Thursday, 27 September 2012

Teeny tiny

My neighbours are expecting their first baby soon.  I asked if they would like any handknits, and Lorraine asked for baby socks, in wool.

These are so tiny I can hardly believe it.

The pattern is called Better Than Booties.  It was a free download from Interweave, years ago, and is by Ann Budd.  Knitted from the top down, exactly as a normal pair of socks, with 2mm dpns.  There is, as you can see, a picot edging to the top.  The heel and toe are worked with Patricia Gibson-Roberts' short row method, and the socks are finished with a zigzag cast-off along the top, just above the toe section.

I think I may have to make some more of these.

At the other extreme of the knitting spectrum, possibly - Ross is coming along nicely.

There is a slight problem, as I'm sure you can see - the fabric is biasing like nobody's business.  I know why this is happening, I think - it is the nature of the way the yarn is spun.  And now that I stop and think about it, I remember my mother knitting a dress some years ago with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan, which was a boucle yarn - and she had the same problem then.

Blocking should help a lot - at least, I hope that it will.  I want to like this yarn, the fabric feels so lovely, and I'd like to use it for a pullover.   Well, we shall see...

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Little Neath Shrug


Another sample knit for Alison Crowther Smith, this is the Little Neath Shrug.  

It is knitted with one strand each of Rowan Kidsilk Haze and Rowan Fine Lace, held together - this is a lot easier than you'd think, the combination is very well behaved.  The sleeves are soft and loose, knitted with a gentle rippling texture to the fabric and dotted with little garlands of beads, held in at the wrist by a simple cuff in twisted rib, which provides a nice contrast.  The tops of the arms and the back are worked in a simple lace ribbing - very pretty, and easy to knit.

The fabric is the star here, though.

Another really pretty thing! - I do love having all these lovely things to work on.   This one is now all packed up and heading off to the Post Office in short order.

Still knitting here - something completely different.....

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Singing River Shrug

Off the needles this morning!

Another sample knit for Alison Crowther Smith - this is another version of the Singing River Shrug, grafted at the centre back this time, so that it can be worn equally as a scarf or a shrug.

Kidsilk Haze in Majestic, and Baby Merino Silk DK in Rose - and purple beads.

I'm rather pleased with this, it is very pretty.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Knitting in the rain

I was very tempted to title this post, 'Twas a dark and rainy night morning.  However I have restrained myself.

We came home at the weekend, because some heavy weather was forecast.  It is nice to be back at the house again.  Right now I have the place to myself, because my other half has gone to take his mother to a hospital appointment - a long drive on a dark rainy morning.  But very necessary.

Jess thinks it is all very exciting when we get up early and, not surprisingly, wants her breakfast early as well.  We, however, are wise to this, and don't co-operate - because if she gets her breakfast early one day, she'll want it early the next day as well, and the day after, and she'll wake us up accordingly.  I swear she has a clock in her tummy.  (Captain Hook's crocodile comes to mind.)   So for most of the last hour, she's been sitting alternately by her bowl and by the door of the cupboard where her food is kept, giving very pointed looks at the bowl, the cupboard, and me. I think she thinks I am a bit slow on the uptake.

Right now she's asleep next to me on the sofa (yes, she has us quite well trained really) with a full tummy.  It is getting light outside now, and it is raining hard.  And I am knitting.

I've had so many lovely things through my hands in recent weeks, all sample knits, and all such a pleasure.  Last but not least is the current version of the Singing River Shrug from Alison Crowther-Smith - last time I posted, I had just started.   A couple of days ago I had nearly finished the first side -

- and right now, I am working on the last part of the second side.

The first version of this shrug had a laced ribbon-back - this version is to have a grafted back, and will double as a rather special scarf.   One sleeve and half-back is finished, and the other is nearly done, I am just working on the half-back part of it.  Today the knitting will be finished, and I shall graft the two pieces together, and block it gently.   And then there will be a picture, and I shall pack everything up and send it off to its rightful owner.

And after that? - I have the back of Ross half-finished and waiting on the needles.  I shall cast on for Fastnet, for my husband - he wants quite a few changes to the pattern, which will be interesting.  And I shall also be casting on for a baby blanket, as our neighbours are expecting their first baby - lovely!

Finally, a picture from the boat, in the sunshine.  Neither Jess nor the swan are quite sure about the situation...

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Knitting in the sunshine

Things are really rather lovely at the moment.  We're on the narrowboat and have been for a few days now, the sun is shining, and I have lots of lovely knitting and absolutely nothing else that needs to be done.  No chores, no errands, nothing.  Just time to myself.

So I'm sitting here in the front of the boat as we go along, Jess is at my feet - well actually she is sitting on my feet - and I have a cup of good coffee to hand, and my knitting.

That's another Singing River Shrug, and it is looking pretty good, if I do say so myself.

We will not mention the huge search for the 4mm dpns that ensued yesterday, when I went to cast on for this.    The thing about knitting on a narrowboat is that you cannot just pop upstairs to the studio and get something, you have to actually remember to take it all with you, preferably in the correct project bag.

I did find them in the end, of course.

And now I have to go and open a swing bridge....

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Handbag knitting

I've been meaning to post about this for a while - and I don't mean knitting an actual handbag, I mean knitting that lives in my handbag.

