Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Penultimate Shawl Post

Yeah I know, boring title, but it is descriptive. So I'll get the bit about the shawl over first and then perhaps I'll get to talk about other things. Today I cast off the shawl so all the knitting is done - sigh of relief. I still have to darn in the ends and then block it. I'm hoping that the camel yarn won't have any problems with a good soak as that's what I'm going to do. It will need a pretty severe blocking to get it into shape. It isn't particularly crumpled looking, which laceweights tend to be, but it really will need a good stretch in both directions. Anyway here are the penultimate photos.

Sorry I couldn't decide which photo to post and obviously as you can see I had a critic interested in the process. Her opinion hasn't come in yet. I'm out tomorrow so there will be no more progress until Thursday. It is a very dark day and honestly I don't feel like darning in the ends today. The big birthday is Thursday week and it has to be posted off to Aberystwyth but I reckon as long as it is ready, wrapped and in the post on Monday it should be there in time.

I found a couple of comments to my last post, ladies thank you it is nice to know there are people out there, of course I did give the game away to my friend Katherine knowing she would comment and then to find another comment, well it made my day. I haven't sorted out stuff about getting notified and replying to my comments yet but please don't let that stop any of you leaving me a comment. I will get around to sorting that side of things out so you wll eventually hear from me.

I was going to take a few other photos today even though it is very dark but my camera battery died, I have a spare which I swapped out, got one more photo and it died too. So I'm charging both. What I was going to photograph was the contents of the the first delivery from my sock club for this year. I joined the LOTR sock club run by The Unique Sheep (sorry not links). perhaps it is just as well as I don't know how to work the "spoiler" stuff yet. Anyway I will be casting on for that sock soon, a nice and restful change from the shawl.

I was in town yesterday, I'd been called for my first breast screening as an over 50 so I took in a little shopping and met with an ex work colleague for lunch. My sister had given me a Waterstone's book token as part of my birthday present, I meant to look online but hadn't got around to it so I decided to pay a visit yesterday and have a look. There was a dearth of knitting books but I did manage t find one that was well worth the visit. It is "Vintage Knitwear for modern knitters" by Lise-Lotte Lystrup. A beautiful book and most of the patterns have gone on my "want to knit" list. Lovely updated patterns from the 1930s, 40s and 50s with modern yarns substiuted, I'm really pleased with it.

I think that's all for now folks. I'll be back later in the week and maybe I'll even have the last of the shawl photos, won't that be great I'm sure any of you looking in are getting tired of it and wondering am I going to talk about anything else. Of course I will when I'm not obseesing over getting my sister's birthday present finished. BTW you'll find me on ravelry as amberpearl if you want to pop on over there, there are a few more projects (but not many) written up.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

There is light at the end of the tunnel

This stole is starting to be boring, don't you agree folks. It seems to be the only thing on my horizon at the moment. Of course I got zero done yesterday but had a good day out with my sister. I'm not sure she and I have ever managed to do that before, but then I've been in full time work until last December. We spent the afternoon doing almost the whole of the massive M&S store at Sprucefield - and I bought a few things, with her encouragement. Not that my wardrobe needed adding to, I'm such a clothes hog. So I got a lovely soft, long sleeeved hooded t-shirt, a zip up fleece jacket (a man's brown for me, it's such a soft fleece too) and a pair of amber coloured mary janes with a lovely little heel.

We are going out with friends on Saturday night, meeting up for drinks at a very plush city centre hotel (for a nosey) and then on to dinner. I'll be wearing my new shoes, a chance to dress up as I've mostly been running around in casuals for the last few months. That's been quite a change for me as I've always been reasonably dressed for work and I've had more than a few pyjama days.

So the progress shot, as of this afternoon the stole looked like this

I put the phone there for scale, it was the only thing that I could put my hand on quickly to get an idea of the length. I have done one repeat of the polka-dots now (2 rows of the staggered circles). Another 2 1/2 repeats will see it finished, so I think it should be finished on time. I'm hoping the camel yarn blocks out nicely.

Just in case any of you need some cheering up here is a shot of the beautiful bunch of Tulips my Dh gave me for Valentines.

Excuse the mess, unfortunately Tulips never last very long and they are starting to go already, but still lovely. Bright enough to cheer up any dull day.

