Friday, October 26, 2007

The mithril coat # 1


Ilan's arrival has conjoined in the heavens with one or two happenings-upon which have prompted me to take up the knitting needles again.
When I was in New Zealand last year, I bought a card of paua shell buttons. This year I decided to sew them on a cardigan I already had, and I set about this project with enthusiasm. I had sewn on most of said six buttons when it dawned upon my limited awareness that the garment actually had eight button holes. The plastic ones it already had sat with the paua shell rather as a plastic bottle of diet Coke would sit alongside a nice bottle of Margaux. In the fullness of time I got around to looking on the internet for a supplier of two more paua ones. The best bet outside of New Zealand turned out to be Loch Sunart Yarns and Buttons, who can supply all manner of fine fastenings in natural materials, whether you just want to have an odd button sent you in a wee envelope, or adorn a whole troop of pearly kings and queens. Emma at Loch Sunart also and principally supplies the most sumptuous yarns from all kinds of exotic sources, alpaca, kid mohair, baby camel... she spins these herself to order. No, I thought, I don't knit. I am a rubbish knitter; I start things and don't finish them, or I completely mess up things like necks so the whole effort is wasted, knitting patterns are as incomprehensible to me as Linear A, Mandarin Chinese or Pitman shorthand...

However, longish acquaintance with the the handspun, dyed and knitted delights of Stitchwort's blog, then a lovely knitting post over at Frizzylogic (go to her twisted rib category for all her knitting posts), which in turn led me on the mighty wonder which is b r o o k l y n t w e e d, combined to make my resistance crumble. Be it never so humble, I had to give it a go. Furthermore, I may be a rubbish knitter but Tom, true Renaissance man that he is, is, on the quiet, an ace one. He learned it at not only his mother's, but also, I believe, his father's, knee, and his logical, mathematical turn of mind makes easy work of knitting patterns.
Only he won't do it. Too many other projects on the go, he maintains. As I have been living in one of them, in a perpetual state of increasingly comfortable work in progress, for the last ten years, I have to concur. But he will be there to help me if I hit a tricky patch. I browsed around until I found the easiest possible (I hope) straight up and down, garter stitch baby coat, and wonderful Emma not only spun the yarn but even did tension squares and gave me advice about the pattern.
And within what seemed a very short time, a fat, soft hank of the most marvellous silver grey silk/alpaca blend, as well as my two paua buttons, and four more for the coat, arrived in the post. I'm currently still winding it into a ball. As the elven princeling is still quite tiny, I hope to get it done before he's too big for it.

14 comments:

marja-leena said...

Ooh, lovely, and making me wish I could knit! I used to sew a great deal but seem to have trouble finishing projects these days...

Hah, "a perpetual state of increasingly comfortable work in progress" sounds like our home, except it's 20 years!

stitchwort said...

Good for you! Looking forward to seeing the finished item.

herhimnbryn said...

What 'a pretty hobbit-skin to wrap an elven-princeling in!'

Gorgeous yarn L. You HAVE to finish this garment, you just have to!

Lucy said...

ML - I used to sew more, now clothes are so cheap, and knit and fleece material so comfortable but difficult to sew, there seems little point. But commercially available knitted things really aren't a patch on handknits. Glad your home is similarly permanently unfinished!
Stitchwort - thanks for the encouragement, and for waking my interest. Now I've posted about it I must finish, and I hope a baby sized thing should be manageable!
HHB - gold star to you for spotting the quote! Worth more than the whole Shire!

Tall Girl said...

Do you remember the Button Queen on Marylebone High Street? Wonder if she's still there.

Lucy said...

TG, I didn't, until you said, then I don't remember her really but I do the shop. there were some interesting little old shops in that corner of London, I wonder how much it has changed? Perhaps one day I'll go and find out.

meggie said...

I mourn my knitting days. When my babies were small, & sleeping, & Gom was off at the 'coalface', I spent many happy evenings, knitting in front of the fire...
Where we live now, it is all, out of the question.. sad...

apprentice said...

Clickety, click. I'm a rubbish knitter too, something about my tension and my dyslexic reading of patterns.

But these pictures got even my palms itching.

Take to Kay from NZ - link on my blog, she'd be able to help with button problem I'm sure.

rr said...

How adorable! I hope you show us detailed pictures of the work in progress.

And there are few things more attractive in a man than an ability to knit, I find. But then I might be a bit weird :-)

Lucy said...

Meggie - but you still have your lovely quilts!
Apprentice - I thought it was never too late to try again! Emma's paua shell buttons were a good substitute, and got here probably a bit quicker, but thanks for the thought!
RR - yes, perhaps it's the thought of those ruffty-tuffty fisherman knitting with one hand and a needle in their belts, leaving the other free for other things... I'll pass your encouraging words onto the knitmeister :~)

marlyat2 said...

And if you don't go so far, it will make a perfectly delightful ball!

Granny J said...

What a wonderful, doubly silky yarn to work with. I once knit a sweater in brown alpaca, which I loved -- but it was just too warm to wear if I had to be inside at any time.

Beth said...

This is SOOO lovely! You must finish it - the yarn will inspire you, I bet. And what a beautiful mother and baby - your photographs of them are so calm and so lovely.

Sven said...

Good Job! :)