Free knitting Apps

I can be a bit old-fashioned when it comes to tracking increases in my knitting. I either use a little row counter that sits on my needles or just make a note on the pattern. If I’m feeling lazy I just count the rows every now and again ( I wouldn’t recommend this approach as it often means that I end up with too many rows and then can’t be bothered to go back and re-do them) and if I’m feeling really lazy I just keep counting the stitches until I have the number I’m supposed to. The approach normally works fine for me.

Unfortunately for me and my slightly slap-dash approach to increase the sleeves on the Breckon cardigan I’m working on at the moment actually need me to track what I’m doing properly. The sleeves are in a granite stitch which looks lovely but  I can’t really see well enough to count the rows….also I need to increase every 12 rows for a bit and then every 10th row for a bit so my normal final stitch count approach won’t work.

To help me out I’m trying out some free knitting apps. This one is called ‘row counter’:

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I’m finding it very useful indeed. If you have eagle eyes you’ll notice that I’ve been putting my increases where my repeats should go but because I don’t really need to track repeats it doesn’t really matter.

There are one or two little problems with it:

  • I need to have my phone next to me all of the time. This means balancing it precariously around my front room. For some reason my iphone is a slippery little thing and likes to fall off stuff (I like to think it’s easily excited). I’m worried that one day it will fall off something and then smash. 
  • It stops the phone from going on standby. I can see why they’ve done that as it stops you from needing to turn it back on again and then put your pin code in every time you finish a row/increase. However, it’s a massive drain on the battery. Plus, every time I look over at the screen it’s all lit up which makes me think I’ve got a message or an email…
  • It doesn’t let you take off rows/increases. If you get a bit tap happy or need to undo some rows/increases then the only option is to ‘reset’ and then tap until you get to the number of rows you are suppose to have. I get that they’ve done it to make sure that there is something extra that they can add to their paid for App but it’s still annoying.

I also have ‘simple count’ on my phone. They haven’t wasted much time on design but it does what is says on the tin and basically just counts upwards. It’s more or less useless for knitting, however, I find that it is super helpful for doing my physio exercises. Most of them involve holding my leg up in various directions for a count of 5 and for some reason the counting to 5 while I hold my leg up totally makes me forget how many repetitions I’ve done…. However with this App I can actually figure out where I’ve got to!

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Every now and again I check the App store for a Ravelry App but none turns up. I’m hoping that one day they’ll  put one together!

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A gauge based mishap….

Here’s all the wool I unravelled……

A little while ago I started an Idlewood by Cecily Glowik MacDonald. As the summer started off as a bit of a damp squib I wasn’t too concerned about starting a winter project. In fact I was wondering if I’d actually be wearing it fairly soon! Luckily we have seen some sun now so I am feeling much more optimistic!

All started out fairly well. I’d seen Hoxton’s version which I really liked and was planning to copy the mid-length sleeves. I was very excited. As always with my slightly hap hazard knitting I didn’t bother with gauge and just made a start with a 5.5mm needle. I hoped that the slightly smaller needle would make up for my loose knitting.

I knitted for a while on the cowl part. I went round and round in stocking stitch and found it a rather nice antidote to a 4 ply cable project I’m working on. I was so hypnotised by going round and round and round that I didn’t actually stop to check out the size of what I was making. When I finally did I realised that it was HUGE! I had made a ginormous tube. I tentatively tried it around my neck and found that yes, indeed, it was far too big! I went back to the gauge and found that it was massively off and when I looked at the dimensions it was about 10 inches too big! Urgh!

I got out all of my needles and set about a proper swatch but no mater what I did I couldn’t get the gauge. It kept coming out too big even with a 4.5mm needle. As the 4.5 was a real squeeze with the wool and a really uncomfortable knit I decided that Idlewood just wasn’t meant to be for me. 😦

So, then I had 12 balls of lovely soft grey Garnstudio DROPS Nepal which needed using up. Even thought the pattern didn’t work out I had really enjoyed knitting with the wool so I wanted to start a new project with it straight away. A quick trawl through Ravelry came up with creature comforts cardi by Madelinetosh. I am loving this pattern! It has a beautiful leafy cable across the back and a loose fit.  It looks like it’s going to be nice baggy cardy to sling on over things and snuggle up with when I get cold. 🙂 It’s going to be a great project to knit while I’m enjoying the Olympics and Paralympics (although I am still upset for poor Mark Cavendish who totally deserved a win after all his hard work for team Sky at the Tour de France).

Larch Cardigan by Amy Christoffers

While I’m fiddling around with lace and counting repeats with my Hélène by Veronik Avery I need a simple project when my brain needs a break. The Larch Cardigan by Amy Christoffers fits the bill perfectly.

I”m making it with Garnstudio DROPS Alpaca in grey. I’ve used the exact same wool and in the exact same colour before and I really liked it so I’ve decided to use it again. I’m after a really loose fabric so I’ve used 3.5mm needles.

I’m very please with progress so far and I’m very excited about finishing it!

Saving a favourite t-shirt with a bit of dye

A couple of years ago I got this t-shirt which I love. Given that it’s white it’s been a minor miracle that I have managed to avoid spilling something on it and creating a massive stain. Unfortunately I wasn’t so good at  remembering to put it in a white wash which has meant that it has faded to a rather unattractive shade of grubby white/grey (it looks surprisingly white in this picture- it didn’t look like that in real life).

I didn’t want to get rid of a perfectly good t-shirt just because it wasn’t white anymore so I though I’d have a go at dyeing it. Often the problem I have with fabric dye is that they make it in very vivid colours and I tend to wear slightly more neutral tones. I wanted a grey but settled for a brown as they didn’t have any grey (do they even do grey?).

 

It’s come out a bit darker than I thought it would but you can still make out the bike on the front so it’s not too dark. Overall I’m pleased with the results and looking forward to wearing it. I really like the way that the stitching hasn’t taken the dye and has stayed white.

In the same load I also put in a vest which was far from the original white. However I didn’t heed the instruction on the packet and wash it beforehand. It’s come out look fantastically 90s tie-dye and not in a good way (if there is a good way to look tie-dyed…)

I’m trying to think of a way that I could fix it but fear it may just have to go in the bin……

Rather pretty handmade soap

A pretty piece of soap- this one is my favourite

Last Christmas my boyfriend’s lovely mum bought me a kit for making soap. For one reason or another I haven’t had the chance to make them until now. However, with Christmas coming up it occurred to me that soap would make a rather nice Christmas present so yesterday I got the box out and made a start.

Strictly speaking the process is more like decorating soap but that meant it was super quick and fun. I melted down the soap base and added in the pretty bits. I wasn’t sure what they’d look like as I was making them once I’d turned them out of the moulds they looked lovely. I’m really pleased and I think that with some nice tissue paper and ribbon they will make a really nice present!

Don't they look pretty!

Ways to justify the purchase of a MacBook

Hello. This is my new blog. I have been talking about writing a blog for quite some time but haven’t actually got around to doing anything about it. Justification for the purchase of my shiny new MacBook has finally got me  started.

I have had my eye on a MacBook for rather a long time  however it is very tricky to justify the purchase for 2 reasons

a) they are very expensive

b) I don’t work in the creative industries, never even use photoshop and don’t really need one for messing about on the internet and putting photos on Ravelry.

However, despite the above (very sensible) reasons, when my hard earned bonus came through and I finally  had enough money to top up my new laptop fund I dashed directly to the shop before sensible thoughts entered my head.

On getting my new toy back to my house I started looking for reasons to justify my new computer and the long put off blog master plan has finally come to fruition.  So, hear I am writing my first post and feeling very justified in my purchase. 🙂