Friday, June 29, 2007

HipKnits Project Club

just posted an update on the club blog :o)

A little progress at last or how I eventually finished those socks!

I started these socks last August, yup, nearly a year ago. It's a bad case of second sock syndrome! Well, more a case of second sock syndrome coupled with start a project and then put it away in a corner for the second sock too. All I needed to do was finish the foot and do the grafting and they'd be a pair and they stayed like that for months.

The yarn is Angel Yarns Sock yarn and there is enough left for another pair this short. I find longer socks a little tight on my *cough* ample calves. The pattern is just the old Opal one, nice and straight forward. Maybe that's why I stalled on them, not enough interest in the design? Well, I get to find out soon because when I finish the shawl for the HipKnits Project Club I get to do some socks. Maybe I should hustle up a patterned pair in the meantime to get my hand in. Only they'd better not take a year next time :o) I cast on with two needles held together to make a nice stretchy top hem. There are 20 rows between cuff and heel shaping. And they don't match, and I don't mind! What I increasingly do mind is the grafting and the square te. Time to find a toe up pattern I think. Wish me luck, I need it.

Talking of the shawl, well, I'm not talking of the shawl.

I have a few hint for how it's been going.

Knit. Tink. Knit. Tink. Knit. Tink!

And some advice for how to avoid this yourself?

Stitch markers! And, lifelines!

That's all. Simple, I should know better, I do now! Ho hum. Off to knit lace.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Aran Forest Canopy

Here she is
Pattern: Forest Canopy
Yarn: Posh Yarn Victoria, Gothic, 440yds 190g.

Needles: 6mm
Modifications: One less pattern row for the edging due to lack of yarn, otherwise, as written

A nice size I think and a fast knit in the aran. Took a full 24 hours to dry and the blocking makes the aran feel light and delicate :o) A beautiful yarn in my favourite colours.

One thing I learnt from knitting this straight after the Queen of the Waves was that a plain triangular shawl doesn't actually fit on my shoulders very well. I intend to try to come up with a design in the faroese (sp?) style one day.

Meanwhile back to all things HipKinterly and more shawl later today, first i am off to my other other job to do some eBay listings or my boss will be wondering what i am up to :o) I do know I'd rather knit, but someone has to pay for all this yarn LOL Stashalong relatively effective, that PY Victoria Gothic has been sitting in my stash for a year or so. It feels good to finally have it knitted up and wearable.

I had a good look at the Lady pattern last night and it's doable and mainly gs but I'll need to keep a good track of how many rows as there's shaping on almost every row to get the bias shapes required, looking forward to it, but I may delay the start until I've gotten a little further with the Hipknits Shawl.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Blocking tonight!

If I blog it, will it dry faster?

Measures 64" across the top and 32" from top to point, hope it stays that size! Still damp, I think aran may take a while to dry and I am impatient, can you tell?

I've spent all evening knitting lace and it's beginning to look like a little baby shawlette, ah! All soft and so inviting. The colours are turning out really nicely. I have to confess to moments of uncertainty when Kerrie sent me a variegated yarn, but this is just right. Sadly I can't show you how pretty Della is without giving away the surprise... oh the sweet tempation... Nah! But now that I've stopped I'm itching to get stitching. Need to cast on a new project.
I have the yarn for this which I got from here but she hasn't got any left cos i bought it all :P stashalong? What stashalong. The Yarn Harlot made me do it. But don't expect me to knit as fast as she does. Besides which ... steaks ... steaks... steaks! Come on Lucy, don't fail me now! Steaks are on one of the Lucy DVDs, Yay!
Apart from that I have the yarn for the Lady of the Forest and this time it's a holy stashbusting project and might be restfull after the lace ... hmm... challenge or rest? Rest or challenge?
Do you think it's dry yet?

A little bit of Lace.

Can you tell what it is yet?

Forest Finished - pre-blocking

Will block tonight.

The Forest Grows

Is it big enough yet?

At last I have a photo of my second Forest Canopy that looks, on my monitor at least, how the shawl looks in real life (below).
The purple is so dark that it absorbs light, it will be my invisibility cloak ;o)

I am really enjoying knitting this for the second time. The pattern is well and truly in my head and, although i will need to go back to the instructions for the final border and the cast off, for now I am motoring long.

I want this to be really big and I am watching the yarn cake dwindle ;o( I have the other purple to do the edging with, maybe. But the dilemma over whether to have it slightly smaller but all one purple or slightly larger but with a lighter edging is beginning to bother me. I am not a decisive person in these circumstances. I have put in a life line or two so that I can change my mind and i think I will try the two colour version first. If only I could decide what my priority is. Dither, dither! Do I want size or simplicity! Ah, what it is to have such dilemmas. Life is good!

Dee had some more Gothic in her sale this week, but I resisted. The call was strong, but I have a new love and her name is Lucy! Lucy Neatby. I am getting into the true realms of knitting nerdom when even my railway enthusiast DH finds my 4 new DVDs too hardcore. Trainspotter! I did point out that watching someone else knit cannot in any way be compared to the obvious delights of a drivers eye view of a cab ride DVD. But he wasn't listening. He said that the shudder and the thud you hear at the beginning of Lucy's lesson is the cameraman falling off his chair when he goes to sleep! Cheek! Do you have any idea how many times I have travelled the East Coast Main Line in virtual slow motion? No! Neither do I.

Is this extreme knitting? I love it! Everyone should get these DVDs for Christmas! Then we'd all know how to knit perfectly :o)

Meanwhile I have knitted more of Kerrie's shawl - not a lot more - it takes a long time to knit a laceweight shawl. How many days are there until the 1st of August? No, don't tell me. I don't need sleep. But I did learn one thing today. I cannot knit lace and watch Lucy at the same time, whilst I am counting, "k1, p1, yo, ssk," Lucy is saying "knit into the front of the stitch ..." Argh! That's 6 times I tinked that row!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Project Club Shawl

I have the pattern in my hot little hand and I am nearly ready to begin test knitting the shawl. I am ridiculously excited :o) But I live a very simple life. You will have to forgive me for the immense pleasure the whole exercise is giving me. VBG

I am just waiting for the lovely soft cashmere to arrive and then I can get cracking. My ability to mentally knit the pattern in my head and see what all those yarn overs and slip stitches will become is next to non-existent. I am not a visual thinker! In fact it is this knowledge of my limitations that held me back from using charts for knitting lace for so long. I just assumed that I would not be able to do it, so I didn't try.

All the way through the wild flower shawl from Dee's lace club I was so convinced that charts were not for me that I ignored the one that came with that pattern. Each row was knitted from the written instructions and I kept my place with post it notes so I could see which row I was on. At no point did I learn the pattern repeat, nor did I understand what I was knitting. The instructions went through my eyes via the brain to my hands without ever making an impression on the grey matter as they passed through it. It took me 5 months to s-l-o-w-l-y knit that shawl. It is my first lace and I am very proud of it. It is full of errors and I will never know what possessed me to knit it in cobweb weight. I started it almost a year ago and I have come a long way and learnt a huge amount since.

Since then, charts have become my friends :o) The Forest Canopy Shawl was the first, and the beauty of such a simple pattern is that you begin to see the pattern as you read the chart. As I said above I still can't see the finished piece in my minds eye. What I do now see are the stitches. The way they lean, the 'overness' of the yarn overs. The slipping and passing over, I see them on the page, the symbols mean something to me. I see how they are grouped, I know there should be a symmetry. I guess the next stage is to learn what they will look like as a whole, what the finished article will be. As I am now, I like the mystery. I like the slow revelation as I knit , the way the pattern unfolds from the needles as you add row upon row. The beauty that is lace, and always the magic that the blocking brings.

