Friday, 24 February 2017

Boo Knits 2017 Challenge

Last year I knitted 5 shawls from Boo Knits pattern.  At that point you'd think I was done, but no, instead I signed up to take part in the Boo Knits 2017 challenge which involves knitting at least 10 Boos during 2017.  The finer points can be found here, but simply I need to knit 10 shawls from Boo Knits patterns, 2 of which will be Mystery Knit Alongs announced later in the year and 1 of which must be a triangular shawl.  For the other 7, the world is my oyster.  Of course we don't have to stop at 10 shawls, which is good because it is February and I'm already working on Number 5!

So here we go, lots of lace and beads ahead!

I started the year with a Promise Me, in Rowan Kidsilk Night with some glorious Czech etched beads.  This is very fluffy and romantic and is definitely a pattern I will be revisiting soon because I'd like to add at least another pattern repeat for a larger lacier shawl.  I shall not, however be revisiting the yarn for this sort of project.  It breaks far too easily and there was a bit of a emergency while I was blocking.  I fixed it quickly but it was a bit of a lesson in choosing yarn carefully.

Next up was Sweet Dreams, in Fyberpates Scrumptious 4ply.  I only bought 1 skein of this beautiful yarn so I knew this was going to be a smallish shawl.  I know I knit a little tightly so I thought I'd probably need to add at least an extra repeat to get a decent sized shawl.  I used this shawl calculator so I wouldn't end up playing yarn chicken.  I started by working a few extra stockinette rows before moving on to the lace section, hoping that I might have been able to also squeeze in an extra lace repeat, but alas, I wouldn't have quite had enough yarn for that.  I sort of wish now that I'd skipped the extra plain rows and done the extra lace but I'm still very happy with this shawl even so.  This is such a lovely pattern the yarn is fab and the gold lined beads catch the light and sparkle for a bit of bling.  I LOVE this one! I even did a picot bind off because this shawl deserves it.

Straight after I went for another little 4ply shawl and knit Heaven Scent using Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in the Frozen colourway.  I'd intended this shawl to be a Christmas gift, but didn't get to it in time, so I'll be putting this away for next Christmas instead.  This is my second time knitting Heaven Scent, you may remember that the last one met with disaster (thy name be Felicity!) when I was casting off and is still sitting in a corner waiting to be unravelled.  This one turned out fine though.  I went for etched beads again because I love them, these have flashes of blue and yellow and finish the shawl off nicely

For shawl 4 I decided to go for a bit of a larger project, knitting Dare to Dream with Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace.  This yarn has 1000m to 100g grams so is really quite fine indeed.  I used the Wine Gum colour which is just the most beautiful shade of green and I went for matte black beads which mostly blend in, but because there are quite a lot of beads clustered together on this shawl I figured a more bling bead might be a bit overwhelming.  I think I did 3 repeats of the main pattern to make a good sized shawl.  I'm really happy with the size and I have over half of the yarn left so I can knit an even bigger one with the leftovers!

So now I'm working on number 5. I don't have any photos of that yet so I'll wait until it's done to share it.  I've got to say I've surprised myself by how far into this challenge I have got in such a short time.  I think it's the miserable grey weather that's done it, all I've really wanted to do is curl up on the sofa and knit.  Once the sun returns I'm sure I'll slow down and be glad of the head start I've given myself.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Ah, this is where I left my blog!

Hey!  It's been a while, I've completely got out of the blogging habit, but it's a new(ish) year and I'm in the middle of a serious push to get more organised and get on top of things.  I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but now Cassie is in school and Lissy is in preschool I'm finding keeping track of everyone to be a total uphill struggle.  For some reason I thought I could keep everything in my brain and ended up not knowing left from right!  I've finally admitted defeat and fallen hard down the rabbit hole marked 'Filofax' and now I can remember where I've left everyone, where I'm supposed to be and who was supposed to be at a birthday party 2 hours ago (seriously, I can never go through that again!).  I have, however, been pretty productive over the last few months so I'm just going to do a drive by 'what I've been up to' post today and maybe elaborate on anything that's worth elaborating on in a future post.  So, in no particular order, I have....
Made a coat.  Simplicity 1254. I may write up a post of this one because it was a fairly big project and I have ...thoughts about the pattern.  I totally made a coat though.
Knitted a shawl for my Grandma.  Boo Knits, Snow Angel.  She liked it a lot.

