The musings of an obsessive knitter and stash collector

Thursday, May 31, 2007

May report

Well, this is where the shawl is - one pile of whiteness with a couple of dirty smudges that should wash out at the end! I've finished the leaf pattern and I'm just starting on horse shoes!

At the risk of sounding over confident I've got the first quarter right on the first row of this pattern but I'm way too tired to risk anymore, I'm going to do the sensible thing and leave the rest of the first row until tomorrow evening. I'm on the 61st round out of 225 which in fact means in terms of knitting I've done over half of the centre, this is in 6 weeks of pretty much focussing on just this. I'm even hoping now to have it finished in June. It does mean that I finished nothing this month, nit a solitary thing for the first time since I started the blog, but I think I may be forgiven for that!

I think I may well remake the shawl in this, I'm loving how it looks, much better stitch definition and a much more open ground, it is much slower work being so much finer but it's fairly rewarding.
Anyone expecting emails from me, my ISP has admitted finally that for reasons of spam problems most ISP's are currently blocking most emails from their domain, the emails I send don't bounce, they just vanish so the fact is that it has been going on for over a week without anything alerting me to the problem as incoming email is fine! I'll have to switch to hotmail and resend everything, I'll do that at the weekend I promise!

I'm sure you can guess what my June project is - shawl with possibly a few mitred squares and I'm still trying to finish a birthday present off too - I need more hours in my day!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Still decreasing!

I finally got a picture of Hecate in motion - because my camera has a time delay after you press the button I normally get just her tail if she's jumping as she moves out of frame - this one was a pure fluke and shows that she doesn't spend all her time asleep. Yesterday she managed to jump into the fridge while I had the door oopen.

I added a couple more squares to this when the shawl all became too much for me yesterday - I kept getting bogged down so switched intermittently to easy mitred squares!

I have 4 more rounds of the leaf pattern to go, then a band of stocking stitch before wrestling with teh next pattern. Next I have to do horse shoes, I just hope that the pattern is easier to establish than the leaf pattern! One consolation is that this round is 748 stitches - I began with 960!

I'm still playing around with lace swatches - this is the 2 ply I bought on eBay and I like this, in fact I think this is more like the yarn I should have used for the shawl.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ever onwards

I actually managed 7 rounds of the shawl today - I think I just MAY have got the hang of this leaf pattern finally - it's just a shame that after row 53 I change patterns again! I just hope that none of my other relatives announce babies for a while as knitting in white is a pain, this will need a lot of washing!

For light relief I addded anotehr square to this, I like anything where I can knit a section in less than an hour!

I'm experimenting with various yarsn in my stash to see what works best fro lace - I'm finding the white 2 ply a bit fluffy and doesn't give the definition that this yarn did when I tried it.

Hecate has spent most of today curled up with me with one paw on my leg to make sure I stay put, she does make sure to inspect any knitting that is in progress.

Friday, May 25, 2007


As a novice lace knitter this caused a degree of panic that I can't begin to describe! Two hours later I had it pretty much fixed, it ins't perfect but I find it hard to find the repair so I'm hoping no one else will find it either! All this mudddle on account of one dropped stitch.

I'm at row 35 of 225 to the middle but the mistakes I make slow me down badly. I know that I've not got this round quite right either, but I know what teh leaves should look like now so I'm able to fudge it correct if need be!
Lixie, and anyone else who's interested, the pattern is from the last Woman's Weekly Craft Special, it isn't the first time they have published it and they don't give a designer name. I may have a spare copy of the pattern as I've at least one back copy if anyone desperately wants it, let me know and I'll hunt for it! I have to say that the pattern isn't easy to follow, in part because there isn't a clear pictur of the lace. I'm using the wrong yarn so I don't know what size it will end up as either! I was surprised that they called the pattern advanced yet didn't suggest a provisional cast on for the border to make an invisible join possible. I am glad I realised that it was an option as my seam is almost completely invisible.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A proper update

I finally managed to get the next pattern established - comapred to the flower pattern this leaf pattern is a nightmare - it took me around 6 hours of knitting and counting and frogging to get the first row done! I can however with the help of my trusty spreadsheet inform you thet I now have finished 20% of the knitting of the centre and over 50% of the whole shawl - with a long weekend this weekend I'm hoping to get the leaf section finished as it's not anywhere near as much fun as the flower pattern.

