Monday, 28 April 2008



That's all I can say!

It was lovely, the Posh yarn stall was the highlight, but there was lots of other interesting stuff there. I met my Mum for the day, ate good food and shopped for yarn. There was lots I didn't really see (read walked past in a daze) but a couple of stalls stood out....

Posh yarn for all that fantastic colour and sensuous loveliness. I did quite a bit of shopping here.

Knitwitches (where I bought some lovely lovely alpaca merino DK)

Knitting4fun - great bright and good value yarns for felting - their slipper kits would make great presents.
Love Patisserie - who made the most divine ginger treacle tart, though the lemon tart and the walnut almond and orange tarts were also lovely.
Garthenor Yarns - so much woolly goodness!
Injabulo - lovely buttons that should be good for my Holiday Cardigan

Moral Fibre - the most amazing nuno felting I have seen - Mum was quite inspired and is going to go on a course
Raggedy and Wench - recycled clothing all coming from charity shops (and made into lovely things by my little brother's girlfriend).....

It was all a bit overwhelming, with long drives at both ends. I loved meeting so many of my Ravelry friends, and chatting to all the people on the stalls. I have been persuaded to go to Woolfest with a friend (she didn't have to try that hard) so it won't be long until I go shopping again!

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

X-treme knitting - the kishorn edition

What a totally and utterly fantastic weekend. All I can say is great weather, great hotel, great food, lovely location, and some knitting.

We stayed and ate at the Plockton Inn. Mmmmm - there were at least 3 things for each course that I really really wanted to eat. I had the lighest fluffiest hot smoked salmon pate to start, and then tandoori hake for the main finished off with a fresh raspberry trifle and icecream!

Then a detour to a lovely lovely garden centre just down the road towards Lochcarron. We had a lovely chat to the owner, who has gradually been expanding the area he uses in an old walled garden. It is perfectly sheltered and warm and full of amazing plants. We spent quite a bit of money and our front garden should have some lovely flowers if it all survives.

Then over to Applecross - via the Bealach-na-ba or pass of the cattle, which is a truely mad road that looked stunning with snowy patches all on the top glinting in the sunlight. The london visitors were quite entranced by both the road and the snow. Lunch was had in the Applecross Inn (the best fish and chips I have had for a long time, though Francis says it is rivaled by those he had the evening before) and then we all had a wander round the bay to Applecross House for a look at the deer, the highland cows, the garden and ending in the tea shop!

After all that food, we departed from our London guests, who were heading back to Inverness for another posh meal, and made for Kishorn Boulders. It was fun! I knit, he bouldered, I bouldered, he encouraged, I got daring and fell off onto my bottom in the mud and decided that I should stick to knitting. My swallowtail enjoyed the afternoon in the sun, and I am 54% of the way there according to weight of yarn used!

Friday, 18 April 2008

10 reasons why today is a fantastic day

1) The sun is shining and the weather is fantastically clear and bright and beautiful

2) The flowers in my garden look fantastic. This is the first year we have had flowers in the garden rather than just storing rubble in it. I love cowslips - hopefully in a few years we'll have enough to start making cowslip wine!

3) Yesterday evening we went to the tip several times , so what did look like this:

..... now looks like this and later on I am going to be planting potatoes in it!

4) Posh Yarn is fantastic!!! I have cast on for the Swallowtail Shawl from Interweave, using 515 yards of Lucia in Hibiscus. I love the warm bright pinks and reds and oranges and yellows. This is another knitalong to be found in the Posh Yarn group on Ravelry, and we are all loving it.

5) I have finished the back of my holiday cardigan!

6) The shoulders have been bound off (I could wax lyrical about the wonders of the three needle bind off at this point, but instead just look at how the cables join - even the short row shaping worked !). I have done half the collar and it is going to look fantastic.

7) I HAVE THE DAY OFF WORK!!!! (This makes me really really really happy, especially as it is combined with all the other things like the weather)

8) Later on today my best mate from university is coming to stay for the weekend.

9) We are going to stay the night at the Plockton Inn

10) The only two dilemmas that I have to face is whether to take kayaks, bikes, walking kit, bouldering stuff (or all of it) and which knitting to pack!

Now which of the fun things am I going to do first???

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Let's have a party in the garden!

Mostly, today I am happy because the sun is shining, the clocks have changed so the sun is still shining in the garden when I get home and it is a great day for photographing finished things!

So.... I present my garden party!

Vital statistics:

Pattern - Garden Party Shawl by Fiberdreams
Yarn - Cecilia Cobweb weight silk/cashmere blend from Posh Yarn (colourway Sweet). I used 66g of a 100g skein.
Needles - Knitpicks 3mm circulars
Modifications - I made the shawl a lot bigger then the pattern stated as mentioned in some detail here.
Finished dimensions - 34" by 70"

And other than blocking my garden party, I have been knitting the back of my holiday cardigan. I am now onto the armhole shaping so feeling as though some progress is being made. The complicated calculations are over, the combining the cables in the middle is done, and all I have to do is carry on moving the cables outwards towards the shoulders. Then all I need to do is finish the sleeves and make the armholes fit. Hmmmm.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Messing round at the Garden Party

I am now nearly finished on my garden party. Adding the border is taking quite a while though, mostly my own fault for making lots of modifications (sorry for the quality of the photo - the flash makes the yarn's subtle and lovely colour variations stand out much more than they do in real light)

I swatched for this project, because I was using cobweb weight yarn from Dee at Poshyarn and had a good hunch that it would be too fine on 3.75mm needles. I tried 2.75mm, 3mm and 3.25mm, and in the end plumped for the 3mm knitpicks.

The shawl construction on this is lovely and interesting. First you knit a thin strip of leaves. Then you work the right side, joining onto the leaves, then the left, and finally some rows all the way across before adding a knitted on border. Because I was using smaller needles, and had 1300yds of yarn available, I thought it would be good to make the shawl a little bit bigger than advertised.

There were two obvious ways to do this and I have done both. Firstly, I added 4 extra repeats of the leaf pattern (40 rows) to the centre panel. Then, correspondingly, I knit an extra 5 repeats (40 rows) of the rosebud lace pattern onto each side.

A careful stitch count showed that I had the wrong multiple of stitches for the start of the lacy lattice (I was 2 short), but this was quickly sorted out by replacing two of the p3tog with p2tog on the first row of the lattice.

Once the lacy lattice was established, it was just a question of plugging away along rows that really were getting very very long. I did some complicated maths to try and work out how much lattice I needed to knit so that I had the right number of stitches for the border, I got it wrong a couple of times, and eventually kept knitting until I had 409 stitches in total. By this point the rows were taking a very long time.

I also started the border a different place to that stated in the pattern. I just preferred the thought of starting right at the point rather than on row 9 as stated. And all this mean that I had, instead of 8 repeats of the border along each edge, 12 instead, and there was still a stitch or two to fudge. But there are always stitches to fudge when applying edging! Given that it is on average taking me just under an hour to do a repeat this is quite a bit of extra border knitting. Still, only 6 more to go so I should finish this week!