That's why I want to cast on now, right now. I have so much yarn I think I'll start right now, and then start again when the cashmere arrives. I want to see the pattern in the flesh (or in the yarn, I suppose). It is a wonderful thing, this knitting. How can non-knitters ever understand the joy it brings. You take this long string and you get two sticks and you wrap it round and pull it through and beauty grows under your hands and spills out over your lap and you have made something which is so much more than the string and sticks ever knew they could be. Ah! I love to knit!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Queen of the Waves - corrections!

I promised that I'd put up my corrections for the Q o t W but I think the ones Ilga has on her website are now correct so please see here for the changes. I love the Queen but she's a little flighty for me, I am afraid all of those loops will snag so I don't see me wearing her for the school run!

Whilst your there do have a look round at her other patterns, I'll be casting on for the Lady of the Forest very soon. I'm going to use the yarn I was intending to use for the Queen before i got the Schaefer Anne. this is an altogether more practical wear anywhere project so i see it getting lots of use. I am hoping the variegated yarn will show well in this design and not pool as it tends to with top down, triangular shawls.

Progress on the aran weight Forest Canopy is fast - hope to finish by the weekend and I've just joined the blog for the Projects club, looking forward to that immensely, itching to get stitching on the sample. Online group participation adds a lot to my enjoyment of all things knitterly like Dee's yahoo group for Posh Yarn for example. It's the same kind of thrill I get when people leave comments here. I have never been successful at keeping a private diary but blogging is a whole different thing. I can't imagine not blogging now. Not reading your blogs too would be strange. It's part of my daily life. When something happens or I see something knitting related I think "oh, I'll blog that!"

No progress at all on the baby Shawl as she is still sitting in the naughty corner whilst i struggle with doing what i know in my heart must be done and frogging back and starting again. the proportions are all wrong. Note to self : do a tension square, sometimes near enough is not near enough to be good enough! *sigh!*

Queen After Blocking. Ta da!

The light isn't very good for photography this morning and my models have gone to school. DS2 flatly refused anyway! ?
So the washing line will have to do. :o) These photographs look lighter than she really is, due to being against a white background I think, but it does help to show the laciness (sp?) of the finished monarch.

The yarn has softened beautifully and the Queen is indeed regal, don't you think?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Queen During Blocking ...

Another quick peek at the Queen as 'the blocking magic' does it's thing.

Ilga's instructions say to block hard but it is surprisingly hard to block this slightly more than a semi circle shape, even with blocking wires.

I used my new foam mats from Early Learning Centre and they are really good - such a chore getting the pins into our carpet, so much easier with foam. But I need to work on how to lay them out to make the biggest area for blocking. No point buying more mats, we haven't any more carpet to lay them on! Could always move house. "Darling, we need to move to a bigger house! I don't have enough room to block my lace here." Nah! Maybe not.

Blocking opened up the first repeat of the stripe section and revealed more detail in the shell stitch which I made too small by doing too few yarn overs *rolls eyes*. It's not so noticeably smaller now than the other sections, except that I have now drawn your attention to it :o)

Here's a reminder of how the finished piece should look. And I think it's not a bad match ;o) It took 10 days from winding the yarn to finishing last night, [but it was 1.30am :o) - yawn] I'm not sure, but I'd say 7 evenings of knitting as I didn't cast on straight away; this one is a project to do as a last minute present but still an impressive knit, and, despite the problems with the pattern (I'll post my corrections tomorrow), it was well worth it for the result. I don't think Ilga's corrections are quite right yet so a word of caution if you are using the errata on her web site :o)

Here's a photo to show you the lovely colours of the Schaefer Anne yarn, isn't that pretty?

The yarn also seemed to soften a little on soaking so hopefully, I'll feel a difference when it's dry tomorrow.

The shell stitches are strange to work, very different to any other lace I've done in the past. The looseness of the stitches is disconcerting at first, but this is a super speedy pattern to knit and grows really rapidly, especially as you get towards the end and the shaping for the shoulders/neck area.

