Friday, 31 December 2010

End of the year and some FOs

So it's the end of the year, and I'm not sure where this year went. A fair amount of it went on hospital visiting and looking after ill people one way or another - hopefully less of that next year, I don't think there could actually be more thinking about it. As a consequence of the hospital visiting I've been kept busy by social workers and care agencies. I have nothing but respect for the work social workers do. They work in a difficult and deeply bureaucratic system which makes it incredibly difficult for them to put in place creative, flexible and individual solutions to problems which is a great shame as creativity and flexibility would often make a huge difference to the person they are trying to help.

Another large amount went on volunteering work that got a little out of hand, especially in the last few months. It's a very worthwhile and rewarding thing volunteering especially when you're supporting something you feel strongly about but it can eat your life. I have learnt more than I ever thought I'd need to about the legal issues around playing fields, about mergers, about conducting managing the Press, and about the interesting world of local politics.

Some of it went on pattern designing and this year saw Summer Fool, Garden Pond, Mizzle, Pergola and Whipple released via Ravelry download. This was one of my goals the year - to release one pattern - so I'm very pleased to have exceeded that target.

Some of it went on getting married. That was nice! Himself and I had been together 10 years when we tied the knot in front of all our family and friends in April. It marked the end of quite a difficult period of ill health for Himself and was a celebration of coming through challenging times.

And a small part of it went on learning to sew a little and quilt a little. My mum liked her quilt apparently so I must have done a decent job. One of her friends wrote to me to say how pretty it was which was much appreciated.

So all in all a busy and demanding year (note I haven't mentioned work at all!) and to round off the year here are some FOs:

Through the Woods (Big Girl size - not toddler I am informed)

Please note the addition of a bobble and my absolutely favourite buttons which a metal smiling whales

Through the Woods (Adult size)

A December hat (the pattern is the Cashmere Ribbed Hat although this is in wool)

And a WIP:

This is the blind for our spare room - patchwork strips separated by Stockton lining. It still needs lining and I need to get a blind mechanism. It's pretty big at 100" by 51"

And the detail:

I particularly like the Amy Butler paisley fabric.

So I finish the year with one sewing WIP and one knitting WIP which is a simple pair of socks for Himself. I don't count the sock yarn blanket.

And so to next year, what does that have in store? Hopefully some more patterns being published. Hopefully a new job for Himself. I don't really do resolutions but I will have a think about goals

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Through the woods again

I started knitting a Through the Woods hood for my smallest niece but due to underestimating the size of a toddler's head I have had to reknit it completely with my yarn held double and have now run out of yarn. Still here it is in progress:

It still need a deep ribbed border at the front and the bottom and some button band. I added the bobble as I suspect she's a bobble type of person. This is quite a quick knit - I managed this much in about 4 hours of committed knitting and it's Wendy Mode DK held double for a chunky weight (and yes I know I could have just bought Wendy Mode Chunky but I was subbing for what I thought was a toddler size, turns out toddlers have quite large heads especially when they are covered with curls)

I do have some Wendy Mode Chunky in Imperial Purple to make the same hood for smallest niece's mother, possibly without the bobble though

In other news, today is my birthday which is so far full of crafty things (new button box with starter buttons, Mobair yarn, quilting book...). Happy me day!

Monday, 20 December 2010

It's cold outside

Grace Lace Beret
So it really is cold outside, and despite not being a 'hat person' I decided it was time I had a hat. I had this stunning yarn (Hercules DK from Wild Fire Fibres bought at Purl City Yarns) which wanted to be something for me and I found the Grace Lace Beret from Loop Knits (free online). A ridiculously short time later (4-5 hours) I had a hat which I blocked over a dinner plate and wore this morning whilst waiting 25 minutes for my late train - the previous train had frozen to the tracks!

I had a second skein of this yarn so have also knit a matching cowl which I've made very warm so I can fold and pin it at the front. It's 5 vertical repeats of the Grace lace chart and the picture shows it folded in half
Grace Inspired Cowl   

Saturday, 11 December 2010

And some photos (finally)

They aren't very good photos though...

