Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Killing Sweater!

 Well, I finished it! This is me doing my best Sarah Lund pose in my fabulous new sweater. It is a very close copy of the one Lund wears for most of Series III. The yarn and pattern came from Scandinavian Knitting Design - they also have a pattern for the chevron design from the first three episodes. Very tempting! I enjoyed doing the colourwork and am very pleased with the garment.
The Jan Sweater was knitted up ages ago but lay in the basket waiting to be sewn up for months. I am so glad that I finally got around to it.  This is a lovely design and a very good fit.  The Drops Baby Alpaca Silk yarn works well with the design. It is a good fit and very soft.

Yet another Belmondo shawl. This time it is knitted from a single skein of Manos de Urugauy Silk Blend. The colours are beautiful and it feels so soft and silky.
These little Holly Leaf pins are for little Christmas gifts.  They don't take long to make and are very cute.  I am using Rowan Fine Tweed as the colours and texture seemed just perfect for a slightly rustic look.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Crochet neckwarmer of many colours

 I am really proud of this spectacular moebius loop neckwarmer!  It was a free pattern on the Drops website that I fell in love with as soon as it appeared. It took a while to track down the Drops Delight yarn in this colourway (10) but I eventually managed to lay hands on some.  This colourway provides the most contrast within each ball and gives a really great overall effect.  It was really easy to make - took about a week. I had enough yarn left to make the matching hat, which is a fairly slouchy beanie style.
If I can get hold of any more of this yarn I would love to make the handwarmers that go with it.  Drops yarn is amazing as it is really cheap and such great quality.

The new series of Danish crime thriller The Killing started a few weeks ago and I am completely gripped both by the plot and Sarah Lund's latest sweater. As luck would have it, Scandinavian Knitwear Design have come up with a copycat pattern for this traditional Faroese style sweater and are also able to supply the perfect wool to knit up your very own Killing sweater.  I have opted to make it in dark blue and cream - much the same as Lund's.  It is knitting up quickly and I would hope to be wearing it when I watch the concluding episodes in a couple of weeks. Sadly , the pattern seems to have lost something in translation and doesn't entirely make sense so I am having to work out a few issues as I knit.
Finished and being worn is the Curio sweater that I knitted from the Patons Misty that had been hiding in my stash for years. This yarn was super cheap and makes an acceptable substitute for Kidsilk Aura when held double. The style of the sweater is very simple with minimal shaping but it looks quite good on and is very warm and soft. A success!
I have knitted the Lady Detective Hat from Mel Clarke's "Knit Two Together" several times before and very much like the shape of it.  When My friend from work asked me to knit her a hat with a brim I remembered this pattern and though it would be perfect.  I used Patons Colourworks Aran held double - being careful to try and match up the colour runs.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Scarves and Stripes

The weather has got much colder recently and I am feeling the need for warm jumpers. OK, so I do have a few jumpers tucked away in my wardrobe but lovely, fluffy , warm, new knitwear is required. The Patons Misty  is working up quickly and there is now just one small ribbed sleeve to knit before the dreaded sewing up can begin.  This jumper is very wide with tiny sleeves giving it a kind of batwing effect.  I can only hope that it looks as good on me as it does in the pattern.  It will, at the very least,be extremely warm.

Yesterday I finished the Sublime Lustrous Merino version of the Belmondo Shawl - I have lost count of how many of these shaw ls I have now knitted.  It really is a great pattern and only takes 2 or 3 balls of yarn to make a decent sized shawl.  The Lustrous Merino is a lovely shiny yarn and quite soft.  The shawl blocks out well.
This big cosy cowl  took an evening to knit from a single ball of Patons Big Fab once I had worked out what the free pattern on the ball band was going on about. It is a really simple design but the pattern was so badly written that it took several attempts to work out what was supposed to be happening.
The finished cowl is very wearable and versatile.  Big Fab is 100% acrylic and I am now wondering about making one of these from a more luxurious yarn.
I love cowls and have actually finished the Knot and Flower scarf from Toft Alpaca at long last.  It isn't actually a cowl but is designed to be worn like one.  You need to wrap it around the neck several times and then tuck the end in behind the pretty flower.
Drops yarns and patterns are amazing.  The yarn is good quality, really cheap and has excellent pattern support. I fell in love with the beautiful crochet cowl in the latest collection of patterns as soon as I saw it. It took a while to find the exact colourway of Drops Delight  that I wanted but I have now started on the project and can't wait to wear it. I need to make 24 little granny squares , join them together into a moebius loop and then just crochet round the edges.  It is really the colours of the yarn that make this cowl look so special.

When it comes to beautifully coloured yarns, Noro is very hard to beat. The Noro tee shirt is now sewn up and I am trying to decide whether or not to lengthen it a bit by adding a crocheted border.  The pattern instructs you to do a very short moss stitch border but this leaves it too short for me to wear comfortably.  I was thinking of using some sort of lace stitch pattern.

