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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Kiri update

Four Kiris have now been completed in the Kiri KAL. You can see a detail of Abby's chunky weight Kiri (finished around the same time as mine) here and the week before last Katie and Aliki both brought their finished and blocked shawls to the knitting group.

Katie's kiri is knit in a dk weight from 21st Century Yarns and Aliki's is knit in Kidsilk Haze.

Friday, March 30, 2007

(Morbid) thought for the day.

As I was admiring a colleague's sweater this morning and he was showing me the places where his wife had lovingly darned the elbows he told me about how Irish sailing families used to have their own unique cable patterned sweaters. That way, when bodies were washed up which had been in the water for some time they could be identified by the pattern of their jerseys. Which got me to thinking, if I was pulled out of one of the nearby canals, could I be identified by my Angora Kiri, Kidsilk Haze River* or green Birch Leaf socks? (I told you this was a morbid thought for the day.)

On a brighter note, I finished the first Birch Leaf sock and am onto the first pattern repeat of the second. I made a couple of minor adjustments to the pattern. I changed the heel flap heel for a short-row one with 10 pairs of wrapped stitches**. I also cut short the toe with 12 stitches remaining*** on each needle and kitchenered it shut. Partly because I don't have super long pointy toes, partly because the pattern calls for you to knit until 8 stitches remain and then draw the end of the yarn tightly through them to create what Brenda Dayne so elegantly calls a cat's arse toe. I'm just not a cat person, folks.

I'm heading up north on Saturday for a flying visit so plenty of progress should have been made by Sunday evening (it's a 7.5 hours return journey). I may even be able to start on the Poms. I mooted the idea of a Cookie A. KAL on Wednesday evening at the knitting group and as Aliki has already cast on a pair there'll be at least two of us. My sock knitting plans are all laid out for the next few pairs, Pomatomus, Elfine's socks, Falling in Love, but what I really want to knit are these. There are so many great patterns on Cookie A.'s new site. These are socks where you can't just substitute a heel or a toe because the pattern goes all the way.

* I suspect that after a couple of weeks immersed in canal water the Kiri and River would mainly resemble high fibre content dish rags.

** I'm noting that down here so I don't have to squint at my finished sock when I reach the heel of the second one and can't remember how many wraps I made.

*** Same reason.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

WIP - Birch Leaf socks

The first Nancy Bush Birch Leaf sock from A Gathering of Lace (such a lovely book - if you've not seen it I suggest you take a peek) is continuing apace. I tried it on last night after I got about twenty rows past the heel to see how it was fitting and I can tell that these will be favourite socks. I was worried that the stockinette area below the lace rib at the back of the ankle might be baggy but it fits perfectly. I asked my boyfriend what he thought* and after the entirely predictable comment that he thought that my toes would get cold he said he thought that the yarn was a bit day-glo. He may be right, whilst in the shop and in most lights the yarn is a lovely light spring green, in daylight it is on the fluorescent side. I don't mind too much though and I can't wait to wear these.

* a small part of me still lives in the hope that one day he'll come up with some thoughtful and relevant comment on my knitting.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

You can tell you're knitting too much when... finish objects faster than you can blog about them.

I finished the Rainy Day socks from the March issue of Magknits just in time to post them off for Mother's Day. Mum seemed very pleased with them and promptly took them off to Nice "in case the room was cold". The pattern is very pretty and quick and I'm planning a pair for myself from some green baby cashmerino which has been hanging around in my stash as half of a pair of mittens.

ladybug clothes pegs from Sylvester's

To be fair there's been a lot of other stuff going on which has got in the way of blogging. Marathon training is still ongoing - the race is in 3 and a half weeks - we've moved to a new flat and we went on holiday. We've moved about 12 miles away to a village outside Oxford so I'm no longer cycling into work in the mornings. Instead I take the bus, which means knitting on the bus. At one stroke I have an extra 50 minutes free knitting time per day. This means that I'm racing through my projects. On the firsy Monday I cast on a Mason-Dixon dishcloth as a simple bus project, it was finished on Wednesday. Then I finished the Monkey socks and have now turned the heel of my first Birch Leaf sock. Pictures of all these goodies will be forthcoming at the weekend. The computer is now hooked up, the new camera is installed and on Friday we get broadband!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring is here!

And the Monkey socks are finished, just in time for me to go tripping through the daffodils. The place where I live goes in for the "Xyz in Bloom" thing in a big way so there have been literally hosts of golden daffodils "fluttering and dancing in the breeze" (say what you like - I like Wordsworth and I like this poem). I'm hoping for big things from the tulips and bluebells when we get on to those too.

[pic to follow]

After weaving in the last end from the Monkey socks* I got out the pattern binder** and deliberated on the next project. I'd had a few things in mind, Elfine's socks, another stab at Pomatomus, Nancy Bush's Birch Leaf socks. Which is when I realised that despite being a self-confessed sockaholic I had never knit a Nancy Bush pattern. Decision made I read the pattern through twice (it's a little more complex than your average sock pattern) and cast-on in the solid green Regia. I'm hoping that I will have a pair of spring green birch socks by the time the birch leaves emerge from their buds on the trees outside our flat.

[pics to follow - no really, as soon as I have a moment***]

* I'm not one of those people who likes to sit and reflect between projects, it's literally cast-off—cast-on with me. I think that it's because as do the straightforward knitting which is finishing off the toe of the second sock, or neck of the sweater or whatever I start to look forward to the next exciting challenge rather than being due to some desperate fear of being projectless. I can sit and do nothing, I really can.

** I love my pattern binder. Who knew that that filing patterns in a ring-binder, neatly sorted into sections would make them so much easier to find than when they were "filed" into odd bags or boxes of yarn, or down the side of the sofa?