This is Dad's scarf for Christmas. I'm not sure why I keep knitting cables. I don't enjoy the knitting all that much even if the end result is lovely. The colour isn't great in this picture - it's actually a proper bottle green

These are button cuff slipper socks in Jitterbug for a January birthday. They haven't been blocked in this picture but you get the idea. A rare venture into toe up with a short rowed heel

OTN - a hat for me in a lovely wool/silk blend

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Again no photos

As you might have noticed it's winter - with a vengeance. It's not made it above 0C for about 3 weeks here although we've only had minimal snow. We're also edging ever closer to the shortest day of the year (shortly followed by my birthday) which means I'm rarely at home in daylight to photograph FOs. That doesn't mean I'm not knitting and finishing things though. I've actually been quite productive. So with photos to follow here are my updates:

Knitting Updates:
Lymond Socks - FINISHED! And washed, blocked and worn once.
Through the Woods (toddler size) - Frogged and waiting to be reknit in a larger size for a toddler with a 52.5 cm head and lots of curly hair
Through the Woods (adult size) - not even cast on. Some very purple Wendy Mode Chunky keeps looking at me with sad eyes as it gets neglected
A cabled scarf for Dad's Christmas present - finished and blocked. This is 5 feet of simple cables in Forsell Touch of Silk Aran in Bottle Green
Slipper Socks - these are finished and for a January birthday. They are an improvised pattern in bright red Jitterbug, knitted toe up with a knitted on moss stich buttoned cuff
Plain socks - these are for a February birthday and are plain toe-up socks in Skacel Trampoline in a variegated blue and purple colourway

Pattern Updates:
Whipple - out for download on Ravelry and there should be a link in the side bar
Pie Crust - waiting for yarn
Unnamed pleated and cabled scarf - yarn bought, yarn would rather be a cowl and a matching hat so this might be a while

Monday, 22 November 2010

Purl City

Manchester has a new yarn shop!

Since Kendals stopped selling yarn a few years ago the only yarn shop in Manchester has been Abakhan which, whilst great in many ways, is mostly a fabric shop. Now we have a new yarn shop on the block - the lovely Purl City Yarns. Based on the Piccadilly station edge of the Northern Quarter in a recently renovated row of shops off Newton St, this gorgeous shop is providing a home to some very nice yarns including a range of yarn from local independent yarn dyers like Six Skeins, Green Eyed Monsters and Wild Fire Fibres. The shop is spacious with lots of natural light, a sofa, and quite a lot of samples showcasing the lovely yarn on offer. Upstairs there's a gallery space which I didn't investigate but I'm sure is as nice as the rest of the shop.

I was going to take a picture of the yarn I bought (Wild Fire Fibres Hercules wool/silk DK) but me, the yarn, and natural light haven't coincided for a few days so I don't have a decent picture.

Well worth a visit and handy for Piccadilly Station

Knitting Updates:
Lymond Socks - on the ankle gusset of sock 2, definite progress being made
Through the Woods (toddler size) - waiting on head measurements but otherwise on the ribbed hood border. I'm convinced it's too small so I don't want to do anything more until I get measurements

Pattern Updates:
Whipple - testing nearly finished, should be available soon
Pie Crust - waiting for yarn
Unnamed pleated and cabled scarf - yarn bought, must finish other things soon

Quilting update:
It's been washed and pressed and it SURVIVED

Friday, 19 November 2010

Friday FO: Lap Quilt for Mum

I actually finished this a few days ago but it's been a very busy week so I haven't got round to writing about it. This is my very first quilt using about half of a Moda Layer Cake from the Little Fabric Store in the Fandango fabric range. It's backed with a plain ivory calico and lightly hand quilted horizontally and diagonally, and then finally with buttons. The binding is a shop bought reel of satin biad binding from Habbyworld all handstitched (because I'm insane)

Here's a close up:

It needs to be washed before being wrapped up for Christmas but first I need to stop being terrified about it disintegrating.

In other news:

  • No progress on the second Lymond sock as yet
  • 75% of the way through a Through the Woods hood using dk rather than chunky in the hopes of it fitting my smallest niece
  • Two testers have finished Whipple successfully so that's going well
  • I have commissioned some custom pie inspired yarn for a new pattern
  • I've just bought some lovely Wild Fire Fibres Hercules yarn for a further new pattern that's brewing in my head. This yarn came from Purl City Yarns which is a new yarn shop in the Northern Quarter. More on this place next time...

Sunday, 14 November 2010

FO: Whipple (a new design)

This is my latest design which I'm calling Whipple after one of my favourite authors. I'm about to have it tested and then will release it into the wild. It was a very quick knit (2 days) and is a lovely textured piece. I've used two yarns to give a subtle striping effect (Knitting Goddess 4ply 100% wool and Natural Dye Studio BFL) but it will work with one skein of sock yarn.

 And a detail look at the pleated ruffle border

And finally, Mizzle is out for free download on Ravelry and doing quite well.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

FO: Limestone Shawl

I've been getting things finished this week. The picture above is a detail photo of the Limestone One-skein Shawl from Fickleknitter (linked in previous posts). It's a lovely quick knit with a very pretty border. I knit it in about 12 hours I think so almost instant gratification although it's not for me.

The quilt has made huge progress and is now mostly quilted (all by hand, all yesterday - must buy thimble). I'm quilting it very simply with corner to corner diagonals across the squares. I will be adding some buttons to the quilting I think and have yet to start making the binding strip. I'm not looking forward to doing the binding at all. It looks very precise and I'm using to lovely fudgy knitting where mistakes can be easily dealt with or covered up.

I'm rather impressed at my progress this week as it's been a very busy week and I've spent an awful lot of time asleep trying to catch up with myself. I like sleep

Monday, 1 November 2010

Autumn is really here

Fog at the station
Yesterday we were driving back from Yorkshire and it was truly eerie. The M62 was shrouded in fairly heavy fog, there were crows pecking on the had shoulder, and it was Halloween...

However crossing into Lancashire we soon came through to clear skies (unusual) and heavy traffic (normal). Our early Autumn days have been quite nice so far with clear crisp mornings, blue skies and hard frosts. The colours on the trees have been amazing this year - everything from vibrant pinks to ochres. The ferns round our pond have gone a wonderful rich golden brown and we can actually see them after some intensive tree felling a couple of weeks ago.

To continue the eerieness this morning I woke to find the fog had followed us home, creeping round the M60 in the dead of the night...

The picture above is my local train station about 8.30am. Suitably Autumal I thought.

So as the nights are drawing in my thoughts turn to stocking up on things to knit, sew and read over what is seems likely to be a long cold winter. This was my postal delivery on Saturday

At the top is a skein of Posh Sylvia in Cotillion, named after the Georgette Heyer book and presumably the colour of one of Freddie's waistcoats. The book stack is a haul from Abe Books and is most of the Lymond Chronicles and the first two of the House of Niccolo all by Dorothy Dunnett. Should keep me going for a while...

Saturday, 30 October 2010

WIP: Man Socks

Lymond Socks?
This is my latest WIP. My husband discovered all his hand knit socks were in the laundry and it was cold outside and he was sad. He requested more socks and despite the fact that his feet are a foot long (pun intended) and hand knit socks therefore take ages I agreed. He picked his yarn (Shetland/nylon 80/20 sock kettle dyed in two stages to give a glazed look, dyed by me with food colouring), he specified his sock requirements (plainish with a subtle ankle cable), we looked at Ravelry for patterns and couldn't find anything.

So I hit the books and found a lovely ribbed cable and put together a sock pattern for myself. I've adapted the cable to work in the round and done Hard Sums to make sure the right bits of the cable continue down the  instep and the rest gets absorbed in to a twisted rib heel.

The picture above was taken yesterday under less than ideal conditions and with a less than ideal camera.

Having asked about on Ravelry there seems to be some support for having these available as a proper pattern so I will write these up and publish it, probably in two sizes. The working title is Lymond Socks after my new favourite book character

I have also started a test knit for Fickleknitter which is a lovely lace triangle shawl with a knitted on border. I'm knitting it in YarnAddict Fantasy Sock which is like knitting kitten fur it's that soft. Progress pictures to follow when I've taken some in decent light

Monday, 25 October 2010

Finally finished featherweight

In terms of knitting time this was more of a heavyweight. Also I stand very badly and my new phone doesn't have as good a camera as my old phone. Still, it's finished. I was starting to think it never would be.

This is my Featherweight Cardie (pattern by Hannah Fettig aka Knitbot) in recycled lambswool laceweight from a M&S jumper. It weighs an enormous 80g so will be ideal for travelling and looks far better IRL than in that photo. I wore it to work today and it was much admired. I've been trying to decide how many compliments it will take to outweigh the boredom of the knit and it's definitely a lot. This was definitely a product not a process knit but at least it's finished and I can make a start on something new.

