Friday, July 28, 2006

Look what I've got

While I still can't post about my top-secret work in progress, I had planned a thoughtful consideration of my hands (the knitters most important tool). Inspired by Ysolda's thoughtful and well researched pieces about continental and English methods, I'd been getting quite introspective about my knitting style. I was going to take bleak, high-res photos of the front and backs of my hands. I'd painted my nails especially.

But then the post came. Thump on the doormat. Large post. Rowan! We'll ignore my hands for now - go read Ysolda's blog instead she's written about it so well already anyway. Here, it's all hail to the new-Rowan exciting-ness.

And the news ...? The patterns?

I'd say it's good news. This is not bad a magazine. There were a lot of complaints about the last one, including some from me. But they've turned their back on bo-ho (thank goodness) and seem to be returning to the tweedy fair-isle English Country Garden stuff they do best.

Of course some of it is more for the pretty pictures than developing decent knit-able wearable patterns. Yes, the rumours are true, there is a kid silk haze ball gown. But a nice pair of socks and some very wearable sweaters. Plus a very cute male model. That's what we like to see.

I'll leave you with a sneak peak as I turn the pages.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Pattern: my own, titled "Boyfriend socks"
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shephard Sock solid in "pewter"
Needles: my trusty 2mm 80cm circular addis

I finished these just around the knitty deadline. It was a simple pattern but fun to knit so I thought I might as well submit it. I didn't have time to sort a proper photo shoot though, so the pics were a bit rubbish.

I got back from holiday from an email from Amy Singer saying she loved the socks but knew I could do better pictures. I agreed so asked Marcus if he'd model.

It was one of those "hottest for 100 years" days London has been having a lot of recently. Not a day for wool socks. Not even really even a day for shoes (though the streets were melting in places so bare feet might have been messy). He got very board while I fiddled round his feet and generally got embarrassed at people looking at us but stoically read his book while I snapped away.

I took some much better photos. Amy liked them too. Hooray. Then she sent them for tech editing and Mandy instantly spotted how similar they were to the log cabin socks in Handknit Holidays.

I google-image searched "log cabin socks". The Knitty team are right, boyfriend and log cabin apply the same stitch pattern (which is basically a twist on a ribbed cable, I said this pattern was simple...) - I completely agree it'd be inappropriate for Knitty to include my design.

Still, from reading blog entries on the log cabins I think they are quite different in construction, so my pattern notes might still be worth sharing. I'll try and have a look at the Handknit Holiday's book and then might post my pattern up on the blog.

arhhlines on dockart behind himfor love

Sunday, July 23, 2006

here be pirates

I'm sworn to keep my latest project a secret, especially from the world of the knit-blog. So I'm photographing yesterday's baking instead (a cherry and Hoegaarden clafoutis). I found the recipe while surfing for variations on cherry pie the other day. It was pretty good, but I'd use less sugar next time. And maybe add a squeeze of lemon to sweeter cherries. But I tend to use less sugar, I like my sweets tart.

But I can still blog about other people's knitting. How cute is this felted kids pirate hat? This is quite an old pattern, but the wonderful blogger who designed it has just put up a pirate argyle chart.

I know many adults who'd love one of these. Including my little brother. He is so straight-laced the guy dropped out of a Music degree, cut his hair and got a job where he has to wear a suit. Very much the wrong way round. But behind the shirt and tie lies a sometimes surreal of humor and rather childish love of toys. Plus he was one of those kids who spent most of his early childhood in fancy dress. Lots of Pirates, Robin Hood, Peter Pan, Teenage Nutant Ninja Turtles, Knights of the Round Table, Spies... but mainly Superman. The child was convinced he could fly.

It's his 21st birthday in October. Maybe I could knit him a cape.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Pattern: "cupcake" by Laura-Jean Bernhardson from the Happy Hooker book.

Yarn: Kool Kotton in coral. Ignore the stupid name - this stuff is great. It's a cheap 50/50 acrylic and cotton, so not a luxury yarn I grant you. But it's easy to use working up to a nice lightweight fabric that doesn't crease as much as cotton. I don't like working with 100% cotton above 4ply because I have a slight phobia of the way it feels when it pills* so this mix is great because it just takes the edge off.

