in another frame. The first ones went into the display case to show the traditional start of the gloves; there are patterns for these in the shop so people might be tempted to buy the pattern and some wool to knit them. Then the last frame was filled with ones that matched the first two frames terms of colour palette.

Here’s some images:

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The whole display with a glove for trying on and my book of cuttings

Gloves and design work

Gloves and design work

And now for something completely different: Sal’s gloves, with her hands in them – lots of stripes and darns and mends!

Sal's gloves

Sal’s gloves and hands

The display cabinet is on loan from the Knitting & Crochet Guild Collection and is perfect for the space and contents: thanks to the KCG for this.

Deadlines

Yesterday I sent off an entry for a competition but I’m not going to say what or I think it’s bad luck. And it’s also annoying to have to confess if it doesn’t get in. Actually the chances are 50/50 on previous years so we’ll see.

So today it’s hard to get going  because without a deadline I can be quite lazy. Perhaps  unaimed is more accurate as there’s tons of stuff I want to do:
1. Make woven baskets from old maps cut up
2. Bigger cushions from patchwork for the front room
3. Draw – anything
4. Design and knit a waistcoat /bodywarmer from some denim yarn
5. Knit a top from some Colinette merino tape yarn
6. Finish the crochet blanket I’m more than half way through
7. Start a crochet blanket from my mother’s hand spun yarns

8. the hexagon crochet blanket I’m doing with my daughter

9. A new jumper for my partner on the knitting machine

plus there’s always knitting and crochet guild things to do and an exciting American project on the horizon.
Maybe that’s why I need a day off? Since starting to write this I’ve had several days off and am now feeling more like tackling some tasks .. need to finish the armhole trim on a hand spun sweater I started altering last summer first of all.
So there’s 9 projects to be going on with not to mention designing the show that I’m going to have at Prick Your Finger in Bethnal Green. That starts on 13th March. That is a week on Friday so not long now although it’s all being planned out on the spare bed!

Another pair underway

I’ve got several pairs on the go at the moment which is perhaps why I feel as though I’m not getting anywhere. But today I darned in all the ends of two pairs and they are ready to be pressed and photographed so I feel that I can show the next pair which are for another friend who lives in Wales.

Ribs with dates and initials

Ribs with dates and initials

The design inspiration for these is the sea around West Wales where the person they are for spends a lot of time, walking, camping, birdwatching, looking for porpoises and just generally hanging out. She also said that her favourite colours are turquoise and blue. As I have a self imposed rule to only use stash yarn, I have had to choose the closest I have which is a dark blue that is somewhat greenish and a couple of shades of greeny – blue 2 ply used together. However, I am not confident I have enough for the whole gloves so I have introduced a navy for the darker contrast in the thumb section. (Will appear in later pics).

The ribs are two colour stripes rather than two colours in the rib which makes them rather un stretchy and as for the last pair, I wanted a good amount of give here. The little wavy line is another watery reference!

I’m actually up to the fingers now so need to take another picture to catch up. Perhaps tomorrow?

 

Work in progress

I’m up to the fingers on the current pair, one of the set for friends who live in Wales. The patterns are organised in horizontal bands, not vertical ones, as usual and this is proving a different design problem. On the one hand (no play on words intended) this is easier as plain rounds can be worked and stitch numbers altered but on the other, it’s more difficult to make design decisions as I’ve not done any like this before.
Here they are:

 


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Menig coedwig (Woodland gloves)

Menig coedwig (woodland gloves)

Menig coedwig (woodland gloves)

 

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Thumb detail

The thumb is asymmetric as this seemed most appropriate for the shape of my friend’s hand.
This image, from the cover of a book in Welsh about influences on women writers, is a textile by Amanda Wright whose studio is in St David’s, where I go on holiday and near where the inspirational images for these gloves were taken. I can’t remember how I came across it, but I just love the glove and the patterns on it, and all the other images too.
Book cover with Amanda Wright's textile