Friday, 18 December 2009

That time of the year again....

(Before I share this year's gingerbread house with you a quick update on the mom cardigan -- progress is slow! Yesterday in the airport lounge I triumphantly got to the last row of the back -- only to discover I'd missed 10 decreases in the underarm shaping. Aaaaarrrrgggghhh! I have given up on finishing it before I arrive and have accepted that I'm going to have to undertake stealth knitting at night when she's asleep in order to have it ready for the 25th.

Now back to the real reason for this post!)



It is that time of the year - when I drop my knitting needles and yarn for icing sugar and gingerbread. In preparation for the construction party gorgeous goddaughter Genevieve and I created a slide show of photos of all of the houses built since I began hosting the annual event in 1991. It was a great hit on the day as it played on the big screen in the corner of the room while we got on with this year's masterpiece. The children in particular loved seeing the houses built when they were younger -- and seemed amazed to discover that the tradition was much older than them!!

The order of events remained the same as in previous years. Lots of gingerbread, icing sugar and TONS of sweets mixed in with as much Christmas music* as we can find and a bit of champagne for the adults.


Every year I'm amazed at how creative everyone is. Check out the greenhouse devised by the marvellous Mads (9). (Standing beside it is one of the cutest snowmen ever -- created by the scrumptuous Suzy.) You can't tell from the photos but inside the greenhouse there are benches with lots of beautiful flowers.



Through the years the core team (me, best friend Caroline and her husband Pat)(and each of the minis as they arrived) has remained constant but different people have joined in over the years. Most gingerbread house virgins tend to sit silently by for the first 30 minutes or so and then gingerly pick up a sweet, find some icing no one else is using and heh presto suddenly we have a car...or a tree...or a llama.

I couldn't say that everything we make is immediately identifiable without some explanation -- but sometimes that is half the fun. And sometimes things aren't even identifiable with LOTS of explanation and those are often my favourites! (Also, the rules are that all mistakes can be eaten -- so they are also quite yummy!)

Children have their own logic -- Louis (7) for example made a great little igloo and then at the last minute added the snowballs all over it. Did I feel silly when Louis patiently explained that that is how the penguins store their snowballs for snowball fights.






And speaking of penquins how fantastic is this penguin Caroline created out of licorice allsorts?

Gorgeous goddaughter Genevieve created this amazing well -- marvellous Mads supplied the bucket.









Around the side of the house you find Pat' contribution this year -- a lovely river complete with a dock, a sailboat ....



...and the loch ness monster (created by my friend Shirl).



If that poor penquin sailor (another Caroline creation) didn't have enough to worry about with the loch ness monster ....




it seems he's about to be attacked by a shark!

And if that doesn't say Christmas I don't know what does!!

That's it for me for this year. I'm about to enter the no-internet land my parents inhabit but I'll be back in 2010 (eek 2010!) to fill you in how I got on with the Christmas knitting. Until then I hope you all have a lovely holiday season however you spend it!

Friday, 11 December 2009

It's Shogun all over again....

Many years ago when I was in high school I had to do an oral book report for English class. This was with the lovely Mr Parks who was one of my very favourite teachers ever. Anyway. It was Thursday and the report was due the following Tuesday -- I think it was Easter weekend as I recall having the Friday and Monday off.

So on Thursday off I go to the library to pick a book. I expect we had more notice but I've always been a bit of a last minute sort of person. (Bit of shock for you all there with that revelation!) I wander up and down, picking up and dismissing books until I suddenly find the exact book I want to do for the book report. Shogun.

Shogun.

1136 pages.

I could have picked Of Mice and Men - 128 pages. Or any of the other of books with far few than 1136 pages. Because with 4 days to the due date that would have been sensible.

But I didn't. I chose Shogun. All 1136 pages. Because for some reason - when I make these sorts of decisions I seem to think I'm not limited by the laws of time.

4 days of reading reading and more reading. Reading late into the night. I expect I ate at some points. And probably slept. But mostly I remember reading. I finished on the way to school that Tuesday morning.

