Monthly Archives: April 2007

Finished shawl

After all the excitement of dying the yarn, I’m afraid I disregarded all current works-in-progress and jumped straight into knitting a little shawl with it. Progress wasn’t actually that fast, but that is mostly due to the fact that I had to stop and admire it at the end of each row 🙂

Since I wasn’t sure how far my yarn would go I opted for a simple triangle starting in the centre back neck and increasing at each edge and twice in the middle on every other row. I went for garter stitch since I like scarves to be reversible, although I suppose it is less essential on a shawl. I also added a simple lace tree pattern I designed. Although as Diane pointed out the trees are actually upside down when you are wearing the shawl. Oh well, I like it anyway 🙂

So now onto the delight that is blocking!

First we have a shawl in its unblocked state, looking not very lacy and rather wobbly round the edges:

And as if by magic with the addition of a few million pins, ta da:

A gratuitous close-up of my upside down trees:

And even closer – you can tell I am enjoying this can’t you 🙂

This is being blocked on my new super adjustable blocking system, otherwise known as a set of foam recreation mats for 3-8 year olds from the Early Learning Centre . They are 60cm (2 foot) square and fit together like big jigsaw pieces. They come in packs of 4 and I bought 2 packs so I think that will be sufficient to create shapes to block just about anything I can think of. Also they fit down the back of the spare bed when not in use, very handy.
And, finally the shots of me wearing the new shawl:

I was worried that it would be too titchy to be of any use and was very pleasantly surprised. It is a pretty good size, not bad considering it is only 100g of 4ply weight cotton.

I’m afraid I appear to be pulling a strange face in the next one. I am probably instructing the photographer 🙂

Now I am going to be good and go back to all the abandoned projects, and also do my City and Guilds homework before the night before (next class is a week on sunday, I have already done half of the knitting part of the homework).

Skip North Part 1: The Workshops

Well it has now been nearly a month since Skip North and I have finally unloaded the photos from the camera and am getting round to blogging about it. I’m afraid I don’t have any (decent) photos of the participants as I am the worlds worst photographer combined with forgetting to take my camera out and about with us (the excitement of all the yarn went to my head). I had a great time and met loads of lovely people, and now my Bloglines is up to 124 feeds. I’m afraid I wont be attempting the herculean task of doing links to all the people I met as I would be bound to miss someone out.

Photos of all the shopping will come later when I can get to it. Currently the new yarn is barricaded into the spare room by our old mattress which the council are taking away on Thursday. I am looking forward to rediscovering all the fun things I bought! and am actually considering starting a spreadsheet with all the yarn I have an information on it, a rather daunting prospect.

Anyway, on to the first part of my update on Skip North. This was the first time I had been (there was one last year which I only found out about at the last minute and unfortunately couldn’t go), and also the first time I had been to Haworth. A lovely area of the country and I enjoyed the great views as you drove across the top of the moorland from Bradford.

As part of the weekend we had the option of doing three out of four possible workshops. These were due to all happen on Friday afternoon, but due to the London train containing at least one of the workshop leaders being delayed we had two workshops on Friday and the remaining one on Saturday evening.

The first workshop I signed up for was cold water procion dyeing of plant fibres with Liz . I had never dyed yarn before, and the most dyeing I had ever done was tie-dye T-shirts while at school, and dyeing jeans in the washing machine. This workshop was marvelous fun and I am really looking forward to trying acid dyeing too soon. Liz brought all the dyes with her, in a wide range of colours and all we had to do was bring our yarn and a tray in which to dye. My yarn was Patons 4ply cotton which has a nice sheen without being too hard.

Here are some of the yarns dyeing:

This one is mine. I think this is a photograph of it after adding the soda which explains the amount of liquid. I was really worried that I had added too much dye and that everything was going to turn out a shade of mucky greenish brown but luckily it came out all right.

This one was Rosie’s . I love the colours she has chosen and the way they blend together.

And this is my finished yarn. I absolutely love it and am ridiculously proud 🙂 I have knitted it into a little triangular shawl / scarf which is currently blocking on the dining table, pictures to follow when it is dry.

The second workshop I went to was making beaded stitch markers with Alex . Apologies for the very dark photo.

On Saturday night I did the bullion crochet workshop with Nic . It was good fun although I was rather tired at that point, and I’m not sure why I decided that black yarn would be a good idea to learn something new at 9pm in a badly lit room.

Thank you all for the lovely comments on the bracelet pattern .
Miss Knotty asked whether I preferred the slip stitch method of knitting with beads, where the bead sits on a thread in front of a slipped stitch, or the garter stitch method where the bead sits between the stitches. I think it depends a lot on what sort of pattern you are creating and the effect you are going for. The big advantage with the slip stitch method is that the beads appear as a surface decoration on only one side of the fabric and it doesn’t affect your tension much. So a surface beaded pattern can be relatively easily incorporated into a section of stocking stitch, although it has some limitations, for instance that you can’t place beads in front of adjacent stitches. At some point I will get round to blogging about a knitted beaded dress I am making using this method. It has been languishing in a bag in the computer room for about 7 years unfortunately due to it being large swathes of stocking stitch in 4ply yarn and so it gets a little boring. I am determined to have another go soon though.
The big advantage with the garter stitch beading method is that it does affect the width of the fabric, and so you can easily create a shaped fabric just by adding or subtracting beads, without you having to have greater or fewer stitches. All in all, I like them both but for different things.
There is even a comment on the bracelet pattern in (I think) spanish! Although I’m afraid I have absolutely no idea what it says, and Google language tools didn’t really help. If anyone would like to translate, I’d love to know what was said.
I’m glad you liked the cabled socks Janey. They are holding up well and in fact I am wearing the brown and green pair today!

Thanks for the lovely comment on the circular cardigan Padraigan. I love the colour and have worn it a lot this winter. I am also hoping not to actually need bullet proof socks! Although I did go to school with a boy who accidentally shot his dad in the welly (Wellington boot, I’m not sure what the American name would be, rubber boot maybe?) with an air rifle, his dad was not best pleased.

Ansley has knitted up a beaded bracelet in the most beautiful colours (scroll down to see). She has also worked out that you need to string about 6 feet (1.8 metres) of beads onto your thread in order to make this pattern. Thank you very much for working out the length of beads! It just hadn’t occurred to me, partially I wonder because although I gather in the US (and possibly other countries too) beads are often sold by length in a string, they are rarely sold this way in the UK, and I have always bought beads over here by weight.