Monday, 28 January 2013

No-one ever dresses as crippling self-doubt

Oh yes, The Internet. You are mother of all invention, source of joy, and infinite provider of stuff to help me get through a rainy Monday.


Friday, 25 January 2013

Wurmwarmers pattern

Following on from my last post, here's my pattern for Wurmwarmers, based on the Wurm hat pattern

Needles; 3.25mm DPN's, or size to get gaugue
Yarn -
MC - Worsted or heavy DK weight commercial yarn, I used Wendy Aran with Wool
CC - Paired with thick-and-thin handspun yarn - roughly the same weight as the commercial yarn, but with more variation. There are commercial yarns if you're not a spinner that have a similar effect.

Size - women's medium

CO 32 sts using long-tailed cast on, using the MC to form the stitches and the CC to form the rolled edge.

In MC Work K2 P2 rib for eight rounds
Switch to Wurm pattern - P5 rounds, K4 rounds.
Use the CC to work one, two or three rows in the purl rounds, creating dashes of different texture and colour in the 'ribs' of the wurm. Continue doing this throughout the glove

Continue until you have 5 wurm ribs, and are ready to start the next knit rounds.

Create thumb gusset:

Next row; K14, place marker, knit twice into next stitch, knit twice into the stitch after, place marker, knit to the end. St between markers = 4
NOTE In all increase rows ahead, work the increase in the stitch that matches the part of the pattern you're working in; if it's a knit round, knit twice into the stitch. If it's a purl round, purl twice. Keep the pattern correct throughout the thumb increases.
*Work three rounds in pattern
Next round; work to marker, slip marker, work twice into next stitch, work to 1 st before next marker, work twice into next stitch. Slip marker, and work to the end of the round (2 stitches increased between the markers)*
Work from * to *, keeping pattern correct, until you have 12 stitches between the markers for the thumb.
On the next round, remove markers and slip these 12 stitches to waste yarn so they can be picked up and worked later. Cast on 2 stitches using the backwards loop method to cover the gap.

Finish the stripe of the pattern you're on, then change to shorter stripes for the hand as below:

Purl 4 rows, knit 3 rows once
Purl 3 rows, knit 2 rows from now until finish

Remember  - Keep the pattern correct - so if you've just finished a knit stripe, start the purl stripe and vice versa. You should come out working a knit stripe as you divide off the thumb, but don't worry if not! It's not that precise a pattern, so as long as it looks right to you, it's fine.

Work in the shorter rows (purl 3 rows, knit 2 rows) until you're about the right length for your hand. Allow the hand part to scrunch down around your fingers when you check this.
When you're happy with the length, work 5 purl rows to finish off the top, then cast off loosely. It should curl around inside neatly.


Put the thumb stitches onto three needles, picking up four stitches over the gap where you cast on two stitches in the main body of the glove.

You should now have 16 stitches on your needles. Work in K2 P2 rib until you have reached a length of thumb you're happy with. Knit quite firmly to stop the thumb frilling out madly. If you'd like a smaller thumb, make a couple of K2togs in the first round of the thumb, making sure you have enough to make a proper rib pattern. Cast off, not too tightly.

Repeat for the second glove. Sew in ends, wash and allow to scrunch up as it dries.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Wurmwarmers first look

Here you are - the first Wurmwarmer finished. I should have a pattern up tomorrow, once I've knitted the second one. I'm really pleased with the handspun thick-and-thin yarn peeping out every so often. It gives the otherwise-slightly-stale aran yarn a bit of life and bounce and fluff as well. Apologies for the quality of the pictures, by the way - it's really gloomy in here and my phone seems to be playing up!

Winter knitting frenzy!

I've got that winter knitter frenzy on at the moment. See snow on the ground? KNIT WARM THINGS like there's an ice age on the way.

I've had some thick-and-thin handspun in my stash for a while now - I love the colours, and I love using thick-and-thin yarn with commercial yarn. But it was really hard to find something that was going to bring out all the soft, warm shades I loved without trying to 'take over'. Here's the handspun on the winder-ator;

It's really pretty in real life, bright greens and chestnuts and oranges and dark reds, sort of autumn fireside colours.

So, I found an Aran yarn (Wendy With Wool, I think, a 25% wool) which I'd not been happy with for actual aran-weight patterns because it tends to knit a bit below weight. And the colours look delicious together, as you can see in the other picture. I decided to make myself a pair of chunky armwarmers using the Wurm pattern's boingy purl-rib design, using some of the handspun and the commercial yarn for the main body of the glove.

It's knitting to - I reckon - 5.5 stitches to the inch. Using my Knitter's Handy Book of Knitting Patterns I calculated that I need to cast on 32 stitches ish. Its' the ish that always gets me. The pattern's for a glove, whereas I want these a bit further down my arm. Therefore, more stitches. BUT, last time I made gloves from these pattern they were 38 sts at the same gauge and came out kinda loose. Therefore, more than 32 and less than 38. All this ish. I just went for it, in the end, and cast on 32. I may as well. 

I used my favourite cast-on, the Long Tail, using one strand of handspun for the bottom edge and the main colour for the top. If you've never used Long Tail before, I highly recommend it. Beautiful rolled edge, just the right amount of stretch, and you can do cool things like a two colour cast-on with ease. Here's a good video showing the technique; tricky to get your head around at first, but well worth it.

Anyway, I'll have more pictures later on - in the meantime, I'm thinking about a matching Wurm hat and muffler - wurmwarmers! I hope that all that ish doesn't come back and bite me...


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Public Service Announcement

Hey everyone, back again.

Turns out that when I was poorly...and then more poorly...and then still poorly... it wasn't something I was just going to shake off.

A few years ago, after a really nasty bout of summer hay fever, I was diagnosed with asthma. Up until then I thought asthma was something you either had or you didn't - you either got it as a kid, or you never had it. I, like a lot of people, had no idea you could develop it as an adult. But I had.

My introduction to asthma from the doctor was something along the lines of "Yes, you have asthma, take two puffs of this inhaler every day. Thank you for dropping by!"

In the years since, I've found out 101 Spiffing Things a Girl Can't Do With Asthma, and 999 Things Asthma Can Do To A Girl. Try these on for size;

1. My bronchus (tube leading from my lungs to the outside) has actually changed shape permanently. Permanently! It's not just that I sometimes get wheezy, I now have a bronchus smaller than other people's. Perfect for clamping shut on a whim.

2. Apologies for this one, but my lungs are full of *icky mucus* which gathers up infections like a miser with tenners.

3. Not only does asthma do bad things, but hey - the medication does too! The steroids I have to take to control my asthma cause tremors, anxiety, irregular heartbeat...that's just the top of the label. In addition to that, they can cause infections in my lungs, such as regular virus infections that everyone gets in passing, to stick around and cause trouble for me.

Aren't those great? You should see the rest of the list. Suffice to say my imaginary career as a marathon runner won't really get of the ground. It's just a good job I'm an indoors hobby kinda mongoose.

Anyway, the reason I shared all those horrifying medical TRUE FACTS! is to help explain why I wasn't around a lot recently. It's because that, in 2012, I was mostly being sick. Really sick. Even when I thought I was well, I was not. It ended up with me being signed off work for a month with exhaustion after I found I couldn't cross the room without a rest half-way.

I used some of my time well - I can spin, I have knitted A LOT of a lot, I dyed with indigo (strange smell, nice colour) washed fleece (as before)...oh, so much to share.

But I thought before I did that, I'd tell you where I've been and why. There's a lot of misunderstanding out there about asthma, what it is and how serious is it, and it's nice to be able to share a little real-life knowledge on it with people I know. It's not a laughing matter, to be honest, although I thought when I first was diagnosed it would all be a minor inconvenience.

Anyway, more blogging tomorrow. In the meantime, TRUE FACT 4. A seasonal true fact;

4/ Cold temperatures means I can't go outside in case I get an asthma attack and/or have to use so many steroids to stop getting an asthma attack that I get sick.

So I'll be knitting, spinning, felting, carding, flicking, washing and dyeing my heart out with you all here, and I hope you can get used to having me around again.