Friday, December 15, 2006
Yet More Wonderful Cables
I definitely think I've got a bad addiction to cables at the moment. Cables and motifs and anything involving twisting several stitches out of alignment and back again at regular (or indeed irregular) intervals. Blame Elsebeth Lavold (whose wonderful Viking Patterns for Knitting arrived the other day, yay!) for creating such incredibly beautiful designs that you can't wait to try them out.
Funny thing about that Viking Patterns. I deliberately chose to order it from an English online bookstore because of the ruinous American postage. They then told me that it would in fact be sent from their American partners. OK, that was all right, the postage was still far lower than it would be if I'd ordered it directly from the US - didn't know how that worked, but I wasn't complaining. Then, remarkably quickly, the book itself arrived - not from the UK, not from the US, but from New Zealand! Now can you tell me how it is that I can order a book at reasonably fair postage from the UK, be told it will come from the US, and end up getting it very quickly, from NZ? Answers on a postcard please (that saves postage, you know).
And then, having drooled over the glorious patterns and designs in Viking Patterns, I was wandering peacefully around the Internet and came across the most amazing scarf pattern.
Willya look at that? Cables with no background, how cool can you be? (Pretty cool actually, when you see the width - or rather the thinness - of the scarf. Not for snowy conditions that one, but oh so beautiful.) This is the brainchild of Dawn Brocco who obviously has the kind of designing mind I wish I had but don't. I immediately ordered the pattern of course - and then berated myself ten seconds later for not having paid the extra dollar and downloaded it right away. But I sighed and settled myself to wait several weeks. Next day, however, I was still thinking about that scarf so went online again and found another of the amazing Dawn's designs - this time an Aran headband, ideal to wear on windy days if you find hats a bit claustrophobic.
Didn't hesitate, but paid to download a pdf file immediately and got going on it before I'd even taken a second to print off the pattern. Worked on it all evening and had it done by the next morning - it's one of those lovely little projects that you could make quickly as a gift.
Mine doesn't look quite as good as the original, I think, but that is because (a) I made it in a rather fine silk/cashmere ** and (b) I was a little too enthusiastic at the damp blocking stage and flattened it more than is really a good idea for Aran patterning. I've given it a gentle wash now and hopefully it will fluff up again. But isn't it a cute idea? And I've emailed Dawn Brocco to tell her I think her designs are stunning. Go and look at them - they're amazing. I'll make one in red next, I think. And the scarf pattern turned up in three days! So of course I had to get going on that too. Actually I've already started - in that red cashmere which has been feeling so upset since it was forcibly retired to the sidelines after the Alice Starmore contretemps. It's quite happy now, being used for something lovely, and I wanted a bright red scarf anyway.
[** No you do not know this fine silk/cashmere in natural. Nobody knows about it . It's mine, all mine and no it's not going on eBay along with the pastel shades of the same yarn that I'm listing at the moment, and it's not going NOWHERE, you understand? I've been hoarding it for ages and I want to make the Michael Kors Aran from the fall issue of Vogue Knitting in it. So you're not getting your paws on it. Not a chance. Not even chocolate bribery will work on this one.]
SPEAKING of being forcibly retired to the sidelines, I thought you might like a little sporting interest in here. A spot of rugby anyone? New World readers may be unfamiliar with rugby - it's a very rough game played with a rather odd-shaped ball by very burly young men who like being trampled in the mud. Now the Munster team (loud cheers, it's our local one) has been very successful lately, crushing all opposition, but the other day things got a little sticky on the pitch.
The rather tall young man in the middle, with the unusual taste in netherwear, is Donncha O'Callaghan, who is, in this picture, in the process of being sent off for inappropriate dress. Don't know quite how it happened, but he somehow became divested of his regulation issue shorts during a rather energetic scrum. Fortunately he had his lucky red undies on, or there might have been panic in the stands. This picture comes to you courtesy of the Irish Examiner, and you might well be able to read up the full front-page story on that worthy paper's website should you so care to do. Can't really imagine how it was front page news, can you? I mean, with politics and the weather and taxes to talk about...
Anyway I thought you'd like a little healthy sports input for a change.
Now back to the knitting. Took a short trip to London yesterday, hankering for a spot of big city retail therapy. England's capital at this time of year really isn't a good idea, but I wanted a change so took the risk and the early Ryanair flight (you can get these flights for ridiculously low prices if you book in advance - I think I paid about €40 including all taxes and charges for a day return). Headed straight for lovely Loop in the highly fashionable suburb of Islington.
I like this shop. It's tiny but has a great selection of the more unusual yarns, including Colinette and the Be Sweet range.
Susan, the owner, and Linda, who works with her, couldn't be more friendly and helpful. They were very patient with my scrabbling around among the Colinette skeins (they have that new sock yarn , Jitterbug, which comes in some incredible colour ranges) and even (albeit reluctantly) agreed to pose for one quick shot.
Susan's at the front here, with Linda behind her.
I had such a good time that I stayed far too long (remember I only had a few hours in London) and rushed off to my next hit, only to recall half a mile down the road that I'd forgotten my yarn, and had to go all the way back again.
Here's a laughing Linda bringing the bag out to me as I gasped in, breathless.
On the way down into Oxford Street I met the most delightful pup in fashionable winterwear.
No, it wasn't knitted, but he said his owner had promised him a cabled cardi for Christmas so he was hopeful.
Liberty of London is one of those legendary places you have to visit whenever you're in town, and I always do. It looks great at Christmas, especially when dusk is falling.
Inside it's just as dramatic, with galleries rising all around a central atrium, the whole lot in ancient dark polished wood - not a hint of steel or concrete anywhere.
The yarn department is tiny, just a corner off the floor which houses the famed Liberty print fabrics, but it does have some quite nice stock.
(After I'd taken this picture, one of the staff told me I wasn't allowed to photograph the yarn. Why on earth not? Did they think I was going to copy it? She was apologetic and said that they had lots of visitors who wanted to be photographed in front of their yarn shelves, but that it wasn't allowed, and that was that. I used the old ploy of saying fine, OK, I'd delete the pics right away, and working busily on my camera - and then doing nothing of the sort.)
Went to John Lewis as well, which is the other source of yarn in London (that's it, you've had the three central ones, there aren't any more unless you journey a fair way outside), but it was really too crowded and hot and unpleasant to take any pictures and they didn't have anything unusual - although I did succumb to a rather nice pattern book from Rowan.
With airport security as high as it is these days, you have to spend more time than you would like in the terminal, and I was back there in good time, getting a bit done on the Blackberry Pie socks on the train.
(Will have to get DH to take a better picture of these so you can see the little alternating cables clearly.)
It wasn't as bad as previously - only about an hour to get through security - so got home in reasonable time, but tired out all the same. A fairly moderate stash from the trip, but then it was as much for the quick fix of different place, different atmosphere, different sounds as anything else. I did take a picture of it, but it looks so awful that I think I'll wait until tomorrow and try again.
In the meantime, yes, the eagle-eyed among you have already noted that not only have I not reported in on the myriad WIPs, but I have started yet another one - the new red Dawn Brocco cabled scarf. (Hopefully you didn't notice that I started and finished a tiny project overnight, so that doesn't really count.) This has got to stop. From now until Christmas, only current projects and gifts - in fact only gifts now that I come to check the date - are to be allowed. I must go and change my beloved teddy bear's clothing from his customary casual sweater and jeans to his Santa Claus outfit, and look out the decorations first, though. 'Tis time, 'tis time.