My youngest brother and sister-in-law’s second child is due any day now, and I wanted to knit something to give to my new niece when she arrives. I knitted Ysolda’s Elijah for her brother when he was born, so I thought I’d make Sophie this time.
I was thinking of making her in pink, as a tribute to Judith Kerr’s When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, but it didn’t seem an entirely auspicious choice and besides, I was worried that people wouldn’t get the reference and would assume I’d chosen pink because it was for a little girl, and I really hate the whole pink-for-girls thing (and I say that as someone who rather likes the colour pink), so I decided that grey would be safer. I used Rowan Pure Wool DK and although the pattern was written for dpns I managed OK using magic loop (though I think it would have been easier with dpns, if I had had any in the right size, and I did have to use two circular needles to start the ears off because of the way the stitches are picked up from the head).
Now I just have to wait for my niece to make her appearance and hope she likes it!
I met Ysolda! Which was very exciting; so exciting that I completely forgot to take any photos (Edit – but Alabama Whirly has some up – I’m in this one with my back to the camera! Edit(2) – and also in the second photo down on Ysolda’s post, which shows B’s Snapdragon hat beautifully). She was very lovely in person, though, and commented on the various items knitted from her patterns I was wearing (now I think about it, she might have been a bit weirded out by that!), and I managed not to be too overcome with awe or scarily fangirly. I tried on the original Peaks Island Hood and have got to make myself one, because I really liked how it looked. I think it would be good in Rowan Kid Classic, and was half-tempted to pick some up in John Lewis after the event, but I have enough projects in progress or lined up for now I think.
Which is not to say that I didn’t come home with new yarn: the Skein Queen also had a stall there and I seem to have acquired two skeins of Blissful BFL sock yarn:
The one on the left is in Gnatcatcher, an almost iridescent purply-grey with patches of green (it reminds me of mother-of-pearl) which immediately told me that it wanted to be an Ishbel; the other one is called Vampire and may well end up being My Vampire Boyfriend socks. Or maybe something else.
Debbie was also selling little tins (about the size of a lip balm) of stitchmarkers, and I couldn’t resist one with a pair of owls in Wedgwood blue and white. Unfortunately my camera refuses to take a photo of them that’s in focus, so you’ll have to take my word for it that they are very cute.
There was also tea and lots of fabulous cake and a chance to sit and knit and chat, and all in all I had a lovely after all – many thanks to Suzanne and the rest of the jelly team for organising it!
And the I got home to find that the new Twist Collective was up. I think Rover might end up being my nephew’s Christmas present…
I finally cracked and our previously Apple-free house is now home to Orac*, my shiny new iPod Touch. It’s very exciting; not only do I suddenly have access to several days’ worth of music wherever I go, but I can download e-books (currently I have the complete works of Shakespeare, Alice in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, A Room with a View…and I’m sure there are a few others), look at Google Maps, access my email, make notes…oh, and I can access Ravelry, and download pdf patterns to the pod. It does need a wifi connection or a bit of forethought (making sure I open the pages I’ll need before going out) but it’s pretty nifty.
And because I love it so, and it’s so very shiny, I thought it ought to have a beautiful knitting cover to keep it from getting scratched (I’ll probably be carrying it in my coat pocket with my phone, so that’s fairly likely). I looked on Ravelry and decided that I liked the look of the Dragonskin iTouch Cover from Doggrell Designs:
I used some of the Fyberspates Scrumptious left from my Ishbel beret and Veylas; there’s still about a quarter of the skein left, which I might use to make knitted flowers for jewellery (there are some nice patterns in the new Yarn Forward). Unsurprisingly, given how small it is, it took almost no time to knit up, and I really like the scale stitch pattern on the front. I missed one of the cable crossings on the back, but I think it looks OK despite that.
In other knitting news, tomorrow I am off to jelly in Reading where Ysolda is doing a trunk show and launching her new collection. I am ridiculously excited about this, and am wondering how many Ysolda designs to wear. The Ishbel beret and the Veylas are a given, as I’ve been wearing them everywhere, but I can’t decide between Liesl and Scroll Lace. I don’t think I can wear both; I’m pretty adventurous with colours but I’m not convinced they’ll work together…
* Our network is called Enterprise, our laptops are Picard and Janeway, and given that my husband has a Creative Zen the name seemed nicely in-keeping (I wasn’t going to call it HAL!).
My Ishbel beret is finished:
It’s ended up much slouchier than I’d expected, although looking at the photos on Ysolda’s blog I think it’s much the same size as hers really. If I make another one I’ll probably make the next size down (this is the medium), but I’m happy with this one and will definitely wear it.
