Mysterious!

I’m taking part in my first mystery knit along! It’s from Boo Knits and I’ve always liked her patterns. It’s Halloween themed, so I was considering using the blood red lace weight I picked up in Bath, but decided to go with a beautiful inky midnight blue that I had just bought in Edinburgh.
I was still umming and ahhing about it when I found out that my friend Christine was also taking part. She did the last little bit of talking me into it and told me about a great bead store in covent garden to pick up some appropriate bling.

I’ve only made a few things with beads but I’m a bit funny about it. I either like a highlight colour (so picking up a fleck in a tweed) , a really bold contrast or a very subtle complementary colour. I went with some slightly iridescent bluey purple beads. They blend in but add a shimmer, like dragonfly wings.

The first clue went up on Tuesday last week and I flew through it. I’ve now almost finished the second clue. Here’s a WIP photo…
*SPOILERS*

20131010-130531.jpg

It’s knit from charts, so there are some visual clues for how it’s supposed to look, but it is still weird not having photos to refer to, especially give the nature of unblocked lace! I’m liking it so far, hopefully I’ll love it once we get on to the dramatic edging I’m expecting

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So…. It’s now June.

And I have been a very slack blogger indeed.

Here are some things that i made while I was not blogging.

First Up, I mentioned knitting things for little people. well, little people get bigger and grow out of the little things I make for them, and a dear friend recently requested not one, but two new items for her daughters.

Evelyn was given an elephant intarsia vest* when she was a new person, and her little sister Lillian got owls* (because everyone is fond of owls). Of course they are both much bigger now, and mum requested a vest for Evelyn and one for Lillian too. we picked out a selection of cabled vests, and Evelyn picked hers and Lillian picked a different one (of course), we decided on colours, and then i came back to London and made it happen!

The Twisty River Vest for Evelyn

The Street Vest for Lillian

I used Cascade 220 for both since it’s hard wearing, warm and available in great colours. They were both quick and easy patterns and after sending them back to Aus, I got the best thank you I could – a photo with in a week of the vests being worn!

Ok! next up…

For christmas/my birthday, the lovely Mel at Recipe for a Yarn gave me some hand carded fibre. I spun the lovely duck egg blue up before i even left Aus and it became a lovely smooshy bulky 2 ply. It was screaming at me that it wanted to be a cowl, and so, a cowl it is! I wish i’d had a smidgeon more so it could be a little wider, but I love it and it’s very warm and snuggly!

just a simple moss stitch worked in the round til it could be worked no more.

Thank you Mel, I love it!

and, we continue on to…. another long story!

I took up swing dancing last year when i got to London. I absolutely love it, but it’s not exactly something I can do in my winter boots. So this winter I was faced with a problem… either I wear shoes I can dance in and my calves/legs get cold (jeans are also not condusive to dancing) or I wear my boots and have to lug a pair of shoes around, which is just annoying. Until I decided to finally knit myself a piece of nostalgia.

Spats*!

Don’t you just love the buttons? so steampunky!

I finished them in february and thanks to the cold spring, have worn them a few times. they are indeed perfect for wearing with little flats over tights or leggings with my swing dancey type dresses and they are surprisingly effective! I’m very pleased!

And I have apparently developed a thrifty side when it comes to yarn since living in London (which is pricey and has a very small stash available to me), as I used the left over dark grey to whip up a nice chunky tweedy, go with everything, keep me toasty, hat!

Jane*, by Jane Richmond, It shows the Brooklyn Tweed nicely and is really long – not a style I usually go for, but I seem to rock it!

That’s not the only yarn to do me double duty! Late last year I picked up two skeins of the omg-so-soft Juno Alice sock. It’s not really suitable for socks, but it is suitable for lovely shawls. Especially when you have put on said shawl in yarn store and not wanted to take it off, thus leading you to buy the exact same colours in the exact same yarn to do said shawl. Which is what happened.

stripes and lace – so satisfying!

And so I present Selena*. Pretty isn’t it. Sadly it did warm up just as I finished this, so i really haven’t worn it yet!

And the other project? well, I’ve only ever managed to lose one thing on the tube, and it was my beautiful ishbel beret that I made last year from the angora blend I picked up in Gothenburg. *sob* I was gutted. Not only was it a hand knit, but it was made from souvenir yarn that would be a bitch to replace. So when I realised I’d have enough of the contrast colour from this shawl to whip up a replacement, I figured it would fill some of the void my carelessness had left.

My second ishbel beret – a little tight in the band, but soft and delicate!

And one other thing to show you before i disappear off into internet silence again.

I picked up some jitterbug on sale (thanks Loop!) and not being able to decide which colour i prefered I got both Florentina and Velvet Olive, a perfect combo for stripes. At first I was talked into doing the Tempest cardigan, but i’ve never really been in love with it, despite seeing some amazing finished products (Sonia and Sharon come to mind) and I’ve certainly never really liked it with a strongly variegated yarn. So I found this pattern instead – Elfe* – a very simple, elegant tee, that works quite well with a semi-solid picking up a tone in the variegated yarn! It was bloody easy too and done in a month! this i HAVE worn a few times, perfect for London ‘summer’!

