An FO-making extravaganza

So, regular readers here will have seen my mentions of WIPdown. Today is the day for the big reveal of all the FOs it got me to make:

In chronological order of finishing during WIPdown – which started on St Stephen’s Day and ran on until The Epiphany:

Pilates Socks:

Started these tabi-toe style socks on the plane over to Rhinebeck.  My plan was to have a quick knit that would be done by the end of the month for the Sock-a-Month KAL and I made excellent progress over the Rhinebeck weekend. They’re based on Lickety-Split from Knitty and I worked them according to the that pattern from the toe to the heel.  I thought I’d make a cabled pattern for the legs – just to jazz things up a bit. To my horror, when I was cabling with out a needle – Annie Moddsitt style – the yarn snapped in the row below the one I was working on. They were shelved for a while until I figured out what to do with them. I had picked them up again and was torturing myself with a tedious 1 x 1 rib on the legs when the WIPdown call went out. Being egged-on by other Tweeps is all that made me perservere. 

Tunisian Hand-warmers:

These were started after my class with Irene Lundgaard to learn Tunisian Crochet in-the-round. I had finished them and then ripped back the last few rounds of one of them ages ago – I had forgotten to do some decreases on one before casting off. They languished for most of last year and only saw the light of day again, thanks to WIPdown.

Hamma Hamma Hat:

This is an experimental try to see if I could convert the Urchin pattern by Ysolda Tegue into Tunisian Crochet. While googling Tunisian words for Urchin (for a word-play name for the hat), I found the story of Hamma Hamma –  a fourteen year-old Tunisian street-child (an urchin) who rocketed to celebrity stardom after appearing in a Ramadan television series. Hamma plays the role of a homeless child in the series entitled “Casting”. source: http://news.meedan.net/index.php?page=events&post_id=305405

I also started this hat/experiment on the plane to Rhinebeck and ran out of yarn with one section to go. While I was re-organising my stash before Christmas I found to part-balls that I reckoned could work to finish the hat. The power of WIPdown got me back on track and while the additional yarns work very well the overall hat turned out too small. I don’t know if I can consider this WIP truly whupped but as experiments go I learned something even if the result was not a success.

Chemo Cap#1:

The story behind this hat is rather sad – it’s for a toddler that was diagnosed with cancer last year. I didn’t enjoy making it, mainly because of the yarn. I didn’t much like the structure of the hat either: you make two rectangles; one in entrelac tunisian crochet and the other in back-loop doubles (single crochet to American readers!) then sew them both together; seam the sides and gather up the top. Actually it worked out very well and I’m delighted that WIPdown came along and made me give this WIP life. Now to send it off in the post and hope the little toddler has had a nice (healthy) Christmas.

I wasn’t the only person taking part in WIPdown. If you’re on Ravelry and would like to see all the others take a look at  this search for WIPdown2010 or search under #wipdown on Twitter.

Help me choose: WIP it or RIP it?

You may recall I was all set to resurrect a WIP from earlier this year – Calyx Hat by Debbie New – to make a multi-coloured tea-cosy for my daughter’s teacher (on request!).

There was the small matter of re-jigging the maths to make it fit a tea-pot, rather than a head; but that was easily got round.

That this led to the inevitable ripping of said WIP and casting-on again of 490sts was a mere trifle! (Though credit must go to MazzleDazzle’s patience and tolerance, as she sat through un-ending  and repeated counting with great humour: casting-on copius stitches at knit-night is not conducive to chatting – or so I’ve learned.)

Once the cast-on stitch-count was triple-checked (with stitch-markers in place like there’s no tomorrow) the actual knitting was very quick: one evening’s sitting, in fact. The sewing-up was an altogether different matter, however; but we’ll come to that later.

The lobes come together

After I cast-on I showed it to my closest friend at work. Her initial reaction was that it was one very big tea-cosy! When I explained, quite literally, the “ins” and “outs” of all the lobes and the stitch-markers to her, being an architect she noted that it was just like how insulation was indicated in Construction drawings:

Which, we agreed, is quite appropriate, considering a tea-cosy is insulation for a tea-pot.

A stripe too far

So far, so clever. Then, that minx, Hubris, came to the tea-party and spoiled all my fun! As I was happily sewing-up the lobes, I created a mathematical imponderable – a twist that would not go away.

At the same time, I fell out-of-love with how the Noro striping was becoming a murky melange over such a large stitch-count. You know when you’ve made something really clever in plasticine and then the mean-kid comes and mushes all the colours together so that it looks like muck? That was what my hat was like.

It was an easy decision to rip and start again. Same wool, I decided – after all “multi-coloured” was part of the Brief. My pattern choice should instead let the striping of the yarn play with a shorter stitch-count giving deeper stripes. I went for a classic: the “traditional” fluted tea-cosy pattern. My sister knit one of these when we were in Primary School but I never got the chance. You may be surprised to learn that I didn’t automatically know how it was made – I had to look it up.

