Saturday 30 April 2016

Wonderwool 2016

Our fourth year in the bunkhouse and my sixth visit to Wonderwool - I can't believe it has been that many. We had a delightful weekend as usual, although I did at times feel a bit overwhelmed by the noise and the people, especially on the Saturday. It felt really very busy this year.

Sunday was very nice though and afforded time and space for some wandering at will, so I got a good look round the stalls. Not much point though, because I had a mental list of what I wanted and I pretty much stuck to it. And here it is:

In the front row:
  • Five skeins of a new Triskelion blend that doesn't yet have a name - it's a BFL DK in colour Nicor. I never buy green but Jenny pointed it out to me and then I had to have it. He doesn't sell the Idris I bought last year anymore and I wasn't convinced of the new DK base, so it was a treat to come across this new yarn on the table. 
  • Four skeins of a delightful blue blend from Owl About Yarn. It's about 900m which I was worried would not be enough for a garment, but a quick scan of my projects revealed that this jumper used about that much and it is one of my favourites. 
  • Five skeins of Midwinter linen, the same as last year, but in blues for a gradient summer top. I have got so much wear out of the sunrise top that this was a no-brainer. I went for an extra skein this time so that I can be a bit more generous with my sleeves.
  • Five skeins of Diana Aran from Fivemoons. The lilac was marked down by a ridiculous degree and I bought the pink to match. Along with the two skeins I bought last September, that should be enough for an incredibly warm stripey jumper. 
In the back row:
  • Either side, gradient sets from Moonlight. On the left is the one I bought and knitted last year. I have some left over from that and want to make a striped jumper, but I was concerned the leftovers wouldn't be enough for a reasonable stripe so I bought this, her last kit, at the end of Sunday. I regret nothing. On the right is a gradient set with a grey skein for another scarf. This was my first purchase. 
  • In the middle, a kit to knit a large blue tit (so cute) and a Zauerball on top because I saw a shawl knitted in it and wanted it. Not until later did I realise this is roughly the same colours as that right-hand gradient kit. Oh well. 
There were buttons, too - some that make me think of Starry Night, some that are turquoise chips set in pitch, and some that are the palest purple dichroic glass. There are also two dyed mother-of-pearl buttons, not pictures, which will shortly be gracing my new jumper that is nearing completion.

I'm very pleased with my purchases and currently casting around for a suitable top-down raglan pattern for the linen. I might give in and knit the same one as before; it is a great shape and was just about interesting enough to keep me plugging away at it. 

Monday 25 April 2016

Weekend WIP: Deep North the Third

After being extremely worried about running out of yarn with only the briefest of afterthought sleeves, I spent most of the weekend grumbling about how that 4th skein as going on FOR. EVER. and I was never going to be finished.

Then I found some buttons that turned out to be a perfect colour match and so spent far too long deliberating over how I might use them to decorate the sweater (Claire suggested as nipple covers but I'm still not convinced). So when it seemed that I might have enough yarn for full length sleeves I thought I would have to abandon the button idea altogether.

Oh, it's all been going on. How I ever get any work done is beyond me.

Now I'm thinking, cuffs with a reversible cable on them to mirror the cable panel on the front, that can be turned back and buttoned or turned down when warmth is required. I have done reversible cables at least once before but it might take me a while to revisit and remember.

Blue Monday

Wonderwool blues...

Part 1...

The dyers' stalls.

I spent possibly too much time wandering around taking pictures of blue things so please expect this to be a brief series of blue Mondays on a theme. I could really spend an embarrassing amount of time at that show just staring at blue things. I mean, even more than I already do.

Monday 18 April 2016

Blue Monday

Back in 2013 Tutt and I stuck our feet in the waters of friendship by going on our first holiday together, to Lisbon. Luckily it didn't go too badly, in spite of me "making" her go to a tile museum and cooing over the otters in the aquarium.

This shot is from our day at Cabo da Roca, Europe's most westerly point.

Millions of acres of ever-changing blue.

Sunday 17 April 2016

Weekend WIP: Deep North again

I can't believe how quickly this is knitting up! I joined the third skein on Friday evening and was onto the fourth by Sunday afternoon. I've finished both fronts and am more than halfway through the back. Bit of a naus really, because I thought that all the plain knitting would be best for Wonderwool next weekend and now I am going to need to find something else.

I fudged the neck shaping a little so that I could blend the central cable into the neckline as I went. Some of the projects on Ravelry just stop part way through a diamond, which I wanted to avoid.

Since I am now on skein four of five, I am slightly worried about the sleeves now; but at least they are picked up and knitted down so I can do as I did with the red sweater and just carry on until the yarn runs out. This seems to be the theme of the year so far. In my defence, I had 20 yards more than the pattern requirements; I did knit it a bit longer in the body, though (of course).

Quite pleased to be able to have a go at this technique for knitting sleeves, because I need to use it for a UFO I have had languishing for ages. I gave it a go in the Christmas holidays but it didn't go very well.

