Today I’m Making… alpaca jumper, a scarf and some hearts

img_3142In my usual way, I start at the bottom left and work my way around clockwise. So, here’s what we are looking at in this picture:
  1. An alpaca sweater
  2.  Placemarker for things I have to do today
  3. Placemarker for my embroidery coursework
  4. A reminder to write this blog
  5. Crochet heart bunting
  6. Fisherman’s rib scarf

That’s a cup of black coffee in my ‘I’d rather be knitting’ mug.  I used to have that mug at work but then they banned individuality so I had to bring it home where I’m always knitting so it makes no sense here.  

 

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A  couple of weeks ago me and The Mister went to Pennybridge Farm for one of their two hour alpaca experience days.  It was without a doubt one of the nicest days out we have ever had.  The people so obviously care deeply for the alpacas and love what they’re doing.  I never knew alpacas would be such gentle and friendly animals. We both fell a bit in love with them.  I’d really like to go back and do it again next year. I’ll pop a picture below of the gorgeous yearling that we got to walk and feed.

They have a great little gift shop, and in that gift shop they sell huge bags of fleece for spinners but they also get the fleece spun into yarn to sell in the shop.  It was pretty reasonable too at £14 a skein.  They had a deal – 5 skeins for £60 so I snapped that right up in this gorgeous light biscuit tone.  Its funny because it doesn’t feel like anything much in the skein but once you start knitting with it, it is the softest most beautiful yarn.  I would quite happily knit with nothing but this forever more, its that nice.  Really.

I offered to make The Mister a jumper, not really expecting him to be that interested because he sure as hell never wears the socks I’ve knitted for him in the past.  But to my delight he jumped at the idea.  We spent a bit of happy time on Ravelry choosing the pattern. He favours a close fitting jumper so he went for the Eren by Marianne Munier which comes in a nice wide choice of sizes and the profits from sales of this pattern are donated to a cancer research charity, which I only just noticed. Its knitted top-down in the round and so far it’s easy enough to follow. The pattern is translated from French to English and I think so far they’ve made a good job of that.  You may think I’m mad but I’m really looking forward to getting past the arms so that I can do a ton of plain knitting in the round.  I love that, it’s pretty much a meditation.

img_3119So this is Aniken – he likes to randomly trot for a few seconds when you’re walking him. He’s also a bit too fond of willow, they give you some willow to feed to them but Aniken has absolutely no qualms about walking up to another alpaca and stealing the willow right out of their mouth.  How he gets away with it I don’t know, I mean, he is very beautiful but so are the others so he can’t just be trading on his good looks.  

Bizarrely one of my favourite people at work went here too not so long ago and when I showed her the pictures we’d taken it turned out they’d walked Aniken too.  There are 87 alpacas living at Pennybridge Farm so that’s a pretty big happy coincidence I think. 

Next up are three placemarkers for things I really need to do today, they are generally housework type things or other little tasks that I really need to get done today.

That’s what the first one is anyway.  The second is for my City & Guilds hand embroidery coursework. I caved in and nipped up town to buy the right size graph paper after spending an age struggling with the teeny tiny version I was using.  So now I’m actually making progress with my cross stitch sample and I think I’ll be able to finish that over this weekend and at least make a bit of a start on the second piece. At least I’ll have time to watch some YouTube demonstrations on drawn thread embroidery which is not something I’ve done before, it’s never really appealed to me but I’m happy to be converted.  

The third one is to remind me to actually write this blog, so here we are.  I really need to make more effort to blog, I like to read other people’s craft blogs and even if no-one but me ever read these, it’s interesting to me to see what I’ve been doing back over time.   

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Next up we have these cute little crochet hearts.  There are a ton of free patterns online to crochet heart motifs, I used the one from the Planet June blog.  Nice and easy to follow and you can scale it up easily just by changing yarn and hook size.  I’m using up scraps for mine, this the leftover yarn from a feather and fan scarf I made last year that’s shades of pink and lavender going into grey. Its quite fuzzy and sparkly so I hope I have enough left to make a good few of these.  They live in a little pineapple block printed cotton laundry bag from Flying Tiger.

