Sunday, September 15, 2013


It's suddenly gone really Autumnal here. About 10 days ago I was flouncing around in my summer dresses and the temperature was almost 30°C, too hot to knit, the garden needed watering etc etc. A day later the temperature plummets 15 degrees and I have to excavate a woolly jumper from the wardrobe. Last weekend I got drenched twice - once coming back from the shops, where I'd walked over, thinking it was a nice bright-if-cold day and I wouldn't need an umbrella, only for an absolutely enormous black cloud to appear out of nowhere as I walked back. I'd even hung washing outside, but fortunately the OH was at home to rescue it. And once trying to garden on the Sunday afternoon.

It's really too early still for the trees to be turning Autumnal though, although the horse chestnuts round here have got leaf miner so have all turned brown already. No wonder it feels like Autumn!

One of my colleagues at work had found lots of blackberry bushes near where we work last year, so several of us went one lunchtime and collected tubs and tubs of blackberries. I have the scratches to prove it. I also have the blackberry and apple jam:

Out in the garden the Pyracanthas have started to develop berries. We've had them nearly two years, but last year I didn't notice that the berries appear at different times, depending on their colour.
The red ones are already huge and very red (these are the birds' favourite).

But the orange (on the right) is only just appearing and the yellow (on the left, there's a rose in the middle) has hardly started to appear yet. These are also much less popular with the birds.

Now I'm trying to remember if they all flowered at the same time earlier this year...

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Lace shawl - finished!

It's taken a while - I originally cast it on on 15th February, and cast off last week (had to wait for this week to block it though) but the lace shawl is finally finished!

I'm really pleased with it. It's my first "proper" lace shawl, using laceweight yarn, although in May 2007 I made a Diamond Fantasy Shawl in 4ply yarn. This one is the Aeolian Shawl, from Knitty, on  3.25mm needles. I used 85g from a 100g skein of Clicky Needles merino silk laceweight yarn, purchased on holiday last year at Miju Wools near Gloucester Cathedral.

I mostly followed the pattern for the shawl (there are also instructions for a shawlette), although I left the nupps out. Apparently there is also an alternative plainer edging to try, but I didn't find that!

By the end each row was taking most of an hour to knit. One row had so many beads and fiddly bits on that it took 2.5 hours! This is it when I cast it off:

I gave it a bath in the washing up bowl before blocking. I used a free sample of "Soak", which I'd acquired somewhere along the line. It smells really nice, and I liked not having to rinse it out afterwards! I squidged it as dry as possible with a towel after its bath. Soak does now seem to be available in this country, although it's rather expensive! (the Little Knitting Company and Tangled Yarn both stock it). I usually use Ecover Delicate for washing handknitted things. I have noticed the Lakeland now stocks Eucalan, another no rinse one, but, again, it's expensive. Plus, I'm not sure of the ethics of transporting what is basically laundry liquid across the glove! Ecover is made in Belgium and France.

Then I settled down upstairs for a bit of blocking, along with some catching up with the Archers and a Herdy mug of tea.

Oh, and my new blocking kit, courtesy of Little Houndale Knits.

And this is it blocked! I had to squeeze it in a bit, as it only just fits on the spare bed (which is a Queen size). I used a combination of the blocking wires (I'm glad I got the flexible ones) and then pins on all the pointy bits. And, of course, it is SO much bigger!

A few close up shots, I couldn't resist taking.

So, there you go. I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to wear it. I think it would be great with a summer dress, but today is probably the last hot day of the year, so it might need to wait a while...
I've really enjoyed knitting it, although I'm also looking forward to knitting lots of other things now I haven't got huge long rows of lace to get through!