Knitting Ketchup

Was it really May when I last wrote?  Oh, dear.  Well, in my down-time I have been busy catching up on podcasts and, if not knitting as much as I’d like, knitting as much as the mood and my tendency to overheat allow me.

I finished my grey Rimini cardigan with none of the usual dithering over buttons.  Having completed the buttonholes, I simply looked to my button box and it produced the perfect set.

Pretty buttons

I am really pleased with the finished product although it is slightly too warm to wear during the summer.  Well, it would suit summer evenings but primarily it was always intended as part of my work wardrobe.  The pattern is Rimini by Martin Storey from an old Jaeger book that is long out of print.  I modified it by omitting the waist shaping and by having it button only from neck to bust.  The lace pattern and main construction are as written.  It is knitted in Supersoft Lambswool by J C Rennie in the Silver Grey colour way.  I have approximately 650g of this left on the cone; enough for a longer-length cardigan.

A lovely cardigan

There was a tiny bit of avoidance in finishing that project.  It took me ages to steel myself to do the front band and collar then, of course, when I did they were utterly painless so silly me for procrastinating.  However, it did give me an opportunity to knit up some very purple socks.

These socks are very purple

Plain socks in Colinette Jitterbug in a colourway that I cannot recall the name of.  It is very purple, though.   I can’t wait for the cold weather so I can wear these.  I’ve got my eye on a purple checked dress which they would go very nicely with indeed.

Twisted rib for the heel

Particularly gorgeous spikes of colour in this yarn.

Just as I was drawing to the conclusion of the grey Rimini cardigan, I bought a very nice, quirky linen tunic dress in a neutral shade and when I got it home I found that it was a neutral shade that not a single one of my cardigans would work with.  It has, I realised, a slightly gingery tinge to it which is just far enough removed from my usual greys and blues and cool pinks and even the greens I gravitate towards to present me with a problem.  The solution lay in the miscellaneous small cones of “lucky dip” wool that I ordered from J C Rennie earlier this year.  Although none of them are enough to do a garment, three of the shades were perfect with the new dress and these were later supplemented by a ball of Katia sock yarn from my stash.

I’ve already completed the back of the new cardigan which I’m also basing on the Rimini pattern since it fits me so well.

Back of my new cardigan

I worked out the stripe pattern by referring to some old Rowan magazines.

Close-up of the striping

As soon as I started this it reminded me how much I enjoyed the two Fair Isle jumpers I knit many years ago.  That is hardly surprising since the Rennie wool is precisely the kind of wool I would knit a Fair Isle garment with.

Before I wrap up, I just wanted to mention a brilliant video podcast I’ve been watching through the summer.  It’s the DramaticKnits podcast and I really recommend you give it a go.  It is co-hosted by Steve, a school teacher, and Callie who works in an office.  They are based in Illinois.  Now, I have given a lot of podcasts, both audio and video, a spin over the years and it takes something very special for me to keep watching.  Whatever that special thing is, Steve and Callie have it.  They are fun to watch, have interesting projects and they seem to have very real lives.  By that, I mean that they don’t seem to sit at home all day every day knitting like demons.  Most of their projects take many weeks to complete and although between them they have several projects on the go at once, they generally seem to complete the projects.  I find I get frustrated when podcasters brim over with ideas and are constantly showing/talking about all the new things they have cast on, but they don’t seem to finish things.  So it’s a big thumbs-up from me for the DramaticKnits podcast.

And that brings me up to date, on the knitting front anyway.

I hope you find the time each day to knit a bit, or work on your hobby whatever it is.

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How red is my new project?

New cardi, newer cardi

Yes, last week it was all “red wool” this, and “new project in my red, red wool” that.  And here I am posing with my newest project and just how red would you describe that wool?  Sheesh, it’s blue!

The red project didn’t hit the right spot for me.  In fact, it failed to hit the right spot to the extent that I am wondering slightly whether I actually like this red wool.  But I think I perhaps I’m trying to force myself into using it; trying to find the right project for it instead of waiting until something comes along that it works perfectly with.  Anyway, in the meantime I’m knitting another cardigan that I’ve knit before.  This is the asymmetric cabled cardigan by Norah Gaughan from Vogue Knitting Autumn (Fall) 2006.  It’s in the “Grey’s Anatomy” section of that magazine and knitted in a deep, charcoal grey Berroco alpaca.  This one of mine is going to have a bit less drape than the original, but because of the boxy shape of the cardigan that will work well.  When I knit it back in 2007, I followed the pattern exactly, but this time I’m thinking of doing the cabled front section which is the asymmetric bit, all one width.  I’m also going to incorporate a buttonhole and one very large decorative button.  The design has it either open or caught with a pin, but I have always found that pin option a little fussy and since I wear the cardigan for warmth rather than just decoration, I do like to be able to fasten it shut when needs be.

I ended up faffing about a bit choosing the the right needles for this one as I am currently going through a bit of a reassessment of my needles. I think I need to ponder it all a bit more.

Dubious reasons for buying wool

Got buttons? Need wool!

Okay, this counts as a very dubious purchase.  A little while ago I looked through my button tin and noticed how many perfectly usable sets of brand new buttons I had in there.  Mainly in shades of green.  I am, you see, guilty of buying buttons that don’t quite work in the context of whichever project I bought them for, so into the button tin they go.  Rather than leaving them to languish forever, I have decided to buy wool that they will work with to produce some new cardigans.  My first purchase is a shade called Lush (I trust lush like grass, not like a drunkard) and actually matches these buttons better than the photo suggests.  As the buttons are quite big, this will be a project where the 4-ply wool is held double to give a fabric of heavy DK/Worstead weight.

In order to continue with my button de-stashing, I also ordered the full shade card for this range of wool which will enable me to match button and wool colours much better.   Anyone else struggle with trying to determine shades well enough on-screen?

Perhaps it would be nice to tell a little story about where I store my buttons, which is in a re-purposed Farrah’s Harrogate Toffee tin (400g size).  Whilst I have (almost) always lived in East Anglia, my mum came from Yorkshire and we often headed up to York to stay with my grandparents when I was a little girl.  Farrah’s Harrogate toffee was one of those brands much more prevalent in that area in the 1960s and rarely seen ‘down south’.  Of course now all brands are national or global and you can buy everything anywhere, which in a way slightly devalues it all.  But I digress.  My button tin, whilst being a more recent purchase (only about 10 years old!!) is valued because it reminds me of my childhood.  The tin contains odd buttons, spare buttons, and of course several full sets of buttons, awaiting the time they either get used, or my grandson gets old enough to be allowed to empty them out and play with them.

If you’ve never tried Farrah’s Harrogate Toffee, by the way, you should – it is delicious.

In knitting news, I have finished knitting the second sleeve of the Slope Rib Cardigan but won’t be attaching it to the rest of the cardi and putting it through the wash until the weekend.  I feel I want daylight to do the fiddly bits.  I started my new job this week and between learning new tasks and routines, and trying to work out the optimum cycle route I’m not up to too much complexity in the evenings.  I will probably work on my Palms socks the next couple of evenings.  Unless I just carry on reading my Enid Blyton book and ignore the knits!!  I am currently engrossed in “Five Go Adventuring Again”.  It is my intention to read my way through the series – this is only Book 2 – which I read avidly as a youngster.  I am interspersing my more serious, grown-up reading, with the occasional jaunt into the adventures of Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy the dog.  Wouldn’t it be fun to have five children and give them those names?  Of course, probably resisting the temptation to add ‘the dog’ habitually to the end of Timothy’s name.

It’s a little late to be starting anything new, and a little early to be heading to bed.  Perhaps there is just time to have a quick scan of the blogs I read before I retire.