Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Two Weekend FOs

I never got round to posting last weekend's FO because we didn't taker any good pictures until this week, so I have a couple of things to share this week.

Pattern: Pinwheel Cape by Teva Durham, from Vogue Knitting Winter 2007/8
Yarn: The Precious: Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb in Georgetown; a bit over 2 skeins
Needle: 5.5mm bamboo DPNs
Mods: I didn't like the layout of the cape, so I knitted 10 pinwheels instead of the suggested seven and stitched them into a more traditional shawl shape - a big V.

It's so lovely, I can't stop looking at it. And until I put this dress on for the pictures I was planning to knit a little red cardigan to wear with said dress for friend's wedding in 3 weeks - but now I think I might just wear this shawl instead. The additional bonus to this is that I'd have to purchase a new pair of shoes. And maybe even a bag.

This shawl reinforced the magic of blocking to me. The pinwheels were curled up and looked very unpromising to begin with, so I pinned them out and lightly steamed them with an iron before sewing them together - semi-magic - and then pinned the whole shawl out and steam blocked it toroughly using my favourite wet towel/iron method. Et voila - one very flat shawl. Amazing. Every time I do it, I think it won't work, and every time, it does.

And now for something completely different....

Pattern: Baby Ugg Boots by Candi Jensen
Yarn: Berocco Suede and Sirdar Snowflake DK
Needle: 3.5mm and 3.75mm
Mods: None really, except I held the Snowflake tripled over when I stitched it over the instep and down the sides.

I knitted the bigger size to start with and it came out gigantic and deformed, so I knitted the next one with the smaller suggested needles, and switched back down to 3.5mm when I got past the decreases, and came out with something approxiamtely baby-foot-sized. They were superquick an hour for each one, plus extra time for the stitching of the "seams".

Here is Benny trying to get in on the action. They totally don't fit him.

Annoying thing about this yarn is, I haven't found anywhere in the UK that sells it, or an equivalent. The shipping from WEBS was around $9 which is reasonable for transtalntic airmail, but when it hadn't arrived in 2 weeks I guessed why not - and sure enough, it got held by customs. £4ish in VAT. £8 for the privilege of the PO telling me there was tax to pay. I really, really resent having to pay the latter.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

An ode

I have fallen hard for some yarn and a project.

I have been "visiting" the Lion and Lamb in the Georgetown colourway for at least a year now. Every visit to Get Knitted brings me over there, and I pick it up, ponder what I might make with it, marvel at how attractive I find the pastels when I'm not a pastel person, lament the high cost, put it back, and then repeat each time I go in.

Two Knatterers' meetings ago, I cracked and bought a skein. It was a particularly nice dyelot with quite a lot of lilac in it. I checked all the other skeins - same dyelot. How much of it can they realistically sell? I reasoned. I'll buy one skein per visit and make a clapotis, I decided.

This Saturday - disaster! I went to visit. Three skeins in my favoured dyelot. More skeins in an alien dyelot, sadly lacking in the lilac hues which had drawn me in. I couldn't chance it. The other knatterers suggested putting some by for next time, not realising that I wouldn't have been paid again by next time.

I think you know how that part of the story ends.

Then, to find the perfect pattern. I decided I had better knit something out of one of those magazines I have been stockpiling, instead of a clapotis (it's nice, but a bit meh, and I already have one). I settled on the pinwheel capelet from the winter 2007/8 edition of Vogue Knitting, not really expecting it to be anything more than average - after all, the beautiful yarn was the focus of the project. So I thought.

Now, I know to you it might look just average. But this is truly the most wondrous thing I have made in some time. I absolutely love it. It's my favourite yarn - so so soft, and with a lovely sheen, and a comforting smell that reminds me of knitting the clapotis and wearing the clapotis on our trip to Blackpool last year and being warm and happy. It's a colourway I can't stop staring at. AND THE PATTERN HAS A STAR ON IT.

And better than that, it's constructed of seven (though I will probably make nine and change the construction a bit) of these delightful hexagons, each of which takes under two hours to knit. This is knitting at its best. Apart from the tedious seaming, it's perfect, because I get the satisfaction of finishing something quickly, even when it's only a piece of the project.

The bind off is proving to be a little problematic, true. First, I bound off using the k2togtbl decrease method - but much too tightly. So, I unpicked, and bound off using the k2, pass 1st st over method, loosely, which was better (that's the one pictured). Then I knitted hexagon two and bound off using the k2togtbl decrease method very loosely, and this is the winner. I don't know yet whether I'll unpick hex#1 because if I only join it on one side I might get away with it...we'll see.

A lot of people report a problem with tight bind off, but it's only to be expected, since the bind off row is basically the longest row in the pattern, and has to contain all the other knitting and stretch to allow the lace to be properly displayed. That's a lot to ask of a bind off row. In fact, the pattern could be slightly better if it was knitted from the outside in instead - but that would undoubtedly affect the look of the lacework.

So much for my knitting in May plans. I was going to start a complicated lace shawl from Victorian Lace Today. I was going to knit a summer top out of bamboo. I was going to have a go at knitting the design I've got in my head. Instead, I am obsessed with something pastel. It's funny how things go.

It's been a good bank holiday weekend, incidentally - Ben and Kirsty came to visit and we had a barbecue and played all sorts of games on the Wii, but mostly MarioKart. We very successfully barbecued a huge piece of pork and ended up with crackling and everything. And today I finally managed to finish marking the business studies coursework. Woo hoo!