Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Icy Leaves...

...outside have become just damp in the time it's taken me to knit this little pretty. No bad thing as it's a light, delicate piece so better suited to spring than to the depths of winter - this past winter it would have needed to be a layer amongst many scarves.
Pattern: Falling Leaves Mohair-Silk Scarf
Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Night - 1 skein
Needles: 4.5mm Bamboo Straights
Started: 9 January 2010
Finished: 30 March 2010

It's a soft snuggle around the neck, a gentle touch which will be a gift for a gentle lady, a little token of love that will be held dear for the sake that I made it whether or not she likes the scarf, though of course I hope she does. I think that the best recipients of gift knits are the ones who see beyond the item to the work within. As my Dad said, having made my Mum a carrier for taking water for his chickens, it's the time that goes into a gift that counts :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Power of the Silver Parcel

Knit Love Club shiny silver parcels went in to the post yesterday. I thought it might create some added power for the postal service if I was ready and waiting for it and finishing my first pair of club socks before the second installment arrived was a good incentive to keep me knitting on.
The magic worked and when I got home from work I just had the graft on the second toe to do and a parcel to open. Lickety split and they were done; with these so so soft socks snuggling round my toeses I'm wondering how I managed to take this long to get them finished. Alchemy Juniper is the definitely the most luscious sock yarn I've ever been fortunate enough to knit with.
Pattern: Rumpled by Alice Yu for Knit Love Club
Yarn: Alchemy Juniper - Rumplestiltskin
Needles: 2.5mm DPNs
Started: 22 January 2010
Finished: 24 March 2010
Isn't it a lovely little detail to have the twisted stitches carry on over the toes? I love the depth of texture to this pattern, the twisted stitches and the k4 togethers create wonderful ripples and ridges, peaks and troughs. Alice said somewhere along the line that it reminded her of a Liberty print and somehow that does capture the essence of this for me. A little piece of magic. I think all club patterns will be for sale in due course and this is a pattern I'd recommend for certain, one of those wonderful patterns that looks more complicated than it is, though I would think you do need a flexible yarn to work the four stitches together.

And so on to the second parcel, I don't know that I can ever love another sock yarn the way I love this Juniper but this little number is certainly a delight in its own right:
I did wonder if I might be swayed away from starting the lovely Levens project tonight (well two out of three projects finished deserves a reward doesn't it?) by the excitement of the new sock pattern. It's exciting alright but something tells me that starting a toe-up construction involving a Turkish cast on with an afterthought leg had best be left till the weekend!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Little Things

A little dress for a little girl who's taking her time to show her little face. Hurry up little one your knits are ready and so by all accounts is your Mama!

Pattern: Little Sister's Dress by Tora Froseth
Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Cotton
Needles: 2.5mm Circular
Started: 6 February 2010
Finished: 20 March 2010

Love this knit - pattern and yarn combine in a winning combination. It's a genius design, simple and fun to knit. She's a clever lady and and I've got my eye on her Sweetheart pattern, which looks like a lovely variation on the theme. As for the yarn - this cotton/wool/acrylic sock yarn blend is a real favourite of mine - I made socks for Mama in it a long time ago and struggled to get more. This treasure of the stash was brought from lands afar for me and it could only be coaxed out for a special knit. It isn't widely available in the UK and these plain shades seem particularly rare - any tips on where to get it or similar alternatives gratefully received. It's worn really well in the socks and seemed like the perfect easy care and wear yarn for a baby dress.

The little thing I'm most proud is not the knitting but the touch of crochet used to tidy around the neck opening which is worked back and forth leaving a raw edge. I wanted to skip that stage as it didn't look too untidy and I am a leetle scared of crocheting but thought I should give it a go and try and get to grips with the hook. It was a simple and pleasing venture out into new territory to add a line of single crochet (although I made the button loops with a plait as I thought I should quit while I was ahead). Nice and neat. Love this FO.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shiny and New

Why is it that 'the next project' is so much more exciting for me than what is on the needles? I tend to give in to my rampant startitis but I have three projects I'm trying to stay motivated to finish before my latest gorgeous new yarn gets a chance to fulfil its destiny, no doubt becoming a less appealing WIP that has to compete for attention with the next shiny and new project along the way.

