Sunday, December 31, 2006

Come in, come out of the rain

And that should be the last Simple Minds reference for a while but I couldn't resist with lovely wet stuff falling from the sky here in drought-ridden Canberra and more is forecast.

Little Waves Wash Cloth
Yarn: 1 x 50g ball 8ply cotton (dk, light worsted, ) This pattern is a heavy feeder, you will need the whole ball.

Needles: 1 pr 3.75mm (Imperial 9, US 5)

Notions: 1 darning needle for the endy bits.

Tension
: Tension is not that important.

Time Investment:
About 3 hours.

Finished size
: About 20cm x 20cm (8" x 8")

Instructions:
Cast on 53 Stitches

Knit 6 rows

Begin Lacy Waves pattern:
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: k3, p to last to last 3 stitches, k3
Row 3: k3, *yrn, p1, p3tog, p1, yon, k2; rep from * to last stitch, k1
Row 4: k3, p to last to last 3 stitches, k3

Work rows 1-4, 13 more times (14 pattern repeats)

Knit 6 rows.

Cast off.

Darn in ends and give it a bit of a tug to square it up.

Things you might like to know about how I knit this pattern:

  • I use a cable cast on, you can use whatever method you prefer.
  • I slip the first stitch of each row knit-wise because I like the little bump on the edge. If you like a smooth, chain edge, slip the first stitch of each row purl-wise.
  • To avoid the little loop that sometimes forms on the last stitch of the cast off, knit into the stitch below and voila!, no loop.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Time Thief Watch Cap

Yarn: 12 ply yarn (worsted, 10-12 wpi, ) . You'll need between 80 and 90g for this hat. Best be safe and have two full 50g balls or equivalent.

Needles: 1 x 60cm (23") 4.5mm circular needle (US & Imperial size 7); 1 set 4.5mm dpns. The whole hat can be knitted on dpns if you prefer.

Notions: 1 darning needle for the endy bits, 1 stitch marker of choice.

Tension: 19sts to 10cm (4") not absolutely crucial but should be within a stitch either way

Time investment: About 3 hours.

Big Brain Box Size (23-24" head)
Cast on 88 stitches, place marker and join in the round. Remember to slip marker from left to right hand needle at the end of each round.

Band
Round 1: *K2, p2 , repeat from *
Rounds 2-12: as for round 1
Round 13: Knit this creates a turning ridge for the brim
Round 14-16: as for round 1

Body
Round 17+: Commence stocking stitch (just knit and knit and knit). When whole work measures 20cm (8"), begin decreases.

Decreases:
Round1: *K6, K2tog, repeat from *
Round2 (and all even rounds): knit
Round3: *K5, K2tog, repeat from *
Round5: *K4, K2tog, repeat from *
you'll need to change to dpns about here
Round7: *K3, K2tog, repeat from *
Round9: *K2, K2tog, repeat from *
Round11: *K1, K2tog, repeat from *
Round13: *K2tog, repeat from *

Finishing:
Cut wool leaving a tail of about 10cm (4"). Thread tail onto darning needle and run through all remaining stitches. Remove dpns and draw tail tightly. Pass the threaded needle through the cat's bum at the top and weave in. Weave in the cast on tail. Turn up the brim at the turning ridge and c'est finis.


I'm a Lady Size (21-22" head)

Cast on 80 stitches, place marker and join in the round. Remember to slip marker from left to right hand needle at the end of each round.

Band
Round 1: *K2, p2 , repeat from *
Rounds 2-10: as for round 1
Round 11: Knit this creates a turning ridge for the brim
Round 12-14: as for round 1

Body
Round 15+: Commence stocking stitch (just knit and knit and knit). When whole work measures 17.5cm (7"), begin decreases.

