Sunday, 9 January 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year. I don't think anyone's looking forward to 2011 very much, and it's already got off to a not very good start, but let's be positive. I hope it is a good one for some of us, especially my lovely readers.

After all the extra work associated with Christmas and New Year, and all the extra play, there's been quite a lot of this going on chez Chronic Knitting.

You'll be astonished to hear that most of the Christmas knitting was handed over as planned. I think it all fitted. I washed the Risers Hat and Cowl in order to soften up the yarn (I was assured by an expert that this would do it, and she was right) and they grew slightly, so I was worried that the hat might be too big but apparently it wasn't.

The Malabrigo infinity scarf and beret turned out very well. I had thought the Amoroso would look good against her dark hair, but she'd just become a blonde. It still looked good.

Sorry she's a bit blurred, but it was Boxing Day and we were all a bit blurred. Both great patterns and I would knit them again happily.

Koolhaas was the only thing that was delayed.

I completed one repeat of the pattern and then decided that we didn't really have enough in common for it to be worth persevering with the relationship, so we had a clean break. I think I would have got on better if the pattern had been written out as well as charted: I usually need both to get me started. Maybe larger needles would have helped although that would have raised the spectre of it being too big. I've done a pattern a bit like this before, when I did Norah Gaughan's Sunflower Tam (from the days before the blog) and I found it very compulsive, but this time I just couldn't bring myself to care.

So I spent almost an entire day looking at hat patterns, especially double-layered ones, without coming up with anything at all and I cast on to do another Marsan Watch Cap somewhat reluctantly. I only did a couple of rows. Then the next morning when I opened up Ravelry I noticed that one of my Friends, one who can always be relied up to spot the coolest and the chicest, had faved a doubled hat pattern that I had completely failed to notice - the Christopher. This was so exactly what I was looking for that I felt my hair stand on end briefly.

The yarn is Malabrigo Worsted in Pearl Ten, and the stripes are leftover Vaa from the Marsan Cap, also Malabrigo Worsted.

Curiously, the Vaa looks brighter when it's in stripes contrasting against the Pearl Ten, which is a lovely purplish cocoa.

The first stripe is cleverly placed so that when the hat is plain-side-out, the colour just peeps out.

The giftee was too shy for a model shot, but his son was persuaded.

I love it, and am looking for an excuse to knit another.

I realized afterwards that I had knitted up seven balls of Malabrigo Worsted in not much more than a month, which is about a sweaterful. Hmmm. Something to bear in mind.

The ballet cardi for the little pink person wasn't exactly intended a a Christmas present but I should try and get it done in time for the start of term. It isn't a proper wrap cardi, as all the patterns were not-quite-right, but it's close. It's Debbie Bliss's Molly, from Junior Knits.

It's in Rowan Kid Classic instead of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, in Tea Rose. (Although it's not actually the colour of a tea rose, but never mind.) It's come on quite a bit since then. Everyone says it comes out very big, so I did one less increase on the sleeves and I might not do the fold back on the cuffs.

The Eternity Scarf which might be for me has reached what Mette will think is a very interesting stage.

I have run out of yarn, half-way through the cast-off. I could take it back a row and then cast off but that would leave it a bit narrow. Or I could finish the cast-off with a different yarn, or I could take back the cast-off and do a couple of rows with a different yarn before the cast-off so that it has a border. I wonder if a black stripe would be good, or a charcoal one. Or a brown one. I'm still very pleased with this pattern, on the second time of doing. It's a bit tight on the circ, so it's going to stretch engagingly when it's finished and it has a nice weight and hang (three strands of Jaeger Matchmaker 4 Ply, held together on a 5.5mm needle).

I stumbled a bit in the John Lewis sale. Twice. I mean on two separate days, not just two lots of yarn. The first time I got some Rowan Kidsilk Aura, in Cypress.

It's not quite as blue as it looks here. It'll go well with the Aura in Steel that I bought last year which I still haven't found a purpose for. I might go back and see if they've got some Pumice, which is the palest grey and then I would have three shades of grey. Wow.

And when I went back the next week, I got some Kid Classic in Lipstick.

If the ballet cardi is a success, I'll knit a not-ballet cardi in this shade. If the ballet cardi isn't a success, God knows what I'll do with it, because it sure ain't my colour.

And I surprised myself by buying this ball of Aura in Coral. Although I'm not a pink girl, being an unremittingly grey girl, the salmony coral shades do whisper to me and this one is lovely.

Even if I don't knit anything with it, the sight of it is enough to lift my heart. And it would make rather a nice contrast with all those greys.

I also got this, not in the sale. It's Rowan Cocoon in Bilberry, which is one of those greyish brownish purples which can be hard to make out, but when it's beside purple it is definitely purple.

I want to make an infinity scarf for someone and am making the final decision between two patterns. You can imagine how well that's going. One of them will be interesting to knit, the other not so.

One of the worrying things about the start to 2011, is that Lakeland have decided to stop stocking Wool Mix, the wonderful Australian lavender wash that I've been using for years. I use it for soaking before blocking -one of the best things about it is that you don't need conditioner and you don't need to rinse too emphatically - and in the washing machine for delicates, and often for dark washes, as it doesn't contain brighteners. I can't imagine why they're discontinuing it as all the reviews on the website are five-star, and I'm fairly sure no-one else imports it. Perhaps an Australian reader can enlighten. So I ordered a supply.

I went back later and tried to order more, but it was All Gone. Eeeek.


Judith said...

Lovely knitting and yarn.
I always use Ecover wool wash for my knitting when washing and prior to blocking and have never had any problems.It used to be hard to find but now mainstream supermarkets sell it.Happy New Year!

Fiona said...

Oh no! I too have used Lakeland's Wool Mix for ages - and it is indeed All Gone. Thankyou for the heads up on that!

The cast-off on the Eternity Scarf - you could undo the half-round of cast-off, pull back half a round of knitting, and then start casting off.

Or you could undo the half-round of cast-off, pull back a whole round of knitting, rework the last round using just two strands of yarn, and then continue to your cast-off, still using just two strands.

But you've probably thought of these options already... ;)

Mary Lou said...

I use the lavendar Eucalan, similar, I'm sure. And such productivity! That Bilberry Cocoon is luscious. It's just purple enough.

Vivienne said...

Eek - I love the Wool Mix too. And it's a sensible sized bottle that last a long time, not like these little boutique bottles of posh wool detergents.

Mette said...

A very Happy New Year to you. What a wonderful knitting post.You have really got moving. And yes, I am in suspense to see the Eternity scarf. Obviously the options are endless:))

Knitting Linguist said...

So many beautiful projects! I absolutely love that salmon color - I would have bought that ball of yarn for the pleasure of the color myself, and my first thought was that salmon and gray go together like salmon and butter (mmm....). Of course, that blue/gray is stunning. I am finding myself back into the blacks and grays this winter myself, after a brown hiatus that lasted a few years. It's all very confusing with regard to shoes.

Happy New Year!

Joan said...

It's not so much that I'm looking forward to 2011, it's that I am very glad to leave 2010 behind. "Onwards and upwards", in the immortal words of Buzz Lightyear. Happy New Year to you!