Sunday, 27 September 2009

Two Steps Forwards, One Step Back

Puzzle Wrap
I decided just to finish off the Puzzle Wrap with the yarn I had, and did my four little cast-offs, one for each point. I wove in all of my loose ends. Then the next day I decided that after all I do want it to be very long (it's 72 inches just now, pre-blocking) and actually I do want to put beads on it.

I got another ball of yarn almost instantly from AllSewYarns on eBay, who always posts things at the speed of light, but I'm now drumming my fingers waiting for the beads and trying not to think about the postal strike. I am passing my time by unweaving my loose ends and undoing the four cast-offs and picking up all the k2togs and ssks so it's probably a good thing that I'm not in a rush. I haven't photographed it because it's a mess of loose ends and dropped stitches, and it's not a pretty sight.

Just Another Raveller asked me if I would knit it again, or if I'm glad to be done with it. Usually when I'm knitting something I like, I think constantly of other yarns I would like to see it in, or alterations I might make 'next time' I knit it. I didn't do that with this pattern, but no, I'm not glad to be done with it. I like the yarn and I'm looking forward to the occasion when I shall wear it (hurry up, beads) so I'm feeling fondly towards it. I'm pretty sure I could stand to knit it again.

Golden Gail
I'm getting on quite well with the golden Gail. Now that I've got past the unconventional nature of the chart, it's a straightforward and gratifying knit.

The designer has posted a description of how to block this shawl. I don't understand the language it's written in, but it has such fabulous fotos that it doesn't matter.

Reversible Knitting
I pre-ordered Lyyne Barr's Reversible Knitting a while ago, to the extent of actually paying for it, and got an email from Amazon on Friday telling me that it is on its way: according to their tracking information it is presently in Droitwich.

Then today I heard from Judith that her copy has already arrived - on a Sunday, no less - and it is unbearably exciting. She directed me to this very detailed review here by Grumperina, which includes lots of illustrations and also pointed out that it is available at a better price at W.H. Smith's. I am now in a frenzy of impatience.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Less Puzzling Now

I've been inching forwards on the Puzzle Wrap. I should explain, it's called a Puzzle because it starts with a provisional cast-on and when you've knitted to the first end and cat off, you then pick up again where you started and knit in the opposite direction. This means that when you finish you have no discernible cast-on.

I'd always thought that this sort of thing left me with a big chance of ending up with a disaster. I've done it on the toe of toe-up socks but there wasn't very much at stake there. I was a bit more trepidacious this time.

Here we are at the first end.

And after finishing all the little cast-offs.

And here we are removing the waste yarn after the successful pick up.

Un morçeau de gâteau.

If it weren't for the Different Dye Lot Disaster, it would be invisible - to me, at any rate.

Actually, the DDLD is much more visible in the photographs than it is in reality. And, because of the construction of the stole, the lighter shade is in the middle and the ends are both dark, so I don't think it'll be screamingly obvious.

I won't embarrass myself by telling you how long it took for me to get into the swing of this pattern: there were times when the real puzzle was how I managed to have a different number of stitches on every row.

But I'm rattling through it now. I've just finished a repeat and am trying to decide whether I have enough yarn to do one more repeat before the final cast-off. And whether, after all, to put a few beads at this end. Since one end contains far fewer mistakes than the other, it would be nice to be able to find it easily. Just a few crystals, shimmering like dew drops...

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Too Poorly to Post

Thanks very much for all the nice compliments about the Queen Anne's Lace veil. Really, the pattern did all the work.

Sorry about the silence. I've been too poorly to post, and last week I was too poorly to attend Annie Modesitt's Combination Knitting class. Very tiresome. I understand everyone else had a whale of a time.

I have been knitting. It's taken me an embarrasingly high number of repeats to feel that I'm getting into the swing of the Puzzle Stole: this pattern looks as if it should be obvious to the point of tedium, but I still find myself having to check what row I'm on and which way my decreases should be pointing. For some reason, it's hard to read the row below. I love it, though; the yarn makes me smile every time I pick it up - if ever a yarn were agressively fluffy, or robustly floaty, this is it.

Yes, I have got a new pair of Crocs; silver ones which make me look as if I have Cyberman's feet.

It's Kidsilk Haze, in Trance, and it's darker than it looks here. I was thinking of putting some beads at the ends (the advantage of starting a stole in the middle is that you can put off decisions about the beginning) because my top has sequins on it, but then I realized that my bag will probably have sequins on it too (understated, moi?) so I don't think I will.

The ivory and gold bride's shawl - you know, the one I'm not knitting - is going more smoothly, precisely because the row below is very easily 'read' and I can spot an error immediately.

It's Gail, aka Nightsongs. I found it very hard to get started with this pattern and gave up the first time with mutters of, 'This is supposed to be enjoyable, for goodness' sake.' (Let's just pretend I said 'goodness'.) I started on the lovely Feather Duster instead but I forced myself to admit that it cries out for a fluffy yarn and so had another go at this. I added a centre stitch and things fell into place the second time; I think the yarn and the pattern suit each other very well.

I've also cast on the navy blue garment that I meant to do before Anhinga swept me off my feet, which is the Wrap Top from All Seasons at the Mill in that lovely inky navy, Dusk. This is dark enough that it can only be knitted in daylight.

It's an irregular rib so I've used stitch markers; pathetic, I know but better pathetic than having to rip. I knitted a Mistake Rib Scarf once and it nearly drove me insane, all the thinking and the counting and the checking.

I'm starting with the back which has a long boring bit, so I hope that'll help me get into the rhythm.

The colour here is totally wrong: it's much darker. And inkier.

I came across this on John Naughton's blog: they're bollards with a twist at the University Library in Cambridge (the original one, not the one in Massachusetts). It gets even better at about one minute in, so hang in there.

Me, I'm going back to the couch.