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Sunday, September 21, 2008

FO - Liquorice with a twist

FO - Liquorice shrug

FO - Liquorice shrug

FO - Liquorice shrug

Pattern: Liquorice by Megan Marshall (soon available to buy - details are here)
Size: small
Yarn: Jaeger Matchmaker Merino 4 ply (2 balls)
Needles: 3.25mm needles, 3.25mm crochet hook
Modifications: I accidentally knit a garter stitch version but I don't think it detracts from the basic look of the pattern and I really like it. I also knit an extra repeat of chart 2 for slightly longer sleeves.

I was so pleased to be able to test-knit this for Megan. I liked the pattern as soon as I saw it on Ravelry and as you don't need much yarn it's a great way to use up any odd balls of 4 ply left over from a larger project. In fact I think it would work fabulously with lace-weight too if you wanted to make something really dressy. I'm not quite sure how many shrugs a girl really needs but I know this would be perfect with at least 4 more yarns in my stash.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

And it was all orange

The trouble with knitting monogamy (and one of the reasons why I rarely practise it myself) is that repeated WIP pictures of the same item - just getting a bit bigger each time - are rather, well, boring.

So if you'll take it as read that I'm still progressing nicely on the Liquorice shrug instead we'll have a picture of my dinner tonight - 10 minutes carrot soup.

10 minutes carrot soup

Serves 1

3 carrots
1/2 chicken stock cube
fresh basil leaves
1 dessert spoon 1/2 fat creme fraiche
black pepper

1. Peel and slice the carrots, add the 1/2 stock cube crumbled up and around 250ml boiling water. Boil for 9 minutes (or until carrots are tender). Fish carrots out of the stock with a slotted spoon and puree in a food processor.
2. Add the water and slosh around carefully until combined (remember, boiling water is hot!). Pour into a bowl and add the creme fraiche, torn basil leaves and black pepper.
3. Eat and feel smug about getting three of your five-a-day.
4. Try to forget about the creme fraiche.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Liquorice twist

Liquorice shrug

I'm nearly done with chart 1 on the second half of the Liquorice shrug. I'm absolutely racing along, largely I suspect due to a slight misunderstanding re the pattern which means that I'm knitting it mainly in garter rather than stocking stitch. In fact I'm knitting almost the complete reverse of what Megan intended. Still it looks great, especially in the miracle yarn that is Jaeger Matchmaker 4 ply. The difference in texture between the second half on the needles and the first half which I blocked last night is amazing. The first is so stiff that a spoon would stand up in it, the second just flows.

Liquorice shrug

Given how much shrug I'm getting for my yardage this might be the perfect project for the leftover Helen's Lace from my POTW and Peacock shawl. I mighr even try to knit it the right way round this time!

Season of mists and tiny little hats

Now that climate change has put the kibosh on the many of the traditional signs of autumn it's fortunate that there are some non-natural markers to let us know that it's time to break out the chunky yarn like the appearance of Fall Knitty, the return of Strictly Come Dancing and Innocent's Big Knit 2008. Between the credit crunch and rising fuel prices there's never been a better time to support Age Concern's Fight the Freeze campaign. Plus knitting tiny hats is super fun and helps me combat my knitting related ADD. Seriously they take half an hour each - gratification doesn't come much more instant than that

Innocent hats 2008


I'm up to 21 so far and would like to beat my previous best total of 78 but me being me I've got other fish to knit.


Obviously a shot (taken with flash) of blue knitting blocking on a blue towel was never going come out well so you'll just have to take my word for it that this is the test knit of Megan's Liquorice shrug coming along just beautifully. The yarn is Jaeger Matchmaker Merino 4 ply (my last two balls) in a gorgeous shade of teal. I think this is going to look great with all my brown and blue stuff. If only it were shrug weather!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Just need closure

Or rather just needs closures. I started off on this little dress for Laurie yesterday evening and got so enthused that I couldn't wait to obtain a zip before finishing off the inside edges of the back bodice. Of course if I'd thought it through I would have added an extra half-inch to the inside edge of each back piece for buttons and button-holes. As it is I think that maybe hooks and eyes or those little bobbly buttons with button loops would do the trick.

Baby dress

Pattern: Based on
this pattern with a few modifications.
Size: 12-18 months (I hope)
Fabric: Needlecord from John Lewis
Lining: Amy Butler cotton

Baby dress

I'm very pleased with the lined bodice and the waistband which encloses the top of the gathered skirt. The one thing that I'm not so happy with is that in all the excitement of the Federer/Murray final I hemmed the wrong end of the skirt (which is just a cylinder of fabric gathered at one end) so that the nap of the fabric goes the wrong way. Still I don't suppose she'll notice it. Fingers crossed that big sister likes it too as it's a v. easy pattern and such fun to make up.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Moving swiftly on*

iKnit day 060908

Here are just some of the sights from the iKnit day on Saturday. I didn't quite make it into the monster queue to meet the Harlot in person (she'll come back again, right? she seemed to quite like London after all) but I so enjoyed her talk. The audience were in stitches (argh) throughout.

Ellen and I knit two stitches apiece (all we could manage before exhaustion set in) on the world's biggest piece of knitting, we met lots of nice people and did a little celeb spotting and bought pretty things and I had tea and cake (which is usually enough to make my day on its own) and squeed at the world's fluffiest bunnee (we wants it).

