Life With Yarn

On the needles

It’s all about little projects or spending time on the Shipwreck shawl at the moment as we’re going away in a couple of weeks and I don’t want to start anything big or take something too big away with me. In that vein, I cast on some DK weight socks last night in some Mirasol Hacho that has been sat in my stash for far too long. I’m just working a plain toe up sock until I run out of yarn – I might add a stitch pattern to the leg but it depends on my mood when I get to that bit.

Off the needles

I have quite a lot of pictures this time of things I’ve been working on since my last post.

First up is my Flare jumper, designed by the very talented Veera Valimaki and knit in Posh Yarn Natasha sock which is a camel/silk blend that is so soft and so luxurious that I just love wearing this. This was my unofficial Ravellenics project – unofficial because I didn’t cast on until a week into the Games. I did, however, finish it in under 16 days so I’m pretty proud of that achievement.

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I also finished another top for me which is the Watershed cardigan, designed by Amy Swenson and knit in more Posh Yarn, this time Caitlin Aran. This was a quick knit that I plan to take on holiday to wear over dresses and strappy tops in the evening. The only modification I made to the pattern was changing the way the decrease was worked and adding the sleeves.

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I also got two pairs of socks off the needles – my Circle socks in Zitron Trekking XXL and the Juugatsu socks in Ring-a-Rosie Handpainted yarn. This year is definitely turning into a year of socks and tops.

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But it wasn’t all knitting for me, I also finished this top for Zoe which is Kismet and I knit it in Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply (the black stripes) and Artisan Telfi (the pink stripes). She loves it.

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It just fell into my bag

There’s not actually much to show this time. I got a couple of club yarns in the post, which I haven’t managed to photograph yet, and the other yarn I’ve ordered has yet to arrive. I did buy a couple of project bags from AmeliaXJoy on Etsy which are beautiful and a good size for a pair of socks in progress. I also bought some wooden stitch markers from here, which are beautiful and there were two packs of free wooden buttons included in the order as well both of which are lovely and I look forward to finding the perfect garment to put them on.

I have also been buying a few non-knitting-related things, including some cook books by Nigel Slater and Mary Berry as well as some fiction.

Where’s my bookmark?

I’ve read some good books recently, including Caleb Carr’s The Alienist which I loved. Right now, I’m reading Helen Dunmore’s Your Blue-eyed Boy and I’m not entirely convinced I’m going to finish it. I picked it up because I remember reading a passage of Dunmore’s writing when I did my English A-level (which feels like a lifetime and a half ago now) and liking it so the name stuck (along with Bruce Chatwin, although I’ve yet to read anything by him either). However, I’m finding the story a little slow and I do tend to have the attitude these days that I have so many books I really want to read that I won’t waste a lot of time reading one that I’m a bit meh about.

What I’m watching

As well as my usual knitting podcasts, my husband and I have downloaded The Wire box set and are steadily working our way through season one right now. We’re also enjoying the new season of The Walking Dead and The Musketeers which is showing on the BBC right now. I do love my American dramas though so I’m also currently addicted to The Following and Bones. We very rarely watch TV live any more – we are far more likely to record it and watch it later on which means we’re usually at least an episode behind everyone else!

Family life

We’re currently preparing for our trip to South Africa next month to stay with the in-laws for 2 weeks. I’m really looking forward to a few days in Cape Town and hopefully getting the chance to go to Robben Island as well as taking the girls up Table Mountain. I’m also looking forward to some warmer weather as the strong winds we’ve been experiencing this last week are draining. And of course, I’m already plotting which projects I’ll be taking away with me – I have at least 3 pairs of socks planned and probably a shawl as well. I always end up taking too much with me but I’d rather have too much knitting than suddenly run out before our long flights home!

