Saturday, January 24, 2009

Market Winding

So last summer I got myself a construction set in the US, and made myself a lovely low tech piece of kit for winding yarn. Those poshies with oodles of cash can by themselves a swift for holding skeins of yarn that need to be wound into a ball. Elegant though they are (and yes, I do lust after one) we have neither the money or space for one. So through the power of Ravelry I discovered that you can make one from Tinker Toy sets, which of course means nothing to me, but Matt tells me its an old stylee construction toy set from his childhood, I suppose a bit like Meccanno is to us. Anyway, a trip to Toys R Us and a squizz at this website and I made my own. Woot!

I did fork out for a proper ball winder though (also not cheap). Makes life so much easier. And I am totally in love with the gorgeousness of the balls they produce. Like little cakes, almost good enough to eat. Yum.

Between wetting myself at Girasole and waiting for the yarn to arrive, I spotted another gorgeous shawl called At the Market, by Ilga Leja. Isnt it lovely? I just had to knit this one too and got my hands on some lovely green
Manos del Uruguay Manos Silk Blend on sale, which is the one I am winding in these pics. The shawl is knit on the bias to get that lovely drape. Its a fun pattern to knit and I love the geometry of it. Sadly, I just had to get on with my Girasole once that yarn came, but will get back to this as soon as that one is done.

Is there any rest?


Did you ever see a piece of knitting and just about wet your knickers in excitement? No? Just me then.

It happened when I saw Girasole by Jared Flood. Isnt it just about the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?? Of course the fact that he is not only a knitting designer but also a professional photographer doesnt hurt. But still. I was so excited when I saw it I immediately spend hours online looking for the perfect yarn. Not an easy task since you can make it in thicker weight (aran) for a blanket effect or thinner weight (4ply) for a shawl effect. I kind of wanted to make a thicker one, but the truth is I really dont enjoy using the chunkier needles. Just not as satisfying for some reason. I also limited myself to sale yarn since the whole thing takes up to 1800yds, which could work out pretty pricey. I almost went for Rowan Cashsoft which is a mid weight DK, but in the end I plumped for Araucania Ranco semi-solid which is a kind of fingering/4ply weight. Its the same yarn I am using for my Meandering Vines shawl and its so lovely to knit with, although not the softest, it seems to be quite tightly spun so doesnt split at all. Its yum.

Anyway, I have been knitting it for a week or so. What fun! It starts with a 'disappearing circular cast on' which is totally mad and quite infuriating, but leaves a lovely ring of stitches in the middle. The knitting goes quickly at first, but as the circle gets bigger and you get more and more stitches it slows down considerably. I still totally love it, but wonder what the heck I am going to do with it when its finished. I have no idea how to wear a circular shawl.

A Hug for a Friend

I have a friend who is going through a hard time, so I decided to knit her a hug. I just love this pattern, Abby from I used Knitpicks Shimmer in the 'cumulus' colourway that is a lovely subtle grey, but with browny bits, so nice and warm. It is so soft to knit, an alpaca and silk blend. Fortunately for me, I have a ton of it in my stash in various colours. Look forward to knitting with it again. :)

I didnt get great pictures of me modelling it, but you get the idea. Its all very Dr Zhivago dont you think? I am thinking of knitting one for myself, but the specs make it look a bit odd. I had to take them off for these pics otherwise I looked like a nob. Also, my hair got in the way. Maybe a hairnet on first? Urgh.

I think she likes it. And I am sure it looks better on her than it does on me.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ice Cream


Do you know what it is yet?

A challenge for my reader(s). This is going to be a classic toy. Can you guess what?

A prize for the first to get it. To be determined.

In progress.....

1. Something for a friend...but its secret.

2. Meandering Vines stole in a heavenly yarn bought in a lovely knitting shop in Chatham, Cape Cod whose name escapes me. I love love love knitting with it. Have used all of one skein and am waiting to wind the second so I can continue. I think I actually might wear this one.

