Thursday, 31 October 2013

Fingers Crossed

I still haven't tried on Rubble. Perhaps I'm in denial.

I've finished knitting and sewing Boxy. Last night I gave it a wash in hand-hot water - the yarn is oiled for industrial knitting - and then a wool cycle in the washing machine, and it is drying very carefully on the airer. I tried it on before washing and was very happy with it, so everything is crossed.

 The shoulder seam is a three-needle bind-off and while I was doing it I was worrying a little becasue the yarn is so fine in places. The idea of casting off live stitches with fragile yarn was not a relaxing one: if the cast off ever snapped, the whole thing could disintegrate very rapidly. When I got to the end I discovered that I had done the thing I so often do on a three-needle bind-off, which is actually to end up with the row on the right-hand needle. At first this seemd like a disaster, but I turned it around and cast off in the other direction, making it a double seam. It hasn't made for a lumpy finish so I think it's turned out to have been a very beneficial mistake, and I did it deliberately on the second shoulder.

I don't particualrly like working with a short cicrular do I didn't knit the sleeves in the round. I worked them on the flat and then sewed up the sides and the sleeves at the same time.

When I tried it on, it was the lightest and warmest cloud. I hope I'm still happy with it when it dries and that it doesn't have to be turned ito a blanket.

I think I'm going to knit another Boxy very soon. I'm in a slight toil about the yarn. I had a very bad accident on eBay the other week: a nice woman in Austria was selling some madelinetosh Merino Light in different shades of blue. Europe means no tax, and no outrageous Royal Mail charge. Nobody else was bidding, so what could I do?

That's Denim, Mourning Dove, Stovepipe and Ink. I already have a couple of other madelinetosh blues. Very tempting. I think graduated rather than stripes. But on the other hand, I have some very nice light turquoise Wollmeise. Decisions, decisions.

I really like this Sweatr-r-r  but since I have decided never to knit anything with fitted armholes again, I think I might just steal the idea of the coloured patches down the front and apply it to another Boxy. Perhaps I could do that with the blues.

I've lately become obssessed with a shade of light green which is begining to show up everywhere. I bought a black and cream tunic which came tied up with ribbon in this shade, and I've seen it everywhere since. I thought a Shag might be good and found a ball of Jaeger Matchmaker on eBay in a shade called Hop. This is a very good name for the colour; it has the zest of spring shoots. I need to track down another ball of it.

It turns out that Frau Wollmeise does a beautiful Spring green, called Fruhling, appropriately enough. She does some fabulous light greens, with names like Wasabi and Pesto and Pistazie and Lowenzahn (dandelion?) and Petersilie and Spinaci and Mistelzweig. Lots of vegetables in there.

The photograph isn't quite true: imagine a little more yellow. I wonder if I would have the nerve, or the complexion, to wear that.

Perhaps the matching nail polish is as far as I will go (Essie, The More the Merrier).

One of my neighbours has had a baby and I was wondering about knitting a hat. I didn't think she was a pink-and-white girl and I was very glad to see that Baby, when I met her, was wearing a black knitted hat with little white scottie dogs all around it. So I made her a flying helmet with some Cherry Hill Possum Worsted that I've been hoarding for a while. I have a few skeins of this. It's very warm but it's too soft to show up a stitch and the colours disappear so I have trouble finding uses for it. The colours show up very well in photographs but not so much in real life.

It's too big so I'll have to knit another one for this winter, but it's cute and as always so easy and quick to knit.

I think the last piece of knitting I have to report is this.

One of my loved ones asked me if I would sponsor him to shave his head in November, for a good cause. I said I would rather sponsor him not to shave his head, but either way he's going to need a hat. This is some lovely squidgy Malabrigo in a shade called Blue Graphite. Here it looks like black and in reality it's usually a subtle grey but in some lights it's a beautiful dark blue grey. This time of year the light in Ediburgh isn't good for seeing colours: my flat is on a corner, half facing north and half facing west, and I can sometimes be seen scurrying from window to window trying to make out what colour something is. The rooms are painted the same colour but look totally different: I once nearly had quite a bad row with a  friend who would't believe that the bedroom is painted green because it looks like baby blue. She's a designer and knows about these things so professional pride was on the line, but nothing changed the name on the can of paint, Jade White.

The pattern is Stephen West's Dustland Hat and I bought these smart new needles because I didn't have any 4.5mm dpns.

I pronounce the 'K' and the 'Z'. They're nice and light and slick.I got the wrong size but  the yarn isn't falling off the needles all the time.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Cool again

I tried on Rubble eventually, although I haven't had another look at it since the weather cooled down enough to actually wear it and I haven't photographed it. I think it's OK. I'll have a look at it soon and report back.

I have been blasting on with Boxy. I'm making the seamed version, because like Jean and Sally Melville I think that garments hang much better if they're properly structured and seams help to give them structure. I don't seem to hate purling at all nowadays, and in fact probably feel exactly the same about purling as I do about knitting. Also, something with as many stitches as Boxy would get wildly twisted if knitted in the round, and I would get RSI in my shoulder, so flat it is.

I spent some time labouring over what size to choose, peering at other people's choices, but I eventually decided to do as Joji says, and chose the size that fits my arm circumference even although it's a bit bigger elsewhere. I'm making it slightly shorter than the pattern: the largest size is three inches longer than the smallest and one of the things I learnt from watching What Not To Wear is that long tops make your legs look short. Well, maybe not your legs, but certainly mine.

The purl rows at the shoulder don't really show up because of the marl, but I expect they add to the structure too. The pattern is well written and even I didn't make any mistakes doing the second side. At least, I don't think I did.

The yarn is lovely. The two plies are fairly loosely twisted together but I expect them to fluff up and become more dense once it's finished and washed: it needs a hand-hot wash to get the oil off. It's not totally cashmere-soft at the moment but certainly very nice to work with, and very airy. If the shape turns out to be a terrible mistake I can just chop the arms off and use it as a blanket.

Remember my floorboards are six inches wide. This picture shows the front and the first six inches or so of the back. Since the cashmre is so soft and doesn't wear very well,I might make some plain black elbow patches, but I'll have to see first where the sleeves fall and if it actually has elbows.

Last Tango in Halifax is being shown in the US and they're filming a second series. I think I was watchhing The Fall last time I wrote; it was terrifiic but I hope I'm not giving anything away if I say the last episode was a huge letdown. What Remains finished on Sunday and we're still reeling from the ending.

Those of you who follow the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas and live in the UK might like The Fabulous Fashionistas documentary showing on Channel 4 this week, on - oh, tonight, at 10.00.I expect it'll be available on 4OD.

And on Wednesday there's a doco on BBC4 called Knitting's Golden Age. It seems to be the first in a series about textiles but the website isn't giving much away, and the Radio Times mention is full of the usual patronising nonsense, but we shall see.

Family Snaps
Thanks very much for the comments about the photographs. Yes, I'm very lucky, Mette.  I wish I were well enough to organize them properly and annotate them, but at least I can post some of them here. Here's another one.

This is my great-grandfather, Robert Glen, in the late 1920s. He's the one in the wing-collar, bowler hat and very shiny shoes. He was a butcher and cattle-dealer so those must be some of his beasts, as we used to say in Scotland. His son married the dark-eyed girl you saw in an earlier post. He was still working when he died on the 2nd of July 1929, at the age of 94, and he only died because his wife had died on the 13th of June. My grandfather buried them 3 weeks apart.

Hot hot hot

I wrote this a while ago and didn't get round to posting it,  but rather than changing all the tenses I'm just going to post it and then start a new one.

Some time in August

I've hardly knitted a stitch since my last post. It has been so horribly hot that I couldn't think about it, not even the big cotton heap that is Rubble: I finished seaming it and gave it a wash but I couldn't bear to try it on.

Provanmill is a part of Glasgow

When I say horribly hot, I am aware that this sounds a bit ridiculous to the rest of the world. I have family in Brisbane, Australia so it's one of the places on the weather app that I check most days: in Brisbane it is currently winter and the temperatures are much the same or hotter than those in Edinburgh, where it is currently summer.

I am a bit of a limp rag at the best of times but in this I am a damp, limp rag. My father used to call me Gollum but in fact he wasn't much better, as it's from him that I inherited an extreme sensitivity to sunlight. So although there has been much staying indoors, there has been little knitting.

I haven't entirely stopped buying yarn, however, weak-willed creature that I am.  I bought a skein of madeinetosh Merino Light in Curiosity from eBay, thinking that it was a grey which would go with some of my blues, but when it arrived it has an undertone of greenish yellow which won't work with them at all. I might sell it. And I've been buying hugely expensive quantities of Wollmeise merino to make a Boxy, gathering it from thither and thon with the help of Ravelry stashes.

However, while I was waiting for it to arrive I had a casting-on accident. What happened was that I was shifting stuff off the sofa because I had a visitor coming. When I bought this sofa a few years ago a friend asked me if I was happy with it and I said, Well, it seems to be mostly covered with knitting and wool and books, but it's very comfortable, and she said, 'So it's really just a very expensive shelf?' Which it sort of is. Anyway, I was clearing wool and books off the shelf and carrying them through to put them on the bed (this is a small flat) and  as I do every time I do this I had to pick up the bag containing some Colourmart cashmere that I bought last winter. (The printout inside the bag says it was the winter before, but that can't be right, can it?) It's a black and white twist, slightly thick and thin.

 I'd been swatching Wollmeise on different sizes of needles so I had the required gauge for Boxy at the front of my mind, so  I fished the little Colourmart swatch out of the bag and what do you know?