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Archive for July, 2010

Knit Nation

So this is where I was this evening…

I’ve had a bit of a hard week this week. I had some surgery to remove a cyst in April and after ignoring increasing pain for over a week, I went to the doctors on Tuesday to find out that the surgery wasn’t successful and my cyst was growing back. Faster than before. I’m on strong antibiotics which are definitely helping but I’ll have to have the surgery done all over again, which makes me unspeakably depressed.

Enough of that.

It’s times like these that knitting really helps me out. It can be incredibly soothing, thought-prokoving, distracting, creatively fulfilling and sense-of-achievement-giving, all at the same time. It’s a repetitive motion that I can do with my eyes shut but I can concentrate on it as much or as little as I feel I need to, in order to take my mind off other things. (although obviously I’m not implying that I frequently knit cobweb-weight lace shawls with my eyes shut whilst thinking of something else. Sadly.)

So I went to Knit Nation today feeling really excited and ready to be completely cheered up, ready to meet people and talk to people and take photos and gather material for this blog, and I epicly failed! I didn’t have any classes today (those are tomorrow and Saturday) so I just went for the marketplace preview. I didn’t buy very much (although what I bought I love; I’ll post about it over the weekend). My main problem though was a giant version of the crushing shyness that I appear to get whenever I walk into to any kind of knitting group! It is incredibly weird because I work as a reference librarian which means my job is meeting and talking to people, and I love it. Anyway. I talked to a couple of people, nervously fired some questions at Ysolda about her new book in the manner of a person with zero social skills, managed to give someone else the impression I was stalking her, and left feeling very awkward.

I also totally to failed to take more than 3 measly photos, all of the Wollmeise stall, at which I didn’t buy anything. The colours were arranged amazingly though. I’ll try and force myself to take more pics tomorrow.

On an unrelated note, here’s what the postman brought me yesterday…

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Madelinetosh Sport in Mansfield Garden Party. I’m still thinking it wants to be Audrey in Unst… another version.

Wish me luck in my sock design class tomorrow! Good night.

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The third purple cardigan I made this spring was Marigold, which was from the summer 2010 issue of Interweave Knits.

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I made it out of Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy, a DK weight cotton/hemp/rayon blend, which I thought would be a perfect summer cardigan yarn.

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For the most part, it’s pretty good. It feels quite rough when you’re knitting with it, but very drapey, and it softens up a lot with washing and wearing.

My one reservation would be, I wouldn’t use this yarn again for anything with puffed sleeves. My sleeves are nice and puffy when it’s just been washed, but after a couple of hours they are droooopy. And the ribbing stretches out a lot too. It’s totally my fault for using such a drapey yarn, and I could definitely do something with shoulder pads to puff them up, but it’s still under consideration. (Wouldn’t you see shoulder pads through this holey stitch pattern? I’d have to knit some from the leftover yarn and stuff them! Actually, now there’s an idea…)

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Brights

This summer I feel like I’m getting increasingly obsessed with bright colours. I’m currently making Audrey in Unst from Twist Collective in the most ludicrously bright yellow Rowan Cotton Glace (it’s shade 825 which I think is called ‘Buttercup’). It’s so bright that when people see it the main reaction is ‘wow….. yellow.’

Try it for yourself:

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There you go, I bet you thought, wow, yellow, didn’t you. And not necessarily in a good way. The more I work on it, the more I feel like I’m making it as a muslin for a more wearable version. This is such a great pattern for sportweight yarn, which I have a lot of, and it doesn’t take that much yardage (just 950 yards for my size, which is a 38 1/2). As a result I have loads and loads of yarn options for another one:

  • The recommended yarn, Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL Sport, in Jasper (purple! what a surprise)
  • Blue Sky Alpacas Sportweight in green, a discontinued shade More Alpaca Sport!
  • Madelinetosh Sport in Mansfield Garden Party (this hasn’t arrived yet. It’s on preorder and I’m obsessing over it.)
  • Old Maiden Aunt Alpaca/Silk DK/Sportweight in Strange Rock n Rollers (pinky orange, or alternatively, orangey pink) IMG_0660
  • Shilasdair Luxury DK, which I can’t get to be a DK tension, it’s blatantly sportweight, pink, dyed with cochineal: IMG_0659

Decisions, decisions.

The Cotton Glace is not massively easy to work with and I do get the sore wrists and hands that are common with working with cotton. However it is more stretchy in the finished fabric than other pure cottons I’ve worked with such as the now discontinued Rowan 4 ply Cotton.

I’m alternating working on Yellow Audrey with this…

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It makes me ridiculously happy to look at it. More on this next time…

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Well I know I haven’t written anything since my first post back in October 2008 but the thing is, I really, really want to blog. I really want to be doing it regularly, partly because I’m an ex long-time diarist who had to give up when I got a proper grown-up job and suddenly had no time to do it, and partly because I read so many great blogs and I feel like I should be giving something back to the internet in return. I don’t think I really even mind if no one reads it!

So anyway down to business. I realised recently that I spent most of this spring knitting purple cardigans, which is somewhat absurd as I already owned about four shop-bought purple cardigans. Also I am a librarian and it seems pretty stereotypical apparel (don’t even get me started on my large collection of sensible shoes, my glasses and tendency to put my hair into buns – it keeps it out of way! I’m just being practical).

Here is candidate 1, which is Pickadilly designed by Pamela Wynne:

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Ravelled here:

I made this back in March, partly to have something smart-looking to wear to deliver a conference paper in. It’s in some Rowan Felted Tweed that I got for about £2 a ball in a previous John Lewis sale, not all the same dyelot so there is a visible line across it, which I can’t really seem to be bothered about. I really liked the pattern (and the finished article) but I did have to knit the body twice, as the first time I didn’t modify the shape enough for my body. I’m really high- and short-waisted.

Anyway I loved Pickadilly and wore it a lot… until my mother shrunk it in the washer at Easter. I’ve tried to block it out but although I can live it with being a bit more fitted than it was (for ‘a bit more’ read ‘a lot more’) but the problem is that the fabric has fundamentally changed, and instead of the light, soft, airy but warm texture that Felted Tweed usually has, it’s now the most itchy cardigan imaginable. I can wear wool no problem but I’m scratching at this even if none of it is directly touching my skin.

It’s therefore, I’m afraid, a total sweater-fail. I’ll make it again one day… maybe in superwash…

Next I made Blossom by Kim Hargreaves:

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Ravelled here

I made this whilst recovering after some unpleasant minor surgery, and I’m not sure I would have made it through the pattern without having the time to do long stretches of knitting. The pattern is one of those that has increases on one edge every x rows, decreases on the other side every y rows, and a picot edge every z rows. I thought I was going to go mad holding three separate counts in my head at all times.

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I ended up sewing a popper to raise the cinch of the waist a bit (which it doesn’t have in these weird overexposed pics, note to self, stop attempting to photograph knitwear whilst wearing it) and changing the waist was really transformative, it changed it from slightly unflattering to a really good summer cardi. The yarn is Sylvia 4ply by Posh Yarn and is a really beautiful silk/wool blend with a lovely rich sheen.

This post is far too long so I’m going to leave purple cardigan number 3 for a later post. In the meantime though, here’s a gratuitously cute picture of Gilbert, one of my rabbits, pretending to be a Rembrandt painting…

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