The yarn is Fyberspates Scrumptious 4-ply. It’s not the easiest of yarns to work with; I found that it was quite loosely plied and had a tendency to split, but it’s gorgeously soft and shiny and I really like the way the variegation works with the lace of the hat. In places it’s ended up looking almost speckly, like a bird’s wing. More pictures on Flickr if you’re interested.
The hat took less than half the skein, so to use up the remainder I’ve cast on for a pair of Veylas:
And, to prove that I don’t only knit Ysolda’s patterns, I have also cast on for Perl Grey’s Imogen cardigan* in Lang Mille Colori:
The cardigan is knitted sideways, starting with a rectangle for the back which the sleeves and fronts are knitted on to from either end. To do this, the pattern starts with a provisional cast-on. For years, my favourite provisional cast-on has been the crochet chain cast-on; I tried the open cast-on over waste yarn and couldn’t quite get my head round it. When I came to cast on for the Ishbel beret, though, I was on holiday and didn’t have a crochet hook with me, so I had to use the waste yarn method and found that several years’ more knitting experience made it seem very straightforward, so I used it again for Imogen, except that as I was transferring the stitches from the waste yarn to a needle for Ishbel it struck me that it would have been so much easier if I’d just used a spare cable from my interchangeable needle set instead of the waste yarn. So that’s what I did here. It did make knitting the first couple of rows a little more awkward than it would have been with waste yarn, but not impossibly so, and when I come to work on that side of the cardigan I can just put the needle tips on the cable and I’ll be good to go.
I’m a little puzzled by the pattern, though – according to the measurements given even the small would be a generous fit on me, and I’m definitely not a ‘small’ normally. I suspect it may be that the pattern is written as a chunky jacket to be worn over lots of layers, and I definitely want a more fitted look. I have cast on according to the directions for the small as I certainly don’t want it any longer, and I’m planning on knitting the back until it’s wide enough for my back and then knitting the front until I get the fit I want – at least the design makes it easy to tweak the sizes!
*It was surprisingly hard to google this to find the link, as it turns out that there was a character in the Forsyte Saga called Imogen Cardigan.
I’m back from a week in the Yorkshire Dales, spent mostly walking and knitting. There’s a lot of wool in the Dales, although sadly most of it is still attached to the sheep:
However, I did pay a visit to Beckside Yarns, which is a gorgeous shop – light and airy and full of yarn – and where I bought a Zauberball and some Araucania Ranco Multy to add to my sock yarn collection:
(The third yarn in the picture is a skein of Posh Yarn Sylvia which I bought a couple of weeks ago. I was planning on using it for Ysolda’s Damson, but I have seen some lovely Damsons made with Zauberball so might use that instead.)
As for knitting, I was hoping to make progress on the Nancy Bush mystery socks I’m making for the Sock Knitters Anonymous knitalong on Ravelry, but my cunning plan to head into Skipton and visit a coffee shop with free wifi on Tuesday morning so I could pick up the next clue was foiled, as the SKA moderator had dental surgery on Monday and was late posting the clue, and the socks ended up stalled at the bottom of the leg:
Still, this gave me the opportunity to finish my Broad Street Mittens before the weather gets cold enough for me to want them:
and to start an Ishbel beret in the gorgeous Fyberspates Scrumptious 4-ply I bought at Ravelry Day:
I found the Broad Street pattern fairly straightforward, although there were a few errors and omissions in the pattern text and knitting gloves is always going to be a bit fiddly. I think using Magic Loop helped, as instead of faffing around with stitch holders when knitting the fingers I just left the hand stitches on the first needle and used a second one the same size to pick up the stitches for each finger in turn. The yarn is Trekking Hand Art, bought in a little craft shop in St Ives on holiday last September (see, I do use my sock yarn!); the pattern used almost exactly half the skein, so I could probably get a shortish pair of socks out of the leftovers, or possibly a pair with contrasting heels/toes/ribbing.
I had a moment of panic where I thought I wasn’t going to be able to start the beret, as I hadn’t brought a crochet hook, didn’t have internet access and couldn’t remember how to do any kind of provisional cast-on apart from the crochet kind, but after giving it some thought I decided to improvise and came up with something that worked. I love how neat the turned hem makes the hat band, and am generally very pleased with how it’s turning out and definitely looking forward to having the hat to wear. The Scrumptious is as lovely to knit as it was to stroke in the skein. Now I just need the weather to get cooler (it’s noticeably warmer back down here compared to Yorkshire!).
