Mobius strip problem

How can you have a Mobius strip problem with your knitting? Well, gather round and I’ll explain… At the K&S show at Alexandra Palace I bought a couple of hanks of a very beautiful yarn called ‘Manos del Uruguay Lace‘. It’s expensive, but lovely, made of silk, baby alpaca and cashmere, and I started to make a very complicated, lacy, cowl on a fine circular needle. It has 240 stitches, and you have to cast on exactly the right number or the pattern doesn’t work…. as I discovered when I realised too late that I’d cast on 242 stitches. I’m a patient soul, so I unravelled it and started again. This time I had the correct number of stitches, and I got as far as line 15 in the 20-line pattern, concentrating very hard. It wasn’t till I picked it up this morning, though, that I realised I had a Mobius strip issue with it. Because it’s knitted on a circular needle, you have to make sure that the knitting goes around in an even circle and is not twisted. Mine, however, did not – I’d made an error right back at the beginning when I started knitting row 1 and it has a twist in it as in the illustration here.Mobius strip

I gnashed my teeth and cursed a bit, but there’s nothing to do except pull it out and start again. Which is what I’ve done. Maybe third time lucky?

PS I’m using colour 7310 Orla. If I ever get this finished I’ll take a photo of it and write a smug post about it. But this won’t be for a good long while.

Knitting and Stitching Show, Harrogate

This year I’ve been to two Knitting and Stitching Shows – Alexandra Palace in London and Harrogate. The people I went to Al Pal with were mostly interested in the K rather than the S, so I didn’t get to see nearly as much as I’d have liked of the stitch exhibitions. Also it was so overcrowded that it was hard to see anything at all at times.

So, on both counts, I thought a supplementary visit to the Harrogate show would be useful, and I went last Friday. I’m so glad I took the trouble to go as I had a lovely time. I went with my stitching chum Bren, who is also doing the Stitchbusiness Masterclass. We went our separate ways around the show, but met up for lunch and again to go home. This is an ideal way to go to a show, I think; you’re with a friend which is good, but free to go around on your own to spend as much or as little time as you like looking at things.

We got off to a cracking start and were in there ten minutes after opening time. Although it got busy it was nothing like the scrum of Al Pal, and it was much easier to wander about. I didn’t buy much – I’ve got enough stitching materials to last me several lifetimes – but I’m pleased with the odds and ends I did get. My main purpose was to look, especially at the exhibitions.

The outstanding experience of the whole day for me was the Dorothy Caldwell exhibition. I just loved it, and kept on going back to it for yet another look. This show is based upon her response to seeing two very different parts of the world: the Canadian Arctic and Australia. Although they’re geographically remote from each other these landscapes have some aspects in common too – they’re remote, rugged, colourful and bleak, or at least to an eye like mine used to the English countryside. There were some very large pieces in the show, but the ones I really wanted to take home with me were the smaller pieces, especially those featuring her interpretations of kantha stitching. Dorothy Caldwell

Many of the exhibitors discourage photographs and I can see why, but there wasn’t any indication at DC’s exhibition. So I asked DC herself for permission which she kindly gave me. What I forgot to do was to ask for her permission to put one of the photos on my blog (I’m new to this blogging lark and wasn’t thinking ahead). So I hope if she ever sees the photo in this post she will forgive me (or ask me to take it down which of course I would).

Of all the lovely pieces in this show, the one pictured here is the one that appealed most to me. The balance of colour, shape and stitch is exquisite. The photo really doesn’t get close to doing it justice. Partly this is because I took it on my rather old compact camera, but also I think it’s difficult for even the best photographer with the best possible camera to capture the impression given by a piece like this.

In summary, this was a beautiful exhibition and I’m so pleased to have seen it.

Digression: knitting socks

Socks, wool, double-pointed needlesIt’s a digression because this is not intended to be a knitting blog. (Or, indeed, a sock blog). When I was a child I was taught how to knit socks but I don’t think I’ve knit a sock since turning 18, rather a long time ago. At the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace, however, I found some lovely yarns crying out to be knitted into socks, and bought a ball of variegated black, grey and white and five double-pointed needles. Well, I’ve so enjoyed making these socks I thought I’d share the result:

I’ve found it very relaxing sitting around in the evening, with the cat on my knee, knitting round and round and round. The complicated bit is turning the heel, but it must be a thing you never forget once you know how to do it as I managed without too much trouble.

Knitting seems to be getting popular again. I went to K&S with three young women, all in their 20s, and all keen to knit. But I was struck by what an expensive hobby it’s become. Anyway, that’s it for the sock report. I mustn’t get distracted into too much knitting, as I have lots of stitching to do, but it really is a pleasant thing to do on a long winter evening while watching the telly.