Friday, 13 August 2010

A Budgie with the muddy blues

I have wanted to make a Budgie sweater since Grumperina released the pattern, her blog is a favourite of mine and I read it almost every day.

This was also a serendipitous coming together of yarn and pattern, I have had the multi coloured 'mud season' yarn from Spunky Eclectic club since March 2008. I had tried to knit a pair of socks but the colours overwhelmed the pattern and the yarn is sports weight so the sock was thicker than I like. However using it in stripes enables the colours to really show up beautifully and not become too much.

The turquoise yarn is a Rowan RYC Cashsoft 4ply, I wanted to use this colour but it only came in 4ply which was very thin. I ended up using the yarn double so it is thicker than the sports but actually that makes these stripes pop a little more and I really like how is looks.

The pattern is really well written with excellent tips on the best way to sew up the sleeve seams to keep the stripes even and how to shorten the zip to fit.

I love the way the stripes curve round the yoke, so did everyone in the office - I have requests for 4 more!

My favourite part is the icord in the mud season colour that you sew the zip into. I think the colours almost look like the pictures of the earth from outer space.

The carpet is the office one - hence why it is so ugly, I didn't manage to take any pictures at home.

The recipient of this garment is not the usual person (my godson) but the son of a good friend from work. When Aiden was born, I knitted a cute little top for him and when his mum, Bev, came back to work she said how much she loved it and would I knit him something else, now he had outgrown it. Who could resist such knitting flattery? I started this some time ago and then snapped the needle I was using, I put it away in disgust. Over the weekend I went through my stash and WiPs and pulled a few out, this was amongst them. It only needed one icord edge, seams and a zip to be finished, so I got it done - very satisfying!

Pattern: Budgie by Grumperina
Size: 12 months
Yarn: Mud season by Spunky Eclectic and RYC Cashsoft
Needles: 3mm and 2.75 mm

Friday, 30 April 2010

January Shawl - Stormy Seraphim

There is a Ravelry group called 10 in 2010 which means knitting 10 shawls this year, I decided to join and even though I may not knit 10 it is great to join in and see everybody elses efforts, I have discovered some great new patterns this way. I have not posted my first shawl, so here we go.

This is Seraphim by
Miriam Felton, it a great intuitive pattern to knit, I really enjoyed knitting it and have worn it a great deal.

The yarn is Opulence from the Woolen Rabbit in Stormy. I can't say enough good things about Kim from the Woolen Rabbit - great customer service and a genuinely lovely person, her yarn is pretty fabulous too. The muted, subtle colourways are gorgeous and the all the yarns I have used have been great to knit with, Opulence is a silk/merino mix and feels almost cool to the touch but keeps you lovely and toasty warm.

I really like how the plain section at the top of the shawl gradually become more patterned, no harsh break between stockinette and lace sections

I love the feather pattern here, they flow beautifully into each other.

Pattern: Seraphim bu Miriam Felton
Size: Large
Yarn: Opulence from the Woolen Rabbit in Stormy colourway, 2 and a tiny bit skeins
Needles: 3mm

Friday, 23 April 2010

Commuter Crack of Dawn Shawl

I work in London and have a 2 hour commute each way most days, I also travel quite a bit mostly for work. Both these activities require different types of knitting; commutes need simple projects that I can pick up and put down easily, where as long flights mean more complex projects and are brilliant for lace - minimal interruptions and a small light project in my carry-on. Well lets be honest two projects in the carry-on and one in the suitcase just in case, this policy seems to have paid off this week being marooned abroad - I had almost finished a baby cardigan until I snapped a needle but no worries I pulled out a lace stole and started working on that instead.

My commuter projects tend to take a longer time to complete as I reserve them exclusively for that purpose, generally they are too dull for knitting at any other time. I have just completed the daybreak shawl, beautiful shaded oranges and reds, paired with natural stripes, the yarn does all the work so the knitting is very simple.

I gave the shawl to my mum, who is kindly modeling in the photos - nicely done mum!
Half of the bound off edge is handspun as I had run out off the Zauberball yarn, it is a Blue Face Leicester 2 ply that matched the colour of the cream part of the Zauberball.
Pattern: Daybreak shawl by Stephen West, I am naming mine crack of dawn because it makes me giggle.
Size: Large
Yarn: Zauberball - Burnt Almond and Cookies n Cream colourway
Needles: 3mm

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

There are worse places to be stuck

I am currently in Helsinki and stuck here until the airport opens again (I have flight bookings for Thursday and Friday this week just in case). I am very very lucky that I was here for work, my accommodation is being paid for and my travel arranged by the lovely Lisa from CWT travel (I talk to her every day- she is an angel)

The weather here has been pretty kind given that it was -28 the last time I visited. We made the most of our impromptu weekend.

