Monday, 7 April 2008

Shawls, Presents and Music

Here is the Pink Forest Canopy Shawl when I had finished the last pattern repeat and had just started the final pattern - fully equipped with a lifeline and umpteen markers. Although I had only used one marker, for the centre stitch, when I was doing the shawl, you can see I wasn't going to take any chances. After a couple of sweeps of the border pattern, I removed the markers, but I put in another lifeline after the third sweep (there are four) in the pattern) just in case I ran out of yarn during the cast off. I didn't, and I ended up with quite a respectable leftover - not enough for another pattern, and possibly not enough for another sweep of the border either, although I probably wouldn't have done so well without the wise advice of Spinning Fishwife.

The shawl is blocking as I type. I keep going through to the bedroom and tightening the screws a little bit more. Before blocking it was 36 inches wide and 19 inches deep; I did 15 pattern repeats and had approximately 275 stitches when I started the cast off.

The second skein of Lagoon for the first Forest Canopy arrived, and is the right weight, so I'm beavering away with that now (do beavers knit? I don't think so, but if they did, they would knit very warm, rather rough, sweaters.) It isn't superwash and I think I can detect a difference in the feel but I don't think it's going to look different, or at least not unless someone accidentally boils it. It's funny using 6.5mm needles and heavier yarn, after the 4mm lace needles. I can't find anyone in the UK who stocks Addi lace needles above the 4mm size, so I've bought some from US eBay in 5mm and 6mm. I suspect that true lace knitters never use anything above a 2mm, but I'm a bit of a sucker for a cheap effect.

The lace scarves I knitted as a birthday present have been received with cries of joy and excitement. The Scaruffle will be making a trip to Glyndebourne later in the year, I am assured. Lucky Scaruffle.
I got a wonderful surprise parcel from Kansas City last week. I sent Sweet Knittilicious Spot some fridge magnets and Scottish confectionery last year and she has responded with lots of things to keep me busy. There's some Americana in the form of Betty Crocker cookie mixes and a bottle of Louisana Hot Sauce. There was a jar of peanut butter too but that has found its way to the kitchen already. And there's two balls of Knitpicks in pink and wine, and this. So far I've avoided dyeing for the same reason as I've avoided spinning, because I know it would eat into my knitting time, but this is going to be a marvellous excuse to forget that. I've been busy googling and hope to have a go soon: I don't think Natalie and Jen have anything to worry about, but it should be fun.

She sent me these too. Do you see the beautiful little row counter? It contrasts markedly with my bit of knotted yarn. And heart-shaped stitch markers are my favourite. She has a shop on Etsy with other clever markers, including the ones for Cat Bordhi's sock method. She takes much better photographs of them too, sigh.

I experimented a month or so ago with a piece of software that was meant to play you the music I was listening to while I post. I couldn't get it to work properly but now someone's come up with this. It isn't necessarily what I'm listening to but it's my mix. You don't have to listen to it all (or indeed any of it), but the first track has been stuck in my head for weeks now, since it cropped up on my iPod Shuffle during a train journey. It brings back a part of my life so sharply and it's one of those tunes that makes you think you can sing. I've been listening to Loudon Wainwright so much and for so long that it's quite a surprise to realize that I don't actually know him. This song has a very vivid line about a baby looking out of a pram, makes a real picture in my mind. It's funny how you listen to songs and singers when you're young because of what they're saying about themselves, but when you listen to them again decades later they bring back what was happening to you and you hardly hear the song any more. You can make your own mix here, at muxtape.


Lee said...

I meant to reply to your comment on my blog last week, but didn't quite get there. But your post today makes what I was going to say even more a propos.

I had a *huge* thing for John Hiatt around the time I was in college (which seems like eons ago, now), especially "Bring the Family", "Slow Turning" and "Stolen Moments". Just reading the man's name takes me back to that time.

I started an account at Muxtape, but haven't put anything in yet.

Knitting Linguist said...

The lace is looking gorgeous! I tell you, Icarus is going to be a breeze (and actually, the boring bit at the beginning really isn't boring, because it goes so quickly). I really enjoyed knitting that shawl a lot :) I can't wait to see what you do with that yarn and Koolaid! I'm resolutely NOT taking up dyeing, for love nor money -- this spinning this is plenty absorbing, so I'll cheer from the sidelines :)

natalie said...

How did the dyeing work out, Helen?
I tried Kool Aid dyeing for the first time a few weeks ago!!!