Saturday, February 24, 2007

Some piccies and another FO

Well I couldn't do pictures earlier in week but now I can - ta da!

First up we have the blue Refined Raglan from Winter 2006 IK - exciting viewing isn't it!
I'm adding rather a lot to it in length and I suspect I will run out of yarn and have to try to acquire some more but I would rather do that than have a jumper that is too short and just irritates me. It always suprises me how much I have to add to patterns in length because although I am very tall (I'm 6'0") my height is in my legs rather than my back. On the plus side no-one has yet suggested thigh length socks!
Enough of that - I tried to get a picture to show the true colour of the yarn as this is as close as I got:But a bit less electric!
Now then, those mittens. I was going to take a picture of my first finished mitted on Thursday night but the light wasn't very good so I thought I would wait until Friday afternoon for a daylight shot.
I worked from home yesterday afternoon as I was in court in the morning. By the time of taking the photos I had this to show you:

And now I have this:

The pattern is Knitty's Corazon mittens which are a great pattern, really easy to follow and a great quick knit (as you see given I finished the second mitten in a day!) I was very proud of myself for doing two handed colour stranding throughout and I have definitely become more proficient - roll on more fairisle!

The only alteration I made to the original pattern was to decrease on every round in the tip rather than every other round as the pattern calls for as I needed slightly shorter mittens - mmm Alpaca mittens are seriously snuggly!

I've been running again today so as Ihave been virtuous I should get to snuggly up in a duvet and watch telly but sadly I have to do some work - maybe later.

Have a good weekend one and all!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Back on the wagon

Or perhaps it should be off the wagon and onto the road - yes the running has restarted after a period of snow ice and general lazyness.

However, not all of that time has been entirely unproductive - I have started two new blue projects - sadly no pictures because I am again blogging in my lunch break.

The first is the Refined Raglan from IK Winter 2006 in a purply-blue alpaca. It is very snuggly and I am really enjoying the quick repetition of the stocking stitch in contrast to the challenges of the lace scarf. I have done about 8 or 9 inches of the body already (it's knit in the round) thanks to a trip to Derby on Sunday to see some lovely friends who also knit and chat.

It has a turned hem which is currently flipping the wrong way despite all efforts to make it stay straight - if it doesn't fix with blocking I will have to do something clever with some sewing cotton but if anyone has any bright ideas please let me know.

The other is Knitty's Corazon mittens - I was given a scarf kit for Christmas in blue, pale blue and cream alpaca (100g of each) and whilst the scarf didn't really grab me (lots of long strips with tails on) I love the colours and the feel of the Alpaca and I would really love a matching hat and mitten set.

My KMKS kit has not yet arrived so I thought I would tempt fate by casting on for my own mittens [NB fate was tempted to send me the new IK but not the mitten kit!]. I am doing the Corazin mittens in the blue and cream (very Poole Pottery Cornishware colours) and then I will use all three colours for a variation on the fairisle hat in RYC Classic Alpaca. Meanwhile I am two handed colour stranding in the round on the train on the commute to work and getting some fairly odd looks doing it! On the plus side my two handed tension is improving - I think the off bits will even out with wear and/or washing so I'm not too bothered if some bits are looser than others.

David of the Sticks and String podcast mentioned doing colourwork in the round inside out so that your stitches are a little looser so I might have to give that a whirl some time.

In the meantime it's Shrove Tuesday and that means Pancakes (and possibly pictures!)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A thing of beauty

It's official - I am a convert to lace knitting - the scarf is beautiful. I have blocked things before and been pleased and slightly surprised when they stay the same shape when you take the pins out but this is staggering. It is light soft and fluffy and I may wear it forever - I'm wearing it right now and I suspect my drizzle scarf has serious competition!
The pattern is Evelyn Clark's Trellis Scarf from Spring 2006 Interweave Knits and I used probably two ish balls of Rowan Kid Silk Haze in Heavenly (the yarn is a guesstimate as I have a few part used balls left over from other projects and I used two of those and a chunk of a new ball)

Look - see how pretty the trellis looks when you get up close - seriously photos can't do justice you'll just have to come to see it in person!

I also have a finished pair of socks, the Secret Water socks:

They are a pattern of my own design - a standard sock pattern with a two by two rib at the top, a Balabriggan Heel And a star toe
Both the heel and the toe come from Nancy Bush's Folk Socks book.
And why are they Secret Water socks? well I can't get this to shop up well enough on a picture on my own but on the leg of the sock I have a texture motif of dolphins - two swimming round one way and two underneath going the other way - too secret even to be seen - that's very secret!
So now I have no socks on the needles and no main project (given Aimee's sabbatical) - what shall I do next?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

And another first

This time first lace. I present to you the journey of lace:

Stage one - the knitting completed and waiting for a miracleStage two - having a little soak! I promise you that despite the colour differences it really is the same scarf. The scarf is heavenly pale blue KSH, the carpet is cornflower blue and the basin is avacado green!The blocking process complete - who needs a blocking board when you have stripy towels!