All that effort and Mr Parks decided to give everyone another week to finish their books.....

Why do I bore you with tales of my grade 11 book report? Because I've chosen the cardigan for my mom's Christmas present.

Did I select a short stockinette or garter stitch cardigan in aran or dk yarn?

No.

I've gone for Katherine Hepburn Jacket (free pattern from Knitting Daily) in 4 ply yarn. The long version. Naturally.

I finally made it to John Lewis yesterday to buy the yarn (and big up the staff in the yarn department at John Lewis - very helpful and very friendly)....anyway I made it to John Lewis and after much umming and ahhing between Rowan 4 ply tweed and Rowan pure wool 4 ply I pick the tweed, they find me right dye lots, I pay up and head home.

I count the number of knitting hours between now and when I arrive at my Mom and Dad's next Friday - panic a bit - and then cast on. I knit away. But I'm not happy. The yarn isn't working.

Maybe it'll improve after a few more rows....so I knit about 20 rows and I'm still not feeling the love.



I sleep on it (well, not literally on it - it remains downstairs in the knitting area and I go to bed).

When I look at it in the bright light of day I decide I was right - the yarn is wrong.

So I schlep back to Oxford St (can you see the valuable, limited knitting hours slipping away?) I go to Liberty (because I'm too embarassed to back to John Lewis after they worked so hard to get me the number of skeins I needed yesterday) and buy the Rowan pure wool 4 ply.

I cast on on the way home and immediately I'm happier. I knit a few rows and I know I was right to make the change. This is knitting up much better The cables look fab. I'm knitting faster and I'm happy.



Happy and deluded. Of course I still don't have enough hours left......and I've got a gingerbread house to construct on Sunday....and.....

...and somehow I don't think Mr Parks can give us an extension on Christmas!

Friday, 4 December 2009

In Which the Big Black Blob Blossoms Beautifully with Blocking

The Lerwick Lace Shawl is finished -- and I'm very pleased!



It was knit with just over 6 25 gm skeins of Shetland 1 ply which caused me a bit (ok more than a bit!) of concern during the knitting (at points it was threadlike thin) but it blocked out beautifully. The shawl is one of the lightest and airiest bits of knitting I've ever produced.

(Photographing the shawl has been a challenge. These few images are the best I could do I'm afraid. Black lace and overcast rainy days are not a great camera combo!)



I used 2.75 mm needles - first Kollage square needles which I hated and which eventually snapped leaving a lot (a lot!) of live stitches dangling in the wind.

Apart from the trauma of the snapping needle it was a pretty straightforward project. The pattern (from Heirloom Knitting) is straightforward enough but as I think I mentioned before because Sharon Miller likes to provide so much background and so many options there is a slight frustration when you just want to knit!




There is one motif in the pattern (the second diamond insert in the wide border) that even after blocking I don't like - it just looks a bit messy. If I were to make the shawl again I'd replace it with something else.


I blocked the shawl on the floor of my guest room which is frankly a great reminder that I'm not really young enough to be crawling around the floor for an hour or two.....Every time I thought I was done I seemed to start all over again as I 'd decide to movethe pins out 'just one more inch'!

Now that the shawl is out of the way and I've accepted (almost) that it is December (to be honest that still freaks me out)(how can it be December already???) --it is time to get busy with a few gifts I've got planned for this year. The most important is a cardigan for my mom.

Any and all classic looking (but not dull) cardigan suggestions gratefully appreciated!!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

What do you mean it's almost December??????

I'm sure just last week it was the middle of August -- somehow I'm supposed to believe that next week is December??????

I can only hope that none of you are quite as surprised by that newsflash as I am.

Knitting has taken a back seat this fall to work - which has been pretty busy. It started to slow down a couple of weeks ago and I bought Season 7 of 24 (I'm an addict) and prepared myself to settle in with some serious knitting on the blob. But things didn't go quite to plan as my sister emailed me with a last minute request for a couple of pairs of socks for a charity auction. So the blob was put on hold again and I made socks while Jack got busy saving the planet (again).

This week my sister confirmed the socks arrived safe and sound, providing a bit of time to drum up some interest before the auction which is next weekend. It is hard to predict how much they might make -- as we knitters know reactions to hand knit socks vary from "why bother? you can get 3 pairs of socks for a fiver at Walmart" to genuine appreciation for the time and materials and love of craft that goes into them. Who knows who'll be at this particular auction! I'll report back on how they do as soon as I hear.

In other knitting news the blob is now getting some long overdue attention and it is slowly breaking free as I work through the 1800 short rows that will create the edge.




I'm making good progress but I've just got to the stage where it seems like it will never end. Row after row after row. Giving me lots of time to worry about the yarn snapping when I get to blocking!


That's all for now. Off to make some lunch. My friend and I made a batch of perogies yesterday - and even though we had a massive supper of them last night I think I'll have to save a few that were destined for the freezer and cook them up for lunch!!!


Saturday, 22 August 2009

The Blob Grows Slowly

Now that the needle trauma is over there isn't much say about the Lerwick Lace Shawl.

It grows.


But slowly.


120 rows of 800 stitches take a while at the best of times. But when work is busy, and the weather is so nice that any free time you do have you want to spend outdoors -- well, those 120 rows of 800 stitches don't get much attention!

I mentioned previously that I was finding the yarn (1 ply cobweb Shetland wool) quite uneven, and in places worryingly thin. Land o' Lace reported that she had a similar experience with the yarn -- and it even snapped in a few blaces during blocking. Eeeeek!


Anyway - I bring this up again because getting yarn that won't disappoint you in a project of this size is pretty important. If you are going to knit a gazillion stitches you don't want to be let down by the yarn at the end.


That's why I was so pleased this morning that while avoiding work by reading blogs I discovered that the very talented Fleegle has opened an Etsy shop. Fleegle knits gorgeous lace and knows more about yarn in her little finger than I do in my whole body (or whatever that expression is that means she knows a heck of a lot more than most people).


She's selected some yarns that she particularly likes for lace work and has dyed them some gorgeous colours. Not surprisingly I found myself placing an order immediately.


With Fleegle doing the selecting I am confident the yarn will be perfect -- I can't wait for it to arrive!! Stuff is moving off the shelves pretty quickly (no surprise there!) but do check it out if you're in the market for yarn for a lace shawl.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Oh My shiny new Knit Pick (or Pro) Needle - How do I love thee?

After last week's catastrophe with the Kollage square needle I was overjoyed when my shiny new Knit Pick (Knit Pro here in the UK) 2.75mm needle arrived yesterday morning. This morning I treated myself to a strong extra shot latte and sat down to tackle the recovery.
Things seem to have gone well and I think (hope) there won't be any noticeable goofs after the blocking does its stuff.

Working with the ever dependable Knit Pick needle this morning I realised just how much I didn't like the Kollage circular needle - even before it snapped. The stitches caught on the join on the Kollage needles and the weight of the work seemed to bend the cable at the join exacerbating the problem. In fact I think that is what caused the eventual break - the cable at the join got weaker with every row until it broke off entirely.

The tips of the needles were comfortable to work with and pointy enough for lace -- but I'm unlikely to try them again any time soon until I know whether my experience was a one off.

Jomama asked about lifelines in the comments. First I guess I should confess that I never use them - in fact, I had never heard of lifelines until about 2 years ago. However, my not using them isn't to say that I don't think they are a good idea -- just that I'm too set in my ways to start using them at this late stage in my knitting career.

Lifelines (as the name suggests) protect your work in the event of dropping some stitches or finding an error or having your needle snap. Basically a lifeline is a thread (dental floss is often recommended) that you run through all the stitches of a row - usually with a blunt tapestry needle. Then if you do face a catastrophe you simply rip back to the lifeline row and pick up the stitches from the lifeline. The frequency of lifelines depends on the complexity of the lace and the level of risk you are willing to take! Some people use a lifeline every repeat, or in the case of a very complicated shawl (with long rows!) every single row.