Well I'm off to continue reading through all of your bogs and see what you've all been up to. Goodnight for now

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Milestone on the Stole

OK so I've finished zipping through the fast part and started on the Polka-dots again. Knitting will now slow down again as I have to work each and every row from the chart, you can't lift your head or you'll make a mistake. Still it does mean the end is in sight, 2/3 way through the 4th skein out of a total of 5 skeins. Of course I know you are looking for photos but I can't knit and photograph at the same time. Having said that we had such a beautiful day here today, it was like spring and my 12 year old fraidy cat "Pepper" hassled me until I went out into the garden with her and spent a bit of time so she could roll around on the lawn. I'm afraid I didn't stop to get the camera and stole - I'm only thinking about that now - missed opportunity. I'm out tomorrow so nothing until Thursday I'm afraid.

I still haven't decided whether to put sleeves in my slipover but I have been mentally working out the maths, and considering knitting them in the round. Sounds like I've decided? Well I could always knit one and see how it goes. I was seriously considering it today but no way can I do it until this stole is finished. A case of startitis will not help get my sister's birthday present finished in time.

Well if I'm home with some daylight left tomorrow I'll get a few more rows done. Tonight I gave myself a manicure and painted my nails - it's lunch and a shop with my older sister tomorrow.

So if anyone is reading this have a great few days and I promise the next post will have some photos

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Maintaining my sanity

Well I'm over half way through the wrap now, 5 skeins in total and I'm just coming to the end of the 3rd skein.I have to about 3/4 of the 4th skein before I start the Polka-dots again. The middle section has been going fast enough but I still can't knit this yarn at night. Of course once I get into the Polka-dots it will slow to a crawl again as it is back to row by row chart knitting. I think I should be done in time if I concentrate hard and get the knitting done next week, allowing me time to get it blocked and dried.

In the meantime, for a bit of relief in the evenings I have been working on a shrug which has been resting in the WIP heap for a while. It is in Lorna's Laces Swirl DK - colour Black Purl. It is worked in 2 long pieces with deep cuffs and grafted together. I have another 13 rows to complete the 1st half. I made a minor change to the pattern substituting twisted 1x1 rib for plain 1x1 rib - I seem to have a thing for twisted rib at the moment as this is the 3rd piece in a row where I've used it and two have been substitutes. I don't have any photos of progress or the shrug, but the progress on the wrap is just longer and I'm sure you can imagine that.

You want a photo - OK here's a recent wip - a slipover from "Knit so fine", at this point it only needs the side seams sewn and picked up round the armholes for 4 rows of moss stitch BUT I'm considering wether or not to put in sleeves. I have enough yarn to do sleeves, which is why I suppose I'm considering it and also it is so lovely. The photo doesn't do it any justice, I've used Tivoli Luxury Tweed in a lovely Raspberry colour. I don't usually wear slipovers but I liked the faux wrap style but I'm seriously thinking I might try and work out a nice sleeve for this.

Ok I'll leave you with that. Would you put sleeves in this?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Progress - with photos

So the stole is progressing and still taking over my life. However it is going to be short term as I have a target date for it. I fear the backlash from such concentrated knitting may be a burst of housework!!!!. Well hopefully it will be as my very poor housekeeping is reduced to practically nil at the moment. I suppose if there is anyone out there who reads this you might like to see those photos but so as not to bore you I'm just including the best one - best photo that is and I have to say my photography skills are not great.

Excuse the bare toes creeping in at the bottom, but hopefully you can see enough detail - the Polka-dots.

I'm wondering about the blocking. The yarn is camel and I'm not sure wether to saok it or just spritz it. I'm thinking it may need to be soaked as there is not much elasticity in it but it would need to be a cold soak as it feels like it might felt easily. If anyone has experience of blocking camel yarn I'd be interested for your input.

We have had pretty poor weather here for a while but yesterday there was a distinct improvement, the sun shone and most of the snow melted. It was windy, but nice enough for a quick sortie round the garden - here's the proof.

That's my fat cat Pepper, she loves her food, and of course a little clump of snowdrops, signs of better weather to come. Late this morning fog rolled in over the valley and sat on top of us all day but there was a huge cacophony of birds, sounded like a huge flock of starlings in the fields having a feast.

