Saturday, 31 January 2009

Up to date

Back to the computer again..... more odds and ends.

Soul did indeed get finished on Thursday evening. I really like it - and it fits!

However, you will have to take my word for it. It is very hard indeed to take pictures of your own head. I did try.....

.... but it is apparent that I cannot do it. I have no idea how anyone manages this. It feels completely impossible, and I am obviously missing something crucial. Go here instead, and imagine a sludge coloured version like mine. I should stick to my knitting, I believe.

This hat works. It is actually a very flattering hat to wear, and I absolutely love the beading. Also, I can tuck all my hair inside the hat if I want to - very useful when it is raining.

It is a quick and straightforward knit that grows very quickly, and is great fun to make. The beading is extremely easy. If you've never tried anything like this, please don't be put off. Kim writes excellent instructions, as always, and once you've tried it, you'll wonder what you were worried about.

I didn't run out of yarn, I had about 10 yards left from my single skein of Cascade 220. The pattern is to be found in Kim Hargreaves' excellent book Amber. I made the larger size, with no modifications at all. I have a relatively large head, measuring 23 1/2" around, and this size fits me well.

From the comments - and I am aware that I am way behind with responding to these, please forgive me -

Terri - I love Rowan Scottish Tweed, full stop. All the different thicknesses are the same wool, in effect, and I do prefer working with finer yarns rather than heavier ones. I have some of the Scottish Tweed Chunky waiting to become a nice Moss Stitch Jacket sometime fairly soon, and I have some Scottish Tweed Aran waiting to become the Lantern Cardigan, together with some Colourscape Chunky - also hopefully sometime before it gets too warm to wear it.

And I also have quantities of the Scottish Tweed 4 ply waiting to become a whole assortment of things.... watch this space....

But the main reason I have been raving about the gorgeousness of the DK is very simple - it is what I was working with. It does make a wonderful fabric - but so will the Aran, and the Chunky, and the 4 ply (be still, my heart) ...... and I shall no doubt be raving about each of these in turn.

By the way - well done for getting hold of some of the Aran and the Chunky - I wish I had more than I do. A little bird told me that it won't be around much longer.

What else - oh yes. I swatched some more for Polly - I decided to change to Addi Turbos - and cast on yesterday afternoon at knitting group. I do love my Harmony straights - the short ones, of course - the finish is just wonderful and they are so pretty! - and I had picked them up for my first swatch, but really they are a bit too pointy for working with such a soft yarn. The Addi Turbos are jolly slippery with the Polar and keep trying to fall out when I'm not paying attention, but the actual knitting goes better than with the Harmony needles. So, Addis it is.

But that isn't all that I've done, to be truthful. That is the back, just begun this morning. It's a bit further along now. And actually I started with a sleeve, just to be different, and finished it yesterday evening.

Here it is looking somewhat curly due to being unblocked.

Rowan Polar is really nice stuff to work with, beautifully soft - although it was shedding a bit today. Mind you, I was wearing a black knitted skirt, so every stray fibre was showing....

And yes, that is grey knitting, yet again.

Finally, Super Triangles - that early Kaffe Fassett kit - is off to a new home. I am a bit sad to see it go, but it is time that someone enjoyed knitting it up and actually wearing it.

Bad habits and good things

I am definitely getting into bad habits. I'm pretty busy during the day at the moment, so I have been writing blog posts during the evening. Nothing wrong with that of course - the problem is that I have been forgetting to actually post them.

So, a bit of catching up is in order.

Here are a couple of technique-based things which I do think are rather good.

First, a truly excellent post from Techknitter. If you haven't found this blog yet - go and have a look! Lots of useful stuff there. I have about 5 posts from this blog pinned on Bloglines for future reference, and that's extremely unusual for me.

Anyway - the post in question deals with casting off. You know how it is when you cast off a section, and still have stitches left on the needle to be worked - and the last stitch cast off produces a little bar across the front of the first stitch left on the needle. Techknitter has a truly wonderful way of dealing with this. Here. Go read it! Do come back though. There is more.

The other thing that I want to share with you is a YouTube video that I came across on Ravelry the other day. Brandon Mably talks about his design work, and also about how he deals with intarsia and fair isle. The weaving in method that he shows is one that I've used for a long time. A perfectionist might prefer to weave the ends in afterwards - but it works for me.

And rather more importantly, it apparently works for Brandon Mably and Kaffe Fassett, as well.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Show and tell

I'm not exactly speeding along with Soul. Things have been a bit busy over the last couple of days, and knitting time has been a bit scarce on the ground. Nevertheless I have made some progress, as you can see.

This is actually much prettier than I thought it was going to be - the silvery beads work very well with the sludgy neutral of the yarn, just sparking it up enough to be interesting.

I intend to get this finished today - knitting group is tomorrow, and I can take it along for Show-and-Tell.

And that's another thing! Show-and-Tell is something that I really like, particularly the way it is run at this group. There is a table at the side where everyone puts things that they have finished since the last meeting, and at some point in the afternoon, the lady who runs the group will 'talk through' what's on the table - this works really well, because it doesn't feel as if you are putting yourself forward, all you have to do it put your FO's on the table with everyone else's.

It is always interesting and useful to look at other people's finished projects, it seems that everyone likes this. Ideas, inspiration, new yarns, new patterns - and new techniques as well, because the group that I attend is not just for knitters, it includes all sorts of crafts. I see people working on quilting, patchwork, embroidery, tatting, bobbin lace - now that's something to watch, I can tell you! - and of course, there are plenty of knitters.

So, it is lovely to see and handle other people's finished work - but this does work both ways. People need to actually put things on the table in the first place, and that includes me. So the Striped Sweater will be going on the table, and so (hopefully) will Soul.

On a different note, I've started going through the stash, and I've come across something rather special. Here is a bit of show-and-tell of my own - this is 'Super Triangles'.

This is very rare indeed.

It is a very early Kaffe Fassett kit from Rowan, dated 1984. This predates all the Rowan magazines, and I've learned that this is from the period when Kaffe was designing for Missoni - and indeed it does have a similar look.

You can see instantly that it is from Kaffe Fassett - it is unmistakeable. Many of the earlier designs were very 80's with regard to the sizing and general shape, and don't fit so well with modern styling - but this is different, as you can see. It is a neat hip-length edge to edge jacket and it really is extremely wearable.

This is an original kit, needless to say. The yarns are all 100% wool. Most of them are DK, three of them are fingering weight tweed.

The kit includes the pack of yarn, with 21 different colours in varying quantities, a sew-in label saying 'A Kaffe Fassett Design for Rowan Yarns - Hand wash with care', a compliments slip from Stephen Sheard, and a card with yarn samples, so you can see which colour is which. And the pattern, of course!

Lovely colours, quite muted as you can see - and the pattern is not complicated, no more than two colours in any row, and the chart repeat is just 17 rows, with the colour combinations changing at intervals.

Sizing is from 32" to 40", and looking at stitch counts and tension, the finished measurements should be from approximately 33 1/4" to 42 3/4".

It's really pretty, but the colours just aren't me, and I think it's time for it to belong to someone else, who will love it properly. So I've put this up on Ravelry, marked for sale (or trade) - here.

If you think that you might interested, please let me know!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009


That's one sweater finished this year.

That was a lot of knitting, simply because of the sheer size of the thing - but a really lovely yarn to work with. This is Rowan Scottish Tweed DK, and it is wonderful - in fact this is now my favourite DK yarn. Maybe even my favourite yarn ever, and that's saying something. Yes, I like it better than Rowan Wool Cotton. The fabric is absolutely gorgeous. I want to knit with this yarn all the time now.....

This is the Striped Sweater by Wendy Baker, from the Rowan book Knitting for Him, aka Classic Knits for Men, depending on which side of the Atlantic you live. I made the largest size, to fit chest 48". It has plenty of ease to allow for wearing layers underneath - this actually measures 55" around. You see, I meant it, when I said it was a lot of knitting.

It is a lovely garment, I have very much enjoyed making it and I am very pleased with the finished result. My husband likes it as well - which is what really matters!

Yarn requirements in the pattern are definitely a bit off.

The pattern asks for 6 balls of the main colour for this size - that's Lewis Grey 007, the dark grey - that was fine; 3 balls of Grey Mist 001, the light grey - I only needed 2 balls; 3 balls of the accent colour - I used Lobster 017, and only needed 2 balls; 2 balls of Midnight 023 (fairly self explanatory this one) - I only needed one ball.

So all fine up to this point - in fact, yarn left over. I used felted joins throughout, by the way - so no yarn wasted when joining a new ball.

Finally the pattern asks for 6 balls of Stormy Grey 004, the mid grey. I used 7 balls, and I really did use all of them. All I had left when I finished the seaming was literally 50 cm of this colour - much too close.

So if you're thinking of making this size, I'd strongly suggest getting not just one extra ball of Stormy Grey 004, but two.

I do have something else on the needles.

This is Soul, from Kim Hargreaves' book Amber - it's a hat, by the way. The pattern is written for Rowan Kid Classic, and I am using a skein of Cascade 220 in 9459 Yakima Heather. The camera hasn't captured the colour at all - it is a sort of green/brown colour. Or maybe brown/green. Sludge colour, I think I said before, or possibly Compost. Earthy, definitely. I like it.

Anyway, the beads are Rowan's medium sized silver lined ones, the number on the bag (which I cannot find right now) ends with 08, I do remember that much.

I did wonder about the practicality of a beaded hat, let alone one where the beads are on the band - and I am very much hoping that it will fit. Hats are always too small for me. However I trust Kim's judgement - she does know what she is about! - and there are lots of people on Ravelry saying how pleased they are with this hat, although they wished they had made the smaller size. So that sounds as if it ought to be big enough for me, with luck.

It's pretty, it is very fun to knit, and it won't take long to finish!

Monday, 26 January 2009


I did get the front of the Striped Sweater finished on Friday evening, and this weekend I have been working on the finishing details - it really is nearly all done. I have worked the garter stitch neckband, and this morning I have finished the time consuming work of attaching the sleeves.

It looks as if this will fit nicely. I coerced my husband into trying it on so that I could judge whether I had worked the sleeves to the correct length, and things are looking good.

Now all that remains is to work the two long seams up each side and down each sleeve.

I've got my little Rowan Newsletter this morning. This is looking better and better with every issue - there is a pattern for a neat little Felted Tweed cardigan from Lisa Richardson, and an Amy Butler sewing pattern for a fabric necklace. Plus a preview of the new season's Rowan Classic, and some proper pictures of the new patterns for Lenpur and Milk Cotton.

And now I shall return to the (nearly) endless seaming. This is a big pullover......

Friday, 23 January 2009


Several things today.

I came across this on Ravelry yesterday evening - the Knit Kit.

The sound starts automatically, which is a bit annoying. But ignore that, or turn it off.

This looks like the single best knitting gadget I've ever seen. Available March 2009, it says. But where?

Also, I found some preview shots of the new Rowan Classic range, and the new Rowan yarns which will soon be in store. Have a look here.

I must say that I am quite taken with some of this, particularly the Lenpur Linen Collection, and the Milk Cotton Ladies Collection. Milk Cotton is lovely stuff, beautifully soft with a wonderful drape, and I am very glad to see some ladies patterns for it. I'm also pleased to see the expanded colour range.

Lenpur looks good too - I love the cardigan on the front cover of the pattern book.

Classic Reminiscence has some nice things as well. I particularly like this cardigan, and Pima Cotton DK ought to be just wonderful.

The Striped Sweater is going well. This morning I have finished one side of the front, and I hope to have the whole of the front finished this evening. Then I need to seam one shoulder and work the neckband, and then there is all the rest of the seaming.

I do like finishing off a garment - it wasn't always like this, but nowadays I find I do enjoy the seaming - but I am really wanting to get started on Polly, and it it very tempting to just get the needles out, cast on and work just a few rows ...... willpower, willpower! - finish this sweater first!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Cooking with gas

I think that phrase probably dates me, but never mind.

Things are going along very nicely at the moment. The hands are behaving themselves - the splints really do help, I've seen an improvement every day since I've started wearing the things at night. I hadn't realised how much I had been affected by the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome until it started to lift - often the way, isn't it.

The Striped Sweater is coming along. Armhole shaping is done, and I'm nearly ready to divide for the V neck. Things will really pick up then, and it is looking entirely possible that this will be finished before the end of the month without too much effort.

You might remember that I was worried about running out of the mid-grey yarn - those fears were entirely justified. I have run out. However, I did buy extra yarn a little while ago, so that's alright.

Picture soon! - although it is a debatable point whether I'll be able to persuade my husband to model the finished sweater or not.....

Polly is still going to be next. I wonder - is it tempting fate if I say that it ought to be a quick knit?

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

It's here!

I am a happy knitter today.

My subscription copy of Rowan 45 arrived this morning. It is very, very good. I think that Rowan 44 was probably the best Autumn/Winter issue ever - and that this is probably the best Spring/Summer issue ever. Really. It is good.

The carpal tunnel problem is still with me, but seems to be improving now that I am wearing the splints at night. I will admit to being a bit surprised that these things have such an effect. I am still getting a bit of tingling in the fingers from time to time - I stop knitting when that happens.

I haven't reached the armhole decreases yet on the Striped Sweater. I've decided that if I don't get this finished before the end of the month, then the writing is on the wall - I won't manage NaKniSweMoDo and should stop thinking about it. I have to be realistic, it will not do to injure myself trying to achieve this.

And now I'm going to knit some more stripes, and read my lovely new magazine.

Friday, 16 January 2009


My magazine still hasn't arrived, and I am feeling rather deprived. Knitting group this afternoon though - maybe someone else will have their copy.

I am carrying on with the Striped Sweater. Really I want this finished, off the needles, done with - and the only way to reach that coveted state is actually to keep working on it.

Doesn't mean I can't plan other knitting, though.

I don't love Earnshaw any more, I have decided. I still love the Noro Kochoran, and I have a couple of ideas in mind regarding what to do with it, ie a bit of design work needed. I'll get there.

Next will be Polly. The pattern says RYC Cashsoft Chunky, and a tension of 14 sts over 10 cm - that is over a textured stitch, by the way. I've got Rowan Polar, which says 12 sts over 10 cm, stocking stitch. So that looks hopeful, but I need to do a bit of swatching just to be sure.

I have 12 balls of Polar, each 100 metres. So that ought to equate to 21 and a bit balls of Cashsoft Chunky - or 24 balls, depending on whether you believe the Rowan website or the Rowan shadecard that I have on my shelf. 55 metres or 50 metres per ball, whichever. The pattern says 13 for XS, through to 20 for XXL - so I ought to have enough yarn to make whichever size I choose.

I'm thinking that I'll make either the L or the XL - to fit 38" or 40" respectively. Finished width is 21 1/2" for the L and 23" for the XL - I don't mind it turning out large, in fact I think this needs a good amount of positive ease. So the XL looks good right now. I'd like to add a bit of length as well, and this ought to be possible if my tension is good.

I wonder if I can get the Striped Sweater finished by the end of next week? Anyway, I shall be doing some swatching with the Polar later on this evening.

Thursday, 15 January 2009


On Monday evening I cast on for another pair of Travel Socks, because, you know, I have to have a basic pair of socks in my handbag. As usual, these will be for my husband.

He does like his handknit socks. The yarn is one of Kaffe Fassett's newer colourways for Regia, 04351 Mirage Jungle, and just for a change it is not striped. My husband picked out this yarn himself, when we looked in at That Shop last year. I am glad that he likes interesting colours for his socks, it would be very boring working plain old neutrals all the time. A nice bright sock makes a good change.

I have started with my usual 1x1 ribbing, and I haven't got very far yet, as you can see. It has occurred to me that I could do something a little different with the pattern this time - you know, something wild and crazy like maybe a 3x1 ribbing, or a waffle pattern - or maybe not. I shall see how the mood takes me.

Today I am working on the Striped Sweater again, poor thing. I'm working on the front - all the rest is done. I've finally got through that interminable fancy rib, and I'm into the stripes. Stripes always go fast, don't they? It is true that in this case they better had do, as well, otherwise I am going to be lost before I even fairly get going with NaKniSweMoDo. Twelve sweaters finished in a year..... I haven't given up yet. Although I may have to.

The reason for that is a piece of news yesterday, not at all welcome - it seems that I have carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists.

I've been having some shoulder and arm pain, and waking with a 'dead' arm - not always the same arm - and also some tingling in my hands which has been continuing through the day - my GP says it's pretty clear what the problem is. I'm told that the first thing to try is wrist splints, to be worn at night. Glamorous, not! But I've got some on order, and when they get here, I shall see if they make a difference. I certainly hope that they do, it is a nice straightforward solution.

It's interesting that the carpal tunnel has become a problem over these last few weeks whilst I've been knitting much less than usual. I have no idea whether these two things are connected, it's just an observation. I am careful with my posture whilst knitting - I always have been. And I stop and do stretches at intervals, again, that's not new.

It doesn't hurt to knit, not at all. It does feel a bit odd if the fingers are being very tingly - I stop then, of course - and I've been dropping things, like cups, and books, and my mobile. But I've not been dropping my knitting!

