Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Evening Entertainment

My evenings over the last couple of weeks have been taken up with a few rows on the Aeolian Wedding shawl and I have reached the end of the Yucca repeats (I've done 6)

Aeolian Wedding Shawl
I really like the way the decreases stand out in lines
Aeolian Wedding Shawl
The beads are so shiny when they catch the light!
Aeolian Wedding Shawl
Rows are taking a lot longer now - I only managed the first 4 of the transition chart last night before I was too tired to concentrate - I need to cast on for a "simple project" - maybe my other knee high sock?
Some evenings I have also managed to fit in a few rows of Kristi from Cookie A's new book.Kristi
Slow going, possibly more complex than the lace! Colour coding the cables has definitely worked. Now by brain thinks - Green cable - hold at front k1tbl, p1! I still don't get those little cable symbols. I do love the Toddy yarn from The Yarn Yard - look how well the cables stand out!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Evil Tonsils

I've been off work for most of last week with what I think is/was tonsillitis/virus type thing. Rubbish. I haven't really felt like doing anything apart from sleeping. However, looking back it does look like some knitting and spinning happened!
I finished my first Provence Knee High.
Provence Socks
This is the size of sock you can get from 1/2 a skein of The Yarn Yard Bonny. Toe Up to use every last bit.
Provence Socks
Very very easy knitting. Exactly what I needed.
I also started this.... my Aeolian Wedding Shawl. Only the set up chart done so far, but it is a start. I have 3 months to finish it!
Aeolian Shawl - Set Up
For some reason I also decided to start one of the hardest socks out of the Cookie A book. This is Kristi. I've had to colour code the chart and I think I've finally made sense of the cables (with the help of the errata). I have only managed 3 rows of the chart so far, my brain can't cope at the moment!
Finally, I have found that spinning has been a very calming, low energy task perfect for those afternoons when you feel a little more awake but still can't really be bothered to concentrate.
Here is nearly a full bobbin of gorgeous dairy milk coloured merino. Not perfect, but the best yet! Now Do I spin another bobbin of this or a slightly lighter purple to ply with it?Hmmm. Decisions.
Dairy Milk

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Wedding Shawl Swatches

A quick reminder of the detailing on my dress

Now for the swatches -
Top Right - Zephyr Laceweight in White on 3.5mm needles
Top Left - Posh Yarn Charlotte, undyed on 3.5mm needles
Bottom Left - Zephyr Laceweight in White on 3.25mm needles
Bottom Right - Posh Yarn Charlotte, undyed on 3.75mm needles

Aeolian Shawl Swatches
A close up of the Zephyr on 3.5mm -
Aeolian Shawl Swatches
The Zephyr on 3.25mm
Aeolian Shawl Swatches
Posh Charlotte on 3.75mm
Aeolian Shawl Swatches
Posh Charlotte on 3.75mm
Aeolian Shawl Swatches
Close up of the beads - top are purl like, bottom are clear
Aeolian Shawl Swatches
Close up of a mixture of the beads
Aeolian Shawl Swatches

Decisions decision. The posh yarn has more definition but is probably too cream. The Zephyr seems to be a much better colour match, although I haven't held it next to the dress yet. The Zephyr on smaller needles seems to define the pattern more
The beads on the dress are clear, so I think I am going to go for the clear beads on the shawl. These seem to sparkle a bit more too. So Zephyr on 3.25mm with clear beads seems to be the way forward. What do you think? Should I go down to 3mm in the Zephyr and see what happens?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Cookie Hunting

I was very excited when I heard Cookie A would be launching her book in Loop on the Sunday afternoon that I was in London.
After leaving my friends in Surbiton I headed up to Angel for the short walk to Loop.
As I trudged up Upper Street, passing the scary 80's playsuits in the windows of the vintage shops, a pair of red Monkey socks caught my eye. I was too shy to stop the person, just in case she thought I was a complete nutter, but I did consider the pro's and cons of shouting "Nice Monkey's" after her!
Cookie A at Loop
I reached Cross Street in no time at all. I have been to Loop before, many moons ago, just after it opened, when I still lived in London, so I knew not to dispair as I was walking down a street which seems to have little hope of containing a knitting shop.

Cookie A at Loop
I was delighted to see the shop was not TOO full. I was worried my backpack would not have been a welcome addition to a shop crammed full of people. I was even more glad to see a big pile Sock Innovations :o) Yipee, at least one shop in the country had stock of this very sought after book.
I admired the wonderful displays of Cookie A socks from the new book
Cookie A at Loop
And got to see a wonderful display of her older designs
Cookie A at Loop
I even got to touch the original Pomatomus!
Cookie A at Loop
I felt very honoured.
Cookie A at Loop
A little chat with Cookie (yes, I got my book signed too) revealed that she thinks that Kai-Mei and Rich are the most fun to knit from the new book and she loved designing each one just as much as the next (hmmm... said with a little bit of sarcasm me thinks!)

