Tuesday, 21 October 2014

at last! an FO

If you follow my blog regularly you are forgiven for wondering if I ever finish anything. So in case you do think this today I give you The Finished Object! My Waterlilly from the spring edition of Pompom Quarterly.

True this is the pretty top everyone was talking about in early spring and I'm a little late in coming to the party, but it took me a little while to make my mind up on what yarn to use. I first bought this yarn from the Natural Dye Studio when I was at unravel in March

And then I made the (unusual for me) decision to buy the correct yarn, Islington from Linda of Kettle Yarn when I visited her stand at WonderWool Wales

photograph copyright Kettle Yarn

And even then did not begin to knit the pretty top till September just as the weather got cooler

But in the end it took me only two weeks to knit, I learned a new technique, the Latvian braid (the corded row in cream below) and then the lace pattern was super easy to follow.

I'm delighted with it and as I like to layer up my clothes in winter (how often do we go from freezing outdoor temps to warm centrally heated rooms then feel the tiniest draft behind our necks?) it is going to be perfect.

I'm so glad I used the correct yarn, it is so drapery with a beautiful soft sheen and the colour is perfect for me. I used a scrap of Rowan pure silk DK for the braid which helps it to stand out from the 4ply Islington.

I have lots more on the needles but, you know the problem at this time of year? If I tell it will spoil several people's surprises. And then there's the question of what I shall make with the Natural Dye Studio green and purple mix...



Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Full Marks Saturday

What influences your decision on whether or not to take a knitting class? Content? Venue? Teacher? or, perhaps because a friend asked you to go with her and you just thought it would be a fun day?

On Saturday I scored 5/5  The class was on something very close to my heart - a technique with a complete absence of sewing up.

It was held at my favourite on line shop Purlescence.

So much more than simply an on line shop. They hold open days (the next one is 6 December), have a stand at almost every yarn show in the country, organise KALs and fab workshops.  And at the risk of sounding like their publicity officer (which I'm not, just a happy customer) they serve home made cakes at the events they host at their Wantage HQ.

Next time I'm there I MUST photograph some of the yarns they stock (which include Sweet Georgia, Fibrespates, Hand Maiden and Natural Dye Studio) but for now here are some of the totally beautiful tools from Lantern Moon that I have bought there in the past.

Cable needles, DPNs and 3.5mm straights (the only exception I make to my almost total use of cables)
But back to the workshop and our teacher the awesome Asa Tricosa (it's handy to remember awesome as her name, Asa, is pronounced Awe-ser!) super draftswoman, mathematician and knitter.  She says she is not a mathematician but how can that be so when her designs could only be created by someone with a highly developed ability to think in three dimensions and manipulate numbers while standing on her head (her designs are knitted from top down).

These sweaters are crafted from a single cast on edge that runs from shoulder to shoulder across the back neck then around the front and down creating a perfectly fitting yoke and pair of set in sleeve heads before taking three directions, one tube for the body and two for the sleeves.  There are curves and shaping along the way and for the advanced knitter the shape is adapted into cardigans of various shapes, some with a modern take on the Wateau pleat down the back (the purist will tell me that a W pleat begins at the shoulders but you know what I mean!), children's sweaters and little sleeveless tops.

But on Saturday we learned the basic ziggurat or zigguratlet, a tiny three month size sweater, less knitting but all the shaping of the grown up version.  Here I have to confess that I had wondered if Asa's beginner class would be too basic for me - how arrogant is that? It wasn't. I ended the day feeling that my brain had had a vigorous workout.

There are lovely little details on the sweaters to denote seams

Add a roll neck

and provide ease at the back of a high neckline

How snugly are these sleeves on a child sweater? (also decorated with brightly coloured bobbles)

Finally, yes, it was a friend who suggested and, yes,  we did have loads of fun including meeting lots of other lovely knitters.



my choice of yarn for the me-sized sweater, (now sadly discontinued ) Faery Wings* by Fibrespates

*but Hand Maiden create beautifully coloured yarns from the same base, Maiden Hair, also sold by Purlescence