Tag Archives: shawls

spinning yarnz

For the past two years my bff has been threatening to teach me to spin. I couldn’t risk letting her – there was no way I would ever graduate if I got another fibery habit.  But having completed the final course for my degree in October, I found a spindle in my Christmas stocking
new spindle

along with a pair of hand carders and some merino tops. So I spent Christmas day (and many days thereafter) playing with my presents, and eventually (and thanks to various online tutorials and videos), made yarn!


I have already managed to make Real Yarn, plied and everything.  All the tutorials caution new spinners to make sure to add enough twist; I think I took this too much to heart and ended up with very twisty yarn.  But it’s still yarn, and I think I have enough of the green merino for fingerless gloves.
first plied yarntwisty merino handspun
So mostly I have been spinning since Christmas, not much knitting except for sshhh sooper seekrit project for Purl City Yarns design contest).

There was however much knitting and other crafting at the end of last year, here’s a quick catch up on some recent(ish) makes, including Christmas knittings
Christmas & other makes
1. Tavish’s booties, 2. Fagin Gloves, for DrM, 3. beanie, for son, 4. day of the dead bag, 5. Ishbel, for mum, 6. limpetiole, for sis, 7. dolls house shawl, 8. cats’ Xmas present, 9. Lennard-Jones socks, for Ethel



Revontuli mini shawl finished and blocked and looking lovely, if I say so myself.  Revontuli is Finnish for ‘northern lights’, and the colours of the yarn are like the aurora borealis.
Northern Lights Shawlette
pattern: Revontuli-huivi (Northern Lights) by AnneM – yarn: Regia Hand-dye Effect 06551 – ravelry project page

The plan is for it to be raffled to help raise funds for C to go to the Scout World Jamboree next year.  It’s in Norway so the northern lights theme is most apt (although it will be the wrong time of year to see the lights, they will have the midnight sun instead).

Meanwhile, I am so happy with the shawl I got my neighbour to model it
Northern Lights ShawletteNorthern Lights Shawlette

oh and I just realised I have never blogged about the other shawlettes I’ve made in the past few months. They turn out to be far more useful and practical than I imagined – used as triangular scarves they are awesome.

There was Herbivore, bought as a Help for Haiti pattern, knitted from Mrs Skeins‘ beautiful BfL sock yarn and worn constantly by me until the weather got too warm
herbivore outside
pattern: Herbivore by Stephen West – yarn: Skeins superwash BfL sock yarn – ravelry project page

There was Easter Bandit, for by BFF’s easter gift
pattern: Springtime Bandit by Kate Gagnon Osborn – yarn: Violet Green Solemate in Delphiniums & Cream – ravelry project page

And, saving the best for last, a swallowtail shawl for my sister. I actually finished this year but it was embargoed until her birthday. It’s the first time I have done lace ‘proper’, in lace weight and with nupps and everything. It was pretty challenging but I love the finished object.
swallowtail shawl
pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark – yarn: ‘mystery lace’ – ravelry project page

Shawlettes are the new socks!


the knitting goddesses have decided to start being kinder to me, and I have been able to make some progress.  As Suse suggested I did some charity knitting, pressing on with a project for a fundraising raffle.  I love how lace looks all ‘meh’ when you’re knitting it but is transformed by blocking into a thing of beauty.  Here is project so far, still very much in the ‘meh’ phase
One more pattern repeat and it will be finished and ready to block.

I’ve finally joined the round on DrM’s fair isle jumper and made some progress. Corrugated rib looks lovely but I hates knitting it. Happily I am now on to the fair isle pattern proper. I loves knitting fair isle.
More blues, I know, but it’s DrM’s favourite. The colours are a little muted for my taste, but perfect for DrM.

As for my other WiPs, I need to cast on for new sleeves for the bamboo lacy thing if I am to have any hope of it being ready for my holidays. I have given up on the idea of wearing a new cotton cardigan this summer.

life long learning

I took my chemistry-with-hard-sums exam last week.  Now I have no studying for a couple of months, until my next course starts in February (although I may do a little light reading in preparation for it).   Even though my chemistry studies are over for this year, I still have plenty of new things to learn.  I’ve cast on for my bountiful bohus cardigan.  This features a couple of techniques I’ve not done before – short row shaping and steeks.

I have done short rows before, but not for shaping a garment.  The pattern does give some shapings but I’m going to recalculate my own, as well as tweaking other parts of the shaping, using my hard-won mad algebra skillz. If  I can apply the steady state approximation and understand the Langmuir adsorption isotherm then I can damn well work out where to put a couple of bust darts.

