Sunday, February 26, 2006

Knitting Olympics project - complete!!

The sweater is finished!

Vital statistics:

Pattern: Knitting Pure & Simple Neck down Pullover for Women
Yarn: Noro Korchoran shade 31. Just under 500g
Needles: Addi Turbos 5mm & 4mm (I should also have used a 16" 4mm for the neck but my order from Get Knitted still hasn't arrived after nearly 3 weeks - they are awaiting a big shipment from Addi - so had to use a 4.5mm instead)
Cast on: 10/02/06
Cast off: 22/02/06
Washed and blocked: 23/02/06
Ends woven in: 25/02/06

I knit this a little shorter in the body and the sleeves than the pattern called for, to allow for the Korchoran to grow when washed - which it did. The fit is just right and the yarn really softens up after washing. It's another lovely, snuggly warm sweater. Just right for the current cold snap!

Definitely a pattern I will knit again - KP&S patterns are very well written and easy to follow.

I'm extremely proud that I managed to complete this within the allotted time - I'm especially impressed with myself over the actual time on the needles ;) Only 12 days, which really isn't bad at all bearing in mind most days my only knitting time is a couple of hours in the evening.

I'm making good progress on the Malabrigo scarf, and hope to have that finished within the next couple of days, while I gird my loins for the next challenge (Aran Pullover). Oh yes, more cables....

Sunday, February 19, 2006

SP6 goodies and other stuff

I received my first package from my SP on Friday:

That's one huge hank of Knit Picks Colour Your Own merino (which is very, very soft), a skein of Malabrigo worsted in Pagoda, two skeins of Knit Picks sock merino, some Brittany birch DPNs, and Kool Aid for the merino yarn.

Isn't that just the most amazing, generous package of goodies? Having yearned for some Knit Picks yarn it is so exciting to have some in the house. I WISH they would ship to the UK. Eddie has already bagged the sock yarn for a pair for him - I almost had to sit down when he made that announcement since, of all the hundreds of balls of yarn that have come into this house, not once has he ever said that he liked any of it, let alone asked me to knit him something with it!

The Malabrigo is definitely for ME ME ME. It's going to be the very next thing on the needles after I finish my KO project. A snuggly scarf in this super soft yarn is going to see me through the rest of the winter very nicely!

I can't wait to start playing with the Kool Aid. I have some more packets I've got from some swaps on the Knitty board, and with this week as holiday I'm going to set aside some time for dyeing!

The Brittany birch DPNs are lovely - nice and short, just how I like them. I can feel the urge to knit socks coming upon me again ;)

Thank you soooooo much SP, for such a wonderful, wonderful package.

Progress in the Knitting Olympics is not exactly of gold medal standard, but I'm at least at about the stage I need to be at this point

I'm enjoying the pattern, lots of mindless knitting in the round, which makes watching the Olympics (particularly events like the figure skating) and knitting at the same time feasible. I'm so glad I didn't choose a lace project!

Glampyre's Easy V neck is washed and blocked, and officially an FO. A word of warning to anyone planning to knit something in Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk - it grows when wet!! Lengthways only, funnily enough, but so much so I had to unpick the sleeves and frog them back a bit (yes I know I should always wash my swatches first....). I'm really pleased with the final result

This was knit on 5mm Addit Turbos and took 19 days to complete. An easy to follow pattern, and one I'll definitely knit again. For now, I'm going to leave the neckline as it is. It makes this a very casual jumper, but it looks great with a vest top underneath, and jeans. It's exactly what I was hoping to end up with. The yarn is lovely and soft, and warm. Definitely soft enough to be worn next to the skin.

Finally, a kidding update. 29 kids so far. Just one fatality - a kid which unfortunately got stuck, and we couldn't get it out alive. It's sad, but only to be expected when kidding so many goats. Thankfully it was one of twins so the mum has got a baby to care for. All the kids and mums are doing fine. Time for some gratuitous cuteness...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Knittyboard ABC along. C is for.....


Last summer we moved house, and there was a period of 5 weeks from leaving our old house before we could move into the new one. For those 5 weeks we lived in this caravan. It was parked next to the barns in the yard, and to say I wasn't looking forward to 5 weeks of no running water, no flush toilets, no showers, basic cooking facilities - not to mention the vagaries of the British summer - was a bit of an understatement!

Well, we were blessed with 5 weeks of uninterrupted blazing hot sunshine, and our time in the caravan turned out to be filled with very happy memories.

I had 2 weeks of holiday out of the 5, and was up very early each day before it got too hot. Long lazy walks with the dogs down to the river which borders our land, so they could swim and cool off. Lazing in the shade, knitting, reading, just taking life easy.

I learned to knit socks in this caravan!

At night, we would lie in bed and listen to the sounds of the animals snuffling and bleating gently to one another.

We were also living in the caravan on July 7th - the day of the terrorist bombings in London. I was in London that day, probably about 20 minutes ahead of the tube in which a bomb went off at Aldgate. We felt the force of the explosion in our office. It took forever to get home that evening. The few trains running were absolutely packed, but no one complained, no one whined or moaned. I think we were all thinking "It could have been me".

