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Friday, October 28, 2005

No. 3 - The Floribunda Curly Whirly Cravat

What I love about the curly whirly scarf is that, once you know the basic principles of its construction, you can use lots of artistic licence and be as creative as you wish! You can make it whatever length you want. You can have it as a slight frill, quite curly, extremely curly, downright vermiform or like a corkscrew as in my funky fur version. You can use up bits of stash to make CWs and, believe me, you could use almost anything! You can experiment with contrasting different textures and colours and you can embellish! Yay for embellishment!! You can add beads as in my Beaded Sherbert or knitted or crocheted flowers as in my No. 3, the Floribunda Curly Whirly Cravat pictured below.

I knitted this one with the skein of Sari Silk that Kerrie of Hip Knits sent me and edged it with some Dewberry Kid Silk Haze I had left over after knitting River and Birch. The knitted floribunda (directions in Nicky Epstein's Knitted Embellishments) has a button I found in my button tin sewn into its centre. Here's another shot.

I always find the resultant loss of photographic quality when photos are uploaded to Blogger a bit disappointing and this is especially the case when the photo depicts something like sari silk, the texture and jewel-like colours of which are lost in any photographic reproduction. If you'd like to see a closer resemblance to how the Floribunda looks in actuality than in the photos above, see here in my Flickr Gallery.

As I only had the one skein of Sari Silk, I didn't think it would be enough for a full length scarf so I cast the number of stitches on accordingly and increased to a point where I thought I had a cravat. However, it wasn't long enough. This is no problem because the beauty of the CW scarf is that, if it's not long enough, you can add to it. I simply made another piece making sure that I had the same amount of curliness and grafted it onto the end of the first piece. It's not noticeable at all! Curly Whirly scarves are also very quick to make. I started this one last night and finished it this morning. I've yet to make a crocheted one but DH has been instructed to bring home a 7mm crochet hook this evening as the largest I have at present is 4mm.

At the weekend I will be setting up a team blog - the Curly Whirly Scarf Blog - so that those interested in making curly whirly scarves can share ideas, tips, patterns, etc, and display photos of their finished creations. If you fancy making a curly whirly or, indeed, have already made one or two and you wish to be a contributor, please email me with your email details so that I can enter them and then Blogger will generate an invitation to you to join the blog. When you accept, you'll be able to post text and photos on the Curly Whirly Scarf Blog and share with us. If you've made one or two already and think that's it, I've been there, done that, think again. Think of all the different variations you could come up with and how creative you could be. It's a great chance for those who've been too nervous to do anything but follow a pattern in the past (which is mostly what I've done) to start thinking outside the box. For those who haven't made one yet, the CWS Blog will have links to patterns and other resources in the sidebar and you'll be able to make use of the ideas and tips that others are sharing. You don't even need to go out and buy some yarn for it necessarily - I'm sure you'll have something you can use in your stash. I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone's unique creations!

If anyone is interested in how I made the Floribunda, I made notes as I went along and plan to compile it as a pattern as if it was made in one piece to avoid the grafting I had to do due to not knowing how far the sari silk would go, etc. The beauty of the Floribunda is that it can be made from just one skein of sari silk plus any oddment from your stash that you think might make for an interesting edging and embellishment. I will post it here and include a link to the pattern on the Curly Whirly Scarf blog when I set it up.

UPDATE: As promised, and for those interested, I've gone back to my notes and compiled the directions for the Floribunda Curly Whirly Cravat.


1 x 200g skein sari silk
1 x 25g ball of Kid Silk Haze/Spray/Night or something else for edging and flower embellishment
Long 7mm circular needle (I used the two longest lengths in Denise set together)
Button or bead for centre of flower


Row 1 Cast on 50 sts and knit every stitch.
Row 2 Knit into front and back of every stitch. (100 sts)
Row 3 Knit every stitch
Row 4 Knit into front and back of every stitch. (200 sts)
Row 5 Knit every stitch.
Row 6 Knit into front and back of every stitch. (400 sts)
Rows 7 to 9 Knit every stitch.
Row 10 Join in Kid Silk Haze double stranded and knit, purl and knit again into first four stitches. Then knit into front and back of every stitch until last four stitches. Knit, purl and knit again into last four stitches. (808 sts)
Row 11 Knit one more row in Kid Silk Haze.
Cast off loosely in Kid Silk Haze.