Some judicious searching on Ravelry… a bit more maths to convert the gauge to my bulkier yarn… and I was off again. Only now I’m not so sure of myself. Once bitten – twice shy, as they say; so now I’m less gung-ho about this project. I need your opinion to help me decide:

  1. Am I making something with bo-ho chic / rustic charm / grungy cool
  2. or… Just plain FUGLY!

Fancy a cuppa?

Opinions below, if you please…

WIP Around

Thinking Cap On!

It’s official: I AM insane!

I’m about to cast-on 490sts for a tea-cosy.

I’ve done me Sums (readers in the US would call this Math); I’ve measured me tea-pot. I’m about to start me Mad Hatter’s Tea-party. (Readers in the US should not read too much into my use of *that* phrase!)

See if this makes sense to you: C = no. of sts in Crown height; R = no. of rows, inc. bind off; R = no. of sts in Crown top, also. So overall no. of sts for a half-crown = C+R.

Follow? Yes? Good.

R is – thirdly – the no. of rows in each lobe section – there’s 14 lobes in all; so R is determined by measuring the head – by which I mean tea-pot – circumference; dividing by 14 and using a gauge swatch to determine how many rows I need to make the resulting dimension.

Still with me? No? Me neither.

Anyway, unless I’ve mis-calculated – which is entirely possible – C=24, R=6 and my cast-on row goes something like this:

[CO: 1+C+R/2, PM, 1+R/2+R/2, PM, 1+R/2+R/2, PM, 1+R/2+C, PM] 7 times. OR…

[CO 29, PM; CO 7, PM; CO 7, PM; CO 29, PM] x 7. The first round will involve pouring a stiff drink, me-thinks! The beauty is, five rounds later and I’m binding-off!!!

As for other insanity I’ve been indulging in lately, I ran the Women’s Mini-Marathon last week. I actually ran it – and survived! – much to my own surprise.  Even more surprising for me, my time was just under 80mins – 1hr 19mins 48secs, to be precise. Before the event, the longest I’d run non-stop in training was 25mins. I decided I would follow two pod-casts for the C25K programme back-to-back, to keep me going. So I started with a 5 minute walk and easily ran 25 minutes without stopping. The hard part was negotiating around all the walkers; they were spread out and there wasn’t a lot of room to manoeuvre. Then I walked for 10 minutes before starting the next 25 minute run. The funny thing was, when I started to run again I found I had to over-take many of the same walkers all over again! Obviously my walking pace was a lot slower than theirs.

I felt great after the run; really thrilled with my achievement and my time. More importantly, I’ve been out running since. I think I’ve really caught the bug: I’m thinking of trying the “Bridge to 10K” programme next. I’m not sure when I’ll get time to run 10k in the morning, however; as it is I get up at 6 and the 5k run takes 40minutes or so.

It’s not too late to support the worthy cause that I was running to raise money for: CMRF stands for Crumlin Medical Research Fund and is the Fund-raising vehicle for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin, Ireland. They’re the people who fixed my fab nephew when he was only a few days old and set him on a path to life-long health and happiness. They have amazing staff at that hospital and it is woefully under-resourced and under-funded by Central Government. They *need* all the fund-raising they can get to keep doing what they do so well.

So if you’ll pardon me having a Whip-around (see what I did there) please donate a skein’s worth to a worth cause by clicking on this link: http://tinyurl.com/32fmuzu

The money goes straight to CMRF; nothing goes to me but self-righteous Pride! And you all know how well I thrive on that!

Being biased

I’m a knitting snob – I admit it! Or perhaps even a knit-ist: I do not treat knitters and non-knitters the same. I can’t help it. It became glaringly obvious to me as I progressed with my current WiP, the Multi-directional Scarf from Modular Knitting. As posted previously, I’m knitting this as a present for DD’s teacher. I’m enjoying the technique enormously, and the Noro. But the thrill of producing knitting that changes direction is just going to sail over the head of a non-knitter. And it’s going to bother me that a non-knitter might get this scarf but not “get” it.

Meanwhile, recently I knit “The Instant Gratification Scarf” using the gorgeous yarn that Averil (blog-free) gave me in my Secret Pal Swap last Christmas.

el crusaitoSecret Pal Swap Swag

I had a knitter in mind when I knit it. This time, it bothered me that the finished result is something that would impress a non-knitter but just looks like badly done garter-stitch to a knitter. Knitters deserve more. I’m as biased as my WiP!

So I brought them both along to my Knit-night last night and Caroline confirmed my suspicions and helped me decide: The teacher gets Instant Gratification and the knitter gets Multi-directional (maybe). The pressure is still on time-wise, however, as I need to get it into the post on Friday if it’s going to reach its destination on time. It might yet get frogged and become something from Noro’ Mini-knits instead, we’ll see…