Saturday, 31 March 2012

Conversations Over Knitting

Knitwits Yarns

Back in the autumn you may remember that I had a blissful weekend at the Exeter Stitches show, knitting, talking about knitting, teaching knitting and - on a personal note - spending a very quiet night away in a hotel with me, my knitting and a good book - as the only woman in a house full of men, it was heaven.

Well the two amazingly wonderful and seriously bonkers ladies I was with (Ruth and Belinda) {bonkers in the nicest possible way, of course} have asked me to enlist your help in their "Conversations Over Knitting" project.

The essence of this is that you knit a square in cream (it must be cream) and then attach a little tag to your knitting with your thoughts as you are knitting.

So - it got me thinking about what I think about as I'm knitting. At the moment I'm knitting lace so I'm pretty much caught up in yrn overs and pssovers (and even a P2togtbl at one point {which is a pesky little blighter if ever there was one}). At other times I might write shopping lists in my head or - more often - remember all the things I've forgotten to do that day.

However - some of you may have more interesting thoughts than me so why don't you become part of the project? Knit a little square:

download a little tag from here, get your thoughts down and send them to Ruth and Belinda and become a living part of this project.

At the recent ICHF show at Birmingham NEC the wall looked like this:

The blocks will be touring as an exhibition with all our comments on them as a testimony to hand knitting and hand knitters.

You can link to Ruth and Belinda's website here - and here are the ladies themselves in front of their wall of knitted squares:

As summer now appears to be over, what have you got to lose?!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

More New Patterns

Knitwits Yarns

In the excitement of my finished t-shirt yesterday, I forgot to mention the NEW PATTERNS on the site! These are all from James Brett and there are 2 lots - 6 new patterns in Rustic Aran and 6 in Twinkle.

The Rustic Aran are - as the name suggests - Aran patterns with traditional cables but with a twist. I particularly like this:

and this:

and I'm very tempted by this (I've never knitted a dress before):

Sparkle is very much "on trend" and there are 7 new patterns in Twinkle, including 4 hat, glove and scarf sets, and this cardigan:

this wrap cardigan:

and - as an example - this hat, scarf and glove combo:

I started knitting the Jenny Watson Merino last night and it is GORGEOUS! It's so light and springy and has really fantastic stitch definition - definitely a winner.

T left for France this morning .... he missed the College bus as getting up on time, sorting his books for the day, finishing packing and getting dressed with one arm was too much to manage - despite the fact that he swore blind he was "ready" last night!

His parting comment to me was, "look on the bright side Mum - you've got a whole week without me"!!

I just feel sorry for the poor French family who are eagerly awaiting his arrival tomorrow!!

On the plus side -by the time he returns, the house will be tidy!

Monday, 26 March 2012

I've had a weekend!

Knitwits Yarns

Given that my weekend is only one day - I've had quite a weekend!

After work on Saturday FB and I went over to St Just and saw a really excellent band called "Flats and Sharps". They're only young (18 and 19) and they play bluegrass, which I didn't really think was my "thing" - but they were brilliant! Just a pity the event wasn't better attended but - hey - those of us who were there had a good time!

At 1am (2am "new" time) the boys came home from an evening with mates - 3 of their mates came too and they were all fine except for T who came into our room to announce that he thought he'd better go to Casualty in the morning as his hand was sore and swollen (he'd been playing rugby in the afternoon - say no more). We looked at it and agreed that, indeed, it was swollen and bruised and sent him to bed.

At about 3am I remembered that he was/is going to France tomorrow (Tuesday) to work as a teaching assistant for a week.

We were in Casualty by about 10.30 and - lo - he has broken a bone in his hand, not once but twice. He is now going to France in a plaster cast and the moment he returns from France he's off to the Fracture Clinic to see if they need to operate.

He will be in a cast for about 6 weeks, during which time we are going on a University visit to Scotland and - in exactly 6 weeks - he's doing the 55 mile Ten Tors event.


In better news - I finished another knitting project - I told you this one was quicker. It's in the eternally popular Bamboo Cotton from King Cole and is done in one of the new "Prints" colours:

I wasn't sure I liked the way the colours "pooled" but now it's done I really like it. The reverse stocking stitch on the yoke just add a bit of detail - as do the sleeves:

We photographed this in the garden this morning (hasn't this weekend's weather been glorious) and Deidre came to help - by climbing into the gardening sack:

he loves boxes and bags - if the boys leave a gym bag or a book bag open he'll be in there in a flash - must make him feel secure.

I've now got the lace bug because tonight I start this:

in blue.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

New Jenny Watson Yarn

Knitwits Yarns

As promised - we have new things for you today ..... Jenny Watson (well known designer for Noro and others) has started her own brand of yarn in partnership with James Brett and we are delighted to be stocking her Pure Merino DK.

We are great fans of pure wool here in Penzance and, with the demise of Stylecraft's Pure Luxury Merino, have been looking for a good alternative - and here it is!

14 colours and a book of 10 patterns to go with them (encouragingly this book is called Book Number 1 - implying that there will be more!):

Unfortunately, our site doesn't have the ability to show extra pictures of the patterns so you miss some of the Jenny quirky details - but here on the blog we can show you them. I really like this waistcoat - which has an interesting front and back:

This jacket is great - knitted sideways, the front tucks in to do up:

and the back has a neat cable detail:

This waistcoat has a plain front:

and a lacy back:

It's this attention to detail that I really like about Jenny's designs.

We also have 3 new colours in the very popular Twinkle DK (with more Twinkle patterns coming tomorrow):

one new Rustic Aran colour (and more Rustic Aran patterns to follow tomorrow):

and one new colour in Rico's Micro Print:

If that's not enough to give you food for thought for loads of new projects then come back tomorrow for some more!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

New Patterns

Knitwits Yarns

I have now emerged from the darkened room in which I lay for a couple of days following the grand completion of "the lace" (ok - so it was a metaphorical darkened room but you get the gist). And isn't it strange how quickly ones fingers start to itch and how soon one moves on to the next project? FB can't understand how I feel the need to knit one item, let alone one after the other.

The next project - in total contrast to "the lace" - is over half way done already! It was helped along by a very quiet Mother's Day afternoon when I was left to my own devices whilst FB cooked and - lo - I was casting off the back. There are no sleeves. This is good progress indeed.

Note to self: DK projects without sleeves are good.

I have also managed to update some new patterns onto the site. Remember the new Cotton Soft and Cotton Soft Prints we had from Rico?:

well, they now have patterns. Sheet patterns for ladies in the plain colours (which could also be knitted in prints, of course):

I'm thinking of knitting this one (no sleeves!):

and a gorgeous book of patterns for babies in both the plain and print colours:

There is also one pattern in Micro Print (although this is flying out of the shop to be used with everyone's favourite DK patterns at home). This jacket is lovely:

and is one of those circular ones that has an amazing back (although Rico's picture of the back doesn't really do it justice):

Finally, for now, we had a HUGE delivery in from James Brett yesterday so we are fully stocked with Baby Marble, Baby Magi Knit, Marble (both Chunky and DK), Monsoon (which has been impossible for us to get hold of for ages so buy now to avoid disappointment!), Passion, Rustic Aran, Twinkle and Woodlander and patterns. In addition, there are new colours in Twinkle and new patterns to follow PLUS a whole NEW pure merino DK yarn.

Now, don't tell me I don't spoil you! FB has photographed all the new things today and they'll be on the site tomorrow when he's formatted them.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Magic of Blocking

Knitwits Yarns

At last, at last the Rialto Lace little cardigan is finished:

Prior to blocking it closely resembled an exotic dishcloth and I was concerned the sleeves would never look right:

I was a little bit cross as the pattern gave no details about the sewing up other than, "sew up the seams" which I thought - given the time taken and detail of this pattern - deserved a little more information. I ended up sewing up the top seams (there are seams along the top and bottom of the sleeves) 4 times. Firstly using back stitch, secondly using back stitch and matching the vertical lace rows (until I got to the end and realised there were more rows on one side than the other so they were never going to match), thirdly using back stitch again and fourthly, and finally, using mattress stitch after I'd used this method for the underarm sleeves and realised it worked very well (having previously thought it wouldn't work at all).

