Sunday, September 24, 2006

Converted to crochet?

I've always struggled with crochet. I tried to teach myself from a book, but kept having to fight to get the loops off the hook, and get the stitches to look remotely even. However, I think I've finally seen the light. This is all thanks to Caterina, who took me in hand and taught me how to hold the hook, manage the tension and keep the loops nice and loose. Our SnB group met in a local cafe to teach new knitters, however, we outnumbered the new knitters, so there was time for teaching each other. I came home so fired up with the crochet that I've made lots of little stitch samples and have been glued to the Happy Hooker book.

I also picked up a tip for keeping the dreaded dpns under control, which has helped me to progress on the sock without continually stabbing myself.

Our afternoon was finished off in style with wine and delicious home made cake from Helena.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Summer knitting status

As September dawns, and the weather is grey and wet, it feels like time to wrap up the summer projects, and start to think about big, woolly projects for the winter.
[Edit - it's got sunny again - hurrah!]

Summer projects still on the needles are:

  • Amazing lace shawl
    I took this on holiday, but didn't feel like working on it, so it has returned without a single stitch added. I'm going to put this one aside and perhaps pull it out again in a couple of months. I'll be satisfied if I finish it before next summer.

  • Tempting 2
    Nearly finished, just the neckband to go, although reading the KAL comments, it is likely to need re-knitting a couple of times to get the fit right.

  • Vogue silk aran vest
    This is a pattern from this summer's Vogue, which I adapted to use aran yarn. I'm finding it quite difficult to knit with the silk, as it has so little elasticity, and my gauge in the garment is different from my swatch. I've also frogged and re-knit part of the body twice, and I find the silk tends to wear and shed fibres when I do this. I like the colour of the yarn and the subtle variation.
    This is my active project and I'm going to reach the tricky neckline with crossover straps soon. Some thought needed on how to alter for the gauge I have.

  • Vogue multidirectional wrap
    Started in a fit of enthusiasm in Norfolk, and neglected ever since! I find the cotton boucle hard to knit, so have left this to one side.

  • Koigu chevron scarf
    Again, on hold, although I really like this one, so will hopefully get back to it soon.

And dipping a toe (literally) into autumn, I've started my first pair of socks. I'm knitting on 2.25mm needles, which is much smaller than I normally use, so I think this pair is going to feature as a work in progress on the blog for a long time.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Scandinavian stash

Just back from a lovely tour of the Nordic countries. My DH demonstrated a hitherto undiscovered talent for finding wool shops (inadvertently), which added to the pleasure of the trip. I wanted to buy locally produced wool in each place, and did pretty well.

In Denmark, I bought local boucle and plain mohair, and managed to complete a shawl while still on holiday.

In Sweden, there was a downpour while we were in the wool shop, which meant that I stayed longer and bought more than I should. Hand dyed purple Swedish wool, then some branded mohair and novelty yarns - not strictly necessary, but brands that are not seen much in the UK.

In Finland, we found a wonderful stall selling wool, mittens, hats, scarves etc. They even had kits for knitting your own traditional mittens. I bought enough local wool for 2 jumpers, a scarf and a pair of socks, all in natural shades of beige and grey.

In Estonia, some red wool for a jumper, and some multicoloured roving for a felted bag.

As you might imagine, it was very difficult to close the suitcases on the way back! DH was kept sweet only by the promise of a jumper from the Finnish wool.

I really, really don't need to buy any more wool now. Must resist and get on with using some of the stash.