Sunday, 28 October 2012

Busy, busy

I have had the most wonderful time over the last few days.  It has been incredibly busy - well, by our standards - but such fun.

On Thursday we went down to Bovey Tracey in Devon.  There is a yarn shop in Bovey Tracey called Spin-a-Yarn, and Joyce, the proprietor, had organised a fashion show of handknits at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen.  There were garments from Martin Storey, and also from Alison Crowther-Smith, and some Rowan display garments as well, from other designers.  

So many lovely things! - and did I take photos? - no, I did not.  I have no idea why not, I certainly should have.

Anyway, it was a very entertaining and sociable evening.  I am now very much looking forward to gettting a copy of Martin's new book, Scottish Heritage Knits.  There were a lot of garments shown from this book, and they were all stunning.

We stayed at a room over the pub, with an appropriately sheepy view from our window.

Today has been spent knitting as well, with Alison Crowther-Smith and friends.  A log fire, good company, lots of knitting - oh, and cake!

By the way, I finished Ross on Wednesday evening, and wore it on Thursday.  It was, I think, very successful.   Pictures soon....

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Almost too much

I seem to have rather a lot of things on the needles at the moment, all of which I want to knit immediately, because I like them so much, and all of which I am enjoying immensely.

There is a second Hyacinth scarf - just a few rows so far, and reserved for knitting in the car.  This one is Delphinium, with Smoke Kidsilk Haze - the same colours used by Kaffe Fassett originally.  (The marker is to remind me which is the right side, ie the side that I need to work the shaping.)

There is another pair of baby socks, with a cable rib this time, and a tiny little cable going down each side of the foot - I've finished the first one, and have started the second.  Again, these are reserved for knitting in the car.

There is Ross.  I've finished the back, and cast on for the first pocket lining.  I ought to get on with this, it won't take long to finish and I'd like to be wearing it now, it is the right sort of weather.

There is Color Affection (sic, American spelling), which I won't show here, because I am knitting it for a friend.  This is lovely knitting, actually - I do love garter stitch.  There was a certain amount of messing around at the beginning, because I found it hard to believe that all those increases by means of M1 - you know, lifting the bar between the needles and working into that, with a twist to close the gap - I couldn't believe it was what was best.  Surely it would pull in far too much, and I even swatched, and then started using kfb instead - I had very nearly convinced myself that would be better.  But, finally, I stopped second guessing the designer, and got on with the pattern as written.  The only thing I am changing is the cast-on - I have used a two stitch garter tab, which blends into the two stitch edging pretty much perfectly.

And finally, there is the Apple Tree Blanket, intended for my neighbour's baby.  Plenty of time here, the little one isn't due until just before Christmas, but I know how things can get put off when you think you have lots of time to do them, and then you end up with a big last minute panic.  So I have started this already.

Here you see it not exactly looking its best, but I hope you can also see how utterly charming this is going to be.  It is great fun to knit, and the whole thing is beautifully thought out.  The pattern is from Martin Storey, it was a free pattern on the Rowan website at one point, which is where I got it.

Once again, I find myself wishing for more hours in the day.

We are off on the boat this afternoon, just for a day or two.  Jess is visiting the groomer first, she is looking a bit like a mop on legs at the moment and it is high time that she was tidied up.  I have a strong suspicion that she won't stay tidy for very long, though.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

This never happens to me

I very rarely win prizes.  I don't know whether it is something to do with my surname - Winning - but it just doesn't happen.

Except that the other day, it did.  I have won a runner-up prize from The Making Spot.   It is a softback booklet - Irresistible Christmas Gifts to Knit - and I am rather pleased about it.

I am particularly pleased because amongst other things, it contains a copy of Martin Storey's pattern Homestead.

I have liked this pattern for a long time, but somehow never got round to buying Rowan Homestead Classics, which was the book where it was published.  And now I have the pattern, for free.  Excellent!  I've been looking through the stash, and have found Felted Tweed in Seafarer and Clay, which I think will work beautifully.

By the way, The Secret Thing is finished.  Normal knitting content will resume shortly!

Friday, 12 October 2012

And here's one I made earlier.....

The problem with secret sample knitting, when combined with blogging, is that it leaves one with no knitting to talk about.  This is quite frustrating when one is actually very enthusiastic about The Secret Thing, which is turning out to be quite stunningly beautiful - but there is not a lot to be done about it.  