And just look at it - squeee

A first time

Happy Valentine's day And a little quote - the difference between eros and agape (the latter being what really matters!)

"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."

Captain Corelli's Mandolin

It is finished

It is gorgeous - blocking and pictures tomorrow.

I've just spent the last hour re-writing the BILs CV so I must go to bed before I start critiquing my own blog posts!

See you tomorrow - or possibly later today!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sneaky little exta

I'm posting from work - shhh!

When I last posted (Saturday lunchtime) I had done 11 repeats of 23 needed for the Trellis scarf. As of last night I have done 19 (and just started the 20th) - hee hee - nearly there, nearly there. I am so excited (as you can probably tell) because now I only have 4 repeats to go and a lace border - at least it's 4 repeats, the first 8 rows of the repeat and the lace border and I really can finish that this week - squeee!

Given that I picked this up again at the beginning of Feb and it's only the 12th now it makes me wonder quite why I put it down in the first place - I suspect the lure of other more exciting projects. I started it last May after we got back from our honeymoon as part of last year's Porject Spectrum and it took me ages and a lot of frogging to get the hand of the border let alone the pattern. It then got put aside as just the border and the first repeat (having discovered that k7 into 5 is hard) when the yarn arrived for Smoulder and I needed to finish a baby jacket for my cousin. I added another 3 repeats in September when I was (again) waiting for yarn for Smoulder and then it got put aside. It is soft and floaty and I love it already and I can't wait to see it blocked.

My original plan for Feb was to try to complete one repeat per day which would produce a finished scarf by the end of the month but I appear to be over achieving - if only all over achievement was as easy as it is with knitting targets!

When I finish it I have a whole host of potential blue/white/grey project to choose from: my Secret Water socks are on the needles (currently on the second sock), I have some petrel blue alpaca to make a sweater from which will probably be the next big project and some more blue and cream alpaca which was a scarf kit that I was given for Christmas but which I would really like to use to make a mitten and hat set and all sort of other non-knitting craft projects.

The sharp-eyed among you may have noticed that references to Aimee have dropped recently. She is still in progress and I have nearly finished the back but as her colour suits the next set of Project Spectrum so well and she is a summer sweater rather than the more winterly Alpaca Raglan so I have no qualms in leaving Aimee for April!

Meanwhile ....
4 repeats
half a repeat

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hello all

I can't believe it's been another week - I keep meaning to post mid-week but somehow I never get the time - note to self: must make more effort!

Right...... backtracking a little bit, this is my picture from last Sunday - it was sunny so we went on an expetition - "to where?" I hear you ask. Bidford upon Avon:

"Why did you go there?" - weeeeeeeeeell.... Top Gear's latest 'good idea' was to see whether it was possible to resurface a road in 24 hrs and the road they chose is in Bidford. It isn't actually a very pretty road so we didn't take any pictures of the road but compensated by taking pictures of the very pretty town/village comme ca:
"Did you do anything exciting while you were there?"

Yes; we woke up a duck which was hiding under a fishing platform

Monday I was continuing the blue theme for Project Spectrum

H bought me these little fellas a while back and they happily skip around on my trellis scarf marking the pattern repeats.
On Tuesday more Project Spectrum, this time white:

Venison and Plum Sausage Sandwich - yum!
And then it got very cold and rather frosty...

Wednesday I was working from home so that I could go to the dentist in the afternoon and this is what the world looked like in the morning:

Very winter wonderland!

I also received my second valentine ATC, this time from Raesha, and it is so very pretty - thank you Raesha

And check out the stamps! I love the Hershey's Kiss stamp and the butterfly I can see making an appearance in a used stamp ATC in the near future!

And then on Thursday and Friday:

IT SNOWED!!!!! - this is the view from my office window

In knitting news I am being true to both Project Spectrum and my UFO Bust Stashalong, I have the second Secret Water sock on the needles (along with some test knitting in pale blue) and I've done 11 repeats now on the trellis scarf - this piccy shows the scarf at 9 repeats with a needle marking the point at which I picked it up again - 23 needed in total before the end border. It is very pretty and I have yet to experience the miracle of lace that will make what currently looks like a very pretty scarf into something rather special.

The pattern is too complicated for me to remember completely but I am getting familiar with the repeats within each row and a bit better at the knit 7 together into 5 direction which is helping things along. It still takes me about 1.5 hours to do one pattern repeat which seems a huge time for 16 rows compared to the equivalent time in stst but that's lace for you.

Sadly all the snow and ice means that Achilles has stuck rather tortoisely (is that a word) on his tracker bar but the snow is melting today and hopefully I will get a chance to run tomorrow

In the meantime I think a good film and knitting is in order!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Project Spectrum Commences

Well it is as you know Saturday and my traditional day for updating you on photos from the week.

I have a confession to make... photos from the beginning of the week - just too much work going on to make anything other than eating and sleeping a viable option.

So jumping straight to Thursday and the start of Project Spectrum we have the start of a sock. I'm stashbusting as well as this yarn was a Christmas present from H in beautiful blues and white.
Progress has now continued on the sock - I'm actually now even further along than in these picutres but there are two very special things about this sock. One is that it is called a Secret Water sock - if you look very carefully you might be able to see why - drop me a comment if you think you've sussed it out and I will reveal all when the socks are finished, and the second is that I have been using Nancy Bush's Folk Socks (which H also gave me for Christmas) to try out the Balbriggan heel as a new twist on an old favourite. I will report on comfort and fit in due course!
I was also lucky enough to receive my third Water ATC in the post on Friday - obviously a lady after my own heart if water automatically means sea!

This morning I received an ATC in the Valentine swap which is just beautiful (and came with such a sweet sachet of strawberry tea which made the envelope and the ATC smell wonderful!) - hey maybe we should have a Project Spectrum ATC swap - anyone up for it?
To make up for the lack of photos earlier in the week I went out this morning while it was still really frosty to play with the camera and the garden - trying to find things to fit with a blue/white/grey theme

Frost crystals

Morning sun through the trees
Frost just starting to drip off the grass as the garden warms up. Now all I need to do is warp the space time continuum so that I can get all of my chores done in 30 seconds flat and I can settle down to a nice afternoon knitting!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Poetry Day (and Project Spectrum)

Hurray Project Spectrum has started and I have a few blue/white/ grey related projects to share when I upload the photos (perhaps tomorrow).

In the meantime it is poetry day in the blogosphere and I have tried to choose a poem to fit with that colour theme - this is an old favourite by Robert Louis Stevenson

Christmas at Sea

The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the naked hand;
The decks were like a slide, where a seaman scarce could stand;
The wind was a nor'wester, blowing squally off the sea;
And cliffs and spouting breakers were the only things a-lee.

They heard the surf a-roaring before the break of day;
But 'twas only with the peep of light we saw how ill we lay.
We tumbled every hand on deck instanter, with a shout,
And we gave her the maintops'l, and stood by to go about.

All day we tacked and tacked between the South Head and the North;
All day we hauled the frozen sheets, and got no further forth;
All day as cold as charity, in bitter pain and dread,
For very life and nature we tacked from head to head.

We gave the South a wider berth, for there the tide-race roared;
But every tack we made we brought the North Head close aboard:
So's we saw the cliffs and houses, and the breakers running high,
And the coastguard in his garden, with his glass against his eye.

The frost was on the village roofs as white as ocean foam;
The good red fires were burning bright in every 'longshore home;
The windows sparkled clear, and the chimneys volleyed out;
And I vow we sniffed the victuals as the vessel went about.

The bells upon the church were rung with a mighty jovial cheer;
For it's just that I should tell you how (of all days in the year)
This day of our adversity was blessed Christmas morn,
And the house above the coastguard's was the house where I was born.

O well I saw the pleasant room, the pleasant faces there,
My mother's silver spectacles, my father's silver hair;
And well I saw the firelight, like a flight of homely elves,
Go dancing round the china-plates that stand upon the shelves.

And well I knew the talk they had, the talk that was of me,
Of the shadow on the household and the son that went to sea;
And O the wicked fool I seemed, in every kind of way,
To be here and hauling frozen ropes on blessed Christmas Day.

They lit the high sea-light, and the dark began to fall.
"All hands to loose topgallant sails," I heard the captain call.
"By the Lord, she'll never stand it," our first mate, Jackson, cried.. . .
"It's the one way or the other, Mr. Jackson," he replied.

She staggered to her bearings, but the sails were new and good,
And the ship smelt up to windward just as though she understood.
As the winter's day was ending, in the entry of the night,
We cleared the weary headland, and passed below the light.

And they heaved a mighty breath, every soul on board but me,
As they saw her nose again pointing handsome out to sea;
But all that I could think of, in the darkness and the cold,
Was just that I was leaving home and my folks were growing old.

Apart from being a wonderful story poem I love the imagery and the way it brings to mind a blue-grey squally day just like the winter storms in the westcountry where the sea is a slaty blue with white frothy tops, the sky is a blanket of grey and there's a tiny shimmering of frost on the greenery in the garden - doesn't it just make you want to cuddle down under a blanket and knit something warm!