Sunday, April 29, 2007

Tank top in Twilleys Freedom Spirit

Pattern: Tank top from "Knitting" magazine
Yarn: Twilleys Freedom Spirit shade 501 "Soul"
Yardage: 5 balls plus a small amount of a sixth
Needles: Brittany birch 4mm, metal 3.5mm and Denise 4mm circular
Modifications: made the armholes slightly deeper

This was a nice easy knit, despite the pattern in the magazine having various parts missing - mostly near the end - but they were easily worked out. I also got to practice picking up a dropped stitch for the first time from about 5 inches down on the back piece. Not quite fully dropped, more of a hole with stitches above, so I unravelled that stitch back down and picked it back up with a crochet hook. I'm very pleased with my picking up of stitches on this piece for the neck an armholes too. I made sure to follow the same line and not deviate and it seems to have worked. I worked my decreases one stitch in from the end of the row in all cases too so you can see them on the arm curves and neck.

The pattern makes a long-line tank and has shaping to accomodate hips and waist. Not sure that the horizontal stripes are quite the most flattering thing on my figure at the moment, but here's a photo to show that it actually is a very good fit:

Now that I've scared you all, here's some lovely yarn to take your mind off it :-) This is Socrates 4ply from Violet Green, and is for a Shoalwater shawl. After seeing murdo's lovely WIP on the Crafty Threads forum I had to dig the pattern out, then I saw this which is named "Seascape":

I can't wait to get started with this. I should probably attempt to finish Spring Things first though. After some thought I decided I won't be doing the nupps on it though. KSH is not a yarn I would choose to work with again, it feels lovely but is so fine and fluffy I do have trouble handling it. After a few troubles with decreases I decided the last thing I want to do is invite disaster with p5tog! I'd attempt it happily with a different yarn though.

My Blue Sky Alpacas cotton arrived from kpixie yesterday, it took barely 6 days to reach me, and it's beautiful yarn. The picture doesn't do the green justice, it's more olive than it shows, but it does show some of the lustrous softness:

This is of course for Flair, and again I'm itching to get started!

After mandella's excellent review and hearing good things all round, I bought "No Sheep For You" by Amy Singer. I've been reading the first few chapters and have learnt a fair bit already about fibres (now I finally know what modal is!). The patterns I've looked at so far are lovely too.

I also picked up several Colinette pattern books for half price from the ongoing Knit Tin sale. I'd wanted Wayfarer in particular for a while so was happy to find it at a bargainous price.

Some great news this week for a knitblogger friend, Hazel's pattern for a beaded jacket is published in the current issue of Simply Knitting! It's a lovely 6-page spread and a very pretty piece indeed.

I'd also like to mention Sunflower Swifts and Sublime Spindles who now have a blog to showcase their wares. I bought my swift from them earlier this year and am very pleased with it, it's a beautiful piece of work.

Finally a mention to the lovely Piglottie who has an ongoing sale of her excellent hand-made cards, in aid of a friend's charitable trek. Please pop over and take a look!

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

More of the same

The temptation to cast on more WIPs is ever-present, and I've several things in mind that I'd like to start, but this week I've persevered with my two current main projects. The tank top is almost up to the neckline of the front piece and I'm hoping to finish the main knitting on that this coming week.

I've been doing one repeat per day so far (two yesterday) on the KSH shawl. I pick it up when I get home from work and complete a repeat in good daylight. Last night I did a repeat late on under the worklamp and even with a daylight bulb it was more difficult to see, the yarn becomes rather shiny and since it's not that dark a colour to start with, tends to merge with the needles!

There have been one or two kerfuffles along the way. The first was something strange occurring on a purl row (you'd think I'd save my gaffes for the lace rows!) and I had to readjust the number of stitches. This worked well, then at some point I forgot the last purl row of a repeat so I have a small section "back to front"! Again I don't think this will be particularly noticeable once the shawl is blocked, one thing about KSH is that it is actually strangely forgiving about mistakes of this nature, the fabric is so open and cobwebby. I was fighting off some form of cold bug most of last week too and it did make me rather slower than usual at knitting, and probably accounts for the missed purl row too! One night I could hardly face even the tank top knitting so it must have been affecting my faculties :-)

Here it is at 10 repeats out of 13 of chart A (now completed 11):

I'm using straights as I found these very good for the Forest Canopy shawl, and given I'm using KSH it does make it easier to handle for me. I'm looking at acquiring some Addi lace circular needles though. These seem to have rave reviews, and this US-based shop will apparently ship needle-only orders free to the UK. I also found Loop GB carry them but currently they are all listed as out of stock.

After seeing Sarah's post about the Blue Sky Alpaca cotton, way back in March (heading towards two months ago now) I finally decided I would order some to make Flair. See how I resisted temptation for So Long ;-) I ordered from kpixie, who do indeed give you a lovely 10% off voucher which can be used against your first order if you so wish. Even with postage this still comes out to less than I would be able to buy it for in the UK. I've ordered the Fern shade, which should go with quite a lot of things in my wardrobe.

This week the postie brought me this lovely goth pin from Hazel, these will soon be available from Knitz & Glitz.

It goes beautifully with my shawl, thanks again Hazel!