This is the one of the views on my walk on Sunday.

There is also an interesting knitting shop near here, Sypressi which I visited. I also managed to get to Hobbooks to buy a book on Estonian mittens (in Estonian) and the gorgeously photographed book Jamalangasta! I had seen this book on Jane Brockets blog and knew I wanted to buy it.

I am planning on visiting another yarn shop after work today, Menita and perhaps a longer look around Hobbooks - a lovely owner of Sypressi showed me an amazing Estonian knitting book on Haapsalu shawls that I think I spotted in there. I should also add that she gave me a lace shawl pattern with the yarn I bought, it is charted and in Finnish but looks beautiful so I will give it a go- such a lovely lady and so generous.

Saturday we decided to take the ferry to Tallinn and explore the old city - expect to pay 40 euros for a return trip, it takes 2 hours on the slow boat. The amount and quality of all kinds of crafting was stunning. The old city was a little touristy but not overwhelming.

We visited a couple of yarn shops where I bought some spinning fibre and some loppi like unspun yarn in amazing colours.

I did purchase a pair of mittens for 150EE which is around 10 Euros, I was shocked that these were clearly hand knit by somebody with great skill for such a minimal amount.

Then we found this place

Market stalls selling hand knits, the little old ladies who were minding the stalls were wrapped up against the cold but knitting furiously. The pieces were heartbreakingly cheap and I could not buy anything, some things were clearly hand knit again with great skill and others machine made.

The market experience made me quite sad but further into the city was a craft area near St Catherines Passage with many crafts represented, leather work, millinery, patchwork and quilting, stained glass, pottery and many more.

The makers all sold their work and made it in these spaces, it was fascinating to see the skills in use. The glass blowing was done with bright and vivid colours by a short round Russian man in his sixties, alternately smoking a skimpy hand rolled cigarette and drinking water from one of his beautiful creations.

The prices were much more representational of the skill and time needed to produce them, but still low compared to the UK. I felt more comfortable to buy a things here.

Picture of the medieval city walls, Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is possibly named after taani linnus, which means Danish castle. The Castle in question was built by King Waldemar of Denmark in the 13th century. There are other thoughts on the name of the city but this was my favorite.

The old city is unspoiled but overlooked by a more modern one. The buildings are beautiful with interesting colour and texture everywhere.

We finished off our day in the very kitch and touristy Olde Hansa, which to my surprised I really enjoyed. The food was excellent and the beer was delicious (try the cinnamon) - it also comes served in pot mugs. We shared a starter of pate, cured meats, quails eggs and herb cheese with hazelnut bread and then a main of hunters sausages (mix of bear, wild boar and elk meat) with smoked sauerkraut, lingonberry sauce, ginger swede, onion marmalade and horseradish cream - delicious.

We didn't get to see everything Tallin has to offer but I plan to return.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Alberta in Paris

Last week was my parents 40th wedding anniversary, they went to Paris for a weeks holiday to celebrate.

In honour of their ruby wedding I knit my father a new vest, I hate calling them tank tops - it reminds me of something worn in the 60s from brown and orange acrylic yarn. One of his more conservative friends said she thought it was psychedelic colours so maybe I was channeling the sixties in some way.

Below is an image from a patisserie in the centre of Paris, the vest seems to have grown a little so may need some adjustments!

I used the lovely Alberta pattern by Jared Flood, I knit with the handspun that I blogged about here as well as some dark navy Rowan Pure Wool Aran (shade 683 Marine) for the contrast colour and Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in an unknown purple colour for the trim.

The pattern was great, very comprehensive and I learnt how to crochet seeks for this as the aran weight yarn is not the best steeking material without firm anchoring.

I am now really tempted to knit a few more of these as the mixture of handspun and commercial yearn was really fun and the more exciting colours I have spun can be toned down to a more masculine palette with muted additions.

The Eiffel Tower shot! - definitely need to shorten this, I will cut off (!) the rib as it has grown outward too, cut off 4 inches of the bottom of the vest to remove some of the length, re-knit the rib from the bottom up and finally graft it back to the new bottom of the vest - simple (cough!)

Pattern: Alberta by Jared Flood
Size: calculated from gauge to 40" chest
Yarn: Handspun and commercial mix
Needles: 5mm

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Yummy mummy hat

I decided that the warmers needed a matching hat and so I made one up. Using the design elements from the yummy mummies I made a few calculations and cast on. the pictures make it look a little oddly shape but on the head it looks quite sweet and fits well, even If I personally prefer a tighter fit to my hats.