Knitted a hat for my sister's fiancee and forgot to take a photo before I gave it to him.  Genius.
Colette Hazel

Tilly &TB Megan Dress

Simplicity 1174
Sewed 2 Christmas dresses for me and 1 for Cassie.  Happy Christmas by the way, it really has been that long!
Took part in this year's Selfish Sweater KAL over in the Untangling Knots Rav Group.  Made a sparkly Hetty, it is sparkly and good.
Sewed a Sew Over It Heather dress.  It is cosy and red and I like it a lot.

Signed up for the Boo Knits 2017 10 shawl challenge.  This is going to be a massive story in my knitting year so I'll come back to this in a future post.  Basically brace yourself for many shawls, much lace and plentiful beads!

So that's it I think.  I'll be back soon, it's in my planner so I have to do it!

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

FO: Taboo

Hi everyone, how've you all been?  Winter is on it's way here and as the temperature has been dropping and the nights drawing in I've wanted to do nothing but curl up and knit or spin.  I've got quite a lot done so I figured it was about time I checked in here and showed off my work.

So, as of my last post I was eagerly awaiting the first clue for the Boo Knits Halloween MKAL, Taboo.  That is now all done and dusted and I very proudly finished it a few days after the final clue was released.  The schedule was pretty fast paced, with clues arriving every few days which I personally really liked because it meant I wasn't juggling a second project in between clues.  I'll confess that I wasn't really loving the first clue, 8 repeats of the same column of lace started to get old quite quickly but subsequent clues were much more fun.

The second clue brought in the second colour and I was eager to see how it would be incorporated.  I'd been a little worried that my DIY dye job wouldn't work out, but I'm really pleased with the way it looks and I'm glad I didn't add in a whole bunch of other colours.  I love the wavy effect that the little stripes introduce without it being too jarring.

I'm also pretty happy with my beads, I had toyed with the idea of matching them to the darkest pink of my variegated yarn but I couldn't find any that I liked so I went with an ivory colour instead.  They are quite subtle but are not completely lost in the fabric.  There are loads of them too, so my shawl makes a very satisfying clattering sound when I plonk it down on a table.

When the final clue arrived I saw that it ended with the dreaded picot bind off.  I strongly considered skipping it and just using a crochet bind off instead but in the end I decided to be a good girl and complete the pattern as written.  On the 3rd day of binding off I very much regretted this decision and realised that frankly I'm not really all that into picots so I won't be bothering again.  Lesson learned, but I do feel a certain amount of pride that I actually got to the end without throwing the whole thing out of the window.

So, interminable bind off done I blocked out my masterpiece and prepared to wear proudly....except I can't because it's been claimed!

The whole time I was knitting this Felicity kept asking things like "Mummy is that my pink sclarf?" and "Mummy is my pink sclarf finished?".  It turns out that she was entirely serious and every time I've tried to wear it she goes bananas and pulls it off me.  I'm hoping she'll forget about it soon, but for the time being I have to concede that she does look mighty cute in it, even if no 2 year old is really in need of their very own 100% silk scarf!  I do have plenty of leftovers though, so if it turns out I don't have enough left for a full on adult shawl then I may consider whipping her up a slightly more toddler friendly neck covering instead.

Cheeky little beggar!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Taboo Related Stash Enhancement

Boo mania continues to be affecting me here.  I'm a very few rows away from finishing an Almost Autumn (still diligently working my way through the Close to You collection) and I'm hoping that I'll get it  done before the first clue for the Taboo MKAL arrives on Saturday.  Signing up for the MKAL a few weeks ago basically led to me falling down the brand new (to me) rabbit hole of laceweight yarn, something I didn't really have in my stash and now I'm completely obsessed with it.  Wanna see some pretties?

The Taboo pattern is designed for two yarns, one a solid and the other a variegated incorporating the colour of the solid.  You can use either as the main yarn with the other only being used a small amount.  Obviously my first reaction was to completely disregard this and go for Knit Picks Gloss Lace in two different solids.  After seeing everyone else's choices I realised this probably wasn't the way to go but I won't plan any other projects with these yarns until I see the finished shawl because you never know, it might still work out.  I chose shiny grey beads to tie the two yarns together.

