Archive for August 2011

Testing, testing…

This is possibly the most boring post you are ever likely to read. It’s also possibly a slightly disturbing insight into the workings of my mind. Don’t say you haven’t been warned!

Acquiring a new appliance or gadget always comes with a mildly obsessive testing phase in this household. Earlier this year we bought a new iron and for the first few weeks, I ironed shirts and trousers and skirts and handkerchiefs as soon as they were dry. Ironing clothes is a fairly common chore so this probably doesn’t seem that extraordinary. However, we have a policy of minimal ironing so it was quite a strange phenomenon for this household. The iron still gets used relatively often, but not with quite the same amount of joy or frequency as when it was in its testing phase.

Recently I determined that some of my knits were looking a bit fluffy and/or pilled and the de-pilling comb I was using wasn’t really suitable for hand knits. After a bit more research than was probably necessary, an electric fabric shaver was purchased. It’s probably a bit more than I was expecting to pay, but I read a lot of good things about it on Ravelry, which had to count for something, right?

Today it arrived, and before you could say ‘please stop writing about de-pilling knits Emma, it’s disturbing’, I had taken the vest I was wearing off and was removing woolly fluff like it was my last opportunity to do so, ever.

For those wanting relief from the ins and outs of my pilling solutions journey, my first victim was my Grandfather Vest. This vest really deserves its own ‘where are they now‘ post, because it’s probably one of my most frequently worn knits. My initial misgivings about the fabric appearing uneven were soon forgotten. In fact, the only real issue I’ve had with it is that it looks a bit fluffy and daggy with all the wear it has had. This is what it looked like before I took to it with the fabric shaver:

fluffy vest

And after:

unfluffy vest

The difference between the two photos probably isn’t that great, but I can assure you that it took off a *lot* of fluff. The vest probably doesn’t look completely brand new, but it’s looking a lot less daggy. Decidedly undaggy, even.

Now I’m assembling a mental list of all the items of clothing Matt and I have that need de-pilling. All in the name of testing.

Tag team knitting

Since the last post, I’ve been bouncing back and forth between two knitting projects. One is the project I unceremoniously dumped the Turn-A-Square hat for and the other is a secret squirrel project that I can only speak vaguely about.

The day after my last post, Knitscene’s Fall 2011 edition was released. I remember back in the day when I used to stake out the local Newsagent or a now-defunct chain bookstore and wait weeks, or even months, for imported knitting magazines to be stocked. Now I just download the magazine from Zinio on the day that it’s available in its country of origin. Such an age of convenience we live in (a statement I’ll no doubt laugh at in 5 years time).

If you’re a fan of Amy Herzog’s designs and/or her fit to flatter series, I recommend having a look at this edition of Knitscene. She’s the subject of a designer’s profile, and there are quite a few of her designs featured. Two that piqued my interest were the Cornsilk Pullover and the Pinstripe Pullover. I had suitable yarn in stash for the Cornsilk Pullover, so that was that.


Since taking this fairly insipid photo, I’ve finished that piece (the back) and have started on the front. I’m really looking forward to wearing it, but as it’s mostly stocking stitch, it’s not a really an interesting project from a blogging perspective.

The secret squirrel project was started after the Bendigo Sheep and Wool show and uses yarn purchased at the show.

Pear Tree

I’ve never had the pleasure of knitting with Pear Tree Yarn, but it was very difficult to resist when they were selling it for a song in Bendigo. After a little bit of to-ing and fro-ing over colours, I picked up a kilo of grey Pear Tree 8ply specifically for this project. It’s really lovely yarn to knit with, but I have had a couple of hiccups with it.

The first, and most dramatic hiccup was discovering that the first skein of yarn I used was a slightly lighter weight than the rest of pack — where the yarn in the other skeins were made up of four plies of yarn, this one was made up of three. The difference in gauge meant that I had to rip back all of my work and start again. The other hiccup I’ve had is finding lots of knots in one skein, the kind where only one ply of yarn is knotted together. I’ll admit I did get a bit frustrated by both hiccups, but I’ve tried hard to keep it in perspective in the following ways:

  • It’s lovely yarn to work with, and ripping out an entire skein means I get to work with it a bit longer
  • Ripping it back completely meant I could try Lucy Neatby’s nifty provisional cast on again
  • I bought it very cheaply so I really can’t complain
  • The Pear Tree wasn’t the only yarn that I acquired at the show. On the Friday of the Show, there was a gathering of knitters, spinners and crocheters from Ravelry. The lucky door prize Gods must have been smiling upon me that night, for I managed to win some yarn:

    bison bamboo

    It’s Bison Bamboo from Ixchel Yarns and it’s unbelievably soft. The yardage on it is really impressive (around 160m per 50g), but I bought another skein to give myself a bit more freedom when picking a pattern. Initially the plan was to make a cowl, but there might now be enough to squeak out a scarf for Matt, to make up for the Turn-A-Square indiscretion. So far the frontrunner is the appropriately named Man scarf from fallmasche (rav link). I’m not completely convinced that it’s the pattern for this yarn, but as I’m not likely to cast on anytime soon, I don’t have to decide just yet.