We went to the farmer's market at Settle on Sunday and then for a walk in the Yorkshire Dales - a bluebell wood even. How gorgeous is that? The charity shop is open as well, and being a country town, it has a knitting and craft section - sometimes it's a tangle of disappointing acrylic, but today I got a Vogue Knitting, an ounce of brown Rowan wool for my ski sweater and 5 brass buttons for 60p.
The right front of the Country Casuals jacket is finished. I was wondering what to do about blocking. It's lumpy enough to need it! But there's no schemata. In the end I got it wet, then laid it out on the blocking board. I nearly died - it spread to double the size. I kind of patted and scrunched it back to about where I thought it should be, and it stayed there. The wool went incredibly soft and stretchy when it was wet. Because I had no idea what size it should be, I didn't pin it. The wool stayed softer even when it was dry. I did the sleeves this morning.
Last night I began the left front (taking care to make sure it is a LEFT front). I am refining my technique. For this piece, I am making myself use continental knitting for the tricky bits as well. I've been doing continental (or picking) for the easy bits, then stopping and switching to English (or throwing) for the blackberry stitch and the cabling. I could get even faster if I could do continental all the way along. I think that by the top of the jacket I'll be comfortable with blackberry. It is fiddly, but after only a couple of inches I'm getting more comfortable with working it without switching hands. Holding the cable stitches and crossing them while keeping the yarn in my left hand is harder, much harder and so far I'm dropping stitches and splitting them again. However, I'll stick at it.
Funny, isn't it? I guess most people would see me knitting in my chair and think 'how dull' or 'how peaceful' depending on their worldview of knitting. They'd have no idea of the titanic struggles that are taking place!
In many ways I wish I'd made a test garment first - I'm not satisfied with the standard of this jacket. But, it was an experiment I would have to make at some point: what happens if I buy the pattern and the yarn and just knit it? I think the answer this time is going to be a finished, wearable garment, but one that's just too badly knit to please me. I need more practice, so that's more knitting from the stash (how I yearn for expensive yarn!) and more knitting from the DVD lessons. Maybe I need to make a pile of hets?