While I spent a good amount of time ogling the recommended Wild Silk yarn on the Miss Babs website I decided that I really couldn't justify the shipping and probable customs charges involved in purchasing so I did the only semsible thing and ordered some undyed yarn from World of Wool and had a go at dyeing up something wonderful myself.  I got a skein of Merino/Tussah which I've already used to knit Rainshine and a skein of 100% Tussah silk for Taboo.  I wound off about 20g and reskeined it to dye my variegated yarn B leaving around 80g to dye in a solid.

In case it isn't screamingly obvious I went for a pinkish sort of theme.  I was aiming to match the large skein to the dark pink colour in the small skein but I got bored of adding colouring and decided I could live with the lighter shade.  I they look really quite nice together in the skein, fingers crossed they look awesome knitted up.  I've chosen pearly white beads to hopefully bring everything together nicely.
Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace in Magenta
Last but not least, I thought I'd better feed some more laceweight to the stash  because I have a feeling I'm going to have lace shawls in my system for a while longer.  Deramores had a sale that I could not resist recently and two lace lovelies found themselves winging their way to me last week.  With a good percentage of silk this yarn is ridiculously shiny and gorgeous and I can't wait to knit it.  I'd been a bit concerned about the Wine Gum colour as I'd seen some photos where it looked amazing and others where it looked a bit drab and underwhelming.  I needn't have worried because it is glorious, I'm not normally a lover of green but this is completely winning me over.  The magenta is also fab, but I knew I'd love that because Magenta!
Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace in Wine Gum
So that's my little bit of stash enhancement, nearly 5000m worth but it's laceweight so that's hardly anything!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

FO: Rainshine

In the wake of last week's casting off disaster I decided to get straight back on the horse and knit another lacy and beaded shawl.  Not wanting to entirely visit the scene of the crime, however, I plumped for a different pattern by the same designer.  When shawl fever first hit me I purchased the Boo Knits Close to You collection so I simply moved on to the second pattern in the e-Book, Rainshine.
I chose this one for a couple of reasons, firstly it is knit in laceweight which I am suddenly quite flush with (stash acquisition post coming up soon!) and secondly it does not have the picot bind off that was taking me about a million years on Heaven Scent.  With hindsight the crochet cast off that I used instead was still a pretty lengthy process but I definitely wasn't ready to picot again so soon!
I picked a laceweight Merino/tussah silk blend that I bought undyed from World of Wool and dyed myself with food colouring.  To be honest I was going for a much deeper blue but this is nice enough. I paired it with turquoise beads which match quite nicely because I was going for a subtle effect.  Unfortunately they don't really show up too well in my photos but I'm hoping they will provide a nice little sparkle in the sunlight.
Knitting this took me way less time than I had imagined, only a week from beginning to end, including about a day spent on the bind off.  The lace was really simple and enjoyable, although I was a little sad when I realised that I didn't get to place any beads until I got to the border.  It turns out that I really like beading, weirdly.  I don't mind that it only has beads on the border, I was just really impatient to get to the beading quicker!  I really love how it turned out and although I was a little worried about how I'd actually wear it I've tried a few ways and actually think it will be very versatile.  This is good new because I think I'm now addicted to making these and have totally cast on the next one in the collection this afternoon.  I need to remember to order another set of foam mats for blocking really soon now though because I didn't really have enough space to give a shawl as brutal a blocking as I'd have liked to.
Righty ho then, I'm off.  Beads to choose and lace to knit, no time to waste!