Steeks, though! Steeks are a different story.  You want me to cut my knitting?  I think I’d rather derive some more kinetic equations, thanks.  Cut. My.  Knitting! ?  This is terrifying.  But I know lots of knitters who have done it and survived, and they assure me it’s not that difficult but even so, I’m scared.  But ’tis a long way off yet.  I have started with the sleeves, by way of checking my tension calculations (my yarn is knitting up looser than the pattern so I am following the instructions for a smaller size).   I’ve made the sleeves narrower than the pattern has them – I already have one cardigan with big sleeves, don’t really need another.
cardigan sleeve

I did finally finish my summer school shawl, and wore it during my exam – it gets quite cool in the exam hall after 2 or 3 hours sitting still.
bidentate shawl, for mebidentate shawl
pattern: Litla Dimun by Cheryl Oberle (from ‘Folk Shawls‘)
yarn: Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper Yarn, shade 1403 (the red is slightly deeper/darker than it shows in these photos)
needles: 4 mm

I love the finished shawl, the Faroese shape really does stay on well. And I love the yarn, in all its crispness and slight roughness. This feels like the kind of shawl my great grandmothers would have worn. Airy lace and softy delicate yarns are good for dressing up, but this is an honest, everyday working shawl.  Although I wear it for working in  the library, rather than the fields or mills.  Ah, which reminds me …
Poetry Society U
I kniktted this ‘U’ for the Poetry Society’s Knitted Poem.  They asked you to tell them your favourite poem.  One of mine is Digging by Seamus Heaney

But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.

out with the old, in with the new

my final FO of 2008, finished on 31st Jan Dec, a shawl for my mum who has been in hospital for a bit and looked like she could do with something to keep her shoulders warm while sitting up in bed.
hostipal shawl 2
pattern: La La’s Simple Shawl by Laura Linneman (free ravelry download)
yarn: James C. Brett Marble Chunky in 07 Autumn
needles: 6 mm

…. and the first project I cast on in 2009, salto socks for the Violet Green group’s knit-a-long.
This was the progress I made on the first day. Then I realised I’d mis-read the pattern and had to frog most of it out. I am nearly back to this point now …

did I mention …

…. how I can make it at home for nothing? Passed one of the northern quarter’s fine geek emporia while on my way to Abakhan today and saw this in the window
s’not as cute as mine.

Still mostly all about the Christmas knitting at the moment, but it’s nearly over, only a quarter of a scarf left to go.  There has been a little non-Christmas knitting, my neighbour broke her ankle so I’ve made her a festive cast sock from stash oddments

cast sock, for Karina

And once I have the final scarf finished and blocking (hopefully some time tomorrow) I’ll be starting a shawl for mum, hence the trip to Abakhan for more marble chunky.

my clapotis is full of fail

I finished my great big clapotis.  I love the colours, I love the pattern, but the finished shawl/wrap just doesn’t work.  I think I’ve made it too big, it won’t sit right on me.

Because of the shape it is (parallelogram rather than rectangular), it was hard to know when it was long enough, and now it’s too long.  I’ve added buttons, which help but don’t solve the problem. So I will have to rip out the end and do it again, but not right away.  Am going to set it to one side for now and get back to the Christmas knitting.

clapotis, for me
clapotis, for meclapotis button

pattern: Clapotis by Kate Gilbert
yarn: James C. Brett Marble Chunky shade 03 Wild Field
needles: 1 x 6 mm + 1 x 5.5mm (because I couldn’t find a pair of 6mm)

overcome by the yarn fumes

This is what happens when two knitters ‘just pop in for a look’ at Abakhan
we went to abakhan
Some of this haul is my belated birthday present from Chrissie, and I think once the Christmas knitting is finished I will have having a shawl frenzy – a big clapotis from James C Brett Marble and a bloom from Patons Spirit.  I still feel that wearing shawls make me look like I’m on my way to a mine disaster but I just love to knit them.

Oooh and I am participating in my first swap – a ‘sock yarn from your stash’ swap on Ravelry.  I’ve send a parcel to Anne-Ruth in Norway, now I’m waiting excitedly for my parcel from my upstream partner.  Surprise yarn in the post, what could be better?

North Sea Shawl

North Sea Shawl

Love this pattern, very simple and very beautiful. Knits up quickly and looks beautiful once blocked. I wanted a bigger shawl than the dimensions written so added 12 extra stitches for more width and extra pattern repeats for more length (finished dimensions after blocking approx 200 cm x 55 cm).

North Sea Shawl, for me

The yarn is a perfect colour for this shawl. Can’t get it to show properly in photos so far, it’s not as grey as it looks here. It’s bluey greyey greeney, exactly the colour of the North Sea off the east coast of Scotland.

North Sea Shawl detail

Pattern: North Sea Shawl by Cheryl Oberle, from Folk Shawls
Yarn: Violet Green Supersock, colour Shark
Needles: 3.75 mm metal straights

blocking update

I’m new to lace and to blocking, so finding out how much things grow (and how much better they look) with blocking is all new to me.
North Sea Shawl blocking
Shawl is now all pinned out on the bed (using the Yarn Harlot String-and-Pins method) and it has grown, from about 175 cm to about 200 cm. Maybe could’ve stretched it out longer but our bed is only 200 cm long. And the width has expanded too, to 55 cm, so I am very happy with these post-blocking dimensions.
North Sea Shawl detail