The picture above is from my Instagram feed. I was rereading Alice in Wonderland last week, I’ve finished it now and I did enjoy it but I did not particularly enjoy the amount of stares I got from my fellow commuters reading this on the train. I know it’s ridiculous of me but I like to think of my commute as a quiet and private space and I don’t like people leaning over me to look at my book. I suppose it is quite unusual to see adults reading books with pictures in public, but still, sod off!  

img_3147Last is my fisherman’s rib scarf which I’m knitting using inherited acrylic yarn.  You might remember I completely frogged this and started again after I made a weird see through section that I couldn’t fix.  I’ve made this version on smaller needles so it’s lost a bit of its pleasing squishiness, I didn’t intend to make it on smaller needles, I thought I was using the same ones as before to be honest.  And that is why you’re supposed to make proper project notes in Ravelry isn’t it? I still like it, it’s still squishy and it looks neater in this smaller gauge but it has lost some pleasing squish.  I think when I’ve finished this I’m going to add some contrast tiny tassels along the edges. I fancy something neon. Maybe bright bright pink or green. Or both. Sod it, why not both?

Right that coffee you see at the bottom is not going to drink itself.  I’m off. x

 

Today I’m making… a snood and a scarf

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It’s been far too long since I’ve updated this blog. I really want to make more of an effort with this rather than just spending time on Instagram, don’t get me wrong, I do love a bit of Insta but I feel like the time is right to move back to blogging.

I’ve been on holiday since my last update, 9 nights in Crete which was really lovely but I think I’ve fallen out of love with flying. I used to really enjoy the whole airport experience but this year I just found the whole thing really stressful and just not worth it.  So we’re thinking of staying in the UK next year and maybe driving up to Yorkshire. I’m all for it.

Right so lets get on to what I’m actually making today.  Usually on a Sunday I have about six projects on the go at once and I flit between them all during the day but today I’ve only picked two things to work on and hopefully I’ll make some decent progress for a change.

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First up is a lipstick bright red snood.  I finished a large one in this colour this morning and have updated my Etsy shop with it, so if you want a large red snood I have one ready to post to you.  This one is going to be a medium, and then I’ll make a small.  Not sure I’ll get both done today, I have some housework to do too and I have this delicious Portuguese tart to eat (only 50p in Asda!).  I’m in love with this shade of red, it’s a blue red so very easy to wear, I’m a redhead and I can wear this shade.  You’ll also see in this picture my perfect and much loved solid silver crochet hook from Lynn Roberts Design and I’m sure I mention it all the time but it’s just the most joyous thing to work with. It feels really special and is a joy to work with.  When I’m at home its the only hook I use, I don’t tend to take it outside because I’d be really upset if I lost it.

Anyway, I’m making a bit of an effort to put some snoods back in my Etsy shop, I’ve had to put them on the back burner for most of this year because I’m doing a City & Guilds in hand embroidery and I need to concentrate on that really so I’m only adding stock I have in hand rather than listing everything and making snoods to order, which I what I normally do but means I’m constantly making them and I fell way behind with my coursework.  I think I’m back on track now but my snoods are thin on the ground to say the least.

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Next up is my fisherman’s rib scarf.  This will eventually go in my Etsy shop but it will be a long time in the making.  I can’t quite remember where I got this yarn, I’m pretty sure it was passed to me, it might have been my mum’s but I don’t think she ever bought grey.  It doesn’t really matter does it?  It’s an acrylic 4ply so that means it is pretty practical for a scarf because its easy to wash and won’t felt from rubbing against your clothes.  Its SO squishy and soft and the shade of grey itself is such a nice pearly grey, with almost a pink tone to it.  I just realised this Sunday is all acrylic.  Now I’m not much of a yarn snob, I just use what I like and I do like hand dyed natural fibres but if I see acrylic and like it I’m having it.  A lot of my acrylic yarn has been gifted to me when another knitter has died or has a destash and it’s better to knit with it then send it to landfill.  However you feel about yarn content, this is a lovely yarn and I have two huge balls of it.  Let’s just take a moment to have a little smirk at my two huge balls.

As I said, this is fisherman’s rib which has the look of brioche but none of the faff.  I have seen several people online assert that brioche and fisherman’s rib are the same thing, they’re not. They’re really not, fisherman’s rib just looks like brioche and has the same squish factor. It feels amazing.  I have actually pulled back about three inches this afternoon because there was a row where I slipped a stitch with the yarn in the wrong place and I had been thinking it didn’t really matter because it was in a pretty good place for me to sew on a label to cover it up anyway, but then thinking about it that mistake draws my eye so much that I’ve been putting off working on the scarf so I thought, sod it, just rip it back and reknit. Of course I could have just dropped that stitch and picked it up correctly all the way up but I like knitting, so more knitting is good, right? I’m going to put a stitch marker in to see how much progress I make on this today.  How many inches do you think I’ll recover? Its 4ply knitted on 4mm needles.

Today I’m Making… Gold herringbone stitch scarf

This weekend I’ve mainly been stitching my embroidery coursework, but in the evenings and when my neck gets sore (I have terrible stitching posture) I’ve been working on this happy sparkly scarf.

I cast this on just to try herringbone stitch originally, I love the woven look it makes (in also in love with linen stitch) and I’ve wanted to try it for ages but I’m usually up to my eyeballs in snoods so it’s hard to find time to make anything for me.

In fact, this yarn has been in my Etsy shop as a snoods and I’ve sold a few of them but it’s a bit thicker than my usual yarn and it’s quite hard on the hands to get a tension in happy with. I’ve made a few for individual customers but I’ve also made 4 for the National Theatre’s breathtaking production of Follies which was a huge delight for me. But unless the wardrobe artists for Follies get in touch I’m not planning on making any more snoods out of this yarn.

I have a lot of it though. Herringbone days a lot of yarn though so that’s good and it’s a totally different experience knitting with it on 6mm needles to crocheting to a fairly firm guage. It’s coming out as a fluid but not floppy fabric which is good news.

I’ve put quite a few inches on this knitting while watching Eurovision, the red marker is where I picked it up this weekend.

I’m still a bit gutted Australia didn’t win. I’m a bit in love with that staging.

My camera hasn’t picked up the sparkle at all well, this yarn is about 30% metallic gold. It’s lovely in real life.

Stitch markers – easy peasy, right?

I have been thinking about making my own stitch markets for an age. Every time I buy some I think about it. I mean how difficult can they be? They certainly look super easy and the tutorials I’ve watched on my old pal YouTube definitely make it look a cinch. I even have all the gear left over from all the disappointing beading workshops I went to at the library years ago.

My partner is a keen and talented cyclist, there’s a saying him and his pals use for cyclists who turn out on Boxing Day all loaded up with new Lycra and gadgetry costing thousands but haven’t ridden a bike since they left junior school – all the gear and no idea.

Yeah that’s me and the stitch markers.

Oh my god those little buggers are fiddly. FID-ER-LEE. It took me a good two hours to make five. Five!

It didn’t help that years ago I bought a cute mini set of jewellery making pliers with teeny tiny handles. They’re not a good move because your knuckles end up right against everything you try to do so you feel like you have giant sausage fingers.

Let me tell you, turning that little wire loop takes practice and I have no patience. I ballsed that move up several times. Then you have to wedge a bead on to the end of the jump ring when you close it, poke a bit of glue in with a cocktail stick, close the ring and line it up with the bead hole and then get that bead to sit across the join. That bit turns the air quite blue.

Why in God’s name do they make all the bead holes different sizes? There are now dozens of tiny vicious beads lurking in all the dark places of this flat. I wear slippers so I’ll probably survive but the other half’s feet are going to feel like gravel rash.

Eventually I finished five of them and I think they’re pretty bloody good for the trauma invested. I’m going to buy some adult sized pliers when I’m feeling stronger and then I’m going to make a million more – the beads are from a large stretchy cuff that found its stretchability limit pushed too far but they’re pretty so I kept them. I have a lot of them.

This project drove me to finish off the Christmas Baileys.

Today I’m Making… Hermione’s Everyday Socks

I’m always very behind on knitting trends but I can remember when everyone was going mad for these socks and I have been meaning to knit a pair. Do you like my bright purple fishnets? I wear them to work sometimes when I feel like alarming some Greys.

Now I’m not usually a pink loving woman but when West Yorkshire Spinners brought out their floral range of sock yarn I had to have the pink. I’d really like the peach shade too but I haven’t seen that in stock anywhere for ages.

I feel like this yarn and pattern are just made for each other, I love how the texture works with the dye pattern to make a sort of spiral stripe. I have heard of people not enjoying that little phenomenon but I think it’s a delight.

I might do a contrast heel and toe next time I make these. Hark at me! Next pair? I haven’t even finished one sock yet.

I’m finding this yarn is going a bit thick and thin and there have been some fluffy patches but nothing too alarming so far. I’m really hoping that I have a nice amount leftover to use as a contrast heel and toe on other socks, I should do because I like to wear quite short socks so mine are much shorter in the leg than the pattern says.

I’m also still reading Elmore Leonard’s Freaky Deaky which is very funny considering the story so I’m trying to eke it out a bit to make it last. It’s not at all what I thought it would be, I was worried it would be a hard nosed gangster book but it couldn’t be further from that.

Having said that I might end up finishing it tomorrow because I have no intention of leaving the house tomorrow, I went out twice today and it was cold and horrible. I’m not making that mistake again.

Today I’m Making… all the snoods

Today I’m making several snoods all at once, a Gin Poodle and a 1940s sweater.

The snoods have several days grave before they need to be posted to customers but I to post early if at all possible so I think I’ll have them all done by Tuesday at the latest.

I’ve already finished two snoods from this order, look at how little teal yarn was left! That was a slightly hairy moment, I can tell you. Sadly my supplier had stopped dying this shade so this is the last teal snood for the foreseeable. I’ll keep my eye out for a replacement, I really liked the teal but never got around to making one for me. Berk.

The sweater is the Pretty as a Picture 1940s sweater, all I need to do to finish it is finish the swag shown, sew it up and knit the neckline so I want to get all that done today if I can.

The Gin Poodle is just for my own amusement and because I only have three of them in my Etsy shop at the moment.

The book is my current read and to be honest I’m not that engaged with it. I’ve started skipping descriptions of dinosaur skeletons for instance. I think if you can skip bits of a book it’s not the book for you. I’m using it to give my wrist a rest now and then from crocheting snoods.

Today I’m Making…. everything

I’m in for the rest of the day today and avoiding cleaning the bathroom. So I’m making everything.

First of all I need to make this snood for a customer, it’s not far off being done so I’ll be able to post it on Tuesday when the post office reopens. I really like this cream version, it looks so fresh.

When I’ve finished that I’ll put this sparkly Gin Poodle together. Considering my shop is called Gin Poodle I’ve been very slack in actually making them recently so I’m trying to make one in between snood orders whenever I can.

Then I have this vintage jumper to knit for the most adorable customer, I’m not sure to start this until June but I’ve had a bit of capacity so I’m trying to get ahead of myself while I can. I made one of these in magenta for another customer so I’ve bought my own copy of the pattern from the excellent 1940s Patterns on Etsy because quite a few people asked me about it. I won’t make another magenta one though so please don’t all. I want my original customer to be the only one. If you’re thinking about knitting a vintage pattern yourself I cannot recommend 1940s Patterns enough as a source.

Then this will be a rather classy eau de nil Gin Poodle at some point. What on earth will I call a classy Gin Poodle?