Thursday, 30 August 2007

Obsessive? Me?

A couple of weeks ago I hadn't heard of Herbert Niebling, and had never considered knitting a tablecloth. A few trips to eBay and Amazon later and my Herbert Niebling/Lace Tablecloth cup runneth over.....

I did manage to avoid bidding on any more Niebling patterns last weekend and I take that as a positive sign that when I die they won't find me buried in German Anna magazines (although I'll probably still waiting for that dang Lyra yarn!!!)

I realised as I flipped through these magazines that it is quite possible that I'd bought the english editions in the 80s! Anna was one of the few magazines to feature bobbin lace patterns and so I often bought it around that time. Although I was a knitter then the knitted tablecloths wouldn't have interested me or caught my attention. I was a Kaffe/Sasha Kagan big jumper with all over colour or cables type girl.

Some of the patterns I particularly like in these editions..... (If you click on the pictures you can see more detail.)

While waiting for the Lyra yarn I've decided to steal a great idea from BrooklynTweed and begin work on a small blanket based on this doily design using this very squishy Posh Yarn yarn. (Why orangey colours? I have no idea. It doesn't go with anything in my house. But I like it.)

The pattern is from Modern Lace Knitting.

And finally, I've finished (almost) the first Kaffe Fassett sock. I decided to try afterthought heels on this one - and I like them better than the short rows - despite the need to graft TWICE. (Gadzooks!) This one will need a little after grafting surgery as the stitch pick up wasn't quite as tidy as it should have been. More details when I finish the second one. (Do I know how to keep you coming back or what?)

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Pink Socks for M

A couple of weeks ago M requested some socks. Yipppeee! I am always on the lookout for deserving feet to make socks for and M certainly qualifies.

I asked her what sort of sock she wanted and asked her to pick some yarn she liked from the stash. She did a bit of thinking and then sent me a text to say "can I have a pinky colour, light and dark, and can I have them lacey". I was pretty sure that is was the Duet Sock Yarn that had caught her eye - from her description of the yarn and the fact that the yarn was sitting on top of the stash when I got home!

The lacey request was a bit of a problem for two reasons, one the yarn is DK weight, and two it's variegated and would overpower most lace patterns. Not deterred I decided to make a pair using a Cable Twist Pattern from Hello Yarn (which I found around that time being praised on Dave's Blog). It's an easy pattern and the stretchy ribbing means the socks should fit reasonably well around the leg. When I make these again I'll use a bigger needle size (I knit these on 2.5mm - should have used 3 or 3.25 I think for the DK yarn.)

I was feeling a bit bad about not making lacey socks though so I found some more 'pinky yarn' in the stash (Bubblegum from Cazza) and decided to make modified Monkeys. Not lacey per se - but they do feature YO's! As suggested on a knitting forum I replaced the purl stitches in the pattern with knits. This sped up the knitting time and gives a pleasing effect I think.

The yarn surprised me by knitting up in these funky spirally stripes. (I had thought it would knit up more like it did on the heels.) When i recovered from the surprise I realised that a heel flap heel would destroy the stripes.


It was obviously time that I bit the bullet and took on short row heels to preserve the spirals. Armed wth More Sensational Socks I tackled the short rows and although there is LOTS of room for improvement I'm ok with the result. I don't think this will end up my preferred short row treatment - but it'll do for a first try.

I'll leave the socks out for M to pick up tomorrow. Hope they fit!

Unrelated to pink socks for M today I received some Kaffe Fassett Regia sock yarn from Woolly Workshop which I'll be casting on at the first opportunity. This obligatory photo doesn't really give the true colour of the yarns (they are in fact two different colourways) - but I felt compelled to post it anyway!! I've got another colourway on order.

PS - Still no sign of Lyra yarn. Sigh.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Tapping my fingers impatiently (knitter style)....

So, I'm waiting for the yarn for the BKC (Lyra tablecloth) to arrive. Being an impatient sort I'm restless and can't seem to settle into anything knitting-wise.

I've wound some sock yarn....

....cast on for some socks....

...then decided I didn't like them.

I started making some hats for Innocent Smoothies.

For the benefit of non-UK readers I should explain that I don't normally knit for my refrigerated beverages. I'm knitting these as part of the Big Knit fundraising drive. These hats will be sent to Innocent who will start shipping the Smoothies with hats in late November. Participating retailers will donate 50p for each hat to Age Concern, specifically to support initiatives to help old age pensioners keep warm in the winter months.

I'm going to try to make 100.

I've pre-ordered Kaffe Fassett Knits Again from Amazon. (Along with some good ol' Canadian content - a documentary about Glenn Gould on DVD and a book about Terry Fox which is guaranteed to make me cry. All books about Terry do.)

I've cast on this BubbleGum sock yarn (from Cazza) and have started a modified Monkey pattern (substituting knit stitches for all purl stitches). So far so good.

But in my heart my knitting fingers are still tapping.....

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

I Can't Read German

When my copy of the Burda magazine with the Lyra pattern arrived yesterday I was reminded of a conversation with my goddaughter when she was about 2 1/2 years old. I'd arrived at the house and we were chatting and I asked her if she wanted me to read her a book. She took the book from the shelf and firmly proclaimed "I'll read it. I'll read it." I shrugged and settled in beside her. She opened the book to the first page, furrowed her little brow, looked at me and announced with a bit of surprise "I can't read."

My German magazines have arrived and "I can't read German." I am taking comfort from the very clear charts and the kind offers from owners of the English magazines for assistance.

I've decided to make the tablecloth in a wool/silk laceweight (cream) on 2.75mm needles. Why? Because I really liked working with the Zephry on the last 3 projects, and that size needles feels comfortable for that yarn weight. Yarn is on order but may take a couple of weeks. Sigh. In the meantime I've bought a couple of sets of 2.75mm dpns which I'll need to use in the early stages. I have an order for 2.75mm circular needles in with GetKnitted (I've opted for KnitPicks because I heard good things about them and you can't get Addi's in 2.75mm.)

When I bought the magazine also bought a magazine with a Herbert Niebling lace curtain pattern which I want to adapt to a scarf. I'm planning to make a scarf with a single repeat of the flower on each end. I think it will be quite fetching.

In the Meantime.....

While I wait for the Big Knitting Challenge (BKC) to start I'm enjoying knitting up socks. The Lana Grossa's are complete, and I'm on the second sock for M. It's Duet Sock Yarn from A Swell Yarn Shop in a simple cable twist pattern. Duet sock yarn comes with a skein of contrasting yarn for the heel and toe which liven up a simple pattern.

Socks to Protect Your Breasts (Really)
And today I made a donation to breast cancer research and received a gorgeous sock pattern in return! Wahey! MezzoDiva the Operatic Knitaholic has designed the socks as part of her fundraising efforts for cancer research. She's also running a knitalong for the pattern. As if that isn't enough she is taking part in a 60km walk in September. The socks are gorgeous, and I'm off to find some lovely pink yarn so I can knit up a few pairs as presents for Christmas.

Thanks for the Swan Lake Love
Finally, thank you so much for all of the lovely comments on the Swan Lake/Mystery stoles. I've tried to reply to as many of you as possible on your blogs, but unfortunately blogger doesn't let me email and so I couldn't reply to those of you without blogs, or who have private blogger id's.
For those who asked if they could link to the blog, please do.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Swan Lake Press Night

....after weeks of wondering and trying to visualise the final product -- it's here! Below are my two completed Swan Lake Stoles (Mystery Stole 3).

I love the finished objects. I truly think the stoles are stunning - particularly when the wing is flung over the shoulder. I can't wait to get the Swan shawl pin I ordered to go with it as I think it will really finish it offThe stoles are both knit in Zephyr wool/silk on 2.75mm needles. I did extra repeats to add some length (Melanieincludes directions for lengthening or shortening the stole from the base pattern.)

The stole is 17 inches wide, about 76 inches long. That's smaller than Melanie's target - but she knit on larger needles.

The pattern (which will be available from PinkLemonTwist) is very clear and easy to follow.

