Sunday, May 13, 2007

Flair progress, Charmed Knits, and playing with beads

Soundtrack for this post: The Very Best of the Eagles


I didn't post an update last week as I wanted to get a bit further along with Flair before showing a progress photo. In fact I've only knitted Flair for the past 2 weeks, not my usual modus operandi! As you're knitting the whole jacket including the sleeve caps at the same time, the rows are fairly long, and I figured it needs concentration to make progress. Add to that the large wrapover at the front, you have rows somewhat longer than for a standard sweater or cardigan:

The Blue Sky Alpacas organic cotton is a dream to knit with. It's very soft and doesn't seem to cause any aching hands like some other less flexible cotton yarns can. I'm just over 2 inches below where I joined the body under the arm holes. I think I'm going to add an extra buttonhole here too. The pattern relies on row gauge for a few things, and I think buttons would have been better placed with more intervening rows, not the 14 the pattern suggests (I'm getting 18/23 or 24 on average and the pattern asks for 18/22). The same goes for when to separate off the sleeve stitches, the pattern gives you a number of stitches which equates to a row number - I added four more increases (8 rows) plus another 4 straight rows before I did that. This is the beauty of knitting top down though, you can try the piece on as many times as you like and you won't get any nasty surprises! I can just add on extra lengths of cord for this, as shown, the Denise needles are working really well with this pattern.

Another modification I've made is 8 stitches for the front button bands rather than 7. Seed stitch, according to the books, should be done over an even number of stitches, and I was in danger of messing it up with 7. It sounds daft but sometimes the simplest things are the very things that can go wrong! I've ordered some olive-wood buttons from a haberdasher on ebay, I had a yen for wooden buttons for this piece and these look lovely, I should have them to show next week.

Beaded book thongs

I've been up to some other crafty things apart from knitting, during last week's Bank Holiday I got my bead stash out (acquired over several years) and made some knitting book thongs. I made some more a couple of nights ago too, they're quite addictive! Click on the photos to see the detail, apologies for the flash as we've got quite poor light this afternoon.

First we have a gothic version for DH on 1mm cord, with pewter bat and skull charms, silver beads and a glass "wingnut" bead; and a purple one using 2mm cord and various glass and wooden beads:

Next one uses green lampwork beads from a wonderful set, plus wooden and silver beads, on 1mm cord:

I have several more but these will be sent as gifts, so I won't put the photo up just yet!

Charmed Knits

This wonderful book arrived yesterday from The Book Depository:

I've been looking forward to this for months :-) Alison Hansel of the Blue Blog has put together a great collection of Harry Potter themed patterns. If you're a Potter Knitter you'll have seen some of them online before - the year 1/2 and year 3 scarves, the Quid-socks, Hermione's cable and bobble hat & mitts. However there are a lot of brand new patterns alongside these established favourites, including a Weasley sweater designed in chunky yarn to knit up nice and quickly! You can also find hats, gloves, Dobby socks, knitting bags, Mrs Weasley's housecoat, and more quirky items like needle cases, pointed hats and even Errol the owl! It's a very nicely presented book and a great price for all these patterns together. I was particularly pleased to find this:

The Quidditch Sweater! I've had a cone of yellow merino aran waiting for this for a long time :-)

Yarny goodness

A couple of weeks ago I was alerted to some wonderful laceweight yarn at You have to see the prices for yourself! The company's shipping policy is also very good, they don't ship right away to save undue cost, but my parcel arrived via DHL in approximately 10 days. Since shipping only cost a few pounds I was mightily impressed that they used DHL! I got three different colours in total, but as one is intended as a gift I'm only showing two of them here:

At left is "Mustard", a gorgeous bright green, and at right is Laguna Azul. The yarn itself is very soft and just incredible value. Each skein also has 850 yards in 100g. I bought two of each which gives plenty for large shawls or wraps.

This week I discovered Lane Borgosesia Cashwool, another lovely laceweight yarn. Here's a skein of olive from Pavi Yarns (ordered in the afternoon, arrived the next morning!):

Another very soft yarn, with an amazing 1375 yards per 100g. I can see more of this yarn in my future, at £8.95 it's an excellent buy.

In other news, it has been quite a busy week or two. We picked up our new (to us) car yesterday, another VW New Beetle :-) Our original one is in black, this one is a reddish colour - the colour of Pimms, I have decided after some thought! We went up to Windermere in it today to give it a run, and saw some interesting sheep along the way - jet black lambs, black sheep with white faces, brown sheep :-) I don't know the breeds but it's always lovely to see all the lambs bouncing around :-)

Yesterday we had to do some extra food shopping, as I'm going to be starting this next week:

I'm really looking forward to this, as I already eat a lot of the foods he uses in the plan, and it will hopefully help me stop snacking too much on chocolate! I can imagine it would be quite a wrench for many people to start though, especially if you are fond of tea or coffee (I don't drink either). Hopefully this will help me lose some weight and give me plenty more ideas on what to eat, and in the correct proportions. It's a sensible approach to eating and there is no rationing involved of the kind that would leave you hungry! I'll report back on my progress during the four weeks of the plan :-)

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At 7:16 pm, May 13, 2007, Blogger Piglottie said...

Interesting to hear your comment about cotton hurting your hands. I must admit I don't knit with cotton often, but was doing so today and wondered why my hands were hurting so badly - now I know :) Lovely yarn as ever and you cant beat a bit of the Eagles :)

At 8:30 pm, May 13, 2007, Blogger acrylik said...

So much lovely stuff to read here! I love how your Flair is coming along, it's looking beautiful. It was interesting to read all your thoughts and alterations on the pattern.

I really love your book thongs, especially the goth one :)

Beautiful yarn purchases, as ever, you always find the most beaitufl yarn.

Good luck with the new diet.

At 9:32 pm, May 13, 2007, Blogger Queen Frogger said...

Flair is looking good, it is nice to hear how the BS cotton is to knit with as I have often looked at it.
Book thongs are great, such nice things to give to people too and yours are good!
Thank you for the Pavi Yarns link, how could I have not known abou tthem?!

At 10:46 pm, May 13, 2007, Blogger Sarah said...

Yey for Flair - she is looking lovely in that colourway. I envy you those long cords, sticking the stitches on yarn to try on is a but tedious. No I just have to summon up the patience to get mine done before you beat me to it!!

At 10:53 pm, May 13, 2007, Blogger Mandella said...

Your Flair is beautiful, I'm really looking forward to seeing more progress. Actually I confess I've been catching up on your last few posts. The tank top is really, really flattering, and a beautiful colours too. Thanks also for posting that you got your BSA from kpixie. I wandered off over there and I see they do Allhemp too. I feel a spending spree coming on!

At 7:58 am, May 14, 2007, Blogger Sussex Yorkie said...

Flair looks lovely the BSA obviously looks to drape well. Wish I had a friend who would buy me yarn! Good Luck with the diet, its the right weather for it now.

At 8:59 am, May 14, 2007, Blogger Artis-Anne said...

A great post full of so man interseting things
Flair is coming along well. Yet another person I have read had bought HPY , great aern't they ?
Great yarn purchases

At 10:32 am, May 14, 2007, Blogger nanatoo said...

Flair looks lovely, I can feel the yarn from here :D
Neat thongs! Now I can see your Mustard HPY I wonder if I've got the right one, as that's just the shade I was going for. Must check the name of mine, but it wasn't mustard.
The book looks right up your (Diagon)Alley ;) Can't wait for the cashwool, as long as Vict. Lace comes quickly too. That is delicious.
No chocolate makes me cry :(

At 11:21 am, May 14, 2007, Blogger Aknita said...

Flair is looking lovely. I can't say I've ever encountered a similar problem with cotton.

You have bought the most beautiful yarn :)

At 2:28 pm, May 14, 2007, Blogger Carol said...

Everything is so interesting. I love to see and hear of everyone's progress. I love purple so your purple beads are my favorite....
And a diet book too---I must look up that one.

At 3:49 pm, May 14, 2007, Blogger Rain said...

Good luck with the diet. Flair is looking great so far. I got to fondle that yarn while I was away and couldn't believe it's cotton, it's lovely.

The new yarns are beautiful, especially the stuff from Pavi. Love the book thongs too.

At 2:03 am, May 15, 2007, Blogger Lynne said...

Good luck with the new eating plan! Not diet. Diet is a dirty word but eating healthy for life is not bad at all!
You are buying some lovely yarn and amking really nice stuff... drool.
Oh I stole that meme :-)

At 5:28 pm, May 16, 2007, Blogger Kate said...

I love the yarn - I will certainly be having a look at that website! What are you planning to make with it?

At 7:37 am, May 18, 2007, Blogger Mandy said...

Flair looks like it is coming along. I like your book thongs I have been making some the last few weeks with little beads. Good luck with your diet!

At 11:04 am, May 18, 2007, Blogger franney said...

Love the colours of the laceweight, so vibrant!
Oh, and i've tagged you, check out my blog for deatils on how to play along :o)

At 12:16 pm, May 19, 2007, Blogger Anni said...

I think I've worked out htat you are my Secret Santa, Dreamcatcher. Thank you very much. Love my pressie.

At 3:31 pm, May 19, 2007, Blogger artyfartykat said...

Some gorgeous new yarns in yummy colours too.
Flair looks beautiful too, I love the top down construction.
The book thongs are fab!

At 7:51 pm, May 19, 2007, Blogger Seahorse said...

I didn't get a 'ping' on this post for some reason, so have only just seen it :o

I'm loving Flair and the book things are superb!

At 8:09 pm, May 25, 2007, Blogger Badger said...

Flair is looking great and I often get aching hands from cotton so it's good to know that the BS doesn't cause problems


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