I’m taking part in my first knitalong in the spring, as a result of being on Ravelry and finding out what’s out there! I have knitted very little lace but I did knit a Shetland ringshawl a couple of decades ago (it took me a few years to finish it but I eventually did!). I didn’t know about what a difference blocking made until I read Stitch ‘n’ Bitch Handbook by Debbie Stoller so I have never blocked it, but I plan to very shortly and will post a picture of it when I do. When one of my sons was dedicated as a baby, I wrapped him in it. Right, now I’ve written it, nag me till I do it!!
Anyway, for the knitalong we have just been given a swatch to do to get used to knitting with our chosen yarn and to ensure the edges are elastic enough. I’m using Jaggerspun Zephyr 2/18 laceweight wool/silk in claret:
Hopefully this will be enough!!!!
Here is my swatch:
I’m glad I had this practice because it took quite a lot of getting used to, and the needles I used were very slippery. I’m going to order some special lace knitting needles by Addi which apparently make it easier.
A new feature on the sidebar is a link to Ravelry! Ravelry is a fairly new – and definitely new to me – site where you can upload all your knitting projects, stash, etc, and find yarn and patterns and stuff like that. So if you’ve got some yarn and you don’t know what to do with it, you can search for what other people have made with it. Entry is by invitation only at the moment so if you fancy it, add your name to the waiting list! My invite came this week so I’ve been starting to explore it and add my stuff. I am looking forward to delving deeper into it because I’ve got a few yarns which I’d like ideas on what to make. I’m not very good at working out how to change yarns from what a pattern says to what I have in my stash! If you’re a member of Ravelry already, you can see my project pages here.
I haven’t been doing much blogging recently but I have been using my hands. I bought this gorgeous Uruguayan yarn from Rio de la Plata via the online coop of which I am a member.
It is a bit darker than this but that may be my laptop monitor. I decided to use some of it to make a sweater and have been getting on with it like a house on fire. It is from the book Fitted Knits by Stephanie Japel and has a long ribbed section at the bottom to make it fit more snugly. This is where I was a couple of days ago:
I have now finished the ribbing and tried it on and decided to keep it sleeveless, so I have only got to finish the neckline and armholes. I think it will be a bit hot as a jumper with sleeves and the yarn is quite bulky so I’m afraid sleeves will make me look too much like a Michelin Man!
I have been experiencing a veritable boom in my knitting activity this past year. This I attribute to two things – the gorgeous, yummy yarns available via this coop, and the wonderful podcasts which I have uploaded on to my Ipod Shuffle. I have been working my way though the archives of Brenda Dayne’s Cast On - the music is just the thing to get a rhythm going! I have got as far as No. 10 so far. And Craft Cast with Alison Lee is another. I found a couple of interviews with past contestants on Project Runway the other day, which are next on my current Ipod itinerary to listen to. Alison has a great variety of interviewees – I have listened to an author, someone who prints her own books (and artwork) on a letterpress printer (that one was so inspiring I listened to it twice), a jewellery maker, etc etc.
I have also been working through the new book by Leslie Morgan, Claire Benn and Jane Dunnewold, called Finding your own Visual Language. They have lots of exercises to do – I’ve only taken a few photos of those so far, so when I’ve done a few more I’ll write a post about what I’ve done. And the house has been surrounded by scaffolding for the last couple of weeks and we have had builders patching up various holes and crevices where the roof has been leaking over the last few years, so hopefully my studio won’t have to be half covered with plastic next winter! So far we have had a skylight replaced with a Velux window, the west wall painted with waterproofing, various bricks pointed, the bath stones on our coping (I think that is the word) taken up and repaired or slates put underneath and a myriad other things which I’ve forgotten about. Nearly finished now, though! Hurray!
A few weeks ago I went with the kids on a church outing to Avon Valley Country Park. They had great fun down these scary slides:
while I sat in the cafe and chatted and drank tea.
There are a lot of animals there, including Jacob and Soay sheep and angora goats. After a hairy boat ride where DS1 and DS2 rowed me around (an adult was required otherwise I would have foregone the pleasure), I went and regained my calm by having a walk around to look at the animals. The kids meanwhile hared off to the go-karts…
Soay sheep (had to crop this photo because they wouldn’t come any closer!):
Angora goats – this little one was very obliging…
There was a tiny little kid there as well:
I’ve just been listening to the latest Cast-on podcast and, to my delight, Brenda was talking about Wonderwool Wales, which I visited a few weeks ago. She has a photo of a Soay sheep on her website.
Yes, it’s finished! It knit up really quickly once I got going. I nearly ran out of dyed wool though - it was good that I dyed the two extra skeins last week because I needed them. This is all that was left of the dyed wool (apart from the Kool Aid dyed stuff and about 8 oz of undyed which I’ve earmarked for indigo or henna or something that doesn’t need a mordant). I bought 2lbs of it altogether so the bag is pretty heavy!
The brown roving is the one I dyed with St Johns Wort (and copper mordant). The thinner wool is what the skeins were tied up with!
Here is the finished bag before felting:
I decided to make the handles as in the French Market bag in Knitty rather than a shoulder strap which was what the pattern I used called for. I was glad I did because I think it looks better that way.
Here is the finished bag! I ended up washing it at 60 and then at 90 (thanks, Helen!) on a short cycle each time, then I spun it contrary to the pattern instructions because I didn’t want to wait DAYS for it to dry out and I finished it off for 5 minutes or so in the dryer to fluff it up a bit.
I like the way the colours have changed with the felting. The browns look much more greenish and the reds stand out nicely.
This is the other side of the bag. And underneath:
And a close up!
At present it is sitting on the floor stuffed with towels to give it a nice rounded shape!