Sunday, September 19, 2010

And a week on, here's "Holiday Knitting - Part II"

Did a week go by? I've been slightly dazed and confused these past days. So out of practice at getting up and that work stuff, sign of a good holiday I guess. Suffice to say, I'm only just finding time to post about my knitting souvenir but as it's seen little action since the end of holiday it's kind of fitting. I'll try and settle back in to that lovely post vacay relaxed vibe I had last weekend and it'll be like the work never got between us.
Knitting on our balcony at Rottingdean

As with my project choice I'd done my preparation for a little holiday yarn shopping. I knew that Christchurch had a lovely traditional wool shop, Honora Wool Specialists stacked high with a big range of the staple UK yarns. To try and avoid my normal panic when faced with such riches I picked out a pattern in advance that I could hunt down some suitable yarn for. I went for Short Lucky as a nice autumn welcoming cosy project, I don't have anything quite like it and I want it!

I nearly got distracted by a surprise yarn shop find in Bristol - a lovely little boutique style shop -  Woolly Thinking  - but though some highly covetable Artesano Aran wool and alpaca blend tried to win me over it was a bit too over budget. I'm glad I resisted as I eventually found a very easy on  the pocket yarn in Honora. It's Patons Wool Blend Aran which is one I haven't seen before. It's a wool/acrylic mix but it feels good and woolly. Woolly in a serious 'I'm going to wear like a dream' way rather than woolly in a smoochy, snuggly Cashshoft  'I'll pill as soon as you look at me' way. For an over garment like Short Lucky which isn't going to be next to the skin I'm thinking it should be perfect.  
It's nice on the hands to knit with, a dry sort of feel and is looking very pleasing in the broken rib pattern. I think this piece is going to be a fine addition to my wardrobe and there are some lovely memories knit into it already that I'll enjoy carrying with me. 
Hengistbury Head

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Holiday Knitting, Part I

Beaches and knitting - can't go too far wrong with a holiday heavy on those two things can you?

Avon Beach, Mudeford
I took three knits away with me. First up was a project suited to car knitting time: Jonna, a simple ribbed scarf, in more of the scrumptious Cashsoft, in Poppy this time.

I started this just before we went away to make sure I had something simple on the go.
View across to the Isle of Wight

The Spring Shoots socks I took are not really complicated, it's just that the unusual construction means that they require that little bit more thought and attention than car knitting, or indeed post-work knitting time tends to offer.

Perfect for peaceful holiday time.
Mudeford Spit from Hengistbury Head

I also used my holiday peace to start a pattern I knew would need a little thinking about: Summit. I got the chance to buy another skein of the Sunna sock club yarn that I was saving for a scarf, thus the search for a suitable pattern grew to shawl proportions. I was so intrigued by the picture of Summit that I knew I had to try and knit it so that I could understand the construction. It's really very clever, simple to work but not simple to work out. 
I love the story behind the design and using the thought of the work that the designer put in as motivation I taught myself a new skill as I started this. You work across a small number of stitches at any one time so I used some of my spare holiday brain power to work out how to reverse knit to avoid turning and purling. It's often recommended for entrelac but I could never be bothered to learn when I was working on Lady Eleanor. I certainly should have done. At the moment I'm still slower than I would be turning and purling but I think there's enough of Summit to get me up to speed! It feels good to learn a new knitting skill, a very nice holiday souvenir.
I have one more knitting souvenir - a new project on the go that I found the perfect yarn for  in Christchurch  - but I'll save that for a post all its own. It's lovely to be back but I could cheerfully take that holiday again, maybe once a month!
Sunset at Rottingdean    

Friday, September 03, 2010

From last minute...

.. to 'When did you become one of those people who get Christmas all organised by June?!!?' Well maybe not quite but here's my first gift knit all done, done, beautiful and did I mention done? By the start of September no less - gift knitting is go!

Pattern: The imaginatively titled - #12 Cabled Cowl by Cathy Carron
Yarn: About 4.5 balls of Rowan Cashsoft Aran in Haze
Needles: 5 and 5.5mm
Started: August 17th 2010
Finished: September 2nd 2010
Ravelry page

I barely noticed this cowl when I got the magazine last year but there are many lovely versions on Ravelry to convince you it's a winner - just not the way the magazine styled it. I showed a couple of people the magazine picture when they enquired what I was knitting and they definitely gave me the 'hmmm well she is a crazy knitter' look. This version by Yarn Snob was the one that made me want, want, want it. Sadly I wasn't able to live up to her great photos. I added a stunt jacket for mine as I felt foolish wearing a t-shirt and a cowl. Woman taking own photo in living room mirror feels foolish. Imagine!

It's a great fun knit, simple but just enough patterning going on to keep you with it.  Though enlarge the chart if you value your eyesight and you like to follow a chart  closely even with a simple pattern(even though by the third repeat you'd really think you should have it down!)

It was a real must cast on for me as soon as the yarn  arrived - it's just the softest snuggle and better yet on sale all over.  I got mine at luvverly Kemps - hit the clearance section around page 15. It's not the best wearing yarn but a dream for neck wear and so pleasurable to knit with. 
Anyway, all that wooliness can go away in the cupboard. We're off on our hols  to the sunny south coast and I'm going to pack my swimmers and enjoy the way September is trying to make up for our cold, wet August! Well, we (I) might not brave the sea but there'll be plenty of time on the beach, that, I can guarantee. 

Must just remember to check case for stowaways before we go.
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