Finished: Rowan River shawl

Finished my Rowan River shawl in time to give my mother-in-law on Eid..unfortunately I had left one of the 7mm needles in Manchester last time I visited and had to wait for Jughead to bring it back to I had to catch up a week's worth of knitting in 2 days! I cast off, washed and blocked the shawl the night before, finishing at 3am..but it looked so much nicer once blocked it was worth it.

Pattern: Rowan Magazine 39 - River Shawl
Needles: 7mm

This pattern was easy enough to follow, but I kept ending up with the wrong number of stitches, which was very annoying. Not being a neurotic perfectionist (or anything like one) I just kept adding or subtracting stitches to get the right number again. I think I got away with it, as the pattern still showed through after blocking. However, a more complicated lace pattern would probably defeat me at this stage!
Here are some pictures:

Ray came over on Friday and we took him to see the Shaolin Monks show at the Peacock Theatre. Some of the stunts were incredible..walking on knives and doing handstands on two fingers..or should that be fingerstands..anyway, highly recommended. I think they've added on a few dates so there's still time to catch it before the season ends.

Yesterday we all went to Eid on the Square, which was a big gathering in Trafalgar Square. The turnout was excellent, and our very own Nazeel was the star performer. He did very well mashallah despite suffering from a cold. It was nice to see his backing singers as well, all familiar faces from Manchester :) Afterwards we had all the blogging world over, including Pink, Dazey, Giddy A, Dentist and Routed! Along with their associated husbands and brothers. Was great to have everyone over finally, after two years of marriage!

Jughead and Cow have discovered the lovely Wool shop in Stockport, I am incredibly jealous of their LYS the lucky things...but I think more yarn is the last thing I need right now anyway :)

seriously disturbing

This seems to be doing the rounds but click this link for some very freaky knitting...

Here are the photos of my haul from the K&S Show (see previous post):

New Erike Knight 'Glamour' book, which has some really beautiful and wearable patterns, Vogue Knitting Summer 2006 and Interweave Knits Summer 2006

Dyed wool tops bought by Jughead, she donated some of hers to me

FuseFX fibres (can be melted to bond fabrics, create texture and bond angelina fibres); Angelina (hot fix and normal); Soluble film and Wireform (bad photo sorry!)

Beads from the most amazing bead shop...not quite as great as the one we found in Spain but good value and selection..Pink I got your Eid present from here! But you have to come over if you want it...

Again, not a great photo (I took a better one then deleted by mistake and can't be bothered going back upstairs and getting them all out again). But these were my favourite buys - hand dyed silk habotai, Oliver Twists 'Two of a Kind' hand and machine embroidery threads, Oliver Twists 'One-Offs' in the most beautiful jewel colours and a bag of 'Short Ends'..most of which are perfectly good for embroidery and so a complete bargain at £1.50 only :)

UK alpaca, Lorna's Laces (first purchase - it's absolutely gorgeous! and much softer than the Cherry Tree Hill Supersock I'm using at the moment), Silkwood 4 ply mohair blend.

Close-ups of Lorna's Laces and Silkwood yarn

I think that's everything! Somehow spread out it looks like a lot but I did try and limit myself as much as possible...I worked out it will take me at least a year and a half to get through all the yarn I have so I think it's time for a yarn 'fast'!

I've been approached by a writer for a well known Islamic lifestyle magazine who want to publish an article on knitting..although so far I've mostly been following other people's patterns I thought it would be a good opportunity to knit some simple items e.g. drop stitch scarf, or a felted purse and include the patterns so that people can try things out at home. I'm also planning to set up a club in London so if you're interested just drop me an email (my email address is at the bottom of the blog).

And finally a gratuitous picture of my gorgeous little cousin :) He (yes really) may look sweet but he kicks a mean football...

A Productive Weekend Part II: K&S Show Review

Jughead and I headed off for the Knitting and Stitch Show bright and early on Saturday morning. Despite waking up at a ridiculous time for a weekend, I managed to make us late and we missed the early train, but still managed to get to Ally Pally within a reasonable amount of time. There were still plenty of people queueing for the shuttle bus from Wood Green station. I was struck by the over-representation of middle-aged middle-class ladies, but I guess that's what you might expect. That doesn't make me one!

There was no queue getting into the exhibition though, which was a relief. The first thing we saw when we got there was this great knitted Ferrari (as modelled by myself):

spinning wheel - just like in Sleeping Beauty!

Gorgeous old Chinese skirt, made by village women who weave and pleat the skirts themselves using ancient techniques. They weave ancestral symbols into the designs and then place them over a bamboo frame and sew all the pleats into position before placing the whole thing in a bamboo steamer until the pleats are set. I saw a silk version of this skirt (above is cotton) and was completely in love...but the price tag put me off being an ex-poor student and all. We spent ages talking to the man who owned the stall, who told us about his travels in China, the Islamic heritage there that he had witnessed, his visits to Rajasthan and his love of textiles from all over the world. It was truly inspiring.

Knitting-wise, there was Rowan, Colinette, Sublime, Fleece Artist, Habu, Cherry Tree Hill, Tilli Thomas, UK alpaca and many other brands. I especially liked Fyberspates and the Silkwood yarns, even though I don't think I would use hand-dyed yarns for big items because the colours jsut form pools. I got some lovely sock yarn though. UK alpaca was great quality stuff and looked very nice knitted up, especially compared to some of the rather rough and ready handspun yarn that was on display. Although I was really there for the knitting, I love textile art as well..I wasn't expecting there to be that much as I read somewhere that there was just loads of cross stitch which is generally very twee and I ended up buying embroidery supplies too.

Top to bottom: variegated threads; Jughead at her masks for cloth dolls workshop with Barbara Willis; Embroidered Knot Garden by Owen Davies whose workshop I attended - didn't get too far with my garden but gave me some good ideas

I loved Gilda Baron's stall, she is an amazing artist. Have a look at her website it's really cool. In fact I went and bought her book from Amazon and got it today. Her work looks incredibly intricate but when broken down into steps seems doable. I'm going to try out her techniques and see how far I get with them. I also rediscovered by rayon embroidery threads from Morocco ('they're pure silk!' more fool us..but they were good value anyway) and vintage wood pulp and cotton threads I bought in Cornwall which should be put to good use. I also did another workshop on how to use angelina, shiny fibres which you melt with the iron to get all kinds of effects.

There was loads more stuff but it was all 'Do Not Photograph' and 'Do not Touch'. Boo. Some of the graduate pieces were worth a look but to be honest we totally ran out of time what with shopping and workshops. It was a fantastic day though - I think Jug and I will be regulars. Go to the Harrogate show if you get the chance and do all the workshops you can, they are really worthwhile.

Will go to Part III tomorrow: The Stash Enhancement. Also, my new second career!

My weekend started early, I made a quick exit from work (2pm! apparently all the patients were ill just after I left, but that was the SHO's problem) and met up with Jughead at Victoria. We then headed to Liberty, one of my favourite 'look-but-don't-buy' places in London:

Gorgeous roses and baby pumpkins at Paula Pryke Flowers

Then we found Designer Dentist and Pink and went back to Liberty for more browsing and inspiration. We went to the interiors section and all dreamed of the beautiful houses we will never be able to own at current market prices:

from top to bottom: flocked chandeliers (I couldn't take a better picture for fear of being ignominiously sent out on my ear); metallic lampshade; close-up (sideways) of metallic lampshade which in my fanciful way I imagine looks like mountains and sky and sand; the Christmas shop - just like Santa's grotto!;mohair lace scarf which Jughead plans to make.
After all this excitement, it was time for iftar. We met up with Dazey, and went on to Pizza Hut for some much-needed refuelling. A Muslim girl who was there with a friend offered us each a potato wedge from her plate to break our fasts, a great example of the kind of bond and generosity that Islam creates. We also happened to have a Muslim waiter, who told us we could go and pray Maghrib downstairs. As I have no other photos, here is Pink eating her cheesecake with a knife as the waiter wouldn't bring us any spoons:

Don't kill me, Pink!

It was really nice to meet up with everyone, especially Pink and Dentist as not seen either of them since the wedding! All seems to be going swimmingly in the Dentist household, I am so happy for them both :) and very jealous of Pink going off to Korea to buy everything in sight!

This concludes Part I, the photo uploading is doing me in...but Part II (the Knitting and Stitch Show post) is not to be missed...

Some knitting updates

I have been doing lots of knitting, mainly on Mr C's Rowan Charley jumper which is a neverending nightmare - I mean I should have known that a man's jumper which takes 14 balls of wool to knit would be tedious in the extreme. It's looking ok, but close-up the stitches don't look very even so it looks a bit 'home-made' fact at one point I was thinking of ditching the whole thing and selling off the yarn on Ebay. But I am persevering and hoping it will turn out all right in the end, and if nothing else it will be a nice comfy jumper to wear around the house!

Here are some pictures:

This is about 3 balls of wool's worth of now half way through the fourth after as many weeks! I decided to knit in the round to avoid seaming so it feels like it is taking twice as long to make any progress.

Here is a close-up of the cable pattern down the middle, it looks better in the photo above but I think it's quite a cool pattern and is very easy to do.

Mr C's hat, made using a pattern from Stitch'n'Bitch by Debbie Stoller, a gift from the Cow . I made it with Rowan Big Wool and a stripe of Rowan Plaid, which I'm going to use to make a scarf as well. Excuse the less than flattering photo, and please be kind to my poor husband when commenting.

And finally Bikey's Rowan Eowyn erm..sleeves? They aren't really a definable item of clothing but they are very fluffy and pretty and warm. The cabling is v simple and I just changed the lace pattern on the sleeves as the one in the book (Rowan 38 I think) wasn't really working for me.

Modelled by the Elegant Bikey herself :) Apologies for the dodgy photos I am quite ashamed of mine after seeing Sweetgeorgia's pictures, they are well worth a look.

I have enough for another pair but will probably knit in the round to avoid seams..I have some 8mm dpns but they practically make me arthritic as the wool really drags on them so will have to see if i I can pick any up at Alexandra Palace next weekend.

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