Saturday, June 30, 2007

Wet, wet, wet

Here's the back field picture. Posted on the right day for once.

It's a bit grey and grim because it's been raining, off and on , for what seems like weeks. We have been spared the worst of the flooding and are quite snug here in the rural backwater.

Not much knitting - creeping along on the border of the "5S" for the second time. This is really so I can make sure that I write the pattern correctly - I'm hoping that even the beginner lace knitter will be able to tackle this.

Here's a picture of the "tab", which is one repeat of the edging pattern, followed by one row in contrasting yarn, followed by the beginning of the edging proper. This is so that you stand some chance of being able to graft the two ends together without losing your marbles.

That's about the lot for now. I have been knitting on the tedious "Anne" cardigan but it's a bit black hole - I'm knitting all the hours that there are in the day and the thing has not increased in size, in any way, shape or form.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Is it out of hand?

Because I am teaching Ann-at-work to knit (and yes, she's doing very well, thanks for asking) and because she wants to knit a secret thing - I am saying no more - "Walls have ears" - and because it's about time we got on to some skinny (technical term) yarn, more suited to the actual project, I started to look for some left-over sock yarn. I want to stress here, for the benefit of any walls that might be listening, that she is not, repeat not, knitting a sock.

I don't knit that many socks. I like the idea of knitting socks - the portability; the fact that they are soon finished (ha!); the fact that they are mindless knitting (double ha!); the wearing of said socks at the finish; but I am not over-enamoured of the actual fact of knitting them. Nevertheless, when I look back I have knitted socks for myself, for 'im indoors and for #1 son (#1 daughter is, inexplicably, out-of-the-loop) but I normally do toe-up socks, which means I don't have lots of left-overs. I just knit until I run out of yarn. There must be some amount of yarn, however small, remaining. I looked in the hanging baskets. I looked in the wicker laundry basket (not the laundry laundry basket, the yarn laundry basket). I looked in the boxes, carefully labelled - "Hat Yarn", "Novelty Yarn", "Shetland 2-ply jumper weight yarn", the very descriptive "White Yarn". Naturally, there wasn't a box handily labelled "Sock Yarn".

So, I had to look in the behind-the-sofa stash. Now, strictly speaking, this is not "Stash" at all. This is stuff that I bought and put behind the sofa before it got into the stash:

I think it was Oscar Wilde who quipped, "If all the girls on Brighton Pier were laid end to end, I wouldn't be at all surprised." If my stash were laid end to end would it put "a girdle round the earth", reach to the moon, be the length of Brighton Pier, the height of Blackpool Tower??

And before anyone starts, let me say the words "pot", "kettle" and "black".

So, is it out of hand?

Friday, June 22, 2007

What on earth is it?

Not so very long ago 'im indoors pointed out this picture to me:

I thought it looked like a knitted headdress or a very elaborate wig. Nothing of the sort. It is, in fact, the influenza virus, magnified who knows how many times. It still looked like knitting. I wondered if it might be possible to replicate said virus in knitted form. I set about it.

I look up some Aran weight yarn and a 4.5mm circular needle. The section in the middle is obviously some sort of cable. I cast on 74 stitches using a provisional cast on (knowing that I would be wanting to pick up those stitches and work in the round at a later stage of the game). I worked P2; K6,P2 x 9 and did a 3x3 right cable cross every 6th row. Guess what? It looked dreadful. Nothing like the original. Rip out. Start again.

Cast on 82 stitches, same provisional deal. This time I worked 8 knit stitches with only 1 purl between them. I did a 4x4 right cable cross every 6 rows and this time I liked the look of it much more. I needed to shape the piece and I used short rows to do it. After I had worked 4 twists I left the last 9 stitches unworked and carried on with the cable pattern. I did this a few times so I had the right number of twists in each column.

Here it is in progress:

You can see the dark yarn that I used for the provisional cast on.

Here's another picture with the central cable section completed:

This is the part at the top left of the cable section:

It's a stitch from an Italian stitch dictionary and is called "punto risotto".

I unzipped the cast on and worked some 2x2 rib - no picture of that yet.

That's as far as I've got so far. Though I have sketched out a "pattern" of sorts:

It's not very user-friendly at the moment but then I can't really imagine many people wanting to knit anything remotely like it.