I took some pictures, indulged in a cookie (choc chip - it was yum) and was enabled by Jane, she had a collection Norah Gaughan books in her hands and I remembered I wanted number 3.
Cookie A at Loop
I headed back to Euston and my train to Wolverhampton ready to start on my favourite sock of the day, Kai Mei, in some purple Yarn Yard solid I had wound specifically for the purpose. However I neglected to bring another sock needle with me, so I had to "make do" with reading Cookie's fantastically detailed notes about sock design and construction and swatch for my Aeolian shawl instead.
Cookie A at Loop
More on that tomorrow!

Monday, April 06, 2009

By George

My Godson, Owen, was two at the end of February. I had been plotting his birthday present for months before, I had a picture in my head of a jumper or cardigan with cables and pockets but just couldn't find quite the right pattern. Ziggy was a favourite for quite a long time but it wasn't *quite* what I wanted. Trellis was another contender, high up on the list, but I knew I would have to resize it. I was about to give up on finding the perfect pattern when Katie posted a picture of a gorgeous wrap that her mum had knit out of a recent Yarn Yard sock club offering. I immediately asked for the pattern as it was a cute baby knit. It was in a discontinued Jaeger book, JB 29. Flicking through the other patterns in that publication on Ravelry, I found George! It was the pattern I'd been looking for. I had obviously seen it here before and it had lodged itself in my memory.
Then the hunt began to find a copy of the (now out of print) pattern. There were a few on ebay, but I kept missing them, and time was running out. I contacted Jannette at Jannette's Rare Yarns and she managed to get me a copy from Rowan -I got such fantastic service from her, I can't recommend her enough. I was planning on using some felted tweed from my stash for this, but my initial swatch told me there was no way I was going to get gauge so I ordered some Rowan extra fine merino from Jannette as well and took my supplies off to the Lake District with me.
I seriously thought about adapting this pattern into a top down raglan (which should have been fairly easy) but decided now I had gone to all that trouble to get a copy of the actual pattern I should just knit it as written. I had some issues with leaning stitches, and thought I'd forgotten how to knit. However some fellow bloggers gave me the answer to why my stitches are a bit uneven.
I forgot to take the pattern to Skip North, so couldn't finish it there. Instead I spent last week seaming, knitting button bands and collars on the train so I could deliver it in person this weekend.
It was finished blocked and wrapped on Thursday evening and worn on Saturday.
I knit the 2-3 years size and it fits (just). I am hoping it grows a bit when it is washed, otherwise I may be knitting another one in the very near future. I should have taken more notice of the "It comes out small" Ravelry comments. Ooops.
Next time it will definitely be a top down raglan - there is no need for all of that seaming or picking up stitches - my two pet hates - even though my matress stitch has gotten rather good of late!

Pattern: George from Jaeger Handknits JB29 - 27 designer garments for babies and children by Martin Storey
Yarn: Rowan Extra Fine Merino in 894 - Bark (Dark Brown)
Size: 2-3 Years
Started: 23rd February
Finished: 2nd April
Needles: 3.25mm and 4mm addi lace
Comments: It comes up small - so if you are thinking of knitting this, make a bigger size than you think you need!

Friday, April 03, 2009

In these shoes... I don't think so!

More appropriate for certain other members of my team rather than myself, "In these shoes, I don't think so!" is our team name for the St Basil's Brecon Beacons challenge on 30th May 2009.

Myself and 5 colleagues will be walking 14 miles (eeek) in order to raise money for St Basils, a charity that provides help and support to young people in danger of becoming homeless.

So, I'm asking for money! I need some motivation to get me around the course.... please sponsor me by clicking on this link

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Spinning, again...

I have managed some more spinning over the last week and Rachel lent me her niddy noddy last night so I could skein up this:
My Second Handspun
Here is handspun yarn number 2 - some blue faced leicester, 2ply, which Natalie kindly gave me when she loaned me the wheel.
My Second Handspun
Not bad for a second attempt. There is about 44m in total (according to my calculations) and there is a little more on one bobbin - hmmm, not sure what to do with that.
Not entirely sure what I can make with the yarn either, but that isn't really the point at the moment. Maybe my ipod needs a little bag?
Things didn't go quite as swimmingly at the start, and I had a bit of messed up fibre - I thought the birds might like it for their nests. We have "nestcam" back this year, and "Derek" is making a good home in the box at the moment.
Fibre for the Birds
In between the spinning I have been swatching too... for my Aeolian Wedding Shawl.
This is Posh Yarn Charlotte 2ply on 3.75mm needles. 7 stitch nupps at the top and 9 stitch underneath. The beads are slightly pearlised.
Aeolian Swatch Number 1
I think I need to go down a needle size, so I'm going to swatch again. I have some zephyr to swatch with as well and then I'm going to go into the wedding dress shop with my samples to see which goes best with the dress!