Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Blanket update.

Here's a quick update on the blanket I'm knitting for my sister. I've finished the knitting for the central section and woven all the ends in.

I'm currently resisting the urge to sew these four blocks together (they're just laid out carefully in the photo) as I should really finish the squares for the outer rim first.

This project is going on hold for a few weeks though, as I'm currently knitting to a deadline. I mentioned to the Resident Radiologist a while ago that I would knit the Hanami stole for his mother's birthday. Last week he told me that her birthday was at the start of August (I thought that it was September - d'oh). I've been given a slight reprieve as he's not going down to Cambridge to visit until the 24th August so I have until then. So far I've knitted just over one repeat of the first chart, but from now on, I pretty much need to manage a repeat per evening to make sure I'm safely finished in time. Eeek!

Friday, 25 July 2008


I received my latest Rowan magazine (44) a couple of weeks ago and I have to say that I'm totally underwhelmed by it. There is not a single thing that I want to knit or that I feel could play a useful part in my wardrobe.

I also noticed that many of the designs were re-hashed from themes one or two to fill out theme three. Do they normally do this? I hadn't noticed before. It's not even as if anyone with a bit of know-how wouldn't be able to change the colour / add or remove sleeves or embellishments for themselves!

I think that this may be the final straw and the Rowan subscription will not be getting renewed...

Friday, 18 July 2008

Photo Meme

I don't usually do memes but here's a lovely one I found on 'And She Knits Too'.

1. (Mary) “Rosa Mary” and Rubus spectabilis, Groningen, The Netherlands, 2. (sushi) デパ地下寿司, 3. George Heriot's School, Edinburgh, 4. (green) Meeting the pregnant princess of the forest, 5. Tommy Lee Jones, 6. Gin Tonic, 7. (skiing in the Alps) Chalet à la Montagne, 8. nigella's easy sticky toffee pudding, 9. (a scientist) Frost-5 (RVP-05-03-28), 10. (Gawain) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, 11. (happy) don't worry be happy new year, 12. maryD1

It goes like this:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your Flickr name.

I've added in my answers to the less obvious photo titles.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Mitred Blanket Update

Despite the Woolfest Stash, the list of projects as long as my arm that I'd like to cast on and a general lift in the sock-knitting mojo again, I've been knitting monogamously on the mitred blanket for my sister.

Following a minor set-back, then a desperate search for the 'right' yarn, progress has been good.

As I'm knitting four blocks in one piece, picking up stitches from one block for the next, I had to plan out the colour pattern in advance. This sketch shows what I'm aiming for. The heavy dark lines show which blocks can been knitted into one piece, and the lighter lines show the individual blocks.

I've currently finished three of the big centre pieces and have started the first block for the fourth piece. After these big pieces are done, I'll start on the smaller pieces for round the edges.

My minor set-back was that I started this project without one of the colours. Cucumberpatch, where I'd bought all the rest of the yarn (Jaeger Extra Fine Merino DK which is now discontinued and was on sale) were clean out of the rose-petal shade. I wasn't too worried about this as I thought that I could find a DK yarn from another range in the right shade to use. I tried this with the Jaeger Baby Merino DK in shade 'rose'. It was a disaster. The colour screamed out as being different and even the gauge and texture of the yarn was wrong - where the EFM is very smooth and cylindrical, the Baby Merino is much more obviously 'plied' and felt pretty scratchy.

I went back to my original plan and tried to source some EFM in rose petal elsewhere. I bought two balls from Angel Yarns and ordered five from English Yarns, but when they checked their stock, they only had one! This left me four balls short and running out of options. Step forward Pat and Chris and the amazing kindness of these fellow knitters. Pat sent me two balls she had from the Rowan Mill and Chris swapped two balls she had for some of another colour, changing the colour scheme for a project she had planned in the process! Incredibly, five of these balls are from the same dye lot and the other two can't be told apart, so good is the match.

This means that now I have enough yarn for the project and I won't have to compromise the look or feel of the blanket with a substitute pink...

I am a little sad that the Jaeger Extra Fine Merino has been discontinued and that I came accross it so late in the day. It's absolutely beautiful to work with and lovely and soft. My recommendation would be to stash some while you can!

Friday, 11 July 2008

Woolfest Stash

Finally I've found time to get to the blog again. I've been learning new techniques at work and it always takes much longer than I think it will.

Here's the Woolfest stash additions:

Some more Lopi roving to add to the wheels from last year (from Twist Fibre Crafts)...

...some sock yarn for the Resident Radiologist, chosen by him...

...some Faery Lace yarn from Fyberspates. I hummed and hawed over buying this when Jen was doing the trunkshow in Glasgow and eventually put it down, but when I saw it again at Woolfest, I just had to have it...

...some more Catalina Baby alpaca yarn to add to the left-overs from last year (my sister wants a French Market Bag in the same yarn as the one I made for myself)!

...finally a cheap drop spindle for me. I've wanted to give this a go for a while but didn't want to spend a fortune on a spindle to find that I didn't really enjoy it. Now I just have to get the hang of it!

I've already had a go on it but I don't think I'm holding the roving right - I'm going to take it along to knitting night in a couple of weeks and see if anyone can help.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008


The morning after Woolfest, the Resident Radiologist and I decided to go for a walk (since it would be rude to stay in the Lakes and not go for a walk on a dry day). I have a few walking books in the Ordinance Survey Range and the one for the lakes recommended a route from Hawse End, up and over Catbells, then back along the western bank of Derwent Water.

We altered the route slightly to take a path that ascended a little way up the side of Catbells, then contoured round the hill, along which we walked the whole outward route. We then joined the summit path and climbed up to the top from the south end, finally following the ridge north and back to Hawse End. In this way we avoided the shore of the lake which would probably have been pretty midge-ridden given the warm, damp weather.

The views from the top were fantastic and were definitely worth the climb. We could look out over Derwent Water to the east...

... the Newlands Valley to the west...

... and as far as Bassenthwaite Lake to the north...

PS We saw these sheep along the way; they appeared on the far side of the road, stopped, looked both ways, then crossed over and were lost from view. Clearly evolutionary pressures are live and well in the Lake District!

Horrible Blogger

I've just realised that I can't reply to comments directly, thanks to Blogger's system of posting so this is a quick call out to Pat. Thanks for the offer of yarn - I'd love to take you up on it. Are you on ravelry, if so, could you leave a comment to let me know your Rav name so I can contact you there? If not, could you leave a comment to let me know and I'll find some way to get my email address to you - I'm not too keen about posting it on my blog due to the possibilities of automatic spam and I can't work out how to put a button for it in my side-bar!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Woolfest 2008 and a request.

The Resident Radiologist gallantly escorted me to Woolfest this year and bravely faced the hordes of fibre-mad folk that had flocked to Cockermouth. He also took all the photos so that I could keep my hands free for fondling yarn, samples, fleece etc as the fancy grabbed me.

Obviously there were some fibre-producing animals (though not as many as there were last year):

Walls full of colour that made me happy just to look at them:

There was inspirations - see I'm not the only one who knits sock yarn blankets!

There were rag balls of old cut up blankets that looked very pretty all together, but I don't know what you'd actually do with them.

Finally there were the stalls of the fibre artists who made beautiful objects such as this bag...

And these bowls.

As I've said before, just walking around at woolfest makes me happy. The atmosphere is really great - all those people who love yarn and fibres, and there is colour everywhere. I managed slightly better this year on not going overboard and had a pretty good idea in my head what I was looking for before I went. However, the haul is going to have to wait for another day as this post is a bit picture-heavy already.

We stayed in Keswick for the night and went walking on the Saturday morning - around, then up and over Catbells which gave us stunning views out over Derwent Water.

Finally the request: I'm knitting a blanket for my sister with discontinued Jaeger Extra Fine Merino DK and I'm short of the last colour - shade 982 - rose petal. I tried getting a different yarn but nothing matches properly in terms of colour or texture so I've bought up the odd balls I've found in various stores but I'm still going to be three balls short. Does anyone have any of this yarn that they'd be willing to sell / swap / send? The dye lots aren't going to matter too much as the blocks of colour will be separated from one another and any partial left-over balls would be gratefully received. If anyone does have some yarn that they're willing to part with, please leave a comment and I'll get in touch.

Thursday, 3 July 2008


Before I write a post about Woolfest 2008 and the fantastic time I had there, I thought I'd better catch up on the last bloggable pre-woolfest project that I haven't written up yet.

These socks are Vinnland by Becca Compton and were the last thing I knitted before my mojo gave out (though I should have been able to tell that was coming as the only things I'd knitted for months were socks and 4 inch squares!).

The yarn is Arwetta superwash merino and nylon sock yarn that I received in my mystery yarn swap parcel from Denmark a couple of months ago. It's really beautiful yarn and shows up the travelling rib pattern in the socks perfectly. I have another couple of balls of this yarn in my stash and am looking forward to knitting with it (maybe Boyfriend Socks for the Resident Radiologist?).

The pattern wasn't very well written in that it rarely had a stitch count that you could check against (and as this was my first short-row toe and heel, I would really have appreciated the reassurance that I was in the right place) and there was an error in the stitch count for the pattern panel (it was over 28 stitches instead of the 30 printed). This said, it is an absolutely beautiful motif once knitted up and was fairly easily memorised.

My knitting mojo is well and truely back in place now and for once, I have a list of projects I want to cast on, and (most unusually), the yarn for each of them in the stash!

Here's the current list: Apres Surf Hoodie in Rowan Cashcotton 4 ply,
French Market Bag in Catalina Baby Alpaca DK,
Nutkin Socks in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock,
Boyfriend Socks in Arwetta Superwash Merino.

This list if, of course, in addition to the sock yarn blanket and my sister's blanket, both of which are currently WIPs!