Such pretty colours! great with shorts or jeans.

It was also my first time doing the contiguous sleeve method, which i really liked and would totally do again. Top down seamless is the way to go!

Well, there’s my post that proves I have been productive in other ways, if not in the blogging sense. I’m currently working on the BFF cowl with Katie (more to come) and my first crocheted garment for me! exciting times.

*ravelry link

you would think…

… that being on the other side of the world from the majority of the people i love would excuse me from knitting for other people…

But no.

not only is there the adorable baby dress that needs to get sent to the BRAND NEW NOVEMBER ANNABETH!!! (oh yes, she is an adorable squishy baby of EPIC PROPORTIONS) but there is also adult present knitting…

 

4 balls of Rowan Alpaca Cotton (the photo of which has inexplicably disappeared) will become a winter set for the darling John who moved to London at around the same time as me and has been brilliant at taking me to the theatre, spending time with me, eating delicious food with me, talking about boys with me and generally being and epically awesome friend.

the irony is his birthday (for which this is his present) is in July. so it will be the first time in his life that this would be a seasonally inappropriate gift! but it’s ok, cos he’s coming to Scotland with me, so there will be a need for them then!

So many pretties in London… Oh my!

Just a quick little hello crafty-types

I had a lovely afternoon at Loop on Thursday where i met some lovely knitters. There was lovely conversation and biscuits and interesting projects, all surrounded by gorgeous yarn in Angel. Truly Heavenly. I resisted the NEW SHIPMENT OF WOLLMEISE. yep. SO MUCH WM! *sigh* I am eyeing off a few things though…

I am also looking forward to checking out Nest – probably next monday for their afternoon tea day – as it’s walking distance from my new abode!

Speaking of yarn-eyeballing though, i also want an opinion…
Now that i am living in the land where i can go and VIEW the colours of Jamieson’s Shetland (Spindthrift) at Loop I am thinking of finally knitting Little Birds, by Ysolda. I bought the pattern ages ago when she was donating a percentage of sales to Haiti, since i knew i wanted to tackle it one day. After all, I am yet to try steeking and I so long to be a truly fearless knitter.

So! the question is, what colours do I choose! do i stick with three colours? Do I do two alternating colours for the stripes? Or use 2 alternating for the birds, or use four contrasts in total? I’m thinking a very very soft grey or the actual off-white Ysolda used for the base colour, but there are SO MANY pretty colours! it’s so hard to choose!

So have a look and give me an opinion!

And i promise the next post will have photos! I am about 2 thirds of the way through my Aeolian Shawl (and by that i really mean probably just over half way since i’ve reached the edging which usually takes about 50% of the yarn, but it FEELS like more!) and my Lettuce is going well, though I’m going to finish the body, do the neck and then halve the yarn for the sleeves as i think i may be a bit short for full sleeves.

I’m Still Here!

Theatre productions get pretty all encompassing as they near their climax, and that coupled with some serious virusy illness has meant that blogging has not been high on my list of priorities (which has been more about making sure i eat, getting places on time and not passing out in public). i have been knitting though (of course! especially when sick) and have a few FOs that i haven’t posted here!

A Swedish Fish called Wanda

A Swedish Fish called Wanda

These are one of the coolest things i’ve ever knitted (or two of, since there are, indeed, 2 socks). I used my very first installment of last year’s Sknitches Cinema Sock Club, which was Wanda (as in a Fish called) on a seacell and merino base. While my first impulse was EEK Orange! I soon realised that this yarn was MADE to do the Swedish Fish Socks* by Spillyjane. I purchased some undyed yarn in a bamboo blend from Wired for Fibre/Live 2 Knit, as i thought the bamboo would work well with the seacell blend.

I popped them aside in my sock-a-month stash and rigged them for July so i could enter in the Sock Knitter’s Anonymous monthly competition. These are only the third colourwork thing i’ve made and the first colourwork socks. This is a great pattern to try stranded knitting on. I wanted to knit them inside out, but sadly I cannot manage that on dpns and i do so dislike magic loop. So I made a valiant effort to create nice loose floats (but not too loose!) and i appear to have succeeded. They fit nicely – not too snug, but not too loose!

As I mentioned previously there have been so many babies arriving or incubating in recent times. I have started an heirloom type project for some friends, but i don’t want to say any more than that because i hope it will become something very special and i don’t want to give too much away!

I whipped this up for my second cousin (who’s now managed to break her ankle, which is bad for anyone but especially a mum with 2 boys under 2!) in the 13 hours is took to watch season 5 of Dr Who with my old housemate. I even finished the sewing up! all that was left was picking out the buttons and blocking it. I chose the colours as baby Theo has the most beautiful coffee coloured skin and i thought the darker tones would suit him. It’s a simple pattern from Debbie Bliss worked in Adorn Silky Merino DK

Striped Jumper for baby Theo

Striped Jumper for baby Theo

With all the socks and baby clothes this year i desperately needed a big old quick knit for me. I found satisfaction in the form of Stockport which only took as long as it did due to more illness. bah. so much time spent being sick this year. over it!

