Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Glasgow School of Yarn 2014

Are you free this weekend?  If so, you should venture to the Mackintosh Church on Friday or Saturday.  You might just find some lovely yarny goodness hidden away in a brilliant Mackintosh building, at the Glasgow School of Yarn.

The marketplace will include some lovely vendors, including Abstract Cat, Peppermint Penguin, DebonnaireEasyknitsGinger Twist StudioKnit WildLucy Hague DesignsStrathearn Fleece & FIbreSusan Sharpe Ceramics & Wood Ewe. 

Tutors include Rachel Coopey, who makes some gorgeous socks.  Some of them are next on my list of SOCKtober patterns, and I'm really looking forward to casting them on!  Jon Dunn-Ballam of Easyknits, who makes some gorgeous yarn - my favourite are his sushi rolls, which I may have gotten rather attached to at Yarndale.  Emily Wessel of Tin Can Knits, who makes some truly lovely patterns - the Tin Can Knits Lush pattern was used for the recent KAL which was organised by a few of the british podcasters.  I used fyberspates for mine, and it was YUMMY :) 

There's also a stall from p/hop, which stands for pennies per hour of pleasure.  It's a charity which enables knitters to donate for a pattern, which in turn has been donated for sale by the designer to p/hop.  Proceeds are then sent directly to Medecins Sans Frontieres.  

Looks like it'll be good :)




Thursday, 9 October 2014

Finished Lush & Moving House

Lush was a wonderful knit.  Interesting but simple - it's rather satisfying.  Tin Can Knits do make some very lovely patterns :)



Just to explain this photo, I've recently moved house.  The previous owners choice of decor was as you see above!  I kind of adore it to pieces, but also couldn't spend my life with my walls in disrepair.  So I took a pretty picture with the lush and my chair, and painted everything over.  

The photo above is of my hallway, which is now a boring white.  The plan is for manymanymany photos and art and mirrors and wonderfullness which I find and think it'll look great on the wall even though Boy-half sincerely disagrees and wonders for my sanity.  It'll be lovely, I promise.  

My lush was knit in between moving house and babysitting the decorators (many walls needed plastered, it was messy and disasterful).   This means that, apart from being a nice pattern in and of itself, it also means quite a lot to me and has some nice memories attached too.  


The whole pattern (I'm sure I've mentioned this before) is easily fitted onto two sides of A4.  I don't have to carry booklets of paper around in my bag, worrying about which page I'm on or which instruction I'm supposed to be following now.

I'm aware that I'm a fairly confident knitter, and I do understand others prefer more direction than myself.  Saying that, most of the participants in the KAL also seemed to love the pattern, and the atmosphere of the KAL itself.  This is what's wonderful about the online knitting community, and Knit-Alongs (KALs).  The enthusiastic hosts of the LushPodKAL allowed us to learn and share together.  Encouragement, excitement and consolation for silly knitting mistakes were all to hand, even for those far away from knitting shops or groups.

Judging by the KAL, quite a few people had problems picking up and matching their provisional cast on stitches.  Mine don't exactly line up down the back, but I'm quite content with how it has turned out.  Maybe someone who matched theirs perfectly could give the rest of us some pointers!

A few weeks ago I wrote a wee bloggy post about the yummy Fyberspates yarn I used for this cardigan - it still hasn't pilled!

What made this knit even more wonderful (if that's possible), was that there were SO MANY appearing at Yarndale!  As soon as I stepped off the train I met Louise of the Knit British podcast in her lovely blue lush.  It didn't stop there, and it was great to see everyones cardigans.



I'm currently trying to knit all the socks in the world, whilst Socktober lasts, at any rate.  Why not join me?  I'm just learning to knit socks, so all the encouragement I can gather is much appreciated :p













Saturday, 4 October 2014

Yarndale

Yarndale is an annual festival of wool filled knitting yumminess.  Now in its second year, I went a wee trip to Yorkshire to see what all the fuss was about (and to visit a lovely friend).




The yarndale exhibitor list was wonderful, and browsing through had me panicking about my budget before even setting foot in the venue.  And as I disembarked the train, setting foot onto the special service yarndale bus, the feeling, I imagine, was akin to stepping on board the Hogwarts Express.    Certainly, as we drove up the hill toward the venue, the ever increasing amount of knit/chrochet bunting made me feel like I was spiralling down a yarny rabbit hole.




Lauren bought one of these amazingly cute little guys, but because I had run out of cash moneys this was sadly not for me (probably best, how many more owls do I need??  Yes, you're right, many of them).



Yarn!  So much yarn.  MMMMMM.  smooshy.  nommy.  yarn. *faints*

There were some particularly gorgeous yarns at Easyknits stall, which I was going to buy before I spotted his sushi roll.  Where these skeins would have knitted up variegated, the sushi roll knits up as one big gradient, which I really had to try.   My sushi roll is in the 'Peach Pie' colourway, and you'll probably already have noticed a theme in my love of all things copper.  




There were very fluffy bunnies.  Oh goodness were they fluffy.  Lauren wrestled a three year old child for a photo with this hairy guy at Bigwigs stall.  




My favourite stall (because it was so pretty! and also because they are such nice vendors) was Eden Cottage Yarns.  It was so busy on the day, I didn't manage to get my own photo of their stall, but this one was posted onto their twitter feed after the event.  I couldn't get enough of their metallic colour yarns.  


The Silver is on the Pendle 4-ply base, which is 100% superwash merino, in Ash colourway.  The coppers are on the Titus 4-ply which is 75% merino 25% silk, in Copper Bucket and Falling Leaves.



Sparkleducks stall wasn't to be bypassed.  Since seeing the yarn she had dyed up for The Golden Skein yarn club, I had to get my hands on some.  Also, I've never owned a sparkly yarn!!  Of course, this had to be rectified, and I left with these two blue beauties.  On the left, Sea-Quine colour on Galaxy base, which is made up of 75% superwash merno, 20% nylon, 5% stellina.  The single on the right is Neptune on Solo, which is 100% merino superwash.  

  

Gotland seemed to be popular this year, with several stalls stocking Gotland fleeces and yarns.  I bought some matching 4-ply mini-skeins from The Little Grey Sheep stall.  I've never thought I'd find a use for mini-skeins, but found it more daunting to choose between the lovely colours available in this yarn.  I guess there'll be a colourwork hat on the needles soon :)

Recently, I spun some gotland fleece; it is gorgeous though heavier than I'd have expected, the yardage was far less than expected, but the drape and halo are great.



As ever, the Hilltop Cloud stall was mobbed.  Looking only for one thing, I headed straight to the silk section and picked out this bundle of nommyness.  Katie was lovely too, braving the Yarndale masses to bring us the prettiest of fluff.  I've spun yarn from Hilltop Cloud fluff before, it's always so nicely prepped and easy to spin.



At SkyBluePink designs, there were mountains of handspun yarns.  All were wonderfully evenly spun, and definitely to be admired!  However I already have too much of my own (slightly less even) handspun.



I couldn't leave the venue without a souvenir mug, and this Herdy one fit the bill perfectly.  It's also a little special, as it's the same kind of mug I was presented with when I went walking with my partners family earlier in the year.  I coveted these sheepy mugs, though didn't make an effort to find them.  But here they were!  All lined up and waiting for me.



Yarn going to our little heads, we escaped for an hour into Skipton itself, where we lunched in The Cake 'Ole.  This cafe was an ecclectic mix of tearoom and hipster art gallery, with plastic animal heads mounted on the walls, mannequin lamps & toilets decorated as plush red throne rooms.




They've already set a venue and date for next year too!  It'll be at Skipton Auction Mart on the 26th & 27th of September 2015.




Were you at yarndale?  What did you buy?


:)



Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Socktober


After some knitting chatter on twitter, I've become rather excited with the idea of Socktober.  You guessed it - we're gonna knit socks in October.  

So here's the chat; We're going to drop everything else (mostly), and knit more socks than we've ever knit before.   For some of us, this won't be difficult - personally, I've never even knit one, so that'll be achievement enough.  For others, are you going to try something more complicated? a style you wouldn't normally go for?  two at a time?  

Join in, set your own goals, and share them with us in the OwlPrintPanda discussion board on Ravelry!  (There might even be a prize or two, who knows...).  

OR, if you're a sock genius/designer yourself and want to share your pretties with us,  share your patterns on the thread too :)





Here are the socks I've decided to kick off SOCKtober with (yes, I know I'm early, I was too excited).  They're the owlie socks by Julie Elswick Suchomel over on Ravelry. 

Some of my likely candidates for the rest of the month if I finish my Owlies are:


My Cup of Tea by Robin Lynn; free; top-down
Mixalot Socks by Rachel Coopey; paid

Spring Sprout by Jeannie Cartmel; paid; bottom up
Tintern Abbey by Brenda Dayne; paid; bottom up

Crenate by Rachel Coopey; paid; top-down
Winding Way by Tin Can Knits; paid; top down

 
Rye by Tin Can Knits; free
Tarsi-Grande by Clare Devine; paid



Are there sock patterns you adore?  What are they and will you be re-knitting them during SOCKtober?
I always find it easier to knit when others are knitting alongside me, so hopefully I'll be pretty productive this month :p







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?




:)








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