26 June 2008

Nearly FOs (or how to avoid blocking)

I go through frustrating periods when I don't quite finish things. My mum always got frustrated with my dad for doing just that. And, when I picked up knitting again a couple of years ago, vowed I would never have lots of UFOs sitting around.

In my defence, I am now trying to get ahead of my PGCE in September and am doing lots of pre-reading. On top of that, my initial assignment (before they have taught us anything) has landed on the electronic doormat and I am skirting round that too.

The UFOs in question are nearly complete. In fact, the Aleita Shell (the blue tank) is actually complete and simply needs to be blocked. But there's the rub. I haven't got the time - or indeed the motivation - to spend ages bent over it, pinning it out and all the other fun that goes with blocking. I hope I can get to it in time to wear it over the summer otherwise it will become a tank top over the winter.

Same story for the Sally Melville dress (which is from her Needful Yarns: Sally Melville Collection leaflet and strangely calls itself a cabled jumper. A jumper in the UK is a pullover or sweater, but definitely not a dress.) The knitting is complete and has been for some weeks. However, it needs blocking and then sewing up (all the way up those side seams). Having said that, there is not a lot of call for a knit dress in Aran weight in the summer, even here in temperate England. But, if I don't manage to get to it before the autumn, the coursework will kick in properly and any thoughts of blocking will just be a distraction from actually doing any coursework. It will become like washing up, tidying up or spring cleaning when I was at university the first time, during the run up to exams. When faced with the prospect of revising for the entire afternoon, the washing up would suddenly become appealing and the spring cleaning an absolute imperative.

Here's hoping I get to it before this time next year, then.

Going Japanese

For the summer, I've decided two things.

  1. I should try to stop adding to my ever-increasing stash
  2. I should therefore knit things using up some of that stash

As a result, on the needles at the moment is Leaf Kimono Top (Interweave Knits Summer 08). it's meant to be knit in a lovely linen yarn but as my stash contains no linen whatsoever, I found the nearest summery substitute - Rowan Handknit DK cotton. It's a very dark bottle green and I've had it in my stash for years. I think I bought it when I lived in Scotland and the nearest John Lewis (over in Edinburgh) was having a sale. I moved down to Surrey in September 1999 so that shows how long it's been lurking in my cupboards.

I have finished the front and back, having had to remind myself how to knit lace and also learn how to decrease in lace. It took me about three attempts to work out where I was in the pattern. I didn't engage my brain particularly well on the first goes and managed to misalign the second half of the lace pattern. It's taught me a lot and has made me a better knitter. No pain, no gain...

I'm now 2/3 of the way through the first sleeve. I may yet still hate the FO. It's the first time I've knit anything like this. I usually go for things with negative ease but this should end up with the reverse in abundance. It's meant to be loose and airy, perfect for throwing over a camisole. The jury is out. It may get to the pile of "Things I am going to chalk up to experience" and languish at the back of my wardrobe for years to come.