Saturday, January 10, 2015


This is Signild by Elsebeth Lavold, which has also reached completion over the Christmas break.
I have admired the work of Lavold for some time: all those wonderful designs in "Viking Knits" - but I've never actually knitted one.  This one appeared in the September issue of "The Knitter", and I loved the Celtic, or Viking, knotwork.  This is an exceptionally simple design, with the simplest ribs and the button bands knitted as  the edge stitches of the fronts.  A beginner could knit it.
I used a yarn I have had for some time, but have not found  a pattern to suit .  I bought it on a cone from Coldharbour Mills, which specialised in remaindered yarns.  It was unbranded, but not cheap, and the smooth handle suggests that it is a high-end Merino.  However, it knits at somewhere between a DK and an Aran, so I ended up making the largest size, to be sure that it would fit.
Then there were the sleeve heads.  The shoulders are slightly dropped, with a shallow sleeve head.  I tried simply sewing these in, in the usual manner, but was not happy with the result.  The yarn is very smooth and reveals any flaws.  Eventually I decided to knit the sleeves again, using a top-down method, picking up stitches around the armhole.  Someone has very helpfully provided a free tutorial on this technique on their web-site.  It gives a much better result.
Maureen asked about the edging used on the Fair Isle pullover.  This is a really simple combination of garter stitch and single rib, which gives a neat effect. 
Knit two rows
K.1 P1 two rows
Knit two rows
I first used this on my Summer Isles waistcoat, where I was making up the pattern as I went along.  Because the bottom ribs were curling and flaring I took them off and reknitted then upside down,.  This had the effect of making the cast -off edge the same at the bottom of the waitcoat as on the front edgings, almost like a braid.

I used it again on the Windfalls waistcoat, but not on Jewels as it is knitted in Shetland style wool, and I just used single rib for that.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Works in progress

Just before Christmas we made our duty visit to the Cotswolds, where, fortunately, all was well with my husband's step-mother.  While there we did a little pootling in Stratford, passing this wrapped, or yarn-bombed, tree. 

I can understand the idea behind this practice, but only to a degree.  It's a bit like those giant art-works involving wrapping whole buildings in cloth.  Several of the qualities of knitted or crocheted fabric are negated by this process: it's not keeping anything warm,  it's not waterproof, it will get dirty..  I do think that this one looks cute though, like an illustration in a child's book.

A friend recently attempted to log her wips on Ravelry.  She gave up the attempt when she realised that there were more than twenty items on the needles around her house.  I have not counted how many unfinished items I have, but it will be a few.

I generally like to work on one item at a time, but have been persuaded
by Jean Miles' practice of having several items of varying complexity on the go, for different purposes: waiting-rooms, car journeys, quiet afternoons.

Top of this list is the Pierowall pullover.  I'm now working on the last section, involving decreasing through those complex charts.  This is knitting which demands my full attention.  I retreat to the dining room, where I can have the chart laid out on the table in front of me.  It's taking some time, but I am pleased with the effect.

Edited to add:  After ten hours of the Radio 4 production of "War and Peace", I am happy to announce that the Pierowall Pullover has now moved to Finished Object status. 

In the original, the designer, Liz Lovick, used sixteen different yarns, swapping one yarn in each row to give a subtle shaded effect.  It was knitted in the round, with steeks, and had patterns front and back. I'd love to see it in wear.

  In my simplified version (!!) I used a speckled sock yarn by Katia with a 4ply merino in jade for the front, which I knitted back and forth.  This may have been a mistake.  For the back I used a 150 gm ball of a sock yarn by Regia, in a remarkably similar colour, using a plain single rib. 

For the edgings, I used that combination of garter stitch and rib which I have used before, which just gives a neat edge.  Wet blocking the front made all the difference to the set of the stitches on the front.  It has a luxurious handle from the Merino 4-ply.  Incredibly, it took only one ball of the Katia speckled sock yarn.

I love it.