 

I’ve been really busy the last month but it’s nothing I can show here which does not make interesting blogging. I finished Anniken’s baby shawl and have only today posted a lace shawl to her as well. I also completed the jumper for Anna by the end of January. All three have provided a challenge for me in some small way and it got me thinking about how sample knitting has helped my knitting generally.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve found the idea of sample knitting more and more desirable. I work from home which means I have the time to do it and I’m a fairly quick knitter which definitely helps with tight deadlines but I had no idea how to really get into it. I started by test knitting on Ravelry; there are forums there purely to get designers and willing test knitters together and I started here by offering to test knit patterns that I liked or had the yarn for. It meant that I could use up some yarn and try a new pattern before others. I’ve since used these same forums to find test knitters for my own designs and have, so far, had a really good experience as both tester and designer.

I started working for Anniken last year when she tweeted that she was looking for sample knitters. Anniken Allis is one my favourite designers – her lace shawls are beautiful and I have loved knitting them so when she asked for sample knitters I jumped at the chance. What’s not to like here? I knit a design I know I’ll like in a yarn I might not have tried before and I get paid to do it.

Of course, it’s not always as straightforward as that. The pattern, whilst looking great, is unedited and may have mistakes which require clarification. I can’t just rely on what I think the designer might be trying to do, I need the designer to tell me that just so I don’t spend hours knitting something that is wrong.

When I do knit, it has to be perfect as well. With my own things, I will often let a wrong stitch remain if it doesn’t affect the overall look. In lace, this is less likely because mistakes in lace show a lot more readily but if I’m decreasing on a sweater and do a right leaning increase instead of a left leaning increase then on my own sweater, I’ll let it go. If it’s a sample, then I have to correct it, either by ripping back to the mistake or dropping the stitch down a couple of rows and pulling it back up the correct way. Sample knitting has taught me a lot about fixing mistakes!

I love sample knitting but it does take me away from my own stash and, to be honest, I’m unlikely to get rich quickly, or at all, by doing it. But the experience it has given me and the way it has improved my own knitting has definitely been worth it. These are just some of the samples that I’ve knit and it’s quite satisfying to see them online and in magazines and know that I knit it: Marazion, Sam Cable Scarf

On the needles

But it’s not all been sample knitting, I’ve managed to get a few other things cast on as well. I currently have two pairs of socks on the needles: Circle socks by Anne Campbell in Zitron Treking XXL. I love the colour of this, it’s like a dark, muted rainbow and my pictures just don’t do it justice. I finished the first sock about 2 weeks ago but have been too distracted by other things to get the second one cast on. I used the OMG Heel by Megan Williams for the first time which I really liked and fits nicely.

The second pair of socks are Juugatsu by Claudia Eisenkolb in Ring-a-Rosie Handpainted yarn, which I’m knitting as part of a Ring-a-Rosie sock yarn knit a long. I’ve only done about half of the cabling detail on the first leg but I know once I get back into them, they’ll fly. I plan on trying the Fish Lips Kiss heel on these socks, which I’ve seen being raved about on many blogs and podcasts.

I also cast on and am almost done with the Kismet top by Sara Gresbach for Zoe. This is being worked in some pink Artisan Yarns Telfi and two black yarns – Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply and Violet Green Supersock. The pink has been sitting in my stash since Woolfest in June 2012 and I am just never going to make something that colour for me, but Zoe of course loves it so I found a few patterns and she chose Kismet and chose to pair it with black stripes. I’ve ended up using two different yarns for the black stripes simply because I had less of the Rialto 4ply than I thought and needed some extra to complete the last couple of stripes.

I still have the Shipwreck shawl on the needles – I’m now into the second skein and slowly loading it with beads before knitting. It’s slow going so it’s spending a lot of time just sat there. I also have my sock yarn blanket which is being slowly worked on. I’d still really like to have that for next winter and I think 2 squares a day should do that. Of course, I’m currently behind but I’m doing 3/4 squares a day to make it up, so fingers crossed.

Off the needles

I finished both the socks and mitts I mentioned in my last blog post. First up, the lavender socks and also the Tideland mitts which Rebecca was very pleased with.

It just fell into my bag

I’ve bought a lot of yarn recently, but have been a bit slack in getting the photos taken. I bought lots of sock yarn, including Lorna’s Laces Solemate and some new colourways of Zauberball which I love for socks. I was also lucky enough to get a gift certificate for Fibernymph Dye Works for my birthday last month and I’ll getting some self striping sock yarn from there next month at some point.

I also finally caved and bought some interchangeable needles after casting on two projects and discovering the circular needles were too long. So I bought some HiyaHiya sharps interchangeables in the small needles sizes (2.75mm – 5mm) and so far, I’m really pleased with them.

Hopefully with the sample knitting done for now, I can come back sooner with pics of lots of lovely new things for me!

 

On the needles

New year, new projects. I’ve cast on a couple of new things since the beginning of the month. First up, my Lavender socks. The pattern is taken from Stephanie Van Der Linden’s Around the world in knitted socks book which I got back in 2012 and these are being knitted in Ripples Craft British Falkland Merino & Nylon sock yarn in the lavender colourway (appropriately!) I’ve finished one sock already but they’re now taking a back seat while I try and get some other things finished.

Second up are the Tideland mitts which I’m making for a friend who was admiring my fingerless mitts last month. I’m knitting these in more Ripples Craft yarn, BFL superwash this time in the ice cream colourway, which is a cream/undyed colour. First mitt is already completed and the second one should be done later today.

I’m also still working on my Shipwreck shawl – I’m now onto the beaded section so spent some time one afternoon threading beads onto yarn which is, to be honest, mind numbing but it does look better on the shawl rather than using the crochet hook method to add the beads. I’ve only done a couple of rounds as they’re now 500+ stitches per round so it takes a while. But it is fairly mindless knitting so it’s great for when my brain is fried.

Finally, I have two other projects on the needles that I can’t share pics of – a sample baby blanket for Anniken Allis and a fairly straightfoward jumper with some cabling that I’m working for another knitter, Anna. These are both paid pieces of work so as deadlines approach, they are obviously getting most of my time. This means my selfish knitting that I had planned (a Posh Yarn sweater and possibly a shawl) are on the backburner for another week or so.

Off the needles

Nothing yet, but hopefully it won’t be long. I do however, have a couple of photos of my Mereweather vest from after Christmas:

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I’m really happy with this, although at the moment, the yarn is a little itchy so I’ve been mostly wearing it over long sleeved tops. I’m hoping it’ll soften up with a few washes.

It just fell into my bag

My Posh Yarn arrived from the end of December, which was part of my Strictly sweepstake winnings:

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I also treated myself to some skeins from the Fyberspates New Year sale. This is some Scrumptious DK which is a merino/silk blend. The colour is a bit more golden than the pic shows:

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I also got some sock yarn; one in a pale greyish colour and the second is a variegated and was from the lucky dip section:

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And finally, this gorgeous silk lace which was also from the Lucky dip section:

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I have no plans for any of the Fyberspates yarns yet beyond definitely socks with the sock yarn and possibly fingerless gloves for the DK weight. I am loving fingerless mitts at the moment because I dislike driving in full gloves but always get cold hands whilst the car warms up.

For next week, there will be a lot of sock yarn, some of which was bought with the remaining sweepstake money.

Where’s my bookmark?

I’ve started a readalong this year for Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time. It’s 12 books in total, although so far I have the first 6 in 2 volumes of three. I plan to read one book each month so finished A Question of Upbringing last week. I’m not sure yet – it was ok but didn’t grab my attention so it’s probably a good job I’m doing the readalong with Heavenali as that will keep me going. Right now, I’m reading Pat Barker’s Border Crossing which I’m finding more engaging – although part of that could be because it’s set in Newcastle and I love reading books set in places I know very well.

