Thursday, 14 August 2008

Power Surge

I haven't had a power surge myself; quite the reverse in fact. I usually have a relapse around this time of year: I try to be positive and think that maybe this year it won't happen, but then I get sideswiped again and spend a couple of weeks picking myself up off the floor. That's how it's been lately. The actual power surge was on a new television series which started on Sunday, Britain from Above. I watched it; don't know if I'll watch the rest. It reminded me a bit of a schools programme but it was quite hypnotic. Aerial views are always quite compelling somehow. Anyway, the reason I mention it is that there was a bit with a man who manages the national grid or part of it, and he was bracing himself to meet the surge in demand that follows the end of East Enders. I've already forgotten the staggering number of electric kettles that are switched on within six minutes of the end, but what caught my attention was Andrew Marr's assertion that we're the only country in the world that does this, switches on huge numbers of kettles all at once. Bill Bryson says somewhere that it's one of the things he likes about the British, their ability to get excited at the prospect of a hot beverage. I wonder if there's a surge when people open the fridge door to get a cool beer?

I started the Adamas shawl but then I decided that it wasn't a start, it was a swatch. I like my lace holey but this is so open that you can't really see the sweet little intersecting squares that make up the pattern. Plus, I had made a mistake. I'm going to start again with 3.5mm needles, which I don't have in the Addi lace at the moment. I can get them at K1 Yarns on Saturday, if I get there.
The yarn is delicious.

I blocked the Forest Canopy from 40 inches by 20 to 50 inches by 25. So it's not huge, but it's very nice. My friend was very pleased with it. I had thought that blocking would quieten the Kidsilk Haze down a bit but it was still as mad and fluffy and airy as ever, quite difficult to wrap up in tissue.

We read a lotabout SABLE, Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy, but not so much about another besetting sin, Pattern Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. I've been buying some old VKBs off eBay, not respectably ancient ones like Jean buys, but 1980s ones. One of them, Holiday 1986, I must have owned at the time because I have the sweater to prove it. I got my mother to knit it because I was too busy: of course, I can't squeeze into it now but I would never part with it.

I loved this one with the bow too: I still think I might use the chart someday. I know it's not fashionable to say this, but I really like '80s knitting. It was a very exuberant period, with a real joy in what could be done with yarns and colour and I think there are just as many hostages to fortune in the latest pattern books are there are in these.

Speaking of the latest pattern books, I am totally in love with the latest Rowan book, number 44. As I type this, I am horribly aware of all the things I was in love with in last autumn's Rowan book that I never got round to knitting, but we won't dwell on that. Rather than my taking a lot of bad photographs, or stealing them from another site, here is a link to to Colourway's site which has some of the highlights - Rowan themselves are 'moving to a new website' so they have nuttin'. Click on the thumbnails for embiggening and yardage.

One of the best things for somebody as unimaginative as myself is that they have shown some of the styles twice, in different yarns or with and without embroidery, or with and without stripes. I'm not really into embroidering my knitting; I sort of disapprove of it in a way which I can't possibly justify, but it is a lovely look. The 'stories' are Nostalgia, which has already had Vivienne running for her costume book but doesn't pretend to be historically accurate fortunately, Renaissance (likewise, I suspect) and Elegance.

The mag also has a piece about a book by Sharon Brant, Knitting Goes Large, which is due out in theUK next month. She contributed to Martin Storey's Classic Knits for Real Women, which I found very disappointing, but this looks promising. I found the Storey designs included a lot of the things that I avoided after I gained weight, like shirt collars and styles that button right up to the neck, not to mention dull colours and general fussiness. One of the items on the cover is a sleeveless polo-neck, of all things. Rowan has increased the size range in its patterns at about the same rate as I have needed them to, which is handy, but this might be a useful extra.

When I was collecting the mag I had the opportunity to touch, and sniff, some of the new British Sheep Breeds yarns which are just wonderful. They're not for the faint-hearted or those who prefer their yarn suitably distanced from proceedings which produce it, but if you like to bury your face in a sweater and go wibber wibber wibber, you will probably love them.

I feel I should confess that I have been lurking on Ravelry for a little while. As long as images had to be uploaded to Flickr I knew there was no way I could join in wholeheartedly, but Blogger has obligingly uploaded all my blog images to Picasa and Ravelry has obligingly arranged to upload images from there, so I no longer have an excuse. I am chronicknitting, and at the time of writing I have 214 Faves and 3 Friends. Ooops. Obviously I should get out more.

So what did I do when I realized I had a couple of weeks to fill in before I could start knitting Adamas on smaller needles? I cast on for Icarus, of course. I have three balls of Kidsilk Spray in the grey / black / white colourway, Graphite, and the pattern is notorious for eating yarn so I started with a spare ball of plain grey Kidsilk Haze. I'm nearly at the end of it here. I'm not finding this part of it dull; I'm just enjoying the yarn and looking forward to doing the feathers.

Thank you for the Music Box recommendation, Judith. I didn't record it but I've added it to my LoveFilm list. Amazon transferred its dvd rental business to LoveFilm and I don't like them nearly as much so, irrationally, I'm not watching the dvds I've got. I must have a blitz and then I can get some new ones.


beverlyanne said...

Hi Helen,

Congratulations on the amount of shawl knitting you've accomplished. I too collect old VKs; I have them all from 1982, when their current format began, to the present, I am frequently amazed at how fresh some of the 1980s designs look. I think its partly a function of very good design. I personally am a 1970s freak.

Cinders said...

I love your lace knitting. I'm still trying to get my dull brain around to coping with the patterns!!! love your FC shawl.

I saw that In the air programme too. I quite enjoyed some of it , but not the bits where we saw rush hour in 3 seconds. I cant watch TV that moves so drunken camera work and speeded up shots are a no-no!!

Sorry your M.E has flared up again. hope it dampens down again soon.

You now have 4 freinds on Ravellry!!! i Added you staright away. How did you get Piccassa to work on there? mind you I've only just got Piccassa and am somewhat mystified by it!! take care

Lorraine said...

The Grumpy Cat was reprinted about 10 years later. Perhaps you had that issue.

Lee said...

"...if you like to bury your face in a sweater and go wibber wibber wibber, you will probably love them."

That phrase makes me so...happy!

Anonymous said...

The bow sweater has always been a favorite of mine. Didn't get around to it, but I've made so many other intarsia projects I had to declare a moritorium-- can't stand to do intarsia any more.
I don't spurn designs from any period. Even if the overall effect displeases, there can be some elements worth adapting. A slight change in silhouette is often all it takes to make a stunner.
-- Gretchen

Cazzab said...

Your Forest Canopy shawl is absolutely beautiful.

I, too am impressed by your productivity despite not feeling 100%. I hope you're making progress.

I love the cat jumper. I'm not one for picture knitting, but that's just excellent. I can think of at least three people I could knit that for who'd appreciate it. It seems to have aged very well. Your mother's knitting is lovely too.

Knitting Linguist said...

Yay for Icarus -- it's looking great! I, too, enjoyed that simpler beginning part, in no small part because I could knit it during meetings, which I can't do with more complicated lace. All of your shawls are looking great. Also, I'm off to add you to my friends list on Ravelry so I can see more pictures of your shawls :)