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Here’s my attempt at a monkey cap – ski mask – balaclava helmet. With
the Turkish motif. Actually I don’t know if this is really a Turkish
motif, but Charlene Schurch’s book said so! I really liked working with
it, it’s intuitive and you don’t even need the chart after a few rows.
I still have to weave ends in and do a small edging around the face,
but it’s going to have to wait till I return from Spain in a couple of
weeks. I’m leaving in a short while, and will try to post some updates
from various places in Andalusia….. if I can.
I really liked working on this project; it caused me so much heartburn midway, but overall, it fits wonderfully, is soft, I love the colour combinations and I almost wish it would be colder so I could wear it.
The Andean Silk is a big hit; cannot wait to use it again. The dark
purple yarn and the slightly lighter rust shade towards the top are
Elann’s Sierra Aran, which I had in my stash (yay! didn’t have to buy
more), and the gauge worked perfectly.
I sort of made up the pattern as I went along, adapting it from different online free patterns, and if anyone’s interested let me know, once I return I’ll try to write it up. I can’t post the motif chart since it’s from a book, but if you get the same gauge you can use any motif you like.
See you folks in a couple of weeks, and wish everyone a very happy new year!
Alianne mentioned in her latest post that there are negative knitting days where nothing seems to work and you keep knitting, but frogging as well. I agree totally, but also want to add that when negative knitting days combine with other kinds of negatives they make things a lot worse. I have a bad cold and throat that hurts, it’s grey, gloomy and freezing outside, the very thought of final exam bluebooks is making me shudder, I have realised that I am waaaaay behind schedule for finishing work I had planned to before I leave for Spain next week, and on top of it all, the monkey cap is not going well. More stuff is about to hit the frogpond.
So the Turkish motif isn’t working out, because the Pure Alpaca is really not at the Andean Silk’s thickness and it pulls in the fabric too much for it to work. The colours were lovely, the motif was great, but my f***ing gauge was off, and I frogged nearly 15 rows of fairisle. Then I just knit the main colour in stockinette, but now it seems that I have even less than I had anticipated. I have already cast on for the head part, but cannot decide how to proceed. Here are my choices at this stage. I can:
1) Buy some more Andean Silk, so what if I have absolutely no more space in my flat, or money.
2) Use whatever worsted yarn works after the AS runs out and be done with it, so what if it is wildly jarring, at least I will get gauge.
3) Chuck the idea of the monkey cap for this yarn and make a simple stockinette cap, so what if I made grand claims in my blog, I’ll just resolve never to foolishly start a project without checking to see if I have enough.
In the meantime, though, I have to steel myself for bluebooks. Already, some students have alarmed me by asking how they can set up their off-campus library access. Isn’t it reassuring when, two days before the final exam of the semester, your students nonchalantly ask you how to access their online reserve readings? Warms the cockles of my heart, it does.
But at least I don’t have to speak in class for the next three weeks, so my throat can recover. Any suggestions for feeling better, folks? Only remedies with alcohol in them are welcome.
This is just to confuse further those who thought this was baclava the last time… still talking knitting.
I chose a Turkish pattern for the stockinette portion of the balaclava cap. I cast off for the face opening, slipped the stitches to a larger needle and tugged the tube over my head. Nice and long. So then I decided that it would be nice to have the thickness of two-colour patterned fabric over the ears rather than stripes or plain bands of colour. What I am going to do once I run out of this Andean Silk red I don’t know; will figure something out. But for now, am excited about this beautiful pattern. I got it from a Turkish motif cap in Hats On by Charlene Schurch, which is a great book (I’ve made four caps from it so far). The other, darker red is Elann’s Pure Alpaca, which is a wee bit thinner than the Andean Silk, but not significant enough to warrant a needle change. It makes the stockinette fabric a little more snug, which is exactly what I want.
The only foreseeable problem is doing the two-colour stranding on the purl side. This is the first time I’m doing fair-isle work on back-and-forth knitting. Naturally, it occurred to me after I started. But it’s not that big a deal, and it’s only a couple of inches before I join and start in the round again for the forehead.
This is turning out to be a lot of fun indeed.
Yay! Semester almost over. Classes done today. Every semester feels like it’s been the longest ever, and so did this one. One of my classes has been such a challenge this time, with students even more resistant than usual to the idea of any effort, hard work or contribution.
For some reason this group just didn’t gel together and I had to cancel a couple of scheduled discussions just because nobody was willing to talk, ask questions or respond to the stuff I had them read or showed in class. Not doing the readings is the worst part, and I am still at a loss about how to get lazy students to do their reading. Quizzes certainly didn’t help here. Maybe I just got a lot of people who took the class because it fit their schedule.
But the other class was great; possibly the best I’ve had ever and what really delighted me was that hardly anyone was a History major. Did their readings, did well in the midterm, asked questions, did their group discussions with great enthu….what more can a teacher ask for? It was very unnerving to go from one class to the other. This latter one was an honours section, so I suppose that explains it a bit, but still. It was not an easy course and I was pleased that the kids were up to the challenge of working hard. The other one… ah well, it’s almost over.
It’s bitterly, bitterly cold, and I have barely got up to the chin of the balaclava, which I knit while watching another film of Aparna Sen’s, Paromitar Ek Din (House of Memories). Totally made up for the latest film 15 Park Avenue’s disappointment. This one is in Bangla, and Sen herself has a stunning performance in it as a fiesty north Calcutta mother-in-law.
Spud, Mr & Mrs. Iyer was indeed the one on the bus! Both Mr & Mrs Iyer are in this latest film also, but Mr. I disappoints. By the way, your mention of the balalaika has put this song we learnt back in French class in school in my head – C’est l’hiver (it’s winter) and given the temperature, it’s quite timely! Why this French song with Russian references, I have no idea, but there you go. It’s a lovely tune.
It is so hard for me to avoid alliterative titles. It’s like a sickness. When I worked for a magazine a decade ago, our editor used to always warn us: puns and alliterations in titles and captions only if it’s 3 am, you have a printing deadline and you can’t bear to drink any more coffee. I still think of him everytime I think of alliterative titles.
Anyway, I digress already. I started the balaclava pattern, with the Knitpicks Andean Silk in Barn Red. This colour is absolutely to die for, and the yarn is soft, luminous and gorgeous. Moves like, yes, silk in your hands as you knit. I am definitely ordering more later for a pullover.
Have knit only a couple of inches, but wanted to properly record my progress on this project, since it’s sort of a mix of various other patterns and ideas.
So far, I decided to make a simple monkey cap, with a ribbed neck base going up to the chin/mouth, then opening for the face and doing the rest of it in stockinette. In the comments to my last post Mary very kindly pointed me to this pattern and I like it, except for the ribbing at the forehead. Need to do something to that. I also like this Three-in-One Balaclava from Knitty but not the tied-up top. And the seed-stitch border at the face…. have to think of something. I’m thinking a picked up border, maybe at a tighter gauge.
I started the project just before going to see Aparna Sen’s 15 Park Avenue at the South Asian International Film Festival in the city. I loved her 36 Chowringhee Lane, a fine, sensitive film that is highly recommended if you haven’t seen it, and Mr & Mrs. Iyer was also quite good. This latest offering, unfortunately the only film in the festival I could go to, was a terrible disappointment. Badly written, plotted and directed. The acting was good, given the galaxy of competent actors, especially Konkona Sen Sharma. But overall, didn’t like the film. Wonder what the otherwise very good Aparna Sen was thinking.
Anyway, all this digression to say that I knit two inches of the ribbing through the film before I realised that the Andean Silk has only 96 yards, and I have only two skeins. Will probably need close to 300 yards, so I’ll probably do the stockinette sections interspersed with Elann’s Pure Alpaca. I have one 109-yard skein in a slightly darker shade of red, and it’s the same gauge.
Speaking of gauge, I’m knitting this on size 5s Susan Bates metals, and it still feels a little loose! The recommended needle size is 7, and I know I knit loosely, but still.
Finally! This week has been slow going, because it’s getting close to the end of the semester and work is piling up. I redid the toe for the first sock, and all is well. I have a spare skein of this yarn, and have no idea what to do with it. They don’t look so bad once complete, no?
I have to now start the vest for P., but am distracted by an idea for a cap, or more correctly, a balaclava cap. In India these are called Monkey Caps and are universally available (although not among the young and hip) as winter wear. The minute the temperature goes down to 10 degree celcius the older generation brings these out while going for their walks! They are functional and warm, though, and walking in the city this evening in the freezing wind I wished I had a monkey cap. I found this pattern from Knitter’s Fall 2003, but it reminds me too much of something out of Monty Python, for some reason. So let’s see what I come up with.
I finally sat down and charted an entire motif of some thirty stitches and ninety-odd rows for the rangoli pattern I wanted to use on the cabled vest. I highly recommend the Stitch & Motif Maker, but boy, my eyes hurt. I also swatched for the vest, but the first swatch has been a disappointment. I bought some Filatura Lanarota 100% cashmere from Smiley’s Yarns because it was unbelievably cheap, and it also turned out to be really really soft when I swatched it in plain stockinette. So far so good.
Unfortunately, in the dark grey colour that P. chose, you can hardly see the cabled ring that’s been knitted Also, the yarn is so loosely plied that it splits practically every second stitch. Digging into stitches for cabling was very difficult. And it’s already quite fuzzy (it bloomed a bit after washing, but not overly so) which is making me worry about its durability. It was cheap, but still. So alas, no cabled vest with this cashmere.
But I have enough for a plain full-sleeved turtleneck, which is what P. opted for instead, so I’ll do it all in stockinette. Which will bore me to tears, but at least the yarn will behave, and it will be really soft.
Instead, I’m going to turn to the Knitpicks yarns I bought last week for some cabled hats, I think.