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On the needles

I’m always struck with a bit of an overwhelming urge to start each year afresh, or as close to afresh as I can make it. Once Christmas gifts are out of the way, I start to feel selfish with my knitting, wanting to cast on all the things for me, but quite often, I spend the time working on projects that I put down in early December and would like to get finished. Because of this, I only really have two things on the needles as the year ends: my Sock Yarn Blanket which I’ve not worked on at all this month because of gift knitting and my Shipwreck shawl which is what I’m currently working on, making slow but steady progress. For the shawl, I’m on the final lace work section (section six) before I begin what will no doubt seem neverending k2tog, yarnover section, although hopefully the beading will help make it seem slightly quicker.

Off the needles

I finished all my gifts in time for Christmas – firstly, Zoe’s socks:

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She loves these – and her slippers – and can be seen wearing them every morning when she gets out of bed, and sometimes even in bed if her feet are very cold. This is a stark contrast to Eloise, who likes the idea of the socks and slippers but has so far only worn them on Christmas Day morning.

I also finished Duncan’s socks:

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These have also been a success.

I can also now show a quick pic of my Owls jumper by Kate Davies as it has now found it’s new home at my sister’s house:

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Also off the needles, but not yet photographed is my Mereweather vest by Sharon Boswell. I worked on this over Christmas, in Posh Yarn Harriet DK, which was lovely and soft to work with. I was initially disappointed with the top, partly because of my own mistake (I think) – I made the straps far too long and it meant that the vest didn’t fit me properly across the bust. Once I fixed the straps and got it fitting properly, I decided to add some more length to it. To do this, I could have just picked up stitches along the cast on edge at the bottom and carried on working down but I worried that if I wasn’t perfect with this, the line created would be quite visible. Consequently, I decided to unpick the cast on (which took a good 2/3 hours) and then knit down. This means that to the non-knitter or  a not-too-close knitter, it looks like it was knit in one piece. I can see where the join is if I look up close but it’s fine. It also means it’s wearable now and shall be getting an outing soon.

It just fell into my bag

I got lucky this year and won the Strictly Sweepstake for the 2nd time in 3 years in a group on Ravelry, which has meant a fair chunk of money being sent my way for spending on yarn. So far, I’ve spent about two thirds of it – firstly on a 3 month subscription to  YarnAddict’s Lace Lovers Yarn club and secondly on some Posh Yarn that will be arriving next week.

However, before Christmas, I picked up a bit of extra work and so treated myself to a couple of things – at some point, I may admit that I have a yarn addiction, but don’t expect that any time soon ;)

First up, YarnAddict Anniken Allis has stopped producing hand dyed yarn and so was selling off her remaining stock, so I bought some Merino Plus sock yarn:

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I also bought some undyed wool/silk 4ply yarn from her, not sure about plans for this yet.

I then got worried about the amount of yarn I needed for Duncan’s socks so bought an extra skein of the Exmoor Blueface – which it turns out I didn’t need, but will come in handy for more socks for him, or me. But with that, I also picked up:

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which is Malabrigo sock yarn, a sweater’s quantity.

I also managed to bag some Twisted Limone self striping sock yarn in her update:

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I’ve heard a couple of podcasters rave about this recently and I’m looking forward to trying it out and maybe one day being quick enough to get some of her 7-stripe rainbow sock yarn.

Finally, this was actually ordered and paid for back in the beginning of December, but only arrived just before Christmas: some sock yarn and some lace yarn from Fibernymph Dye Works, run by another podcast (90% Knitting) that I love.

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No firm plans yet for either of them, but when has that ever stopped me buying?

What I’m stalking/end of year review

It’s the end of another year and I’m enjoying spending time on Ravelry looking at my queue, stash and new patterns and trying to think about what I want to knit in 2014. This year, I wanted to learn how to double knit and I’ve still not managed to find the time to do that, so I really should make that a target of 2014. I’m also planning a 12 sweaters/tops in 12 months, seeing as I’ve been stashing sweater quantities of yarn for a good while now.

And how did I do this year? I completed a total of 42 projects, ranging from bunting and mug hugs for school fairs to sweaters for myself and others. In total, I’ve knit 16,202.7 metres over 12 months. However, I have increased my stash from 65,256.5 metres on January 1st 2013 to 102,012.4m today. I have to be honest, numbers like that mean nothing to me, so I worked out the length in miles. On January 1st, my stash, laid down, would cover 40.54 miles; today it covers 62.46 miles. That’s a good long way! I really need to get cracking with the sweater knitting!

I’m really happy with this year though: I’ve designed a couple of new patterns, and had pattern sales which is always exciting; I now do sample knitting for one my favourite designers so I basically get paid to knit designs that I know I’ll love; and I’ve sold a few hand knitted items as well.

So, apart from wanting to knit some sweaters/tops in 2014, what else do I want? I have a few design ideas noodling around in my head which I’d really like to get down on paper, and I won’t lie, more pattern sales would be brilliant. I’m realistic enough to know that, right now in life, I don’t have the time to do anything close to full time designing, so I’m happy with a few designs a year and a modest amount of sales. I’d also like to really keep this blog going and post regularly – I think a new diary might be called for to plan out my time! (Did I mention I’m a sucker for new stationery in January?!)

I hope you all had a lovely festive season, whatever you celebrated, and that 2014 sees dreams come true for you.

On the needles

Gift knitting is still the big thing for this month. Right now, I’m down to two pairs of socks left to do – another pair of the Dainty Anklets by Wendy B Johnson for Zoe, again in the Rico Superba yarn I used for Eloise’s socks. I’m also working on Milo socks by Cookie A from her book Sock Innovation, which is a book that I really like (and should review at some point). These are both going slowly right now but that’s more because I’m trying to juggle knitting them and not knit them in front of Zoe & Duncan respectively. As I work for a lot of the time Zoe is at school, this is not as easy as I had hoped it would be.

I also cast on the Mereweather vest by Sharon Boswell in Posh Yarn Harriet DK, which is 100% wool and I have the You couldn’t possibly know colourway which is a dark blue. I had originally planned for this yarn to be made into the Tink Tank but looking at that pattern, it seems to work best in a cotton/cotton mix yarn so I’ve got something else in mind for that. I cast this on simply to have something fairly easy to work on when both Zoe & Duncan are around and I can’t gift knit.

Off the needles

I’ve got a number of gifts on and off the needles this week including the Seamless Salomas:

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I know, they don’t look like slippers – which I think is why I like them, they are unusual. But once on, they look like this:

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They have a bit more stretch in them but this is me wearing the slippers for Duncan so they don’t need to stretch as much for my feet. I like them, but I discovered, whilst knitting them, that I am most definitely a process knitter not a product knitter – I like to knit this to learn the process and understand how they go together but I’m really not all that fussed about making a number of the same thing. This is the first time I’ve made the same thing over and over in quick succession and I’m just thankful I did Eloise’s last because they were super quick and it meant I couldn’t dwell too long on having to knit the same thing again.

I also finished Eloise’s socks:

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You almost wouldn’t believe they came from the same ball of yarn because of the difference in stripes, but they did. I must admit, I’m not ever really precious about having identical socks when it comes to self striping yarn – I don’t really have the patience to wind the ball on to find the same pattern repeat and start again. The Superb seems quite randomly striped anyway so I don’t think I could have done it for both pairs if I’d really wanted too. I like them and as the girls probably will only wear them in bed or around the house, I don’t think either of them will mind the randomness of the colours.

New design

I released a new pattern this week as well, my Starry Socks are now available to buy on Ravelry.

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They’re a great way to learn cables without a cable needle and my testers said they were fun and quick to knit.

It just fell into my basket

Like I said last week, I had a slight accident at Posh Yarns and this week, 9 new skeins arrived in the post. Now, they are gorgeous and I’m not sorry, but I really am going to have to start knitting in my sleep or something to get through some of these. First up, Caitlin Aran in After That, Quiet Affection:

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Followed by Sylvia lace in The Ayes Have It:

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And finally, some Marianne DK in Without A Stain On Her Character

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No firm plans for the DK yet, but the lace and aran are already earmarked for projects next year.

 

On the needles

Christmas knitting is really getting going here this week. I cast on some socks for Eloise using the Dainty Anklets from Wendy B Johnson – I’m omitting the knitted on picot edging though. Both girls have been wearing socks to bed the last few nights so these will be for them to wear in bed. I’m using Rico Design Superba Poems which is in rainbow stripes (except green, don’t know why). I’m not being precious with the stripes, so Eloise’s first sock runs purple, orange, yellow, blue, purple whereas her second sock is so far pink, purple, pink so they don’t looked matched but she won’t care in the slightest. The yarn is ok, it reminds me of Noro Kureyon sock with the long repeats and the yarn is a little uneven at times with some rather thin bits. I know Noro can be quite divisive – it has big fans because of the colours but plenty of people who swear to never use it because of the bits in it and the thick/thin nature of the yarn. I quite like Noro – I love the colours and I love how it softens up with washing. The main problem I have with the Rico Superba is the splitting – it’s a single ply and is not tightly spun in places which means it’s splitting on me quite often. 

The pattern, on the other hand, is lovely – as Wendy B Johnson’s patterns are – plus with them being for Eloise, they are knitting up superquick. I’ve completed 1 sock and just turned the heel on the second so that’ll be finished in the next day or so.

I also cast on some Seamless Saloma slippers by Megan Williams (of the Stockinette Zombies podcast) in Cascade 220 in black for Duncan as part of his Christmas present. This is a great free pattern on Ravelry and what I love is that the finished object looks not like a slipper at all – you’ll see next week, as these are flying off the needles as well (handily because I don’t get a lot of knitting time when Duncan isn’t around at the moment).

Final new cast on of the week are some Barbie clothes for Zoe for Christmas. So far, just a skirt, but I’ve got patterns for a couple of dresses, tops and trousers as well so hopefully Barbie will have a better wardrobe come December 25th.

I still have Shipwreck on the needles but I doubt it’ll get much love before Christmas now.

Off the needles

My Austin hoodie is finally finished (well, apart from the ends being woven in). No pics just in case my sister is reading, but you can click on the link and see a couple of shots. They’re not great because the sweater is blocking and I can’t model it because it won’t fit me. The pattern was a little unclear at times but I do like it and I would make it again – although would probably make some more mods, including some sort of fastening. I used some undyed merino/silk blend that I bought on Ebay, so nothing named, but I loved it – I’ve have 2 skeins left and will probably get some more and dye up for a top for me. What I loved was how the yarn plumped up nicely when blocked so the whole thing looked more substantial. I did manage to finish it in time for the end of November and the end of NaKniSweMo – I definitely would still be knitting on it without that motivation

It just fell into my bag

It has been a bad week for my debit card this week, but I’d prefer to think of it as supporting small businesses. From Violet Green I picked up some Exmoor Bluefaced sock yarn for some socks for Duncan for Christmas which is a kind of grey/brown colour, quite paler than I expected – which is always the problem with yarn shopping online, the colour may not be quite the same on your monitor as it really is. Even this photo makes it look more grey than it is, but I could not get the colour right in any shot I took.

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As I was ordering from Violet Green, I also added some sock yarn for me in a lovely blue colour and some undyed sock yarn as well.

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I also picked up some sock yarn from Ring a Rosie a couple of weeks ago which I managed to photograph this week:

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I also had a major accident at the Posh Yarn update this weekend but as they’ve not arrived yet, they really can’t be counted in this week’s post. That was, however, my last spend before Christmas now – I have lots of gift knitting to finish and a sample due later this month – I’m currently waiting for the yarn to arrive – and lots of sweater quantities to be getting on with in the meantime.

Where’s my bookmark?

I’ve not had a lot of time for reading recently – I’m edging into slightly panicked Christmas mode now – but recently, I’ve read Buffy & Philosophy: Fear & trembling in Sunnydale which is a collection of essays examining Buffy the Vampire Slayer in terms of philosophy. It was a really interesting read, but made me want to sit down with some episodes and watch them again. Right now I’m reading Letters from London by Julian Barnes which is a collection of 15 essays he wrote for New Yorker magazine between 1990 and 1995. Many of them have a political focus and as it’s a time when I wasn’t all that interested in politics (or anything beyond music and my own life, I was 13 – 18 when they were written), it’s been an educational read for me.