I always come back from these days with a huge creative urge which usually translates into a bad case of startitis. Imagine my surprise therefore when I got home, dragged my POTW out of the ziplock where it's been mouldering (thankfully not literally) for the past year and set about finishing it. I hadn't knit a stitch on it since last September when I made it about 50 rows (out of 1000) into the border and hit the knitting wall. I still couldn't face that border but I've learnt a few tricks since then including this handy crochet chain bind-off for lace projects. Just crochet three edging stitches together then chain about 8 and repeat until all stitches are bound off.

I'd run out of the super strength cotton I usually use for blocking lace but discovered that bamboo skewers make pretty good blocking wires at a pinch.

POTW - redux

Actually this may be the world's biggest piece of knitting - it's as tall as I am.

POTW - redux

And of course it's not really the weather for lightweight merino silk stoles, still at least I've reclaimed my Lantern Moon needles which have been unavailable for 18 months.


Pattern: Print o' the Wave by Eunny Jang
Needles: 3.75mm circulars
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace (I still have loads left)

* my attempts at a more descriptive post were all just unutterably wordy so if you actually want to hear me go on and on about the day I'll be happy to oblige on Wednesday in the pub.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I knit with the Yarn Harlot

and I have the button badge to prove it!

Yeah I did!

I'll blog all about this tomorrow - I'm too busy sending positive thoughts to Flushing Meadow right now.

Magic Hour at the Oxford Botanical Gardens

On Thursday I headed along to The Magic Hour, OCM's event at the Oxford Botanical Gardens.

Before making my tour of the exhibits which were dotted about the gardens I checked in with Felix in her feedback shed.

Felix outside shed

I was really glad that she was warm and dry inside a greenhouse given how lousy the weather had been.

Labels board

It's almost a shame that her map was completely obscured by visitors' comments labels by the end of the evening.

After seeing Felix I met up with Katie, W and their friend Pat and we went off to look round the exhibits.

Pollen hankies

Magdalen tower

Quite apart from the installations it was great just wandering round the beautiful gardens in the gathering dusk.

Black Walnut

This black walnet might have walked straight out of one of the nastier dells in the Old Forest.

Spooky lanterns

Tealights round pond

Looking down my photos from the evening it's really interesting to see how the colour has faded out of the photos as the evening went on until the ones just above are nearly black and white.

FO - "Anyone for tennis?" handspun

Handspun from the curly fleece of the Slazenger, a shy creature that can be found lurking in the leafy suburbs of SW1.

"Anyone for tennis? "handspun

This was plied, whacked and dried by Wednesday morning but only given to Felix (as a rather belated birthday pressie) on Thursday evening. I've got to say that the presentation (in a recycled cardboard takeaway carton) was Aliki's genius idea.

The fibre is wool hand-dyed by Mobair (aka Victoria Smedley). I saw it at the Festival of Quilts and immediately thought of Felix. Happy Birthday (three months ago).

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

And sew on and sew forth

On Tuesday last week I made the trip to Reading to visit Felix's knitting group at the Global Cafe - such a nice venue, even if there wasn't knitting going on I'd make the trip just for the chocolate cake. Anyway, due to the excellent train service between Oxford and Reading I got there rather on the early side and thought I'd just pop into John Lewis. Quarter of an hour later I popped out again having bought 2 metres of wine coloured needlecord, matching thread and a zip.

As I was away at the weekend I didn't actually make a start on the skirt until Monday evening when I came home from work armed with a strong sense of purpose and two and a half hours of the BBC adaptation of Gaudy Night starring Harriet Walter on DVD. I cut out the skirt during the first episode of that and did most of the sewing up during one of our favourite episodes of Morse. It's all about the Oxford based murder mysteries round here.

Barcelona A-line skirt

I think this gives the best impression of the colour.

Barcelona A-line skirt

I'm rather proud of the zip too.

Pattern: Barcelona skirts by Amy Butler (A-line skirt)
Fabric: Needle cord from John Lewis £8/metre (2 metres though I needed much less)
Size: medium 10-12 (adjusted to be smaller by 1/2")
Notions: matching thread and 7" zip

I didn't think that the cord really needed a lining so I just used the skirt pattern as a template to cut strips of fabric 3" deep to line the waistband on the inside.

It's really comfortable and a great fit. I'm very tempted to make a detour via John Lewis in London on Saturday to see if they have any of the same fabric in the rusty orange that I saw in Reading. In the meantime there might just be enough of the red left for a pinafore for Laurie.

Talking of outfits for my niece I've nearly finished a tank top for her in Baby cashmerino although it's going to be a very close squeak yardage wise.

Debbie Bliss cable tank

I've finished the main body and just need to do the ribbing round the armholes but there's very little yarn remaining.

What with this and the 4 balls of Rowan All Seasons cotton I inherited at tonight's Bluestockings meeting there's a bit of a pink-for-girls thing developing - although I really have been trying to avoid this. However, they're both very nice pinks and I've found a perfect pattern to knit with the cotton. I've always wanted to try a proper aran style cardi.

Rowan All Seasons Cotton