Monday, 31 December 2007

Not a Roundup

Christmas was lovely - laughter, tears and all the other drama of a family Christmas. I'm finding life back at home rather quiet by comparison. I had some success with the scarves I knitted as Christmas presents - you can see a full report at the Knitting New Scarves KAL.

I have been flogging round and round Mavis and am on the third ball of Silk Garden now. I will have to make a real effort to find the pattern soon as I can't remember how much of these chevrons I'm supposed to do. I know roughly where it is but it's a folded-up photocopy so it's easy to lose. It isn't an illicit photocopy: the friend I am knitting this for has bought a copy of Naturally Noro but she obviously realizes that if she sends it to me she stands very little chance of ever seeing it again, so she sent me a photocopy of the Mavis Pattern.

I have been thinking about what to start next. I'm not someone who makes New Year Resolutions: I either do something or I don't, at any time of year. And I'm not given to looking back on my knitting in an annual cycle. I do look back at the year and think of the worst and the best that has happened, but that's in terms of major losses and compensations in the larger scheme of things. But coming to the end, for the moment, of that great burst of all-consuming scarf-knitting has left me in a place where I am having to think a bit about what I want to do alongside Mavis... and the Stacked Wedges in silvery grey Malabrigo that I intend to start just as soon as I get a pair of needles organized. This may involve waiting for me to buy a set of 6mm rosewood dpns as I am in my customary state of post-Christmas skintness and not even I can persuade myself that rosewood dpns are an essential - not this week, anyway.

I sold some odds and ends on eBay (not yarn) and had some credit, so I got some lovely plain grey Jaeger Matchmaker Aran called Flannel from Jannette, one of my favourite sources of yarn. I want to make something very simple and classic from it and have been toying with this pattern, Montparnasse from Berroco. The yarn is a good match. I love asymmetrical things, and deconstructed things. The back starts with a single stitch.

I also seriously think it's time I started doing something with the huge skein of Habu Shosenshi linen paper yarn which I bought a while ago, ahem. I got it at K1 Yarns in Glasgow, a heavenly shop. The Shosenshi is grey too. They also have Habu's stainless steel yarn, which I have been coveting ever since I first began to see it on blogs. I wonder if one could substitute Rowan Kidsilk Haze for the Superfine Merino in this scarf? I'm not usually terribly into felting as I have difficulty with the idea of taking the time to knit something large only to end up with something small, but I might be prepared to make an exception. I have some striped-in-shades-of-grey Kidsilk Spray and I like the idea of using it with stainless steel. Maybe this is going to be a grey year?

I have Setsuko Torii's book, Hand-Knit Works, which I bought from Amazon Japan. I still get emails from them which I assume say, 'People who bought Hand-Knit Works also bought this,' but I can't be absolutely sure. It has pictures like this, which make me swoonand this, which is nice,
and this, which makes me hyperventilate, but in a good way.
There are lots of guides on the Interwebberies to understanding Japanese knitting patterns so I'm willing to give it a go, but I would probably start with something easy, and not a stainless steel cardigan. I have my own little swoony photo, which I took when I first got the Shosenshi. Katherine Walker, who owns K1 Yarns, told me that she soaks the yarn and leaves it to dry before she starts to knit with it, so I did three little swatches. Unfortunately, the one I liked best was the one that didn't get wetted and was never washed. I ended up in a complete state of indecision anyway. Katherine also gave me a worked-out-in-English pattern for a jacket so I could do that if my struggles with the book end in tears.

I treated myself to Victorian Lace Today with some of my Christmas Cash. I'm not in a great hurry to knit anything else from it (I did a very simple scarf already) but I want to have it for the historical content. However, having raved on here for hours about grey wool and deconstructed Japonaiserie, I will probably spend the year knitting fluffy pink shawls. I hope you will be kind enough not to point this out to me.

Sunday, 23 December 2007


In August I knitted some Christmas decorations, and posted about them. I did them in August because they're in Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac for that month and I thought it was a clever piece of planning ahead. Well, I don't know about clever.

I gave some of the snowflakes to a friend for her tree, and now I can't find the others. Maybe I gave her them all. I probably thought, 'They're so easy to knit, I'll just do some more later.' Well, they're easy to knit if you can find the yarn.
I've found some aqua snowflakes and some Bittersweet stars, but no fluffy white snowflakes, and no fluffy white mohair yarn. Oh well. Maybe next year I'll be better organized. I used to be a very organized person, so it's very salutary for me to be such a shambles.

