Monday, September 20, 2010

Perfect Pi Shawl

It's done! It's done!
I've finally finished the Pi Shawl, and it's fantastic!
The edging took almost as long as the shawl, but in the end it's totally worth it.
Here it is pre-blocking. I think it measured approx 45" across:

I put it into a bath of Soak to get it nice & clean & wet to block it, and look what happened!
The red dye came POURING out of the yarn! My heart was in my mouth that I was after ruining it, after all the hard work!
Thankfully it doesn't seem to be any worse for the wear:
*sigh* Isn't it beautiful? It's not perfect, but I love it. It measures approx 52" after blocking. I ran out of yarn again after buying my extra wheel, so I gave up approx 3/4 of the way through the 576 pattern repeat and just began the edging.
Pattern: Pi Shawl by Elizabeth Zimmermann from Knitters Almanac
Yarn: Ístex Plotulopi Unspun Icelandic, 4 wheels of brown & 2 wheels of red
Needles: 4.5mm Addi Clicks and dpn
My only comment is that I couldn't close the hole in the centre after Emily Ockers cast on, as the Unspun Icelandic just came apart in my hand when I tried to pull it. So, it has an extra design feature in the centre. :)
A true labour of love project, but I'm going to be lovely & warm watching the tv this winter!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

February Baby Cardigan

There was less swearing once I got into knitting it.

And it's finished,
February Cardigan

I have to say it was a bit of a trial occasionally and is a prime example of having to read the pattern several times before launching yourself at it. Buttonholes are necessaryand you need to be thinking of them almost from the off. I used Weezalana's notes a lot while knitting and did knit the sleeves in the round as well. Once you get into the swing of the pattern it is relatively easy.

This is for my cousin's baby who was born this week. It's knit in James C Bret's Pure Merino, a machine washable yarn, the buttons are from my stash. I hope she likes it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pi Progression

Can you believe, I ran out of yarn, again? Unbelievable.
I decided enough was enough, and that the shawl was big enough as it is. I was about halfway through the second section of the final repeat, so I called it a day and began the edging.
What do you think?:

I know it doesn't look like much. I'm really hoping it opens up with blocking as it feels denser than the shawl body.
This is how much I've done. I guess about a quarter? It's not too bad, but the turning every row is a bit annoying.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I tend to accidentally run into things when it comes to knitting and my first encounter with the Zimmerman dynasty was way back in my days as a baby knitter. For a few weeks back in the early 90's I discovered this magic lady on PBS who knew more than one cast-on and loads of other tricks which were way beyond me at the time... especially since I wasn't studying knitting at university (obviously there was a flaw in the career counseling services at my secondary school). Turns out it was Meg Swanson and oh how I cherished those hours of procrastination we spent together.

Years later I finally received my first EZ book and while I've dabbled with a few baby surprises, most of them have been given away. Except the one I think is too ugly...

Or the February Sweater that is just too cute!

So I'm off on my first Knitting Elizabeth project. While there are no set rules, I've set myself some guidelines just to get going...

1) Pick something you will finish (I'm notoriously bad at completing things... still feel bad about my abysmal Ravelympic performance back in 2008);
2) Use the stash; and
3) Learn something new.

So with a trip home to Canada right around the corner I set off with some Mitered Mittens from the Knitter's Almanac. The goal is to finish these before I head home and get a couple of weeks out of them before my Mom or sister steal them.

I wanted to use the i-cord cast-on but 2 steps seemed like a pain, but them I found this one step technique which I modified with a provisional cast-on so I can graft the cord.

I'm knitting them up in Cascade220 that I received in the Irish Knitter's Christmas swap almost 2 years ago so I get to try some new wool and use the stash!

So 2 out 3 goals completed. Now we'll see if I actually finish them...

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I've finished the Ribwarmer from Elizabeths' Knitting Workshop. It was an interesting project and it does meet at the back, When knitting it I knit one row before changing colours on the opposite side which meant that it lined up properly, otherwise I would have had the reverse of the fabric to the front for the second half. I think it would look even better in a heavily variegated yarn with a plain dark yarn. Still this was in some leftovers I had around, I'm sure Elizabeth would be proud! It now needs some washing.
Ribwarmer finished

crossposted to my knitting blog

The February Baby Cardigan

I know that Elizabeth calls it a sweater but it's a cardigan.

I've cast it on twice so far and then went away and did grocery shopping to avoid having to scream at it.

This is for a special baby. My cousin had a baby, it appears that this baby has some development issues. This is my cousin who lost her mother, a knitter, to Breast Cancer, the first grandchild in that family. Her mother would have been knitting like a mad thing to fill the child's wardrobe with beautiful knitted objects.

I have two balls of James C Brett Pure Merino (machine washable!) and a plan to knit the February baby cardigan out of it. Only it's not cooperating. This time I'm starting, it's not getting buttonholes, I'll crochet them on later. Hopefully this time, oh please let it happen this time, that I won't end up with 20 stitches more than I need when I get to the third repeat.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Open-Collared Pullover from Knitter's Almanac

[Partially crossposted to my blog.]

My very first Elizabeth Zimmermann project!

Knitting! Brilliant, isn't it?

I've noticed that of all the crafts I do, knitting tends to take a back seat in the summer months. I really haven't touched any of my WIPs since May or so. This past while, I've mostly been sewing, but I've been feeling the yarny yearning, big time.

So as soon as I heard about this blog, I knew I wanted in.

That up there is my beginning: I'm making the Open-Collared Pullover from Knitter's Almanac – one of just two books I own by the great woman (I'm on the lookout for more, as soon as I can justify a book-spree).

