the best souvenir is yarn!

Growing up, my mum travelled a lot and brought me gifts from all over the world. As i got older and my friends travelled more, they brought me presents too (mostly fridge magnets, because it made my fridge far more interesting and useful). When I first started travelling a lot, I bought myself the usual, magnets, shot glasses (18!), jewellery… but then i got into knitting and souvenir shopping got a lot more fun!

I’ve talked about my various international yarny purchases from my Big Trip 09 and I’ve mentioned the yarny component of other travels as well. Since i’ve been in Europe I’ve had a few opportunities to travel and have continued my souvenir traditions – wanna see?

First off was the lovely Rooster lace weight from Bath mentioned in an earlier post.

Then in July I headed to sunny (sadly not) Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Malmo. You would think that Scandinavia would be the best place to get all sorts of super warm woollen yarns, what with it being the HOME OF WINTER… and you would be right! Not all of my purchases originate from the area…

like this delicious Shibui Knits Sock, destined to become a mini colour affection shawl/scarf

but a lot did…

like this lovely self striping single blended from shetland and merino lambswool… what a great combo! This is from Denmark, purchased in Copenhagen

And this Norwegian (ok so it’s next door) Angora blended with lambswool, beautifully naturally coloured. Picked this one up in Gothenburg! It’s became a pretty little Ishbel hat and i still have half the ball!

And another rustic wool, dyed in gorgeous selfstriping greys, from a little island in Sweden, also purchased in Gothenburg

What i found most interesting was the penchant for Linen! Despite the freezing cold temperatures of the area, Linen makes an appearance in all the stores, with most producing their own line (fibre pun!)

I couldn’t resist this colour – am thinking of crocheting a lacy thin scarf. pattern suggestions?

(yarns purchased at Sommerfuglen in Copenhagen and Strikk and Broderi & Garn in Gotheburg. I would recommend all 3)

As mentioned on my other blog I headed up to Edinburgh for the festival and thought it only fitting I picked up some Northern yarn. While knitting at the Purple Pig, (where I met Ysolda!) it was suggested to me that I try Rennie’s shetland yarn – apparently the meterage goes forever and it softens up beautifully upon washing (the suggestion was made complete with feelable samples). I was also told it made an appearance at a new store in the New Town, which i’d been planning on heading to, so when i went to Kathy’s Knits, the aim was to suss out the colours and maybe pick something up for some colourwork.

what do we think? I’m pretty happy!

I also knew I had to check out K1 Yarns – apart from it being Ysolda’s local, I also knew they stocked the Orkney angora that My darling Mel (who’s just started an etsy store for hand blended fibre – check it out!) turned into a deliciously soft and fluffy ishbel shawl. I couldn’t resist my own fluffy bundle!

I’m predictable I know…
The blend used to be 100% butI think it’s still pretty lovely!

Last week I went to Amsterdam, but sadly I ended up not visiting the yarn store literally one street away from our hostel because I was sick as a dog on our last day and buying the yarn, whilst definitely on my mind, was just too hard.

So here’s a picture perfect moment from Amsterdam instead…

more photos like this to come on my other blog…

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When you really love someone…

you will part with the perfect hat because it was knitted for them, not you.

this is kylie

She is my best friend here in London. we work together and have lots of fun and totally get each other.

One day Kylie came with me to Loop (even though she’s not a knitter – see, told you she was a good friend) and showed serious interest in a pair of mitts in my favourite teal.

I offered a pair as a belated birthday present.

finally got my hands on some mad tosh in a colour i thought she’d like… but she saw me wearing this hat and decide she wanted a beret instead.

I offered Kylie some patterns (she chose Meret) and 2 days later i had finished what is possibly my favourite hat i’ve ever knitted. I’m completely in love with it.

But i love Kylie more.

 

So knitting is a thing that’s been happening…

Hi!

Still alive.

Still knitting.

Still making the stuffs.

So here’s a little update!

First off I have to show off the perfect jumper, 6 months in the making, almost 1500m of laceweight and millions of stitches (that might be an overstatement, but not by much)

I present, the Lettuce Pullover by Hannah Fettig* (with mods)

Such pretty colours. I love it SO much

 

 

I am hanging out with the lovely Ursula on tuesday and if I wear this i will ask her to take some photos. It looked great today with a grey t-shirt and jeans, but didn’t get any good photos i’m afraid. It’s sooooo warm and snuggly too, but still really light! only dilemma is the ribbing on the sleeves doesn’t quite match up. I counted and there’s only 2 rows difference, but it feels like 4. not sure whether to rip back the cast off and knit more, or rip the other sleeve back and redo the bind off… thoughts?

