Saturday, April 21, 2007

Karen's Handpainted Gloves KAL

I got the pattern on Wednesday and couldn't wait to cast on. It was like coming home - Lace is OK, but I ADORE fairisle knitting. I love the way the pattern forms and that it is easy to tink if you make a mistake. I like counting the pattern in my head as I knit along the row: eg. one, two two, three, two, two, one - because there is always a rhythm and a balance and a flow (I know - I sound like a complete eejit - only other knitters can understand!). I love the way the colours merge and change according to what they're put next to. I just LOVE colour. Swatch - what's that? Fortunately it fits perfectly, knit on 2mm dp needles.
I'm using this yarn:
the Opal self patterning yarn for the pattern, with the light coloured Rowan cashsoft for highlights and the Jaeger Matchmaker and Rowan 4ply soft for the background. I didn't like how the black and white pattern of the Opal made the top of the first flower disappear, although it worked OK in the corrugated rib, so I've edited it as I've gone on.
Doing the fingers is going to be fun - theyr'e all different and, although there are suggested patterns, I'm just going with the flow. The braided cast on was interesting to knit and looks good too. I wonder what else it could be used on?

The pattern was very expensive - at $13 inc. postage, it was more than a Rowan pattern book! But, having moaned about the cost, I'm enjoying knitting these gloves so much that I forgive the KAL site for not mentioning the price until AFTER I joined up and requested the pattern. Very canny. Being part of a KAL is also good fun, as I'm enjoying seeing what colourways other knitters have chosen, and how they transform the pattern into something totally unique. Guess that's what knitting is all about.

I got something very special from my not so secret 'secret pal' (NSSSP) when I got home late last night - A hugely generous voucher to spend at my favourite local yarn store Spin-a-yarn. What a fantastic present! I've a mind to spend it on the beautiful handpainted yarn from New Zealand and use it to try and recreate a diagonally knit jumper I designed years ago for some fancy Italian yarn that can't even be bought nowadays. Thanks Terri - a really original and inspired gift. I'm overwhelmed.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Another Walk with the gals:
Having sussed out the Merrivale Route with the family on Mother's Day (see the post on 17.03.07), I took the Book Club members (Cath, Susan, Cheryl, Dawn and Mon and not forgetting your trusty trail blaze, me!) on the same path yesterday, with some refinements. Showers were forecast, but it was hot, hot, hot and hazy.
Susan and Cheryl reach the first ford, Vixen Tor just peeking up in the background centre. Instead of walking around the Tors and down to the road, we went over Feather and Pew Tors and then down to the road. Much more interesting and spectacular panoramic views all round.
Look at that blue sky! Cheryl, Susan and Cath standing on Pew Tor.

This is everyone, and Dotty the elderly dalmation walking down from Pew Tor toward the road, where we were greeted by two hissing geese:
At Sampford Spiney (I always thought it was 'Spinny' but Mon corrected me - and she was right! - bit like reading 'Polite notice' as 'Police notice'.) We saw lots of alpacas again - the "Sampford Manor alpacas". The llama from Terri my secret pal, was very interested in his relatives.
Colour coordinated! Sampford Spiney is a beautiful hamlet, however you pronounce it...

The hedgerows are still full of violets and primroses, with bluebells just starting to open up. Couple of weeks and the woods around here will be awash with them. I'll post some pics when they are.
From Sampford Spiney we strolled on down to The Ward Bridge for a picnic by the River Walkham. Dotty was incredibly fast and opportunistic and stole half of my sandwich from under my nose. My Syd just looked envious.
These moss covered trees adorn the hedgerow coming down to the river.

After the picnic we strolled up hill back to the moors and Sweltor Quarries. Then, instead of walking along the Railway line like we did on Mother's Day, we took the footpath straight across the valley floor. The afternoon became increasingly hazy so I didn't take many pics. Here are some Dartmoor ponies with the Quarries in the background.

From the old disused railway line, we walked down to cross the river again then up to the famous Merrivale antiquities - several standing stones, burial chambers and three long stone rows. What was it all for? When in doubt, blame the Druids. (For a more informative link, see the Mother's day Walk post). S'cuse Syd's bum in the bottom left of the pic. The final stroll up the road was a bit of a drag. If you ever decide to do this circuit, be advised to park somewhere near the Dartmoor Inn and then do this bit at the beginning, not the end.

Following the walk, we drove back to the Warren House Inn where we had a traditional cream tea - inspired choice! So, do you put the cream on the scone first? Or the jam? 5 of us put the cream on first (nyah nyah DH!) and only Mon put the jam on first. The former is apparently the Devonshire way - the Cornish put their jam on first. Whatever - t'was a brilliant end to a good day's walk. Now I really must get 'Persuasion' finished before the next Book Club meeting at Mon's...
Knitting Update...
I have dug out a UFO from the box of stash lurking under clothes in the bedroom! AND I've nearly finished it! Wonders will never cease. It's a jumper for a year old, from Debbie Bliss' 'Baby Knits' (not the new one, but the one she did with the Good Housekeeping Institute in October 1988)- moss stitch, with a collar, knitted on 4mm needles. The reason why this has been dusted off (literally!) was because all my other projects need concentrating on and I needed somthing mindless for doing whilst watching videos or whilst walking the dogs. I've only got half the sleeve and the collar to finish off, so I'm well pleased. Don't know who I'll give it to yet - but it'll probably go to my friend Yas's baby Jago. Yas has little babies so it'll last him a while.

So what about the mindlessly simple socks I was going to start? (As mentioned in the post on March 26th) It's ALL my secret pal's fault (Thanks Terri!). She sent me the Fall 2006 issue of Vogue Knitting and the pattern for THESE was in there: Traveler's socks by Nancy Bush (I think this is a pattern from her book ' Knitting on the Road') which I'm seriously thinking of getting. However - having done a quick search, the pattern isn't like these - because the pattern continues down the instep after the cuff, so maybe it isnt' the same. Not only is this pattern NOT simple but probably the most complex sock pattern I've knitted in a long time: it's got lots of little crossed stitches in it, to make teeny weeny cables - but it's such fun that I keep having to remind myself to put it down in order to get on with 'real life' - it really is just a case of 'just one more row'... The designer, Nancy Bush, says that the design was inspired by an antique sock she saw on her travels to Estonia:

"The design is made up of diamonds that when knitted resemble a knotted pattern
and zigzag lines. Together they remind me of paths through fields or
forest, or perhaps even in life, where traditions, cultures and ideas
cross and one thing leads to another."

I'm knitting it in St Ives 3ply bluey/greeny slightly flecked sock yarn that I've had sitting in my stash for a while. So I'm feeling virtuous about not buying any more yarn. The circ is 2mm Addi Turbo - very slinky. I reckon they'll look great under jeans.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Good Day was had...

which is just as well as I had a shit day and night yesterday - had to pay a parking fine (from January - I'd written a nice note explaining that I'd paid the car park ticket for what I expected to be a short visit at work and an emergency had arisen so please could they let me off the excess charge - but no, the b*****ds not only wouldn't but took three months to tell me so), AND I'd been with a client attempting a vaginal birth after section all the long night which culminated in a touch and go emergency section because she suffered a (thankfully rare) uterine rupture. I've never seen one before. Mec happens. Baby and mum both fine. Thanks whatever godesses were watching over us all.
As well as getting my camera back, the postie brought lots of knitting goodies. The first thing was Interweave Knits - I've just subscribed and the first (Spring) issue arrived. It's taken ages to get here but I immediately got immersed in an article about an artist that PAINTS KNITTING which is wierd because I'm thinking about doing just that for the decorations at a 'knit in' to celebrate Knitting Week this Autumn. Not much in it I'll probably knit but I'm excited that Eunny Jang is the new editor and I liked the layout and content very much.

Then, as I was leaving for work, my neighbours brought this out to me - they have a porch and the postie often leaves parcels there if we're not home. Yes - a parcel from my secret pal! Another Terri! who spent a FORTUNE on air mail! S'cuse all these exclamation marks!

I was tempted to rip it open there and then but I decided to excercise some self restraint and wait till I got home to savour the opening thereof.

Later that same day: First thing we see is masses and masses of sparkly green packing - like a lucky dip!

First to emerge from all that stuff was what his label proudly announced to be a PADDY O'LLAMA! He is oh so soft and fluffy and has a very solemn quizzical expression (bit like the real ones). He is apparently suitable for anyone over 18 months so that's alright then. He has made himself right at home next to the PC (climbed all over the screen inititally but I've taught him the ground rules and he seems to have settled down nicely). He no longer has the spotty ribbon. He was a bit of a naughty llama and ate it.

Then there was YARN from Cascade (which I've never seen in LYS here) - sassy stripy sock in oil on water blue green purple colours and the new (according to the Vogue Knitting that came too) DiVE Italian soft scrummy merino, tucked cosily into an organza bag which looks green in one light and red dwon in the bottom right of the photo. A Vogue Knitting magazine which I sat down and read with a cuppa - No - I haven't got this issue, Terri - in fact I haven't bought any knitting mags for a long time (Interweave Knits must be the first I've bought in years) so it was a real treat. There are loads of sock patterns - and I'm contemplating knitting Nancy Bush's traveller's socks. And a book by one of my favourite authors: John Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany" not bookcrossed but I'll register it this afternoon. There was also Burt's complete hand care kit. I'm not sure who this Burt is but he's provided some neat little white gloves to wear to bed. What DH is going to say about that little caper remains to be heard. Since my hands are suffering from the gardening I've been doing lately, and are so rough they are snagging on my ISE4 scarf this is a timely and thoughtful gift. And last, but not least, there was a lovely labrador bookmark with a non edible bone attached. Hear that, my faithful hounds? NON edible. No choccies. This is because both me and you are on a diet and my secret pal is thinking of my well being. I haven't had any chocolate since JANUARY! This is an all time record. I might be forced to have just a little this weekend. Or maybe not.
A fab parcel from my Secret Pal - but if you want to send any more parcels by surface mail, honest, that's OK by me, even if it does take years to get here. I feel well and truly spoiled.
Thank you so much Terri!
The one week socks: Pattern from in a self striping 6 ply which I think is Opal, but might be Regia - I got it cheap from ebay without a ball band. Quick to knit from the toe up with short row heel, on 3 1/4mm circular needle. It must be pointed out that my friend Lynn has little feet (bless her!). These may count as my April socks - but since I knitted them in the last week of March (actually finishing them on the 31st on the way to London - aren't car journeys great for knitting? - assuming you're not driving of course!) I might feel obliged to cast on the rest of this wool and see if I can't get another pair out of the same ball. Apologies - that WAS a very ungainly sentence.

You will no doubt have observed that I have my camera back.
Chris - you're a star.
Here he is cutting his yummy nutty creamy fruity gateaux birthday cake.
Lynn got very excited about the sparkly candle which played 'Happy Birthday tune' very tinnily - took a deal of finding apparently.
Happy Birthday for yesterday, Chris!

Monday, April 02, 2007


I won't be able to put up any pics for a while - I was up in London for a birthday party at the weekend (lovely party Chris - waves!) - and, like the clot I am, I left my camera there!
I finished a second pair of socks for March - 6 ply, self patterning, big stripes, toe up - FAST - they only took about 6 hours to knit. And I gave them to Lynn (Chris' missis) for a belated birthday present along with the snake river socks which fit her perfectly. I DO have a picture of them which I'll post as soon as I get my camera back :-(
And I know Lynn will appreciate hand knitted socks. They're machine washable on a woolly wash cycle, Lynn, if you read this.