Search This Blog

Popular Posts

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Knitting the NUUK

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing my progress with the new sweater on my needles - the NUUK. I started this knit just a few days ago and already most of the body has been completed. I'm enjoying how the construction is designed. I'm quite keen to try it on.
The design is a 'top down' sweater with short sleeves and a rib both at the bottom and neck. The early construction stage creates a cap like sleeve which looks great, almost looking finished ! I'm already considering a second Nuuk using this cap sleeve finish. I like the open neckline at the moment too (the rib will  obviously bring the neck together) and maybe this is an option for future Nuuk sweaters ?

                            

I also like the idea of contrasting colours for the rib sections of the sweater - not for this one but perhaps the next ? Generally, the whole knit is a pleasing  project and is inspiring lots of new design ideas.

Thanks for calling in today.


Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Beads for Knitting

Hi Everyone 
One of my new knitting projects involves an area of beadwork. The pattern for the project is the FairyHill Shawl by Helen Stewart. Read back for more re my preparations here .I've hand dyed a skein of yarn and have ordered a range of beads to compliment the colours of the yarn. The beads arrived yesterday and I ordered a range for choice. I'm almost there on deciding which beads to use. I'm keen, at the moment, to use two different beads, a solid pink and a moss green. The two shades I've chosen are quite close to the specific colours of the yarn.


                        

The pattern suggests beads are knitted into the centre area of the shawl - I may use the beads in different areas depending on how the yarn colours develop within the pattern. My hand dyed yarn has some areas which are deep solid pink but other areas quite light pink or natural ecru with other areas of a light moss green. I will develop the beading as the yarn suggests.
I need to finish a pair of socks before I can cast on - I'm very close to finishing the socks. I find Helen Stewart patterns very easy to use. The detailed instructions and stitch count information is particularly helpful to me. I'm really looking forward to casting on. I will record my progress with pictures and will share the results here on the blog over the next few weeks.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 22 May 2017

The Everyday Collection

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing my new Everyday Collection today - I'm still working on the project but I've developed the components of a few of the initial pieces. Each design in the Collection will have earrings, a stretch bracelet and a pendent. I'm also creating a couple of silver rings with 'PolyGem' stones. All the beads are made from blended polymer clay and silver.

                    

I've got some exciting packaging ideas (to follow in the next week week or so) - watch this space. I love to wear this design and genuinely wear a version of the bracelet almost everyday. It's a very easy item to wear for almost all activities. 

The bead style in the photo is an oval shape, I also have a round, a square and a triangle shape in the Collection. I'm using a wide range of colours in the Collection and a small batch of each design will be available. All the pieces will use handcrafted sterling silver findings.

Thanks for calling in today.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Purposeful Dyed Yarn

Hi Everyone
I'm excited to share yet another new knitting project today. It's a shawl by Helen Stewart called the Fairyhill Shawl. I've recently knitted another Helen Stewart shawl and her patterns are great to knit, so I'm looking forward to this one. In preparation for the knit, I've hand dyed a skein of yarn. The colours are beautiful and I'm quite pleased with how the yarn has turned out. I've chosen a vibrant Magenta with Moss Green and a little Natural (left undyed from the original yarn). I'm not entirely sure how the shawl will look in terms of the colour pattern but I'm looking forward to finding out. He's a quick look a the yarn :

                    

The pattern calls for some beading work - very exciting ! I've ordered a few different new seed beads in a few different colours for the beadwork and will make a decision when they arrive. I've another small shawl/scarf using beads and I particularly like the idea of another. I feel, beadwork can make a garment very special. 
This knit project will be the third knitting project I have 'on the go' at the moment, so that's IT , no more casting on until I finish one of them !

