Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ariadne progress

I finished the back piece for Ariadne yesterday:

The yarn is Colinette Lasso and the shade is "Jamboree", one of the brightest! I like the resulting fabric, but Lasso's construction means you are often inadvertently catching the little loops from the shiny thread up on the needles. I used two different skeins in the back, alternating every so often. I didn't feel like fighting with it to carry the yarn up the side, changing every few rows. However I do like the colour patterning, there isn't any huge area of pooling, and even switching between 2 skeins you often get the same basic colour arrangement.

I'm also doing nicely with Heart, it is looking great as I've done more repeats. Picture when I've finished the first ball of yarn.

Yesterday I chucked the Colinette Point 5 bag I knitted on holiday, into the machine at 75 degrees, with a large bath towel for company. It has felted very nicely indeed, currently drying over some videos. I'm now deciding how to finish it, as I used up all 3 skeins of the green. I've found an old webbing belt in an olive green which might make a good strap. Definitely considering another trip to the millshop, probably in the early autumn.

After Ariadne is finished I want to make a start on Sgt. Pepper. I'm also looking at making the Yelena cardigan from Femme Fatale in the Marble Giotto lurkng in my stash.

Speaking of stash, there are one or two things that I'm never ever going to use that will go in the next charity bag collection. The Sirdar Snowflake is one of them! Never thought I would get rid of any yarn but needs must, as there are several PIWs that need a home and all the stash bought on holiday and sent as prezzies also needs accomodation!

On recommendation from one of the folks on AY forums I ordered a very snazzy-looking "all in one" needle case this week from ebay seller EHWA Aprons. It should hold lots of straights, DPNs and circulars. We went to Freeport today and in the Marks & Spencers Outlet we picked up a straight-sided, circular glass vase for needles. Any posher ones and HUGE ones can live in here. Also got some clothing from M&S including a very pretty Per Una skirt.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Blanche hat, stashorama and other bits and bobs

In case you wondered, I'm posting at 1am because it's cooler this time of day (or rather night) :-) It has been incredibly hot in the UK this week with temperatures reaching the mid 90s easily, not weather we are used to or set up for. It has certainly been too warm to sit at the computer for long, so I've not really had a chance to post until now. Temperatures are still in the mid to high 20s, a lot easier to cope with but still hot.

Here's the Blanche hat I made for CFAC this week, it was very quick to knit. This is in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece "Lovely Lavender" and I think it took a little under half a skein. This yarn was lovely to knit with, a slight tendency to split but it makes a gorgeous soft fabric.

I received a huge parcel this week from Lynne, look at the fabulous pile of yarn she sent me!

Left to right:
Patons Jet (wool/alpaca) in pink, and the beginnings of a scarf
Handspun in lilacs and pinks with a little lurex/metallic
A 200g ball of Bendigo woollen mills pure wool in bottle green, I think this is somewhere between 4-ply and DK?
Eyelash/boa in a deep red
More Patons Jet in a wonderful multi colourway
More eyelash/boa in pinks blues and greens
Mohair in pinks and golds
Some very fluffy soft pink multi boucle-type yarn
Four very pretty sparkly flower stitch markers

Lots of yarn there that would be great in boas or curly whirlies! Thanks again Lynne!

Stitch markers in more detail (not clickable):

As you can see from the picture I've started the Heart scarf from Knitty in the pink Patons Jet. This is one of the patterns in the Knitty print special themed around the fight against breast cancer. As soon as I saw the Jet I thought of this scarf. It isn't quite as chuncky as the original yarn in the pattern, so I'm using 7.5mm needles instead of 10mm and it will turn out at around 5.5 inches wide. This scarf will be sent to Hazel for the craft fair. I had started a "rockstar" scarf a while ago but wasn't happy with the way it was looking, and I think Heart will be much nicer!

An update on the Tulip top saga. I measured it and the sizing was absolutely fine until dividing at the arm holes. It ended up several inches wider than it should have been at the top. I have no real idea why since the size was fine for half of the item. After some thought I've decided I'm going to frog it and make Midwest Moonlight from Scarf Style with the yarn. That I would definitely wear, I have had reservations in general about whether I would wear a knitted top in summer, even in cotton. I did consider making the top from the latest Magknits but in the end, after seeing Tina's fantastic MM on Hazel's blog, I decided upon that.

