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.


littlelixie said...

Hello you! We will all appreciate the 5s pattern and your hard work on it when it arrives xx

allisonmariecat said...

Oh, it's so nice to hear from you again! I came back from a long stressful moving experience, and have tons of new posts to read. Lovely 5s by the way.