The something new will be some socks for my husband who has picked the yarn from the stash (hand dyed turquoise Shetland/ Nylon 4ply) and made his request (ankle cable only) and so I've picked a lovely ribbed cable pattern from Vogue Knitting: the Ultimate Knitting Book and will make a start in the next few days.

In other news I have put Mizzle out for a formal test so that pattern should go live after November 16th. I'm sketching for a couple of new patterns but struggling to get anything just right at the moment. Inspiration isn't being accompanied by patience unfortunately.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

I did say quilting was quicker...

My first quilt top
So as I said earlier today I wanted a second hobby that gave more instant gratification than knitting. Well you can't get much more instant than this. Since my earlier blog post these pre-cut squares (Moda Dea Fandango) have been washed, ironed dry, arranged, sewn into strips, seams ironed, strips sewn together, seams ironed flat again to create my very first quilt top. It's not hand sewn as I summoned my courage and got out the sewing machine.

Now to buy backing fabric and wadding. I'm thinking of doing the binding edge by folding over the backing rather than a separate binding strip but I might yet change my mind.

I'm rather pleased with myself!

A new hobby

Fat Quarters from the Viking Loom
Although I do really enjoy knitting sometimes it takes so very, very long to get things finished (see the Stripy Jumper of Doom and the Featherweight cardie) and it can be very nice to do something where I can make quicker progress. You might say "try crochet" and I know that crochet is much quicker than knitting and still the yarn family of crafts but I can't crochet. I really can't crochet. I'm not being difficult it's just that my wrists don't like it and my hands think it's weird. They just won't crochet. The most I can manage is a crocheted seam. The way the fabric is constructed makes no sense to me. So it's a definite no to crochet despite liking some of the beautiful patterns by Doris Chan and the colourful projects that Lucy churns out at an amazing rate over at Attic24.

So I'm turning to quilting. Quilting looks like it's not too hard, there's scope to be creative, there are some quite gorgeous fabrics and the end product is useful. And it doesn't take too long. I have a book of weekend quilting projects and some fat quarters from the Viking Loom in York. I've since acquired a layer cake from The Little Fabric Store and Lily has been kindly giving me advice about quilting over on Ravelry.

So my planned quilting project is a lap quilt for my mum for Christmas all hand sewn (my sewing machine is intimidating - a vintage electric converted Singer that could be used in a strong man competition it's that heavy)  using some of the Moda Dea layer cake in Fandango and quilted with buttons rather than sewn quilting. This plan might change quite significantly and I'm getting her books as a fall back position

Monday, 11 October 2010

Posh Primrose

Evening Primrose
Please forgive the messy bookcase although if you're an avid peruser of other people's books then feel free to zoom on in. The bear is called Bear and roars like a dinosaur as the Build a Bear workshop was out of growls

So this very pretty thing is my finished Evening Primrose test knit for Wonk who is producing an e-book of her wonderful accessories (patterns also available individually). I've admired Wonk's work for some time so jumped at the chance to test this for her. I used my precious skein of Posh Sylvia 4ply in Anywhere but Here which suits the pattern perfectly so I'm glad I stopped 'saving it for something special' and used it for something very special.

So keep an eye out for Wonk's e-book, it will be well worth the wait

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Ally Pally

Ally Pally bus shelter
So you know it's going to be a good show when you see a bus shelter decorated as a tester bed.

It was my first time at the Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Show. I went to Harrogate last year and Birmingham two years before that. I was expecting it to be big, busy and full of woolly goodness and I wasn't wrong.

Some highlights were the lovely lady on the Making Magazine stand, and the stunning and very well dressed ladies at Arbour House, the 10g for 50p random skeins on Colinette, and the Yorkshire Book Company (like book companies used to be...)

And the biggest highlight was the distinct lack of papercrafting stuff. So nice to have a knitting and stitching show that was all about knitting and stitching (and crochet)

The biggest surprise was how restrained I was, especially in comparison to my sisters who each came away with two jumpers worth of yarn and some other stuff although that was because they fell into the Black Sheep yarn mountain and I live quite close to Black Sheep so can visit them at any time. Here's my haul

Ally Pally Haul

That's Knitted Lace of Estonia at the back, and then from left to right: some pretty vintage style ribbons, a normal sized skein of Jitterbug in Popsicle, a smaller skein of Jitterbug in Fire (I think), a small skein of Art, 250g of aran weight wool/mohair and lurking at the back is a Zauberball Laceweight in Cranberries.

I was very, very good - not least because I had a delivery of Ethical Twist DK wool/alpaca from Kemps last week...

On the needles:

My Featherweight Cardie is taking shape. I'm knitting the collar at the moment and then have the sleeves to do. It's looking pretty good so far but I will be pleased when it's done. It's not been an interesting knit but it will be a useful garment. It's taking a short break whilst I do a test knit for Wonk on Ravelry which is...
Evening Primrose in Posh Sylvia 4ply

...not photographing well at all. It's really pretty in real life. It's an end to end (or side to side depending on how you look at things) scarf that forms a wide crescent shape with a deep lace border. It's knit in Posh Yarn Sylvia 4ply in 'anywhere but here'. I love this yarn. It's got wonderful stitch definition and an amazing subtle colourway. It looks a bit washed out here for which I blame a new phone and therefore a new camera that I've not worked out and the rare Manchester sunshine. I'll take better pictures when it's finished. The pattern will be in Wonk's new ebook when it's released and is called Evening Primrose

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Testing times

Aces 8
This lovely thing is a new scarf pattern from Kerry Tessyman on Ravelry. As she tested Pergola for me I offered to test Aces 8 for her. It's a lovely, intuitive pattern available in a scarf or stole size. This one is knit in cream cashmere from a Black Sheep sale and is like knitting with butter it's so soft.

Test knitting is one of the many things that Ravely is brilliant for. I wouldn't have released any patterns without the help and support of test knitters found through there

Monday, 20 September 2010

At last some knitting content

For various reasons last week was very busy which means no time to blog. I did have time to do some knitting here and there and I do have a finished item to show you!

When I first started this blog my eldest brother made a casual comment about wanting a handknit scarf. Since I like knitting for people who actually want to be knit for I decided this was a good idea. Some back and forth via email and a cabled, tweedy scarf was the brief. My family has some Irish heritage way back when so cables seemed like a nice link.

So the search was on for the perfect pattern. I trawled the internet, devoured the Ravelry pattern database, scoured my stitch dictionary but to no avail. Nothing was quite perfect. Or at least the things that appealed were really complicated and I am at best an advanced beginner with cables. And then I came across a saxon braid cable, even better I came across the incredibly well written, "design a cable" tutorial using the saxon braid motif on Eunny Jang's old blog (link in a post somewhere below - it really is excellent). I loved it, and more importantly understood it enough to make it knittable but I would still learn something.

Then the search for the yarn began...and ended in a drawer in the spare room where I had a large skein of New Lanark DK tweed in a lovely dark blue. That bit was easy

And so to the knitting...

As I was using Eunny Jang's saxon braid chart I won't be writing this up as a pattern but I'll tell you what I did. I cast on 34 stitches on 4.5mm needles and worked 10 rows of moss stitch. On the next row I worked 7 stitches in moss stitch, placed a marker, then knit the first row of the chart, placed a second marker, realised I should have cast on 35 stitches, decided it added to the artisan nature of the piece (sorry John) and then worked the last 6 stitches in moss stitch. I carried on like this to the end of the saxon braid chart and the continued into a wide rib for 20 rows, then a braid, the 20 rows and so on until I'd worked 8 braid+rib sections and then worked a final braid, repeated the 8 rows of moss stitch and then cast off. A slow block later I had a lovely scarf fit for an international man of mystery like my brother.

And here it is...

John's scarf
This is a birthday present but I've already sent him the link to my Ravelry project page so it's not a secret.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Lassitude - indolent indifference

I am back from holiday, a holiday of doing nothing but drinking wine and eating bread, cheese and lovely French and Catalan food in a sleepy little village about an hour from Perpignan.

Some highlights:

The view from the balcony
This is the view of the Vingrau cliffs from the balcony. These cliffs look peachy-pink in the sunset and are even more spectacular close up. You can see eagles catching thermals round the cliffs and at the base there's an excellent Catalan restaurant called Lou Barrel.

