Thursday, October 17, 2013


Let's begin with the mystery object...

What could it be?   Answer later.

Next let me apologise for the poor quality of photos.  It was a really bright and beautiful morning and the whole kitchen was suffused with sunlight.  I just forgot to adjust the camera for that and so the pictures really just give you a rough idea of how industrious we were this week..

Ann, Penny, Jennie and June in silhouette

and on the right our newest member, Lynne.

So this week we knitted hats and mitts and sweaters and shawls.  We talked a lot about yarn and stockists and pattern sources.  And we had some cake:

 Beat 270g soft light brown sugar with 2 eggs.  Add 200g peeled, mashed banana.
Sift in 280g plain flour with 1tsp each of baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and ginger.
Melt 140g unsalted butter and stir into mix.
Pour mixture into a lined loaf tin and bake at 170 degrees C  (Gas mark 3) for an hour.

Sift 300g rye flour with 200g dark brown sugar, 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder (Doves), 1tsp cinnamon, half tsp each of ground nutmeg and cloves into a large bowl.
Grate in one large apple, including peel, and mix through with 4 tbsps sultanas.
Make a well in centre and stir in 250 ml milk or enough to make a good smooth, thick batter.
Pour into a lined loaf tin and bake 60 - 75 minutes at 180 degrees C (Gas mark 4), until a skewer comes out clean.

We meet next on Thursday November 7th and I have been asked to do a little demonstration of entrelac knitting.  This involves learning to knit backwards, but I promise you will get the idea very easily.  So if you want to have a go you can either just do a test swatch or you can strike out and have a go at some entrelac muffatees.

You will need 2 colours of double knitting wool.   The muffatee pattern can be done in 2, 3 or 4 colours if you wish and part balls will be sufficient.  Either a circular needle or a set of double pointed size 3.5 mm according to what you like best will also be needed.

There's no obligation, though, so if you want to carry on with your own project and say soothing things to us as we get in a muddle, please do.  See you then.

Answer? Oh, yes...

A wheel of unspun Icelandic wool which Jennie found.  It's wonderful.  What does one knit with it?  Anything really.  Prjonaperlur - Icelandic knit-pearls by Halldora Skarphedinsdottir and Erla S Sigurdardottir has patterns for ear-warmers, cardigans, lopapeysa sweaters, mittens, hats, slippers and TV socks.   Aaaah, TV socks.....

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A yarn pot-pourri

I cannot believe it is a whole week since our knitting group met!  Where did that go?

So, to begin with, it was Jennie's birthday and here is the birthday girl in splendid top-down cardigan and cosy socks.

 In Scandinavian fashion, Jennie brought along delicious cake for us to share and showed us an amazing Fair Isle sweater that she had knitted a number (I am not saying how big a number) of years ago, which is still absolutely pristine.  This traditional stuff sure does last.

June also brought a bag of her lovely things.  She knits the most amazing blankets but I only managed to get a shot of this Jubilee cushion which is so beautifully beaded and embellished I really ought to include a close-up of it.  However I continue to be technologically inept so this is the best I can do for now.

 May was knitting double fabric hats for her relations in the USA, and this is going to be amazingly warm to wear and really soft inside.  She taught us how to achieve the effect.  When I have done this before there has always been a gap between the two layers, so that you can separate them, and that is one way of doing it: May showed us how to anchor the layers so that they didn't come apart.  Now, we can choose which style we want in double knitting.  Thanks, May.

 Here is Janette's double knitting in progress and the tam o'shanter hat she knitted to her own design since our first meeting.  The colours are beautiful together.  Nice work.

Two new members, Ann and Penny, joined us this week and it is great to have them along.  Penny wanted some advice on how to get started on a project for a toy elephant.  She had brought along the instructions which called for a disappearing loop cast on and gave detailed diagrams and instructions for starting in this way.  Here they are below:

Well, try as we might, none of us could make any sense of this.  Some valiant attempts were made to work out the process, but in the end we had to admit defeat and instead Penny began with a variation of Judy's Magic Cast-on which I had come across in a Cat Bordhi tutorial on Youtube.  It had the effect of getting rid of the slip knot bump, which was what the pattern was calling for, so let us hope it will do the trick for Penny's elephant, which is to be knitted on these fine gauge needles with the very softest alpaca yarn.

 Ann had brought along her Fair Isle project.  I am always in awe of the way others choose such lovely colour combinations.  Just look at this corrugated ribbing! However, that wasn't the only impressive thing.  Ann is a nalbinder too and the examples she brought along are so neat and consistent that I am insanely jealous.  Below, the cream project is Ann's and the amazing hat was created by her talented friend.

Having been to Mari's nalbinding workshops 2 years running, during York's Viking festivals, I still cannot master it.  I get along fine at the workshops and think I have the hang of it and then as soon as I get home I have completely lost it!  Perhaps you can give me a tutorial sometime, Ann, although I doubt I can ever get to produce work like this on the right.

So, what did I do?  Very little knitting, whilst everyone else was being so industrious.  But Jennie had brought along her wool-winder and I got to wind some of the endless skeins of Grignasco Merino Silk rather more quickly than I can by hand and nostepinne.  

Thank you for a lovely morning, ladies.  See you all again on 17th October.