3. A big cowl that I started ages ago but havent got around to knitting for ages. Its a lovely colour, I should get back to it, but its boring to knit.

4. A Debbie Bliss jacket/cardigan that is knit sideways. I love the look of it. I am using some Cascade 220 Heathers that my mother-in-law snagged for me in a closing down sale. Appreciably cheaper than the Alpaca Silk the pattern calls for!


Feeling a bit guilty that I was knitting furiously for the in-laws, I asked my mother if I could knit anything for her. Assuming she would like a scarf or hat or gloves or something normal. She chose this Alan Dart cat (feck, in finding that link, I see that he now sells it himself. Grrr). Took me 100 years and fifteen million failed auctions on ebay to get the pattern, and OMG what a pain in the arse to knit all the little bits. And he looks odd, which of course my mother pointed out. And he doesnt have any whiskers. Which was also pointed out. I am not sure I want to grace my blog with him, but I think all that work deserves some record.


I knit these lovelies for the girls for the plane ride over to the US. I think they deserve a blog entry. I love their clothes :) (I think I like them more than the kids do). Bunny even has a cardigan and matching hat in the same yarn as Molly's swing cardigan. I am a genius.

Something else I finished on the Cape

I think I mentioned this before (ah yes!) but I totally adored knitting this. The yarn is the most wonderful I have used to date. I still have a skein upstairs and am saving it until inspiration hits. I finished it on holiday and have memories of knit, knit, knitting away on it, sitting in the cottage in the evening, watching Americans compete in the Olympics (why bother showing anyone else?) and waiting for Alex and Eri to arrive. Once finished, I used my new blocking wires to block it in the sun porch, then had an extensive photography session with it on the back deck. It is my Cape scarf :) And I wear it often. I am not sure its my colour really (one thing that is holding me back from knitting the second skein), but I love it anyway.

Also, while I was knitting it, I photographed it extensively as a WIP meaning to send the photo to the Knitty Calendar photo competition. I think I did pretty well in the end, but stupid me missed the deadline for photos. Doh. So here they are on my blog for posterity :)

Beach knitting

During our month-long holiday in Cape Cod, I
a) did a lot of knitting
b) bought a lot of yarn
c) not much else.
I had several beach knitting projects, nice and mindless. Knit it in the car and when visiting friends in NYC. Sadly, I havnt knit it since! I do love knitting it, but its just that I cant imagine what it will be like finished. Or if I will want to wear it. Its called my Stawberry Shortcake Clapotis because it reminds me of Haagen Daas strawberry shortcake ice cream, which I havnt had in years, but had glorious crunchy bits. On a childish note, the yarn is Fannies Fingering, which makes me snigger.

I also had a ton of yarn shipped to my parents-in-law prior to our arrival, as well as the wonderful Harmony Options needles which are both beautiful to look at and to knit with. I dont use anything else now. The truth is, I now have enough yarn to knit with for 5 years, so knitting from stash from now on. This is my pledge. I started this sweater for Matt while on holiday, and finished it a month or so after we got back. Its the biggest thing I have knitted to date, and got right hacked off by the weight of it on the needles (its basically knit in the round in one piece, bar the arms), but I loved its construction and its turned out really nicely. Its made in this yarn, which has flecks of yellow and red in it. Matt chose it. Also a plus: a) it fits! and b) he wears it! Woot!

And I started a dress for Molly with some sale yarn which is a linen mix, so stiff and soft at the same time. (The original pattern calls for 100% linen which feels like it would knit like wire, as well as being tres pricey.) I am not sure if I would have started it if I knew how much knitting there is in it. Its knit from the top down, so seems manageable at first, but as the skirt flares and flares the rounds get huge! But well worth it. She loves it, and despite her long body, it seems lengthy in that region so I think will last a while. Its really heavy to wear though!

2009 and onwards.....

...I know, I know. Dont nag.

First some belated Christmas cheer, then on to the catch-up.