Sunday, 27 June 2010

It might be my fault....

If you were in England this afternoon it is likely you were one of the millions who decided (or had it decided for them) to abandon the bbq, the stroll in the park or an afternoon of window shopping in favour of 90 stressful minutes watching England v Germany in the World Cup.  Normally, I ignore all things football - but for some reason this World Cup has captured my imagination and I've watched more matches in the past 2 weeks than I had in my whole life previously.

We might as well not have bothered.  England lost.  And at 4 -1 we can't even blame it on the goal the ref robbed from Lampard

But I fear they can blame me.  You see England have never ever won an international match that I've watched. 


I think I might be cursed. 

Or it could be that England were rubbish.

It'll be interesting to see which the papers go with tomorrow morning.

In happier developments check out the latest Wedding Ring Shawl photo.

Do you see that?  Up at the top?  The edging is breaking out! Hurrah!

This is the final stage of the shawl and it's now that I can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  

But it's still a dim distant light - I've done 3 repeats which means there are another 137 to go!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Oh Look - Another (yawn) Wedding Ring Shawl Update

The Wedding Ring Shawl continues to grow slowly but steadily. 

I'm almost afraid that I'll tempt the knitting fates by saying this - but so far this has been an uneventful project.  No snapping threads, no self destructing needles, no tipsy knitting sessions...just slow and steady progress. 

I'm afraid that photos (well, interesting photos) are pretty much impossible at this stage.  But here's one I attempted just to show I'm trying.

The work looks messy and the stitches are all bunched up on the needle -- it is only knitterly faith that keeps me believing that the end result will be worth it.

After 200,000 stitches I can confirm that this yarn - Heirloom Knitting's Gossamer Cash Silk is a pleasure to work with.  It is gorgeously soft thanks to the cashmere but the silk gives it a lovely strength which means that although it is threadlike it doesn't feel too fragile.

Innocent Smoothie Hats
It is that time of year again -- Innocent is looking for little hats to adorn with their Smoothies. As always - for each Smoothie sold with a hat Innocent will make a donation to Age UK (new charity combining Age Concern and Help the Aged) which aims to provide services and support to the elderly.  Innocent is still 'getting its hats in a row' - so no deadline has been set yet - but they have confirmed that the 2010 campaign is on - so get knitting!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

WWKIP - Dickens Style

The non-knitting readers among you will probably be surprised to hear that there is a World Wide Knit in Public Day.  But there is. 

And it is today.  (Well, it is sort of today.  Apparently it is any day between the 12th and 20th June. I don't understand it either.  If Christmas manages to happen on a single day - I think WWKIP should be able to too.)

Here in London there are a few events organised - IKnit has arranged a treasure hunt of some sort, and Stitch London has a knitting pub crawl.  So anyone braving the centre of London - beware the knitting revolution!

(Who am I kidding?  The knitters won't get a look in -- today is also Naked Bike Ride day!!  Thousands of naked cyclists will be zooming through the streets of London. 

I can confirm it is an astonishing sight. 

A couple of years ago I was shopping with gorgeous goddaughter Gen and her mom and when we left H&M on Oxford St were stopped in our tracks as thousands of naked cyclists pedalled past.  Our only concern for young Gen (she was 13 at the time) was that it was an awfully young age to discover that the average naked male does not look like Daniel Craig emerging from the sea a James Bond film.)

Back to WWKIP day though - it reminded me of a passage in A Tale of Two Cities (regular readers will know my love of Dickens and fascination with Madame Defarge in particular) which I expect is one of the earliest (if not the earliest) examples of Knitting in Public in fiction.

Therefore, when Sunday came, the mender of roads was not enchanted (though he said he was) to find that madame was to accompany monsieur and himself to Versailles. It was additionally disconcerting to have madame knitting all the way there, in a public conveyance; it was additionally disconcerting yet, to have madame in the crowd in the afternoon, still with her knitting in her hands as the crowd waited to see the carriage of the King and Queen.

"You work hard, madame," said a man near her.

"Yes," answered Madame Defarge; "I have a good deal to do."

"What do you make, madame?"

"Many things."

"For instance -- "

"For instance," returned Madame Defarge, composedly, "shrouds."
It is good to know that even in Dickens time knitting in public caused some consternation among non-knitters (knitting in a public conyeance? in front of the king and queen?) and that even then the question 'what are you making' was inevitable. 

Of course, my answer of  'socks' never has quite the same impact as 'shrouds'!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Ma Knows Best (but nobody tell her)

I think I've mentioned before that my parents live in a house that the Internet forgot.  No broadband, no dial up, not even occasional internet access by mobile phone.  As a result my mother has never seen my blog - but she does get updates on it from my sisters.  When I spoke to her just after I posted about deciding  which sweater to make for gorgeous goddaughter Gen's birthday she asked if I had decided yet -- and then laughed and said "knowing you, you won't start it until the last minute anyway".

(It seems that my having to seam up her cardigan on Christmas day didn't go entirely unnoticed!)

Of course, my mom is right - I can be a terrible procrastinator -- and that little nudge encouraged me to cast on the sweater (I'd selected Arielle) sooner rather than later.  I was stalled temporarily by a search for 2.25 mm needles.  I have a gazillion (truly, a gazillion) sets of needles - but it seems that somehow 2.25 mm circular needles have never been acquired.  I had 6 sets (different lengths) of 2 mm circular needles, 5 sets of 2.5 mm needles but the only 2.25mm needles I could find were some 5 inch double pointed needles.  Hardly useful for a sweater.

After much cursing and muttering I took a look at the pattern (novel idea) and discovered that actually my short double pointed needles would be fine -- as the sweater starts with the lower edging which is knit on 23 stitches.

When the edging is done, you cast off all but one stitch and then pick up along the top of the edging to begin the back. (The body is knit on far more sensible 2.75mm needles -- which are easily found in the Soo needle stash.)

It's been a pleasant knit so far.  I like the Rowan Fine Milk Cotton - it's quite soft and easy to knit with. (Milk cotton  you ask?  Apparently it contains milk proteins -- weird!)

I'm glad I've started early -- the small-ish needles and fine yarn means this is going to take a little longer than my original optimistic 'no time at all' estimate.

In other news the Wedding Ring Shawl is growing - but slowly.  Each round is now so long that if I'm able to complete one in a session I'm pleased.  I'm still enjoying it, but motivation can be tricky.  It is in that middle distance stage -- too far from the beginning to be novel, and way too far from the end to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Here it is - I've dubbed it the cloud.