Friday, March 30, 2007

sewing update and more shopping *blushes*

Okay I said there would be photos ... and here they are :o) not of the sewing itself - that would be giving away the surprise Hehehehe but of the source materials, a starting place at least.

There are lots of Angels, ooooh, aaaaaah, country angels and if you are really good I will show you fabrics too *shock* but not today. And in another project - cats :o)

As I am not knitting *nose grows to enormous pinoccio length* honestly I am not, what me? Fingers crossed behind my back? You can see that from there! Ah hem! As I am not knitting (ish) I have been shopping instead :o)

A lot more Posh Yarn

and multiple skeins of each. I think when there's a yarn sale on I need to take the plug off the pc . Maybe it's the word 'sale'? Maybe I need to start charging Dee storage fees? :o)

Sorry the photo is a bit grey - just like our weather today :o(

In another new (knitting related) development I am reading this which is making me laugh and making my kids roll their eyes in despair. The recognition factor is huge.

My DS2 says "how come you never knit anything apart from shawls these days?"

Hmmm, no seams, lace yarn/lace patterns/no deadlines cos you lot keep growing, think I need any more reasons? The best reason of all? Because I can!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

OK OK OK you shamed me into it...

Only kidding... I feel a sewing mojo coming on. I'm itching to get stitching.

Btw, I wont look like that when we meet. I will have tidy, combed gorgeous locks and i will have lost another 2 stonnes :o) We live in hope :o)

Meanwhile as a taster, photos will follow ...

Whilst I'm here ... do you feel guilty about giving away something you don't really like? Something in me says you should really give gifts that you'd love to have yourself. The SW is a case in point, which is why I am thinking of it :o) I don't think it is big enough for me. Everytime I wear it (if I do) I would be annoyed that it wasn't bigger. I might just not wear it at all. That would be a shame, it would be a waste of the hours of work (although the process was rewarding in and of itself) so it is better to find it a home where i hope it will be loved, right? Hmm, can't help thinking it's a 'tainted' gift though. Ah for a clear conscience :o) However, on the other hand, if someone gave me the SW I would be really pleased with it. Another dilema is that I ought really to knit the thing with the recipient in mind if it is a gift. Not give it to them as an afterthought. Ah the hurdles we place in our own way! Over thinking this one maybe?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Ok, I was wrong :o( Bigger is better!

Okay, I am starting again!

This time I am doing the repeats as per the pattern!

Even if it will be HUGE, I think I want it to be HUGER than it is, :o(

Btw please ignore the cockeyed horizon, DD is going to get photography lessons for her next birthday!

Can I go back and add some more after I have cast off? Maybe not impossible but also not advisable. Bah Humbug.

Perhaps this one will go in the 'present' pile for later. Actually now I think of it I have the perfect recipient :o) My Aunty has just been diagnosed with early stage cancer and will be spending lots of time in and out of hospital in the near future, I am going to visit soon so a lovely soft shawl to cuddle up in might be a very nice gift right now. Ah good! Feel much better about it now.

I was just going to include the 2nd photo as I look much younger/thinner/more attractive from behind and I am thinking of getting my hair cut after seeing the first one :o( but thought you'd like to see one of my local beaches. On the other hand as I can't actually claim there's much beach in that photo (we do have sand - really we do!) that's just an excuse to get a piccie of me in.

Here is the stitch pattern, I was trying to show the purple and green in the yarn, but it hasn't photographed well :o( but the stitches are pretty anyway :o)

Meanwhile, back on planet 'cool', DS2 demonstrates beach wear for March especially for those of you in Australia.

In the interests of even handedness here are the other 3, DD2 demonstrates the purpose of a visit to the beach - whatever the time of year! It doesn't matter HOW cold it is - they need icecream. And the ginger gang show how teenagers are photo averse- it's impossible to get them to look at the camera. What is that about?

This was before we went down onto the sand and before she tested the first puddle (aka rockpool) we came to. She was much wetter after that!

PS Pink hat and wellies, anyone would think I planned that outfit, anyone who didn't know me, that is!

It's not quite dry yet but ...

here's a couple of photos to look at whilst we wait.

This is pre blocking - measured 43" at neck edge and 25" from neck to point. See how wavey the old shale pattern makes the top edge? Thank goodness for the blocking wires - this is how it pinned out.

Here it measures 70" x 36". It is 'strongly' blocked at this point so I expect it will contract a little once I take the pins out.

And the size? Well, it's not quite as big as I would have liked *shocked* but I do think it will be big enough to wear.

I will do this one again with another repeat for a larger shawl but if I was using the same yarn I don't think I would do the 3 1/2 repeats of the pattern, maybe finish the 3rd one instead of doing 2 1/2 as here. The pattern is a nice classic lace pattern, it's easy to see what you should be doing as you knit. The only slightly tricky bit is knowing how to add the increases in repeats as you progress but it's a well written pattern with nice clear charts and anyone who knows how to do yo and ssk shouldn't have a problem with it. The 3 rows of ss make it grow quickly and although they were a bit boring at first I quickly got used to them and they made this a less taxing knit.

I like the yarn and think the colours will be practical to wear but I still don't love it, ho hum! I am a little confused still as to the guage of the yarn, I am guessing somewhere between a 4 ply and DK but closer to DK I think, I could do a swatch to check the ss guage as I have lots left lol which is nice.

And now I have that unsatisfactory 'nothing to knit' feeling. I do have his Gansey to finish (scratchy yarn) a second sock to do (heel to turn) and the extremely fine Pi shawl to knit up - patterns all picked out (but oh such very fine yarn). But I don't want to do any of these yet (if ever).

Last night I was thinking Angels and Applique, plus there's the 'forever families' to finish, and the 'my family' quilt for K to get going on. A little something secret yet to be really begun although it's all drawn out ready to stitch. So maybe some sewing?

The yarn is calling me though 'knit me!' it sings sweetly in my ear when I pass by. I do need another cardi, I really do, and K's cardi only needs sewing up and button bands so it should be finished before she grows out of it! But I don't like 'should', I don't usually do 'should'. Hang it! I know I wont do 'should' :o) You only have to look at my house re housework to see how I feel about 'should'. VBG

OK enough prattling, off to see if the SW is dry so I can go out and take a pretty photo of it, maybe on the beach? :o) The sun is shining today, wrap up warm fro a stroll by the seaside, even the SW wouldn't keep me warm on the beach in March, but it would do for a pretty picture. Btw the fact that it's still wet this morning reinforces my DK feelings :o) about it. Enough.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Vagaries of Yarn Substitution, or How I Finished Early!

I thought I still had another repeat to do and the extra half but I was getting worried :o( It was going to be too big. This is my take everywhere, wrap up at the coast shawl, it needs to be voluminous but not too big to wear. It needs to be practical and comfortable and gorgeous and to make people covert and want to knit. It needs to be big enough to wrap small children in as you carry they back over the dunes and they start to shiver in the early evening fret. Will it be a blanket? Will it be a double blanket.? How many more rows? Surely not! That can't be right can it? You have no idea the relationship that is developing between this shawl and the tape measure, it is bordering on indecent *gasp!* Have I read this right? have I knitted on alien size transforming needles? Is my tension really THAT far out?

To that misgiving I added the feeling I have had since starting the Emily that she is really a DK and not a 4ply/sock yarn/sport weight thing. Lovely, nonetheless, and it would be more than a little hypocritical for me to be churlish about a little extra weight *shock*, but still a definite DK. Check the label again, it says sock. hang on you do get DK sock yarn don't you? Have I assumed too much?

So I stopped, well, actually I tinked back two rows to finish where the pattern says to finish for DK and then I did the picot cast off last night. I love that cast off it's great. But I couldn't stop half way so I had to keep going until 1.20am *bleary eyes provide evidence*. I still love that cast off, so simple, so zen.

Today my task was the i-cord. Could i remember how to do it? A diagram might have helped here, but it came back to me as I knitted,and although it seemed miles to the end at first, it quickly passed (also in a Zen like way) and was complete. This time believing myself that this is a DK I chose a very large needle compared to the too small needles I have knitted the rest on *rolls eyes*. USA 13s in fact, and I was at some points in doubt as to whether these would be large enough. I guess I wont really know until I block the beast. The i-cord on Grandma's bed jacket (!) at Christmas was too tight and prevented larger blocking, don't want that this time, so extra stretchy i-cord (achieved through extra loose stitches on huge needles) was the order of the day. And although the change in needles was alarming at first they soon settled into their rhythm and I studiously avoided looking to see how very far there still was to go along that neck edge. Soon we were passing half way, the large needles, dwindling yarn and I and suddenly we were done. I have to confess to splicing in another ball, but only used a couple of feet (if that) so I count that as 800yds in total.

And the funny thing is, no matter how many times I measure the beasty I am now not sure she will be big enough. I am sure she would have been too big if I had kept going. I do know I have two full skeins of yarn left (which I am still not sure I love, although I know I like) and I have no idea what to do with it. I do believe Emily is DK not 4 ply. But have I done the right thing in casting off all of a sudden and on a hunch that she is big enough and will grow enough with the blocking? I do not know. We will see.

Pictures? What now? Before the beast is subdued by the wires? No! Surely not.

Tomorrow night I block, and tomorrow night I will take lots of photos, but for now, wait, be patient. I am having to be. I have tried her on, laid her down and looked at her, pulled her and stretched her and measured her and guessed about her. I have read and reread the pattern to see if the secret is there. But tomorrow I will know!

Monday, March 19, 2007

SW ... a little bit more!

No knitting last night, spent too long on the pc! I have a couple more rows to do and then it's the start of my last repeat of chart 2! Must remember to put in a life line don't want to be frogging now! The rows are getting longer and taking longer so I guess what feels like quite speedy knitting will slow down now. Just so you can see the colous better, here's a close up too. I am getting to like the colours more and more. Which is a good job, don't you think?

In other news ... I hear from Maureen that my cqrr blocks are ready to come home. Maureen, in case that email i sent you bounces back (anyone know why I have such problems sending to bigpond email addresses but not receiving from them?), the answer is YES PLEASE! :o)
So back on topic, SW - well tonight I will knit and not surf, ok? OK!
Btw do we like the blue background? Not sure, hmm, think I do, what do you think?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Progress so Far

As I went to bed last night this is how my SW was looking. I have completed one full repeat and I'm on row 37 of the second, not quite back to where I was before i had to frog it *rolls eyes*. Colours a littlemore exciting in real life as the flash bleaches it a little but this is my first not 'in your face' project for a while and I am feeling unsure about whether i like it or not. Ho hum, I am sure it will be warm & snuggly and I intend to take it to the beach for the late summer evenings, chilly even on a good day in Northumberland, but let's just say it isn't my favourite colourway ever.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Shoalwater Shawl Begun

Had to do it, had to cast on and somehow 43 rows just flew on to the needles *shocked gasp!* Might have something to do with the time I went to bed this morning (Yawn!) Ah well, makes me happy, clickety clack.

Posh Yarn, Emily, Frost Flowers (4 plyish but quite thick), needles Knitpicks Options size 5.5mm.

What do you think of it so far? Hmmmm, not sure myself, not enough holes yet to really see a patern, but a garter stitch shawl is quite quick (well, with this few stitches otn it is, just wait until we've got a couple of hundred per row, that'll sort the women from the girls from the ones who can't be bothered VBG). Not sure about the colours either, not enough of the dark blues I don't think, i'm hoping it'll 'grow on me'. I am not a very visual person and find it hard to substitute my yarn for the one in the photo, this has the advantage of making a pleasant surprise (hopefully) at the end, but the disadvantage of not knowing if i like what I am using as much as the author's choice, iykwim.

BTW Eunny is back Eunny Knits now that's what I want to be able to knit when I grow up/sell the children/win the lottery and don't have to work. :o)

Clickety clack, clickety clack, clickety clack. (Actually the KP's are fairly silent (to my ears) but I think the nises anyway :o) Housework? What was that again. Did I tell you the story about my DD and the iron?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

and sometimes I sew

I do, really I do! Sometimes I sew cq (crazy quilting) and I did some last night.

The rr (round robin) has been going on for ages now (sigh!) and there have been a few problems, 4 blocks have gone missing between Australian and the USA and between New Zealand and the USA. This is really sad and has upset the joy of international co-operation :o( But everyone is still in and steps are being taken to try and trace the missing blocks, I do hope they turn up :o)

The other one of the pair of blocks I have just finished working on is this one

I feel a huge sense of relief at getting this work done and these blocks posted. This led me to pondering (not for the first time) why I have gone over so strongly to knitting.

It has a large ammount to do with all the 'other stuff' that has been going on in our lives for the last year. With something nagging away for the last 14months I haven't been able to sit with a clear mind and a happy heart and to embroider. Sounds a bit extreme I know but sewing is not like knitting, not for me.

Sewing is concentrating, and design (well, cq is) and I want to do my very best as I am adding to the work of others and don't want to detract from their wonderful work with my mediocraty. Whilst I have been preoccupied (even when you are not directly working on the problem the worry impinges on every other area of your life) I have not done my best work. I have not done what I have done as fast or as well as I should have done it either. It has not been worked with a happy heart.

But progress was made on the problem (although it is not completely resolved) and we are at last making steps in the right direction. My dark worry cloud has drifted off and it's clear skies again.

As is usual that is not the whole story. The ongoing commitments I took on last year as part of my sewing forum werte too ongoing. The Row by Row lasted to long (or at least it will have when I finally finish the row I am working on at the moment) It has become a chore, not this row especially but the whole project. The cq, I have already said, has also dragged on and felt like an obligation not a pleasure.

I know this has a lot to do with how I have been feeling as the year has progressed and by how weighed down I have been feeling.

Knitting is more adaptable, it is easier to pick up and put down. No boxes of beads, silks, buttons, threads, etc. to get out and pack away each time. Just a ball of yarn a needle and a pattern, more portable,. Patterns that I can knit in meetings (and I do) patterns I need to concentrate on and become absorbed in, patterns for zoning out at the end of the day and above all recently the discovery that I can make my own patterns too.

Now don't get me wrong I think that they can co-exist, that I will knit and sew. When I was little my Mum sewed in the summer and knitted in the winter. I wont be taking on any ongoing commitments though, not for the foreseeable future. I don't like the feeling that I am letting people down when I miss deadlines, I don't like the feeling that I 'have' to sew tonight and my first thought yesturday when I finished those cq blocks was "Oh good, I can cast on for a new knitting project now!"

One more thing to finish first, row by row, and then I can put my lovely rows together to make my Christmas Quilt. I am very glad that I took part in this - I have a beautiful set of rows to assemble which will remind me of the people who sewed a row for me, and for which I will always be grateful, but it hasn't always been easy. Sometimes it's not easy to sew, so far it's always easy to knit.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Finally something positive to blog about ;o) Finished the Victorian Lace Today, shawl from page 50.
And just to prove the miracle that is blocking again, it went from 14"x 43" to 19" x 59". I could have tugged a little more to get that last inch for the book dimensions, but it was late, I was tired, the wires were popping. Which reminds me, this was the first outing for the wires from Heirloom Knitting and they are fabby! Have to knit more lace so I can play with these again. Also, notice in the first photo they provide a way to suspend your lace to it's advantage on your living room wall :o)
Now I will not knit another stitch (hush dear reader, it will be alright) until I have done my sewing. Long overdue projects to be worked on and posted off to Aus - cq rr, beautiful underwater block to work on, and row by row for Belle. I have the patterns and fabric all picked out, the fabric is waiting and the applique is begun, just needed to finish the knitting. So no more excuses woman! Get your sewing butt in gear and SEW.
Confession time! You can't see the errors, right? So I will tell you.
I am nothing if not honest. :o)
There is one more point on the bottom row (as photographed above) than on the top.
How? I do not know!
I do not really care either, there, I've said it. And as I have also said many times before, near enough is good enough and this is near enough!
See, you would never have known if i hadn't have told you.
Also there a two places where I messed up on the extremely visible attaching the edge area, the faggot stitch (is it calledthat?), boy, they do show, but I hope a little light sewing may disguise them.
You would see these errors if you were here to look properly :o) They don't bother me much either I have to admit. Sorry to the perfectionists among us, sorry, i really am, but, I am human and I err, sometimes I err a lot, sometimes just a little. (And in the scheme of things -global warming, world peace, natural disasters etc.- knitting mistakes really aren't that terrible are they.) This one counts in the little pile, as I do not seek perfection.
I seek completion and ... I have it :o)