Monday, 25 June 2007

Swallowtail Sunday

I've been feeling a little bit colour-starved lately, with both Betty and Tendrils being a bit on the drab side. To counter this, I've had a really intensly-coloured project waiting in the wings for a while now. It was meant to be saved for when I was finished Betty, but I couldn't hold out any longer and decided that Sundays would be for swallowtail, with Betty's final sleeve (already on the DPN's) being worked on week-nights.

The pattern is by Evelyn A Clark, from Interweave Knits some time last year. The yarn is HipKnits 100% cashmere sock yarn and I'm using 4mm Addi Lace Needles. So far, in a couple of hours yesterday afternoon, I've got through the budding lace chart 1 and 8 repeats of the budding lace chart 2. There are a couple of 'design features' but I can live with them and couldn't face ripping out to correct them (my life-line was just too far back - something I'm correcting now), so I fudged to get the correct number of stitches and they don't show up too obviously.

This is my first go at knitting what I think of as 'proper lace' and I'm really enjoying it. It's been a great introduction to reading lace charts and the charts are really well presented with a key to the symbols on each page so you don't have to keep flicking back and forward until you have them memorised. I can't wait to see how it looks blocked, as when other people have shown before and after shots on their blogs, the lace really seems to improve with blocking. Also, the yarn feels like it might be slightly oiled at the moment so the cashmere softness might also really come through after blocking.

Well, back to Betty's sleeve for the next five nights - I feel like I'm starting to get there with her, I've pinned the first sleeve in to see how it looks and it's pretty good. I might need to rip out a few rows at the top of the sleeve cap, alter the shaping a bit and shorten it by four rows to improve the fit, but that's fairly trivial and I might experiment first with the second sleeve cap before I go ripping out the cast-off on the first.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Stash Additions

Here are the long-promised photos of my birthday-treat stash additions:

There is some Colinette Jitterbug in Velvet leaf which I'd like to use to make some sort of lacy shrug for the summer (if anyone has any pattern suggestions, they would be greatfully received).

Next there is some Koigu KPPPM in colourway 313 which I just loved the look of and will probably use for socks for me (possibly jaywalkers or monkeys - I know I'm a bit behind the times on these).

There is also some Lana Grossa mega boots stretch in a colourway I can't remember which will make (plain) socks for the resident radiologist.

Finally there is some Trekking XXL undyed sock yarn which I'm planning to try dying with the Kool Aid my in-laws brought me back from the states. If this is sucessful, I'm off to Boston in August so will pick up more Kool Aid then.

All in all, a nice little selection of sock yarn for the summer (I'm a little knitted-out on big projects at the moment so some socks etc are just what's called for).

And here's someone who noticed the camera coming out to photograph the yarn and tried very hard to get in every shot!

Monday, 18 June 2007

Betty is Jinxed

Just as I get my knitting mojo back and resolve to get Betty off the needles, this happens...


I'm taking Brittany Needles up on the 5 year guarantee they offer on their website. I suspect that they only meant it for US customers but you never know... In the mean time, Tendrils is extending again and starting to look really good.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Modelling Dog...

I've been trying to persuade my sister to model the hat and scarf I crocheted for her for ages (...somewhere in the region of 5 months...) and she has consistently held out on me. However, last weekend, while my Dad was stoking up the barbeque (with the aid of heat beads and a blow torch as engineers do...) she graciously volunteered her dog Gus for said modelling task.

He was remarkably sanguine about the whole thing and sat there quite happily while he was wrapped up in the scarf. He even managed to keep the hat on long enough to be photographed (not an easy task when your head is the wrong shape and you've got long dangly ears!).

The only problem was when the resident radiologist passed by and Gus, suspecting that there might be food involved (he lives eternally in hope), turned quickly in the hope of using his huge brown eyes to elicit a treat and knocked the hat off.

Betty is once more underway after a brief hiatus during which I didn't touch the needles for a week. I've only got a few more rows left of the first sleeve cap, then I can start the second sleeve. Unfortunately I feel a bout of second-sleeve-syndrom coming on and am hoping that a bit of tendrils in between times might stave it off.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Birthday Blog...

... I seem to have lost my knitting mojo a bit lately so Betty's first sleeve is growing very slowly. I'm almost at the sleeve cap decreases and it's getting a bit tricky on the DPN's with the number of stitches now on them. I've only got 4 needles in this set and 5 would definitely be more comfortable. You can see from my row marker / counter how much this fabric is biasing again, I'm hoping the sleeves will block out OK given that they're knitted in the round.

Today is my 30th birthday - something which doesn't bother me too much as the resident radiologist reached this particular milepost a couple of years ago now and didn't seem too badly shaken by the experience. This is what that lovely man gave me...

... from one of my favorite shops in Glasgow...

I'm also planning a stash addition as a treat for myself. I've got my eyes on some Koigu KPPPM, some Colinette Jitterbug and some Fyberspates Scrumptious. I haven't decided on colourways yet - I'm going to have a browse tomorrow and decide then. Details next week...

Friday, 1 June 2007

Spot the problem

Oh yes - that's right, the skeins aren't the same colour. It wasn't at all obvious before knitting but there is a big difference between the dye shades in the different skeins. I'm using hand-dyed silk (from HipKnits) which doesn't have dyelots so maybe it shouldn't be too much of a surprise but I'm a bit miffed! The second skein also appears to have a significantly greater yardage than the first, I've already doubled the length since the first skein and there's a fair bit of yarn left to go.

My current plan is to check the three remaining skeins, find the darkest one and use that for the other end. If that creates a pleasing symmetry then I'll leave it at that, if not, then I'm considering dying the wrap with a similar shade of blue to even the blocks out.

The actual knitting is going well - the silk is lovely and soft (though very heavy) to work with and the beads aren't bugging me as much now as they were during the first skein. You can just see them hiding in the middle of the cable. NB the colour in the top photo is a much better representation that the second, but I couldn't get the detail with the flash on.