Friday, 17 April 2020

FO: Echo Wood

Well crikey, I just looked it up and I started this shawl nearly a year ago!  I don't even recall it taking me all that long to complete it's just taken me all that time to get round to blocking it.  How embarrassing!
I wanted to knit Echo Wood mostly to use up a skein of yarn I'd originally bought for the Dreamscape shawl MKAL back in 2018.  That called for 3 different shades of sock yarn and I had ended up ordering 4 because I couldn't pick online and needed to see the yarns in person.  I ended up with this skein of Knit Picks Hawthorne Speckle Handpaint in City Lights leftover and I loved it and really wanted to use it.
I paired it with some random black 4ply I bought on a cone about 15 years ago, I thought that the black would be perfect matched with the black speckle in the Knit Picks yarn and frankly I am hoping to use up the last of the black yarn, it is never ending!
The knitting of this was pretty straightforward as far as I remember and blocking was ridiculously easy, making me feel even more ridiculous about leaving it so long.  It really just needed wetting and smoothing into shape so I don't know what I'd been waiting for.  After blocking I then left weaving the ends in for over a week rather than just getting on and completing it.  I have been fairly busy with home working, home educating and sewing scrubs for the local hospital though so I won't beat myself up about that too much.
So it's finally done and I'm glad to have it in my collcetion, it's lovely and squish and warm and it looks really cool.  I love the acid yellow against the black and the cable detail around the edge.  Mostly I'm just happy to say it's finally done, mark it complete and move on to the next project without the nagging guilt of a project abandoned!

Monday, 6 April 2020

FO: Love is...Boo Knits MKAL

We all know I love a good mystery knit, in particular a Boo Knits mystery knit and the first one this year, Love is... started on Valentines Day.  This one was actually announced at the end of last year and I'd mostly forgotten about it so I was unable to get any of the gradient yarns that were produced for the knit along.  I'm really happy with the yarn I ended up getting, so no regrets there, but I'd recommend checking out the project gallery on Ravelry because there are some absolutely beautiful gradients on display there.
I decided to check out Natural Born Dyers Lorbanerry yarn, which was also recommended for this shawl and I ended up picking out a lovely soft pink which seemed like a perfect choice for a Valentines themed knit.  When it arrived I was honestly over the moon with this yarn.  It is so soft and shimmery and was a really lovely colour with subtle variances.
For beads I wanted something soft looking to give the finished item a romantic look.  This pattern requires around 1300 beads so I didn't want to pick anything too experimental because that would be a disaster on such a heavily beaded shawl.  I ended up choosing these grey AB Toho beads which I thought would contrast just ever so slightly without really standing out and just bring the right amount of sparkle.  When they arrived I was worried that they were too dark, and all together in the tube they do look very dark, but individually on the shawl they are perfect.
Knitting this shawl was pretty straightforward, there were 6 clues each of which felt pretty manageable. I enjoyed knitting it and after each clue I was relieved that I liked the way it was looking.  This shawl is a really good size and for the first time with one of these MKALs I very nearly used up all of my yarn.  I'm a slightly tighter knitter so very often I end up with a slightly smaller shawl and a bunch of yarn left over but this one turned out just right.
Blocking was a bit of an arse because we redecorated out bedroom earlier this year and my clocking mats and pins are....somewhere?  I had to do this one on a blanket with some highly unsuitable pins but the job got done and I'm happy with the result.
All in all I'm really pleased with this one and I can't wait to wear it outside.  Currently I'm mostly wearing sweatpants and jumpers so lacy shawls look a bit mad but one day I shall look put together once again and this shawl will be perfect come that day!

Wednesday, 1 April 2020


Well, hello from my little home office!
Goodness aren't we living in interesting times?  I'm currently on my second full week of working from home.  It's all been a bit of a shock, obviously I was expecting it at some point but I left work one day, fully expecting to be going in the next day only to be told a couple of hours later that I would be WFH for the forseeable.  I'd already been issued a laptop, just in case, so I was good to go but it felt weird having not saying a bit of a mental "goodbye" to the place when I left.
I'm missing this spectacular building
Luckily I'd made an effort to spruce up out dining room/craft room/dumping ground a few weeks previously so I actually have somewhere nice to work.  I'd thrown out a load of stuff, moved everything around and changed all of the furniture to optimise the space available and got it so I was really happy with it.  Things have needed to be shuffled about a bit so I could get to work, but it's a nice environment to be in and honestly things could be worse.
My dining table is doing duty as my desk and cutting table.  I like that I have to clear away my laptop at the end of the day to use the table, it feels like 'going home' and just leaving work for the day.  I've had to squeeze the printer in between my cute little cases of craft supplies.  I need to find a better home for that though because it's really not the look I was going for!  The printer is going nineteen to the dozen at the moment though, printing homework and colouring sheets so it will have to stay there for the time being.
My sewing machine desk is also being used as a desk for homework.  This was not in the plan but the kids like the wheelie stool and I'm done arguing about it!

