Monday, 23 February 2009

Spring has Sprung...

... and I sincerley hope that I've not jinxed Glasgow for the next month by typing that.

But really, the transformation in the last two weeks has been immense.

From this...

to this - and this is not a one off. The Resident Radiologist and I took a walk into the west-end yesterday along the Kelvin and there were crocuses out everywhere.

Down by the canal...

...from this - tracks made by foxes playing on the ice...

... to this - the neighbourhood heron making himself comfortable again.

And in the house, spring has been on its way for a while with potted bulbs brightening up the dining room and sitting room.

Hyacinth 'White Pearl'

Hyacinth 'Jan Bos'

Narcissus 'Tete a Tete'.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Back to square one...

The featureless blue expanse of Dad's birthday jumper is finished and blocked and awaiting Saturday to be tried on by it's new owner (so that I can heave a sigh of relief if it fits or get knitting again if it doesn't). As a reward for finishing (on time and with my sanity intact), I cast on for this little beauty. I've had the yarn in my stash since hogmanay, just waiting to get onto the needles.

Three evenings later, after several hours of angst that it was going to be too small, I was casting off and beginning to have a sneaking suspicion that the opposite may be true...

Oh yes - much too big. I'm carefully balancing it on my head in the photo above to stop it falling off!
The pattern is lovely and beautifully written and the finished item is wonderfully soft and warm, but not even two hours of watching TV with the beret balanced on my head could convince me that I would really wear it in this state. So (after a few photos) out came the ball winder and the yarn went back to the frog-pond... immediately... before I could convince myself that a light felting might render it the necessary two inches smaller (come on brain - this is 50% angora, even a light felting would render it suitable only for a doll's head).

Finally, after three evenings knitting and five minutes ripping, I was back to this... not so far really from my jumping-off point!

I've already cast on again - this time for the medium size which is a pattern repeat smaller.

Clearly nature was trying to cheer me up about life this morning - this was the beautiful weather on the walk to work - it just about makes me believe that spring is on the way again...

Monday, 16 February 2009

Posh Mittens

This project was inspired by a picture I saw in a magazine ages ago and ripped out as a reminder.
I think that the picture was in Scottish Field and I was struck by the wonderful colours and cosy look. The mittens in the advert were cashmere and cost nearly £50, to which my miserly Scottish heart responded - 'I bet I could knit them for a fraction of that'.

The photograph was good enough that I was able to pick out the stranded colourwork pattern and make a chart. I looked around for an appropriate yarn and immediately fell for the Artesano Alpaca 4 ply that Katherine had in stock at K1 yarns. My first swatch didn't work out at all well for the pattern so I held the yarn double and tried again - perfect.

The mitten pattern was entirely improvised with some ribbing and shaping on the arms for a snug fit and a gusseted thumb. The cuffs reach my elbows for warmth under 3/4 sleeve jumpers. I think that I used 3.75mm needles.

This was my first real go at stranded colourwork using more that two yarns and I'm pleased with how it turned out. If I knit these again, I might shorten the floats at the back by wrapping them with the working yarn. My gauge isn't quite that of the mittens in the advert so the pattern looks slightly different and my colours are all slightly more vivid so together look sharper, but on the whole I'm happy with them.