Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Magrathea and Bath

Magrathea - one of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy-inspired shawlettes by Martina Behm was a multiple first for me.  It was my first shawl, the first project using yarn from an indie dyer and the first garment I've ever made for myself that I want to wear ALL the time.

The shawl design is simple but very ingenious. Like many of Martina Behm's designs, Magreathea is a long, thin triangle which is knitted on the bias, using mainly garter stitch, with a lace edging.  It is quick and satisfying to knit up and the resulting fabric is cosy but light and sits gloriously around your neck. I really enjoyed knitting the lace and I love the pretty femininity of it.

The yarn is from Soft Like Kittens which is hand-dyed by Annette from Auckland in New Zealand (Annettle on Ravelry).  It's her Double Helix sock base (4-ply/fingering), which is 80% Merino and 20% nylon. I hope and expect it will last forever.  The colourway is called "Breaking Waves", a name which suits it very well. I particularly like the pops of white which evoke the sparkle of sun on foamy waves. The variegation works well for a project such as this.

It felt very extravagant to order yarn all the way from the other side of the world but I am very glad I did. I already have a second shawl in progress using another skein in a different colour.

My Magrathea had its first outing this last weekend on a short trip to Wiltshire and Bath.  We stayed in Chippenham which is a place I've never visited before.  We arrived on the same evening as the Christmas lights were being switched on so the town was in a party mood - which suited me fine.

So, on Friday we mooched around Marlborough and Chippenham, enjoying the Christmassy atmosphere. I visited a wool shop in Marlborough, as you do, and bought a few beading supplies in Chippenham. We took up residence in a special 4-poster-bedded room in the Angel Hotel that was so large I needed binoculars to see the Other Half on his chaise longue.  The hotel was friendly and comfortable and the meals were truly excellent.

Saturday was dedicated to Bath.  I wanted to visit the Christmas Market which I had heard was fun and unusual. Well, with the sunny weather and Bath Rugby Club playing at home, the town was incredibly full.  The market lived up to expectations with so many unusual products and so much ingenuity on display, but unfortunately the crush was a little off-putting.  Still, we decided to make the most of the glorious weather and took a bus tour.  I think we saw the city at its best; the gentle autumn sun on the sandstone was truly beautiful.  On the whole this was a delightful weekend.

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