New pattern: Peacowl

Ta-da! Here is the second of my new DK-weight cowl designs, Peacowl. ;)

Once again, I used one 100g ball of Outlaw Yarn's Vanitas DK (90% alpaca and 10% organic merino). The colour is called 'Vanity', which is perfect for a silver peacock cowl! If you wish to substitute a different yarn, I recommend a DK-weight yarn with good drape and stitch definition (e.g. an alpaca or silk blend).

  • lace-and-texture motifs inspired by stylised peacock feathers
  • worked in the round, with clean garter-stitch edges
  • one size (short and drapey), with simple instructions for re-sizing both height and circumference if desired
  • a one-skein project: you will need 205 yards of DK-weight yarn
  • full charted and written instructions, so you can follow your preferred type.

When I first got the idea for this cowl, I researched stylised peacock-feather motifs and fell in love with the peacocks on 1890s book covers. My favourites are this Pride and Prejudice cover by Hugh Thomson (I managed to get hold of a modern paperback with this design)...

...And this Gryll Grange cover by A.A. Turbayne (the peacock is a reference to the author's name, Thomas Love Peacock). I used this peacock's tail as the basis of my lace design - the way the feathers are simplified and arranged in streams translates well to a repeating lace motif.

After much charting, swatching, and refining, I finally had my peacock lace. :)

A bounty of books

A few exciting packages have arrived lately, because I've been buying books!

I ordered a shiny new copy of June Hemmons Hiatt's The Principles of Knitting, which I've been hankering after for ages. It's very in-depth, and will obviously take me quite a while to absorb. I really like having actual reference books around! The internet is a fount of all knowledge, yes, but often I just want to grab a familiar book when I need information on a technique...

Suitably attired!

I also found these second-hand knitting books going cheap on Ebay: Montse Stanley's Knitting Your Own Designs for a Perfect Fit, and Barbara Walker's Charted Knitting Designs. I have plenty to learn about garment construction, and I find stitch patterns endlessly fascinating. I'm still on the lookout for Barbara Walker's other stitch dictionaries.

They're older books, but most of the information is still useful and current.
I want to learn more about knitted garment construction as I think I might like to try designing a sweater sometime. And in the meantime, I'll be better equipped to tweak other people's designs fit me properly. :)

A peek inside...

And last but not least, I ordered my own score of Handel's Messiah. I've joined a new choir (at the Scots' Church in the central city), and we'll be performing it this December. The new choir is going well so far - there are plenty of good singers, and we've done some interesting music. I feel like I'm diving into the 'other half' of the choral repertoire, i.e. the Protestant side of things. Good thing I like Bach. ;)

I think I'm the only choir-geek in the English-speaking world who's never been in a Messiah performance, so this will be interesting! I know two of the choruses already (and the soprano solos of course), so that's a start. I just need this damn cold to go away so I can start learning my parts...

"Hallelujah", etc etc...

I'm in a book!

Last July, I was contacted via Ravelry by an author who wished to use some of my photos in her new book about geek knitting and crochet. I provided some high-res files, and proceeded to forget all about it until I got an email a few days ago. Now the book is out!

You can find it here at the publisher's website: Häkeln + Stricken für Geeks. Yes, it's in German! Fortunately I have enough of my basic German skills remaining to understand the title: "Crochet + Knitting for Geeks". :)

Two of my designs have been featured in the book's list of cool, geeky knitting patterns: my Tetris scarf 'I Dream of Falling Blocks', (p.231), and my Dalek hat 'INSULATE!' (p.232):

As one of the contributing crafters, I've received a free e-book copy to nosey through. It looks like a seriously interesting book, covering maths, science, coding, and pop culture geekery as they relate to knitting and crochet. It looks nicely in-depth and substantial - the e-book version is 388 pages. I really hope they do an English edition so I can read it properly!


I have one! We found a good deal on refurbished ones, so I decided not to wait for my birthday after all...

I've found it easy to get the hang of so far (granted, I haven't tried connecting it to wi-fi yet). I went "shopping" for out-of-copyright books at the Project Gutenberg website, and loaded some goodies onto the Kindle via USB cable.
I may actually get around to reading Jane Eyre at last. ;)

Of course, I now need to make a protective case for it. Any excuse for a craft project, I know! I found a sewing tutorial that looks good, but I'll have to wait till next week to get started, because this weekend the Handmade craft festival is on! I'm looking forward to the two-handed stranded knitting class, and hanging out at the knit lounge with the other knitting geeks.
Stay tuned for tales and photos.