Saturday, April 18, 2009

Could do better

The most delightful cardie came to my attention. It's called the Botanica Medallion Cardigan and is featured on the front cover of the latest Vogue Knitting. There's a good picture of it on the Blue Sky Alpacas website here, or an excellent video on VK's site here. (You need to click on "The new naturals" and it's #4 - you can click on the thumbnail at the bottom to go straight there).

Naturally enough, I don't have the yarn called for (Blue Sky Alpaca Skinny Dyed Cotton) and I'm not going to get it either. I searched about in the stash and came across seven balls of this:

A 60% cotton/40% linen blend that I've had for ages. I thought it might do, so I started with the medallion:

There it is, unblocked, looking as sad as unblocked lace usually does. It needs to be 16 inches in diameter and I think it will probably get to that size but I'm a little concerned that the fabric is too floppy (technical term).

Then I started on the outer band, which uses pattern stitches with differing row gauges to shape the circle. Very ingenious.

Here's the lacey cables, obtained by wrapping the yarn three times round the needle on one row, dropping the wraps on the next and performing a six stitch cable on the elongated stitches:

Spider's web? Dog's breakfast, more like. This is just so not the right yarn (especially after I saw that video). It needs to be heavier; it needs to have better stitch definition; it needs to swing more (rather than float). Just to hammer the point home, here's the little cable that really should be more visible:

So. Not. The. Right. Yarn.

So now I'm casting about for something else that will do and trying to avoid buying anything (having returned from SkipNorth with less yarn than last year but having spent more money. How did that happen? I have no idea.)

The original yarn is in a strange put up of 65g/137m so we are looking for about 105m to 50g.

I've got some soft, shiny cottony stuff:

It's actually lighter than this in the flesh. No ball bands, of course, so no idea what weight really.

Then there's some Debbie Bliss Wool/Cotton:

Pictured here when I first bought it, years ago. There are quite clearly four balls of each colour. Strangely, though I can't remember using any of it, I can only find three balls of each at the moment. I'm thinking the central medallion in the purple (yes, I know it looks blue but it's purple, trust me) and the outer band in the pinky colour. Weight? 115m/50g, so in the ball-park. But is there enough yarn? The pattern says 1050 yards (960m) and I've only got 920m. That's if I use every scrap of yarn and if I can find the other two balls. There's the answer. No, there isn't enough yarn.

I think I'd better start on the outer band with the white cotton and see how I get on with the cables in that.

It's all a bit frustrating - makes me want to go and knit some lace - it's easier.

Just because you haven't had one for a while, here's the back field. Though there are no sheep visible, there are sheep in the field. Really.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Done (and more yarn).

I got to the end of the Soay Aran, and, though I say it myself, it is rather splendid. Thankfully, the recipient thought so, too:

There she is, in it. That small, brown blob in the background is one of the yarn donors. There are lambs - more yarn is in the offing.

Here is another view, languishing in my garden:

The honeycomb panel in the centre turned out better than I could have expected.

Next up is a similar (but not the same) man's version.

Did I mention more yarn?

This is still from SkipNorth:

I did the Kool-Aid dyeing workshop with Lixie. This is what my sock yarn looks like in the ball.
I don't know what it's going to look like in the sock (or sock yarn blanket). Watch this space.

This little delight is another generous gift from Sue:

Lovely colours. I think it's Margaret Stove Artisan Merino laceweight, though I'm not sure.

There's more laceweight joy here:

(also from Sue). What is this going to turn into? Maybe something from Evelyn Clark's "Knitting Lace Triangles" (or possibly something out of my own head).

Lest you think it's all been scrambling to finish the Aran and gloating over new yarn, let me finish with Ann-at-someone-else's-work's birthday cake:

Yarn? A little Cascade 220, some pink stuff and a bit of Appleton's crewel wool (for the cherry). Pattern available here - go on and make one, you know you want to. Go on.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Even more yarn

You saw some of my haul in the last post but there is more.

The ever-generous Sue gave me some skinny stuff:

I don't quite know what that's going to turn into but something will present itself.

There is some Shetland cobweb (aka very, very skinny):

170g, only £5. I'm thinking I might have another bash at the Wedding Ring Shawl now that the trauma of having to frog the first one has abated somewhat.

I got this cone of unknown green stuff:

from the yarn mountain at KCG. I don't know what it is, apart from that it's two different green yarns wound (not plied) together and it only cost £1.

I'm supposed to be knitting on the Soay sheep jumper (of which more later) but I want to be knitting lace.

I'm weak, what can I say:

This is the beginning of Peacock Feathers from Fiddlesticks. I have knitted this once already but it wasn't the right yarn for the job and it sat, unloved, until a m**h got it. It really was only a small bite but I had never liked it and I threw it away. Yes, right in the bin. Out it went. This is going to be much better.

I am knitting on the Soay jumper. I am. Honestly.

The owner of the sheep (and hence the yarn) wanted me to knit Alice Starmore's St Brigid. It's a pattern that I really like and have in my mental queue but, after some swatching (yes, you heard) it became obvious that this is not the yarn for it.

We have a revised plan - the big, fat plait from St B, a honeycomb panel in the middle and all based on Janet Szabo's Son of Aran.

I did the maths. I swatched. I have something resembling a jumper.

You start with the saddles:

Here's the fat plait, which I have bordered with a simple four stitch twist:

and this is the honeycomb panel:

Even though it's not St Brigid, we still wanted to retain the cable round the neck:

and that's exactly what I did. I haven't added the ribbing as AS did because I don't think it's needed. I shall have to consult with the wearer, of course.

The whole thing needs to be 27" long. At present it's 22" and it's not going to get any bigger unless I stop messing with the computer and start knitting.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I bought yarn

which really should come as no surprise.

I went on my second SkipNorth to Haworth and I bought yarn.

I really did plan my spending this year - I knew I wanted yarn to make "Star Cross'd Love" and I wanted some yarn to make "Twist and Shout" and I wanted some skinny (technical term) yarn for general lace knitting.

It all went right out of the window when the very first thing I saw at our very first stop (Coldspring Mill) was this:

A kilo of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk for only £30. This would have cost £130 at my LYS. Quite a saving. I don't quite know what I'm going to make with it but something will come to mind.

I got back on track with my next two purchases:

A kilo of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK for only £20 (£84 in the shops). I thought this would do for Twist and Shout but I'm also leaning towards Alice Starmore's "St Brigid" I need to do a bit of swatching. Swatching? Wash your mouth out with soap.

1.150kg of Twilley's Freedom Wool (looking very loud in the picture - in reality it's a beautiful muted rust colour. This is what I plan to use for "Star Cross'd Love" and, in fact, I've started.

I'm having a little difficulty because the pattern is written for only one size and that size is OS/S. There is no way that I fit into that category and so I'm having to resize the pattern but because the structure is "interesting" I'm not quite sure where to do my tweaking. I've made the first piece (above) much longer than the 27 rows the pattern says. All this is made much harder by the fact that there is no schematic with the pattern and no row gauge is given, so I don't know how long this "left front" should be. I'm guessing that it's the bit you can just about see in the picture with the pattern - the bit that goes from the shoulder down to the under arm. I'm not quite sure how long this should be. I know the cardie is quite close fitting but I do want to be able to get my arm into it. I shall refer to the ever-reliable Montse Stanley's "Knitting your own designs for a perfect fit" and see if she can shed any light.

I bought other stuff, too and I've been doing plenty of knitting but all that will have to wait because Ann-at-someone-else's-work is coming to take me out for lunch.