Thursday, November 30, 2006

Work in Progress

Just to let everyone see the glory that is Rowan Tapestry - boy, am I loving knitting this stuff.
Except for the fluff on black trousers.
Oh well, small sacrifice
This is going to be My So Called Scarf (Sheep in the City version). I think the Sheep in the City one is prettier - the yarn variegation suits the stitches more, but this is coming out really nicely too. While the variegation is more gradual, the texture of the knit is very soft and drapes beautifully. I was thinking for a bit that I should have used the yarn for a shrug maybe, but now I am happy with this. I really like the edges that this stitch gives the scarf too - they are so neat and geometric!
Also, how cool is this fungus? We went for a walk near Cholesbury last weekend and fungus was abundant. More pics to come I reckon. But it reminds me somehow of the wool too...all this autumnal browns and goldens and blues and purples and stuff. Very very nice.
PS walking into work early this morning, the sky was clear and sun was just coming up - I swear I think the guys at Rowan used the autumn morning sky colours to create this yarn! Either that or I am completely smitten! Hee!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

1940s knitting delights

Hey - check out this collection of knitting patterns from the '40s held at Victoria & Albert Museum - knitted bikini anyone? Or a balacalava with ear holes? Although I am very tempted by the knitted lion - he also has a companion tiger, which is very very cute.

Arthur & George

Ok - book review number one!
So I just finished Arthur & George, by Julian Barnes (actually I finished it in bed last night). Julian Barnes is one of my 'solid foundation' kinda authors - always worth reading, wrote some of the best books I have ever read, but somehow slips off my mental list at times. And I don't think I own anything other than Flaubert's Parrot. But lately I have read quite a few (thanks, Aylesbury Library!) including England, England, which was amazing and wonderful and great! All teh good bits of Barnes at his postmodern-satirist best.
So anyway, I came to Arthur & George only a few books after England, England (obviously, I am in section B at the library right now!). And I have to say, this book is ....I am not sure. I am more uncertain about it than I usually am, usually I have an opinion ready to go, even at halfway through the first chapter! So I will try and explain a bit.
While I was reading the book, I loved it. Barnes writes in a lovely, clear, readable, descriptive way, I always enjoy the process of reading each of his sentences. And it did take me a while to get through the 356 pages of A&G, due to general life stuff & some excessive knitting (what good is one sock?). But when I wasn't reading it, I wasn't burning to get back to it. Somehow, I felt like an observer of the story, rather than getting wrapped up in it. I didn't burn to find out what was going to happen. And interestingly, not much actually did happen. The whole 'birth to death' kind of thing wore me out a little - the story happens in the middle of these men's lives, and yes, Arthur Conan Doyle was an interesting man (but so was George....) but their story is most interesting when their lives intersect. Unfortunately there is alot of other stuff. Arthur's interactions with Anson, for example, are dull. That's all I have to say about that (sorry Julian). Generally, its great. A good read. But I think he has better reads to be read. I know this isn't all that academic or technical, but I think these book ramblings will be pretty informal. Its my blog, I'll do what I want!
I can't think of any pictures to post about this. So sorry about all the text!

backwards steps

Ok, well I thought that given there was discussion of Simon's hat, I should do a quick post about that. I did the Hello Yarns 'We Call Them Pirates' hat for him, using the suggested yarn of Dale 'Hauk', which I bought from the ever friendly folk at Dragon Yarns (and delivered promptly too it was!). As I said before, its mighty fine to knit with, and generally looks good once knitted up. Simon was concerned on a number of levels (this was step one in persuading him that knitting was a reasonable way to spend one's time and efforts - I'll get to step two in another blog!), mostly on the level that his head is small (same size as me which is handy) and that I once, mistakenly, knit him a beany before we even really were together, and thought his head would be normal man size. So the beany was a disaster. Anyway, he wanted this hat IF (a) the skulls would look evil, not silly (b) it would come down over his ears (c) it would fit him (d) it wouldn't look like someone made it (?!)
Anyway, he decided he didn't want lining, so I knitted a short ribbed band on instead, missing out a few other knit rows from the start of the main pattern, which worked ok. The rest of the hat is as per the instructions. Seems like he likes it...he wears it all the time, even with his friends! And boasts about how I made it (victory!). The only problem was that it was my first two colour knitting project, and only my second project knitting on dpns. So there are a few tension issues. Luckily, washing it & giving lots of manual tension management work seemed to resolve most problems. Also, the dryer technique was pretty good at getting it to fit him as desired (as I said before).
here tis!

Friday, November 24, 2006

new new new! and oh so shiny

Yay! New blog! This is the all new, all singing & dancing clare blog! It is an offshoot of the clare and simon blog, primarily because the clare and simon blog was getting too knit focused for simon's taste. So, to avoid domestic disputes I now have my own blog on which to post knit stuff. And other things, probably.
Anyway, as the first post there are a number of knit things to post, but I am going to start with my new hat! Yay! This hat is my new fave thing that I knitted. It originated from the Hello Yarns 'We Call Them Pirates' hat, which I knitted for Simon. It worked a treat, although was a little big and we had to do the shrinko thing with the dryer, which wouldn't have been so bad except the washer-dryer in this flat has a two minute timer on the door for safety reasons (?) so it was a little slower than might normally have occurred. Anyway, the hat was great. So great that I wanted a hat, but not with little skulls on it (also, matching hats? too seventies for me). So I designed my own hat, which was very exciting and new and I had never done anything like it before! Also, I made sure the design was a few stitches smaller, and made the hat to fit. And also I did the lining thing, which is actually very good (I didn't do that on Simon's).
So - the hat!

Pattern: Hello Yarn's We Call Them (Skiing) Pirates (truly adulterated by me)
Yarn: Dale Garn Hauk , Colour 4137 (glorious deep berry red) & cream (I lost the tag to that one). Also some Sirdar Snuggly for the lining in pretty baby blue (remnant from another project, not that I would usually use non-natural fibres. Turns out to be nice & soft on the head though).

The Dale Garn Hauk is Teflon coated (!) so it is apparently water resistant. My hat was specifically made for going skiing so I thought this would be a useful feature, but turns out it is good for rainly old England too. It is really quite nice to knit with, and while it looks a little sterile & 'stitchy' pre-wash, it gets a nice bloom on it. However, the red ran colour like no-one's business, so it was some careful washing there so I didn't end up with pink snowflakes. Anyway, all ended up well.