Tuesday, November 17

Knitch and kvetch

I’m gradually getting my mojo back (I think). The title is because I'm a bit stroppy this week, probably post-holiday blues. Took my “new” 950i on holiday to Wales. Alas, I forgot the end rails, and I didn’t spot that the lace carriage had had its magnet snapped off along with the rest of the courier carnage. Also the instructional DVD is scratched, so a large chunk of it no longer plays.

Luckily - and this is the first time I ever thought I’d be grateful for fortnightly refuse collections - the magnet was in the wheelie bin outside when I got home, so I managed to rescue it and glue it back on. I bought a U-shaped magnet in Rhayader which will work with the addition of some sticky tape, should my repair not work.

The seller bought me a new lid – it only clamps at one end as the machine casing has been bent at the other end, but I reckon I can dig out some ribbon or string to tie around that end, should the need arise.

Wales? Wales was ok, we mostly stayed in the log cabin and I messed about with the knitting machine. Owing to a complete lack of foresight, I forgot to bring a copy of Knitware with me, so couldn’t install it on the Cog’s laptop (mine’s a mac) and calculate the dress I wanted to make. I took the knitleader, but my maths brain must have been AWOL because I couldn’t get the calculation to fit the machine bed until Friday, when it was already too late. So I started to make a sideways knitted skirt from the Mary Weaver book, but got bored with it and wasn’t sure I had enough yarn. Eventually I made a swatch testing out the various stitch settings (which is when I discovered the lace carriage damage), and then made a charity tee with some fairisle patterns. I quite fancied the sheep fairisle, but discovered that on the two rows where the background knits alone, the machine continues to do end needle selection and creates two massive floats on the back of the jumper. Ah well, it’s a learning discovery – it only happened the once, because I was wise to it afterwards.

Samples:
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Slip and tuck

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Fairisle

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Charity tee

The weather wasn’t great all week. We travelled to the National Wool Museum in Drefach Felindre through driving rain – the museum was great (it’s a working woolen mill), but most of the equipment wasn’t in use. They had a really cute animated wooden model, to show how hand-shearing is much slower than electric shears (see below). The little sheep went around in a circle. Bought a fabulous woven wool travel blanket for the car.

Animated sheep shearing model

Of course, any trip to Mid Wales wouldn’t be complete for a knitter, without a trip to Colinette. I had a quick browse in the sales corner, but there wasn’t much on cones this time. There was quite a quantity of Colinette Lasso in discontinued colours, and I suspect the stock hadn’t really changed since my last visit in 2006. I’m surprised they don’t hawk it on their website, as they don’t open Saturdays which precludes most people shopping there unless they take time off from work.

I picked up 10 skeins of Colinette Iona, an aran weight wool with 15% kid mohair and 15% silk in the most gorgeous of colours – I picked 10 different colourways, because I couldn’t possibly decide.

Colinette iona

All week it called to me and teased me for not bringing a skein winder and swift.

I also picked up two balls of King Cole Zig Zag sock yarn in Llandridod Wells, one ball for me, and one ball for ‘im indoors. I bet you can guess which one’s for me, right? It was nice to see the LW shop was still there, the Rhayader yarn shop has closed since my last visit.

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What else did we do? Watched a lot of tv (live tv, which is a novelty in our house) – the cabin has Freesat, so tons of stations, but no Channel 5 for some reason (I fancied watching a film). It also had a DVD player, but we couldn’t get any sound from it, so we watched the first series of Quantum Leap on my laptop instead.

The Cog didn’t roll in until 8pm on the Friday before we left for Wales, so did all his packing on Saturday, and managed to forget most of his spreadsheets, a vital cable for his playstation and the book he intended to read. Luckily there was a WHSmiths in Welshpool and he stocked up on magazines.

It was nice to get away, but I missed my internet connection, my fan oven, my dishwasher, and decent not-low-energy lightbulbs. Not necessarily in that order! Couldn’t see to machine knit after dark, which is about 5pm at the moment, and didn’t roll out of bed ‘til 10am most days.

The cat was incredibly pleased to see us on our return, and promptly ran off to re-mark all his territories, before falling asleep face-down on the Cog’s laptop (he was trying to use it at the time).

To get back onto knitting content, I discovered I’d misunderstood the Rowan Kimi pattern - or perhaps it’s not written very well? I had messed up the front, and this was the second front. Luckily there is a schematic, so I figured out what it was supposed to look like, and have corrected both pieces. I am now onto the first sleeve. There are two (I think – the pattern doesn’t say “knit two pieces” ANYWHERE!) batwing-shaped pieces, and I think a long thin tie to go, and then I’m done. Which is good, because the Colinette is already re-wound into nice little balls, and is begging me to knit it, to the exclusion of everything else in my work-in-progress queue. Colinette yarn has this odd effect on me – as soon as it’s in the house I HAVE to knit it up.

It might have to wait, though – somebody’s expecting some socks!

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