Monday, August 31, 2009

Bank Holiday Bits

A Bank Holiday weekend in Cornwall was wonderful medicine for the blahs - there was sunshine on a village fete: Though never fear there was plenty of rain, to remind you it was a Bank Holiday weekend in Cornwall. Time was spent on the beach nevertheless, and indoors there was the soft summer scent of Mama grown sweet peas.We returned to find we had left brilliant blue skies and sunshine in Oxford but I don't mind so much as at least the rainy days meant plenty of knitting was done.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bits of Pretty

There's been a blah-ness in the air of my week, I've been not feeling so sparkly and made little headway on anything so here are some cheering bits of pretty from about the place:
Happy weekend be it long or short... aren't they always too short?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Good work!

Both for England and my fingers :o)Of course if it had gone the distance I might have had a chance of finishing the back but I'll happily take the win today ;o)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

So far, sooooo good

The cricket, the ribbing, the weekend.I'm off with the radio to the garden with all my fingers and thumbs crossed that it all continues so well (from my perspective anyway!).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Final Test

So England and Australia are away on the final match of The Ashes - it's beyond me to predict what might happen, this has been a series full of crazy swings in form and performance by both teams - so I'm crossing my fingers for a classic match to round it off whoever wins. Oh alright then, to be honest I'll take a dull match if England win - but please no draw!

My knitting challenge will not be gripping specatator sport, I want to get the back of Arisaig done. With about 80 rows of 2x2 rib to kick things off I might be doing well just to get through that, though the thought of the lovely lace to play with is a good incentive to make me push on through.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Knit a Poem..

..with The Poetry Society

How to Knit a Poem

Gwyneth Lewis

The whole thing starts with a single knot

and needles. A word and pen. Tie a loop

in nothing. Look at it. Cast on, repeat

the procedure till you have a line

that you can work with.

It’s a pattern made of relation alone,

my patience, my rhythm, till empty bights

create a fabric that can be worn,

if you’re lucky and practised. It’s never too late

to pick up dropped stitches, each hole a clue

to something that might be bothering you,

though I link mine with ribbons and pretend

I meant them to happen. I make a net

of meaning that I carry round

portable, to work on sound

in trains and terrible waiting rooms.

It’s thought in action. It redeems

odd corners of disposable time,

making them fashion. It’s the kind of work

that keeps you together. The neck’s too tight,

but tell me honestly: How do I look?

© 2007, the BBC

From: How to Knit a Poem

Publisher: BBC Radio 4, London, 2007

Friday, August 14, 2009


Well it's taken a new digital scale, paper and pen and I've had to get the calculator out for the Arisaig yarn calculations, not enough fingers and thumbs available! Assuming my maths is correct I have plenty of yarn and now I have relinquished my goose egg goal in favour of always having something on the needles I am excited about this!
To help me remember and in case anyone else didn't know how to calculate yardage from the weight of yarn I'll set out what I did. ( I think I read how on the Yarn Harlot blog a long time ago. I had a snippet of text about this saved in the patterns folder on my PC for the day it would come in handy - sometimes I think I'm wasted in my current role of minion of the world - with such forethought and organisation I'm sure there should be a leader space open somewhere? Just so long as it doesn't involve too much maths I'm set.)

I measured 10 metres off the cone and then weighed it. In the case of the green yarn this weighed two grams. The cone weighed 479g in total and so allowing for the weight of the cone as 37g based on the estimates on this site I have 444g of the green in total. 2/10 = 0.2g for the weight of one metre of yarn. 444/0.2 = 2,220 metres of the green yarn alone. As the size I want should take around 2,013 metres according to the pattern and as I have one sleeve already knit (plus 1,240 metres of the blue yarn) everything is looking rosy. After all this agonising let's hope the knitting goes well!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

About Arisaig and reaching goose egg

Clearing my needles or reaching goose egg as I shall now think of it thanks to Mooncalf has been going well. It's been so good to see long term projects like Moonlight and Lady E make it to completion and to shove along some other malingerers. I didn't make it by the end of July but I'm close. The irritating mitten has been frogged because I'm determined not to buy more yarn; we've been rearranging furniture and I have a cupboard that soon by hook or by crook all my yarn will fit in. Frogging is so much easier from a distance. I find that when those stitches are fresh and I know how long they took it is really hard, later the attachment to the stitches for their own sake is lessened and it's more about the item as a whole and how to best deal with it. In this case with a farewell!

So I have just one Angee sock and Arisaig to deal with.

Arisaig is the tricky 'been hanging around for a long time' one. Back in May 2007 I'd started in on a plain sleeve as I didn't want the lace on the sleeves so that I could wear a short sleeved top underneath without seeing a line in the lace pattern. I was worried about the sleeves as written being too big which is why I did a sleeve first but then midway through knitting it occurred to me that I had just used the same number of stitches as I would have done if I was making it in pattern and then I got scared about the sleeve being too small without the space the lace creates. So I finished it, seamed it and tried it on didn't I? Oh no, I definitely couldn't face doing that - as with the mitten (but multiplied by the extra hours involved in knitting a full length sleeve with 4ply) I was trapped by the thought of the work created and not wanting to frog it at any cost. So the sleeve waited and waited, it went off to hibernate until the Tour de France mountain challenge woke it up. Other mountains were easier to tackle and so still it waited - just one, unseamed sleeve, until I promised to make a decision on it for my latest Ashes Test KAL challenge (we shall say no more about the Test itself, okay?)

