Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Feeling the scarf love

Ok - so I only finished my last scarf last Wednesday, but I admit to immediately having cast on for another one.

This one is going to be very different. I enhanced my stash significantly last week, and this has been begging me to be cast on ever since. It was only because I had less than half a ball of the swiss cheese scarf that I had enough determination to spend an evening finishing that one off before casting on.

So..... Meet the softest, most strokeable, most deliciously coloured pure cashmere ever:

It's from a favourite yarn dyer of mine, a lovely lady called Eva, who has a shop right on the north end of skye. I have been there before and I love the colours - they are all natural dyes done in a little studio at the back of the shop and so so so tempting. I also left with a jumper's worth of aran wool, a jumper's worth of luxury wool (the alpaca, cashmere and lambswool dk blend), but there will be more about them later because they are going to be lovely interesting jumpers. If you are ever anywhere near there, it is so worth taking a diversion to the shop bedcause it is divine, and Eva is lovely to chat to as well.

I only got 100g of hand spun aran weight cashmere, which I am hoping is going to be enough to make a scarf. I am liking scarf knitting at the moment - I got more compliments for my swiss cheese scarf than almost anything else I have knitted, and today is the first day that I haven't worn it all day. But it is
actually very useful for adding just that little bit of warmth in the office when the door is open to let some fresh air in. So I am going to have a scarf thing going on for a while so that I have a range ready to wear with different outfits!

I fancied something a little bit lacy as well, so got out my Barbera Walker book 1 (I aim to collect all these but got this one for christmas) and flicked through the lace section going "oooooh, aahhhh, that's nice, but I like that one as well....." until I got to the drooping elm leaf pattern, at which point I stopped realising that I had found the one. I cast on enough for 2 repeats, with a little garter stitch on each side, intending to make a swatch. I liked the swatch so much that I have continued knitting it and am now about half way through my 100g of cashmere. Knitting with this is so lovely, the feel of it running round your fingers with each stitch is so nice that you want to stop and savour every stitch. I really don't ever want it to end, yet I am compelled to knit this and nothing else, so it isn't going to last for long.

It is looking like the scarf is going to be a little on the short side at the moment, but I will knit till nearly the end, block it a bit and then see if I need to be ordering another little bit of the yarn. Which isn't going to be such a terrible shame at all.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

With added holes

After a long pause, my knitting of the Swiss Cheese Scarf resumed earlier last week, and with the end in sight I have been extra motivated this last couple of days. The dedication to the cause has paid off - the swiss cheese scarf is now off my needles and looking LOVELY!

Yarn - 4 balls of Rowan 4-ply Soft in Military, that I bought in the sale a couple of years ago for very very cheap and have had sitting in a drawer for too long.

Needles - 4mm knitpicks interchangeables (I am in love with these needles)

Modifications - I read the pattern, took the gist of it and then went ahead and knit. I 4 sets of holes in the first row, meaning I cast on 76 stitches.

Dimensions - HUGE after blocking (13" wide by 104" long) It was hard to work out how long this was going to be, but I wanted it to go a couple of times round the neck and used the tried and tested method of knitting until I ran out of wool. I didn't block that hard, but it still stretched until it no longer fit on my biggest rug!

Cast on - 8th December, cast off 12 February 2008

New things - I used the backwards loop cast on for all except the initial cast on (thumb method). I like the elasticity that this gives, but knitting the first row above the cast on stitches is a bit of
pain. Thank heavens for my nice sharp and pointy knitpicks! Cast-off's were just the regular, and inbetween I just did a lot of knitting.

Comments - I love how this looks. It is simple and smart and modern (and surprisingly warm considering how much of it is hole). I am in love with the yarn, and have it on my list of yarns that I would like to knit a jumper or something out of. The pattern is almost totally mindless
knitting. Every 6 rows or so you do have to pay a bit of attention to casting off the right number of stitches, and making sure that all the holes are lining up right, but for 80% of the knitting it is just totally straight forward, mindless, relaxing, perfect for watching films or chatting!

Now I'm off to swan around looking glamourous and lovely in my new scarf (and get some proper photos of it in the light!)

Monday, 4 February 2008

Home again

Well, it's really really really good to be home again!

This weekend I was officially distracted from all plans by a last minute invitation to a ball (my husband looks dead sexy in a DJ) and some friends arriving for the weekend and lots and lots of white fresh powdery snow. We went cross country skiing and it was fantastic. Even the sun shone, and for scotland it wasn't that windy.

But more importantly, I have assembled all that I need to finish off the entrelac bag. It is finally felted. It took some felting, at 30 deg it just went a bit fluffy, at 40 it might have shrunk a little, but by the time I had run it through the machine at 60 a couple of times it was finally properly felted. And my towels have never seen this much washing in one day!

I have been on the internet, and ordered some leather straps, some handbag feet and a magnetic clasp. I have found a folder to massacre, and my very limited fabric stash had a yard of shot silk in a great colour that will be lovely for the lining.

I am going to do a double lining, with some cotton as well, just to give a bit of extra strenth. The folder is going to be the base and possible might make some sort of reinforceing at the top of the bag. I haven't quite figured how I am going to attach the handles, but I'm sure somthing will come to me.

I'm really looking forward to doing this over the next couple of evenings..... now that I am no longer distracted by the snow (it's melted) or diy (do you like my new hardwood flooring in the photo above?)