Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Shipston Wool Fair

The weather was beautiful (unlike last year, when it rained without cease).  These are Portlands and they certainly looked cooler after the shearing:

I think this is a Herdwick: (but I could be wrong  - don't quote me)

I was seriously tempted to bring home one of these:

because I saw this:

It was only when #1 son reminded me that we were travelling on the bus that I thought better of it.   More info about Wensleydales here.

There was a fair amount of knitting:

Here I am knitting with skinny (tt) yarn on skinny needles.

Then I saw Nicky's knitting:

Talk about from the sublime to the ridiculous:

We modelled the "Shipston Hat" - made from sheep to head in one day last year:

I took the opportunity to photograph the lace bolero I made for Nicky's shop, Shipston Needlecraft:

It really was a lovely day.

News of yarn purchases (yes, really!), knitting and Jacob Sheep will have to wait.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Going for Gold

Between the Jubilee and the Olympics it's wall to wall Union flags over here.  I'm trying to avoid the worst of the madness but when I saw this I was seriously tempted.

#1 daughter is egging me on; she's also invited all her friends to come over and see the Olympic torch go right past our house.

I've also been co-opted (though if truth be told, I was a volunteer) into making some "athletes" for the window of my LYS.

This is Sandra, lounging about in the garden between training sessions.  So far she has no kit (or even a face) but I think she's going to be an ice dancer.

There would have been a picture of the back field but when I went out to take one the batteries in the camera died.  Inserting my new "ready to use" rechargeables, I was faced with "Battery Empty".  Very Little Helps.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Knitter For Hire

Since Nicky took over at Shipston Needlecraft my skills have been requested on several occasions.  There was In the Pink using the Noro laceweight yarn, Sekku.  This is a free pattern and very interesting to knit.  That's just as well, because I had to knit it twice (long story).

There aren't any pictures of this because I wasn't thinking "blog" at the time.  However, shawl #2 is hanging in the window of aforementioned Shipston Needlecraft as I type, so if you want to see it, you know where it is.   (It's not in this picture, though!)

Sekku (since discontinued) is a cotton/wool/nylon/silk blend and pretty skinny (tt).  It's the usual beautiful Noro colours but it's also the usual Noro knots, bits of straw and thick and thin areas.  Some of it didn't appear to have been spun at all and was therefore prone to coming apart in my hands.

 Then there was the Rialto Lace Bolero.  Here's the yarn:

100% merino.  Lots of lovely colours.  Beautiful to knit with.

The pattern had a lot of bobbles:

This is the front in progress.  I don't have pictures of the finished item (again, not thinking blog).

Nicky wanted to wear it to some trade show, so there was a bit of a deadline.  Safely done in time, though.

Payment for this lot was in yarn, so the stash is growing like Topsy.

There's more but that will have to wait for another day.

Saturday back field (on a Friday - it's getting worse!):

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Double Vision

I bought "A Knitting Wrapsody" just so I could make "Infinity - a Cardi-Wrap with Sleeves".  I finally settled on James C. Brett Marble Chunky for the yarn, which I bought at Texere in Yorkshire when I was at SkipNorth.

Though I don't usually go in for acrylic yarns, this stuff just seemed to be the right yarn for the job.  In one way this is true.  Here's #1 son modelling the back:

 I think the colour changes show the pattern very effectively.

Here's a close-up of the criss-cross (tt) pattern on the front:

This is a detail of going "round the bend" on the collar:

Where I did take issue with the yarn was that of the three balls I used, each ball had at least two knots (sometimes three) and in several cases the knot was in only one of the two plies.  I ended up with even more ends than normal to weave in and lots of little balls of yarn.  Not much fun.  

However, the pattern is very enjoyable to knit.  Very little sewing (just two short seams on the back), so right up my street.

Which was just as well, because #1 son decided he liked it so much he wanted one himself.  Off we went to Shipston Needlecraft and bought three more balls of Marble Chunky, this time in green.

It was even quicker the second time around.

The back:

 The front:

Detail of the Cuff:

This time only one knot in one ball.  An improvement.

I've made him promise that we won't be seen wearing them at the same time.  Otherwise, we'll look like Tweedledum and Tweedledumber.

One of these weeks you'll get the Saturday Back Field actually on a Saturday.  As it is, here's the Back Field on Tuesday:

(Raw materials in the background.)

Thursday, May 03, 2012

There has been lace

Of course there's been lace!

I used a delightful silk, cashmere and alpaca blend to make the Aeolian Shawl which was in Knitty a while ago.

The adding of the beads was a bit of a trial.  I didn't like the idea of threading all the beads onto the yarn before I started for two reasons: firstly, I just want to get on with the knitting - swatch?  Don't be ridiculous!, secondly, threading 2,250 beads might just have sent me over the edge (not to mention causing intolerable strain on the yarn itself).

So, second method then.  The crochet hook.  Even though I can crochet, I rarely do (but more of that later).  That hasn't stopped me amassing quite a collection of crochet hooks.  I don't have one that's skinny (technical term) enough to go through a titchy (tt) bead though.

So, third method.  I threaded a very very skinny (tt) beading needle with some strong cotton, in through the bead, through the relevant stitch, back through the bead, slide the bead onto the stitch.  Done - 2,250 times.

I forgot to take any pictures of this delicate manoeuvre but I did find this blog with some good pics.  (OK, she's using a crochet hook but the principle is the same.)

More pictures of my Aeolian:

I finished it just in time for Mother's party up in the North.  It was much admired.  Then disaster struck.

I caught it on the door handle and (look away now if you are of a nervous disposition) ripped a hole in it.

I was so vexed that I threw it in a bag and left it alone for three weeks.

I took it out the other day and had a proper look (no pictures - too traumatic).  I can't repair it, so I bit the bullet and ripped out to past the hole.  Only thirteen rows.  Only?  There are about five hundred stitches on the needle.  It took a while but all the stitches are back on the needle in the right order.

There might be some pictures of that beading technique yet.

Critical Mass

critical mass noun, physics the smallest amount of a given fissile material, ie one that is able to undergo nuclear fission, formed into a given shape, that is needed to sustain a nuclear chain reaction, eg for a sphere of uranium-235, the critical mass is 52kg.
Copyright Chambers Publishers Ltd 2010

When I stopped writing on this blog it wasn't a concious decision; it was a conspiracy of circumstances.  All sorts of things happened, in a short space of time, and it all became too much.

However, when it comes to receiving emails from various people in various countries; when it comes to being gently quizzed in Yorkshire; and, worst (or best) of all, when it comes to being quizzed in my own living room as to "What's happened to your blog?" (by someone who won't mind me saying that she doesn't know one end of a knitting needle from the other); I think it's reached Critical Mass.  The nuclear chain reaction has begun and there's nothing more to be done.  

I never stopped knitting but I don't know that I can document everything that's been on the needles in the last year and a bit.  Let's just start from where we are and see how we go.  How does that sound?