What else.... today, I am waiting for the postman. Because, you know, today is the day that the new Rowan magazine is out, and I am a long-time subscriber. I am really, really looking forward to this one. The new yarns are not released until the beginning of February, so we've got a couple of weeks to plan. I do think that the new linen yarn sounds really good. And there are several designs in Rowan 45 that are really calling to me - I want to look at the patterns! The shaping, the yarns used, the tension - all the details!

Hurry up, postman!

Monday, 12 January 2009


Here I am again. I really must keep this going on a more regular basis. The truth is that I do miss blogging when I take an unscheduled break, such as this last few days.

However things haven't been entirely straightforward around here for the last few weeks because Bad Things have been happening, and routine has kind of gone out the window. But it feels as if we are getting our heads above water again, because we have finally realised that things like sleep and regular meals and exercise need to get re-established as a matter of priority. So that's what we're trying to do.

And I think I will add blogging to that list of things to re-establish, as well.

Knitting has continued despite everything, which is good.

I haven't done a whole lot on the poor neglected Striped Sweater, which was going to be done well before Christmas with no problems at all - yes of course it was. Not. Life got in the way. However I've picked it up again this morning, and I'm nearly finished with the fancy rib. I won't inflict a picture on you - it is a wide strip of grey knitting with not many rows worked yet, ok? Same as the beginning of the back, exactly - which I began - hmmm! back at the end of October. Things have definitely not gone to plan with this sweater. I need to get it finished before the weather warms up.

I have been knitting socks, though.

You may remember that I couldn't make the Salish Sea Socks work out for me - this pattern was the one from the Blue Moon Sock Club for 2007. It used Socks That Rock mediumweight in a really lovely colourway called Bella Coola, and the pattern was written by Cat Bordhi.

I used the yarn to make another pattern by Cat Bordhi, the Tall Tibetan Socks from her 'New Pathways' book - and do you know, these fit brilliantly. I am very pleased with them.

This construction really is fascinating, and I want to make more socks like this. We are so used to having the stitches running up the foot and ankle in neat straight lines, that it is quite surprising to encounter a pattern which quite simply doesn't do this at all. The columns of stitches swoop and curve across the top of the foot - you can see a plain band there - it starts at the outside edge of the foot and curves across to the side of the heel flap on the other side. The two socks are mirror images, left and right - I like that. And they are worked from the toe upwards. I've forgotten the needle size, it was the one recommended in the pattern. And I made the size to fit mid-foot 8.5", which worked nicely for me.

You can't really see the curving lines until you put the sock on, but unfortunately it is quite difficult taking pictures of your own foot.

Maybe this helps.

Or possibly not. It fits brilliantly, though. The sock hugs my instep and the arch of my foot in a way that I haven't found in a sock pattern before. It doesn't pull, it doesn't bind anywhere at all, not in the slightest. It fits.

The top is good, too - this pattern uses a double stranded bind-off. I haven't tried this before, and really it is a good idea. You get a much more stretchy edge than you'd think possible, just casting off in the normal way. In these socks, the cast off edge is allowed to roll outwards - as it wants to do, of course - and then stitched down to the leg of the sock. It does make a very nice edging indeed.

The only thing I am not totally enamoured with is the toe construction. This is a fairly standard toe with increases each side, and somehow it doesn't quite fit me perfectly. It is still good, but room for improvement.

Also, there might just have been a whole other pair of socks that haven't even had a mention yet - and now they are finished.

These are again from Cat Bordhi's 'New Pathways' book. The pattern is called Tibetan Socks, and I have modified it to add some length to the leg. The original pattern goes straight from the top of the heel flap directly into the ridged and textured cuff. I like my socks to actually keep my ankles warm, thankyou, so I kept going until the leg was a normal length and then worked the cuff after that.

The yarn is Trekking XXL held double - this is the purple yarn I was looking for the other day - and the needle size was as recommended in the pattern, 3.75mm, so these were an extremely quick knit. I did try the 8.5" size again, but it was coming out a bit large, so I frogged and tried the 7.5" size - much better. That's the size I've made.

The other thing that I changed was the toe. The pattern uses the standard toe that I wasn't so keen on - the one that I used with the Tall Tibetan Socks. I used the Garter Stitch Toe from Cat's book, and I think I have a new favourite toe construction. Because it fits quite amazingly well.

Really simple, really quick, really easy. Also, it matches the ridged garter stitch cuff. And it fits so well! Does it get better than this?

