Sunday, 30 September 2007

Sunday evening

Well, it's all gone quiet, as predicted. The youngest is safely (?) off at university now, and it does feel rather strange to have the last one leave the nest. The end of an era, in a way. And the start of a new phase of our life, of course.

I've spent a fair amount of time in the garden today. This is most unlike me, as gardening isn't something that I enjoy usually. But this afternoon I found a certain pleasure in kneeling on the lawn and grubbing up couch grass and other nasties from the borders. And it is certainly very good to see the nice neat result.

We missed a drama this morning. One of the partly built houses on this estate caught fire - or was set on fire. Most disconcerting, whichever it turns out to be. I'm not sure which option is the worst, now I come to think about it. We suspect that they think the fire may have been set, as we've noticed the police checking the area frequently this afternoon and evening.

It comes to mind that about a month ago we noticed some lads had set a fire in the meadow at the back of our house. There was a lot of smoke, which meant that we couldn't see how big the fire was growing, or where it was spreading, and that was rather worrying. We did report it to the police at the time, and we have been wondering if there is a connection with this new fire. The fire in the meadow went out by itself, fortunately. Not so the house, but the fire brigade dealt with it in short order.

I have unpacked, by the way. That took nearly a week, definitely some sort of record for me.

The KF sock is progressing nicely.

No other actual knitting - however I have been planning my knitting for Christmas presents, finding yarns from stash and ordering more as required. I know of old that I will be working on these things at the last minute if I don't get started soon, hence this sudden outburst of organisation. One nice thing about planning and making lists is that it does give you the feeling that you've actually achieved something, even when this isn't really the case. And it's even better when you start crossing things off the list, of course. I did, however, resist the temptation to put 'make list' as the first item to do ......

This evening we found the camera, so tomorrow there will a real update, with pictures. And it will be October. Goodness, however did that get here so quickly?

Friday, 28 September 2007

Still here....

It has been a bit strange here over the last few days. We've both been rather tired - (not entirely what you expect after such a lovely holiday) - and I haven't done much knitting. The coming weekend is going to be very busy as well - our youngest is off to university on Sunday. Something of a landmark, of course.

I have progressed a little with the Caribbean Landscape socks - just past the heel on the first sock. These are really looking stunning - my husband commented on how good they looked, and asked who they were for. They are for him, and now he keeps asking how they are coming along. Like he needs more socks - he has a drawer full of handknit ones. Earlier this evening he was watching me knit, and said that he thought he was going to throw away his few remaining old shop-bought socks as they were never going to be worn again - a compliment, I think.

The Panda socks are definitely in favour, by the way. It may not be the nicest of yarns to work with, but the finished fabric is excellent. They have been worn and washed several times now, and I am told they are very comfortable. So I can recommend this yarn.

There hasn't been a picture of the Love Lace socks yet - it will happen, I promise, when I find the camera. I am not sure where it has got to.

Actually, unpacking is not exactly finished. Usually it is my husband who still has his suitcase sitting around a week after we get home, but this time, mirabile visu, he was all unpacked within 24 hours. I, however, who normally unpack like lightning, still have a case with a fair amount of things in it.

Progress on Birch has been exactly nil - because it is still in the suitcase.....

It will all go quiet next week, so I should get a lot more done.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Home again

Back very late last night, after a delayed flight and a long drive - which means that we are completely shattered today, to the extent that I have only just started unpacking.

More knitting time over the last couple of weeks than I had thought, actually. The Love Lace Socks are finished, and I've started a pair for my husband with the Kaffe Fassett yarn in the Caribbean Landscape colourway.

Birch? Well, I haven't done much - I have just started the second pattern repeat. This is proving to be addictive knitting. If I sit down with it, I am liable to forget about the time, it is so absorbing. No problems with the heat, really - KSH is very motivating. Sitting on the balcony with a glass of chilled white wine, watching the sun go down over the sea, and knitting. Perfection.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Here we go....

The packing is almost done - tomorrow we are off! I am looking forward to this so much.

Knitting - I am taking socks, of course. Some of that gorgeous Kaffe Fassett yarn, and the Blue Moon August socks. Also Birch. This is going to be in Kid Silk Haze, colourway Smoke,and it may turn out to be a seriously bad idea, thinking of knitting lace in KSH in Mediterranean heat. Or not. We shall see.

There is no way in the world that the lovely linen tape yarn pullover will go into the suitcase. I am already struggling to find room for all the books that I want to take.

Back in a couple of weeks time!

Friday, 7 September 2007

So much knitting, so little time....

If I am a yarn snob, then I am a yarn snob who likes Jaeger Celeste.


This stuff is yummy. It is a fine, light, woven tape, and it has a degree of elasticity that makes it pleasant to work with. The fibre content is also yummy - it is a mixture of linen and viscose, with some polyamide as well. It feels like linen/viscose, definitely. Cool, soft, light. Just right for an Indian Summer.

And just look at that texture..... believe me, this looks lovely.


This colour is called Dinghy for some unknown reason, and it has very fine grey lines on a ecru/light grey background. Really rather nice.

This is going to be a completely simple pullover, quite wide, with a shallow boat neckline and slightly dropped shoulders, to be worn over a singlet or tshirt, as the fabric is somewhat see-thru. Mindless knitting, definitely. I'm actually up to the armhole shaping now - Blogger has been down all day, and I have knit more since the photo was taken.

I still haven't decided whether it will come on holiday with me or not. I have a suspicion that it will depend on whether there is room in the suitcase - and the luggage weight allowance. Decision time will be Sunday.



The Blue Moon socks, on the other hand, are definitely coming with me.

I've worked the lace cuffs for both of the socks, and blocked them. As you can see, I've got one sock on dpns at the moment, and I'm working the ribbing that hides under the lace cuff. That's the wrong side of the lace cuff of course - the one on the needles, I mean - because it gets folded down over the ribbing.

You can see the right side with the one on the stitch holder. Pretty, I think.


Kauni is still pretty much the same as last time - but here it is with my best attempt at a close-up. I hope it is a rather better picture than last time, anyway.

See the pretty garter check? I still love this - it is worked with little blocks of 2 stitches and 2 rows, by the way.

I'm working on Lantern Moon circs here. I love the points, I love the surface - just the right amount of grab. I am not enamoured of the join, though. I shall switch to an Addi Bamboo Circ as soon as it arrives - which may not be before the cardi is finished. Hah.


And I'm sure you'd like to see the back.


A long way from perfect - some of those floats are rather loopy - but not too bad. And at least it is looking fairly nice and smooth on the front.


And now, I think, I'm going to go and knit some more of that lovely linen tape yarn. If I get on with it, I might even get the back finished this evening.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Finally!

Exchequered is finished.

I am pleased with this scarf, it is rather striking. The double knitting with colourwork became very simple once I decided to use combined style, although it has never been mindless knitting - you do have to look at what you are doing otherwise you end up with columns the wrong width, or misplaced stitches.

I have no plans to make it again, although I certainly wouldn't rule it out.

But if I do ever make it again, it will be in a yarn that I like. Patons Diploma Gold has the advantage of being machine washable, of course, but really it is not so pleasant to work with, and I won't be using it again from choice.

I appear to have become a yarn snob.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Distracting

Look what arrived.

That would be the entire set of Kaffe Fassett's line of Regia Sock Yarns.

This purchase was prompted by seeing some completed socks on various blogs, Joe's not least among them. Up til now, I've been looking at these yarns online in various places, and somehow despite that famous name attached to them, they all just looked a bit meh - just generally rather uninspiring. But Joe has good taste, and he likes them - and Kaffe has impeccable taste, and he designed them. So I took the risk.

Well, I am here to tell you that they are not uninspiring. They are just gorgeous. All of them. If I had to decide which I liked best, I would have a problem. Now my only problem is which one to start with. Distracting indeed. I shall be taking some of them on holiday with me, definitely.


The Kauni cardi is sitting sadly neglected at the moment. I am looking forward to picking it up again, but that is not quite yet.


I have almost finished Exchequered, there is not far to go now. I'm working it slightly differently to the version in the pattern, which has a fade-in section at one end, and the rest of it solid checks all the way. I'm working a fade-out section at the other end as well, with the colours mirror imaged. So looking at one side, it starts with solid green and builds to the chequered pattern, and then fades out to solid black. The other side of course, has the colours the other way round.

Hopefully it will be completed today.


And I'm washing more fleece. I don't think this unwashed fleece should sit around longer than necessary, so I'm just getting it out of the way. There is rather more of it than I had thought. When this second batch is finished, I think I will have close to half of the moorit fleece done. Then I will have to tackle the white one.

I have heard horror stories about nasty dirty fleeces - not these. I don't think there is going to be any wastage worth mentioning.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Sunny Saturday

Right, pictures!

Here is the August sock kit from Blue Moon. This is Socks That Rock Lightweight, in a colour called Flower Power. And it is just so pretty!

My camera, as usual, doesn't do it justice. These colours run from a clear turquoise through a soft violet/grey to fuschia pink, through a golden ochre brown to soft sand. The mixture is just lovely.

Here it is wound into a cake, sitting on the wall outside in the sunshine - you can see the blend of colours rather better.


And - after a certain amount of messing around with the ball winder and the kitchen scales - here it is again in two cakes, wound in the same direction. I promise these are the same weight, although they don't look it. This is because the left hand one has a fair length of yarn wound by hand around the outside, which pulls it in somewhat.

The masterplan is to work the lace cuffs first, block them, and set them aside on a stitch holder until the holiday. Then I can just work the nice easy ankle and foot whilst I am away. The pattern, by the way, is called 'Love Socks' - as in Summer of Love, which I think was supposed to be 1967. Can't say I remember anything very specific about it myself, but then I wasn't even a teenager then.

Both the pattern and the colourway of the yarn are the nicest so far this year, I believe.


Now, the fleece. Here is what I have washed so far. If it looks like a big fluffy pile, well, that would be about right, although this is probably only about a third of the fleece. You can see my coffee cup at the back, to give you an idea of scale. It is soft and light, and it smells nice and fresh, like laundry dried in the sun.


The little golden bits are the ends of the locks. The rest of this is a soft mocha brown, really rather pretty.

This is the point at which I discover that really I do not know what I am doing here. I have started carding. I thought about making rolags, and then thought again. Because I do like fine yarns, and this is going to be something between sock weight and laceweight, if I get it right, and that means semi-worsted, I think. Please don't assume that I remotely know what I'm talking about here, by the way!

I have in mind one of the shawls from my Icelandic shawl book, Prihyrnur Og Langsjol, Three Cornered and Long Shawls, by Sigridur Halldorsdottir (scroll down a bit on the link). I bought my copy from Schoolhouse Press. That site is very dangerous for anyone's credit card, actually. So much lovely stuff....

Anyway. Roving, not rolags. And I suppose you could call the intended result semi worsted. It is certainly not true worsted as I haven't made any attempt to keep the alignment of the locks.

The carding seemed pretty much impossible, to start with. I have watched other people carding and they make it look so effortless and logical. My first attempt was disastrous - the fibre just got embedded in the wires, and I didn't end up with anything that resembled batting. But I went and retrieved Patricia Gibson-Roberts excellent book Spinning in the Old Way from my bookshelf. This is written about spindle spinning, of course, but it has some excellent advice with regard to fibre preparation, and the helpful diagrams and clear explanation have shown me where I was going wrong. The result is the three little birds nests that you can see at the back left.

I will try to get some more of this carded over the weekend, it is pleasant work to do whilst sitting outside in the sunshine.

However, I do want to get Exchequered done. At the moment I seem to have hit the proverbial knitting black hole with this. I measure it, I knit for half an hour, I measure it again - and it is not appreciably longer. Hmmm.....