I am really hoping that I can finish my knitted advent garland by December.  I'm using the pattern from Regia's "Christmas Calendar" but am using the yarn single rather than doubled and knitting on smaller needles. I prefer the little socks, mittens and hats slightly smaller and more delicate looking - it also makes the project far less expensive.

Last but not least,here is my little guy wearing his Halloween outfit...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Alpaca, mohair and some Noro

Over the last couple of weeks I have been very much enjoying using some supersoft, cuddly alpaca yarn.  I had been admiring the "Clarity" scarf by Kim Hargreaves for ages and finally decided to have a go with some Rowan Alpaca Cotton that I picked up in a sale recently.  Just two evenings of work and I have ended up  with the most gorgeous, warm, snuggly scarf. As with many of Kim's accessories, this is a simple pattern that is easy to make but looks very striking. The Alpaca Cotton is perfect for this design as it is very light and fluffy but still has good stitch definition. I love the scarf and am planning to make another in cream coloured (or as Rowan calls it "Rice") Alpaca Cotton.
Thinking about alpaca led to me digging out a kit that I bought from Toft Alpaca ages ago - the "Net and Flower Scarf."  It is a long wrap around scarf crocheted in Solomon's Knot stitch and embellished with a layered flower.  I have never used this stitch before and am enjoying the challenge.  The lace is very open at the moment and I think it will be more effective when it is scrunched up and wrapped around the neck a few times.  I have done just over half of the scarf and look forward to getting to the flower part of the pattern.

In anticipation of imminent cold weather I have almost finished a sweater in Patons Misty, which is a very  nice mohair yarn. I am using the yarn double as a substitute for Rowan Kidsilk Trio.  It is looking pretty good. The pattern is called "Curio" and is from the Kidsilk Trio booklet.

Still working on the Noro Sekku tee, and there is just a sleeve and the bottom band to go.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Happy knitting in the sun

 We moved house recently - very stressful! Now that we have settled in a bit and I have reorganized what is left of my yarn stash, I have been spending pleasant hours knitting in the garden and enjoying the last of the Summer sunshine.

 I've knitted about 8 Belmondo shawls now and am loving how they look in various different yarns.  My latest effort is this one knitted from 3 balls of Debbie Bliss Luxury Donegal Aran which were left over from my Central Park Hoodie. It knitted up beautifully and has already been gifted.

The Oatmeal Pullover by Jane Richmond has been on my "to knit" list for a while now and I decided to try it in the Drops Symphony that I bought earlier this year.  It was a quick and easy knit resulting in a snug fitting and wonderfully soft sweater.  I have used just 6 balls for this and have another 6 left which I am seeking a project for.  Maybe a slipover, maybe a shawl, maybe a hat and scarf...
Last night at Tuesday Knitting Group I cast on with my Noro Sekku for a simple cuff to cuff tee
 shirt.  The pattern is from Rowan's Kidsilk Stripe pattern book.  It is very simple but I think it will be perfect to show off the gorgeous colours of the Noro lace yarn. So far I have almost knitted the first sleeve.  It is on smaller needles than I usually use and is growing slowly but I hope to have it finished soon and wear it before it is too cold.

My cute little guy had his hair trimmed today and is almost unrecognizable from the scruffy creature he was yesterday.  I think the extra short cut really shows up his handsome features.  He doesn't much like being trimmed and was shaking like a leaf when I left him. He was just fine when I picked him up and I have given him a tasty pigs ear for a treat as a reward for being so well behaved.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Noro yarn and a cotton top disaster

Well, the Frou Frou top is now complete, blocked and still totally not to my taste.  Although the side panels are hanging a bit better it is just not the way I wanted it to be.  As we are in the process of moving house at the moment I have added it to the pile of clothes that will be going to the charity shop.
More successful is the the latest version of the Belmondo Shawl in the Noro Yuzen that I purchased at Olympia earlier in the year.  It is not the softest yarn but the colours are lovely.
I came across a ribbed scarf that I knitted years ago from Noro Silk Garden and never wore.  The colours are beautiful, so I've frogged it and started another Belmondo.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

