Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Testing times

Aces 8
This lovely thing is a new scarf pattern from Kerry Tessyman on Ravelry. As she tested Pergola for me I offered to test Aces 8 for her. It's a lovely, intuitive pattern available in a scarf or stole size. This one is knit in cream cashmere from a Black Sheep sale and is like knitting with butter it's so soft.

Test knitting is one of the many things that Ravely is brilliant for. I wouldn't have released any patterns without the help and support of test knitters found through there

Monday, 20 September 2010

At last some knitting content

For various reasons last week was very busy which means no time to blog. I did have time to do some knitting here and there and I do have a finished item to show you!

When I first started this blog my eldest brother made a casual comment about wanting a handknit scarf. Since I like knitting for people who actually want to be knit for I decided this was a good idea. Some back and forth via email and a cabled, tweedy scarf was the brief. My family has some Irish heritage way back when so cables seemed like a nice link.

So the search was on for the perfect pattern. I trawled the internet, devoured the Ravelry pattern database, scoured my stitch dictionary but to no avail. Nothing was quite perfect. Or at least the things that appealed were really complicated and I am at best an advanced beginner with cables. And then I came across a saxon braid cable, even better I came across the incredibly well written, "design a cable" tutorial using the saxon braid motif on Eunny Jang's old blog (link in a post somewhere below - it really is excellent). I loved it, and more importantly understood it enough to make it knittable but I would still learn something.

Then the search for the yarn began...and ended in a drawer in the spare room where I had a large skein of New Lanark DK tweed in a lovely dark blue. That bit was easy

And so to the knitting...

As I was using Eunny Jang's saxon braid chart I won't be writing this up as a pattern but I'll tell you what I did. I cast on 34 stitches on 4.5mm needles and worked 10 rows of moss stitch. On the next row I worked 7 stitches in moss stitch, placed a marker, then knit the first row of the chart, placed a second marker, realised I should have cast on 35 stitches, decided it added to the artisan nature of the piece (sorry John) and then worked the last 6 stitches in moss stitch. I carried on like this to the end of the saxon braid chart and the continued into a wide rib for 20 rows, then a braid, the 20 rows and so on until I'd worked 8 braid+rib sections and then worked a final braid, repeated the 8 rows of moss stitch and then cast off. A slow block later I had a lovely scarf fit for an international man of mystery like my brother.

And here it is...

John's scarf
This is a birthday present but I've already sent him the link to my Ravelry project page so it's not a secret.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Lassitude - indolent indifference

I am back from holiday, a holiday of doing nothing but drinking wine and eating bread, cheese and lovely French and Catalan food in a sleepy little village about an hour from Perpignan.

Some highlights:

The view from the balcony
This is the view of the Vingrau cliffs from the balcony. These cliffs look peachy-pink in the sunset and are even more spectacular close up. You can see eagles catching thermals round the cliffs and at the base there's an excellent Catalan restaurant called Lou Barrel.

Drain pipes with character
In the village where we stayed there were a number of very entertaining drain pipes. This was my favourite - a slightly startled snake - but there were also some lovely lions

We were in the Midi-Pyrenees which has a lot of vineyards some owned by big companies and some by village co-operatives. This one is at the bottom of the Vingrau cliffs stretching out into the valley. There are some lovely wines some of which can be found in the UK like Mont Tauch wines.

Wild harvest
Everywhere we went there was wild harvest. Fennel and wild thyme grew all over the vineyards and up the mountains. On the side of the roads there were these amazing blackberries that were so sweet and juicy that we couldn't resist gathering up for eating later. In the carpark at the Chateau Aguilar we found these lovely ripe figs that were quite amazing. Foraged food in the sun is somehow better than food from a shop...

Mountain Goats
As we flew with BMI Baby I couldn't take any knitting so this is the only vaguely knitting content to this blog post. We went for a drive (my husband likes the mountain roads far more than I do...) and followed a road that took us up Mont Tauch itself to see where the road went. Along the way we discovered signs for a mohair farm but as we were halfway up a mountain, and the sign led down a dirt track and we were in a Seat Leon we decided not to venture further. It was a beautiful day so what you can see behind the sign is actually cloud. And we were in a Seat Leon!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

And finally a winner

Sorry to be late posting this but life has got in the way this week. My favourite name for the textured shawlette is Mizzle from Plumbum so she will win whichever of the Araucania or the Knitting Goddess she prefers.

That being said I also have another shawlette in the planning which will have different construction but a similar feel so I'm stealing Samantha's Cityscape for that one. Whichever yarn Plumbum doesn't prefer will go to Samantha.

You gave some great suggestions so I'm definitely doing this again at some point. I loved the literary ones

In other news, I have been finishing things:

The stripy jumper of doom
This jumper is finally finished (apologies for the rubbish picture - it looks great on) having been OTN since January. The yarn is Rowan Scottish Tweed Aran from one of the Kemps grab bags

Peggy Sue got Buttons
And Peggy Sue is also finished with some modifications and another awful photo. I did the sleeves in the round until the elbow and then ribbed flat with buttonholes. I knit the 38" which was always going to be too big so added lots of waist shaping. Again this looks better on

And I made ginger cake but I don't have a photo of that