Welcome to the home of my musings about knitting :)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Two posts in three days?!

What is the world coming to?

But I seem to recall promising you pictures of my lace and Secret Pal related loot, and I thought I'd shock you by doing what I said I was going to do for once. It's all fun, fun, fun round here :)

Anyway, my Feather & Fan lace has grown rather a lot since you last saw it. Here it is, stretched out on my lounge floor with a ball of yarn carefully positioned to give you an idea of scale.

Lots and lots of lace

This project has actually grown on me quite a lot in the making. Now there's more of it I feel a lot happier about how it's going to turn out and I am beginning to love the colour scheme (for which I'd look at my previous post but one if I were you - this is not a great colour reproduction). RLBF's mum has christened it the Heathland Shawl as it reminds her of the Scottish Highlands. This seems highly appropriate to me when you look at it closely - there's all kinds of green in there, together with some subtle purples, blues and yellows which evoke that part of the world extremely well. RLBF kindly offered to adopt Heathland should I decide that I still felt 'meh' about it when it was finished. Unluckily for her I think she is going to be dissapointed :) I look forward to a giant adventure in blocking some time over the weekend, which could be fun as I've never blocked anything quite this large before. I'm thinking that I need to invest in a load more dressmaking pins. And do you think it'll need a full-dunking wet block or will I be able to get away with a quick spritz? Decisions, decisions.

So what else have I got to show you? Well, finally here is a picture of the yarn part of my first SP4 gift. Thanks Peep!

Yay for my Secret Pal :)

Note the mohair in delicious Atropos-ish colours on the left and the tempting experimental R2 on the right. Fabulous, I thought. And you could also note the basket they're sitting in if you like, because I made it myself on a course I went on over last weekend. It's a little eccentric in its shaping but I'm rather proud of it nonetheless. Go me!

Speaking of Secret Pals I received another small gift from mine earlier in the week. It's a handy pocket torch come calendar thingy that I plan to keep in my handbag for those difficult moments when I'm wrestling with my keys in the dark. And I started plotting my next parcel to the knitter whose Secret Pal I am. This whole thing is turning out to be a lot of fun.

Finally, here are two recent additions to the stash. I really shouldn't have bought either of them I suppose, but hey, if it wasn't full of yarn that I wasn't going to knit for some fair old time it wouldn't be worthy of the term 'stash' now, would it?

Anyway, first up is a Colinette throw kit in glorious shades of red, which will match the bedroom decor in Norfolk perfectly.

Stash enhancement - blame Theresa

Now I'm afraid this purchase can be entirely blamed on Theresa over at The Keyboard Biologist, as that was where I read that these kits are due to be discontinued in the UK. The word "Why?" springs to mind given how popular they seem to be in the knitblog community, but still. I just hope I don't love this so much once I've knitted it that I wish I had invested in one for the spare bedroom too - a distinct possibility looking at the yumminess of the yarn that's included in the kit. I haven't even dared open the plastic bag yet, for fear of distraction. Perhaps I'll find a spare couple of hours some time over the weekend :)

My final loot is this from the nice people at The Yarn Warehouse. It's a Weasley jumper kit to knit up for my 2 year old nephew. I can't wait to get cracking on this one as my sister in law is a big HP fan too, so I'm quite sure she'll get the reference. One of the best things about this purchase was the price though. £10 for the lot! Quite a bargain, I thought.

O Lordy - it's a Weasley jumper in the making. Posted by Hello

There was a lot that I wanted to say about the trendiness or otherwise of knitting as a hobby in the UK but it's late here and I'm starting to type funny. Maybe next time when I'm not falling asleep at the computer. Sleep well everyone.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

Yeah, I know. I said I'd do another post last week. And now it's this week. Where does the time go? I think it's something to do with all those evenings spent wrestling with two pointy sticks and a ball of string rather than diligently blogging about it :)

Anyway, last time I posted I promised you a guest knitter of the week. And here she is. May I present my mother-in-law, knitter extraordinaire, modelling her very own version of Rosedale.

Rosedale MIL style

Nice, ney? MIL has been knitting for a long, long time and can leave me for dust in the stitches per minute stakes. She also likes to strike out from the pattern and do her own thing, a trait that she also evidences in her cookery. Hence puddings that are described as apple crumble but actually have oranges in them. But I digress. Anyway, MIL's Rosedale has been knit from a load of wool that I brought her back from a trip that Mr A & I made in summer 2003. We went to the Orknies, Shetland, Iceland and the Faroes, and MIL was presented with wool from every location on our return. All different weights of course, and certainly not chosen in contemplation of including them in the same project, but hasn't it come out great?

Here's another shot of it.

