i knit because i can ...

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Rowan 30th Anniversary Workshop - Final Instalment!

I proudly present the finished Rowan Anniversary Bag!! Front, and Back. I lined it and interlined it, to give it some body, and some protection from wear, and am really quite pleased with how it turned out, in spite of my fight with the Intarsia! My main satisfaction is the way in which the colours worked together, giving me exactly the result I had hoped for.

Now I am off to do a spot of baby-sitting again for my grandson Luke. And on Friday I have been invited to the Grandparents' Open Day of my darling granddaughter Ellie's nursery. At the w/e off to Sheffield for a 60th birthday party - life's just one mad social whirl!! ;)

Friday, 26 September 2008

still not much about knitting ...

Two wonderful days with grandson Luke, who now talks, although I don't always follow what he's saying, and plays and is such a happy-go-lukey!! ;)

So not much knitting, nor pix. I have still to make up my Rowan bag, but have been busy finishing a shawl I started last year as mystery kal from Goddess Knits. The yarn is JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk, needles Addi-Turbo, and it fair bowls along. Thought it might make a nice Christmas for my eldest daughter. No photos yet, because on a circular needle it just looks like a multi-coloured heap. Will post when I finish it, which I hope will be over the w/e.

Trying hard not to let the news of financial institutions crashing down around the world affect my mood, but it's difficult to remain cheerful when I see my children struggling to keep roofs over their children's heads. The more so, when it is clear that much of the financial debacle is due to greed and mismanagement. At my age, recession/depression is nothing new, but it never gets any easier. So I knit, and sew, and assist wherever I can. Am I the only one who thinks the inhuman way in which humans have organised modern society is madness? Am I foolish to hope that by trying to bring beauty - through the knitting - and gentleness - through helping with the grandchildren - to a rotten world, I might make a small contribution to counter-acting its rottenness?

Another grandchild picture, to cheer myself up, if nothing else. And a picture of the tunic I knit for her, with elephant buttons - ellie, geddit? ;) Berger de France Caline - not my favourite type of yarn, but pretty colours and fully machine washable, which makes life easier for her working mum. I have a picture of her wearing it on my mobile, but haven't worked out how to get it into my computer. Watch this space ...

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Not much about knitting ...

Nothing exciting to show knitwise. Finished the bottom and sides of the Rowan bag, but that's not particularly thrilling to look at. Will post again when I've finished making it up. Still waiting for my CashSilk for the princess.
Much more fun was looking after my beautiful Grandson Luke. His other grandmother, Gladys, usually minds him while my daughter Kathy is at work. Unfortunately, she dislocated her shoulder, so I am stepping in. I'll be off on Weds and Thurs this week and next - great. He's such a super chap:

I took him to Godstone Farm Park, which he loves: animals, tractors, sandpits, swings. What's not to like? My favourite is this giant white rabbit:

Finally, for those who think a knitting blog should always have something about knitting, look at these beauties. I treated myself to a full set of the new KnitPicks 14" Harmony Wood straights in special pack. My only sadness is they are not available (yet?) in finer sizes, because I just love everything about the Harmony Wood needles: their look, their feel, the way they knit. I live in hope, sigh ...

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Intarsia, grrrr ......

Well, I finally finished the intarsia for the Rowan Anniversary Bag, which means I remembered the other reason why I don't like intarsia - sewing the ends in!! :( After stitching for what seems like the rest of my life, I felt it was far enough on to photograph it, so here it is. I personalised the bag (with the designer's permission) by adding my initial I to the Rowan R, as my surname begins with R.

Here is a picture of the original design by Sharon Brant, for comparison.

Now I just have the sides to knit and the making-up to do. I think I shall line the bag, and Sharon suggested using some light wadding to firm it up a bit, then I can carry my latest project around in it, which seems appropriate, somehow! ;)

Off now to look after a grandson tomorrow. Big thrill!!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Princess Shawl

Have been working on the Rowan bag, but it's slow going. Being a perfectionist Virgo, or as my daughter once called me, a picky worry wort, I don't really like intarsia, it always worries me that I'm not really doing it 'right'. That's why I've never gone in for much in the way of picture knitting. More than that, I don't really feel that it's 'real' knitting, in that I feel it's straining the technique, rather than using it to advantage. I have done my fair share in my time; pictures for the children and so on. And I like it on things like tumbling blocks, vertical or diagonal stripes, and such. It's the finicky stuff that's all over the place that has my anxiety levels rising. Which is my excuse for not having finished the intarsia yet!

