Monday, October 01, 2007

This is taking *forever*

Or at least I feel as though it is. That's part of the 'Shoulder Shawl in Cherry Leaf Pattern' from Victorian Lace Today, in Mini Maiden 'Periwinkle'. A rod for my own back: 'shoulder shawls' don't really appeal to me, I prefer something a little more like a hug (especially if it's to be a gift). So I added 5 pattern repeats. Which wasn't a problem, as the body stitch pattern is easily memorised. I was (I can't believe this) actually looking forward to my first knitted-on border, my first 'fully-fashioned' (ie pattern stitches on every row) lace. Gah. Only 12 rows, but can I remember them? I must have the pattern in view at all times. And it seems to exist in a parallel universe where time runs more slowly as soon as I pick up the needles: the rows are short, I seem to be constantly k-ingtbl into a shawl stitch, and yet the border creeps along more slowly than I'd have believed possible. The virulent green bit is another learning experience: the pattern called for a provisional cast-on, leaving the first row of stitches open and ready for a crochet border (I am so looking forward to that...). I decided that knitting a pattern repeat in a contrasting yarn would have the same result and allow me to learn the pattern. OK, one part of the plan worked. I have learned something else from this, though. The finished shawl will be very... Victorian. The large bold body pattern, surrounded with lots of twiddles (the knitted-on border, finished with crochet loops) is very reminiscent of Victorian parlours [site is slow to load, but the 360° works well] with boldly patterned walls and decorative dust-traps on every surface. It really should have been red or dark green or gold, not periwinkle. Probably all three. Anyway, it's not to my taste. I find I prefer more finely-detailed lace. Shetland here we come...

There's not been much other knitting lately, everything seems to have stalled. I don't like what's happening with the colourwork on the heel of the Gairloch Socks, so when I finish the shawl I'll sit and work out what to do about those. The Alpaca Thing is laughing at my lack of stamina. I've got lots of work, too: I've assessed, touched-up, or drawn from scratch about 300 illustrations in the last 3 weeks, with another 100-odd to go. My own typesetting project is drawing to a close, but we're so far behind that the next volume isn't far away, and I've got lots of other stuff in the queue... I need to find some energy! I'm swatching for the Cinnabar pullover from IK, but I need a 6.5mm Addi or other shiny needle for the linen stitch; I should, I could use the Denise set but they feel so clumsy by comparison with Addis. After reading so many good reviews I've given in and ordered a set of Knitpicks Options from GetKnitted. That's a cheering thought. Another cheering thought... for me, at least. Some might disagree :-) I have a Big Birthday soon. Half a century. I've started to think about all the things I've seen and (with luck) the things I've yet to see! A semi-birthday present materialised on the route of a walk through London on Saturday:
I have a thing about skeletons and bones, skulls in particular. I like them. I think they're wonderful structures, amazing feats of engineering, and for me they symbolise both life and death. This ring from The Great Frog incorporates all that; I love the contrast between its meaning for me and the Heavy Metal 'skull with rats' design (the rats are investigating a gaping hole in the back of the skull :-). I must confess that I also enjoy shocking people who don't know me. The other birthday gift is under discussion: he wants to buy me a really good spinning wheel, something that I'll use and love for decades (he is a keeper, isn't he?) and my sister wants in on it too. I've been reading reviews wherever I find them, paying attention to the wheels used by noted bloggers and professional spinning folk. I think... I think my dream wheel may be a Schacht Matchless double treadle. But it's a lot of money and my spinning wouldn't do it justice. Yet. It's very tempting, though.

Update: I've just been told he's made a Management Decision and ordered a Schacht. I'm thrilled for two reason: 1. I'm getting a new wheel! and 2. I don't have to faff about it anymore. So that's 3 birthday gifts, more than enough for a half-century :-)

Back to work. I have to finish something so I can invoice someone so I can justify drawing up a shopping list for the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. I wonder if anyone there will have a Schacht I could look at?

PS. I've just remembered I should have mentioned: the handspun Wool Peddler Shawl was delivered to my mother's door the day before her birthday. When I rang to wish her Many Happy Returns she was wearing it, or at least said she was. It's a great success! Hurrah!

9 comments:

Mrs J said...

The cherry leaf shawl looks fab! I made mine bigger too & it makes for a good wrap/scarf style shawl. The border was a bit of a bind but not as bad as I thought. The 'big birthday thing' -well I had mine in June & it actually prompted lots of suprised '50? you? never would have guessed it' type comments. No-one ever said that when I was 49!They celebrate a half centuary in cricket!

Mindie said...

A lot of people seem to be stalling at the moment, myself included, perhaps it's the change in the season. Keep plugging away at the shawl though, once it is blocked you could fall in love with it. I have a set of Denise interchangeables and also a set of Knitpicks.(plus a few other needles!) I prefer the Knitpicks every time unless I am knitting something that needs quite a bit of grip. The only draw back I can find with the Knitpicks is that one set may never be enough!
Happy half centuary. Have a great time at Alexandra Palace, I'd love to go but it's too far for me with current going on. I'm relying on you to shop enough for both of us though!!

sarah said...

Those few who have been told I'm soon to be 50 are, well, flabbergasted. I don't look it (perhaps the skulls help?) or act as '50' is supposed to behave and with a bit of luck I never will!

Mindie, if there's something you particularly want or would like a report on, let me know.

Joanne said...

Mindie is right about the needles. I like the KnitPicks ones and wooden/bamboo ones (haven't tried the new Harmony ones) much more than my Denise needles. I do still carry the Denise set while travelling though because it is so compact.

I have a Schacht. It is a versatile, sturdy, informal wheel. It's also pretty expensive for what it is right now--Lendrums are just as good, in my opinion, and less expensive. (got mine new at about half the price a few years ago) If I got that "offer" of a really sturdy fancy wheel, and I were a lace knitter like you, I might consider a Timbertops, Watson, or another handmade wheel with a good ratio for lace weight fine yarns. Just a thought. We can discuss via email if you'd like? I've tried a lot of wheels!

Teyani said...

I love my Schacht Matchless. It is so worth the money, and it's a wheel that you will never outgrow. go for it.

and the skull ring is great - happy birthday.

Alison said...

Oh, congrats on the wheel-to-be! I probably can't help you there; I learned on a no-name 'artisan' wheel and when I could afford a new one, went for an Ashford Traveller. I plumped for the Ashford because it was good value, and did a wide range of ratios, especially with alternative, add-on flyers! What day are you planning to be at the knitting and stitching show, by the way? I'm going down too, and wondering if I'll be able to meet with anyone from the Interweb...

knitseashore said...

Happy Birthday! There is something marvelously intriguing about someone who knits lace shawls and wears a skull ring...good for you! I hope you find the wheel of your dreams and enjoy your day and year to the fullest.

La Cabeza Grande said...

I adore your attitude! You are
Dark (skull with concomitant rats), offer the occasional Snark ("I am so looking forward to that (crochet, that is)...") and awfully smart, to boot.

Happy 5th decade of roaming the earth, taking names and kicking b*tt!

HPNY Knits said...

happy B'day! I'll join you soon in the big 50 in a few months!
can't wait to see your new wheel and the spinning that comes from it!!