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.


Anonymous said...

Do you mean to say you went to London only for yarn shops? What about a lovely lunch somewhere? A museum? A pub? Oh Lord love it...Liberty's!!! How I am fond of that place. Did you buy anything besides yarn? Tell all.
Glad you got your Viking Knits book. It is quite wonderful.
You must do Teddy Bear pictures in his Santa outfit. And what do the doggies wear?

Anonymous said...

Your trip brings back memories. I was in London in April to visit my brother and went to exactly the same stores, including Loop, where I took a colorwork workshop. I was rather disappointed that Liberty had scaled down their yarn department, or so it seemed to me since my previous visit, a very long time ago.

Did you try the tea room at Liberty's? When I was there, they had a fantastic carrot and coriander soup. I tried to duplicate it at home, but didn't even get close.

Sounds like you had a godo trip. Happy holidays!

Peg-woolinmysoup said...

Oh, Jo, I have a Paddington in a Santa outfit. I used to collect that little bear. Funny about the book you ordered in the UK and it is shipped from NZ. Doesn't this postal system around the world drive one slightly crazy!
That was a terrific head band and I am sure it is 'fluffing' as it should.
You would not believe the devastation in Victoria from the recent windstorm. The winds at Race Rocks, which is at the mouth of Victoria Harbour area, were clocked at 120 km/hr. There are trees down everywhere. Vancouver Stanley Park is closed - a view from the air looks like a giant was playing pick up sticks with the trees. A poor woman in Washington State drowned in her basement. Mother Nature is not happy with us West Coast folk. This time of the year, we are usually calling family and friends and going on and on about our wonderful mild weather. For a few weeks now the folks in the east are telling us of their wonderful weather and we are just hunkered down with the miserable rain and wind. Quadra Island (Fun Knits home area) residents were advised to leave the Island and come across to our Island and get some reprieve from the lack of power! It is a bad situation here at the moment. Sorry for the long post!

Fiberjoy said...

I love that scarf & headband!!! Thanks for sharing Dawn Brocco's link.

Ed & I had a good laugh at the rugby picture. Now that's a sport. I watched some Reed college guys playing it on a day just like in your picture. Nothing sissy about them!

Marianne tells that the Yarn Barn in Kansas doesn't allow pictures either!

You're knitting up a storm. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Could you counterfeit me some cheap Silk-garden then Jo ..Liberty's is lovely but was a lot lovlier in the 80's .I remember the scarf Hall ...oh joy.Holly just inherited my Liberty silk-scarves to her joy. That little doggie is so sweet , a fair-isle for him with a bones and tree pattern ( for weeing on ). What with Yarn-Barn it is sounding like all knitters need James Bond like cameras tucked into handbags .

Anonymous said...

I must have a go at cables as that scarf is beautiful.
We were in Liberty recently and found the staff very unhelpful and the lighting in the yarn dept. so poor you couldn't judge colour properly at all. Pity - the shop as a whole is wonderful and leads to high expectations.

Marianne said...

What a fabulous day trip! I'm thinking yarnstore owners who don't want photos taken....perhaps they're thinking a way bit too highly of their yarn and display design??? What could be with that!
I also posted a particularly idiotic what the daily paper here deemed 'front page news'...tsk, embarrassing.
The cable scarf design is so very lovely, and I'm loving the headband!

Marianne said...

Oh forgot, we have a large group of men who have gotten together and have formed rugby teams...their fields are by the river, you're right, no wusses there.

Anonymous said...

Ohhh I LOVE the cables. I have been TOTALLY captivated by cables lately and those are GORGEOUS!!! The soccer player with dropped drawers...well....never mind heehee

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jo for the whirlwind photographic tour. First you tantalize me with photos of the lovely cable scarf and headband, I've just been thinking that I could do with a headband, and then I start thinking about maybe knitting another Lavold sweater. I just finished the Tordis design from Book 1 of the Viking Knits collection. I am curious to know which of the designs you will choose from Viking patterns for knitting. My mind is entwined in all of those cables when Heavens! what a pair of thighs are before me! Then I'm off with you to London, yarn, cute pups, more yarn. Sneak back for another look at that lad Donncha. I can barely keep up with you Jo. Happy Holidays to you, your DH and the darling doggies.

KimK said...

What a delightful tour! I literally gasped at the photo of the Liberty interior -- how beautiful. Thanks for the "forbidden" pics!

Charity said...

How wonderful to have a day in London! Now, stop reading your comments and get to work! There are only 9 (or is it 8) days left! :0)

Susan said...

Flying to London for Yarn. I like the sound of that. I must do it sometime. But it'll cost a lot more than 40 Euros... ? Pounds?

Love the scarf idea. I have to try that!

Love the red undies, too. Nicely played...

artyfartykat said...

It sounds so glamorous flying to London for some yarn!!
I LOVE the cable scarf, I bet it looks really Christmassy in red as will the Teddy! Does he have a name?

Lynn said...

Tag, you are "it" (well, one of 6 "its", to be specific). See my blog for the meme.

Jan said...

Yes I did notice and it is making me feel better. No news on my KALs but what a lot of pictures you have so you're forgiven. I love to see pictures of everything. Have to show MD the rugby shot. Love your cables. I love cables too at the moment. Fun reading all your news!

Anonymous said...

You've been holding out on us with that loverly silk/cashmere. Naughty girl.

I'm holding off on clicking Dawn's link as I'm absolutely positive I'll want many many things, and my credit card's had a bit of a workout recently.

Oh, one more thing - the lovely Knitty lady who posts all those wonderful free patterns in that great on-line magazine of hers? She comes to the SnB at Lettuce Knit. You know, my local that you're coming to visit next spring. :o)

Roggey said...

Temptress! You play upon my weakness for cables! *sigh* Excuse me, I now have to go download a pattern...

gwtreece said...

You are killing me with the cables. I to have been cable happy recently. What a fun day you had.

Anonymous said...

I have looked all over Dawn's site, and I can't find that scarf pattern. I t is too incredible to pass up. Could you point me to the right spot so I can make one too?

Anonymous said...

Imagine not allowing your yarn to be photographed. What a nutcase.
Thanks for sharing the beautiful Dawn Brocco scarf. I just bought it, I'm such a copycat.

Anonymous said...

Jo, I just noticed that your ebay site is 1 year old today. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

I have tagged you!
It's a way of connecting up otherwise unconnected blogs, some knitty, some not so knitty.
To find out how to join in, visit my blog.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, those Dawn Brocco designs are gorgeous!