Wednesday, 29 July 2009

This Week's Stitch N' Bitch

Last night we had a great time at the pub and meet three new people - Rachel, Jayne and Liz! I even remembered the camera this time.
What's this? Could it be, no, it can't be a chilli... Too small to sample I fear, but this is progress!

Knitterly Istanbul

In the Islamic Arts Museum I unintentionally found a crude example of yarn dyeing in a yurt (black goat-skin hut from the Anatolian province of Turkey) and also managed to get told off for taking photos!:

I stumbled across ome crazy (and HUGE) felted hats in a shop:

And some not-so-huge ones:

Doesn't this remind you of a Moderne Log Cabin Blanket?

Anyone recognise this???

I immediately thought of the wonderful Kaffe when I saw this, and sure enough when I got home and checked my Pattern Library, there it was: the Caucasian Stripe:

I think my beloved Kaffe may have got quite a few of his motifs from his travels to Turkey. Here's another I saw everywhere:


As promised, here it is: 4 days in photos.
I'm sure that some of you may have been here before but this was my first time and it blew me away. It's such a heated mix of different cultures, visions, sounds and aromas. The photos are in the order of the sights we saw. If I could accompany them with the sound of the Muezzin (the prayer call that echoes around the city four times a day; it reaches you wherever you are!), I would.
This is my my favourite image from the whole trip: beautiful iznik tiles:
The Blue Mosque:

Hagia Sophia:
Although historically more important, Hagia Sophia is perhaps less beautiful visually than the Blue Mosque. Just don't tell my old university History of Art professor!
The interior of Hagia Sophia, a confused blend of Christian Byzantine and Muslim styles:

An ancient tile from the Islamic Arts Museum; I think this design transcends time, it could easily have been done today:

An early example of a kilim (woven Anatolian carpet), worn in patches:

A view of the Blue Mosque from the terrace on our hotel roof - we were very close:

We had a night-time drink up here away from the crowds below, with one of the best views of the city:

The Blue Mosque at night:

Mosaic from the interior of Hagia Sophia:

Inside the eclectic Grand Bazaar:

Inside the Basilica Cistern, the Roman waterworks beneath the city, the only cool spot!:

The interior of the Blue Mosque:

A buddleia bush in a courtyard at the Topkapi Palace:

Be prepared, there are a few photos of iznik tiles coming up!:

The "Sofa" of the Palace, a spot for rest and relaxation for the sultans and their concubines:

A view of the city from the "Sofa":

A sofa in the "Sofa"!:

Mother of pearl was also in abundance:

A random colourful little street:

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Rainbow Blanket: Blocked

It would be too boring (for you and me) to show as many photos as last time, so here's one blocked photo.
I'm pleased with the way it turned out, but somehow preferred the "fluffier" look when it first came off the needles. That's the beauty of it not being a garment; it doesn't have to fit a certain size, so can be what you want it to be.

I'm off to Istanbul for the weekend. See you soon!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Rainbow Blanket: Update

I've emailed the designer for her feedback, but having checked other people's comments from their projects, it seems that following the original pattern results in a rectangle.
Hurrah - I'm not going mad after all! I'm off to block it.

FO: Rainbow Blanket

The Blanket's finished!
It's not blocked yet, or it would have straighter edges. It's not blocked because there's a major problem: IT'S NOT SQUARE! This is more than a glaring error.

I realised this was going to happen about half-way, but checked the pattern a million times and can't see that I've done anything wrong. The other projects on Ravelry are all square, so I've asked ravelers where I've gone wrong, and will report back.

DH says that I'm being rectanglist and should just embrace the rectangle. Let's see what the good people on Rav suggest.

Bear with me while I get this sorted, and hopefully I'll have some correct photos to show you.
My other problem is with Blogger: sometimes when I upload an image to a post the image rotates itself (e.g. below), and sometimes it doesn't. There's nowhere on the uploading page to change the properties ... aagghh!

At this point I should probably mention that it's one of my favourite things I've ever made. It was super easy, super fast and as any knitter would know, the colour changes really kept me going.

Easy, because although it looks really complicated, but it's not; that's the beauty of it. You just carry the yarn up the side as you swap the main colour and contrast colour every two rows. That's right, no intarsia or fair isle, it's really just slipped stitches which create the chain effect.

Fast, I'm not sure why because the cotton doesn't slip off the needles (in my case bamboo) like wool does. Although I had a break of several weeks waiting for the Ecru (main colour) to arrive, in total the knitting took about 10 days - not bad.

I absolutely love the colour work. Each colour moves on to the next in a subtle way (although I love the way the designer, Erika Flory chose to not go straight from yellow through to green, but in a way the colour moves back and forth before ending (for e.g., see the orange-peach-red-pink stretch). I hope this makes sense; I'm not sure I've articulated my thoughts very well here!
The other thing which I think really makes this project, is the designer's ingenius use of off-white for the main colour, which connects all of the colour links and borders the whole piece. Many would have just used a glaring bright white, but the Ecru is far more subtle.
Back view (still quite pretty):

Back detail:
I did make one mistake, though not according to the pattern, and it wouldn't have affected the shape of the blanket. If you look at other versions of the blanket, on each block of a separate colour, there are only three bands (separated by the chain pattern in the main colour) rather than four in my case; in other words, I changed colour four rows after other people did in their versions). This instruction was not in the pattern as far as I can see. I noticed this after I was about a quarter of the way through, and didn't want to go back. I also prefer the way I have done it, although the other versions look great too; both ways look good. Having checked and counted several times, I don't believe this would have afffected the length of the blanket, though please feel free to tell me otherwise.
Meanwhile, onto other things: when I finished the blanket last night I swatched for the Cardigan, the pattern for which I've also added to Ravelry with the aid of a helpful Sirdar pattern moderator. Again, sorry for the sideways view (I'll try to fix that). I'm just about to cast on.
Last night for dinner I made DH andmyself a nice summery Salad Niçoise (a favourite in my family) - yummy!:

Monday, 13 July 2009

New Commission

Look at these beautiful cherries:

This week's news is that a relative of DH's, Laurence, (I'd call him a family friend; he's lovely) has asked me to make him a cardigan. I'm thrilled!

After hunting high and low, I think I've found the right pattern. He wants one exactly like that worn by Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady. I didn't know the film (though I know the play) so had to search for a photo.

This is the nearest cardigan pattern I could find. I hope Laurence likes it. Check out the cheesy photos of the early 90's models! I plan to make my version classier but I'm not doing a contemporary version; this is going to be a classic shape (like all the best things in life).

He would like a camel cardigan, so I have found the yarn below:

What do you think? Is it camel-ish enough? It's an 80% merino, 20% kid mohair mix and feels divine. It should knit up nicely. I've got the leather elbow patches and leather buttons and am ready to go.

I'll keep you posted on progress, but can't cast on yet as I have to finish the Rainbow Chain Carriage Blanket (I'm on the home stretch now, and loving those colour changes). I'm afraid I'm one of those boring knitters who tends to finish one project before moving on to another.

While I was buying the yarn I couldn't help but check out what else was in John Lewis (a place I'm not usually too fond of, but the Oxford Street store has a better selection of yarn than Peter Jones).

I cam away with some Noro Silk Garden...

Destined for the pattern below (apologies but I can't seem to rotate this image):

And some chunky tweed for a log cabin blanket that was actually on sale (I had the acqua already):