Friday, 24 June 2016

Thoughts on the result

Today is a sad day. I will readily admit that when Mr Dimbley called the result at around 5.30 this morning, I swore at the television. And yet I have to remind myself that I am fortunate.  I am fortunate to live in a nation where I, and millions of others, have democratic rights that we can exercise freely.  I am fortunate to live in a nation where I can express my disappointment without fear of reprisal. I am fortunate that I have a loving family, a home to go to, food to eat, and many comforts beside. I must remember to value the democratic rights that I have and respect those whose views do not coincide with mine.

Today was supposed to be a celebration.  Two colleagues and I were celebrating achieving a milestone promotion. And we were still able to do that. And for a little while we were able to forget. And now we must move on.

Some things will change. But I suspect that much won't. And I will still be much more fortunate than so many others.

So, I will delete the vitriolic tweets that I draft but do not post. I will commiserate with friends and grind my teeth.  I will wonder what apparently led so many people to vote "Leave" without actually wanting that outcome - and consider why that situation has arisen. I will remember that there were intelligent, thoughtful people campaigning on both sides of the debate (as well as those who were deceitful or self-serving - on both sides of the debate). I will try to look to the future with positivity, hope and respect.  And I will try to remember how fortunate I am to live in a democratic country.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Jane Austen Vest - Part 4: Knitting

It will be a shorter post this week (and late), because I've been spending all my time on the knitting! 

I cast on, as planned, on 1 November.  Worked nearly 8 complete rounds of rib and realised that it was twisted.  Aagh.  I don't recall ever having done that before, but I did it big time.  On the plus side, at the second attempt the ribbing came out much more even than it had the first time.

At the time of writing, I am now almost up to the split for the V-neck (which comes a few rounds before the under-arm shaping).  This has involved one re-work of the pattern.  There was one row missing (fortunately in the straight waist section so I could just insert one extra row) and a couple of places where the pattern itself was wrong at the end of the start of the round.  I fixed these points and also re-sized the rows in the spreadsheet so that they are all the same height - drawing on the outline had caused some rows to grow slightly.  This wouldn't matter except that I was trying to use the chart reading function in Knit Companion.  Until the row heights were fixed, the chart highlighter wouldn't work properly and, frankly, was more trouble that it was worth.  But it's all fixed now and working well.

I have a post planned for next weekend, although I'll be visiting Mum and Dad, so may not have time to post, but will try to include progress pictures.  And the rate I'm going, the following week will be the steeks. 

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Jane Austen Vest - Part 3: Spreadsheets

I am getting very excited about this project as tomorrow is the day that I cast on; I have decided that the vest will be my all wool Wovember project.  In the meantime, I have had much fun playing with spreadsheets.  I am aware that, strange as it may seem, there are people who don't like spreadsheets.  I, however, am my father's daughter and see them as the solution to all problems - and the more colourful they are the better.

I mentioned in the last post that I had used a spreadsheet to help chart the design and decide how it should look.

The left-hand of these two images is the original version with larger keys and too much cream.  The right-hand has the smaller keys, extra peerie patterns in pink on blue and gives me the colour balance that I prefer (there's also a change to how the graduation of the colours in the large flower patterns works).  Although the colours in the chart don't exactly match the yarn, they're close enough so that I could see the balance better.

Once I'd got to this point, I then needed to turn it into a pattern for an actual vest.  First, I found a pattern for a similar vest at a similar gauge - I chose the Ivy League Vest.  I used this pattern to chart out what the increases and decreases were on the size that was closest to the size of vest that I want to make.  I then turned those increases and decreases into measurements in inches based on the gauge given in the pattern.

I knew my gauge for the actual knitting (I had a swatch or two to measure from) and so I could then turn the sample increases and decreases into my actual increases and decreases using the different gauges and the adjustments I wanted to make to the size of the pattern (slightly longer, higher V, slightly bigger at the bust) - and then I had added two more sheets to my workbook.

The left-hand picture shows the sample pattern with all the "at the same time" changes marked - it did take me a little while to work this out.  The right-hand picture then shows the translation of that for my dimensions and gauge.  I have to say that if I were ever to knit the Ivy League vest, I would probably use this chart to keep track of the various increases and decreases.  I am a visual person and would struggle to keep track through the written version.  However, what I did for the actual vest pattern was to map the increases and decreases onto the design chart:

This picture shows most of the pattern and, close up, you can see the purled mock seam at the left of the char.  I have made sure that the large flowers in the blue and pink section are centred but not worried too much about either the keys (although they are all lined up with one another) of the diagonal stripes.

There was one more worksheet prepared this morning.  I checked out exactly how much of each yarn colour I have and in what dye lot.  I'm not going to worry too much about the dye lots, although I will only change at the end of a section of a particular colour, but I wanted to know how much yarn I have (way too much) so that I then know how much I use to knit the thing.  My suspicion is that I won't be far off having sufficient yarn to knit two entire vests but we shall see.

Now I'm off to make sure I have the right needles all ready to go so that I can cast on in the morning!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Jane Austen Vest - Part 2: More swatching

You didn't think that what I posted last week was all the swatches did you?  That was just the beginning.  Of  the first swatch.

I have previously knitted the Autumn Rose Sweater and in doing so had seen how colours could be shaded (even though I didn't use the original colours).  I had also seen how a smaller pattern could be used in between bands of a larger pattern.  And so I started experiment.

First, I started playing with shading on the flower patterns that I had taken from Sense and Sensibility.  I shaded both the blues and the pinks, using colours that were a little more "me" than those I'd used originally, even though the originals were a closer match to the colours of the book.