Monday, 12 September 2016

Heaven Scent - a lament

​​My knitting mojo kind of deserted me for a while over the summer.  That wasn't a big surprise but it's always a little disappointing.  I did loads of sewing just to keep making but I always miss knitting.  Anyway now that Autumn is on the way I am all about knitting but it is still really warm here so I've done a lot less than I'd like.  Still I've found plenty of time for dreaming up projects and planning my queue and I can safely say that it is looking like it's going to be a winter of shawls this year.  I've spent far more time than is good for me recently keeping up with the Fiddle Knits fiasco that has been bubbling away on Ravelry which has done nothing but put shawls in the front and centre of my mind.  I did a couple of Fiddle Knits MKALs when Lissy was tiny and I liked but didn't love the first shawl and really wasn't feeling the second one at all so I pretty much gave up MKALs from there on out.  However, in between all of posts from people who have been disappointed by late yarn and late patterns with incorrect yardage were a lot of recommendations for well run MKALs which led me to sign up for the Boo Knits Halloween MKAL, Taboo.

I'll do another post about that once it gets going in October, but of course I decided that it would be a good idea to try out one of her other shawls before then just to get my eye in.  One reason I've never knit any Boo Knits shawls before is because they are all quite lovely and I could never decide where to start, also I knew that once I'd started I'd never know where to stop!  In the end I chose Heaven Scent, just to ease myself in with a pattern for 4-ply rather than laceweight.  I pulled some light blue DROPs Alpaca that had previously been frogged from a FiddleKnits pattern out of the stash and paired it with clear sparkly beads for a subtle shimmer.
All went well (and there's a phrase which lets you know that at some point it's all going to hell!), I was enjoying the lace, had mastered beading and was pleasantly surprised how quickly it had all knit up.  I started to cast off yesterday afternoon and was beginning to think I might have a shawl to block by the end of the day, until the reality of the picot cast off began to hit me.  Geez, I have never known knitting take so long!
Picot? Pic-NO more like!
During one little break from the never ending castoff of doom I popped my project down next to me just as Felicity jumped up on to the sofa. I quickly warned her to wait until I'd moved my knitting before she started to clamber all over me, but she paid me no mind and stepped right on it and I swear I watched in slow motion as this caused the cable of my circular needle to pop right out the back of the join leaving about 20 stitches dangling in the wind.  20 beaded lacy stitches that I was just about to cast off.
The enemy of knitting needles everywhere!
When I stopped feeling sick I pulled myself together and decided I could probably fix it, after I transferred all of the stitches on to another circular.  My fatal error at this point was to jam the cable back into the join and start transferring rather than popping the loose stitches on to a holder.  I don't really need to describe what happened next do I?
I'm now looking at about half of the live stitches flapping loose at this point and I don't have the heart to deal with it.  I tried to frog but the fuzzy alpaca yarn + picot cast off was a flipping nightmare so I've put the whole thing aside to chill until I can look at it with a rational set of eyes and decide what to do once and for all. Ugh.  What more can I say?  Have a Cassie pic so I can end on a positive note!

Friday, 9 September 2016

Big days for little people

As soon as September drew nearer I begun longing for cooler days and started planning all of my forthcoming knitting projects.  I've recently cast on 2 new projects and have a few more in the works, but that's not why I'm here today.  September has also been a big month looming on the horizon as I prepared to send both my girls off on new adventures.
So on Monday afternoon Lissy became a bona fide Pre-schooler.  With barely a backwards glance she skipped off to play leaving me in no doubt that she's no longer a baby.  I still had Cassie with me so I managed to hold it together instead of dissolving in to a weeping mess!  When I picked her up she'd had a lovely time and was ready and raring to go back again on Tuesday.  Unfortunately Cassie managed to fall flat on her face on the way home, leaving her with the very nasty looking nose scab that you might notice in all her pictures :(
Yesterday was Cassie's big day as she headed to school for the very first time.  My grown up girl went straight into her classroom and pushed me right out of the door leaving me in no doubt that she had no need for me to stay!  Some of the other kids were crying which set my tear ducts a twitching but I managed to make it out of there just about dry eyed.  I'd been furnished with this very thoughtful little pack of things to get me through her first day which really helped me to feel like I'd left her in good hands.  She also had a fab time on her first day and already seemed completely confident and comfortable by the time I came to collect her.
The last big day (at least for me) will be on Monday when both girls will be at school/preschool at the same time and I will have some actual time to myself!  I'm sure I'll miss them horribly but I'll miss them with my feet up and my knitting in my hands while catching up on all the child inappropriate tv I've not been able to watch all summer.  I may even crack open some fancy biscuits too!