Monday, 24 September 2007

Rough Day

Bit of a whinge-fest today - I've felt a bit icky all day, and it's been raining, which never helps. Then I've had to cover late-ish at work, got caught up in what appeared to be a flash mob of cars in the City Centre (30 minute queue for about half a mile, then everything disappearing, without anyone appearing to have turned off) and now Flickr's not playing with me. So Grrrrrr!

But to try and look at some positives, I'd like to thank everyone who has left comments on the blog over the last few posts. It makes me feel better to read them, and it doesn't half perk me up and make me feel that the world's not completely full of twits (just the car in front of me ;-)). I knit, largely for me, and it's lovely that you think that I'm doing some nice work. I'm always a bit funny about posting photos - I think I'm "showing off" sometimes, and possibly showing myself up (especially when I see some of the work others do) - so thank you again for your comments and keep them coming (now I have an ego, I need to feed it!)

I've been poddling along with the knitting - I have finished one of the Tyrolean Stockings, and I love it. I've been wondering if I can get away with wearing odd socks, as I'm really getting a compulsion to wear it. It's the lovely cabled design, coupled with Dee and Tony's wonderful Helena wool in Myrtle - toning greeny variagated loveliness. But, it's twin is having to wait, as I've begun Hanami No 2 - this time for a Christmas present. I'm using the same Colourmart Cashmere as before, and have managed 2 repeats of the basketweave so far. I'm using the second Tyrolean as a motivator - there's 7 repeats of the basketweave, and I found on my first one that if I'm not going to muck up the pattern, I need to break every now and then, so it's one repeat of basketweave to 12 rows of sock at the moment, to keep the variation. It's not that I'm getting bored, but giving myself a little bit of a change every now and then is helping me stay fresh at it.

And I've been so good this week - I have not dipped into the Posh Yarn shop this week, as I am building up quite a stash, and think I should get cracking on using some of it up before I indulge again... I do try to be good - but sometimes my halo slips a little and there's something I've got to play Fastest Finger First for!

And - if anyone liked the Mystery Stole 3 - Swan Lake that's a couple of posts further down, but didn't get onto the sign up in time, Melanie has now relased the pattern, which includes the stole as knit, plus directions for a Symmetrical pointed stole, plus a divine double winged version. For us UK knitters, the pattern's on the good side of bargain at $6, and can be ordered via Melanie's Blog. I found it a challenge, but tackling one chart at a time, and not thinking about the final item meant I could knit it one stitch at a time. Melanie's directions helped as well - I found the pattern easy to understand.

So - back to Hanami - it's a lovely knit and it's keeping me sane this evening.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Thordis, Hanami and Finland...

This will teach me to update my blog regularly or pay the price with a long blog post... I have finished knitting the first of three Hanami Stoles, designed by Melanie. This one is knitted for a birthday present, and requires blocking out properly. I've used Colourmart cashmere for this, in Honeysuckle, a soft, warm pinky-peach shade, and it knitted itself. I've got plenty of the cone left for a second one (for a Christmas present) and will be knitting a third, for myself, in Posh Yarns Eva 2 Ply in Petal. All will be beaded on the cast on edge, as well. This picture is of the Cherry Blossom pattern:

And this is the Basket Weave.

The pattern begins with a beaded cast on, reminscent of light spring raindrops, and then moves into the Basket Weave, which is taken from a traditional Japanese quilting pattern, symbolising friendship and family. It then transitions into a pattern of Cherry Blossom falling. Hanami is the Japanese term for watching the Cherry Trees shed their blossom.

Next, I have finished the Thordis (Icelandic) Shawl. The pattern was from Piecework magazine, first published in 1996 by Interweave press, and was found by a member of the MS3 group, and has been Knit A Long-ed by a couple of Yahoo groups. Interweave kindly released the pattern via their Knitting Daily newsletter, and Sarah Siegel made up kits of Jaggerspun Maine Line. It was a very quick knit - just under two weeks from casting on to finishing the crocheted edge, and used a variety of lace stitches. I've been busy at work these past two weeks, with trips up to Aberdeen and Finland, so it's not been a time where I could dedicate myself to knitting too much, but I found the shawl very easy to pick up and put down. And I cannot recommend Sarah's Yarns enough - prices are very keen (especially now, with the dollar to pound exchange rate), and her service is exceptional - from Brooklyn to Newcastle upon Tyne in a week - during the UK's postal strike as well. Lovely lady, good range, and good prices - AND she'll wind you custom sized balls as well, which is great, if, like me, you're not very good at joins...

More Lace News - I won Piglottie's Lace Booty Auction, in aid of her friend Charlotte's charity trek to Peru for the Rainbow Trust. And what booty it is, too - a Fiber Trends Leaf Lace Shawl pattern, enough Fyberspates Laceweight in Ocean to complete the shawl, three fab Piglottie Productions cards, and a lovely little bag, which is the perfect size for a sock project. So thank you Piglottie, and GO CHARLOTTE!!!!

Finally on Knitting News, I've cast on again... I tried Pomotamus, I did, but have put them aside for now. I don't know if it's me, or the pattern, or the wool (not likely, as I love Fyberspates wool), but it's not gelling, so not for me for now. Maybe later, I'll be in the right mood. What I am getting on with, is the Tyrolean Stockings from Interweave Fall 2007. I'm using Posh Yarns Helena in Myrtle, and they're looking lovely to me - they look like snuggly winter socks, and the weather is putting me in mind of snuggles, and wrapping up.

And in non-knitting news, I've been somewhere I've never been before. I was sent to Finland for work, which was great - My main problem was getting there. I'm a very nervous flyer - I panic about it, and can't help it. But KLM and FinnComm looked after me without any drama. All 6 planes on time, and the flights were even quite enjoyable. But I have to admit that my favourite sound on a plane is "Welcome to Newcastle". I found the Moomin Shop, and now have Moomintroll hanging off my phone. I also discovered a new range of alcoholic drinks to enjoy - Finnish Vodka with Arctic Cloudberry Juice was very moreish, and I have brought home Licorice Vodka (yummy) and Tar Schapps (made from the sap of a tree in Finland, and tastes like alcoholic BBQ sauce). And Stroopwafelen from Schiphol (can't go through there without picking up a box - even though they do sell them in Lakeland, it's not the same). What I saw of Finland from the local plane looked beautiful - forests and lakes in abundance, but what I saw on the ground was largely hotel, factory and airport. I shall definitely book some holiday if I am lucky enough to go there again.

Then last weekend, I drove up to Eyemouth, and we had a lovely Sunday. Fish and Chips on the front, and a nice wander - and (the reason why we went) a chance to feed the seals in the harbour. I'll leave you with one of our new friends for now - if anyone's still reading the marathon entry!