Saturday, 4 December 2010

Warm woollies weather

Even if you're not in the UK, you've probably heard about the severe weather currently afflicting the UK and Europe.  It's got down as low as minus 20 Celsius in Scotland, and down here in London we have been down to  around minus 4 C at night I think.  But what has really brought the country to a grinding halt is the snow, because we are not used to it and we are not set up for it. Earlier in the week it hit the South East, so colleagues who live east of London, in Kent and Essex, began to have difficulty coming into work as roads became blocked, trains stopped running, schools closed etc.  Here on the west side of London we were ok for a while (much to DS's disappointment who was hoping his school would close, and mine as I was hoping I would have a good excuse not to go into work) but we finally got a few inches Wednesday night.  I got into work fine on Thursday, but coming home Thursday night was quite difficult as almost every train out of London Waterloo station was cancelled or severely delayed.

When I finally squeezed onto a train, the journey was twice as long as usual so I had lots of time to knit on my Sanquhar glove. I've knit the little finger first, and have picked up to knit a few more rows up to the base of the remaining fingers.

Friday I decided not to even try going in, and I worked from home.  Hopefully my boss is not going to give me a hard time about it next week.  If she does, it will be really annoying because she has been using the snow as an excuse to do whatever hours she feels like.

I had a Finish this week!  The Freedom wool cable vest is finally done.  I am going to try wearing this to the office, because it's warm without being too warm.  The cable pattern came from a Freedom leaflet, but otherwise I pretty much ignored the pattern and just knit to my own measurements, and substituted my own twisted rib for the bands.

I've been trying to decide what to knit for my next portable projects.  I was looking in my Selbuvotter book at some fair isle gloves, and wondering if the Jamieson & Smith jumper weight yarn I have in sky blue would contrast sufficiently with the white to justify all that stranded knitting.  I also have a wonderful skein of Colinette Jitterbug in aqua, and I'm wondering about trying the Sunshine socks from Cookie A's Sock Innovations book.  The trouble is, once you start having to refer to a chart all the time, it detracts from the portability of the project and the potential for error when chatting (and drinking) at knitting group grows larger.

I've been wearing my Broken Rib socks and am quite disappointed with them as they are huge on me.  I think it is partly because the Tofutsi yarn lacks body, so even though the socks are a version of rib, they are drooping.  But I think the main culprit is the weird heel on this pattern.  Instead of a conventional heel, it has an upside-down gusset:  you increase for the gusset, then eat up the extra stitches when you turn the heel.  It just doesn't cup the heel the way a conventional sock heel does.  With the sock pulled right up, the heel looks ok, but it wants to pull down and sag outwards, like some kind of extra toe.  So even for bedsocks, they are annoyingly floppy.  I can't believe it after all the work I put into them.  grrrrr.

After the outing to the LYS with the knitting group last weekend, I sat down and quickly knit up a pair of fingerless gauntlets with the Sirdar Squiggle.  I love the colours in this yarn and as it is a super bulky, the gauntlets knit up quickly.  I didn't try to make the knitting pretty, I just wanted something warm to wear in our awful wintry weather.  After a bit of experimentation, I cast on 26 stitches to fit my arm at the elbow, and knit in 2x2 rib, decreasing four stitches to bring the fabric in for the wrist.  I seamed the long edge, leaving a gap for the thumb.  These gauntlets were wonderful for the Siberian walks from home to station, and station to office.  They pull on over my top garment and wrap me in warmth to the elbow.  I put my coat on top, and my thick gloves under the fingerless knitting.  So the knitting keeps the wind off my gloves, yet if I need to take a glove off, the knitting stops my fingers from freezing.  It's like having a big pair of sloppy sweater sleeves hanging out the bottom of my coat sleeves - wonderful. The only thing I don't like is that when I washed these after knitting, a huge amount of dye came out.  The water was bright fuschia for 3 or 4 rinses, and even after about another 5 rinses was still noticeably pink.  I would be worried about wearing these over a white shirt.


Denise said...

The vest is wonderful! I think this is going to be a winter for the record books across the globe. Stay warm!

loulee said...

Seems to be the in thing! I've made about pairs of gauntlets, (wristwarmers) recently, along with matchng hats and scarves! LOL

Daisy said...

The trains were so weird last week. I had trouble getting to work on Thursday but then it was fine getting home again!

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