Friday, February 24, 2012

Golden Years

Finished objects have been noticable by their absence here in recent months.  This is because I have been working on a secret project for a special birthday present.  You may recall the strip of Celtic knotwork from Alice Starmore's St Brigid, which appeared some time ago here. 

The first strip was the deep cream of  oiled wool, and fortunately a skein of Blue-faced Leicester, which I had in store, was a similar cream, although a lighter weight.  For the contrasting colour, I reclaimed the wool from the giant Starmore Aran that I had made for my husband, but which had never been worn.

Many of the cables are taken from "The New Knitting Stitch Library" by Lesley Stansfield. One is the central motif of an Aran jumper pattern by, I think, Hayfield.   I have tried to give some continuity to the design by including a ladder pattern on each taupe strip.

Since the whole item is intended to celebrate a significant birthday for my younger sister, I added the year in i-cord.  I was ten, and had always considered myself as the little one in the family, when my sister was born.  Fortunately, I have enjoyed her company from the first moment she came home from the hospital - how can that possibly be so long ago?

Remarkably difficult to get a full shot of this throw, and not to lose the definition on the patterns. 

Bright sunlight the other day cast bars across it, but gives a better impression of the liveliness of the whole.  I hope it gives my sister as much pleasure as it gives me.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Snow fields

Last weekend we went to the Cotswolds on our regular visit to my husband's step-mother.  All down the M11 the information boards warned us of severe weather to come. We recalled the time we drove across the A66 just before the closing of the snow gates.  I always felt that the words would not be out of place in a work of magic realism.

 It was bitterly cold in Stratford - -8 outside, we were told.  We stocked up with provisions -  I even invested in two travel rugs -  then ate the earliest possible lunch before setting out on the return journey.  Not a flake of snow fell on us before we reached home, fortunately; but, by morning, Essex was transformed.    This is a view across the fields to the village, some days later.

And here's my current project.  I would like to say I am making progress, but this would not be true.  The reason for being stuck lies in a shift of method in pattern-writing.  Some years ago, I knitted a lovely blue cabled jumper for my husband from this Hayfield pamphlet.

  It came out really well, so that when he wore it on our visit to the Aran Islands themselves, it drew comments.

However, in the intervening years, I have got used to reading charts of cabled patterns, so that returning to this one, where the picture is on one page and the instructions on two different pages, written out as panel patterns line by line, I find myself getting lost very easily.  Can this be another example of the increasingly visual culture in which we live?

I also feel this may be more in the modern idiom with the neckline adapted to make it a gilet, instead of a Vee-neck waistcoat.  We'll see.