Friday, 6 July 2018

Knitting in a Heatwave. . .

For the last couple of weeks, most of the UK has been living with an unusual heatwave (unusual in its length).  There's been very little rain, the usually green grass is parched everywhere, sadly there are fires burning on the moorlands near Manchester and Bolton (those firefighters are heroic!), and for once it's been far too hot to be knitting with wool.

This has hampered a few of my ongoing projects. No way am I crocheting a huge wool rug with the majority of it lying on my lap.  And my rescue attempts from Sleeve Island are also being hampered. Most of my wips involve picking up stitches and knitting the sleeves down from the rest of the sweater which means constantly turning all that wool around and around.  It's not going to happen. 

I did however, finish the one project where I could knit the sleeves separately and then seam them to the body. Here is my finished Spin Me Round top by Francesca Hughes.  I made a lot of modifications to this pattern - I knit it several inches longer, omitted the patterning from the back and the sleeves and changed the neckline.  These changes were all necessary because of the yarn that I chose - West Country Tweed by Blacker Yarns.  I absolutely LOVED knitting with this - the fabric is smooth and soft and the rainbow flecks of colour are fun but subtle enough to keep this a neutral top.  Knit at the pattern's gauge, the fabric comes out much thicker and denser, giving it a very different look from the original, but I think the unusual cable/lace pattern shows up well and then the plain stockinette allows the yarn to shine too.  I am very happy with the result, although I could only wear this for the minute it took to snap the photo - it is a really, really warm top. 

Time to turn to cotton and something more loose and airy.  I have cast on Anni by Gina Röckenwagner from the summer issue of  Pom Pom Magazine, using some deep stash - two colours of Rowan Pima Cotton DK and then a skein of Sugar Bush Cabot, leftover from my Pabaigh top.  This involves a lot of slip stitching on 6mm needles so it's knitting up quite quickly. 

I have also embarked on two mystery shawl projects that should see me through the month.  This is the Gloamin-tide MKAL by Ysolda Teague. It uses three colours that ideally should fade into each other, although mine are a little more defined. Again, going deep into the stash, I pulled out these skeins all from Northbound Knitting. Two of them were part of a yarn club a few years ago so have a similar, complimentary tone.  This photo shows the shawl at the completion of Clue 2 where we suddenly increased stitches in an interesting way. I'm excited to see what happens next.

There is some subtle but lovely slip stitching in this pattern too.

And then I've started my first ever mystery crochet-a-long.  This shows the first two clues finished of the Skimming Stones shawl by Joanne Scrace of the Crochet Project.   Each clue is supposed to take only three hours, but I confess to having had to rip back a number of times as it involved some new-to-me stitches and it took a while to get the hang of it. I'm enjoying the challenge now. Fortunately two of the members of my knitting group are also doing this and they are very good crocheters so have helped me with that tricky center stitch. It's been fun to see this grow, but because there isn't a ravelry group for the Crochet Project, most of the discussion is going on over on Facebook and I'm not on it, nor plan to be. I still think it will be a lovely shawl though and it's allowing my crochet mojo to return.

Maybe it's time to finally crochet the sleeves on this longstanding cardigan wip?