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

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)

Months in the Making

A baby is months in the making (9 months or 40 weeks to be more precise) so it is only fitting that when someone you really care about is making a person, you spend a few months making something too.

When my darling friends E+SJ told me they were expecting (something that took a bit more effort and planning than it does for some couples) E told me a story about a knitted blanket that her brother had had as a child. Sadly this blanket was lost to the family but hearing the memories and longing in E’s voice i knew what i had to do for her and her little foetus. E is an amazing quilter and stitcher and though she has tried the yarny needle arts she doesn’t feel comfortable with knitting needles or a crochet hook. SJ knits beautifully but occupies her time with other activities (including learning to be a teacher – pretty important!) so i knew these were the kind of people who would really appreciate the time, effort, dedication and love that goes into a hand knitted blanket. There was no doubt about what i would do!

I picked out the yarn and pattern pretty much as soon as i knew. I chose a beautiful lace shawl pattern* by debbie bliss from one of her many beautiful baby books, but decided against the baby cashmerino. Firstly I figured if i knit it in a thicker yarn i could cut out a few repeats and it would go a bit faster, secondly, baby cash isn’t cheap (even with a staff discount) and thirdly, while it is beautiful, occasionally i have heard tell of it not standing up to years of use, and this was a project i wanted to be a family heirloom. I chose instead Adorn Cotton Cashmere in a beautiful soft sage green – a colour i know E loves, would complement their home and that i thought would suit either a boy or a girl. I know from experience that the cotton cashmere is both wonderfully soft and EXTREMELY hardy. You can throw that yarn in the dryer NO trouble!

I didn’t cast on until the pregnancy had been officially announced, not wanting to jinx anything and once i had the ‘go ahead’ knitted on it every now and again, here and in adelaide, at mine and at friends’ houses, until i got the date for the baby shower (today) and a deadline for the blanket! And so, on Thursday night I finished sewing on the edge, washed and blocked the present and today gave it to the lovely mums-to-be.

Green on Green on a sunny summer's day

Just for frame of reference for size, here is a photo of it blocking on my double sofa bed

a blanket, a play mat and a shawl in one

For anyone wanting to do this blanket i’ll tell you i cut out 2 repeats (18 stitches per repeat) and worked the 24 row pattern 12 times, with a further 7 rows to create the finer zig zag at each end. It still turned out huge! I’d read on rav that this was really big (which was why i was happy to cut out a few repeats) but i probably could have cut out another one or two repeats and still had a good sized blanket!

This was not the only present for E and SJ – good friends deserve lots of knitted things!

Earlier in the year i presented them with the following items, both knitted once it was known Fruiby (fruit baby – a nickname given because E has been blogging each week comparing in size Fruiby to fruits and vegies) that fruiby would be a child of the boy type. E and SJ are very much against gender specific-ness anyway, and have worked on a wardrobe for Fruiby in gorgeous brights of every colour, so i used the very special leftover yarn from my swedish fish socks to create a colourful little vest for him

A stripy vest!

E and SJ are massive Dr Who fans (as am i) and it occurred to me that rather than knitting traditional booties, i could pay an homage to a wonderful fandom and still create a cute baby present. Now, I’m not the best crocheter in the world, and of course i didn’t use the recommended gauge yarn, but i managed to create these in reference to 10s distinctive footwear…

BABY CONS!

So now I am moving on to me projects. I don’t think i will be knitting presents this christmas, which is a bit sad, but with so many babies it’s like my gift quota is done! There are more babies to knit for yet, so i hope you like adorable cute things! It does feel weird to be finished with a project i’ve had with me for so long though.

*ravelry link