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January 2016

Read:
Shorts:
- Ghost Night by Dani Atkinson (DSF)
- Finnegan’s Field by Angela Slatter (http://www.tor.com/2016/01/13/finnegans-field-angela-slatter/)
- Thyzzyl, Hold the Pap by Gerald William Parks (http://everydayfiction.com/thyzzyl-hold-the-pap-by-gerald-william-parks/)
- Nemesis by Laird Barron (http://www.apex-magazine.com/nemesis/)
- Last Call by K.C. Ball (DSF)
- Six Tips to Slay a Unicorn by Sarina Dorie (DSF)
- Drawing the Right Conclusion by Sarah Crysl Akhtar (http://everydayfiction.com/drawing-the-right-conclusion-by-sarah-crysl-akhtar/)
- The Shutdown by Marge Simon (DSF)
- Being Yellow by Jacqueline Lee Bridges (DSF)
- A Sonorous Expiration by Kat Otis (DSF)
- Expensive by Jessica Snell (DSF)
Novels:
- White Nights by Anne Cleeves (K)
- The Falling Sky by Pippa Goldschmidt (K)
Knit:
- Beaded Shawl
- "Dave" socks

Socks, and beyond

So, today I finished some socks.
DSCF0869
Inspired (en-hubris-ed) by my productivity, tonight I downloaded a pattern and ordered the yarn for a dress. Which I'd like to have done for Easter.

Shawl (finally done)

I hate the final stages of knitting: blocking, pressing, sewing seams, weaving in ends. Which is why, although I finished knitting the shawl the weekend before last, I've only just finished it. I've put on soothing music, woven in all eight loose ends, gently washed the shawl, squished the surplus wet out in a towel, and pinned it out to dry:
DSCF0853
DSCF0854
I did have some help:

The shawl was almost dry by the time I'd pinned it out, so I don't think--beyond a wet bum--there's much of a problem. He moved as soon as I started making lunch.

So, credits for this piece of work:

  • Pattern from The Knitter magazine, issue 91

  • Yarn from John Lewis

  • Crystal beads from Bluestreak Beads

  • Tiny beads from Hobbycraft

  • Eucalan from The Sheep Shop (possibly blocking pins, too)

  • Music from Annie Dressner, Strangers Who Knew Each Other's Names

And about 25 hours work.

Shawl (nearly done)

Took Wednesday off and knit other stuff elsewhere.
Days 6-8 saw me tackle the big Swarovski crystals, the lace pattern, and the beaded edging. All mostly OK. One dropped stitch and miscount recovered.

My queries:
1. Switch from k2, p to last 2 stitches, k2 to k3, p to last 2 sts, k2 is puzzling. Stuck with the former throughout.
2. If there were a single additional column on left of chart (all knits on RS, all purls on WS) the shawl would be properly symmetrical. And 2 sts wider.
3. If the final stitch count were 278, then p2, place bead, to last 2 sts, p2, would actually work. With 276 sts, you end up with 3 sts at end.
Lack of symmetry irritates.
4. End pattern with right side facing. Work a beaded rwo (on RS). BUT this is followed by cast-off row that's also labelled as RS. (Think it should be WS, but who knows?)

So, apart from an itchy nose, Kidsilk Haze is survivable. Shawl knit from rectangular tab is fine. Beading is fiddly.

Tomorrow: ends (weaving in), blocking, ends (trimming).

Tags:

Late Christmas

M said it had got stuck in Balthazar's sack rather than Father Christmas' and that's why I got my spiffy new laptop yesterday (that and the fact that we didn't get round to ordering it until Christmas Eve and that only because I didn't get round to it Christmas 2014).

I've called it ThomasCovenant.

Now off to choose a new Linux. I might be some time.

Shawl, Day 2

Crystalline Shawl 1
Progress after day one.

Yesterday was another slog through the easy section of the shawl to seven rows before the start of the pattern. Not helped by the fact that it's now big enough to be worth a cat making an attempt at occupation.

Tags:

So, I bought some Rowan Kidsilk Haze yesterday and some beads (when did John Lewis stop stocking beads?! and thank you to Hobbycraft for being on our walk home) and am waiting for an earlier order of crystals in order to make something new.

It's a shawl (from the booklet from Issue 91 of The Knitter (can't find a big photo of it... yet!)), knit from a tab in centre back, which I've never successfully done before.

It's also beaded, with two different weights of bead. And these are knit-in having previously been threaded onto the yarn. This is also something I've not tried before. (The odd bead attached using a crochet hook during knitting, yes. Not this way.)

And... It's in Kidsilk Haze, which I've avoided for years. Everyone uses it and I'm too much of a yarn snob to follow the crowd. Also....

Wind back many, many years and picture me watching the RSC production of A Doll's House at The Other Place in Stratford on Avon. We're sitting on the far side of the auditorium having walked across the set and climbed up stairs at the far side to get to our balcony seats. It's summer. My neighbour on one side is wearing perfume (probably L'air du Temps) and a new mohair sweater. I get an violent attack of hay fever. I cannot leave, as far as I can see, without crossing the set. I suffer through the performance by hiding behind handkerchiefs and trying tot to sneeze too loud or too often. I've avoided hairy yarns ever since. (Happily, I saw the same production of A Doll's House when it later toured to Newcastle, and so I got to enjoy Cheryl Campbell's wonderful performance properly.)

So, back to the knitting, new yarn, new techniques.

The knit a tab, pick stitches along its side and base, technique, especially with a provisional cast on to unpick, is as much of a fiddle as I feared. I nearly had it twisted. It was hard to tell if it was successful until I'd knit a dozen or so rows. But, I did it. It looks fine. I'll do it again. (At the time I thought the hairy yarn was a hindrance, but I think that it's probably very generously hiding any imperfections.)

The yarn is sticky. My heart sank when I had to pull the end away from the ball and it resisted. This is not a ball of yarn that is going to unroll and escape away from you across the floor exiting pursued by a cat. As a solution, I stuffed it in a yarn bowl with a rim that is smaller than the ball and it unrolls easier with the bowl holding it under a little tension.

It doesn't grip the needles, though, sliding on (and off: oops!!) my Symphonies and over the join from needle to cable very smoothly. It just likes to hold onto itself!

The yarn is also, as I mentioned, hairy. I'm fine with that. No sneezes at all. I've had to exaggerate my knitting style, throwing the yarn much wider so as to trap less of the halo of fibres round the needles. I'm terrified of ever having to pull any back, so the extra care is worthwhile. The fabric I'm producing is light as a feather, but feels plump due to the depth of that halo. It knits up fast, too, and I've already got 108 stitches of the 204 I need before border pattern and beading begin.

A good experience, with the beading to look forward to.

[I may also have acquired some neon shades of sock yarn yesterday to spice up the beekeeper a little. It was both gorgeous, and in the sale.]

Happy New Year!

May 2016 be a cooler year (in all senses) than 2015!