Thursday, 20 May 2010

Tackling the fluff

My fiber stash is growing, inevitably. A friend emailed me a few days ago to say that she'd an entire fleece for me! So, on with some spinning to make room for what's coming in.
I'm in the middle of a batch of very fine blue laceweight, but I decided to take a break for a few days and quickly spin up some chunky art yarn. Chunky being relative, of course, as this stuff is somewhere in between a DK and an aran! I started out last autumn with an art batt blended by Rockpool Candy. It's a blend of fibers and has inclusions.

It was only 50g, so I planned to acquire something complementary to ply it with. Opportunity knocked when someone on one of my swap forums offered a custom 50g batt in the colours of one's choice, so I went with black and crimson to tone down the crazy a bit.

(The lady who did the batt sells her stuff under the name Jellypod - it was beautifully blended and a real pleasure to spin.)

Ended up with 160 yards of 2-ply. I shall probably save it for a gift at some point - goodness knows I've enough kooky friends to find someone who will love it!

And as a little bonus, a pair of mitts I knit up from some yarn I dyed last year. Perfect for the chilly London weather. :)

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Finally finished!

The extra yarn arrived yesterday, so I spliced the new onto the old and started knitting! I finished this morning, then hauled the mister out of bed so I could strip the bedding off for blocking. (Don't feel too badly for him - it was almost 11am!) A burst of afternoon sunshine on the bed dried it fairly quickly, so I was able to get a photo in before it got dark.

Pattern is Ene's Scarf by Nancy Bush, published in the Interweave book Scarf Style. Love this book, although I did get it just for this pattern. The yarn is Posh, of course, in the discontinued Laura 4-ply. Mostly in the colourway Drift, but the triangle at the very back of my neck is in Blizzard. It's noticeably different at some angles, but it's the same base colours so it doesn't jar too much.

I love the size, too! The pattern was originally written for laceweight, to make a scarf, but I'm much happier with this size and weight. It swooshes nicely too, courtesy of the cashmere in the yarn. I may have spent ten minutes or so twirling around my bedroom admiring myself in the mirror. :D

Thursday, 13 May 2010


Not my shawl, I'm still waiting for yarn. I finished a new garter stitch scarf, this time from aranweight Posh Yarn. Just one skein of Elinor Aran in 'Three Foxes' let me knit up this loveliness:

Isn't it pretty? And given the grotty weather we've been having, I suspect I'll get plenty of wear before the summer.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Well, crap.

I ran out. 26 stinking rows before the end of the shawl. See?

And for an idea of how close I actually got:

Fortunately, a couple of Ravellers answered my desperate plea on the Posh forum. I've got two skeins of similar colourways being sent to me tomorrow, so (postal service permitting) I should be able to finish this week.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Thank goodness for Ravelry.

My current shawl project is Ene's Scarf, a Nancy Bush pattern originally written for laceweight yarn and tiny needles. I decided to knit it up in a fingering weight for added warmth. First point for Ravelry - lots of other people have made a similar decision, so I could easily browse through other project and estimate the amount of yarn I needed. All good, I had a lovely pair of Posh skeins equalling that amount. Lovely grey-green-slate cashmere, mmmmmm.

I started knitting. The first chart was eating yarn, since the pattern is a bottom-up triangle. I was worried about running out, but no worries - there's a support group on Ravelry for this very shawl, and one clever lady had worked out the row-by-row completion percentages for the whole thing. Chart One is a full quarter of the knitting, so I stopped worrying. Then the worrying started again, because I got halfway through my yarn but not halfway through the knitting.

Running out of yarn would be a real problem with this shawl. Unlike top-down triangles, the triangle shape doesn't exist until the whole thing is finished. Running out would leave me with a weird wedge-shaped gap at the back of my neck. And because I'm using Posh yarn, which is all one-off batches in limited numbers, there was no way I was ever going to be able to get more.

Or so I thought. Third point for Ravelry - I was able to search through other people's stashes of this yarn by the colourway name and locate two other ladies with skeins from the same batch! I contacted one, who had used hers up, to see whether she'd any scraps left over that I could have. She did, and I've now got an extra 2 grams of yarn on my knitting table. (Thanks, C!) I'm waiting to hear from the other, who had a whole skein, to see whether she'd be willing to trade me.

In the meantime I'm knitting away, crossing my fingers that the extra two grams will be enough to get me to the end. I should know by the end of the weekend - I'm at 80% knitted!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Farewell, April

That was without a doubt the least productive month I've ever had, needlework-wise. I didn't finish a single project! I did finish two major pieces of coursework. We also spring-cleaned the flat. Still, I'm disappointed not to have finished anything.

Not to worry though, 'cause May is already off to a much better start! These Franken-Mei socks were supposed to have been done yesterday, but I ended up having to run errands over lunch. These were the oldest WIPs in my pile, so I'm really glad they're finally done. And they fit well, which is even better.
Pattern - Kai-Mei from Cookie A's fabulous book 'Sock Innovation'
Yarn - DkKnits Technicolor Dream Toes in 'Frankentwined'
Needles - 2.25mm DPNs
Mods - none

As an experiment, I tried knitting both socks at the same time on two sets of DPNs. I wanted to see whether making progress on both would help encourage me to knit faster. FAIL! It was incredibly disheartening to watch them go so slowly. Of course, the fact that cuffs contain a combined total of 13 inches of ribbing really didn't help much. Yawn. The lace pattern on the foot was intriguing, as was the shaping. I might use the construction again with a more intuitive pattern.

One funky result from finishing these - I've now reached critical handknit sock mass. If (when!) I knit another pair, I'm going to have to start ditching purchased socks to make room for them in my sock drawer. :D

Plans for May:

- finish at least one of my shawls-in-progress so that I can cast on for the new Goddess Knits Mystery Shawl guilt-free
- finish the current scarf
- finish the blue laceweight I've been spinning for two months!