Sunday, 31 August 2008

Sunday

It is less than four months to Christmas, I have realised. Someone was saying in the shop yesterday that they had seen Christmas decorations on sale - this is so much too early that it is completely daft. It is still August, after all - even it is only just still August.

The weather has definitely changed. It is still mild, but this morning we awoke to fog. Still, cool, solid white outside the windows, which changed after an hour or so to rain. It has cleared now, and there is a a nice breeze - but summer is over, I feel.

I haven't started the second sleeve of the Hooded Tunic - instead I've started the front. I cannot decide whether the first sleeve is the right length or not, so I've decided to get both the front and the back finished, seam the shoulders, tack the side seams, and pin/tack the single sleeve into place. Then I can try it on, and then I will be able to see if it is right or not. It is a bit of a performance, but it is less work to pull back one sleeve top and reknit it, rather than both.

Having fun on Ravelry at the moment, too. I am putting off cataloguing the stash until after we come back from holiday. Instead I am sorting ruthlessly through the queue, which had reached ridiculous lengths, and hence become rather unreal at some points. The only projects remaining on the list are those that I am absolutely definitely intending to make.

If I don't change my mind, that is.....

Friday, 29 August 2008

Saturday

I don't know - it just doesn't feel like summer any more. On Thursday evening I needed my headlights on, coming home from work at 7pm. The autumn ploughing has started, too - that always feels like the end of summer.

It is so warm and humid, but no sunshine, just overcast grey skies

Well, at least it isn't raining.

The knitting is coming along nicely. I've finished the back, and I'm almost at the armhole shaping of the first sleeve. I want to make sure that the sleeves are the correct length, for once, so I'm comparing it to the Cobblestone Pullover - where I have to fold the garter stitch edging up like a cuff, most of the time. I want these sleeves to end up the same length as the Cobblestone sleeves with the cuff folded up - that would be just about perfect.

Finishing the first sleeve - which might happen this evening, actually - won't mark the halfway point of course, because there is a hood to work. I shall be changing that a bit, as well. I can never buy off-the-shelf hats, and hoods on jackets are often too small for me to wear comfortably. So more depth in the hood, I think.

I haven't actually done very much today as I have been packing. Yes, I know we are not leaving just yet. We've got the whole of next week here. But I love packing. I love the planning, the choosing, the sorting - it brings the whole idea of 'holiday' closer and makes it more immediate.

Every year we say that we will take less with us - and every year it is the same, there are clothes in the suitcase that don't get worn. Maybe this year will be different. When I find the 'ideal holiday wardrobe' - nothing wanted that was not packed, nothing unnecesary taken along - I promise, I will write it down for posterity. If it ever happens, that is!

My main problem is that I like to take a lot of books with me - and books are heavy and take up a lot of space, too. At the moment I have about ten books in the suitcase. Some of them are pure 'airport reading' and won't be coming home with us - others I have been saving, for instance I have never read Henry James before. I am taking 'Portrait of a Lady' and also 'The Turn of the Screw'. If I have any extra space, I may add Middlemarch to the stack - this is one of those books that I have never really tried to read, but I know that I should.

I am not going to take too much knitting, though. This time - one pair of plain socks for my husband in KF sock yarn, the Salish Sea Socks for me, another pair of Blue Moon Sock Club socks as well - and Birch, in Smoke Kidsilk Haze, which has remained shamefully untouched since last summer. Lots of stitches, not a lot of space taken up.

Anyway - with the Hooded Tunic, I won't get much done tomorrow as I am at work during the day, but I might be able to get on with the second sleeve during the evening.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Wednesday - Da Capo

Yes, back to the beginning.

I have frogged Lakes. I was partway up the second sleeve and I just wasn't enjoying working on it - never a good sign. It was really bothering me that I had cast on for the wrong size, for one thing. And - I don't know. I just didn't want to work on it any more. So I pulled it all back yesterday evening, winding it all up by hand for a change.

This morning I cast on instead for the Hooded Tunic from All Seasons at the Mill. This is what I had originally intended the yarn for, as it happens. I saw this being worn by another Rowan Design Consultant when I was up at Holmfirth, and was surprised how good it looked.

There doesn't seem to be anyone else knitting this on Ravelry, which is surprising. But hopefully you can see it here. I won't be making the knitted belt. Anyway, I am nearly up to the armholes on the back, and I expect to get the back finished tomorrow evening when I get back from work.

I do actually have a fair chance of getting this finished before we leave on holiday - eleven days to go, and stocking stitch is fast. But I'm not worrying about it either way.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Tuesday

Still here, still knitting.

I would usually be at work today, but a fairly daft happening means that I am at home with my feet up.

This involved a sleepy wasp on the floor of my bathroom, and me getting up to visit said bathroom at about 2 am. Unfortunately I didn't see the wasp, and so I now have some 4 or 5 wasp stings on the sole of my left foot, which means that I cannot actually put any weight on that foot at all. Daft, yes?

However it does mean that I should get plenty of knitting done today, because I can't do anything that involves standing up.

The wasp lived to tell the tale, by the way. At least, he flew off out of the window perfectly well.

From the comments....

Gabriela - I won't be starting Meredith just yet, I haven't got the yarn for it at the moment, and I need to finish what I have on the needles. Soon though, I hope!

And you raise several other points as well.....

Meredith uses fair isle, not intarsia. Fair Isle colourwork is when two colours are in use alternately all across the row, so there is always one colour stranded across the back of the work. The finished fabric will have a slightly different tension from normal stocking stitch, because of this.

Intarsia involves no stranding at all, this is the technique that is used when there is, for instance, a single motif, a section worked in a different colour. Or perhaps several motifs - anyway, you drop one yarn completely, and pick up the contrast yarn to work the motif - then on the other side of the motif you drop the contrast yarn and pick up the main yarn again, from a separate ball of yarn. You don't carry the main yarn across the back. You do need to make sure that at the transition points, the main yarn and the contrast yarn are linked around each other, so that you don't get a hole. The tension for a piece with intarsia should be identical to the usual stocking stitch tension.

Fair Isle is best worked with a yarn that has a fair amount of 'grab' to it, a tendency to stick to itself. Something like Rowan's Scottish Tweed yarns is absolutely ideal. Slippery, smooth yarns are difficult. And Meredith is worked in Cashsoft 4 ply, which is beautifully soft and smooth - but I know that it isn't going to be the easiest yarn for Fair Isle. So I would not usually recommend this project as a first Fair Isle.

You might want to consider a pair of Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts first, just to get used to colourwork. This is an ideal first Fair Isle project, really. Small, simple, a free pattern, and a really pretty result. I did make a pair, but I gave them away..... must make another pair for this winter, I think.


I used Jamieson's Spindrift in Seaweed and Sapphire, if memory serves. And you cannot see the pattern at all in that photo.... never mind. Look at Eunny's instead!


Kate - the sizing on Meredith is much the same as Kim's previous pattern sizing, somewhat restricted. From memory, I think the largest size is 43", designed to be worn with zero ease. The current Rowan patterns are given for a much wider range of sizes now - The Cocoon Collection goes from 32" to 50" bust for all the patterns, and the Colourscape Collection is the same. There is a gorgeous Fair Isle pullover in Cocoon, called Coco. In fact, I worked a swatch of this.....


Front right, of course. I hadn't worked with Cocoon before, and was surprised how soft and silky it is. Still excellent for Fair Isle, though.

And yes, Meredith is worked flat and seamed. I used to absolutely hate this method, but I am finding increasingly that it isn't a problem any more. I guess I've just got used to it.


Lakes - well, I have started the first sleeve. And that's what I shall be doing today. I am working with skein number 6 now, out of 20, so there is a fair way to go.....

Monday, 25 August 2008

Monday

I've just finished the back of Lakes, which is a great relief. So far I have used five skeins of yarn, and a few yards of the sixth skein, so twenty skeins looks like it should be plenty. I shall start on the first sleeve in a minute, and I think that I am going to work the foldback cuffs after all, they are rather cute.

What I wanted to mention today was a completely stunning pattern that I found the other day on Ravelry - Baby Cables and Big Ones Too - that's a Ravelry link, and you can read more about it here, on the designer's blog.

I just love this. Top down, seamless, garter stitch, and pretty cables too - can it get any better?

