On Jim's needles

I've been knitting far more over the last couple of months than I have probably ever. That's not to say I've been exactly prolific, or quick, but things have been growing from my needles. 

We're deep into preparing our next book and that means swatches. For each of the photo tutorials for A Year of Techniques, we'd need up to 3 or 4 identical, or near identical swatches as starting points. Sometimes we could use the same swatches for the video tutorials, but sometimes we'd need something a little different. So although each one doesn't take that long, over the course of a whole book, there's lots to be done. Of course, I can't show anything yet, so you'll have to be patient and try to guess what we're up to next.

 Partial Jón by Hulda Hákonardóttir

Partial Jón by Hulda Hákonardóttir

I have a Lopi sweater I may have mentioned before. It has been my project I've promised to finish in at least 2 KALs and was supposed to be ready for last winter. At the rate I'm going, it will still be on the needles next winter. I made huge progress (for me) on the body while in Shetland in September, completing the rib and colourwork section at the bottom. However, on returning home, I tried it on and of course my gauge is way off. It should be loose fitting and I get the feeling that it's going to be a little snug. What I have done is gone up a needle size so that when I reach the chest, I'll have sufficient space to be able to breathe in and out.

 It may be tight, but at least my floats are neat.

It may be tight, but at least my floats are neat.

The sweater is on the back burner for now, and not just because of the swatches. While we were on our way to Shetland I had a message from my brother to say that my niece had declared that she would like a scarf knitted by Uncle Jim for Christmas. I had started to make vague noises to excuse myself from the diktats of a 5 year old, but then I went to Donna Smith's class on inspiration for Fair Isle knitting. Taking the assembly point sign outside the classroom as a starting point and the colour scheme of the classroom as my palette, I designed this colourwork cowl. As you can see, it's not quite finished, but I've sped up with all of the practise so will easily have it ready.

 Assembly Point Cowl

Assembly Point Cowl

One of the things that I learned while working on the cowl was something we featured in A Year of Techniques. If you look at the arrows either side of the central peerie pattern, you can hardly see the yellow on the blue in the lower section. However, further up, it's a good deal more prominent. I didn't change the yarn, just which way around they were held. It was a good lesson for me on the importance of colour dominance in colourwork - something I had been a little sceptical of. The answer to the question, "How much difference does it really make?" is, to put it bluntly, lots.

 You can see the effect of swapping the yarns over more clearly on the WS.

You can see the effect of swapping the yarns over more clearly on the WS.

The best thing about all of the knitting I've done recently is that not once have I thrown it on the floor and stamped on it in frustration. Ok maybe just the once, or twice, but certainly no more than 5 times.