Thursday, July 26, 2007



bee shawl detail

we have ze bee.
the first few rows of the "bee in field" section of the bee shawl is finished, & i can finally see the big bees!!
& believe it or not, these five rows took me about four hours...

i'm off for a lie down now, i think!

piles of presents

hurray for birthdays!! i love it when people give me presents...
- loads of hello kitty gifts:

a tray from my mum for afternoon snacks, all the way from korea, as well as some little kitty charms to hang from my various bags (although i forgot to take a picture of them!). and, a teeny tiny bento box from my friend in tokyo - it has two little compartments, a lid that clips on, and even matching chopsticks in a little chopstick box, as well as a cloth bag that everything goes in (again, i didn't take a picture of that bit!). i've been using the bento to take my lunches to work & i love it (although i'm reliably informed that little kids in tokyo use these for their lunches - is it perhaps a bit immature for a now-31-year-old?).
- my very own stash weasel from the RSA, as seen on the yarn harlot's blog:

stash weasel

this was a complete surprise as although i did mention the stash weasels to the RSA months ago, i had completely forgotten about them!! the stash weasel is the guardian of the yarn stash, & is happiest when surrounded by luxury yarn, so he's currently getting acclimatised to his new surroundings (& recovering from his international travels) by snuggling up in the knitting bag that holds the bee shawl.
- a posh yarns gift certificate, and the pattern for rogue from elaine (a not-so-subtle hint that she wants me to do a rogue mini-knitalong with her!). and an amazon gift certificate from india, which i used to buy the new harry potter (sadly, she hates harry potter with the fire of a thousand suns - sorry india!!).
- and last, but definitely not least:

cherry tree hill merino laceweight

a HUGE hank of cherry tree hill merino laceweight in colourway "blueberry hill" from (blogless) lynette - 8 ounces & 2400 yards of gorgeous lace yarn. i'm thinking i might use it to make the "three cornered shawl in clover pattern" from victorian lace today - there's a good picture of the shawl here. i'm pondering reworking the pattern & knitting it as a square shawl instead of the trianglular version, since i have such huge amounts of yardage!
but first, i have some things to finish up - this afternoon will be spent with the bee shawl (& you can now pre-order kits for this shawl here!). i've had a break of about a week & am dying to spend some time on it again, so hopefully substantial progress will be made!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

admitting defeat

i've been working pretty steadily on the bee shawl for the past couple of weeks. partly, that's because it's an amazing knit - the pattern is extremely challenging & well written, the needles are fantastic, and the yarn is luscious, so it's an utter pleasure to spend time with. but partly, i've been working hard on it because i really wanted to have it finished in time to wear for my birthday...

...which is tomorrow.

considering that i'm now at the stage of the shawl where a) every row is patterned (no "rest" rows on the purl side!), b) there are about 350 stitches in a row, and the more i knit, the longer the rows get (average time per row at the moment? 20 minutes), and c) i still have at least 60-odd rows to knit, it's fair to say that i won't get it finished in time.
and now that i've finally given up trying, oh, what a relief!! not that the shawl isn't amazing to knit, because it is. but the silly, self-imposed deadline was starting to stress me out. so today, instead of another shawl-knitting marathon, i've managed to clean & hoover (in anticipation for my mum's arrival this evening), do a couple of loads of laundry, read the paper & some of my current library book, henna my hair, and spend most of the afternoon watching the fourth "harry potter" dvd while eating sweets & finishing this:


the first front piece of the "sunrise circle jacket" in rowanspun dk (colourway "goblin"), with a contrasting hem of rowan felted tweed (colourway "watery"), with both yarns held double throughout. the hems will be folded under when the jacket is finished, so they won't be as visible as they are in the progress picture! the construction of this jacket is genius - you knit the arm up to the armpit, and then simultaneously decrease for the raglan and increase for the semi-circular front. & a detail shot:

sunrise detail

it's a great effect, & i'm having fun knitting it. it should be a very cosy finished project, as the doubled yarn is giving me a thick & sturdy fabric. & the plain stockinette with the occasional increase/decrease is a nice break from the complicated lace i've been doing for the past wee while. & i'll definitely finish the shawl next week...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