I got all those scarves wrapped and posted, except one. That always happens, doesn't it? I'm seeing the recipient today. I was going to give her the blue-and-purple-and-green Noro Silk Garden Shag instead, but I really genuinely think she would prefer the Lake Tahoe one, so I don't think she'll mind waiting. She's a teenager, so I can give her an Amazon voucher to take the edge off.

You can see where the Lake Tahoe one is up to. It's a pity the light is still so terrible as the colours are marvellous.

I'm going away for Christmas, to stay with family, and I'm going to meet the baby that I knitted these hats for. And this one. We'll be four generations, so that should be fun. (I'm not telling you which generation I am.) I was going to take grey Malabrigo yarn and start on Stacked Wedges, but I decided that counting might not be within my range of skills during the festivities, so I'm going to take my friend's Mavis and go round and round and round on that. Every second round requires counting, but only up to four, and it's always four, whereas Stacked Wedges requires counting different numbers of rows which is probably a step too far.

I'm not sure when I'll be back, but before the new year. I'm putting a new puzzle in the sidebar, just in case you have a spare moment. I hope you all have a fab time over Christmas, and can spend it with ones you love.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Tilted Pink, etc.

I've finished the pink Tilted Blocks and I'm about to wrap it up so that I can post it tomorrow.

The colour isn't at all right in this photograph, but it's my last chance for a picture. The real colour is much more pink, and less violet.

Much more like this, except that the scarf isn't blurred.

I've also taken the opportunity to photograph all the New Scarves I've done, as most of them are leaving my hands tomorrow.

I have, you will not be surprised to learn, already cast on another Shag, in Lorna's Laces Lake Tahoe, although it occurred to me tonight that I might have miscounted and this one might be extra. We'll see.

NOTE: Owing to a fit of absent-mindedness, this post is a duplicate of the one at the Knitalong. If I delete it, I will also delete all the photographs in the Knitalong posting, so I'm leaving it here. Just pretend you haven't seen it. Thank you.

Finished Tilted

This is a short post to say that I've finished the pink Tilted Blocks; I'm putting a longer post at the Knitting New Scarves Knitalong.
The other purpose for this post is to say Hello to all the jigsaw players (?) who came over on Tuesday from Jigzone. I nearly fainted when I saw my blog stats - what a responsibility.

I've done the Jigzone jigsaws for years; it's one of the older Bookmarks on my browser and I've always found them compelling, although I hardly ever do a real jigsaw. I'm not very clever about it, so I usually do a 48-piece Classic. I think the playing-through satisfaction of jigsaws is very close to that of knitting (and that desktop favourite, Solitaire) and I'm really pleased that you've been interested enough to come over and that so many of you stayed to read the blog. I hope you come back. There's a new ball of wool in the sidebar to keep you busy, a ball of Lorna's Lace's Shepherd Sport in the Lake Tahoe colourway.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

More Scarf News

I ripped the meandering lavender Scottish Tweed, and it's turning into a Tilted Blocks. You can see a close-up of it over at the Knitting New Scarves Knitalong. I do love this colour. I would never wear it myself - I'm so pale that I just can't wear pinks and mauves, except for a dark shocking pink. I have the sort of skin Billy Connolly was talking about when he said that Scots are actually blue and it takes us a week in the sun to turn white. So it's nice to have someone else to knit it for.

Those of you with long memories may remember some pearly grey Malabrigo that I got to make into an Elizabeth Zimmermann ribwarmer. Once I cast on, I started to wonder if I really wanted a large pale grey wodge of garter stitch over my upper half, so it's been on the back burner.

However I remembered it today when I was casting about for a soft yarn to use for the Meandering Stripes scarf. The variegations in the yarn will show off the short rows perfectly. I shall get it out of its hiding place, but I really mustn't cast on until I've finished these presents, because this one is for me.

For those of you who have been complaining about how much time you're spending on jigsaws, there's a new one in the sidebar. It took me ages.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Dithering about Meandering

Yesterday I showed you the ball of Rowan Scottish Tweed that I'd bought. I was thinking of doing another scarf from Knitting New Scarves, maybe Meandering Stripes.

I cast on and started Meandering - the sharp-eyed amongst you will see that it doesn't have stripes.

