Sunday, July 23, 2006


Picovoli is finally finished! It seemed to take forever, because it was the first time I'd knitted a garment with DK yarn. I'm very pleased with the neat fit due to the waist shaping. The picot edging is cute too.

I've also started Tempting 2, which I hope is going to be a quick knit. I used the tubular cast on, which gives a very neat edge. I am using the Calmer specified in the pattern. It's the first time I've used it, and knits up much more nicely than its appearance in the ball suggests. It's also very silky to the touch and a pleasure to handle. Worth the money!

I tried using different sized needles to get some waist shaping, but to be honest, the tension seems to come out the same regardless of the needle size. I think the elasticity in the yarn makes it somehow spring back to a certain size, no matter what the knitter does!

The main ribbing is going quite quickly, but I'm having trouble mastering the dpns for the sleeves. I started off using long bamboo needles and got very obvious ladders. I've now bought some shorter metal needles, and they seem to work better.

I've also taken Thea's good advice about the lace project, and have stopped trying to fight with it to complete my 'stitches per day' goal. I'm now just knitting it when I feel like it, which is mostly at the weekend, when I have more time and my brain is less frazzled. Although progress is slower, I'm enjoying it more and seem to get more of a rhythm.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Stitches per day

After the dash to the finish line on my tote, I have returned to my neglected lace shawl. I was rather afraid of the double decreases, but armed with clear instructions from the Interweave website, I found it was quite simple after all.
I'm not too happy with the tension; there isn't a very clear distinction between the background and the holes. Is this normal? Does it improve on blocking?
I think I may go down a needle size, even though I'm part way through the project.

I have done a couple of alarming calculations about how much I will have to knit to complete this by Labour Day. I'd actually prefer to complete it within a month, which means I would have to knit about 4 rows a day. Ok that's not too bad...except that the rows get longer, which means each day there is more work. To make it more even, I figure I have to knit 1073 stitches per day!

I've also learned why you have to add lifelines for lace knitting. I tried unknitting when I found an error, but it was just too difficult. I put my faith in the lifeline, closed my eyes, and ripped back. It worked, but I'm too depressed at having to knit back the 6 rows I just ripped.

Amazing Lace Challenge #4- The early bind off

If I bound off the lace shawl right now, it could - if you were brazen enough, and didn't mind the exposure from the lacy holes- function as a skimpy bikini bottom. And no, I'm not going to model it!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Tote exchange bag finished!

Well, it was with great relief that I finally posted off my tote exchange bag today. I enjoyed knitting it, but found it stressful as the deadline approached. I think all would have been well if my first attempt had worked, but starting again halfway through the knitting period threw my timetable out. The picture above shows the bag fully loaded and ready for action, with a magazine and knitting project inside.

And the detail below:

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The power of Koigu

I was keen to try the two skeins of Koigu I bought at Stash recently, and fortunately had a great pattern for a chevron scarf designed for Koigu. The pattern calls for 4 skeins, but I figured I'd start with two and make a shorter version.

Initially, I didn't really understand why Koigu is so expensive. As the pattern started to develop, and the sheen and variation in colour came through in the knitted fabric, I began to see the light. I now love the stuff! It's still expensive though, so I think will be for accents only, and only when I'm feeling flush. A great treat, and one for the wish list!

Scarf a few days ago:

After an intensive weekend of knitting:

I think the two skeins are going to be enough for a short scarf.

And a close up of the stitch pattern:

Lovely stuff!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Stash yarns

A new yarn shop has opened in London, and after reading about it on several blogs, I had to see for myself! Stash stocks lots of US brands that are hard or impossible to find here, and this was the big attraction for me.

The shop is well laid out, and it's easy to reach and touch all the yarns. There are chairs for knitting, and even small sample balls to try swatching before you buy. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable and web literate. This is the first store I've been in where I can mention a popular Interknits, Vogue or popular web pattern, and they know exactly what I'm talking about.

So what tempted me?

The softest cotton I've ever felt from Blue Sky, to use in a project from One Skein.

Mission Falls cotton, which has a great nubbly texture. I think this would make a great stripy summer tank.

My first skeins of Koigu. I had to see what all the fuss was about.

Fiber Trends patterns for a sheep tote and for felted clogs

All in all, a very tempting selection, and I'm sure this is a store to which I'll return. I'm already compiling a mental wish list. The store's blog says they are going to have a wish list for customers, which sounds great.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Famous five go knitting

My faith in British holidays has been restored! After my disastrously wet and cold week in Norfolk, we picked the hottest weekend of the year for the SnB trip to the Isle of Wight! Now 30 degree celsius heat in non-air conditioned houses in the city is unbearable, but at the seaside with a cool breeze and hardly any people?... Bliss.

Five of us took a cottage belonging to a friend, and had a wonderful time. We ate, walked, ate, swam, ate, went to the pub, ate, sunbathed and ate. We're thinking of renaming the group the Stitch 'n' Scoff group (copyright Ellen). Throughout it all, we managed to knit and crochet (with the exception of while swimming - a little too much co-ordination required for that). One of the enduring images must be everyone lying back in their swimsuits in deckchairs, furiously knitting away! Who knows what onlookers thought; everyone was too polite to comment. It was great to be able to whip out the knitting at any time, and for no-one to think you were weird.

Only one finished object this weekend - Helena's sock:

But Ellen finished half her Vogue shell, and is modelling it here:

Caterina and Lucy were crocheting the same shawl pattern:

And I kept going with Picovoli, as well as casting on for a Koigu scarf:

A few fantastic scenery shots:

The food was just as appealing. Here's the fantastic locally caught crab: