Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Sun is out!

Lookee - the sun has come out in Glasgow at last!! Wewent to the fruit shop to buy a yummy watermelon this afternoon, and I'm currently sitting covered in watermelon juice, squinting at the laptop screen.

The cat seems to have found his hotspot...

The Honeycomb tension square is complete. I'm not all that confident about this one - I am going to modify it to knit in the round again. It has to be knit with 4 inches of negative ease, which makes me a little anxious that this is going to be teeny - but I am on a diet, so if it is hopefully it will fit eventually.

The gauge is 28 stitches per 4 inches. Before blocking I had 32 stitches with a 3.5mm needle, so figured I would probably need to go down to 3mm. I blocked it anyway, cos you never know, right?

It shrunk down to 30 stitches when damp, and 28-28.5 stitches when dry blocked! Huh? It also became narrower than before, resulting in more rows per inch.

Of course this, coupled with my apparently longer torso, made for some fun maths... Adding an inch before decreases, and figuring out exactly how many rows "knit until piece measures x inches' will be based on blocked rows per inch.

The pattern is now full of my additions and scribblings. I'm hoping I haven't gone wrong somewhere - the pattern is for a 12.75 inch tank top, from bottom to the armhole. I've gone for 16 inches instead.

We were also down in England last week, eerie misty shots taken here from the balcony of the boy's family holiday spot; Slaley Hall. All the more creepier due us going to see The Mist at the cinema last week!

We took a (long!) walk around Geltsdale, an RSPB reserve. Didn't see much, except a few Kestrels hovering around. And also had to walk through a herd of cows with babies. That was quite scary - the mum was snorting a bit as we walked past her and her calf.

Then we passed 3 calves on their own, and realised that the mum was on the other side of the road and that we were between her and her babies.

I don't know much about cows, but they're pretty big, and as a general rule, getting between mums and babies is never a good plan. We walked through smartly, with our heads down. Eye contact a good idea, or a reason for a cow charge? Who knows... (I've just read this *gulp*)

There was little in the way of fibery goodness in the area though, but I managed to convince the boy to stop off at Stitching Time in Hamilton for some knittery treats. Some beautiful Louisa Harding and Araucania ... mmm... I've wanted the Louisa Harding since Lynette did a lovely project in it.

Stitching Time was a treasure trove of yarny joy, and Nan and David are lovely. I really enjoyed my trip and would recommend it to all. They also have cheap Addis.

I also got a magnetic board to keep my place in lace charts (I got the last one, sorry! Although not that sorry - ha!) Lilith was talking about these awhile back and I meant to get one, but forgot. She's right - it's such a Godsend! No more stupid Post-its losing their stick after one removal and curling at the edges. And it's a flat surface to rest the chart on the couch-arm too. Genius!

I may have done a wee bit of online shopping before I left too, so that I would have a pressie from the postie too. Some Noro Kureyon sock yarn in the same colourway as I've made a hat in (although the hat was in aran-weight Kureyon) I can't wait to knit with this, and am thinking a lovely wrap would go well with the hat. There's a serious amount of yardage (I wrote yarndage the first time ... ) on this ball too - enough to make a shawl.

The best saved until last; some old maiden aunt 2ply silk/cashmere blend in espresso colour - it is yarn that literally melts in your hand. So utterly sumptiously deliciously soft! And with a 32% discount too.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Olympic Training begins with swatching for Honeycomb. I am in LOVE with this yarn and in LOVE with this pattern. The autumnal shades and the cabling pattern were made for each other!

I also learned to cable without a cable needle, so I can motor through this quickly - 17 days are not many when I also have to juggle a full-time job, and an occasional glance at the housework.

It's a great technique, but I think it would only work for me with cabling that requires only 1 stitch being crossed over another. Otherwise I think it would just be too footery.

And yes, I am still trying to complete Luna Moth (don't mention Pinwheel sweater OK?) - I'm on repeat 6 now. The pattern was written for a DK to aran weight yarn, and I'm using 4 ply so I'm wondering how many repeats I'll need to do, to have a decent-sized shawl.

Obviously it's going to be more, but how many more? I think I'll have to put it on waste yarn to get a decent idea. And then how much does seasilk increase in size after blocking? There are too many factors to consider and time is running out!

And another project, because I don't have anything portable at the moment (apart from a sock in progress which is boring me senseless) - this is the most beautiful ethereal pattern. I found it on Ravelry and just HAD to cast on right away!

We went to Mull of Galloway today - the southermost part of Scotland. Saw four puffins!! I couldn't believe it! I never imagined I would actually see them in real life. Unfortunately they were perfect in our binocs, but too far away to photograph. You can see in the pic above - it's a long way down to the sea they were floating on.

One thing that the photos can't show is the sheer noise all these birds make - there were every type of gull, kittiwakes, puffins, guillemots, cormorants, and so on. We also saw a lone roe deer hopping about.

As we walked behind the lighthouse to get down to the foghorn viewpoint, we noticed that the walls were covered in the black dots...

... of about a million snails...

They were ....

... everywhere!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Does anyone else's cat ...

... do this whenever the heating is on? If I didn't put a towel there, he'd just be up on the radiator without it, frying his little self.

Well, it's nearly that time; the Beijing Olympics begins at 08.08.08pm (2pm GMT) on the 8th day of the 8th month, 2008. (8 is a lucky number in China

So I must cast on when the flame is lit, and have the object ready for blocking by the end of the final ceremony.

The boy bought me the Olympic mascots for Valentine's Day - in order they are Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying, Nini. Beijing huan ying ni means "Welcome to Beijing"!

I've joined the Ravelympics group on Ravelry- they've got loads of great events to join. There's Sock Put, Amigurumi Toss, Mitten Medley, Scarf Stroke, Hat Dash ... I've joined the Vest Vault and plan to make Honeycomb from, using some lovely DK yarn I bought in Tokyo. I've been dying to cast it on since I got it.

So, 17 days to knit a vest top. I think it's doable - I finished the Twilley's Freedom Spirit tank top quite quickly. (I just have to wait 'til my head is no longer full of snot before I agree to publishing pictures of myself on the interweb!)

What of the projects I was to finish in time to begin the Knitting Olympics?

Well ... I have two left to complete; Luna Moth Shawl, and Pinwheel sweater.

Frogged were: Crochet Wrap, Twilleys armwarmers, Branching Out (both of them) and Jaywalkers.

Completed were: The Force Scarf, Summertime Tunic and Glasgow socks.

Do I think I'm going to pass this task? Probably not ... but I'll give it a shot!

Edited to add; Thank you for all the lovely comments in my last post! There were a couple of questions;
The Fyberspates yarn is destined for a pair of gloves, and possibly a hat too.
And Mary's question - yes I was wearing my new Central Park Hoodie at Woolfest - you should have said hi! I know what you mean though, I saw lots of Ravellers and was too shy to say anything to them!