Thursday, August 11, 2016

sssshhhhh I've started the seasonal knitting

My lovely friend Heather inspires me in so many ways - tattoos, music, film, dreams of log cabins and Christmas projects.

Each year she decides on a Christmas crafty/arty project and spends several weeks or months making them for lucky friends.   Here's something she made me...................

I will never forget the year of the birds.  I can't remember what the finished project was going to be but I do remember the birds - many, many birds to be sewn.  Every spare moment she cut out fabric, assembled pieces and sewed birds.........................and sewed...................and sewed............ and is probably sat sewing several years later.

Her commitment to give her friends something made with love is inspiring and that is why each year as summer lengthens and autumn is around the corner I start on my annual projects ......... made with love.

How's it going?

The KAL is going very well - thanks for asking.  Seven of us are knitting on our Strokkurs in a variety of colourways.

I love the gentle curve along the edge that is a direct result of the waist shaping decreases.  The yarn is a delight to knit with.  The gentle twist is making a lovely knitted fabric and it's knitting up really quickly.  I'm just about to start the waist shaping increases which will continue that gentle curve up to the bust.

When I've finished this one that I'm knitting for Lydia* I'm tempted to knit the cardi version for me - my bust wouldn't cope with the jumper but the cardi would be perfect.

I have to get better at taking photographs as I'm fed up of seeing the same background in all my photos.   I need a camera, something white and some skill!

* Lydia - son's girlfriend for whom I'm knitting this jumper because she is both lovely and tiny.  Tiny means I can stay ahead on the KAL.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Anticipatory Excitement

Last night I finished my main knitting project - Dark Pearl is off the needles. It needs blocking and buttons but the knitting is done.    A lovely, quick knit with no seaming (I hate seaming).

This leaves me without any knitting - well except for socks (there's always socks), puffs and a snowman!

The timing is perfect as any day now yarn will arrive and I'll start swatching for the Strokkur KAL  on Ravelry.  "Swatching?" I hear you ask quizzically.  Yes I'll be doing two or three - needles, yarns and colour dominance all need some thought and planning.

We'll be knitting Strokkur in the round so swatching needs a little more consideration. Fortunately Ysolda has done the thinking for us with this great post on Swift Swatching 

And if you're still choosing colours this is one of my favourite posts on the subject, another from the Technique Thursday series, also by Ysolda (why yes I am a huge fan girl!).

I love, love, love the planning involved in the lead up to a new major project. Every new project is an adventure and I wonder where this one will take us?

Happy Swatching!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday colour dominance

It's a rare Saturday when I'm not working.  I usually drive a couple of hours East or North to teach a full day antenatal class with the NCT and then drive home again.  I think I have some of the best jobs in the world (I have three or four) but a Saturday off is special.  Mr P is working and Calum, who is home from University for the summer, is still sleeping

It began with a pot of tea (Earl Gray Rooibush- no milk thank you), a pen, notebook, laptop in my lap and a Podcast on in the background (KnitBritish).

I'm planning the Strokkur KAL and want to understand more about colour dominance.  The pattern by Ysolda Teague is stunningly effective and not too complicated.  A quick Google and lo and behold I discover a post by Ysolda in her Technique Thursday series all about colour dominance.

Dovestone Natural Aran - my yarn of choice for this project comes in five natural shades.

The pattern uses three colours - the Main Colour (MC) which is used for the body of the sweater.  Contrasting Colour 1 (CC1), and Contrasting Colour 2 (CC2).   I've chosen #2 for the body with #5 and #3 for the other two.  But I haven't decided which one will be CC1 and which CC2.

So today I'm going to read about and understand colour dominance and then do two swatches and see the difference for myself.  Forty years knitting and I'm still learning!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Knit Along with me

Mostly these days I'm knitting with Titus by baa ram ewe - Dark Pearl by Carol Feller is on the needles and very nearly finished.

Titus* is everything I want in yarn - nice to handle, lovely colours, beautiful fabric when knitted up - and it's from Yorkshire.  As a proud Yorkshire Lass it makes me happy to support Yorkshire in any which way I can.  And it may be my imagination but I'm sure I knit faster................

I've been so besotted by Titus that I haven't tried the other yarns produced by baa ram ewe - Dovestone DK or Dovestone Natural Aran - launched just last week as part of the Autumn/Winter 2016 collection.