I'm determined to cast on some socks soon - and they must be purple, once I've reminded myself how to make a sock I'll try the hard pattern Sibille sent me at Easter.

The next shawl will be in this I think, it's a merino/angora mix and a lovely shade of cornflower blue. I know who I want to make it for, I just want to find a pattern I like.

Bamboo mix sock yarn, I've been wanting to try this for a while so I've dug it out of the stash to meditate on until the shawl is done.

I've dug out all the Koigu now and in a hiatus when the shawl had defeated me got a few more squares added to the project. Interestingly I've bought this yarn over several years when I could afford a bit more and the yarn is definitely varied in thickness from dye lot to dye lot. I don't know if there is any change over time of if it is just a random thing.

A quick update

No, I'm not dead but I've reached the point of starting a different lace pattern and that means a lot of counting out loud interspersed with frogging and cursing, Hopefully I'll be able to give you a sight of the next stage soon. I'm also desperately trying to finish off a birthday gift that I can't show you as well - I'm just way too busy for words!

I'll leave you with a cute cat picture until my return.

Monday, May 21, 2007

7 random things meme

I know I'm supposed to tag 7 people to do this meme but as usual I'm so far behind everyone I'd struggle to find 7 people to tag who haven't already done it, so, if you read this and want to do it the instructions are as follows.
"Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog.You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog." If you decide you really wish I'd tagged you just leave a comment and I'll edit this post to link to you!

  1. I think I've already established that I like rhododendrons, I even take pictures of them in the rain!

  2. I like rhubarb to eat

  3. I hate the taste, smell and texture of the mushy peas that appear to be obligatory with fish and chips in the north of England.

  4. I listen to Irish rebel band music a lot although I'm not remotely Irish

  5. My first cat was called Apricot Brandy and he liked to lie on his back in my arms to have his tummy stroked.

  6. Despite my aversion to organised religion - especially the Christian church I can't resist spending time in old churches.

  7. My favourite material is velvet

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Clearly I'm an idiot!

I'd happily reached the end of the 11th round of the shawl centre on Friday, muttering all week that the centre was knitting up very densely but that I wasn't using the intended yarn so maybe that was the cause. At the end of the ball of yarn I started a new one and realised it was MUCH finer than the previous one. I dug out the ball bands of the old and new balls and found that although I'd bought them all at the same time from the same shelf the old ball was 4 ply and all the rest of them were 2 ply.

A good deal of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth took place and then a lot of frogging! I stayed up until 1am repicking up the stitches and now I'm back to row 10 so I've nearly caught up with myself. One good thing about this (I'm clutching at starws here) is that I've changed a purl row into a knit row so that the lace pattern doesn't merge onto a purl ridge anymore. I have 2 more rounds to go to get back to where I was so I'm off to do that so that I can start the week where I was last week!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Books.books, books

Happiness is the arrival of a big box of books from an online bookshop having a warehouse clearance sale! I can’t show you everything that arrived as some of the books are Christmas presents – how impressive is that?

I’ve always loved poetry, in my teens I used to learn poems for fun and although my memory is no longer what it was – not from old age but from several breakdowns and associated periods of medication – I still enjoy reading poetry and have been known to read it aloud to the cat. I’m slowly adding to my library and WH Auden has now been added to my poetry book shelf, now I have to see if Hecate likes his work!

I confess to having all the Mary Poppins books somewhere on one of my many bookshelves and I even have the film on DVD, I prefer the books as they are much darker than the film and I find them more entertaining, I never read them as a child or I might see them differently. I’m having another long weekend next week so hopefully I’ll be able to start some of these in between shawl knitting!

I never used to like Terry Pratchett books, partly I think because I read odd ones out of order and didn’t really get what was going on. A few years ago I got a pile of them from a friend and started reading them in order and decided that I really rather enjoyed them as light reading especially when insomnia strikes me. I couldn’t resist the New Discworld Companion, especially as I’ve never had the old one.