I thought this Mystery knitting was great fun and I'll definitely consider doing one again! I enjoyed not knowing what was coming next, and I enjoyed having a set of knitting assigned to each week. Despite my original plan to ignore the week by week schedule, I became obsessed (ahem) with completing the clues as they came out.

PS Wyoming has landed!!! (I think.) On Friday the blog had a visitor from Cheyenne, Wyoming. Well, that's where the ISP was. They spent a few minutes on the site and read a few pages but no comment. From what I can tell Cheyenne is on the border which could possibly mean the visitor was from a neighbouring state.... but in the absence of any evidence that that is the case I am counting the Wyoming Project (such as it was) a success.

I am slightly disappointed as Friday I had researched a few Wyoming facts (first woman governor!, first state to give women the vote!, is the second largest the wool producer in the US! 810,000 sheep! 500,000 people! dishy Matthew Fox from Lost was born there!) which I was sort of looking forward to sharing. Oh! I did.

A Pair of Swans Blocking

My determination (obsession) continues and I've now finished knitting both stoles. Here they are blocking. You'll be happy to hear that I won't actually stick around to watch them dry!

I'm now determined to head out and do a bit of shopping. Shoes I think.

I'll post pictures of the unpinned stoles tonight or tomorrow morning.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Mystery Stole (the First) is Cast Off!

The final Swan Lake/Mystery Stole 3 clue came out today and I was determined to finish one of the stoles before letting my head hit the pillow tonight.
And wahey - behold - a complete Swan Lake Stole. I haven't made much effort with this picture (sorry) but I will block it tomorrow and post a picture as soon as I can after that.

I've begun clue 7 on the black Mystery Stole - but bed is calling so I'll finish that Saturday or Sunday.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Biggest Knitting Challenge of My Life

Alright I'm ready to unveil (sort of) my BKC. I'm 90% convinced that I'm ready to take this on. Unfortunately I can't post any photos here as the pattern hasn't been delivered yet, so there will be a few links, lots of text and some photos of the lovely yarn delivered to my office today because yarn is always nice to look at.

The BKC came about when I began toying with the idea of knitting my mother a lace tablecloth for Christmas. This led to a bit of pattern googling on Sunday afternoon where I stumbled across a pattern called Lyra by a man called Herbert Niebling. I don't think I'd heard about Herbie (if I can be so informal) before, but it didn't take long to discover that the man is a GENIUS when it comes to two sticks, some yarn and the liberal use of YO's. You can see samples of his design on this page . (Click on the photos to see the detail. Really, it's worth a mouse click to see the full glory.)

Now I've knit some lace in my time. Some of it can be seen on this blog. But suddenly, it seemed I hadn't even begun to knit lace. This stuff just seemed a whole other level. Then I stumbled across Rosemarie's blog, and she had knit such beautiful things -- including Lyra. That was it - in a short couple of hours Herbert Niebling, and Lyra specifically, had become an obsession. (And if you read the comments on my previous entry you'll see Rosemarie has kindly agreed to help point me in the right direction. Wahey! An expert on my side.)

I also discovered a Yahoo Group of knitters equally (possibly more) obsessed with knitting Niebling patterns. Wahey again!

Then the bad news. Getting a copy of Niebling patterns is NOT EASY. In fact this Yahoo Group is devoted to knitters trying to convince the owner of the patterns copyright to reprint them.

On there is promise of an upcoming book of lace patterns of the 'Niebling school'. So possibly Nieblings, possibly just good patterns in his style. But I wanted Lyra!!!!

One of the sites mentioned the crazy prices his patterns were getting on eBay and so I knew eBay it was.

Luckily for me - there it was - the holy grail. A copy of Burda magazine (in German)(but you can't have everything, and charts are universal) with Lyra in it! The auction was due to end Sunday night so I put in a bid and crossed my fingers. I was outbid twice so I put in my absolute maximum price, turned off the PC and tried not to think about whether I should increase it a smidge. just in case... I logged on the next morning and I'd won. Yippppeeee!!!

The pattern is on its way and should be with me shortly.

