Monthly Archives: January 2009

happy birthday…

… to me!

… I just need to learn how to use it now …

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new project: laminaria shawl

It’s been a while since I knitted any lace, and I have really missed it. I have a passion for making lace, it satisfies something deep inside me that no other knitting quite touches. So as my other post-Christmas treat for myself, I am making a Laminaria shawl.

I decided to make this just before Christmas, and so my yarn-purchasing was a bit more rushed that it might normally be. There are no local yarn stores that sell laceweight yarn, which meant either a flu-ridden trip to London or some online shopping; not surprisingly, the latter won out!

I bought this incredibly bright pink Newgale yarn from Purlescence, and it arrived just in time for me to take to Dorset with me. It is from Cariad yarns, the sister company of Posh Yarn. To be honest, I did have slight doubts about the brightness, but I think it’s just that it is a very summery pink and stands out against the darker, more sober colours I tend to wear in the winter. Whatever, it is certainly a shockingly cheerful colour with which to knit on these gloomy days!

This is the first time I have made a triangular shawl, largely because I can’t really see myself wearing one. But I was inspired by Swampette’s version (Ravelry link), which I think looks stunning worn as a large scarf. So I am making the smaller shawlette version.

The pattern is straightforward to follow, except for the fact that it is written on an insane nine pages, with the pattern chart, key to symbols and explanation of how to do the stitches spread out over three pages. Train knitting it is not.

I have finished the first section, which was actually more fiddly to knit than I had expected. It is just a four-stitch pattern repeat, but it was hard to figure out what to pick up if I dropped a stitch. I love how it looks though, and can’t wait for it to be permanently stretched out…

… and I am now about three-quarters of the way through the second pattern section. I am entranced by this blossom pattern, it’s not quite like any lace I’ve knit before, and I am constantly stopping to stretch it out to appreciate its beauty:

It feels good to be making something so beautiful, so bright and cheerful and so … mine!

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new project: anemoi mittens

As a post-Christmas treat for myself I am making a pair of Anemoi Mittens. The yarn is Lucia Sock from Posh Yarn, in the Fairground colourway. It came as a kit with a pattern for some Winter Cottage Mittens. Although I like that pattern, I’ve been wanting to make some Anemois for ages, so this one won out in the end.

It may be because I’m on holiday, and therefore am more relaxed and contemplative, or because it is the end of the year, a time that makes me more reflective generally.  Whatever the reason, these mittens have been reminding me about the amazing act of transformation we knitters perform when we turn this:

into this:

It’s like magic, every time.

I have modified the pattern slightly around the fingertips. The pattern called for the last few rows to be knitted in stripes, and then cast off with a three-needle cast-off from the inside. I didn’t photograph that, but didn’t like it so tried doing the same cast-off from the outside instead:

I still wasn’t happy with this, so I adapted the method used by Brooklyn Tweed’s Druid mitten pattern that I made recently. I continued the edge stitches around the top of the mitten, incorporating the body stiches as I went, and cast the stitches off with a 3-needle bind off from the inside. I’m very pleased with this modification, as I think it really neatens the end of the mitten.

So, one down, one to go!

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happy new year!

2008 in photos

It’s been an eventful year.

I turned 40 in January and had the most fabulous birthday party imaginable. Steve collected everyone’s photographs from the weekend – you can see them here if you are interested.

March saw my entry into the blogosphere, and I am thrilled to have taken the plunge! It has been so rewarding becoming part of an online community of knitters – something I just do not (yet) have in ‘real life’. Making some wonderful new friends through my blog has been an unexpected joy this year. It has been great to meet a couple of you in real life, and it is lovely to think that I could travel all over the world and meet people who I already ‘know’. Thank you for reading my blog and for your supportive, funny, kind and wise comments and emails. They have meant so much to me this year.

There was a precious new addition to our family in February – my nephew Max was born after a difficult pregnancy for my sister-in-law.  His coming into the world at all seemed like a little miracle, and his recovery from a recent illness was truly a blessing. I am looking forward to watching him and all my nieces and nephews grow and flourish this year.

We spent time staying with family members, and had others come to stay with us. My beautiful niece caught the knitting bug, and is my only family member (so far) to join me on Ravelry. I am looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

We were lucky to get tickets for the astonishing History Cycle at Stratford upon Avon. This was a production of all eight of Shakespeare’s History plays, performed by the same cast over a three day marathon. It was a theatrical experience unlike any we have had before, and I am so glad that we were able to take our boys to share in it. Theatre and film are two art forms for which we share a passion in our family; it is so rewarding to see our boys internalise this love as they step on stage themselves and start to make their own films. I am looking forward to seeing and experiencing more of their and others’ productions this year.

I was the most ill that I have ever been when I contracted pneumonia in July. But if it were not for that illness, I would not have jumped in to begin training as a yoga teacher, or started running with the help of a personal trainer. I am excited about running in my first 5k event with a friend in the next couple of months, and I am looking forward to the first stage of my yoga training, which starts in a few weeks with a 6-month foundation course.

We went to some wonderful places this year – Steve and I visited Copenhagen, and we took our boys to Rome. Other trips had to be cancelled, but we are already making new plans to compensate… I am looking forward to seeing more of the world this year.

I have had so much fun knitting this year! You can see the projects I completed here. My resolution last year was not to make anything that didn’t fit me again, and with one exception (which by the way I have plans to remedy), I have managed to stick to it! I went to Woolfest, saw the Yarn Harlot speak at the I Knit Day in London, and I had my first ever knitting pattern published in Popknits. This year I am looking forward to being part of the Sock(topus) Club, and maybe even meeting some local knitters as a result!

Happy New Year – I hope you have a wonderful 2009, and that whatever you are looking forward to comes to pass!

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