Chainmail: The Ordinary Knitter – episode 63

Chainmail

chainmail
The Owlie Sleep Sack just before the decrease rounds.

Welcome to Chainmail, episode 63 of The Ordinary Knitter, the knitting podcast that’s (mostly) about the projects. Find it on iTunes or acast, or subscribe via the feed link on the right hand bar (https://www.theordinaryknitter.net/feed/podcast).

My name is Heather and I’m @theordknitter on Twitter, @theordinaryknitter on Instagram and @ordinaryknitting on Ravelry.  This week: chainmail, how creative are you?, gauge, short tips and a parcel from Wool Warehouse.

Ft knitting patterns:

Ft tutorials

Ft links

Chainmail

chainmail
Frantically trying to bind off before taking the children to school so I can try it on my son!

Not for the first time, I’ve been merrily working on ‘scheduled’ knitting, when something crops up that demands a knitted response (clearly I’m actually wildly creative). On this occasion it’s a children’s story-telling workshop that’s part of this weekend’s Leominster Medieval Fair. My mum was telling me about it as she’s helping to run it and is taking my son along. Obviously the occasion would be incomplete without a knitted chainmail helmet.

I looked at lots of patterns but as I don’t have grey worsted or aran, but lakes of grey DK, I was drawing a blank as most patterns were written for a chunkier yarn. I then came across the pattern Monty’s Knight’s Helmet, link above. The picture showing the little boy wearing it is really cute and I think the helmet looks quite convincing. This pattern had the huge advantage of using a double strand of DK, allowing me to take another nibble out of my embarrassingly huge stash of grey acrylic. Don’t forget I have lots of grey acrylic to swap or sell so if you want a skein to make one of these please do get in touch.

However this was a partial pattern. The Ravelry page above is to a project page which is itself based on a balaclava pattern that’s no longer available online. The project page includes basic instructions, but once you have a ring of neck ribbing and a large flap going over the back of the head, you’re on your own. I was delighted when bit by bit, tongue sticking out, I worked out what I needed to do to turn it into the finished article. I’m ridiculously pleased with myself, but my son has now requested a chainmail tunic too!

Music credit:

“Carpe Diem” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Sleep pods: The Ordinary Knitter – episode 62

Sleep pods

sleep pods
Waiting in the wings for a birthday

Welcome to Sleep pods, episode 62 of The Ordinary Knitter, the knitting podcast that’s (mostly) about the projects. Find it on iTunes or acast, or subscribe via the feed link on the right hand bar (https://www.theordinaryknitter.net/feed/podcast).

My name is Heather and I’m @theordknitter on Twitter, @theordinaryknitter on Instagram and @ordinaryknitting on Ravelry. Apologies for the croakiness this week (then again I have been frogging), but I can’t pass up this opportunity to knock out a pod. This week: sleep sack progress, produce bags in the wild and yet more yarn purchases. Perhaps this episode should be called The Mother’s Day one.

Ft knitting patterns:

Ft yarns:

Sleep pods

sleep pods
Looking forward to turning this into another Owlie Sleep Sack

I’ve had a lot to say about sleep pods in the last couple of years, and here we are again. Having intended to make the Baby Cocoon Sack and Cap I’ve ended up making the Owlie Sleep Sack (and hat). It’s been a very bumpy ride but as far as I’ve gone with the Owlie Sleep Sack I’m much happier, snapped needles notwithstanding, and anyway that’s a great excuse for acquiring new needles. I’m feeling the need for some sort of smart needle storage set-up as I’m beginning to lose track of what I have and my original KnitPro Symfonie set bag has long since had a broken zip. How anyone can say I’m hard to buy for baffles me.

In this case I switched projects as I was struggling to make elements of the Baby Cocoon Sack and Cap work out well. I had laddering and colour jogs and the sack itself looked enormous. After three attempts I felt switching projects was my only option. One advantage of this is that I don’t need three colours for my next project and can instead choose a yarn with variegation or a marl in it, so I’ve settled on Sugar n Cream Twists in Barnboard Twists, a cheerful summery mix of red, yellow and white.

Music credit:

“Carpe Diem” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Produce bags: The Ordinary Knitter – episode 61

Produce bags

produce bags
Destined to become a snuggly hot water bottle.

Welcome to Produce bags, episode 61 of The Ordinary Knitter, the knitting podcast that’s (mostly) about the projects. Find it on iTunes or acast, or subscribe via the feed link on the right hand bar (https://www.theordinaryknitter.net/feed/podcast).

My name is Heather and I’m @theordknitter on Twitter, @theordinaryknitter on Instagram and @ordinaryknitting on Ravelry. I’m making slow progress with the podcast this year, but just lately my knitting rate has picked up and I hope to have a bit more to say. This week: sock progress, produce bags, yarn purchases and a return to baby knitting.

Ft knitting patterns:

Ft yarns:

Produce bags

produce bags
Jackie’s Goodie Bag in a double strand of sport weight yarn, 83% cotton, 17% acrylic.

I’ve been wanting to make some of these for a while. I’m keen to reduce plastic use and get very upset that loose produce can be more expensive than packaged, especially as I have a family that can eat a vast amount of fruit and veg (particularly fruit!). I was also looking for a present I could make from stash for a present for my mum, whose birthday is close to mother’s day, and this seemed like the ideal thing.

There are several bag patterns on Ravelry but they tend to be for quite large bags and I needed a smallish one, say for six apples or tomatoes. Jackie’s Goodie Bags seemed just the thing, although without the handle as I didn’t think it would add anything. I would add the handle if I was making a present for a child. I did wonder about developing a clutch-style handle rather than a strap-style handle, but I don’t have time for it at the moment. The knitting clock has begun ticking in earnest again!

 

 

 

 

Music credit:

“Carpe Diem” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Knitting continental: The Ordinary Knitter – episode 60

Knitting continental

knitting continental
Proto-socks

Welcome to Knitting continental, episode 60 of The Ordinary Knitter, the knitting podcast that’s (mostly) about the projects. Find it on iTunes through your podcast app or subscribe via the feed link on the right hand bar (https://www.theordinaryknitter.net/feed/podcast).

My name is Heather and I’m @theordknitter on Twitter, @theordinaryknitter on Instagram and @ordinaryknitting on Ravelry. I have a teenage daughter who’s coming up to her GCSEs and who would like to be a linguist, so we’re trying to raise £500 to cover her travel to, fro and within Europe for a trip this summer. She’ll be staying with family at each destination as we’re lucky enough to have family sprinkled through France, Germany and Hungary. If you enjoy the podcast and would like to make a wee contribution, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/polly-europe and hearfelt thanks from Polly’s mum. Back to the knitting.

This week: new knitting goodies for Christmas, sock progress and more hot water bottles.

Ft knitting patterns

Ft yarns

Knitting continental

knitting continental
Caught knitting (UK-style)

I was going to say that the two main methods of knitting are continental or ‘English’ (UK-style as I prefer to call it), but that’s a gross simplification. Knitters tend to divide into those who hold the yarn in their right hand and those who hold the yarn in their left, but beyond that there are lots of variations in technique, from those who tuck one knitting needle under their arm to those who never knit with straight needles (me!) and even those who knit backwards so that they never have to knit on the wrong side.

The various techniques, recognised and improvised, have their pros and cons. I’ve always felt that not knitting continental marks me out as a bit of an amateur, like not being able to tie my shoelaces or whistle, so in this pod I talk about my experience of trying to incorporate it into the socks. It’s been a very mixed experience, ultimately boiling down to a combination of “help, I don’t feel in control!” and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’d hoped that knitting continental would ease the strain on my left arm but it didn’t make any difference that I noticed and gave me a bit of jip on the ribbed top of the foot, so for now I’m sticking with UK-style knitting. My next project will be a hot water bottle cover that’s knit in the round in stocking stitch so maybe I’ll give it another go then. I’m a big fan of biting the bullet, as long as I can spit it out again.

