Saturday, 10 July 2010

Heathered Blue Niebling doily

I started this one a little while ago (at a time I hadn't even thought of my white Niebling shawl as an idea yet) - but I found the casting-off in crochet chains a really tedious task, so this one got stuck at 95% for a good long while too!

Pattern:   Beyer Band 408 and 760 - Model 20 p12
Yarn:       Jamieson & Smith 2 ply lace weight
                  (the colourway is being discontinued)
Needles:  3.5 mm

What I really like about this particular pattern is that there are so many distinctly different pattern elements that really keep your interest going (I always wanted to either finish one area or get into the next one!) and that there is not very much 'tull' as background. I'm not keen on that stitch.

I like the weight of the yarn but I am not upset that this heathered blue colourway is being discontinued: I am very put off by some off-white bits of fibre in this yarn. It makes it look very tweedy and even worse: the yarn feels scratchy. When I managed to pull those fibres out (they are not an integral part of the plied fibres) then the yarn is much softer. And the plain blue looks much nicer too. It still comes across as heathered blue but not so tweedy, if that makes sense.

Seeing as this yarn is quite scratchy, I am not sure if I will be able to wear this as a shawl as I hoped. I will try and soak this or hand-wash and see if it might soften.

Right now I am blocking the doily after only wetting it down without a wool treatment soak. Let's see how it goes.

My main problem making this doily was the cast-off chains. As I said they were very tedious to do and in the past I also found that they tended to curl up in rather unbecoming ways. I have not used a Shetland 100% wool before so I am hoping for a pleasant surprise in this point.

I will try to post another photo once it is dry. But at least this is one WIP less to contend with!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Stash addition and London Knitting Group

I really can't help myself, can I?

I went along to the London Knitting Group in Gillespie Road, North London on Tuesday (please let them know before you go so they'll know re numbers) and really enjoyed the lovely two ladies' hospitality!

Their business is called The Knitting Shop ( and they sell really gorgeous yarns via their online shop - or you can phone ahead and pop in to pick up your supplies!  If you buy three or more skeins of the same colour then ask them if they offer a bulk discount, I am not sure if this is a temporary offer. Just call them and ask.

The knitting group was lovely: the wonderful hospitality of coffee and cake as well as great company: what more could anyone want from a knitting group?
It's not their fault that they have really gorgeous yarn that sits on the shelves around you and whispers at you: 'take us home...!'

I just could not resist. This is what I bought:

Susie showed me a cardigan she knit from this exact same colourway and I fell even more in love! The knitted up fabric is a touch more pale and delicate looking than I would have expected from the strong pink in this, - it looks truly lovely!

I love the shades of pink and mauvey purple, I really like grey as well so this mix of colours is wonderful!  I already wound two skeins of this into balls so I can start pretty soon.

I cannot wait!

PS: Update 20 July - my gauge is quite loose so any needle of 3mm and upwards produces a fabric which is extremely tranparent. I would quite like to be able to wear this as I would any other top, so I decided on 2.75mm needles for this. I just bought another set of Hiyas at Loop in Islington! The project can commence...

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

My second pair of socks - improvisation of basics

And because the other socks were so much fun (and also because I've got rather too much sock yarn sitting at home throwing me reproachful looks) I've knit another pair!

Yarn:     Colinette Jitterbug in Cherry
Needles: 3.25 mm
Pattern:  improvised - but it was meant to be the
             Riverbed Master pattern

I started out on the Riverbed (master) pattern from the Sock Innovations book by Cat Bordhi. My gauge only allowed for three double sets of increases until I got the circumference of my foot which does not end up like the picture at all!

So I forgot about the rest of the instructions and just kept going - while trying them on every so often to get them to fit.  The shape of these came out slightly odd: too big around and too short, but it evens out when you wear them!

I have since washed them too, absolutely fine in the washing machine on a 30 degree cycle. The yarn might have acquired a bit of a fuzzy halo (I won't be chucking my Jitterbug shawls in the machine just yet) but not too bad.

I enjoy these. They're nice and plain which shows up the colour variegation very nicely. I'm pleased with them. Best thing: it was such a quick knit!

PS: Now I'll just have to get a suitable pair of shoes to show off my hand-knit socks. Something with a kitten heel would be gorgeous...

Quick interlude - white Niebling shawl

So I am struggling with way too many WIPs, trying to complete some to get the count down.

So I got to two and a half projects completed (the third one only needs a photo taken) and what happens?

Yep, you guessed it: I cast on a new project!

I just couldn't resist the idea whispering inside my head of a lovely lacy shawl all in white (haven't done an all white shawl yet) in a complicated pattern by Herbert Niebling. Well, I say shawl, but the Niebling patterns are basically doilies and table cloths. Or little place mats or cushion covers, or... you get the picture.

But if I manage to make a Niebling doily big enough so I can fold it in half? That should be very wearable as a shawl, shouldn't it?

So of course I had to start this, - and guess what... I finished it yesterday!
How amazing that I can complete a project in one go when I am feeling exceedingly keen on the whole process!

I must admit that I did not even attempt a casting off edge of crocheted loops (yep, I've got a project waiting for a little over half its crocheted cast off chains and every time I look at it I feel more put off. This is the heathered blue round doily, also a Niebling design. I rather enjoy those) - nope: I just cast off very loosely and once I realised that the points wouldn't be pointy enough no matter how loosely I was working, I worked a few inserted stitches at the points so I had more anchorage for casting off. Worked like a charm.

I was so into getting this off the needles and blocking, that I didn't even bother cutting the thread: I plunged the shawl into the bathroom sink, squeezed out very gently and pinned just the points to block it.  Seems to do okay though only time will tell if this is useable as a shawl once it's dry. Wish me luck.

Here it is:

All blocked, ends sewn in and looking lovely!

Pattern:    Decke 10 in Band 760 (Beyer) page 7
               republished recently and available on
                         [it's the purple volume Band 760+408]
Yarn:       100% Merino cobweb by Angeljays (ebay) held double
Needle:    4mm circular (a pretty pointy set, pointy is good)