I've also started the Ariadne corset-style top from the "Muse" pattern book, in Colinette Lasso. I've cast on tonight, using stitch markers at every 20 stitches so I wouldn't lose my mind recounting :-) It was a little difficult to cast on with as I found I kept catching the little loops on the shiny thread. The colours look really lovely on the needles though.

In answer to a couple of queries - anythingbuthousework asked about the Koigu yarn I used on Latifa. It was shade/dye P121287 and it came from Knit Happens in the USA. It was bought in Jan/Feb this year. I couldn't find an email address for you by the way so I hope you see this answer.

Mandy asked about the camera - it's a 6 megapixel with 3x optical zoom and a nice big screen (glass covered), and the model is a Fuji Finepix F470 which was on offer at PC World. I've used it for my latest photos and it's doing a great job.

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Alien Illusion scarf

Finished this today, the Alien Illusion scarf from Stitch 'n' Bitch, knitted in Brown Sheep Naturespun Worsted, Pepper and Spring Green. This is the original yarn used in the pattern - the scarf is for DH and he loved the one in the book, so I sourced the yarn via an ebay shop. This is the first thing he has ever asked me to knit for him, and he loves it! I had some of the green left over, but used up the black making the fringe. DH wanted a plain black fringe rather than the alternated one in the book. The scarf feels nice and soft and this is wool that can definitely be worn around the neck.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

A lovely prezzie

After all the camera shenanigans yesterday (see below for update) I didn't have a chance to show you the lovely present I received from Hazel, namely the very pretty wrap/shawl pin she made with green and pink/purple beads:

This will look wonderful with some of my winter cardigans and also with the original Clapotis I made. Thank you once again Hazel, it really is a gorgeous pin :-)

As regards the camera situation, the good news is it wasn't the camera, it was the card that had finally bitten the dust. However we did go out today and snagged a bargainous Fuji Finepix camera from PC World :-) Now we just need a couple of new camera cards which nowadays are cheap as chips. The older Olympus is still going strong but now at least when we go places, DH will be able to do snazzy zoomed shots too. What I hadn't realised is how camera batteries have moved on, the new one has a Lithium-ion battery (same as mobile phones) which makes it a lot slimmer and also lasts for 200 shots before needing a recharge.

Rain, thanks for the word on the latest Pride and Prejudice. I shall approach with extreme caution :-) I don't think these books work terribly well as films, although "Mansfield Park" was a fairly decent film, it missed so much out which would have been perfect in an episodic format. Dipsy - the dress is indeed fairly small, maybe an English size 8 or maybe 10 I would guess. I don't think I've ever been a size 10 in my life, and I was fairly skinny up until my mid 20s :-D

Edited - I did put a photo of me wearing Tulip up here but quite honestly I didn't like it at all :-) I think the armholes need turning back, and I'm not convinced it is fitted enough (that will teach me to look at the reader gallery on the designer's site, which also made me feel like a heffalump!). If I can get a better photo I will, but don't hold your breath :-)


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Tulip completed and Alien Illusion progress

I fully intended to take a photo of me wearing Tulip, too, but the best laid plans of mice and men .... The newer of our two Olympus digital cameras, the one I use for all the blog photos (it has optical zoom and 4 megapixel, the other has no zoom and 1.3 megapixel) is acting up. Grr. Every so often it has been iffy about reading the camera card when I replace it, as I use a built-in card reader on the PC. Now it is refusing to read the card, saying it needs formatting. When I try that, it says card error. However the PC can happily read the card. What is driving me even more up the wall is that I can't find the card that came with the camera, to eliminate the card as being the issue.

I've used the older camera for these 2 photos, they came out OK but Tulip isn't showing the colour very well. I'll post up more detail when I have more time, and hopefully a photo of me wearing it, but for now here is Tulip after pressing, and the current progress on Alien Illusion:

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Chatsworth, part two

The dress itself, as worn by Keira Knightley. I haven't seen this version of P&P yet, but imagine it will be hard to beat the 1995 BBC version starring Colin Firth. We've also visited the location for Pemberley for that production too - Lyme Park in Cheshire, a few years ago :-)

The amazing Emperor Fountain, I love the ripple effect in the water in this photo too. You get some idea of the scale if you see the people on the banks of the lake!

