Autumn 2013

Autumn 2013

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Universe of Knitting

Today, it’s all about knitting, as promised.

Some weeks back, I fell into a Ravelry thread about shawls: someone was wondering when and how to wear all these pretty, lacy shawls that abound on the site. And of course, hundreds of helpful knitters and crocheters answered the query, posting pictures of different ways to wear shawls and linking to patterns. Needless to say, I found several shawls that I just HAD TO knit! Never mind that I had never done something called ‘Estonian lace’ before or that I’m really not that familiar with beading – I had to knit all of these shawls.

I also posted about my own shawls and was prompted to write up my notes in English for a woollen shawl done in one of my favourite yarns, the multi-coloured Kauni Effektgarn.  It is a free download on Ravelry.

After a bit of cooling down and thinking about it, I realised that maybe I do not need 11 shawls to wear apart from those I have already, and the frantic queuing and planning came to a rest. I prioritised – yes, I am capable of rational thinking, even when it comes to my knitting desires – and made a few realistic plans.

From the shawl thread, I had learned of at least one new concept: the wedding shawl. It seems to be common to American knitters, but is not really something you see around these parts. But who cares – if the trend isn’t there, you can create it, right? And I am actually going to a wedding this summer, on the 24th July. A good friend of mine is - finally! - marrying her Dutch boyfriend, which is lovely.
So I chose one of the pretty lace shawl patterns for a wedding shawl, ordered the yarn and was set to go.
Note the prioritising here: the knitted shawl comes first, then I’ll find a dress to match. It does make sense, though – I can find a dress the day before the wedding, if need be, but knitting a lace shawl (or anything else) takes time. So this is the first WIP (Work In Progress) to show you:

The pattern is a free Ravelry download: Regrowth
And it WILL be finished in time for the wedding!

Now, just because I am not going to knit myself 11 shawls, I can still knit them ...

This is technically not something I am working on right now, but it fits in with the theme: I persuaded my mum that she wanted a Haruni for her birthday – not only because I wanted to knit the pattern, I primarily wanted to knit something nice for my mum. I do like knitting for other people; and the Haruni seemed appropriate for several reasons.
It is not very big, and my mum is petite; the word haruni means grandmother in Quenya, Tolkien’s Elven language, and my mum is a grandmother. Perfect, right? 
I knitted it in 4 days, and she is very happy with it. 

I already showed you my Bifrost baby blanket last week; it is almost done now, apart from the last of the cast off. This is another shawl knitting trick: shawls can become blankets. The brilliant thing – one of them – about shawls is that they are so versatile, and because they are accessories and do not need to fit a body, they can be done in a variety of yarns and gauges and sizes. Substitute the lace weight for a sport weight, and voila! you have a blanket. Do a garter edging instead of the frilly picot, and the whole expression changes. Use a multi-coloured yarn, and it just pops.
The pattern is, as mentioned, the Vortex shawl , another free Ravelry download (I'm quite a fan of those).

And of course there is a point to the rainbow yarn and the name of the blanket: the baby in question has two sets of parents, one male couple and one female couple. So, a rainbow blanket for a rainbow baby. And as you may know, Bifrost is the rainbow in Norse mythology, the bridge between Midgard / Middle Earth and Asgard, the home of the gods. Everything comes together.

There is a project on my needles that I can’t tell you about right now, because it’s a gift. It’s coming along very nicely, I am happy with it, as I hope the recipient(s) will be.

I have two socks on my needles – two different socks, not two-at-a-time socks – that are taken out once in a while when I’m not doing anything else, or for a lightweight travelling project.

The Wavy red socks are a travelling project: I started them – oh dear, two months ago. Oops. Well, never mind, they’ll be done when they are done.

The Bibliophile socks are plain stocking stitch socks, a.k.a. vanilla socks, started because I needed something simple to knit while reading. And the Estonian lace does NOT fit that description. So I started the socks, toe up, also to try out the toe up gusset heel for the Watson socks in the Knit 1 Geek 2 Watson-along that I wanted – and still want – to join. But then I started the Bifrost blanket, with stocking stitch in the round, every other row plain knitting, and a deadline, so the socks were put to one side. Not forgotten, though, I do like the way the colours spiral :o)

Let’s see, what else? Oh, the Charm. Well, this is going to be a tee, with elbow length or ¾-length sleeves, I’m not quite sure yet. I’ve made the band to go around the bottom of it, at the hip, I think, and am ready to pick up stitches and knit up the body. It’s been put to side somewhat because of the deadline projects and because I’m still debating how much stitch patterning I want to do. I’m mainly thinking a few braided cables and a bit of eyelets. I’ll get back to you on that, when I get round to it.

Now, you may think that I have quite enough to contend with for the next 4 weeks, what with thousands of stitches in the wedding shawl, multiple gifts, socks and a tee. But you don’t know me yet ...

Several years ago, my sister and her then boyfriend, now husband, went to Goa on vacation, the lucky bastards, and brought me back a beautiful, dark purple silk sari. Absolutely gorgeous. I admired it – and put it in a drawer. Seriously, how often do you wear a sari? At least, when you’re a blond, Nordic, (then) rotund, not-quite-young female (of course, if you were a male, it might be even less)? Happily, some time later a wedding was announced, and I had a use for the sari, or rather, the many metres of purple silk with embroidered borders. I made a top & skirt to wear at my sister’s wedding.
I haven’t worn it since, but now that I’m going to another wedding, I could just maybe see how well the skirt fits, maybe tweak it a bit – and knit a pretty, lacy, strappy top to go with it. I’ve got some fingering weight organic cotton in white, so a purple skirt, white top, and purple shawl could be nice.

And now that we’re into the planned knitting, I want to make a couple more gifts that I will tell you about later.
And I did mention the Watson socks, didn’t I? They are inspired by Watson’s Aran sweater in the BBC series Sherlock – that I haven’t watched yet, but the dvd’s are sitting on my shelf, waiting. The socks will be for Victor, my youngest son (I haven’t even mentioned my kids before, how selfish am I?). He’s 13 (almost 14), and his feet are man-sized.
And my sweet niece Laura will be 3 in August; she is reared on designer hand knits, so of course I’ll be making something for her. I’ve got the yarn for that – see, I’m even thinking about stash-downing :o)

Oh, and 27th July is the date for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London, and so the mass cast-on for The Crafting Games Formerly Known As The Ravelympics – now renamed! The new name is, I’m happy to say, the one I voted for:

The Ravellenic Games

I like this name, because it plays upon the Pan-Hellenic Games, that is the all-inclusive games; also because I did want to keep the connection to the Hellenic origins of games (I know, that must be a surprise!).
For these games, I have joined Team TARDIS and will be knitting Doctor Who-inspired items. I have three projects planned, all TARDIS-related. But those I will tell you about later, when it’s nearer the time.

I have, on purpose, not mentioned my Ravelry queue or what’s in it; that will just have to wait.
Providing, of course, I haven’t by that time suffered a complete overload melt-down and have been carted away by the nice men in white coats to a safe place with no pointy sticks ...

Happy knitting!

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