But every so often something unexpected comes along, which is just perfect...

Here is something that I made earlier this year.

I knitted this as a sample for the wonderful Jane Crowfoot, and she now has the pattern for sale on her website, as part of her autumn collection.  It is available as a download, and it costs £3.25    (Picture with Jane's permission, of course.)    Jane says that it will soon also be available as a kit.

This wrap looks very intricate, but it is actually a lot easier to knit than it appears.  The trick is that the whole thing is knitted in blocks, which are connected as you go along.   At the end, there are just two straight seams to sew, and that's very easy indeed with mattress stitch.  When you do this, you see the pattern come to life - sections from one block link up with the one you are seaming next to it, and the whole thing comes together.

Don't worry about the beading, either, if you've never tried this before - it isn't difficult at all.  

I was so pleased with this when it was finished, and it is such a pleasure to look at Jane's picture and know that others will now be knitting this as well, and enjoying it as I did.

So just to recap - the pattern is here.  Enjoy!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

210 metres

I finished my Black Hyacinth scarf yesterday.

This has only been worked on whilst I have been a car passenger, so it has taken a while.  Yesterday there was a fair amount of time in the car, and mostly I worked on the Secret Thing - but then I needed more beads, and it just isn't sensible to thread beads in a moving car.  So that went back in the project bag, and the scarf came out of the glove compartment instead.

The pattern for the Hyacinth Scarf is from Knitting with the Color Guys, by Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably.  It is a very simple pattern - the yarn does the work.  I used a ball of Kaffe Fassett's Design Line sock yarn, in Anthracite, together with a ball of Kidsilk Haze in Wicked, which is black.   Hence, of course, Black Hyacinth.

There is just one thing, though.  Both of these balls of yarn are supposed to be 210 metres, or thereabouts.  But the sock yarn turned out to have much less length than the Kidsilk Haze - I started another ball of sock yarn to finish off the KSH, and I used 9 grams of the 50 gram ball.  So I suppose that's an 18% variation in length, which sounds like quite a lot.

However if one of the yarns measures 10 % less, and the other 10 % more than the average of 210 metres, then this difference is well within tolerance.    But if you are making one of these scarves, you might want to just bear this in mind.

I'm going to start another one fairly soon - this one in the colours used by Kaffe in the book.  This is his Design Line sock yarn in Delphinium, and Kidsilk Haze in Smoke.  It will be interesting to see what happens here, with regard to the respective lengths.

Saturday, 6 October 2012


Today we went to the beach.  This is not something we've done for ages, because it is quite a long drive - more than 50 miles to the coast.

Jess has never been to the beach before, and of course she loved it.

There was a lot of excited running around, and also a certain amount of rolling in malodorous things, mostly dead crabs.   But we won't dwell on that.

One thing is certain, though -

We'll be back.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Still secret....

So, I am still doing my secret sample knitting.  It is going to be so pretty - I really am pleased with how it is working up.  But I think that's about all I'm allowed to say, so I shall talk about the yarn instead.

I'm sure you will have realised that this is Rowan Kidsilk Haze.  The colour, however, is a new one.  It is 664 Steel, and seems to be something of a chameleon colour.  It is a silvery grey, but sometimes it looks almost blue, sometimes I can see hints of purple, and sometimes it looks like a dusty grey-green.  It is lovely, and I can see it becoming one of my favourites, alongside Majestic and Elegance, which last is now of course discontinued, much lamented by me.  Oh, and not forgetting Turkish Plum!

Lots of things waiting in the wings - baby socks and baby blanket for my neighbour - pullover for my husband - Ross for myself - must crack on!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Three nice things

First - a little video.

I remember these from a long time ago.  Wonderful!

Second - I am going to a new knitting group this afternoon.   Actually it isn't entirely new to me, but it is several years since I've been to this particular group, so it feels new.  This group is at the hospital in Bath, where there is a very real interest in knitting to improve wellbeing and to improve self management of long term illness and chronic pain.  

The place to look for more information is Stitchlinks.

And finally - there is this.

Another sample knit.   I am allowed to show it - but not to talk about it, so I will say no more.

But isn't it beautiful?