Monday, 1 September 2014

Kelvinway Shawl

It's already September, and the Kelvinway shawl has been desperate to be set free for a few weeks now!


Glasgow is greener than most think – and the best summer times are spent in green spaces. Just as the parks consist of many textures & shadows, this shawl incorporates lace, cable and stockinette to mimic the differences found in nature.
Kelvin Way is the pedestrian path through the beautiful Kelvingrove park.
The Construction
This crescent shape shawl is knit from the top down, increasing at the edges throughout. Knit first in stockinette, it transitions to lace & cables halfway down the length of the shawl, continuing to a short border section and straight cast off.
Uses one skein (400m) of sock yarn. Choose a leafy shade! Or the colour of your favourite flower.

Also, the code 'Walkies' will get you 20% off on Ravelry until the 12th of September :)

This is the second in a series of shawls inspired by Glasgow - you might remember Bru!  









Thursday, 28 August 2014

LushPodKAL & Fyberspates Scrumptious DK/Worsted


Natural Fyberspates Scrumptious with a wee cup & saucer!

Having spent a lot of time knitting with this yarn recently (using it for the Lush KAL!), I'm compelled to gush about it slightly!  I've just had a lovely time knitting with it; it's soft, floofy, shiny & makes me happy every time I pull it from it's project baggie. 

This yarn is beautiful.  It's a loosely spun, 45% silk, 55% merino wool single ply yarn.  Advertised as DK/Worsted - I have to admit I'd be more likely to call it worsted, and it is listed in the worsted category on Ravelry.

With 220m per 100g, you get pretty decent milage out of it, and I think I'll use about four skeins for this lush cardigan I'm currently knitting.  At £14.00 per skein it's not the cheapest yarn you'll come across, but considering it's dyed by a small british company, and half silk, you've definitely spent more on less before!  

Having a little browse through the comments left about this yarn on Ravelry, I did see that some knitters think it's too splitty.  It's a very loosely spun single.  It is easy to split.  Personally, I don't really have a problem with it - it doesn't happen very often to me, and when it does I don't find it a massive hassle to poke the needle in at a different angle.   Regardless,  it's a complication you could pre-empt with a yarn like this one, and you'll have to make up your own mind whether the finish you'll get with a loosely spun single is worth a little extra care in the knitting.   It definitely wasn't so loose that it unravelled or anything.  

The lush cardigan involves both lace & stockinette.  This is lovely, because it keeps the cardigan nice & interesting whilst allowing me to knit it when I'm sleepy on the couch in the evening.   The stockinette is lovely and soft, but the lace still has great definition!  

Nice stitch definition!

Knitted from a yarn cake made on a ball winder from a swift.  As usual, I knitted from the outside not the centre, so didn't have any problems at all.  Though I noticed one of the comments said it was impossible to knit from the centre of the cake so, of course, I did try - it was an unmitigated disaster.  Don't knit from a centre-pull.  Just don't.  It did all sort of join together 'cause it was rubbing against itself on the way out.

I'm knitting the sleeves together on a big magic loop.  This is always the method I tackle those infamous sleeves with, as I'm compelled to keep going or I have no cardigan! (I suffer terribly from one-sleeve-itis if I knit them separately, and take weeks to get around to that second sleeve...).  Also, maybe this is a little obsessive of me, but I want those sleeves exactly the same length - not 'around 14 inches', not 'I held them together and they looked the same', because it never works!  Different length sleeves have no place on my cardigan!!

It's NOT superwash, so I'll have to take extra-special care of it!   Why oh why did I choose white...

To summarise!
Pros:

  • Unbelievably soft
  • Good drape
  • Nice stitch definition

Cons:

  • Easy to split
  • Handwash only

In case you wan't to nosey, my lush is on Ravelry here & the blog about the lush kal here.  And did you love the wee stitch markers?  They're in the etsy shop :)


Do you have a list of favourite yarns?  Why do you love them so much?


Too many WIPs...

Now further onto the sleeves, & still reading the mag!
Such a yummy pile of skeins...
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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Lofty Hat

Love bringing you wee updates like this one, and this time it's about my new Lofty Hat which has appeared in Knit Now this month! :)

It's knit in the round, bottom to top.  Simple chunky cables are great if you're learning or an easy knit if you're not.  

I particularly love the way the lofty loops come together to run toward the centre, and from the top it reminds me of icy rain drops beading down autumn branches.  

For this hat, Knit Now suggested some excellently airy, singles spun, alpaca blend from Yeoman yarns (Yeoman Yarns Kajam Alpaca Aran) - I didn't have very much experience with this yarn; it was floooofy!  Perfect for this project.  

Courtesy of KnitNow

Let me know if you're knitting the hat!  I'd love to have a peek at your projects :)  Also, considered a wee knit-along of my hats on Ravelry?  Happy to volunteer some pattern prizes if anyone is keen!
 

Did you see the third episode of the Great British Bake Off?  Who knew bread could be so exciting?!  Never imagined I'd be sat on the edge of my armchair shouting egg glaze advice at the TV (yes, I'm one of those people who argues with the television).

I've been lovingly informed that I should 'bake bread like that' for dinner this weekend...


ALSO
2 sleeps.
If you know, you know.
Do you know?




:)





Monday, 18 August 2014

PomPom!

There are good pompoms, and bad pompoms.
There is also a limit to the number of pompoms one individual can handle.

Don't know about you, but I tend to sign up for a magazine, or read a blog, and remain relatively loyal to it.   This week for some reason I drew a line (was it because of another tiny project I'd never want to make?  A home idea I felt would make my living room look like I had children - we're talking about a lot here, 'cause this is coming from the girl who knits three different kind of fox...).  Maybe I've just been in a rather bad mood :p

Ironically, I cancelled one subscription due to over-familiarity with pompoms and ended up subscribing to.. you guessed it, PomPom Mag.



There are some very pretty projects included this month, and it's a very well presented, well thought out little publication.  Also, it comes prettily wrapped!  I'm a sucker for packaging.  And pencils.  And notebooks.


I've also been watching the Great British Bake Off!
Best of intentions abound, I did want to bake the challenge cake.  However, my work is killing me, and I can't bring myself to bake :'(  There will be a coffee & walnut cake though, because I really want to eat one...

Maybe I'm judging too harshly, but I definitely have my favourites (and least-favourites) already!


It also inspired this wee range of stitch markers!  They're in the etsy shop at the moment!







Last, but not least, I was SO ASHAMED today when I listened to the Caithness Craft podcast by Louise - and was named and shamed for only just joining the group!   I don't know why I wasn't a member before, I love this little podcast :)  You can find Louises group on Ravelry here.

I first met Louise at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival where I still feel bad because I literally didn't have a minute to talk to her properly.

Sounds like I need to make some stuff up to someone, eh?!




Do you have magazines and podcasts you love?






Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Compulsory Fun Times


Earlier this month, an email entitled 'Compulsory Fun Times' found its way into my work inbox.

Initially, this made me giggle quite a lot.  Until I realised that the compulsory fun involved compiling a 5 minute presentation about myself, to give in front of the entire department.

I'm not one for groups, or presentations, or presentations about myself in front of groups.  This wee bloggy is alreet; you're not all staring at me.

However, being compulsory, I was unable to escape this 'fun-time'.  On Tuesday, fun-time arrived.  In the end, it went very well and there were a lot of questions generated about knitting, designs and yarn festivals!   In the few presentations we had, a general theme was that people had given up their hobbies & passions due to working in medicine. It was actually rather sad for all involved because, I feel, as a group we do end up missing out on things we would generally otherwise love to do.   Perhaps this was the reason people were so encouraging about a continuing passion.

Being unable to decide what to say about myself, I had wandered around my flat on Monday taking pictures of things I like to do, or sourcing them from my instagram.



I first shared my love of music.  I bought this elderly gentleman of a gramophone in India - on the 3rd day of a 21 day trip.  I was backpacking.  This was bigger than my backpack.   I carried it like a baby over a ludicrous amount of travel modalities.  It doesn't even work properly.  Definitely a labour of love.

Result: My new workmates believe me insane/eccentric/stupid.


Secondly, I brought up the topic of knitting, keeping the topic brief and listing it as an activity I take part in on a Friday night whilst listening to audiobooks.

Result: My new workmates believe me to be an old lady.



Third, I named next doors cat, John, as my favourite cat-person.  My only cat-person, not being a cat owner myself.  In fact my least favourite cat, but the only cat I currently know and therefore also my favourite, you see? (I was nervous by this point...)

I explained how John breaks into my house and doesn't let me remove him and how, on the morning of the presentation, he left me a dismembered Pigeon.  I recounted how I couldn't decide if he really did like me and this was a gift, or if he knew humans didn't like dismembered pidgeon and this was revenge for refusing to feed him.

Result:  My new workmates believe me a crazy cat lady.



We then moved onto 'sport', after which I was left explaining that 'slacklining' is like tightrope walking but on a thicker, flatter rope-thing.  There were mildly impressed nods and a few interested questions.

Result:  My new workmates believe me impressively balanced physically, but perhaps not so stable mentally.



'Sport' take 2.

Result: confirmation of mental instability.


This slide was headed 'My Favourite Armchair'.  I confessed my compulsion to purchase this armchair, and that it's now my spinning chair.  This launched a discussion as to whether or not spinning is indeed a real pass-time.  It is!   There are sheep, fleeces, prep, more prep, spinning, skeining, balling and knitting!

I was required to assure everyone that there is no risk of pricking ones finger on a spindle and falling asleep, therefore missing work, as there are no sharp pieces, and I have no idea where that story comes from.

There was then a heated discussion about which fairytale creature spun the gold (Rumpelstiltskin, though not himself), and whether rapunzel had a spinning wheel too (she didn't?).

Result: My workmates think I'm crazy, but have now joined the crazy boat too.




Then came my full disclosure about the extent of my hobby, & pattern designing.  It was amazing how many found it amazing that people are commissioned to design knitting patterns!  I described the process of commissions, mentioned that there are actually several wool festivals over the year throughout the UK.


Up until this point, the audience had been secure in their belief that they were dealing with one sheep crazed woman, but now they had learned there are thousands of us.

Result:  Workmates have fallen down the yarny rabbit hole by accident and are caught unawares.






Finally, there was some typical Glaswegian optimism.

It's "Pure Heavy Beautiful Here, Man", didn't you know?

Monday, 21 July 2014

#LushPodKal


Some very naughty ladies have convinced me that it's a great idea to join in the #LushPodKal, so on top of my existing WIPs, the tour de fleece & work, I've decided to cast on another jumper.

Lush is a lovely jumper with a slightly more unusual construction designed by Tin Can Knits.  The yoke is knit sideways & the rest of the jumper knit from this, so it'll be a new style of top for me!

I've chosen some yarn from my stash - it's some very yummy creamy Fyberspates Scrumptious.  Slightly worried that it'll be too soft for a sweater, what if it pills??  It'll be interesting to see what everyone else is knitting with - what are you using?    

The plan was to use British wool for the project.  Fyberspates is a british company, though I'm not sure of the origin of the wool.  However, since I'm knitting from my stash it's the closest I can manage!




Hosted by Knit British, Knit Spin Cake, Caithness Craft Collective & Shiny Bees, the KAL discussion will be held among the different podcasters groups each week.  

Everyone is also tweeting their progress with the tag #LushPodKal, so it'll be lovely to be kept up to date with lushy news!


Also, the sunflowers in the photo were 30p!!  

How did you get on with the tour de fleece, and are you taking part in any KALs?

:)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Tour De France & Fleece

It has all kicked off and I've spun more altogether than I've managed since christmas.

I missed the first two days of the tour de fleece, because I was down in Yorkshire watching the tour de france!  It was amazing, all the villages we passed through were lined with bunting, and the local gardens, shops & pubs were all sporting bicycle themed decorations.

To see these little pubs, with their beer & good food, I first had to walk.  This was, indeed, a walking weekend.  It was only a little one, as I actually joined my partners family, who were walking a two week long coast-to-coast shennanigan.  Two weeks! 

Once I returned home, I started the kind of tour I was really looking forward to, the fleecey part. 

New teapot filled, tour fleece bought, sorted and arranged for me to spin, my tour began.   This is what I'll be spinning this week, some cashmere/BFL/silk blend.  I'll spin the darker first & lightest last then ply it to make a lovely soft gradient.  

Perhaps I should mix them together slightly, spin a medium colour before finishing the dark, a light or two before adding in the last medium.   Hmm.  decisions.  




During the walk, we found some gorgeous little spots.  My favourite was this farm, where we were served cream tea.  After a long morning walking, it was very much appreciated.  

Also, there were some tiny doggies.  Tiny doggies!  If I lived here, you'd be hard pushed to stop a herd of tiny dogs appearing.  





Spinning like a fiend, these are the skeins I managed to finish during this first week of the tour.  

The first, 100g of grey gotland fleece.  It was lovely to spin, very easy to draft.  I didn't get as much yardage as I'd expect from 100g at this weight, does spinning gotland use up more fleece per metre?  I'll just have to buy some more to find out...

The second is a gradient blend from Fondant Fibre, merino & silk.  Her punis are always easy to spin, and can practically draft from the twist, pulling the puni away from the wheel.  easy.

The third, a 'peacock' blend of alpaca & shetland from Hilltop Cloud.  Again, these fleece braids are dreamy to spin, and lovely & soft washed up.  

All in all, not difficult spinning, but I'm proud of the meterage :D  All of my spinning is listed in my Ravelry stash - otherwise I forget what it's made of and how many metres I have!










FInally, someone we mustn't forget - grumpy cat.  He waits for me.  He tries to steal my food.  






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