Decreases:
Round1: *K6, K2tog, repeat from *
Round2 (and all even rounds): knit
Round3: *K5, K2tog, repeat from *
you'll need to change to dpns about here
Round5: *K4, K2tog, repeat from *
Round7: *K3, K2tog, repeat from *
Round9: *K2, K2tog, repeat from *
Round11: *K1, K2tog, repeat from *
Round13: *K2tog, repeat from *

Finishing:
Cut wool leaving a tail of about 10cm (4"). Thread tail onto darning needle and run through all remaining stitches. Remove dpns and draw tail tightly. Pass the threaded needle through the cat's bum at the top and weave in. Weave in the cast on tail. Turn up the brim at the turning ridge and c'est finis.

Things you might like to know about how I knit this pattern.

  • It's called the Time Thief Watch Cap because, quite literally, I knit it in stolen time - walking to work, standing in queues, during staff meetings, at red traffic lights (shhh) etc... It takes about 30 mins for the cast on and final decreases time, the rest is bonus knitting time.

  • The fabric is meant to be reasonably tight to increase the moisture repelling properties and warmth of the hat.

  • I used a cable cast on, you can use whatever method you prefer.

  • I hate joining in the round so I knit the first round as a row and join at the beginning of the second round. The small gap is sewn together at the end with the tail from the cast on.

  • I don't use a marker until the decreases as it slows me down. The cast on tail indicates the beginning of a round until that point.

  • To change sizes, go up or down in multiples of 8 stitches. 72 stitches, for example, would be good for a kid's size.

  • There is no pattern for the stripes - I just make it up depending on the amount of wool available.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Someone, somewhere in summer time...

Chevron Lace Wash Cloth

Yarn: 1 x 50g ball 8ply cotton (you will not need a whole ball - somewhere between 25g and 35g depending on the brand) .

Needles: 1 pr 3.75mm (Imperial 9, US 5)

Notions: 1 darning needle for the endy bits.

Tension: Only if you've left it until the last minute. No, really, tension is not that important.This wash cloth will take about 3 hours to knit.

Finished size: About 22cm x 22cm (8.5" x 8.5")

Instructions:
Cast on 48 stitches.

Knit 6 rows.

Begin chevron lace pattern
Row 1: K4, *K2tog, yo, k1, yo, sl1, k1, psso, k2, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, K2
Row 2: K3, P to last 3 stitches, K3
Row 3: K3, *K2tog, yo, k3, yo, sl1, k1, psso, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, K3
Row 4: K3, P to last 3 stitches, K3

Repeat these 4 rows until piece is about 1 pattern repeat shy of square - I did 14 pattern repeats on some and 15 on others because the cotton knitted differently.

Knit 6 rows.

Cast off.

Darn in ends and give it a bit of a tug to square it up.

Things you might like to know about how I knitted this pattern.

  • I used a cable cast on, you can use whatever method you prefer.
  • I slip the first stitch of each row knit-wise because I like the little bump on the edge. If you like a smooth, chain edge, slip the first stitch of each row purl-wise.
  • To avoid the little loop that sometimes forms on the last stitch of the cast off, knit into the stitch below and voila!, no loop.
  • Sometimes I only knitted 5 rows at the end to make sure the piece was reasonably square.

Promised you a miracle ...


39 wash cloths completed by 2 December. Gift giving has begun with positive responses, although one of my volunteers guessed it was either a lining for his cod piece OR a wash cloth. Even he admitted it was beautifully knitted, though. The guys (apart from the cod piece remark) were particularly responsive to these gifts, which I didn't expect.

All of the yarn was purchased second-hand and no ball cost more than $1. In the main I got 3 wash cloths out of 2 balls. There are very few scraps left. I will be a making stripey garter stitch cloth for myself with the left overs.