'Im indoors has suggested I get in touch with the manufacturer of the influenza vaccine and ask if they would like to have a gigantic knitted 'flu virus for display in the atrium of their head offices. Stranger things have happened.

I thought the knitted armadillo wrap, the knitted Hasselblad camera and the knitted ice-cream cone were the strangest things I've made - the flu could just take the biscuit.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Time out

I can't really believe it's so long since I posted on the blog. I think I've been having a bit of a "Time Out". Some knitting has taken place but I seem to be stuck in a groundhog day with my knitting lately.

In fact very little knitting has been done in the last couple of weeks because I have just returned from rattling round Italy with mother. We went to Sorrento once again and had a wonderful time. We retraced our steps to Herculaneum and saw parts of the town we hadn't seen before including some wonderful mosaic pavements that have give me a couple of ideas for jumpers.

This one:

reminds me of something that Kaffe Fassett did once upon a time. And I'm pretty sure this one:

could be made into something very modern looking.

Just before I left I made this pink felted bag:

from a pattern at Knitting Daily - a fairly new knitting website and blog from Interweave Knits. Well worth signing up for the newsletter, I think. They say if you start knitting the bag today you can use it tomorrow. They weren't wrong. I used some lurid purple 100% wool yarn purchased from the "boutique" (aka Charity Shop or Thrift Shop) for 50p which is about $1US. (I couldn't tell you about all the other many currencies you all use out there but is a good conversion site.) I used three strands of the yarn held together on 6.5mm needles (I think). Of course, I wasn't sure if I had enough yarn - 6 balls but no yardage so no idea how much was there. It was a pretty tight finish - towards the end I was knitting faster and faster (as if that would make the yarn go further!) I put it through the washing machine on 90 degrees twice because I thought it could do with a bit more felting after the first time. It is so sweet that I have been stopped in the street, in shops and in bars both in England and in Italy for people to admire it.

Then it was back to the reality of the situation and back to the knitting groundhog day. Remember the "She Sells Sea Shells" Shawl (which I'm convinced I should have called the 5S). Well, someone (and I'm not saying who for fear of putting the mouth on it) has asked if I would allow the pattern to be published in their magazine. Flattered as anything I tried to explain that the "pattern" was nothing more than the start of a chart and then a few squiggles on odd bits of paper.

I started to chart the pattern by way of teaching myself to use Excel to chart lace. This turned out to be a complete uphill and ever so steep learning curve until 'im indoors brought me a book ("Teach yourself visually Excel 2003" - marvellous). I soon got fed up with trying to chart the thing and just wanted to get on with the knitting. So I winged it. Well now I need to make it into a pattern that someone else can follow. I have never done this before (I've never designed a lace shawl before, for that matter). So I really want to make sure it is correct in every particular. The only way I can be absolutely sure that the chart and the words match what I'm doing on the needles is to knit the thing again.

So I have embarked upon the 5S for a second time. I don't have the same yarn at hand and I really didn't want to buy more of the same because there is so much in stash. I am not on a yarn diet but I am trying to be "careful" - as people who want to lose weight but don't want to admit it always say. So I'm using some cream lace weight 100% wool yarn of unknown provenance. Naturally, this is much skinnier (technical term) than the original yarn and so I'm using skinnier needles and the whole thing will come out much smaller (but that's no bad thing for someone who is 5' 1"). However, the whole point is that this is the second time I'm doing it - hence the Groundhog Day feeling. I don't suppose it's coming along too badly:

That's one of the "seams" you can see there running diagonally from bottom middle to top left and it's unblocked so that doesn't help.

Here's the thing with a few charts and such around it:

If that weren't enough I have the "Anne" cardigan on the needles as a commission and, though the yarn is beautiful, the pattern has been written in such a way as to negate the joy and pleasure of the yarn slipping through the fingers. It is twelve intarsia stripes, which means there are twelve balls of yarn hanging off the bottom of the garment. It can only be knitting on while sitting bolt upright at the dinner table. It is driving me bonkers. However, it has to be done. Here's the public side:

looking slightly more pale and interesting in the picture than it does "in the flesh".

This is the private side:

looking slightly more true to colour. You can see the neat little line where the two colours meet and where I have to twist the yarn round each other after every twenty stitches, which is why I can't get a flow going.

As for the Japanese Knitting. Don't ask.