We have really been enjoying these last few days of summer. There has been a special birthday to celebrate, friends visiting and of course plenty of knitting. I’m having great fun making a Shetland lace shawl, Dianna Stevens’ Rose Garden which I purchased at Jamieson’s, together with 6 skeins of their lovely, lovely Ultra yarn in Frosted Grape. This shawl is knitted circularly, from the centre out and is based on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s classic pi shawl. Knitting this kind of lace is intensely satisfying and somehow makes my knitter’s brain very happy. And the shawl will be perfect for when the mornings and nights get colder. Which will be very soon now.
Life in Squares, starting next Monday on BBC2. A portrait of the Bloomsbury set, done from the perspective of Vanessa Bell and her luminous relation with her sister, Virginia Woolf. I’ll be watching, as much for the set design, which is said to be lavish, as for the story. You can listen to Priya Parmar, author of Vanessa and her Sister, reviewing the series on Front Row here.
Meanwhile, I wish you a weekend full of joy and sunshine! Here rain is predicted, so there will be plenty of knitting.
I’ve taken advantage of the drop in temperatures to start the cardigan I promised my brother for his birthday. Last December. There have been a few false starts and changes of hart, pattern and yarn. But this one feels like it will be the one. Bespoken is a modern classic: a tad more fitted than your average grandad cardigan. The design is by Cassandra Dominick who also writes the knitthehellout blog.
The yarn is L’Echappée Laine’s worsted Shetland. It is lovely, though just a wee bit scratchy. I can only hope it’ll soften once the cardigan has been wet blocked with some Eucalan. It comes in too many gorgeous colours for me not to want to use it again for myself.
Have a wonderful weekend. x
With temperatures sizzling – with 36°C we had the hottest 1 July since 1901 – I will have to wait a wee while before I can wear my Rosage.
This is quite possibly my favourite shawl. Ever. Everything about it is perfect: the crescent shape, the rose lace border. A joy to knit. And that yarn! Beautifully blooming shetland from L’Echappée Laine in the most lushious of greens. Can you tell I am happy with it?
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. Stay cool.
There has been preciously little blogging, but all the more knitting. First, I made a Laylow shawl for my sister, to take on her holiday to the Wachau in Austria. Not that she will have much use for it. No chilly winds to ward off, it’s about 30°C over there now. Lucky girl. The Laylow is a design by Shannon Cook and an easy and rewarding knit. Fast too, literally flew of my needles. If you’re looking for a project to knit on holiday, this would be a very good one.
Next is the Liv Light. Another cardigan, I know. But I’m so, so thrilled with this one. It is simply the perfect spring/summer cardigan. The fit is great, the lines are clean and flowing and it’s extremely wearable, as are all Carrie Bostick Hoge’s designs. From time to time, I will let myself be tempted by something more complicated, busier and then end up either frogging it, or not wearing it and giving it away. This one I know will be worn and loved.
I’m also participating in my first ever KAL, organised by Nadia Cretin-Léchenne. She recently released her Rosage pattern, created in collaboration with L’Echappée Laine who make the most gorgeous Shetland yarns. A combination I simply could not resist. Shetland wool is possibly my favourite yarn, light and warm and blooming. I have already ordered some 4 ply Shetland for a looooooong overdue sweater for my brother. I promised to knit him one for his last birthday and will have to hurry to get it finished before his next one.
Happy knitting, everyone!
Can you believe we are May already? To round off April, I thought I’d share the books I have been reading this month.
Manderley Forever: Like its author,Tatiana de Rosnay, I have always been fascinated by Daphne du Maurier. She is as romantic a character as any of her heroines and her life reads like one of her novels. This biography is a great read, but for the moment only available in French. De Rosnay writes her books alternatively in French and English and I haven’t seen any trace of the English translation yet.
Sleeping Murder: An old favourite of mine and a re-read. Agatha Christie’s final Miss Marple novel, and one of my favourites. Cleverly plotted, it combines several of my favourite Christie techniques: it is one of her ‘retrospective’ murder mysteries, the murder investigated having occurred several decades before. The murder was witnessed by a young child who as an adult and newly married moves back to England, more specifically to the Devon coast – Christie country par excellence. The house she buys plays a prominent role in the story and the writer, who in real life took great pleasure in decorating her different homes, also does so on the page.
We Were Liars: A family gathering, an island and the lies that lay behind the gilded façade. This book escaped my attention when it first came out. I came across it on Amanda’s 2014 reading list (a good place for finding reading inspiration) and read some glowing reviews in the press. I won’t reveal the twists and turns of the clever plot, but I can say that when the secret at the heart of the book is finally revealed, it turned out to be more shocking than anything I had anticipated. This is a cunning and gripping novel, full of surprises, and an ideal holiday read.
A Spool of Blue Thread: Another novel with a family (and a house) at its hart. Anne Tyler is unrivalled when it comes to giving her characters life. She made me believe every word, every deed and kept me absorbed throughout the book. A clever, subtle writer too who adds a tenderness and a light touch of comedy and irony to the events of daily life she describes. I really, really loved this book.
I’d love to hear what you are reading at the moment. I’m always on the look out for recommendations.
Have a lovely weekend!
Spring has definitely arrived. The streets are billowing with cherry blossom and the garden is returning to life. Everything looks new and fresh. The young leaves are the lightest, brightest shades of lime green and chartreuse. The sun is shining and all is well with the world. The sunshine has done wonders for my energy levels. I can almost feel myself waking up, just like the leaves and the flowers. The other day I saw this Robin Williams quote on Pinterest: “Spring is nature’s way of saying: let’s party!” It summons exactly how I feel about this season. There is no place I’d rather be in the springtime then right here.
I am also knitting with a renewed energy and have no less than three sweaters on my needles:
- Hélène: a lovely and airy design by Veronik Avery, which I have all but finished. The only things left to do are seaming the front and the back piece together and then finishing the neckband. I may well have to block it ‘à mort’ as I fear it has turned out a wee bit shorter than I hoped for. We’ll see.
- Wolf River: not exactly a spring sweater, but I couldn’t help myself, had to cast it on.
- Liv Light: as soon as I saw NapaGal’s version, I knew I’d better frog my Keel and cast-on this lovely spring cardigan. The design is straightforward and the lines are clean. It is flying off my needles and I’m really happy with how it’s shaping up.
For all three sweaters I am using yarn that I had in my stash or recovered from another project, so I’m feeling quite virtuous.
I wish you all a very happy weekend, hopefully with some sunshine to enjoy! Me, I’m going back to the garden and my knitting.