Friday 29 July 2011

FO Friday 45: I'm Done

Like a turkey at Christmas, that is. I think one of today's FOs is me ... the kids and I were tidying the patio, I bent over to pick up Destructo Boy's bicycle ... and couldn't stand back up straight. Something has gone 'ping' that isn't supposed to, I think.

Lucky that it was before this nagging reminder of encroaching age that I washed and blocked Tracy's Shawl, isn't it ? Because kneeling on the floor leaning on my elbows to pin it out for however long it took simply wouldn't be an option now that I am broken.




I am calling it the Anemone Shawl, after the colorway of the Artesano 4ply Alpaca it is made from, plus it is a far prettier name, to me. I am thinking of putting tassels on each point. It was fabulously easy and soft to knit with, but it sheds a bit: my solution ? Just don't wear black while knitting with it.

Lots of lovely FOs from young, mobile, un-aching people over at Tami's Amis.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

WIP Wednesday 51: Bobbing Along

Even though I haven't won anything on anyone's giveaways - there's been quite a few recently, so I thought (hoped) a little something might come my way - I've kept going. Pretty much exclusively on Tracy's Shawl - it's so rewarding to see the progress, and as the number of stitches keep reducing, of course it's getting quicker to knit; I only have the last chart, and half of the penultimate chart to go, and then it's complete.

So that means I've done nothing but glance occasionally at the Candleflame Shawl - I don't feel guilt, as I have a long time until the deadline even begins to loom (Spring 2012).

And I had a lucky find ... I pick up old patterns regularly, from the charity shops. The biggest challenge with them is substituting the yarn (always discontinued). Not so much the gauge/tension, but the yardage - I have an unreasoning terror of not having enough yarn to complete a project, and realizing only when I need that one final skein ...and then discovering that it is totally out of stock everywhere.

I also have a dreadful memory. So in a little notebook (thanks, Mooncalf) that goes everywhere with me, I have a list of 4 or 5 projects, the kind of yarn I need for them, and how much of it I might need. Just in case.

They get ticked off and replaced with new ones as I work my way through them. I found a pattern that used Wendy Monaco, and lo and behold, while searching for dog treats in QD, I found Robin Picasso Chunky, 100g/150m, which is also for 6 1/2mm needles (a rough guide is the recommended needle size being the same). The pattern says 12 st x 17 rows, the yarn says 14 st x 20 rows.

At this time of day (or any other, actually) it is impossible for me to make the gargantuan mental effort necessary to do the maths for this comparison/conversion. So I bought 5 - or was it 6 - balls, and we'll see how it goes. A swatch, sez you ? Nary a chance of it, sez I. Where would be the mystery and excitement of the unknown in that ? Of course, if anyone feels like educating me with the likely mathematical results, go right ahead.

And the last thing I want to talk about today is the difference a small amount of time makes. here is a trough in mid-May:

And here it is now, end-July:

I am trying to summon up enough fortitude to go out there with the secateurs and cut back all the petunias. I have read that, if fed, they will retaliate with a fresh flush of flowers that will go through til the end of summer ....

Pop on over to Tami's Amis for a round-up of lovely WIPs.

Friday 22 July 2011

FO Friday 44: Posterity

Alright, yes, it is a tenuous link, I realize, but the school year is finally a FO ! Once I have collected Mini Diva from school today, the holidays will truly have commenced ! And I am really looking forward to it: all we need is some dry, sunny weather. Not quite so dry and hot as the USA, though, thanks.

Now for a real, proper FO, even though it isn't mine. I'm talking about it because it pertains to me a li'l bit, un poquito, ein bißchen, un peu .... it's this book, by Eskimimi:

What have I had to do with a Knitting Pocket Bible, asks you ? And well you might, sez I.

Actually, nothing. Nada. Nichts. Rien. Zip. I merely have a pattern named after me. See how understated I'm being about that ? Note the use of the word 'mere' to imply that I'm just so darned cool that this kind of event is an everyday, normal occurrence for me. Here it is:

It is the Vivianne Scarf, and it was named for me. Thank you, Mimi. And you know, I even like the color she knitted it in - it's called 'Blush'. How appropriate .... if only I weren't so cool .... or brazen.

You can buy it from Amazon.

Head on over to Tami's Amis for some lovely FOs, even though none of them feature me ....

Wednesday 20 July 2011

WIP Wednesday 50: Stack 'Em High

I can't believe it's almost a year of WIP Wednesdays already ! Thanks to
Tami for hosting. The time is just whizzing by ! And end of term for Destructo Boy tomorrow, and Mini Diva on Friday: I can't wait.

My friend Ania was good enough to send me the chart for the Tree of Light shawl she suggested, as my printer wasn't working at the time ... here is my progress so far:

Yep, that's right - it's in a Time Out already. Five times so far, people. So I am sulking at it right now. And look at the size of the print on that chart ....

Instead I have started this:

It is Tracy's Shawl, a free pattern by Wendy D. Johnson, who has some beautiful patterns available. I am using 3 skeins of Artesano 100% Alpaca 4ply in the colorway 'Anemone'. I wonder why it's called that: it looks nothing like the colors of the flower, or the sea anemone. Anyway. I picked these up for a bargain price as they were on offer when I visited Wibbling Wools in Bury St.Edmunds recently.

The shop itself is tiny, with a comfy sofa and coffee table so you could sit and browse the posh pattern books that complement the standard posh yarns (Rowan, Debbie Bliss, Sublime). Yarns pretty much fill up every space - cubbyholes, baskets, boxes, corners .... The owner was having a long - long - conversation with a friend about the friend's childminder, her childcare issues over the summer, and how they'd been resolved. I know this because I was ignored until this conversation was over. We English are far too tolerant of this kind of behavior. It was a nice shop, but not worth the trip for me when I have Twist much closer.

OK, after that little digression into one of my pet peeves (poor customer service), here is the progress on the Candleflame Shawl:

I'm really liking the effect of the beads, although not the faff of the actuality of beading.

And I have picked up some lovely everyday Stylecraft for my youngest niece's Xmas sweater, for which I will use this old pattern I found in one of our local charity shops. Yes, I said the X-word in July ....

Friday 15 July 2011

FO Friday 43: Willow Leaf Scarf

A nice straightforward transformation post today. From this:

Over the course of 6 days, washing and blocking, to end up as this:

I still don't know what this yarn is, which is a shame, as it is lovely: soft, easy to knit with, and a total match for the project, which is a scarf modified from Linda Choo's Willow Leaf Stole.
I did only 4 horizontal border repeats, to make it narrower; I picked up 60 stitches for the body, and knitted 6 stitches at each end of every row; and only 3 horizontal main/body pattern repeats. Then I just knitted the pattern til I felt I had just enough yarn left for the final border.

I'm pleased with this project: mainly because the other project I was making with this pattern had well and truly stalled: a combination of me thinking it was a chore and difficult, as the pattern was quite bulky to read (I can use charts now) and the yarn not being really the right one for the project.

As usual, many beautiful things to marvel at over on Tami's Amis ...

Wednesday 13 July 2011

WIP Wednesday: Shawls Galore

I totally blew out Monday's blogpost - for some reason it slipped my mind entirely until it was way too late to actually do anything about it; and today I am struggling with a treacle-slow connection ... so we'll cross our fingers and hope for the best ...

Faithful readers, you'll remember the post where I asked for help deciding what to do with a WIP. I just went through all the comments again, and - by a tiny smidge - the vote was in favor of frogging. Lucky, really, because that's what I did. Actually, I coerced Mini Diva into frogging and rewinding for me. And how she loved it. Not.

I was immediately faced with another dilemma - moral, this time. The perfect pattern for this yarn, I am convinced is the Waves of Leaves shawl, which I have made before using perfect Malabrigo Lace. I've just searched, but apparently I didn't blog about the hassles I had with this pattern: the errors in the written pattern, which forced me to learn how to read a chart; and the poor charts, which need quite a bit of thought and/or explanation.

The moral dilemma was whether to use this pattern again, in spite of it being written so badly; yes, it's free, but I don't really see that as an excuse for inflicting mistakes on the unsuspecting knitter. I have started it, as you can see, but if anyone has any suggestions for a shawl pattern which will suit this silk yarn, I'm all ears .... I haven't got far, so can frog again easily enough.

The other WIP this week is the Candleflame shawl - I've had the yarn for ages (another beauty from Laura at Abstract Cat: BFL laceweight, colorway 'Fire Festival'); and after my saga of the beads, which I eventually obtained quickly and without any fuss from the lovely people at Highly Strung Beads, my first project with beads too. I think it is a perfect match of yarn to project. Or project to yarn. I usually find the yarn first, then the project follows ...

And - of course - there are oodles of other yummy blogs to read over at Tami's Amis .....

Friday 8 July 2011

FO Friday 42: Sunday Scarf

I am really liking the discipline and impetus that FO Friday (see more lovely things over at Tami's Amis) gives to me: as it's addictive, I rarely have trouble sitting down to get on with some knitting, but FO Friday means I tend to do just those few rows more, so things get completed in a timely manner.

You'll remember I started a scarf for Uber-Cool Brother; made from BFL sock yarn in the colorway 'Sunday' (lavender/grey/blue tones) bought from Laura at Abstract Cat, using the Flame Chevron stitch pattern; after fabric conditioner, it is much softer, and blocked out quite nicely. I thought it looked a little ... abbreviated ... so I added a fringe:

Just because I'm not talking about today being the 10th anniversary of my mother's death doesn't mean I'm not thinking about her all the time today.

Wednesday 6 July 2011

WIP Wednesday 48: Mystery Yarn

Back to the groove after Monday's grumping. I'm not a grumpy person, by and large, so it doesn't usually last long - that would take far too much energy to maintain.

I've scheduled this post as today it is Mini Diva's school sports day: think of me with compassion and sympathy as I traipse round each event trying to whip up some enthusiasm for Team Red; actually, the team songs they come up with can be quite funny.

So seeing as how I already had the pattern for the Willow Leaf Stole printed, that's what I cast on yesterday (with modifications I'll talk about another time), using a lovely mossy green yarn that I bought from Ewenique in her recent de-stash; she had lost the label, but thinks it is a Fleece Artist yarn, or possibly Handmaiden, light fingering weight 3 ply merino and cashmere, perhaps with some nylon. I think it may be Fleece Artist Cashlana, possibly colorway 'Rainforest' - but if anyone recognizes this yarn, please let me know.

And this WIP's results are back:

His blood tests show that he is allergic to grasses and mites (household & storage). Our vet recommends a course of immunotherapy which would set the insurance back approx. £400 ($645), and would eventually entail a mere single injection per month which we could administer ourselves {shudder from the needlephobe ie. me}. Alternatively, we can dose him daily with Piriton or another anti-histamine seasonally as necessary, with steroids for if/when the itching gets too bad.

We are being charitable and thinking that his previous family may not have known of his seasonal environmental allergies, as they - and therefore Sebastian - didn't have a lifestyle which involved being outoors in grassy, green, leafy areas like the parks and wild areas we go to.

And finally, part of my WIP today is the bargains I picked up recently, reduced in price simply because they were wilting through needing to be watered ...

A little apricot-flowered begonia 'Million Kisses', a ruby/chocolate-flowered regal pelargonium, and a magenta-flowered cottage pink 'Waterloo Sunset'; they should have cost £12 ($19) but actually cost £4.50 ($7.25). We luffs a deal.

Lots more yarny yumminess over at Tami's Amis ...

Monday 4 July 2011

Grumpety Grumpy Grump

So I spent some of today pretty much like this guy looks: grumpy. Grumpy with my bank - which I part own, along with the rest of the British population; and of which I have been a customer for over 25 years: I shall be closing my account with them as soon as I can gather enough ID together to open an account with a different bank.

Grumpy with my knitting: I have finished Uber-Cool Brother's scarf, spent an enjoyable time-sucking while surfing Ravelry looking for my next project; found it, then ran out of ink so I couldn't print it, and therefore couldn't start it. I have other things I want to do, but this was the one I wanted to do right now this minute. Of course.

Grumpy with the garden hose nozzle which is leaking like Henry's bucket.

Grumpy with the state of the planet, the economy, people in general.

I think the only thing I'm not grumpy with right now is the hot, sunny weather.

Friday 1 July 2011

FO Friday 41: Normal Programming Resumed

So after my ireful explosion last week, the focus this Friday is back to something pleasant and enjoyable - a finished object. You'd think I'd have more than one, and, actually, I do. Just not any photos, as I forgot to take pics of the cabled baby sweater before it was gifted.

The scarf for Uber-Cool Brother, which I was hoping to be at least blocking by today, is also not completed yet, as I frivolled yesterday away looking at fruit trees in garden centres with Belo, and an extra-long walk with the dog: who - I have discovered - likes eating fresh cherries.

So fortunately I have pics of the Lacy ZigZag Scarf I finished last week for one of DH's BILs. You'll remember it's made using RYC Classic Silk Wool DK in the colorway 'Brownstone'. And the hole is fixed too ....

And see the lovely color of my lavender; I've lost the label, so I forget exactly which one it is ...

Lots more completed loveliness over at Tami's Amis ....