Projects, stories, memories and myths of knitting and crafts

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Mediterranean Maia

Maia is one of the seven small shawls from Rosemary Hill. The shawl names are derived from the constellation know as the The Seven Sisters or The Pleiades. In mythology they were the virgin daughters of Atlas and Pleione. They were hunted down by Orion and to escape they turned into doves and flew into the heavens where they became stars and Zeus claimed them all. 

Maia means grandmother, mother or nurse. She was seduced by Zeus and gave birth to Hermes, the messenger of the gods.

I really love the texture and the lace together. It works beautifully.

I have called my shawl Mediterranean Maia because the colour way of the yarn reminds me of this sea in all its moods.

This pattern was an absolute joy to knit. For me, it had an intuitive rhythm. I could pick it up and and put it down randomly with great ease. The design elements are interesting and fun to construct.  I will be watching so see how the other shawls in the series develop.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Festive Fingerless Mitterns

Last Thursday at our Knitting Group Christmas Party, we had a lovely yarn swop where I got the perfect yarn for Christmas Mittens. It is called Noro Aurora and has a sparkly tread woven into it.  It is very pretty.

I started looking for a pattern on Ravelry and could not find one I liked so I wrote one myself which I will share at the end of this blog.

I used the double circular needle method which I find makes knitting in the round much simpler but use DPNs if that is what is comfortable.

I knitted the first mitten taking notes, wrote the pattern and then knitted the second from the pattern so it all seems to be in order. Please let me know if it is not. Here you can really see the sparkle in the yarn.

Then there were two, all complete.

The final test is to try them, wear them and enjoy them.

Festive Fingerless Mittens

Any Double knitting yarn: 1 ball, 50 g
Yarn Used: Noro Aurora – wool-mohair blend
Gauge : 15st x 20 rows to 2 inches
Size : I have large hands and wanted snug mittens. Looser fit on medium hands. Stitches can be adjusted for smaller hands.

2 3mm 40cm circular needles / 4 3mm double pointed needles
scrap yarn / stitch holders
stitch makers
yarn needle

k - knit
p - purl
pm - place marker
sm - slip marker
m1 - make 1 by knitting into the back of the loop between the stitches before the next stitch

To knit these I used the double circular needle method. Use DPNs if you prefer this method.

Cast on 42 stitches with long tail cast on method. Divide the stitches equally, 21 stitches to each needle, making sure that they are not twisted and the last cast on stitches are on the back needle. Join the open end by slipping the last stitch from the front needle onto the back needle. Lift the second last stitch from the back needle, over the last stitch and onto the front needle.


Row 1 K2, P1 rib, repeat to end
Row 2-34 Repeat Row 1

Thumb Gusset
Row 35 all odd rows Knit
Row 36 K5, pm, m1, k2, m1 pm, knit to end (44sts)
Row 38 K5, sm, m1, k4, m1 sm, knit to end (46sts)
Row 40 K5, sm, m1, k6, m1 sm, knit to end (48sts)
Row 42 K5, sm, m1, k8, m1 sm, knit to end (50sts)
Row 44 K5, sm, m1, k10, m1 sm, knit to end (52sts)
Row 46 K5, sm, m1, k12, m1 sm, knit to end (54sts)
Row 48 K5, sm, m1, k14, m1 sm, knit to end (56sts)
Row 50 K5, sm, m1, k16, m1 sm, knit to end (58sts)
Row 51-52 Knit

Row 53 K5, place next 18 st on a stitch holder for the tumb. Turn knitting and cast on 2 stitches, turn knitting again and knit row. (42st)
Row 54 Knit
Row 55-67 K2, P1 rib, repeat to end

Cast off loosely using a larger needle.


Place stitches from stitch holder onto 2 needles, nine on each.

Row 1 Knit 18st, pick up 3 from the cast on after thumb gusset, 21sts.
Row 2-12 K2, P1 rib

Cast off loosely using a larger needle.

Weave in the loose ends. Put on and admire!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Borneo's Golden Christmas Crown.

As I mentioned in my last post, a friend knitted her husband a hat that Borneo saw. He proceeded to covet it. So against all my declarations of "no Christmas knitting under pressure" this year, on Friday, I started knitting said Christmas hat.

The friend generously donated the yarn, Elle, Merino Tweed, as it is difficult for me to get out into the shops at the moment. I received it at the Knitting Group Christmas Party on Thursday evening.

I bought the pattern, 'Habitat' from Brooklyn Tweed, online and started it on Friday afternoon. As the weekend intervened and Borneo was working from home on Monday, nothing was accomplished over those days. I finished it this morning. It was a really quick knit. Here it is unblocked.

The pattern was a joy to work with and it progressed with relative ease, except for the fact that a cold came to visit on Monday evening and made my body its home in the ensuing days . Fuzzy headed yesterday, I had to rip back 2 rows as I had turned a couple of cables the wrong way. I loved the size of the chart. It really makes it easy to read and work from them. Here is a better picture of what the pattern actually looks like. I love it!

Last night, on his return from work, Borneo almost caught me out and walked in on me knitting it, but the Universe stopped him at the corner shop, where he called me to ask if we needed milk. I abandoned it mid row knowing he was steps away. There were only 4 more rows to knit!

It is wrapped in a pretty Christmas bag with a blue ribbon, awaiting revelation on Saturday, ready to crown his head in warmth and love. Let's hope that he does not decide to randomly read this blog before then and spoil the surprise. 

Friday, 17 December 2010

Hats. Hats. Hats.

I have been taking a break from both Eala Bhan, who has gown a few inches and Maia, where I have reached the final 2 charts.

On Thursday night at the knitting group Jane arrived with a hat that I have fallen in love with. It is Brambles by Amanda Muscha from the Knitty magazine. Within 4 days, I had whipped up 2 of them, enjoying every minute of a well written pattern and a gorgeous design. It all falls into place beautifully and is such a joy to knit.

I have not posted them on Ravelry until know as one of them is my secret Santa gift at the Knitting Group's Chirstmas party tonight. This one is knitted in Manos Silk Blend and shows the pattern definition beautifully.

The second is knitted in Mirasol Hacho which I bought by accident, thinking it was a sock yarn when it is actually a DK weight. It knitted beautifully and although it does not show the design as well, I really like it too. It will be the first blue hat I own which is very strange as many of my clothes are blue. With snow forecast for the next few days it looks like I will have be wearing it soon.

To continue the hat saga, Borneo saw the Koolhaas by Jared Flood that a friend had knitted for her husband for their 13th anniversary and was quiet jealous. It seems that all the sweaters that I have knitted are not enough and I have neglected my wifely duties by not providing himself with a wooly hat.

To rectify this omission, I have bought Habitat by Jared Flood and plan to surprise him with said knitted pacifier for Christmas, if he does not read this blog before then! He will have to make do with his feece beanies until then.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Delights of Choice.

For a most of my life I have been a monogamous knitter. I made beautiful garments, one at a time, to clothe my family, to order by design. There was always pressure to complete them.

These are some of the earliest garments I knitted for the Lindele Studio the second studio that I worked for.

Early Kaffe Fasset -  hand-dyed and spun angora rabbit

This is the easiest jersey I designed. It was for a magician who wanted to have less formal wear. He loved it. The stars are gold and the red is glittery too. The photos are old. This was made before the ones above, in the late eighties.

After 20 years of knitting like this I stopped completely. There was no longer pleasure when knitting and no yarn passed over my fingers for 5 years.

When we moved to the UK ten years ago, I tentatively began to knit again. I wanted patterns and yarn that were perfect, that required no tweaking, to have a peaceful, meditative knitting experience with the least fuss.

Initially, I knitted mostly for myself or made secret projects for my family hiding them until they were completed. I could take time and complete them with no pressure. I was still a monogamous knitter.

Slowly, I was seduced as the enjoyment returned and I have become a scarlet knitting woman. I have been lured away from my monogamous ways by hoards of beautiful patterns and gorgeous yarn. I am learning to spin too!

Every day is an adventure in fibre.  My monogamous ways have flown out the window, as each day offers me the delight of a myriad of choices; a sock, lace shawl, cabled cardigan, textured cardigan. I can pick up and knit what I fancy and I am quite unattached to any of them. If I change my mind I can frog them and start again. This is a wonderful benefit for having knitted for others for many years.

Some of the projects on my needles currently are:

Eala Bahn has been progressing very slowly since I had to rip back 16 rows. I have knitted about four since then. Notice the cable on the left had a will of its own and refused to fall into line with the rest, making its own wayward way up through the centre of the design. It does not exist any more!

As the Cookie A Cubist socks are complete,

a new sock project is in the making out of Skeinqueen's Blush - Helter Skelter 80% merino 20%cashmere and it is beautifully soft. The pattern will be of my own making, probably with some cables or a celtic twist on the top. I am still loving the 2 circular needles.

I have been led astray by a lace and texture shawl called Maia by Rosemary Hill, knitted in Jilly Bean's delightful sock, 70% baby alpaca, 20% silk and 10% cashmere. What a fabulous pattern and such a great design.  She is beautiful and so soft and she just wants to be held all the time. It has been such fun to knit and is luring me to be monogynous for a while ....... but I am fighting the urge.