More Rosedale

Of course sometimes MIL's knitting experience is humbling to behold. But she does make mistakes like us lesser mortals. Like when she joined the second sleeve of her Rosedale in the centre of the back, but don't tell her I told you about that one :)

Here is another of her projects. This is here version of Clapotis, knit with Axelle's alpaca in the Waterlilies shade. Yet another victory for both yarn and pattern I think:

Clapotis encore Posted by Hello

The more times I see Clapotis being made up, the more I like it. I think I may have to knit one for my mum now to stop her getting sartorial envy.

So what is going on in my own knitting at the moment. Well, the eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that despite me proclaiming that I am not a joiner a couple of posts ago there is a new button in my sidebar for the Dulaan Project, run by Ryan over at Mossy Cottage Knits. Check it out. You can knit pretty much anything you fancy (provided it's warn of course) and you get to send it to Mongolian children to protect them against winter temperatures in the -40's in Ulaan Batar. Plus the receiving charity has expressed some scepticism that they will be donated even 500 garments as a result of Ryan's efforts. Bah!. They have clearly never met a determined group of knitters before. They better be bracing themselves for the onslaught, that's all I can say.

I do not yet have anything on the needles for this project as I am in London, my stash is in Norfolk and the twain have not met for nearly 2 weeks now. But I've got my eye on Coronet from knitty, and maybe a couple of scarves. We shall see.

In terms of actual knitting - knitting I am still ploughing on with the Feather and Fan lace. It is now enormously long, but because the scarf is also quite wide I feel it still needs to be longer. So I'm knitting onwards. Heaven alone knows where I'm going to block the thing, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. Pics later in the week (yeah, yeah) when I finally manage to get home in the hours of daylight. Also Secret Pal loot pictures - I promise. You really need to see the mohair.

Monday, February 14, 2005

The internet gods are temporarily placated

Which means I can post some of the pictures I have diligently been taking for the last two weeks. Yay!

So, here are a couple of action shots from the Norfolk knit-in of last weekend. This is RLBF's niece concentrating hard on her Tamagotchi bag. I hope you note that she is wearing a particularly fetching poncho :)

Knit in - RLBF's niece

And this is niece's BF approximately 20 minutes after I taught her to cast on. Go girls!

Knit in - Niece's BF

So what else have I got to show you? Well, Mr A's Dennis the Menace socks are finished for a start.

Dennis the Menace is done

He seems pleased, which is a good thing. Given that I basically made these up based on a number of sock patterns that I have known and a few quick measurements of his (enormous) feet I am pretty pleased with the fit too although they are definitely slightly too baggy in the leg. More calf shaping and casting on fewer stitches will improve the fit next time out.

And what else has been going on with my knitting since we last spoke? Didn't I say that I was planning on finishing my Colinette jumper this weekend? Which would have been totally logical due to various portability issues and my desire to actually wear the thing. Sadly the knitting urge does not appear to reside in the logical part of my brain. So despite having carted a huge bag stuffed full of Point 5 and various finished parts of jumper halfway across the country I studiously ignored it all weekend and knitted this instead:

Feather & Fan Lace

Yes, it's another scarf. Yes, this is supposed to be my 'carry backwards and forwards to work' portable project. I can't explain it either. I wouldn't bother trying if I were you.

Anyway, this is my first attempt at lace and I'm feeling a little bit 'meh' about it so far but have decided to have the courage of my convictions and persevere. Here's a closeup so you can see what you think.

Feather & Fan closeup Posted by Hello

I'm not wildly happy with the stitch definition and the way the pattern is reflected in the fabric, if you see what I mean. But I am taking heart from the Yarn Harlot's recent post where she said that that all lace looks like crap until it's been blocked and am hoping for a minor miracle at the finishing stage. How susceptible 100% rayon yarn is going to be to the blocking process is something that I am studiously avoiding thinking about at this moment in time.

Anyway, internet permitting I have plenty more pictures to share with you later this week, including my Secret Pal loot (thanks SP!) and the work of my guest knitter of the week, namely my mother in law. Watch this space!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Internet hates me

No, seriously. It does.

Why have I reached this conclusion? Well once again I have many exciting knitting related things to blog about and loads of really cool pictures to share with you. And once again I can't post them. This time it's to do with the complete meltdown of my home internet connection for reasons I will not bore you with. Mr A assures me he is "sorting it out". How long this will take is in the lap of the gods. Mr A is not known for his prompt action even in a crisis. I would sort it out by signing up with another provider, but from past experience know that this will cause far more trouble than it's worth in the end as whoever I choose will be All Wrong for reasons unspecified. So, I wait for proper service to be restored and in the meantime make sneaky picture-free posts from my computer at work.


Anyway, even without pictures I must say thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to my secret pal. I received a huge parcel from her yesterday with lots of goodies inside, which I promise to show you eventually as they are very cool. They included 2 balls of Rowan R2 which I have been eyeing up in the shops for some time now, some extremely funky mohair that has sent my creative side off into pattern searching overdrive, some yummy looking Japanese style peanuts and a book by a guy called Danny Wallace who started a movement that undertakes random acts of kindness. My secret pal attached a note to the front saying that she thought the book was appropriate under the circumstances. What she may not know is that it's really very appropriate as it became clear to me after reading about 2 pages that the author lives in the same apartment block as I do. It's a small world, neh?

The weekend knit-in that I mentioned in my last post went off without a hitch. The girls decided to knit Tamagotchi bags, which was a great idea actually as they were small enough for them to make a reasonable amount of progress in an afternoon. For those of you in blessed ignorance of Tamagotchis they are little electronic pets that beep a lot and need to be fed and played with to prevent them "dying", which seems to me like a fairly traumatic item to give a nine year old girl but nonetheless they seem to love them. They can also "talk" to each other and give each other presents. Apparently there are lots of options for Tamagotchi gift giving but the two that cam over at the weekend restricted themselves to giving each other cake and lumps of poo. Really. Again, the girls seemed to like it. I clearly have no idea how the nine year old female brain works.

Anywho, we had a lovely afternoon all stitching away and I was most delighted by the shouts of "Oh please, just one row more" when RLBF announced she had to take them home. Of course I made a point to get pictures. Including one of RLBF knitting a fiendishly complicated sock from a chart that gave me the hives just looking at it. I will post them eventually. *eyeroll*

Finally I seem to have ground to a slight halt on my Colinette jumper as it is really not very portable due to the freakishly large size of the needles required. I'm going to try and focus on it this weekend as I would really like to be wearing it rather than staring at 90% of it in pieces on my needles. To distract myself from the unportable nature of this project I have started a Feather and Fan shawl in some Interlacements Rick Rack that I bought at Stitches East. More on that in my next post. Suffice to say that one skein of this stuff is 1100 yards worth of yarn. Want to know how long it took me to wind that into balls? 4 hours. Without any significant tangling I might add. I need a swift.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Guess what? More SOX!

So, remember that I said I was going to knit Dennis the Menace socks for Mr A now that I have finished Clapotis? Well here is my progress to date:

Dennis the Menace progress

Not bad, eh? I am quite pleased with these as I have essentially made up the pattern and Mr A has tried the finished one on and it seems to fit fine. If anything it is a little loose in the leg, which I think is because this is my first time out for socks with DK yarn rather than a finer gauge. Next time I shall cast on slightly less stitches.

Other than that, the jogless jog that BDC recommended is working like a charm (thanks, BDC!) , calf shaping turned out to be utterly simple and my first afterthought heel passed without incident. I quite like it as an alternative for more rufty tufty socks actually - it has none of the holing issues that you can get with the short row heel and it has a good rugged feel about it. A useful thing to add to the sock repertoire I feel.

And how is Mr A feeling about his socks to date? He has pronounced himself "quite pleased" which from him is high praise indeed. But he is getting a bit impatient as progress has slowed rather over the last couple of days. "And why is that, Atropos?" I hear you ask.

Well, I may have accidently wandered over to Colinette's new online store and had a little splurge on this. Nice, don't you think? I am completely new to Colinette's yarns and have to say that I really like the thick/thin texture of Point 5 but I was initially a little alarmed by the colour that my selection turned out to be. I ordered the Gaugin colourway, so exactly the shade you see on the model in the picture, and it is really quite a bit brighter in real life than it is in the pictures. I was initially concerned that it would turn out to be just too green for me, bit having finished the back and lived with it for a while I think we'll be fine. What do you think?

I may have got a little sidetracked....

And here's a close up of the fabric Point 5 produces.

Point 5 close up Posted by Hello

I do love the textural effect that is produced by the varying thicknesses of the yarn, don't you? And another big plus in Point 5's favour is that you knit it on 12mm needles so the thing grows at the speed of light. I feel a bit like I've landed in Brobdignag when I'm knitting it though - 12 mm needles are BIG!

Anyway, it knits up so quickly that I think I might even get the whole jumper finished off over the weekend. RLBF is coming over with her niece (she of the Liberty poncho) and niece's BF and we are going to have a knit out. Niece & niece's BF are keen to move on from lumpy garter stitch scarves but are still not exactly experts in the craft. Does anyone have any suggestions for quick and easy projects that RLBF & I might be able to interest them in?