Finally, I have, at last, cast on for another Forest Canopy in the lovely dark purples of my aran PY (Cake: Victoria, Gothic, 190g, 440yds) and it is flying on to the needles. This is the first time I've used such a thick yarn for lace but I have had this project in mind for a while now and having finished the Queen my needles were empty, so, what was I supposed to do but start something else. With the test knitting for Kerrie's project club due any day now I wanted something straight forward to work on and the Forest Canopy is just the thing, try this one first if you haven't done lace before!

Queen before blocking

Already huge - soon to be huger :o)

Friday, June 15, 2007


I haven't bought any yarn for ages. Well, not since the last time, and the secret of my success? Dee is having a week off! Ah! I knew there had to be some way to control my spending!

Strangely I seem to be spending a lot of time looking at this . Isn't that pretty? I am just looking, honest I am.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Queen continues

Just a couple of progress photos for a look at the stitches, the colour is awful, artificial light etc. but the photos do show what it looks like lol

I am very relieved that the shell stitch border is finished and I don't have to do any of the loopiness again for a while, on to gs now so it should grow quickly from here in. Phew!

Stitch count was way out at the end of the border so I fudged it, I like gs more and more :o)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Queen of the Waves

Going ok so far! I am loving the colours of the Schaefer Anne but not loving the feel - guess I am spoiled by all the soft PY but at least this is one that shouldn't felt and can go in the machine. Much discussion on the AY boards about the shell stitch *rolls eyes* happy with how mine is looking :o) don't especially like knitting them though - all those long loops! I keep catching my nails in them, but they do look pretty. Btw the photo is upside down :o) and I have no idea which side is the right side, ask me if I'm 'bovered'.

Yesterdays little puzzle? It's Hardian's Wall - well done Sussex Yorkie :o) DD wants me to point out that she took the photos, not me.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

We went here today. Is there anything more 'Britain in Summer' than daisies?
Whilst I was there and the kidlets were gamboling with the sheeplets I did this *sigh* A good day was had by all. But where was I?

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Kid Silk Lace from PY
Needles sizes from the top down





There are 2 rows of eyelets for each size apart from the top one set for 2mm (on my monitor the needle sizes are adjacent to the correct place on the swatch) and one block of gs and one of ss for each size.

I just realised there isn't anything in there for scale (DOH!). Actually any of the range would be fine to work with. As I was knitting I found the smaller sizes more difficult to do the k2tog with but not so much that they'd stop me using any of them. The fabric looks best in the 2mm but the holes may get lost in the fluffiness so I'll probably go for a size in the middle.

Dee mentions on her blog how hard this yarn is to photograph and I can second that! I wanted to show you how the fluffiness contrasts with the stitches on garter stitch especially and how the fabric is rippled, it's a yarn that wants to be texture.

These are the best I could do, sorry :o( You'll just have to buy some :o)

And here's the lovely silky apple green lace that I've been playing with. Still can't get the colour right as this one is a little bleached by the flash but it does show the patterns I am trying out.

Friday, June 08, 2007

A Couple of Swells

This is the Minuet in all her fuzzy glory, ready for me to swatch for an as yet undecided lacy something. What to make? I'm just going to swatch a few needle sizes and make a few holes this afternoon.

And here's the Schaefer Anne going round and round, getting ready to be transformed into the lovely QotW shawl. The corrections for the pattern are already up on Ilga's website here
(scroll down).

Off to knit ... bye!

Casting on

Thanks to Dee for the feedback (see comments below) and I couldn't agree more :o)

I had to post the piccie of the new mohair yarn, I couldn't pretend I am still stashingalong *blushes* partly because, of course, I am as honest as the day is long *rolls eyes*, but also because that yarn made me want to cast on straight away.

Lovely yarn often makes me want to drool (ug!) and usually makes me want to stroke it, sometimes to smell it (which is odd - as I have no sense of smell) but this is the first time I have opened a package from Dee and been overcome with the urge to cast on straight away, abandon all WIP, cast aside all plans for other projects, and just get down and dirty with the fuzziness of that mohair, baby! *sigh!*

I have managed to contain myself thus far - phew! But this afternoon, when little miss 4 yrs is in nursery and I have no meetings or other engagements I can't get out of I will be swatching the Kid Silk Lace.

I also plan to cast on the Queen of the Waves so I have a project for tonight. The Baby Shawl is sitting in the naughty corner until she learns not to run out of yarn before her border is even half finished and until I learn to estimate yardage requirements better! I frogged her last night but I haven't the heart for another start of the finish (iykwim) just yet. Boo hoo!

How much of the cast on I get done I do not know, it will depend on how I go with the KSL

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Posh does it again

I don't know why I try to deny myself - I know I wont manage to do it for long *sigh* I do feel bad, but I also feel good *wicked grin* and I feel very POSH

Three of these fell into my basket on Sunday and I just had to take pity on them and bring them home - very mohair, very light and very Posh Yarn. 70% kid mohair, 30% silk laceweight yarn. Each skein is 50g, with 450 yards. I feel the need to start knitting it tonight too - I've had a hard day, and some fluffiness is in my very near future, very near.

I would like to point out that I have no affiliation with this yarn painter, but she does something to yarn that does something to me *rolls eyes* And in my stashalong defence the HipKnits was a bargain and (other than the PY) I haven't splurged again this week - and Sunday doesn't really count as this week, does it? Shhh! You don't tell anyone and neither will I :o)

Something i haven't yet given in to, although please don't ask me how many times this one has been in the virtual shopping basket today, *sigh!*, is over at AY. How long before that is heading this way too - only thing is which colour first? :o)

I must finish the baby shawl before I buy any more yarn, so close now I can feel it calling to me from it's 'safe place' and it's going to be a last inch finish too. But will it be an inch to short or an inch to long, for the remaining yarn?

Going back to the Schaefer Anne for a second I'd just like to give a quick mention to Ilga Leja designer of the Queen of the Waves pattern that we're doing as a knitalong on the AY forum. There has been a big debate about some of the instructions for the pattern, me and being me :o) , I thought I'd ask Ilga. Now, I knew I'd probably get a response from her becuase Cairi said she's had a really prompt response from her when she emailed. It was just so, overnight the answer came and Ilga has joined the forum so that she can help us with the difficulties we are having.

I think it is only to be expected that from time to time error will occur, human error, typing/printing transpositions misunderstandings in what is meant by different terms etc. So that errors occur is not a problem in itself, what is a problem is when you can't sort them out, when there is no response or a curt response from the designer and Ilga is a shining example of how it should be done. Polite, friendly and professional and above all concerned that the knitter is happy with the design. Me I am happy :o)

DH was telling me the other day that research into customer satisfaction showed that it isn't customers who haven't had any problems who are the most satisfied, it's the ones who've had difficulties that have been dealt with in a positive way, who are the best pleased. QED

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Baby Shawl corner and Bargains

Last night I had the silly idea that I might get the Baby Shawl (imaginatively named, eh!) finished. I must have forgotten just how many edge stitches there are because I didn't stand a chance! I have actually only done 1 1/2 sides so I'm nowhere near.

But, I am very happy with how it's going. I turned the corner without any problems at my first attempt, which isn't bad going when I'm 'unventing' as you go, and also as I didn't bother counting all those edge stitches to see if the edging I've chosen will actually fit!

The feel of this yarn is great, I am enjoying sitting under it's snuggliness as I knit. It's chilly here on the north east coast. Yes, it's PY again! Now my only worry is that I'll run out of yarn before I get all the way around. If I do it'll be a pain to pull it back and take off a row of the Old Shale as I haven't put in a life line *Note to self - put in a life line, you fool!* I did email Dee to see if she had any more, but I already knew she wouldn't have :o( I bought it all :o)

I am weighing the yarn obsessively to try and work out if I'll make it so I can frog it now if I need to, rather than waiting until the bitter end. Maybe if I weigh it often enough it will get heavier and there will be more? *rolls eyes*

My bargain today comes from HipKnits. Kerrie's sale came just at the right time and I was very lucky.

I'm supposed to be on a stashalong *whistles *, yeah right! But I want to knit this pattern (Queen of the Waves) from Ilga Leja. I have looked and looked and looked at Schaefer Anne sock yarns *drools* but on a stashalong I can't spend that much on yarn, no, really, I can't.

So when I saw that Schaefer Anne was on sale at HipKnits and there were only 4 skeins left, I emailed to ask if by any chance Kerrie had 2 the same. Luckily for me she did. Now they could have been any colours and at the sale price any colour would be a bargain... but ... would it be right for the Queen of the Waves. Well the photo shows what I received in the post this morning. Yay! How lucky is that! Perfect, exactly what I would have chosen if I had been able to see the colours to choose from. *does a happy dance*

So, come touch me, I'm on a winning streak, off to buy a lottery ticket! ;o)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Eeeck! I'm all excited!

Look what Kerrie's doing, and I get to knit them, how wonderful is that? Pretty darn wonderful, that's how!

A little more lace

The photograph of this lace in a previous post really didn't capture the beautiful colour properly :o(

So I tried again.. and again.... and again!

It still isn't right.

It doesn't sing in the same way that the silk in this Posh Yarn, Eva, 2 ply, sings.

It is the most beautifully soft and inspiring yarn I have ever handled, it is a real pleasure to sit down and work with it, and one of the beautiful things about it is the colour.

I wish I could get it just right to share it with you :o( It's brighter, it's greener and it is immeasurably more ... more ... more ... everything! I just hope I can photograph it accurately when it is finished!

Even better the latest (and last *sob!*) Lace Club yarn is more of this deliciousness in a wonderful blue that I cannot begin to describe, and probably wont be able to photograph either *sigh!*

Friday, June 01, 2007

Meanwhile back in the land of blob, or how the baby shawl went on ... and on ... and on ...

How big is big enough?

When you are making it up as you go along, how big is big enough?

I know I am not there yet, ... but yarn is being eaten by the baby shawl (good job it's organic, or she might get indigestion), but it seems not to grow!
So I thought I'd s-p-r-e-a-d it out.
Ah how I love KP Options and the super long cords. When I bought them I couldn't imagine ever needing anything that long, but 3 cords is enough to spread out the baby blob and she is growing after all.
So far unstretched (not even a little bit, honest) she's 42". I recon that means she's going to be a nice big soft fluffy mummy of a shawl and I love her again. (I was having my doubts as her formlessness grew more and more blobby) I am so glad I decided to take a peek at her rather than guessing how things were going, and hanging on to go for the big 'reveal' at the end.
I have 1 full 100gm ball left, plus 29gms of the 4th ball still to go. Now, that seems like a lot of yarn but a set of 4 rows (i.e. one old shale repeat) took 21gms *shock* and I also have to guess how much I'll need to knit the edging on. Given that I haven't decided on a border pattern yet ... Doh!
I'd like to double the old shale I have already done, but that's another 8 repeats and I haven't got enough for that. Oh my! Guesswork and compromise are the words of the moment.
Meanwhile the other little lace project I photographed yesterday is looking lush, I am adding another pattern and loving every stitch, it is so soft and gorgeous (although it does split a little, not being very tightly wound, but I am ignoring that because it is so soft and gorgeous).
Btw I didn't go back to the last day of the fabric sale at my LYS, I really must stop spending money. Maybe a little splurge when my pay cheque arrives? But the stashalong is making the yarn cravings really bad, and I am surfing, and browsing, and there are so many wonderful yarns out there just waiting for me to buy them.
Oh dear, I need to go fondle my stash again to reaffirm that I have enough yarn to see me through the next ice age, and I do not need to buy any more! I have enough yarn - I have enough yarn, repeat after me, I have enough yarn. *sigh!*