I will confess that I don't often block my garments after knitting (I know I should but I don't) but for lace it's imperative and there were no blocking instructions either. In fact the pattern doesn't mention blocking at all, it just says to sew up the sleeves and then sew on the (11) buttons. I put towels on my drying rack on the Aga and then pinned it out:

The result is magical. From this:

to this:

and from this:

to this:

You can see really well in this photo were the bottom part of the garment is knitted sideways and then the top is picked up and knitted up to the neck.

And then, of course, there were the 11 buttons:

and these mother-of-pearl go beautifully.

I have to say that I'm really delighted with this garment. I love the shape and the lace detail and I love the way it fits on me (although you wouldn't be able to wear it unbuttoned). It is an awful lot of knitting but I hope you'll agree it's definitely worth it.

It is currently on display in the shop window and will be for the next 2 weeks and, thereafter, it will be here in the shop so you can come and see and feel it - unless I'm wearing it, of course!

Monday, 12 March 2012

I want my Monday morning back!

Knitwits Yarns

Youngest prodigal son returned from Canada last week, trashed the house, filled the wash basket with filthy clothes, ate all the food we could throw at him, slept in his own bed for 3 nights before disappearing off for a long weekend on Dartmoor, training for Ten Tors.

He and is fellow lads (perhaps that should read "lunatics") are attempting the 55 mile route this year (I say "attempting" because, with the best will in the world, 55 miles over 10 Tors between 8am on Saturday and 5pm on Sunday, carrying all your kit including tent, food and cooker is a MASSIVE ask.)

This weekend, between the hours of 8am on Friday and 4pm on Saturday, they completed no less than 60 miles (they walked until 11pm on Friday).

He is exhausted.

He had had such bad cramps in his tent they woke him up.

He is jubilant, sore, blistered and very, very happy.

He was not quite so happy at the idea of cycling to the bus this morning so his father, very generously, offered my services to drive him (and his brother) to the bus this morning.

OK - I thought - that's fine - up at 6.30, wash hair and ablute, leave the house at 7.30, back in by 8.00. Great - get the Rialto Lace blocked and drying on the Aga and get on with my day.

All went well, Rialto Lace was pinned out on the Aga by 9.20, 3 hours to do my work.

Then I blinked and it was 12.30.

Where did my 3 hours go? Did I do all the work I wanted/needed to do? No.

Did I do some of it? Yes - but no nearly enough.

Could someone please return my missing 3 hours from this morning.

I need them.


Friday, 9 March 2012

Still Knitting...

Knitwits Yarns

Just because I haven't been here doesn't mean I haven't been busy - quite the opposite, in fact. Amongst other things I have been adding insulation in the roof (a dirty, filthy job which made me wheeze and I couldn't find a mask so had to improvise):

We have welcomed home the prodigal son from Canada which turned our relatively tidy house:

into an utter shambles in about 5 seconds flat:

We took time out last Saturday to go to the cinema and see "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel". We might be biased because we've travelled through India but we thought it was wonderful - fantastic cast, marvellous, exotic location and some classic one-liners - a really lovely, relaxing evening (and we took G and he enjoyed it too!). This film has had some not so brilliant reviews but my advice is to ignore them, go and see it and make up your own mind.

and I have been knitting, knitting, knitting .....

I'm not very good at taking pictures of knitting projects "en route" but I have done today out of sheer desperation to show myself how I have been progressing and to show you. Remember this:

taken during our weekend in Falmouth - which is, eventually, going to be this:

from Debbie Bliss's Rialto Lace book - well, I've been knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting and now it looks like this:

which is, undoubtedly, progress but there still seems to be one heck of a way to go. I keep on going and it keeps on growing but I never seem to get to the end! Every day this week I've been thinking, "ooh, I might finish it tonight" but, no, it's now Friday and I'm still decreasing on the back - on and on and on. I know it's going to be absolutely gorgeous:

but now I just want it done so that I can then sew it up, and block it and then add the 11 pesky buttons (which I've chosen and are in the bag waiting to go on) and then I can - finally - WEAR IT!!

Glad to see that others on Ravelry have been glad when this one was done - but concerned to see that one came out larger than expected - if this happens to me, I'll be less than happy! Also had problems with the pattern but will blog about that later - when it's finished.

For now - back to it!