Modifications: I did the bigger size but with a slightly smaller gage which I calculated should fit (because I'm a 38 inch chest and the pattern is written for 36 or 41 and a half), lengthened the body a bit to make it more of a tunic and omitted the ribbon round the neckline.

Opinion: A mix of good and bad. This is shot from a good angel, but straight on its a tad unflattering to the hips. This might well be down to my decision to lengthen, and I think I mis-calculated the re-gaging slightly because its a little baggy. However, I also wonder if dk-weight is a little too bulky for this sort of thing. The pattern is full of mistakes, but there are notes on the website and apart from these, its a fun easy crochet. The neckline is quite wide and droopy without the ribbon, but I like that - I love tops that fall off the shoulder a bit.

* Phobia is perhaps the wrong word. It makes my teeth go on edge in the same way some people get from nails on a black-board or a fork squeaking on a plate. I always had this problem with cotton wool. It makes my teeth feel like they are melting. Even the idea of it being torn makes me feel ill, in fact I'm squirming just typing about it. This always amuses the nurses when I give blood - I have no problem with the needles (or in one case, when the needle fell out and my blood spurted all over the bed, me and the nurse) but go white when they ask me to hold cotton wool to my skin before they put a plaster on. I realise that in this respect I may appear slightly eccentric but apparently its a reasonably common aversion, well there are others at least, I'm not a lone cotton-wool-hating-weirdo.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


tea and knitting in padstow
Photographic evidence of knitting in a teashop in Cornwall. There was a scone next to the cup of tea a few moments before I took this, but it didn't last long enough to be photographed.

I leant that a shocking number of people take their dogs on holiday (never realised before, I think its because I tend to visit cities). I also ate and drank rather too much, went on some lovely walks, visited the Eden Project and generally sat about doing very little with my boyfriend. We took many photos of sunny, sandy beaches and sunny less-sandy flowers which I'm currently bombing flickr with.

I did manage a bit of knitting on the train there and back and have finished one of the DNA illusion socks. They work! I knew they would. The other one will have to wait though as I seem to have agreed to do a secret project with a tight deadline. I do have a crochet FO to show though - I'll post about that once I've caught up with my emails.

For now I'll leave you with a bit of Eden-project flower porn.

flowers - celebrate close up of pink/purple flowers

Sunday, July 09, 2006

gone fishing

I'm in a very good mood. Really, a very good mood. As in I'm worried about chemical balances in my brain.

I had oddles of fun at a History of Science Conference yesterday and have been whistling a happy tune ever since I got back. Someone dressed up as Mary Anning. I saw old friends and made new ones. I had some intelligent conversation and got to make geological models out of bread and cheese. And obviously my paper rocked in all the right places and was presented with charm and authority, because my papers always do. Ahem.

Plus I'm going on holiday tomorrow. For a whole week. Camping in Padstow.

This is project I'm taking with me. *start Rolf Harris voice* Can you guess what it is yet? *end Rolf impression* (apart from a messy kitchen table, of course).

(clue: it's a mixture of two of my patterns and something I've been threatening to make for a while)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

crochet circles done

scarf in garden shining

Pattern: none, this is freeform crochet, inspired by Wormhead's amazing hat creations (she has a great tutorial on this, check it out)

I worked treble crochet circles then attached them with single crochet (brown). Note: I'm talking English crochet language here, minus one for American (i.e. treble = double)

Yarn: hipknits cashmere (sockweight) in orange/ pink colourway from Loop and King Cole anti-tickle merino in chocolate (from Texere).

EDIT: don't know why I look so grumpy in that picture below. I'm loving this. The shape, the drape, the random-bubbles and definatly the hipknits yarn - is feels amazing and the colours a beautiful.

wearing crochet scarf - wrapped
wearing crochet scarf - dangled
wearing crochet scarf - on loosely
wearing crochet scarf - side

Saturday, July 01, 2006


magknits pattern

My Bakerloo pattern is now in Magknits - it made the cover, go see (the photo above is a link to the pattern itself).

As I've written before, this ended up being a rather emotional project. I came up with the idea so I could make a pair of socks with a piano keyboard on them for my dad for Father's Day.

But only days after I'd swatched he was diagnosed with cancer, and he died only weeks later. This is why the piano ones were done in a cashmere blend, they were bed-socks while he was ill.