So here we are and for how long who can tell?  I've been getting plenty of time for making things, not having to do the school run and travel to and from work is saving me around 3 hours a day!  I blocked a shawl yesterday and will be weaving in ends and photographing that later.  I've got another shawl to be blocked (when I remember where I put it!) and another to finish the final row and block so I have plenty to share.  I hope everyone is healthy and safe and I'll be back soon with some actual knitting content.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

FO Frost on Roses

Once I’d finished Cassie’s Little Trees hat I felt like I was done with hats for just a little while.  I was going to work on the baby blanket for my forthcoming niece/nephew for a bit before maybe casting on a Boo Knits shawl.  Felicity had other ideas and demanded that I immediately make her a hat just like Cassie’s but purple and with open flowers instead of trees.  Who was I to deny such an incredibly specific request for knitwear!
After a bit of searching I showed her a picture of Frost on Roses by Katrin Schubert and asked her if that was open flowery enough for her and once she understood that I didn’t have to make it in the same colours as in the picture she agreed that it would be fine.  She was also happy with King Cole Panache DK (but it's a very fine DK so more like a sport weight) in soft grey and purple, which was lucky because that’s pretty much all I had in the right weight!  The colours don’t contrast much leading to a really pretty subtle effect which is just perfect for Felicity.
I’m pleased to report that I didn’t have anywhere near the difficulties I had with Cassie’s Little Trees and this knitted up quickly and easily.  It took me a few rows to kind of see and understand how the patterns were coming together but once I’d got one repeat under my belt I got a feel for it and I could read my knitting better and see easily if I was going wrong.
Once finished I was a little worried because the crown decreases left the hat with a kind of tricorner look to them as it was all a bit pointy but after a light blocking that almost disappeared and disappears completely once the hat is stretched over the head.  Felicity insisted on having a bobble on the top which obscures the crown a little but not entirely.  After much deliberation and consideration of my bobble stash (we all have one of those right?) she settled on a pink one which I duly sewed on.  2 days later she decided it was awful and went back into the stash and picked a white one instead.  Obviously this was rather annoying but the kid obviously had a very clear vision for this hat and if I’m putting in the effort to make her something I have no problem making sure it’s exactly what she wants.
I’m really pleased with how this turned out and I hope Felicity is too.  I can see myself making an adult sized one in more contrasting colours for myself, but not for a little while, I’m definitely hatted out at least for a little while now!

Sunday, 3 March 2019

FO: Little Trees kiddo edition

After being a pink sort of girl for many many years Cassie announced recently that she was now super into red and all her things must now be red.  She was needing a new winter coat so we got her a lovely red one and I thought it would be lovely to make her a hat to match it.

Cassie’s choice was to have a hat just like my Little Trees hat but red so I bought some Drops Lima in red and navy blue and got knitting.  Given that I have recently knitted this pattern I thought I’d get this knitted up in a couple of days.  After trying my hat on Cassie and using the scientific technique of pulling in tighter round her head I decided to do 2 less pattern repeats each round to make it fit a 6 year old.  I also made the ribbing at the brim shorter so the hat wasn’t too long.
All was going well until I’d completed about 2/3 of the hat and then I made a mistake, tried to unknit it and something went awry and I had no idea how to fix it.  I can usually work out what’s gone wrong and work out some sort of fix but this one was beyond me so I ripped the whole thing out.  I figured it’s just a little hat so no big deal.  The second time I had to rip was just a few rows in, the third time about half way through and at that point I started to get really annoyed!  Thankfully that was the last time I had to fully rip out but I kept on making little mistakes that meant I needed to unknit a couple of rows here and  there and the whole thing really just took far longer then it needed to.
Eventually I got to the end and it was totally worth it, this hat is so cute.  I did think that maybe I wouldn’t need to do as many pattern repeats as the pattern specifies but shortening the brim ribbing was enough to stop the hat being too long and I’m pleased that I cast on the right amount of stitches to make this fit Cassie snugly.  I let her pick her own pompom which is why that colour combo is a wee bit bonkers, but it’s her hat so who am I to judge!  I bought these pompoms a while ago before I discovered the one that come with poppers attached so sewing this one on was a bit of a bugger.  It has a small elastic loop attached which I sewed to the hat but the bobble wobbled around something awful and the last thing you want is a wobbly bobble so I had to anchor it at several points around the base to get it on there more firmly. 
So finally it is done, she hasn’t worn this properly yet because it has been really warm but the temperatures do seem to be dropping a bit again so hopefully it will see some wear before it goes away for the summer.  Oh yes and the tooth is gone, it took a minor blow to the mouth while she was playing at the park to get it out but it was more than ready so it wasn’t too much of a drama.  I can’t get enough of her gappy little face at the moment, so cute!

