Monday, 20 November 2017

Another shawl in the pile

I think I mentioned back in May that I would be sharing this completed shawl soon... It was finished in the spring, and has been a favourite ever since
 I love this pattern, and if it wasn't for my rather lengthy Ravelry queue, would be tempted to knit it again. The Arrosa shawl by Jennifer Weissman featured on the front cover of pompom quarterly issue 20 and was my reason for buying that issue (though a later flick through added a few more knits to the must make list). To make this shawl a fairly affordable knit - and because I like the softness of this yarn - I knit the main part in Drops baby merino already in the basket and then treated myself to a pop of dreamy colour for the cast off... the oh so delicious Cosmic Strings in Foxglove colourway
It is such a pretty yet still simple design. Beautiful.
Don't forget - I am holding a giveaway for a festive sock project bag here on my blog. All details on my last post... you have a week to enter by leaving a comment telling me what festive make you would house in the project bag. Go and comment, and good luck!

Monday, 13 November 2017

Seasonal project bags... and a giveaway

I realised a few weeks ago that my woolly makes are currently homed in seasonally inappropriate project bags, and so rummaged in the fabric piles to see what autumnal and wintery fabrics I had.  A gentle sewing project suited my mood and ability after what seems like months of coughs and colds.

The largest piece of fabric found was left over from a festive skirt made for one of P's friends, and so I started to experiment with various sizes. My first attempt is a fairly wide and short project bag, suitable for a pair of socks or such...
 followed by my favourite size so far - just the thing for a shawl.
The next one has an autumnal feel with the sweet thermos, and the size was depicted by the remnant of fabric found in the pile. A good size for socks or gloves
In the middle of bag making I signed up for knitvent 2017 by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade - the theme this year is The Nutcracker, and I could not resist. In preparation for the release of the first pattern in the collection I made yet another project bag in some dreamy fabric which reminds me of the festive magic of The Nutcracker
The fabric is Be Merry, part of the Little Town collection, purchased from sew me sunshine  and is home to the first knitvent 2017 pattern released last Thursday, a dreamy cowl inspired by the Land of Sweets (yes, already cast on - shall show you my progress soon)
And so, giveaway time. As there is yet another project bag still to be shown I have decided that I possibly don't need quite this many, and certainly not two in the same print, so I shall giveaway the smaller of the Christmas tree print bags. This is the project bag shown at the front of the first photograph, and on the right below where you can see the width more clearly. It is fully lined with a red dotty fabric and would make a good size project bag for a pair of socks or mittens. Leave a comment below telling me what woolly project you would use this festive project bag for, and I shall chose a winner on Monday 28 November. Good luck!

Monday, 30 October 2017

The Spring shawl making continued...

 This time a crochet shawl... During the spring of this year, the lovely Sandra of cherry heart blog organised a Hotel of Bees CAL, for the Hotel of Bees shawl by Christina Hadderingh. Eager to crochet along with Sandra I purchased the pattern, thought about colours, searched for suitable yarn in chosen colours, struggled to find what I wanted in those colours, found colours in a cotton yarn, decided cotton would be fine, in fact great as this could be a summer shawl, purchased yarn and set to.
I do like the yarn in its little pile, but I do wish I had thought a little harder about a one hundred percent cotton shawl, a large-ish 5ply shawl. This is oh so heavy and I imagine will stretch a lot - if it is ever worn.
Because sadly for this poor shawl, I don't think it has been worn once... and not just because of my poor yarn content choice. So eager was I to join in the fun of the CAL that I didn't really pay much attention to the finished shawl, and while it was a great pattern to crochet with lots of techniques, and the pattern itself was so well written, the finished shawl is just a bit bitty I think for my liking. I have since seen a version crocheted in one colour however, which I do like and I really, really like the honeycomb effect in some of the sections.
Hmmm, so what to do with it? I am quite proud of the finished thing and yet it isn't something I reach for from my pile of shawls and it seems a bit of a waste for it to sit in the wardrobe. Oh well, maybe it will grow on me (hopefully not in the stretching sense) next summer... Details of (poor) yarn choice can be seen on my Ravelry page here

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Just the weather for a shawl