On another matter, you may remember that I was preparing for a crochet project earlier this week - the Hanabira cardigan (read back for details). I'm hoping to review my progress each Friday. I hope to spend a little time each day (work permitting) on the cardigan. It's fair to say, I'm slightly anxious about the job. My crochet skills are very basic, I can do the basic quite well but reading the pattern is causing me minor issues, already ! However, I know where to get help if I need it !
So far, I've created my initial chain for the neck (it's a top down pattern), developed the foundation row and divided the stitches for the various sections of the cardigan - sleeves, back and front sides. That's it. It doesn't sound like much but I'm on schedule for my daily work on the project and am quite pleased with myself. 
I'll have another review next Friday, possibly with photos of my progress.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

New on the needles.

Hi Everyone
I've a new knit on my needles - it's the NUUK sweater. This pattern has been in the queue for quite some time. For some reason, I couldn't decide on the yarn to use ? Initially, I wanted a 'stand out'/ statement colour - such as magenta or bright orange. However, I've gone for my usual blue ! I've decided that a statement piece will follow if the design works for me. Most of my wardrobe is blue and I'd like this sweater to be a useful and versatile garment.

                

One of my friends has knitted the design, so I know how the sweater will turn out and I love the style. I'm hoping the fit will allow my sweater to be worn as per the image. I like the layering idea.
The pattern is a 'top down' technique and I'm using dovestone dk in the Lotherton colour with 5mm needles. I've done a swatch and my gauge is exactly as per the pattern. It's early days but I'm really enjoying knitting this design.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Another NEW toy.

Hi Everyone
I've another brand new toy to share today.

          
It's a drum carder - made (from scratch) by my very clever husband. It looks great and has blended a range of leftover fibres from a workshop (way back). The fibres were in a series of little bags with no particular purpose (at the bottom of my fibre bin). I simply blended them together and ended up with 30 gms of yarn.  After plying the single, I have 30m of yarn. It's not enough to make anything significant but I'm working on an idea to use the yarn as a design feature of a sweater, details will emerge in good time !
The blended yarn is beautiful- there's lots of yellow silk in the fibre and the resulting yarn is very smooth feels great) and a lovely colour. The general overal colour of the yarn is 'grey'' but with lots of depth. I'm thinking about spinning more wool fibres into a grey mix using some of the Corriedale and Blue Faced Leiceter ( BFL) in my stash. I'm hoping the resulting yarn will be a lovely range of varied grays. My plan is to have my silk blend creating interest in the planned sweater. Very exciting !

Here is the resulting yarn - named Slightly Broom (after the plant) in more detail :


                  

Thanks for calling in today.


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Crochet Further Training

Hi Everyone
If you called in last week, you will know that I've started a big crochet project. Check out the details here. In order to prepare myself for the project, I've been practicing all the individual crochet stitches required in the pattern. I'm OK with very basic crochet but making a crochet garment is something else ! However, I'm quiet determined - somehow, I will make this happen.
I've created a few little swatches using each of the stitches used in the pattern and using the main yarn I've chosen. This particular yarn is a linen/wool mix in a lovely bright colour. This yarn is a light sport weight. I will also use a grey colour and a navy for some detail on the sleeve and bottom
On the whole, there are only a few different stitches used -  the main stitch pattern is single crochet lines either through the front or back loop. This stitch produces a pretty texture and quite a solid fabric. The pattern is a top down cardigan, so starts at the neck and divides for the sleeves, very much like a top down knit (which I've had some experience with). 

                

The sleeves and bottom of the cardigan have a more elaborate section witch require relatively large croched flowers within a border. This is the detail area where I'll use the grey and navy. Check out the link (above) for an image.


                  

So far, I'm happy with how things are turning out. I think, I'm ready to start the cardigan and have decided to try and break down the project into very small parts. I want to try and complete a small section EACH day. My first job will be to chain for the neck. I'm hoping, that if I can focus on a very small section of the garment, I will be able to learn and understand the process more effectively. If I can manage a short daily crochet session - I will (somehow) see the task as not so daunting !
I hope to report on my progress regularly and each Friday I will have a whole project update.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Blocking for a sweater

Hi Everyone
I've had a little success with a new handspun project over the last few days. This is a large project which will sit alongside my other knitting projects, so is something which will take quite some time to complete. I'm hoping to spin for about 30 mins everyday. 
My plan is to develop a sweater quantity of handspun yarn using Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) and Corriedale wool. So far, I've gone for two types of yarn, a pure Corriedale and a blend of BFL/Corriedale (60/40). I'm hoping the Corriedale will make the rib sections of the sweater and the blend will be used for the majority of the sweater. 
I love the way the wool has worked out. The resulting yarn has produced a beautiful rustic knit which is very soft. The mix of grey colours are lovely.

                  

The sweater will be for my husband and he had chosen a particular pattern design with a zip or button feature at the neck, however, I think we may go for a very simple design (no neck details) using the different coloured wool on the rib elements ie the bottom, sleeves and neck band. The yarn is lovely and I think a plain design will allow the yarn to shine. I'm inspired to spin my next batch. I used size 4mm needles for the swatch and produces the perfect material. The yarn is a DK weight and will be very cosy.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Crochet Training

Hi Everyone
I've started a concentrated crochet training programme this week. If you called in earlier in the week, you will know I've got plans for making a crochet cardigan. I've never made a crochet garment before and I must admit - it's rather daunting. ! To get things going, I made a new dishcloth - I had issues with remembering the names of the different stitches and needed to YouTube each one - more than once ! The dish cloth is made and in use. It doesn't bode well for the cardigan ! 

However, I'm still determined to make the cardigan so I've started practicing. My plan is to make a swatch of all the stitches involved in the cardigan using the actual yarn for the cardigan before I start.  Alongside the swatch, I've also started looking for small crochet projects to practice following crochet patterns. Imagine my delight when a I came across a very pretty crochet bracelet in Pom Pom magazine blog. If you are interested it can be found here. I love Pom Pom magazine generally but finding the crochet stuff was an added bonus.

The bracelet is called a Pineapple Bracelet and is one of a number of crochet bracelet free patterns I came across a few days ago. I didn't have any pineapple colours so my pineapple is blue ! It's very pretty. I did enjoy making the first pineapple and will continue to make the whole thing.

                   

I think my cotton yarn is a bit thick and will look in my stash for something more suitable. Although the blue is fine, I think a pineapple colour would be better. I really enjoyed starting this little project and it's having the exact effect of re introducing me to 'crochet' - good training and positive reinforcement for my ultimate goal, the crochet cardigan.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

The Tale of a Very East Poncho

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing the ups and downs of my current main knit project today - the Very Easy Poncho. You wouldn't believe how many problems I've had with this project ! I've experienced major highs and lows throughout the project. I started thinking about the idea of the poncho many months ago and it's appeared several times on this blog, read back for more.

Initially, central to the project, it was a garment I could make using the first finished hank of yarn that I'd personally dyed and then handspun on my new spinning wheel. I had a lovely time dying the wool, choosing how to spin the dyed wool and combining the different colours and then spinning. I also found a lovely - easy knitting pattern. At the begining, this was a very exciting project. I knew ,I didn't have enough of my own yarn to complete the poncho but had an idea to use some amazing Indigo dyed yarn produced by a lovely friend. The Indigo yarn and my own yarn worked brilliantly together and my project plans seemed to be perfect !

Move on several weeks of stocking stitch - 130 stitches on the needles and 62 ins. long. This is a seriously long piece of knitting ! I knitted my own yarn and changed to the Indigo when a I felt like it - this was another high - the colours worked well and the stripes that emerged were just lovely. I used a pretty progress keeper to manage a few inches of knitting everyday. All seemed to be well.

