Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Hipness Success is Mine!!

Wahey!! Tonight at 7:42ish pm Zane Lowe uttered the 'k' word, not once, but TWICE on Radio 1. The Hipness of the Knit has been reclaimed!

(For those of you who don't know or care who Zane Lowe is - here is a pic of the gorgeous lace yarn I've purchased from Posh Yarn over the past couple of months. It is beautiful stuff in beautiful colours at really reasonable prices. And there's a competitive element to the shopping that I quite like. New yarn is posted at 6pm every Sunday (UK time) and most of it disappears within MINUTES. You've got to be prepared and you've got to be focused.)

Anyway - back to the real reason for this post.

Tonight Zane played his 'hottest record in the world today', which happened to be a Mark Ronson remix of the genius that is Bob Dylan - Most Likely You Go Your Way (and I'll Go Mine) from Blonde on Blonde.

My initial reaction was outrage! How dare he mess with Bob. Bob doesn't need to be remixed.

But actually - I really liked it.

I sent a text of my approval (as part of the Reclaim the Hipness of the Knit campaign) and Zane read it out:
Bob with a beat. I love this. Still knitting. Soo.
He added, "probably knitting faster inspired by the music" (or something similar - but definitely the 'k' word again).

Sure, some (ie anyone I've mentioned this to) might say - so what? But I'm happy. I feel I've accomplished something by getting one of the UK's leading trendy DJ's, a Sony radio award winner to say the k word twice. What I've accomplished is vague at best - but I'm pleased!

Now.....what next.....

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Sea Silk and Mysteries......

I've cast on for the Melon Scarf in Victorian Lace Today, using a gorgeous red Handmaiden Sea Silk. I love love love the look of this yarn. It's got a beautiful colour and gorgeous sheen.

But I'm not really enjoying knitting with it. At least not so far. I miss the warmth and forgiving nature of wool. I'm knitting this on 3.75mm needles, and although I'm happy with how the fabric looks - I find it really loose and flimsy while I'm knitting. I'm finding it more comfortable now that I've done a few pattern repeats - the weight of the completed knitting helps things feel more stable on the needles.

I'm sure I'll adapt to the sea silk -- at least I hope I do, I have the same yarn in 3 other colours in the stash!!

The melon pattern itself is very straightforward. This is the centre panel, and consists of a very easily memorised 6 row, 10 stitch repeat. Really good DVD watching knitting. (In fact, I knit most of this last night while watching Little Miss Sunshine. How good is that film? I loved it so much I'm tempted to watch it again tonight. Funny and warm without being sickly sweet. ) Anyway - the centre panel is a pretty easy knit. I'm not sure what edging I'm going to use -- I'm not convinced the one used in the book will work with the sea silk.

The Mystery Deepens (and Lengthens)

I've completed clue 4 on both of the stoles. I confess to being entirely in the dark about what Melanie has in store for the pattern next. The lifelines she strongly recommended (required) have been inserted in both stoles. But what can they be for?? Surely if they were lifelines in the traditional sense they'd be closer to the end of the clue -- rather than 48 rows back. Hmmmm.....

Melanie added to group's curiousity when she posted this cryptic comment on the Yahoo group:
I hope you are all enjoying knitting this design and I just have one request for you before the next clue is posted in a week: Trust me. I've knit what's coming twice and if you follow thedirections step by step, it will work. Don't panic, just trust me.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Bits and Pieces....

Thanks so much for all of the lovely comments on the Alpine Lace scarf. I am pleased with how it turned out and if the other VLT patterns turn out as well I expect I'll be making most of them!
What's Next?: ummmm, haven't decided for sure. I have some Handmaiden Sea Silk I'd love to use but haven't decided on a pattern. Perhaps the Melon Scarf in VLT? Or maybe I should do look further afield (but then I think - why??)

Mystery Stole 3: We're on clue 4 now and it appears something dramatic is going to happen in clue 5. Clue 4 is the longest clue (135 rows for the standard length stole, 215 rows for the longer version which I'm making). I've done about 152 rows of the clue on the black one, and 104 rows of the clue on the white one.

Melanie has instructed us to put a lifeline in about 48 rows before the end of the clue, and the pattern and edging established appear to end at the last row of this clue. What the heck can be coming next?

Hedera Socks (aka freakish heel flap socks): I finished the Hedera Socks. I really liked the simple lace pattern and found it a relaxing knit. I was (and remain) confused by the pattern instructions for a freakishly long heel flap. I decided to follow the pattern despite my doubts -- but even now can't see any reason for it. So, I will make the socks again but with a more usual length heel flap. I'll let you know if that turns out to be a mistake!

