Beautiful Knitting

Where Mt.Mom knits, crochets, designs, and seeks Beauty as food for the soul.

Archive for the ‘Celtic’ Category

Kilt Hose: 1 Pair Progressing, 3 more in the Wings

Posted by mtmom on August 1, 2010

That’s a lot to keep in my head, but I’m managing not to feel overwhelmed. . . at least, most of the time.  🙂

Forest Green Heather Wool-Ease for Robert Watt

Let’s see. . . .  There’s Robert’s 2nd pair on the needles currently, . . . then his 3rd pair brewing in my imagination, which will probably be a recreation of Eric’s pair (knit by Elsie W, Stuart’s Scottish mum back home, who encourages me to “take over the knitting” as it “seems to be a dying art” over there), . . . then his 1st pair awaiting new cuffs or else frogging, . . . and in the midst somewhere we have repairs to Aaron’s argyle hose and some design work for him as well.  Actions on these fronts this past week included lots of online and live shopping for appropriate yarns for Aaron’s hose idea and Robert’s 3rd pair, online correspondence with Elsie W in Scotland, and knitting on Robert’s Wool-Ease pair with the seed-stitch ribs.

I’ve progressed a few inches since this photo.  Both socks are now between 4 and 5 inches past the completion of the heel (marked with little pins), and I’ve begun the calf-shaping section.  I plan to increase more slowly in the lower portions, and more quickly in the upper sections of the leg.  For guidelines, I’m looking to Lady Veronica Gainsord’s Designs for Knitting Kilt Hose and Knickerbocker Stockings (Schoolhouse Press, 1995), Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts’ Simple Socks:  Plain and Fancy (Nomad Press, 2001), and Wendy Johnson’s Socks from the Toe Up (Potter Craft, 2009).

Outdoors, we are having LOTS of rain and pleasantly moderate temperatures.

Back yard Thistle -- pretty blooms, but VERY prickly

Posted in Celtic, Design, Knitting, Socks, Yard/Garden | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Revisiting Robert’s Kilt Hose

Posted by mtmom on July 25, 2010

2009 Satakieli hose

Longtime readers may recall the pair of green kilt hose I knit in fingering-weight Satakieli wool for Irish bagpiper Robert Watt last year. (He’s only in Flagstaff for 11 – 12 days each summer.)  —  —  –>

Well, he decided they were “too bright” to go with this kilt (they are, really, aren’t they) and asked me this year if I could remedy that, and also make the cuffs more snug.  Reknitting the cuffs I knew I could do, and I also knew that overdying the socks darker was possible — but I had never done such a thing before.  I told him I would try.

I mixed up some Jacquard acid dyes: some red and blue to tone down the yellow-ness, a touch of black and some more blue to go for a darker, bluer hue — more like the forest green yarn he liked in my long swatch.  And I overdyed those socks.

not an especially good photo of overdyed hose, 1 cuff removed

<– The lighting here is not especially good to see the color, but the next one shows it better.

It also shows an unexpected side-effect of dying a pre-knitted fabric that has RIBS. . . .

STRIPES!!!

The dye did not penetrate the recessed purl ribs nearly as much as it did the knit portions.  I can call it a “design feature” all I want, but I still doubt this will look good on his legs.  Arrgh!  Grimace!!  And anything more I do will likely only make matters worse.

I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll go ahead and reknit the cuffs and send them to him in Ireland, or just frog and reuse the (slightly dappled) yarn for something else.  Either way, I will charge him nothing for his second pair . . . and perhaps his third as well, if I don’t send back pair #1.

Speaking of pair #2, here is the current state of them.

Pair #2 for Robert

First foot has a turned heel — toe-up gusset heel, a la Wendy Johnson — and 4.5 inches of ribbed ankle.

Second foot is ready to begin the heel gusset.

After I turn the second heel and begin the second ankle, I’ll be ready to begin the calf shaping.

Yarn is Wool-Ease worsted weight, in color Forest Green Heather, on 3.75 mm needles (US #5).

Aaron’s argyle repair work and the white textured hose made by Elsie, Stuart’s mum in Scotland, continue to call to me.  I want to finish Robert’s pair first, but don’t want to wait so long that the others get “sour” in my mind.  (Perhaps I should set them more out-of-sight for the time being.)  In the meantime, Elsie and I have struck up a knitterly e-correspondence.  If she gives her permission, I’ll recreate her (flat) pattern in the round — in yarn and on paper — and then share them with you all.

Oh, I almost forgot to add:  When DD got her practice chanter and registered for Piping School, I crocheted a protective “sleeve” for the instrument in “royal blue” Wool-Ease sportweight (sadly, no longer produced), with  variegated drawstrings.

Posted in Celtic, Crochet, Design, Dying, Knitting, Socks | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Piping, Knitting, and a Visual To-Do List

Posted by mtmom on July 19, 2010

It’s been a fantastic, though exhausting, 10 days of Piping School and Highland Games.  Our 10-year-old dd enrolled in the United States School of Piping, so we spent the week (8:30 to 5 most days, plus 7 to 8 most evenings, Friday the 9th to Friday the 16th) in classes and practice sessions and recitals and parades.  (I haven’t sorted through all those photos yet.  Will post some here later.)  Then we attended our local Highland Games and Celtic Festival, with competitions, vendors, and more performances and parades!