Knitting notebooks: The Ordinary Knitter – episode 59

Knitting notebooks

knitting notebooks
Sometimes knitting notebooks can get pretty intense

Welcome to Knitting notebooks, episode 59 of The Ordinary Knitter, the knitting podcast that’s (mostly) about the projects. Find it on iTunes through your podcast app or subscribe via the feed link on the right hand bar (https://www.theordinaryknitter.net/feed/podcast).

My name is Heather and I’m @theordknitter on Twitter, @theordinaryknitter on Instagram and @ordinaryknitting on Ravelry. At the moment though I don’t have a phone so I’m not using social media very much. I’ll have a catch-up session in a few weeks with photos of new yarn, finished projects and Christmas presents. I’ll be discussing the goodies I got for Christmas in a future episode when things have calmed down enough for me to look at them properly.

This week: knitting notebooks, finished Christmas projects and casting on for socks.

Featured knitting patterns:

Ft yarns:

Knitting notebooks

knitting notebooks
The basic pattern for these socks, which has been refined over a few years of sock knitting, lives in my knitting notebook.

If you’ve knitted for any length of time you’ll have found yourself scribbling on patterns to keep track of row numbers or reminding yourself to go up or down a needle size for part of a pattern or adding a note to self such as ‘leave extra long tail here’ as you know that will come in handy later. Sometimes though you want to make more comprehensive notes or draw yourself helpful diagrams or even work through an idea for a design. Add the date to these notes and even a scrap of the yarn you used, and your notes to self become a history of your knitting life.

A knitting notebook doesn’t have to be anything flash, though personally I find any books you use for knitting, from a pattern book to a technique book or anything else, is better spiral bound so that it can sit completely flat and you don’t need extra hands or that handy book banana to keep it flat. I have the same issue with recipe books, and in fact the same principles apply to both types of book.

Knitted guinea pigs: The Ordinary Knitter – episode 58

Knitted guinea pigs

knitted guyinea pigsWelcome to Knitted guinea pigs, episode 58 of The Ordinary Knitter, the knitting podcast that’s (mostly) about the projects. Find it on iTunes through your podcast app or subscribe via the feed link on the right hand bar (https://www.theordinaryknitter.net/feed/podcast).

My name is Heather and I’m @theordknitter on Twitter, @theordinaryknitter on Instagram and @ordinaryknitting on Ravelry.

This week: it’s all about the cavies, plus other project progress and yarn needs. Christmas is coming and the last minute project explosion is in full swing. Just a reminder that I’ve marked lots of my stash for sale or swap on Ravelry so please do get in touch if there’s anything you’re interested in.

Featured knitting patterns

Knitted guinea pigs

knitted guinea pigsThis was one of those last-minute ideas that developed a life of its own. I made one for my son’s friend, then it needed a friend, then they needed lettuce, then I remembered my friend-for-whom-I-knit and for whom I haven’t yet knitted anything for Christmas used to keep guinea pigs (albeit long-haired but I’m going to ignore that inconvenient detail) so she’ll need a couple, then my husband reminded me that his mother and her twin used to keep guinea pigs so that’s another two, and now my son wants one, so it’s going to be wall-to-wall knitted guinea pigs for the foreseeable.

I love this pattern so much because it’s so well done. The shaping and the positioning of the colour blocks is so perfect and the overall effect extremely cute. I was very small last time I felt any urge to keep a small caged rodent, but I could almost be talked into guinea pigs now. The colour options are endless and easily suited to the guinea pig-lover in your life, and as for the knitted food possibilities! I have visions of knitting hundreds of the things and surrounding them with forests of lettuce and carrots.

Music credit:

“Carpe Diem” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Yarn allergy: The Ordinary Knitter – episode 57

Yarn allergy

yarn allergy
Spikelets Cowl

Welcome to Yarn allergy, episode 57 of The Ordinary Knitter, the knitting podcast that’s (mostly) about the projects. Find it on iTunes through your podcast app or subscribe via the feed link on the right hand bar (https://www.theordinaryknitter.net/feed/podcast). My name is Heather and I’m @theordknitter on Twitter, @theordinaryknitter on Instagram and @ordinaryknitting on Ravelry.

This week: the Chinese Waitress cast-on, Spikelets Cowl, Knit One Post One and good bad news with related retail opportunity. This week’s episode is V E R Y  L O U D  for some reason, but then one of my bugbears is podcasts that are barely audible, so just turn the volume down on me if it’s too shouty.