*** still getting to grips with the new camera and the new flat.

Friday, March 23, 2007






Heineken dray horses




check out the Kiris and Rowan 41 in the window

Safe to say, we liked Amsterdam. After a mild passport panic (we booked the trip two days before the new passport arrived - this is NOT something which is covered by travel insurance so I was a tad jumpy for those two days) we arrived in Amsterdam.

We stayed at this hotel which was super nice and positioned just between the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh museum and the Amsterdam equivalent of Bond Street, so when you're tired of looking at all the beautiful and priceless things behind glass you can wander off and look at some Rembrandts instead (I'm just kidding - though who doesn't love window shopping at Chanel?).

We visited the Philips wing of the Rijksmuseum (the rest is undergoing refurbishment) and the Anne Frank house and the Heineken Experience (which was a bit of a highlight). We also had a glimpse into the proceedings of Dutch academia when we attended Mathieu's defense of his doctoral thesis.

Oh, and I found a yarn shop. I'd had a quick google for yarn shops in Amsterdam before setting out but hadn't got as far as finding out where one would actually be (if I'd found the article on Marie's blog before setting out this would have been much easier). And then we happened on it by accident when heading down a side street back to the tram stop one evening. I made a mental note of the address and managed to manouvre the boyfriend back there between the Anne Frank house and the university aula. After he had extracted a promise that I wouldn't buy Rowan or Jaeger (basically nothing that I could get in England) I went inside to find wall to wall....Rowan and Jaeger. Damn! But wait, there in the corner, Regia sock yarn. Luckily the boyfriend didn't know about Regia (I've not bought it before) and it wasn't really cheating as I've never seen solid colour Regia in the UK. I bought 4 balls, 2 in a subtle varigated denim shade, two in a lovely spring green. It packed up a lot easier than the tulips anyway.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Everyone's Got Something to Hide (But me and my Monkey)

One and a bit Monkey socks now knit. I'm only onto the third pattern repeat of the second sock but I'm hoping that I can get lots done at the Bluestockings meet-up on Wednesday. Everyone seems to be knitting these at the moment. Lilith has knit a great pair in some amazing Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn. I really wanted to get some of this at the Knitting and Stitching show back in November but had already gone to town on the angora and had to rein myself in. There's also a very nice pair on the BritKnitCast website knit from Piece of Beauty yarn.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Monkey socks

One completed
Monkey sock. I'd been struggling to find a pattern for my Schaefer Anne sock yarn until I saw these knitted up on Lilith's blog a couple of days ago. The pattern is perfect for the yarn and pretty rewarding to knit as you get a sizeable chunk of knitting for each pattern repeat. The yarn is in the Milly colourway and is all about Spring - soft grassy greens, bluebell blue and a brown that reminds me of just opened birch leaf buds.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Birthday socks

I have been knitting "like the wind" for the past couple of weeks in order to finish two pairs of birthday socks. One pair for Katie from Artesano Alpaca Inca Cloud in a plum shade (the photo makes it look much more purple that it actually is), which I think is new since it doesn't even appear on their website.

I used a rib stitch pattern from the Harmony Guide to Knitting Stitches II. It's a less attractive (and I suspect cheaper) book than the Vogue Stitchionary but just as chock full of great stitch patterns. I've decided that there's no point in trying to do anything other than simple textured stitch patterns in alpaca as it has very little in the way of stitch definition. However, anything that mixes up a bit of knit and purl, such as moss stitch, waffle stitch or mistake rib, is a perfect match for its soft fluffiness.

Despite snatching all the knitting minutes I could (on my bicycle whilst waiting for the lights at the roadworks, waiting for my dentist's appointment, a whole day of knitting and rugby on Saturday!) I just missed the Saturday evening deadline (20 rounds short) and as there was no way I was going to be able to knit through Hot Fuzz at the cinema (way too funny for knitting) I had to present them at the knitting group on Wednesday.

The second pair knit up much quicker thanks to the genius of the waffle pattern - two rounds of *K2, P2*, two rounds plain stocking stitch. They just flew off the needles! I actually started these for the first time at Katie's ball-winding afternoon when I knit the foot plain and on metal needles. By the time I got to the heel I had realised that (a) the pattern wasn't working for me and (b) knitting alpaca with metal needles really hurt my hands, cue a post-work dash to the local yarn store for a set of these babies. I really do love my Brittanys.

Yarn cakes

Lots of knitting news and events since I last posted. First off there was the first great Oxford Bluestockings wind-off at Katie's a week last Saturday. Huge thanks to Katie and her husband for inviting us all round and being such great hosts. Everyone had a great time. We knit, we looked at pattern books, we balled our skeins of wool using Katie's ball-winder and Swift, we drank lots of tea and ate lots of cake. It was fantastic. The afternoon finished with a mass yarn swap (see the yarn heaped table below!).

For a while it looked like no-one was going to swap any yarn as we were all too polite to grab the yarn we wanted, however, once we got going everyone either got rid of all their unwanted stash to a new home or found something which would allow them to make something out of that half ball of Kidsilk Spray. I came away with a ball and a half of mauve Matchmaker 4-ply which is destined to become my next pair of Falling in Love socks, 50g of a pink variegated miscellaneous DK weight yarn, 50g of greeny/pink boucle and I think something else though I can't remember what for the life of me! I wound my Helen's Lace and Schaefer sock yarn into gorgeous yarn cakes. Three of us teamed up to separate Abby's hank of Brora window display cotton into three separate plies which were then wound individually. Everyone oohed at everyone else's newly wound stash. I am now really coveting my own ball-winder and Swift - still only ten months to Christmas!