So today I'm showing my swatch for the Princess Shawl:

I can't start the shawl proper yet, as I am still waiting for my yarn (Sharon Miller's Gossamer CashSilk in Viola) and needles. So I'm swatching to see how the yarn works. To date I have done 8 points, and I am going to do a full feather, to get the whole effect. The CashSilk is very soft and slightly shining, but rather firm and slippy. I don't think it will block as crisply as a Shetland, but I don't mind, because this is for me, and I like its cuddly feel. Mind you, the slippiness of the yarn, and a slight tendency to split means that it will be a bit of a challenge, I think. I am also waiting for 14" long bamboo straights, size 2 mm - yes straights! Because another thing I don't really like is circular needles. I just can't get up any speed. I prefer to have my right-hand needle tucked under my right arm, so that I can whiz along. As I have decided to do a square shawl, this will enable me to knit it in sections, thereby NOT having 800++ stitches on a row. Sorry if that's sacrilege to some. My knitting, my method!! ;) Anyway, traditionally that's how Shetland shawls were knit, so I claim precedent.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Ravelry, and Rowan 30th Anniversary Bag (again)

Finally got round to doing something with Ravelry, other than lurking! Been a member for ages, but somehow there was never enough time ... Well, now I've put myself, and my blog, on it properly. And even described my most recent project, Finn's Aran!

While we were househunting - with mixed success - I knitted the bottom of my Rowan 30th Anniversary Bag, but as that's rather boring (140 rows by 22 sts of garter st in dark green), instead I'll show the pictures of the beading and intarsia:

Now I'm going to crack on and finish the job! More tomorrow.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Finn's Aran

A quick aside to show Finn's Aran, complete all but the buttons:

I have lined the hood with some cotton jersey, a lovely vintage Pooh Bear left over from some baby suits I made for Ellie and Luke, to counteract any scratchiness from the Bainin:

I took the inspiration for the patterns from the Clan Aran I knit for Finn's dad, Jos, modifying them to make them daintier for the smaller jacket. Although I must admit Finn's got a bit of growing to do, before he'll fit into it - but at the rate he's feeding, I don't think that will be too long!! ;)
A close-up of the patterns:

Now I just have to find some nice 'leather' or wooden buttons to finish it off. So I'm back to finishing my Rowan 30th Anniversary Bag.

No more blogging before the w/e, because we're off househunting in the New Forest!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Rowan 30th Anniversary Workshop 2

It's a week since I went on the Rowan Anniversary Workshop, and I promised to show and tell, honestly, I don't know where the time goes. In my defence, I was busy knitting the Aran, and cooing over my lovely Finn, who has now gone to visit great-grandparents in Yorkshire. So I shall spare a few minutes to give you a taster.

Sharon Brant had devised a lovely bag for us to make, which was intended to give us practice on three potentially troublesome techniques, fair isle, intarsia, and beading. Difficulties arose straightaway, as we had to select a base colour and four contrasts. How to make the choice from such lovely colours in Rowan pure wool DK? Eventually I tore myself away from my usual pinks, purples and blues, and went with a lovely rust, contrasted with orange, gold, green and a sharp fuchsia to give it some zing. I wanted a strong base colour, because being practical, I thought pale would be dodgy. My second colour was a dark green, because this will be the bottom of the bag, and again, I wanted something that would look good, but not show every mark. My aim was to get a rich finish, almost jewel like. Judge for yourselves.

Herewith the fair isle, pinned out to show, but not blocked yet:

Friday, 12 September 2008

Finn today and gone tomorrow ...