Featured knitting patterns:

Featured knitting tutorials:

Yarn allergy

yarn allergy
Honestly darling, everyone’s wearing them

Stash for sale or trade: https://www.ravelry.com/people/OrdinaryKnitting/stash/trade There’s absolutely masses of yarn there, some of them in big enough quantities for a jumper or two.

Are there certain fibres you don’t get on with? An allergy to wool is pretty common, mainly due to the lanolin content. It does wonders for some people’s skin and completely the opposite for others’. I haven’t been able to wear wool for decades, but I have knitted items with it as it doesn’t irritate my hands, or at least it didn’t. It’s a little while since I last knitted with it, and in the meantime I have developed an allergy to acrylic yarn. This is a right royal pain in the arse as much of my stash is acrylic.

I know there’s not much love for acrylic yarn out there, but as well as being affordable it’s a good substitute for wool in terms of knitting texture. I’d previously considered it a yarn no-one could be allergic to and so safe for anyone, but the merest bit of research has returned a huge amount of data on allergy to acrylic and other man-made fibres.

So what do you do if you develop an allergy to a fibre you use frequently? The simple answer to that is to stop using it, but what do you replace it with? As I discuss in the pod, I’ve taken to wearing hypo-allergenic nitrile gloves but I don’t think this is a sensible long-term solution. As I have projects on the go I’ll continue them with the gloves, but I think the only solution for me is to ditch my acrylic stash and replace it with cotton and bamboo. What bothers me is that this could seriously restrict the type of projects I can knit as cotton and bamboo aren’t the right texture for just anything. For now I’ll just have to see what makes sense as projects come up.

Music credit:

“Carpe Diem” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Cowls: The Ordinary Knitter – episode 56

Cowls

cowls
Feather & Fan facecloth

Welcome to Cowls, episode 56 of The Ordinary Knitter, the knitting podcast that’s (mostly) about the projects. Find it on iTunes through your podcast app or subscribe via the feed link on the right hand bar (https://www.theordinaryknitter.net/feed/podcast). My name is Heather and I’m @theordknitter on Twitter, @theordinaryknitter on Instagram and @ordinaryknitting on Ravelry.

This week: finishing the final facecloths (or maybe not), hot water bottle covers, gauge swatching and cowls. Thank you very much to everyone new to the podcast via iTunes. My listener figures have been rising gradually all year and I guess it shouldn’t surprise me to see them growing more rapidly now the pod is available on iTunes.

Featured knitting patterns:

Featured knitting tutorials:

Cowls

cowls
Here’s one I prepared earlier

I love cowls. There are no ends to come undone, tickle or dangle, so you stay really cosy. There’s a huge variety of patterns, they knit up quickly and make lovely presents. For all these reasons I’ve decided to make one as a present for my sister in law, who will be staying with us at Christmas. This is a small sop to my intention earlier this year to make myself several cowls so that I had something for every occasion and outfit, not that I really think in terms of outfits. I made myself a cowl for the 6 Nations match I went to at Murrayfield in March, featuring the Scotland rugby logo (left), and had hoped to make several more. I’d also planned a cape-type thingummy and even a poncho – where has this year’s knitting time gone?

Music credit:

“Carpe Diem” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Facecloths: The Ordinary Knitter – episode 55

Facecloths

facecloths
Mamaw’s Choice by Sarah Stevens in King Cole Recycled Cotton Aran in Cornflower

Welcome to Facecloths, episode 55 of The Ordinary Knitter, the knitting podcast that’s (mostly) about the projects. Find it on iTunes through your podcast app or subscribe via the feed link on the right hand bar (https://www.theordinaryknitter.net/feed/podcast). My name is Heather and I’m @theordknitter on Twitter, @theordinaryknitter on Instagram and @ordinaryknitting on Ravelry.

This week: Facecloth success and failure (there’s too much failure at the moment – I’ll band that F-word from the next episode), looking for needle recommendations, and a couple of lovely-looking knitting books.