Flower Corsage Embellishment

You can use any flower as embellishment. I used Flora Bunda in Nicky Epstein's book "Knitted Embellishments" and sewed a brooch pin to the back of it. The brooch pin then serves the double purpose of keeping the cravat fixed in place whilst attaching the corsage to it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Curly Whirly No. 2 - The Beaded Sherbert

Having made my second Curly Whirly, I now realise that Curly Whirly No. 1 was not, in the strictest sense, a Curly Whirly at all but, in fact, a Corkscrew! I've come to this conclusion after having just completed No. 2 which I worked from the Get Knitted Curly Whirly Scarf pattern. This is, to all intents and purposes, a simple frill. In my quest to make sure that No. 1, being composed of funky fur, did not lose its curl amongst the fuzz, I concentrated on making sure that I did enough increases to overcome this potential problem. However, in the light of completing No. 2 and being able to make a comparison with No. 1 followed by an examination of the structure of No. 1, I see that the original cast on row was shorter than the cast off row to such an extreme extent that at some point it ceased to be a frill and coiled in on itself to become a corkscrew. The cast on row is now the inner coil of the corkscrew and the cast off row is the outer edge. So, I now officially rename No. 1 and it will, henceforth, be known as the Funky Fur Curly Whirly 'Corkscrew' Scarf.

Anyway, No. 2 (pictured right) is knitted in Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb sherbert colourway with pearl-like beads added.

Below is a close up which shows the beads better.

Making Curly Whirly scarves is definitely addictive but I do have WIPs that I have to concentrate on. Will I be able to resist planning what to do with No. 3? I think I may have a bad case of Curly Whirly-itis!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Funky Fur Curly Whirly Scarf

Currently, there's a new craze amongst us UK Handknitters. We all seem to be making curly whirly scarves. They can either be knitted or crocheted and there are umpteen variations which makes each one rather interesting in its own right. I chose a knitted version for my first one and I think I followed Yvonne's "mad scarf" method but then used a bit of artistic licence along the way in that I ended up having what must have been thousands of stitches and had to borrow a Denise needle set in order that I could keep extending my needle length! I wanted lots of curliness, you see, in order that the ruffles wouldn't get lost in the fuzziness of the funky fur that I chose to make it with. Now I know that funky fur wouldn't be everyone's choice but I bought loads of it dead cheap in the Designs sale earlier in the year and I thought it would (a) use some of it up and (b) make for a good experiment. After I had cast off (which took an absolute age), I measured the total length of the needles I had used and it came to 127" or 3.22m! Here's a photo of the finished scarf.

I got the interesting two-tone effect by doing the final increase row and cast off row in a contrasting colour. The final increase row I also knitted by holding two strands of the funky fur together to give added definition. This helps to emphasise the curly whirliness. I then reverted to a single strand for casting off. Altogether I used two and a half 50g balls of the gemstone (claret like colour) and almost four 50g balls of the gentian. I had wanted to have it mainly gemstone but, as I had more gentian than gemstone, it worked out the other way around. I had no idea it was going to take quite so much yarn. If anyone wants to make a two tone scarf like this, please bear in mind that the colour that you start with, contrary to what I thought in the beginning, will not end up being the main colour. The colour that is used for the final increase row and cast off will be the main colour. Here's a shot showing the scarf closer up . . . . .

. . . . . and below is a photo of the scarf still on the needles - three circulars worth of them!!! After this photo was taken I had to add another length! Denise needles have now certainly been redeemed in my view and I think I'm going to have to invest in another set after having sold my original ones!

I've got some Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb in the sherbert colourway to make another scarf though I haven't yet decided whether to make a knitted or crocheted one this time or, indeed, which method to use. We'll see!

The postman brought a nice package this morning. MIL would like a clapotis and Kerrie has custom dyed some Hip Knits silk so that I can knit it to MIL's exact colour choice. Isn't that great?!! Below is a photo of the samples provided to Kerrie so that she could try to match as closely as possible for the custom dye.

One couldn't really expect closer than that, could one? Well done, Kerrie! NAYY. Just a very pleased customer!

UPDATE: In the light of my later post, the Funky Fur Curly Whirly Scarf has now been renamed the Funky Fur Curly Whirly "Corkscrew" Scarf.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Meme and Hazel Needs . . . . .

Tari tagged me to do this meme some time ago but it's only now that I've got around to it so here goes:

Ten years ago:
I was looking forward to my graduation as a qualified homoeopath following a major career change in my late thirties which led me to a four year course in homoeopathy at the College of Homoepathy in London. I soon set up a practice which was busy and thriving and was also asked to do some tutoring at the College of Homoeopathy as well as the first marking of the dissertations. This was a very interesting time in my life.

Five years ago:
We moved away from suburbia to settle in a village in Kent. The intention was that I would set up practice again but I never quite got around to it. However, I was lucky enough to be offered some computer work that I could do from home and I've been doing this ever since.

One year ago:
I was facing, with some trepidation, my half century. Turned out to be okay after all. I've found that, as you get older, a lot of the hang ups you had when you were younger disappear. You realise that you are basically what and who you are and, although you can change certain things, there's a lot you're stuck with so you'd just better get on and make the best of it. So, that's what I'm doing. I intend to grow old as DIS-gracefully as I possibly can as described in that wonderful Jenny Joseph poem, "Warning". I wanted to wait until the summer before celebrating my 50th and I planned to have a garden party with karaoke because we had previously had a karaoke party for our son's 30th and everyone had really enjoyed it. I also love subjecting all my good-natured friends and family to my *singing* but the summer seems to have come and gone and no party . . . Well, there's always next year!

Five yummy things:
My best friend's Biryani
Stem ginger

Five songs I know by heart:
I know by heart every song I've ever liked and that's a lot of songs. They get sung in the bath regularly.

Five things I would do with a LOT of money:
Don't know exactly but something to alleviate the suffering of some of those who are suffering.
Pay off the mortgage and buy a little place in the Caribbean, or
Stay in the UK and open a yarn shop with a cafe attached where people could come and relax and knit and buy my yummy yarns, of course!
Buy a house for my son and his partner.
Go on a spiritual pilgrimage.

Five places I would love to escape to:
The British Virgin Islands where we went for our honeymoon
Nowhere else specifically but anywhere away from the rat-race; peaceful; close to nature.

Five things I would never wear:
Stiletto heels
A fussy hat, i.e. like those worn by women at Ladies' Day at Ascot.
Shoulder pads (I always cut them out)
False eyelashes
False fingernails

Five favorite TV-shows:
A bit selective as I don't like watching a lot of TV but I like programmes such as:
Horizon and documentary type programmes
Later . . . with Jools Holland
The Simpsons
University Challenge

Five things I enjoy doing:
Knitting, of course, and other crafts
Listening to music
Pub walks
Get togethers with friends/family especially Xmas when we get to play silly games.

Favorite toys:
Knitting needles and yarn
Spinning wheel (when I get it!!)

Five people who get this meme:
I think most people have probably already done it so I'll tag some of the newer bloggers, i.e. Fred, Liz, Mary-Lou, Ruth, and I know she isn't new to blogging but, Beverley, if she hasn't already done it. Obviously, if anyone doesn't feel comfortable about it, I completely understand.

Well, that's the meme out of the way. Now for the funny bit . . . . . Today I saw on Kate's blog this google thing that people have been doing which is quite amusing. What you do is you go into google and type in your name followed by the word "needs" e.g. 'Hazel needs' and list the ten best search results that come up. Here are mine:

Hazel needs gentle introductions to new people, places and animals. Hazel is a calm, intuitive girl and is quickly learning to walk on a leash.

Hazel needs to find out who is behind this dastardly action.

Hazel needs a person with a really large heart to open their heart and help her learn that life can be happy and wonderful.

Sanders, wickedly aware of the spunk that Hazel needs in order to be successful at intimidating the people who surround her . . .

Hazel needs moist, well-drained, acidic soil to thrive but is somewhat adaptable to neutral soils.

Hazel needs your serial number and activation keys.

Hazel needs to tell the shopper something which isn't rightly classified as an "error", ...

Instead of discreetly allowing me to go get my snack, she'd yell in front of everyone: "Hazel needs her snack now!"

Hazel needs work with her manners, but has great potential.

Hazel Needs a Car (1 Nov 65). Hazel tries to con Steve into giving her the money she needs as a down payment on a car.

Hazel had tangled her emotional with her physical hunger needs. Hazel needs to comply to a certain, generic regime.

Hazel kitten needs a home.

Hazel needs to be coppiced.

Hazel needs many of last years' leaves pulled off.

Okay, there are a bit more than ten but I liked all of these and have spent some time laughing my socks off at them (though unfortunately not yet hand knitted ones).

Finally, here's a photo of me wearing the vintage capelet yesterday . . . . .

. . . . . and, as I noticed from the one DH took of the rear view . . . . .

. . . . . Hazel needs a visit to the hairdresser to tidy up those wispy ends.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Peacock's Pride

Last night I had another play with the silk tweed kasuri and have finally decided on a pattern. I've gone for a less open pattern on a smaller diameter needle in the end. It's Peacock's Pride from Lavish Lace.

Peacock's Pride is based on an old aran lace pattern of opening fans reminiscent of peacocks' tails and a twist stitch interlacement has been added for extra texture. I think the gorgeous colours in the silk tweed kasuri definitely fit the *peacock* bill. The yarn is very fine so it will be a lovely light scarf to wear for more dressy occasions (not that I get too many of them!!)

I've just added this project to my "On the Needles" photo album and been reminded, yet again, that there are two projects that seem to be dawdling in there whilst others are completed and transferred to the "Completed Projects" gallery! So, the question is was it a good thing or a bad thing to set up these photo galleries and, in particular, the "On the Needles" one? The answer is probably 'good' because I'm reminded of WIPs but, also, 'bad' because maybe there are certain things I would rather forget about like the dreaded Dune mini poncho thing!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Playing with Silk Tweed Kasuri

I couldn't keep my hands off the silk tweed kasuri from Habu Textiles for long.

This open lacy pattern knitted on large diameter needles creates an interesting effect for a scarf, I think. I used the lace cast on which I've read, although loopy, has a softer effect which is more appropriate when knitting lace. I find it a bit too loopy though. Any suggestions on suitable cast-on methods from other lace knitters?

And a bit later on, it's grown some more.

I love the colours which have something about them that reminds me of stained glass windows. I think the yarn is hand dyed with natural dyes. The card from Habu states that most yarns are naturally dyed with substances such as indigo, logwood, cochineal and madder root.

Here's an "I can see right up your nostrils" type close-up!


Monday, October 17, 2005

Ally Pally/KnitSpeak Competition

Well, last week was National Knitting Week and I celebrated and did my bit by going to Ally Pally on Saturday for the Knitting and Stitching Show. I really felt that I ought to have applied myself in other ways such as helping organise something in the area but time always seems to be at a premium. Next time though, I'd like to do more. There were lots of events going on around the UK such as City Knitty in the Daytime's Extreme Knitting in Edinburgh on Saturday. The plan was for knitters to climb up Arthur's Seat and knit (whatever the weather) with supplies of a picnic lunch, tea, hot chocolate and brandy to help them along. The point they wanted to get across is that there's no such thing as a typical knitter or typical knitting. The sponsored charity for this year's event was Help the Aged and the Edinburgh knitters were asked to knit hats, scarves and gloves, etc, to give away to older people during the roadshow based on the Help the Aged campaign 'Cold can Kill' planned for mid to end November. On Saturday evening, Craig Hill was to join the knitters on top of Arthur's Seat as part of Craig Hill's Out Tonight from the BBC and was to learn to knit himself a fashionable skinny scarf with their help.