A huge modern sculture, the name of which escapes me, waiting to be taken to its permanent location in the gardens.

Finally, beautiful lilies just outside the Orangery shop. All through the house there were vases of these and the scent was gorgeous.

As you can see by the sidebar, I've been doing some knitting too this week! Tulip was finished today, adding the crochet edgings to each armhole. I've pressed it and am about to take some photos. I'm almost half way through the Alien Illusion scarf too. DH loves seeing it progress, "how many aliens are there now" :-)


Chatsworth, part one

On Thursday we decided to visit Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. The weather was superb and we had a great day there. Here are some photos over two posts:

Slytherin House? The pillars flanking the drive up to the main entrance have this snake motif on all four sides.

Amazing bronze statues of dogs in the central courtyard.

A detail of one of the curtains in the palatial main dining room. The fabric is beautiful, the camera flash has slightly flattened the effect. I didn't like to take photos inside the house although they allow it, as I knew the camera flash would most likely go off - I didn't think this one would as it was right next to the window!

In the sculpture gallery is a small exhibit about the latest production of "Pride and Prejudice", partly filmed at Chatsworth (standing in for Pemberley). This is the explanatory card for the dress worn by Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennett. I neglected to take a photo of the resin bust of Mr Darcy though! The dress itself is shown in the next post.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Coldspring Mill

We went on our planned jaunt to Howarth today, and dropped in at Coldspring Mill on the way (or rather, went through Howarth to get to the mill!). Zurg (the GPS doodad) took us what it considered the fastest route, so after the end of the M65 and driving through Colne, you head off over Keighley Moor on what according to the map is an unnamed road. That said it is 2 lanes all the way, it winds through some tiny hamlets and with superb views across the moors, and apart from a bit of adverse camber is very good.

Coldspring Mill itself is outdoor gear and other clothing like Weird Fish upstairs (we love Weird Fish), and downstairs is the Wool Shed (I think that's what it is called). There is a LOT of yarn in there. They have packs and packs of very cheap but nice-looking acrylic (both plain, fancy and novelty yarns), and tons of those 400g balls of aran (some woolmix). They also have some cones from Designer Yarns and other cones that were another spinner (not sure who), various bits of Noro and some other nice bits like Louisa Harding, Jo Sharp, Laines du Nord, and a whole rack of normal-priced Debbie Bliss.

Here's what I ended up with:

Clockwise from bottom left: 2 balls of Noro Silver Thaw, 110g of what I suspect is Noro Kureyon or similar (all of £1.50!), a 100g skein of Noro something-or-other, may be Silk Garden, it certainly has silk in it (£5.50 reduced from £10.99), a cone of 250g 60% angora from Designer Yarns, 2 balls of Rare Comfort Kid Mohair Infusion by Jo Sharp (£1.99 per ball), and 2 balls of pale blue "Uruguay DK", a wool alpaca mix.

You can certainly pick up yarn at great prices here, we will have to keep an ear out for when they next take delivery of the "penny per gram" cones from Designer Yarns, as it isn't that far for us to go. The mill is also in a lovely spot, away from the main road and surrounded by fields, trees and moorland.

We didn't end up staying that long in Haworth, it seems to be half day closing in that area on Tuesdays and the place we were going to eat at was shut by the time we got back to it. We did wander along to the Parsonage where I bought a hardback copy of Jane Eyre, as my poor old paperback version is falling apart as I turn the pages! I hate to see books damaged so a new copy it was. I also picked up another paperback of Wuthering Heights as I suspect many of my classic paperbacks purchased in the 80s, are drying out and are fragile.

We're now plotting where we are going to go on Thursday!


Monday, July 10, 2006

Some more holiday photos

Before I get to the photo content of this post, a quick update on Tulip. I finished the back last night, seamed the shoulders (using backstitch in the end, although I had had notions of grafting) and tried it on, and it fits very well. I'm glad I added a little to the overall length (a bit less than an inch I think), I'm not a fan of tops ending too high up and me always feeling like I need to pull them down! I'm currently adding a crochet edging which is a lot easier than I thought (helped by the clear diagrams in Vogue Knitting), although I don't know how I would do 2 rounds. That seems like rather more advanced crochet than I am ready for at present :-) I am most definitely going to invest in some wooden crochet hooks, most likely Brittany. I only have plastic and metal (and about 4 in total!) at the moment, and I am finding it very difficult to control the yarn and loops with a metal hook.

