Friday, 30 March 2007

Tweed and Impatience

Lorna, a friend from my local knitting group came over to visit on Wednesday. She's training to be a kilt-maker and happened to have bin-bags full of off-cuts of tartan and tweed in the back of her car which she very generously let me pick through. Now, in the past I've experimented, with greater and lesser sucess, at 'free-form patchwork' something I've never been taught (not even the regular sort) and have pretty much made up as I've gone along. I think I'll be using the bulk of the off cuts for something along these lines - I can picture a beautiful tweedy patchwork bedspread in my head (though I'm not so sure about the tartan)... In the meantime, I used some of the smaller off-cuts to assemble this:

I had something along the line of the Ness corsages in mind, though I'm thinking of finishing off with either a button in the middle, or some beads, or maybe both.

On the Klaralund front, I thought I'd finished the body last night and cast off the 180 stitches on my needle. Just goes to show the havoc impatience can wreck. I then tried it on, only to discover that it's two inches too short (I have pictures taken in the mirror but am too ashamed to post them as they show clearly what a mess my bedroom is in the background). I can't bear the thought of ripping back the cast-off edge and putting the stitches back on the needle as I'm using two strands of fiddly 4 ply held together, so I'm currently planning on picking up stitches from the cast-off edge and going from there. The reason I think that this will work is that I've thrown in the occasional garter ridge for interest and there is one just before the cast off which I think will hide the picked-up stitches. Nothing ventured, nothing gained...

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

No Broken Bones...

... and not even any stiff muscles or sore joints. The Resident Radiologist and I had a fantastic time in la Plagne, skied many tens of miles (some of them uphill which wasn't supposed to be part of the plan, but never mind) and improved our technique. The weather was OK - snowing most days so the light was a bit flat and the definition on the snow wasn't great, but the snow conditions were the best I've ever skied in.

Above are a couple of photos of the view from the balcony of our apartment and below is a photo of the most beautiful run through the woods - the aforementioned uphill skiing.

It was a bit too much for the Resident Radiologist at times!

On a knitting front, no progress has been made on anything except a few inches of stocking stitch on Klaralund since my last post. However, I have tracked down the last few balls of Kureyon I need to finish Lizard Ridge from here. Only 5 blocks to go, then the finishing (which at the moment I'm kind of looking forward to, but I'm sure once I start, my perspective will change). The downside is that the yarn has to come from the States, so may take some time - I'm getting jittery waiting!

Thursday, 15 March 2007

That's all for now folks...

... I'm off to snowy La Plagne for a week of alpine rest and relaxation (I tend not to think of skiing as hard work!). I'll be back on the 27th, hopefully with all bones intact, joints functioning and not too much of a panda tan.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Cat on a hot tin roof...

...or at the very least, cat on a warm lizard ridge! Give some animals an inch and they'll take a mile.

I came downstairs this morning and this was the view that greeted me. I'd piled up the squares for lizard ridge (a whole 17 of them finished and blocked now) beside the radiator and madam had obviously gone, 'Ooh - a woolly cat-sized bed for me beside a heat source. Thankyou very much!'. When I berated her for her insolence, I received a withering look.

I have little doubt that by the time I get home this evening, she'll still be in the same place, give or take a few 'cat push-ups' (getting up, stretching, turning round and laying down again).

On a knitting note, yesterday evening I... ran... out... of... yarn! Of course I'm only taking about lizard ridge yarn here, I've a spare bedroom full of the other stuff. I cast on with the left-over ends from the completed squares and got most of the way through the 18th square when I couldn't find an end to blend in, so #18 is languishing on a spare needle until more left-overs are obtained. In the nick of time, a ball of Kureyon 150 was delivered to work this afternoon so operations can be resumed. This is the last ball I had on order so I really will be having withdrawal symptoms once this one is knitted up.

Thankfully, a week's skiing here, starting on Saturday should take my mind off it for a while. We're going with another couple so I'm leaving all my knitting behind for a week to avoid tangling up a very small ski appartment. The Resident Radiologist is very sympathetic to my yarn cravings, but I'm not sure all my friends might be so understanding.

Friday, 9 March 2007

More colours in America...

Lizard Ridge squares 13, 14 and 15, pre-blocking. 16 is on the needles as we speak.

We may have a breakthrough. A colleague, (the Swedish Virologist), who is also working on Lizard Ridge has been looking at American and Swedish online yarn stores and apparently, in America, there are more colours of Kureyon available. We're going to investigate this possibility thoroughly as nothing would bring me more satisfaction at the moment than to finish the blanket with a different colourway in each block!

Here's a bit of my Christmas 2006 knitting. The socks were for the Resident Radiologist and were knitted to my standard heel-flap pattern in Artesano Alpaca Hummingbird, colourway pheasant. It's a DK sock yarn so the knitting went really quickly and it was lovely to knit with. The colours did pool slightly around the gusset decreases but I didn't mind this too much, and also, I don't really know how to stop it happening again if I ripped it out and started again. As socks, however, I'm not convinced. The yarn has no 'give' so the socks have to be exactly the correct size and are a bit stiff to put on. They're also handwash only which is a bit impractical and after their third wash, they've started to shed quite a lot of fluff. The RR assures me though, that they're really good to wear.

Even after knitting a pair of UK 11 socks from a skein, there was a fair bit left so I decided to check out the yarn's felting capabilities. I knitted this little box / tray based on something I saw on Mason-Dixon Knitting, then sewed the pieces up and slung it in the washing machine on a 40C cycle. It felted beautifully and I stretched it over a box to dry into shape. It's now on my dressing table for collecting all the bits and pieces I jettison at night - watch, earrings, rings coins etc. The only down-side to the felting is that the colours aren't so apparent in the finished fabric. The burgundy comes through strongly, but the green, especially, has pretty much disapeared.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

No. 15 on the needles

Well, in the last couple of days, I've finished blocks number 13 and 14 for Lizard Ridge and have cast on no. 15. I'm fast approaching a dilema though. I have bought or ordered 1 ball of each colourway I've come across in Kureyon since I started this project, but have only managed to accumulate 17 balls. This will knit into 19 squares by the time I've used up the ends of the balls, but what am I going to do for the other 5 or 6 squares I need? I've already scoured ebay and various online yarn stored for odd balls and come up blank. Do I buy some duplicate balls, then use two balls together (rather than both ends of the same ball) to get a different effect, or do I wait until Noro bring out some new colourways? Patience is not a strong suit of mine (I hate having unfinished projects hanging around) so I suspect I'll opt for the first solution.

In the mean time (until I get the camera out again) here are another couple of things from last year. They were knitted for a friend's baby boy and are made in DB cashmerino aran. The hoodie is the same pattern I did several times last year from Special Knits for Babies, and the bunnie (yes - it is supposed to be a bunnie, I just need a bit more practice with knitted toys) was from the same book. I altered the colours on the bunnie to use up the ends of the balls of cashmerino aran I had kicking around, and on the whole it worked, though the ears are a bit strange looking. Were I to knit this again, I think I'd try to adapt the limbs to work in the round - there was an awful lot of seaming for not much knitting.

Monday, 5 March 2007

Past Half-Way.

Well - after a fairly lazy Sunday, I'm past the halfway mark on my Lizard Ridge. I've knitted, steam blocked and woven the ends in on 12 blocks and am nearly finished a 13th. I've made a bit of an alteration to the pattern as written, (that phrase seems to come up a lot in my knitting don't you think...), in that I've done 5 pattern repeats per block rather than the four in the original pattern. This way, I have slightly less yarn left over per block, but the blocks are larger. This also means that if I arrange the blocks in a 6x4 array, my blanket will be quite long and skinny, so I'm begining to think that I might knit an extra block and arrange them as a 5x5 array. Either way, it will be a while before I need to think about this in earnest. I've been pinning the ball band to each block as I go along to help me keep track of the colourways I've used. I'm toying with the idea of embroidering the colour number of each block in its top corner (or possibly on the back). What do you think - would this be a nice way of keeping track of the colours for posterity, or would it just be a bit silly? I'm still undecided.

As I promised last post, here are my yarn splurges from Ebay last week. The pinkish skein is Hipknits Cashmere Sock Yarn which is going into stash for the moment, but will be destined for a pair of socks for me, and possibly something else as well as there are 700yards on the skein. The other two are Plum Knits aran weight cashmere in a lovely hand-painted autumny colourway. I have absolutley no use in mind for this yarn at the moment, I just saw it and loved it. It is beautifully soft and warm and I don't know what to do with it except look at it and occasionally stroke it. My mother has suggested that I should keep it until I can use it as a highlight on a plain garment - a collar or such which is certainly an option. Other suggestions are welcome...

Friday, 2 March 2007

Yay - some finished objects.

Well, I seem to have gotten over my productivity hiatus, both at work and with knitting. Things still aren't flowing like usual, but progress is being made. I've also broken my yarn diet, with a couple of yummy purchases on ebay, but more on that next post.

My friend had her baby yesterday - an, as yet nameless, girl. With amazing timing, I finished the hat and sock set yesterday evening and used some left-over DB cashmerino aran to crochet a border around the cast on edges. This had the pleasing effects of stopping the 'stocking stitch roll' and making the set slightly softer looking. I'm a little worried that the hat might be on the small side - I lost the pattern and had to make it up as I went along (and I've absolutely no experience of babies), but it has a fair bit of stretch. If all else fails, it will make a lovely doll's hat. I'm off to the hospital tomorrow to visit them so will take them along then.

I've also finally got around to photographing my afterthought heel socks (and of course my cat got in on the act - she's probably the most photogenic sentient creature in our house!). I'm really pleased with these and have already worn them a couple of times. The main yarn is Opal Summer Night's Dream and the heels and toes are in merino 4 ply that I bought a kilogram of 3 years ago and am still less than half-way through. The socks might look slightly lumpy as I don't have proper sock-blockers, but am using a couple of wire coat-hangers that the resident radiologst bend into a roughly sock-shaped shape for me. I have to say that they work perfectly well, and after a wash, no-one could tell the difference anyway.

I'm back to lizard ridge this weekend, and if the light is good, I might get the camera out and get some shots of the squares I've already finished. My parents are also visiting tomorrow and my dad and the RR are going to put a new sink in our kitchen. I can't wait - I've been living with the old one (whoever thought that putting a white plastic sink in a kitchen was a good idea) for what seems like for ever.