When a I eventually finished the long rectangle shaped knitting it was time to construct the poncho. I blocked the fabric and read the schematic diagram on the very brief pattern and proceeded to seam the poncho. This is when my major problems started. I made the first seam and was very proud of my work - so satisfying and very neat. I made another seam, as per the diagram (as it read to me). It was immediately obvious that something was wrong. Still not sure why I hadn't realised there was a problem before starting these seams ? After reading and re-reading the pattern details and researching via Ravelry, I finally ripped out all the seams - not an easy job and very time consuming. All my lovely work was at risk of being completely ruined. The ripping out was begining to damage the edges of the poncho and I needed to undue every single stich with extreme care. This was a serious low point.

I did have photo references for the finished garment and studied the photos, off and on for a few days. Then yesterday, I had a Eureka moment and finally - I had the answer ! I'd not thought through the construction properly. As the name suggests, this poncho is a very easy construct. It's simply a single seam at the back, created by attaching a part of one side of the folded rectangle. It's so simple I can't quite believe I'd missed it. I've had so much grief over the last few days and now I'm repeating (to myself) - I can't believe Id missed it. I'd fixated on the diagram and didn't translate the way in which the garment would be worn ? As I write, I stil can't believe what I did.

I'm sure the final garment will be lovely. The fabric drapes beautifully and the colours are very special. I need to make the seam - I'm going to try and re create my first seam and be very proud of the job - again ! I also need to add some icord edging to all the edges of the poncho, I'm hoping the icord will help neaten up any 'unpicking' issues. I will reblock the poncho and hopefully it will be complete in a few days - ready to wear.

On balance, I'm still loving the project. It's been a great learning process for me. I'm will definitely approach patterns and schematic diagrams differently from now on. This garment was always going to be special because of the handspun/hand dyed yarn, the first handspun too. I'd invested so much hope and care into the knit - I wanted it to be something I could be proud of. I'm  now thinking, I will immediately forget all the pain, once the garment is complete. There will be more photos when this times comes. Until then, this is where I am :

                      

Thanks for calling in and sharing my 'pain'.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The Sock Queue

Hi Everyone
As promised yesterday, I'm sharing the next two projects in my sock queue. At the top of the list is the Om Shanti socks which are currently on my needles. I had almost finished one of the socks but they turned out very odd in terms of proportions. The foot was incredibly long and the ankle was very small - I couldn't get my foot into it. No question - the sock had to be ripped out ! I've recalculated the maths and am well into a new sock, which seems OK. I love knitting the pattern on the top of the foot and have learned the six line pattern which should help speed up the knit. I think some of the issue was to do with the fact that I am a 'tight' knitter - I'm consciously trying to 'loosen up' my knitting.

                 

My second 'sock to be' will be Herminone's Everyday Sock by Erica Leuder - this is a free download on Ravelry. This time, I will be using a sock blank, hand dyed by Stranded Dyeworks (on Etsy). I've never used a sock blank so this is a first ! I'll report on what I think about this approach. I've chosen the pattern because I'm hoping the colours in the sock blank will enhance the look of the final sock. I wanted something with a slight pattern but not something which will loose the lovely colours of the yarn. It will be interesting to see how the colours emerge. I know some people wind and wash the yarn from the sock blank before knitting but I will go straight from the blank.

I'm not sure how long it will take me to finish these two pairs of socks ? - I will definitely be taking my time. I do like having a sock project alongside my main knitting projects so I'm always looking for a new one. I'm finding having several knitting projects 'on the go' is good for me.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Sock Celebration

Hi Everyone
I'm celebrating the finishing of a pair of socks today. The socks are for my husband, Richard. The actual knitting part of these socks was finished a little while ago but it's taken me forever to weave in the ends, so technically they were completed including washing (rather than blocking) yesterday. I love the colours and the stripes as well as how soft they feel. These socks are made to measure and fit beautifully. I'm hoping they will be lovely to wear. I bought the yarn for the socks at Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March read more here of the original story. They will be a great souvenir of the lovely day we spent at Edinburgh.

