Thursday, May 31, 2007

I got a little Lace going on.

lace panel
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

I decided that as well as the baby shawl I neded a little project on the side. :o)

The baby shawl - she of the cream formlessness, now has over 720stitches a round and it is s-l-o-w going, but I am plodding on. It must have been wishfull thinking that i might be geting to the end of ball 4 and near time to start thinking about knitting on a border as when I weighed the ball it was still 50gms left to go. Shesh!

meanwhile, my flirtation with the lace panel above is the beginning of a stole that I am making with the lace club yarn from the last instalment of the PY Lace Club. It is gorgeous, the nicest yarn I have ever knit with, yet... The next and final instalment of PY Lace Club goodess may be here tomorrow or the day after.

Better go do the bathtime/sotries/bedtime thing. Then I get to knit ;o)

Friday, May 25, 2007

I also sew/ when a bargin is too good to miss / how I went to the wool shop and came away with fabric.

My Local Yarn Shop is also the only decent Patchwork Shop for miles and it has been a happy marriage, until now.
The fabric side of the business is being 'run down' to allow more space for the yarn.
The knitterly side of me says "Yay!" but the patchwork part says "Oh no!"
The bargain hunter in me soon won over though :o)
All patchwork fabric half price and the sale ends next Friday. It's Ring A Rosie on Park View in Whitley Bay if anyone is near enough to benefit.
I have a little girls memory quilt to make so I went for lots of lovely bright pink, red, orange and lovely limey green, they are all Fossil Fern fabrics, some of my favourites. I snuck in some purples and a dark green too - they'll come in useful at some point, wont they :o) You know they will.
No yarn for me - I'm on a stashalong remember ;o) Looks like I found a way round that one, then. VBG But a bargain is sometimes too good to miss.
Also picked up some burgundy but left behidg the flannel - might have to go back for that :o) Sewing machine tonight?
The Cream Baby Shawl Grows but she is not fit to be photographed unless you'd like a photo of a big cream blob of formlessness. I am adding rounds in the Old Shell but boy those are long rounds, and longer and longer. 3 mindless rows punctuated by a little attention to get the increase pattern stitches in a suitable place but other than that, just round and round and round I go.
See comments on previous post for a discussion of knitting squares. What do you do?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Baby Blanket gets a Border, or how I picked up over 600 stitches and wondered why.

A little ahead of myself, it hasn't got it's border yet, I'm just beginning.

The centre of 'field of flowers' was intended to be made square by knitting an equal number or gs ridges to the number of stitches cast on. Nice and simple, yes?

No. At a little shy of 2/3 I was knitting a square when all dimensions are stretched very slightly. Thank goodness for those super long KP Options cables. I laid it on the table and thought to myself "That's a square, that is!"

So intentions are shelved and knitting by the seat of the pants instigated. 2/3rds of cast on stitches for the number of ridges, it is. Now I am inclined to rush these things and 'cast off' prematurely but I have measured and measured and looked and looked and it is square, it really is. Near as 'damn it' is to swearing, and certainly once blocked!

All of which means my next job tonight is to pick up all those edging stitches and begin knitting the border.

How I have dithered over this. In the end (although I am presuming no last minute change of mind here) I am going for an Old Shell/Shale border and staying with the Shetland theme. I did consider the tree of life, but more of that another time.

I have just started the 3rd ball of yarn which leaves me with just enough to knit a decent border and edging, I hope :o) Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Secret Summer Santa

Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Look what my lovely Santa sent me.


The most perfectly formed skeing ofArtizan NZ merino (above) and a lovely card making kit too with pretty shells, seahorses and starfish on (below), oh and fudge (that's gone!).


So now when I need cheering up, I will sneak off to my stash and stroke the pretty things, yummy lace in my perfect colours. But I don't know what to make with the mohair *wanders off scratching head*.

Btw DH wants to know if Santa is trying to indoctrinate me into some cult of Scientology or something, and says we are 'flakey', and why don't we just spend £20 on ourselves and then we'll know we will like what we get. He doesn't get it, does he?

Monday, May 21, 2007


Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag 7 others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog. I was tagged by Yarn Snob and Posh Dee

1. I hate being tagged.

2. I have no sense of smell.

3. Autumn is my favourite season.

4. There were 3 Jackies in my class at school which is how my name came to be spelt Jacqui, we all got a different spelling.

5. I cannot read a crochet pattern although I can crochet all the different stitches competently.

6. I am a foster Mum.

7. I love expensive chocolate.

and another one

8. I am not playing, so I have not tagged anyone, yes, I confess I am a party pooper, spoil sport and no fun at all! *pouts* If I don't like it I can't do it to other peeps, can I? Sorry, petulantly sorry.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tagged? Oh dear!

Elaine aka yarn snob tagged me, oh dear, I don't like it! Pressure! I'll have to ponder/panic/procrastinate for a while ... I'll get back to you on that one, OK?

It's Aran, it's Posh, and it's Purple!

Posh Yarn
Ball: Victoria, Mulberry, 100g, 230 yds.
Cake: Victoria, Gothic, 190g, 440yds.
These want to be in the stashalong quest to knit up some of my yarn but I don't know what they want to be.
Can you help?
The cake might want to be a Gothic Forest Canopy Shawl. Kathryn has made some beautiful FCs in aran. But I like this yarn so much I want to get it right *blushes* will I wear it? Would I be better with a stole? Do I have enough for a stole?
The dilemma for the ball is the yardage, what can I make with 230yds? This is why I often let the aran and other weights (not lace, there's lots of yardage on the lace) pass me by; what can I make with just a little yarn that will show the colours and softness of the yarn to it's best?
Any suggestions?
To avoid getting it wrong, I could take the easy way out and just sit and look at them, see ... aren't they beautiful? I'll just sit here and look! :o)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

'Lace Books' or 'Knitting by Numbers'

I was wondering what to blog about today when I remembered I promised to tell you what books I have for lace knitting or knitted lace (it's all the same to me, although I do know it isn't).

I have other books (many, many, ... thinking of starting a library!) which have lace patterns in them, I have many individual patterns for shawls not in books, but that's a list of the books which are just on Lace Knitting or Knitted Lace.
If you were only going to buy one I'd recommend ...
Either 'Heirloom Knitting' for it's text book type layout, encouraging and detailed explanations and reference quality. When you get into it there's an easy conversational writing style, but, it is a little daunting for a beginner, and it sat on my shelf for many months before I used it.
Or 'Victorian Lace Today' for it's beautiful photography and for the fact that there are only 2 designs in it I wouldn't knit for myself if I had time, this book makes you want to learn how to knit lace, right now, today!
[Due to the blurry photo I have linked to amazon and for the o.o.p. one to eBay.]
Hmmm! Did Yarn snob say I was a stasher, books are another thing ... *blushes*

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

So, what have you been doing?

Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Well, I haven't done any more on the contest entry, I had a radical 'design change/crisis' mid session *shock* and, no, it isn't a shawl - tease, tease. I'd love to do a shawl but don't have the yardage in the yarn I was sent, quite a challenge. It's 'marinating' whilst I ponder.

But meanwhile, I had an idea, which I will keep to myself for now, and decided it was time I used some stash :o) and designed a shawl myself. I have been buying up vintage lace shawl patterns on eBay and setting myself to charting all those long hand directions *rolls eyes*. Very interesting, let's call it research :o)


So I cast on in a 4ply and here comes a baby shawl with lots of help from Heirloom Knitting and many other lacey books. I'll do a list later. Big day today so a little list this afternoon/evening will be just what the doctor ordered. If you think my lace weight stash is big you should see my books :o)

Pattern: field of flowers, needles: size 5mm, Posh Yarn: clotted cream, an organic merino. Yummy, yummy, yummy. Such a theraputic knit. Clickety clack, clickety clack.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


What next?

Kerrie is having a competition
Want a little look at what I'm doing?
Do you?

Ok but shhhh! Don't tell!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Finished shawl

ETA another photo

more photos on flickr

Yarn Fibrespates, colour: Marie, Lace Weight 450m per 50gm skein x 2

Needles KnitPicks Options size 3.75mm

Time 1 month of evenings.

