Monday, 26 October 2009


15 days and many, many nupps later, here it is:
This is my Swallowtail Shawl, beautifully designed by Evelyn Clark.
Now, those of you who read this blog are probably wondering why on earth I made this, given my (mild) dislike for lace and shawls. Yes, this is both lace and a shawl. Allow me to clarify: for some inexplicable reason I felt drawn to this particular shawl; it may have had something to do with seeing Natalie's shimmering version in the window of Stash a couple of months ago. The strange thing about lace is that although I don't always love the finished product, I do really love knitting lace.
Anyway, I knit it in Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk in a lovely dark grey. It's really good to work with and just slips off the needles. I only wish there was a slightly higher sheen to it.

Did you notice that it's cunningly hanging from a tree branch? I had wanted to photograph the shawl amongst the red and gold foliage of my favourite season, and all week had had one particular russet-hued Beech tree in mind. However, I walked around the neighbourhood all day yesterday in van searching for a branch I could actually reach. In the end I had to settle for a tree with leaves that were still tinged with the previous season's green, but you get the idea.

This pattern was a breeze. Saying that, in the beginning I frogged it a grand total of five times while I tried to work out the Budding Lace repeats. It took showing it to someone at Knit Night (thanks Mel) for me to realise that there were three words below the chart which I had completely managed to miss: "Six-Stitch Repeat". Noticing that at the very beginning would have saved me a lot of frustration!

After that it went very quickly. The fun part was the nupps - lots and lots of them every row once you get to the Lily of the Valley edging.

I plan on wearing it to work to keep my necky toasty and prevent my usual winter cold, while remaining smart enough for an office environment.

As soon as this was OTN and blocking I got started on something else. Can you guess what this yarn is? There's no prize, I'm just testing you!

I also have some work to do on the camel cardigan, plus DH' s aunt has asked me to make something too, so I should probably get back to it...

Monday, 12 October 2009

And The Winner Is...

Thank you all for your lovely comments; they certainly make pursuing the blog worthwhile.
Last night I closed the Comments, and drew a number. Click here to see that I did it fair and square. The winner is:

No. 38 = Rebecca!!!

Rebecca (posted 5th October at 17.23), please email me and give me your address so I know where to send your yarn! Alternatively, PM me on Ravelry; I'm Rowanberry.
I hope you all enjoyed this little competition as much as I did. it was a first for me, and seeing a new comment (or three) every so often really put a smile on my face!

Sunday, 11 October 2009


Last of the Summer figs. Sorry, I couldn't resist...

Little Joshua's Gifts

Little Joshua arrived two weeks ago and we went over to give his parents, our good friends, his pressies:

Booties from my own pattern:

An Umbilical Cord Hat:

And a little bear, complete with matching scarf:

Joshua may be too little for them at the moment, but he'll soon grow into them.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Knitting Update

I should be posting blocked photos of two cardigans, which I have actually completed, believe it or not. However, when I left my knitting bag behind at Knit Night on Tuesday, I also left my pins, so it'll have to wait until next weekend now probably, sorry.
In the meantime, in an effort to do something different, I've started a Swallowtail Shawl. I'm not normally a huge fan of shawls, but it's begun to get cold here in London, and it would be nice to have something cosy to wrap around my neck at work, that also looks quite smart. I've made a shawl before, but wanted to take on a lace one this time. Again, lace is also not a usual favourite of mine, but this shawl's been nagging at me to be made for a while. I quite enjoy lace, and was quite pleased with my Curlicue.

I've decided to do this in Baby Alpacas Alpaca Silk (50% Alpaca, 50% Silk) so it has a nice sheen to it. The colour I chose is a silvery-grey (but it's hard to see the silkiness in these photos). It's Slate, No. 100, dye lot 9421. Three skeins should do the trick. I'm enjoying it already!

Stitch Markers: The Agony and the Ecstasy.

Yes, fellow knitterly friends, this week I lost my all-time favourite stitch-markers. Having searched the entire house and stash I finally concluded that I must have thrown them out with the old newspapers.
Trying to handle the pain of the loss, I took myself off to Stash on Thursday for the new Thursday Knit Night (it has changed from Monday nights since the merger with Socktopus) and took the opportunity to replenish my stock. However, imagine my sadness when I arrived at the counter where they normally keep the same version of my beautiful stitch-markers, to find that not only did they not have the same ones, but they had a different version, which were HARD PLASTIC. Obviously I still bought them (I needed some for a project and was coming around to the new colour scheme).
Here are the new little guys:
*** I have now abbreviated stitch-marker to SM - takes too long to type ***
By this stage, I've got to admit, I was loving the peach against the pinks, oranges and reds (yes, it's another Umbilical Cord Hat - below). However, I digress. Not wanting to be unfaithful to my original SM's, they just didn't quite compare. My original SM's were in the best purple and green shades you could imagine, and were rubber, which crucially meant that they didn't fall off the needles, roll away or get snapped. The new ones are alright (OK, now I really like the colours) but they're just not the same.

So imagine my ecstasy when I came across these:

Yes, this is the original set. I found them in my needle case, where I'd clearly been hiding them in case I lost them. Yes, the irony, I know. I'm sooo happy: now I have my favourites plus some new little guys to play around with (which have the added bonus of being much bigger, so will fit around larger needles.

