Country Strife

The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...

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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Early Christmas Present from Me to Me

I don't think I have ever had an internet yarn delivery that has been so beautifully packaged - thank you Addicted 2 Knitting!



I decided I needed new needles to replace some of my cheap bamboo circulars. The cable/join on a few of them had become dodgy - coming apart with 300+ stitches on the go is not funny. To be fair they have had a LOT of use in the last 4 years or so, and since the complete set cost less than a fiver they had more than earned their keep.

So when I found the Addi Basic Interchangeable set (and everything actually) was 50% off for Black Friday-Cyber Monday sales it was too good to resist.

Happy, happy, happy :)

Monday, November 03, 2014

Indie Design Gift-a-long 2014

I am very excited to be participating in this year's Indie Design Gift-a-long on Ravelry.

I have wasted far too many hours sorting out my design collage...



I guess I should be happy that I actually have enough designs now to actually have a choice on which ones to feature.

It all kicks off on the 13th November, at 8 p.m. US-EST - early hours of 14th November here.

Back to knitting now...

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Quaternary

After several false starts I got there in the end.

I decided to do a mini version to try out my edging, both at the top and the bottom of the shawl. I didn't like the top edge - it looked untidy but the bottom edge was a success...


So back to the real prototype - I was concerned that the top edge would not lie straight as was with the cables, although it looked really good. I still wasn't sure what to do to fix it. I pulled the whole thing off the needles. I was well over half way so was not overly happy about starting again...

And decided I would measure it before I ripped it back again.

And when I laid it on the table the top edge lay straight. Oh happy day! Now all I had to do was get it back on the needle - not so easy with over 150 stitches including yarn overs.Why hadn't I had faith or even put in a lifeline? I picked up the stitches as best I could and found I only needed to go back a row and a half to get it back on track.

I finished knitting it on Saturday morning and blocked it over the weekend.

I attempted some better photos yesterday but yet another blustery day...





Friday, July 25, 2014

Iolaire Takes Flight

I published my Iolaire scarf pattern last night - 25% off at the checkout until the end of  this month (sunny Scotland time).

I spent quite some time taking more photos yesterday afternoon. Fought with the rotary drier, and then wrapped my scarf artistically from it. I wanted to get some shots with the clear blue skies as the backdrop to show up both the fagot lace and cables (and to prove we do sometimes get good weather). Unfortunately nearly every time I lay down on the grass to get the angle right a breeze blew up. I eventually managed this...


And then decided to stick with my original photo as the main one that Paul took weeks ago...


And asked one of my testers if I could feature her beautiful test knit scarf which puts mine to shame :)

I did take the opportunity to get some more shots of my next scarf (Iolair-Iasgaich) (with similar breeze issues) - testing is due to finish at the end of this month.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Is It A Bird?

It started out as a bottom-up triangle.

However, it became apparent last night when I switched to a longer circular needle that it was morphing...

Why I carried on and knit another one and a half repeats I don't know...

In the cold light of day, having laid it flat and given it it's freedom it is clear that it wants to be a semi-circle...


Unfortunately I had started out with a sharp point for my 'triangle' but then changed my increases to try to achieve a flatter triangle for a wider shallower shawl.

 Tonight, Matthew, I want to be a stealth fighter plane...


However, not a total waste of time. I like the way the cables and lace interact and I have charted it. Just need to get rid of the pointy tail... Also gets over the problem of deciding what to do at the top of the triangle to get a nice, clean straight edge that fitted in with the stitch pattern. Many more options to finish off a semi-circle.

So, for a bit of nostalgia rip it up and start again...


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Shawl With No Name

So I now have 4 tests running...

I don't know about other people but I suffer a bit of a downer once the initial excitement of getting a design completed and written up. Especially if I am really excited about it, post it for testing, and expect everyone to rush to want to make it. And then wait... and wait... Again, maybe it is the time of year. I have lots of love but only two testers for my Monet Sunset shawl. And again ran into the problem of 4-ply/fingering/sock yarn covering such a wide range of yards/gramme. Wollmeise is beautiful yarn but is on the heavy end of this category. But my lovely testers are going to order new yarn that is nearer this weight...

Talking of new yarn, this came in the post yesterday :)


Three lighter weight sock yarns, Fyberspates Sheila's sock in scarlet/pink that I just couldn't resist and my first foray of actively buying lace weight (just 50 g for trying out). I am no longer cold sheeping, but being a lot more discerning about the yarn I buy. And sticking to the rule that I cannot buy more yardage than I have used year to date.

Anyway, back to the downer. I mope around for a few days. I stare at my stash. I may wind a skein or two to make it feel as if I have done something. I stare at them some more. I stare into space trying to visualise what they would make. I cast on and start a swatch. I don't like it. I rip it back. Repeat...

I normally resort to knitting socks at this point. But not this time.My original choice of yarn was wrong - variegated and a bit knobbly but good enough to prove the maths, show me what I did and didn't like with the idea, and jot down the bare bones before I ripped it out and started again. So I have reverted back to my Wollmeise. So far so good... No name for it yet...





Saturday, July 12, 2014

Monet Sunset Shawl

I am still at the point of designing out of stash. This is very noticeable if you look at my pattern page on Ravelry... My socks will have a matching (or half matching) scarf.

Helagon short = It's Stripes Jim
Helagon long = Boing Boing socks + Stripes - TNG


And my new shawl is no exception.

Thriller - the other half of my Helagon short - is an in-your-face variegated colourway, and it was quite hard to decide what else to use with it. Black would be an obvious choice, but I wanted stripes so it wouldn't work as the skein contains black, so sections would 'disappear'. And I don't actually have any black...

As I laid out my remaining skeins and partials of Wollmeise I had a mad idea. The WD Fritzi Frizzante that my Stripe Me Up socks used may just work. A sort of blazing sunset at sea...

So I knew I wanted stripes, but not boring regular stripes. And I knew I wanted stocking stitch. And I knew I wanted wide but not too deep. And I knew I didn't want paired yarn overs down the spine. And I knew I wanted vaguely triangular but not an actual triangle...

I did get myself into a bit of a pickle wrt left and right leaning increases on purl rows but I now have these completely sussed:

Knit :
M1R = back front front; leans to the right as you look at it - logical,
M1L = front back back; leans to the left as you look at it - logical
Purl:  and here is the confusion
M1PR = back front front; leans to the left as you are looking at it - illogical
M1PL = front back back; leans to the right as you are looking at - illogical

Whoever came up with naming the purl increases the wrong way round to my thinking deserves to be shot!
If you know which edge you want the stitch to point at 'as you are looking at it' then do the requisite increase stitch no matter if you are on the right side, wrong side, knit or purl...

I will get some better photographs once it has finished blocking, but this was it as I started to pin it out:



Approximately 70" wide and 27" deep at the tip...

I have got a couple of changes to the pattern for the placement of some increases to stop them stacking, but apart from that I am really happy with the design.

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