Some knitting, some weaving and a trip to Iceland

It has been a long, long time since I last blogged and I don’t have an awful lot to show for the last few months.  There are a few UFOs lurking in the knitting bag and on the loom.

So have I completed anything?  Well, yes. I have.  But it was a bit of an effort.  When I started to stock Debbie Bliss’ new Angel yarn (her equivalent of Rowan Kidsilk Haze) I was given a couple of extra balls to knit a display garment.  So I eagerly began knitting the short shrug from the Angel pattern book.  It’s basically two sleeves, joined at the back, and with a ribbed collar and edging and large turned back cuffs.

Sadly when I had finished it looked dreadful and didn’t fit.  There was something wrong but I read and re-read the pattern and I couldn’t understand where I’d gone wrong. I showed it to my Mum and she couldn’t spot the problem either. So I put it to one side and felt very disappointed.  A few weeks later, I was walking home thinking about it and it suddenly dawned on me where I’d gone wrong. The instructions had talked about picking up stitches along the back, but I didn’t understand what the back was.  There had been no mention of it up until now.  All I’d done was two sleeves.  Then it hit me that the few straight rows at the end of the sleeve must be the back.  But could I face undoing all the seaming, edging and border and fixing it?  Mohair isn’t the easiest yarn to unpick.

But I bit the bullet and did it, (it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be to unpick) knitted it correctly and now if fits perfectly and looks very nice.  The colour is really striking too.

I’ve also just completed the Chiton Pullover featured on the front cover of Knitscene Magazine Spring 2011 in a cream colour of Manos Serena yarn.

I started it over the May Bank Holiday, which combined with a day off for the Royal Wedding, gave me plenty of time to just sit and knit.  It was great just to sit and knit for hours and not think about work or anything else for that matter.

However a holiday to Iceland came along and the pullover was left languishing in my bag.

Iceland was interesting.  It’s like being on another planet.  The trip was a photography holiday and from breakfast time until bed time we were out shooting landscapes. Sadly the only time I had free was a Sunday morning so couldn’t visit the big yarn shops in Reykjavik.  There was a small one open though and I popped in.

The Icelanders are very into their knitting and I saw a lot of sheep!  But I didn’t like the Icelandic wool.  It’s rather coarse and although a good price I didn’t buy any. I did buy a book called Icelandic Colour Knitting though. I really liked the fairisle type designs that feature heavily in Icelandic knitting and this book gives some ideas and charts for doing this style.

We did stop in a place called Vik for a couple of days and there was a gift shop there that sold woollen garments (and a bit of wool) and someone from the group bought something and then gave me their carrier bag which said Vik Wool on it.  I thought it was very cool!! 😀

I’ve also done a bit of weaving, but the piece is still on the loom.  I must finish it off!  I’ve been a bit of a sucker though and agreed to help a couple of customers finish off garments they’ve been making so that’s what I’m knitting this week.

FO: The Tunic Dress

Finally, over a year after I started it, the tunic dress is finished!

And it’s fits perfectly.  I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out.

Debbie Bliss Tunic Dress from Coastlines

I took it to knitting club this week to start seaming it, and everyone was full of compliments and they all loved the feel and drape of the yarn.  I used Debbie Bliss Pure Silk and it’s probably the most expensive yarn I’ve ever bought.  I used 10 skeins for this dress size (32″).  Not sure I’d use the yarn again though.  I think it might be the characteristic of silk yarn, but it does fluff up a bit and the spinning isn’t terribly even – there was the odd thick lump in it.  It also twists as you use it, a bit like embroidery thread does, which was annoying and the stitches don’t look terribly even.

The pattern was from Debbie Bliss’s Coastlines book.  The pattern wasn’t wrong but I struggled with understanding what she meant in a few places, which is why I put it down at the bottom of my knitting bag for a year.  But actually once it had clicked what was going on with the lace panels, I did it quite quickly.

I just need to find a suitable occasion to wear it now for it’s first outing!

And it’s back to the Scandinavian blanket squares again for me now.

First FO of 2008

On Wednesday I finished the cupcake cushion and it is exceedingly comfy. I have it on my bed and it is so soft to lie on whilst I read.

For those interested, it is a design from 25 Cushions to Knit by Debbie Bliss

Cupcake cushion front side

The front panel is a combination of moss stitch and stocking stitch. Easy to do, although I did find that with the yarn I used – Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino – it was easy to put the needle through the strands of yarn, rather than the whole stitch. Not a big problem, just something to watch out for. The actual pattern calls for sewing buttons and beads on, but I decided it would make it uncomfortable to lie on if they were there.

cupcake cushion back

This is the back, the pattern of which I modified quite a lot. Had I been using beads, I think it would have been ok as written, but when I started it just looked odd, so I added the vertical stripes instead and was very pleased that I even managed to knit this fair-isle style using both hands to hold the different colours. At least on the knit rows. Purling was impossible. I just couldn’t do it for some reason, so I sort of devised my own method of hooking the one of the colours around with my thumb, so that I didn’t have to completely drop the first colour. It works for me, so I guess that’s all that matters. Maybe I’ll try and video it sometime in case other people are having the same problem.

I went to John Lewis in Southampton yesterday and bought 8 balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky and a Debbie Bliss book – Simply Living, which has a collection of nice patterns including cushions, slippers, jumpers, jackets, blankets and bags. Both yarn and book were half price, so it would have been rude not to buy them! Don’t know what I’ll use the yarn for yet.