Thursday, September 08, 2005

I'm back

Yes, we are back up and running. The computer is out of hospital and has had a modem transplant. I feel as if I have been cut off from civilization for weeks. It truly has been the rural backwater.

I have not been resting on my laurels, however. I threw together this bag:

This is the "Arctic Bag". Yet another of Emma King's designs from the "25 bags to knit" book. Once again, I ran out of yarn. (When will I learn? I have made four bags from this book and have run out of yarn on each and every one. You would have thought that by now I would be wise to Ms King's little ways and would have bought more yarn. Did I? What do you think?)

The yarn is Rowan "Polar", now sadly discontinued (all the more reason to have bought more...), the needles 4.5mm. The recommended needle size was 7mm (!) I know I knit loosely and I knew that starting with a size 6mm or even 5.5 would be better. Starting right in (I don't do swatching - it's only 45 stitches to cast on. If it makes you feel better think of it as a big swatch.) I realised that the fabric was too floppy (technical term) and started again. Twice. In the end I got a fabric I liked and so the bag is slightly smaller than she said it would be. You know what? I'm not bothered. My filofax fits in it and that's about all that matters. I did stretch the handles unmercifully as I was knitting them. Partly to save yarn, partly because I didn't want them to stretch too much in use and end up being long enough to sling over the shoulder. This is what happened with the pink "Chunky" bag and that's fine on that bag but this bag is a hand bag and I want it to remain so. I also made a slight modification to the turn over at the top of the bag. Basically, you knit two rows in the contrast colour, change back to the main colour and work 10 rows in stocking stitch. Well, I didn't change back to the main colour (saving yarn again) and I also decreased one stitch at each end of every right side row in the stocking stitch section. This means that the bulk in the seam at the sides is reduced. The fabric is already thick enough without having four layers in the seam. That worked out fine. It's my knitting, I can do what I want. (Knitting police take note.)

I have also been playing (no, not swatching) with the soy silk Kiki sent me. I've tried it with 2mm needles, I've tried it with 3mm needles, I've tried various patterns. I like this:

This is a swatch (I mean a "play" piece) of the Idella pattern from Myrna Stahman's wonderful "Stahman's shawls and scarves" I have not actually knitted any one of these Faroese shawls but I have a feeling I might be starting soon. I think I am liking the soysilk but it is a little early to say. It is skinny (technical term) and there is a bit of a nap to it, it is slightly "fuzzy" (another technical term) and I think I like that.

Hazel asked in the comments about blocking lace. Stephanie (aka Yarn Harlot) has a great tutorial on blocking lace here. (She uses a piece of smooth cotton in place of the fishing line but the principle is the same.) She says it much better than I could, so pop over there and have a look. Judy Gibson also has some very good pictures of blocking the "Rose of England" tablecloth and co-incidentally Rita O'Connell over at Earth Heart Designs also describes blocking the "Rose". So there you have it.

I'm off to knit and watch some cricket. Howzat!


Luscious Gracious said...

Looking good, Kate!
I agree with your assessment of the soy silk, and agree with not quite knowing how we like it yet. That said after knitting 2.5 shawls with it. I still have a lot left, so I figure I have time to decide. Very sweet bag, by the way. Why must Rowan discontinue yarns, ever? Have a great weekend, kikiluscious

Anna said...

The bag looks great! I can almost feel its softness, it'll be a pleasure to carry it around and occasionally stroke it when no-one's looking!

I love Polar, probably my fave Rowan yarn, can't quite understand why they would go and discontinue it :(

I'm currently knitting a cardi/jacket with cuffs and other bits in Polar and I'm loving every minute of it. It's such a fantastically soft yarn, I can't keep my hands off it... ;)

KnitYoga said...

Hi Kate, glad you're back in cyberspace! I like the bag - and the size - well, you don't always want to carry everything but the kitchen sink, do you! Thanks for the links on blocking. I've now got myself some of those blocking wire thingies from Heirloom Knitting so let's see how I go with Birch ... when it's finished.

Marie said...

Welcome back! I expect you got a lot of knitting done with no computer. This blogging business does steal from the knitting time. Very familiar with the Floppy Fabric Syndrome (FFS), but thanks for providing me with a technical term to describe it - that bit can be a bit tricky for a non-Englishspeaking blogger like myself!