                        

As well as the two colours I used in these socks, I bought a third colour of the same yarn (another shade of blue)  and have an idea to use it for heels, toe and cuff alongside some hand dyed yarn of my own. However, this new project will have to join the sock queue - there are two more pairs of socks planned before I can embark on this latest idea ! More on the latest sock projects tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Crochet News

Hi Everyone
Great excitement for me at the moment. I've a new project planned, this time it's crochet ! - and it's a cardigan. This is a major challenge for me. The pattern is a lovely cardigan from the Spring edition of pompom.

                 

I saw this pattern (Hanabira) a while back but was inspired to make a croched garment by a fabulous example of a croched cardigan made by one of my knitting group friends. The Hanabira had stuck in my mind as something I particularly liked and I wondered (for a week or so) if I could make it ? I don't feel equipped (at the moment) to crochet the cardigan but I'm determined to have a go. I have a couple of friends who I may need to call on (they know who they are).

To start or rather re start my crochet practice (I would call myself a 'lapsed crochet person') I made a new dish cloth last night. I currently have a lovely waffle stitch crochet dishcloth in use (made by me) and do need another, so I thought I would make a new one. Bad news ! I couldn't remember how to do the stitch and I needed to revise my all crochet skills. I always forget what crochet stitches are called and get messed up with British or American stitch names for the same stitch. This doesn't sound like good news at this stage ! However, all will be well when I get into the pattern. I've read through the detail a few times and it doesn't seem too complicated - famous last words ! The pattern is a top down pattern with raglan style sleeves - no need for many stitched seams. I will use a mustard cotton yarn for my main colour and am planning to spin some grey linen/wool yarn for the White part. I need another colour for the flowers (in pink on the photo) - I'm not sure what I will go for ? - possibly a lighter grey shade ? I need to keep thinking about this decision.
I feel quite 'overwhelmed' just thinking about this project; however, I'm quite excited at the same time. 

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Very Easy Poncho - breaking news !

Hi Everyone
Great news - I've finished the majority of the knitting for my Very Easy Poncho - read back yesterday for more detail on this.

                     

 I spent some time last night thinking about exactly how I would seam the long stocking stitch fabric to form the poncho. I did consider a few options, in the end I knitted the two ends together. I used the live stitches on my needle and knitted them into the cast on edge followed by a traditional stitch over cast off. The seam worked beautifully and it's a very neat finish (for me, the inside must look as good as the outside ! )
My next job was to start the icord edges. I've started with the bottom edge and read the suggested tutorial from the pattern (www.purlbee.com) before starting. I was quite confident that I understood how to make an icord edge (one of my recent shawl knits included and icord edge). The tutorial was a good reminder. I also looked up a great video (I used this with my previous icord experience) which explains how to create an attached icord edge - watch it here. I particularly like watching as well as reading about a technique. Often videos are the answer for me.
So far, my initial finishing is going well, there's a way to go but I'm back enjoying this project. I think, the long stocking stitch element got a little tedious and I lost a bit of enthusiasm but I've certainly enjoyed this last bit. 
My handspun yarn has knitted up better than expected and the garment is looking good so far.  Hopefully, I will have it finished in the next day or so. It's such a good feeling when a project goes well. I'm not exactly sure how the fit of the poncho will work. I need to develop the top shoulder part. I am hopeful final shaping will happen with blocking.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend - I'll be back next week.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Every picture tells a story !

Hi Everyone
I've an update today on the Very Easy Poncho knitting project today.

