Thursday, 18 September 2008

A Real Challenge

As my interest in Aran knitting has been reawakened, I have been looking at various designers, guides and stitch dictionaries. Not really sure why, I have never been able to design anything and have absolutely no artistic ability. Still, I do like reading and looking at pictures, so have been adding to my (large) book and pattern collection with new aran stuff. My latest acquisition is this:

A Japanese cable and aran stitch dictionary. It is written entirely in Japanese, but does have symbols, which you can decipher with the help of various websites and reference documents. The aran patterns are absolutely amazing - I've never seen cables etc like it! Here is a photo of one of the pages:

I bought it from Needlearts bookshop, a Canadian company who were very prompt and friendly. My intention is to start doing some swatches from these patterns - watch this space!

Friday, 12 September 2008

Colourscape Scarf

The problem I have found with aran knitting is that you have to keep your eye on it. This means that I cannot watch all the riveting programmes currently on tv whilst knitting complicated patterns. So I looked around for something easier to do. In my wip basket I had: a plain navy jumper back to finish (front with animal pattern completed); simple textured pattern jumper, back and sleeves; gloves; socks, horrid chenille jumper; but obviously these would not do. No, I felt it was time to start something new. But what? I did not dare to start anything too large and so thought a scarf would be the ideal project.
The Rowan Colourscape was calling to me and so I snatched a skein of 'Heath' from the shop, took one of the pattern leaflets for Tainted Scarf and off I went. The colouring is quite amazing. Beautiful colours in lovely stripes! The yarn is soft and very easy to knit with. Picking out bits of straw still in the yarn is an added interest and I am enjoying the pattern. Just enough complication to make it interesting, not so much that I cannot concentrate on the plot of Coronation Street. Perfect!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Back To University

Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis will know that Joe, our son, is passionately opposed to wearing handknitted, woollen garments. You will be shocked to see that the above photo is of Joe wearing his new, handknitted, woollen vest thing made by mum. I must admit to the casual observer, he may not look over excited, but believe me, for Joe this is about as good as it gets. I made this from a pattern in Best of Interweave Knits using King Cole Merino Aran yarn from the shop.

The decreasing around the v neck was a little uneven, but as it is extremely unlikely this garment will ever be shown to anyone who knows anything about knitting, I don't suppose it matters. Anyway, I was pleased that he agreed to wear it - he even said he liked it. This was Joe's back to uni outfit. After almost four months of being at home he has now returned for another arduous year of studying.

On the whole, it was easy enough to make. The stitch was described as 'brioche' in the book, but I couldn't find the same stitch in any of my reference books under that name (or any other name). The stitch was as follows:

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl 2, from stitch on left needle, pick up loop and place on left needle, knit the loop and stitch together.

The unusual thing was that you had to knit using a size 5 mm needle and a 3.25 needle, so that you had normal aran sized stitches for the knit row and then smaller for the rib row. It made a very thick piece of fabric type knitting. Almost woven, in fact. I am sure it will keep him nice and warm this winter.