Next up we have a little touch of decadence… I had a skein of beautiful Louet Mooi laceweight* that i bought in canada in 2009. It’s the most expensive skein of (commercial) yarn I’ve ever owned (I spun a cashmere/alpaca blend and plied it with a cashmere/silk blend, which probably ended up more expensive, especially if you include labour costs, but that’s not really the point right now… back to it). I’ve been waiting for the perfect one skein project (only 300m or so of this deliciousness) and when i saw Mrs Moreland’s neckcloth in the first Jane Austen Knits mag, i thought i might just have found the perfect match. I cast on in Copenhagen (yes, that long ago) and finally finished last week. I’ve even worn it since the weather’s turned cold!!

lace, bison, cashmere, bamboo, vintage essence… perfection? possibly!

A hint of what it looks like on – with a sneak peak of the lettuce jumper too!

In preparation for the coming cold (oh how am i going to cope) here in London, I also finally found a project for some pure cashmere that i had – again from Canada (this time from Montreal, not Toronto). I knit this into a circular cowl. The pattern was taken from a stitch dictionary, then adapated for the width i wanted. I knitted until there was very little left and sewed the ends together. I’m still waiting for it to be cold enough to risk spilling stuff on this (you KNOW it’s going to happen!)

So soft and creamy!

And last but not least i have the presents mentioned in the previous post… while the photo of the original yarn has disappeared (!) I do have a photos of one of the FOs. I only have blocking photos of the scarf, and they’re a bit shit, but hopefully as it gets colder I’ll manage to snap a photo of the recipient all rugged up in it!

And a pair of matching mitts

There has also been more baby knitting going on (photos soon) for a little sweetheart back home… Congratulations to dearest Bec and Erik on the arrival of Freja! (It’s never ending!!)

And of course there’s been souvenir yarn buying… coming soon to a blog post near you (I promise!)

* 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!

some FOs at last!

I have been knitting quite a bit, but given the nature of projects, i don’t have a lot to show for it!

My lettuce pullover is coming along nicely, though sadly it’s my out-and-about project and i’ve actually been REALLY busy when i’m out, so not so much knitting! Over the next few days i’ll do the neck and start on the sleeves and then it should get going again.

At home i’ve been working on more complicated things… namely my first Aeolian. It was my first large scale laceweight shawl. I bough the yarn in Downer’s Grove, Illinois – handmaiden lace silk. SO divine. I had been told when i bought it that the meterage was a lie, and that what was stated as 600m was at LEAST 900. The full Aeolian calls for around 1200 so i played it safe.

Now as it turns out i could probably have done the full shawl or at the very least done 9 stitch nupps instead of 7, but my finished object is still large and stunning!

good thing i’d just put all my clean clothes away!

mirror mirror

“beads and nupps, why not?”

Once the shawl was finished i felt i needed a bit more of a quick’n’dirty knit, so i pulled out the skein of handdyed BFL i had earmarked for a present for Nett and Greg’s soon-to-be daughter ‘Muffin’

My friends have had a lot of boys of late, so i’ve been getting my full girliness out with this little bub. I really wanted a bit of lace, something floaty and fun, so i took a cute little lace vest pattern and modified it into a dress…

blocking…

It just needs some buttons – i bought some at Liberty (oh yes, how i love liberty) but sadly they are really just too big, so will be looking for some teeny tiny ones soon. There is no way this is going to get to Adelaide before Muffin arrives (unless she’s stupidly late) so Nett and Greg have seen it on Skype and Muffin will get to witness the opening of the package!

The pattern is Louise and i simple added some more rounds of the centre panel while working moss stitch instead of stocking stitch. then i increased by a third (ie, after every second stitch) went up 2 needle sizes to create a nice drape on the skirt and did a Dory (just kept knitting). I finished off with 6 rounds of moss.

I have a decent amount left… hat? booties? sockies? or save it for another little bub?

A few weeks ago before i started my job I headed down to Stonehenge and Bath. It was totally brilliant and beautiful and I’ve just realised i’ve TOTALLY FORGOTTEN TO BLOG IT! so will do that over on Before i’m too old in a tick. BUT I mention it here because despite only having 3 hours in the city of bath, I managed to find a yarn store and purchase a BEEEAUUUTIFUL souvenir skein of yarn…

Dragon’s Blood
(actually it’s called Arequipa, but who’s checking)

Isn’t it stunning? It’s Rooster Angel Lace, handdyed in Cheshire. Laceweigh Silk and Alpaca in a beautiful red (the kind i can wear happily)

It’s around 800m, so i see another shawl on the horizon soon.

In other news, my mum has sent me a few bits and bobs from my existing stash so i don’t go crazy over here 🙂

And I’ve been going to the Loop knitting group on a thurs night – luckily my schedule at work means i should be able to go most weeks if only for an hour and a bit. It’s a lovely shop with lovely people  (but not as lovely as my Richmond girls of course. I miss you)

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.

hey Richmond Girls… (and other Aussie Knitters)

yep, that's ALL WOLLMEISE!

that’s taken at Loop in Islington. I knew you’d all want to see it. And there’s a batch due this month. I’m pretty happy with my wollmeise stash, but i had to share. have NEVER SEEN SO MUCH in one place. (not even at Sonia’s)

Oh and I totally bought some of this in a colour called Flight.

stupidly i did not take a photo of my FIRST SKEIN OF LONDON YARN*

but i am knitting a hat and will take photos of that. it’s so totally lush.

discovered there is a yarn store on the road i have been walking most days (it’s sort of incognito so didn’t notice! worst knitter ever!) went to go there today but closed due to unforseen circumstances until thurs. 😦 REALLY could have used a yarny pick me up today.

