Tuesday, March 25, 2008


My knitting mojo has been slow lately, very slow, so it comes as a surprise to me that I finally have some Finished Objects to report. At last, something to put in the 'Completed in 2008' list.

First, my sister's pink hat, now with an appropriately-sized pompom. 'Scuse the slightly blurry picture (it was 8am). I am actually very pleased with how this hat turned out, because she wanted a copy of a hat she already has that's nearing the end of its life. So I had a look at her current hat, measured it, and then worked out the pattern for this one under my own steam. It looks great on, a slouchy beret shape. I'm seeing her in a couple of weeks so she'll get it soon.

Next up, the Tiger Eye socks are finally done. Please note that they match, and that this is a happy accident. I have never tried to make a pair of self-striping socks identical. It doesn't seem worth the time and aggravation, and I like the unique personalities of fraternal socks. This pair came out identical quite by chance, and I have to say, I do find them appealing. I won't be attempting to match on purpose in the future (that way, certain frustration lies) but it is pleasing to know that sometimes a pair of matching socks can happen by chance.

Ed's Irish Hiking Scarf has been sitting around the living room for weeks wondering whether or not it was going to get blocked. It did. I couldn't bear not to. I've only put pins in the ends to neaten the edges, other than that I just gently prodded it into shape and left it to dry.

So there you go, it feels like a breakthrough to have something finished. Maybe there's hope for Joe's red sweater after all.

PS: I cast on new socks using that blue Mirasol Hacho yarn I was telling you about last time.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


This week, readers, I've been to the newly-opened John Lewis store in Cambridge. It's a bit more adventurous with its interior design than I've known other JL stores to be, which is a good thing, and there are five floors to explore. However, don't rush there if your sole purpose is to buy yarn because the offering hasn't expanded in line with the size of the shop. There is actually slightly less choice in yarn here than I found in John Lewis Solihull the other week. For example, the Cambridge store really hasn't twigged to the popularity of sock yarn - that one forlorn Regia sock kit does not count because its massive 7" steel dpns would inconvenience the most experienced sock knitter, and as for learning socks on dpns that long & spiky ... best not imagine it. They have no other sock yarn for sale that I could see. To be fair to Cambridge, they do have a good selection of Rowan and a few other yarn brands in all the usual weights above 4-ply, including some bamboo products, so they're not completely off the mark.

One of JL's more interesting introductions to its yarn offering is Mirasol. It's a brand with a heartwarming backstory (the hyperlink takes you to the Mirasol Project website). The yarn originates on an alpaca ranch in Peru. The people there are economically disadvantaged, but they make great yarn. A percentage of sales of Mirasol yarn gets reinvested back into the alpaca farmers' community, where it does things like supporting local schools for the farmers' children.

So, in the absence of any standard sock yarn, I got myself two skeins of Mirasol Hacho, a 100% merino yarn with a recommended gauge of 22sts on 4mm needles. It reminded me of Colinette's Jitterbug, because of its thick, soft, squishability and variegated jewel tones.

This is shade 302, called 'Peacock Purple', although to my eye, there's a lot of blue in it, and it could stand up to a name with more weight, something less flashy. ... I dunno, you think of something. Cate Blanchett.

I've been experimenting lately with the gauge thing on socks (who am I kidding, experimenting is a euphemism for getting it wrong a lot). I'm finding on the Tiger Eye socks, knitted with standard 4ply sock yarn, that on 2.75" needles, I can reduce the number of stitches in a round from 60 to 56 and still get a good fit. Maybe even a better one. Also, Jitterbug claims to be 4ply but it feels like DK, the socks I made with it turned out large, in my opinion, and ever since I've wondered about knitting it at tighter gauge next time. The Mirasol Hacho, of course, implies DK in its gauge recommendation, but I'm just wondering what would happen if I knit socks from it, on my usual 2.75" needles, on 56sts. I need to find out, and for some reason I always need to do it the hard way. Of course, I have not actually cast on yet, but hey, maybe soon.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The week in pictures

OK, so I finally got the camera out. Here is the news in pictures.

The Tiger Eye socks progressed well despite the laziness of their owner.

Check out this fabric I got from Liberty. Turquoise green with fancy cupcakes printed all over it. I love this fabric and I have to learn to sew just so I can use it.

What it will eventually become, I've no idea, but I adore it. It reminds me of the work of Wayne Thiebaud, one of my very, very favourite artists.

I love a man who can make a serious point using confectionery.

The Irish Hiking Scarf refused to be photographed nicely but you get the idea.

Is it a sin not to block? This scarf feels great, the cables are springy and I'm considering not blocking it and just giving to Ed as it is, before the summer comes.

The giant pompom dominates the living room.

The only fitting purpose for a pompom this heavy (do try this at home, is great fun).

The back of Joe's Edan sweater is growing, slowly.

It's less than a month until my mother's Big Birthday and I'm thinking I might have to give her something non-knitted. Wait, maybe I could give her the big pompom! Whaddya think?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Return from Azeroth

I do hope you'll excuse my recent absence. I have just returned from Azeroth (http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/) where I was delayed for several weeks, slaying ferocious animals, all kinds of mystical creatures, and lots of pesky humans. For those who care, my Undead Fury warrior Lucero is now level 44, complete with horse and a nearly-matching set of plate armour. For the Horde!

Twisted Stitches is a European Ravelry guild, and we are recruiting. Come and join us!

Now that my bloodlust has slightly abated, I've once again picked up the knitting needles and it is time to get all my projects, and this blog, back on track,. So let's begin with a knitting round-up. Photos will be forthcoming this week.

Pink Bobble Hat
This is 99% done and it's looking great. All it needs is the pompom. I have actually attempted to make the pompom once, I devoted the best part of an evening to it. I didn't exactly screw it up, it's a fine pompom in its own right. It's just that I overshot the mark. I made a pompom, of thick Rowan Big Wool, so large and heavy that it should be registered somewhere as a dangerous weapon. It is a lot of fun to swing around the room like a mace but it would not be fun attached to the top of one's hat, so I have to make another. And then the hat is done.

Ed's Irish Hiking Scarf
I've finished knitting, sewn in the ends and it just needs blocking, then we're good to go.
Joe's Red Edan Sweater
Joe has been so cross with me these last few weeks because I've been online Warcrafting instead of knitting his sweater. He should be cheered to learn that I've finished both sleeves and I've started the back. It has not progressed much, but it has not stood still either.

Tiger Eye Socks
I've just finished Sock 1. The toe is a bit messy due to dropping & recovering a stitch in the dark but I don't mind because the blessed sock got me through a very trying evening at the National Theatre* the other night. Ann, if you read this, I am so, so sorry I wasn't more positive about it. It actually was great to see all of you and have dinner together, thank you for a lovely evening. Sorry if I seemed a bit stressed.
*The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other: may cause irritation.

I also put an extra stitch in the shoulder of the recently-completed yellow Basil sweater, which means it's now wearable and might make an appearance at the office this week. I think that's about all the knitting news. I haven't touched the Central Park Hoodie or Green Silk Happiness, or any other socks, I can't let anything else interfere with Joe's Edan sweater now.

I'll blog regularly again now I'm back. Hope you were all OK without me ;)

Until next time, B.