Monthly Archives: October 2006

Norwegian Yarn

Catching up on a few old things here, I found this photo on my camera.

This is some lovely Norwegian yarn my Mum bought for me on their holiday there earlier in the year. I think it will make fantastic bright cheery socks, just the thing for winter days. It hasn’t been very wintery here yet. It is still remarkably mild, I haven’t needed a coat yet and we haven’t switched our heating on.

I am still plodding on with the Patchwork Jumper. Not really worth a progress photograph. The second sleeve is slightly longer than it was but it is dragging rather. I think I need something good on the telly so that I can have a proper go at it and get it finished. In the mean time I have loads of ideas and keep buying one ball of this and one ball of that to try out ideas but I don’t want to have too many things on the needles at the same time because I find it rather overwhelming. All rather circular as an argument and I think the solution is to get a move on and actually finish the patchwork and then I will feel free to try out lots of other ideas.

My copy of the first issue of Yarn Forward Magazine arrived last week! Unfortunately there was an error in the printing of charts C & D for the Ariel silk top 🙁 I have re-sent the correct charts to Kerrie and hopefully the errata will be up on the website soon. I would love to hear your thoughts on the magazine, particularly on the technical editing, but also generally.

I am starting to get in patterns to edit for Issue 2 which is all very exciting! I was hoping to do a design for Issue 2 but the yarn for it still hasn’t arrived and the design deadline is in only 2 weeks so it might not be happening at this rate 🙁

Workshops with Lucy Neatby

On Thursday night, Friday and Saturday last week I attended 3 fabulous workshops with Lucy Neatby . She also ran a class during the day on Thursday on grafting too but unfortunately I couldn’t go to that one.

Thursday and Friday’s workshops were at Taj Crafts in Buckinghamshire. I had a lovely time in their shop and managed to do a bit of damage to the credit card though not too much. They are really easy to find too if anyone is thinking of visiting, they are very close to the junction between the M4 and the M25. Saturday’s workshop was at Reading Museum, organised by the Reading branch of the Knitting and Crochet Guild .

Thursday’s class was on equilateral triangles, she had some great garments to show us including a waistcoat (vest for all of you on the other side of the pond) in Noro, and a couple of hats. It was great fun having a go ourselves, each triangle is knitted onto the previous one and then the remaining seams are done with mattress stitch. Mine came out as a very small hat, just the right size for a grapefruit! I stayed up far too late on Thursday night getting it finished, a fascinating technique and very addictive. I think I will have a go at a hat for me using triangles with the left over yarn from my circular cardigan.

I love the symmetry with this pattern. The triangles tile so beautifully and really lend themselves to being made into so many different shapes.
Interesting piece of trivia for you: 3 of the 5 Platonic solids (or regular polyhedra) are made from triangles. The Platonic solids are the only solids for which each of their faces are the same, and for each face, each side and angle is the same. For example, the cube is one because each face is a square of exactly the same size, and each square face has 4 sides which are the same length, and 4 angles which are all 90 degrees.

Moving swiftly on to Friday, this was toe up socks with Bosnian toe and Turkish heel.

Don’t you just love this cast off! I really want to try it with three colours too. It is done with a crochet hook. You cast off a couple of stitches with the first colour, then crochet a chain of about 4 stitches, then pick up the other colour and do the same. Then pick up the first colour again and repeat but making sure than the two chains are twisted. You can vary the effect by the number of stitches you cast off in each go, and by how long the crochet chains between cast offs are.
This is the Bosnian toe, a garter stitch square which you then pick up stitches all around to knit up the foot.
And the Turkish heel. This is an after thought heel, made by knitting in some waste yarn where you want the heel to be, then going back and knitting over it with your main yarn and continuing up the sock. When the rest of the sock is finished you come back and put the stitches from the waste yarn back on your needles and knit your heel, grafting the end together.
At the end of Friday’s workshop we had just enough time to learn tubular cast on (in green), and tubular cast off (bind off)(in red). They are beautifully neat and almost invisible in rib. I will definitely be using these again. It was really useful to see how the cast on works with a 2×2 rib as well as a 1×1.

I bought both of Lucy’s Knitting Essential’s DVDs and her sock book while I was there but I haven’t had a chance to look at them properly yet.

Saturday was off to Reading for a workshop with a much bigger group. The morning workshop was on knitting with colour and mixing colour in different ways. I seem to have failed to photograph my swatch from that. We covered holding two or three yarns together and varying the colours one at a time, also fairisle and intarsia and combining the two.

In the afternoon Lucy gave a talk on her knitting, over coming problems and planning your knitting to allow more flexibility, and we practiced some grafting.

All three workshops were fantastic. Lucy is a great teacher, very clear and patient and her handouts seem very comprehensive (I am going to re-read them as soon as I get time). We also seemed to cover an amazing amount of really useful and interesting stuff, I definitely feel that I got my money’s worth and will be signing up for more classes if and when she is back in the area again (not sure that the budget will run to a trip to Canada!).

A wonderful time was had by all

Its been another busy week or so. A busy time workwise as we have something like 3/4 of our conferences for the year in the last three months of the year! Also with Ally Pally and National Knitting Week it has been a busy week and a half in a pleasant way too.

My mum came down for a few days to stay with us in between visits to my Nan who is in hospital with a broken hip at the moment, and we managed to fit in a day at Ally Pally and also a day visiting yarn shops in the area before she went to stay with my sister for a bit.

I thought Ally Pally was great this year, more yarn, and I think slightly less crowded. Also a much better temperature, although the hall with the guilds in was still rather hot. It was fantastic to see so many inspiring things. Lots of lovely new yarn, and wonderful to catch up with the familiar favourites too. I even managed to find a few nice bits and pieces to accompany me home 🙂

Apologies that the photographs are rather dark. It has been rather cloudy, rainy and grim here. These were taken outside in as much light as I could find. Just imagine really bright yarn if you can’t see the piccies very well 🙂

At the top we have my bargain of the last half-hour of the show. 2 packets of 10 balls each of Paton’s Crystal from Black Sheep Wools for £7.99 a packet. Years ago I bought some of this in purple and the T-shirt I made from it has washed and worn really well, so I think I will make another the same or similar.

Next on the left hand side, there is a skein of Cherry Tree Hill supersock in dusk, a skein of Cherry Tree Hill supersock potluck in blues/greens, and a skein of Cherry Tree Hill merino lace in dusk, all from the Wooly Workshop . I could have happily spent more time there.

At the front on the left are two skeins from Catalina. The dark green is 100% baby alpaca chunky, and the teal is 60% baby alpaca, 40% merino chunky. They are both unbelievably soft and I think I am going to make hats. Catalina had some really gorgeous yarns, I had never come across them before so it is always good to have my horizons broadened.

On the top right are two balls of Regia bamboo from Web of Wool, and just to the left of them the skein you can hardly see is my first ever Colinette! It is jitterbug, and the colour is florentine. I was a little disapointed that I wanted to see some Colinette Wigwam (a cotton tape yarn) but they hadn’t brought any with them, I suppose it is the wrong time of year for that kind of thing.

The jazzy skein at the front on the right hand side of the middle is a skein of Opal handpaint from Laughing Hens. We were there right at the end of the day and it was nice to have a bit of a chat with Nicki again. I went for a workshop down there a few weeks ago, I have been meaning to photograph my samples and blog about it ever since I came home.

The last yarn, in the front right corner was another new to me yarn. 2 balls of 20% possum, 80% merino in a DK weight from Jamie Possum (their website isn’t up yet but should be in a month or so). It is a lovely soft, and slightly hairy yarn and I think I am going to have a go at a hat. I seem to be in quite a hat phase at the moment, at least theoretically, in that I am buying lots of yarn which is going to be hats but I haven’t actually knitted one yet.

It was also great to meet up with lots of friends new and old and chat about knitting. I saw Yvonne , Dawn , and Mary (I don’t know whether she has a blog, but she was wearing a fantastic fairisle cardi!) at the Knit and Relax stand. I also ran into Mary a couple of times, and met Sue for the first time though I have been reading her blog for a while. It was nice to chat to Kerrie again although she was understandably busy with the customers. Unfortunately as I was there on the Thursday the Yarn Forward Magazine wasn’t there yet. My copy still hasn’t turned up, still floating somewhere in the post. I am looking forward to seeing the first issue and to hearing what people think about it. I’m sure I have forgotten several people I spoke to, my brain was a bit toasted by the end of the day. Say hi in the comments if I have forgotten you and please accept my grovelings about my lack of memory.

On the friday I dragged my mum out of bed at the crack of 11 o’clock and made her drive me to Stash Yarns, I can be a hard task master. We managed to find a few lovely bits and pieces, and had a great time talking to Michelle and Nathalie. Apologies for an even worse photo than the last one.

With a lot of imagination this is, three skeins of Fleece Artist sock yarn, a skein of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted in Black Watch, and two balls of Loft by Zitron in a really loud purple, pink and orange colour. I have never come across Loft yarns before and this one is lovely and soft. I think it is going to be …. yep you guessed it, a hat. I think that has become my new solution for yarns which I want to try but not necessarily buy a sweater’s worth.

After Stash we headed down to Fibre Crafts and I gave in and bought the Tap Dancing Lizard. My sister has requested socks with reindeer on for christmas, and this book has one in which I think I will be able to adapt.

Then we dashed down to Farnham to the Interknit Cafe before they closed. Shockingly I didn’t actually buy any yarn, but I did order some lovely Garn Studio Alpaca in a dark tealy colour.

We were exhausted but happy after all that lot.

Speaking of which that is how I am now after two and a half days of workshops with Lucy Neatby. They were fantastic but I am shattered. Off to bed now and I will blog about the workshops tomorrow.

Ally Pally

I can’t believe it has been more than a month since I last updated.

Things have been busy busy here, aided and abetted by my deciding last week that I wanted to finish my Circular Cardigan before The Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally . It zipped along on 7mm needles (good job too considering my brink-man-ship), although my speed was slowed slightly by re-knitting the sleeves several times.

The original pattern had straight sleeves which when I tried it on slipped down my shoulders, so I had the idea that I could use short rows to make a shaped sleeve-head which would be more anatomically appropriate. Jacqueline Fee talks about this in The Sweater Workshop . The sleeves you see in the finished article are numbers 5 and 6. Number 2 was a silly mistake where I did the sleeve head upside down! 3 and 4 were good but at that point I decided it was too wide across the back, and because of the construction I needed to undo both sleeves in order to make the back narrower.

I finally cast off last night and washed and blocked after band rehearsal. I am just hoping it will be fully dry for the show tomorrow.

The yarn is Inka ,72% acrylic, 28% wool, by Garn Studio. It stood up well to the repeated undoing and redoing of the sleeves, and I am hoping will wear well.

I really enjoyed knitting this. I rarely ever knit with anything thicker than DK or perhaps Aran weight so it was nice to have something which grew so quickly. Great from the instant gratification point of view. It is a circle in 7 segments which needed some persuasion to lie flat. Also because 7 is a prime number it isn’t symmetical, so you get a horizontal line caused by the increases across the right side of the body at the front, but not on the left. I would like to have another go but this time use a circle in 8 segments. I think this would help it to lie flat in the centre of the back, and also make it generally more symmetical, I love symmetry.

Better go and organise my shopping list for tomorrow. Anyone else going to Ally Pally tomorrow? If you see me come up and say hello, I’ll be the one in the loud cardigan, or with the weather we have been having probably carrying the cardigan. I will try and blog more soon.

Thanks Daisy for the shoe link, I will give them a try!