Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kauni Complete

The Kauni has been lurking, untouched, for a few months; partly because I couldn't face the picking up of the 175 stitches around the sleeve opening; partly because I feared I may run out of yarn. Decisive action was called for and to that end the whole job lot went to SkipNorth with me last weekend.

Though it took me all of Friday evening and part of Saturday, too, I finally managed to pick up all the stitches and was ready to whirl my way gaily down the final sleeve. I've been such a good girl and have resisted the call of the nine (9) kilos of lace weight yarn I can't quite believe I bought in Yorkshire; the call of the Niebling patterns I acquired; the spindle and roving I got to learn to spin with; the wrap pattern that I got, with the yarn already wound for it. I turned away from all of them and I finished the Kauni - just in time to present it to 'im indoors on his birthday.

The front:

The back:

All done and am I pleased.

I didn't have time to wash and block it so I did a little steaming. Basically, I laid a wet cloth over the knitting and very gently (hardly touching at all) placed a hot iron over the cloth to force steam through the fibres. My knitting is fairly even, anyway, so this was enough. It also sorted out the slight tendency of the back neckband to flip to the outside. Never underestimate the power of blocking!

I've now started on the Wrap Me Up Wrap but things are not going well. There is nothing wrong with the pattern (except there are no charts and I'd really rather have charts now) but it's all down to the choice of yarn. I bought three huge skeins (about a kilo) of brown/beige/grey variegated yarn from Coldspring Mill while we were in Yorkshire, specifically for this wrap. However, I am not happy with progress.

Here's the first (of 21) blocks:

See, I just don't think that this pattern does anything for this yarn (or maybe vice versa). I think the pattern needs longer runs of colour - something like Noro Silk Garden or Kureyon, or maybe Rowan Tapestry. So now I have a few options - frog the thing right now or keep on going for a bit longer (but I don't think it's going to get any better); order some more yarn to make it (more research needed and a money tree in the garden would be handy); root through the stash to see if there is enough of something suitable. I know there isn't - I'd have to mix and match colours and yarns and when Debbie New or Prudence Mapstone do that it looks like a work of art, when I do it, it looks like a dog's dinner.

Also, what to do with a kilo of brown/beige/grey variegated yarn from Coldspring. Any ideas?

Saturday field is, in fact, Sunday field this week:

I don't know how that happened - it has been raining quite a bit but the river seemed to creep up on me while my back was turned.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Here I am, back from SkipNorth. A few pounds lighter in the pocket, a few pounds heavier in the yarn department. (I am told that those who attended last year's SkipNorth managed to buy half a ton of yarn at the KCG alone - that's 1120 pounds, which is about the weight of an adult American alligator.)

We stayed in the Youth Hostel in Haworth - a beautiful Victorian mill owner's mansion, set above the village:

We were well fed and watered and had plenty of room to knit and spin and show off our talents.

It was lovely to meet so many like-minded souls - some of whom I "know" from the blogging world, others who were completely new to me.

A certain amount of stash enhancement took place with visits to Coldspring Mill, The Skep, The Knitting and Crochet Guild and Wingham Wool Works.

Coldspring is a funny sort of a place. The downstairs is full of yarn of all descriptions - some cheap and cheerful acrylic; some unnamed (but easily identified) "designer" yarns; some cones of wool or cotton or silk but all a bit fat (technical term) for me. Upstairs there is a large selection of camping gear and outdoors stuff.

I was very restrained (really I was). I bought some brown/cream/grey variegated wool to make the "Wrap Me Up Wrap" (no picture yet, I was too busy winding the yarn for when the pattern arrives that I didn't have a spare hand for the camera). In spite of the treasure trove, I contented myself with just that.

We then moved on to the Skep and because it is so small, half of the party went in and half went first to a nearby haberdasher's. A real old fashioned place with every bit of kit for knitting, sewing, quilting, paper crafts. There were plenty of buttons in little drawers with one example button on the front - no stupid little cards here - you can buy exactly the number of buttons you require (even if it's one). Here, I had the great good fortune to snap up a box of nickel plated T-pins, which are indispensable for blocking lace projects and extremely hard to come by.

Back at the Skep I bought two balls of sock yarn because Jo at Crafty Cottage in Warwick has twisted my arm into teaching a sock knitting class (of which more later), so I need to knit a few pairs of socks into various stages of completion. That's all I bought. (I did say I was very restrained.)

In fact, I was saving myself for the Knitting and Crochet Guild, because I knew they had plenty of just the sort of skinny (technical term) yarn that I like.

I wasn't disappointed. There was skinny (tt) yarn on cones from floor to ceiling. We had to ask the man for a step ladder to go adventuring up to the higher reaches. Thanks partly to my own greed and inability to pass up a bargain (all cones were £1.00 - that's about 50 cents to you lot across the pond) and partly to that great enabler, Sue, I managed to acquire eleven cones of yarn - various fibres (some unknown), various colours. This is enough skinny yarn to keep me knitting far into the next century. I don't suppose I'll be here then but if there is no knitting in heaven, then I'm not going.

I was also tipped off (by that minx Sue again) to the sale of old Anna magazines for £1.00 a go. I snaffled five containing Herbert Niebling lace patterns and considering these are very rare and going for about $150 on ebay I don't think I did too badly. Again, there is enough lace knitting to keep me going for a good while yet, my only difficulty being in deciding which lace to knit next.

I seemed to end up with a huge bag of yarn - yes, those three bags are all mine:

(though I really spent very little) and there were concerns about how it could possibly fit into a Smart car for the journey home. There were visions of me being packed into the car with only a pair of eyes on show. In the end, it all fitted perfectly:

Sunday saw us visiting Wingham Wool Works and while it is mostly stuff for spinners - a fibre art that I have not yet succumbed to - there was other stuff too. I bought a cone of "mucky green" (tt) raw silk (once again, thrust into my hands by the demon Sue) that is just lovely and even though I've just told you I haven't succumbed to the spinning bug, I bought a drop spindle and some Cheviot roving that I am assured by someone in the know will be a good thing for a beginner to start with.

I know you haven't had "Saturday Back Field" for a while, so here's the back field where I was on Saturday:

This is the view from the terrace outside Coldspring Mill. Dark, windswept and brooding - no wonder Emily Bronte wrote "Wuthering Heights"!

That's all for now - I'm off to fondle some yarn (and, let's face it, I've got plenty of yarn to fondle).