I don't have anything in the stash that would suit - how is it that this happens so often? - but I am thinking of handspun, when I can get my act together. Or perhaps I will take the easy route and get some Rowan Classic Extra Fine Merino DK, which is pretty much identical to the Jaeger Extra Fine Merino for which the pattern was written.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Shock horror

I've just worked the armhole shaping on Lakes, and I'm part way through the fourth skein of yarn. This is all good.

Except, I just counted the stitches. I cannot believe I haven't done this since I cast on. Usually I am counting obsessively, to make sure that I haven't dropped a stitch and not noticed. This time there is a ribbed pattern, so I wouldn't be able to drop a stitch without noticing, so I haven't been checking the stitch count. Anyway. I finally counted the stitches on the needle.

Problem.

I counted them again, same result. Real problem.

Gentle reader, I have cast on for the wrong size.

I am knitting a size L, not a size M as I had intended.

This is not an insurmountable problem, as I do have enough yarn for a size L, and I don't really mind the thing being one inch wider. It is wide and slouchy anyway.

Also, there is no way I am frogging it and starting again. Absolutely no way at all.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Friday

I thought it was about time I posted a picture of some knitting. Things have been a bit quiet here since I finished Tempo. I know that quite a few people have come here from Simply Knitting - believe me, it isn't all wild excitement around here, not by any means!

So here is Lakes, which sounds very ungrammatical.


I don't think this can possibly be finished in time for our holiday. I am just not progressing fast enough. That is just eight inches of fabric there, and that is the second skein of yarn. Today is the fourth day since I cast on..... so I don't think I can hope to have the whole thing finished in just seventeen days. I wouldn't be contemplating any sort of difficulty if it were in stocking stitch, but the whole thing is worked in ribbing, and that slows me right down. So, never mind. I will just enjoy knitting it, and not worry.

Although - Kate? - I am glad your hat is a virtual one!

On another note, I have bought myself a new knitting book - Kim Hargreaves' latest, Thrown Together. I have always liked Kim's patterns, and recently she has really been going from strength to strength.

There are two things in this recent book that I particularly like. There is a 'land girl' pullover called Meredith, and I like this so much that I am having real problems restraining myself from going and getting the yarn immediately.


This is worked in 11 shades of Cashsoft 4 ply, and has an interesting construction method. Instead of ribbing along the bottom, the edging is worked sideways and stitches are then picked up for the main part of each piece. The neckline edging is worked separately and then seamed in place - care needed, I think. But it is soooo pretty!

The other thing that I very much like is a cardigan called Evie.


This is also worked in Cashsoft 4 ply, and I think it is lovely. Some very nice detailing, and it has pockets as well. I like cardigans with pockets. Maybe I should make it in purple, to go along with my new 'old' image.

Although I'm not entirely sure about wearing it with a red hat. Not just yet.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Ouch

Blogging will resume shortly. I hope so anyway.

I seem to have done something to my back. This morning the chiropractor was of the opinion that I needed to put ice on it regularly during the day today, and come back on Tuesday.

So, did I go home and put ice on my back? No, of course I didn't. I got in the car and drove for an hour to go to work, and then spent all day zooming around sorting yarn and climbing up and down the stockroom ladder, getting more and more creaky as the day went on. And then I got in the car and drove for an hour to get home.

Not clever. Nought out of ten, Fiona. I will, however, go back to the chiropractor on Tuesday.

Right now I am reminded of Alfred J Prufrock. You know the bit -

I grow old ... I grow old ...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Referring not so much to the trousers, more to the feeling of being generally a bit creaky, not to mention seized up.

Actually I wonder if I can knit lying flat on my back? I bet I can.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Wednesday

I haven't got a photo of Lakes to show you, because I am disorganised today. You may imagine about four inches of pale grey knitting in 2x1 rib, with the single rib side as the right side. That's where I am at the moment.

The whole day seems to have been spent running errands that have been put off too many times already - sort of a catch-up day, if you will. All good, except that there has been very little time for knitting.

Today is day 2 of my 20 days, and I have started the second ball of yarn, so Kate's hat is not in immediate danger. However I need to get that second ball finished, and preferably start the third one this evening.

I might manage this.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Tempo

Here is Tempo.



