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I haven’t been able to post about this finished shawl, as I made it as a gift for my sister, and I’m not sure if she reads this blog or not! However we had an early family Christmas celebration today, and I gave her the shawl.

It’s the lovely Aeolian Shawl pattern from knitty.com, knitted in Handmaiden Sea Silk. It’s a great pattern – it’s not particularly difficult, and quite intuitive to knit, as it’s easy to ‘read’ the pattern, but it looks so impressive! Here it is blocking:

Aeolian Berries shawl

And here’s my lovely sister wearing it:

Andrea wearing her Aeolian Shawl

Andrea wearing her shawl

I think she likes it 🙂

November has not been a good month for me. I headed down to Sydney on the 9th for surgery on the 11th, hoping I’d only be in hospital a night or two, but planning to stay in Sydney a few extra days afterwards, so I took some knitting with me. Unfortunately, the surgery (attempting to insert a stent inside the existing stents in my cerebral aneurysm) did not go well, and despite the best efforts of my wonderful doctors, I ended up with multiple complications – a small brain hemorrhage, some damage to the retina in my right eye, an abdominal bleed, and a tear in my femoral artery which gave me a large bruise/haematoma on almost my entire upper right leg. So, as a result, I was eight days in hospital, and had to have further surgery to repair the femoral artery.

Boy, was I glad I had my knitting! I did try some lace knitting on an Ishbel in the first couple of days, but my brain/eye coordination wasn’t that great, and I had difficulty relating the knitting to the chart, which is something I usually find easy. My lovely sister fixed up the row I stuffed up, but I put Ishbel aside for a day or two and instead worked on some socks, which were much easier. Many of the doctors, nurses, cleaning staff, fellow patients and their families expressed interest and asked me about my knitting. One of the young doctors mentioned several times that he’d love a pair of handknit socks 🙂 After I finished the socks, I picked up Ishbel again, and my brain and eyes were working much better so it went more smoothly – except a number of times I was one stitch short at the end of a pattern row. I fudged those bits, adding a stitch reasonably seamlessly in the pattern – and so the scarf, in a peppermint green wool/silk, got renamed the Peppermint Fudge Ishbel.

I finished her a day or so after I got out of hospital, but as I stayed on in Sydney for a few days as a precaution, I didn’t get to block her until today. Here she is, all pinned out:
Peppermint Fudge Ishbel

The pattern is, of course, the popular Ishbel by Ysolda Teague, and the yarn is a merino/silk fingering weight yarn from Lush Yarns. I used size 4mm needles, and made the small size in the stocking stitch section, and the large size for the lace section, working charts ABABACDE.

The socks are the Harris Tweed pattern, knitted in Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 4ply. The pattern was nice and easy to knit, so I could knit while writing – the knitting keeping my fingers from being distracted and clicking all over the internet, but easy to drop the moment any words came to mind. I suspect I’ll be casting on another pair soon, because I love these ones, but I’m giving them away as a Christmas gift. Sorry that the photo isn’t that great – taken in a hotel room, rather than my usual photography space at home!
Pattern: Harris Tweed. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 4ply

Now I’m home, I’m working on my two Aeolian shawls. The blackberry one is getting closer to finished – I’ve only got about 10 rows to go, but as they’re looonnngg rows and beaded, there’s still a few hours’ work in it. I’ll post pictures when it’s done. The sea green/blue one is still only in the yucca section, so it has a lot more to go yet. But I’m thankful that, despite the medical problems, I can see, and knit, and I figure there can’t be too much brain damage if I can knit lace! It could have been so much worse, so I’m grateful that it wasn’t. I have to take things easy for a bit, and will go back to Sydney in mid-December to see the neurosurgeon and the vascular surgeon. There is likely to be more surgery on my aneurysm in the future, since this lot wasn’t successful. I’m not looking forward to that, as it’s always risky, but I’m determined to pull through it okay. After all, I’ve got a lot of stash waiting to be knitted up into beautiful things!

I  finished this Shetland Triangle yesterday:

Pattern: Shetland Triangle Yarn: Bendigo Colonial 5 ply

Pattern: Shetland Triangle Yarn: Bendigo Colonial 5 ply

I used yarn that’s been in my stash for ages – a cone of Bendigo Woollen Mills 5ply Colonial that was left over from a weaving workshop a few years back. Some of the cone had been used, and as I didn’t have an empty plastic cone, I couldn’t determine the exact weight of what was left, although I guessed it was around 150 grams. As it turned out, it wasn’t quite enough –  I got as far as the end of row 13 of the 15-row edging, and had to cast off there – which I achieved, with only 2 metres of yarn to spare!

I beaded the last three pattern repeats, and the edging, with size 5.0 silver-lined beads:

Shetland Triangle - bead detail

Shetland Triangle - bead detail

I’m quite happy with the finished result, although the yarn is not quite as soft as I’d hoped after washing. This may be a Christmas gift.

As for other wips, I’m currently working on two pairs of socks – one is daylight-only knitting, the other I can knit at night. The daylight socks are the ones I’ve been working on for a while – just a very basic pair of stocking stitch socks in a dark blue-green Zitron Trekking yarn. I’m turning the heel on the second sock, so they won’t take too much longer to finish.

The other pair I started last night – a pair of Harris Tweed socks, in Bendigo Luxury 4ply in their ‘cork brown’ colour. The yarn s lovely to knit with, and the pattern suitable for knitting-while-writing – ie, relatively mindless, and easy to put down the moment the words strike! I bought three balls of the Luxury 4ply a few months back, and since each ball will make two pairs of socks, I’ll be knitting more socks frm this yarn!

Pattern: Harris Tweed. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 4ply

Pattern: Harris Tweed. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 4ply

I confess – I’ve also bought some yarn recently. Knitpicks was having a sale of lace yarn, and a few skeins found their way to me. Okay, quite a few skeins. Enough for seven shawls. Because I needed more stash to add to the stash I already have. Really.

Knitpicks Shimmer in Shallows

Knitpicks Shimmer in Shallows

Knitpicks Shimmer - Galaxy

Knitpicks Shimmer - Galaxy

And talking about stash, I also bought some weaving yarns from Webs. Even with the postage from the US (gulp – it was higher than the website quote), it still worked out to be a reasonable deal, compared to what the same amount of yarn would cost me to buy here – assuming I could find it amongst the few weaving yarn suppliers. So, I have some mercerised 10/2 cottons, some unmercerised 8/2 cottons, and some tencel to play with.

And yes – amazing though it may seem – I have actually been weaving. The black warp that has been on the loom for ages has finally progressed. After being totally indecisive for ages about what I was going to do with it, I made up my Libran mind. The first couple of metres are just plain black plain weave – trim for a jacket that I will make form some other handwoven fabric. The last couple of metres will be a scarf. I haven’t definitely decided which colour and yarn what I will put across the black warp, but it’s threaded in an advancing twill pattern and I will weave it in an overshot style. No photos yet, but there will be some soon.

Almost two months since I last posted?? I’m sure it hasn’t been that long…. but the date stamp doesn’t lie (well, not unless I change it, anyway, which I haven’t!)

In between writers conferences and festivals and new books out and book writing, there has been knitting – although some of the WIPs listed in the WIP stocktake in my previous post are still WIPS. But I HAVE finished a couple of things:

Pattern: Cleckheaton rolled brim hat Yarn: Bendigo Classic 8ply

Pattern: Cleckheaton rolled brim hat Yarn: Bendigo Classic 8ply

Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda Teague. Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock

Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda Teague. Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock

So, of the WIPS mentioned in my previous post, this is the status:

1. Daniel’s hat – finished, and given to Daniel (a young waiter at my regular café, who asked for a beanie).

2. Lauren’s fingerless mittens – not finished

3. Deciduous Lace Scarf – almost finished. I had to redesign the border so there weren’t stitch increases making it flare, and now I have to undo the first border and re-knit it to match the second.

4. Plain socks – one sock finished, second sock 40% done. the yarn is dark in colour, so it’s been hard to knit these at night.

5. Biance inspired jacket – no progress

6. Shawl collar jacket – I finished knitting the collar, and have sewn up two-thirds of the seams. I could have it finished with about half an hour’s more work.

7. Fisherman’s Gansey – no progress

New projects started:

Ishbel shawl (above) – started, finished, and blocked!

Venezia shawl – I started this with Sea Silk and 4.5mm needles, but think I will frog what I’ve done and try it again with a less-slippery yarn and slightly smaller needles

Pattern: Venezia Lace Shawl Yarn: Handmaiden Sea Silk

Pattern: Venezia Lace Shawl Yarn: Handmaiden Sea Silk

Shetland Triangle – nice and easy knitting, doesn’t take too much concentration. The yarn is leftover from a weaving workshop I  ran several years ago – I like the colour, and the beads I ordered to go on it arrived yesterday.

Pattern: Shetland Triangle by Evelyn Clark. Yarn: Bendigo Colonial 5ply

Pattern: Shetland Triangle by Evelyn Clark. Yarn: Bendigo Colonial 5ply

I confes that I’ve also done some shopping lately! I bought a couple of Japanese knitting stitch books from yesasia.com, and three knitting books from bookdepository.co.uk

Japanese Knitting Stitch Books

Japanese Knitting Stitch Books

Lace books - and Top-Down sweaters

Lace books - and Top-Down sweaters

The Japanese books are all in Japanese, with only a couple of headings in English. No, I don’t speak or read Japanese, but nonetheless, these are great – there is a chart for each stitch pattern, and a section at the back has illustrations for each chart symbol.

Sample page - photo plus chart for each pattern

Sample page - photo plus chart for each pattern

Directions for each chart stitch symbol

Directions for each chart stitch symbol

While some of the lace patterns are standard ones found elsewhere, the books have a huge range of patterns and an innovative way of putting them together – Japanese design styles are beautiful. There are no garment instructions in these books, but there are a couple of garment photos, to demonstrate some of the stitch patterns in action. I’m impressed with these books, and yesasia.com provided a good service, with the books arriving in less than two weeks… so I’ve ordered a couple more knitting books from them – these have garment designs in them – once again, all in Japanese, but with clear diagrams and illustrations, so I’m sure I’ll be able to figure it out! (And, if all else fails, they’ll be beautiful to look at!)

To celebrate the publication of my second book, and the contract offer for my third and fourth books, I ordered some lace yarn form KnitPicks. It’s coming via a US friend (Knitpicks don’t post outside the US), but she has sent it on, so I’ll be looking out for taht to arrive in the next week or so.

Oh, and I’ve done some sorting out in the yarn/fibre cupboard, tossing out and giving away some fleeces which I will never get to spin, and thus making room for the knitting and weaving yarn overflowing outside the cupboard, and for more to come 🙂 But I did keep two fleeces, and there’s still a box full of processed fibre of varying sorts, so when I get to spinning again, I’ll still have plenty to spin.

Gordon needed a winter hat, and when I showed him this pattern, he decided that was the one he wanted. It’s the Binary Cable Hat (Rav link) – perfect for a techno-geek like him!

The first time I knitted it, I discovered that the pattern isn’t quite deep enough in the crown, and it came out more like a skull-cap than a hat. So, I knitted it again – and this time, Gordon gave me the binary code for ‘Gordon’s’ to incorporate in the cable pattern. (Not that many people are going to be able to read who the hat belongs to – but he knows it’s there!)

Pattern: Binary Cable Hat. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 10ply

Pattern: Binary Cable Hat. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 10ply

This picture shows some of the cables a little better – but the mixing bowl isn’t as handsome a model as Gordon!

Pattern: Binary Cable Hat. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 10ply

Pattern: Binary Cable Hat. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 10ply

My apologies that the blog has been silent for a while. I was away for a couple of weeks, and then both busy and sick when I got back. However, there has been some knitting progress.

The beautiful blue Swallowtail, made from luscious Sea Silk given to me by Theresa, is now finished and blocking:

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark. Yarn: Handmaiden Sea Silk

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark. Yarn: Handmaiden Sea Silk

It’s not large – it’s made to the pattern, more of a scarf than a shawl – but I’m very happy with it. Unblocked, it measured 92cm wide by 42cm high (36.2 inches x 16.5 inches); Blocked measurements are: 123cm wide by 61 cm high. I replaced the nupps with size 5.0 glass seed beads, and also beaded the yo, K1, yo columns on the border edge (including the centre spine). Here’s a detail f the beading:

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark. Yarn: Handmaiden Sea Silk

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark. Yarn: Handmaiden Sea Silk

I couldn’t do any fine knitting while we were travelling in the outback – hundreds of kilometres of bumpy dirt roads aren’t conducive to sharp points and complex patterns – however, I did finish the sleeves of the shawl collar jacket I’ve been making for a while. I now just have to finish an inch or two on the collar, block it all out, and sew it all up. And find some suitable buttons.

While travelling, I also started knitting the sleeves for a variation of the popular Bianca’s Jacket. Because of my size and shape, I’m planning on making it longer, without the curved fronts. There’s also another swallowtail on the needles, this time in a plum-purple pure wool; I started it while visiting my Dad in hospital, as a relatively mindless pattern I could work on and relax while talking with him. I hadn’t meant to start another swallowtail so soon – I really will knit some other lace patterns! – but it was the only pattern on hand at the time.

Winter has settled in here; today is cold, and although we have periods of sunshine, there are a lot of grey clouds overhead, and intermittent rain that is trying to be snow. A good day for curling up in hand-knits, drinking hot chocolate, and knitting… except I do have to do some work, as well, somewhere in there!

Jane, my headless dressmaker’s model, has a smaller butt than mine, so here she is modelling the finished Swallowtail Shawl:

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark Yarn: The Knittery Merino Silk Lace

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark Yarn: The Knittery Merino Silk Lace

I’m very happy with this shawl. The beads are small and very subtle, but they do catch the light a little, and I think the subtleness suits this fine, smooth yarn. The pattern was easy to knit, and once I really started working on the shawl, it didn’t take too long, despite the fine yarn and the beading.

I love the yarn! I do have two more skeins of it, but I can foresee wanting more. Unfortunately, The Knittery, where I bought it from, has closed down, so I am hoping to find another supplier of it. (Silk 50%, merino 50%, laceweight, gorgeous smooth texture – anyone got any ideas?)

Details:
Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl, by Evelyn A Clark. Interweave Knits, Fall 2006.
Yarn: The Knittery 2ply Silk Merino
Needles: 4mm circular
Modifications: Bless Ravelry! I had plenty of yardage in the skein, so I used kmcschmidt’s advice on increasing the size: 19 repeats of the Budding Lace 2 pattern, followed by Lily of the Valley (LOV) 1, then LOV 2, then rows 3-12 of LOV 1 again, then the peaked edging chart. This keeps the stitch count proportions correct for the various pattern transitions.

My other modification was to insert beads instead of working the nupps. I used size 8.0 pearlised seed beads, inserting them with a .65mm crochet hook, using FluffyKnitterDeb’s instructions.

…is a pattern repeat shorter than the other. But at least it doesn’t have a different-coloured toe.

Pattern: Conwy by Nancy Bush. Yarn: The Knittery Chubby Merino

Pattern: Conwy by Nancy Bush. Yarn: The Knittery Chubby Merino

That small bundle of yarn in the middle is all that’s left of the skein. The yarn is denser than most, so the yardage is less – and the cable pattern is quite dense, too, therefore using more yarn. I wasn’t sure, as I worked my way down the foot, whether there’d be enough. However, despite sock 2 being a centimetre shorter than sock 1, it does fit, so I’m not going to unpick the toe to see if I can get the extra pattern repeat in – I’m not prepared to take the risk. (Or I’m lazy. Or both.) And I seriously doubt that anyone’s going to be examining my toes closely to police the sock length.

All that aside – love the yarn, love the pattern, love these socks. I might wear them tomorrow 🙂

And on a totally different topic, I’m giving away three prize packs including my romantic suspense book, As Darkness Falls, over on my writing blog. The knitting connection? Socks were knitted in the writing of the book 🙂 (Although I’m afraid there’s no knitting in the book – the characters were a bit busy solving crime.)

For the first time in a couple of months, I’ve actually finished something…

The Knittery Merino/silk 2ply

Pattern: Three Sisters Scarf # Two by Monika Steinbauer Yarn: The Knittery Merino/silk 2ply

20090121threesistersscarf2

20090121threesistersscarf3

The pattern instructions are to knit it on one piece, from end to end; I knitted it in two pieces, and grafted them in the middle. The scallops therefore hang the same way on the ends, and block the same way. I think this works better and is more balanced – could be my Libran nature coming out here!

Very happy 🙂

I’ve been part of the Ravelry Sock Knitters Anonymous monthly challenges the past couple of months. Each month, there is a technique and a designer nominated; you must cast on in that month, and finish by the end of the next month. The September Challenge included Cookie A designs, so my Hedera and Monkey socks were entered in it. The October challenge includes Stephanie van der Linden’s designs, and holiday stockings. My Komet socks are a Steffi design, and I’ve now also knitted my first ever Christmas stocking. I wasn’t really planning to knit one – they’re not so much part of our culture or my family traditions here, as Christmas is mid-summer. But an idea nagged at me, and then when I was in Sydney the other weekend at the Morris & Sons/Tapestry Craft sale, some inexpensive red and green yarn talked me into buying it.

This afternoon I finished my Christmas Elf Stockings:

Christmas Elf Stocking

Pattern: My own improvisation. Yarn: Cleckheaton Country 8ply

I’ve also finished my first Komet sock a couple of days ago:

Nundle Retro 4ply

Pattern: Komet by Stephanie van der Linden. Yarn: Nundle Retro 4ply

And I’m working on and enjoying my second attempt at the Three Sisters Scarf – this time with a finer solid colour yarn that works better for the pattern:

The Knittery silk/merino 2ply

Pattern: three Sisters Scarf #2 Yarn: The Knittery silk/merino 2ply

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