I would love to make this for my mother - I know she'd love it, and in fact, I think she might even cry. Also, it may help her come to terms with the fact that I am never going to finish tatting that tablecloth I started for her 20 years ago. (My mother has kept that 3/4 finished tablecloth in a trunk in her basement and we have a ritual when I visit where she takes it out and half jokingly, half hopefully asks if perhaps this year I'll finish it.)

Of course, that leads to my fear that I'll start Lyra....and never finish. Hmmm...

PS Yarn pictures are from top to bottom

  • Posh Yarn Sophia laceweight, no plans
  • Posh Yarn Silk DK, possibly another Sarcelle or Clapotis or.... similar
  • Posh Yarn Silk DK, (ditto)
  • Posh Yarn Sophia laceweight, possibly a Honey Bee Stole
  • Lorna's Laces Sock yarn, socks
PPS Still no Wyoming visitors. Although I've learned that Wyoming has the smallest population of any State in the US so that may account for it. In any event, I'm determined that I will soon start a campaign to lure Wyoming-ites to this blog. Even if only for a second.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Socks and ..... errrr....socks

I've finished the lovely Latte Lace socks (or in this colour, blackcurrant frappuccino lace). I really like them and expect I'll be making another pair at some point. The pattern is fun to knit - interesting enough to keep you knitting but quite relaxing. The yarn is Sloe Gin from Cazza, and the colour is really yummy.

I finished those and immediately cast on two new pairs of socks. New England from Nancy Bush's 'Knitting on the Road' and a plain pair in Lana Grossa self patterning yarn. The Lana Grossa socks are moving forward rapidly, and I'm really pleased with the striping pattern. I like it far more that I expected to from the unassuming ball of yarn I started with.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for the New England socks. The more observant amongst you will note the lack of needles, or signs of any progress. That is because I knit about 2 inches and then frogged it. Mine did not look cute and tidy. Mine looked messy, and goodness only knows what I was doing with the little lace pattern. Sigh. Anyway, I am not defeated. I just know better than to struggle long with a pattern when it is fighting me. I'll come back to this another time.

And today I had another request for socks! Yippeeee!! Max looks after my house for me - she comes in once a week cleans the place and sorts out stuff that needs sorting. She is AMAZING and gorgeous and funny and has proven to be a good friend over the years.

I guess she's noticed the recent spate of sock knitting (hard to miss really) and today asked if she could have a pair. Yippeee! So I'll leave her with some patterns and ask her to pick some yarn out of the stash and get those going soon.

In general, I don't knit for other people unless I know they WANT what I'm making (I don't think it's fair to expect them to love it just because I loved making it) and that they do appreciate the effort.

PS - still no sign of Wyoming. Well, except for FeltBoots brief and chilly visit that is. And although tempted, I don't think I can count that as a Wyoming blog visit.

PPS - I am dangerously close to taking on the Biggest Knitting Challenge of My Life! I'm still pondering, more detail later this week.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Everything Should be This Cute!

Yesterday I received my latest shopping from Purlescence containing a Namaste messenger bag (chocolate corduroy outer with a fabulous lining), some gorgeous Lantern Moon ebony dpns and this adorable sheep measuring tape. How cute is that? They have a few other styles of this measuring tape and I feel a growing need to own the ladybug....

Yesterday was also Clue Day for the Swan Lake Stole (aka Mystery Stole 3). It basically extends the feather pattern across the width of the stole. Next week is the final clue and I'm really curious to see how the feather pattern finishes. I've completed clue 6 in black and will get it underway for the white stole early next week.

In the meantime I've got to pick an edging pattern for the melon stole. I don't know why I'm finding it so difficult - but I am. I can't seem to settle on one.

And huge thanks to Connie (in comments) for solving the Sarcelle Stole mystery and pointing me towards the Shawlknitters Yahoo Group. A knitalong for this pattern is a great idea. I think it's a pattern that adapts well to different yarns and can't wait to see what the knitalong group comes up with. Coincidentally I've been considering making a second Sarcelle in a fingering weight silk yarn that I bought last week.

