Friday, 29 April 2011

Knitting Retreat

Having been immensely cynical (along with a lot of British I suspect) for several months, I turned on the TV this morning, saw all the police officers in their dress uniform and all the Union Flags waving and was hooked. It was all lovely and I feel very proud to be British.

Plus, lots of time in front of the TV meant I had lots of time to weave in ends of the two shawls I finished over my holiday, which I am now dubbing 'my knitting retreat', since that's all I did. And now I will share them with you and Tami's Amis FO Fridays.

Firstly, I finished the Percy Shawl:

Sadly I couldn't capture the amazing colour of this yarn. When the sunlight catches it, the gold shines through and it is lovely.

And, of course, there was the Rock Island Shawl:

I'm very sad that my knitting retreat is over - I loved immersing myself, listening to podcasts, making new knitting friends, yarn shopping.

Luckily this is a long weekend. Better make the most of it and get back to it.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Ten out of ten for effort

Today I went to the gym and spent an hour mostly doing cardio.

Then I came home and ate a salad for dinner.

Then I ate an Easter Egg.


Sunday, 24 April 2011

Shutter Island

I started re-reading Shutter Island at about the same I cast on for the Rock Island shawl. I picked up this book completely by random just under a year ago as the third in a buy two get one free offer. You know, the book that looks interesting enough, but you probably wouldn't bother if it wasn't on offer kinda book. I finally got around to reading it in about October last year and once I'd gotton into it, I was absolutely hooked. I loved everything about it - the story line with it's twists and turns, then tension in the atmosphere and as I came to the conclusion I could not put it down.

Desperate to share this story with as many people as I could, I bought the film and made my sister watch it, then lent her the book (she's not fussed as to which order she watches/reads). I was thrilled that the film lived up to expectations and beyond - apart from two minor changes (which actually changed it in big ways), the film was more or less lifted out of the book. I made my friend Slava watch it and she loved it and has since bought it. The book got lent to my mother and she loved it and then I made her and the rest of my family watch the film. And now I am telling you to read it, or watch it if you haven't already.

So when the Rock Island pattern was released, Shutter Island was in my head. When I bought the grey yarn for it, the rocks of the island, the colours of the clouds gathering for the storm and the greyness of the fort were all at the forefront of my mind. A shawl that I could link with one of my favourite books? Love it.

I'm still re-reading the book - savouring it and taking my time to pour over the details, to see if there was anything I missed the first time.

But Rock Island is off the needles and will be finished when I am back home tomorrow.

Edited: Bah, completely frogot to say that this post is part of Sandy's Friday Night Knitting Club - go check out the other postings!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Practice, practice, practice

It's been a truly beautiful day, so I have spent a good part of it sat out in the garden where I have been cracking on with my knitting and practicing taking pictures. I am trying to vaguely teach myself about how to use my camera. I'm very jealous when I see amazing shots like these, so, whilst I am no where near this kind of level, I can aim to be one day.

So while I was outside, in the sunshine with my camera and my knitting and it being a Wednesday and all, I thought 'why not join in Tami's Amis WIP Wednesday?'

Trouble is, lace don't really look like a lot until it's blocked out. Mostly, it just looks like noodles. So you may just have to take my word when I say that Rock Island is going well. The pattern suggests that you use 4mm needles. Of course, this would be the one size of needle that I left in Norwich - 100 miles away! So I thought to myself 'lets see how the 4.5mm goes'. It worked. Kinda. Big stitches, but as my sister pointed out, it made it look 'more lacey'. All was going swimmingly until I had done 36 repeats of the edge pattern (which is halfway through the repeats plus the turn repeat) and decided to measure it. 47 inches. This seemed excessive. Plus, I was worried that I would run out of yarn at this rate.

My sister offered to lend me her 4mm needles until I return to Norwich and can swap in mine. With a heavy heart, I ripped out the two days worth of work on the edging and re-cast on with the smaller needles. When I got through 36 repeats I measured it again, just to see. 38 inches. How has going down POINT FIVE of a MILLIMETRE reduced this band by NINE INCHES?!? I'm still not sure that that maths work in my head, but it has.

I'm now through with the edging and almost done with the garter repeats.

Next the lace part of the body. This is a really interesting construction - I've never seen one made quite like this. I'm enjoying the fact that the stitch count is going to decrease to nothing, so even if the repeats seem epic for the time being, soon it will dwindle away.

Actually, that seems a little sad.

Then I will have a beautiful and shiny new shawl to wear.

Thats better.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Let down


Oh Madelinetosh, you let me down with your knotted yarn. I don't need two balls! Nor do I need one that is 5grams! I would have happily paid less for a whole and complete 95g skein.

Luckily, the larger ball should be enough for the project I have in mind, but I'm not impressed.

Friday, 15 April 2011

On the yarn hunt

One of my plans for things to do whilst I am in London, was a trip to Loop. As it turned out, they have a knit night on a Thursday evening and A Playful Day suggested we pop down. Although we've chatted for a while online, it was the first time we had met, so I was a little nervous (I know I come across as witty and suave on this blog, but in reality I'm just a dork).

