Monday, December 03, 2018

Weather permitting

Some time ago, I booked for us to have a weekend away, making use of trains and buses to revisit the little cottage on the north Norfolk coast where we enjoyed a week in September.  I gave this pair of Ecco walking shoes a good polish because the plan was to walk along the coastal path.

It has to be said that the forecast was not promising, but we were lucky with the weather when we arrived.  This is Cromer Pier in the sunshine.

We were back at East Runton, where there is a beach under chalk cliffs.

Here you are looking not at sand but at a seam of chalk which runs out across the beach itself.

Saturday was a wet day, so the costal path plan was abandoned.  My husband took the bus in one direction to the bird reserve at Cley Marshes, while I caught the bus and then the train to Norwich.

Norwich Cathedral was running a Christmas Fair, and was absolutely packed with people. All around the cloisters were stalls selling every sort of chocolate, chutney, and gin you can imagine.

Norwich is always a visual delight: here a goldsmith's doorway relocated to its current site.

Sunday was a better day, so we planned a longer walk across woods and fields to Fellbrigg.  East Runton has this curious feature of two railway viaducts, one no longer in use.

We climbed up Incleborough Hill - this is as much of  hill as Norfolk runs to.

Aylmerton church in the distance.

and, eventually Fellbrigg itself, where we had lunh outside in the sun.

At this point I inspected the heel of my right foot, where I could feel a blister starting.  I was stunned to see that the trusty Ecco shoes had not just sprung a leak but had lost a whole chunk of the heel.  Fortunately, they held up until we were back at the cottage.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


To Grantchester, with the intention of meeting up with my husband's college friend and his wife for lunch.  In fact, we arrived at the pub to hear that they had suffered a puncture and would not be joining us.  So we enjoyed a lovely lunch a deux, and a stroll around the village.

Not all the thatched cottages in the village are in such a great state of repair.

The church.  To be honest, I don't know if this is the actual church where Sidney gives his sermons in the tv detective series but they did have some posters about it.

I do think that this is a particularly beautiful memorial - practical too.

The war memorial with Rupert Brooke listed along with others.

Knitting up the remains of yarn from Arboreal.  This is the No Fuss baby jacket by Louise Tilbrook, a pattern which certainly lives up to its name.  Louise runs a Facebook group called Everyday Knitter which I have joined.  After posting the picture of my Geiger cardigan on there I was amazed to get over 900 Likes.  Thank you for your kind comments on it.  I am contemplating another of Norah Gaughan's patterns, the Nantucket Jacket.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Geiger 7 - Finished Object.

Earlier than expected, we have a finished object.

Once I had decided on the steps to be taken, it was relatively quick to adjust the shoulders by bunching up the cables, unravelling the sleeve heads to remove two and a half inches and re-knitting them.  Greenmountaingirl - you might not need to do all these alterations if you are large.  I am five foot nothing and have begun to realise that tops often look too long on me.  That is really all I altered here:  started the armholes ten rows early on the back and fronts.  Then the four inches taken off the sleeves.

I used the I-cord edging which I have used before and it honestly looks as if that was what the designer intended.  I sifted through my button tin and found these navy and gold buttons.

I'm really pleased with it.  The elaborate cable on the sleeve makes it look vaguely like some kind of fantasy uniform jacket.  However, it is just full of clever little designerly details, such as the ribbed cable cast-on and the seams.  I'll know they are there even if no one else does.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Geiger 6

Not another post on Geiger? Any non-knitters will be thinking, why not just buy a ready-made cardigan?  Or, possibly, why not just wear one of the many cardigans you already own?  Well, this is one for the process knitter ie the person who enjoys the business of making rather than just being interested in the product.  Remember that the pattern itself runs to thirty pages.

So I've seamed the body, and because each piece has a 4-stitch textured edge, with any increase or decreases done inside the edge strip, the seaming looks particularly neat.  You are directed to seam with wrong sides together and the mattress stitch seam disappears into the edge strip.

I've tried it on.  I did shorten the body sections by about ten rows because I am short myself and I did not want to be swamped by it.  It is about the right length now, although the blocking has caused it to relax a little.  I think that is what happened.  Katia Merino 100% is made up of a number of 2ply strands coiled together, but still really quite separate.  The wet-blocking seems to have caused the yarn to lose some of its spring, so the fabric feels quite stretchy now.  With hindsight I might have been better using a 4mm needle instead of the 4.5 mm I used to get gauge.

I have not yet blocked the sleeves, but I did seam one and tacked it into the armhole.  Hmmm...  this could be better - a lot better.  Although I was forewarned by others' comments about the floppy ends to the sleeves - an intentional device, I'm sure - so that I had already shortened the opening rib section by about 2 inches, the sleeve was still far too long.  I can't just take off some more of the rib at the bottom as some have done at this point, so I have chosen to unravel the sleeve head and begin the sleeve decreases about two inches earlier.  This is no big deal as the sleeve head is relatively simple to knit.

