Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Recently, I won a competition run by Knitabulous, and on Monday I received something truly fabulous in the mail...

It's two skeins of Louisa Harding 'Kimono Angora' and a skein of Louisa Harding 'Kimono Ribbon' yarn in the same yummy colourway, all beautifully presented in a perfectly sized box with a red snowflake design on a white background. The accompanying card hasn't come out too clearly in the photo, but it actually has lots of detail which my camera failed to pick up, and co-ordinates beautifully with the yarn.

I really hope that the stunning range of colours in this yarn will show up well on everyone's screens, as they all work so well together. Unfortunately, the luxurious softness of the yarn simply won't photograph, so you'll just have to take my word for that. ;)

Thank you, Knitabulous!!! :)

As a scarf seems to be the obvious thing to make with the yarn -- that, and I really want to make it into something which will be in contact with my skin -- I decided to search the internet for inspiration. Those of you who've seen some of my comments on this blog and elsewhere probably won't be surprised by what follows. ;) As I really love searching for things like this, I'm going to share the results of my searches here.

First up, I found a scarf which was knit in the Railroad Knitting stitch pattern from Sarah Bradberry's website using the 'Kimono Angora', with strands of the 'Kimono Ribbon' woven through the tracks created by the dropped stitches. The end result is simple and stunning, and I really like it, but I just know I'd end up snagging the strands of ribbon yarn whenever I wore it.

Next, I came across a spiral scarf knit with just the 'Kimono Angora' using a pattern featuring short row shaping, and a ruffle scarf which used both yarns. However, as I knit Amanda Blair Brown's 'Ruffles' scarf from the 'Scarf Style' book in red Cleckheaton 'Angora Supreme' last winter, I decided to keep looking.

Then I discovered a scarf knit in 'Kimono Angora' using the Echarpe scarf pattern, but, believe it or not, I knit one of these last winter too, this time to showcase a hank of beautifully hand-dyed yarn I bought from Marta's Yarns, which it did admirably.

So I continued searching, and this time found a couple of Misty Garden scarves, knit from 'Kimono Angora' using Jo Sharp's 'Misty Garden' pattern from the 'Scarf Style' book. This still wasn't quite what I was after, but the rippling pattern of the 'Feather and Fan' stitch seemed to be heading in the right direction, so I started browsing through my copy of this...

... in search of an alternative lacey, rippling wave stitch pattern to use for my scarf. The strongest contenders at the moment are these four stitch patterns...

I'm leaning towards the 'Twisting Vines' pattern at the moment, but I'd love to hear what other people think would work best. Whichever stitch pattern I end up choosing, I'm thinking working the scarf as blocks of eight rows of 'Kimono Angora' separated by smaller blocks in the 'Kimono Ribbon' yarn of either two or four rows -- chosen at random, of course, to echo the random dyed yarn -- would work well. I may even toss a coin to decide how many rows to knit each time I change over to the 'Kimono Ribbon' yarn. ;)

Continuing the theme of 'presents'... Last Sunday was Mother's Day, and I was definitely spoilt by my family...

Michael had given me most of my Mother's Day presents in advance this year -- the fabulous new mobile I wrote about in the previous posting was actually one of them :) -- but, on the day itself, he also gave me the lovely red carnations and the Instant Lottery ticket which can just be seen hiding amongst the flowers. Plus he cooked dinner for us all, and brought some cheesecake home for dessert. :) Katherine gave me the cute 'Wallace & Gromit' soap dish, which I was surprised to find waiting for me on my chair when I went to check my e-mail. Amanda came over to see me, and gave me the Season 1 DVD set of 'Gilmore Girls' -- she even sat down and watched the first four episodes with me before she had to leave -- and three Lindt 'Petits Desserts' chocolate blocks to try -- Yum!

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Catching up, and a new toy!

So... Where have I been for the past month?

Well.. For the most part, I've been upgrading my PC to 'Windows XP', and re-installing everything from scratch. It hasn't exactly been upgrade hell, but it has been time consuming, and there's still work that needs to be done -- for example, my PC still can't find the printer on our home network, and the rest of the family still can't access any files in the folders I've tried to share with them over the network. I've also learnt that when you install 'Windows XP' from scratch, having a Zip drive installed is a bad thing, as it will totally mess up the order in which letters are allocated to disk drives. Eek! I also now have the new keyboard and mouse I've had since Christmas installed on my PC -- you should have seen the haste with which Michael disposed of the old ones once they were disconnected. ;)

As a consequence of all this activity, over the past month I haven't made a lot of progress on my current works in progress, but here is a quick run-down of what I've gotten done...

I finally bit the bullet and knit a test swatch for the fairisle side of Katherine's 'Skull Vest'. I've never knit fairisle before, so this has been a real learning experience.

I'm not entirely happy with how it turned out, as the stitches down one of the edges are on the loose side. Fortunately, the more experienced knitters at our get together at 'Rubi & Lana' last Saturday were able to suggest a few things that might improve the situation, which I will try out in my next test swatch -- Thanks, everyone! :) I am quite happy with the way the stranding and weaving on the reverse side turned out, however. All in all, not too bad for my first attempt! Especially as the black and white is not exactly the most forgiving combination.

And I've finally washed and blocked the tension square I knit for the plain side of the vest, which featured in an earlier posting in its straight off the needles, rolled up form...

I'm really happy with the way the 'Rubi & Lana' yarn is knitting up, and the softness and drape of the finished samples. :)

'Clapotis 2' is progressing well...

I've photographed the reverse stocking stitch side this time, as that is the intended right side after all. I'm well into the decreases for the end now, so hopefully it shouldn't be long now before it's wearable. Unlike my first 'Clapotis' -- which was knit with two strands of Lorna's Laces "Helen's Lace" -- this one does look like it's going to need a good blocking before I can wear it.

For the first time in a very long time, I went to the Sydney Royal Easter Show this year -- the last time I went, the Show was still at the old venue, and I think at least one of my girls was in a stroller.

I didn't take any photos, but I did get to see Donna's lovely shawl up close, along with other treats like the 'Knitted Roast Dinner' display which several other people have posted about in their blogs. I was actually quite surprised by the range of abilities of the entrants on display in the knitting categories, which went from intricate lace shawls to a small patchwork cover made from squares knit in random colourways of Patons 'Feathers'.

This is my haul -- well, most of it -- from the Show...

Michael bought me a black Akubra in the 'Snowy River' style. I chose one that didn't have the pimp feathers which seemed to feature on most of the others. Instead of wearing it, I had the salesman put it in the Akubra plastic bag shown in the photo -- just so I could tell everyone I'd bought the Akubra showbag. ;) This hat will be perfect for keeping the sun off the stupidly pale skin of my face on the walks I desperately need to start doing again, and will be a much more attractive proposition than my old floppy black hat.

The King Island cheeses I bought aren't there with everything else in the photo, as most of them have already been eaten -- yum! -- but you can see the King Island cooler bag I carried them home in.

Michael also bought me two hanks of Mollydale mohair in a lovely dark blue colourway. Here is a close-up photo of the yarn, which I hope shows some of the lovely variation in the blue a little better...

And now it's finally time to show off my new toy!

It's a Motorola V3X mobile 'phone. This is the first new mobile I've had since 2000, so I'm quite excited by all the new features this one has -- especially the camera and the possibility of using it to listen to knitting podcasts when I'm out and about once I install a higher capacity memory card.

knitabulous... Apologies for not featuring the prize you sent me for winning your competition in this posting, but as you can see from this photo...

Australia Post has failed to deliver so far. :(

Manda... Where are you in Sydney? If you're not too far away, there's several of us who meet at 'Rubi & Lana' in Gordon every second Saturday from 11:00am until 2:00pm -- the next meeting will be on May 20th. Even if you're not all that close to Gordon, the shop is worth the trip. If this does prove to be little out of the way for you, I may well be able to suggest something closer to you as I've been known to buy yarn at most of the yarn shops around Sydney -- and a few of the Melbourne yarn shops too, for that matter. ;)

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