A long time ago I bought Alastair Cooke’s America and thoroughly enjoyed it, I only listened to his radio broadcasts intermittently because I’m not a great fan of Radio 4 and rarely tune my radios into it. When I had the chance to buy this very cheaply I couldn’t resist!

I’ve been tagged by Wibbo to come up with 7 random facts about myself and I’ll try to think of something interesting by tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Please allow me to show off!

This is the end result of the stitch picking up and some enthusiastic knitting in circles, I've managed to do all the plain rows and 6 patterned rows now, I'm loving the flower pattern as it's easy to see what to do next once the first pattern row is done.

I have to confess, this isn't an illustration of patience, quite the opposite, I don't need this to be finished until November and my original obsessive schedule meant that it would be done by the 25th of November. I've knittted this almost to the exclusion of anything else (causing me to be panicking over a birthday gift I want to post at the end of May) and my current schedule indicates finishing by the 22nd of October! I've been adding more complex calculations to my spreadsheet and can tell you that the border was about 37% of the stitches and I've now done 5% of the centre stitches - I told you my spreadsheets get obsessive, I don't dare show you that each day of the week is a different colour etc etc! I've even done some of the plain rows on the bus and been trolling for complements from passing strangers - I really am getting a huge amount of pleasure from how this is turning out!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Kntting quiz

As I won't be around to show you the miniscule progress on the shawl/s today I took this from Nickerjac's blog for yoru entertainment.
Edit the list, bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

I-cordGarter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Monday, May 14, 2007

Decreasing circles!

I've successfully picked up the stitches and I'm almost ready to start the first lace pattern, one more purl round and the next stage in the lace adventure begins. I'm away tomorrow and don't expect to get much done as staying at my mother's flat and doing the first round of a new lace patttern don't really fit together well!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Somewhat over excited!

I've finished the edging of the shawl - it's taken me less than 3 weeks, althopugh one week I did have as a week off work which may help to explain how much more quickly this knitted up than I had estimated!

I used a provisional cast on which wasn't in the instructions and I'm very glad that I did, I Kitchener stitched the two ends together and I'm ecstatic with ho wwell it has worked out, even close up I can't see the join easily!

The next job is to pick up 960 stitches, it's a slow process, so far I've picked up 50 and expect it to take me several days, especually as I'm also at the point of knitting teh ruffle on my blue Spanish Dancer shawl as well, everything I'm working on is made up of long or extremely long rows! I have a busy week ahead of me as well, I'm out for dinner twice and staying overnight at my mother's flat once so my blogging may be a bit erratic but hopefully I'll be able to make good progress with the shawls. It definitely tests the mettle of a man if you knit in their company, this wek I'll be testing two!

Friday, May 11, 2007

A bit of variety

I'm sure you don't want to see a slightly bigger roll of shawl edging - I'm down to 5 pattern repeats to go, I don't think I'll be done this weekend, but it's getting so close I can almost taste it! In th mean time, I can show you some progress on the latest Spanish Dancer shawl, this yarn was part of the giant haul from SkipNorth, just to prove I wasn't just buying randomnly everything my greedy heart desired - honestly!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

This and that

I could have shown you yet another picture of a roll of lace tonight, I'm inordinately proud of the fact that I've nerly finished the 33rd pattern repeat out of the 40, I'm about 2 weeks ahead of where I thought I might be, partly because I do tend to underestimate my ability to pick up a new pattern and to actually stick at it however tedious all the repetitions can be. I took my camera with me to work today and took pictures on my way to the bus stop to give you some variety!

I love rhododendrons, years ago when I was still going on holiday with my parents we went to the island og Gigha which has a huge garden with lots of rhododendrons, I think that was probably the first time I'd seen so many all in one place. I loathed family holidays but they remain a happy memory.

Every spring I've meant to take pictures and I actually remembered today so although they aren't in full blooom I actually got my act together, after several weeks of glorious weather we are suffering from some very wet weather which will spoil the blooms so this is probably about the best picture I'll get this season.

