Archive for January 2009

A superficial book review

Inspired by a discussion of book covers, here is a recent find from an antique centre. I had decided that it would be mine as soon as I saw the cover.

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Practical Knitting Illustrated – The key to hundreds of garments you can make yourself (by Margaret Murray and Jane Koster) doesn’t have a date on it, but I’d say it was from the 1940’s. The corners of the front and back covers are bent, but besides that, it’s in pretty good condition.

There’s all sorts of knit and crochet patterns in here, clothes for men, women, teens, children and babies, and homewares. I don’t have a scanner so this photo isn’t so great, but this pattern was one of my favourites:


It also has a handy dandy section on changing patterns – how to resize, add in lace panels, all sorts.

There’s only one thing about this book that makes me sad:


I don’t understand why you would want to tear pages out of any book, let alone a lovely book like this. Perhaps the person who did this was desperate to get their hands on feather stitch lace rib, shower stitch, leaf stitch and pyramid stitch, the instructions for which were on the ripped out pages.

At this stage I’ve only had time to just flick through, but I’m impressed by what I’ve seen and read so far. I’m very pleased to have it occupying my shelves!

Madness, the final installment

My dear partner’s birthday happens to fall right near Christmas, which means that most knitted gifts aren’t immediately useful. Despite this, I still made him Henry for Christmas. Well, it was intended as a Christmas present, but I didn’t get it finished in time for either Christmas or his birthday.


Henry by Mareike Sattler
1.75 balls of Grignasco Tango, shade 211
4.00 and 3.50 mm Addi circulars
Start: November 2008
Finish: January 2009

I made a few modifications to the pattern, starting with the yarn. I thought tweed and herringbone would go together nicely, but struggled to find a 4 ply tweed in a suitable colour. Opting for a slightly heavier weight yarn meant that I could reduce the number of cast on stitches… to 416.


Before starting, I had read some criticisms of the pattern in regard to the cast on and cast off not matching. To try and get around this, I knit the ending rows a little differently to the pattern, knitting one row less, and finishing with a purl row rather than a knit row. This made it look a little more even, however I suspect that the stitch used in the scarf is just not conducive to looking identical at the cast on and cast off edges. I think this is largely due to the slipped ‘bars’ of yarn that form the herringbone pattern settling at the bottom of the stitch, making the space above the ‘bar’ larger than the space below the ‘bar’. This all makes perfect sense to me, but I’m not sure if it will to anyone else!

I also opted for a cable cast on, rather than the tubular cast on. This was largely due to my eagerness to get started on the project, as I feel that the tubular cast on is a bit fiddly, and wouldn’t add that much to the look of the scarf. Because I opted for a cable cast on, I cast off by knitting two together, then slipping the resulting stitch back onto the left needle. This made the cast on and cast off edges close to looking the same.

All in all, I am (and most importantly, he is) happy with how the scarf turned out. All indications suggest that when cooler days are upon us, the scarf will become useful. I also see another version of this scarf in my future, using some Malabrigo Worsted I have squirrelled away. I cannot say that it’s the easiest knit in the world, but the effort that goes into it pays off handsomely.

Madness, part two

It’s cooled down a bit since my last post, but it’s still a bit warm to be even thinking about, let alone knitting, beanies. However, I wanted a break from Christmas knitting and I knew this would be a quick project, so I went ahead and did it anyway.


Star Crossed Slouchy Beanie by Natalie Larson
0.75 skein of Malabrigo Worsted, American Beauty
8.00 mm Addi circulars
Start: December 2008
Finish: January 2009


This is also an unusual project for me, as I knit this for myself and I don’t see myself as a hat person at all (even though sometimes I would like to be). This seemed like a good way to ease myself into maybe wearing hats in the future.

This project was a good way to revisit cabling without a needle, which I learnt to do a couple of months ago. The cables in this were a little more fiddly, as I needed to drop three stitches off the needle as opposed to one stitch last time, but it still worked fine and it still seems to be less fiddly and quicker than using a cable needle.

It’s the first time I’ve used Malabrigo, and it’s really a lovely yarn to knit with, and creates a lovely soft fabric. My only fear is that the attributes that make it so lovely will also cause it to pill a lot. Only time will tell.

Next up, the girl who knit a scarf in the middle of summer!

Madness, part one

The last few days have been the hottest it’s been this summer, yet I feel compelled to bake. On Sunday it was bread, and yesterday it was molasses biscuits. I’ve had them on my mind a lot recently, due to the use of molasses in this soap I bought from Lush recently.

I used the Sparkling Chewy Molasses Cookies recipe from Not Martha. If you are even vaguely interested in molasses biscuits, I recommend giving them a try, for they are absolutely delicious. I was unsure what sanding sugar was, so I rolled the dough in raw sugar and it turned out fine. It’s also useful to know that 1.5 sticks of butter is equivalent to 170 grams.

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The biscuits develop surface cracks as they are baking. The recipe calls for tablespoon-sized balls of dough, which seemed to developed larger cracks than if the dough is shaped into discs. The biscuit on the left is one that started life as a ball, and the one on the right started as a dough disc. I think I prefer the deep crackly look.

Even though the days are getting hotter, I still can’t get the urge to cook and bake out of my system. It’s not made any easier when delicious morsels like this are being created.

Next up, the girl who made a very warm slouchy hat in the middle of summer!

Retina Burning

I was keen to blog over the Christmas/New Year break, but being away from my computer meant that I had to save my enthusiasm until my computer and I were one again.

These are the socks I gave my sister for Christmas. I was aiming for retina burning, and retina burning is what she got.

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Generic toe up sock pattern by Wendy Johnson
0.75 skein of Noro Kureyon Sock, colourway 180
3.00 mm dpns
Start: November 2008
Finish: December 2008

The skein was split into two, and knit alternating stripes of three rows from each skein half. I could have made them a bit longer, but due to time constraints, I chose to leave them a little shorter. It was for the best anyway, as it meant that the Elijah twins could have scarves from the scraps.

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There seems to be a bit too much twist to the Noro sock yarn, as it had a tendancy to twist back on itself no matter how careful I was with it. I’ve worked with non-sock kureyon before and didn’t notice the twisting issue. Besides that small annoyance, it was fine to work with. I must admit, I’m a bit funny when it comes to Noro. I’m not really into variegated/self striping yarn, but I like Noro’s long colour changes. However, having said that, my favourite uses of Noro are when the colour changes is broken up by stripes or entrelac.