Sunday, September 09, 2007

Meanderings on the Mosel And Must Manage My Projects

Gosh, it's over a week since I last posted. Really sorry. Life sort of got in the way. You know, while drifting off to sleep last night, I counted up the current WIPs. That does not include the terrifying number tucked away out of sight in cupboards, baskets, under piles of ironing. These were just the ones actually being worked on at the moment, in full view. And there were eight of them. Isn't that rather too many to be dealing with at just one time?

There is the Starmore St. Enda (and for heaven's sake gang, it's ST. ENDA, ST. ENDA, not St. Edna! She'll be on her broomstick and sweeping down here in an instant if she sees that, and she'll blame me, not you, she has it in for me, does Starmore, I know she does, and so far I've evaded her curse, apart that is from Laurie M's heads up on the error in cable crossing and that was really more of a blessing or a preventative countering to the curse, where was I?) Oh yes, the St. Enda Starmore.

[Wow, you didn't see what happened then! I put up the picture I took most carefully yesterday and found it was horribly washed out and didn't show the pattern at ALL. Rushed down to DH desperately with the WIP, and bingo, in less than two minutes he'd posted this for me! What a pet!

I think what makes this pattern is the break in cabling every so often, where you finish up with one group of stitches and reduce them down to one, and then start afresh with a new lot. It makes it all stand out so much better. Elsebeth Lavold does much the same. I wonder if they thought of it simultaneously or...?

(Oh and here I will show my mean side for a moment and thank Laritza from the bottom of my heart for giving me that link to a glaring error in a Starmore sample, when I was wondering in a previous post whether she had a secret stash of disasters. It heartened me so much to be reassured once again that even Homer nods. There is, after all, hope for the rest of us. What? Show you all that link? I will NOT. I'm not that mean....)

There are the Fawkes socks. Now you don't want to see yet another picture of these. You're sick of the sight of them and so am I. For heaven's sake, how much longer am I going to take over these? Me who managed a pair in two days flat back in the craziness of Sock Madness? (although even then I was way way behind fiends like Knitting Momma who could throw off a devilishly complicated pair in less than twelve hours!) The heel is turned on both, and they're ready for the gallop down the foot. I am decided - Fawkes get finished TODAY. It is now a superbly sunny Sunday morning (we're getting a welcome Indian summer here in West Cork) and sundown is going to see those socks DONE! I have spoken. Ich Isolde!

There is the Gazebo lace cardi. Again you've seen enough pictures-in-progress. Only half a sleeve left to go before it can be seamed up and suggestions accepted for a suitable banding. What is KEEPING me?

The Swallowtail shawl. Ahem. Yes, well. Started this in such excitement.

...and there it remains. Yes, that picture does look familiar. I haven't done another stitch on it since. Heaven's sake, I can't even remember where I was in the pattern! Oh help! Lynn, I might need your assistance! You made this with no problems at all, as I recall.

Where had we reached? St. Enda, Fawkes, Gazebo, Swallowtail. Three more. Now what the heck were they? Ah yes, the Noro Vest, result of a weak moment when visiting Spin A Yarn.

Another one progressed just so far and no further. What kind of creature IS Celtic Memory?

Having to search the brain now. I had them all in my mind last night and even counted backwards as well, to be sure (you know those long hours when you can't get to sleep and everything you've ever failed at comes back in glorious technicolour). Oh yes, the Anniversary Socks.

These are the ones you will recall that are being made in a fine cashmere doubled, at knee length to wear underneath a long skirt. The first section was worked in a size 0, and then I had to await the arrival of some rare 00 circulars from the adorable Rho so that I could reduce the width appropriately. Those needles checked in on Friday, and now I can get on with the next section. Thank you so much, Rho, for sourcing these for me. It is a mystery why 00 is such a difficult gauge to get hold of in circulars. Addi Turbo Lace doesn't have this particular size at ALL. A pair of nice Galway Hooker T-shirts on their way to you in absolute gratitude, pet! (The rest of you, you wanna know what a Galway Hooker looks like, check it out on the Net, I'm not telling you!)

There is a seventh. I know there is. What is it? Ah, the tiny gansey from Beth Reinsel Brown's book. How could I forget it? (Quite easily actually, since it is so miniature.) A shame to leave it there, so close to finishing. Must get on with it. The problem with this one is that I started knitting straight from the huge cone of Cheviot and although the project may be miniscule, hefting a cone of that weight around isn't quite so easy. I'll think before I cast on next time. At least I think I'll think before I cast on. Never do.

The eighth? Another essay into felting. I had some Colinette Point 5 (that thick and thin one) which wasn't doing anything in particular so I decided to see how crochet compared with knitting for making felted baskets (the last one has been exceptionally useful as a project bag to carry around on my arm when knitting on the hoof).

Started this the other day when I knew I was going to have to queue somewhere for ages and needed a quick easy project. Crochet works up far quicker than knitting, besides being a lot safer when you're moving around, as there is only one stitch to drop, and I got the base done within half an hour, but there it languishes... GET ON WITH IT!