Haven't blogged lately, cos my gorgeous grandson Finn was here from Ireland, accompanied by parents Jos and Lisa, so too busy. But now they have gone, and I am missing them already, especially Finn. So just to cheer myself up, a little picture of him, wearing the BSJ his proud gran knitted him!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Rowan 30th Anniversary Workshop

I'd like to say, I had an absolutely fabulous w/e, and I did - eventually! The journey to Yorkshire from London was already proving horrible, taking much longer than usual because of a) roadworks, b) heavy traffic and c) even heavier rain. Then disaster struck, the clutch went as I was trying to change down coming out of the outside lane, and I had to coast onto the hard shoulder across three lanes and the slip road on to the M1 just north of Sheffield. Three hours later we were recovered to our destination, late, cold, grumpy, and (me) having missed the reception at the exhibition. :(

However, our wonderful landlord and landlady, Andy and Linda at the Castle View Country Guest House, were so welcoming, providing us with dinner at 9 pm, and looking after us all over the weekend, including an extra day while we waited for the car to be repaired at great expense (don't ask! P is still recovering, and I am having to accept that my birthday present this year was a clutch!!), that it more than made up for it!

As for the workshop, it was just fabulous. Just a couple of pictures for now, to provide a foretaste (I forgot to mention the other disaster, my camera broke, so I shall have to borrow Peter's to take pix of my work, but I did manage to take some of the workshop):

Friday, 5 September 2008

Rowan Anniversary w/e

Shan't be blogging over the w/e - for my birthday, I treated myself to the Rowan Anniversary w/e seminar in Yorkshire, ticket purchased a long time ago. Then I wasn't going to go, because I didn't think I could face the driving, after my recent bout of illness. But my darling husband saved the day when he offered to take me there and treat me to the hotel stay, so off we go! And if the weather improves, we might even get a bit of walking. The scenery's lovely up there, I'll try to get some photos. And because Peter's driving, I can knit and sleep en route!;) In the meantime, here is the completed 'back and fronts' of Finn's Aran. I think it looks a bit like a crown, which is perfectly appropriate for my little king!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Finn's shawl

It will surprise no-one that as soon as I knew there was another grandchild on the way, I couldn't wait to start a shawl! I knit the Nesting Shawl, one of Sharon Miller's (of Heirloom Knitting fame) designs, using Jamieson's Cobweb Ultra 1-ply. Being a Shetland yarn, this blocked beautifully, although I found it a little sticky to knit at times. Anyway, it was well received, although Finn seems oblivious to his good fortune! ;) Herewith pix:

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

as promised - more on clan arans

As my son Jos has decided to settle in Killarney with his Irish girlfriend, and also likes to walk a lot, I thought what more appropriate than an Aran sweater to keep him snug! These are sweaters which have been devised for the different Irish clans and can be obtained from Clan Aran Sweaters, but they also do kits, so naturally I bought one and got out my needles.
The handsome guy is Jos, and it's a Mc Carthy Clan Aran, in bainin, pronounced bawnin, (i.e., traditional Aran wool) knit with 5mm. needles. The jacket I am knitting for his son Finn is a loose interpretation, because of the scale. I have cut down the size and number of the patterns, and I am knitting the main body, i.e., back and fronts, in one, to minimise bulky seams, and shall add a hood. An added bonus with Aran is that it knits up very quickly, in spite of the intricate patterns, because of the bulk of the bainin. Watch this space!!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

more Zimmermann

I have now finished my third, and for the time being, last Baby Surprise Jacket:

This one, in blue stripes, using Rowan Lightweight DK from my stash, is for my beautiful new Grandson Finn who weighed in at around 7 lb 13 oz on 24th June, two days before his cousin Ellie's second birthday! He's gorgeous (as you will see in pic on right), and parents Jos and Lisa are nuts about him, understandably, if still a bit shell-shocked.

I just love the way the colours are modified by each other, and also how they change again when the jacket is finally assembled. The first pic shows the jacket before assembly.

My next effort is an aran jacket for the same gorgeous guy, to my own design adapted from the Mc Carthy clan aran, as his mum is a Mc Carthy. I already knitted the clan aran for his dad, more later, and thought it might be nice to have something for the boy!