U. S. School of Piping, Flagstaff, Arizona, class of 2010

As one consequence, however, I have accumulated a potentially overwhelming backlog of personal and household tasks.

Some progress

Yet to tackle. . . .

The hall bathroom.

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The laundry.

One down. . .

. . . 2 more loads . . .

. . . another 1 or 2 loads . . .

. . . and several sinks' worth of hand-laundry. . . to go!

On the knitting front:

I showed Robert my long swatch of potential yarns, he selected one (later, also a 2nd), and I have begun work on his second pair of kilt hose.

Foot #1 for Pair #2

I have also garnered some kilt hose repair work.

Work ahead!

Ah, but what lovely subjects to work on!

Eric P's and Aaron S's handknit hose, by Stuart's mum and Debra Gilding, respectively

More on each of these pairs in future posts — stay tuned!

Posted in Celtic, Mending, Socks | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Kilt Hose Fever Approaches Again

Posted by mtmom on July 4, 2010

I totally missed blogging last week! — Sorry ’bout that.  Onward!

The instructors for our bagpipe version of Music Camp arrive this coming Thursday, and I want to be ready!  I’ve been adding to my extended swatch of possible yarn choices for Robert to look at, and working on finishing the kilt hose for myself which I began about this time 2 years ago.

Swatch rolled up

top end. . .. . . middle (sportweight to left, worsted to right). . .

. . . bottom end (worsted to left, doubled fingering to right).

And, yes, I have written down *all* of the yarn names and colors.

Nearly done with the knee-high stockings.  I plan to make the cuffs separately, with extended ribbing (in smaller yarn) to be tucked in at the tops of the socks and then folded down.

Posted in Celtic, Design, Knitting, Socks | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

WIP Doldrums

Posted by mtmom on May 30, 2010

I’m finding it hard to get excited about finishing up some of my projects.

I lost affection for my Sideways Socks when so many Sock Madness knitters had trouble with the fit, but feel I *ought* to work out the tweaks and sizes, for the sake of those non-competition knitters who’ve requested copies of the pattern.

I have made progress since this photo, but my heart just hasn’t been in it.

A bit better with the kilt hose.

I’ve added about an inch since this image, and have about 3.5″ left to the top, with the last 2 to 3 inches being plain-ish ribbing for a “garter”.  As I think about turn-down cuffs, and how to work the topmost bits of these stockings, I may decide to go with a multiple-cuffs option:  i.e., finish off the top as for a knee sock, then knit a cuff(s) separately with a long bit of ribbing to tuck in under the sock-top.  The plain ribbing doesn’t show, because the cuff is longer and folds over it.  The advantage to having multiple cuffs, is that each can have a different pattern, even in the same yarn.  I would have 3 layers of fabric just below the knee.  Wonder how that will affect the socks’ staying-up power?

Charity-wise, I have a yarn-scraps seed-stitch long-ways scarf (reds) and a baby hat (white with variegated pastels) on the needles as well. . . .  (No photos yet, and no light until tomorrow.)

I sent in two Bavarian Twisted-Stitch proposals to Cast On this past week — one for an article on technique (Arenda H. has encouraged me on this one), and one for a cap/cowl.  I don’t expect to hear back from the selection committee before the 10th of June or so, but I have been concentrating so much on these that my knitting “mojo” seems to be flagging now that they’re sent off!  I itch to ball up some yarn and start something new!  Something with silk or rayon. . . .   But don’t want even *more* WIP’s, if I get bogged down, or if the proposals come through, before I finish something.

Wonder if some of the doldrums have to do with all this Product-knitting, versus Process-knitting; with finishing up an object versus enjoying the stitching.  I appreciate both, but the former I perhaps associate with pressure, the latter with pleasure? . . .  Maybe I should pick up my Level III swatching again — always a satisfying challenge!

Could also have to do with being so emotionally drained from watching the Mel Gibson movie Braveheart for the first time this weekend — heart-wrenching stuff!  I realize that there is some historical fudging going on, but Wallace’s defeat as depicted in the film is just so heart-breaking to watch!  Betrayal — Such passion and pathos!  Did you know:  Scotland doesn’t currently have an official national anthem, but one of the most popular current contenders (“Flower of Scotland”, composed 1968) refers to these same struggles between Wallace and Bruce and Edward, which eventually led to Scottish independence from England in the Middle Ages.

Posted in Cap/Hat, Celtic, Design, Knitting, Sock Madness, Socks | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Finished Gansey Sampler!

Posted by mtmom on November 22, 2009

This got put on hold while doing “work” knitting, but today I got back to it and actually finished it — hurray!

This mini-sweater is the Sampler, from Beth Brown-Reinsel’s book, Knitting Ganseys.  It uses all the techniques of a traditional gansey, but on a smaller, quicker scale.

Ganseys, also called Guernseys (after the island in the English Channel) and Fisherman’s Sweaters, are native to the coasts of Scotland and England, and are related to the Irish Arans.

