Friday, September 17, 2010


My knitted sample from Alice Starmore's class.  I had taken a spare ball from my throw and knitted a few rows before the class in anticipation.  Alice kept repeating "Read your knitting," as a kind of mantra, and of course it makes sense.  I always need a clear picture of the end product in sight, so that the chart comes alive, and not all patterns provide clear images.

Some more views of my throw.  I designed it for a specific location, where I already have a blue and white strippy Aran sampler throw. 

 My original intention was to adapt knotwork patterns from the Viking crosses found in West Cumbria, specifically the one at Gosforth.  There is a modern replica of this at Aspatria, where the knotwork is much crisper.

However,  I had reckoned without my inexperience in writing stitch patterns, so instead I used the knotwork patterns from Starmore's Cromarty sweater as the blue stripes.  Then I put together two Aran elements from Barbara Walker's "Treasury" for the cream stripes, which I felt needed vertical continuity.

The only element where I actually managed to do it myself is in the central panel.  Viking knotwork panels often turn out to be serpents or dragons with heads and tails.  I havered over the heads for some time, but, while on a long car journey, it came to me just to fudge it:  I opened up the cable I was knitting and made the outline of the head.  I then enhanced the mouth and added the ear and eye in embroidery.  I am more pleased with the device of having the heads face each other.  This would have been beyond me, so instead I knitted two strips and grafted them together - this is evident at the edge where I have not mastered grafting in moss stitch.

I am very pleased with it - so pleased that it is now in daily use in our living room, where it does not go with anything else colour-wise.

On a different note, I spent yesterday reliving my teenage years, knocking up a new item of clothing from a bargain length of fabric.  Some weeks ago, I bought two tweed skirt lengths from e-bay, for less than ten pounds the pair.  I would love to know what was going through the mind of the original owner who appears to have sent away for about five pieces of tweed from Strone House, Argyllshire, each autumn, but then never used any of them.  All these years later, I paid very little more than she did, perhaps because the seller suggested they might be slightly musty.  I know from musty, as the Americans have it, and these were completely free of must.

The hem is often the giveaway on homemade items, so I made use of the selvedges which provided a little fringe.  Keeping the orientation of the tweed  while doing this procedure cost me some thought but I managed it.

 Handwoven tweed, in lovely colours, and the knee-length skirt once more a wearable item in fashion terms.- - what more can one desire?


Meg said...

Love that skirt!

In response to your question about how the giant holes are made on the Galathea scarf, they are constructed with a series of yarn-overs - five in a row to be exact - which are then k, p, k, p, k on the following row. Pretty cool, right?


I love the dragon/snakes on your throw! Thank you for reading my pitiful blog.

Thimbleanna said...

Oh. My. Gosh! Your knitting is just stunning -- I LOVE it!

I hopped over here from Frayed at the Edge because I noticed your name. Are you a Shand? My mother is a Shand and we've had great fun doing genealogy and discovering a few family-related places in Scotland.

catdownunder said...

Very nice indeed - purrfect for a cat like myself! Have you seen Dorota Kowalczyk's work on Ravelry?