Next knits

With only one project still on the needles (and likely to be there for quite some time – Thermal is something I only feel like knitting in smallish doses) it’s time to figure out what my next mission will be.

I have yarn for Autumn Rose:

But I’m not quite ready to start a colourwork project yet.

I also have yarn for the Waist Cincher Top but I’m just not feeling the insatiable urge to knit this just yet either.

The rest of my small stash consists of some sock yarn (not in the mood for small needles) and some chunky green yarn that I’ve had forever and might become a scarf one day (but not today).

Then we come to the question of Christmas presents. I’m thinking of knitting at least one pair of slipper socks and a hat or two (or three), for recipients I will not yet disclose in case they are reading. This will necessitate a yarn buying trip, and I think I will try John Lewis this time, if I can brave the Oxford Street crowds.

Something I do want to knit (and design) for myself is a hot water bottle cover, with cables and in more of the Pura Lana Ecologica I used for my Gretel hat. I think I’ll buy my Christmas present yarn, then order this wool on the internet as a reward. No warm feet until the Christmas knitting is done!

Right, now that I’ve stated my intentions I can’t go back on them. Tonight, however, I think I will have a night off knitting. It’s still early though – we’ll see!

And then there were two

These mitts are going to have to be outside only, I fear. They’re very difficult to type in! I’m very pleased with how they turned out though, and happy to have learned a new skill. (I really hope Eunny doesn’t see this post and see them in their unblocked state. I just had to post them though, and share my joy!)

Good riddance John Howard!

I’ve been watching the Australian election results coverage all morning and now all I can say is thank goodness for that!

ETA: Ok, so why do I care who the Prime Minister of Australia is?

1. Australia is the biggest polluter per capita in the world.  Kevin Rudd has pledged to sign the Kyoto Protocol.

2.  He has also pledged to say “sorry” to the Aborigines

3. He will also withdraw combat troops from Iraq

Those three reasons alone are good enough for me!

High Street Hat

High Street Hat 4

This hat was inspired by a hat that was commercially available in some high street shops here in the UK, hence the name. I decided that instead of paying £20 for a low-quality, acrylic hat, I could pay £10 for some nice wool and knit my own. The hat can be worn beret-style or back on the head, more like a snood. It’s up to you!

The pattern comes in three sizes, to fit head circumference Small (51 cm/20 inches), Medium (56 cm/22 inches), and Large (61cm/24 inches). The hat pictured is the Large size. You’ll need 100g (135 yards/123m) of bulky wool. The sample is knit in Manos del Uruguay but Rowan Cocoon also works well. In the Small and Medium sizes, there’s enough yarn in one skein of Manos that if you want to make it a bit slouchier, you can. You’ll also need 5.5mm (size 9) needles, stitch markers, and a darning needle.

I’ve decided to offer a new version of this pattern for sale.

I’ve taken the free pattern down as the pattern notes were really just that, notes. By buying the pattern you get full, detailed instructions on how to make the hat in all three sizes, and full email support from me.

You can purchase the pattern for £2.50 by clicking this link: buy now, or if you are on Ravelry, from the Ravelry Pattern Library.

By the way, instructions for the Italian Tubular Cast On are available here. I recommend you use some form of tubular cast on (the Italian Tubular just happens to be my favourite) as it looks neater and it’s much stretchier. If you can’t figure it out and want to do a long-tail cast on instead, make the Large size, as the band won’t stretch as much.

High Street Hat 3

Halfway there!

And my wrists and arms are wrecked! Time to take a break from the mitts. I’ve actually decided to try to always have a hat on the needles this winter to take along to knitting group with me – something nice and simple and small that doesn’t require much concentration. It will be a nice break between more complicated projects, the trick will be to wait until knitting group to knit them, or I’ll run out of easy knitting again!

I am rather proud of this mitt though. Once I’ve finished the second one I will definitely be ready for Autumn Rose!

Wow!

You guys really like the Endpaper Mitts – 76 views on Flickr? Is that some kind of computer error? At any rate I’ve been beavering away, my tension is now ten times better than it was at the start (so the picture in question is a bit embarassing now!) and hopefully I’ll finish Mitt #1 today.

But right now it’s time for my final Europe Trip ’07 post – Madrid.

For some reason I didn’t actually take many photos in Madrid. We stayed there for two nights but it was at the end of the tour, so we basically just hung out and relaxed. We did a guided tour of the Royal Palace and the Valley of the Fallen on the first morning, then walked around in the afternoon. That night was the final night dinner which was loads of fun. Afterwards Rachael and I went to a salsa bar but it was extremely smoky and I couldn’t shake this Italian guy.

Anyway. The Valley of the Fallen was an idea General Franco had after the war. Apparently he wanted an amazing monument to commemorate the fallen soldiers on both sides of the war. So in the mountains in the middle of Spain, they hollowed out an entire hill and built a cathedral inside, with rooms on either side of the cathedral to bury the 100,000 plus bodies of all of the soldiers. On top of the hill, right above the dome of the cathedral, is a massive stone cross. The whole thing took over 17 years to complete. It remains slightly politically controversial, but whatever your political (or religious) leanings, the thing is architecturally and visually incredible.

Third time’s the charm

With thanks to Elizabeth, who (whether she knew it or not) encouraged me to pick up the Endpaper Mitts again.

This time I didn’t use the pink/purple and grey alpaca I had bought for the project, as the colours just didn’t seem to be working. I tried using the grey as the background colour and the main colour, and neither looked right. However, as I think I mentioned I did acquire some Wensleydale Longwool 4ply in the Debbie Stoller workshop on Saturday. The colours work! At least, I think so, and I defy anyone to contradict me. As you can see my tension’s not perfect but it’s getting better. It’s also potentially because I am using birch needles and (gasp!) I have to admit I’m not a birch fan. My arms are sore today from wrangling them and my fingers from holding the yarn. This is definitely not a relaxation project! I’m glad I didn’t start straight in on Autumn Rose though, I really want to do a good job on it.

Right-ho, must fly! Only a few days to go until I have to start working again… (oh, you wondered what the secret behind my recent knitting output was?)

ETA of course, right after I said bad things about birch needles, one of them snapped. I am SO good at that! So I went up to Loop and bought some bamboos for £5.80. Yeah I KNOW.