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

FO: Briochebubbles hat

More brioche hat goodness for you today, because I was wearing my Little Trees hat constantly so I thought it needed a friend for a bit of variety! 

The pattern I chose this time was Briochebubbles Hat by Raina K, I liked this one because it is a bit different and is very visually striking.  I particularly liked her orange and blue version but I couldn’t find both an orange and a blue that I liked in the same yarn so I went with orange and purple which does the same job as far as I’m concerned.  The yarn I used for this was King Cole Luxury Merino DK and in all honesty I’m not entirely into it, it’s a bit finer than I expected and quite limp so this hat isn’t quite as warm as Little Trees.  It’s good to have hats for not quite so cold days though and given how long this hat turned out this limpness of the yarn is probably a good thing because I wouldn’t really want it to stand straight up!  Luckily brioche knitting is very stretchy and I have a tiny head so I didn't need to worry that the hat wouldn't fit even though the yarn is a bit thin.

The extreme length of the hat is purely down to my brain going renegade and playing silly games with me.  According to the pattern once you have completed the completing the repeating part the first time you should repeat it once more and then do the first few rows a third time.  I read this, I understood it and then my brain logged it as ‘repeat the whole thing twice more’.  So one I’d done that, realised my mistake and carried on regardless adding those first few rows again and then the  crown decrease section, this hat is looooong!  I added a fur bobble to weigh it down so it doesn’t stick straight up and make me look like a gnome and honestly I’m not mad at it, it’s a good hat.  It did what it wanted to do and I like it even though I do feel a bit of an idiot for not double checking the pattern.

Of course it is now far too warm to wear this, it’s been hitting over 16 degrees C every day so far this week which is not right for February.  I really don’t want to have to pack my woollies away just yet so I’m hoping the chilly weather will return for just a bit soon.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Quinn Fox Headbands

After all of the shawl knitting I have been doing recently I’ve been taking a bit of a break in order to knit some headgear.  I’ve got some hats in the works but because my daughters are required to wear their hair up for school I’ve found that hats are not always that practical for them.  After one particular day when Cassie insisted on jamming her Foxy Hat on her head over a high ponytail and wondered why her ears weren’t covered I figured I should probably knit her a headband instead.  Oh and one for Felicity too.  Incidentally this is Cassie when I knitted her Foxy hat:

The hat is 5 years old and miraculously at nearly 7 it does actually still fit her when her hair is down.  Seeing as she still loves and wants to wear this hat I was excited to find a pattern for a fox headband and cowl set.  I don’t really see myself knitting the cowl element although it is pretty flipping cute.  The headband though is exactly what I was after.

These were really quick to knit with a simple seed stitch strip, knit flat and joined and the ears and bow made separately and sewn on.  I actually knit the girls headbands last year, simple navy ones to match their school uniform.  They were also seed stitch but knit in the round and they hardly ever wear them because they are a little large and don’t stay on well.  I much preferred that these were knit flat as I could keep trying them around the kids heads so that they fit perfectly.  I used a provisional cast on and joined the ends with a 3 needle bind off rather than seeming because personal preference and then sewed the ears on where I thought they should go rather than following the directions because my bands were a little shorter than the measurements given in the pattern (tiny heads run in the family!).  I used DROPS Lima and some scraps of white something or other from the stash for the inside ear bits.  Apparently the yarn is a little itchy on their ears but they have been wearing them without complaining so it can’t be that bad!
Both girls are really pleased with these, they love wearing them to school and I love that their hair isn’t all messed up when they get there in the morning.  I will be making them a hat each soon too because some days it is so cold that a hat is definitely needed but for the rest of the time these headbands are just the ticket.
Oh and don't mind Cassie's face in this picture, she was determined to get her crazy teeth in every photo I took!  At this point those top front ones were so wobbly that you could see them flopping about when she was talking, so grim.  Currently she looks like this:
So now we are just waiting for the other one to drop out, at the moment it's sort of hanging to one side so it looks like she has one central tooth poking out between her lips.  She is putting absolutely no effort into getting it out so I'm guessing it's just going to hang there for at least another week.  Join me next time for another episode of tooth watch!