Thursday, 24 April 2008

...and back to Knitting!

(If you haven't already entered my blog anniversary contest - what are you waiting for??? Go do it now!!)(Go - Go - you have to enter by Monday!)

Right, with that out of the way it's back to knitting.

Last week was not a good knitting week due to travel to the Middle East (Qatar specifically) and a freaky hand strain/injury thing which had me NOT KNITTING for 4 WHOLE days. 4! 2 of those were weekend days. Tragedy.

Anyway - I'm back at home, my hand is once again pain free and I have a bit of knitting to show for it.

First up is the Stormwater Shawl, in 2 skeins of 'Nova Scotia' Handmaiden SeaSilk. (I got mine as a lovely kit from Purlescence.)

This is a really simple pattern which I loved knitting. Once you've established the pattern very little concentration is required - which was exactly what I needed! (Work stuff is occupying most of my brain right now.)

Because it is knit from the handpainted SeaSilk you have to work from both skeins at once to avoid the dreaded 'slight but very noticeable' variation in colour. (As I learned last year with the Melon Shawl.)

The pattern suggests a clever way of knitting the pattern on a short circular needle so that you swap between the two yarns every row, rather than every two rows.

For example, if the scarf was plain stocking stitch you would cast on with both yarns together. Then:
Row 1: (Right Side) knit with yarn 1, at the end of the row do not turn your work. Instead slide it back along the needle so you are ready to start row 2 with yarn 2.
Row 2: (Right Side) knit with yarn 2, at the end of the row turn your work
Row 3: (Wrong Side) purl with yarn 1, at the end of the row do not turn your work. Instead slide it back along the needle so you are ready to start row 4 with yarn 2.
Row 4: (Wrong Side) purl with yarn 2, at the end of the row turn your work

....and repeat.

It's a nice way of getting single stripes of the two yarns, however, doing it that way meant I had to execue SSP's (slip, slip, purl) a lot, which annoyed me so I was lazy and did it the two rows yarn 1, two rows yarn 2.

As always the blocking process fascinates me. Here's the pre-blocked stole, ok, but nothing special. It's about 18 inches x 60 inches. A long soak and then a patient (ish) pinning session stretches out the stitches and really opens up the pattern.

Released from the pins -- and it's like a totally different piece of knitting!

Finished size is 24 inches x 74 inches.

Its a nice stole and more casual than most of the others I've made. Perfect for evening strolls by the sea in August. (I don't do evening strolls by the sea in August -- but if I did - this would be perfect.)

I finished my identical self striping socks. Opal yarn - have no idea what the colourway is called.

And on the flight to/from Qatar I worked on a pair of socks (Embossed Leaves from Favourite Socks) in a lovely green Socks that Rock yarn. These are my first Socks that Rock socks and I can confirm they do indeed rock.

Unfortunately though, I didn't have any of my 1000 measuring tapes with me on the flights and ....well....I think altitude affects my ability to judge the size of my feet.

(What? You still haven't entered my contest? Sheesh - for the last time - go!)


Kai said...

Oh No!! I'm glad the arm is better now. Love the stole, it's gorgeous and the stripey socks are cool!

The Green sock is cool too, even if it is a bit bigger than your other pair! :)

Kristina said...

Qatar! Wow.

Your Storm Water scarf turned out beuatifully! Now I wish I'd used two skeins for mine. Lovely pattern, eh?

I don't know why I ever come here, really. :) kidding.

Rachel said...

Another beautiful scarf...I don't think I've seen that pattern yet! And thanks for the tips in this post!

yarndancer said...

Glad your arm is better :)

Wow, the stole really came out beautifully after blocking! The difference is amazing (and the stole rocks too!)

That's some good advice you gave on the single stripes. :) Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love that shawl it is casuel yet elegant at the same time. I to am fascinated by lace knitting because of how much the fabric changes. I have yet to block my first lace stole but have competely enjoyed watching all of my blog friends' lace transform and can't wait to see mine do the same.

fleegle said...

Both the shawl and the socks are fabulous! Glad your hand is better!

That is an incredibly stunning sweater! Don't forget to leave instructions in your will for incinerating both the sweater and the pattern!

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LittleBerry said...

the shawl looks great.. as do the socks....

OK the self striping is Opal Feelings (1700) **runs off to enter said sock in self striping sock spotters book**

Sorry to hear about your hand but glad it's better :o)

z's momma said...

That's beautiful. And thanks for the tutorial on switching yarns.

Awesome Mom said...

I adore the blocking process too. It is like a magic trick that transforms something ho hum into something amazing.

cat lady said...

Come to Halifax and you can stroll along the ocean on an August night!

The scarf is beautiful!

clarabelle said...

OK, fair enough. Have a hand injury, fit in a visit to Qatar, and then just happen to have a Stormwater Shawl to show for it. No problemo! Grrr.

Thank you for the tips on knitting with variegated skeins - very helpful! Grrr.

Angelika said...

I love what blocking does to lace. The stole looks great and it's interesting to think of a lace pattern as "mindless knitting".

The Caked Crusader said...

Beautiful shawl - and is that your name in wood I see on the shelf (maybe the next step will be in lights?)

Anonymous said...

The shawl is stunning! And I love the tip about knitting both skeins at once, I hadn't thought of doing that before.

P.S. Thank you so much for the Kool-Aid! I'm going to be using it this weekend!

Viknits said...

Thanks Soo :)

Your stole is really beautiful! Love the green socks.. and well done for having the patience and organisation to make matching socks!!

Kd-did said...

Love the Sea Silk shawl! - I have the kit in Nova Scotia colorway - was that what you used also?- but never made it as I wondered if it might just be too simple a design to be 'worthy' of my cache of that Sea silk!

Batty said...

It's stunning, and so are the socks! I think it's pretty much the same pattern as Midwest Moonlight from Scarf Style (I think...), right? Just with a couple extra repeats. But I like yours so much better than my Caron SimplySoft rendition!

Queen of the froggers said...

The shawl is lovely. Great embossed leaves socks too, they will be cosy!

cpurl17 said...

The shawl is lovely!
I hope the arm stays healthy--the thought of not seeing more gorgeous knits from you is more than I can bear!

Nikki said...

Every time I look at your knitting I develop a complex about my own. You do lovely work.

Opal said...

I'm so sorry to hear you couldn't knit for that long! But you really came back with a bang, the stole is gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Oooooh BEAUTIFUL. Love the stole. And that looks like Nova Scotia--my fave colourway of anything Handmaiden, for sentimental reasons.