All kinds of firsts here, for me

  • I'm making myself a plain jumper, in plain black wool. (Seriously, look at it. It's like, "how much more black could this be?" and the answer is none. None more black.)

  • I'm working the top-down version - my first top-down raglan, in fact.

  • I've learned EZ's "invisible casting on" (it's really, really fast once you get the hang of it).

  • I'll allegedly be steeking later on. (Steeking! The Fear!)

  • Despite how much I luff her, this is also my very first EZ project. I've read Knitter's Almanac and Knitting Without Tears cover to cover, because they're so fabulous and gorgeous (particularly suitable for those three-hour middle-of-the-night newborn feeds, I found), but that's as far as I've gone until now.

  • Not a first: I'll be adding some torso shaping, and I may do something exciting with the sleeves, depending on how the yarn stocks hold out.


    One reason I love Elizabeth Zimmermann so much is because I'm an utter construction geek (I'm talking trembling glee), and as we know, Elizabeth does construction.

    Detail of open-collared pullover start: collar

    This little bit you see here is the start of a double-thickness collar, worked in the round on an invisble cast-on that will later be Kitchenered shut. How cool is that? My knitting currently resembles nothing even vaguely familiar, but I can tell that as soon as I do the steeking, it will all resolve itself into a coherent and beautiful jumper.

    I'm making it, incidentally, in Jaeger Matchmaker merino aran 100% wool, from stash, which I picked up at the Knitting and Stitching Show a few years ago.

    It's not much as yet, and it's less than it oughta be, too, because I went and Möbiused my first attempt.

    Which brings us to today's lesson

    Or at least, it was a lesson for me. I offer it here in case it saves you some frustration.

    See, I was so sure I hadn't arsed up. I did the cast-on, all 152 stitches, and I was super-careful not to twist as I joined it up. So far so good.

    Then I knit my first two rounds as instructed, and set off on the collar decreases.

    It was only after five or six rows that I began to suspect all was not right. Sure enough, Herr Möbius had paid me a visit, and I was knitting merrily away at a topographical oddity.

    But how?

    With just the hint of a grim set to my jaw, I frogged the lot, cast on again (I was getting pretty handy at the new method by now), joined up with obsessive care, and knit my first round.

    I was dead suspicious this time. Nothing was going to get past me – because having to do it all a third time would've got me really riled.

    Lucky thing, too.

    Because when I got to the end of the first round, I checked again, and I found that even assuming I'd joined correctly, that joining stitch – the one that tends to get pulled way long for the first couple of rounds – had managed to twist around the needle, causing (a) a phantom 153rd stitch, and (b) an impending Möbius situation.

    Tricksy, tricksy knitting.

    But I got the better of it.

    This is how we're looking this morning

    Open-collared pullover in progress: 12cm knit

    12-ish centimetres knit, raglan increases well under way. My hands are readjusting to the muscular demands of somewhat feverish oh-just-one-more-round-then-it's-not-even-midnight knitting.

    Happy autumn!

    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    Ever Increasing Circles

    Partially cross posted from my blog:

    My Pi Shawl progresses. I'm on to the last pattern repeat, 576 stitches. It's a behemoth now, each round takes forever:

    It's really hard to photograph it, as it's all bunched up on the circular needles.
    I think you get the idea of the pattern here:
    As with almost all projects, I've run into a snag. This is all the yarn I have left in this colour:

    Nowhere near enough. I do have 3 wheels in red & I was planning on doing the border in that colour, but I don't even think I've enough for the last repeat.
    Now I guess I've two options:
    1. Knit until I run out & then start the edging
    2. Knit until I run out & continue in red to the end of the pattern repeat & then do the edging.
    2. Order another wheel from The Yarn Room. It's only €5.95 and postage is free.
    I have to admit, I'm loath to buy another wheel. I'm really trying to not spend any more on yarn before my holidays. I know it's only €5.95, but it's the principle.
    I think I'll settle for No. 1 and knit until I run out. No 2 would most likely look rubbish.
    If I'd planned it better, I suppose I could have alternated the colours between repeats, but hey, that's foresight & good planning, two things that I am not known for!
    Good knitting!

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    Ribwarmer Start

    So before the schoolkids went back this week, it was starting to get cool and my mind drifted to waistcoats and other relatively warm stuff. Travelling to work daily on a motorbike means that season changes are pretty obvious stuff.

    I saw the Ribwarmer Waistcoat(Ravelry Link) in Knitting Workshop (one of the four Elizabeth books I have and one of the three I can currently find) and thought it would be a good thing to start with

    Earlier today I took a shot of my progress

    ribhugger start

    it's all in garter stitch and I'm starting to wonder how I'll get the reverse side working. It's also strange as I'm finding that I have to keep bringing my attention back to the knitting and making sure I don't accidentally do the wrong thing, I'm reminded of Tara Jon Manning and her discussions of Mindful Knitting and how being mindful of what your're doing is a good thing. I'm powering along with this and I'm on the back stretch of it. I'm enjoying it. I'm also finding myself having to avoid thinking about the next project because I want to enjoy what I'm doing. I love the simplicity of the pattern, you knit straight, then turn, straight, turn, straight and cast off, and then you have half of it knit, you knit a second and sew them up the back.

    However the next project has to have something other than garter stitch, between this and a piece of test knitting I'm doing I need something more.

    I'm using some leftover aran yarn from some other projects, the white is quite old and the blue is leftover from my Mr Greenjeans. It's quite old and old-style yarn. I think Elizabeth might approve.

    Crossposted to my knitting blog here