Kiri or Birch??

Three Kidsilk Fuzzballs made their way home in my shopping bag the other day, in that fab lime green colour known as 'Jelly' (I know, I know… I have more than enough yarn for the rest of the year, and probably several more to boot, but we've all been there, haven't we?).

I've been coveting a Birch or a Kiri for ages, and felt it was just time. I love that fresh, springy green; greens of all types make a regular appearance in my wardrobe, and the zing of jelly is a particular favourite. For the uninitiated (Ha! Who am I kidding?!?), Birch is a pattern from Rowan 34 that uses a traditional fern lace pattern. Eleventy-million stitches are cast on to form the top edge, and the pattern is worked down from the top, decreasing out stitches as you go. Kiri is a version created by the wonderful Polly of All Tangled Up. It is knit by the more familiar method of casting on a few stitches, and increasing at the edges and centre to make a triangle. There are other differences too, I'm sure; but that's the salient one right now.

Birch ends up as an all over pattern with the motifs pointing up and down the shawl. Kiri shows the central tram-track eyelet line typical of this method of shawl construction, and the motifs point up and inwards towards the central line. I actually think Kiri has more visual interest, but… Well, part of me wants to knit the pattern as Rowan printed it, not least because I want to prove to myself that I *can* cast on and knit eleventymillion stitches. It's as if some sort of snobbery is pushing me towards the 'original' despite myself – and I can't put my finger on what or why. Silly, I know.

Of course, the other option is to do a shawl that actually uses more than one stitch pattern. Suggestions, anyone?

P.S. The consensus was that the previous layout was a tad too wide for many people; is the new one any better?

P.P.S. I actually had a dream last night where I was trying to explain the difference in construction between Kiri and Birch, and the resulting different appearance, to a non-knitter. Complete with diagrams. Is that worrying?

A little bit of maintenance…

I've finally got a blogroll up in my sidebar! Now anyone who drops by can find out whether I'm stalking them or not…

I've also changed the width of the page; let me know if it is too wide for your browser/screen. I'm experimenting.

Next up: colour! Woooo!

No tinking with beads…

Zipping along (hah!) at our regular S'n'B lunch today, I spotted this:

See that? A Missing Bead. Scarlet tried to persuade me that I should just stitch one on afterwards; I couldn't bring myself to do it. You can't tink back and fix a mistake when a bead just isn't on the right bit of yarn.

So, I had to rip back and reknit. It was a whole pile of fun picking up that stitch pattern, I can tell you. But I now have two fully-beaded rows. Yay!

Minnie is languishing…

Knitting, work
But with good reason. All my knitting time for the last week has been co-opted by a very important, very urgent knitting-related task that was totally unforseen.

The quest for work-life balance, and a work environment I could buy into, believe in and be passionate about has been a recurring theme of my late-night soliloquies in past years. So, just suppose there was a small start-up company…

…that was looking for software engineers…

…and people with a technical understanding of knitting…

…to help develop their product…

…that produces knitting patterns…

…based on the novice-designer-user's designs…

Could you think of a better match for me?

To cut a long story short, they're keen for me to work for them; part time/contract at first, and hoping for a full-time job sometime in the new year.

Isn't it amazing how life-changing opportunities can whoosh out of nowhere, smack you between the eyes and totally change your perspective in under a week?

Very, very silly


I love the idea of a 'shinyotterometer'. Also protecting Aztecs from harm in battle.

I'd rather not address the 32 bars of soap right now, though.

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Shinyotter!

  1. Shinyotter is the largest of Saturn's moons.
  2. Shinyotter is actually a fruit, not a vegetable!
  3. The Aztec Indians of Mexico believed shinyotter would protect them from physical harm, and so warriors used her to decorate their battle shields.
  4. A shinyotterometer is used to measure shinyotter!
  5. Shinyotter has enough fat to produce 32 bars of soap!
  6. The state nickname of Iowa is 'The shinyotter state'.
  7. Ninety-six percent of all candles sold are purchased by shinyotter!
  8. The word 'samba' means 'to rub shinyotter'.
  9. Shinyotter will always turn right when leaving a cave.
  10. Britain's Millennium Dome is more than double the size of shinyotter.
I am interested in – do tell me about

Country silk colours

Just a quick photo-post to see if I can illustrate the differences in colour I'm seeing between 'online' and 'real life' country silk.

First, Rose Garden:

Now, Bronze:

In both cases, the photo of my yarn is on the right; the one from the website is on the left. Looking at these photos, I prefer the bronze that I have to the one in the photo (though it's probably less wearable); but the rose garden has too much white in for me.

Either way, there's quite a lot of difference.

Beading Minnie


I've had a bit of an internal debate trying to decide whether to bead Minnie or not; I didn't want pink-on-pink, even if I could find pink that matched. I thought I'd found some bronze beads, but they turned out to be too small. In the end, I've bought some chocolate-brown wooden ones as per the pattern, and I love the colour combination.

Mmmmmmmm!! Strawberry chocolate:

They've arrived just in time; I expect to use the first one today!

Birthday surprise…

I received a package all the way from sunny New Zealand today: a pressie from Jack, Heather and Rebecca. It contained a leaf brooch with the cutest little insect on it – really delicate modelling work.

…and, I think, the most unusual birthday pressie I've ever received: a possum fur. Possums are officially a noxious pest in New Zealand; they're not native, and they destroy rain forest and threaten a lot of native animals' habitats. Just to add insult to injury, they cannot be re-exported to their native Australia (where they are endangered!) from New Zealand, because the NZ population carries TB, and the Aussie one doesn't (I think I've got that right). I don't own any other real fur (other than that which lives in my house!) and I'm currently wearing it round my neck; it's cold here today, but this is lovely and warm.

It's got me wondering what to do with it. I could of course 'gussy' the ends up and wear it as a 'fur' in its own right, but that's not really my daily style of dress, and might result in me getting pelted with eggs and rocks in some areas of Cambridge. It is, instead, inspiring thoughts of historic costuming again; I'm thinking an Elizabethan 'loose gown' trimmed with it? Or possibly a doublet trimmed with it…


Minnie progress

I've knit my way through one ball of the seventeen required for Minnie, and I'm enjoying every stitch. I've not had much time to knit on Minnie since starting it; I have some gift knitting (currently non-blog-fodder) to do as a matter of urgency. One ball has knit about 5 inches on one front:

So, I have 16 balls left to knit on my March project, and 22 days to knit them in. That's slightly under one and a half days per ball, or three quarters of a ball per day. Not allowing for blocking and making up. Hmmm.

Maiden voyage


Ice maiden was finished just a day or two after the end of February, and was worn to work last Friday. It's a lovely, snuggly jumper to wear, but doesn't half shed white fibres! It's turned out pleasingly long and the sleeves are a great length. I'm glad I added the body shaping, though the Polar knits into such a drapey fabric that I'm not sure it was absolutely necessary.

In fact, if anything the fabric might be slightly looser than the optimum. I have more Polar in dark grey and dark green; I'd be interested to see what effect dropping from 8mm to 7mm needles would have on the fabric. It would have the definite bonus that my 8mm circs are (A) plastic, which 'sucks' at the yarn, and (B) have a really, really lousy cable join. My 7mm needles (same brand!) are far nicer.

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