Thursday, 27 March 2008

Finished Monkeys and Rhubarb Scarf obsession

We had a very quiet, relaxing Easter in the SQ household - made a change from being on the canal boat this time last year - now that was stressful, especially when we couldn't master the steering and ended up sideways in the canal with boats coming at us from either side! That was the same evening that I was at the bow of the boat while Skein King and Granda Gerry at the stern were steering us directly into an £80,000 boat as the owners were enjoying a nice glass of wine and me coming almost nose-to-nose with them with a mortified look on my face as I said "Evening... sorry..." What I should've done is raise my glass and "cheers"ed them. From the looks on their faces, I don't think it've gone down too well.

So, with a little time to catch up with knitting, I finished my Monkeys:

And I started the Sparrow cardigan from Rowan Story Book of Little Knits for Skein Princess. I let her choose - shouldn't really have done that as it's not a pattern I'd have chosen myself - but hopefully I'll finish it and she'll love it. It's very bohemian and flowery.
Skein Prince finished another couple of Super Mario Shrooms:

I completed some more crocheted coral for the Hyperbolic (or Hyper-bollock as my non-knittery, non-understanding mates call it) Crochet Reef - no pics yet - not until it's all finished - not that there's loads of it or anything!

And I have become completely obsessed, as have most people who've seen it, by this Rhubarb Scarf by Moonstitches. There is no pattern. I've tracked down the yarn and got it heavily discounted by a shop in Oregon as it was the last they had. I have a book with a similar stitch in it, but can I work out how to crochet that stitch?! Frustrating - but I WILL crack it. It's called a Catherine Wheel stitch or Starburst stitch.

Finally, mini shop update of bamboo/merino Bali yarn type includes:
Little Shack

Shanghai Tea House

Inky Periwinkle

Big weekend planned with dinner dance tomorrow night (oh, I say, gone all hoi polloi!) and another trip to London on Saturday.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Hyperbolic Crochet Reef workshop

After a squishy journey on the train with all the Ireland and England rugby fans who were travelling to Twickenham (Skein King was ever-so slightly disappointed with the result), we grabbed a quick lunch and split up. I had twenty minutes before the workshop began and I was determined to visit I Knit London on their opening day at Lower Marsh, Waterloo - unfortunately, by the time I found it, I had all of two minutes for a quick shifty round where I saw shelves and shelves of yarnie goodies, but no time to buy (I was ever-so slightly disappointed with that result.)

However, my spirits lifted when I met up with the lovely Sue and Lisa from Knit-Happens-in-Newbury and we headed into the Artist's Entrance, no less, of the Royal Festival Hall. After settling into our seats, Inga who I'd met through blogging and who was helping organise the day, came over to say hello. It was so nice to meet her in person.

Inga who demonstrated a quick way to make yarn from plastic bags

The lecture was by Margaret Wertheim of the Institute for Figuring and she took us on a whirlwind journey from maths to science to nature to craft.

She was an excellent, fluent and passionate speaker who actually made maths interesting and we learned so much ranging from Euclidian planes and negative curvature to the plight of reefs and the structure of coral. She succeeded in explaining the relatively complex mathematical concept of hyperbolic space to a lay audience, though I must say I wasn't one of those in the crowd shouting out the answers!
Lisa liked to try out all the crocheted coral as fashion accessories!

Margaret emphasised the organic nature of the crocheted coral that we would be adding to the exhibit. She didn't want to tell us what to do, but to let our crochet evolve naturally and see what we came up with. We could contribute to the colourful, pretty reef which represents the past, the way coral reefs were; the blanched reef - all in white to represent struggling reefs affected by global warming or the toxic reef made out of plastic representing the future of reefs if we don't cut down on our consumption of plastic.

So we got to work:
Sue chose some rather elasticated yarn and immediately regretted the decision after wrangling with the spaghetti-like substance!

Here's a little sample of what we were trying to achieve:

There are a lot more examples on the IFF website (linked above).

All-in-all, a thoroughly enjoyable and informative day and I'm looking forward to seeing the London section of the reef being displayed at the Hayward Gallery in the summer. I've ordered a new set of crochet hooks in preparation...

Monday, 17 March 2008

New Finished Projects (Visions of Loveliness)

Two more Finished Projects have been added to the SQ website this week which I thought I'd share here too:

Montego Bay scarf in Lavish - Jaana from Finland used two skeins of Lavish in Golden Plum to create this sumptious but cool, summery Montego Bay scarf. The pattern is by Amy R. Singer and was published in Interweave Knits, Summer 2007. Jaana has a fantastic eye for colour, as can be seen by her projects on Ravelry (where she's known as Kamicha) and is a very talented up-and-coming knitwear designer. See more of her designs and adventures in knitting on her yarned website.

Loop-Through Scarf in Lavish - Bea from California knitted this gorgeous Garter Stitch Loop-Through Scarf by Marci Richardson with just one skein of Lavish in Sea Serpent which her sister from Reading, the lovely Machi, sent her as a consolation gift after some horrible person stole the shawl she was in the middle of knitting. The pattern is from 101 Designer One Skein Wonders and it's such an unusual design - I love it!

I have lots to say about the Hyperbolic Crochet Reef workshop I went to in London last weekend, but it'll have to wait til I figure out how to get the photos off my mobile phone and onto the PC!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

A new helping of yarn is served

For those of you not yet on my mailing list (ahem -and why not?! Seriously, it's lovely to see it growing with more names every week), here's a little peep at the shop update tonight:

Spring Collection in Lavish - five skeins, one variagated and four solid colours to match

Summer Bunting in Endure sock yarn

Key Lime Pie in Endure sock yarn (you need your shades for this one)
Banoffee Pie in Wisp (mmm, yummy)
River Thames in Kimono

And now a shameless bit of boasting (motherly pride) - the Skein Prince (MY son) got top marks of 5A in his mock SATs this week - let's hope he does the same for the real thing in a few weeks time. I reckon ten is way too young to be tested - wonder what it's like in other countries?

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Don't faint but...

the Finished Projects page is live on the website here. It's my very favourite thing to see what you're making with SQ yarn, so it's about time I shared...

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Knitting in French (Le Tricotage - apparently)

This week I have been mostly knitting in French - ooo la la! My dear French friend, Sylvie, sent over a gift for the Skein Princess. Imagine my delight when I saw it was a knitting kit to create a cute little kid mohair grey and black cat, comme ca:
Of course, she wanted to get started right away, so we opened up Le dou-dou chat and you guessed it - the pattern is in French! The last time I visited Sylvie in Nantes she threatened to leave me in a chocolate shop with my "Rusty French" so this was going to be a challenge.

I have learnt that m = st; rg = row; rg endroit = knit; rg envers = purl; augm = increase; ts = every; ch = each; monter = cast on; rab = cast off

Free Blue Peter badge for anyone who knows what bourrage; raye; froncer and coudre mean. It took a while to figure these out and along the way I learnt that queue means tail but is also a word for the male appendage, so that was childish of me to even point that out!

So, I knitted away and Skein Princess did the tricky job of keeping track of the rows using the free plastic counter thingy from this month's Simply Knitting magazine, and this is how far we've got:Can you not tell its the front paws, head and surely you can see where the ears will be?!

Meanwhile, Skein Prince took it upon himself to knit some Super Mario mushrooms which include knitting on DPNs which he's got the hang of, stranded work and knitting whilst the object is already stuffed. He's doing well and has got a bit further than this - he's now started on the red top with the white spots today:
I spent a lovely day on Friday with fellow Etsy-addict, Rachel and we talked so much about craft for four hours, we forgot to talk about dieting or interior design. Rachel is so, so close (NOT!) to setting up her Etsy shop and she would agree that she's a bit of a craft tart and is good at them all (with the sorry exception of knitting) and especially good at silversmithing. So her shop is likely to be an eclectic mix of tiaras, jewellery, felted objects and many, many other crafty bits. She came bearing gifts for me:This completely gorgeous felt bowl she made

This fab frame which contains shrinkies of vintage woolcraft posters such as this one:
This is going to be perfect for my new dyeing workshop which is in the process of being designed and developed

And this cute little lavender heart which says "Fleur d'Ecosse" which she got from Scottish-based Etsy seller, Fire Horse Textiles - oops, just went to add in the link and in popped another one to my shopping cart - how did that happen?

Speaking of purchases, I bought a couple of skeins from my witty Ravelry friend who happened to be selling off some of her stash - when I say witty, I mean hilarious. We have conversations about people knitting menstrual pads and breast pads out of fun fur - I am often letting out a little bit of wee when I read her PMs.Here is a sample of just one of them - some Lorna's Laces in silk/merino. Mmmm, yummy. She also included some Posh handspun, some Green and Black's, some sheep stickers and sweeties. How kind is she!

And, as another Ravelrer, CrafyYarnGirl, was starting up a new stall at Wokingham market, I felt it would be rude not to support her, so me and the Skein Prince had a nice dander round town and I bought this Artesano Hummingbird and a pattern to go with it:
The watermelon socks I started last August are finally off the needles:

The yarn is from Freshisle Fibers

And I've finished one Monkey:
And I must just mention the Hyperbolic Coral Reef crochet workshop I'm attending in mid-March. A lovely Northern Irish person I met via blogging called Inga of rockpoolcandy fame is involved in this and I'm looking forward to meeting her there. I'm not 100% sure what I'm letting myself in for, but she did promise wine and it does look fascinating. It's open to the public, but you need to book a place so that they know numbers.