Thursday, 29 March 2007

eBay Acquisitions

Know what? It's been a good week for yarn.

I've been looking at hand dyed yarn a lot on the internet recently because there's a scarf in Knitting Nature that I would like to have a go at which uses 2ply cashmere (used double as 4ply).

Naturally enough, none of my recent purchases will do for this project at all - but hey, you know how it is - you need smart work shoes, you go shopping and come home with several pairs of party shoes and/or trainers!

Elvincraft, according to her profile and a great photo montage that she sent me with my yarn, keeps sheep and goats on the Isle of Skye - she hand shears her sheep, sends the fleece off to be spun and then hand dyes it.

Exhibit A: 200 grams of Aran weight 50% shetland and 50% mohair. When this first arrived, I thought that it felt a bit crunchy but then I dug out an old skein of Rowan Magpie Aran (100% wool) to compare it with and the Elvincraft wool was a bit softer, more lustrious, a bit fluffier and very very similiar in weight and twist appearance. Lovely semi solid reds paling out slightly in places to rust. I need to find a pattern that inspires me to use it!

Photos: eBay (left); with flash (centre); without flash (right)

Exhibit B: 200 grams of light Aran weight 50% shetland and 50% mohair. A complete impulse buy after I had read its item description and again, no idea what I plan to do with it! The closest representation in both cases is the photo without the flash, perhaps more camoflage than heath-chestnut?! Yarn was softer and more lustriuous than the aran - I like them both.

Photos: eBay (left); with flash (centre); without flash (right)

Exhibit C: 150 grams (approx 1200 metres) of 4ply cashmere from The Knitting Goddess on the Isle of Man. Colours were true to its eBay photo. Originally, I wanted this yarn for the Knitting Nature scarf but couldn't resist buying both skeins. So I need to find a 1200m shrug or something... I said, it's been a good week for yarn!

Monday, 26 March 2007

Stitch & Craft Show, Olympia

Yesterday (dosed to the eyeballs with cold remedies that left me feeling seriously like I was orbiting the planet) I went to the Stitch and Craft show at Olympia.

It was on a much smaller scale than Alexandria Palace last autumn and the majority of the show was non-knitting. However, I did:

- pick up some 4ply (100% mohair) and 8ply (80% mohair; 20% merino wool) Wagtail for three different projects;

- bump into Kaffe Fassett while he was being shown up to Brandon Mably's stand for a book signing (my mother would be so envious);

- meet Kate Haxell and Luise Roberts (both very good news). I bought their Decorative Knitting book (and not just because it contained two beading techniques that are not in my trusty Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters);

- meet Maureen from Newport in the Relax and Knit area with its friendly volunteers. The area itself was pretty dingy. In very sharp contrast, what a lovely, interesting lady. I've added a link to the Knitting Pure and Simple website to my blog as one of the volunteers was knitting one of their patterns that is knitted top down, with no seams. So Maureen, if you find and use the pattern, I hope it results in a non maternity knit for your husband!

This is a bit rich coming from me but there were a few things at the show that left me wondering quietly about curious array of people that the art of making attracts - all very different. e.g.
  • the fantasy sock knitters finalists - I voted for Morticia Adams (it did look like the entrants had a lot of fun knitting up their entries);

  • the rather eccentric 40s knitting lady, whose force of personality alone was sufficient for me to snap up a copy of her book; and

  • the Bayeux Tapestry lady.

Please don't get me wrong, it was amazing. It must have been about 20ft long (at least). I admire her skill, endurance and interest in history but being the UFO merchant that I am, I cannot fathom putting 20 years of my life into recreating something as huge and detailed as that...

...the very idea terrifies me. If it had been my piece of work, Harold, Earl of the English, and his retinue would be stuck for eternity, only half set off for Bosham. The rest would never materialise.

The real question for me is, now that she's done it (with years of her life to spare), what does she do next? What possible making challenge might tempt her?

Somehow, I doubt that a Kaffe Fassett cross stitch cabbage cushion cover would hit the spot after recreating the Bayeux Tapestry!

About Me

Despite growing up in a house strewn with fabric, yarn, Rowan and Kaffe Fassett books, I never really got into either sewing or knitting when I was little - I was more interested in mud and metal!

To me, knitting was too slow, too fiddly and I could not get my head around how to hold the needles.

I finally got back into knitting a few years ago when I got hold of some really lovely yarn and had a solid reason to knit that dealt with my 'fast dwindling motivation' problem.

While this has not transformed me into someone who knits expertly at the speed of light:

  • I am reaching the ‘Making Up’ part of pattern instructions (now there’s a black art);
  • I am having fun and meeting some great people who happen to be highly skilled and inspirational knitters; and happily
  • my yarn stash has burst out of my cupboard and peeps out of various bags deposited across different locations in my home. As I love colour - I really don't mind!