When I finally got home and saw the lights in the caravan I felt very very grateful to be safely home.

We'll be selling the caravan in the spring (hopefully), but I'll always have fond memories of those weeks when it was our home.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I'm ready for my close up Mr de Mille

Dang it! My personal photographer has gone AWOL. Actually, since he got back from his last job I've barely seen him. He's out in the barn most of the time, tending to the mums to be. Thankfully no one decided to kid while he was away (I hate to admit it but I think they were probably waiting for him to come home :0 ). We've had no more births since 3rd Feb, but several look as though it could be any day now.

Anyway, in the absence of Eddie I'm afraid you'll have to make do with an unmodelled shot of the completed Anniversary Sweater

Vital statistics:

Pattern - Anniversary Sweater
Yarn - Worsted merino from Main colour Cognac, contrast Applewood
Needles - 5mm Addi Turbos
Time on needles - Seemed like forever! It got put aside when I had Christmas knitting to do. I think it took about 6 - 8 weeks.

A great pattern. The original was knit in cotton and mine is 100% wool, so obviously the drape is not the same, but I love it. The only thing I would change if I knitted it again (hmm, all those cables....) would be to make the sleeves narrower. It is a man's sweater, and the sleeves are pretty wide.

Jess asked if I bought the yarn online direct from Yes, I did. It was last April just after they had decided to (temporarily) stop selling the worsted merino online. I emailed them and asked them when they would be doing it again and Marcos emailed me straight back to say they would make up an order of whatever I wanted. I ordered a kilo of Cognac and 600g of Applewood. It arrived, all the way from Uruguay, about 5 days later!

They have now stopped doing the worsted merino altogether online, other than as the Malabrigo brand, but I intend to email Marcos again and see if I can't order some more. As Malabrigo is not available in the UK, maybe he might do the odd order for UK customers? I have to say this yarn is unbelieveable, I can't praise it enough. Every time I slip this sweater on I'm amazed all over again by how beautifully soft it is.

Here's a close up of the stitch detail

All those cables really did my head in, but still it was a very enjoyable knit.

I'm now busy limbering up for the Knitting Olympics. I've had some problems getting gauge with the Korchoran. It apparently knits to 16sts to 4" on 6mm, which is the gauge I need for my sweater. I have never before had any problems getting gauge, but this time I've had to go down to 5mm. I was a bit worried the resulting fabric would be too "tight", but the swatch actually knitted up fine. So I'm all set to go. Well, I do need to order some 4mm circs. I took Purlpower's advice on the Glampyre sweater and got some 30cm Addis for that, which were a great help (thanks purlpower!), so I think I'll try them on this sweater as well.

Pre-Olympic training has also involved trying to whip up a quick scarf. I ended up abandoning the Campus scarf. The yarn is lovely but the pattern just wasn't doing it for me. A dig around in the stash unearthed some cashmere sock yarn I bought from Kerrie last summer. I bought 100g thinking that would do me a pair of socks. Well, the socks took about 30g! So I have loads left over, and much as I love my socks the cashmere isn't terribly hardwearing, so I thought a scarf would be ideal. I'm knitting Misti Garden, also from Scarf Style

This is a fast, easy knit. I find patterns like this great for learning to "read" my knitting. It's only a 4 row repeat so I find even I can do that without a row counter if I pay attention. It's currently growing by about 10" for every couple of hours of knitting so I'm hoping with a bit of luck and a following wind it will be finished on Thursday evening, ready for the big Cast On on Friday.

Good luck to all the other Olympic Knitters out there - I'll be thinking of you all on Friday!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Busy, busy, busy

I really don't know where the last week has gone. We now have 7 sets of twins cavorting around the barn - 5 sets of boy/girl, one set of girls, one of boys. I love this time of year!

Eddie is away for a couple of days so I'm on sole midwifery duty. I'm hoping they'll all hold off until he gets home on Friday ;). We have 15 does left to kid so looks like we'll end up with 35 - 40 kids once we're finished. That's going to be so much fun come the spring when they get to go outside and play.

On the knitting front the Glampyre sweater is off the needles. It needs washing and blocking, and then I'll decide what to do about the neck. A quick try on has me thinking it might look fine as it is after all. We'll see.

The Anniversary sweater is also finally blocked and sewn up. Photo to follow, but I love, love, love it. That worsted merino really is something else. The sweater is soooooo soft and warm. It's one of those sweaters that as soon as you put it on you want to curl up on the sofa in front of a roaring fire with a good book. I used two colours for the sweater and have enough left to knit another one, when I can find a pattern I like. Can't wait!

But wait it will have to - I'm currently knitting the Campus Scarf from Scarf Style - a stash busting exercise using the beautiful rust coloured wool my SP5 (Metamomo!!!!!) sent me, and then it will be time for (drum roll please)....

The Knitting Olympics

I've signed up for Team Knittyboard,
and will be knitting the Top Down Pullover from Knitting Pure & Simple, in Noro Korchoran. 16 days to knit a (large) sweater? In the middle of kidding?? It's definitely going to be a challenge.

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