Thursday, 27 December 2007
This is the first Christmas in ages that I've knit so many presents. It seems that my re-energised knitting (thanks largely to my late discovery of the knitting world on the web last April) has reminded my loved ones that they like knitted things.
The first request came from one of my nieces in Canada who wanted to know if I could possibly knit her some mittens, preferably blue. She didn't know why, but she had developed a sudden longing for some knitted mittens -- and if it wasn't tooo hard (she asked) could I possibly put the initials of her high school on the mittens. After a bit of research I selected NHM #7 from Selbuovotter - Biography of a Knitting Tradition (lovely book). I knit SMHS (her high school) into one palm and 2008 into the other (they are New Year mitts I decided).
When I completed these mitts I loved them - but I suddenly got worried that she might prefer some plain mittens. So I made these, very plain blue mittens (American mittens) from Folk Mittens as well.
Her sister hadn't asked for anything specific but when I saw this pirate mitten pattern I knew I had to make them for her.
My sister had requested some warm socks so I made her one pair of thick socks using Regia 6ply, a thin pair using Trekking XXL and just to amuse myself a lacey pair of ankle socks. The ankle socks are Hedera socks (but shorter) knit with Lucy Neatby Celestial Merino yarn. The fourth pair of socks -the very colourful stripes - went to the niece who got the skull mittens. I figured that although she generally just wears dark colours - who can resist colourful socks?
Quite pleased with this output I made some special labels for each of the gifts and shipped them off to Canada (with the famous Lyra).
The recipients were all very pleased, particularly my Mom -who reportedly teared up when she opened Lyra - and my niece who requested the blue mittens - she LOVES the selbuvotters.
Of course last Friday I decided to make a couple more gifts and began this hat and pair of mittens for S. The hat is a simple rib pattern knit in the round, and the mittens I just sort of made up as I went along. The yarn is cashmere from Posh Yarn and was a pleasure to knit with.
On Saturday I started the final gift - a cardigan for gorgeous goddaughter G. It's Tess from Kim Hargreaves Heartfelt collection. It was knit on 12mm needles using Rowan Big Wool.
It was a very quick knit, and was a good lesson in why blocking isn't just magic for large lace pieces. When I finished it I was less than impressed. My stitches were uneven and the bottom edging was a mess. A quick wash and a few hours drying time sorted both of those problems out. (A gigantic fan was very useful in speeding up the drying process, so the cardigan was dry when I wrapped it early Christmas morning.)
My decision to make the last minute gifts was a good one. S has been wearing her new hat CONSTANTLY for the past 3 days, and G immediately put on her cardigan (over her pyjamas) and wore it later that day to her grandmothers. It looks great on her and fit perfectly. In fact, it has proven popular with her mom as well. C has already borrowed it -- she wore it on her annual boxing day theatre trip with her family.
All of this has left me with a warm fuzzy feeling -- which is I guess what Christmas giving is all about. .... but I'm looking forward to some Soo knitting now!
Sunday, 23 December 2007
Monday, 17 December 2007
Sunday morning is baking time. In the early years it seemed to take forever to bake the pieces -- but I've obviously improved because this year I had all the pieces and a batch of cookies done in about an hour.
Health and safety doesn't feature much in gingerbread house construction as you can see by the bonfire built dangerously close to the picnic table with four seats created by lovely goddaughter G. She also built this pretty impressive well, complete with bucket for fetching water.
Thursday, 13 December 2007
Although I've enjoyed the Christmas knitting I'm looking forward to getting back to pointless, no deadline knitting in January. Since my last post on the subject I've added a gazillion other potential projects to the list inspired as always by the amazing projects underway in blogland.
Saturday, 24 November 2007
Being me, I was also likely to abandon the whole thing at the last minute. But a firm shove out the door by a colleague (the Caked Crusader in fact) and I was on my way.
My cab driver was greatly amused by the fact that I was going to a museum, for a lecture on a Friday night. BY CHOICE! When I explained it was to listen to a knitting designer he knew he had the rest of the journey sewn up as far as commentary went. "Knitting designer? Well, at least it won't take long. Knit 1, purl 1. That's all there is isn't it?" I laughed and asked if he thought that maybe I was being conned - because they were charging me £18 for 2 hours. He advised me that the only way to get value for the money was to drink A LOT at the wine reception.
