Friday, February 26, 2010

Why Yes, I Do Knit!

Two weeks ago I started my new "Friday Finds" feature, partly to post more than just my knitting and partly to encourage myself to post more often. However, I'm quickly finding that I'm STILL only posting on Fridays and the knitting has been all but forgotten.

Well, today is the day to rectify that (at least the knitting part, not the posting on more than just Friday).

And so, firstly...

:::Friday Finds:::

A set of vintage Size 14 (that's 2mm nowadays) Superfine Knitting Pins by Thos. Harper and Sons - Redditch, England.

See, see? It's already knitting related!

Held in the original wooden needle case and found locally, the label says "Full Set" and there are 4 pins inside, though I'm not sure if 4 is a full set or not.

The pins are a bit tarnished, though not rusty. I've read that you can clean old metal with vegetable oil and very fine steel wool, which I plan to try. I'll let you know how that goes.

Progress continues on Trinket.

I think I'm about a third of the way through, though I haven't bothered to measure yet - it's clearly WAAAY too short, so, really, why bother?

The yarn is Elann Silken Kydd in the pewter colourway. It's beautiful and lightweight, with a hint of silky shimmer. Gorgeous!

I mentioned a wee while back that I was going to be designing my own knitting pattern, which I have!


I made a lovely pair of mittens, all I have to do is write the pattern, and as soon as that's done I'll post it here on the blog and make it available.

I just have to write it all down...and learn how to make a fancy word document...with swish fonts...and maybe some colours...and a chart...and do a photo shoot...and cut and paste some of those photos..and then make it into a pdf file.

Is it any wonder I don't post more often than Friday?

Friday, February 19, 2010

::: Friday Finds :::

One of the items on my mental checklist when I'm out looking through the vintage shops are old books with colour illustrations. Earlier this week I came across "The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini", translated by John Addington Symonds and illustrated by Salvador Dali.

I'm not going to lie, I didn't recognise the name Cellini, not having taken any classes in Art History, though I did recognise the name Dali, not being completely ignorant.

If you want to know more about either artist, just click on the links.

I've decided not to embarrass myself by nattering on about how stunning the illustrations are, I'm just going to let them speak for themselves...

It's no lie, that Dali fella sure could pick a paint colour, no?

And two more...

Last summer I found Hendrik Willem Van Loon's "Geography", with illustrations by the author. I fell completely in love with this book. Again, this was someone I'd never heard of before - though it turns out he's quite famous (I guess I should get out more).

If you want to find out more about Van Loon, you'll have to google him as blogger doesn't want to co-operate anymore today.

Van Loon's books are packed to the gills with facts and presented in a very engaging, airy style - aimed at the young adult crowd. Check out these fabulous sketches...

Also found last summer was Van Loon's "The Arts", a look at the Arts through the ages and how they related to their respective eras. Again, this is another book aimed at young adults, so it's written with a light and amusing touch.

There were two "bonuses" with this book, the original receipt,

and the original complimentary bookmark. It's one of the things I love about old books - the little treasures pressed between the pages - like a wee archealogical dig!

And, here are a few of the illustrations inside...

Fabulous-ness, yes?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Stumbling Over Roots and Branches

I recently stumbled over a tree branch. Family tree, that is. It's been very exciting. Jane and I have been working on the family tree for a few years now and though we've had fits and starts of information, it all pales in comparison to the treasure trove of photos and stories that arrived this week via another branch of the same tree (big thank yous to Gwen!). It's had the dual effect of opening discussions and ending speculation, and certainly given us all a big dose of history to digest. I'm going to leave it all at that, as I'm afraid you'd find it all very boring unless you were part of the family.

I've been thinking for some time that I should start a regular feature on the blog; something that would push me to post more regularly and also give my loyal readers (sounds grand doesn't it - but I can probably count them on one hand) a reason to seek out my blog each week. So starting today I'm going to feature:

:::Friday Finds:::

note: I might change the name down the road, I think I can do better than that.

Most people who know me, know that I'm always trolling through vintage shops and second-hand stores looking for objects that amuse me (or "objet qui m'amusent", hmm...sounding better already), so what better activity than displaying them on my blog? Oui?

Found recently, this fabulous package of sewing needles, probably from the fifties or sixties. Even better than the old graphics of the spat between two dogs and a cat, if you look out beyond the window, there's a tee pee and a half falling over tree - who thinks up this stuff? I can't see what this has to do with sewing.

The best part of the packaging is what's written at the top.

I can only assume that you could order them this way. When I saw them, of course I had to have them, as I'm a Harriett and my Mum is a Harriet, her Grandmother was a Harriett and her Grandmother's Grandmother was a Harriet (born 1828 - Dingley, Northhamptonshire). Of course, I had to have them, well worth the twenty-five cent asking price.

So there you go, my first "Friday Find". Let me know what you think of the new feature.

Also new this past week or so, I've decided to design my own knitting pattern.

I know, I know, that's a pretty big step.

It's going to be a pair of mittens, working title "Around Town", though that won't be the final title. I won't be showing too many details of the pattern, not until I've worked out all the bugs and have it thoroughly edited and ready to share. So there. I will say that it's stranded colourwork in fingering weight.

Also on the needles is Trinket by Kim Hargreaves, beautiful, and a thoroughly relaxing knit too.

And recently off the needles and blocked: Citron.

If anyone is looking for an easy project with fabulous results, this might be the one.

It could be worked in all different weights of yarn (I used lace-weight) and could be easily adapted to be much bigger if you desired. It would also look fantastic in all kinds of colours. Perfection.

Here's something else I like:

Friday, February 5, 2010

On and Off and On

That's the bag I've been using for my knitting lately, though last weeks motto should have been "Keep Calm Abandon Ship".

I had the worst series of attempts at projects. After finishing the Peak's Island Hood, which turned out perfectly, perfect and cosy...

I started work on the Liquid Silver Shawl by Rosemary Hill, which I'd been meaning to start for ages. Nigel got me the yarn for Christmas, I'd ordered the beads, the pattern was printed off and away I went. It wasn't too long before the dreaded "Rosemary Hill can't write a knitting pattern to save her life" issue rose it's ugly head. I've had a friend complain to me before about her patterns, how certain key pieces of information are simply omitted, but I insisted on believing that there was something faulty in how that knitter was reading the pattern (sorry Shelagh, I shouldn't have doubted) and that somehow I wouldn't have any trouble at all.

I was wrong.

I ripped out that pattern twice, the beaded border wasn't so difficult, though, why she fails to have a row 1 is beyond me - the pattern starts on row 2 and continues on to row 362. Why doesn't it just start on row 1 and continue to row 361? I've no idea...

I ended up ripping the border out once, on my second attempt I made it up into the body of the shawl, but quickly discovered that though the chart states that there is a 24 stitch repeat within each row (it's true, there is) Rosemary Hill has cleverly placed red line markers on the chart for 28 stitches. Urgh!

I tore it back a second time and decided not to bother at all, instead I'm going to make Trinket by Kim Hargreaves, it uses a similar yarn and beads. I'm very hopeful...

After all the unnecessary thinking (I'm just not up for it these days) of the Liquid Silver Shawl, I opted to knit the very easy Citron, from Knitty's winter edition. This entire wrap is just knit and purl (with increases and decreases) and was the ideal antidote to clear my head and feel accomplished. Sadly, I wasn't even a few inches into the pattern when I lost track of where I was and had to rip it all out and start over. I had been using a row counter, but it must have fallen to the floor and added 10 rows, because it didn't look right at all.

I started again and it's all fine now...

I'm working it in Estelle Super Alpaca Lace in charcoal, a gift from a friend at Christmas (Thank you Lori!). I love how it's working out, the pattern is very easy and the yarn gives the piece a very Victorian sort of air, I can see myself making a lot of these little shawl, in a variety of colours.

Also on the needles is a pair of Hat Heel Socks, another Knitty pattern, this one from Autumn of last year.

I'm not usually a fan of hand-knit socks, but these ones called to me. I think the unusual construction might just make them fit my feet. We shall see...

I'm using Twinkle Toes sock yarn by Dublin Dye Company, dyed by Elana, a friend of Elly's from Dublin. If I remember correctly, Elly gave it to me for Christmas in 2008, though it may have been for my birthday that year, I can't honestly remember. I like how the heel shows all the colours in the yarn, very bright and happy.

And that's the story of what's been off and on the needles lately.

I'm off now to bake some peanut butter cookies.