Tuesday, March 11, 2008

stashbustin' is rock!

gretel for keeps

Stashbusting is brilliant! Look! It's the last, the very last of my ancient Tivoli Luxury Tweed Aran, which kept faith with me through the Debbie Bliss biker jacket and the Le Slouch (now defunct), and has now been whipped up into a replacement Gretel with cunning overtones of my lost Slouch. Zippy swift! (It's a lot faster re-knitting a pattern you know already, isn't it?) And I have two more berets in mind to finish up other luxe yarns, which will be only gorgeous, not to mention PRACTICAL in the horrendous weather that's in it at the moment.

So now, I'm empowered into more stash accessorising: I am knitting, finally finally, a pair of Baudelaires with the yarn I bought for them a year and a half ago.

A year and a half, three or possibly four countries, countless house moves I have been trugging that yarn around for. Good lord. But now finally it can encase my legs in springy decadence!

Accessories are fun, of course, but jumpers are where it's at, and I have finally, finally started knitting up my legendary Russian angora yarn.
remember this?

I meant it to become a cardigan, for a while, and then it was to become a stole, but then I saw Interweave Knits, and my heart was lost to the dainty elegance of Henley Perfected. For once, I got perfect, heartbreakingly perfect gauge...

henley in process

And here is the lunar landscape of the back of the Henley P: I've finished the back and am zipping through the front. I'm slightly trepidatious about this one, because it's the first jumper in ages that I'm making without short-rowing. You can't really put darts in lace; but non-darted jumpers either ruck up over the bosoms on me, or look like sacks. Eeeek. I'm hoping the lace will stretch. Please pray for a miracle for me?

I'm really touched, by the way, that there are still lovely people commenting on this blog. Six months away, and you still care that my hat blew off! It's enough to turn a knitting tragedy into a heartwarming moment. Thank you so much!

Next up: knitting vows, fantasies, intentions and realisations: it's Glitz's Knitting Unconscious. Be warned...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

the untold viciousness of the ipod nano

So what else have I been knitting, these cold and weary months? Warm accessories, yo, to make my life that bit cosier in the wuthering Yorkshire blasts. (I never knew what wuthering truly meant until I moved here.) Some of it has been full of success, for example:

comfort leaf scarf
Pattern: Made up myself, from the Harmony Guide to Knitting Stitches

Yarns: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky (bargain! at £2 a ball from the Knitting and Stitching show), colourway 17020, 5 balls.

Needles: 7mm circs

Time sucked: A week or so.

Chunky, cosy, not quite as wide as I had hoped. I kind of imagined that five whole balls of chunky yarn would envelop me in a cashmerino heaven so dense it would be like rolling in clouds, but not quite. Not so much yardage in the chunky yarn, really. But it's still cosy and elegant.

And as ever, there were socks: I was at a job interview for a job in deepest wildest Wales, which in the event I didn't get, but who cares when there are yarn shops?

FO: Leaves on the Line Socks

Leaves on the Line Socks

Pattern: Ahaha. Basically a top-down heel flap sock, no pattern, but, erm, improvised by myself under very trying circumstances: viz, the train being delayed for hours when the journey was supposed to take five hours anyway in the first place. WOE.

Yarns: Kaffe Fassett Design Line, lovely Landscape yarn in lovely colourway 4255, oh yes I love it, bought in Clarewools of Aberystwyth.

Needles: 2.5 mm circs

Time sucked: Hmm. Most of a train journey, during which I mostly but not entirely managed to remember how to construct heel-flap socks. Except that I forgot how to turn the heel properly, in the midst of my trainy woe so there's twice as many stitches in the heel as there should be. Which makes for a fierce baggy heel. Oh well.

But then, alas, a tragedy! A woe! Also in the nice wee woolshop in the wilds of Wales, I saw and stroked some RYC Silk Wool DK. Oh, my. And I fell in love. You would fall, too, if it happened to you. And yes, it's insanely pricey, but oh! the sheen, the density, the colours! So I brought it home, and with great loving care, I constructed me a beret fancy enough for its glory, viz, Gretel.

FO: Oh my darling Gretel


Pattern: Gretel, by Ysolda.

Yarns: gorgeous RYC Silk Wool DK, 2.5 balls of Greenwood (306), bought in Clarewools of Aberystwyth.

Needles: 4mm dpns

Time sucked:Two weeks or so? For I had to rip back and reknit, because...

Pattern modifications... The first time I knitted this, it ended up like a pork pie hat, weeny and tiny, and I realised that the DK yarn required an adjustment. I ended up adding in 4 stitches to the cast-on, which gave a slightly uneven finish - the number of stitches has been worked out fiendishly exactly to give a perfectly balanced pattern. But I don't think you can see the glitch if you're not looking for it - there's an "orphan" point in the star-shaped crown, but you really do have to squint to find it.

And oh, how I loved my green shiny hat, through the cruel winter days of blowing and sadness! But then. But THEN, one windy moisty morning, I put on my iPod, crammed on Gretel, and battled through the dark morning to work, escaping into a cheery world of mashup. I arrived at work, raised hand to head.... and there was Gretel, gone. HOW HAD SHE BLOWN OFF WITHOUT ME NOTICING? Had I been transfixed in a mashup dream too deep to notice Gretel being whisked off my head? Or had my iPod, somehow, actually eaten her?

I know not. All I know is, I have never seen my pricey crafty Gretel again. Sadly, then, I put on my Le Slouch instead, and wore that all the next week.

Until, one windy morning, I arrived at work, put hand to head, and... there Le Slouch wasn't. Gone. Two berets, in two weeks, eaten by the Yorkshire wuthering. Emily Bronte, you should be alive at this hour to record this deepest of all mysteries, because to be honest, it is beyond me.