I think I will knit another and perhaps record how I made it, as I can't be the only one who would like a hat to match the mitts

Pattern: improvised based on the Yummy Mummy Wristwarmers
Size: one size - mediumish, I will make the next one slightly smaller to hug the head more tightly
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpaca, Alpaca and Silk 1 Skein (About 1 but I need to re-knit, I used the left overs from the mitts plus some from another skein)
Needles: 2.5mm

Friday, 5 February 2010

Yummy Mummies

A simple knit for Christmas pressies. Yummy Mummy wristwarmers, designed by Alexandra Brink(no website) and a free pattern on Ravelry. I first saw this pattern when a friend called Mo turned up wearing them - as she is a none knitter I thought they had been bought from a shop but it turned out that Sue had made them for her. (Mo is now a knitter - another convert)

Super cute and easy to remember pattern, I knit the first pair in Blue Sky Alpacas, Alpaca and Silk, colourway Ruby. The yarn can be a little splitty but the texture and sheen is worth it, it also has a slight prickle when knit up that is doesn't have in the skein - a quick was in Soak fixed this.

Mum liked these so much she requested a pair for Christmas too, so the same yarn in colourway Amethyst, to match a purple Koolhaas hat the she made (well she knit the main part and I did the the top as the 'complex' decreases were apparently confussing - actually I knit the top twice as m*ths ate a hole in it and it had to be reknit grrrrr).

My favourite part is the twisted rib on the underside - silly me I didn't photograph it! It's very neat and sleek looking

The red pair were made exactly as the pattern suggested.

The purple pair were made much longer - 2 skeins of yarn, one went into each mitt. The original knits up slightly short for an average sized person, luckily the recipient of the red pair is very petite.

I recently saw the red pair in use and they have gone very baggy, this hasn't happened with the purple pair - maybe it is the amount of use!

I knit these on 2.5mm DPNs and since I am a loose knitter I perhaps should have gone down a size to make the final mitts less prone to bagging.

Overall an enjoyable quick knit but after two pairs (and a matching red hat, but more about that later) I was pretty bored, I had bought some pink to make myself a set but they will have to wait until I have recoverd from pattern overdose.
I am also tempted to do some increases in the rib as you get further up the arm, the plumper armed among us may notice the pattern twists when it encounters increased arm diameter, this would be more important if you wanted to make them longer. Since I was deadline knitting I didn't want to fiddle too much but when I make some for myself I will.

Pattern: LinndaK's Yummy Mummy Wristwarmers by Alexandra Brink
Size: one size and increased length
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpaca, Alpaca and Silk 2 Skeins (plenty left over if you knit the specified size)
Needles: 2.5mm

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

New year, old knits

Happy new year to you all. I had a restrained new year with my friend Sue, knitting, drinking champagne, chatting and watching silly TV. I finished off a sweater for me but more about that another day.

I've started doing a project called 10 in 2010 which means I'll be knitting 10 shawls this year, I would like to make it but given what work has in store I some how don't think it will happen, it's a nice target and if I get a couple done I will consider it a challenge met.

So the first Christmas knits to be blogged is a cardigan for my godson. This was knit with my own handspun, I feel so pleased saying that - this is my first garment from my own yarn, I've made plenty but small skeins that make small projects or gifts nothing that makes anything more substantial. I really enjoyed the process, I had 100g of delightful fibre from the Yarn Yard as part of the Socktopus SoFA club - a greeny coloured alpaca and bluefaced leicester mix. I liked it so much I managed to buy two more braids of the same fibre in a slightly brighter green.

This was spun and made into a two ply yarn at around aran weight. The SoFA colour and the other brighter colour each made up a single ply for 200g of the yarn and the last 100g I plied the brighter colour with itself.

I then knit a top down seamless cardigan striping the yarn over the body and half way down the sleeves (where I ran out of one yarn) I finished the sleeves and bottom with twisted rib.

I picked up and knit a twisted rib button band with mitered neck line - I think the neck hole looks small but Leo tells me it will be fine (I hope so!)

A small blue monster purchased at Wilferts in Copenhagen was added, you can see the subtle stripes really well in this picture

Button bands were lined with green satin ribbon (from Liberty) and I added giant snaps purchased at the iKnit day in 2009 from Textile Garden. They have really lovely buttons and bits but a really user unfriendly website - a good search function would make such a difference rather than trawling through pages of buttons to find something you want (although doing that makes you buy more!)

Finally I added one of my new labels from rememberwynn on etsy.

All in all I am pretty pleased with this project and hope that it will be well worn. I love the fibre and the beautiful colour, I don't wear green as it really doesn't suit me so it is always a pleasure to knit with as a something a bit different. I now have plans to spin some more larger amounts of yarn for bigger projects and I am really looking forward to it.