In the interests of full disclosure, it should be admitted that the Fawkes socks at least could have been well down the foot by now if it hadn't been for these -

Well could you have resisted them? Thought not. Saw them on Saartje's blog yesterday and simply had no control over my actions. Just grabbed my nearest handful of leftovers and got going. Honestly, they only take a couple of hours to make and they are so cute they should be labelled Dangerous. Saartje you are a generous and lovely person to share this adorable pattern with everyone. Fortunately there are several new baby friends imminent so all those tiny balls of leftover sock yarn now have a new life ahead of them. And I'm going to try them in slightly thicker yarn and needles too, for toddlers. Red and white for Christmas maybe? Or even tinier, with sweets inside, for the festive tree? Hold on, hold on, surely it isn't time to start thinking about the holidays yet, is it? Maybe it is. Life, life, will you SLOW DOWN for a moment while I catch up?

To excuse perhaps a little this outrageous delaying and putting off of projects on my part, I should explain that DH and I were on a brief working trip to the Rhineland for two days last week. We flew from Kerry Airport (quite my favourite, it's so tiny it doesn't even have its name up yet, and it's surrounded by bogland and mountains) to Frankfurt-Hahn. Now Frankfurt-Hahn is nowhere near Frankfurt - it's about a hundred miles away - but it is ideal for the Mosel valley and thus for weekend breaks. Which is why we were there - to do some research for a short travel piece.

It's a long, steep-sided valley, that of the Mosel, running north-south with lots of twists and bends, so they have to make a specially long fold-out map for visitors.

But a map can't give you an idea of the reality. This is such beautifully serene countryside, the vineyards covering the slopes and the tiny villages with their steeples tucked by the water's edge. We wandered up and down and in and out and had a lovely time for our brief visit. Angeluna you would have adored it - I know Germany is an old stamping ground of yours.

There were castles on hills

- and so many tempting weinstubes with jolly people enjoying the September sunshine.

It's a region famed for its Black Cat wine, and that moggie appeared everywhere, on rooftops, fountains, glasses, posters, and of course inn signs -

There were beautiful old buildings everywhere

and barges pulling enormous loads up and down the river.

Some of these barges even had a small car loaded at the rear, presumably so the skipper could go ashore in Antwerp or Koblenz or wherever he was headed. It was fascinating to watch the procession of barges and realise that they've been working this and the other waterways of Europe for centuries if not millennia.

Of course, being Mittel Europe, there were culinary temptations -

(well, we were there to do serious research, weren't we?)

I even managed to track down a yarn shop, albeit a very small one.

They didn't have anything I didn't have in plenitude already (so when did that ever stop you, I hear you comment), but I found a 2mm (that's about a size 0) Inox circular. Then had a panic in case the airport security wouldn't let it through (aluminium, dodgy), but stowed it at the very bottom of DH's rucksack with all his wires and connectors and charges and other paraphernalia essential to a photographer's existence, and it came through fine.

It was a lovely trip, if a flying visit, but do you know what impressed me most? On the way back through that fairly small airport, I checked out the magazine stall, without much hope, since no airport newsagent in any country ever has knitting magazines.

Would you believe they had dozens? I bagged just four as our flight was called, but I could have chosen from many others, as well as crochet, cross-stitch and other crafts. Clearly Frankfurt-Hahn has the right idea when it comes to magazines. Does anyone know if other German airports are as knitter-friendly? Holly, you should know if anyone does! I'd love to be sure, so I can plan future trips!

Small amount of stash wickedness during the past while. Fell hard for some superb Blue Heron Metallic which I saw on Ravelry and got some on eBay.

I think this colourway is called Water Hyacinth/Copper or somesuch. It has real weight and drape and would make the most stunning shawl. Would it be heresy to make the Icelandic Lace Shawl in this, do you think?

The bands of colour might be quite dramatic.

And then, searching for my Dawn Brocco pattern for that amazing cabled scarf without any visible means of support, I went on to her website and remembered that I'd always intended to buy her Curvaceous Cables Collection book so I did. Can't wait for that to arrive. Dawn does the most incredibly creative things with cables, doesn't she? Wish I could free my mind up the way she does.

Which means even more projects on the horizon, one would imagine. Well, as I mentioned earlier, the holiday season isn't that far away. I must post some more yarns on eBay tonight, to encourage people to get started. I have this superb alpaca/BFL chunky yarn which is so soft and gorgeous that it would make the most marvellous Irish Hiking Scarves. And there are some hand-dyed cashmere/silks to go on too. But first the Fawkes socks. Definitely.


Ambermoggie, a fragrant soul said...

As usual dear Jo, many things to entice and inspire us:)
is the yarn cotton mix? I love the colour of it and I think the icelandic shawl would be beautiful done in that

Marianne said...

So many things to look at, and they're all beautiful. Love those little booties, they've been popping up in blogland everywhere, love the colours you used.
The magazines at the airport!! How wonderful AND amazing!

Laritza said...

