Thursday, 18 February 2010

Tequila Sunrise

Today I have a story of a project from start to finish. Back in September 2009 I bought a lovely skein of lace weight Yarn from my friend Heather who dyes and ravels under the name of Sparkleduck. It was a bit special for both of us as it was the first time that Heather had sold any of her yarns at a festival and for me as I've only just plucked up the courage to start knitting with this sort of fine and delicate yarn. I would say that this is a medium lace weight, a lovely, soft merino and silk blend in a shade that she named Autumn Leaves.

For this yarn I was looking for a pattern which made the most of the yarn which is why when I saw Citron from Knitty I knew it was just the thing. I was also looking for a nice relaxing knit to see me through the Christmas week amongst the distractions of a lively family and this, with its huge swathes of stocking stitch was a good choice.

The shawlette starts from the back of the neck and radiates out through rows of increases followed by ruched sections when each stitch is effectively doubled so I started of with great gusto, making good progress and enjoying the way the yarn and pattern worked together really well.

However, it wasn't long before I was working on rows containing many hundreds of stitches and a ball of yarn which never seemed to get any smaller. I had planned to make my Citron a little larger than the original so had to accept that the rows would get ever more insanely long.

Casting off 800 stitches was almost an evening's entertainment in itself. The finished article (above) reminded me of a sea anemone or an exotic fungus so I gave it a good severe blocking. Now I'm wondering whether I have been a little too severe as although there is still a clear demarcation between the ridges, the ruched stripes have, quite frankly lost their ruchiness.

It is a good size, however and reminds me of a Tequila Sunrise.
I may wear it a few times and see how I feel and perhaps reblock it.

What do you think?

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Dreams and Reality

Remember me? Anyone who doesn't know me well might be speculated as to whether I took the veil and stayed at the Nunnery. Anyone who does know me well would be laughing heartily at that idea.

The weekend in York was such a highlight I am still basking in the warm glow of it. Three gloriously sunny, bitingly cold days in a beautiful city in the company of two dozen of the most entertaining, inspiring, talented, warm and life enhancing people it has been my privilege to spend time with; some who were already friends,some I knew to talk to and some that I had never met before in my life all came together to create a really unforgettable weekend.

We didn't have much of a plan for the weekend, we just floated around, meeting up in small groups, larger groups, teaching each other bits and pieces, sharing, admiring, encouraging and above all laughing.

I had the chance for as much company as I wanted and also the opportunity to wander off on my own from time to time. The balance was just what I needed to get some space to think and plan and learn and be inspired to keep on building my skills and enjoying all the knitting community has to offer.

I don't think I am ever going to make the ranks of the superbloggers because I always forget to take photographs of knitting events with which to tell my story. Part of this is probably forgetfulness, it may partly be an awareness of the privacy of others and the fact that stepping behind a camera can put a distance between me and the group so, as usual here is a random selection of images that I took on a wander around York. Rather than the classic views I tend to prefer to look up at the quirkier objects from unusual angles which help me remember the individuality of a place.

It makes me smile that 1960's shop lettering is starting to look dated and interesting.

You can just make out on this faded sign an invitation to come and shop at a pork butchers and confectioners. Any suggestions for the sorts of products that might have been a speciality of the house? Ham bonbons? Bacon twists?

A more traditionally decorative shot but look at the man in all the knitwear -yes - it was that cold!

And a reminder of the importance of the wool industry to the history and economy of this part of the world.

Creating a prosperous and highly decorated city, even in the minor streets and alleyways.

One of the attractive aspects of York is the time span over which it has developed and the variety of architectural and decorative styles that still remain. This very modern and stylish bistro had made a feature of retaining some beautiful vintage stained glass windows.

Of course, there was an awful lot of knitting and crochet to be done. Natalie brought me my long looked forward to order of Saffron Clan and the sunny yellow was irresistible so I cast on a pair of gloves; Knotty Gloves, a free pattern by Julia Mueller. I was a little daunted but they have proved to be quite a simple knit although I have to admit that the fingers can get a little tedious - unless you have plenty of people to chat with while you are doing them. I romped through the first one in the company of my fellow knitters. I am embarrassed to say that having been home for two weeks I am still minus a thumb.....
I did confine myself to my bedroom to ensure that I managed the cable twist without error.
With the encouragement of my friend Judy I had a bit of an eureka moment when it comes to crochet. I had wanted to make a cotton bathmat for my newly tiled bathroom having had an alarming 'skating incident' emerging from the shower the other morning. I had a copy of 200 Ripple Stitches by Jan Eaton and chose an attractive pattern. I still need help with crochet instructions and also had no idea that a decrease stitch existed in Crochet. Once that was explained I was off like a shot!
I am using Pachuko Organic Cotton in Avocado and Coffee. These are natural plant colours which means that there s no dye to run and apparently the colours intensify with washing. We shall see...
I'm in the middle of sewing in ends right now but I will show you what it looks like in situ when I have spread a little rubber solution on the back to enhance its non slipability. I am such an ungainly creature I really can leave nothing to chance...
Right - back to the knitting. One of the dangers of spending the weekend with a group of knitters is that I am so inspired by their work I have had another attack of casting on....
May disappear under a pile of WIPs...