I decided to knit Ysolda‘s Scroll Lace shawlette in the Rosarios Sole Latte I bought at the NEC Knitting and Stitching Show last year because I couldn’t resist the tongue twister – Sole Latte Scroll Lace – but in fact, the yarn’s drape and the gorgeous blue-green colourway which was what attracted me to it in the first place made it perfect for this pattern.
In this colourway, the waving pattern of the lace reminds me of waves breaking on the shore. I’m very pleased with how it turned out, although given the size (about 6′ long by 1′ wide at the widest part) and the tendency of the stocking stitch to roll up anyway I think it’s more of a scarf than the shawlette it was presented as in Yarn Forward. Which I’m perfectly OK with, as I’m more likely to wear shawls as scarves anyway; I like the way I’ve got it in the photo (and it gives me a chance to model my new Knit Pro Symfonie shawl pin!).
It’s a quick knit, and fairly straightforward. I had a few false starts because my brain was refusing to recognise that the lace was a garter stitch base and I kept purling WS rows, but once I’d got that sorted out and worked out that where the chart for row 14 showed ‘no stitch’ three times it actually meant ‘bind off stitch’ (thank goodness there were written instructions as well!) it went swimmingly.
I enjoyed knitting with the Sole Latte, too. It feels very smooth and silky, and has a heaviness to it that reminded me of silk and which worked very well for this shawl (although I’m not sure how well it would work for a garment, rather than an accessory). I’m still not entirely sure how it’s possible to make yarn out of milk, though!
I have new socks:
(Sunday Swing, from the Summer 2009 Knitty.)
These are the first socks I’ve finished for myself in a year and a half (almost exactly; the last pair were my lovely Lorna’s Laces Sweetpeas which I finished on March 4 2008, according to Ravelry). In the interim I’ve made four pairs of socks for my husband, one for my father and the push-me-pull-yous which were supposed to be for me but ended up too big and being given to my friend J instead. So it seemed like about time I made myself a pair.
Even though it’s a really simple pattern these took me almost a month to make. That’s at least partly due to losing a week to the flu and then spending last weekend making S’s hedgehog; in terms of actual knitting time they were very quick, but the main problem was that I found them an utterly boring knit. The lace pattern is incredibly easy, but its very simplicity made it hard for me to read the knitting and, for the first few rows of each pattern repeat at least, I found the only way to keep track of the placing of the decreases and yarn overs was to count the stitches between them, which prevented the socks from being the straightforward, mindless knit I’d hoped they would be.
I used an eye of partridge heel instead of the plain stocking stitch in the pattern, because I prefer reinforced heels and Eye of Partridge is so lovely in variegated yarns:
Anyway, my next sock project is going to be the mystery socks for the Sock Knitters Anonymous September Sockdown KAL, and I’m planning to try knitting two at a time on Magic Loop, which I haven’t done before, so that should offer plenty of interest and challenge. And, with autumn just around the corner, there are lots of new non-sock projects I want to get on with – I spent all last winter planning on knitting a beret and not getting round to it, and my convertible Fetchings have more or less given up the ghost (although three winters’ wear isn’t bad for something as soft as cashmerino) so I really need more gloves before the weather gets cold. And I’ve started knitting Ysolda’s Scroll Lace (from Yarn Forward 15) in some blue-green Sole Latte.
So I think I probably have plenty of interesting knitting to be getting on with!
One of my favourite books when I was little was Smith the Lonely Hedgehog. My first pet, a hamster, was going to be called Smith, but he turned out to be a she so had to be Matilda instead, after the friend Smith finally finds.
Obviously, I was thrilled to discover that not only was the book one of Ysolda‘s favourites too, but that the latest pattern from Whimsical Little Knits 2 was inspired by it! And when I woke up this morning feeling much better and wondering whether I’d be able to make a toy to give my nephew as an extra christening present tomorrow, I thought I’d give Smith a go (I did initially consider making Mousie, but I thought a mouse might be more appropriate for a cat than for a small child).
I made the tiny version, using some leftover sock yarn from my stash – the cream is the Bluefaced undyed yarn left from Tim’s cricket socks, and the black was left from a pair of Cheshire Cat illusion socks I made for a friend the Christmas before last. It took me about six hours of fairly solid knitting with the Test Match in the background – quite a lot in a single day, especially on such small needles; I probably would have put it aside halfway through if the christening wasn’t tomorrow. Still, I’m pleased with how it turned out – I just hope that S likes it!