How wondrous would it have been if Connie had been from Wyoming? But alas it appears she isn't. According to Google analytics Wyoming continues to be a black hole as far as this blog is concerned.

Cazza asked where I get the location information from. I use . There is some code there that you copy on to your template and it will give you daily reports on accesses to your blog. It gives a fair bit of information, but my two favourite bits are: google searches used to find your blog, and location.

But enough knitting talk -- it's Saturday, the sun is shining and Greenwich Park is calling my name.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Why Not Wyoming?

After the disaster of the mismatched SeaSilk melon scarf I confess the joy of knitting has been somewhat lacking in my life. I think I'm on the road to recovery now - assisted by the decadent socks that are Frappuccino Lace!

I've completed the first of the Latte Lace socks (due to the colour I've chosen I've decided it's more a blackcurrant frappuccino lace). I really like the lacey ribs and the little bit of lace detailing on the heel flap.

On the melon scarf front I've decided to rip back to the end of the first skein, and then finish the stole using an edging in the second skein. I am hoping (really really hoping) that the difference in colour will be less jarring this way. I haven't selected a border yet - so that is this weekend's task.

Finally, I learned a lesson yesterday on the importance of knowing your audience following a long and excited speech by me on the glory of the latest sock yarn from Cazza - Captain Jack and Davy Jones. See, the colours are inspired by the characters, and oh so luscious! Anyway, I waxed lyrical and then realised I was talking to a non-knitter who had never seen a Pirates of the Carribbean film. Sigh.

But I'm still dead excited about these yarns!!

P.S. Does anyone know what the sudden interest in the Sarcelle Stole is?? Over the past week there have been a gazillion (well, perhaps not a gazillion)(but lots) of searches for Sarcelle Stole leading people to my blog. Of course, that's what the blog is here for, and I hope they enjoyed seeing my finished Sarcelle -- but why the sudden interest? That's what I want to know. So if you are someone who has come by this blog as a result of a search on Sarcelle Stole, and you know why there are so many of you all of a sudden let me know. Thanks!

P.P.S. That reminds me of something odd I've noticed in the blog accesses. Google analytics displays a world map that pinpoints where your visitors are from. I love it! But I've noticed that I've had visitors from every US state but Wyoming. What's that all about?

I now need to decide whether my next quest is to lure a visitor from Wyoming to the site, OR to see how long I can go without anyone from Wyoming happening upon the blog. I'll ponder that today. (Another busy day in Soo's world.)

Monday, 6 August 2007

Aha! (and Grrrr....)

It appears my shaping of the Swan Lake stole was a bit wonky..... The picture below should be more in line with how the stole is knitting up.
On the weekend I was finishing up the centre panel for the melon scarf. Ran out of yarn in skein one, started knitting skeing two....and .... errr...grrrrrr..... (and to add insult to injury it was almost impossible to take a photo that accurately reflected the striking difference in colour between the two skeins! How annoying was that. Believe me it's more noticeable in real life than in this photo. Grrrr.....

Saturday, 4 August 2007

I Love Swan Lake!

I love the ballet and so far I'm loving the Swan Lake stole -- which we discovered yeserday is the real identity of the Mystery Stole 3.

We were all predicting a dramatic change following clue 4 and we weren't disappointed. Melanie has introduced a curved 'wing' shape into the otherwise straight edged stole. She has posted a schematic of the final shape of the stole but I haven't looked at it yet as I'm really enjoying watching the shape unfold. This clue consists of short rows to give the curved shape, and a very soft feather pattern. Quite a departure from the previous pattern.

I've finished clue 5 in white and I'm looking forward to knitting it up on the black one, but it may be a few days before I get to that. Because....

I've discovered another mystery. Which is: how is it that of all of the finished objects you share with your co-workers the one that gets (BY FAR!) the most enthusiastic response is....the iPod sock? There was lots of love for the iPod socks at work yesterday (and indeed from my goddaughter when I gave them to her). There was so much love that in a moment of weakness I agreed to whip up a Blackberry sock and a couple more iPod socks over the weekend.

It's a good thing I love knitting lace enough not to need validation from my friends and colleagues!!!!