I'll keep you up to date on progress and of course my other projects too, but for now it is a one track system until the stole is complete. BTW my DH came home tonight with a beautiful bunch of yellow tulips, my favourite colour and he took his widowed mother a bunch of red roses. He can be nice sometimes and after almost 30 years of marriage it was a lovely surprise.

Happy Valentines to all of you out there, hope you get something nice to show you're appreciated.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Take over bid!

At the moment knitting has definitely taken over my life. It is my younger sister's 50th at the beginning of March and I suddenly decided to knit her a stole/wrap. So I mentally reviewed what yarn I had in my stash that would fit the bill - something approaching black. I had it - 5 skeins of Posh yarns Camel DK in a colour called Rafish (a dark red/black/navy), like a ripe bruise.

My stash has mostly brighter colours, tending towards the yellows/browns/honey/orange tones with some amethyst and reds thrown in for good measure. I love jewel/warm autumn colours where my sister likes the cooler tones, she is a blond and I'm a redhead, she is pale and lightly freckled and where I am pale too my underlying skin tone is cream not white. I know she would prefer a black wrap ( we had this discussion at Christmas) but (a) I have no black in stash and (b) I didn't want to knit black - too hard to see. It is difficult enough working with the dark yarn.

Next was to find a pattern. I found one on Woollyworkshop, a Fiddlesticks Polka-Dot Stole and as it was for Fiddlesticks country silk the yarn weight was about right. So for the past week I have been bent over the pattern chart during daylight hours working slowly through a large pattern of Polka-dots. Last night I finally reached the end of the intense work and have moved on to the easier more repetitive part which looks like staggered large button holes. There is a middle part of a diamond shaped Polka-dot embedded in the button holes but for the sake of expediency (and possibly my sanity) I decided to keep the middle as the simple pattern. Hopefully I will be able to whizz along at this part as I need a bit of speed if I'm to get this finished, blocked and posted off to my sister in time.

Everything else has taken a back seat.....laundry, cleaning, shopping.... but I'm heading out this afternoon to replenish the cupboards before I clear out the freezer contents completely. The fact that we have no fresh food in the house is starting to tell as our options are reduced to beans, sweetcorn and chips to accompany our meal. My husband had to resort to getting fresh juice on his way home from work and this morning he asked "Have I any clean shirts", "in the drier" I said. Tuns out it is almost a week since they were dried but I haven't put any clothes away in my single minded attempt to get the wrap done in time.

I suppose you'd all like to see a photo, in fact I took some the other day when the sun was out, of course they are still in the camera and I haven't got time right now to upload them. I promise I will be back before the end of the week and the photos will be uploaded by then but right now I must go wash, dress and go up to town to get that shopping done.

Back soon

Sunday, February 8, 2009

How to begin?

I've read many, many blogs and don't know where to start. When you read someone else's blog you're almost always stepping into the middle, something already matured with a life of its own, a character set by the writer. Now I have to admit I am not a writer, I'm a reader and a knitter. I'm 53 (and 4 days) and I've bean reading since I was 4 years old - and I don't mean school readers, but I've never had any ambitions to write, in fact the only writting I've done to date has been technical documentation related to my profession in computers. I've retired from that world now, I took a big step in October last year, handed in my notice at my current job and retired.

So - on 1st December 2008 I entered a new world - being a retired person, a housewife, a .... I'm not sure any of these descriptions apply, I'm not really sure yet what I am, but I'm not in employment any more and that makes me happy for the moment anyway. I've spent my time so far reading more, knitting more and trying to stay warm in this wintery weather.

This blog is meant to be about my knitting but life will get in the way at times so I'll have to see how it all goes. Photos will appear once I've sorted out where I'm going with this and gotten properly organised. Todays post has happened on a whim, I was just doing a bit of surfing and ended up here. you can tell I have no idea what I'm doing here and didn't have my thoughts, or words, together for a first post, but hey I just jumped in and that's probably how this will continue.

I'm not going to expound on my knitting today, I'll try to organise my thoughts and sometime later this week I'll be back to post about my real passion. So if any of you out there read this and wonder what's this one all about ... time will tell.

See you all later