Sunday, 31 January 2010

Chamonix

Finally it is finished - well actually I finished it a few days ago, I just haven't taken any photos until today.


I am very pleased with this.

So - this is Chamonix, from Rowan Classic Alpine, using Rowan Classic Cashmere Tweed in Pewter. I made size M, and added more than 6" of length as I am not a fan of cropped sweaters - at least, not when it is me wearing them. (The length given in the pattern for this size is just 18 1/2", so I'm sure you can see what I mean.)


Other than that, no changes at all. The only slightly tricky bit was getting a neat result with sewing down the turndown collar - the pattern suggests slip stitching it in place, but I didn't like the result. I have worked a modified graft, and it sits nicely and looks neat, I think.


I mentioned that I had started something else, and here it is.


This is the beginning of Pyrenees, also from Rowan Classic Alpine. This is a straightforward raglan pullover, and I am making it oversized and slouchy, with added length so as to be more like a tunic.

The yarn is Rowan Classic Wool Tweed which has been in clearance for a while now, but you'll still find it if you look. (Hint - McA Direct.) I am using Shetland 953, which is basically black with lots of multicoloured flecks.

It is aran weight, and has truly excellent yardage - 50 grams gives you 114 metres. (And I have no idea why McA Direct says it has 55 m, I promise you that is wrong.) Anyway, it makes a lovely fabric which is unexpectedly light in weight, and I am enjoying the knitting.


I have been debating whether it is sensible for me to join the 10 for 2010 challenge in the Rowan Tree group on Ravelry. The idea is that you set your own target - 10 'somethings' for 2010. Many people are saying 10 projects of any sort. At least one person is saying 10 shawls - I'm definitely not doing that! I had in mind to choose making 10 all-Rowan projects - that is, using both Rowan yarn and Rowan pattern. So far I have finished two such projects - Lottie, and now Chamonix, and Pyrenees would be the third.

In the end, it seems like cheating to only commit when I am sure I can achieve my target, so I might as well jump in. You'll see my Pure Rowan - 10 for 2010 in the sidebar when I've got my act together.


And talking of getting my act together - I have worked the first row on the Earth Stripe Curtain.


Just the first row.

I'm not rushing this. (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!)

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Who wants a wheel?

My friend Chris is selling her spinning wheel - well, one of her wheels, to be precise.

She's only selling it because of a house move - the new place is smaller, and one of her wheels absolutely has to go, there just isn't going to be room. She says it nearly breaks her heart to let it go, but it has to happen.....

So - if you (or someone you know) would like an Ashford Traditional wheel, which has been lovingly looked after and is in immaculate condition, for an extremely reasonable price - here is your chance.

This wheel - Ashford Traditional, as I said - has a single treadle and Scotch tension, is finished in dark oak stain, and to quote Chris - 'spins like a dream'.

It comes with a Lazy Kate, as well.

Let me know if you're interested!



Oh, and by the way - I've just finished Chamonix. I need to take some pictures, but I will just say at this point that it is completely gorgeous and I am really, really pleased with it.

The major event recently is that I've finally managed to nerve myself to pick up the Earth Stripe Curtain again. This had come to an untimely halt because I could kid myself no longer - the cast on edge was too tight, despite the fact that I used the lace cast-on. Fairly unlikely that it would actually be apparent in any way when the curtain was finished, because it wasn't that tight - but it bothered me. So it was sort of sidelined, whilst I thought about it.

Anyway, this morning I ripped it all back to the beginning, and I've cast on for the second time.

This time I used the e-loop cast on - the simplest cast-on in the world, the cast-on that gives the stretchiest edge of all, and (unfortunately) the absolute nastiest cast-on to work from. In Kidsilk Haze, with more than 300 stitches on the needle.

So now I have to get around to working the first row. Ho hum....

Friday, 15 January 2010

Excuses, excuses.....

I seem to have very nearly given up using the computer recently - this week, at least. I am way behind on my blog reading, and I have only looked into Ravelry - briefly - a couple of times. And as for browsing - nope, none at all. Not normal......

There is a reason. The thing is, I've had a bit of a difficult week, and the problem I am dealing with at the moment is aggravated by sitting, which is a bit inconvenient to say the least.

So, I have been avoiding sitting down, and that means that computer use has been drastically reduced.

It also means spinning just hasn't been happening, and I haven't put a single stitch into my needlepoint. (I did consider putting the floorstanding frame up on the sofa, but it wasn't stable enough. I need to work on this, there must be a way of sorting it out.)

Anyway, I will get there in the end. And I am still knitting, although not as much as normal.

In the meantime, if I am more than slightly remiss in replying to emails or messages, please forgive me.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Busy doing nothing.....

Well, not quite.

I keep writing blog posts - or rather starting to write posts - and then not finishing them. Several knitting projects have been finished, though.

First of all, Earnshaw.


I love this. I finally finished the seaming on Saturday, and since then I have been wearing it for walking - it is much too warm for indoors, but just right for outdoors, over a thin underlayer.



The yarn is lovely - soft and beautiful - although it does shed. That's the angora, I suppose.

This pattern is from Jane Ellison's book Simply Noro, and it is extremely straightforward. This took a bit less than three weeks from start to finish, but the actual knitting was much faster than that.

I made size XS, which measures 48" around the chest, and I added a good bit of length, as I had an extra skein of the Kochoran available - so this used 10 skeins in all.


I have also finished the Oliver socks, finally.


My husband is entirely happy with these, and this really is a very clever pattern. You do need more than the usual amount of yarn, though - the pattern has contrast heels and toes, and these are not just there for decorative reasons, as I discovered.


It's a very well written pattern, and the fit is very good indeed.

I've also finished a couple of hats.



The first one was for me - Lottie, from Rowan magazine 30, in Rowan Polar. This takes just under one ball of yarn, and is a very quick knit on 8mm needles.


It is a very cute hat, and is currently my hat-of-choice for walking. Ear flaps, don't you know.

The other hat is a straightforward ribbed hat for my husband. Most of the knitted hats in the house seem to have mysteriously disappeared during the summer, as does tend to happen. So this was a simple, quick knit. 80 stitches on 5mm needles using bulky yarn bought from Lidl about a year ago, and then work 2x2 ribbing in the round until you can't stand it any longer, then decrease for the top. Done.


Except that I haven't yet taken a photo of the finished hat.......

And finally, I have cast on for a simple, basic pair of socks for myself. I can't remember when I last made a straightforward pair for myself, there has been a succession of Blue Moon sock club socks over recent months. I'm not joining the sock club for 2010, I think I've got enough to be getting on with already. (That could be a slight understatement, actually.)

Anyway. Socks for me, 64 stitches on 2.25mm dpns, Regia Antik Patch sock yarn.


Picot edge worked in the round there, from a provisional life-line cast-on - not forgetting the trick for ending up with the right number of stitches. It is easy, I promise. And my new trick is to work it with just one set of needles.

When you come to work the round where the hem is folded up and joined, pull the end of the cast-on so that your provisional stitches are all sitting on their lifeline. Then put the first 16 onto your spare dpn, and pull the lifeline out of them.

Now, wiggle the needles around so that the dpn with the provisional stitches is sitting behind needle 1 - and work k2tog across as usual, taking one stitch from each needle. How? - with needle 4. So that needle 4 ends up with 32 stitches on it. And after you've worked those 16 k2tog's, you've got not one spare dpn, but two.

So now it is easy. You put the next 16 stitches onto one of the spare dpns, and pull the lifeline out of them. Bring this dpn up so that it is sitting behind needle 2 - and work k2tog across as usual. And so on.....

No spare needles required, and that's always good.

And now I shall go and knit some more on the first sleeve of Chamonix, I think.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Not quite Narnia

Well, we've certainly got snow now. And even more ice.


This morning, when I went into the conservatory, there were some quite spectacular icicles ouside, and also there were beautiful frost flowers on all the windows. Just lovely. Except - the frost flowers were on the inside of the (yes, double glazed) windows as well as the outside.


And another thing.


Here are the roses that my sister brought the other day, on the table in the conservatory. The water in the vase is frozen solid. Not just a skim of ice across the top - solid.

I don't recommend this.

We don't usually heat the conservatory at all in the winter - when it gets too chilly for comfort, we retreat into the main house and shut the doors. But it isn't usually as cold as this, so we've finally admitted defeat and put the heater on the frost setting.

You can see Earnshaw sitting on the table there in the background. I still haven't seamed it, which is daft, because this is just the right weather for wearing something like that. However, it doesn't look as if we'll be seeing any sort of thaw in the near future, so I am sure I will manage to wear it soon.

I have, however, finished the Wildfoote Forget-me-not Socks for my mother-in-law.


They were finished on Tuesday evening, so that took three days from start to finish. And this is the first thing I've actually finished this year.

I'm working on the Oliver socks at the moment.


To tell the truth, I am quite ready to see these off the needles. The pattern is interesting, but the yarn is not, and this project has been hanging around for far too long, it feels like. I ought to get these finished this evening, and then I will get on with Chamonix. And I'll probably cast on for some more socks, too, but I'm not quite sure yet exactly what.


With the weather as cold as this, we are checking the boat every day to make sure that all is well - no leaks or frozen pipes. The ice in the marina is actually quite thick - in places it is about six inches.



We are still walking every day, despite the cold and the ice underfoot, and we are enjoying it. Today we stopped and looked over the aqueduct where the canal crosses over the River Biss - and we saw a kingfisher, just this flash of electric blue - across the water - and then again.

Of course, I didn't get a picture.

And then we saw a red kite, twice. Or maybe it was two different red kites, one after the other. I didn't get a picture of that, either.

Must try harder......

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Frozen

My goodness, but it's cold. No snow, just ice - and that cold, cold wind. And such a beautiful sky this morning.....


I still haven't finished the extra-wide socks for my mother-in-law. This is day 3, and I think they should be all done by this evening.


I think that the thing I like best about Wildfoote sock yarn is the way that they leave the end from the middle of the skein so that you can actually find it with no difficulty at all. And of course I can't show you the skein before I started knitting on it, because, well, because I've started already.

Anyway.

We are still missing Lucy, very much. It feels as if I am waiting for something - there have been occasions when we've been here without her, but only a few times. When she was kept overnight at the vet's, for instance. When she was at the kennels, just before we went on holiday abroad.

But we have decided that there is one thing we can do that is very positive. We can walk.

During her last couple of months, Lucy was unwell for a lot of the time with repeated chest infections, and she found walking any distance just too much to cope with. She wouldn't complain - she never did - but she'd be plodding along in a straight line with her head down instead of quartering the path ahead with her nose to the ground, looking for interesting scents. So we only went for little short walks - just 10 or 15 minutes - and we'd pick her up and head for home as soon as she'd had enough.

Now, we are walking for longer. And instead of walking with Lucy, we are walking together.

I'm grateful for woolly handknits in weather like this, I can tell you. They make such a difference.

Oh, and the Iro scarf that I made a couple of years ago now belongs to my husband. I've knitted him scarves before, but this one is wider and longer, and just what is needed right now.


As Helen says, this really is one of the nicest things about knitting.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Gifted

My sister came to visit the other day, and at one point we were going out to walk down to check on the boat. She didn't have either a hat or gloves of any sort. And it was cold - about minus four.

So I fished out my Dean Street Hat and the Fetchings that went with it, and asked her if she'd like them. She tried them on, and yes she liked them very much.



So now they are hers.

I very much like being able to do this.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

A post that is not named after the day of the week. (Just for a change.)

I've finished knitting Earnshaw, including the hood, and (thank goodness) there was enough yarn. Now I have to seam the thing, and that will require some care, because Noro Kochoran is soft and fluffy-ish and will pull apart if I am not careful with it.

I know, I could use a different yarn for the seaming. But I've never actually needed to before - not yet, anyway - and I am sure I will manage. After all, if it will hold together for knitting, it ought to hold together for seaming. With care.

It sheds a lot, too - I don't think I've mentioned that before. I mean, really a lot. But anyway, the seaming will have to wait a bit.

This is because at the moment, my main project is my mother-in-law's next pair of socks. (Wildfoote Sock Yarn, from Brown Sheep, in SY-o6 Forget-me-not, which is a sort of tweedy blue, and quite pretty.) We want to go up and visit them quite soon, so I need to get my skates on here and get the things finished. This means, incidentally, that I am about to discover exactly how fast I can knit a sock, albeit a non-standard extra-wide sock. I've just finished the ribbing on the first sock, so really I've hardly got started yet.

Chamonix will have to wait, unfortunately. As must Yvonne, and the Oliver socks.

By the way - if, in the future, I should ever drop any sort of hint that I'm going to make a pair of men's socks in 2x2 ribbing again - especially if fine needles are mentioned in the same breath - remind me not to. It just takes too long.

With regard to my 10 for 2010, I am wondering if I have overcommitted just a bit. I rashly said that I wanted to make 10 'Pure Rowan' projects - that's using both Rowan pattern and Rowan yarn, and I'm getting worried already that I won't manage it.

Now, I can see what the first few will be. Chamonix is in progress, so that's the first one. And I plan to make Pyrenees after that. (Why can I never spell Pyrenees correctly the first time I try? I seem to have a blind spot regarding the appropriate number of r's and n's....) Also, somewhere along the line I am going to make myself a Lottie hat with some grey Polar.

But after that - well, I have no idea.

I just know I'd feel better about this if I made a list.

No. Exercise restraint. Must knit socks instead......