Thursday, 28 February 2008

Knitting too many things at the same time

Having looked through Vivian Hoxbro's book on Shadow Knitting, I just had to try it. I'd bought some double knitting weight cotton in contrasting colours to try out a swatch to master the technique. A big swatch can be a pan holder, so I started on the POT HOLDER in the book, and by the 6th row I was bored. To add interest I decided to put in a chequer board pattern rather than the four stripes. Having finished the first, using the kitchen scales, there is sufficient yarn to knit a second. No knitting is wasted though and the techniques both for the two tone effects and the very neat edge stitches will no doubt be useful in the future. In addition I shall have two new pot holders. On balance lace knitting wins over shadow knitting especially as today "Knitting Lace Triangles" by Evelyn Clark arrived today from Get Knitted. I'm already thinking of the design for my holiday tucker in Hemp for Morocco.

With the Swallow Tail tucker still on the needles I had to buy more 3.5mm needles for the Shadow Knitting at knitting club on Tuesday at Web of Wool. This gave me the chance to try out Schoeller & Stahl Circular Needles. How they glide. They will be perfect for knitting up the yarns which don't quite like the equally lovely Brittany pins.

Before leaving on Tuesday I realised that I also would like some reddish socks and settled on a lovely Regia yarn by Kaffe Fassett Shade 4258. I've persuaded myself that it always useful to have some socks on the go, for when lace knitting is a little too taxing, and pot holders too boring!

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Yes I did feel the quake early Wednesday morning and it woke me up! The bed moved, or gigged/shook for a few seconds, the wardrobe creaked/rattled and the door swung open! At first I thought David had just come upstairs and had flopped onto the bed, which by the way he never does, but all was dark, and he was asleep like an angel. I just rolled over and went back to sleep. When we woke up I asked David if he had felt anything, and he said he did but it got mixed up with his dreams and he thought there were spirits in the bedroom, not surprising as he had been watching 'Most Haunted' the night before.

All this reminded me of the last earthquake back in 1984. It was during the day that time and I was at Raychem helping design a database to take the wiring of a North Sea Oil rig or was it the graph for the price of copper. I was sat at my PC and suddenly felt the earth move. Some buildings in the centre of Swindon had lost some sheet glass I remember. Later when I got home I asked Mum who was staying with me in Swindon if she had felt anything. She confessed that at the time she was having a snooze, but had thought that our dog smudge had tried to have a drink from her cup, as she found it had toppled and some tea spilt. I heard her later apologise to Smudge for doubting him.
Thank goodness there was no damage, to think that in some parts of the world people are used to these and know to run out of their homes.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

What will my next New Knitting Project be?

Whilst resting from knitting my third Swallow Tail Shawl, I'm winding up the skein of Hemp in Lace Weight. Having felt the way the yarn lies I can tell that there is a right direction for knitting this up. I want the fibres to be lying with the stitch rather than backwards, giving a smooth feel as one draws the fingers down the yarn away from the piece of work. At the very least this will be more comfortable of the hands whilst knitting up the garment.

The lastest Interweave Knits Magazine has a some tangy lace shawls and I am tempted to knit up some swatches in the hemp yarn, to see how it comes out. What I am really waiting for is my copy of Knitting Lace Triangles by Evelyn Clark, who by the way is the designer of the Swallow Tail Shawl. I couldn't find any in the Country and have ordered one wanting to be sure that I get one before they are all sold out again.

Cold Weather, warm toes

One day I was walking to Ashow with Penny, wishing I had left my coat behind, and then the next its was so cold, my eyes smarted as I cycled to town.

I have finished my pair of wool and silk socks. Here they are next to my slippers which came all the way from New Zealand. This last warm day was last week, and since then we have been in the grip of frost and ice, but the sun has warmed up the conservatory and it has been lovely sitting out there having lunch etc.

To help the birds, I have been topping up the bird trays with hot water several times during the day, each time they have frozen over, and putting all sorts of treats out. We have about six black birds all vying for prime position. Other birds visiting have been dunnocks, sparrow, great tits, blue tits, coal and long tailed tits, robins, wagtails, wood pigeons, magpies, gold finches, redwings, and greenfinches

Valentine Day

David's Birthday and Valentine Day all in one!
Another wonderful thing is that this is the day I was reunited with my shawl. What a wonderful feeling, I was just so happy. Here is the picture to prove it, with some goodies which I made up for myself from Jane Sen's More Healing Foods. Well its no chocolates for me, so these little morsels, made up with minced dried fruits and seeds and nuts, are just the ticket. Wonder whether the knitting group would like them, they could pretend they are having their daily5 fruit and veg! The name is Do-it-yourself Vitamin and Mineral Supplements, so I gather they would not be far off the mark. On the other hand they would prefer something more chocolately.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Lace and Bread

Last year I met two fellow knitters at a day course held in Leamington by Web of Wool, and since then we have emailed and chatted and its just one week since Jane and Lynda arrived for their afternoon of knitting and chatting. I had knitted up the Swallowtail scarf in laceweight cashmere and silk in the colour Robin for Jane, and Lynda wanted to start one.

The pattern is in Interweave Magazine Fall 2006. Lynda has been following the daily newletters from Interweave and now I read that Swallowtail came out favourite in a poll of subscribers.

It was a privilege to pass on the skills and tips for lace-knitting. To think it is not two years since my friend Judith launched me on the way of lace knitting with the loan of books and a gift of very fine white wool from the Shetlands.

Jane and Lynda arrived bearing gifts: a lovely basket of growing spring bulbs, and a bag of excellent flour. Last Friday I set about baking using all 1.5Kg to make up four loaves. The rise, texture and flavour are all excellent. The grains are well balanced with as many poppy seeds as I would put in myself.