Goblin boy (not his real name)

I have a new victim person to knit for. No, he’s not mine; I am well and truly done with having babies. I think this baby’s mum might be too after the time she had bringing him into the world.

We had a thoroughly lovely time meeting our new great cousin last weekend. (Strictly speaking he’s a second cousin, but all the other relatives get to be ‘great-‘ or ‘grand-‘ so we are too.)

Knitting will resume shortly.

P.S. Did I mention how lovely he is?

Hers and hers fingerless gloves

The littl’uns’ school is out in the country surrounded by fields. An idyllic spot with plenty of fresh air; just sometimes there’s a bit much fresh air when the wind comes straight off the north sea and blasts across their playground. Big littl’un’s skin is suffering and her hands are splitting and bleeding, poor love. She’s not a big fan of full gloves, they impede climbing and playing on the monkey bars, so I’ve made her a pair of fingerless gloves to protect her wee hands a little bit. Made some for myself too in the hope that I’ll soon be out doing some gardening.

These are remnants of sock yarn – there’s some Regia in there but I can’t remember the others – bad bad knitter, must start project notebook and keep yarn bands. Mine were two semi-solid yarns but the littl’un wanted a semi-solid mixed with a variegated yarn.

Knit in the round, I started with corrugated rib cuffs; knit stripes for a wee while then increased for a thumb gusset. The ‘jog’ on the stripes on the small pair is pretty noticeable, so on the bigger pair I had a go at jogless stripes. It’ll work on stripes 2 rows or more deep – knit the first round as normal, then when you get back to the first stitch of the second round, slip it purlwise. Carry on as normal for any remaining rounds until your next colour change then repeat.

I continued stocking stitch stripes for a few rows above the thumbs then finished with corrugated rib on my pair, a standard 2×2 rib on the littlun’s for a bit more elasticity.

I think they’d be improved by a bit of palm shaping – whatever the opposite of a gusset would be  – a pleat? A few stitches decreased between the cuff and the palm for a snugger fit anyway.

Little littl’un has suggested that it is her turn to be knitted for. Don’t let me forget. (She won’t.)

Not running but (speed) knitting

Let’s be honest, this March isn’t living up to much. I got all hopeful that spring was coming a couple of weeks ago – had washing out on the line, even went outside without a coat a couple of times. I checked back through photos from the past two years, and I’m definitely not imagining it: March can sometimes be lovely.

This March? This March sucks. This was the weather that the T-boy ran a half marathon in over the weekend. It was bad enough for the spectators; I can’t imagine how nasty the blowing snow was for the runners. The course was altered to miss the worst of the snow drifts (and the worst hill, which apparently was a good thing).

Spectating in snow

Cheering on Dad in the Run Garioch half marathon

The littl’uns both ran too (over rather shorter courses). I am perfecting the art of race support (carrying spare clothes and food) as the perfect excuse for not joining them in the whole running thing, but it hasn’t stopped them asking why I don’t run. ‘Because I’m not very fast’ is my usual answer. ‘You’re quite fast at knitting though, Mum’ they said.

Well, I don’t know. How fast is fast, when it comes to knitting?

Hazel Tindall, a Shetlander, is renowned across Scotland for being amazingly fast, clocked at 262 stitches in 3 minutes – that’s 87 stitches a minute. Wow. She is also a fantastic exponent of fair isle work.

If we’re just talking speed though, Miriam Tegels is in the Guinness Book of Records as doing a mind-boggling 118 stitches in a minute. One hundred and eighteen. Crikey.

The main difference between these two awesome knitters’ styles (go search on You Tube for video of them knitting) is that Hazel’s speed knitting uses English style (yarn in right hand) – the style of knitting I use – whereas Miriam uses Continental style (yarn in left hand).

I couldn’t resist seeing how fast I could go. It wasn’t very impressive; 100 stitches in 3 minutes. That’s a third of the speed of those ladies. I have a feeling the cheapy yarn and nasty plastic needles I used didn’t help, but I don’t think they made that much difference. I am mighty tempted to teach myself Continental and have another go. Everyone needs a challenge, right? I shall go away and practice and report back later.

(Big littl’un would like it noted that she did 30 stitches in 3 minutes, which I think is brilliant.)

The sewing machine is still out

The sewing machine is still out from the superhero episode. We’ve moved on to getting going with the girls scrap quilts. Little littl’un is getting hers first; she wanted squares, Big littl’un wants triangles. Start easy and progress to the more difficult I thought.

IMG_8705So far it’s all going pretty well. Stacking up the squares as I cut up their old clothes was very satisfying. There’s such a mix of print sizes and colours in the fabric that I decided to place the squares completely randomly. It’s not a perfect job – some of the hems don’t line up exactly. I confess I’m not looking forward to quilting it; there’s no way I’ll be able to get it through my sewing machine so it’s going to have to be done by hand which I suspect is going to take a month of sundays. But when it’s done it’ll be pretty, and warm, and full of memories, so I’m happy.

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Blocking

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I properly love blocking knitting. That slightly alchemical process of wetting a crinkly bit of fabric; carefully, carefully spreading it out and pinning it; then going back to admire it, gently touch it and assess how dry it is … magic I tell you. The lovely smell of damp wool too; sure, it’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it as a perfume ingredient, but for me it’s up there with hyacinths and hot bread as one of my most favourite homely smells.

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I got new pins too. Lovely round-headed pretty little things. They don’t just look nice though, they’re much easier to grab from the box and harder to lose if they’re dropped on the carpet. Form and function. Perfect.

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I’ve heard great things about blocking wires. Think I’ll have to put a set on my Christmas list.

This bit of lace is going to be a cowl. I started knitting it over a month ago but ran out of yarn and then had what might be described as issues getting a new ball. Buying the wrong colour once was a bit daft, buying the wrong colour twice was plain idiotic. The third ball I managed to get right though. At the moment it’s just a flat piece of knitting; once it’s dry I’ll decide how to finish it off. I’m thinking a button fastening all down the short edge, but we’ll see how it pans out. I started calling this my snaw-day cowl when I cast it on and it’s forecast snowy here for the next few days at least so it’ll still be a valid name when it’s done.