I'm very pleased with how this is turning out - a lovely fit and the cables look so crisp in this yarn.

Monday 11 April 2016

Bonus Cameo post

Two reasons to update.

Firstly, it grew way more than I was expecting in blocking and is now roughly 85 inches across the span. I wore it today as a scarf and it's perfect - very warm without being too bulky.

Secondly, I took some pictures of me in it. I'd love to pretend this is me au naturel but, to be honest, I have been playing around with Snapchat in an effort to remain down with the kids and this is one of their filters. It is just a skin brightener/smoother but I find the effect quite startling. I dread to think what that says about how I look normally.

Blue Monday

We were in Naples last week for a school trip so I was spoilt for blue choice, particularly when we got the boat around Capri. Water so blue it looks fake.

I am very lucky to get to go on all these amazing trips.

Sunday 10 April 2016

Weekend WIP: Deep North

After finishing the effortless garter stitch of the Cameo scarf, which was absolutely perfect knitting for a return bus journey to Austria, my thoughts immediately turned back to finishing up what I bought at Wonderwool last year, and so the fivemoons Diana was duly wound and a new pullover cast on between naps last Sunday.

This weekend I have joined the second skein and finished the waist decreases. It's working up beautifully: lustrous and soft and with amazing colours. I don't think I will finish it before Wonderwool, but I am feeling quite pleased with myself, as this leaves just one garment's worth of yarn left, plus the random silk I impulse-purchased from Knitwitches and the snuggly soft single skein from Triskelion.

This should mean I have free rein at Wonderwool in a fortnight but I fear that the six garment's worth of yarn I have acquired since last year's Wonderwool and not yet touched might prey on my mind a little. I am planning a sizable donation to the Air Ambulance table though, so that might help to offset new purchases.

Spring FO #2: Cameo

In the spirit of using things up, I dashed out this simple shawl on the ski trip bus. It was Kat from Knatterers' suggestion that I use up this lovely variegated Madelinetosh by pairing it with something and making a striped shawl, a la Zephyr Cove. In the end I plumped for this pattern, mainly because it was cheaper.

Pattern: Cameo by Paulina Popiolek
Yarn: Tosh DK, two and a half skeins or so
Needle: 5mm
Mods: I didn't knit the same number of repeats: I had to be pragmatic as I was limited on yarn; also, this pattern is written for 4-ply yarn. I worked 34 picots in the main colour, which was roughly equivalent to the pattern for my row gauge; 16 stripes in the contrast colour (until I ran out of the MC); 10 eyelet rows on the border, finishing with just 2 rows even, as I was concerned about having enough yarn to bind off.

The finished piece was 65 inches across and 17 inches at the longest part, before blocking. It's currently hanging on the line after a good soaking and I am guessing it will dry considerably longer. The blue skein ran quite a lot in the wash and I think it might have stained the grey a little; I'm actually hoping that is the case because I think that will only improve the way the colours blend.

Bonus feet in that one.

I wasn't sure about the colours together when I started the striping but now it is finished, I am very pleased with it. I was hoping for something that resembled the deepening blue of Lake Tahoe, which is going to be forever associated with this yarn on account of when and where I bought it. I think I have gone some way towards achieving it.

Also, it is very squishy and lovely.

Saturday 9 April 2016

Spring FO #1: Bettie's Pullover

I have neglected to blog about my knitting of late. Here's my first garment FO of the year (with a vintage filter because it's quite a vintage-style pattern). I finished it a few days before we went on the ski trip, so I am not that behind with the blogging. Phew.

Pattern: Bettie's Pullover by Maria Leigh
Yarn: Indiecita Alpaca DK, shade red 2060, pretty much every scrap of 10 balls. All the way from Peru. Delightfully soft and lovely to knit with.
Needles: 3mm, 3.25mm, 3.75mm - the waist shaping is created by going down in needle size and then back up again. Very clever.
Mods: I made the body longer than specified, by an unspecified amount (I just knitted it until it seemed long enough). Partially as a result of this, and partially as a result of being short on yarn even at cast on, I made the sleeves elbow length instead of full length; the pattern required the sleeves to be knitted first and joined for the yoke, so I did a provisional cast on and knitted the sleeves down from this once the yoke and necktie had been completed. I had one ball of yarn for each sleeve; I think if I had had a third ball I might have got full length out of them, so that worked out well.

I also sewed the necktie on upside down. Dur. I should unpick it but the seaming on one side is really quite good because I used a book to help me, so I don't want to. Nobody will know but me.

The pattern was very clever, creating short row bubbles at the top and bottom to account for the bias pull of the feather and fan. Unfortunately my short rows at the top are quite sloppy; I might need to oversew them at some point but I wonder if it's only noticeable because I am looking at it.

I should sew a button onto the necktie but I quite like the brooch and, anyway, I can't choose.

When I eventually get that cameo brooch my friend Parpy Jo has been making me for a few years, I think that will be the perfect match for it.