The auditorium was full and a few latecomers had to sit on the stairs. Kaffe was charming and inspiring and pretty funny. You can tell he loves what he does. The talk was accompanied by a slide show of some of his work and the objects and scenes that inspire it. There was a Q&A session and my favourite question and answer of the evening went something like:
A: Kaffe answered that question (basically no, he watches and refines as he goes along and he always learns something from a piece) and then went on to comment that he thinks most people give up too early. And how he's often so frustrated at workshops because he can see the beginning of a great piece but the person working it loses confidence and rips it out - way too early. They don't give the piece time to work.
And I do think that is particularly true with colour knitting. Each row and colour adds so much to the rows around it - you really do have to persevere in order to 'get' the picture. When I was making the coat I was often amazed at how a colour would affect the colours around it - sometimes quite dramatically changing the look.
During the wine reception there was an opportunity to have his new book signed and meet Kaffe. I had brought along my copy of Kaffee Fassett at the V&A (1989ish) and the coat, so I ventured to the signing area. I was a bit babbly (eeeeee) and my voice an octave or so above its usual register - but I met the man himself.
He was happy to sign my older book and seemed genuinely pleased to see the coat. I gushed about how much I loved it. He said it was lovely and it made his heart sing to see people take on the really big projects. Eeeeee.
I didn't take my cabbies advice about drinking a lot of the free wine at the reception -- but I definitely feel I got my money's worth!!
In other knitting news I feel the need to rant about knots in self patterning yarn. Particularly when they make no attempt to keep the colour continuity. I mean - the WHOLE point of self patterning yarn is the pattern. If they mess that up.... Grrrr.....
Monday, 19 November 2007
And most importantly - my house is once again cosy and warm. Hurrah!! Thanks so much for all your warm thoughts and messages of concern. They didn't fix the leak in the water tank, and the flue they installed outside my house is horrific and will have to be replaced -- but I have heat. And for now that's what I'll focus on! (But British Gas should beware - I will get my second wind.)
Other knitting is underway but I can't talk about it here (yes Dyl, that's because YOU are reading this.) I'll post some pics in Ravelry (a Dyl free zone) later this week......
I just got an email that the yarn for my mom's cardigan has shipped. I hope I love it as much as I expect I will!!!
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
Naturally a Niebling or two called to me - but I decided that I would hold off on Niebling until the new year.
PS - Despite icicles on my fingers I have done some knitting. Here are 3 ready to be stitched up tea cosies and an almost pair of socks.
Saturday, 3 November 2007
Tuesday, 30 October 2007
It's already quite big - 24 inches by 58 inches - BEFORE blocking.
Undeterred by your lukewarm (at best) reaction to the new Kaffe book today I did a bit of Kaffe surfing and discovered that he's speaking at the V&A at the end of November. Wahey! I've booked a ticket already. (I don't think I'll be able to coerce anyone into coming with me -- none of my friends knit and I think attempts to 'big up' the idea of attending a lecture by a 'famous knitter' would just open me up to ridicule!)
It's a Friday evening I think, so my current plan is to leave work early so I can do a section or two of the V&A before the lecture. If you've never been to the V&A and get the chance then I heartily recommend it. It has an amazing collection of fashion and design over the centuries. In fact it was at the V&A that I first saw a knitted Kaffe Fassett Chinese Rose Coat (it was part of a temporary exhibit of his work) that inspired the 18 year project.
Fleegle asked if I wear the coat - and the simple answer is no. In fact, even when I started it 18 years ago I never really thought I'd wear it. I just fell in love with it as an object. It was always about the beauty of the colours and the rose pattern -- never really about a coat. When I was too far into the project to do anything about it - it did occur to me that I should have adapted the pattern to a throw or blanket which might actually be used. But by that time there was no way I was ripping it back.
Sunday, 28 October 2007
But if you're a fan - go get this book. Perfect for brightening up a dull wintry day.
Two follow ups on my last post. First, Fleegle and LittleBerry wanted a close up of Muir. And being ever keen to please here it is.
I'm halfway through the 11th repeat and really pleased with the result. This is still perfect knitting for me as I sit in my cold house after a long day in the office!
On the boiler front -- November 8th is still the installation date (!). Thanks to everyone for their warm thoughts.