But then, there is also a problem at the shoulder.   Seaming from the right side meant that I was virtually grafting the back and the front together at the shoulder.  On the cabled section this has the effect of spreading the stitches and therefore pushing the shoulder out further than is ideal for a set-in sleeve.  The solution may well be to make the cable stitches overlap more, so taking out some width from the shoulder.  Of course that may result in an ugly bump - we'll see.

I'm also thinking that I will use an I-cord edging instead of the ribbed bands in the pattern.  There is already a garter strip at the front edges and I-cord allows for  very simple buttonholes.  I'm not too impressed with the effect of the front neck extensions seamed to the back neck and I-cord may give that a bit more structure.

I'm maybe a week from finishing this.

Friday, November 09, 2018


To Sudbury, for a tour focussed on silk production - the town still has four working silk mills.

This is the main church at the top of the central marketplace, swathed in a swag of netting covered in poppies to commemorate the ending of World War One.  Apparently they asked for 5000 and received 23,000, all hand-knitted or crocheted.  It made an impressive and moving spectacle in the November sunshine.

This is a wool merchant's house in the town, now used as a restaurant.  Note the extensions to the windows upstairs, possibly to allow in more light for weaving.

And these are silk weaver's cottages.  The middle floor would have housed the looms, and you can still see on some of them how the windows have been reduced in size.

In the garden of Thomas Gainsborough's house, both a large mulberry tree and this lovely quince, laden with golden fruit.  We are enjoying one stewed with apple for dessert.
And a sample wall-hanging in the Assembly Rooms, built 1828, presumably as a ball-room, but now the Registry Office.  This is silk woven by Stephen Walters, one of the four companies still operating.

Autumn is blazing away all around us, but not for long, as the weather turns windy.  I spent yesterday afternoon raking up leaves in Paycocke's garden.  There are many more to fall.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Geiger 5

When I bought the yarn for Geiger I knew what I was looking for: 100% wool, a good vibrant colour and preferably not breaking the bank.  The Geiger in the pattern picture is in dark navy, and I can see how this might work as it is quite a show-off sort of design, so it does not really need a bright colour. But I was hoping for some colour stimulation in the knitting and a pop of colour for winter wearing.

Once in Franklins, the local wool-shop, of course your choice is determined by what is there.  I have used Katia sock yarn before and found it worked.  Here was Katia 100% Merino DK in a lively green shade.  And it was Superwash - easycare, it said.  Should that have told me anything?

I did knit a couple of swatches, not something I always do as I tend to knit to a moderate gauge, not loose or tight. But I did not wash the swatches. I chose 4.5 mm needles because this gave me the right stitch-count, and the ball-band stated that this was a possible needle size for this yarn.  I would usually knit DK on 4mm needles.

While I was knitting this a friend asked if it was a cotton yarn and I could see what she meant: very crisp stitch definition because of the smooth, rounded yarn.

So, I have the back and both fronts knitted finally -  just the sleeve-heads still finish, then the button-bands.  I decide to block the finished pieces in the time-honoured way: a short soak in luke-warm water, a rinse, rolling in a towel to remove excess water and pinning out to dry to size and shape  on the dining-room floor.

But what was this?  The firm, crisp handle of the knitted pieces was gone, and replaced by drape.  It looked at first as though the pieces were much larger, certainly much floppier.  There was a certain amount of bloom - woolliness which had not been there before.  I patted the pieces into shape thinking of all the hours I had spent on the knitting only for this to happen.

Once dry, I tacked the pieces together to see if anything could be done.  Curiously, it does fit, although the handle is still drapy and the stocking stitch sections seem a little limp.

I am finishing the sleeveheads, so that the cardigan will at least be complete, even if it is not quite what I was expecting.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Geiger 4

So there I was, knitting up the left front of Geiger.  Apart from underestimating the importance of counting and counting again, which meant unravelling a two inch section right at the start, the chart was very straightforward, and familiar by now.

What's so challenging about this pattern? I asked myself.

Then I arrived at the start of the armhole decreases and I realised.  The chart has numbered rows, but some whole sections have to be repeated two or even three times.  This means that numbers cannot be used to identify what happens in each row.  So the written instructions do not identify the rows by number, but just by a sequence which you have to follow.

All the decreases are done away from the edges, so that those for the front slope are in the same place as those for the pattern shifting.

There is a single sentence paragraph which contains different sorts of brackets and asterisks for which only the word "Advanced" will do.  That's advanced pattern reading; the actual knitting remains quite straightforward once you have understood what has to be done and how often.

I would bet that quite a few Geigers will remain as wips as knitters remain mind-boggled by the directions.