On to the photos. Firstly here is the lovely bangle DH bought me in Whitby (and apologies for the fingermark, it was highly polished a moment before the photo!). It is sterling silver with a lovely oval piece of Whitby Jet. It came from a small shop called Robinsons, which has a workshop at the back of the shop. It reminded me somewhat of Bruce Crantock's shop/workshop at St Agnes in Cornwall, where we have bought silver bangles for the past 2 years :-)

I really love this piece, we looked in so many shops and nothing else really leapt out at me. Interestingly the shop states that all jet used is from Whitby - it can be found in other parts of the world too but apparently the best is found at Whitby.

Next are a couple of photos taken from outside our hotel room. The first is looking across the road to the main hotel building, then the next is the cottages across from the hotel which had beautiful gardens full of roses and other "cottage garden" plants.

The only other place where we really took any photos was Newby Hall and Gardens, near Ripon, which we visited on the way up to Hawnby. I'd found it on the map as we were travelling along the A59, and by happy chance it was also one of the places we could use the 2 for 1 card from Gardener's World magazine we had picked up a couple of months ago. The gardens are absolutely beautiful, the following photos were taken on the main herbaceous border walk that runs from the house down to the river Ure.

I have one or two other photos to share from Newby Hall but I'll save them for a future post :-)

We are off to Haworth tomorrow, all being well. This was DH's suggestion, despite me (a) currently reading Jane Eyre, and (b) having seen the first UK staging of "Jane Eyre - The Musical" 2 weeks ago :-) (and it was fabulous, I hope it is picked up for the West End).


Finished Odessa

My third Odessa, in RYC Cashsoft DK - I was going to have this one but have decided it doesn't really suit me, so it will follow the first two to Caps for a Cure. I'm going to make Blanche next for the group using Cotton Fleece, this is the current KAL along with Shedir, which I'm not sure I'm going to attempt just yet :-)

I picked up a snippet about slipping stitches in slip 1, k2tog, psso, on the Angel Yarns forum. The first stitch is slipped purlwise, which I had never seen written anywhere, I've tried it on this hat and maybe quite by chance, or maybe because of this, I think it looks neater on the decrease rounds. It certainly stops the slipped stitch overlapping and makes it easier to pass over.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

More Sheep Shop and other knitting

I also got a mail order catalogue from the Sheep Shop, these cost £2 and are well worth it. You can see the contents below, and I've inluded a photo of the shade card alone to give an idea of the gorgeous colours available.

I also think this yarn is fantastic value for money, I expected it to be more expensive given the quality. There are also some Wensleydale/Alpaca mixes in the range.

Waiting when we got home was this package from Hip Knits, 400g of custom-dyed aran silk in "Peony" as inspired by the skein that Annarella posted on her blog a while ago :-) This is intended for another Clapotis.

Despite the heat I did manage to knit while on holiday! I did a little more on Odessa, which is next for finishing, and also started a bag in Colinette Point 5 (the green shade I got at the mill shop). It is now cast off and awaiting felting, pictures when it is felted and dry. I've used all 3 skeins and just winged it as far as size went, I'm planning on making a strap out of fabric or a canvas belt or similar. I need to look at bag accessories and eyelet tools now!


Back with lovely stuff

We had a fantastic 4 days in North Yorkshire this week, staying at the Hawnby Hotel, near Helmsley in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Our room was in the converted stable block, just across the road from the main hotel. Given the amazing hot weather, we were very glad of this, as the building had thick stone walls and stayed cool! It also had a sitting-out area right outside the room which was a nice touch. We would highly recommend this hotel, very friendly and comfortable, with a great restaurant.

I don't have many photos of the general area, it was stunning but give that (a) it was VERY hot, and (b) I was navigating, often along single track roads, I didn't really have the chance to hang out of the car windows to snap the scenery :-) The best way is to see it for yourself, in any event! I have a few photos from Newby Hall gardens that I'll put in another post though. We stopped there on the way up, and also visited Whitby (where I got me a skull and crossbones bag!) and York during our stay. On the way back we went via Leyburn, to the Sheep Shop, more of which later.

In Whitby we also visited Bobbins, which many people have commented upon and which stocks Colinette yarn. Granted, we saw various different Colinette yarns there (no Parisienne which I was hoping to see), but we were rather disappointed at the attitude of the staff. I spotted a fair bit of Noro yarn there and tried to have a look, but a staff member stood in front of us and made very busy stacking bags of yarn without any acknowledgement that there were customers around (it was quite busy in there). I may well have bought Noro there but at that point I decided that I'd rather shop elsewhere! DH also overheard another customer who had asked about knitting with tape yarn, receiving a rather patronising answer! He was less than impressed. A very nice shop but quite honestly we didn't find it very friendly at all.

Part of our York shopping expedition included Sheepish on the Shambles, which was a great place to visit. They even tried to convert DH to knitting :-) (probably encouraged by his spotting some yarn he liked!). Here's the haul we ended up with:

We have: Patons Splash, in black/grey/white, picked out by DH; Noro Silk Garden, Debbie Bliss Wish You Were Here book; Artesano Alpaca Inca Cloud to make the Bertie scarf; Laines du Nord Kiddy Print from the sale bin (only one they had, sadly!), and King Cole Luxury Mohair.

I'll be making a net-type cowl/scarf for DH from the Patons, the Silk Garden will probably be a hat and scarf (I fancy an eyelet scarf for myself like the one I made in Kureyon), and the mohair is for stash at the moment.

More stash was acquired at the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop, another place definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. They had big bags of fleece ready for washing, prepared fleece, ready made garments, lots of yarn, and various kits and accessories.

We have: 2 balls of the 4-ply with the lacy sock pattern, and 4 of aran in Aubergine plus the pattern for a moss stitch waistcoat. Lastly there is a kit for a simple rib scarf with locks of dyed fleece to knit in as a fringe :-)

More on the next post as Blogger is acting up with photos at the moment.


Sunday, July 02, 2006


Thanks for the birthday wishes folks! It has been a lovely day today, we got up amazingly early for a Sunday, being as it was so warm. I received several knitterly items as presents - Elizabeth Zimmerman's "Knitting Without Tears", a 30" cord for the Denise needles and the extras set which has more short cords, end pieces etc. I also got the Rowan 37 pattern book. Other prezzies were DVDs - the 4-disc Titanic collectors edition, Subway, Repo Man and Bleak House. Quite a varied wee collection there :-) DH will buy his main present to me while we are on holiday, with luck, a piece of Whitby Jet jewellery.

I might be able to finish Tulip today. Last night I knitted the second front piece, and did a spectacularly idiotic thing while watching "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" on DVD (loved it, Johnny Depp was great as WW). I managed to do the shaping at the top on the wrong side :-D Sooo there I was, unpicking rows with K2togs, P2togs and cast-off stitches. If nothing else I am getting better at correcting mistakes. This afternoon I started on the rest of the back, it seems to be going quite quickly so we will see if I end up taking this on holiday, or finishing it when I return:

The picture came out at a slightly odd angle, hence the left front piece looks bigger than the right (not so in reality). This is taken from the back by the way! The Russian Joins are more visible than I would have liked, lesson learnt with cotton I think. It's so unforgiving I doubt there is any form of join that wouldn't be slightly visible. I was probably better with my original method on this :-) I'd definitely use the RJ on other fibres, especially wool, though.

I've already packed my Simply Knitting bag with a few small projects to take away :-) Hoping to finish Odessa, and also have a go at a bag in Colinette Point 5 to felt.

I've taken some pictures in the garden this weekend, here's one that I've also made into desktop wallpaper in case anyone would like it :-) It's a Mesembryanthemum that we bought in Cornwall a couple of years ago. It spends the winter in the frost-free greenhouse, but this year it has really gone to town in flowering. I hadn't seen the flowers open until yesterday, as they open up in the morning and are closed again by late afternoon:


Click on the link, right-button click with the mouse on the picture, and select "set as background".

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