I now declare the 2013-2014 knitting season to be officially OPEN.
I'm sure the rest of you won't have had a closed season for knitting, but I ground to a bit of a halt once it became clear that Nell + Magnus + wool + knitting = Hopeless, you might even remember this little episode...
and then it was all change here, plus the garden intervened, but not before I had planned and implemented a Jubilee year project as 2013 dawned.
I really do have enough jumpers and cardigans to be going on with, so feeling like a challenge I bought and downloaded the Rams and Yowes blanket pattern by Kate Davies from Ravelry. (I am tamarsocks on Ravelry, please do be my friend) The blanket is knitted in all the natural shades of Shetland wool and there are plenty of challenges, not least casting on 197 stitches in the round, remembering to increase it to 200 on round six and decreasing back to 192 on round 54 which looms ahead because here is progress so far...
I have had to master the steek which is a bridge of stitches where the wools change over, and thread across for the next round, and there is going to be a terrifying day when I finally have to secure that and then CUT it, before picking up and knitting...wait for it... 780 stitches for the edging.
It was the Knit Angel who got me started again after a visit last week..
'Why aren't you knitting on car journeys?' she asked..
Click Click Every Trip I thought...well why aren't I indeed, two longish outings in the last week and I have got my eye back in with my flock. The only drawback is that there would seem to be a Standard Knitting Driving Speed that Bookhound has to stick to or I feel a bit sick, so yes, we are the car crawling along at 15mph in the inside lane...joke. There has also been some speculation about how I might look with two Knit-Pro needles stuck up my nose if perchance the passenger airbag were to inflate...
Jamieson & Smith sell the kits to make this masterpiece, but I decided to gather in a more eclectic flock and last December I headed across to Blacker Yarns, Sue Blacker's mill at Launceston, to select my wool. I can't remember what, but I had sold a few things on eBay and had myself a little fund that I wanted to convert into something special rather than allow the money to trickle away. I can only apologise for being so tardy with my thanks on here, because the people at Blacker's could not have been more helpful, running around the stock room shelves and finding the wool, setting it out on the table so that we could put together the right contrasts, because though some of the names match the pattern there are a few other breeds in my flock... Gotland, Blue-Faced Leicester and Jacob to blend with the Moorit, Mooskit, Katmollet, Gaulmogot et al.
It's like another language this sheep thing isn't it, and more thanks to Sue Blacker who very kindly gave me a copy of her book Pure Wool - A knitter's guide to using single-breed yarns. I have bought wool from Sue in the past and never been disappointed, my 'Jacob with mohair' cardigan remains top of my personal chart for pleasurable knitting and wearing, as well as warmth and increasing softness with each wash. My Herdwick cardigan living proof that you don't need to feel sorry for those sheep in the snow, they can't possibly feel the cold. The book, as well as giving you as much sheep info as you could wish for also has a lovely range of patterns.
Unusually for me, who may have a tendency to dive in at the knitting deep end, I did quite a lot of preparation for this project, even knitting up a tension strip using each wool to be absolutely sure that my transition from Kate Davies' suggested finer wool, to my chunkier double knitting would work, and then thankfully, and maybe even more sensibly, I labelled it...
Then, I came over even MORE sensible, slicing up and laminating the pattern into manageable chunks, adding more labels to be sure I was using the right wool for the right sheep, putting each ball of wool into its own labelled bag...there was no end to this extraordinary sensibleness.
Of course sadly none of this guarantees that I am any better at stranded Fair Isle knitting than I ever was. I am a cack-handed knitter at the best of times, and all attempts at winding the two wools per row around two fingers and slickly racking up the stitches have failed. I still pick up and put down and get them twisted and tangled, and then I forget which one was going under and which over, and when it comes to weaving in the spare thread over a long stretch of one colour, well I have fair old tangle of maypole proportions to sort come the end of the round.
Meanwhile my mind is busy saying... one-two-three-four-five-two-one-two-three-five until I get the pattern for the round settled, by which time the round is done and I have to start with a different one.
Yet for all this I am loving it, speeding up and really enjoying having some knitting back in active service.
I look at pictures like this and wonder how on earth the women used to walk around doing this...and gossip and probably do the shopping and peg the washing out at the same time, all advice gratefully received.
Meanwhile, your turn...
Knitting on the go ??
Recently finished ??
In the planning stage ??
Oh yes, and do scroll down for a gift.