As it turns out, I needn't have been and ended up having a lovely evening. Although I did take my camera with me, I was having too good a time to take photos, so this here is purely symbolic:

Knitting and wine is all you need to bond!

The other ladies at knit night were all lovely and I came away with three new Ravelry friends. However, what I didn't manage to come away with was any yarn. I couldn't make my mind up in the shop, so I decided to go away and sleep on it, then I went back again today with a better idea of what was there and what I wanted.

I'm still not sure of using that blue for the Rock Island, but I think this could be amazing:

And I don't yet know what I'm going to use this for, but I just couldn't resist:

Yes, that does say Wollmeise on that label there.

I'm very happy with my yarn purchases.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

*insert random squeeing noise here*

Have you seen the new Jarad Flood pattern Rock Island yet? If not, I guess you're not a lace knitter, since it seems like since it was posted the lace groups on Ravelry exploded with people racing for needles and yarn. The blog post went up on April 6th and as of today, there are already 75 projects up, and I imagine a lot of people haven't taken the time to post on Rav as they are too busy knitting!

So, as soon as I saw it, I knew I would be knitting it and pretty soon. It's not the kind of shawl I normally go for - large garter stitch section where I typically prefer all lace and it's a pay for pattern. Now, I admit, I'm normally pretty frugal when it comes to patterns. I'm not anti the idea of paying for one, but I tend to find so many patterns out there for free that are beautiful, so I just stick with those. But this pattern - well, there was no choice, I had to have it.

So, last night I was binding off my Percy Shawl and planning what to do next when my phone buzzed. I picked it up to check the e-mail and may have startled my family by making an involuntary squealing noise when I saw what it contained. The wonderful Darcy (who you can find at her blog so you can tell her how amazing she is) had sent me the pattern!

Words cannot describe how excited I am, nor can I express THANK YOU! enough.

Only question is, what yarn to use? I have three with me:

It's a bit blurry, but I think you can get the gist. I'm leaning towards the blue, but it's a light and delicate colour and I'm not sure if this shawl would be striking enough if it's not in a dark colour (after all, it was designed for a dark purple yarn). The varigated is dark and beautiful and has some of my favourite colours in, but is it too varigated? And the green is vaguely set aside for a Spring Leaves stole which I'm still thinking about doing for the 3CS KAL. Or do I just wait (*flails at the thought*) until my planned yarn crawl sometime next week to find something perfect?

What do you think?

Friday, 8 April 2011

Reasons to be cheerful

This week has been odd. It started of well, the good mood of Sunday continued and I got some good news and spent good times with good friends and good food (made by me!). Then Wednesday hit and I was put in an odd situation at work that I wasn't overly happy with. And of course it's the end of term and I'm shattered, so 'not overly happy' became blown out of all proportion. So here, I am, bringing you reasons I have to smile instead of concentrating on the bad:

- It is absolutely beautiful outside - blue sky, not a cloud in sight, gloriously warm
- So I spent part of the evening in a beer garden
- Celebrating the fact that this term is over and I have two weeks off
- To knit.
- Every day this week I have come home from work and made myself a pot of tea

- And, inspired by the lovely A Playful Day, listened to a podcast (sadly, she only has one official podcast up, so I have tuned onto NeverNotKnitting as well and am slowly making my way through her back catalouge)
- Which means I have been reaching my goal of turning off my TV more often.
- Whilst listening to podcasts I have been doing lots of work on my Percy Shawl
- Which, after hating it for a while and putting it down and sulking about it, suddenly clicked for me on Sunday
- And I became a little obsessed
- And I love it.
- The good news I got on Monday is that I am on a course to learn how to become a judge at gymnastics competitions
- I'm a little excited
- And can't wait until May.
- My Colchicaceae Shawl has broken 100 'loves' on the 11 Shawls in 2011 FO thread on Rav
- And has been 'favourited' by 21 people
- Making it my most admired piece of knitting so far
- Which makes me very happy.
- (Which might be a little pathetic, but I don't care).

So life is good. I just need to stop and remind myself on occaision.

Sunday, 3 April 2011


The sun shine woke me up this morning. I felt awake and alive and in a ridiculously good mood. I love the spring and summer. I love being warm and light. It makes me happy.

I bounced out of bed and went to unpin my fourth finished shawl. A year or so ago, I bought two skeins of the beautiful Knitwitches Cash-anova Supersoft sock yarn which was on sale. I think it was the first time I had bought yarn without a plan in mind for what I was going to do with it, but it was so beautiful and for once was affordable. One skein was used to make Haruni over summer last year. I did break into the other skein just to finish the bind off, but since then it's been sat on one side, sad and lonely.

Separately, I had bought a little bag of silver lined turquoise beads, again with no idea what I was going to do with them. I had had them for several months before I even noticed how perfectly they matched the yarn I had. Then it was a matter of picking a good pattern. The one I chose has not (as far as I can from Ravelry) been beaded before in the way I was planning, so it felt like I was branching out a little.

So with the sun shining through my window and my shawl unpinned, I took pictures of the finished result:


With it being such a lovely day, perfect shawl weather (and the fact that my hair needs washing and I couldn't be bothered) I was going to wear my shawl out with a matching flower in my hair:


Spring is finally here and it's all about sunshine and turquoise.