It's all knitting so why does it matter what I knit? Sometimes it's the FO motivating factor but honestly one of my WIPs that would be so easy to ignore is a pair of socks for me, me, me that I am super keen to have on the hoof. It's probably having a butterfly brain that always wants to be flitting on to the next thing, part of de-stressing is about being more in the now so I'm sure I should stop dreaming of the next project and just start knitting what I have on the go. Who knows I might even get to the new thing faster if I wasn't busy taking photos and petting it :o)This beautiful yarn is from Dreamcatcher's lovely new range of hand dyed yarns at Flamboyance Yarns. I have chosen it to become the most perfect, spring suitable Levens. So I'd better knit on with the Knit Love Club socks, the Icy Leaves scarf and the Littlie's Dress before just looking at the picture breaks my resolve or it's midsummer sweltering heat and a nice scarf isn't quite so nice.

Thanks for all the compliments on the Feather scarf by the way, the recipient is most delighted with it :o)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Feather...

...is done in time for Mothers Day. Yay!
Pattern: Feather
Yarn: Zitron Trekking Pro Natura - 1511
Needles: 3mm
Started: 11 February 2010
Finished: 10 March 2010

A lovely simple lace pattern, very easy to memorise. I went with a sock yarn to get a skinny style scarf as that is what Mama is in to wearing currently. Very hard to photograph, but should be a nice versatile little accessory. I went with the option of knitting in two halves and grafting in the middle so that my ends matched rather than have upside down feathers. My two halves are actually different lengths as I used up all the yarn I had but just guessed at how much half of that was, I could have ripped some feathers out from the first half but it didn't seem worth it.
This was a knit that really needed blocking. I just ironed it for speed and ease. I guessed the bamboo yarn would take it okay and I couldn't face pinning out the metres of it. Seemed to work just fine.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Blue Sky Feeling

I'm full of the joys of a Friday evening, looking forward to a gentle weekend ahead. Just a few fun things planned, time for whatever feels right to be slotted in, there'll be plenty of knitting of course.

One of the great things about where I work is that our hours are organised so we work slightly longer days Monday to Thursday and then finish up an hour or so early on a Friday. That hour always feels so precious to me. Today it meant that I got out in the garden for a short spell. I was following instructions to get half an hour of natural daylight. I was rewarded by seeing a huge queen bumblebee, my first bee of the year, fly through searching for somewhere suitable for her nest. I tried to tell her how lovely she'd find it here soon, when all the daffodils that are pushing for the sky burst open, but she was gone before I even managed a picture.

The daylight advice was one of the tips for improving sleep from the Goop newsletter this week. Not sure where I first came across these newsletters but they're often really interesting. Sometimes a little "I'm a movie star, these are the amazing hotels I stay in" but more often a bit more attuned to the reality of the masses. This just chimed in perfectly with me trying to improve the quality of my sleep to get me better. I'm really not a bad sleeper and actually I find that I've learnt to do many of the suggested things already in the past years. Exposure to natural daylight in winter though is definitely something I am lacking. Hurry on spring so that it's not just Friday nights that can be spent outside.

We learnt on the Optimum Health course about how the reticular formation in the brain helps us filter the mass of stimuli we're subjected to and pick out what we're interested in or need to be aware of. It seemed like that Goop newsletter came along just at the right time but apparently I've just given my subconscious a different set of things to pick up on. Another example was catching sight of a book last night that I bought years ago and never got around to reading: The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff- the principles of Taoism and their relevance to modern life revealed through Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet. I'm off to read some more but I'll leave you with the start of the Foreword:
"What's this you're writing?" asked Pooh, climbing onto the writing table.
"The Tao of Pooh," I replied.
"The how of Pooh?" asked Pooh, smudging one of the words I had just written.
"The Tao of Pooh,"I replied, poking his paw away with my pencil.
"It seems more the ow! of Pooh," said Pooh rubbing his paw.
"Well it's not," I replied huffily.
"What's it about?" asked Pooh, leaning forward and smearing another word.
"It's about to stay happy and calm under all circumstances!" I yelled.
"Have you read it?" asked Pooh.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Rowan Country

We went to stay with friends on the edge of the Peaks this past weekend; the sign for Holmfirth wasn't the only thing that let me know I was in Rowan country.


I like to hope that the wool from these sheep is destined for hand knitting one day.
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