On the needles

I’m getting to the end of my Austin Hoodie - just a few more increases on the hood before the short rows and grafting. It’ll need another block before it’s finished properly, but it is looking good. I’ve made some intentional mods – I haven’t done the ribbed cuff but instead did the woven stitch on the cuff which I really like. There are also unintentional mods where I thought the pattern meant one thing but actually it didn’t – so on the back ribbing section, I’ve done the garter stitch edging around the armholes because the pattern started by saying to do that one one side but not the other, so I at least made them even but I’m not sure it was really necessary. 

I also cast on a new project this week – the Shipwreck Shawl by Knitting Harpy. This has been in my Ravelry queue for a long time and after finishing my Mandala back in October, and tracking down the perfect yarn (at Woolfest) and beads, I am now ready to start it. I’m not planning on this being a quick knit. The first bit is – I’m into section 5 of 7 which sounds impressive but I’ve really only done 28 rounds so far and the final section is massive. But the final section also involves stringing beads onto yarn (will probably take a couple of days at least) and endless knit 2 together, yarn over to create the netting – this isn’t tricky but I know it will be mind numbing.

Off the needles

First up, something I finished a couple of weeks ago now – my Aniron

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This is a not great pic, but it is a pic of me in the top. I really love how it’s turned out and will be wearing it a fair bit I imagine.

This week I also finished knitting my Foundling Mitts by Julia Temiseva:

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These are fab, I’ve been wearing them loads already – for early morning typing, driving, etc. Actually, this blog has meant they were completely finished straight away – the knitting was easy enough but the bottom of the cuffs are buttoned and the button fastening calls for a crocheted loop. I don’t do crochet – I can just about manage a basic chain but the last time I had to crochet on an edge was for a dress I made for Zoe – the Beatrice dress. I struggled with the crochet so much that I did one bit and then put it aside and when it picked it up 18 months later it, of course, didn’t fit Zoe at all. I ended up doing a quick garter stitch edging and then sold it. So for me to manage to cast off the mitts, sew on a button and do the crochet chain in one evening is quite an accomplishment. I don’t know why I struggle with crochet so much, it may be that I need to sit down and just get on with learning it but, to be honest, there’s so much that I want to knit, that I really don’t see where the time would come from right now – I’d much rather be knitting. This, by the way, is also why my spinning is so slow – I want to learn how to spin lovely yarn but I also want to knit all the things.

Stalking

I’m still really on a sweater/top/cardigan kick – the Austin hoodie will be my 3rd clothing FO since the start of October. This makes me wonder if I could complete 12 in 12 months. If I continue like this, I could however there is also a good chance that once the warm weather returns, I could well never want to knit another sweater. But, for now, I’m going to try it – I want to make the Tink Tank next but what I really need to do is gift knits for my family. My girls want bed socks and I usually also knit my husband socks. In addition, on the (very long) list Zoe wrote to Santa, she included Barbie clothes, so I thought I could knit a few. I usually knit gifts for others (little things rather than requested jumpers/cardigans, etc) but I don’t think I’ll be doing that this year.

Christmas planning

Christmas is pretty much sneaking up on me, as much as a fixed date that is known can sneak up on someone. I keep thinking it’s ages away and then someone reminds that it’s not – a month today and it’ll be in full swing. We still need to buy lots of gifts, or even just have an idea for some people, so that will be on our to-do list next weekend when payday arrives. Our tree will go up next Sunday – I love spending a couple of hours doing this as a family. We don’t have a co-ordinated tree; our decorations are haphazard, randomly coloured and some are homemade (some by me, some by my girls) and I truly love this. Our first Christmas card arrived as I am writing this so it really isn’t long until I can legitimately put the Christmas cds in the car and play them constantly.

 

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