I finally bit the bullet and pulled out the back of my Natalie vintage sweater – it was never going to be big enough, despite the tension (gauge) swatch telling me otherwise. I’ve cast on again with enough stitches for the largest size, probably the first time I’ve found myself knitting the largest size of anything, but clearly my tension is different from the swatch. Seeing as I not only knitted a full sized 4″ x 4″ swatch, but carefully washed it and blocked it, this is very annoying. But now that I’m confident the sweater will fit I’m making faster progress and have just passed the armhole.
It’s been a while since I knitted a garment flat, and I’m enjoying the feeling that a piece is nearly finished. If I were knitting Natalie in the round, like last year’s interminable gansey, I wouldn’t even be halfway up the body yet.
Another red hat
I’m still in a hat mood, after sewing a rain hat the other day. I thought I could probably do with a knitted hat in a man-made fibre. I have a very nice llama blend one, the Brioche Hood Hat, but once it gets wet it takes a while to dry and at this time of year it is often still damp from its last outing when I want to wear it again. So I had a root around in my yarn stash and remembered the burgundy-coloured acrylic I used for a twiddlemuff before Christmas. It knitted up to give quite a luxurious, thick fabric, and there’s loads of it still on the cone. I thought that the Wurm hat would suit it well, used with the non-chenille dark red acrylic that also went into the twiddlemuff. I’ll use the plain yarn for the stocking stitch bands which should make the reverse stocking stitch bands of chenille stand out more.
An hour of swatching one evening revealed that I could get the right tension by knitting with two ends together. I am a few rows in but I’m concerned that it’s not going to fit around my head. The lower band is in stocking stitch, not rib, and it’s doubled like the hem on many a machine knitted garment. Given that it’s an unyielding acrylic yarn in a firm stitch and double thickness fabric, I don’t think it’s going to stretch much. At the moment I’m working on my short double-pointed sock needles because I don’t have any longer DPNs and there isn’t yet the room to work on a circular needle. I will finish the hem, transfer to a circular and then see what’s what. As you can see from the photo, this hat looks about the size of a sock at present, although there are 100 stitches crammed onto the needles.
Mending a cupboard catch
What else have I been up to? Well, the weather has been so awful and windy that I’ve been sat by the fire all weekend mending things, from socks and pyjamas to a cupboard catch. We bought the cupboard in a junk shop and the door has never clicked shut, but we just lived with it being slightly ajar. There is a key-operated lock as well as the lever-operated catch, but we don’t have the key.
Over Christmas, which we spent at a relative’s house, another visitor managed to break the lock on the bathroom door by over-enthusiastic use. She’d done it before, three years ago, and I was given the task of repairing it the first time as everyone knows I enjoy taking things apart. I found that there was a small spring inside that holds the latch in either the open or locked position, but doesn’t allow it to rest in an intermediate state. This spring had come adrift with the result that the latch wouldn’t stay where it was meant to, and it was a simple matter to put it back. So I replaced it again this time around, and took a few photos of the innards for good measure to help speed the process the next time it happens.
When we got home and I filed away the photos from the camera, it occurred to me that all catches are probably much the same. I took our cupboard catch apart and found that it was indeed so, except the spring was broken in this case. I bodged a replacement from an old retractable steel rule and we now have a cupboard that will close, for the first time since we bought it. The hardest part of this task – as is so often the case with electrical and electronic goods too – was getting the darn thing apart. A good measure of brute force was required.
I’ve written up the repair as an Instructables project Repair a broken cupboard catch for the benefit of anyone else who is annoyed by a cupboard or wardrobe door that won’t stay shut.