Thursday, 23 December 2010

Mostly Christmas Knitting

Christmas cards
The images in the photo of the Eternity Scarf in my previous post are some of my Christmas cards, which I had finally got round to writing. Well spotted, Judith. They're from the National Galleries of Scotland: these links won't work for long but the choirboys are here and the Dutch scene is here. The choirboys are by Mabel Royds, who excelled in woodcuts. The Dutch scene is a detail from one of Avercamp's winter landscapes, paintings that can keep you occupied for hours.

The chaps in this detail are playing a game called 'kolf' apparently.

I forgot to tell you about my adventures with the Wild Saffron pattern, from Rowan's Purelife Autumn book.

I fell for this design like a ton of bricks when I saw it, and got a ball of Renew in Diesel to try it out. The reason I didn't immediately buy enough yarn for the whole thing was that a small voice of reason was pointing out to me that although this was the sort of thing that I would have loved (and suited) when I was young and slim, it might not make me so happy now that I'm not-so-young and not-so-slim.

The pattern rquires some concentration, so my first task was to blow it up so that I could see one section at a time, and concentrate on it.

I found this worked well and was a small amount of trouble for the benefits. I did a swatch, which I realize now I didn't photograph, but I found that when a row didn't seem to have the right stitch in the right place on the row below (the number of stitches isn't the same from one row to the next) I didn't quite care enough to go back and find out where it went wrong. I think that if I had been more convinced about the outcome being something that that I, in 2011 rather than 1983, might actually wear, I would have persevered but the small voices were getting louder and I decided that in this instance it might be wiser not to be as determined as I know I can be. I could almost hear the gunpowder running out at the heels of my boots. So I ripped it. I still think it's a lovely pattern. The Renew has a nice hand, and I'd like to do one of the other patterns in the book at some time.

I got these goodies recently, lots of nice Rowan-y things. I'm scared to use the keyring in case she gets grubby, but I suppose she would dispel dirt quite easily, being 100% wool.

The new Rowan book is out very soon, and I realize I never got round to mentioning number 48, which is one of my favourites ever, when it came out. It has chunky classics, intricate colourwork and fine evening wear, all at their Rowany-est and I think I would like to be buried with it.

I may not ever knit anything from it, of course, but that is genuinely another matter. I don't think I would have been a knitter without Rowan: obviously I have used other designs and other yarns, but it was the Rowan style and the availability of their ideas which encouraged me and even from time to time inspired me, so even when I don't knit anything from a particular book, they still make me want to knit.

Xmas knitting
I seem to be keepingup with all my self-imposed challenges. I finished the Eternity in Stone and handed it over in time for the giftee to head to Gothenburg at 5 o'clock on Wednesday morning. I'm sort of hoping for a model shot but you'll have to be satisfied with this meanwhile.

It doesn't look totally knockout in the pic, but I was very pleased with it. I finished it three times: I decided it was too narrow the first time, and that the rolled edge rolled too much the second time, so I did a few rows of garter stitch instead. It still rolls a bit, but it doesn't vanish. I think the Malabrigo rolls more than some yarns would. I'd like to knit more of these.

And I finally finished the Beret: I decreased another 8 stitches and that seems to be right. I tried it on a friend with a small head and it fitted. I've bought some elastic anyway, so if it flops over the giftee's ears, help will be at hand.

Again, I'm impressed with this recipe and would like to do it again. In spite of all the finishing, I feel I've got it right in the end.

The matching cowl is still mysteriously at the stage where it 'only' needs to be kitchenered.

The Risers Cowl and Hat are finished. I did the short version, although I used more stitches because my tension was different.

And I may have done a different number of repeats: I just did it until it seemed about the right depth and then I stopped. If you click on this, you can see all the tweedy shades - Rowan's discontinued Yorkshire Tweed Chunky, shade Coast.

Lovely. It's simple, but very effective, and its willingness to crumple and fold makes it perfect for a warm cowl. Thank you, Mary Lou.

And I've cast on the two chaps' hats. The one which has to be handed over first is a Marsan Watch Cap, in yet more Malabrigo Worsted.

The colour is Vaa. It's a little darker in reality.

And the later one is the Koolhaas, in Malabrigo Worsted in Pearl Ten, the perfect mannish mix of brown and purple and greige and mushroom.

I'm getting started with this more slowly than I expected. After re-starting the rib, I completely misunderstood the beginning of the pattern repeat so I had to undo lots of twisted stitches and get it back on the needles again. Jared at Brooklyn Tweed is obviously a very thoughtful and painstaking designer and I think I had expected it to be smoother exercise, but I'll get there.

And I still have to cast on a little pink ballet cardi for a little pink ballet dancer, but that's not so critical time-wise, so I am feeling fairly calm about it all at present. Fairly.


Anonymous said...

And this is all going to be done by... Saturday?

Mary Lou said...

Two hats by Saturday? No problem, I'm sure. Love the cards and the Risers ensemble. Are you still under snow?

Lisa R-R said...

Best wishes for success with your projects, and a relaxing holiday!

Janet said...

I love those Dutch cards with the men playing kolf.
Any film viewing lately? We watched Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd - I should say that I kept my head down and watched my knitting when the throats were being cut and the blood was dripping.
By the way - I solved the PinWheel Blanket jigsaw in record time - you've made my day.
Happy New Year 2011.

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