I've been thinking about why these were the perfect items for hospital bedside knitting. Some reasons are obvious -

  • portable
  • simple
  • distracting when necessary
  • easily cast aside when required to assist the patient or the staff. With no more than 52 stitches to a row, you're almost always near the end of a row.
  • quick - one cloth a day was not uncommon, so a sense of achievement was maintained
  • rythmically comforting

Not so obvious reasons included

  • something positive to talk about with Mum, visitors and staff that wasn't about illness, hospitals etc. It seems everyone was grateful at some point to have another topic of conversation, even for just a while.

It wasn't until I started wrapping them to give away, however, that I recognised a potential benefit to these knitting these simple wash cloths. The wash cloths were gifts. Intended to be given to other people. Had I been working on a large project for myself or my immediate circle and had Mum died, something that was a very real possibility and almost happened several times, I don't think I would have been able to deal with seeing the item again - it would have reminded me of a loss far greater than 39 wash cloths.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Roma loves Jack

Mum and I had morning tea with her Uncle Jack and Auntie Roma today.

After a cup of tea and piece of fruit cake, and while we chatted over this and that, I took out my knitting. Roma asked if I knitted constantly like my mother used to and told me how Mum and her sister never sat with idle hands. Then, between them, Jack and Roma and Mum told me the story of Jack's cardigan.

Jack met and fell in love with Roma at an early age. Roma was beautiful and kind. To my mother she was a glamourous older sister. Jack and Roma became engaged just before Jack was posted overseas with the Army. During his time away, Roma knitted him a cardigan.

It was a Fair Isle cardigan with eight different colours of beiges, greens, browns and tans. Mum, Roma and Jack all described the pattern and the colours in detail. It was Fair Isle all over, not just the yoke, Roma and Mum took pains to tell me.

Roma knitted Jack's cardigan at night at the kitchen table. She couldn't sit in the living room to knit it because she needed the family's tea cups and a flat surface. Each ball of wool was placed in a different tea cup to keep the colours separated. It was lucky there were only eight colours because that was all the tea cups they had. When someone in the family wanted a cuppa, knitting ceased until the tea had been made and drunk and the cup washed, dried and returned to Roma at the kitchen table.

When Jack returned home from his posting a year later, he and Roma were married. Jack swears the cardigan was his favourite and he wore it all the time. Mum, who was 7 when they married, confirms that he did as she vividly remembers the cardigan.

Jack's eyes glistened this morning when he told me how upset he was when Roma discarded the carigan when they moved into their retirement unit earlier this year. He smiled and held her hand when she told me that although she'd always hand washed the cardigan and looked after it properly, it had shrunk a little and was becoming quite worn.

Jack and Roma married in 1949.


Uncle Jack selling hub caps at the Jamison Trash and Treasure Markets, 5 September 1985.

Image courtesy of the absolutely essential ACT Heritage Library, Canberra Times Collection.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Last Tango in Braidwood

I really did think that a day looking at quilts hanging off balconies in Braidwood with my mother and her friends would be S.E.X.* free. Heaven knows I could do with a weekend of yarn celibacy.

Then I met this evil temptress.

From the moment I touched her soft downy balls, I was beguiled. Her charms were seemingly endless.


It began with a smile and a caress but soon escalated.

Watched and encouraged by both her husband and my mother (oh, the perversity), we engaged in a mutal petting session that ended in an exchange of cash. I felt so cheap. $2 for each of the Patonyle, and $3 for each of the cones of Bendigo baby 4ply. She threw in the set of 2.25mm dpns because of my enthusiasm.

My reserves breached it was an orgiastic frenzy of linen and alpaca (50c a ball for 2 balls of each), climaxing in a box of 20 pairs of tortiseshell needles (some still in their virgin state original wrapping), 7 sets of circular needles, a few cr****t hooks and assorted accessories for $40 in which I was joined by my mother's friend Bernie. Sadly, the photographs of these will not load. Seems Blogger has moral standards.

I needed a towel down (tea towel with knitted top) and a cup of tea ($5 for a really cute Bodum plain glass teapot). Sometimes I really miss smoking.

*Stash Enhancement eXercise, for the uninitiated