In York, the LYS, Sheepish, organised a knit cruise to celebrate National Knitting Week and the owner of Sheepish decided to make this particular event of benefit to breast cancer charities. All the ladies were asked to wear pink and when they arrived at the cruise boat at the side of the Ouse they discovered that the crew had also been kitted out in pink scarves and the boat was decked with pink balloons. Local radio and press photographers saw them off and, en-route, they were waved at by other boat passengers and people strolling beside the river. Everyone was invited to select two balls of knitting yarn from the enormous pile that had been donated from the yarn spinners and cast on 20 stitches to knit scarves which are to be sold at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate to benefit breast cancer charities. It all sounds very benevolent and fun into the bargain and next time I definitely want to do my bit.

For now though, all I have to show for National Knitting Week are the spoils of my visit to Ally Pally and my growing reputation for being a yarnoholic! So, here's the booty and really I think I managed to be very restrained under the circumstances.

On the right is Helen's Lace from Get Knitted. In the centre is Hip Knits Silk and on the left are two skeins of Touch hand painted yarn.

I haven't fully decided yet but, with the Touch yarn, I may make this.

A pack of lovely heathery Shetland yarn in various colourways from Jamieson's to make the Charmain Capelet and some Jamieson's Ultra Laceweight.

Simply Shetland Books 1 and 2, the Colinette Akashya booklet and, from the Knit Tin, a needle gauge in a tin and 2 pairs of rosewood knitting needles. Also, a bag of mixed red and green buttons from the Button Company aptly named "Christmas Pudding"!

Here's a close up of the buttons.
I think they're great!

But my firm favourite, and that which I'm really looking forward to playing with, has to be this gorgeous 100% silk tweed kasuri from Habu Textiles. Feast your eyes on these babies!

Finally, for those who have entered the KnitSpeak competition - good news! Kerrie, of Hip Knits, has noticed the competition on the KnitSpeak blog and has offered to donate enough Hip Knits Silk so that, with my contribution, there will be enough for the winner to knit a full size clapotis. This means that the winner will now receive 400g of Hip Knits Silk and, as if that's not enough, Kerrie has also offered to custom dye the silk for the winner! How great is that?!! Thanks, Kerrie!

If you haven't entered yet, why not take a look at the KnitSpeak blog for details of the competition. Another entry was submitted over the weekend which will be put on the blog tomorrow along with details of the deadline for submissions, etc.

PS Sorry I didn't get to say hello to any UKHK members at Ally Pally but I can get quite claustrophobic in crowds and especially when it is hot and airless . . . . . which it was.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Welcome Pack, Winter Warmer and Louisa's Lovelies!

Look what arrived in the post this morning - the Mid Kent Knit 'n' Natter's Welcome Pack from Laughing Hen's Knit Clubs. The contents are very generous. There is a whole 500g pack of Debbie Bliss Merino Chunky as well as a ball each of Kid Silk Haze, Rowan Spray and Artesano Alpaca! The alpaca is luxuriously soft and extremely strokeworthy and the different yarns will offer the opportunity for us to see/feel/knit yarns we haven't seen/felt/knitted before. Also included are a couple of pattern books (Debbie Bliss and Colinette) and lots of shade cards which are sure to come in useful. I can't wait to deliver them to the Knit 'n' Natter next Wednesday so that everyone else can admire them, too! On top of all this, Laughing Hens give their Knit Club members 10% off all purchases over £100 and give details of our club to anyone in our area who expresses an interest thereby spreading the word! A very big thank you from us all to Laughing Hens!

Last night, whilst watching TV, I made a hat in Noro Iro to keep DH's lugs warm on his walk home from the railway station on cold winter evenings. It was a really quick knit! The yarn he chose originally for this project was some DK from Web of Wool but the Web of Wool pattern turned out to be a four cornered hat and I couldn't see DH agreeing to wear that! I suggested that I initially make him a hat out of the Iro and then another hat later from the Web of Wool yarn. He seems to have taken quite a fancy to the Iro.

It's the first time I've used Noro and I really love it. I have another three skeins of Iro (one in the same colourway as the hat and two in another colourway) which are destined to become Edgars.

Also planned are two projects in the new Louisa Harding yarn range. I bought both pattern books and enough yarn for two projects from the Yarn House at Caterham on the Hill last Thursday before the food bug symptoms kicked in properly. I've been putting off taking photos of this yarn or acknowledging that I actually bought it as I am definitely feeling more than a bit guilty about being tempted into buying more yarn. Funny thing is that, although I did feel a bit queazy after the meal on Wednesday, it wasn't until after buying the yarn on Thursday that the symptoms started to worsen. Was it the food bug or was it the guilt bug?!! Anyway, Ally Pally still beckons so, for now, those nasty niggling feelings of guilt will be suppressed. It makes sense to save them all up until after Ally Pally and deal with them all together . . . in one fall swoop.

Going back to the lovely new Louisa Harding yarn collection, with the little bit I collected (some of which is pictured below) . . . . .

. . . . . I plan on knitting Orchiz in silver olive Sari Ribbon . . . . .

. . . . . and the Button Wrap in red Impression and petal Sari Ribbon.

The Yarn House is a fantastic little shop and not that far to drive from where I live. The lady who runs it is very friendly and helpful and I was even given a card with eight points on it with the explanation that, once I have twenty points, I'll be entitled to 10% discount!

There's also that yarn shop called the Wool Pen at Singleton that Amanda told me about which sounds very interesting and especially so since I've been invited to have coffee with Amanda if she's around when I visit. Must assuage some of those guilty feelings before I buy any more luxury yarn though!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Harvest Clapotis & Vintage Capelet

Last week was a bit of a strange week. We had planned to visit DS in Wales for a long weekend from Friday until Monday but after an expensive restaurant meal on Wednesday to celebrate FIL's birthday, I had definite symptoms of food-poisoning which developed gradually over the next few days and, by Friday, I felt too fragile to contemplate going anywhere or even doing much of anything. The trip has now been postponed until next month and I did get quite a bit of knitting done when I started to feel up to it. I finished the Harvest Clapotis which I thought was really fun to knit and didn't involve a lot of concentration. Given my physical state at the time, this was just as well and the stitch dropping bit was very therapeutic! As I was very kindly bought some lilies and felt like eating a bit more fruit than usual, I thought I'd stay with the "Harvest" theme and take advantage of these ingredients for the photo!

Here is the seemingly requisite photo showing a close up of the dropped stitches! The clapotis hasn't been blocked yet but I wanted to get a photo of it while the flowers still look fresh and before the fruit disappears down mine and DH's necks!

I also finished the Vintage Capelet from Spunmag. The original pattern used Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed but I substituted with the aran weight recycled alpaca & lambswool from Texere which is also tweedy. I had to modify the pattern quite a bit to make it the right size, i.e. I knitted it on 5mm needles instead of 4mm and I casted on enough stitches for the large size in order to obtain the middle size but, with these adjustments, the fit is perfect.

I was a bit doubtful about the lack of drape in the Texere yarn and the fact that the bottom of the lace border obstinately curled upward however much I tried to train it to do otherwise. With a good blocking though, as you can see, it looks okay! The cost of this capelet was in total £7.20 (8 x 50g balls of yarn at 90p a ball). The pattern itself called for only 3 x 50g balls of the Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed! I'm not sure if this is correct or a misprint but I do know that the yardage on the recycled yarn is relatively short being equivalent to only 69m so, if anyone does intend using it as a substitute for another yarn, this aspect should definitely be borne in mind when calculating how much yarn is needed. I haven't seen, felt or knitted with the Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed so I can't really make a fair comparison but I will say that I'm not dissatisfied with the final result of the capelet. Whilst using the recommended yarn MAY have produced a better result I, nevertheless, think the capelet in the recycled yarn represents good value for money.

When MIL visited on Wednesday, she brought two more additions to the bear 'hug' being a Lifeboats' Xmas Bear and a Nottcutt's Xmas Bear.

I gave her the pink baby blanket and small bears, the peachy coloured lace shawl, and the mauve baby blanket and knitted bunnies to take to Pembury Hospital's Preemie Unit when she delivers her next lot of tiny sets that she's knitted.

Whilst MIL was with us she took a definite liking to Birch and, consequently, is now the proud owner. I was quite happy to give Birch away to someone who I knew would really appreciate her because I also have River which was knitted in the same shade of KSH and keeping them both felt a bit "samey".

