Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cuppa tea?

My long service tea pot, the one bought at a discount store when I was 17 or 18, before there was a bear, before there were cubs, but when i was a knitter, has died. I think we can repair her. Tea pots are girls aren't they? To loose a long time tea pot is still sad, I'm a tea bag in a pot, or a loose tea in a pot kind-a-girl, tea-bags in cup - well its ok at work, but at home I want a proper pot of tea, poured from a pot, with all the potential of seconds. So today - I morn my tea pot - who was pretty perfect in many ways, and I'll admit to starting not one but 2 new projects ... and I've been doing some minor plastic surgery on a Knitpics cable. All in all a bits and pieces kind of a week.

There is nothing nicer than a hot, fragrant, weak (yup - I'm a weak tea girl), black tea. Oh coffee is good, at times really good, but tea has its place. And there is something about the ritual of tea, of rinsing out the pot (and tossing the used tea bag you find within), and warming the pot, pouring in the water, settling the lid, making small talk while it brews, and pouring a big mug of tea.

....except when this happens.
The pot is still usable, but doing that involves the use of hot-mitts. And its not quite the same, the elegance of the ritual has gone. And this is the perfect tea pot, perfect for many reasons, it pours nicely without any drips or dribbles, it is easy to fill and empty, and fish out the tea bag so the brew doesn't over-stew. The handle is on top so it balances easy when I pour, and best of all it holds 2 large mugs plus 2 more refills.

I have other pots, see, a whole line up above the stove. Some are new, some old, some inherited, some bought as presents, some received as presents, some just because I liked them. Some cheap - some free, one expensive artist designer pot. My tea pots jostle for space with milk jugs - truly we are old fashioned about such things. Tea made in a pot, and milk served in jug. All the other tea pots lack the charm of my wee enamel one, and most are way to small to hold 2 mugs let alone 2 mugs and the refills. I have vague unformed ideas of plaiting a handle from twine - we shall see.

But about knitting, this is a new baby blanket, the same pattern as the last but in white/grey gotland merino 3 ply. I started on needles size 4mm, but have increased to 4.5mm. I think the yarn is thicker in this skein - the joys of beginner handspun :-). I'll be finished in a week or so, and then won't stress about needing to knit it. I'm not entirely sure when the workmates baby is due, but feel like I've asked a few times and promptly forgot, so it might be rude to ask again.

and a swatch, next week at the knitters study group we begin a top down something. Hats, gloves, sweater, cardie - something, anything top down. I bought a cone of mystery yarn, all wool, 800g at the mill for $8, thinking it would do for Poppy. I'm missing my colour work a little so had swatched a yoke pattern with some blue handspun some time back - but the gauge of the two yarns was very different and the swatch puckered. This time I thought I would use a heavier yarn, more of a match to the cone yarn. The cone yarn bulks up a bit when the swatch is washed. I used some while wool+angora I had in stash. I love the fluffy white with the dusky pink, but again the gauges are different. I found what Sheila McGregor calls a Modern-yoked jersy, in only two colours, where the neck was worked in white and via the colour work the sweater transitioned to another colour for the sleeves and body. I liked that idea as this yarn is not the softest and it would be nice to use the soft white wool-angora around the neck edges.

I'm wondering if I can do some clever maths or fudging and work the gauge change into the yoke. The class is next weekend - so I'll play some more and see where that takes me.

And lastly - I've been performing minor surgery on a spare knitpics cable. I've been converted (or was that subverted?) to using circs over dpns, especially for patters that are not easy to split over dpns, and been knitting a lot of hats recently. I lusted after a circ that was small enough to knit a hat, but had the long tips and was easy to hold. Figuring that the 40 cm was provided with short tips for a reason, I also reasoned that a hat needed a 52 cm, not a 40 or a 60. So I pulled the cable out of one end of a knipics interchangeable options cable, snipped away enough cable so I would have a 52 cm needle when it was re-assembled. I soaked the cable and the end section in hot water to soften and expand, and used the pliers to make sure it was as pushed in as hard and fast as it could be. Fast as in stuck, not speedy. I've knit most of the blanket so far on it, and its been fine, nice long tips, and the join has held fast. Next step - test it on a hat.

ok - take care, go and knit, and have a nice relaxing cuppa tea (me - I'm making do with Cider as it is spring and the tea pot is dead)


Hilary said...

That baby blanket looks so luscious! What a lucky coworker.
I love the swatch too, whatever you decide it is going to be a beautiful sweater.
Sympathies on the teapot; good for you for determining to repair it. :)

Angelika said...

You are so resourceful with the teapot and the needles. Also your stranding is perfect.

Shirley Goodwin said...

I have a collection of teapots - mainly old and mainly pretty - that I look at but don't use. They are like the old embroidered linen I also collect.

I love using my Denise circs, and just loathe using dpns. The all-in-one piece cardigan I'm knitting uses dpns to knit down the sleeves and I'm really not enjoying it.

Knitting Linguist said...

Spring. I can't help but giggle hearing that as we head into fall. I'm so sorry to hear about your teapot! I hope the repairs go really well so you can use it again. The baby blanket is looking soft and cozy -- lucky coworker :)


as a person who collects tea pots but with the restriction they be functional, i really understand you pain! i do hope you find another one soon.