However, that is set to change as I am delighted to be hosting a Knit Along on the baa ram ewe group on Ravelry.   We're going to be knitting Strokkur - a fabulous pattern by Ysolda Teague and featured on the front cover of the book to accompany the new yarn.

This is the KAL for you if you've been wanting to knit your first sweater - it's knit in the round with some lovely colourwork.  And if all of that is new to you then it's a great opportunity to join in, learn some new skills and have fun - all from the comfort of your knitting corner at home.  You'll even have a finished sweater for those cold, cosy nights by the fire or a Christmas present (I'm knitting for my son's girlfriend).

I've got some great ideas for the next couple of months and to join us click over to the Ravelry Group and let me know you want to take part.   We're planning to cast on August 1st (or thereabouts) so you've got a couple of weeks to choose your colourway, get your sticks ready and swatch - yes I really do think you ought to!

Any questions just ask and I'll see you on Ravelry soon.

* Even the inspiration for the name is Yorkshire - Titus Salt a great philanthropist and Yorkshire mill owner.

NB - this isn't a sponsored post I'm just a huge fan.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Just knitting

I feel as if after years and years of studying and striving I've finally got somewhere or I've got old enough to realise I was always here.

I have a job I love, Calum has gone off to University, my friends are amazing and I have a healthy work / life balance with time to read, to bake and of course to knit.

This year my projects have looked a little like this:

Puff Puff - Hexipuffs - a lifetime project
In Threes by Kelly Without a Net
okay so it's crochet but sshhhh don't tell anyone!!
Dark Pearl, Carol Feller in Titus

There's a pair of socks somewhere ~ there are always socks.  Oh and I'm always knitting breasts (that's a work thing though).

I mostly work evenings and weekends facilitating groups as an antenatal teacher.  The mornings are for admin etc and the afternoons ....................  well for balance the afternoons are for knitting, listening to podcasts.  The latter is for self preservation as without that quiet time I do too much and become unwell - plus as a card carrying introvert those afternoons are pure bliss!

I have a tendancy to be distracted by bright shiny things - ooohhhh I could be a knit designer, have a podcast, write a book, travel the world, go to space...................

The thing is I am never happier than when I'm thinking about knitting, planning a new knitting project, reading about knitting, browsing Ravelry or just knitting.

Friday, May 06, 2016

I am a town mouse

Show me rolling fields, birds swooping down and an unbroken view to the coast and I’ll admit it’s very nice.

For ten years we were country mice - living 20 minutes from people, traffic, shops, noise.   It was very nice.  

We had a huge garden, fire pit, trees. It was very nice.

The view was rolling hills, trees and sky.  It was very nice.

In the early days of this blog there are pictures of dog walks through the bluebell woods at the bottom of our drive, the river, parties in the garden.  It was very nice.

Seven years ago I was done. 
  • I was shocked by the amount of fuel I used driving anywhere.
  • I wanted a bicycle to ride around town.
  • I wanted neighbours without the intensity of village life.
  • I wanted to be surrounded by the dirt and messiness of life.

So we went from nowhere to perhaps the most quirky and ‘interesting’ street in town. Seven years later I still love it.
  • It’s busy and noisy.  
  • There’s a school at each end.  
  •  A Working Mens Club at one end and a night club at the other. 
  • It’s a 2 minute walk to M&S (the best corner shop in the world)
  • Or 2 minutes to the Co-op, two fish and chip shops, two charity shops, post office with the obligatory chatty postmaster. 
  •   The train station is two minutes in the other direction.
  • I can pop on my bike and be at Meeting, friends houses, town or hospital in 15 minutes.
  • My knitting group meets in a great cafe round the corner.
  • And if I was so inclined it’s a five minute walk to a Yoga studio, gym or to go swimming.
  • I can go a week and not need to use my car.
It is perfect.

I am planning a research trip to Paris in September for my Novel (how lovely that the characters chose to live in Paris).  I’m excited by the high rise apartment buildings, the anonymous intensity of city living, the smells.

There is a huge contradiction in this.  I am an introvert and would happily not leave my house for days at a time.  I am not part of all this busyness.  I need time alone in my study writing or in my knitting chair drinking tea.  But like any writer I am an observer - watching, waiting, learning.  Listening to snippets of conversations, smelling life, touching the edges of other people as they go about their days.

I enjoy day trips to the seaside and weekends in the country - but it’s in the towns and cities I belong.  I am a town mouse.