Foggy Sunset

Foggy Sunset
Photo by Aisling Doonan

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Rioga Shawl is finally finished!

Last week I finished the last edging point on my Rioga Shawl and I won't lie, I grafted my edging ends and wove in my ends with such a happy heart. No more dropping tiny glass beads in my cereal (true story, it crunched a wee bit), no more dreaming about crowns and menacing pointy needles. No more struggling with the joins on my Addi Lace 1.75mm needles (seriously, smooth those babies out, I'm begging you) and no more squinting unattractively at the coral monster in my lap, woohoo!

It wasn't quite as bleak as I have just made it out to be, but I have developed a humpy back and a permanent crows feet from squinting...

But seriously, I'm fine. I have an eye test next week and my back will straighten with time.

I may be finding beads under the sofa cushions and in the coffee jar for a while longer though. Those little glass orbs can travel!

I am glad to be finished, because it was so *all* consuming. It wasn't the most complex thing I have ever knit, or with the finest needle or thread. I think it was because the needle cord was short and I couldn't pin it out and actually *see* my progress. It was like unwrapping the fiddliest present ever, a never ending pass the parcel.

I did enjoy the process, I had a few moments with yarn pulls (those heart stopping moments where you scrunch up your eyes and hold your breath) that made me pause, but it was an engaging pattern. The beaded edging especially was quite rhythmic and pleasant to knit (even though I am allergic to nickel and kept putting the crochet hook in my mouth between bead applications. Wow I plumped those lips up, they fizzed and burned slightly but it was totally worth the pout).

I have just entered it into the RDS National Crafts Competition and I will find out in July if I was successful in getting into the exhibition, then the awards day is in August, so it will be a nail biting few months. 

The details of the shawl are as follows:-

Yarn: Colourmart Cashmere/Silk 2/65NM Cobweb Weight (there are lots of lovely colours left in this!)
Needle: 1.75mm circular & 0.65mm crochet hook
Size: 66" x 42"
Yarn Quantity: 1,510 yards
Beads: Debbie Abraham size 8 seed beads in Amethyst (code 41) 959 beads used

I hope you've enjoyed the photos and the update! Wish me luck...

Happy knitting


Friday, 24 March 2017

Summer Poncho

A friend asked me to knit her a baby pink poncho for the Summer and I happily obliged. It is the Lovely Feathers pattern from Drops Design. The pattern is free. I have used many of the Drops patterns and they have a nearly endless variety of garments to choose from. The patterns are clear, well written and have some interesting features. I am impressed that they have such simple yet visually appealing patterns, especially as they are free.

The poncho is knit with Tivoli Cruise DK cotton with a 4mm needle. It is knit in the round and knits up quickly. It used 498 metres approx which is just over two balls of the Cruise DK. I made the smallest size and if I were to make it again for myself, I would go up a size or two. The original pattern called for Merino DK, but I think the cotton works well for Summer and will wash like a hankie!

What did happen, was that halfway through Lovely Feathers, I got such a longing for a poncho for Summer of my own. I have a lovely Tivoli Cruise DK cotton one in cream, which I wear all the time, but I find it can be a bit bulky for stashing away in a bag when I'm not wearing it. I wanted something a bit finer that would still be warm but have a smaller footprint.

I looked through my stash and found that I had lots and lots of Jamieson's Ultra Lace in all different colours. Et voila! The obvious solution was stripes. So I cast on and worked out my colours as I went. I worked in colour pairs, No two batches match except the first and last (because I just like when things go around in a circle!) and I used every colour three times. I adore sequences, they always seem to work out as the best colour combinations.

The poncho is knit from the top down, with a simple loose rolled collar and is knit in the round. I knew fairly early on that I wanted a lace edging, just because. My knitting brain gets stubborner and stubborner...

I also wanted a decent length, so that it almost hit my wrist. I wanted to be cosy. Luckily everything worked out just how I imagined it and it knit up relatively quickly, considering it's lace weight and knit all at once. I love projects where there is little or no finishing once you cast off. In fact, I didn't even cast off, I grafted the begnning and end of the lace edging together for a completely seamless piece.

I also got to try out two different techniques for a jogless stripe. To do this, you knit the first round of a new colour as normal, on the second round, you pick up the loop of the previous colour and knit it together with the first stitch. I found this to work well and I barely have a step at the colour change. Also (and this is why I love wool as a medium so much), I knit in my new colours as I went and caught the tail of my old colour at the beginning of each round. I did this for 20 stitches either side and had no weaving in to do at the very end. Genius or what? 

So there you have it, let me know what you think of my Summer Poncho. Is it something you would like to make for yourself?

Until next time

Happy knitting