My Shiny New Citizenship: And unrelated to anything knitting today I got a letter from the Home Office confirming that my application for UK citizenship has been approved. I'll attend an official ceremony sometime in the next month or so and then I'll be a fully naturalised UK citizen (hanging on with love and affection to her Canadian nationality all the while!).

On Board Mission (aka 'reclaim the hipness of the knit')(aka make Zane Lowe say the K word on 'in new music we trust' on Radio 1): - In case you thought I had seen sense and given up - I haven't. But Zane's on hols at the moment and I think getting Annie Mac to say the K word would be far to easy.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Alpine Lace Scarf - Blocked and Ready to Go!!!!

I blocked the Alpine Lace Scarf last night. For some reason I found blocking it a real pain (possibly just because I was tired) and didn't think I'd be happy with the result at all. In fact I was convinced I'd have to reblock it this weekend, but was so tired and cranky by that time I couldn't fix what I thought was wrong.

This morning I woke up and unpinned it -- and I'm actually quite pleased! The blocking could be better - but the overall it's fine and certainly wearable.

The Stats
The pattern is from Victorian Lace Today. I used plum Zephyr wool/silk, about 3oz (about 1000 yards) on 2.75 mm needles.


Unblocked: 18 x 55 inches
Blocked: 21.5 x 68 inches

Because I was working on smaller needles than recommended I did 53 repeats of the 8 row rose leaf pattern rather than the 37 specified in the pattern.

The diamond edging is knit with the centre of the stole and I really enjoyed that part of the pattern. It is worked on both the right side and wrong side rows (so no 'purl all stitches' rest rows), which I think kept the project from becoming dull even though there are quite a few repeats!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

I love casting off.....

Casting off always makes me happy......

The Alpine Lace Scarf is done and I'll block it over the weekend.


Saturday, 14 July 2007

The Addictive Properties of Sock Yarn

My addiction to buying sock yarn continues. I still don't really wear socks, but I like knitting them, and the last batch got a very favourable reaction when I doled them out. Having said that - the addiction is all mine. No one's forcing me to knit socks. No one's even hinting for me to make them socks.

I just need to.

This week I took delivery of some Colinette Jitterbug (very nice) and this very cool Sock Duet Yarn from A Swell Yarn Shop in the US. The yarn comes in gorgeous shades (as always, my rubbish photography skills don't do the colours justice) and with the added bonus of a small skein of co-ordinating yarn for the toes and heels! I love it! It isn't cheap when you add in the shipping (it represents the higher end of my addiction) but I can confirm it's oh so squeezable.....

Along with buying sock yarn this week I've been working on the Alpine Lace Scarf. I've now done an extra 10 repeats of the central leaf pattern but still don't think it's long enough. So I'll knit a few more. I believe a stole can never be too long, but if it's too short it's a bit duff. (odd to have these views as I don't ever wear them - but heh - a girl believes what she believes).

(hmmmm...knitting stoles and socks I never wear....I'm not coming out of this looking too bright am I?)

The Mystery Stole 3 stoles are cruising along. I've finished the 3rd clue on both stoles. (My inability to make a decision seems to mean that I'm making 2.) I still have no idea whatsoever what the theme is. But here they are -- any ideas gratefully accepted!

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Was that it?

This weekend has been a blur of activity in London including the first stage of the Tour de France. I'm not a Tour de France fan by any stretch of the imagination - but as it was going past (literally) the end of my road I felt I should show some interest. According to the official website there was a 'fake start' (Depart Fictif) from Trafalgar Sq around 9:40am with the 'real start' (Depart Reel) at 11:00am just up the road from me in Greenwich.

At around 9:15 I started to hear noise on the route - so I decided to check it out (combined with a useful trip to Tesco to get some food). This was some sort of 'pre' race thing where a parade of sponsors drove past and threw freebies to the bystanders. There weren't too many bystanders at that stage but that didn't seem to dampen the spirits of the participants. I watched for about 10 minutes (long enough to get some hats, pens and a little car) (I gave most of it to nearby kids) then headed home.

At about 5 to 11 I thought I should head back out and see the cyclists. Went back out to the street, a few minutes later some very speedy cyclists went by. 30 seconds after that it was pretty much all over. We spectators (and this time the streets were lined) sort of looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and headed home.

But heh - I can tick 'see the Tour de France' off my list of things to do (pretending it was ever on there).

Right on to knitting things.....

Mystery Stole 3 clue 2 is out and I've completed it in the cream yarn and have just begun clue 2 in the black. (still undecided on which one I prefer) I'll take a better picture of them when the black one has caught up.

I've made good progress on the Alpine Lace scarf. According to the pattern I should be starting the end border now -- but I'm not convinced it's long enough. (how much will it stretch in blocking?)(why do I refuse to swatch?)

I knit up a bag to felt for my god daughter's birthday - Rowan Polar with a strand of variegated sock yarn. Looked very promising in its unfelted stage. However when I pulled it out of the washing machine it looked like - well - a deceased animal. Truly - it had become really hairy in a very unattractive way. It created a nice solid felt - but the hair was a little off putting. (When will I learn to swatch?)

Last week I was working on a Pomatomas sock --- and I have decided that I don't like it. I wanted to like it. I admire the flow of the stitches - but as a sock I was unconvinced. I can't pinpoint what it was I don't like about it -- the pattern is very well written - but I didn't like knitting it. It'll be frogged next week. (The yarn is Lucy Neatby Celestial Merino and is really nice to work with.)

I've now started a lace sock in an Opal solid and it's making me very happy so far. For some reason lace socks remind me of grade school. (Even though I don't think I ever wore lace socks.)(Weird.)

Wednesday, 4 July 2007


I hate days like today. It seems like I can't really do anything right. (Further reinforced by Blogger eating up this part way through my first attempt at posting it.) Grrrrr....

To cheer me up it is raining in London again, as it has for the past zillion days in a row. I'm not a sun worshipper but it would be nice if it made a brief appearance at some point this summer. Grrrr....

Catherine Tate has been announced as Dr Who's new assistant. What's that about? Who makes these decisions? What are they thinking? Why do tv people have such little imagination that when making casting decisions they think - oooooh who's already on television far too much? Let's use them. Grrrr.....

I attempted a bit of retail therapy which lifted my mood briefly but even a delivery of lovely Posh Yarn yarn can't keep the Grrrr's away. This picture doesn't do the gorgeous green justice. I ordered some lovely stitch markers from Hide and Sheep in Etsy - but then immediately got annoyed waiting for them. (I didn't claim this mood was rational.) Grrrr......

To top it off my left hand is not happy about knitting tonight. It hurts. Definitely signs of repetitive strain. Grrrr....

So I'll make some tea, sit in my comfy chair, listen to a couple of Harry Potter chapters and admire my new yarn and the progress I've made on the Alpine Lace scarf. That actually sounds quite pleasant. But still.... Grrrr.....

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Whole Lot of Mystery

Mystery Stole 3 is underway! Close to 4000 knitters around the world have signed up to receive weekly clues from Melanie at Pink Lemon Twist. (Melanie designed the lovely Hanami Stole among other things.) If you haven't joined in but are interested the group closes next Friday so get a move on!!

Anyway - Melanie releases a 'clue' a week for the next few weeks (7 clues in all I think) which we knit up. We have no idea what the finished stole will look like - and I think it's an amazing testament to Melanie's talent that so many of us are willing to invest yarn and time in an unseen pattern.

There is a theme to the stole, which Melanie will reveal eventually (clue 5 I think). So far all we know is that colours in keeping with the theme are black and white. There are quite a few guesses floating around but none from me. I'm useless at this sort of thing. In fact, I suspect when the theme is revealed I still won't get it!!

I was undecided between white and black yarn for the stole so ordered both. When I went to cast on I was still undecided. So I cast on both. Worked about 20 rows and still couldn't decide... did another 20 rows.....ummm...still sitting on the fence.... This afternoon I finished the first clue in both yarns....still undecided. Perhaps clue 2 will help me decide.....

(I think marketing gurus could learn a lot from this as well. 4000 knitters learned of the 'Mystery Stole', signed up and committed to spending £30ish and countless hours to an unseen project. All started by a couple of posts on Melanie's blog. No advertising, just the power of the internet 'word of mouth'. Pretty darned impressive I think!)

Harry Potter (and TV suggestions required)

There are now officially no tv shows that I'm interested in watching. The Dr Who finale was last night (I watch mostly because I have an embarassing crush on David Tennant) - anyway - I now can't find anything to watch. And a woman of my advanced years can only take so much Radio 1 before her age catches up with her.

So I've invested in the Harry Potter audio books which I listen to while knitting. I thought it would be worth reminding myself what happened in 1 to 6 before I tackle 7 at the end of the month. (I am such a geek.) Stephen Fry is brilliant and really does the stories justice.

If anyone has any ideas for new shows I should check out - let me know!