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Pen & Penelope

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Every morning for the last four five weeks I’ve woken up with the best intentions. I would write a blog post. A blog post of such searing erudition and delight that every knitter who read it would never more see knitting in the same way. A blog post of such hilarity that there would be knitters everywhere giggling at the most inopportune moments of daily work, causing chaos in traffic and disrupting important meetings. Every day I’ve been blindsided by trivialities such as driving lessons, dentist appointments, gardening, a trip to the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth, several inspirational TED Talks, guitar playing, the snooker, bright shiny objects, impromptu cinema visits, too many good books, etc, etc. Which only compounds my belief that it’s the small, insidious, day-to-day things that you need to watch out for, and be on your guard against. And now here I am, writing this rather humble, vaguely uninteresting post… But thank you to all you lovely readers who wrote to inquire after my absence; it was entirely unintentional!


Penelope & the Suitors by John William Waterhouse

When I haven’t been very blatantly procrastinating, I’ve been a bit like Penelope (excepting the suitors, oh and the weaving), knitting by day and undoing it all by night. I’ve been pretty patient about it though, and I presumptuously attribute this to the fact that I am now no longer a “beginner”. Ripping out huge chunks of knitting, or knitting an enormous swatch just because you don’t feel like stopping – these are not actions that non-knitters or “persons who knit”, seem to understand. They stare at me in horror when I tell them it’s all got to go. All that lovely work! So I’ve taken to ripping alone and unseen, because I’m a little bored with explaining… “No really, it’s OK. It’ll save me work in the future. Besides, this is one of the best things about knitting!” I secretly suspect that Penelope loved the process of weaving as much as she loved Odysseus, or why would she hit on such a solution?

As to why my knitting wasn’t working out… It was really amazingly simple, when I stopped trying to do it the wrong way. Fortunately, Rowan Scottish Tweed is a hardy yarn that doesn’t mind a good deal of frogging and re-knitting. It’s also very rustic & well-suited to keeping warm in the country. I’m testing it right now. :)

country knitting

country knitting

country knitting

I took some shots today and the pattern should be up soon. It will be a perfect present for gentlemen (or ladies) for whom you can’t easily find gifts. If you can guess what it is, you can get a free copy! ;)

November is a busy month. There’s National Novel Writing Month, for a start. Writing a 50,000 word novel in a month is a feat I’ve accomplished twice before. It’s utterly mad, and utterly fun; you must join if only to receive the pep talks from Chris Baty & other famous authors. And if you do, don’t forget to add me as your writing buddy! Also in November is the illustrious WoollyWormhead’s Mystery Beret. How exciting! I think these two challenges will complement each other perfectly, and help me forget about the increasing gloom of winter…

28th October, 2009  // Life, Writing // tags: , , , .

Dovetail Shawl

Dovetail ShawlHere is the latest Laylock design, taking a well-earned rest on the lawn. I wanted to design a versatile everyday shawl with DK-weight yarn, because those are the shawls I use most. Lace shawls are very pretty and enjoyable to knit, but when the chilly breezes blow (as they frequently do in Britain, winter or summer), this is the shawl I’d want around my shoulders. I loved knitting it because the garter stitch is so quick and simple that you can knit while you read and finish it in a weekend! The way the lace edging fits together reminds me of a dovetail joint, and of course I had to knit it in ‘dove grey’. The pattern will be available soon, though if you’re interested in being a test knitter, email me and you could get it sooner. Thanks, test knitters, I’ll be in touch very soon! I think the shawl would also look lovely with a wider border, or with a border of a different colour. Perhaps even striped garter stitch with a plain coloured border. Seeing as the heat wave in the UK is forecast to end tomorrow, I think I’ll be needing my Dovetail Shawl very soon.

Dovetail Shawl

Dovetail Shawl

Dovetail Shawl

Dovetail Shawl

I’ve said goodbye to Wales for a few months. On my last day I had the perfect pleasure of the first ripe strawberry of the year, and a glass (or two) of rosé. Mmm…

First Blush Only a couple of days later! Perfect.
Mmmmm...

2nd June, 2009  // Houselock, Life // tags: , , , , .

Cabling in the Country

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There are buds on the lilac.

lilac buds

Spring is nearly here. Snowdrops abound, several daffodils have opened their sunny selves, and I have seen hawthorn on the very brink of bloomage.

I am designing a pair of knee-length cabled stockings, which I am enjoying immensely. Cabling is always more fun than I remember. I’m considering naming these ‘Country Stockings’, as I think they will be perfect for wearing under skirts on country walks, or even as wellie socks, and besides they have a (pleasant) ‘peasant heel‘. I also thought of ‘Cottage Stockings’, but I think it’s time to move away from the ‘house’ theme a little. The yarn is Rowan Pure Wool DK; soft, lofty, superwash, and comes in a wonderful variety of colours! My boyfriend already has his eyes on them, but I have ribbon garters in mind, to trail in the wind.

I hope you make time to go for a nice, long walk this week.

cabled stockingscabled stockingswork in progress

25th February, 2009  // Houselock, Knitwear Design // tags: , , , , .
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