Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Third Time Lucky

Remember this? It's Malabrigo Silky Merino.

Well, it turned into this this again.

It was going to be an Andrea's Shawl. I did the border, and picked up all the stitches, did the first row of the pattern and placed the markers, and then started on the second row. After about three days and nine attempts, last night I nearly tore the whole thing off the needles in a fit of rage. Instead, I waited a couple of hours and ripped it off calmly and tidily.

It's probably not that difficult, but as we have established before, I don't do well knitting lace on both sides. I like a nice easy row of purl to calm me down and let me get my bearings.

So I've cast on again, third time lucky. This time it's a Gaia, recommended by Mary Lou a while ago. Gaia is intended to be knitted with self-striping sock yarn and the pattern changes are instigated by the colour changes, but I think I can handle instigating them myself.

I have two skeins of this, Teal Feather, and a skein of Matisse Blue on its way so there will be some stripes, but I think I'll save most of the blue for a picot bind-off. Maybe. I think it will be a a thank-you to the friend who helped clear out so much Stuff the other weekend as she really deserves something.

While I was wrestling with Andrea, I got quite a lot done on Dapper out of spite, but of course it has been flung aside now that I've cast on again. Rowan Wool Cotton versus Malabrigo Silky Merino just isn't a fair fight.

Everest Base Camp
No news or photos yet. I think they must be shaking off the sniffles and wheezes which seem to be obligatory after such a trip. Not to mention after a longhaul flight. I'm holding one of their plants hostage so they'll have to contact me eventually.

That's a wonderful story, Judith, about the ospreys. Apparently some conservationists in Devon have been trying to distract ospreys on their way to Scotland and lure them westwards, using fake nests and polystyrene ospreys, and fake baby bird poo too. In other words, the English are trying to steal our ospreys. And just before the election too.

Still in Loch Garten, here is EJ taking over from Odin on egg-sitting duties and having quite a conversation about it.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Things I Forgot to Say Last Time

I forgot to say that I finished the green Road to China Cowl and decided to give it to my neighbour's SO; that's my neighbour who's trekking to Everest Base Camp and for whom I made East West Everest. I thought someone who was facing such arduousness deserved it. I actually finished it in such haste, as they were packing the last of their antibiotics and tissues, that I didn't get a photo of it. I'm hoping there will be a photograph of it in situ.

They were due back on Wednesday this week, and they got back on Thursday night so they can't have been too delayed by the volcanic ash. Once they surface, I shall be all agog.

I'm still flogging on with Dapper. I can't believe that something so small (cropped sleeveless waistcoat) can be taking so long. I think the fairies must be coming in and frogging it after I've gone to bed.

One of the books that resurfaced during the recent re-shuffling was Zoe Mellor's bootees book.

I love this book and it couldn't have appeared at a better time, as there is a positive swarm of babies at the moment, with more on the horizon. I just got an email about a new one on Thursday.
I made these tiger feet once, but I can't remember who I gave them to.

The Ravelry page for the book is here. If you can look at the projects without squeaking, you're a better woman than I am.

I'm thinking of knitting a Baby Surprise Jacket for one of this year's arrivals, if I can dig out the pattern, or one of them as I think I have about three versions.

I had a stepladder I needed to get rid of, so I put a notice on it saying PLEASE HELP YOURSELF and left it outside beside the front door. I came back upstairs, filled the kettle and looked out of the kitchen window and there was a man scooting up the street with it. Whole thing must have taken about a minute.

The ospreys are back at Loch Garten. The parents, that is; none of the chicks seem to have made it back. The parents arrived back, separately, on the same dates as last year. If you asked human beings to do that, they wouldn't. It would be too complicated or something.

Anyway, here's EJ bringing back a fish (yes, I wish she was called EZ).

She's laid three eggs since then.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Miss Marple Shawl in English

I translated the pattern for this shawl so that I could knit it myself and I offered it to the designer, Cécile Franconie. She says that it's OK for me to post it. Do have a look at her blog, Facile avec Cécile; I love that crocheted granny squares are called 'grannys'.

It appears that the simplest way to do this is for me to post the pattern here and have links added to Ravelry. The original Ravelry page for the shawl is here and the pattern is here and her blog post about it is here. She has other patterns on Ravelry here. I think that's everything. Phew. So, with the kind permission of the designer, here it is.

Miss Marple Shawl
By Cécile Franconie


1 ball Kureyon Sock yarn (or two balls of Rowan Felted Tweed and two balls of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, held together)
1 pair 5mm (US 8) needles, 1 pair 8mm (US 11) needles

4 stitch markers


Garter Stitch


YO - yarn over
kfb - knit through front and back of stitch, creating an extra stitch

sts - stitches

With 5mm (US 8) needles and one strand of each yarn held together, cast on 3 stitches
Row 1: K1, YO, K1, YO, K1 (5 sts)
Row 2: K
Row 3: K1, YO, K3, YO, K1 (7 sts)
Row 4: K
Row 5: K1, YO, K5, YO, K1 (9 sts)
Row 6: K
Row 7: K1, YO, K7, YO, K1 (11 sts)
Row 8: K
Row 9: K1, YO, K9, YO, K1 (13 sts)
Row 10: K
Row 11 (RS): K3, YO, K3, YO, place marker, K1, place marker, YO, K3, YO, K3
Row 12 and all following wrong side rows: K
Row 13 and all following right-side rows: K3, YO, K to marker, YO, K1, YO, marker, K to last 3 sts, YO, K3

Repeat Rows 12 and 13 until your knitting measures 50cm (20 inches), and then change to 8mm (US 11) needles.

Next Row: *K1, kfb*, repeat to end. This creates the frill around the hem.
Knit 6 rows of garter stitch.

Cast off (Bind off)
Knit 2 sts together, return stitch from right-hand needle to left-hand needle, and repeat - this takes a long time but it is worth it!

I made mine with a strand of Rowan Felted Tweed and a strand of Rowan Kidsilk Print, which is discontinued but you can still find it if you look. It took two entire balls of Felted Tweed but I had about half of the second ball of Kidsilk left over.

There's a very useful webpage of translations for knitting terms here.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Back At Last

For a change, that silence was partly caused by my being busy. The friend that I made Mavis for was visiting and we did lots of sorting and shifting, and she took lots of stuff to my chosen charity shop. I allowed her a day off and we went to the But'n'Ben in Auchmithie

for high tea (well, it was Sunday). We then took the coast road home and stopped off in Anstruther for ice cream.

The perfect Scottish east coast day out, and the sun shone like it didn't know how to do anything else, which is always gratifying when one has a visitor from the south.

You may remember I was proposing to knit something elaborate, requiring a high degree of concentration, probably on tiny needles. Well, it didn't work out like that. I was looking through Ravelry for shawls knitted with Rowan Kidsilk Haze when I came across a Miss Marple Shawl done with a strand of Felted Tweed held alongside Kidsilk. I had both pining in my stash.

The pattern is in French but it's not exactly complex and with the help of this handy page of knitting terms in French, English (Anglo- and American-), German and Spanish, I was able to rattle through it. The texture of the two yarns together is just wonderful, soft and squidgy and endlessly squeezable.

The Kidsilk I used is a discontinued one from the Spray line, Medici, and the shifts in colour give a lovely textured look.

I suspect it will grow when it's washed, and grow further over time, but I haven't been able to go a day without wearing it so far. It will be even nicer as it grows.

I took the Pinwheel off its pins and took some snaps before I posted it. This is white Paton's Jet, like the Jyri scarf. For a yarn that is so soft to work with, it gives a surprisingly crisp appearance. I decided to give it to the second of the babies who was in line for it, so I'll do something else for the first one. They've both arrived.

Sea-anemone style.

I discovered that the third baby isn't due until June, so I've stopped panicking about that. I think it'll be another Pinwheel, but the mother is very allergic to everything that's ever run about, so it'll be All Seasons Cotton. I think she would appreciate something adventurous in colour so that should liven it up a bit.

I did start something slightly tricky, although it's not in fine yarn or on tiny needles. It's that Malabrigo Silky Merino in Teal Feather.

Can you tell what it is yet?

I had to do 219 repeats of the four-row pattern, but I won't embarrass myself by telling you how long it took me to learn it. I need a ball of the same yarn in Matisse Blue but there's not much point in ordering it while there is a cloud of volcanic ash in the way.

Not Knitting
Weather Pixie is having a problem with her servers, Janet, but expects to be back at some point.

I should have had this in my previous post on the 1st of April but it still makes me laugh so here it is anyway. Steve Carell was on GMTV to talk about Date Night, and was asked to do an off-the-cuff weather forecast.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Normal Knitting Has Been Resumed

This is the Cupcake Hat, just before cast off. I cast on 100 stitches and knitted the base quite a lot deeper.

And here it is with the cherry on top.

All Rowan Kid Classic from the leftovers bin.

I think I might send it to the Australian baby you've seen recently, as it's autumn over there and she will need a warm hat soon.

I blocked the Pinwheel Blanket in white Jet that I finished a while ago. This has been hanging around because there is a choice of babies involved and I haven't decided who's getting it, so there was a lack of urgency. One of the babies has arrived, so I had better get my deciding cap on.

Also in white Jet, I've started a Baby Cocoon. There is a vogue nowadays for photographing tinies in pods or cocoons so there are now patterns for such. This is for my cousin's daughter's baby, whose big sister got a lot of hats a while ago. I don't know that she'll actually use it for a photo shoot, but it might amuse her and I think it'll be quite a practical little kicking bag. It's fun to knit, on 10mm dpns.

And I've nearly finished a very plain cowl with the Road to China that Raveller gave me.

I think this will be worn the other way out, with bumps of reverse stocking stitch, but I can't be sure until it's off the needles. I think it would trap more air that way, and thus be warmer.

I am quite happy with all of these things and have enjoyed the yarns (especially the Road to China, sigh) but so much stocking stitch adds up to a sort of sensory deprivation. I must must must start something soon which isn't vanilla knitting, and preferably not on four needles. I'm very taken with this top called Liesl but it's more stocking stitch so I must resist it for now. I won't be knitting it in the preferred yarn, because that would cost about £72 but I might finally break out the Habu Shosenshi that I've been sitting on for so long - but not now.

I think there may be a tremendous lace cast on over the weekend. I have been looking at shawls and shawlettes and all sorts, and am torn between repeating something I know I like, and plunging into the unknown. Which will it be?

Looking ahead, I was talking to Lindsay, my Woolfest companion of last year about the likelihood of our visiting again this year, and I had to face the awful fact that I haven't used any of the yarn I bought last year. Well, I started a Baktus with one ball, but I haven't finished it. The way I reckon I could square this with myself would be to decide beforehand that I won't buy any irresistible skeins of gorgeous colous, but will buy a sweaterfull of something splendidly authentic instead. Something organic, spun within feet of where it walked and bleated. That would be nice.