                        

This project has been going for quite a while. The story started here in late January with the spinning of some very special wool and was originally destined for another knitting project. A month later, at the end of March, I finally decided on the Very Easy Poncho as the knitting project (read more here). The pattern is as described a very easy knit BUT - there's loads of it. The knitting is stocking stitch - 62 ins to knit by 140 stitches on size 5mm needles. I've managed to get to just over 56 ins. - so not far to go ! When I've finished the main knit, I have an icord to develop to both the neck and the bottom of the poncho. 
My knitted fabric consists of my own spun yarn and some beautiful Indigo hand dyed yarn (by my lovely friend Lindsay aka The Boarder Tart). The two different yarns work well together. The resulting fabric has random stripes of each yarn, I just went with my instinct - on how the fabric looked at any given point - each stripe is a different size. The poncho is knitted across the body rather than top to bottom.
I'm so looking forward to finishing this project. I love the mix of the yarns and I especially love the almost tweed-like fabric produced from my own hand spun yarn - very satisfying. I'm also looking forward to wearing my poncho. The blog, of course, will be the first to show the finished article !!

Thanks for calling in today.

Sock Update

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing my latest sock knitting project today. My last post about these socks (Om Shanti by Alice Yu) mentioned I was looking forward to the heel, well - I've done the heel and it's just as good as the toe. I'm thrilled with the technique of knitting these socks. The short wrapped rows give a seamless shaped toe and heel and very neatly sit with the pattern of the sock.

                         

Sadly, I've run out of yarn for the sock and have the leg to finish. I've only knitted five rows of the leg so am just starting. This yarn had been destined for a plain striped sock so had others colours in my plan. However, once I'd started the green colour, I felt the pattern needed this single colour yarn to really show the contrasting stitch patterns. The yarn is Socks Yeah! by Coop Knits in the Perditot colour way. Another skein has been ordered so it should be here any day (managed to get the same batch too). This particular skein of yarn has already knitted another striped pair of socks for my husband, so was well used before I started these socks. I'm quite surprised how little yarn Ive used.
Once I learned the main stitch pattern, I could knit the six line repeat forever, it develops such a lovely rhythm to the knitting. Alice describes the stitch pattern as 'an Estonian 3-cross lace' stitch. The original pattern has quite a short leg - I'm thinking I may grow the leg a little. The bottom of the sock cuff has something called Kihnu Vits running around the sock, this is a braid using 2 strands of yarn worked with the purl stitch, carrying both strands at the front of the work. I'm not sure exactly how this will work ? but it sounds very exciting and way beyond my comfort zone ! 
I'll report on progress when my new yarn arrives.

Thanks for calling in today.


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Making Workshop

Hi Everyone
We have an exciting Making Workshop  today - making Fibre Jewellery. You can read back here for more details about the project. 

                                   

Our Making Group will make a necklace and bracelet and can choose which design and construction method they prefer. The final design needs to be considered when developing the fibre ropes, so we will spend some time thinking about how the final piece will look and work as a piece of wearable jewellery. The fastening solution is key to understanding how the fibre ropes need to be made. Hopefully, all our Makers will be inspired to develop amazing pieces. The workshop will be a two part thing, this week we will design the jewellery and make the ropes; next time, we will add the findings and develop additional decoration such as beads or extra fibre.
I'm looking forward to seeing how our Makers approach this  project, they always come up with something new and exciting. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing the colour combinations and blending choices of the group. I'll take some photos and share tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 1 May 2017

New Knit

Hi Everyone
Just a short blog today about a new knit on my needles. I'm onto my next pair of socks. This time, the socks are for me.

                     

I'm loving the various stitches giving different textures throughout this  pattern, Om Shanti by Alice Yu. I'm using Socks Yeah ! yarn by Coop Knits in Perditot, this is the same yarn as my last pair of striped socks. Look back a week or so for details. The yarn is lovely to knit with very smooth and light. The knitted fabric is beautiful.
 My usual issues with concentration (minor lace like pattern) have caused me to make mistakes and there have been some ripping back going on ! However, the 'stitch wrapped toe' technique is wonderful, magic even ! - no holes or Kitchenor grafting to deal with - love this part of the pattern.
I'm looking forward to the heel - not sure what to expect ? I'll keep you informed of my progress.
It's Bank Holiday Monday here in the UK so I'm hoping for a leisurely day. The sun is shining too !

Thanks for calling in today.