Adaptations 21 repeats of Chart A, 5 repeats of Chart B otherwise as per the pattern

Modeled by DD More pictures on my flickr account. Finished size 74" x 38"

I am really pleased with how this turned out, it drapes beautifully the variegated yarn doesn't totally obscure the lace pattern, the size is just right, and the pattern was interesting enough, with nupps and all to keep me going to the end. My initial reservations about the yarn are gone, the second skein was softer and the whole thing is lovely now it has bee washed. The blue dye did bleed out quite a lot on first washing so I will warn the recipient to wash carefully in future. The pooling which spoiled the initial stages of knitting this for me is much less obvious now the whole thing is finished and doesn't detract from the shawl.

Lovely pattern, well written as was Forest Canopy, nice clear accurate charts. Just one question, I wonder why the last section wasn't charted?

I'd like to try this one again at some future date in a solid /semi-solid yarn to see how much more pronounced the lace pattern becomes.

A lovely 100gm project - I had just 4 gms left at the end. Phew!

spring things blocking

It's lovely and big,
photo is a bit too pink - oops.
Will try to take a better photo.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Art or Craft

Visiting Posh Dee's blog yesterday got me thinking.

Firstly let me be categorical so as to avoid misunderstanding. I do consider Posh Dee and Mr P to be Artists. They create something beautiful which I could not, it is the ability to preform something uncommon ,and with value above the sum of it's parts which, for me, is art. The combination of colours, hues and tones is something I know I am not good at and I rely upon people who are.

However on the wider point I made the following entry on Dee's blog

There is too little credit given to craftsmen and women. This should be valued highly too. The dedication, the skill, the attention to detail, the knowledge of materials and traditions, of heritage and innovation. These are the hallmarks of a craftsman. A finesse, a quality, an ability to achieve above the norm. It is a fine thing to be involved in and to be the creator of craft.

My point is that, should we seek to find value in our craft by calling it 'art', the unintentional downside of trying to raise knitting to a higher level by joining it to art, is that we devalue craft.

Whether people view it as art, is their choice and their judgement, and I do not think it is my place to contradict or gainsay their choice. But for me it is the fact that it belongs to a tradition of work, of ordinary people that makes it mine and allows me access to it. If anyone and everyone is an artist then so be it. But I think there is something not of the everyday about art, and, there is something gloriously and specially 'ordinary' about knitting. I can do it. You can do it, anyone can do it. For centuries it has been a utilitarian craft and it is valid to value it just as that, whilst at the same time, appreciating the beauty that these ordinary knitters can produce.

All around the country as we make 'progress' we loose craft, we loose pride in the achievement of our hands as we value more and more highly the work of our brains.

Of course, craft involves the brain too :o) in choosing materials, in forming designs and so on. Design is certainly an element that undoubtedly involves the brain, LOL but also the 'spirit'? Perhaps! But I digress.

There are now many skills in the building trade, for instance, that our forefathers knew and mastered that we have lost. I was in a building which is being renovated recently, which has hit a problem. There is a beautiful banister on a very tight staircase. Lovely understates Victorian elegance of curve, simple clean lines and needing to be replaced with fresh timbre. But ... it cannot be replaced because no one can be found who knows how to make that curve from a single piece of wood. The owners of the building are not prepared to accept an inferior replacement. The builders have suggested rerouting the railing to lessen the angle and steepness of the curve and the owner will not agree. He wants the same piece of work doing that was done originally. Stalemate. Experts in renovation have been consulted, no progress. Similar things happen in the area of church maintenance and renovation. As people retire there is no one to take over. Skills are lost and have to be rediscovered at a later date.

In our schools we encourage children to stay on and take higher and higher academic qualifications. There is talk of making the school leaving age 18 instead of 16. We are urged to become a 'knowledge economy'. But, when we are all holders of superior certificates, who will know how to work with their hands? Who will understand craftsman? Whilst mass production makes items accessible, whilst we strive for cheaper and cheaper goods, who will value the artisan?

So there I think I have hit upon the nub of my dilemma. Craftswoman or Artist? Artisan! "A skilled manual worker" according to the dictionary. So whilst the fibre artist or maker of art quilts may be an artist, as a knitter I will settle for artisan. Maybe in the end it's just one more label and the work will speak for itself.

