Friday, 25 May 2007

Victorian Lace Today

When I first looked at the book Victorian Lace Today, I thought I was mostly interested in it for the history and that I was unlikely to get round to knitting anything from it, but I decided to try one of the simple patterns, the scarf on page 80 - most of the items in this book don't have glamorous names, just Scarf and Shawl and so on.

I got a lovely skein of Alpaca (with a little bit of nylon) from Fyberspates' Sock Club, and as soon as I saw it I knew I couldn't possibly hide it inside my shoes, so I used that. The pattern is so simple that I feel as if I'm cheating. I've done about 25 inches, but I was getting a bit glum because it looked, as one might expect at this stage, really tatty. I could see people looking sorry for me when they saw it, because they thought, 'Poor thing, she's working so hard on that awful-looking rag.' So this morning I blocked what I've done so far and I'm much happier.

The photos don't show the full beauty of the yarn, which has flashes of purple and lavender.

When I block it again after finishing it, I think I'll do it a bit more severely, but I'm pleased with the points which are sharper than I expected to get in alpaca. I will now knit happily to the other end.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Yet more stripes

I've been keeping on keeping on with the Mably stripes, so much so that I did too much from the side increases to the neck shaping. I had to decide whether to rip it back, so I reviewed the pattern measurements and tried one sleeve on in front of the mirror.

The pattern is sized for S/M to 2X/3X, but if you read the small print it tells you that the model in the photo (see 2 May) is wearing the largest size. Now why is she doing that? She presumably isn't a 3X. I want mine to look quite large and drapey so I haven't ripped it back. I should have knitted for 10 inches after the side increases and I did 13 inches.

I've done a bit of the shaping now, and have just done a stripe of 8 rows of turquoise instead of 6 rows - does it occur to you that I'm not concentrating here? When I'm doing something complicated, I check it constantly; when I'm knitting lace I put markers after every set of pattern stitches, even if that means after every 10 stitches, and I'm very patient about ripping things out where I've made a mistake in a stitch pattern because I know, from experience, that if you make one mistake in a sweater or cardigan, it's the only thing that everyone notices, and from the other side of the street too. But once I start on a piece of stocking stitch like this, I just steam along compulsively and would rather knit another 10 rows than get up off the sofa to look for the inch-tape and actually measure it. I'm sure nobody will notice the slightly wider stripe, and I just need to remember to make the same mistake when I'm knitting the back, so that it evens up. Do any of you feel like putting money on that?

In the photograph you can also see Sylvester, who helps me with my knitting sometimes. He tells me not to bother ripping things back, and he never, ever plays with the yarn.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Beginnings of Brandon Mably stripes

It's a real responsibility changing the colours in pattern by a master like Brandon Mably, and of course one is limited by the colours available in the yarn. I wanted to do this mostly in blue and for me the natural partner of blue
is green, but the greens in Rowan Summer Tweed are all quite sharp or acid - lime, pea etc., rather than the sea greens - so I went in the direction of pinks and lilac, although I did manage to sneak in the turquoise. There are three denim-y shades of blue in it, which I'm quite happy about.

I still think that the navy blue is too dark and too hard - it seems to have fewer flecks in it than the other shades. But there are only six stripes in that shade, so I'm hoping they'll provide a pleasing contrast rather than overwhelming the whole. The edges will be done in Denim, which is the medium of the denim-y shades: the other two are Powder and Navy.

More stripes

The Blueberry Summer Tweed arrived and I discovered that I had already bought some of it: it looks darker on monitors. I would call it lilac. So I've altered the stripes a little bit again and I've finished the first sleeve and am approaching the shoulder. I'll try to get a photograph tomorrow, when the sun comes out.

I love these cuff-to-cuff cardigans. I knitted Debbie Bliss's Lara last year, and upscaled it to a jacket by using Noro Kureyon. That's it in the photo above. I love it. I started knitting it during the first of the very hot weather last year and melted under it because it was so warm on my lap. I couldn't wear it until the winter, but I wore it a lot as soon as I could. I did five rows of moss stitch at the hem, because a lot of bloggers recommended that, and if I were to knit it again I would make the increases at the side straight instead of shaping it. The grey and lilac look very misty and the green and turquoise add to the landscape effect. Altogether, it looks like a Scottish landscape, somewhere in the Outer Hebrides perhaps.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Today I have mostly knitted i-cord

I started knitting the Brandon Mably stripy jacket from the new Vogue Knitting (Spring/Summer 2007) last week, in the recommended yarn (Rowan Summer Tweed) but in different shades. The one illustrated in the mag is in fawns and hot pink with a bit of green, but I'm more of a blue girl. I already had quite a lot of Summer Tweed (I love the way it crunches, feel that silk, mmm) in powder blue and turquoise from a sweater that I started knitting and then forgot which pattern I was using. Yes, I realise that sounds bad, but there was a three-year gap and I did move house in between.

So I got some more shades of blue and the new Sweet Pea and started at one cuff. I decided that the 6th colour didn't look right so I brought some bright pink and decided to change the order of the colours slightly. I took the first go off the needles and started over again. This time it looked better, but the bright pink didn't work so I've ordered some Blueberry from eBay and I'm waiting for that. It must have taken me an hour, peering at the monitor and comparing different shade cards, and I'm not altogether sure it's going to work, but I feel slightly more constructive now. I want dreadfully to rush ahead with it and a small voice is pointing out that no-one else in the world really cares whether my stripes match or not, but I know I will be much happier knitting it if the colours are looking good. That's the whole point of knitting stripes, isn't it? So that you can see what the next one looks like.

And I had to buy a 100cm Addi circ in the 5mm size, even although my circulars case contains the empty packs for a 100cm and a 150cm, which I remember buying at great expense and inconvenience. It's a pity I can't remember where I put them or what I'm knitting on them.

So while I'm waiting for the next shade of blue Summer Tweed and the Addi circ to arrive, I am mostly knitting i-cord. I knitted myself a cotton sweater and altered the neck in a cunning way, and it hasn't worked. So I am knitting an i-cord to thread through it, and when that doesn't work I shall rip it back and do it again, properly.