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!