Stockport from Rowan 46

I will endeavor to get some photos of this ON me at some point. I worked it in the original cocoon in the most gorgeous colour. I made it longer and bought an extra ball accordingly, but given my tension was a smidge on the loose side and i have lost a lot of weight i did the medium (which even with my current size is still a size smaller than i’d do based on measurements). Well, I didn’t touch the last ball and it’s actually quite big! I highly recommend doing a smaller size than you think you need with this pattern. I had also been advised to keep the neckband tight, which i did. I stretched it quite a lot before sewing it in. It  still is a bit of a struggle to keep the top on my shoulders. AND the cocoon grows.

But all that being said, i love it. It’s warm, it’s comfy and it looks good even if it is big.

I have almost finished my Thea by Kim Hargreaves – half a sleeve and a collar to go. I knitted a whole sleeve in a day 2 weeks ago when i was completely laid up with the flu! Sadly I think I am coming down with another (or a reprise of this) virus. The show is now over, having closed last night, and everything went well. There was a good review on Arts Hub which mentions me especially. And i got some knitting done 🙂 I worked on my August socks backstage! My brain is turning mushy now, so I will leave it there. Hopefully I can get back in the habit of blogging regularly.

*ravelry link

Almost there…

I am too lazy to take a photo, but Fay* which i have been working on for over a year is sooooo close to completion I can SMELL it! I cast off both sleeves last night and am debating whether to wash block or just steam the pieces before seaming the shoulders. I still need to knit the neck band, which i will start tonight, but it is sewn in, so need to have shoulder seams sewn ready to go. this means i need to block the main body pieces now.

Usually I would just whack it in the sink in lukewarm water, give it a little swish, press the water out, pin and go… BUT! when katie was living with me, she blocked her pear tree Mara in such a fashion and it grew… A Lot. It did shrink back when it dried, but it was significantly larger. Now i know what you sticklers out there are saying “Well well well, serves you right for not washing your swatch!”. At least i DID swatch for this project! And I have just washed and pinned my little swatch to see what it does! This will help decide how to go about things. In the meantime, NECKBAND! 🙂

In the meantime, I finished a pair of socks!

They are Shur’tugal (Dragon Rider) socks in Waikiwi Prints that i picked up in NZ. It’s a really yummy alpaca, possum and merino blend and while it felt a little thin/ropey during the knitting process it softened up beautifully when i washed them. My mum eyed them off while i was knitting them so she scored them for mother’s day 🙂

Speaking of presents, this ADORABLE little jacket (that I knit over easter – super quick!!) is destined for a soon-to-be person! There are a few mothers-to-be reading this so i’ll let you all guess which of the baby knits you’re getting!

Speaking of Babies… The recipient of the little cabled vest* that i blogged about in March has arrived safe and sound. Mum and bub are both doing well, Dad’s proud as punch and the dog is a little put out!

Meet my cousin-once-removed (hey, I don’t get neices and nephews, ok? it’s not my fault it’s a really clumsy name for the relationship), Henry John Thorn. He’s the first boy in the family (Dad’s side) in 41 years! I think this is the only photo i’ve seen with his eyes open. mostly he just frowns, but i’m sure he’ll grow out of it!

* ravelry link

As Promised…

As I promised Sharon, this is a post about my favourite scarf.

Working a yarn store, I get to see the nummiest yarns as they came in. When RYC Baby Alpaca DK arrived I just KNEW i had to have it wrapped around my neck in some form! I could picture the scarf i wanted and spent weeks working out the ideal way to create it. This is what i came up with* in order to create the perfect striped skinny scarf

Materials: 2 balls each of RYC Baby Alpaca Southdown (A) and RYC Baby Alpaca Lincoln (B) (or any complementary DK weight yarns)

a set of double pointed 5mm needles (or circular for magic loop)

Method:

With col A cast on 36 stitches (or twice as many stitches as would give you your desired width). Join for working in the round.

knit 6 rows.

Without breaking col A, join col B.

knit 6 rows with col B, carrying col A up the centre of the tube, catching it with col B to keep it neat.

continue in this way, alternating A and B until scarf is desired length. My scarf ended up around 2.75m long and i finished with col B.

sew in ends and wash and dry (or whatever blocking method you use) so that scarf sits flat with one ‘edge’ being where you’ve changed colours.

The result?

I apologise for the wip photo, but in the 2 years i’ve had this i haven’t taken a photo of it in it’s full finished form!! I will try to get one soon to replace this one!

*I’m sure I’m not the first person to come up with this, and i won’t be the last, but i did make this up from scratch, with no reference to an existing pattern.

correction

sigh – my first correction already for the Cable Car Sock pattern

In the Toe section, R7 and R9 are the wrong way round.
you should read R7 as R9 and vice versa.
so they should be :
R7: k1, k2tog, k to 3 stitches before marker, ssk, k1, c3f dec, work centre of pattern pattern to 3 stitches before marker, c3b dec
R9: k1, k2tog, k to 3 stitches before marker, ssk, k1, k2tog, work pattern to 2 stitches before marker, ssk

The file in the previous post will be adjusted to Cable Car Sock v2 for anyone want to download it with corrections.