Bear in mind that these are bog-standard SM's, nothing fancy. Furthermore, until this week, I also only had one set; I am not a collector/horader of beautiful and different SM's, like a lot of knitters. Then you will see that this dilemma I faced for a grand total of two days was indeed completely ridiculous. However, I'm admitting that, and I think admission is the first step towards recovery. It's just that the colour of an SM is really important; the way it looks against your knitting can really make the difference between loving that huge sweater and giving up half-way through. Fellow knitters, I know you'll understand.


Hi Everyone,

I and my blog are celebrating our one-year anniversary! I can't believe it's only been a year, it seems like I've been doing this for years and I can't imagine life without blogging now!

I started this blog in August 2008 as a way of venting about my knitting projects, showing any (limited) success I had, and trying to meet fellow knitters. One of my favourite things is hearing from non-knitting friends about things that they've read or seen on the blog.

Over time, my skills have definitely grown, and so the blog has grown with me. I now have free patterns available that I designed, and am pleased to count as friends, those who visit me in cyber space. The blog (and comments I got from readers) also gave me the idea to start up a knitting group where I live, as I realised how popular the craft had become. Hammersmith Stitch N' Bitch is now also thriving, with new members coming along every week!

Anyway, to celebrate, I am giving away a small token from my stash. This helps me too; like most knitters' stashes, mine is getting too big to handle! So what's up for grabs, I hear you ask? Well, see below:

Three balls of Debbie Bliss Rilato Aran (100% Merino Wool, extra fine superwash, 80m/50g, wash at 30 degrees, recommended needle size 5mm):

1 ball stone-blue, colour 21203, dye-lot 78
1 ball forest-green, colour 21209, dye-lot 79
1 ball teal-blue, colour 21211, dye-lot 86*.

I bought the yarn to make some Fetchings for some friends, but didn't get around to making them, and probably never will (my to-do list is growing!). I made a pair for myself some time ago, which I love. They keep the hands toasty while allowing the fingers to work! I wore them all last winter.

Each ball is enough to make a pair of Fetchings, that's right, a whole pair! So you could get three pairs in total out of these balls. Of course, you don't have to make fingerless gloves; you can make whatever you like, incorporate them into a small blanket pattern perhaps.
**Edited 05/10/09**
Sorry, I should have said, leave a comment before 11th October.
People in the US and Canada are not excluded from the competition. That wouldn't be fair now, would it. The giveaway is open to everyone.

Here's what to do: leave me a comment (making sure I'm able to find your email address) about something you like about Rowanberry, or something you saw or read in one of my posts, or anything you'd like me to blog about or see more of on the blog before 11th September, and I'll put the numbers in to the Random Number Generator, and come up with a winner. I'll then ship the yarn to you, covering all postage and packing expenses. If you have a blog I'd really appreciate you mentioning Rowanberry (everyone could do with more site traffic).

*This yarn comes from a pet-free and smoke-free home.

Here's to another few years of Rowanberry!
*** Edited 11/10/09 at 19.51 ***
Thank you so much for your lovely comments. Comments are now closed.

California, here we come...

Sorry it's been a long time coming, but here's a whistle-stop tour of our holiday, starting in LA and taking in Arizona, the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, Yosemite and finishing in a favourite stop of ours, Santa Barbara.

The Getty Centre in LA, where we spent a whole day:

The architecture is really inspiring, and shows hints of the Classical past:

A beautiful Holy Family by Carlo Dolci, in fact they have a very good art collection:

Sculptures on the balconies that wrap around the building:

An old gas station at the Farmers Market in LA:

Firs in the grounds of the Hollyhock House by Frank Lloyd Wright:

The Griffin Observatory:

Sedona, where we were based for 5 days, and my favourite part. Just look at the colour of the rocks; every day they were a different colour, and the intensity of the red increased and decreased throughout the day:

The Four Vortexes:

The breathtaking Grand Canyon:

Part of an early 20th Century Hopi Mural inside the Desert View Stone Watchtower designed by Mary Colter:

A Squirrel posing:

The Hopi House, built by Native American women and now housing their crafts:

The Route 66 town of Williams:

We had a stopover in Vegas. This is inside the Wynn: It's not easy to see, but there are giant flower balls hanging from the "trees" (you're never quite sure what's real in Vegas, everything seems fake, like the grass outside the Wynn Encore where we were staying, which was plastic!):

On to Yosemite, for the second half of the trip. This is the staggering Half Dome:

From the Alpine summit down to the meadows in the valleys:

I thought the shadows in this rock face resembled a bird:

A Sterling Jay. We saw deer, lots of tiny yellow-bellied squirrels and these birds, but sadly no bears:

"El Capitan", another imposing mountain. We actually saw rock climbers on this rock-face:

From lush meadows to towering sequioas:

These trees are sooo huge that you can drive through them. This is now frowned upon, as it obviously severly damages the tree, but at the turn of the Century this is what they did:

"The Bachelor and the Three Graces". They're too tall to take in vertically!:

The last night's meal, shrimp cocktail at our favourite, Brophy's on the water in Santa Barbara, a great way to end: