Monday, March 20, 2006

Happy Occasion...

Went to the wedding (my cousin and his wife who has become a very good friend over the 12 or so years they've been together), and it was extraordinarily nice. Shouldn't be surprising given the extremely good people involved, but anyway, it was. The wedding was here (scroll down to the bottom of the page) and the reception here

Despite self-sabotage (turned the alarm clock off, and woke up 5 mins after the original intended train left) and the efforts of the National Rail site (which then gave me not only the wrong train time but the wrong station from London, leaving me flitting around at a completely deserted Cannon Street at 10 on a Saturday morning - those guys at National Rail just love having fun, don't they?) got there in the end...

Here's a picture. My aunt Barbara, Kevin and Kate.

It was, of course extremely, bonecrunchingly cold; there were lots of jokes about not needing confetti if it snowed... the Symphony wrap wasn't quite adequate but I was very glad to have it. Once we got to the hotel we soon warmed up with much champagne, lovely canapés and a wonderful meal...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Second attempt

The replacement wrap is finished; here it is with the top, skirt and handbag. The skirt is ankle-length (and so you get more greeny colour on view), but sewing hangers on it is beyond me at the moment so you get the general effect... The Symphony wrap pressed out very nicely and the drape is way better than it would be as a coat - I used 8mm needles which would probably be the equivalent of someone with "normal" tension knitting on a 9.5mm with this yarn. I also remembered the blackberry-coloured handbag I didn't sell at Textiles in Focus which turns out to be a good match.

I realised last week that these colours meant I had an Occasion to wear the necklace I made in silversmithing years ago (1992, at an adult ed. centre in Camden/Kentish Town), so here's a pic of that too. The main piece measures 9cm from fastening to fastening, the stones are garnets and malachite, and there's a brooch-pin on the back so it's dual-purpose. Obviously it's a deliberately Art Nouveau design; not as symmetrical or delicate as a professional would have got it, but I was only in London for a year. Buying the silver and the stones in Hatton Garden was a wonderful experience; there were people buying literally thousands of pounds' worth of gold, and precious stones, at the same places.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Major rethink : a short rant

So I spent a lot of this afternoon knitting the final chunk of the coat/shrug I started at SkipNorth to wear at a family wedding. Here it was at 6:30 this evening (measurements: 150cm/60" by 84cm/34" as specified; armholes stitched up with blue yarn to stop them stretching while knitting):

and here it was at 7:30 this evening (measurements somewhat more irrelevant...)

In between there was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. This is what it's meant to look like. I realise that even on my best days, dressed to the nines, I'm not ever going to achieve the level of elegance and sophistication this model would demonstrate while wading out of a muddy swamp; but I'd also not calculated for the difference a completely different drape at the same no of sts/inch would give me.

In short it was hideous. It was so completely, wildly ugly that even that red-haired girl in Interweave Knits, the one who must in some way have offended The Powers That Be and always gets the truly awful stuff to wear, would curl up her lip and stamp off the set in disgust.

So; it's going to be a wrap now, in horseshoe lace and using considerably bigger needles in an attempt to introduce some drape. I have 6 days, 4 of which are going to be spent at work. Anyone want to rate my chances?

As an additional irritation, the eagle-eyed will have spotted that there are 2 balls of this yarn which are obviously of a different batch - stripes near the top and bottom of the knitted piece, and the 2 balls at the top of the pile in the unpicked yarn. This despite being labelled as the same dyelot as the others, and being Patons synthetic.... slightly poor, I feel... Doesn't matter now for the finished object - I'll be using considerably less yarn and will turn the rest into a sofa throw - but somewhat annoying nevertheless.

I'll be the one sitting in the corner muttering into a pile of green knitting for a while then...

Catching up

Just a couple of random catchup pictures... First, a photo of some Opal handpaint, which was waiting for me the day after getting back from SkipNorth:

which may become socks, or might be another shawlette of some kind...

And a picture of Jan in London last Saturday, wearing her Silkwood scarf (the 'staring-contemplatively-into-the-tomato-juice' shot was the best one...)

We had a very nice afternoon just sitting and nattering...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


A very belated SkipNorth post - given that it's a week since I got home! But here it is:

So we set off on the Friday morning, Rosie and I, and got on 5 trains; four standard ones (one WAGN, one Central, one GNER, one Northern Rail) and one steam train, where we sat in the buffet car, drank cider at lunchtime and watched the steam and the snowflakes whirling past. Keighley to Haworth, via "The Railway Children".

Which was really nice to start with; and then we had the trek uphill to the youth hostel, which wasn't as far as the somewhat dour (definitely more Earnshaw than Cribbins) Haworth stationmaster predicted, and started on the afternoon's classes. Lixie has lots of photos of people doing this so here are a couple of pictures of the very pretty items she and Nic gave us to play with: some spinning-mad-yarn kits

and some finished stitch-markers, which I've been wearing on a big safety-pin clipped to the outside of my work backpack for the last week...

Then we had dinner. I was a Guide until I was 16, and then went all effete for a couple of years until I started doing archaeology in France over the summers and lived in a tent for a few weeks each year, so was completely unprepared for the Arts-and-Crafts splendour that was Haworth Youth Hostel. Or the quality of the food. After dinner, we carried on with the wine, and the knitting, until several of us fell into a tired stupor at an alarmingly early hour...

Here are some people knitting on Friday: first Woolly Wormhead, making one of her many beautiful hats;

and Lixie, blogging; think she was taking this photo of Ellen and Woolly at the time...

Then Saturday; the stash acquisition began. As ever, I was appalling about taking photos at the time - but here's the haul in more detail. First:

The Dyeables. 12 more balls of R2 Paper Tape in the colours which make you remember why they discontinued it (Knitting and Crochet Guild); 2 skeins Opal undyed sock yarn (ditto); 5 spools nylon ribbon (The Skep)...

Some things from Coldspring: James Brett Marble, which has sort of the same feel to it as Mexican Wave

a skein of 4ply variegated, and a cone of Debbie Bliss Astrakhan (you can get the colours from this but it's not a good pic... both are now in storage in the loft though!)

Then some goodies from the Skep: a skein of mohair bouclé and some very nice variegated 4-ply, 1kg in total...

and some fabrics from Bombay Stores; these will become pyjama-bottoms when I get round to making them...

We saw some great things at the Knitting and Crochet Guild but I was too boggled to remember what they'd said about copyright etc. so shan't post photos here. Then we went back to the hostel, had another very good tea and sat down with a modest amount of food and booze

and did more knitting; Lixie made handwarmers, and continued to model her Hex Hat knitted by Ruth

and finally, a shot out of the bedroom window on the Sunday morning when we headed off to Wingham Woolworks... It was a wonderful weekend and thanks again to Nic and Lixie for organising...

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Realised that if I wanted to wear the Olympic shawl on Saturday night it needed to be blocked; so got up at an even more inhuman hour than usual this morning and wet-blocked it. When I got back tonight and went upstairs to view it, the Patent Dryness Test had been passed...

.. on the principle that No Cat Willingly Sits on Something Wet.

The pattern has come out well, and it's blocked to shape without losing much of the drape, so I'm really pleased with it... A close-up: