Friday, 28 March 2014

A sewn FO

Not a knitted FO this week but a sewn one.

Trust me, those aren't words that I thought I would be typing anytime soon. I am a huge fan of the Great British Sewing Bee but I have always regarding sewing as very much a spectator sport. Memories of enforced sewing lessons at school, having to french seam a blouse and pressing pleats was enough to give me the shivers.

But a chance encounter on Twitter from Jacqui Harding aka Curvyjax pointed the way to this: a tutorial for sewing a skirt in 30 minutes.

I had to admit that I was intruiged and couldn't help popping in to my local yarn and haberdashery shop to browse fabric.

Of course, predictably I couldn't resist this cute mushroom print cotton fabric.

So I came home, dusted off the sewing machine and made a skirt.

It is far from perfect and the waistband goes a little 'off-piste' shall we say. But it's fun and I'm wearing it today and feeling fab.

Now that I have dug the ironing board out of the pantry I may even indulge in some more sewing - who knows?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

WIP Wednesday - Naming and Shaming

This post is by way of naming a shaming a work-in-progress which has been lingering for far too long.

It is loosely based on the Mitered Crosses blanket by the talented Mason-Dixon Knitting ladies and has been a pleasure to work on. The yarn is fabulous - Shilasdair Luxury dk yarn which is a blend of british lambswool, cashmere, baby camel and angora. It has just the right amount of fuzziness, delicious hand-dyed tonal variation and is feels wonderful.

Indeed, it was recently enthused about by Juju Vail from Loop London and the ladies from Pom Pom magazine in their new podcast or Pomcast as they charmingly call it.

The pattern, based on mitered squares is fun and portable. There are some ends to weave in but I have been strict with myself and so each finished square is all done and dusted.

So far I have 12 completed squares (and another 5 waiting for their cream border) and I estimate that I need about 36.

So, if it is such a lovely project and such a delight to work on why on earth does my Ravelry page insist that I started it nearly a year ago - May 2013 to be precise. A mistake surely?

But no, it doesn't lie. The sad fact is that I am too easily distracted by other projects. Too easily lured away by the the new and shiny.

So this post is away of me 'outing' my project and stating loudly and the time it is cosy blanket weather again I WILL have a finished blanket.... probably.

Friday, 21 March 2014

FO Friday - new socks

Apart from new shoes, is there anything that makes you happier on a lovely spring day than new socks.

Fabulous colours, simple vanilla socks with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel and wonderful Knitting Goddess club yarn - happy day

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

A new shawl

No sooner is one shawl off the needles then I'm powerless to resist casting on another.

It didn't help that one of my favourite shawl designers - Sue Lazenby has a new e-book out and no sooner had I caught sight of her latest shawl - The Lichen & Moss Shawl from her Celtic Woodland Collection - then the Paypal purchase has whizzed through and I was hunting for the perfect yarn.

This collection (a bargain at £12.50) had 5 lovely patterns for shawls, cowls and a hat. All in the fabulous textured stitch patterns that Sue is becoming known for.

The shawl comes in two sizes - a 'standard' shawl size which uses 100g 4ply yarn and a larger size which looks wonderfully wrappable and which requires 200g 4ply. No prizes for guessing which one I wanted to make.

I found 2 skeins of Knitting Goddess 4ply sock yarn in a lovely semi-solid caramel/beige colourway and I was away:

Most of this was knit during the wildly exciting Six Nations rugby on Saturday but I'm loving the pattern and am planning to knit on it a little more today after I have done my 'chores'.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Zilver - an FO

This months delivery from The Golden Skein really fired my enthusiasm and I knew that I had to cast on something Right Now, with at least one of these gorgeous skeins

I chose this wonderful 4ply sock yarn from The Yarn Garden. It's a deliciously soft silk/wool blend called Miss Wilmott's Ghost and it is an amazingly subtle blends of greys. Now I am a complete sucker for a good grey or neutral at the best of times but this yarn was truely wonderful to work with.

I chose a pattern which would have a lot of stocking stitch to show off the wonderful shades of grey - pardon the expression - and I plumped for Zilver, from the very talented Lisa Mutch. (Whispers - and it's free)

Sometimes you have that perfect synchronicity of yarn and pattern and I'm pleased to say that this was the case here.

I cast on 5th March, 2014 and a little over a week later I have a lovely, versatile, silky, grey shawl to wear to work today.

I must admit that in this photo it was still slightly damp from blocking and has an end to weave in - I tucked it out of sight for the photo. But, right after the small peeps have had breakfast and in that 5 minute lull before we leave the house I will sew it in and wear my Zilver with pride on this misty spring morning.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Garter Ripple Squish

This week I have been all about the garter stitch again.

It is my default setting for baby blankets - producing a wonderful squishy fabric. It doesn't roll, curl or otherwise misbehave. It feels lovely and light, has texture without being 'too bumpy' for sensitive skins and in general, is just about perfect.

But, as much as I love it, even I have to admit that knitting a 26" square blanket in flat garter stitch can be a tad on the tedious side.

I experimented with feather and fan patterns, but DS1 (my arbiter of all things blankie-related) pronounced them to be too girly. I tried a crochet ripple, but that ended in tears (mine) and tantrums (also mine). Suffice to say that crochet and I are never going to be bosom buddies.

So I combined garter stitch with a feather and fan pattern - and was smitten.

The finished blanket is approx 24.5" by 27" - so perfect for a crib, pram or car seat. It could easily be made larger though by using a heavier yarn and larger needles or by adding more pattern repeats. Each 18-st pattern repeat adds about 3" horizontally to the width of the blanket.

The name - Garter Ripple Squish was the result of a conversation between DS1 and myself:

Garter - wonderful, baby friendly and simple
Ripple - fun and easy to remember stitch pattern
Squish - the first word DS1 used upon picking up the sample

...enough said.

And as for DS1, he is mightily pleased with his new blankie which is great news. DS2 is decidedly jealous though, so I spy more GRS's in my immediate future.