This is a design by Sarah Hatton, from Rowan's book The Colourscape Collection. It is worked in Rowan's Colourscape Chunky, which was designed by Kaffe Fassett. I made size L, and I used four skeins of the colourway called Ghost - the pattern said 5, and I would suggest going along with that, just in case.


This yarn is lovely stuff. It is very soft and squishy - deceptively hard in the skein because it is wound quite tightly. Each skein started at the same place in the colour sequence, which is very useful, and there was not a single knot.


I like this a lot, and I'm going to wear it to work today!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Twenty days

I've finished Tempo, and it is really really nice. Photos tomorrow, if I can get myself sufficiently organised before I leave for work!

Now, I have twenty days in which to knit Lakes, if I want to be able to take it on holiday.


I have twenty skeins of All Seasons Cotton, as well. I need to allow some time for finishing - say one day, maybe two. So perhaps 18 days to knit. Riiiight......

And if I don't manage it, Kate says she will eat her hat. Specifically, her red hat.

Pressure, what pressure?

Monday, and indecision

There has been frogging. No, not Tempo, that is nearly finished and I love it.

Pia is no more, and the yarn is going to be something else instead - specifically, Bring Your Own Bag - that's a Ravelry link. I'm not loving Pia at all any more, and a bag like that will be useful. I've got various odd bits of All Seasons Cotton in other colours lurking in the stash (somewhere, hah...) so that should work out nicely.

Tempo is nearly finished, and I will be wearing it tomorrow. All the separate pieces are done, I've seamed the shoulders and the sideseams, and I'm just about to sit down and work the back neck extensions, which make a sort of stand-up edging to the back neckline. Then all that is left is to slipstitch the pockets in place and work the pocket edgings, and block it - gently, just some steam, I think.

I have yarn left over. The pattern said 5 skeins for the large size - I do usually get one extra 'just in case' - so I had 6 skeins. I've used almost all of 4 skeins, there will be just a few yards left of the 4th skein. So now I've got 2 whole skeins left over. What to do with this lovely stuff?

I was thinking about the Dumpling Bag from the current Interweave Knits, but it almost seems a pity to felt this yarn - also I have no clue where to get lucite rings, or rings of any sort that would work for the closure, so I'd have to change the handle, which is so cute that I don't really want to change it...... actually I could just thread the long loop thru the small loop, that would work, and it would look nearly the same. Or maybe curtain rings would be ok? Either way I'd use one strand of the Colourscape instead of the two strands of Cascade Pastaza held together, and I think that one skein would be enough. So I could actually make two bags, or one larger one. Hmmm.

Or I could make a rather thick and luscious 1x1 ribbed scarf with my two skeins, of course. But do I need yet another scarf?

Actually I am not going to start anything else at all until Lakes is done. But I like planning, and I wish I could make up my mind about this.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Sunday afternoon

Tempo is going to be finished quite soon. The left front was finished this morning, and I've cast on for the right front just now.


The left front took almost exactly one skein of yarn, which is very convenient. There is some left which will be plenty for the side neck extension - you can see it in the picture. The colours are looking true here, and you can see the edge detail rather better. I haven't worked the pocket edging yet, I'll do that right at the end I think.

For the left front, I am reversing the colour sequence, so that the pink/red section will be at the top of the front. I don't want to try to match it - the fronts and the back will have the colour stripes looking different anyway, due to the different stitch counts. So I am going to make it as different as possible.

If I get my act together, it is not impossible that I could be wearing this on Tuesday, which would be rather nice. It may be August, but it certainly isn't very warm at the moment, so I probably won't pass out from heat exhaustion.

I am thinking now about Lakes, the All Seasons Cotton pullover that I want to make for our holiday. The illustrations of this pullover in Rowan 28 do not perhaps show the garment as well as they might.


Here is the men's version.


And this is the women's version, with a flash reflection across it - I am definitely no photographer - and this of course is the one I want to make, except that I may leave out the fold back cuffs, I think. I am less certain about this than I was before, because I find that I quite like the way they look. I'll work the back first, and see how the yarn is going - that would be sensible.

I have the yarn already of course, All Seasons Cotton in a rather lovely pale grey, called Cement. Not the most inspiring of names, but quite descriptive.

