Today I’m Making… Fuss Free Festival Shawl

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I am a member of the excellent FaceBook group Everyday Knitter run by the knitting designer Louise Tilbrook.  I’ve watched for ages people making her simple garter knit shawl and finally got around to casting one on while on holiday in Bulgaria last month.  To be honest I didn’t really enjoy the holiday so I was glad of it.  It was like a home for sausage obsessed grumps.

It is a very simple design so perfect for showing off a nice interesting yarn, and because it’s lovely and simple to knit it is perfect for holidays and knitting in front of the telly.

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I am making mine using 200g of DK yarn, its a Rico Design Creative Galaxy that I bought in a sale at Pack Lane Wools in Basingstoke earlier this year.  I’m pretty sure I only paid a couple of pounds for it. It’s lovely yarn, really soft and a little bit fuzzy which offsets any scratchiness you might have felt from the hundreds and hundreds of little holographic sequins it is shot through with.  The pattern only asks for 100g of sock yarn but I love a big snuggly shawl so I’m doubling up and using DK. This is mine at the half way point.

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So far I have knitted it on holiday by the pool in Bulgaria, in front of the telly at home, commuting to work by train and at my new Saturday afternoon knitting group at the library café in Fleet, Hampshire.  Tomorrow I have a hospitable appointment I am frankly dreading so I’m going to take it with me as a sort of comforter.

Here is a link to my one on Ravelry, where you can also buy the pattern though I think Louise is still sending you a free one if you sign up to her newsletter so check that out first!img_0394

 

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Today I’m Making… Fireflies Rising Shawl

This year for the first time I’ve managed to remember to buy a ticket for Yarn in the City’s Great London Yarn Crawl, this is their fifth year anniversary so I’m counting myself as double-lucky for bagging a ticket on the Metropolitan route.  Do have a look, it is going to be fantastic and I’m not just telling you this because I’m so pleased with myself, sometimes they get a cancellation so keep an eye on their Ravelry thread for ticket swaps.

Yarn in the City have a KAL for the yarn crawl, its the gorgeous Fireflies Rising shawlette by Helen Stewart, and at the time I bought it she was donating money to the charity Refuge which pretty much decided it for me.  One of the things I love about this pattern is she has a column showing in percentages how far you are along, I’ve just passed the 55% mark, I’m on 107 with 321 stitches on the needle!

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A row is taking a fair old while to complete now so I’m not knitting this on the train to work anymore. Though thinking about it I travel in to Waterloo and with the huge engineering works in August I might well have time to do 3 rows per journey and read 50 pages of my book.  If I get a seat.

My yarn is from Once Upon a Time Skeins, who is a local indie dyer based in Basingstoke which isn’t that far from me but I don’t think she sells in any local shops.  I bought my skeins directly from her (she’s lovely) at the Yarnporium.  There is only one more skein left of the colour I’m on now and I had been wishing I’d made the shawlette just from this colour because its all lovely gingerish shades and knits so beautifully.  I’m going back to my natural red hair too so I think its going to look really nice on. The thing is, I’ve just spotted someone else has finished one in a very similar colour and it looks incredible, but, that means mine is still unique so I’m happy to stick with what I have now.

This pattern is such a joy to knit I’m very tempted to cast on another one straight after finishing this one. The fireflies are some very easy and satisfying yarn overs and double decreases, though having said that when I did the first set I made an almighty mess of it through trying to do it late at night after wine.  I pulled it back and redid it and just look how great it looks even before blocking, its a bit cableish looking while its on the needles.

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I’m still trying to match my nails to my knitting and doing pretty well I think. I’m all up to date with snood orders too so no sudden nail colour changes to contend with.

 

I really want to wear mine on the day so please keep your fingers crossed for me that it doesn’t rain on 9th September and if you’re on the same route as me I am looking forward to meet you on the 9th and dying to hit the shops.

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Today I’m Making… a duck a day

Last year me and another local woman took over the admin of a Facebook page for local knitter and crocheters when the owner decided she wanted to step down.  We changed it to include all crafts and if you’re interested and close to Fleet in Hampshire you’ll find us here.

It has been fantastic, we have set up meet ups on Sunday afternoons, Friday evenings and now one of the members has started one on Wednesday afternoons too. We’ve just over 100 members and we also have impromptu meet-ups and excursions.As well as an excuse to eat cake and craft in public we support charities as a group.  We’ve just finished making hats for Innocent Smoothies’ The Big Knit (119 hats between us) and our official charity for this year is Project Linus.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t jump in when help is needed!  A local young girl has done something fantastic, she decided to make 200+ ducklings that hold a Creme Egg and sell them for a charity that is close to her family’s hearts – Great Ormand Street Hospital.  Anyway if that wasn’t enough she contacted all the local supermarkets and they’ve all offered her creme eggs as a donation.  How great is that? She’s 11.

So one of the supermarkets has promised her the whole 200 eggs so now she’s got the potential to sell an awful lot of them, but its a lot of knitting for her to do on her own so our group is going to pitch in and make some for her.  This is my first one.  I really liked knitting it, it was such an easy and cute knit so I’m going to aim for making one duck a day until the deadline in mid February.  I’m so impressed with her, what a great girl to take on something like this and and to do it so well too.

When she has confirmation of the date she’s selling them I’ll let you know, and if you’re nearby please drop by and buy one. They’ll need good homes.

 

Today I’m Making – Lurgy blanket (no-sew blanket update)

I have the galloping lurgy. I’ve had it since Monday and I’m hoping this is my last day of it because frankly I’m fed up with not being able to do anything.  Everything I do totally wipes me out including standing up long enough to make a Lemsip.

I know I’m really ill when I can’t even concentrate on knitting. I’ve been up since six today (its nearly half ten now) and I’ve managed to knit 2 rows. (About 120 stitches).

I have far too many projects on the go at once but I like working on whatever I’m in the mood for so today’s project is my lurgy blanket.  Its a big lap blanket for when you’re not feeling well or just need a big snuggle.  I’m making it predominantly in white DK with scraps of grey DK so it will take quite a long time to finish because it does really depend on me knitting grey things and not using up all the yarn.  I’ve written about this blanket before, so this post is really an update on my No-Sew Blanket post from  a year ago.

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Yeah so no great progress…. I’ve added probably a couple of squares since then so this could take a while.  Let’s set a deadline of finishing sometime in my lifetime. A literal deadline.

Today I’m Making… Le Moelleux shawl

I have been trying to make a shawl using these two yarns for most of this year, I think it was back in February at a Knitaway at the Westcliffe Knitting Hotel that I cast on a Knit Night  shawl but didn’t really like it, can’t really put my finger on why but it didn’t work somehow with these colours so I pulled it back and put it to one side.

imageIts not  obvious in this picture but the white yarn is an I Knit London Ziggy Stardust so it has silver running through that gives it the most gorgeous subtle shimmer and its as soft as anything so I’ve been dying to use it for something really nice.

Gerard, the owner of I Knit London made the most gorgeous Le Moelleux shawl that I’ve been mooning over for ages but I thought brioche stitch would be really hard so never seriously thought of making one.  Until one day an IKL newsletter popped up advertising new brioche workshops.  Well, I was on it like free cake. I was in on the first one and you know something? Brioche is easy. I would recommend a workshop if you can get to one but its not a lot more difficult than doing yarn overs.  I finished my workshop project  and that was it, I was straight to Ravelry to buy the Le Moelleux pattern.

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I made one false start on my second trip to the fabulous Westcliffe Knitting Hotel when I misunderstood the pattern when it said tension didn’t matter.  What I was thinking I do not know but I took that to mean knit with any old tension anywhere in a row or rows.  Of course it looked hideous so I ripped that back too. I do wish I had dropped a needle size too but now I’ve started knitting with a more even tension its a delight.

I have a terrible problem with starting tons of projects and not finishing any of them so I’ve signed up (late) to the I Knit London Ravellenics team in the Shawl Sailing category to give me the impetus to finish it.

Right now I’m on repeat 16 so just about halfway and the deadline is the weekend so a pretty good chance I’m on the DNF podium.

So this is where I am now, the picture on the left is mainly to show my lovely moonstone ring that I’m very pleased with and that my manicure tones with my slippers beautifully.