Wednesday, 7 January 2009


Yesterday evening I was looking in the stash for a ball of Trekking XXL sock yarn in shades of purple. I knew I had one, somewhere. I just couldn't find it.

I wanted it for the Tibetan Socks in Cat Bordhi's New Pathways book - not the Tall Tibetan ones which I am making from STR mediumweight, those are still on the needles - but the shorter ones with the fall-down cuffs, worked with the Trekking XXL held double. I feel a need for thick socks at the moment, with the temperatures as low as they are right now.

Anyway, I was looking in the stash. I did not find the purple Trekking XXL, but I did find - oh joy! - a whole extra pack of Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran.

I thought I had more of this stuff! I can't remember what I had in mind when I bought it, but I had been sure that I had a generous sweater's worth of it - except that when I was planning to make the February Lady Sweater, I could only find one pack. Not enough. I was puzzled - why would I have only bought one pack? 750 metres of aran weight doesn't go far with me. Surely there was more? - but no, I couldn't find it.

Until yesterday evening! Now I can have a February Lady Sweater in this lovely smooth sheeny stuff, if I still want to. Or Mr Greenjeans. Or a Central Park Hoodie. Or Cassidy. Or Ariann, currently the front runner - in fact I have a suspicion that's what I had in mind when I bought this yarn. I'm very pleased!

And this morning, I found the purple Trekking as well.

Things do work out right, sometimes.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

It's true.....

I had heard rumours about the imminent demise of Rowan's 4 ply Soft, Scottish Tweed Aran, and Scottish Tweed Chunky. These are all in the John Lewis clearance sale that is running at the moment, and that is usually a very big hint indeed.

I really didn't want this to be true. The Scottish Tweed is such lovely stuff - and 4 ply Soft is one of my favourites, too.

But now we know, because someone has asked Rowan and been given a definitive answer - have a look here, on Jannette's blog.

This would explain why I have been waiting soooo long for the Scottish Tweed Aran for my Kaffe Fassett Lantern Cardigan.

Curses. And other words expressing extreme annoyance.

The only thing that cheers me up about this, is that there must be something good lined up as a replacement. I wonder what it is?

By the way, I've nearly finished the second sleeve of the Striped Sweater. It looks exactly the same as the first sleeve, not surprisingly. I am still worried that I'm going to run out of the mid-grey colour......

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Nice things

I have a new knitting book - Sharon Brant's new title, Knitting Goes Large.

Her previous book with Martin Storey - Classic Knits for Real Women - has been one of my most used books. All the patterns in both books are sized (and shaped) for plus sizes, and I have found that the smallest size, or sometimes the second smallest size, fits me well.

This new book is a good one. There is an excellent section at the beginning, written by Sharon, which is well worth reading. She covers how to pick styles that flatter your own particular shape - which lengths work with trousers or jeans, which lengths work with skirts - what to avoid and what to go for, in terms of texture, detail, and yarn weight - colour choices - accessories, the lot.

She also discusses in some detail how to choose which size to knit - this is such an important thing! Countless times I have heard - 'if only I'd made it a size larger - or smaller'. Along with this, there is a good description of exactly how to make simple pattern adjustments for a better fit.

And then the patterns. There are more than 20 designs here, from some of Rowan's best designers, including Sharon. It goes without saying, I think, that they are all good designs.

There are four in particular that I like.

There is a Lace Tunic in Kidsilk Haze, from Martin Storey. This takes 6 balls of KSH for my size - and I am pretty sure that I have that in the stash already. So that one is quite tempting.

There is a Lacy Cardigan from Kim Hargreaves, in 4ply cotton. I am not usually drawn to things like this - they look pretty, but I don't think I would ever wear them. This, however, is different. The styling is relaxed, but with some gentle waist shaping, the lace is not too fussy and has a strong vertical line to it - and I love the edge details. This one is really wearable and would be a useful wardrobe addition.

Next there is a Swing Jacket from Catherine Tough. This is shown in Rowan Classic Baby Alpaca DK. This jacket is in garter stitch throughout - and I do love garter stitch. Also, two lengths are given - I'd pick the shorter of the two.

With regard to garter stitch jackets/coats - I've been looking at Sally Melville's Einstein Coat now for quite a while. It would work beautifully in Rowan's British Sheep Breed chunky yarn - which is gorgeous stuff. But how much would I actually wear it? It would be a very warm coat. Also, it would be quite bulky, and although I am losing weight, I can do without any extra bulk, thankyou very much. And drop shoulders - not ideal in a chunky yarn, not flattering....

However, with this Swing Jacket I think I have found the answer. Set in sleeves - garter stitch - straightforward shaping - and a DK weight yarn!

And one last pattern. There is a Textured Vest from Kim Hargreaves, in 4 ply cotton. This, I am sure, is a resized version of a vest - Faye - that appeared in Rowan 23. It was a good pattern then, and it's a good pattern now.

I just wish I could find some pictures online! There aren't any Ravelry links at all, just yet.

From the comments -

Antje - yes, good webcrawling!

The mitten is Jared Flood's Green Autumn pattern, from the Fall 08 issue of Vogue Knitting. His own name for it was the Druid Mitten, and a lot of people (including me) have called it by that name. Mine are being worked in Yorkshire Tweed 4ply, and are kind of hibernating at the moment. I realised that they were turning out too small for my hands, and started again with 2.5mm needles instead of 2.25mm.

The gauge is interesting, by the way. The pattern says 3.25mm, and Jared says that he worked his on 3.75mm needles. I don't think that many people have been able to replicate the necessary gauge with those needle sizes - my choice of 2.25mm was based on Ravelry feedback, and I was getting gauge precisely. It is just that the mittens really are sized to fit a small hand, and I don't have little delicate hands, not at all.

Your spinning sounds wonderful - and no, handspun doesn't count at all - not in my opinion, anyway! :)

Friday, 2 January 2009

Can't wait!

We have a treat in store. Rowan 45.

I am a mad Rowan fan, and have been for years, as you may have noticed already. If I had to restrict myself to knitting with just one company's yarns and designs for the rest of my life, I'd pick Rowan without a second's hesitation, and be entirely happy about it. In my opinion, they are just the best.

So, maybe I am a little bit biased here. But even so, the Spring/Summer 09 magazine is just brilliant.

There is a German shop with pictures online - have a look here. Evergreen, Driftwood, and Bloom are the names of the collections.

Bloom has lots of beautiful delicate designs. This sort of thing is not entirely my cup of tea - although Rue and Iris are both lovely, and I think that the Honeysuckle cardigan will be very popular indeed.

But Evergreen and Driftwood are just brilliant. I like Moustiers in particular - that would be my first choice from Evergreen, but I do just wonder if I could get away with it, or whether I'd look like mutton dressed as lamb. From Driftwood - Mulgrave, and Ravenscar. Must have. Really. So wearable! Exactly my sort of thing. There is Filey, too - my husband will like that.

I must admit, I was wondering how on earth they could follow on from Rowan 44. But this is better than ever.

I'm wondering about the new yarns, as well - because there are new yarns, I can see that. They should be in store for the beginning of February, and the magazine ought to be out two weeks before that. So that means two full weeks to wait.

And yes, it has crossed my mind that this is all very ironic when I've just been posting about Slow Stashing.

Slow stashing

Have you read this?

Really, I couldn't agree more. This is such a good mindset. And, you know, I think that I need to do this.

Slow stashing - stop and think before you buy. Yes, I can do that. And I have a whole lot of re-organising to do in the stash, as well.

And having said that, I will just mention the joy that is John Lewis' yarn clearance sale, because I happened to be in Cribb's Causeway earlier in the week looking (unsuccessfully, as it happened) for curtain poles - yes, for the window where the Earth Stripe curtain will be, one day.

I had heard a rumour about Rowan's 4 ply Soft, which is one of my favourite yarns - and yes, it is in clearance. I bought two packs, one in Dove - I love this colour - and another in Malachite. A lot of other things are in clearance too, including Damask (none left at Cribb's on Tuesday, sorry) and 4 ply cotton (again, none left at Cribb's). Also a fair bit of Alpaca Soft, and a lot of other lovely stuff too.

I wonder what new yarns are coming for Spring? I have a feeling that we won't be disappointed here. I'd be really pleased to see a 4 ply cotton with a mercerised finish, I have no idea whether this is planned - but wouldn't it be nice?

The 4 ply Soft is going to become this top from the wonderful Sally Melville, and also this, if I can manage it. (Ravelry links there.)

And I want to make this, too. I need a nice standard DK weight, that will give good stitch definition. I've got some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK somewhere, I know that - but I'm not sure if I have enough. Alternatively, I'm wondering if I could possibly use handspun. I haven't managed to spin a garment's weight of yarn yet.

Something to think about, anyway.