I used 2 yarns, because I split them between this and my proposal-swatches for the summer Cast On issue.  Deadline for those swatches to be received in Ohio is next Monday, 1 December, so I’m glad to have the swatches done and the proposals *mostly* written up.

One thing I learned from my first submission, recently photographed and edited, was that I wished I’d kept more notes on the original swatches, as to gauge and technique decisions.  I hope to rectify that this time; I’ve written down notes that I’ll KEEP.  I may even video myself handling the swatches, pointing features out to my-future-self, like, “see how I joined up these 2 pieces with ssk. . . .  I slipped these stitches (or not) after turning the short row. . . .  the slant on these decreases matches the edge better than these, see?”

I expect the selection committee will meet in the first week of December, and then let all the designers know what we’ll be spending the next 5 – 6 weeks working on.  Judging by last time, the competed model(s) and pattern(s) would be due by mid February.  It would be smart for me to proceed as if they will choose my proposals, and get started on the details of math and other paperwork in the meantime, maybe even more swatching/prototyping.  I can’t start the actual model-knitting, because they *send* designers the yarn they want used for the magazine, and it’s not always the same as in the swatch.  (More lessons from last time!)  I find the pressure can be pretty intense (!) in those weeks between selection and delivery, so the more I can get done ahead of time the better!!  (Enough on that — this is my day off!)

As far as using either Venezia (wool/silk by Cascade) or Touche (cotton/rayon by Berroco) for future ganseys, I now think that I’d rather use a nice, round, bouncy, toothy wool.  These yarns both flatten out, the strands separating along the needle as I knit, because they’re so smooth and non-grabby.

(I’m listening to the Wicked Tinkers (they classify themselves as Tribal Celtic) while writing — they can certainly perk a girl up and get her out of her mopey head!)

Posted in Celtic, Design, Knitting | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Passing of a Bagpipe Teacher

Posted by mtmom on November 15, 2009

What an emotionally exhausting few days it’s been.  Got news on Monday that Jim Thomson, founder of “my” beloved Bagpipe School, had died while attending Highland Games in Tucson.  I knew him, but not well.  It was a very sad thing for many of my piping friends; he taught many of them, and all for free — to ensure the spread of the tradition.  The School will go on, but his absence will be keenly felt.  I volunteered to read the Scriptures, as the funeral was held at my church where I’m a “lector” (reader) — it’s what *I* could do.  I choked up on the “death and pain and sorrow will be no more” part.

Here is some video footage I took at the wake — of course there was piping! — held at a different church across town.  Pipe Major is the dear Michael Donelson; dancer is Megan McPherson.  (Maybe back to knitting news later in the week.)

Posted in Celtic, Videos -- made by me | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

“How cold was it? . . .”

Posted by mtmom on September 12, 2009

It was SO cold, over Labor Day weekend, that as we returned from the County Fair, we saw this:

Snow on the Peaks, in September!

Snow on the Peaks, in September!

<=

We had a nice time at the fair, even though it WAS rather cold and we weren’t adequately dressed.

We saw bagpipers.  These are Southwest Skye Pipes and Drums, and friends.

SW_Skye1

SW_Skye2 Pipe Major Michael Donelson.

Bass Drummer Ted Tonkinson.

Drum Major Joe Tulley.

Drum Sgt. Geoff Pavey.

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There were ribbons on my exhibits, too.

fair_ribbons

That’s always nice!  These projects were all finished since last year’s fair.  How many do you recognize from these “pages”?

We also saw Ballet Folklorico, and the girls rode some rides.

ballet_folk ferris_wheelmerry-go-round

.

Next post, I hope to write about some big knitting-news around here!

(Hint: it has to do with designing.)

Posted in Cat, Celtic, Knitting | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

DoubleKnit “M”-Coaster is Done.

Posted by mtmom on August 31, 2009

But, I waited a bit too long between posing and shooting. . . .cat_on_coaster (Oops — Sorry, M.)  😉

Eventually, I got a clear shot. M_coaster

And I got a good match between the cast-on and bind-off edges,

M_coaster_edges

although I’m not sure I could *reproduce* the 2-color loop cast-on.

Along other knitting lines, I’m dividing my time between the pink mini-gansey and a pattern for Sock Madness 4, due in the next few days.

Back Panel is done.

Back Panel is done.

Posted in Cat, Celtic, Color-work, Design, Knitting, Reversibles | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Videos: Piping and Weaving

Posted by mtmom on July 24, 2009

I spent most of yesterday wrestling with iMovie, YouTube, Facebook, and CyberDuck.  Here’s some of the fruit of that labor:  a short (31 seconds) video clip from Sunday’s Celtic Festival in which Robert Watt pipes while wearing his new kilt hose.  (He gave me permission to post this.  Thanks to Nanette Blanchard for requesting it.)

Follow this link to another interesting video I found from Knitting Daily TV:  Liz Gipson weaves on a rigid heddle loom (followed on that blog page by another video on weaving with knitting yarns.)  http://www.knittingdaily.com/blogs/daily/archive/2009/07/20/why-weave.aspx#v1

Posted in Celtic, fun, Socks | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »