Thursday, 30 October 2014

Spinning, Reading, Skein Queen Yarn & More Socks



Knitting was put on hold last weekend, because I was determined to finish spinning this lovely fluff.  It's a blend of Bluefaced Leicester, Cashmere & Silk from fondant fibre and, as usual, it was beautifully prepared.  I'm not sure what it'll knit up to be yet.  Theres a lovely transition from white to dark grey through it, so I think it'll have to be a nice shawl which shows it off!





That ludicrous orange is going to be a pair of coopknits socks; Saxifrage to be precise!  They had to be a ludicrous colour, because so far my socks have been pretty tame (I'll need to pop them all here and show them off!).  How did you do with your Socktober?  I managed 2.5 pairs.  Not bad?  I'm proud of myself, at least!

Saxifrage by Coopknits


And possibly the most enjoyable part (yes better even than new spinning and new socks) is that every Month, Debbie Orr of Skein Queen dyes up two colourways to match a chosen book.  This month, she chose 'Eeny Meeny' by M.J. Arlidge and, my-oh-my, were those yarns glorious.

The base is a merino/silk/yak blend - it's beautiful.  It's burning a hole in my stash shelf, and I really need to find something to knit with it soon!  Ideally, I'll find a gorgeous big shawl which requires two different colours of yarn so that I can use both the solid and variegated provided by the club together.  Any ideas?  If not I'll just have to spend yet more hours browsing Ravelry...

The club is a great motivator for me to pick books I wouldn't usually pick, encourages me to hurry up and finish them and leaves a lovely little bit of anticipation as I wait to see what colours Skein Queen will dream up.  I really do love reading, and since starting work it has been hard to wind down, to take time out just to read for a few hours, so I've been teaching myself to chill out again!  Y'know, in between the studying.

If you'd like a little book club with added yarn, there's a group here on Ravelry, and if you fancy joining the club it's over on the Skein Queen website.  



OH!  I almost forgot!  Since there now appears to be a growing number of Glasgow inspired shawls, there'll be a wee KAL over in the OwlPrintPanda ravelry group :D.  The Ashton Lane shawl won second place in the Glasgow School of Yarn competition a couple of weekends ago, which was lovely!  It's even more lovely to see people want to knit it together :)




Friday, 24 October 2014

New Pattern: Ashton Lane Shawl




Last week, at the Glasgow School of Yarn, my shawl inspired by Ashton Lane won 2nd place in the design competition!  You can find it now on Ravelry, and join the Glasgow Shawls KAL as well (more about this later in the post)!  

Knitted top down from a garter tab, short rows are used to create sweeping lines of yarn overs to mimic the hanging strings of fairy lights so familiar to Ashton Lane.   After the yarn over ‘lights’, the shawl transitions to a ‘cobblestone’ section created with increasing size slipped stitches and purl rows - creating a wee sense of perspective & depth.  

Ashton Lane is a tiny cobbled side street in the West End of Glasgow.  Bustling even at the quietest of times, this fairy light adorned lane is a must visit place in the west end of Glasgow, with restaurants, pubs, cinema and nightclubs all packed into this tiny space.  For me, it’s the first and last port of call on a night out, and I’d take anyone who visits me in Glasgow here.  It’s not a trip out in Glasgow without a half-pint under the fairy lights. - I have a half pint, because large beer make me look even smaller.  It's true, see:




Knit in Ripples Craft BFL sock, it's a gorgeous grey as well, and the beads lend a really nice weight to the whole item.  I'll work on a wee beading tutorial this evening, so check back in a couple of days if you need a little additional help!  In the meantime, there are lots of very helpful youtube videos.  

The KAL!  Never fear, I haven't forgotten.  From the start of November, with a finish date at the end of December, there's a wee Knit-Along in the OwlPrintPanda group on Ravelry.  There'll be a couple of wee prizes, and a 10% discount on all of my Glasgow inspired patterns and 15% discount on my etsy yarns for those taking part.   Feel free to join in at any stage!  







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!  












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