As you all know, I never can resist a bargain and I managed to pick up 3 lots of sock yarn and some DK from my favourite ebay seller the Natural Dye Studios, I love her yarns, the colours are glorious and the socks I make with it are wonderful - I just wish I could persuade Hecate not to bite holes in them! Hecate is in disgrace today - she dived outside between my feet when I got hom etoday and kept me out in the rain for ages before deigning to return for her tea - it isn't safe for her to be outside as currently there are several owners letting large dogs roam. She followed that up my jumping up at me and scratching my hand - yet again, she's developed a bad habit of leaping at me to get my attention - it works but doesn't actually inspire great affection!

I did finish another of my mitred squares as light relief from lace last night but I'm going to concentrate on the lace until I get the edge finaished, I may get to the picking up stitches quite soon I think. I don't expect to be around to blog on Thursday as I have to work late and then I'm hoping my neighbour wil be home from hospital and I'll be able to spend soem time with her - she's been in hospital for nearly 2 weeks this time.

Monday, May 07, 2007

What can I show you today?

The weather here today has been thoroughly miserable, I didn't stir out of the flat, this was the view from my window, it doesn't show the rain bouncing in the puddles but I can assure you it was there!

The roll of lace edging is continuing to grow, I haven't quite made it to the 75% mark while I've been on leave, I'mm 11 rows short of the 30 pattern repeat but I've had enough for today. My original aim was to be at the picking up stitches for the middle stage before the next bank holiday weekend at the end of May, clearly I've underestimated the speed that the edge would grow at. I'm not going to risk starting the middle until a weekend though as I'll need to sit down and be focussed - this is a new thing for me and after all this work I don't want to mess it up.

At least you get to see my mitred square experiment which has the advantage of some colour at least, I'll be reverting to the lilac shawl on teh bus from tomorrow so you'll get to see even more boring pictures I'm afraid!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Another progress report!

I unrolled the lace edging today to see how long it looked - I have a feeling that changing yarns will mean this shawl will be HUGE! Happily I've now finished 27 of the 48 repeats and am feeling much more confident that I'll have enough time to complete this and even get some of the other baby clothes made that I have on my to do list. Now that the pattern is reasonably well established in my head I have worked at about double the speed I'd expected.

The long circular needle that I ordered from Get Knitted arrived yesterday together with some of this, I've been collecting Koigu in these purple/blue shades for a while and I think I now have enough to be able to start a project I've been planning for some time.

I don't think this will be enough to give you much of a clue as to what I'm playing with.

Her Ladyship reclining and trying to pretend that she hasn't spent the last 24 hours attempting to wreck the flat, climbing onto and into furniture and hurtling around knocking things over!

Friday, May 04, 2007


I did some stash sorting last ninght and found enough Fyberspates double knitting in Wild Foxglove - my favourite colourway - to make a hat, the baby shawl is progressing much faster than I had anticipated and I needed something in a thicker yarn to give my hands a rest so I treated myself and cast on! You didn't seroiusly think I'd be able to stick with just one 'active' WIP did you?

I'm past half way along the edge of the shawl, this is 23 repeats out of 40, I'm finally getting to the point that I can see what to do next and I can see if I've gone wrong - always handy!

A close up of the pattern, it's looking good so far, certainly I'm finding this bit easier than I'd expected but I'm impatient now, I want to get to the centre quickly, I'm having an enforced break from knitting to night though as I burnt two of my fingers making the dinner!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

What can I show you?

I'm afraid 18 repeats of the edging look pretty much like 15 and a bit! I'm still having such a good time with this project I'm having to ration myself or i'd spend all my week off knitting and end up with wrist ache! I have, in fact done some spring cleaning and cut the hedge today in between the groceries being delivered and falling asleep this afternoon. Susan and Rosie, thank you for the kind words, I do admit to there being at least one mistake on the edging that I didn't spot until too late to frog back, but it's one of thos emistakes not visible from the back of a moving horse, in fact i can't find it easily so I'm leaving it!

The intended recipient is looking forward to the shawl but finding the pregnancy trying so far as she isn't too well, luckily this great auntie to be only gets the occasional sore wrist!
In hopes of giving you something more interesting to look at than ever increasing lengths of lace I thought you might like to see the metalwork statue that I pass on my way to work, she's rather striking but the other week had been ornamented with an 'L plate', unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me!