Ft knitting patterns

Ft knitting tutorials

Ft knitting books

Facecloths

facecloths
Feather & Fan by Lily Sugar’n Cream and Bernat Design Studio

These make lovely gifts and are great stashbusters. Ideally they should be made in cotton as they’re made to get wet then dry out, get wet then dry out, get wet then dry out, and cotton stands up well to this. There’s a vast array of choice of ease or complexity of design, weight of yarn, size of finished article, shape of cloth and so on and so on. Whether you’re knitting for your granny, your granddaughter, a charity drive or for yourself, you’ll find a design you like.

As a stashbuster, you need to be guided by weight of yarn. This isn’t always vital – I talk in this episode about an aran pattern that knits up to 12″ x 12″ which I think is too big, so I’m making it in DK in the knowledge that it will come out smaller. Make a judgment depending on what’s most important to you. I went out and bought the DK as I had no cotton DK at all, but I was able to use up some cotton aran stash. I have two more cotton aran part-skeins left so may crack out a couple more facecloths if I find I have time.

I’ve chosen three very different patterns – four,  if you count Honeycomb. Mamaw’s Choice was such a beautifully simple design I just had to knit it. It’s also a smaller piece so useful for smaller quantities of stash yarn. I might do another in pink for my mum. Feather and Fan was chosen as it’s a traditional style, and Candle Flames was a dramatic and sinuous design that I just loved.

 

Music credit:

“Carpe Diem” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Pasadena: The Ordinary Knitter – episode 54

Pasadena

PasadenaWelcome to Pasadena, episode 54 of The Ordinary Knitter, the knitting podcast that’s (mostly) about the projects. My name is Heather and I’m @theordknitter on Twitter, @theordinaryknitter on Instagram and @ordinaryknitting on Ravelry. We are now live on iTunes! That only took 18 months. If you prefer to subscribe to podcasts without subbing Megacorp you can enter the feed address into your podcast app manually (https://www.theordinaryknitter.net/feed/podcast), otherwise you should find it via the usual search feature on your app.

This week: Pasadena pattern review and bauble fails. That’s it. This week has not been my finest hour either with sticks and yarn or computers, but if you look at my Twitter feed there’s slightly crappy video of me assessing Pasadena on.

Ft knitting patterns

  • Pasadena – I don’t have a photo of me in it yet so this links to the pattern rather than my Ravelry project page

Ft knitting videos

Pasadena

PasadenaStarting at the end, I made this cardigan in too large a size and too large a gauge. That’s 75% of the problem with the outcome, which is more or less the horse blanket that I wanted to avoid. I’ve learnt once and for all that gauge is vital, but also that I need to reconsider what I think will fit me. I made the cardigan in medium, for a 42″ chest, which I thought would be okay on my 41″ chest. It may have been, if I’d made it to the right gauge, but taking into account March Basic too it seems I’m better choosing slightly small than slightly large.

Non-my mess up areas of the pattern I’m not happy with include the welt, or lack of, and the diagonally travelling seed stitch bands. Because there’s no welt and this is a big heavy cardigan, the rolloed stocking stitch part of the bottom edge just dangles down, pointy. The back has a proper welt as do the seam edges of the front pieces, and those bits sit just fine. Like the travelling seed stitch band, it feels that some elements of this pattern have been included just for hell of it. It’s over-designed from that point of view. Even if the fit and gauge were right, that pointy bottom edge would always bug me. It’s occurred to me to unravel this cardigan and reuse the yarn for something else, but I’ve learnt also that I’m not mad about huge chunky knits. I’d considered before that I could wear Herz under Pasadena as the colours worked together, but quite honestly I’d be the Michelin woman and would struggle to move, swathed in the two!

I’m working through stash that I bought over the last couple of years when affordable yarn was dangled before me in ALDI and I couldn’t resist. As well as gauge and fit, I’ve learnt that yarn is important for projects. Would I have chosen a purple aran cardigan over any other permutation? No. I’m using what I have and to some extent trying to put a square peg into a round hole. I’m optimistic that the DK projects in the pipeline will work out better. You may need to remind me I said that.

Music credit:

“Carpe Diem” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/