I’ve been very tempted to cast on for the It Takes Two keyhole scarf in brioche stitch, using the several-shades-of-grey Riot yarn I bought last week. I’ve knitted a swatch to get familiar with the stitch – see below in red and grey – and I can report that it is considerably easier than the other Nancy Marchant brioche scarf I have knitted, Rodekool.
I knitted two versions of that last year, both given away as presents, and I really struggled with the first one until I found a Youtube video that demonstrated the trickiest part.
To me, any knitting pattern that requires a video to explain it to an experienced knitter isn’t entirely successful. I love the end results though, especially the fact that the scarf is reversible with both sides equally interesting.
It Takes Two is very similar in style but the stitch pattern is much simpler to knit. I must resist the urge to make a start on it until my socks are finished or I will have three knitting projects on the go at once, and that way lies confusion. I’ve come to the realisation that It Takes Two ought to be knitted before the larger Wingspan scarf because I can just keep knitting Wingspan to use up all the yarn I have left, and it will be easier to knit It Takes Two with two balls of yarn. I made the first Rodekool with one end taken from the outside of the ball and the other from the inside, with the predictable result that the ball became an unholy mess a few days in and I had to spend a couple of hours unknotting it and winding it into two balls. Now I know better. Also, with the benefit of two balls of Riot, I could run off the 75-odd metres of each that it will take and check that the colours don’t coincide at any point. That will be a hassle, but probably worth the effort.
I tried my gansey on the other day, having got more than half way up the armhole on one side (either back or front, they will be identical). It is looking good. I have got used to knitting back and forth and stopped making errors through purling pattern stitches that should be knitted, so it is growing reasonably fast. I can’t decide how wide the shoulder straps should be, I will leave that until the yoke is done on both sides and I can get a real feel for how it will look when I put it on. I suppose I ought to start thinking about the sleeves soon, because the plan is to run the shoulder straps from the neck edge straight down into the sleeve.
The decorating is finished for now and we have several plain white walls where previously was a mixture of bare plaster and old wallpaper. I quite grew to like the contract emulsion, chosen because it is semi-breathable and therefore suitable for plaster that has not totally dried out. It was cheap, a good consistency and, unlike vinyl emulsion, it is almost odour-free and it dries very fast. Splashes seem to wash out of the carpet even when they have dried. It won’t be as hard-wearing as vinyl, nor will it be possible to wipe dirty marks off the wall without removing paint, but it will do the job for a few months until we can hang some textured wallpaper to cover up the lumps and bumps in these old walls.
I amused myself over the Easter holiday weekend by making a couple of fabric cases in which to store my sets of double pointed and circular knitting needles.
They are made from some patterned linen left over from a summer skirt, lined with olive green cotton that I used for another skirt some 20 years ago. I even had the ribbon already. Now I feel virtuous for a) being thrifty – no purchase involved, b) using up fabric that has been cluttering up my scrap drawer for far too long, and c) getting my needles tidied up.
I borrowed a book from the library on natural dyeing because I have a cone of bourette silk yarn in a natural colour that is crying out to become more colourful. It was left over from the shawl below, which (like Rodekool) is a Knitty pattern, called Summit.
Summit was a boring thing to knit but it produced a much-admired shawl. I fancy trying to create colour graduations by dyeing yarn that has been wound into balls, the theory being that the colour will become less intense from the outside to the centre of each ball. According to the library book, new elder leaves will give a good fresh green. We have several elders in the garden and they will be in leaf in another few weeks, so that’s no problem, but I need to find alum from somewhere to use as a mordant. Staff in the local chemist shops looked at me blankly, although one pharmacist did offer to try and source some from his supplier. Unfortunately, he rang me later to say he couldn’t obtain it. A bit of online research revealed that alum is sold in Asian food shops as fatakdi powder – it keeps the crunch in pickled vegetables, apparently. I must remember to look for it the next time I go to Leeds, Manchester or some other such place.
Everywhere locally is getting excited about the Tour de France Grand Départ. The cyclists and their massive entourage of support vehicles, sponsors, sporting journalists and fans will be in Yorkshire for two days on 5th and 6th July. Roads that have been potholed for years are being frantically resurfaced by the local councils and anyone with a piece of land on the route is offering camping, parking, beer, entertainment, you name it. I will have to walk for less than a mile to see all the fun, which is just as well because the road closures will preclude any other mode of travel.