Friends to knit with

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Yesterday was a perfect Sunday, full of sunshine, and warmth and wooliness. The nef Curial, at CENTQUATRE-PARIS provided the perfect venue for the 6th edition of the knitting meeting Jakecii has been organising for more than a year now — dedicated to male knitters, but this time again as you can see, we were outnumbered…

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We spent some great hours knitting, crocheting, eating pizza and marshmallow, and chatting, amid dancers and jugglers. I made some much needed progress on my Streymoy cardigan. All in all, a perfect reminder of how pleasurable it is to knit in good company, and a nice coda to these last knit-happy days which started last week-end at L’Aiguille en fête craft show.

And because great yarn, just like people, are wonderful friends to knit with, here are the little hand dyed additions to my stash I’ve collected on my visit there:

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From left to right: BFL DK in the colorways “Offshore” and “Marsh” from a small German company called WalkCollection; Leizu DK, a nice Canadian merino/silk blend dyed by Julie Asselin in “Moussaillon”; and the special “Thé à la violette at Lil’s” Falkland/silk blend from (Vi)laines (first three skeins bought at L’OisiveThé’s stand and the last at Lil Weasel’s). I also bought myself a magical skein of Canadian fingering merino from Riverside studio, which I’ve already paired with some écru fingering from Holst Garn, to start a Leftovers Cowl:

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Looks like the new year’s resolution I’ll be having no trouble keeping is: start more projects!

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Humble beginnings, humble pursuance

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetSince my return from Iceland and the end of holidays, I’ve been hassled by work and deadlines, with little time to devote to knitting, let alone blogging.
I have managed however to start working on that Streymoy cardigan I’ve been coveting for some time now (sweet, soft Gilliatt merino from De Rerum Natura, mmmh…) The sleeves are coming along nicely, I think. The more “piquant” aspects (as they say at Knitty) will surely crop up later on (steeks, button band and the like, oh my!)

I’ve also been making slow progress on my seed stitch wrap (new ball of yarn – Oceanos – attached!) and linen stitch scarf.

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This is more than enough to keep me busy in-between obligations these days.

 

 

A yarnery in Bordeaux

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A three-day stay in Bordeaux for work provided the opportunity to visit a beautiful and inviting yarn store just off rue Sainte-Catherine, called La Lainerie. It displayed one of the most exhaustive offerings of Rowan yarns I’ve come across in France, and the owner Marie-Line was very nice and friendly, providing great conversation. I bought a few balls of Rowan fine tweed (for a little something I have in mind), as well as a skein of Austrian superfine merino, in a gorgeous understated variety of blues.
On the train to Bordeaux and back, I worked on a new project: yet another scarf, in 2-color linen stitch pattern (I’m smitten with this stitch right now!), made with Noro Taiyo 4 ply yarn and some undyed Bluefaced Leicester.

In pattern

Processed with VSCOcam with e5 presetThe (free) pattern for my Gothika lace shawl has been test knitted, edited, translated and is now available on Ravelry! The thrill! The pride! The gratefulness for all the help and encouragement that has made this possible!
Now I can focus on something else. Like work these fun little square modules that someday will be pieced into a blanket. Or sorting out this huge bin of vintage (plastic mostly) buttons bought last weekend at a jumble sale.

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Having a ball

worsted140111aWell, another year has gone past, and I’m still knitting strong, and having a ball at it. That’s something to celebrate, I guess.
Speaking of balls: on Tuesday night I made myself one of these magic balls, from worsted weight scrap yarn I had lying around. The living room was full of coloured lengths of string, as I cut and arranged and assembled. I didn’t use the Russian join for attaching the scraps together (which was what the tutorial I was following suggested), but tried instead the double knot technique. It worked really fine (I’d say it’s perfect for this kind of project, but would probably not recommend it for less “scrappy” endeavours). I ended up with a nice big ball of yarn, from which I’ve started knitting a simple brioche scarf for my cousin’s young daughter.

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Now, let me tell you a few things about brioche stitch I wish I’d known way earlier (you’re probably aware of this, but me? fresh experience!):
– although it looks deceivingly like plain 1×1 ribbing, brioche stitch is something entirely else, both structurally and texturally;
– although there are whole sites and books devoted to that sole stitch and its many variations (including the mesmerizing two-colour version), there is nothing overwhelming about brioche. On the contrary, it’s real easy to knit (I’ll say that again: it’s easy). I don’t know why I was so hesitant to give it a try (if you’re in the same case, you might find this tutorial helpful);
– brioche stitch is fast (and I’d even wager that it’s faster than 1×1 ribbing), because, you see, all you’re really doing is slipping and knitting stitches (no purling).

In other news, I spent the holidays with my family in Mauritius, and tried to find some yarn-related stuff. Alas! Though the island has a thriving knitwear industry, it seems to devote no special place to handknitting. I couldn’t find any yarn store, nor any yarn, apart from the usual acrylic and nylon(!) balls on sale in supermarkets.
I did nonetheless buy myself a beautiful, warm men’s woven wool shawl. It was made in India, and is called a lohi (I’m guessing from the name of a sheep breed). I just love it!

Processed with VSCOcam with m2 presetAnd, on a final note: I regularly post my yarn-related findings on Flipboard. Do have a look.

Tuareg (one down, eight to go)

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In spite of the hot weather, I’ve managed to finish the first color of my seed stitch wrap, and joined a new kind of blue to the azul profundo stitches. It’s called tuareg (they come up with great names for their colorways, at Malabrigo). The change is not very striking at the moment, but I think that’s kind of promising…

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My next big project is going to be an Icelandic yoke sweater. I’m busy swatching Léttlopi yarn, scratching my head and paper, oblivious to the fact that it’s 36°C outside.

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Oh the Possibilities! (The Knitter as Matchmaker)

I have a theory about yarn. It is a silly theory, I have to admit, but one powerful enough to structure an important part of my knitting practice. I believe that most of the yarn that happens to come into my hands is here for a reason: it wants to become something, and  my purpose as a knitter is to find and make the perfect match.

The problem with this theory is that it leads me to be more interested in the “finding” part, and less in the actual “making”. Once I think I’ve solved a skein’s existential problem, the rest boils down to less exciting, practical details. Let’s take for example that beautiful skein of Jaipur silk I was talking about last time. I knew it wanted to be a summer scarf, and that my mission was to find the right stitch pattern. I finally settled for linen stitch, cast on, and knitted a few rows, on and off. I believe I made the right choice, found the correct needles and tension, and the results seem quite convincing. The fabric looks lovely on both sides, and there’s a nice zigzag effect I hadn’t anticipated.

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The challenge now is to finish the damn thing – which, by the way, has become more problematic since the sweater episode – and not let it dwell in the long dark tea-time much of my knitwork seems sentenced to these days.