PS. Does all this yarn make me an Art Collector?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Entering the Home Straight

I have finished 21 repeats of Chart A, 5 repeats of Chart B and half way through Chart C. I am nearly there, nearly. I have to tell you this, as the temptation to put this Spring Things aside is great due to the huge number of stitches and the length of time it takes to knit each row.

I have not counted them (that's take up valuable knitting time) but I estimate at least 400 stitches a row now and this slow mindful knitting is dragging. The promise of the magic that is blocking keeps me going :o)

Yesterday I did something to my right index finger and I was panic stricken that I might now be able to knit! I sympathise very deeply with my Mum now, she broke her finger a little while ago and has not been able to knit for AGES, weeks and weeks. Mum, I hope it's better now *note to self - ring Mum and find out if it's better now!* Happily (I was doing cartwheels with joy- mentally) there was no impediment last night when I picked up the needles.

So, if I can avoid the time eating Internet tonight and crack on with the knitting I may be able to finish Chart C and the ... the cast off begins!

Hope you are all fit and able to knit today and for many many long years to come. Spare a though for those who can't.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Keeping it fresh.

Having a quick catch up with SharonB's blog this morning I wanted to share both her topic and a link.

Time to spring clean the blog? Yep :o)

And the link? It's ideal if your thinking about your blog (or starting a blog) . I don't necessarily agree with all the tips but they're a good place to start.

So with a fresh blog in mind I give you spring things part ? Not sure where I'd got to but this is where I am now.

21 repeats of chart A/1 and 4 completed repeats of chart B/2 . The rows are now v.e.r.y. long I haven't counted how many stitches; if you're a maths whiz you can work it out, but I can't! I may attempt a count before I cast off, hopefully by the end of the bank holiday. Each repeat it taking two evenings work, so maybe not.

In the, perhaps, mistaken belief that any photo is better than no photo:

Guess which photo the sun came out for? :o)
As they are blurred (camera shake) I have kept them small, sadly you will see nothing more by enlarging (sigh!) The other camera is being temperamental *rolls eyes* so blur is all I and the substitute camera can manage due to the extremely long exposure/ slow shutter speed and my inability to stand perfectly still indefinitely. Add my unwillingness to arrange some sort of tripod (yes, I know but I can't be bothered) and we have blurr!

Another project has been lurking at the bottom of the WIP pile. I bought some Celestial from AY ages ago and started a Zimmermann Pi inspired shawl to create my own design. Bronte inspired me to get this out again and try to get past the centre stage where working on dpns is not at all pleasant. Now I have it out to photograph I am convinced I need to come down a couple of needle sizes. I am tempted to start again with a wrap and try my first Pi with 4 ply! Perhaps something from the extensive PY stash? it's their sale tonight and I will only be looking, honest, but I have lots of PY lovelies to choose from for a stole or another attempt at the Pi.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


I love it when people leave comments :o)

As Jan said she was looking for a pattern, and I have nothing finished to show you (the wip looks like a crumpled dishcloth), I thought I's share some of my favourites.

Many of you will know these already but for the few who don't - here goes:

Angel Yarn's forum for help and advice.
Susan's Blog for Spring Things and Forest Canopy Shawls to download. some beautiful shawls to download here too.
Pink Lemon Twist oooooooohhhhhh, aaaaaahhhhh!
List of triangular shawls organised by yarn requirements, many of them free patterns, great for stash busting.
Then there's patterns by fiddlesticks and Ilga Leja and Fibretrends and Goddess Knits these are links to UK suppliers (as that's what I have bookmarked) but are available in lots of places I am sure.

Don't forget to look for Knitalongs to help you on your way too, especially for Victorian Lace Today. There's inspiration for you! A lot of lace knitters join knitalongs and I can recommend them for adding the social element and for help in creating that heirloom.

Talking of which please don't miss one day I will knit this and this and this!

But if I start a list of 'one day's we'll be here a long time :o)

Hope you find something to inspire you, Jan.

PS I have enabled anonymous comments - hint, hint! Leave me a message :o)