Saturday, June 19, 2010


Finally I can blog this project, started way back in late April and finished early May, but because it was a secret swap project I had to tuck it away and be quiet about it. Every year, well for the second year running the local Thursday night knitting group has had a secret swap. We fill out questionnaires about what we like and what size heads, hands and feet we have and dip into the pooled answers to draw out a swap partner. Then we stalk ..... and plan and swatch and knit. Finally there is a mid winter dinner, a pot-luck or in New Zealand speak a 'bring a plate'. That was last night .. so today I can blog.

I had Jenni as my swap partner, a super fantastic spinner, a super fantastic person, and after a couple of false starts I settled on Damson by Ysolda Teague in my handspun merino. This was a combed merino top dyed by Lindy Chinnery a local weaver from Lawrence.

I started this 24th April 2010, with only 400m of handspun hoping that I would knit frugally enough to finish. This is a top down shawl, knit from a teeny tiny start of a few stitches ... and like much lace when its being knit it looks like nothing much.

I did frog the start a few times, just because I wasn't paying attention and although Ysolda writes a very clear pattern I managed to drift off track here and there. Once it was done it was very very pretty, I nearly wanted to keep it for me, in fact this Damson is the reason I cast on Ishbel for me and knit that next. Once again I loved the effect the long colour changes that hand spun has have when knit up into a shawl .... this was an amazing colour way, varying from an olive to a gold to a deep purple and burgundy.

So swaps work two ways, and I went home from the party well feed, and with a huge chocolate cake and the most amazing knitted bracelet all from Jaye. Jaye is one of the students at school, and she has been working with wire and knitting to make jewellery .. and I had no idea she had drawn my name in the swap and was secretly working away to make me a copy of the pieces she was developing for her classwork.

Look knitting! I've played with knitting wire and know how hard on the hands it is ... so to have a piece knitted for me, is amazing (Thank you Jaye).

It seems that it is at times all or nothing, for the party last night I knew that I didn't want to lug along a huge wheel of vintage cowichan to knit the blanket, nor did I want to send myself to a quiet corner to work alone on Nightingale so i started a new project .... a sock that has called me for years. Embossed Leaves Socks by Mona Schmidt. These are in one of the first books of sock patterns I bought and I've cast on twice but frogged them because the yarn didn't feel like the right choice. So far so good .. I'm one repeat in and loving them .. photos next time I promise.

na Stella


Barbara said...

The Damson shawl is beautiful- the colours are lovely and the changes in colour really emphasise the structure. Your swap partner got a great gift. And the wire bracelet is a great gift in return.

Milly said...

The Damson is gorgeous! And the knitted bracelet is wonderful. It sounds like a really fun group!

woolystitches said...

Nice! Love the way the colours play.

BTW, I finally made it home (with Sally and Wingnut) and am 'nesting'.

genny said...

hmm I also know that there was baking involved, does this mean it had been consumed by the time your photo was taken? ;-)

Knitting Linguist said...

Oh, wow! That damson turned out beautifully! Look at the yarn, absolutely gorgeous, and perfect for that pattern. And you got a wonderful swap in return, the bracelet is just lovely.

neak said...

WOW that damson is BEAUTIFUL :)

KathyR said...

I can see why you were tempted to keep the shawl! But the bracelet you received is beautiful! I, too, have played a little with wire and I know that not only is it hard on the hands but it is also not very, well, obedient! So well done Jay! (yes, where was the photo of the cake - or the crumbs? ;) )