Projects like this tend to grow very slowly, because I only work on them while I am a car passenger, or while I am in a waiting room of some sort.  At the moment I have two handbag knitting projects, one of them is a sock for myself, and the other is this.

This is my version of the Hyacinth Scarf from Kaffe Fassett's most recent book, Knitting with the Color Guys.

It is a very simple thing, but I am enjoying it very much.  This is a very straightforward garter stitch scarf, worked on the bias, with one strand of Kaffe's sock yarn and one strand of Kidsilk Haze held together.  The idea is that the Kidsilk Haze softens the colours of the sock yarn and produces a sort of glaze of colour.

(The marker is to remind me which side of the fabric to do the shaping.)

Here, I am using Anthracite from KF's Design Line, and Kidsilk Haze in Wicked, which is of course just plain black.  And this works really well.  All the colours in the sock yarn are deepened, and the contrasts are softened and blurred.  The fabric is lovely and soft, of course, and the lengths of the two yarns are pretty much identical so there will be minimal leftovers, if any.

The colours here are a little bleached out, but you can see the subtle blend of colours produced by this combination.

I keep thinking about other colour possibilities.  But perhaps I need to be just a little careful, this pattern could easily become addictive.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Need I say more...?

This is recently off the needles, and oh, how I wish I'd taken more photos....

All I have is this -

And this -

The colours are best in the first photo.

The designer is Jane Crowfoot, and the pattern is going to be available as a download from her website, Janie Crow.

The yarn is Rowan Cashsoft 4ply, the beads are from Debbie Abrahams, and although the finished scarf - or is it a wrap? - looks amazingly complex, it is actually not as difficult as it looks, because of the clever construction.

I did enjoy knitting this.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Catch up!

Right now we are moored just above the lock at Bradford on Avon, and mirabile visu, I am blogging.  Hooray for modern technology!  We now have internet access whilst we are on the boat - well, for some of the time, at least.  The connection turns out to be variable in the extreme - it is apparent that signal strength on the waterways is no sort of priority for the networks.

High time I caught up with what's on the needles at the moment.

I've just finished knitting this for Alison - the first of a pair, obviously.

Please ignore my un-beautiful hand and look at the beautiful fingerless mitt instead.  Rowan Pure Wool 4ply in Eau de Nil 450 - and Rowan Kidsilk Haze in Turkish Plum 660, which is my new favourite KSH colour.  

Corkscrew Mitts, from Alison Crowther-Smith - but you guessed that, I am sure.  These are from her new collection of designs.

Also from Ali, and also from her new collection -

This is a shrug, worked in Kidsilk Haze held together with Fine Lace.  Plus beads, plus a clever tuck stitch that gives a cloudy, slightly puffy effect to the fabric - plus lace ribbing.....  lovely fun to knit, and this is going to be a gorgeous garment.

This is the Little Neath Shrug, worked in Ember 644 KSH and Ochre 930 Fine Lace.  My camera is not showing the colour to advantage, as usual.  

Apart from this, there is my own knitting, which isn't looking nearly as beautiful.

This is going to be Ross, from Wintertide.  I like waistcoats, and garments which have pockets are always a plus for me.  I haven't worked with a boucle yarn for ages, and when I saw that there was a stripe variation for this particular yarn - Rowan Fine Boucle - I wanted to see what it was like.  Because, you know, I love self-striping yarns.  And that is probably because I am easily entertained.

So this is Masham Stripe, and I can promise you that there really are stripes, it is not me being clever with the camera, because I don't know how to do things like that.

I like this yarn.  The fabric is lovely, soft and nicely woolly, just what one wants at this time of the year.  It is surprisingly well behaved to work with, as well, and I do like the fact that all the colours are natural shades of the wool, undyed.    I am sure I will be using this again.

I will leave you with these gorgeous autumn colours - this is, I think, Virginia creeper, or it might be Boston Ivy - I can never remember how to tell the difference.  Growing wild over an ash tree, near Dundas Aqueduct.

Also, I am on Facebook now.  If I can just work out how to put a link, like the Ravelry link, that would be good.  I'll get there.....

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

News from your roving reporter

Home again.... and it is September, which comes as something of a surprise to me.  I had lost track - that can happen on the boat.

August hasn't been entirely easy - we've had such a lot of engine problems with the  boat.  Actually not the engine itself, but the engine mounts.  The first set lasted 18 years, but since these were replaced about 18 months ago we've been going through replacement sets faster and faster, and nobody seemed to be able to identify the reason why this was happening.  

Finally though, things seem to be sorted out.   We intended to go off for just a couple of days to check that the engine wasn't going to collapse again - and we've ended up being away for nearly a week.

Home again today, the washing machine goes on, email is checked (hmm, 94 things in the inbox, far too many), collect parcels from the sorting office, and so on and so forth....

A decision has been made this morning.  It is high time we sorted out a way to check email whilst we are on the boat.  So I have very bravely ordered a dongle, which I am reliably assured is what we need.  If we have a phone signal then we can get online.  The waterways are not a priority for the network providers, so this isn't a certainty by any means.  Only one way to find out how successful it is - try it! - so that is what we are going to do.

And just so this isn't a post without a photo - here is the very last bridge, on our way home.

Lovely sunshine - could we be in for an Indian summer?  I do hope so.