i don't knit for babies

i know a few folk who are all about the baby knits, but they're just not for me. partly, it's because i'm a complete misanthrope. i'm not a big fan of people - it's probably the effect of my autistic brain, but i find them unpredictable & alarming. & small people, even more so - not to mention the various leakages that small babies are prone to (& seriously, do you really want that on your handknits?). also, i'm a fairly selfish knitter - i'll admit it freely. ok, so i sometimes knit things for the RSA; but mainly, i knit for me.
that's why this was such a surprise:

saartje's booties

they're the garter stitch baby booties from saartje knits, a free pattern that you can find here or via ravelry. & really, are these not just the cutest things you've ever seen in your life??? i used up some leftover "lucia" sock yarn from posh yarn (a merino/cashmere blend) in colourways "deep end" & "rainforest". & i even know a knitty baby who will wear them...
but most of the time, i've been working steadily away on the bee field shawl, & have made it most of the way through "the swarm":


anne is a genius. the pattern is fabulous, although this section is fairly taxing - it's patterned on every row so there's no "rest" rows at all (which possibly explains the garter-stitch-bootie knitting break - i needed something i didn't have to think about!). next up is the last section of "bee in field", which has an amazing-looking pattern effect involving dropped & picked up yarnovers to create a big bee. i'm not explaining it very well, but it looks great in the finished shawl & i can't wait to try it!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

all that, and she sews too...

look what i made!!


my first ever sewing project on my new/old sewing machine, which arrived a couple of weeks ago & has been languishing in the corner waiting to be played with. well, today was finally the day - i thought i'd start small, as i didn't expect to have anything that remotely resembled a finished object whe i was done (honestly, i thought it would be a pile of crumpled fabric & tangled threads).
the last time i sat down at a sewing machine was in seventh grade, which is far longer ago than i would care to admit, and the result of that experience was the infamous seventh grade gym shorts (but we don't talk about those). & because of the infamous shorts, i boycotted sewing in all forms for many, many years. but then i saw everyone else doing it, and it looked like fun...
for this first experimental box bag, i mostly followed this tutorial, but ended up making a few little modifications (ok, mistakes). & amazingly, i've actually made something i can use! ok, so it's a little lopsided (you're looking at its good side). & it's entirely possible that it will have unraveled by tomorrow. but i'm impressed with myself - so much so, that i've ordered the amy butler barcelona skirt pattern. today, a tiny box bag; tomorrow, the world!! or a skirt, at least.
and in knitting news, because i know anne has been waiting (sorry anne!) - finally, a "shawl-in-progress" picture...

this is what has been taking up most of my knitting time - all other projects have been shelved for this beauty. it's the brand-new-not-even-printed-yet knitspot pattern, the bee field shawl. i'm knitting it in fleece artist mini-maiden (50% wool, 50% silk) in colourway "bronze", and have just made it to the end of the first section, "the hive". alas, i'm about a million times slower than the other test knitter, who has already finished!! i bow to her knitting skills, & try to knit faster. while bowing. it's difficult.
the next section ("the swarm" - sounds ominous) calls for a lot of p2tog tbl, & so far is making me very glad that i invested in some extremely pointy new lace addis for this project!
what's that? you want to see another sewing picture??

look how the lining matches the outside of the handle, and the outer fabric matches the inside of the handle!! amaaaaazing.....

Thursday, July 05, 2007

lovely new things!!

lots of new handpainted yarn on the old maiden aunt site!! 100% superwash merino sock yarn, and 100% merino laceweight (which is so soft that i initially wondered if i had been sent a cashmere laceweight by accident!)....
laceweight (clockwise from top left): "a sweater for your love", "gotta have you", "stormy weather"

a sweater for your love closeupgotta have you closeup
stormy weather closeup

sock yarn: "little fish" (left), "strawberry wine" (right)

little fish closeupstrawberry wine closeup

go over to the old maiden aunt site & check it out, then email me to buy some, or request a custom colourway of your very own!! (i probably won't be checking email again until monday so don't fret if you don't hear back from me straight away!). or, head down to fankle & check it out in person...