Sunday, 18 July 2010

And how stupid am I?

Remember I was having trouble matching the tension on the lace swatch for the Bergere de France Eyelet jumper?  Well, the second swatch was still nowhere near correct, and I just about gave up, but decided eventually to have one more try - moving up another .5mm to 4.0mm needles.  So I sat down to cast on in front of the telly, then looked at my chart to cast on the right number.  Light finally dawned that I had been calculating the tension swatch based on my clear understanding that there were 18 stitches in the lace panel and 6 in the cable panel.  Guess what - there isn't.  The entire chart is only an 18 stitch repeat, not 24 stitches.  And guess what, the second swatch comes out fine when you use the right number of stitches in your calculation (Duh, smack own head several times).  I'm sure I used to be smarter when I was younger.  And before I reproduced.

I have moved on rapidly with the Disappearing Four-Patch project, seaming all the blocks together, adding a border, then stitching it to its backing and turning it through an opening (this is a quick quilt, so went with the envelope method), then clamping it up and pinning it for quilting.  This is a pic after all of that, but I haven't done any stitching yet apart from 1/4" around the edge.  I purposefully picked a rather neutral border because I don't know what my boss' favourite colour is.  I wanted to avoid the "there's a red border so it's a red quilt" syndrome.  The border fabric also features scottie dogs in little plaid coats which I think might appeal to her sense of humour. The size is roughly 45" x 60", so it will be a throw.

I experienced a severe episode of yarn lust this week.  Tuesday I had to go up to Islington for a work thing, so I looked up Loop's new address on my phone and dropped in on the way back to the station.  The new location at 15 Camden Passage is a lot closer to the Angel tube station, and I liked it a lot better than the old shop.  It is lighter, brighter, more spacious and there are three floors.  The top floor is currently being used for teaching although apparently they are redeveloping the basement to be a classroom.  The second floor has a nice knitting area with a sofa and some chairs, and there is stock on the ground and second floors.  I was only planning to look... until I saw the Malabrigo Silky Merino glistening in the light.  Love at first sight.  I chose three colours and wound the skeins the same evening, then cast on the next day for a Feather & Fan neckwarmer of my own design.

This has been a rather interesting experiment with the impact of different needles.  I am not usually very precious about my needles, tending to grab whatever is the right size and preferably circular.  I started off knitting this loosely spun one-ply with a fairly pointy metal needle.  I quickly found that a) the needles were hurting my hands as the yarn slipped on them so much that I had to grip too tightly, and b) the points kept splitting the stitches.  So the next day I switched to my blunt Denise plastic interchangeables.  That solved the splittiness issue, but introduced a new problem.  There is a minute crack where the plastic cable meets the connector that plugs into the plastic tip, and the threads of the yarn kept catching in the crack which was incredibly annoying.  Finally I switched to Clover Takumi bamboo straights in a short length, and hit the sweet spot as I can now knit easily without having to look at the knitting too much.  No more splittiness with the blunt tips, and the bamboo hugs the silky merino sufficiently that my hands are not overstrained.  Yay!

Meanwhile, back in the land of yarn lust at Loop, I  also found this Garn Alpaca laceweight in pale pink, which was fairly expensive but seemed perfect for trying a Haapsalu shawl.  I had ordered the sewing-thread-like Estonian lace yarn but just don't think I have the ability to enjoy knitting with something so fine, so this Garn Alpaca seems like a good substitute. So I've now picked a pattern out of the book (Reversed Lily of the Valley pattern) and wound the skeins into yarn cakes, so all is ready to cast on.

The Rowan Knitting & Crochet magazine No 48 showed up on Friday.  I am due to renew my subscription, and for a while as I read through the first section of knitted atrocities (called 'Nomad') I was thinking that I was absolutely not going to waste my money.  It's all about big yarn and textures and giant cables, and is mostly either unwearable or very unattractive.  (and you know that when a sweater is making a stick-insect model look fat/pregnant, that it is not going to work in the real world...)  But when I got to 'Russian Doll' all was forgiven, as it is all about colourful gorgeous fair isle in multiple colours of felted tweed.  Sadly a lot of them would cost upwards of £100 to knit because of all the colours, but I can still dream.  The third section, 'Timeless', is surprisingly dated and frumpy, with some designs looking straight out of the 80s, and few of them flattering to the models.  My friend at knitting club says that it is cheaper to just buy the magazines rather than subscribe, but on the other hand it is easier when they just show up at your door...


swooze said...

You are getting so much done! I like that disappearing 4 patch and have it on my list. Will have to wait for it to perk to the top.

Hope all is well there.

joven said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daisy said...

I gave up subscribing and now have a flick through in John Lewis when the new one comes out (and look on Ravelry to see who has knitted what from it!). There are some lovely patterns, but rather a lot of weird/completely impractical ones too...

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