A Cross- Continental Cowl

This is Katie

I hope she doesn’t mind me using a rav photo!!

She is my knitting bestie and one of the most awesome housemates I’ve ever had. We had a lot of fun together and I know that whenever we are together we will still have a lot of fun together.

So when Ysolda Teague and Stephanie Dosen (of Tiny Owl Knits) released a BFF friendship cowl pattern on Knitty last year Katie immediately nudged me (remotely) and said, hey now that you are oh so far away, we should totally do this!
So we did!
I have access to all the fun English yarns at the moment, and we had a convenient makeshift-postie in the form of the travelling Ursula who was visiting her family, so I sent Katie two skeins of Old Maiden Aunt in Midnight and kept 2 for myself in Dreicht (a horrible sounding but truly BEAUTIFUL colour)
we worked away making the sport/DK weight yarn look good in what is technically a worsted weight pattern and sent photos of our efforts to each other
experimentation with extra stitches and pattern repeats!

experimentation with extra stitches and pattern repeats!

When at last we had completed our ‘seed pod’ links, we posted them to the other side of the world, complete with little goodies and helloes (I send Katie the most horrendously bad postcard of all time and some british noms)

Then came the task of grafting the links

grafting the first...

grafting the first…

grafting the second!

…grafting the second!

Final step? WEAR! though of course it’s too hot now! but it will get cold again soon and for oh so long. meanwhile, Katie’s link is protecting her from the dreary Melbourne winter!

I did use the inconvenient sunshine to take some awesome pics though!

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How gorgeous is that yarn! such a dream to knit with too. I can’t wait to wear this… well, I can, because i love London in the summer, but it will be a little bit of bliss come the Autumn rains!

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Summer is here!

At last, at last, the gloomy spring became a freaking awesome summer, which makes the fact that I’m coming up to 18 months here (thus 6 months to go) that much harder! I LOVE London in the summer. It just becomes a magical place!

The warm weather doesn’t carry the blazing heat of home (although it is humid at times, yuck) but in honour of the season I finished a little cotton project I started last year.

And it was my first crocheted garment for me! I was super worried about it, because despite doing a tension square, the tension was smaller than I expected and I had to do a WHOLE lot of extra pattern repeats to get it to a decent length (the fact I started it *last* summer might have contributed. oops). On the plus side, looks like my crochet  chains are finally getting away from the loosey goosey end of the spectrum!

A sweet summer top!

A sweet summer top!

The pattern is Petal* from Interweaves crotchet Spring 2011 and the yarn was Rowan cotton glace which i managed to get on sale at Liberty when Sharon visited me last year!

I’m really pleased with how it turned out, since the thing about crochet, is that I don’t have the experience to know how to alter shaping or anything like that. So the fact that the sleeves matched the armholes is a bit of a miracle! It’s a little tight under the arms and the neckline is a bit wonky, but i still love it!

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This colour isn’t quite right, it’s a very soft blue

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The lovely shell stitch pattern 😀

I’m so super pleased with this, i feel like it’s an amazing accomplishment!

Looking through the remainder of things to work on, it looks like the rest of my time might be spent on heavier garments – jumpers and cardigans and shawls. I’m thinking i have to do another self-imposed sock club next year though! not a pair since i moved!!

Luckily winter is ALWAYS just around the corner here in the UK ,so I’m sure I’ll be luxuriating under piles of wool and mohair and alpaca soon!

And this is why i knit (for other people)

Since I got to the UK and have been able to show off my skill with needles and hook to a whole new batch of friends, I’ve heard the following comment a lot…

“oooh, you could sell those”

or a variation on the theme…

“Have you ever thought about selling things?”

To which I sometimes smile and just say no, or sometimes explain i tried that and it was hard, or for my closer, more patient, actually want a response friends, I explain that actually, what people would pay versus the time and money I invest would make it a pointless exercise.

But the real reason is this.

I am a selfish knitter. I knit for pleasure, so I can take pride in showing off something I created with my own hands, so I can have something that is exactly how I want it (most of the time) and to pass hours that I would otherwise feel are wasted (or my excuse to watch television).

And because of this, when I do knit for other people, it is for one reason and one reason only. Because I care.

The wonderful Yarn Harlot posted today about the love that goes into a knitted present and how it stays with it. How wrapping oneself up in a handknitted gift really is like a woolly hug. And this is exactly how I think about knitting for other people. For both family and friends, and for new little people who don’t even realise that the thing that is keeping them warm is doing so in more ways than one. Even when I take requests, I accept them because I know that the finished object will not only be valued, but will be a reminder of my love and affection. (seriously, my most recent request I argued against receiving any kind of payment, but the recipient objected!)

I have only been in England a year, but I have made 3 gifts for people here and a few for little people back home. You’ve seen Kylie’s hat and I told you about John’s winter set and now here’s the third…

Fade Fingerless Gloves
or “Proper Thug Mitts” as Sam put it

After knitting Kylie’s hat, I offered to knit something for Sam for his christmas/birthday present (as the two events bookend the coldest part of the year). He asked for some mitts in purple and black and I immediately thought of this pattern* (as I have done it before for another male friend* of mine with great success)

It took me a while to find the right shade of purple in the right kind of yarn, but i finally did just after christmas and in less than a week I whipped up a pair of mitts for my dearest, dearest Sam.

I was worried they might be a bit snug, but he loves them!

And I love him.

See how this works?

 

 

*ravelry link

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

Babies Galore!

So the thing about being 30 is that most of the people i know are either getting married, having babies or planning ways of moving closer to doing one of the above.

This year (so far) has seen three babies on the horizon. My cousin, for whom i knitted the little cabled slip over is due ANY MINUTE NOW! I am planning on making debbie bliss’s bunny to go with the slipover, but will maybe give it to them in person in September since the US apparently don’t want anyone to send them mail ever now.

The other two babies have both had gender determined (though i won’t specifically say what just in case… though you can probably work it out)

I started this little project with one recipient in mind, but changed my mind halfway through. I am now working on matching items.

Sideways ribbed baby jacket in Adorn Silky Cashmerino 4ply

(thanks nett for the awesome photo)

Baby clothes are so much fun to knit – they are super fast and are totally worth luxurious (machine washable) yarns. This was under 2 balls!

I’m working on a DK weight jacket now for the other baby. I started Friday and have already finished the back and fronts. One and a half sleeves to go, then seaming and then bands. I would finish this weekend except that i can’t find a decent sewing up needle here (at my parents) so might have to wait til i get back to Melbourne.

I do have another project with me of course, something for me in ARAN weight because i am totally SICK of 4 ply. between baby clothes, socks and my Fay (in Pear Tree 4 ply) I needed something a bit quicker to work on, so I am doing Emily from Kim Hargreaves in Rowan Alpaca Cotton. Not the combination i originally intended (though I contemplated it) but i just wanted to knit something-not-4ply. I have also bought the Rowan Cocoon to do Stockport from Rowan 46. Yay for a bulky knit !

Random Craftiness

Hello my beautiful crafty types.

I apologise for my silence -many reasons, but mostly because whilst i’ve been busy doing things, I’m not sure which of them to tell you about!

Would you like a post about Tasmania? The housemate and i went there last month and whilst there is a supreme plethora of novelty yarn in Tassie, we did manage to find some delicious yarny goodness to bring home. Yes? Ok I shall post about that soon.

In the meantime, I will tell you some random things…

With the arrival of warmer weather, I have gotten out the sewing machine in earnest.

I bought some beautiful silk chiffon to make Chantilly from Colette at the fabric place in the South Melbourne Markets. It was the end of the roll so she gave it to me for $10pm! I couldn’t bring myself to cut it yet, but i did trace and cut out all the pattern pieces and make sure i could get all the pieces out of my fabric. Which i can! yay! so that project will be happening soon.

In the meantime, I decided to finish off a project that has been hanging around since 2008! Remember the apron workshop i went to? Well, as well as picking out fabric for aprons for my mother and my grandmother, I also picked out fabric for my own apron. I found some images on google, used Leanne’s letters and created a stencil for my ‘name plate’ and embroidered it and cut out all the pieces before it all went into storage last year. So all i needed to do was sew it all together!

I apologise for the weird colouring. It’s purple not blue, but can’t seem to get a good shot of it!

This photo is more true to the colours and you can see the kitties!

The very observant amongst you might notice the stray fibres on the apron – this is because it is going to be a crafting (namely spinning and sewing) apron, rather than a cooking apron. It’s too nice to get food all over, and it means i can spin loose fibres, or unpick things, or lay things on my lap without getting my clothes looking any more fibrey than they already do with 2 cats in the house! There’s also useful pockets and the pocket at the top will be primarily for tissues so i don’t always have to stick them in my bra!! (stupid sinuses)

The other sewing adventure in recent times pertains to a certain Cabaret i am performing this week! (if you’re in melbourne, please, come  along). I bought a new corset at Antons (I only have crappy photos so i won’t share yet) and decided (because i am CRAZY) to make a knee length circle skirt to go with it. One trip to clegs and an awful lot of money later, I had some GORGEOUS silk satin and italian lace… Thanks to a circle skirt tutorial from Ruffles and Roses – and a little bit of pinning from my awesome house mate – I now have this…

The lace is unhemmed at the moment and is likely to remain so since it is sitting at a really nice height compared to the hemmed silk now. It won’t fray so as long as i trim any loose bits is should look neat. I used the scalloped edge of the lace fabric to create the waistband. I’m really proud of that!

So already planning some more sewing projects. The wrap dress I asked your opinion on a while ago, the chiffon dress, a maxi in gorgeous light aqua silk with a grey and white print on it, plus all the projects that have been sitting in my sewing box waiting to be made. Sadly patterns and fabric do not mate in the dark producing gorgeous wearable offspring. I have another maxi, a shift dress, a 50s dress and a 70s-ish dress in 3 fabrics all ready to be made, plus a houndstooth 50s/60s style shift cut out and only needing sewing!

Meanwhile, the knitting and spinning continues… but this post is getting long, so next time, k?

Squids!

I have had a few requests (well, 2, but i feel that any more than 1 request for this particular item is worth noting) for squids for birthdays.

My friend nett put me on to hansi singh’s adorable squid-a-licious pattern asking me to knit her one in colours of my choosing for her birthday present. She bought me the pattern and a handful of others as my own belated birthday present, so it only seemed fair!

So, I present Squidy the First!

squid I

When i mentioned this request to another Gemini/Cancer cusper i know, she too requested one for her birthday present!

and so i present (apologies for the poor photo) Squidy the Second!

Squid II

it’s hard to see him, but he’s a maroon purple with green underside and green pupils. This is one of those times where i actually feel my first effort was the more successful of the two, but I do actually enjoy doing these!

I also knitted an owl (one of the other patterns I received for my birthday) for my grandmother for mother’s day (may). She loved it. I knitted it in a silk tweed in pinks. strange colour for an owl i know, but it suits him. Apparently she kept picking him up and looking at him and putting it down again. 🙂

Owl

Next – Seahorses!

My first Garment

Having bought Heartfelt, I knitted something from it! And I LOVE it.

It’s Cherish, knitted in Rowan Big Wool (as designed) in the M/12 size in colour Smokey. It is sooooo warm and snuggly and as it gets colder here in Melbourne I’m hoping to wear it even more.

Here it’s pinned with my sewing up needle, but I have since sewn a button on it, though in my eagerness to wear it i modelled my own shawl pin for a while, which looked great!

I’m now working on Calm, which i’m knitting in Jo Sharp’s Rare Comfort Kid Mohair in colour Tranquil. How appropriate, no? I’m aiming to finish it in time to wear to work on Saturday.. so two days! but i only have the top of the sleeves, the sewing up and the small yoke to knit. Easily done!