Saturday, 13 July 2013

Studies in Celtic Design

Dear Lynn,
I've been busy! I just finished two new hats based on some Celtic designs I got from the book "Celtic Charted Designs" by Co Spinhoven. I believe this book is intended for needlework, but there is page after page of celtic knot 'strips' that are perfect for accenting the brims of hats.

I had to re-draw the design onto graph paper as the design graphs in the book were so small. Also had to figure out where the repeat is.
I find Noro Silk Garden and Noro Kureyon yarns are perfect candidates for this type of hat - as you know from experience. The Noro changes color gradually, giving the hat an effect that it looks more complicated than it actually is. Paired with a contrasting solid in another worsted yarn, such as Cascade 200, the effect is gorgeous.

I managed to knit both these hats this week, which amazes me a little since it must mean I'm getting to be a fast-ish knitter (not a fast knitter, fast-ish will have to do for now -- I've seen fast knitting and I am NO WHERE NEAR that!), but it's another reason I love making hats. It doesn't take long to finish one and you can just go nuts with color, pattern and texture.

Here's the two hats...
Above: I used a 2x2 ribbing on the hat above and alternated Noro Kureyon and one of my favorite shades of Cascade 220, Mallard. So cool that this hat used exactly one skein of the Noro (plus the C220 of course).
Above: this hat uses Noro Silk Garden and a lovely yarn from Knit Picks, 'Swish Worsted' in Lava Heather. It looks brown from a distance, but up close has little red flecks in it. I'm just in lust love with Noro yarns colorways.

I love this Celtic knot pattern. There are many more in the book for me to explore.

This hat has a 1x1 brim (k1, p1) and I added a round of bobbles just above the brim. Fun! This hat may look difficult, but if one knows how to read a color chart and do a bit of fair isle, then it's not really a hard hat to make.

I used size US6/4mm 16" circular needles and essentially the same amount of stitches for both, but the Silk Garden hat came out bigger and the drape a bit looser. Noro Kureyon, although advertised as a worsted weight yarn, is more like a heavy worsted in my book, so the stitches were quite tight. This isn't a bag thing though, as the Kureyon hat, though smaller, has a tight knit that will be very warm and more windproof than the Silk Garden hat.

I'll be taking off in a couple of days to travel up to Auckland, New Zealand with Anthony for the film festival up there and I'll be gone the better part of 3 weeks. So that means I need to spend some time today figuring out what yarn, patterns and tools to bring with me to keep my hands busy while I'm gone. I'll also bring my laptop so I can be in touch.

Good thing I have a lot of our patterns on my Kindle. That makes things sooo much easier. Sometime I'll do a post on how to get knitting patterns on a Kindle. It's dead easy.

I hope you are enjoying the warm summer weather in Colorado. What's new in your world?...and on your needles?
Love and hugs, Christine

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Frozen Frontier Flashback Friday

Hello Knitterly friends,
Lynn and I have started this for every other Friday...the 'Frozen Frontier Flashback Friday' otherwise known as 'FFFF'. We want to share with you some photos of us and the place we have called home for so much of the last couple of decades, Ross Island, Antarctica.

These photos are from my second summer in 1998.

I love looking through old photos! Used to be you would do that with a big photo album in your lap, but nowadays it's as easy as sitting at your computer and looking through iPhoto.

I found these photos of a knitting session back in '98. This is about the time I picked up the needles and started knitting again. My grandma had taught me to knit when I was a teenager, but I hadn't done any knitting since then.
At McMurdo Station, there is a regular knitting group, Stitch n' Bitch every Tuesday night. This is the longest running group activity at the Station. There is a long history of knitting in Antarctica and we're just carrying on the tradition: sharing, teaching, learning (and did I mention wine?)
In Antarctica, we have to make do with what we have available. If there isn't a swift (or a husband) around to ball up your skeins, you get creative...
It's also an amazing place to get out and about. The scenery is probably the most spectacular on the planet. One of the popular things to do around town is to climb Observation Hill, or 'Ob Hill' as it is affectionately called. It's a steep climb on loose volcanic rock, but the view at the top is worth it.

You can see Ob Hill in this photo, just poking up behind Robert Scott's Discover Hut.
At the top is large wooden cross, erected on January 20, 1913, a memorial to Britain's Robert Scott and his exploration party who lost their lives upon returning from a long and treacherous journey -- their bid to be the first humans to reach the South Pole. Unfortunately for them, Norwegian Roald Amundsen beat them to it, and planted the Norwegian flag there.

Here is the cross.
It bears an excerpt from an Alfred Tennyson poem "Ulysses" which reads, "to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield." Potent words.
It is both exhilarating and moving to be at the top of Ob Hill. Hard to believe it's been 15 years since this photo was taken.

Now on to more knitting today. I have some exciting patterns I'm working up that I'll post about a bit later on. Happy knitting!