*from this trip anyway…

winter prep…

I finished a little something this week that will help with the cold in London. I’ve heard the pro strat is a cowl under a scarf, so i finally broke out the beautiful Rabbit Ridge DK that i bought in San Francisco (that came from Alaska!) and used most of it to create the lovely hydrangea cowl* from Brave New Knits.

I blocked it – it dried in about 5 seconds- and even braved the heat to get this shot…

Hydrangea Cowl in Sitka Rose

The fact that it matched my dress was purely coincedental!

 

and now the moment you have all been waiting for. I present Sylvi

thanks so much to vintagenettles for the photos!

*rav link

Because Bow Ties ARE Cool

yet another item in the unending stream of hand crafted baby things

Yes, the hand crafted baby things just keep coming. My dearest E and S finally welcomed their little boy into the world. At the Baby Shower, we were asked to take onesies and return them decorated in some way. Weeeelll, I’ve had a bit on my plate what with moving to the UK, and i knew that A was going to be a massive little bub and I had a 000, so to make up for my slackness, I purchased a 00 to embroider and whipped this up on the last weekend i was in melbourne. I am such a terrible free stitcher, but it’s cute and homey and the Doctor would approve!

(also, what a BRILLIANT colour! Thanks E for the photo)

meanwhile, N + G are expecting a Muffin!girl and in the COLD months too, so i finally got to knit a pink (and green!) cardigan!

I had some lovely colours in a simple 8ply wool that i knew nett would love so i chose the offset wraplan* pattern and striped away.

(apologies in advance for the indoor flash photo!)

The buttons are probably  not the most practical, but they are SUPER CUTE and finish it so nicely!

Meanwhile, I have managed to move out of Melbourne – most of my yarn is in storage *sniff* but a sufficient amount is in adelaide either to be packed with me, or sent at a later date. My spinning wheel, loom and sewing machine are being looked after and loved by the lovely Ursula, though i believe Mel will eventually take over loom mindership. I’m glad  my crafty things are being put to good use!

I have also finished my Sylvi at last and i LOVE HER. I will endevour to get some better photos, but here’s a sneak preview..

 

 

*rav link

Avoiding startitis

It was pointed out last night at knitting that i am a terrible blogger. But I have been meaning to post about this!

The awesome Yarn Harlot recently blogged about her annual case of startitis

Which got me thinking… I have a very strong desire to knit ALL THE THINGS, but especially all the WARM things, what with going to London! I’ve got a few projects i desperately want to do before i go, but i also want to finish all my WIPs!

so things i want to knit

Poppy*

I cast these on week before last and should have them done on Thursday. I don’t particularly like the thumb in this pattern, and if i knit them again i would work my regular thumb gusset and work another round or two after the little finger.

Other than this though i love them! I added an extra ruffle and put them a bit closer together because who doesn’t like an extra ruffle.

Handspun Possum and Merino from NZ with Kidsilk Night trim

I feel like these will be awesome for when i need to keep my hands warm but have my fingers available for oyster cards etc.

From the same book i want to knit Chevalier* for when it’s F***ing cold. these are knit in a bulky yarn so should only take me one or two days. I’ve actually had the yarn combo picked out for a while, so will be nice to finally do these!

And i want to knit a cowl or possibly two. I have a few patterns queued for stash yarn so will do one of those. I’ve been told that having a cowl close to the neck and then a scarf is a must for a UK winter.

On counterpoint I have the WIPS…

Sylvi is going great guns and will be finished before i go. I really want to line it, but i think there’s probably a level of CBFedness i can’t quite get past with everything else going on

Gossamer is a project i started in 2010 and i JUST NEED TO FINISH! especially now it’s on the interesting bit. the good news is it’s really light so i could pack it to knit in the UK, but i won’t wear it til summer over there, so would rather finish it and put it in storage til i get back. but i don’t want to put it in storage on the needles (or cable as the case is atm)

This is a bit of an ongoing project that i pick up every now and again. It has the same problems as Gossamer  in that i probably won’t wear it in london much but i hate the idea of putting it in storage unfinished. (even though it’s been about 2 years between working on it at some points!)

The sock yarn leftover blanket is very happy to be popped away and added to when i have sock yarn left overs from the UK!

so that’s kinda the plan, but there’s one other thing to consider… baby knits! Oh yeah… i would really like to try and get one thing done for my bestie before i head off.

but i have finished a present for my darling canadian friend

Petit Facile Pullover from Interweave Knits in Malabrigo worsted in Verdes

*ravelry link