Drain pipes with character
In the village where we stayed there were a number of very entertaining drain pipes. This was my favourite - a slightly startled snake - but there were also some lovely lions

We were in the Midi-Pyrenees which has a lot of vineyards some owned by big companies and some by village co-operatives. This one is at the bottom of the Vingrau cliffs stretching out into the valley. There are some lovely wines some of which can be found in the UK like Mont Tauch wines.

Wild harvest
Everywhere we went there was wild harvest. Fennel and wild thyme grew all over the vineyards and up the mountains. On the side of the roads there were these amazing blackberries that were so sweet and juicy that we couldn't resist gathering up for eating later. In the carpark at the Chateau Aguilar we found these lovely ripe figs that were quite amazing. Foraged food in the sun is somehow better than food from a shop...

Mountain Goats
As we flew with BMI Baby I couldn't take any knitting so this is the only vaguely knitting content to this blog post. We went for a drive (my husband likes the mountain roads far more than I do...) and followed a road that took us up Mont Tauch itself to see where the road went. Along the way we discovered signs for a mohair farm but as we were halfway up a mountain, and the sign led down a dirt track and we were in a Seat Leon we decided not to venture further. It was a beautiful day so what you can see behind the sign is actually cloud. And we were in a Seat Leon!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

And finally a winner

Sorry to be late posting this but life has got in the way this week. My favourite name for the textured shawlette is Mizzle from Plumbum so she will win whichever of the Araucania or the Knitting Goddess she prefers.

That being said I also have another shawlette in the planning which will have different construction but a similar feel so I'm stealing Samantha's Cityscape for that one. Whichever yarn Plumbum doesn't prefer will go to Samantha.

You gave some great suggestions so I'm definitely doing this again at some point. I loved the literary ones

In other news, I have been finishing things:

The stripy jumper of doom
This jumper is finally finished (apologies for the rubbish picture - it looks great on) having been OTN since January. The yarn is Rowan Scottish Tweed Aran from one of the Kemps grab bags

Peggy Sue got Buttons
And Peggy Sue is also finished with some modifications and another awful photo. I did the sleeves in the round until the elbow and then ribbed flat with buttonholes. I knit the 38" which was always going to be too big so added lots of waist shaping. Again this looks better on

And I made ginger cake but I don't have a photo of that

Friday, 27 August 2010

Unfinished Friday

I can't believe I've not updated for nearly a week. I am a bad blogger. Then again I've not done a massive amount of bloggable things this week. To make up for it here's a picture heavy blog post of progress and pretty things:

Merino Tencel Laceweight in Flower Power from the Knitting Goddess
This gorgeous butter soft yarn is from The Knitting Goddess and I bought it when she was giving 50% of her sales to the Disasters Emergency Committee (correction) for Pakistan Disaster Relief. Knitting seems to attract charity giving and lots of people on Ravelry have been giving money from pattern or yarn sales often to Medicins sans Frontieres or Doctors without Borders. MSF is supported by lots of knitters, crocheters and yarnies often via p/hop which is a very worthy cause to support.

Peggy Sue
This is an awful photo of Peggy Sue in progess (see there has been some progress). That first sleeve needs about 8 more rows and then there's sleeve 2, buttons and blocking to go.

Iridescent beads

Some very pretty peacock shaded beads from Spellbound Beads. I was rummaging for the shawl pin seen holding Peggy Sue together above and found a tub of beads I'd forgotten about. And they're so pretty!

John's Scarf
John's scarf now has two repeats and I've finally remembered to print out the chart pattern so once Peggy Sue is finished this takes priority. In the meantime it's had a short trip outside to bask in most unusual sunshine. for someone who is afeared of cables I'm quite pleased with this.

And finally, for the non-knitters around some lovely purple clematis which is at it's best at the moment. Sadly this one might have to come out this year so the climbing roses can have more room so I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Starting, finishing and somewhere in the middle

Finished: The second version of the anonymous shawlette is finished and is pleasingly stripy and very warm. After a last minute panic to find more of the purple I'm really happy with the way it's turned out - and with the felted joins that meant I only had 4 ends to weave in. I've got a few test knitters working on this pattern at the moment and hope to release it in September. It's a nice quick knit (10-12 hours for the stripy version) so good for gifts.

Started: John's Scarf in a New Lanark aran yarn - this is an improvised pattern with moss stitch borders and a repeated saxon braid motif linked by wide ribs. I don't normally do cabled work (because I'm a blonde of little brain) but the tutorial on Eunny Jang's blog is very, very good. Since this is John's birthday present I possibly shouldn't be posting work in progress but I thought he might like to see how it's developing.

Somewhere in the middle: No updated picture of this but I've got past the sleeve separation on Peggy Sue and knitted about another inch (then got distracted by the above projects). Because I'm knit the medium since I fall between small and medium in the pattern sizes I'm adding some waist shaping and lengthening the section before the ribbing to make it a full length cardigan. So far so good...

So reasonably productive this week - although no progress on the three designs I have sketched out. As I said, I got distracted...

Monday, 16 August 2010

A nice surprise

I rarely win things so it was most surprising to get a message on Ravelry from Susie at Useless Beauty telling me that she'd picked my comment in her blog competition to win a pot of handmade solid perfume. It was even more of a surprise that it arrived today (well done the Royal Mail - delivering on time unusually) all packed up in silver bubble wrap. Who knew you could get silver bubble wrap.

Most importantly it smells lovely and here's a picture

Following the very productive weekend I am now under the weather which is very annoying as my brain has turned to mush and I can't focus properly (which scuppers my plan to swatch for a fishy themed shawl). However I did make progress on my Peggy Sue yesterday and have now reached the horrible stage of a top-down raglan where you're a few rows off from separating the sleeves and you seem to be knitting a million stitches a row. Still the colour is very nice and the yarn very soft (if shedding a bit)

The little stitchmarkers in this piece are very pretty two tier curly shells which I think I got from the lovely Shirley through a Ravelry karma swap but she also has a shop . I have a fair few of her stitchmarker and also some equally lovely tiger tail ones from Yvette's shop also on Etsy.

And now to take my fevered me for a nap

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Mouth cake

This is a cherry and almond loaf cake which my husband says is mouth shaped. Apologies for the awful photo.

The cake is part of a very busy domestic weekend:
  • Cake baked
  • All hooverable parts of the house hoovered (even the stairs)
  • All sweepable parts of the house swept
  • All laundry done (including a Herculean ironing session by my husband - 2 hours!)
  • Grocery shopping done
  • Stripy version of the unnamed shawlette (see previous post for competition details) knitted up to the border
  • Yarn ordered for the border of the stripy unnamed shawlette...
  • Second sleeve finished on the stripy jumper of doom (otn since January 10th, 2010), only the neckline to go
  • Cast on for a version of Peggy Sue from Knit on the Net in Forsell Touch of Silk DK in Mallard
  • Birthday present for eldest sister posted
  • Both beds changed (I mean the sheets rather than alchemy)
And now I'm feeling tired...

Friday, 13 August 2010

A Friday Finish (and a giveaway)

An anonymous shawlette

This is my latest finished object and will at some point soon be written up as a pattern and available as a Ravelry download. However, there's a hitch - I'm struggling to think of a name for it and a pattern needs a name. This is the draft blurb from the pattern:

"It’s August in Manchester and it’s 14˚C so naturally my thoughts turn to warm and woolly things. For an autumn knit I wanted to play with different textures and was swatching and sketching different stitches for a while before starting this shawlette. In the knitting process this shawlette changed quite radically (clearly not enough swatching and sketching…) but eventually became something that I’m happy with. Whilst it’s quite a plain shawlette the eyelet ridges and the decorative ribbed border keep enough interest whilst still being a relaxing and hopefully stress free project."

So a competition (my first):

Leave a comment on this post with your suggested name for this pattern, some way to get hold of you, and your choice of prize by August 31st at 6pm (BST). I will pick my favourite and the winner will receive their choice of these two prizes:

A 100g skein of Araucania Ranco Multy (4ply, approx. 344m), in PT2307

100g skein of Knitting Goddess 100% wool yarn (4ply, approx. 330m), in Double Rust
Wow me with your clever and creative suggestions please (and keep it clean!)

Monday, 9 August 2010

Bakewell Tart

No spoils from the village fete unfortunately which meant I had to bake. This is a bakewell tart with homemade strawberry jam (and shop bought pastry) using a Nigella Lawson recipe adjusted for individual tarts

I also decided against the Persephone Scarf, started one of my own design, decided against that, planned another shawl... a distinct lack of progress on the knitting front really.

I have started to think about John's Scarf, possibly something like a Saxon Braid cable motif repeated with ribs linking the braids? Or possibly something else.