I also started playing with the chair pattern from Emma.  My attempts to work a full chair didn't really work especially since, the whole way through, I was trying to ensure that there were never more than 5 stitches of a single colour.  I have since worked a sweater with a stranded yoke that has far more than 5 stitch runs but I was trying to obey the "rules".  So, I looked at the chairs more closely, and saw the stripes on the seats.

Those stripes were something that I could work with and so I started playing with a pattern of diagonal stripes on a shaded green background.  The first set were too far apart, but the second set were better.
Having go to that point, I then decided to make my life just that little more difficult and bring in a third book.  Northanger Abbey has a fun design of shocking pink keys (not terribly Gothic) on an oatmealy background and I decided that this should be my third pattern.

I played around with the key pattern on paper and so got to something I liked and then ... bound off.  I had a "complete" swatch, but it had all sorts of random bits and pieces in it and so I decided to start from scratch, but in a bit of rib, and then knit a swatch of the overall design.  Which I did.  And I didn't like it.  There was nothing wrong with it really but for me the balance of the colours was wrong - there was too much cream and not enough blue.  So then I turned to my computer.

I used excel to start charting my designs.  I charted what I had knitted as the overall swatch, and then I started playing with it.  I reduced the size of the keys.  I blended the blue into the green each time.  And I added a small flower "peerie pattern" in my deepest shade of pink before and after the main pink flowers each time.  And then I knitted another swatch (well actually, there was an intermediate one, but I quickly realised I didn't like it and restarted).  And so I came up with the final swatch.  The ribbing in the garment will not match this (I'm going to use 3 x 1 not 3 x 3) and I think there's the odd extra plain blue row in there, but this is the basic flow of the design.  In the picture below, the final design is on the left with the "too cream" version on the right.
So there it is.  A colour work pattern.  Next, an overall pattern was needed.  I'll write about that next week and also post a picture of the yarn that arrived this week.   Together with what I already had, I've got waaaaay too much, and I haven't yet checked what's going on with the dye lots.  But I'm working on the basis that as long as I don't change lot part way through a section it will all be fine!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Jane Austen Vest - Part 1: Shetland

No, as far as I am aware, Jane Austen never went to Shetland.  However, in October last year, I was fortunate enough to go to Shetland Wool Week, and that is where the story of my vest begins.  My parents spent their honeymoon on Shetland and so I was keen to see the place as well as to have the opportunity to spend time with wool.  And it is indeed a beautiful place.

When I was booking, I looked at what classes and trips I might want to take and I decided to take the Quotidian Colourwork course taught by Felicity Ford, aka Felix, or Knitsonik.  In some ways, this felt like a bit of a cop out as I know Felix from the knitting group in Reading.  On the other hand, I was heading to the other end of the country and beyond on my own so it would be nice to see a friendly face.  And Felix's face is always friendly.

The idea behind Quotidian Colourwork is to take inspiration for stranded colourwork knitting from everyday sources - but from sources that the knitter finds beautiful.  Felix has knitted some amazing swatches that I had been lucky enough to see in person, and I wanted to have a go.  So I headed of to Shetland with some warm woolies, more knitting and crochet projects than I could possibly get through in the time I was going to be there, and copies of two of Jane Austen's books.

I have read all of Austen's novels several times and have very battered copies sitting on the shelf, but I had recently discovered these rather lovely Penguin editions of, among other things, Jane Austen's works.

Sense and Sensibility, and Emma came to Shetland with me, and it was Sense and Sensibility that I took to class, where I started swatching.
 We were provided with squared notebooks and coloured pencils and started by charting elements of our chosen objects.  I picked out one of the larger flowers on the book cover, "drew" it and then started swatching.  During the class, I tried two colour combinations for my flowers and then at the end of class we were able to take yarn away with us to try more options.  So, then I started on the chairs on the cover of Emma.

By the time I left Shetland, I had a start on how some of the colours worked together and how some of the patterns were working.  But none of the colour / pattern combinations that I worked up while I was in Shetland will actually feature in the final garment - there was much more swatching to be done!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Like a hole in the head

I need a new hobby like a hole in the head. Nonetheless, I have become obsessed with the idea of a quilt. This idea becomes even more insane when you realise that the purpose of said quilt will be to go over the back of a sofa in my craft room (which I don't - yet - have) in a house that we have not yet found, let alone bought. However, the knitting mojo is a little lacking at the moment (not really feeling the love of socks or shawls - my usual staples - at the moment). Also, I've realise I have a problem with colour; I can't make all garments in shades of blue, grey and possibly mauve. I have a hope that quilting will help.

So yesterday, I tidied my desk. It now looks like this. I also sorted out the drawers and now have one that looks like this.

You will note the rotary cutter. I have previously found this difficult to use and couldn't cut straight with it. However, browsing websites, I discovered that there's a difference between left handed and right handed rotary cutters. Yesterday, I discovered that mine can be set up either way. Having switched to left handed, I then had a play with some scraps - and, joy, it worked. Who'd a thunk it?!

So, next weekend, there will be a trip to the quilting shop ...

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Who'da thought

Well I never. There's a Blogger App. It should have been obvious, but I always forget how fast technology is moving. The fact that I can't easily blog from my iPhone one day should make it obvious that there'll be an App to help the next.

On that basis, I really have no excuse not to blog more often - the phone goes just about everywhere with me, it will take the necessary photos (no piccies with this post though - my rather untidy bedroom does not need to go on public display) and it appears to be pretty straightforward. Clearly, if I want to blog pictures taken on my proper camera, it will have to be via Mildred but this will work for many things.

In other news, no pancakes for me today. And how do people find time to make pancakes before work?