There are some good lifeline tutorials here and here and here is one with a great Knit Picks Options trick.

And look! It's that time of year again....I'm knitting little hats (16 so far) for Innocent Smoothies Big Knit campaign.


If you've got some spare yarn and a few minutes why not knit one or two yourself? Apart from keeping Smoothies cosy in Sainsbury fridges 35p from each hatted smoothie sold goes to Age Concern to help keep the elderly warm over the winter.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

I was going to.....

I was going to blog a couple of photos of my progress on the Lerwick Lace shawl.

You know, the usual stuff. Probably this photo of it all bunched up on the needles not looking like much of anything.


And then maybe this photo of the progress on the border.




It wasn't going to be an exciting update and I thought maybe I'd pep it up with some links to some inspiring knitting happening out there in blogland. (I am waaaaaaaaa-aaaaa-aaaay behind on my blog reading but made some progress this week.)

Well, that's what I was going to do.

UNTIL.

Until this morning while I was knitting one of the 800ish stitch rounds and suddenly I felt something snap.

"Oh no!" I thought. "The yarn has snapped."

But no. It wasn't the yarn. It was worse. Much worse.

It was my needle! Yep - my needle! The cable snapped off from the needle end and there hanging loose were lots of scary looking stitches.







Naturally while carefully picking up these stitches I managed to lose more stitches as the cable slipped through the work.

There was a lot of swearing.

A lot of very not knitterly, very not ladylike swearing.

I think I've picked up the stitches. And I think it's ok. But I've set it aside for now and will correct any that got away a little later.

When I've stopped swearing.

P.S. Lately a couple of queries have been left in comments - but blogger won't let me see the email addresses. So if you have left a question (or have one now) you can send me an email at thingssoolikes AT gmail DOT com. I promise not to swear in my reply!

P.P.S. For the curious knitters out there the needles were Kollage square(!) needles. I was going to do a little review of them as this is the first time I've used them for lace. I expect now it's probably best if I don't!

Sunday, 26 July 2009

A Head Cosy....and some lace

Continuing the theme of knitting that looks better with someone in it I present the Loopy Ewe Tea Cosy -- modelled by gorgeous goddaughter Gen. We were rearranging my kitchen/dining room furniture and somehow the cosy ended up on her head.

Despite the warm weather the pizza delivery guy didn't seem to find the cosy hat odd which does make you wonder what else has greeted him on his deliveries.

On the knitting front I've started a lace shawl - Lerwick Lace from Heirloom Knitting. The pattern is included in a booklet which provides background on the history of shetland lace knitters and designs - and guidance and tips on different approaches to knitting the shawl which is made up of 3 distinct components. Although I can appreciate the value of this information I confess that when I started the shawl I found myself muttering - 'just tell me what to do'!

I'm making the shawl with a black cobweb 1 ply shetland wool on 2.75 mm needles. The yarn is quite uneven. In a few places it becomes a worrying sewing thread thickness which makes me nervous about breaks - but so far so good.

The construction of the shawl that I'm using starts on the inside and works outward. I've just completed the centre which is knit back and forth on 149 stitches for 289 rows.

Next I'll pick 181 stitches on each side of the square and knit round and round (with a few increases) for 120ish rows. I expect that may take me some time.

When I've done that I'll knit on a narrow 20 stitch edging. That will take forever but will seem even longer - as edgings always do!

I did this little diagram to show how the knitting works. I'm not convinced it makes anything clearer but it took me 15 minutes in PowerPoint so I'm including it anyway.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Ooops? I've got lots of oops....

On Ravelry recently someone started a thread called "Now show your oops" asking for knitters to post pictures of their mistakes. I considered replying but couldn't decide whether to post the 'destruction of the Babette' or the 'drunken improv knitting' or 'the crown prince denial' or.... And frankly, I didn't have to look to the past -- I could have just picked from the multiple oops'es from my most recent project.

I decided to knit a summer top (Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2003, pattern number 23 - imaginatively titled "sleeveless top") for gorgeous goddaughter Genevieve's 15th birthday. My first oops was the colour. In my continued attempt to use up my stash yarn I chose this green Rowan Calmer cotton/synthetic blend yarn that I bought in the sales last year. It really isn't a Genevieve colour.

No problem - I just decided to change who I was knitting it for, and suddenly Genevieve's birthday present was a late birthday gift for her mom.

I did swatch for this project but (and that 'but' is the clue to my next oops) but I decided that the slight difference in gauge over 25 stitches wasn't anything to worry about. Natually, you clever knitter readers are shaking your head now, because you know that the slight difference in gauge over 25 makes a big difference over 180 stitches.

And I knew that too - but I ignored it.

Until I had knit about 3 inches up the body and accepted that when a design is meant to be form fitting -- you can't fudge a little bit of gauge -- it was definitely going to be too big.

So off the needles it came. And I started again on smaller needles.

The final oops was just a case of being sloppy with the pattern. I was watching the Gilmore Girls (the Gilmore Girls! I hadn't seen an episode since 2002 when I left Canada to come back to England. But last week I entered the 21st century and have digital tv -- and there they were!)(Although I'm a bit lost as they are showing the final season --so I've missed A LOT. When did Rory's father come back? Why did Laurelei and Luke breakup? Where's Dean?) Anyway--I was catching up on the Gilmore Girls and suddenly noticed I had missed some YO, SSK action over about 10 rows.



























I dropped the stitches and reworked them to get the YO and SSK's in the right place. If you're new at this sort of repair I can confirm it is easier than it looks. It often looks sloppy but that can be fixed by using a blunt darning needles to pull the excess yarn into the neighbouring stitches. After washing and blocking it looks fine!

The finished top looks ok - but I don't think it shows off well on a hanger. If I manage to get a picture of the top on Caroline I'll post it.



Speaking of things looking better with people in them here is a photo my sister sent me of herself (without her head) wearing her brand new Kim Hargreaves cardigan! Doesn't it look great?

I've just started a lace project -- which I think will take me the rest of the summer to finish at my current knitting levels. More details next post!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Waddya Mean 'Not Knitting'?

I expect this post is sort of that 'tree falling in the forest' type of post -- we'll answer that age old question if a blogger suddenly blogs after a long and unexplained absence does anyone read?

When last I blogged I was on a bit of a strange scarf in summer thing. I had just completed the very colourful drop knit scarf (good news - there is now an errata on the Vogue site!). A couple of other scarf projects were waiting in the wings (until today) for blogdom and since then -- I haven't knit a stitch.

Not a stitch. None. Zero.

Crazy.

The new job and learning the vagaries of HMRC (taxes!) has kept me occupied I guess....but I'm keen to start something soon. It was my best friend's birthday today and I took her out on Thursday for some yummy cocktails (cocktail bar near London Bridge called The Old School Yard)(comfy sofas, nice staff and amazing drinks - heaven!) and dinner and she turned up wearing some skinny white jeans, a black t-shirt and the wrap I made for gorgeous goddaughter Genevieve at Christmas. (We won't depress ourselves too much by dwelling on a woman who can fit into her 15 year old daughter's clothes.) The point was that she looked fabulous and it inspired me to make something for Gen's birthday.

But I'm still in inspired rather than 'doing' mode so I'll finish up this post with a bit more about last month's scarf mania.

Around the time I finished the colourful scarf I also tackled Victorian Ruby from Victorian Lace Today in a pale peach linen yarn. I decided to take the lazy approach to blocking this scarf, I just washed it and then laid it out flat to dry - no wires, no pins. I shaped it so that the ends flare out which I quite like.

It's a useful summer scarf - the linen means it's light and mostly decorative.

I also tackled a wrap in the most luscious sea foam Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend yarn - a single 100 gr skein was enough for this project. I decided it was time to tackle a mobius wrap and discovered that like most things in knitting it's pretty straightforward.

There are a few methods out there (Google is your friend) here's what I did.

I cast on 130 stitches using backward loop method onto some very long and very flexible circular needles. To get the famous 'half twist' on the first row you don't knit into the stitches. Put a marker on your right needles and then you turn all the stitches upside down and knit into the little piece of yarn between the stitches. (This is muchharder to describe than do!)(Probably easier if you have knitting in front of you.) You knit all these 'between stitches' loops until you are back at the beginning -- and NOW you start to knit the stitches you cast on originally. When you are back at your marker you have completed your first round.

I alternated 5 rounds knitting, 5 rounds purling to get the wide bands of stocking and reverse stocking stitch. I just knit until I was almost out of yarn. I cast off and heh presto - there it was.

It's modelled here by gorgeous goddaughter Genevieve, worn fetchingly over her school shirt.

My final scarf project (and perhaps it was this one that caused my mini knitting hiatus) was an attempt to make my mother a pink Ene's Scarf from Scarf Style. My mom likes pink and I found some mystery pink yarn in my stash (unknown brand) and decided it was about the right amount for a scarf.

My mistake was choosing a scarf design that started at the long edge. Scarves that start at the long edge do not give you the option of deciding that the scarf is big enough if you run out of yarn. You can't just decide to do the border in another colour.

Nope - when you run out of yarn on a scarf that starts at the long edge the scarf just taunts you with the gaping hole in the centre of your scarf. It mocks you for deciding to make a scarf that starts at the long edge with a yarn with unknown yardage that you can't even identify a brand, colour or (ha!) a dye lot for.

You can almost hear the scarf laughing in this picture.

It sits on the needles still - waiting for some knitting miracle to deliver another skein of the mystery unbranded yarn. A knitter can dream.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

In May A Knitter's Thoughts Turn to....

...scarves?

I don't get it either. The sun is shining and temperatures are up -- but scarves it is.


The first is this super dooper colourful scarf knit with Noro Sock Yarn. The pattern, the imaginatively titled Drop Stitch Scarf, is in the summer 2009 Vogue Kniting (aka Designer Knitting) magazine.

It's a pattern I expect I wouldn't have noticed if it hadn't been pointed out to me by the very friendly shop assistant at iKnit when I bought the magazine. She suggested it would look fab knit in a yarn with long stripes of colour -- and I agreed.

It was a straightforward project to knit - although I think there were a few errors in the pattern. I just did what I thought made sense and ignored what I decided didn't. There isn't an errata posted yet - so if you decide to make it and want to know what changes I made just let me know.



The horiontal stripes of dropped stitches are made by wrapping the yarn round the needle 3 times for each stitch, and then in the next row knitting into one of the wraps and dropping the other two.

The long vertical strips of dropped stitches are made by dropping a stitch off the needle during the cast off. Of course all knitters know that if you drop a stitch accidentally it will unravel at an alarming speed - particularly if the knitting is complicated. I can confirm though that if you drop a stitch on purpose it will unravel only through brute force. It took over an hour to drop the 6 stitches from the cast off edge back to the cast on!

I used almost all of the skein of yarn - these few yards are my leftovers.

The finished scarf is 15 inches by 72 inches.

More scarf action in the next post!




Now that the lovely weather appears to be settling in I've returned to work. Well, part time work so I can't complain too much! I'm doing some consultancy in the City which I'm actually enjoying.

I've set myself up a little company and I'm currently in the throes of sorting out logos and business cards, registering with Revenue and Customs, and just figuring out what it means to be a limited company in the UK!

I think I'd like to continue as a consultant - it suits my skill set and personality EXCEPT I'm such a rubbish networker/sales person. I'm going to have to work on that.....

CUPCAKES!!
Unrelated to knitting or my attempts at a career change I would like to draw the attention of any readers in London (or surrounding area) to the first ever Iron Cupcake:London Competition! Hosted by the Caked Crusader (who else?) which is due to be held June 1st in central London.

You can attend as a competitor or just to gobble up the lovely cupcakes - either way I expect it's going to be a fab evening!!!

You can find more details on the Caked Crusader's blog or at the Iron Cupcake:London website.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Joy in the Morning

I've called this post Joy in the Morning for a few reasons.

First, it is indeed morning as I compose this blog entry. (And heh -- given my recent posting activity - just posting should be a cause for joy!)

Second, it is a Bank Holiday here in London and it is NOT raining.

Finally, and most importantly (at least as far as this blog is concerned) I present Joy, a summer cardigan from Kim Hargreaves Nectar collection.


This cardigan was the latest project in my 'working through the stash' drive. I bought the yarn (Rowan Luxury Cotton DK - now discontinued) last summer at the Liberty sale and decided it was time to get it worked up into....something.

The usual aimless flicking through books and magazines followed until I stumbled across this pattern. I decided to make it for my younger sister (surprise!)(I'll find out now if she actually reads the blog or just looks at the pictures) which is of course always a bit of a knitting risk. But I figured I could probably find another pair of shoulders if she decides it isn't quite right for her.

I love Kim Hargreaves style details and the attention she gives to things like lining up the pattern in the sleeves with the body of the cardigan and the scalloped cast on edges.

The pattern is clear although the text for the 'Eyelet Ridge Pattern' could put beginning knitters off - it shouldn't. I think a chart would have been a lot clearer but for some reason they don't appear a lot in Hargreaves' books.

The pattern calls for Rowan Denim yarn - which shrinks (lengthwise) when washed so you may have to do some adjusting to the pattern if you are using something else. Miraculously (more joy!) I just knit and managed to get the right row and stitch gauge without any changes. (I still don't quite believe it myself.)

PS - Apart from being a convenient blog post title Joy in the Morning is a very funny book by PG Wodehouse. If you haven't read any of Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster stories do try one. I can't really pick one out over the others as to be honest the plots are all pretty similar -- but that is in no way a criticism. I've read them all more than once and expect to read them all again.

And if you are a fan of Hugh Laurie in House - but haven't experienced the delights of the British series of Jeeves and Wooster from the 90's check out this clip for a bit of House like you've never seen him before!




PPS
- In the interest in Truth in Blogging I should confess it is now well past noon (got a bit distracted) and it is now raining. But there's no way I'm changing that title now.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The Story of a Shetland Tea Shawl



Once upon a time there was a knitter who couldn't decide what to knit next.

She stared into her stash cupboard for inspiration.

And stared.

Occasionally she would pull out a bag of yarn and stare at it closely. Then she would sigh, put it back and then stare at the cupboard some more.

Eventually she decided this staring approach wasn't going to yield any results so she adopted a 'First in First Out' algorithm and set about finding the oldest yarn in her stash. That turned up this olive green laceweight yarn (Baruffa Cashwool from Lane Borgosesia).

Armed with 1400ish yards of olive green laceweight she turned to her knitting books and realised that despite having owned the book for over a year she had never made anything from A Gathering of Lace.

Flipping through the pages the knitter came across the Shetland Tea Shawl which was a pattern she had admired in the past and it just happened to need 1400ish yards of laceweight.

Hurrah. Pattern selected.

The knitter cast on and the green yarn was slowly turned into a green blob. And the green blob grew and grew. It grew until it was almost a shawl. But wasn't quite a shawl because a shawl needs edging.

In the case of this shawl 1150 rows of edging.

So the knitter began knitting the edge.





And slowly the knitter edged along...










...and along....









....and almost there...







And finally the knitter cast off and inspected her work.

And found a rather uninspiring mess of green noodles trying hard to be a shawl.






But the knitter didn't panic. She knew with a short bath, 115 pins and a few hours drying time these green noodles would become this.



A happy ending!

Shetland Tea Shawl from A Gathering of Lace
Baruffa Cashwool - 1460 yards (I used about 1200 of that)
3.25mm needles

Unblocked size - 29 inches (diameter)
Blocked size - 55 inches (diameter)