Sunday, 27 January 2008

Knitting for comfort

One of the disadvantages of living in a big city is the public transport. No, this isn't going to be a rant about the lateness and cleanliness of the trains. My problem lies with the proximity of persons. Don't get me wrong, whenever I change trains at Bank, one of the busiest and most complex of junctions on the network I am always pleasantly surprised at how good natured and calm people are about navigating streams of fellow passengers all going in different directions and piling onto trains until you couldn't fall over if you wanted to. Rarely do I hear any outburst of temper or frustration. When there is space to get my knitting out people often smile or ask questions. However, no matter how well mannered people are they can't leave their coughs and sneezes and bugs at home so it was only a matter of time before one caught up with me.

Today, despite being desperate to be out and about in my favourite sort of crisp, bright winter weather I am huddled up sniffling and snuffling, shivering one minute and hot and bothered the next. Neither use nor ornament as my mum would have said. Mind you, life doesn't seem too bad when you are nursing a mug of hot fruit punch and wrapped up in one of your favourite pieces of knitting.

I made this blanket at least six years ago after my very first trip to Australia. I wanted to bring back something special that would remind me of the place and the wonderful journey that I had been on. My friend took me to a fabulous independent yarn seller called the Jolly Jumbuk where I bought several hanks of the most beautiful aran weight natural light brown yarn. When I got home I thought about what I should make with it, deciding against a jumper as I wanted something that I could have around the house to remind me of my visit so I decided on this shawl design by Alice Starmore. I had the kit but hadn't made it up yet so thought I would use this yarn instead. I loved knitting the complex cable motifs which gave a real balance between simple, rhythmic knitting and parts which required more concentration. This was before the days when I knew about circular needles and spit splicing so I worked away on long metal needles and wove in ends as best I knew how.

The fabric produced is dense and lustrous. Now I'm a spinner and am interested in such things I wish I had found out what the fibre is as I don't think it's merino. Also, if I knew what I know now I might have gone up a needle size to create a more fluid fabric but when I'm feeling sorry for myself I can wrap up in it and think about the warmth that it reminds me of and that it gives me now. It makes me think of the journeys I have been on both as a traveller and as a knitter.

Still, being under temporary house arrest does mean that I have been able to catch up on my knitting and of course a poorly girl is allowed to indulge herself with new and interesting projects isn't she? The first is a long glove from Veronik Avery's Knitting Classic Style. I have been a member of the Rockin' Sock Club this year and to my shame have only been moved to knit one pair of socks of the six kits I was sent. It's lovely yarn but somehow the patterns didn't quite appeal. This yarn is called Lenore from their Raven series which are all deep, deep colours based on the shades of a raven's wing. I decided that this yarn would look great as a pair of really gothic opera gloves and so far they are knitting up quite well. Ask me again now I am about to tackle the fingers... Think I'll go for a lie down...

I've also got another couple of projects on the go which are at the swatch stage. The above is Yarn Yard merino in Horseshoe Lace from Barbara Walker, which I am pleased with so far - it has a very architectural feel to it which contrasts well with the softness of the yarn.


And here are False Flames, also by Barbara Walker, in this month's Yarn Yard sock club yarn. I need to think a bit more about this one.

I'll step away from the keyboard now - wouldn't want you catching anything.

13 comments:

Nikki said...

I hope you feel better soon... I had/have a bit of a cold myself and am finally feeling decent enough to actually eat and knit!

Your gloves out of Lenore are stunning!! That's the only colorway in the club that I've wished I had. I settled on Valkyrie instead :)

Auntie Noo said...

As one who doesn't venture into the "Big Smoke" too often (in fact only really for a good jazz band!) I ALWAYS get the snuffles after being on a train! The shawl is absolutely stunning, Totally wonderful!!!

Hope you feel better soon.

scarletprincess said...

My deepest sympathies on the cold... I'm just recovering from one myself! The shawl is absolutely stunning!!! Also, those gloves are a beautiful colour-definately a colour I'd use myself. Yum!

Queen of the froggers said...

I love the cabled throw, so cosy!

Mandella said...

Get well soon. The winter cold season is the pits, but at least it's nice to curl up inside when it's cold, unlike with a summer one when it's sweltering.

I love the idea of knitting as souvenir. Unfortunately the only thing I ever found was as a teenager when I bought some wool in the mountains of Crete. It was duly knitted into a jumper, but then in my ignorance I washed it in the machine and it came out just about big enough for my Teddy.

You've got a great photo of Lenore there, looking much more interesting than just vague black. The gloves are a great idea. All my RSC yarn is in stash I'm ashamed to say.

Diane said...

Wrapped in that blanket, I reckon you'd make a pretty fair ornament ;-) don't forget to drink lots of lemony hot drinks (with rum in).

And I'm sure I've mentioned this - the Jolly Jumbuk was my LYS when I was an ickle thing :-) my mum still goes there all the time!

emmms said...

Hope you feel better soon -- that's definitely the worst part about public transport. That and the guy who pees on the 436 bus.

Soo said...

Hope you are on the mend!

I love tht blanket - it is gorgeous and just the thing for when you are feeling under the weather. I keep thinking I need to tackle something like that....

sandra said...

Lovely,cuddly blanket,and just love the gloves, fab colour.Amazingly, I have just ordered that book from Amazon and must find some yarn now to do those.

natalie said...

I always buy yarn as souvenirs, and if I am running out of room in my suitcase, I buy needles!

n

Anni said...

Get well soon. gorgeous shawl and gloves. your yarn yard knits look fantastic too.

Yvonne said...

Love the knitting souvenir. Hope you feel well enough to enjoy the time at home - I don't mind being sick if I can stay home and knit!

Squiblet said...

I love those opera gloves, I can't wait to see them finished. The colours are so wonderful. I'm glad you're feeling better now.

Libby