I've also been enjoying reading Zen and the Art of Knitting kindly loaned to me by Katie. There are so many things that the author is saying in this book that make sense to me such as the health benefits of knitting including a strengthening of immunity. I have experienced this firsthand as I have an auto-immune condition called neutropaenia in which a certain type of white cell that deals with immunity against bacterial and fungal infections is killed by the body's own defences. Mine is borderline in that, most of the time, the amount of while cells produced is just enough to compensate for those being destroyed. However, before I started knitting again, I did get some sort of infection (mostly relatively mild) about once every two months. Since starting knitting again (touch wood) that no longer happens.

Other benefits cited include relaxation and stress reduction and knitting is compared with meditation but, what I found really interesting, was the chapter on "Ripening of the Intellect". This chapter discusses the benefits that knitting can bring in stimulating and developing the intellect of children. The author visited a Californian Waldorf School where the methods of Rudolf Steiner are used in education and found that the children there are taught to knit at a very young age to prepare for writing and math. The dexterity required to manipulate the needles is a good foundation for holding a pen/pencil and the counting of stitches, increasing, decreasing, etc, introduces simple mathematical concepts. The speech centre in the brain is, apparently, also right next to the finger centre so teaching children to do something like knitting which involves dexterity and concentration could have speech related benefits, too. When the children are older, they learn to knit in the round and this introduces a different perspective on what they've already learned. Finishing handmade projects gives the children a sense of self-esteem. It's great to know that the thing so many of us love to do a lot of (knitting) offers so many potential benefits!

Right, I've got to think about starting to cook dinner now and, after that, I might get out my needles and my Noro and cast on for an Edgar knowing that what I'm doing is good for my health and happiness, etc, so all that expensive yarn buying can now be more than justified!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Additions to Stash

Well, I don't think I went too OTT at the Stitch & Creative Crafts Show on Saturday. I was quite good really . . . . . wasn't I? Here is some of what I bought. On the extreme right and left are four skeins of Noro Iro. I plan to use this to make several Edgars as Xmas pressies. I know the pattern calls for Silk Garden but I hope that this will do just as well as Taj Crafts only had the Iro at the Show. Also from Taj Crafts I bought two skeins of Kaalund laceweight yarn (2nd and 3rd from the right).

The skein of yarn pictured 2nd from the left I bought from Silkwood Yarns and it's just the right colours, I think, for "A World Lit Only By Fire" from the "Lavish Lace" book. "A World Lit Only By Fire" is a scarf and the title of this design is borrowed from a book on the Middle Ages that the designer came across whilst working on her PhD in Medieval English Literature. The scarf itself incorporates the Shetland Candlelight pattern. I'll have to adapt the pattern slightly because the yarn I bought is 4 ply and the pattern uses DK.

From Web of Wool I bought a sock kit (left) and 2 balls of yarn (middle) that DH chose so that I can make him a hat for the winter. The shiny glittery looking yarn you see on the right I bought from Bee Bee Wools who were selling lots of novelty yarns. I thought it would come in handy for a fabric knitting project that I have in mind which uses lots of silk material cut into strips for knitting together with a sparkly yarn on really fat needles!

The knitted bunnies are to go with the blankets/shawl/bears package that I have ready for the Preemie Unit. This will be given to my MIL tomorrow who will deliver it to the Preemie Unit along with her wonderful tiny knitted sets that she regularly makes. The French Knitter (centre front) was bought because I thought it would be really useful for knitting i-cord. Apart from that, I bought a couple of pairs of Addi Turbo circular needles and some items from the felt making stall.

I was really interested in watching the felt being made. The tops were laid on bubble wrap in thin slivers first vertically and then horizontally.

They were then covered with a piece of net curtain and wetted with soapy water before being rolled and all the water removed.

The person demonstrating showed me how to add a little bit of variation by sprinkling a few strands of a novelty yarn on the tops and sealing it in with a few more slivers of tops before rolling. Although the photo below doesn't look very appealing (the orangy slivers of novelty yarn don't show up in the photo), in reality, the effect was interesting.

With more experience, some really nice things could be made from the felt and I took some leaflets on workshops away with me as well as a felt making kit (only £3) and some different coloured tops in spicy shades to play with.

I'll end here by leaving you with a few more images of the Stitch & Creative Crafts Show.

First, another photo of Silkwood Yarns where I met, and said hello to, Nickerjac, Yvonne and Tess. The Knit & Relax Stand was also here . . . . .

. . . . . and one of Taj Crafts . . . . .

. . . . . and, lastly one of Web of Wool showing all that lovely colourful sock yarn and me dutifully paying for my sock kit complete with a set of dpns. What have I done!!!???

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Stash Enhancement Expeditions

Since I last posted quite a few nice things have happened. The Mid Kent Knit 'n' Natter had their inaugural meeting last Wednesday at the coffee shop inside Ottakars in Ashford and five of us turned up. The company was great and the mochaccino coffee was bellissimo! The journey was a bit difficult though. I missed the bus and, as there's only one every two hours, I ended up taking a taxi and it cost me £20! I can't afford to do that too often (less yarn money!)

Then, yesterday, we had a great time at the Stitch & Creative Crafts Show at Esher. Well, at least, I did. DH chauffered me there and managed to look moderately interested in most things. I did very useful things like making sure that plenty of photos were taken and lots of good things ended up being transferred from the various stalls to the boot of our car. As soon as I've also taken some photos of the goodies I bought, I'll show and tell all!

We're also really looking forward to going to visit our DS and his partner soon in Wales where they've just bought their first flat. Even better is that the village they live in, from what I can gather from my hopeful perusal of our Map of Great Britain, appears to be close enough to Colinette to make it only common sense to fit in a visit whilst we're there!

As regards what's happening on the knitting front, Plan B for the Starburst Shawl has now been abandoned due to all those yarnovers not looking neat enough for my liking. I tried altering my tension and also knitted the diamonds in stocking stitch instead of garter stitch to see if that would make a difference but I still wasn't happy with the result. So, I've now reverted to Plan A - the original plan for the autumnal clapotis - and I've made a small start.

I haven't given up on the multidirectional method of knitting. I think it's a really interesting concept and plan to try out one or two of the other patterns later. I'll avoid anything with very closely positioned yarnovers though.

I also made a start on the Spunmag Vintage Capelet which I’m knitting in the recycled alpaca and lambswool that I got from Texere for only 90p per 50g ball. I’m now just beyond the point where the lacy border ends so only the easy bit is left to knit.

I’m really enjoying knitting this on my new Addi Turbo circulars. Now, I know that lots of people swear by their Denise needles and I have to say I love the fact that there are all those diameters and lengths of needle in that compact little box (and I need to be careful what I say here because I sold my set to Katie) but my basic honest nature demands that it be said. (Katie, if you’re reading this, please avert your gaze and read no further!) Knitting with Denise needles, in my personal opinion, is like trudging through treacle - there, horror of horrors, I said it! Not that I’ve ever trudged through treacle but it’s a good metaphor. Sticky and not getting anywhere fast due to them being made of plastic. On the other hand, the nickel plated tips of the Addi Turbos allow them to glide along really smoothly!

Going back to the capelet, I’d originally intended to embellish it with some beads that I got from the Designs sale but I’ve now had a rethink and decided against it. The beads are pre-threaded and designed to be knitted together with yarn which means they’d be placed randomly and I wasn’t sure how that would work in this case. Also, I wasn’t able to remove the beads from the thread and transfer them onto the yarn I’m using because the holes weren’t large enough. . The yarn, itself, is quite stiff and doesn’t seem to drape very well but I’m hoping that, when the capelet’s finished and blocked, it will be okay.

My stash seems to be growing in an alarmingly rapid way. DH hasn’t objected yet or even raised an eyebrow. I wonder how long this will last. Yesterday, he was remarkably co-operative and kept coming up with cash to pay for things that I was oohing and aahing about. He was also extremely helpful at Silkwood Yarns where he actually offered, without even being asked, to hold a skein of yarn for Nickerjac who was winding it solo. On that note, and as a taster of what's to come in my next post, I’ll leave you with a photo of the Silkwood Yarns stand at the show yesterday . . . . .

. . . . . and let you drool over all those yummy scrummy yarns!