Thursday, 25 August 2011

A Darn Good Sunday

So I was in Scotland - or maybe more precisely, in Fife. It's just the north side of the Firth of Forth (the estuary that Edinburgh is on). Why? because my lovely other half is from there. I have been there many, many times over the years we have been together, and had a lot of more active weekends that this one. It's just that this one I thought was the most noteworthy.

Saturday was actually pretty quiet - food shopping, a walk on a beach, a very speedy trip to a yarn shop in the next town (I didn't think it was very good so I'll keep quiet about it). Evening in. On Sunday, he even had a lie in! By the time he got up I think maybe he felt guilty that I'd been up for three hours, eaten breakfast and was well into Cup of Tea Number Four. So when I suggested a rather mad trip in the car to Falkirk and then Glasgow, he agreed as quick as lightening!
So first was the Falkirk Wheel. It is a fabulous piece of millennium engineering that connects two canals in Scotland - the Union and Forth-Clyde. It lifts the boats up/down by rotating around, while using minimal energy and looking pretty. I really enjoyed it; relaxing boat trip, educational in an interesting-not-boring way, and ice cream at the end of it.

{apologies for the dodge reflections}

Then things took a turn towards yarn...

The Yarn Cake is a wee shop in north-west Glasgow (near the Botanic Gardens) and so far, it is the best yarn shop I have been in. It may be small but is perfectly formed; I liked the balance of Drops with indie-dyers (the Yarn Yard and Abstract Cat when I popped by). The decor was simple but effective, there was a good selection of knitting books, and there were tables for perusing books / knitting / debating what to buy / eating cake / drinking tea. Because I am shy, I didn't take photos inside (there were a fair few other customers) and because I am disorganised, I don't have photos of all the stuff I bought there (but I will soon!). And I will certainly go back when I can, armed with camera and confidence.

But overall, it really was a brilliant day out with stunningly sunny weather, doing things, drinking tea and buying yarn. And my other half is very very lovely for doing all the driving - it did go over 100 miles!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

FO Friday - Feather & Fan Socks

I decided, during the knitting funk, that a speedy knit was needed. Something attainable, with a new skill or two thrown in to make me feel like I'm Developing As A Knitter. And so I stumbled upon these guys.

Pattern: the Feather and Fan sock, a toe-up sock pattern with lace on the ankle [ravelry link].
Yarn: 4ply from Woolfest 2011, called 'Rainbow Sock Wool' - a BFL/nylon blend that is lovely and cosy from the Wool Clip stall. The label tells me it was made by Jan & Cecilia and you can email or telephone them, but they don't have their own website or anything.

Love the pattern, so easy to follow and needing just the right amount of brain power. Learned about short-row shaping at the toe and heel, and the awesome super-stretchy bind off at the top. I think I'll be making all my future socks toe-up in future; I just get on with it better than top-down.

I love how this yarn has turned out with these socks. It really is a match made in heaven, and I'm really proud of them. I did have a crisis of confidence with them - clearly related to the general knitting funk - but that makes me even more proud of them. I made it through, and would you look at what I did on the way??

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

"WIP Wednesday" - Lauriel

Today I am doing a (belated) WIP Wednesday because at the moment I only have one thing on my needles, and that is an Exciting Thing. It's belated because I passed out on the sofa about 9pm, woke up an hour later and decided nothing was coming between me and my bed!

Pattern: Lauriel, from Little Red in the City.
Yarn: Subline Extra Fine Merino DK, from Baa Ram Ewe (shop link) in 138 (Reefer)

I have been dying to make garments for a long while now, and I had a good introduction with the bolero, but to be honest, that was so easy it hardly counted. Lauriel is a different beast - I need to think about fit and sizing and guage a lot more. After trying on the sample at the Ysolda event at my LYS and it fitting perfectly, size 34 was clearly the way forward. I measured and I'm a 35 - all good so far. There is increasing to do and that doesn't look too bad. I'm warned there is going to be some maths for bust darts, so we shall have to see how I get on with that. But the little bit I have done has been enjoyable knitting, a well-written pattern though required some brain power (and several frogging episodes when my brain stopped!) The yarn is brilliant to work with; I have a slight tendency to go through it especially on 'tbl' stitches but is so soft gives lovely stitch definition.

Though there is a long way to go....

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Ysolda @ Baa Ram Ewe

I have a pretty epic confession to make. I totally failed to take my camera to this event. I know. FAIL. I do hope that my photos from home (and one scrounged from a friend) will suffice.

First, the book.

It is an excellent, excellent book. It has so much stuff in it that I do not know, and probably should before embarking on proper garment knitting. I do have a tick of never being able to remember knitting pattern names, and so I wrote them on those blue page-marker post-it notes you can see peeking out. Now my knitting pals thinks I'm a bit of a stationary geek! How little they know....

Back to the point, I had already spent a fair while looking through the book, and the two patterns that caught my eye were Lauriel and Skelf (the little red website has photos). The best part was that there were samples to try on and the smaller size was pretty much perfect for me! To my mind, Lauriel clearly goes better with skirts and Skelf would work better with jeans & boots - though both would work with either, I'm sure - and since I'm into skirts at the moment, Lauriel is went to the top of the To Knit List!

It's going to be knit in this: Subline extra-fine merino DK
This was mainly because it was recommended by baa ram ewe (the advice is currently on the front page of their website). It was rather a treat for myself but I justified it. After all, I had a knitting funk on!

And since you only live once, I also got the deeply cute project bag, as you can never have enough and my sweater-sized one is full of the guilt-inducing Grandma's Cardigan (more on that soon!).

And it was all totally worth it: my knitting funk has been knocked for six! It was a great evening talking a lot about knitting with some lovely ladies (photo by Rachel at Reward(ing) Memories)