knitting (a bit) in Grasmere

Well, I made it on the train up to Grasmere. I then promptly slept the rest of the afternoon (missing afternoon tea with home-made cakes, no less!) but woke up in time for dinner, and to meet my fellow Walking Women.

(Is it terrible to admit that I've never read any Wordsworth?)

It was one of those weekends where there was surprisingly little walking going on (probably for the best, considering the state of my lungs) but there was much laughter and hilarity.  Bring together eight women for a weekend away, and what do you expect?

no coffins needed for us this time...

I managed to fit in a tiny bit of knitting.  All I did was finish off a toe.  Here is my October Sock, overlooking a croquet lawn (!) and lush green fields:

I thought it best to save the grafting for my return home, and I’m now thinking I might re-do the toe to try a few different options.

Our walking guide commented that she’s now inspired to learn to knit, so if that’s not a successful weekend, then I don’t know what is!

I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that the Herdy shop is in fact in Grasmere.  I didn’t even plan it, I promise!

They even had a knitted bench seat cover, but there was no time to sit down and knit.

We passed some smiley looking sheep in the fields…

and my new Herdy mug and gingerbread made me smile when I got home.

We were already planning our next adventures before the weekend was over.



The weather today is all grey and drizzly, and I feel the same way about my knitting at the moment.

After recently discovering the joys of a knitted hat, I decided that I needed another hat in black.  I cast on for the Argyle Lace Hat from Boutique Knits.  With a pay cut looming, I was determined to use a pattern that I already own, rather than splurging on something new just for the sake of it.

I’ve even got cute red buttons in my stash which match perfectly:


I’m a few inches in, but there’s something about this hat that’s just not working for me.

I’m in a bit of a grump with the yarn itself – Madelinetosh Pashmina in Cloak – as it tangled as I was trying to wind it, and I have no tolerance for such things, so it’s now bundled up in to three separate balls after I broke the yarn.  To make matters worse, the colour rubs off whenever I knit with it, leaving me with grotty black marks over my hands.  But the real decider is that the yarn is too fine for this pattern.  I want something thicker for a hat, something with a bit more oomph.  Having said that, the not-quite-black does look nice, and I think it would be perfect in something textured.

All in all, I think I’ll feel better once it’s frogged and I can move on to something less disappointing and more enjoyable.

ravelympics fail

It’s pretty obvious that the Winter Olympics / Ravelympics finished last weekend, and I haven’t posted about it yet.  That would be because I failed miserably!  There really isn’t much to show, I’m afraid.

Completing a laceweight cardigan in a fortnight was always going to be a challenge (that was the whole point), but I actually spent very little time knitting, and alot of time procrastinating, as I just wasn’t enjoying it.  I’ve made it up to the first pleat though:

I’m pretty stubborn, so I’ll keep working on it, and I’ve done enough now to be fairly confident that it should turn out ok.  It just won’t be finished any time soon.

ravelympics first hurdle

A few days before the start of the Ravelympics, I woke up with a bolt of inspiration and decided to take part.  I had it all figured out: I had my copy of Knitscene for the Geodesic Cardigan, and I realised that I already had two skeins of Malabrigo Lace in Olive in my stash.  Perfect!

I got all organised, knitted up a little swatch in preparation (and I never do that) but then during the week I received two skeins of Madelinetosh Prairie in the colour Tart.  Ohhhh, such a beautiful colour!  Deep! Rich! Red!  The poor Malabrigo was shoved back on the shelf.

I did yet another mini-swatch on Friday night.  Gave it a quick wash, had a nap for a couple of hours, and woke up in time for the Opening Ceremony at 2am Saturday morning.  I cast on with thousands of other knitters.  I was so impressed with myself!  Sadly, the yarn didn’t thrill me quite so much.

Even though the yarn is a single merino, it’s very very tightly spun.  It has absolutely no ‘give’, and none of the Malabrigo halo.  Even after washing, the stitches remained very crisp with barely a hint of fuzz.  The firmness of the yarn means that I’ve had to work at a tighter gauge than recommended so I’m working the next size up, with a challenging 230 st cast on.  The project is very slow going; partly because knitting with this yarn makes my hand cramp up, but also because I keep stopping at every row to decide whether or not to continue!

I’ve sought advice from fellow Ravellers who are also using this yarn, and I’ve finally decided to continue (Rav link).  Not sure of my chances of getting it finished by the closing ceremony, but there is no way in the world that I would embark on a laceweight cardigan if I didn’t have an external motivator.  This definitely qualifies as an Olympic-sized challenge.

excess fabric

… and not in a good way.

I was hoping that my next post about It Cannot Fail to Please would be a photo of me showing off the finished item, perhaps while frolicking in the streets of New York (that’s where I’ve just been for the past week, but that’s another story).  I was planning on finding a nice New York art deco building for a photo shoot, echoing the era of the pattern.  I had it all planned out, but it just hasn’t happened that way.

I finished knitting the sleeves (again) back in London and brought them with me to sew in.  One sleeve is now sewn in – and of course, I’m not happy with it.  The sleeves have turned out absolutely huge, although I have no idea why.  The photos of other completed projects on Ravelry all seem fine.  I doubt that my gauge could have change so much between knitting the body and the sleeves, so I don’t understand what happened.


(Apologies for the out-of-focus photo, but you get the idea).

See how much the yarn is bunching?  It’s in  complete contrast to the body, which is nicely fitted, although perhaps on the snug side.  Sadly it’s not just a matter of being puffy, as there’s literally an extra two inches of fabric throughout the whole sleeve length.  My bingo wings aren’t that big yet!

I can’t believe how much time I have spent on this pattern, completely out of proportion to any potential end result, I’m sure.

So, dear blog readers I need your advice.
Should I:

a) – Sew in some of the extra bulk and be done with it?  I would possibly never be happy with the jumper, with a massive seam, and leaving it unworn in the cupboard where it will mock me forever as another failure.

b) – Start the sleeves over yet again, playing with the numbers to modify the sleeve width, and possibly making them shorter as well while I’m at it.

c) – Curl up in the corner and cry, and swear that I will never knit another thing again.  Oh, that’s right, I’ve already done that!  If anyone has another option C, please let me know!

I had really hoped to wear this to knit night next Monday, but I just can’t see that happening right now.

I hate knitting right now

After spending the past week in bed with the flu, this evening I finally summoned the strength to pick up my knitting.  After an hour or so, the second sleeve was done – that means my entire It Cannot Fail to Please was done!  Knitted!  Mostly seamed too! Ta-da!

Except that I compared the two sleeves and realised that I’d skipped an entire pattern repeat.  The whole second sleeve had to be frogged.


some knitting

There has been some, although not alot.  Progress has been much slower than I hoped, but I’ve been (mostly) faithful to this project, and it’s very nearly done.  One sleeve to go.  Even so, that’s still an awful lot of leaves to knit up.

I plan to knit like the wind this weekend, and once this damn project is finished, I will wear it constantly for days and days and show it off with glee.