Monthly Archives: July 2008

New Project: Posh Liesl

I mentioned the other day that I was tempted to rework Ysolda’s Liesl pattern for my 4-ply Eva yarn. Turns out I don’t need to – if I knit two strands of Eva together, I get exactly the right gauge for the pattern as written. So that is what I am doing.

It’s a delight to knit. I love this yarn, and I love this pattern. If it wasn’t for the fact that my hand is now hurting from knitting, it would almost make up for the fact that I am still stuck at home recuperating from bronchitis. Here’s how far I got before I had to stop.

Oh well, back to watching Miss Marple I guess.

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Knitting lace

I love knitting lace.

I love the way it is so light that it feels as though I am holding a cloud in my hands.

I love the mathematical precision that goes into making something this floaty and beautiful. All knitting is mathematical, but this aspect of our craft is very evident in a lace pattern.

I love the superfluity of lace. We all need clothes to wear, but no-one needs to wear lace. Our foremothers did not need to spend their hours knitting beautiful lace edgings for pillowcases and towels, but they did it anyway.

I love how a lace pattern is created as much out of air as out of yarn. Indeed, it is the spaces between the yarn, the places where yarn is not, that define this fabric as lace.

I love how incredibly complicated designs are made from just a few simple stitches. If you can knit, purl, knit two stitches together and wind the yarn around the needle, you can make lace.

I love how such an ethereal fabric can be so warm, and how such a fragile, delicate looking fabric is in fact so strong and elastic.

I love the balance that is needed to make a lace pattern work. Every increase needs an equal and opposite decrease, but for some patterns this balance is only achieved over a number of rows.

I love how impossibly difficult the first few rows of a lace pattern are and yet how, after a couple of repetitions, the pattern feels like an old friend.

I love knitting lace.

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Subscribing to a blog’s RSS feed through a reader or via email

You can now subscribe to my blog’s RSS feed through a reader by clicking on the orange button on the sidebar to the left. I have included the option of having updates sent to your email inbox if you prefer to do it that way.

Here’s a brief explanation of what all this means.

Firstly, what is RSS?

RSS (short for Really Simple Syndication) is a technology that helps you to keep up to date with your favorite websites and blogs.

Without RSS, you would have to bookmark a site and then check it regularly to see if any new information had been added. RSS automatically does that for you. It checks your favourite sites and feeds all the updates from each one to a central place for you to read at your leisure. The central place can either be your email inbox, or an RSS reader.

What is an RSS Reader?

An RSS reader is an online application that brings together updated content from multiple websites into one location for easy viewing. There are many RSS readers; two of the most popular free ones are Google Reader and Bloglines. You will need to create an account with the RSS reader of your choice before being able to subscribe to a website’s RSS feed.

What does it mean to subscribe to a blog or website?

Subscribing to a blog or a website’s RSS feed is a bit like subscribing to a magazine, only instead of each issue arriving through the post, each update is sent to your RSS reader or your email inbox.

What was that about my email inbox?

If you don’t want to use an RSS reader, many websites also enable you to subscribe to RSS feeds via email. If you choose this option you can get a summary of a site’s latest posts; as with an RSS reader you can then go directly to the site.

How do I use RSS to subscribe?

The orange symbol above is the standard symbol for RSS. When you see it on a website you can click on it to start the subscription process. Or you might see some linked text to click on saying something like “Subscribe to my RSS feed”. You will then typically be asked to which RSS reader you would like the feed to be sent.

And that’s pretty much it! Once you have the feed set up, you can log into your RSS reader and you will see either an excerpt from, or the the whole of, each update from your favourite sites. You can click on a link to take you directly to the site, or you can read the update through your reader.

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Vintage living: it’s all in the details

I read somewhere once that if you want to have a vintage-y feel to your home, the key is that everything should be old – just one new thing and the illusion is shattered. In our cottage, this is exactly what I have tried to do. I love the soft, romantic, nostalgic feel that emanates from faded fabrics, old enamel and depression-era pressed glass.

There is something deeply comforting about curling up, wrapped in a hand-stitched quilt that has been used and loved for generations and that somebody years ago spent many, many hours crafting.

Items such as linen towels with hand-crocheted edgings make even the most mundane of places feel a bit more special: this, for example, is the towel rail in our downstairs loo:

The umbrella stand from which I anally remove Steve’s golf umbrella whenever I see it:

And here are various items from the kitchen. Apart from the yukky tiles, I love how this room looks.

Of course, it does depend on judicious putting away of the hard-to-live-without modern appliances, such as this:

And, most definitely, keeping all brightly coloured plastic containers hidden away. Not good:


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Candle flame shawl: new improved edging and a rogue purl row

Warning: this post contains numerous near-identical photographs accompanied by highly pedantic commentary.

I was going to make a swatch to try out what I think is my preferred edging for my Candle Flame shawl. Instead I decided just to cast on the full number of stitches – that way, if nothing went wrong with it I could simply carry on.

The vertical edging now has 6 stitches of garter stitch followed by a 2-stitch eyelet pattern before going into the diamond lace pattern that will form a frame around the main, candle flame, lace pattern. I have slipped the first stitch on every row, as Rose Red suggested, and this has made for a much neater, firmer edge. I have also increased the number of garter stitch rows along the bottom edge to match – there are now 10 rows of garter stitch before the horizontal eyelet pattern.

I’m really pleased with how it’s looking now. This is how the bottom edge looked originally:

And this is how the side border looked:

The whole thing is looking neater, and much more like a deliberate edge, I think. However, I have ripped most of it out and started again. Why? Well, I don’t know if you can see it in the photo below (wish I could do those pointy arrow on photo thingies!) but, just above the bottom eyelet pattern and just below the bottom tip of the diamond pattern, there is one purl row. I thought it would frame the eyelets nicely. In fact, now I think it is just an annoyingly superfluous row of purl stitches.

Really, would anyone else notice? Maybe not, but I would know…

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