Sunday, November 23, 2008

Why I love Phildar

While Grandiflora languishes in the finishing basket (blocked, but no tassels made yet), there has been a frenzy of Mason-Dixon cloth-making here at Chez Beelzebub. I'm going to make 20 (don't ask me why, it just seemed like a good number - I thought I'd need quite a lot to have a proper play with colour) and I've just finished the fourteenth. I'll take some photos when the 20th one is off the needles - they will look spectacular all together. Let's hope for a spot of winter sun the day I get the camera out. Until then, I'm not showing you anything :p

The MD cloths are made in the prescribed yarn of Elmore Pisgah Peaches'n'Creme 100% cotton. While cotton can be hard on a knitter's hands, the brilliant colours that can be achieved bring me back to cotton and cotton blends time and time again. I can appreciate subtle. I can appreciate a dusty cornflower blue or a soft sage green as much as the next knitter. But the colours that really make me need to knit are the brilliant ones: peacock blue, fuschia, scarlet, fiery orange, zingy lime green, sunshine yellow, royal purple. Oooh yeah. It makes my knitting fingers twitch just thinking about it.

And that is why I love Phildar. They perfectly understand my interest in mouthwatering, nearly painfully brilliant colours expressed in interesting, fresh, fashionable shapes. I am not going to knit a classic Debbie-Bliss-meets-the-Queen cabled pullover in electric blue. You need a more youthful, and probably simpler, design to carry very bold colour. When I saw the Phildar women's catalogue for Summer 2008 I just about died. It could have been written for me. I have six patterns in mind - an extraordinary amount of joy to find within the pages of one pattern catalogue - and I have the yarn stashed away, waiting for me to bring it needles. Well, now the time is coming. If I start making (some of) them when my Xmas knitting and Joe's eternal red sweater are finished, one or two could be ready for me to wear next summer. The only question is what to knit first. Now drool over these gorgeous pictures. First up: a beautiful sleeveless top.

Just Look At That Ribbing. OMG. The detail around the bust is just gorgeous. I hardly ever wear sleeveless but this is making me feel like toning up my arms solely so I can show off this lovely summer top to its best advantage. Oh, and what about that colour. What's more summery than orange? Nothing, that's what. I have to have it.

Next, this stripey sweater:

Those stripes ... the way they fade into each other ... they way they put colours next to each other that really should not work but look fabulous together. Before I saw this photo, I absolutely was not thinking "Oh, what I most want in the world is a sweater that's burgundy and also primrose yellow and also several shades of green". I don't know how on earth the designer came up with it. Look at it, though. That colourway rocks. I am a real jeans-and-sweater person and I'm going to wear this all the time.

Next: Beelzebub is tempted by a pink dress!

Lordy. I really did not know that I was into pink dresses, until I saw this. It's not frilly. You can wear it over jeans. The pink stripes look like a peppermint candy cane, and I want to lick it. Also, will you check out that beautiful neckline. I love it. I want to make it and I can't wait to wear it.
Next: royal purple wrapped around a lot of holes.

Another knitted garment that I want to eat. Yummy. Blackcurranty juicy fruity goodness. The holes in the sleeves are just making my mouth water even more. It really reminds me of the fruit-flavoured Polos I used to eat as a kid. That is one delicious-looking, giant, blackcurrant, shiny, suckable Polo right there.
Next: a great big ray of sunshine.

Yesyesyes that is what you are supposed to do with blocks of bold colour. Make interesting shapes with it. A gloriously sunny day of a sweater, with a neckline that I'm aching to knit - or is that crochet? - and plenty of length for slipping over - you guessed it - jeans.

Finally: the reason why I must now buy an orange t-shirt.

You know, I could have lived without this sweater (probably) if they hadn't photographed it on a model with an orange vest. Man, those yarn pushers at Phildar know what they are doing. A splash of orange around the neckline and suddenly those vibrant blues, purples and pinks are 'popping' like crazy. I have to wear this. So cheering, I feel like summer's here already.
I Heart Phildar and I totally forgive that time their pattern sizing was whack. It's so worth it. I will just be extra careful this time. I'll try not to get too drunk on all the colour.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Grandiflora on pins

OK, so here are some photos.
I warned you it was large. It is too big for me to get the whole thing in shot.

I had to make a temporary, very precarious blocking board out of: some large, flat pieces of hardboard balanced on top of the sofa, also part of an old door. On top of this I unfurled some cardboard boxes, to increase the surface area and provide something to stick the pins in. I am sure Grandiflora would have grown to larger than 10 foot if I'd had the room.

You'll also detect an interesting assortment of pins there. First I used glass-headed dressmakers pins, like you're supposed to. Then I ran out and used safety pins. Then I ran out of those and used drawing pins. After that I used unfolded paperclips. Then I found another box of pins and used all those.

Here's a close up of the lace, which opened out beautifully.

It's drying pretty fast, which is good, cos it means we'll soon have the living room back. I'd better make some tassels to go on the ends.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Grandiflora is blocking

Today I sewed in the ends, soaked it in water and pinned it out. It grew to 118". That's just shy of ten foot. It is taking up the whole living room. Photos tomorrow.,