I think I'd really convinced myself the sleeve wouldn't fit and so I'd been thinking along the lines of sewing it in to something else (did I once see a hot water bottle cover made from a sleeve ? ) . Last night I quickly ran a line of stitches down the seam (all told about ten minutes work!) and tried it on. Et voila it actually fits:
So scenes of rejoicing ensued and I'm now knitting on with renewed passion for Arisaig. Except I'm not and it's taken a bit of thought to work out why not.

I thought it might be: 1) The yarn.

I'm using some 4 ply acrylic on cones that I got from Ebay, I love the two yarns together and it will make a really pretty Arisaig but I don't actually know how much of it I have. It looks a lot but with no weight or yardage details it might not be enough and imagine the heartbreak at the end of that piece of knitting without due care and attention . Still a bit of weighing and maths and I can work that out so what is the real stumbling block?

It is 2): finding the goose egg!

If I have enough yarn and carry on to make Arisaig I may never reach goose egg, I'll want to start other projects before I get Arisaig finished. It's been okay not starting anything for the last few weeks but I've got a Patti I want to wear this winter, a billion pairs of socks to knit for gifts and for me let alone all the other patterns I'm already working on in my knitting fantasy life.

So why have I become so obsessed by clearing the needles that this is overriding my desire to knit something that I want to wear? Rationally it's an odd goal - it's not as if I want to finish up what I'm working on and give up knitting, it's not as if I've not been happy with my multiple project state for the last three years, it's not as if the moment the clear needles are reached that I won't immediately start casting on new projects.

I like to have different types of knitting on the go to make sure that I always feel like picking something up - mindless knits are very important for the nights after work when no thinking is possible but I like more challenging knits for other times. I like to make sure I have something to knit everyday because of the pleasure and relaxation that the act of knitting brings. Travel suitable knitting is handy to have around to maximise available knitting time but I wouldn't only want to knit things that are good to be knit on the move.

I thought I was comfortable with being a multiple project knitter, much as I got comfortable with being a multiple book reader a long, long time ago but it seems that there is a part of me that feels that to start one thing, knit it and finish it promptly is the ultimately virtuous way to knit, a part of me that feels bad for flitting from one thing to another. How ridiculous! It appears I can feel guilty about anything! It's my knitting and it hurts no-one however I go about it so I've ordered a new scale so I can weigh the yarn for Arisaig and I hear by make it my goal to never have nothing on my needles :o) Flibbertigibbet knitting is the way for me.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Stripe by Stripe

Thank goodness that step by step, stripe by stripe I've finally made it to Friday. I've been so tired all week that some evenings one stripe of five rows was a tall order but little by little a good life is accomplished and its really good to have another FO.Pattern: Plain stocking stitch with a 7 stitch 1x1 rib running down the back; I knit from both ends of the ball in alternating five row stripes
Yarn: Noro Kureyon Sock - S184
Needles: 2.5mm DPNs
Started: 10 April 2009
Finished: 7 August 2009
I used the stationary jogless stripes technique from Techknitter to try and minimise the jogs where I changed colours and I hid them in the rib at the back and on the side/sole of the foot.

I'm really happy with the first half of both socks but the foot of each has its issues.

Exhibit A:
The much bemoaned Noro knot issue - why for the love of all that is wonderful about yarn can they not rejoin at the same/similar point in the colourway after a break? I didn't like to do that myself as I wasn't sure how much yarn I would have to pull out but I had a lot left over and it would have been worth it I think. Still I could always make sure the next sock was perfect couldn't I?

Exhibit B:
Nope, I left the yarn to its own devices again and it ended up striping two very similar parts of the colourway against each other. I much prefer the zingy contrasts than this subtly, murky merging. I should have pulled out a section of the colourway. I didn't because I'd have had to have ripped back a bit to make it look right and in a week when you need to just keep one foot falling in front of the other ripping back seems like it might send you spinning off who knows where in the time-space continuum! Also I'd just had enough of knitting with the yarn by the time I worked out how similar the stripes were going to be and just wanted to get them done. So they are, and you can't feel too badly about stripey socks like these can you?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Ou est la partie?

Lady Eleanor rolls into gay Paris a week late and wonders where the cheers are? Surely the crowds that welcomed those cyclists last Sunday want to give a round or two of applause for her in all her magnificence? Clearly they know nothing about being fashionably late.
Isn't she fabulous darlings?
Pattern: Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole from Scarf Style
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden - assorted colourways
Needles: 4.5mm circular needle
Started: June 2007
Finished: 2 August 2009Just love everything about this, except that it's too warm to wear it right now!! I've left it unblocked as I love the texture of the entrelac both back and front. I've had dilemmas along the way about how to change colourways etc but I like the two contrasting halves and I think the only thing I would do differently would be to hold over a little of the first colourway to add in to the fringe. Oh and knit it faster, I really did enjoy knitting this - gift knits, flashy new projects, startitis all conspired to keep Lady E down but thank goodness that a little French inspiration got her to to the top of the list.

And the photo shoot - out-takes?

Mais oui:
Here Lady E was mistaken and thought that she had to help direct the traffic away from the cyclists. Oh and is that a cat creeping in to shot?
That is so much more interesting to photograph isn't it?
I did wonder whether I was even going to get to wear her as my photographer seemed to find her rather fetching:
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