Friday, March 28, 2008

Dayflower scarf

I seem to be working on a rush of scarves recently, or should that be a wrap of scarves? They are all gifts, although I've cast on the Lace Ribbon Scarf from the latest Knitty in Sundara's silky merino fingering in Winter Sky with no clear recipient in mind. Will post when decent progress has been made, but the colourway is intriguing. Under some lights it looks silver, in others grey and in others a pale, pale mauve. (So theres a partial answer to your question from a while ago Madge!)

The most recent scarf is the Dayflower scarf, which is a free pattern, and as Bells tells me, is available on Ravelry. (Will have to put my inability to find it down to the absent-mindedness which is biting deeper as the baby gets bigger. I even forgot my mobile phone number the other day!) I have had a ball of Tilli Tomas Disco Lights in American Beauty tucked away in the depths of the stash for about 12 months now. It was an impulse internet purchase after a torrid day at the office. I wanted to make a scarf with it, and wanted a lace pattern than wasnt too fussy.

Enter the Dayflower. The silk yarn gives beautiful stitch definition and I love the narrow, regular repeats of the pattern. It reminds me of an art deco edge design for some intensely patterned floral wall paper. And the intense, saturated colour of the yarn is glorious.

However it is the intense saturated colour of the yarn that is giving me some pause for thought at the moment. The tips of my bamboo needles turned a dark shade of tan, and my fingers were distinctly pink by the end of the last day of complusive Easter knitting. I want to soak it to block it (yes, the blocking love affair continues), but am worried that the colour might bleed and loose its glorious intensity. Have snipped off a strand from the small bit of left over that might make a tiny trim for something, and am currently soaking it to test if the dye really does bleed. Will update later.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter knitting

Just a quick snap of a work in progress. Well, two works in progress really. I'm sure you'll be able to distinguish one act of creation from one work of Easter inspired gluttony!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Equ and Evangeline

Australia's leading sock model, Equ, has recently relocated to the international city of love, Canberra. Because I miss her and she is a top model who hasnt experienced a Canberra winter (cold, by Australian standards. That means you can actually wear hand knits.)I thought I'd whip her up a small, but glamorous present.

Equ, meet Evangeline.

I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in what I'd call imperial purple, but is otherwise known as colour 330014. In terms of mods, I did six repeats of the cable to make a mid-forearm length glove rather than the almost elbow length.

Evangeline is a lovely, quick and gratifying knit!

The Orchid Scarf, or the OK, the Good and the Ugly

I've finally finished the Orchid Scarf, my first venture into the terrifying world of lace. Guided by advice from friends, various blog tutorials (particularly Eunny) and the Knitdevil herself, the Orchid Scarf flowed off my needles. It was also my first foray into lace blocking, and my love affair with blocking that began with the chevron scarf has been further fueled. How have I got by so far without this fantastic finishing technique?

The scarf is constructed in two parts and grafted together in the middle with Kitchener stitch. Conceptually so far, conceptually so good. The reality though is that I can tell which half of the scarf I knitted first, which is OK. The tension is reasonably even and really I am just being persnickety. The second half is good, and after blocking the two parts were virtually indistinguishable.

Now we come to the hard part - the ugly. I feel I need to be truthful about what I make, and it was especially tempting just to blog photos of the scarf arranged so as to cover up the graft.

Let me explain. I've only ever kitchenered sock toes before. Short and sweet with firm tension. (Can you see where this is going?) So I began grafting with gusto applying the same principles to this lovely, light, loose piece of knitting as I would a four ply stout wool sock. Luckily I was only about 12 stitches in before I realised my mistake, and then spent hours trying to reverse-kitchener. Its pretty tricky with a fine, dark yarn that has been pulled tight enough to frill. And then I had to undo some of the knitting because I'd managed to screw up the stitch order. And then I had to undone some more because I'd got lost. And then I got cranky, because I just wanted it done. And then nearly the whole afternoon had vanished. Anyway, after much bad tempered fiddling and doing the kitchener with my left index finger between the needles to make sure the tension was loose. It was finally done. But. Well. see for yourself.

I learnt a lot from this scarf - eg dont watch tellie shows with complicated plots when you are tired and expect to be able to knit lace at the same time; dont graft tightly; and while blocking has the power to make wonky things look much better than you ever expected, it wont cure them.

I'll post a pretty snap of the scarf later, maybe in situ around Aunty Norma's neck.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Chevron scarf - the verdict

Behold the chevron in all its glory!

Blocking is splendid! Its really made this scarf something special, smoothing out the lumps and bumps, uncurling the edges, and softening the fabric so it feels peachy and drapes like a dream.

And here it is gift wrapped waiting to bring joy to its new owner.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Blocking the chevron scarf - a work in progress

As usual, I've wildly over-estimated my ability to knit quickly. I hoped to be blocking both the orchid lace scarf and the chevron scarf this weekend. The orchid scarf feels mere moments away from being ready for the block, but in reality I'm thinking it will need at least another week.

Anyhoo - its probably for the best that I do my first ever blocking on something more sturdy, like the chevron scarf. Following Madge, the KnitDevil's, instructions to 'block it and block it hard', I began with a good long soak while the Squeeze and I went to the National Maritime Museum. (They have an amazing photographic exhibition on at the moment of Sitakunda on the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh, where old ships go to die. Well, to be completely deconstructed and recycled to be more precise.)

Then home again for stretching and pining. I used the dining room table and a towel, but on reflection next time I'll try and find a blocking board.

Its still drying today, but that hasnt stopped Squeak from making herself comfortable amongst it all. She was rolling all over it when I found her, betrayed by the tinkling of her 'fun-police' bell. But as soon as I whipped out the camera, she came over all demure and claimed to be only sitting on the towel. Ha!