Monday, January 24, 2011

Sometimes when something is finished ...

I almost can't believe that I made it. Especially when the 'something' is a project that wasn't particularly planed in full before it began. Today there are finished blocking photos of one of those kinds of projects, the Linen basket liner, and I introduce a new project - colour-work. Every time I start knitting colour-work .. I wonder why I don't knit more of it, and this time I'm knitting in Shetland yarn, and I love it, for lots of reason.

First up, the finished Linen Basket liner project, well I'm calling it that but really it will be used to line bowls, the deep pottery kind that I toss warm bread buns and muffins into when serving. Or toast, or croissants, or bagels, or fruit toast ... or, well you know those sorts of bakery things that are best served fresh and warm. I'm so pleased with this, there are a few things that I would change if I was to knit it again, I think the outer pattern of horse-lace really needs another repeat around as it was a bit stretched when I blocked it. Once I started working the edging I was hooked, seeing each repeat cast of another section of the work was addictive. I neglected my other knitting projects (and some household chores) to sit and knit. I took it and its chart to the local school playground while supervising play, I chose meals that were almost instant and had almost no clean up, I made choices that maximized my knitting time - just to have it done. The edging I chose was the Traditional Scalloped Edging from page 54 of Sharon Millers Heirloom Knitting. The middle band was 3 repeats of Horse shoe from page 67 of the same book, but I increased 2 stitches each 'horse-shoe' each repeat to allow for the increasing diameter. That worked really well.

Then I 'threw' it in the washing machine, on a fairly heavy duty wash, this is linen and I know from linen tea towels that linen matures with a few washes. It softens and relaxes and becomes unbelievably nice to handle ... so I made up for the relaxed attitude to housework by tossing in all the dirty washing that needed doing. Then I pined it out, I used a tape measure pined at the center to make sure I was pinning all the points equidistant. I pinned the quarters first, then the midpoints between those, then the midpoints between that, and so on. I left it to dry overnight. I kept finding excuses to walk past the blocking board and admire it, this project impresses me, I love that I have knit it, love I have finished it, love I can use it, and love that I 'made-it-up' rather than worked to a predetermined pattern. At the same time I almost can't believe that the scrunched up bunch of loops on my needles has turned into this.

This morning it was pretty much dry, but I've popped it out in the sun .... just to set and finalize the blocking. Latter I'll carefully remove the pins and polish it with a hot iron. I know linen fabric likes a hot iron polish, so assume that linen knitting would like the same.

With that all done, and blocking I returned to one of my 'other' lace projects, the replacement blanket. This is for me, I suspect it will become a kind of hap-shawl, something to wrap around me when I'm at home and cold. I had frogged the first carefully planned and charted lace and selected another. This lace feels like a better match for the yarn and colour and gauge. I am finding most of my 'lace' in Sharon Miller's book at the moment, this time Center Design of Bead Lozenges from page 55.

And the newest project, is a colourwork tam. I'm working with my little stash of shetland 2 ply that I brought back, and loving it. In New Zealand - home of sheep, it is surprisingly difficult to source yarn for colourwork. In retail shops there is usually a selection including a blue, a red, an orange, a green, a yellow, a pink, a cream, and a white, perhaps sometimes a black or a purple - but pretty much the standard colours that are in 12 set of colouring pencils. To top that off, the most stocked weigh of yarn in shops here is DK, or something between Aran and Worsted - hardly a colourwork wonderland. You can buy a skein at a time .. from Indie dyers, but have to have forsight to collect over time colours that will work together. I lusted after the huge range of shades that was available in ranges specifically designed for colourwork. Then when I got to choose - it was almost too much .. but I'm happy with the colours I brought back and have made a start on a Tam. I-cord followed by corrugated rib with the knits shading from purple to pale grey ... I like it so far. This is part of the Knitters Study Group project, and in 5 weeks I need to have this at the stage of decreasing for the crown ... somehow I don't think that will be a problem.

There are a couple of other abandoned projects, true UFO's lurking in my knit basket. Both of which are going to be frogged this week. The latest Piecework arrived, and I like the Snowflake scarf in that much more than the one I'm knitting so that seems to be a sign to stop knitting something I don't enjoy and start again with something more tempting.

So .. I guess that I should go a bake something to fill my linen basket liner with?
Take care


KathyR said...

Oooo, your basket liner is so seems a shame to spoil it with buttery offerings, no matter how yummy! I do so agree with you about the difficulty in finding nice yarns for colourwork here in NZ. I would actually go a little further and say that there is not a broad range of yarns/colours/weights at all. I do believe that the appeal of the Shetland colours is that they are blended after dyeing (often coloured wool is dyed, too, not just white) giving that lovely range and heathery softness we seldom here. Very nice!

Nicky said...

I love the basket liner. The color is beautiful as well.

barbaramary said...

Your basket liner is so beautiful! It deserves to become an heirloom. I understand what you said about making excuses to walk past and admire it - being proud of what you have made is what craftwork is all about. Even more so if it's your own design.

Knitting Linguist said...

What a gorgeous project!! I love your basket liner - I bet you will use that a lot, and love it every single time you do. The colors of your tam are also gorgeous. I wish that there were more places here that stock exactly the kinds of range of colorwork yarn you're talking about; I saw some in Scotland, but had too many people waiting on me to really enjoy it as I otherwise would. Next time :)

Dianne Dudfield said...

What a transformation of pile of lace knitting to blocked prettiness. I heard (or read) somewhere to freeze linen and then iron it and repeat several times. I tried it and it is fun ironing frozen fabric and I think the linen was softer but it could have been the repeated ironing that helped!
Love the Snowflake scarf. Do you know any of the history of using lace with garter stitch. I've had a pattern from Interweave Knits winter 1997 in my queue forever using Shetland lace patterns with garter stitch. Love the name of the stitches, Kyle chain, Bramble, Borreraig Fern.