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January, 2004:

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I love getting packages. Just this week I’ve had yarn from Martina in Germany, my Colinette that I ordered back in early December, some Lopi and Mission Falls pattern books from Yarn Forward, and some handpainted yarn from Silkwood.

I’ve also finished the Regia stripe socks and a scarf from some Brazilia Fantasy Color from my order with Martina. Brazilia is an eyelash yarn and the Fantasy Color is a striped variation of it. It knits up very quickly and because the central core of the yarn is a bit thicker than most eyelash it has a good amount of body to it. It’s also incredibly soft. Sadly this yarn is now out of stock cross Germany as it has proved to be too popular! I have four different colours in my stash but hope that the others I ordered come back into stock soon as these will make great scarf gifts.

I’m also knitting a sock in Trekking. It’s a tweedy yarn and has a sort of handwoven quality to it when it’s knit up. I really like it. Pix tomorrow, but the reason I started these socks is because the yarn matches a shirt that I like. Usually when I wear this particular shirt with trousers I match it with a pair of Opal Royal purple/blue socks. They’re not quite the right colour but when they’re in my Doc Marten shoes you can’t really see much of them. The new socks will co-ordinate better. Once they’re out of the way I may start a pair of gift socks for my friend Anne who doesn’t read this blog. I’m going to knit them from some sport weight yarn in blue shades hand dyed by Lynn H.

Still Reading The Time Traveller’s Wife. It’s such an engrossing book. The only time that I think about reading though, is when I go to bed. As a result I’ve many late nights because I just can’t stop reading it! It is a truly wonderful book.

Books…

Some books that I’d ordered from Amazon out of Xmas money arrived today. I’ll try and include links to them tomorrow. Feeling a bit tired right now.

45 Fine and Fanciful Hats to Knit by Anna Zilboorg – the hats in here are fabulous. I may try a plain version of her beret first before having a go at colour knitting.

Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick – I’ve heard many good things about this book and the flower washcloths have been a hit on the net. I’ve some multi-coloured cotton in my stash that I plan to use for one of the flower cloths. The books is full of knitting quotes and intriguing bits of info. I also love the little sweater egg cozys! 🙂

Knitting in America by Melanie Falick – This is one of those large coffee table knitting books. I’ve only looked at a few pages but have enjoyed what I’ve seen so far. This looks like a great book with some interesting designer profiles and patterns.

Felted Knits by Beverley Galeskas – I haven’t really had a good look at this one but, as with Weekend Knits, it’s had good reviews and I hope to learn more about felting from it.

Vogue Knitting on the Go – Scarves Two edited by Trisha Malcolm – many of the scarves are easy but they look quite interesting. I like this book a lot better than some of the others in the “On the Go” series.

The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – I actually heard about this on a knitting blog and read an extract over at Amazon.com. I really like Niffenegger’s writing style and the idea of a woman whose husband suffers from a disorder which causes him to involuntarily travel through time is an interesting one. Although the novel is a love story, not really science fiction.

Knitting – The Regia sock is almost ready to be cast off and I’ve started a Broad Street Mitten from some Koigu. I’m knitting it on 2.5mm needles. Andy’s gloves are almost done, just need to sew in the ends and block them.

Hand in Glove

I always liked that Smiths song. Last year I was smitten by socks now my love for gloves may surpass that. I began knitting some fingerless gloves from Koigu late last year but frogged them. They looked beautiful but felt quite tight at the base of the fingers where I had picked up and then decreased extra stitches. I’d done that in order to remove the holes that you get when knitting gloves.

My next glove project was a pair of “tipless” gloves from some Big Print superwash wool yarn I’d bought during my trip to Berlin last year.

bigwoolglove.jpg

I decided to have a rolled finish to the ends of the gloves because it was easy. However, they’re quite chunky and bulky to wear, so I’m thinking of frogged them a bit and either turning them into fingerless gloves or knitting a bit of ribbing before the cast off.

Over Christmas I knitted a pair of mittens from one skein of Sweetdreams Mohair in Candy.

candymitten1.jpg

They knitted up really fast and are very fluffy!

These could also double up as sock-type puppets as well… 🙂

candymitten2.jpg

I’m still knitting Andy’s fingerless gloves from Lamb’s Pride Worsted in Turkish Olive. I’ve found it difficult to ensure that the fingers on both gloves are the same length unless Andy is around to try the glove on during construction. Yes, it would have been so much easier if I’d just recorded how many rows were in each finger on the first glove…Well, at least now I know what to do on my next pair!

I’ve been using The Knitter’s handy Book of Patterns for these gloves. It’s such a good book.

So, although I’m still knitting socks I also “need” more gloves. I have balls of Koigu and some Superwash wool from Over the Rainbow in Nite Rainbow at the ready! The Nite rainbow may make the next pair because it’s a bit of a thicker yarn than the Koigu.

Knitting in Vogue

The winter 2003/04 issue of Vogue Knitting arrived in the post today. I had been eagerly awaiting it since I read Rob’s review of the scarf patterns. They’re not all “cast on X stitches, knit every row until you run of yarn” patterns, there are some nice ones in there.

I’ve only had a flick through so far but have fallen in love with “Back-Street Blues”. Nice fitted cardi with fringey trimmed sleeves. Who knew it was knitted from Colinette?! Excellent! I may have to add some Prism and Tagliatelli to my Colinette order to make this now!

Muppet scarf – I do love those frivolous eyelash scarves. I only have the Online Linie one and a Fluff one so far though. Once I have a hoard of them I’ll probably be sick of them! 🙂

In case anyone wanted the pattern, such as there is one. The Muppet Scarf took one 50g ball of Online Linie 85 knitted on size 5mm needles. I just cast on 20 stitches and kept knitting until a few yards remained. Cast off loosely. I used bamboo needles as they grip the slippery eyelash yarn better. It goes without saying that you can use any kind of eyelash yarn for these scarves.

I saw one today made from a combination of a soft chenille or soft wool yarn with an eyelash yarn. You alternated the two yarns every two rows. It was made by a woman called Sarah who lives in South Africa. She said that it produced a very drapey scarf. Sounds a bit like Knitty’s Rock Star Scarf but using the yarns over fewer rows.

No Muppets Were Harmed in the Making of this Scarf!

I wore my new eyelash scarf to work this morning and one of my colleagues asked me if I’d killed a muppet to make it!

Eyelash Scarf

Mahnuhmanah!

During lunch I knit on my sock and the rest of my team were amazed at the self striping yarn. “You mean it’s dyed in different colours?” “What about if you were knitting a larger sock? What would happen to the stripes then?”. Ah, journalists, so innocent! 🙂

I’m now on the leg, so hopefully it’ll be finished by the end of the week.

Regia Sock

We went to IKEA this evening to pick up the plastic tubs I was after. They had the tubs in stock but not the lids. But I did pick up a very interesting bag like basket.

Some of my yarn stash

The bag is filled with about a third of my purple yarn stash. On the left of the basket are my two tubs of blue yarn stash. On top of it is another tub filled with fabric bits left over from my sewing. I keep thinking that I’ll use them for patchwork or something.

Colour

I have been meaning to organise my yarn by colour for a while. Last year I visited a yarn store in Amsterdam where the yarn was stored in that way. I was really struck by the way it looked. It wasn’t organised by brand or content as other stores do. It was very interesting to me as I turned my back on some colours and concentrated on my favorites – purple and blue.

So, this afternoon I decided to finally do it. I spread plastic bags over our bed, both to protect the bed from fibres and to protect the yarn from any rogue cat hairs, and began bringing the various tubs and bags into the room. I emptied the yarn one tub/bag at a time onto the bed and began sorting into colour groups as I came across them.

I finally ended up with the following colour groups

Purples
Blues
Oranges
Browns
Reds
Greens
Blacks/Greys
White/Cream

The purple and blue groups were the largest but I was really surprised at the size of the greens, oranges and browns. I knew that I had a fair bit of red in my stash. I sorted through all of my stash including eyelash and sock yarns. I’ve managed to put every colour into own tub, two tubs in the case of the blue, but I have to visit IKEA to buy more tubs for the purples. I think I’ll have to get at least four of their stackable, clear tubs.

While I was sorting I watched the film “The Hours” on video, I had thought that it would take about an hour, two tops, to sort the yarn out. It must have taken about four hours! Yes, I do have a lot of yarn! Plus my back was aching after lifting heavy tubs of yarn. Still, looking through it helped organise in my mind what I’ll be adding to the European Stash Redistribution Box when it arrives.

Knitwise I’m halfway through the heel of a Regia sock. It’s from 5219 Mini Reingel and is the mate of a sock that I knit last year. I bought the yarn while in Berlin. I started it last night and was amazed by how quickly it knit up. The stripes of colour really help. I found myself thinking, “Just one more stripe” as I worked so it’s really built up. The next sock that I cast on will have to be the mate to an Opal one that I started back last August. It took months to finish because of my RSI problem. Once that’s done I’ll probably look at one of the hand dyed sock yarns in my stash.

Fair Isle

Ever since reading Wendy’s blog I’ve wanted to try fair isle. She seems to knit them in her sleep, her work is so amazing. I’ve still been intimidated by steeks and other aspects of the technique, so I’ve signed up to ThreadyBear. It’s a fair isle sweater for a teddy bear or other soft toy and looks like a great introduction to the technique.

You can read more about it on Matt’s website. It’s his brain child and he’s also created an email list over at Yahoo for participants. Matt’s colour skills are awesome, he’s developed 64 colourways for the sweater, 32 of which are currently shown on the email list.

I’m a bit scared of the project, hell, I haven’t even picked which stuffed toy is going to wear the sweater, but it’s such an amazing technique. Plus I have a couple of fair isle kits in my stash which are just going to waste at the moment. And the sweaters than Wendy knits are so fabulous, I want to be able to knit them too!

In non-knitting news I still have my cough and my voice is a lot lower than usual. Hopefully it’ll get better over the weekend.

Not So Good

I went back into work today and the first thing that I did was say hello to my friend Liz. As I rasped out “Hello” I realised that my voice was still too horse, in fact it’s shot to hell. Of course Liz told me that I shouldn’t have come in and how was going to talk to people on the phone? She was completely correct and I just about lasted until 1pm.

I’m off tomorrow but my voice may not improve for a while. So much of my job involves speaking to people over the phone and today was really difficult. I found myself whispering to colleagues as my voice came and went. During the daytime my cough isn’t too bad but it’s really dreadful at night. I had hardly any sleep at all last night. Several times this morning I found myself at a loss as to what I was supposed to be doing. What was I working on? Who was I supposed to be booking as a guest? I was so tired that I’d forgotten.

Came home and watched Desperately Seeking Susan on DVD twice. Once without commentary, the second with. I was mostly knitting on Andy’s glove and listening to the commentary. I’m almost ready to put the thumb gusset stitches on a holder. Will finish it tomorrow.

I’m thinking of doing something in feather and fan. Wendy is making a really nice hand dyed cashmere scarf in that pattern while there’s a lovely Silk Garden cowl and hat over at Another Knitting Blog. I have some hand dyed cashmere but I also love Noro Silk Garden. Plus I have a zillion other things to finish including the Art Fibers Sherlock cardi.

Sherlock has been languishing for a while which is a shame because it’s a beautiful yarn and colour. I had converted a knit flat pattern so that I could knit the cardi all in piece. However I’ve been concerned about whether the cardigan will fit correctly once I’ve cast off for the armhole decreases. I’ve decided to just see what happens since I only have about an inch to knit until the decreases.

Better!

My cough is a lot better. I’m grateful for this because the cough had really worn me down. Now I can get on with things again, like knitting a second fingerless glove for Andy. It’s from some Lamb’s Pride in Turkish Olive from some yarn that the lovely Theresa and Bonne Marie sent me as part of a yarn swap.

I’m using a pattern from The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns to make these and am knitting them on 4mm circular needles for a nice dense fabric. Andy had misplaced his usual gloves when the box of yarn arrived. So it came right in time to make him a new pair! I’m still working on the LP Clematis Bucket O’Chic but the gloves take preference at the moment.

I think there is a fundamental human need to make things or have some kind of creative outlet. This has been lost for a lot of people in our modern consumer society. People are used to just buying everything. You might think “Why should I knit and spin? I can buy a sweater at the store for 30 bucks.” Well, maybe, although it wouldn’t be nearly as nice as what you could make for yourself. But there’s something else. It isn’t so much that the sweater needs to be made as you need to make it. Or you need to make baskets or sculpt or dance or write or do something else creative. This is a fundamental human need. If people don’t create, they go insane.

That was written by Riin Gill. She has new website here. I discovered her via Lynn H’s blog. What she says about creativity is, for me at least, very true. I do feel a real need to create.

Knit One, Cough Two

Yesterday’s Stitch’n’Bitch was quiet but still good! Hannah had a sinus problem and Michele’s mum was visiting so she wasn’t free but Hetty was able to come along!

While we were talking, well croaking on my part, my Andy and her Andrew, hereby known as The Two A’s, went shopping in Cardiff’s finest compact disc emporiums. When they came back I asked Andrew how much he had spent, he informed me that he had “saved £55”! Well the saving is the most important part of the shopping experience, or at least that’s what I tell myself! 🙂

I finished my Online Linie 85 eyelash scarf at the s’n’b and sewed the ends in so it’s now ready to wear! I also did a few rows on a a new Bucket O’ Chic in Lamb’s Pride Worsted Clematis. More on that later!

Back to coughing…