You are going to hate me! I just spotted a "mistake" in those cables. Mistake as in: if you look closely the cables cross at the left side and "break" on the right side in your sweater. If you look at this picture:
you can see that the same cable can be made with crossings and breaks at right and left and used alternatively for complete symmetry. As it stands yours is "heavier" on the left and "lighter" on the right. It is really hard to explain. If you have the book it is Elsebeth Lavold Viking knits book 9 take a look and you will see what I mean. Else email me and I will send closeups of my version of the EL sweater.........don't hate me toooo much :D

Ruth said...

I covet the Blue Heron, although I hate knitting anything that's not wool. I do wish they would do wool.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog -- knitting, traveling, dogs, et al. -- but wonder how to find your yarns on eBay. Is there a magic name or ... ? Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

I am despertely jealous of all of these littlee trips you get to take. Work, you call it. Ha.

So when is your 'work' going to bring you over to Toronto?

pacalaga said...

Oh do please share the Starmore Glaring Error link with us. (or at least, with me [grin])
Do try to work on the Swallowtail shawl - it's such a lovely piece when it's finished, and it's small enough that by the time the rows are long enough to become a slog, you're ready to cast off. If the intended recipient of mine hadn't just had surgery for her cancer, I might have just kept it for me.

Charity said...

Jo, you always have so many wonderful things going on! I love those little booties, I may need to cast of for those myself! :0)

LaurieM said...

Jo, I have appointed myself your cable checker. You just keep posting pictures of your St. Enda, and I'll just give them the old once over for you.

So far, so good! Keep it up!

Laritza, I don't think that Jo's cables are the same as those in the picture you've linked to. If you look closely, the Lavold cables are open at the break on one side. Jo's cables are completely enclosed.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, travel, water, scenery, yarn, wine - that's the life. So what if you start one or six new items. It's all good, they'll all get finished, one day. And if they don't, well, you can start something else.

Lynn said...

Jo, I don't remember having any difficulty with Swallowtail; I'd have to go back through my archives to be sure. As I recall it was a relatively quick knit, something like two or three weeks, and as pacalaga says *done* about the time you think you cannot knit one. more. stitch.

Must get offline so that LittleBit can use the computer. I remember that I figured out how many stitches I should have at the end of each pattern repeat. I put them on a sticky-note and marked them off one by one. If this makes no sense, ask me again when I've had some shut-eye.

Knitstress Mary said...

Jo, you need to take a look at the new poncho pattern on Elann, it's all cables and short rows and comes in two lenghts. I am going to be knitting myself one. I've ordered the pattern,


Bess said...

St. Edna. Oh I think - I think somebody ought to design a St. Edna sweater. Maybe a St. Dame Edna.

what a great blog. I found you via Rho. I'll keep a lookout for your yarns.

Kit said...

I have walked a good deal of the Mosel with the thanks of weekend Volksmarches and those pictures strike a chord within me, much like a piano tuner's fork.

Thank you for sharing, I can never get enough of you and your DH's beautiful pictures of Europe.

Roggey said...

I'm just sitting here, tenderly, minding my own business while reading your blog and BLAM! I am struck by the booties call.


I now have to go print out a PDF.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, more wonderful vicarious travel photos. Those desserts - lieber Gott in Himmel! Love the terracing on the hills in the shot of the barge. (And the barge, actually; barging is a big thing on the Columbia River here, what with all the grain we produce.)

And really, you're making me feel quite a slacker. I only have three socks and a blanket square on the needles, and get distracted easily by non-knitting things, to my shame, and good grief, I keep having this nagging feeling I should be casting on something else! [g] Will have to remedy that. See what a good example you are?

Anonymous said...

I wish American airports would carry a variety of knitting magazines. The last time I got stuck somewhere I had to contend with just the usual trashy tabloid type magazines... I usually end up buying some sort of mystery novel instead.

I love the pictures from your trip to Germany- I have never been to Europe, but it looks so lovely, and peaceful.

And don't feel bad about all the WIPs you have going. If you came over to my little 700 square foot apartment you would laugh because everytime you opened a cupboard or reached into a bag, you would find a UFO!! I always have a million things going at once and the backup is getting worse with school starting up again.

SueJ said...

Great pictures & a healthy store of WIP's I'd say!

maceknits said...

I like the color and pattern for the baby shoes! Very cute and chic.

Jocerane said...

Nice trip! My younger daughter is going to study in Hamburgh : I 'll go to Germany for hollidays!
I LOVE Elsebeth Lavold. And it's funny to see that those sorts of cables appeared everywhere several years later : Phildar Irlandais for exemples...
Blue Heron ? Argh! You said A-Bay?

Anonymous said...

*lovestruck expression* Ooh, German magazines! German *knitting* magazines! Can I borrow them when you're done? Pretty pretty please?

In a big way, it sucks to be living in the Midwest and studying German -- I swear the bookstores around here think the only foreign language that exists is Spanish.

(There--someone who envies *you* for where you live and the resources you have there. A novel experience, I know.)