23.7.14

the sea's still singing




Two months, it's been! How quickly that time has passed with not a pile of crafting to show for it. I haven't done a whole heap of knitting lately, although there are three projects on the go. Well, hang on it's two now because I've finally finished a second 'Song of the Sea'. I have to confess the other projects have been dormant for weeks.

I'm not one for repeat knitting projects but a great friend of mine in London, who had admired the first 'Song of the Sea' I made, did me a huge favour recently so I was only too happy to knit this one for her. I let her choose from my stashed yarn and she wanted Whiskers. This sock yarn by Madelinetosh is such a pretty shade, a gentle variegated palette of greys with just a touch of beige in there too. My love for grey isn't showing any signs of diminishing, I find it such a restful colour and easy on the eye, so I'm hoping she'll agree and be pleased with the result. More photos and details are here on Ravelry.

I've just had a few weeks back in the UK with the Model, the first holiday we've had on our own together and I have to say it was a lot of fun. I'm sure there'll be more to come. We divided our time between London, visiting friends (and stocking up on Liberty fabrics and English yarn!), my parents in Cornwall, and a few days in Dorset to check all was well with the cottage and spend some time investigating the habits of razor clams on our favourite beach ...









Happy holidays. Any plans?

25.5.14



Did you have a good weekend? It's been a lazy old one here, even the weather hasn't known what to do with itself. Both boys in our house have succumbed to heavy colds and wanted to do nothing more than hibernate. My girl was involved in a musical theatre show this afternoon which was a treat to watch, as ever. I don't believe there is a finer way to be entertained than watching your offspring on stage, belting out a number from The Sound of Music.

My next knitting project is under way. It is Whispers by Veera Välimäki which is such a pretty little top for Spring/Summer that I'm hoping will keep my interest over the next few weeks or so. I'm using Madelinetosh Dandelion, a first for me and so far, so very good. It has a small amount of linen in it which I think will give a lovely drape. The garter rib hem is done and I'm on to what will probably seem endless circuits of knit stitches, which makes me think I'll probably be casting on something else pretty soon for some variety.

Vibeke from A Butterfly in my Hair very kindly asked me to have a virtual conversation with her recently. She posted it on her blog today so, if you would like to have a read, do pop over when you have a moment. Whilst you're there, be sure to browse through her lovely site and say hello.

Finally, a big thank you for your kind comments about my Kelpie. If you haven't noticed, I have decided to answer them, and future ones, in the comments box so please do pop back and keep the conversation going.

So, that's it for today. Here's wishing you a happy week ahead with lots of happy crafting, what ever it may be?!

19.5.14

kelpie





Kelpie was a looong project for me. Not because it is difficult, because it isn't at all. But because these last few weeks I've had other things on my mind and knitting has had to take a back seat. I think I'm back on the front seat now but have to admit it the speed limit may be a little more restrained from now on.

Kelpie of course is finished just as the weather is getting warmer, which leaves my somewhat Autumnal colour palette a little redundant for some months to come. But no matter, it is a welcome addition to my wardrobe and, for me, about as colourful as it gets. For, as well as all the other things it appears I'm intolerant to, colour might be one of them!

The bulk of Kelpie (by Jared Flood, Brooklyn Tweed) has been knitted with Rowan Fine Tweed. It was my first experience with this yarn and I have to say I loved every minute of it. One couldn't say it is particularly soft but it's the springiness I fell for. That and the inconsistency in its texture, for every so often a slight variation would approach the needles, be it almost dangerously thin, which meant it had to be treated carefully so as to avoid breaking, or thick and squishy in which case it added an interesting imperfection. Particularly for this shawl, which is rustic in style, this yarn is a perfect match. The other great thing about Fine Tweed is that it is sold in smaller, 25g balls, making it ideal for the stripes which take only four rows of each colour. More pics and full details of colours are here on Ravelry.

So I am actually at the point where I have nothing on the needles. A rarity these days. However I'm scheming already. I shall cast on for two projects, one a Spring/Summer top and the other? Another shawl, would you believe. It's only the colour I'm all of a dither about!!

And you? How are you doing these days?

12.5.14

scout woven tee




Well, I've said before that a ray or two of sunshine is what it takes to have me reaching for the sewing machine. So the sun came out and I made a Scout Woven Tee by Grainline Studio, which turns out to be one of the easiest, peasiest sewing patterns ever, and seriously speedy to make, too. Straightforward and taking very little fabric, I had this made from start to finish in a only a matter of hours.

I hadn't downloaded a sewing pattern by PDF before but it's a simple enough process, you just need a decent amount of ink in the print cartridge because there are 16 pages of pattern that need taping together, jigsaw style. Rather than cut out my chosen size, I used bleached parchment paper to trace over my 'jigsaw' just in case I felt the need to tinker with the fitting in the future. It was a good idea as it happens, since I think the pattern runs a little small. Fortunately it has wider than usual hem allowances which meant I was able to claw back a bit of room by pulling out the stitching and doing it again. I do have a rather narrower seam allowance than I would like as a result, but at least I have a wearable garment and my precious fabric didn't go to waste. It's rather ironic to think how I dithered for ages over which fabric to use, not wanting to part with anything too precious in case it was the wrong size. It just goes to show, always trust your instincts because in hindsight I should have pumped for the next size up.