The picture on the right is where I am tonight, now all I need is to do 5 repeats a day (= 2 hours to knit 80 rows) until Sunday and I’ll be able to cast off before the closing ceremony. Today I managed 2 repeats…

 

Today I’m Making… a jumper for me

I could have sworn I’d talked about this before but I’m probably getting confused with Ravelry because I can find no sign of a previous post here.

I have a problem finding a jumper that suits me in shops, nothing quite fits the bill, and my bill has a lot of items on it:

  • Must be a block dark colour, preferably black to minimise my bust;
  • No stripes or patterns around the chest area;
  • Must be fingertip length or at the very least 3″ below my bum (this also helps balance out my chest);
  • V-neck of course but not too deep or too shallow, I don’t want to expose cleavage but it needs to come close to be worth doing at all; and
  • Sleeves no shorter than elbow length, and I’d rather below the elbow than on the elbow

Limiting isn’t it?

On a visit to my local yarn store (not that local, its a good 6 miles away) for something completely different I came across this Stylecraft Cabaret pattern 9182awhich is pretty close to what I’m looking for, but without the stripes and if I made it much longer and perhaps the neckline is a bit low…

imageI’m having a trial run at making this with some plain black acrylic yarn I bought at Aldi (of all places) and am making it much longer, down to mid-thigh I think.  I don’t like this fussy cast on either, there is another option of just doing garter stitch for a few rows so I plumped for that.

I’ve also recently bought a book on designing your own knitting patterns so in a funny way I hope this doesn’t turn out to be quite what I want to spur me on to make my own pattern. I know a lot of people turn their nose up at acrylic yarn but it holds colour well and you can machine wash it easily enough, plus it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

imageSo far I’ve knitted the back and about a quarter of the front.  Not an awful lot of progress is it but it is quite boring just doing stocking stitch in black so no wonder I keep getting distracted by other projects (see Debbie Bliss yarn left)  I can’t quite remember when I started this, but I think it was the beginning of this year.  Crikey that’s not good is it, I really would like to wear it this winter too.

I’ve found some spare black shimmery DK in my stash so I’ll add a couple of low impact contrast stripes on the forearms of the sleeves.  I don’t like my clothes to be too flashy, I have lots of incredible vintage brooches so I tend to see clothes as a blank canvas to show off jewellery.

I’m also thinking about making my own clothes from now on too, I am bored with buying clothes that don’t fit me properly and are not quite the look I was hoping for.

 

Today I’m Making… socks for my bloke

This last week I’ve been on a knitting retreat at the ever excellent Westcliffe Knitting Hotel in Blackpool (really you must go if you can, its fantastic). The one thing I was determined to finish was the socks I’ve been knitting for my bloke for the last couple of months or so.

I didn’t. But I’ve finished them this morning (I came home yesterday evening) and I’m really pleased with them. So is he, and so is his mum!

I found a great sock pattern from 1986 in a charity shop and used that because it has a nice spiral decrease for the toe (like you’d see when knitting a beret) rather than a grafted toe. I dislike that chisel tip look you usually get, anyway, with a few tweaks this is going to be my standard sock pattern, there are also only 5 stitches to pick up after turning the heel and no silly heel flap.   I am going to rewrite the heel to make it sturdier but to be honest I don’t really need to.

So here they are, charmingly modelled by himself with barely any direction from me, he’s worn them round his mum’s just now and she’d like a pair too, scaling the pattern down for her feet won’t be any trouble at all, once she’s measured her foot and chosen her colour I’ll get cracking on them.

I do want to say something about the yarn, and I’m sorry to say its not going to be overly positive. I used the Debbie Bliss Rialto so called luxury yarn.  It looks delightful as you knit (unfortunately I bought three balls so I’ve got to use it up) but it unplys as you knit shockingly and I can’t work a way out to stop it (any suggestions anyone?). It lurches in width from thick to thin to very thick and very thin alarmingly but strangely it hasn’t affected the finished socks that I can see so not a huge problem but not something you’d expect when you’ve paid £10.50 a ball. I am quite worried about wear with it unplying so badly (you can’t do a whole round without it happening), where it has happened the yarn must surely be a fair bit weaker.  Now, I know I could take photos and send it back and blah blah but I’m not going to, I’d rather just not buy it again.

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Still for all that I’ve make a very fine pair of sock and Mr GinPoodle is very happy with them indeed so its all worked out well in the end, eh?