The pattern takes 19 balls for the medium size, I have 20 balls. The medium size will fit me with no problems - this is a wide, boxy pullover. Width across for the size M is 24", which will give me at least 6" of ease. So that's alright.

But I do need to consider whether this is sensible, because I am short of time. If I start it on Tuesday, then I will have exactly 20 days to get it completely finished. So, at least one ball of yarn each day, because I need to allow some time for the seaming....... I should be able to do that. I do feel very motivated, because I really want this pullover finished to take with me.

So, I'm going for it! This could be completely daft, of course......

Friday, 15 August 2008

Friday, and still going

Tempo is doing very nicely, thankyou. I've finished the back now, and I'm working on the left front. Yes, the colour sequence is running in the opposite direction. I like to mix things up, you know. Not sure what I'll do with the other front yet.


By the way, there is something rather unusual about this yarn. You know how colour change yarns always seem to start at a different place in the colour repeat? Not this one. We have consistency, pretty much. So if you prefer to have the front and back matching on your garment, it shouldn't be a problem with Colourscape.

I like the front edge detail. There is a vertical line of purl stitches, and then there is a little rolled edge which is rather neat, a few stitches of reversed stocking stitch makes the vertical edge roll back to the outside. Unfortunately it doesn't show too well in my picture, well, I know I am no photographer....

I can see already that I'm going to make a slight change to the pattern though. The back neck edge is formed from extensions of the two fronts, and the pattern says to work the whole thing in stocking stitch from the shoulder seam, cast off, and then seam at the centre back neck. I shall continue the rolled edge instead, and graft. Using that nice three needle method, I do believe, as it always seems to come out so nice and neat.

I've switched to my new Harmony straights, which I am completely in love with at the moment. I like these even better than the interchangeable circs - they are much smoother than any other wooden or bamboo needles I have ever come across. I can manage the 10" needles just fine, and this yarn is nice and light. And the needles are just so pretty!

I shall be casting on for Lakes quite soon, I think. That's the Kim Hargreaves pullover on All Seasons Cotton, from Rowan 28. Wide, loose, slouchy shape, ribbed fabric, little stand up collar - very nice, and totally my sort of thing for casual wear. I've got just over three weeks until we leave for our holiday - I am certainly ready for some sunshine again! - and that should be just about right for me to get it finished.

Three weeks. Ha ha ha ha ha....

When will I learn?

Actually it should be alright. Except that I remember times when I've said that before and failed dismally.

We shall see.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Thursday morning

Just quickly, off to work in a minute. We have progress.


Tempo is fairly flying off the needles. That's the second skein there, and I am now only about 12 rows away from the shoulder shaping. This stuff goes a long way, as I've said before. Looking a bit washed out there, definitely brighter in real life. The colours in yesterdays shots were better.

Must dash.....

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Oooh, shiny!

You know, there's a group on Ravelry for people like me - easily distracted by pretty things.

Despite all my resolutions, I have cast on for Tempo, in Colourscape Chunky, in the Ghost colourway. I'm up to the armhole shaping already - this is about the closest to instant gratification that you can get with knitting. This photo was taken earlier today, just as I was starting the second skein - so you can see the whole of one colour repeat there, and it certainly is pretty.



I like it. Here it is again, in close-up. The colours are looking true on my screen.


I am afraid that I totally forgot to take a photo of the Colourscape scarf in the Camouflage colourway. I did get it finished, but then the next morning I zoomed out the door on autopilot, I think. I remembered to pick up the scarf, but I didn't remember about the promised photo until I was arriving at work, and it was a bit too late then. I am a bad blogger.....

The Slouchy Cover-Up is completely stalled, by the way.


So nearly finished, as well. I will get back to it - I still love the fabric, and I want to wear it! - but the main problem is, I think, that it is beige. And right now I want to work with colour.

Talking of Ravelry - well, briefly mentioning it, really - I have decided that I am going to catalogue the stash properly. Ravelry has a lot of excellent functions for keeping track of things, including the queue (how did I ever manage without this?) - and also the stash. My stash page is currently completely empty. But, as I am going to go through the stash quite soon, it might as well go on Ravelry. This could take a while, though.....

Friday, 8 August 2008

Still here.....

It has been an eventful week.

We went to Wales on Tuesday evening for a family gathering to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday. There were about two dozen of us there, and it was excellent fun having everyone under one roof. If you are looking for somewhere to host such a thing, I can recommend the place where we stayed - Wern Watkin Bunkhouse. I seem to remember that youth hostels used to provide rather spartan accommodation - this place is a bit different. The bunk beds are still bunk beds, but the rest of it is rather amazing. Flagged floors, stone walls with arrow-slit windows, a big open sitting/dining area with plenty of room for all of us, a wonderful kitchen with stainless steel everywhere - and the most amazing location. I ought, of course, to have taken some photos. But I forgot.

Surprisingly, we didn't get lost finding it. Suffice it to say that the website says that access is by small mountain roads, and they aren't kidding.

Knitting continues. I did find it hard deciding what to pick up again after I finished the display swatches. I knit on the Salish Sea Sock for a little while, but I'm not feeling the love. Apparently the sock mojo has deserted me. I'm sure it will come back at some point, but that is not now.

In the end I carried on with the Slouchy Cover-up. Kidsilk Haze is hard to resist. The back was already finished, and I'm now working on the armhole shaping for the front.

Here is some knitting.



This is Colourscape Chunky, as I'm sure you've realised. I cast on 25 stitches, worked a few rows of garter stitch, and just carried on in stocking stitch until the yarn ran out. If I hold it up, it is as long as I am tall, which certainly isn't bad for one skein. How to get it into one photo? Difficult. So I folded it, as you can see, and it still took three photos.



This is very, very nice to knit. I am easily entertained by colour changes, and this is much nicer than Noro to work with - mainly because it is soooo soft. Soft, soft, soft. And squooshy.


Nicer than Noro. There, I said it again.

This colour is called Frosty, by the way.

I've got a scarf in another colourway on the needles at the moment, if anything it is even more gorgeous. I'll take a photo of it tomorrow morning, when it will hopefully be finished.

Regarding other knitting - I do have a slight dilemma. We are going on holiday soon, and I want a pullover to take with me. Crete in September can be a bit variable, storms are not unknown and cool evenings are almost a certainty. So, something warm, but not too heavy. That would mean All Seasons Cotton, in my book. The Cobblestone is a strong possibility, I've worn that a lot already this summer. I was thinking also about the Hooded Tunic from All Seasons at the Mill - I've got some ASC in the stash that would do very nicely - but then I was browsing through some old Rowan magazines and I discovered Lakes, a Kim Hargreaves pattern. And this has to be it. A soft, simple ribbed pullover, wide, loose, slouchy. I have enough All Seasons Cotton to make this instead of the Hooded Tunic.

But, I also want to make Compote, a nice little cardigan in Natural Silk Aran which will be just the thing for work. I have just about a month before we leave. I don't think it is sensible to suppose that I could make both, especially not with the Kidsilk Haze still on the needles.

So, do I make the cardigan for work? Or the pullover for the holiday? Or do I stick with my resolution and finish what I have on the needles? Choices, choices.....

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Like lightning....

Not the speed at which I am knitting, that's for certain. The speed at which the last week has gone past. It has just gone - zap - like that.

I have been extremely busy with the launch of the new season's yarns. The transition between the summer and winter display went well, although I do feel rather as if I have jetlag at the moment. Late nights and early mornings don't really suit me, especially not when they are sequential. But I will get properly caught up with my sleep over this weekend, and it is a great pleasure seeing the yarnwall look so good.

I have just finished another display swatch, this one is the gorgeous new Colourscape yarn - actually an extremely long strip of stocking stitch, 25 stitches wide. I knitted up the whole of one skein, so that it shows the whole of one cycle of colour changes. The result is a scarf as tall as I am, if you know what I mean. I'm just going to block it, and then I'll take a picture, which I am sure won't do justice to it. It is just soooo pretty.

I will just say that I like this yarn a lot. It is very soft - it is lambswool - you really can wear it next to the skin. It makes a beautifully squishy fabric, and the colours are by Kaffe Fassett, which is all that anyone really needs to say about them. Except that I am going to say that they are really gorgeous.

And right now, I think I am going to have a little nap. More later....