Friday 29 October 2010

Making progress

"Wightwizzle" wip
Originally uploaded by Asplund

This is a really quick knit once past the first few inches, so I expect to finish "Wightwizzle" soon. It's good exercise too, because the linen makes it rather heavy!

In the instructions the sleeves are knitted separately, but my intention is to pick up stitches around the armhole instead and shape the sleeve caps by using short rows. I've done that a few times before (here, for example) and think it works really well.

There's a small modification around the neck opening: instead of a few rows of garter stitch I added a "p2tog, yo" row to get a row of holes identical to the bottom border - which I modified too... The original design has a row of bobbles, but they didn't look good in this linen-alpaca combination (they looked clumsy) so I simply skipped them.

I should have taken a photo of the few bobbles I made to post here. Maybe, just maybe, I'll make a swatch and show you. Or maybe not! :-D

The colour looks strange in this photo; the photo in my previous post shows it a lot better.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

The more, the merrier

"Wightwizzle" wip
Originally uploaded by Asplund

About a month ago Maria decided to start taking care of her UFOs by devoting extra time to one of them every week. Isn't that a great idea?

Many readers of her blog are following her example; I wish I did too, but seem to do the opposite thing, starting new projects all the time.

"The more, the merrier," I tell myself. By the way, can you tell blue is my favourite colour? :-D

My latest addition is "Wightwizzle" from Louisa Harding's Little Cake. I'm testing a fibre combination they suggested at my LYS, namely one thread of linen and one of alpaca. It turns out very well, and it's nice to work with too. Normally I don't like knitting with alpaca, but the linen thread keeps it from getting slippery. The garment will be rather heavy though!

I wrote about Starmore's Aran Knitting in my previous post. Check out Tålamodspåsen's fabulous take on Eala Bhan!

It's been freezing cold, below zero in the mornings, the past few days. Was it really Midsummer only four months ago? It seems like a completely different world!

Monday 18 October 2010

Starmore swatch

Starmore swatch
Originally uploaded by Asplund
The joy and satisfaction of trying and learning something new! I have knitted many kinds of cables over the years, but not this kind of knotwork pattern. The yarn is too fine, really, but it doesn't matter. I simply wanted to learn the technique and used what I happened to have in my bag.

Both patterns in this swatch are from my latest purchase, Aran Knitting by Alice Starmore, which is a treasure – easily the best knitting book I've bought in a long time! There are ten adult sweater designs in it (plus five other garments). I would say two or maybe three of those sweaters are for women and the rest of them are unisex, possibly with major or minor modifications. I'm definitely going to knit some of the sweaters! (But when?)

There are many things I love about the book: the variety of patterns and garments, informative and fascinating chapters about different aspects of the history of Aran knitting with photos and detailed descriptions of sweaters in museums etc, a section about different kinds of pattern elements and how to knit them, and a chapter about how to design one's own Aran sweater. I think Starmore is a good writer too: she has a way with words, not only with stitches and colours. And I find her dry sense of humour very appealing. "To claim that one has discovered something on public view in a shop on a busy city street is to stretch the meaning of the word..." (p. 10)

When it comes to the designs, I really like her combination of traditional elements and personal touches. Some of the patterns are Celtic-inspired, for example. The designs all look timeless to me, which is something I find very attractive indeed - a book to use and sweaters to wear now or in fifteen years.

Anything I don't like about the book? Actually, no. I only got it a few days ago, though, so I haven't studied it in detail. I guess there could have been more photos of some of the garments: I like being able to see many details, and I believe it could be helpful seeing things like the wrong side of “Boudicca’s Braid” and close-ups of the saddles of “Irish Moss” and “St Brigid”. Photos of these designs here.

More designs would have been nice, of course, but on the other hand I easily prefer quality to quantity. There's a lot of quality in this book - and quantity too, in my opinion. Fifteen designs is enough, and then all the other things between the covers count too. A truly rich book.

Thursday 7 October 2010

Not enough knitting

Work has been rather hectic the past couple of weeks, so I haven't been knitting much.

In a little while I'm going to treat myself to having my shoulders massaged: they're rather stiff and sore, and my pro-knitting theory is that it's due to not knitting enough. Oh, and the great strain of cooking may have added to it. I boiled a few eggs again the other day!

I have managed to start a new sweater project, though. I'm using a favourite yarn, Rowan Feltted Tweed, and have started a modified version of "Nova Scotia" in a favourite book, Alice Staremore's Fishermen's Sweaters. More about my modifications next time!

Edited to add: of course, there's no such thing as enough knitting.