Oh September and October, you have been so full of horrible illness for this little family... it started with the cold P got in the first week of term, which he then lovingly shared, followed by yet more colds, a bout of flu and now a persistent cough for me that is proving rather tiresome. The garden still needs autumnal attention, the house needs a thorough clean. Yuk. The good thing about October though is the regular necessity of a shawl again
This was my introduction to Helen Stewart's patterns... the Spindrift Shawl, knitted last wintertime. I think I chose this one to knit first as the pattern is rather generously provided for free once you sign up to an email workshop.
I really like the way Helen's patterns are written - my current swim project is another of Helen's shawls, and the format of the patterns mean that I can easily keep track of rows even when being a good Mummy and glancing up to see how P is doing in training. So much support is available in the Ravelry Spindrift group (another thing common to Helen's patterns and particularly useful and motivating for the more complex Snowmelt Shawl).
I had been saving the precious remains of my first skein of dreamy Cosmic Strings (used to knit a pair of yet-to-be-blogged wristwarmers, made probably a year ago. How remiss) and this gorgeous single ply merino yarn has made such a soft shawl. The pretty colourway is rose garden, purchased summer 2016, so most likely no longer available but I know that I could happily buy many skeins of their yarn each time I look, so no doubt there will be some gorgeous colourway to tempt you. The wristwarmers meant that I had to combine a second yarn, though normally this would be a one skein pattern. I knit the wristwarmers with a contrast rib (reminder to dig them out from the bottom of the knits basket and photograph them) in a 4 ply though I think the Cosmic Strings yarn is more of a lightweight 4 ply, so for this shawl I paired it with the similar weight Coop Knits socks yeah in Danburite.
I'm off to cosy up with another October highlight - cinnamon tea. Yum

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

A seasonal trendy shawlette

Gosh, such a long time... and now it is Autumn. Summer was full of summer-type things, a mix of busy and gentle days and all rather lovely. Since school started poor P has been home more days than at school due to a horrible cold... which I now have. At least this sitting still is making me want to catch up with this poorly neglected blog.
It's unlike me to show a seasonally appropriate make, but this trendy shawlette has been used these past few mornings when we finally started walking to school again, and on the one early morn swim training P has managed so far this term. (Please don't think that I am assuming trendiness by wearing this, it is simply the name of the pattern, which I love whether it is thought trendy or otherwise). The Trendy Shawlette is from a lovely book of patterns, Knit Stylish Scarves & Hats, by Mademoiselle Sophie and happily I managed to make this using wool from the basket, leftover from making a baby blanket. The wool - actually a merino cotton from smc select - is what makes this so seasonally appropriate. The pattern suggests that this can be knitted in any kind of yarn in any size, though I held this dk wool double and knitted it on the suggested 8mm needles, and I think used approximately four balls. There are some dreamy versions on Ravelry... brightly coloured, oversized, alpaca and mohair. Gorgeous. And I think garter stitch may just be one of my favourite stitches, I love the neat ridges. 

Mr R has made me giggle - not easy with a blocked nose -  with a Only Fools and Horses clip, when Raquel is singing a duet of Crying. So silly. We've just been listening to the song on a cd Mr R gave me this morn to celebrate twenty-five year since we met. How sweet! I had no idea that Roy Orbison was singing Crying with kd Lang in 1992. And so much fun to hear Achy Breaky Heart. Though I now can't stop singing c-wyee-ing to myself. And there was wool, well done Mr R, but that shall wait for another day. Mr  R is going to take P to swim training, so I am going to cosy under a blanket with Miss Ethel, knitting and some podcasts. Oh, and tissues. Yuck

Friday, 7 July 2017

(Almost) the summery jumper I have been dreaming of

Such a strange week. P is on a school trip (and is no doubt having a whale of a time). I am missing him so much. And apparently not just me - Ethel stayed in this position by P's shoes all day
Mr R had the rather sweet idea of taking me to the local wool shop after we left the train station on Monday morn, and insisted I buy yarn so I could then knit or crochet these days away. I did assure him that I already have enough yarn to be doing that, but the plan was so lovely and so I (more) happily came out clutching some gorgeous Sock Yeah and a variety of cotton yarn which will be made into end of term presents. 

As well as dreaming of P coming home, here is another dream of mine... the perfect summertime jumper. A bit like my search for the perfect summery cotton tee (cotton, hole-y, slightly 80s and certainly not resembling chain mail) I have also been on the look out for the same in jumper form. I may have found the very thing in a navia pattern book
 This is Sigrun,  or model 16, from navia pattern book 17. Look at those holes. My first thoughts were that this had to be crocheted in a summery cotton, and so had a go with some Alba by BC Garn from the basket. The thing with a crochet hole-y cotton jumper is that it has no stretch. At all. This pattern was not going to be the cotton jumper I had planned. I did think about using the dreamy Socks Yeah but the amount of yarn needed would have made this a very expensive jumper, and at the time I didn't  know how much I was going to love the finished jumper. So then I did what I usually do, and ordered some Drops.
I used five balls of Drops baby merino, so not a costly jumper at all. And some of the BC GARN  Alba in the delightfully summery (yet unimaginatively named) colour 07. Why have I not been knitting summer tees and jumpers in this gorgeous colour?

So, while not the cotton jumper I planned, this may get more wear throughout the year. I love it. But if anyone does have any great patterns for cotton tees or jumpers, please let me know...

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Hot water bottle cosies for a midsummer heatwave

Just two weeks ago the hot water bottles were in use. (Though Patch did dash back into his bedroom this morning before swim training for his microwaveable cosy and asked for it to be heated. Even at half four this morning it was already most certainly not hot water bottle weather.)

These two hot water bottles are the result of me continuing to use the teeny leftovers of yarn, and some really were scraps. But I love these scrappy cosies. I gathered together all the aran scraps, and found a suitable (free!) pattern on Ravelry - Mary J Stephen's hot water bottle cover
The length was a little long for this hot water bottle, but I like the look of the turned back cuff.

I soon happily realised I had still enough leftovers for another cosy... I am sure I chose a pattern by Sez Manning, again on Ravelry, as I liked the idea of a side opening. But I know I didn't purchase a pattern, and this now looks like it is a pattern to buy. Hmmmm... This is when I wish I didn't take so long between making things and blogging about them.
Anyway, whichever pattern I followed used a zip for the side opening (surely it was that pattern - there can't be many patterns for hot water bottle covers on Ravelry with a zip opening?) I opted for a random button closure instead. Any excuse to raid Great Nan's button tin
Just thought that I'm not sure I have ever shown this most dreamy of pillows here on my blog. It is, of course, made by the lovely Beata of by rosehip , and such a lucky duck I won it in a giveaway. So pretty
It does seem a little strange to be talking about such woolly makes at this time, so I shall leave you with some photographs of pretty flowers in the garden this summer. So, so excited as this is the first year the peonies have flowered. I think I must have planted them about four years ago. And what a summer for the roses...

Saturday, 20 May 2017

My snowmelt shawl

I mentioned last time my liking for knit and crochet a-longs this year, and I think this was the first. The MKAL (mystery knit a-long for those sitting wondering) was organised by Helen Stewart of  curious handmade for a knitted shawl... and other than that it was a mystery. Well, not quite - we were given some information beforehand including weight and amounts of yarn needed, and maybe the end shape of the shawl, though I can't quite remember if that was revealed as we knit along... Oh, and I think we were informed that this was going to be a big shawl.

Yarn was purchased in January when the weather in Suffolk was misty and grey with occasional glimpses of a wintry blue sky. I so wanted to make a shawl inspired by this wintry weather (I think mainly I liked the idea of cosying up inside with candles, knitting and coffee looking out on this beautiful weather) and so I set to looking for appropriate colours. I also wanted affordable yarn, as the mystery part of the a-long made me wonder whether I would love the finished shawl, and who wants to use precious hand-dyed loveliness on a never to be worn shawl? Silly really, as Helen's patterns are beautiful - I have knitted a Spindrift (hmmmm, have I shown that yet?) and so want to knit her Pebble Beach Shawl. Dreamy looking. Anyway, I thought drops merino would be just the thing but sadly not available in the colours I by now had decided this shawl just had to be made in, but drops alpaca did have suitable colours - light and medium grey mix, and turquoise
I even managed to co-ordinate the candle. 

Such a lovely way to spend some cold wintry days, and by spring I had a rather large shawl. The knitting was fun as so varied, the finished shawl whilst not a favourite (choice of yarn maybe, or colours, or maybe I'm not such a lacy person though I do love eyelets) is certainly one of my most worn shawls as it is so cosy.

The Snowmelt has proved tricky to photograph especially when I'm on my own at home, so I'm afraid a few chair and floor photographs are the best today!

Monday, 8 May 2017

A lion for Leo

I did consider giving Leo the gorgeous Jane Foster kit unmade, for his crafty Mammas to sew. But then thought that maybe with a toddler even a crafty Mummy would appreciate a gift that required no assembly. Which meant that I had all the fun! Sorry Lou and Rachael...
 Such a cheery lion... Hope Leo is giving him lots of cuddles.

I seem to have had a cold, followed by another cold for weeks. Yuk. But what with feeling worn out and lots of watching P swim I have had lots of crochet and knitting time. So much time, that I decided I could join in with two alongs, both of which are now in various stages of near completion. Both alongs have been organised by lovely bloggers, one by the lovely Sandra of Cherry Heart blog together with Sam of Betsy Makes and the second by the delightful Jooles of sew sweet violet. Sandra and Sam have a crochet along (still time to join in!) for a particular pattern - the hotel of bees shawl #HOBCAL, while Jooles has a sweet bee happy along for any craft, for anything bee related. This is one of my shawls entered into the bee happy along - the Arrosa shawl from the spring issue of pompom. Gorgeous pattern, dreamy yarn... the colours and softness of Cosmic Strings yarn is so very, very beautiful. I'll show the finished shawl soon

Friday, 28 April 2017

Bobble hats and birthday cake

Continuing with the woolly makes in Spring, though again grey and chilly in Suffolk today so not feeling too silly. Not sure bobble hat weather...

Until my current must make shawls all the time phase, I was enjoying the challenge of trying to use up all those bits of yarn leftover from various projects. And the chunky wool became a hat
Using wool until it ran out, I knitted the Finley Beanie by Marissa Post. It was the deep band of rib that made me choose this pattern on my Ravelry search and it is a good simple, chunky, quick knit... 

Once knitted, I wondered who to gift it to. The pattern suggests that the smaller size will fit children two to ten, so quite a range, but as I knitted a few less rows on the top section - when I ran out of yarn - a quick try on P showed that it was quite shallow. Wide but shallow. So a smaller head on a smaller body was needed. Just the thing for a lover of hats, five year old Merle. Who happily really likes her new hat.

The next hat is another chunky knit
This time the Slush hat pattern by Allison O'Mahony. I love this hat and so want to knit myself one, maybe next winter...  Unusually I did as the pattern asks for and used Lion Brand Wool-Ease thick & quick in charcoal in the hope of making a hat acceptable for wearer of black, newly fifteen Maisie.
From Bobble hats to birthday cake! P thought that a pizza birthday cake would be rather cool this year and had fun providing ideas for construction and toppings. While desperately making me understand that he didn't want a real pizza as his birthday cake... Yum

Monday, 24 April 2017

Wintery mittens for Miss Ethel

Yet another seasonally inappropriate make (though have you been out there this afternoon? It is freezing here in Suffolk. Wintery even. So maybe this knit is slightly appropriate). Oh, and Miss Ethel is our kitt...
 This pair of mini mittens were a Christmas present for Miss Ethel and have withstood robust play since December with an ever willing P
Red Heart's free mitten ornament pattern was just the size for a pair of kitt mitts, knitted in some teeny scraps. I have been trying to use up all yarn oddments, some of which are teeny balls, and have questioned why I would keep such small amounts of yarn left over from various projects. I can quite understand my keeping of dreamy hand dyed yarns, but some of the everyday bits? I thought I had decided that if a really small amount is left at the end of a project then I should use for present wrapping or simply dispose of. But then I wouldn't have had these scraps waiting to be made into teeny mittens. Complete with a string...

Monday, 3 April 2017

A mustard Calorimetry... for me!

Finally I knitted myself a Calorimetry... for the winter when it didn't get oh so freezingly chilly, so it has remained mostly unworn. I needed an easy poolside make, and I think this was my second project  since P started swimming training, so this was made possibly October time
 The calorimetry is a free Ravelry pattern by Kathryn Schoendorf, with these changes by Moolala as the original makes too big a knit for my, or any of my friend's, heads. Maybe we all have small heads...
The wool is Rowan pure wool aran in banana. Not mustard. So this should be my banana calorimetry, and actually the shape pictured above is sort of banana-bent shape. Though this shade is most un-banana like and most definitely mustard. I think this wool may sadly be discontinued now, this was purchased an age ago - for this very knit - when there was still a yarn shop in Woodbridge. Which there hasn't been for years. Oh, and a vintage button