Tuesday, 6 January 2009

I may have done a little knitting...

How you would have laughed if you saw how much yarn I packed for my trip to the Island. Regular readers will know that even if I go away for a weekend I pack a month's worth of knitting and spinning materials but I really did surpass myself this time. With the thought of a break of almost two weeks, more than I have had since my trip to Australia earlier in the tea9r and knowing that at least half of it would be spent in a pretty sedentary way with my dad I went for it:

If memory serves I took:
20 balls of Jamieson's Spindrift
3 skeins of Yarn Yard Hug
2 skeins of Wollmeise sock yarn
I unfinished lace project
I unfinished sock project
I unfinished spinning project
4 pattern books
All my dpns.

My rucksack with the addition of a few warm winter clothes and my entire mitten collection (I couldn't decide which to bring) was almost unliftable such that I will be eternally grateful to the vandal who tore the pound coin slot out of the only trolley I found on Portsmouth Harbour Station and the kind sailor who let me take my mutilated chariot onto the ferry.

When I arrived at dad's house I was greeted by 3 familiar squidgy blue bags which contained:
200g merino silk fibre
100g merino sock fibre
200g Bonny Sock Yarn

I may also have bought another stitch dictionary...

Knitting time there was indeed. I even managed a knitting meet up with a few island knitters. Hello to Sam, Joy and Dana and all the others who made me feel so welcome.

So. what did I make then?

First I made myself a women's sized version of my Hearth and Home Mitts which was surprisingly easy.I made the originals on 3mm needles from Jamieson's Double Knitting which I substituted for Yarn Yard Hug on 2.5mm needles I also wanted much less contrast in the colour scheme so chose a pink and brown of similar colour value so the effect is more of a tweedy texture. They are also butter soft compared to the robustness of the Shetland yarn.

My fascination with stranded knitting continues unabated so I allowed my self to cast on another pair of Komi Mitts. This pattern wasn't the one that I had originally planned to start, and had brought the yarn for but one of the presents that I had bought my sister was this lavender pillow made from vintage Welsh cloth. I fell in love with the grey, duck egg blue and apricot shades and these were the closest I had with me.I am rather pleased with the effect.

Here is the pattern in greater detail, this is Mitten 4 from Knitting Marvellous Mittens by Charlene Schurch, knit in Jamieson's Spindrift in Granite, Mint and Sandalwood.

As you can see, there is yet one mitten, and that lacks a thumb but such is the self indulgence of the festive season, did I buckle down and get these finished - no - I cast on a Selbuvotter!

I wanted to see what would happen if I used a range of colours instead of the traditional black and white so chose a dark background colour and a range of warm colours for the pattern.

I am reasonably pleased with the outcome although it is not quite how I envisaged it.

Here is a picture of the palm of the hand. I really wanted to use this time to experiment with colour work and how colours interact. It has been great fun and I feel I have plenty more to learn.
In between complex colour work, particularly in the company of children, I continued to work on my mansocks of which I have now reached the second heel flap. To my shame I did no work on my lace project but did spend some time swatching for a new mitten pattern.
I also found time for some spinning. I hadn't picked up this project since I was in Italy in September and had forgotten how lovely the Yarn Yard Merino Tencel fibre was. I was sorely tempted to start working with some of the beautiful fibre from the squishy blue bags but I showed uncharacteristic self control and practiced monogamy in my spinning at least.

So there you have it. I was so ambitious for all the knitting I was going to do, it feels that I did a lot less than I imagined. Then when I think about all the time I spent out and about with my family, playing with the children, and even when we were quiet, watching the fascinating behaviour of the birds and red squirrels in the garden I feel that my personal and creative batteries have been well and truly recharged. I've got all kinds of ideas about what I would like to achieve this year and so far the energy to think I can achieve them.
Sometimes I forget how extraordinarily lucky I am to have such a place and people to retreat to.
Even if we don't agree about how many tubs of margarine should be in use at any one time...


Sarah said...

Good to see you were well prepared; lovely projects

Aknita said...

Your colourwork is wonderful Jane. I particularly like the Komi mitts, and having seen your colourwork irl I just know that the finished pair will be stunning.

What complex work to have done while in good company, something I fear I could never consider.

Lin said...

I love reading about your colourwork as I hate knitting it myself but love the style of yours. :) Happy new year and heres to lots of knitting. x

ambermoggie said...

looks wonderful Jane, glad you had enough yarn with you:))

LittleBerry said...

A knitter should always be prepared ;o)

I love the spinning you're doing on the drop spindle and yes Merino/Tencel is rather nice to spin.......

I love what you've been doing with mittens & colour I do like your Komi mittens and the colours you chose...

Nice to have you back in blogland

LynS said...

I particularly like the colours in the Komi mitts - I wish Sydney was cold enough to use mittens as I think mittens are the perfect project to experiment with colour-work. Maybe I'll try anyway!

Nikki said...

What lovelies you're knitting!!!! I'm glad you didn't run out of yarn while you were gone! :)

Anni said...

Gorgeous knitting. And I had to laugh at how much yarn you'd brough and I'm glad I'm not the only one who's overambitious when it comes to holiday. Fortuntely on our trip to NOrway, Ryan Air's pathetic baggage allowance restricted the amount of yarn I could take. It was yarn or Christmas presents.......

I had to laugh at your cinema story. How embarassing but worse, did you have to sit through the rest of the film with no knitting?