Sunday, 18 April 2010

It is spring!

There must be something in the water - if not then it must be because it is finally spring! I am in a positive fever of 'new, new, new!'

In the last three weeks I cast on so many new projects that I it makes me dizzy.  I know that I love to start a new project but have absolutely no discipline in finishing it.  It is a problem but then my Ravelry projects page and this blog help enormously!  When I know that a photo of the finished project will make for a very satisfying new blog post, then I am so much more inclined to get the last 5% done - the bit that's often about sewing up a hem, weaving in ends, attaching a facing: nothing that takes too long but it seems to be the most exhausting thing about the entire enterprise.

I simply had to order some 'really nice yarn' after buying a bit too much in the 'affordable' category that left me unenthused about knitting with it.  My goodies from Colinette arrived last Saturday and I immediately cast on:

1) My Saroyan shawl in Colinette Skye - colourway Fire (lots of reds, some pinks, and lighter shades that aren't quite yellow but almost).  I love this yarn! It is more chunky than I expected because I didn't pay enough attention to the needle size quoted: 4.5 mm though I am using 5 mm needles. That'll teach me!
I must try their Cadenza yarn as well, this is also 100% wool but thinner for 4 mm needles. Next time.

2) A tank type top in Debbie Bliss Prima, in a very bright blueish green. I adore the intensity and brightness of this colour! In fact I'd been looking at this on three seperate occasions when I popped into John Lewis, and then I finally had to buy four balls.  I hesitated because I did not want to knit a chunky weight fabric and this yarn is a little thicker than I would like. So being somewhat crazy and totally loopy I put my yarn swift to good use: the yarn is 6 ply and splits quite easily into two halves of three strands each.  The yarn swift goes round easily enough to pick up its half but the hanging thread starts to twist very quickly and makes further splitting and winding impossible. So I  wound the yarn onto a roll of newspaper first and then used a technique from lace tatting to untwist it: I turned the yarn coming from the newspaper roll into a loop, twisted that round once or twice and slipped this loop over the end of the roll. Pull the thread tight and the newspaper roll can hang from your hand to spin round and untwist itself.

I've had evenings of fun with this: being stood there in quite a contemplative and somewhat medidative trance while listening to the telly. It worked really well!
I cast on for a slightly fitted sleeveless summer top and have gotten to almost the armhole shaping.  I am not following a pattern but making it up as I go along. I rather enjoy that. I am looking forward to finding out how this will shape up out in the end.


3) The Balmoral 'Thistle' doily design from Marianne Kinzel's Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting. Don't be fooled by the use of the word 'modern' in the book title, this series was modern at some point but rather long ago. I do like a lot of the designs and the books are not too expensive so I managed to get both of them.  The Thistle doily from the cover looks too intriguing so I just had to cast this on as well.

I managed to snap up some Knitwitches silk at I Knit when the knitting group met in the nearby Camel and Artichoke pub. This was around the time when I put the Colinette order in - I felt in dire need of some yummy yarns so I indulged!  Getting it home and winding it from skein into ball pretty much straight away of course meant that I kept looking at it while various wild ideas ran around my head when I tried to decide what it was going to be. Seeing as I was preoccupied with both the yarn and the design, I finally decided to put them together. The aqua/turquoise and grey is quite suited to a thistle design (the colourway is called Lucerne).
The only problem is that while knitting the yarn dye comes off onto my fingers a bit. I'll take that into account when it comes to blocking this.


4) I swatched my new Colinette Jitterbug in colourway Cherry but find that I cannot use it to knit the project that I intended with this.  I saw these very gorgeous socks on Ignorant Bliss's blog and just had to hunt down the pattern from Yarnissima (available via Three Irish Girls), they are called The Portland Gussets.  Aren't they absolutely gorgeous? I think that this has a kind of Art Deco feel to it: very elegant clean-cut lines, deceptively simple - totally up my street!
They are to be knit at 34 stitches to 10cm or the pattern won't work. Most of the time I am inclined to adapt all sorts of things to my liking (see splitting the Prima yarn as above) but I don't think that messing around with this very lovely pattern would make for smooth sailing or even a hint of promise at success. I'd just end up ripping it all down again. I might be loopy but I'm not that silly. I knit this yarn at 26 stitches and those eight stitches are too much of a difference: I won't be able to get gauge with thinner needles. I would have to increase my tension and that's not going to happen.

Still in the mood for yummy Cherry socks, my next idea for this yarn lovely yarn is the Riverbed Master pattern by Cat Bordhi from her book New Pathways in Sock Knitting - Book One.  The link to the pattern is again to Ignorant Bliss's blog entry that I was delighted to see because I already have the book at home. I bought Cat Bordhi's book after seeing the Master Coriolis socks on a blog. I haven't started yet because I am finding it tricky to follow the book - the instructions for each sock design are build on concepts and techniques listed elsewhere in the book, necessitating a lot of leafing backward and forward to copious amounts of post-it notes to mark the pages. Not something you can quickly dip into and start knitting! I will have to set aside a quiet day for immersing myself into the ideas in the book, then I might have a chance to slowly get to grips with it all.
I should have started on a dead simple flap heel sock in stockinette stitch, that would have been so much more sensible! But I can't help myself: I really like how these look!

5) Crikey, nearly forgot this one:  a bright pink summer top in 100% cotton 4 ply by Patons. Knitting with cotton isn't everyone's cup of tea but I quite enjoy it as a change to other yarns. Its inelasticity means that it snakes round the needles like little knubbly ropes and you can feel each stitch very easily even in bad light. The yarn won't be too splitty either which is its best quality in my opinion. Unfortunately cotton does not block at all well - whatever shape the item is in when you finished knitting is the shape it will stay in. No amount of ironing or steaming will change this, believe me, I've tried.

I found a lovely lace pattern in a German knitting magazine called Katja which I must have bought in 2000. Being a bit of a hoarder can have its advantages, occasionally. There are about four tops that I would love to knit. This one which was also shown in a bright fuchsia (to go with the spelling on Wikipedia) which is what first caught my eye - it is my favourite colour. I love the lace pattern: not too repetitive, not too lacy and with a nice organic feel to the shapes. I am heavily modifying the instructions (the top is named: 'open lace work top' [Offener Lochmusterpulli], nothing more descriptive I'm afraid) because I want a slightly fitted shape as opposed to the looser fit in the magazine. I am also planning on making this sleeveless for summer wear. And if not sleeveless then perhaps small cap sleeves by extending the lace pattern panels that run up along either side of the centre stitch. The original shows those panels as edging past the top of the arm, intruding into sleeve cap territory.

So there you go: all my new projects that may or may not get made in the next few months. I love picking up whichever project grabs my attention and running with it until another one nudges it out of its top place. Some times I change back and forth between two projects - whenever I get a bit fed up with one, the other one wants picking up. Love it when that happens.

I still need to finish my rose coloured EZ cardigan (the pattern is actually called 'The Green Sweater', see the Internet e.g. Jared Flood's blog, Schoolhouse Press website and Ravelry). If you would like to read the story behind The Green Sweater: here's the link.

What project did you last cast on? Put a link into the comments if you like.


  1. Wow! That is A LOT! Have you been sleeping at all? ; )

  2. That's a lot of projects! The thistle doily is a gorgeous colour.