Saturday, 9 April 2011

But what have you been doing all this time?

I've had a lot of chance to think about reconnecting with my past recently. I've just been to a family funeral where I met some relatives that I haven't seen for over thirty years. I've also, for some reason heard from a couple of old boyfriends. Must be something in the air.... One of the things that I have learned about keeping old friendships alive is that you need to at least make some effort at capturing the time you have been apart so that you can move on without questions unasked and gaps unaccounted for. This may just be me, and may also partly explain why my reconnection with this blog has faltered a little. What I need to do, just so that I can feel we are back on a proper footing is to give you a brief rundown of all the knitting that I have been doing whilst things have been quiet round here. Trust me, there is rather a lot which I am going to have to spread over a couple of postings but here is the proof that whilst I may have been a little flabby in the blogging department, I have certainly been prolific with my needles. In the first picture you may be astonished to discover that I have made myself another pair of Cranfords. I have to admit that they are rather special as I made them in cashmere that I bought on holiday in Paris a couple of years ago from La Droguerie. I love bringing yarn home as a souvenir of a trip as finding the right project and reminiscing about a happy time while I am knitting it add to the pleasure. Did I mention that for some reason, in a moment of optimism about the speed of my knitting and my ability to focus I signed up for an online challenge called the 52 pair Plunge where it attempt to finish 52 pairs of socks between June 1st 2010 and May 31st 2011? Of course I set off at a reasonable clip but was soon feeling the pace. I think I have knitted about 29 pairs and with only 6 weeks of the challenge left am in serious danger of not finishing... One good thing that has come out of this challenge is that I have been forced to get on and finish a few pairs that have been on the needles for some considerable time. These plain top down socks in Opal yarn are a good example. Another slightly more interesting dimension to the 52 pair plunge was my belief that if I joined a whole lot of knitalongs, I would be pulled along by peer pressure. These socks, in Old Maiden Aunt Sock yarn are from a mystery sock knitalong from one of the larger sock knitting groups on Ravelry. I have to admit that I cheated a bit and waited for the first two clues to be published before I decided that it might be worth doing but thoroughly enjoyed both the pattern and the challenge. If only I could remember what the pattern was...
Oooh look - more dull socks off the needles - will not be buying any more Opal Mosaic zzzzzzzzz.....
May I point out that a swift couple of pairs of toddler socks is not entirely 52 pair plunge gamesmanship on my part. I did design a plain pattern for a toe up sock knitting class that I was teaching a couple of times this year and they were used as class samples. Not gamesmanship but they gave my tally a much needed quick boost....

Note small running out of yarn incident - no frogging for me - pressing on regardless. Both pairs made in scraps of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock and being happily worn by my friend's little boy who appreciates my 'design feature'.
Next up a rather lovely pair of plain toe up socks in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino. Another outcome of this sock knitting mania is that I have been knitting more plain socks recently and in the spirit of stash busting digging old variegated skeins out from the back of the stash and rediscovering why I never seem to tire of knitting even the plainest socks so long as the yarn feels good and is an interesting colour.
I also rekindled my love for Nancy Bush designs with this pair of Little Child's Socks in some lovely green Yarn Yard Toddy that I knitted as part of a Nancy Bush knitalong. Some of my favourite socks that I always go to first when I have done a batch of hand washing are Nancy Bush socks. I love the attention to detail and the way that they fit.
Hmmm.... gloves. I loved knitting these Knotty Gloves by Julia Mueller in a wonderful bright skein of Yarn Yard Clan.... until I got to the fingers...zzzzz...... good job I prefer fingerless mitts for most practical purposes. These lay without a thumb for about six months such was my lack of enthusiasm for that final bit of finishing. Now they're done I really like them and for those with more stamina than me I can thoroughly recommend this free pattern.
Next up, another pair of socks which I am ashamed to say also languished for some time - Brainless by Yarnissima in Koigu no less. Blame the endless twisted rib....
I have blogged about my yellow Bitterrroot shawl before. This is a free pattern in Knitty which I knit in Yarn Yard Gloaming, a reasonably robust merino and silk heavy lace weight which is wonderful to work wish if you aren't particularly fond of the very fine, frogs breath types of lace weight. As you can see, blocking transforms lace.
So much so that I need several self indulgent photographs to show it in all its glory.

I would really like to have a few more of these now that the warmer weather is here as they are perfect to wear at the throat of a black dress making that 'What shall I wear' moment first thing in the morning as easy as possible.

It must have become fairly clear now that I am a great lover of the colour yellow and these socks continue that theme. The yarn is another souvenir from my travels - Green Mountain Spinnery Sock in 'Meadow' which I brought back from the Rhinebeck Festival two years ago. If you look very closely at the yarn, which is a tightly spun wool and mohair blend, you will see little flecks of green and pink which lift the colour considerably.

And finally, after a weekend school on crochet back in August I felt it was time to embark on a seriously large crochet project - a big ripple blanket using Attic 24's very simple, well illustrated and attractive pattern. I get it out and add a few rows every so often. Would be nice to have it finished so that I can show and tell it at the retreat this August. Where did I put my hook?
Ripples are fun to photograph.
I'm particularly proud of the 'Arty' orange stripe I have added to the otherwise quite sombre 30s inspired palette.
Are you still with me? Believe it or not I still have a pile of past projects to show you before I'm up to date but I feel so much better for getting this lot off my chest! Normal service will return eventually.......