I've just finished reading Empress Orchid by Anchee Min. This is a very interesting look at the life of a concubine in the Forbidden City, during the time of the Opium Wars. It is based on real people and events and at times is quite terrifying as you see the constraints and the dangers that Orchid faces. I enjoyed the story but found the style rather disjointed at times. I've just started "Persuasion", one of Jane Austen's novels that I have have not read before, and by contrast it is a sheer delight to read. Having been obliged to read "Pride and Prejudice" for O-level and not enjoying it at all at the time (who could enjoy dissecting a book), in more recent years I have hugely enjoyed reading Jane Austen's work. P&P is one of my favourite books of all time.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Spring Things progress

I've decided to persevere with the Spring Things shawl in KSH. It looks like a rather rumpled thing at the moment but I think it will work quite well:

I certainly find it a lot easier to work on this in daylight - and the tank top at night!

Having a week or so off work is not good for avoiding yarn temptation. I snagged a pack of Yorkshire Tweed Aran in "Hero" (a lovely almost-teal blue) from Jannette's special offer email. From last week's Posh Yarn sale page, two gorgeous skeins of Emily 4ply, one in "Dainty" to accompany the other skein previously acquired, and "Digress":

Finally an ebay bargain won at the end of March which arrived from the Netherlands this week. Ten skeins of Lana Grossa Royal Tweed in yellow, intended for the Textured Tunic from Fitted Knits. I believe this is the colour the original was made in. Yellow isn't a colour I would use a lot but this is a very cheery shade, and the yarn is rather fabulous.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Diamonds on the Diagonal scarf

Pattern: Diamonds on the Diagonal scarf (half diamond version) by Ilga Leja
Yarn: Posh Yarn Lucia 4ply shade "Muse"
Yardage: less than one skein (around four-fifths used)
Needles: 4mm bamboo straights
Pattern amendments: knit one extra pattern repeat on each half of the scarf; 4mm needles instead of 3.75mm

These are very well written patterns and include both charts and written instructions. I did wonder if the scarf would block to the length stated in the pattern (54") but as it turned out, that was no problem at all.

I've not made too much progress in sewing up my jacket, the sides are done but the sleeves and the edgings still need doing. This is partly due to preferring actual knitting to seaming (especially as I'm currently on holiday from work), and partly because I know the jacket is a little on the small side. This is due to my picking the wrong size kit originally, I think, the Bergere sizings don't appear to run to the generous side and I thought given "actual" measurements it would be OK. Mind you, this was a year ago and I've learnt quite a bit about picking the correct size to make since then!

I started making the Spring Things shawl in KSH, but am now in two minds as to whether to continue in that, or restart in some PY laceweight instead. I'm not convinced about the whole look of the KSH so far, plus the fact it isn't a terribly easy yarn for me to handle. I think I'll try another pattern repeat and see how it looks then.

I've been doing most of my knitting on a tank top in Twilleys Freedom Spirit (shade Soul), using a pattern from a recent "Knitting" magazine. I'm not far off finished with the back section, so far I've used almost 2 balls of the FS. The are all from the same pack/dyelot yet look at the definite difference in the pattern and colouration. I rather like it and there's no issue with pooling with this yarn, but I didn't realise it varied quite so much!

Yesterday we went to Coldspring Mill and I bought these:

A pack of Debbie Bliss SoHo for 14.99, and 430g of Twilleys Freedom Spirit for 12 pounds something!

On Monday we visited Freeport and found these two knitting books in Book Depot for a few pounds each:

The stitch dictionary has excellent clear colour photos and charts. The other book appears to be part of a small series of craft books, there are a few projects in there I'd make including a sideways knit jacket and a multi-yarn beret.

Finally I'd like to say a big thanks for all the lovely comments on my Forest Canopy Shawl, they were much appreciated!

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl

I'm absolutely delighted with this, despite the fact that I ran out of the original yarn right before the last cast-off row! I kid you not. Thankfully I had bought some toning yarn last Wednesday at PY and I used that to cast-off with. I think I like it even more with that slightly contrasting edging. My next one of these will be in DK!

click to see much larger photo

Pattern: Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl by Susan Pierce Lawrence
Yarn: Posh Yarn Emily 100g in shade "Yodel" - edged with Emily shade "Dainty"
Yardage: full skein of Emily plus a tiny amount of a second skein to finish
Needles: 5mm bamboo straights

I really enjoyed making this shawl, I started last Saturday and despite taking time out to finish the hood on my Bergere jacket, still managed to finish this one week later. The Emily yarn is a delight to knit with, I guess it's one of those things that I ran out when I did, and I shall buy two skeins in future if I want to make more!

click to see much larger photo

More yarn naughtiness this week, and I do seem to be amassing a small stash of PY ;-)

A skein of PY Sophia (cashmere) laceweight in "Chuckle".

I also won a charity auction on Crafty Threads and Yarns Forum, with yarn kindly donated by Aknita in aid of Chrissy's sun-walk fundraising. This is SWTC Oasis soy silk in "Passion", lovely!

Even better news this week is that I've finally finished my Bergere jacket. My next task is sewing it up, which will take a little while as all the edgings have to be turned up and stitched as well as the usual seams!

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