Anyway, I made my Scout with some Liberty fabric left over from this dress that I made a few years ago. The tana lawn, which is so beautiful to wear, is good and wide so just a metre does the job nicely with plenty of room for cutting the bias binding and more to spare.

Next time I shall make my top longer and also add a little length to the sleeves. I say that because I ended up serging (without using the blades) the edges of both the hem and sleeves and then turning them up a rough half centimetre before stitching down. Incidentally, the Grainline Studio website gives lots of advice and tutorials for adapting this pattern, which is immensely helpful. What a great pattern and now I know the size I'm after, I'm all set for another. Then one with longer sleeves, a dress, maybe a tunic .. ooh, the possibilities are endless so here's hoping the sun keeps shining!

Have a lovely week, everyone!

6.5.14


These past few days have seen me reaching for the heating switch again and, what's more, pushing my desire for sewing to one side in favour of knitting once again. It's a funny old time of year. Last week when it was gloriously warm and sunny, out came the Spring .. no wait, warmer weather clothing even .. for just a few days. Long enough to be lulled into a false sense of Summer security.

But that's ok. I am more than happy to cosy up in a favourite chair by the light of the table lamp, basket full of yarn and spare needles by my side. I listen to British radio through my computer and relish those few moments when it is just me .. and my knitting.

I'm currently coming to the end of Kelpie and, despite the fact it's been a somewhat lengthy project, I think I'm going to like it. There was a moment when I wasn't so sure though, the colours are not in my usual palate of choice and it also occurs to me that my other knits to date have been in solid colours. I've enjoyed the stripes, although you can probably tell I have yet to reach the 'sewing in the ends' stage!

I love this moment in a project, reaching the final furlong and, at the same time, deciding on what's next. I've already done the swatch, wound the yarn, downloaded the pattern. Oh, happy days.

What are you up to. Knitting? Sewing? Something else?

14.4.14

liberty tova





There's nothing like a surge in temperature and a ray or two of sunshine to start analysing one's wardrobe. There was a time when I wore only dresses but lately I have been favouring trousers which, as luck would have it, means I have a bona fide excuse to sew some tops. Let's face it, there are only so many dresses one can really justify, I think.

I've been talking about dusting down the sewing machine for months now and finally, with the advent of Spring, not to mention a good dose of Vitamin D pouring through the windows, I cut into some prized Liberty fabric. I bought this last summer when we were back in the UK but now can't find a link to its name anywhere. I love it for the very British print with lion, griffin, roses and chariot and if anyone out there can identify it, I'd love you to say.

Isn't sewing a much faster fix than knitting? Once I set my mind to it, I had this made in two very short days. Oh, I haven't told you about the pattern yet .. it's the ubiquitous Tova by Wiksten. I made a Winter version two and a half years ago so I knew it was going to be a successful project but partnered with the tana lawn, it is even better. I must confess I had forgotten about how tricky the placket can be but, taken slowly and with great care, the pieces all work!

This one is a fair bit shorter than the pattern calls for and I also made a larger size than I would normally do. I find this pattern runs a little small across the shoulders and besides, I dislike snug fitting tops. I also dispensed with the collar this time, in favour of simple bias binding around the neckline. Despite being quick to choose the fabric and my pattern, one thing I couldn't decide on throughout the entire project was whether to add buttons to the placket or not. My Winter Tova gapes at the neckline you see. So far, this one is fine (although the weight of buttons could possibly change that) but the deciding factor was that the fuse in my voltage transformer blew before I could get the buttonhole foot out of its box .. fate, I guess. So no buttons!

Are you enjoying some sunshine in your part of the world? Let's hope so!

1.4.14

lila



I'm not going to apologise for my absence this time. There really is no point because I'll probably go and do it again. Not that I mean to, of course .. but that's life for you. You know how it is, it has a habit of getting in the way.

I have a new favourite knit to show you and even this has taken me a while to finish, such are my days at the moment. This is Lila, by Carrie Bostik Hoge of Madder, and I've just realised she is my first jumper knitted in the round. Both Luka and Kaari were created on straight needles (wow, they haven't been used in a while!) and the rest have all been cardigans. Oh, and there's the yarn I must mention, too. Wowee, Swan's Island is just the most heavenly worsted ever. Satisfyingly organic and feeling as blissful as cashmere, it is pure and undyed 85% merino, 15% alpaca goodness.

I loved seeing my Lila develop from a band of garter stitch to gorgeous garment, which I'll need to wear as much as I can because Vancouver is positively bursting with Spring life, sunshine and warmth right now. Details and heaps more pics of Lila are on my Ravelry page, right here.

Well, what to do next? I'm contemplating getting the sewing machine out but as far as knitting goes, let's see. In my favourites right now and contending for the circulars are -

Whispers top
Saco Stripes linen tank
Lola shawl
Brisha shawl

And you? What are you planning for the Springtime? Knitting? Sewing? I'd love to hear ..
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