It's coming along nicely, but I'm not sure that I'm going to keep going. I can't see how this is going to look on a human being, and I think the yarn may not be soft enough for the style. The two already completed on the Knitalong are softer (they're actually Stacked Wedges, not Meandering Stripes, but the principle is the same).

Maybe I should make another Tilted Blocks: I know that looks good in a tweedy yarn. Or maybe I should make yet another Shag: it really does seem to be a pattern which brings out the best in any yarn. Now seems to be a suitable time to confess that I have already started another Shag, in Noro Silk Garden 236, shades of blue and purple.

On another subject entirely, I always thought that one of my favourite shades of Lorna's Laces, Bittersweet, was so called because the colours are hot, sweet pinks and reds with a dash of sour, sharp peach, but I discovered today while looking at one of my favourite photoblogs that Bittersweet is a kind of berry-bearing vine and berries are red, pink and peach. I expect a lot of you knew that already but I feel I have to share my discovery - the photo is worth seeing, anyway. If you want to see the colours in the yarn, look at the jigsaws in the sidebar.

Oh and I'm watching The Girl from Missouri, made in 1934. Starring Jean Harlow, written by Anita Loos and her husband, with gowns by Adrian. Who could ask for anything more?

Friday, 7 December 2007

Fancy a Shag?

I cast on for another Shag scarf almost as soon as I'd finished Aria, as I needed some unconscious knitting to do while I was away from home. It's funny, the first time I tried this pattern, I had to concentrate like it was the trickiest bit of lace, but now I can do it while I'm catching trains and listening to the iPod and talking. I had a ball of Noro Silk Garden in earthy naturals, number 47, and I had been pining to do this pattern in a graduated yarn ever since I saw Wendi's . I originally bought the Noro to use with a creamy coloured yarn in another scarf, but it never worked properly. This time it was perfect. I had to buy another ball and I've ended up with a really interesting bit of rusty colour at the centre back, but this scarf looks good wrapped from front to back too, so that's OK.

I bought more Silk Garden today to do another Shag, but I also got some lavender Rowan Scottish Tweed to do Meandering Stripes or Stacked Wedges. My aunt wears those sharp lilac and pinks (sky blue pink) and I think she'll love one of these for Christmas. I don't mind making all these for other people becauses I feel I am working towards deciding which one I want for myself, and I'm quite happy spending some time making Absolutely Sure.

In between, I cast on my friend's Mavis again and I've finished the first ball. It's stretched bit further this time, because I cast on fewer stitches. I'm putting this aside now until after Christmas, not least because this is yarn to work on in daylight. If you knit this in the winter, you miss half the pleasure.

Speaking of which, have you seen these Raven yarns? Although they're from the Socks that Rock people, they're available in other weights, like silk and mohair laceweight, or even a bulky 2-stitches-to-the-inch wool from Uruguay. I've managed to stop myself buying any immediately, because I am simply not going to knit shades of black in a northern winter but come the spring I think I shall be unable to resist. The Knitting Linguist has made the most beautiful stole.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Full Length Aria

Here are some more pictures of the completed Aria.

It's been hanging up and has stretched a couple of inches, as it's quite heavy. I might roll it up soon and get it ready for wrapping and posting.

It's a very satisfactory shape and texture for rolling and draping and I'm really curious to see how different it will be when I make it in wool. It can be folded for frilly occasions,

or worn flat for more everyday events.
I was showing it to a friend and produced the three I've done from the book, which I have hanging on a coat hanger, and she said, 'Now that's just showing off.' I expect it is.

Aria doesn't actually do anything curvy at the ends: it's just the photo.

I went visiting on Friday night, and took the little pocketed scarf which I knitted recently for the person who can be seen in the new jigsaw. It was very warmly received and then enthusiastically worn the next day, and I received an order from the big brother as well. I said the pockets were handy for keeping your hands warm and he pointed out that they would also be useful for carrying Star Wars figures. I hadn't thought of that. He wants his in red and green and I didn't even ask if he wanted little hearts on the pockets as I didn't want to be withered with a glance. I might do stars instead.

Before I set off visiting, I had to start a new scarf project. I had been intending to do a new style from KNS, but I thought it might be a bad idea to be wrestling with six needles and swearing a lot when I was in company, especially the company of small people who might repeat it the next day, so what did I do but start another Shag. I'll show you that tomorrow.

Sorry I didn't keep my last promise about posting: I hope it didn't spoil your weekend :). I got sucked into YouTube for hours and didn't have any brain left.