Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Taking holiday for a trip

This week I went on a little site visit to Orkney for work. As is tradition, the weather was horrid for work (wet and windy and cold) but on the way to my hotel the clouds parted momentarily so I stopped at the standing stones to soak up a few sunset rays.......

These are the Stones of Stenness - I love the way they are so tall and thin, almost like they might snap!

And then further along the road is the Ring of Brogar. It was a lovely sunset that totally made up the long hours stood in horizontal drizzle trying to draw a map.

But I managed to finish the second front of my Holiday Cardigan. I am still pleased with the knitting, and the yarn is fantastic. The transformation of the fabric on blocking is amazing..........

Unblocked, it is bumpy and uneven and rough........

But blocked it is transformed into a fluid and smooth even softness that is just divine.

Since then I have been totally distracted by knitting on my garden party shawl. At the moment is looks like a red mass attached to two needles and is refusing to be photogenic. And the evil tempting people on the Posh Yarn Ravelry group are going to be knitting along the swallowtail shawl from Interweave next. I have my eye on a special skein from this weeks sale (it's a secret or you'll all notice how lovely it is and might get there before me). The pattern can be knit from one skein of PY lace - it's quite a small shawl, and perfect for wearing as a scarf. I think I am going to make mine out of sock weight though, just because the colour I am lusting after is totally perfect! This is a perfect first lace project if any of you fancy joining in - there's nothing complicated about yarn overs and k2tog's - you just need a quiet space to sit down and concentrate until you have learnt the pattern.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Xtreme Knitting

Today, I am going to be smug about the weather! It has been lovely and sunny and not even too windy.

I have started lace knitting again. I have secured myself some lovely silk/cashmere cobweb weight lace yarn (Cecilia) from Posh Yarn next week. Lovely not quite solid orangy red, a colour way called Sweet. And I have cast on for the Garden Party shawl, and there is a fantastic knitalong on the Posh Yarn group on Ravelry. I didn't have any yarn in the stash that would have been suitable so I had to wait for the next sale day, and then wait for it to arrive, and then wind it, so it was yesterday before I got to cast on,

Today was a pre-arranged day out with my Husband. I snuck the knitting in the car, and we headed for Torridon, because for once the forecast was best in the west. We were going to walk up a little hill and get some photos of Liathach because it was looking all pretty and covered in snow.

But we were too lazy so we went bouldering instead.....

Husband looking heroic - and me trying very hard.

Look at that gurn!

And then, because Husband was having a nap in the sun, I snuck my knitting out of the bag and managed a good few repeats of the rose pattern which makes up the first part of the shawl.

It was a lovely day for al-fresco knitting, though I am worried about us turning native - we spend the whole day saying how warm it was and how lovely the sun was. We were even sitting round in t-shirts for part of the day. It was 6 C.

Saturday, 8 March 2008


I finished the left front of the holiday cardigan yesterday. I knit it based on the tension of my swatches, which were all nicely blocked, but it seemed a little bit on the small side. I had a collection of my jumpers on the sofa and have been comparing them as I went along, had my fingers firmly crossed, and was knitting away with all the hope in the world. Last night I slipped all the stitches onto a waste bit of yarn, stuck it in the sink and then pinned it out and at least it conforms to the expected measurement! Whooppeeeeee. It still seems a little on the small side when held up against me, but comparisons to my other clothes show that I shouldn't be worrying. Blocking does transform the finished fabric though, it smells deliciously of my favourite shampoo, and has bloomed and softened fantastically.

I weighed it - a total of 108 grams, which means that I should even have enough yarn to finish the project with a bit to spare!

So far so according to the plan. I just have to hope that the plan is right.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

The holiday begins

This is how far I have got with the Holiday cardigan. It is coming on better than I might have expected, given that I only started it on Sunday evening. I have reached (I think) milestone number 1 which is the bottom of the sleeve shaping.

I always try and find some new things to learn on every project I do - so for this one I did a casting on experiment. I tried the Italian cast on, the german, the twisted german and then finally decided that I liked the thumb cast on I normally use better. Ordinarily I would go for a tubular cast on for a ribbed edge, but in order to make the ribbing fit in with the various cables it is uneven and so I couldn't find a tubular on that could deal with that.

The other technique that is a bit new is that I have been doing all my cables without a cable needle, and though it takes a bit of getting used to (that bit involves dropping stitches, which isn't so bad considering that this wool is lovely and sticky).

The next bit gets a little more complicated, as I try and figure where to start the neck shaping and what to do with the armholes. But I need a fresh brain to think about that, it's late, my husband is asleep on the sofa under the blanket and I need to put him to bed!

In the meantime my extra 50g of cashmere is here so there is that to distract me from cables.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Swatchy swatchy!

I have reached as far as I can go with the lovely soft and scrummy cashmere - and the scarf isn't really going to be long enough. So I posted a couple of inches of the yarn of to Eva from Shilashdir, she has found me 50g more of the same dye lot and it is currently winging it's way over to me. I am really looking forward to it getting here, knitting with it is such indulgent pleasure - the way it feels running though your fingers is so addictive it is untrue. I just want it to be finished so that I can sit in work wearing it and having the odd fondle to cheer me through something direly uninteresting like a due diligence report.

I have managed 21 and a bit repeats of the pattern, and unblocked it is currently 48" long - enough for nearly round the neck but none down the side. I dont think it is going to grow enormously lengthwise on blocking, but it will expand width wise.

Anyway, the stash enhancement was significant...... so I have been playing swatchy swatchy with some brick red aran weight that also came from Eva.

This is going to be a lovely fitted cable cardigan. The inspiration is one of the jumpers worn by Cameron Diaz in the holiday. In fact, she wears a lot of really nice clothes all through out the movie - the cable cardigan is towards the bottom of this link. I admit to making my mate rewind and watch the scenes with it in, but didnt have anything to make notes. So 2 months on, armed with a memory and that one photo I am going to make my homage to the white cable cardigan. The most interesting part is the back, which has some interesting shaping moving the cables round, which might mean I need to make interesting sleeve caps, but that is a bridge I don't have to cross any time soon.