Sunday, March 25, 2007

Stepping backwards to move forwards

Okay, so the last post was all about how I had swatched this yarn and pattern into a lovely headscarf.
Then I was thinking wouldn't it actually be really nice as the real shawl, and a few other people were saying the same thing, so the cast-off has been undone and it's back on the needles!
My headscarf is now the set up for a large, but light, wrap.
This is the "budding lace" part of the Swallowtail Shawl, as if you didn't know. I will see how I feel when the shawl grows in size; I may or may not do the "lily of the valley lace" part.
I went into John Lewis to do the deed yesterday, and came away with three more balls of it, all in the correct dye lot, which was lucky, as the original ball was bought in the Gem Shop in Castle Douglas.

Something else has happened since my last post - I have got into the rhythm of the Flower Basket Shawl at last.
The penny has finally dropped about how to make those little baskets (sounds like a euphemism for a swear word, and I had been feeling it before I got into my groove) without constant poring over the pattern.
Don't get me wrong, I haven't ditched the pattern entirely, but I am not having to follow every stitch on it as I was initially. No wonder I was not feeling the love!
I have two more 200m balls of this olive Orkney Angora St. Magnus D.K. to go. The picture shows my progress on one ball.

This second picture shows a little bit of stitch detail.

I must be having a bit of an Evelyn Clark fest at the moment!

Sometimes you're just in a lacy mood. x K

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Double experiment

Although my mate Midsummer Night's Knitter over at Twelfthknit has discovered the joys of swatching at the mature age of 21, I find it very difficult to discipline myself to do so.
However, wanting to experiment with a new yarn (Rowan Damask, shade 46, Lava) without investing in a whole project's worth, and wanting to try out the stitch pattern for the Swallowtail Shawl (Evelyn A. Clark of Fibertrends, Interweave Knits Fall 2006) has resulted in a lovely new summer headscarf for me. That's why it's a funny shape.
I really enjoyed this "lozenge" pattern (Swallowtail chart) because you can clearly see what you're meant to do next, and it is very instinctive, unlike the Flowerbasket Shawl I am grappling with at the moment. (Please don't regale me with tales about how easy you found FBS- I'll cry.)
If I had tons of this yarn I could be tempted to do the whole full size shawl in it, you know. Very pleasant to knit with and lovely effect.
#1 It is marketed as Rowan's new linen blend, but has only 22% linen in it.
#2 I did give the Lily of the Valley chart a try. (The one with the dreaded NUPPS k1 yo k1 yo k1 in one stitch then next row p5 together. Not that hard with "real" stitches, but very fiddly with raw y/o stitches. When I do the shawl for real I will use a fine cable needle to control the stitches and get some room for manoeuvre.) The main problem I encountered with that is that the yarn is a bit slubby and a bit thick/thin, which was awkward with the nupps.
I enjoyed my experiment, killed two birds with one stone, and learned a lot. x K
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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Dragging myself into the 21st century

Firstly, thank you for the lovely comments on Angora Froth.

Ok, I've gone and invested in a memory stick. What a handy little gadget!

It's amazing the way the technology we used to associate with James Bond is now part of our everyday lives. For instance, accessing the internet from a mobile phone, all this info at your fingertips, was just a dream only a few decades ago.

Anyway, to the case in point, I have been using my new memory stick/pen drive all the time this past fortnight.

Lots of the following post will be absolutely old-hat to some, but you've got to start somewhere, and I am starting here.

One of the main uses I've been putting it to is to prepare Power Point presentations for the pupils. I don't think technology could ever replace a decent teacher, and I believe that a genuinely good teacher could be successful with a stick in the sand or a chalk and a slate, but it is another resource in your toolbox.

So, I've been sitting of an evening making sooper dooper animated presentations, saving them to the memory stick and then using them the next day with the little darlings.

It is a fair bit of time investment to do that of an evening, and fairly cuts into one's knitting time, but as ever in life you have to pick your battles, so I am doing presentations of things which I teach year-in year-out, such as the tenses of verbs, the rooms of the house, housework chores, places aroud your town, school subjects to name some of my recent attempts. And the good thing about the highly visual ones such as the house, can be used for both French and Spanish with a bit of copy and paste and minimal editing.

The other problem is that it entails a fair bit of setting-up at the other end. It would be easy peasy if the equipment were in place all the time, but for the moment it involves a fair amount of planning and set-up. We have been told by our Senior Management Team though that the "Use it or lose it" rule applies to the data projector etc. so it seems a good time to become familiar with the technology.

Some of my colleagues are scratching their heads wondering how I can be bothered with it. Well, for two reasons really. 1) When you have a presentation prepared on French regular -er verbs in the present tense for example you will be able to use it from now until doomsday. 2) When I am happy I am a better teacher, and I am enjoying my new resource.

Does this memory stick have any impact whatsoever on my knitting life? Kind of. I am now essentially sitting in the middle of field, and with the aid of laptop and memory stick I am able to show you my Leaf Lace Shawl being modelled in front of the iconic image of Gai Paris. Yes, we have found the camera!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Angora Froth

Here's a close up of the Louisa Harding Kimono Angora scarf I knitted to the Rowan "Froth" pattern.
I posted a pic of this a few days ago but it was a very bland picture of it blocking and it kind of got buried in the excitement of my birthday and the debacle of the knitting group hiccup.
This is a much more true reflection of the colours.
It's dead yummy and fuzzy and certainly proved a hit at last Sunday's knitting get together.
Yes, people, this is my one and only finished object of 2007 so far!
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Angora Froth

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Updating Finished Objects

Hiya, have been quiet on here this week, due to amongst other things, lack of camera.

I have been plugging away though at updating the finished object side of my sister blog

Feel free to check it out, and I am confident, again, that I be posting on here in the near future. x K