The Belmondo Shawl and deeply unflattering cotton tank top

Having finished the first of my Belmondo Shawls, I was well pleased.  The Patons Dew was perfect for this pattern as it drapes nicely.  I used about three and a half balls and have plenty left to make more shawls.  I like the style and the colour of this shawl. Being so pleased with it, I decided to cast on another one to give as a gift with some RYC Silk Aran that I purchased on sale at my LYS, Mavis in Bushey.
  I managed to knit the whole shawl up on Sunday afternoon and was just patting myself on the back when I noticed that I had made mistake with the lace pattern. Darn it!!!
  I must have lost concentration for a while as I watched the Olympics on the telly.  Fortunately you can't see the mistake when you wear the shawl. I have decided to keep it for myself rather than give it as a gift knowing it's not perfect. I love it and have worn it twice already - so maybe it was a lucky mistake.  Still need a gift, so have cast on Belmondo III using the Noro Yuzen that I bought in March at the craft show at Olympia.  This time I will be checking the lace rows very carefully!
Meanwhile, I also had some Wendy Supreme Cotton dk that was telling me it wanted to be a top from a recent issue of Knitting magazine.  The design is called FrouFrou.  Maybe that should have been a clue that it wasn't for me.  After a marathon knitting session on Monday and Tuesday I finished the knitting, sewed it up and was sorely disappointed with the result. There can be few things less flattering than a big frilly panel sticking out at hip level. I should have let the dog eat it when he expressed an interest. Anyways, I've given it a severe blocking and am hoping the frills will drop into a slightly less ridiculous looking style.  More news on this next post!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

You can never have too many shawls

This week I finished the Tussah Silk version of the Sweet November Shawl.  At first I was a bit disappointed with the way it was hanging but after a severe blocking it improved greatly.  The lace really opened up and it stretched into a very wearable shape. I wouldn't say that I am a huge fan of Tussah Silk and doubt that I will use it again but am glad that I tried it.

The Belmondo Shawl is a pattern that I have been wanting to try for a while but couldn't decide which yarn to use.  After rummaging through my stash, I came across a pack of Patons Dew which is a nice silk/cotton/acrylic/viscose mix. I got this in a sale years ago.  So far it is knitting up nicely with just the right amount of drape.  The pattern is easy to memorize and quite effective.
Yet another Wiksten Tank in Liberty Tana Lawn.  This is such a simple project and I would be happy to have a hundred of them hanging in my wardrobe.  The simple design really shows of a beautiful fabric.

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Tova Top, Sweet November Shawl and Liberty Tana Lawn

After making two Wiksten Tanks I decided to try the other Wiksten pattern, the Tova Top. There are lots of fabulous examples of this top all over the internet.  I searched for it on Google and came up with  Tova Tops in many beautiful fabrics, including my favourite Liberty Tana Lawn.  I didn't want to commit my gorgeous Liberty fabric until I was sure that the style and size were right for me so I made a trial Tova in cheap fabric purchased from Watford Market. The pattern and instructions were very clear and simple to follow.  I managed to run up this cute top in an afternoon and am pleased to say that it fits perfectly. The trial Tova is very wearable but I am more excited about the prospect of making up the top in Liberty Tana Lawn.  I bought 3 metres of this wonderful fabric on Ebay recently for a very good price - it is a classic design called Betsy. The pieces are cut out and ready to sew.
  There was enough fabric to cut out another Wiksten Tank and I now feel that there is no such thing as too many of those.  I have already worn the first two many times despite the unseasonably cold weather we've been experiencing recently.  Still some fabric left, so I thought it would be perfect for the lining of a denim sunhat that I've been wanting to make.  The pattern is free on Martha Stewart's website, but be warned that the pattern download is rubbish.  The pieces weren't marked in any way and so it was like working out a puzzle trying to put them together right.  Eventually, I managed to assemble a crown, side and brim pattern.

 The fabric is cut and ready to sew. So now, I have two tops and a hat ready to make up and am looking forward to spending tomorrow at my sewing machine.
I am still working on my Menemsha Pullover but needed a simple project to knit as I watch Wimbledon this week, so I have started (and almost finished!) a Sweet November Shawl in Sublime Tussah Silk.  It should be ready to put the fringe on by tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Menemsha Pullover, another Wiksten Tank, yummy cake and giant insects!!!

I started another knitting project! The Menemsha Pullover from the Summer edition of Interweave Knits is a gorgeous garment.  It is just the sort of knit that I enjoy - some interesting cables and some stocking stitch for a speedy finish. What is more, I am using some yarn from my stash.  Rowan Luxury Cotton dk is a really nice yarn to knit with and seems ideal for this design.
Following the success of my first Wiksten Tank, I have made another in a beautiful Liberty Tana Lawn sunflower design. I have a few other pieces of Liberty fabric that I am looking forward to sewing up soon.  It is really quick to sew with just 2 main pieces and some bias binding around the neck and armholes.  Couldn't be easier really! I reckon you can make one of these in a couple of hours from start to finish.
  I love this fabric and it is a dream to work with. The tank is very comfortable to wear and looks great.  I am particularly proud of the way the pocket matches up.
 There is now a pile of patterns and fabric waiting to be made into wonderful things.  Next project will probably be a Summer Dress in some more of my favourite Tana Lawn fabric.
We had a belated Jubilee Party in our street last week, which was a great excuse to bake a fabulous cake. This was the plumpest, creamiest Victoria Sandwich that  have ever made...

...and it was delicious. Sometimes the simple recipes are the best. I also found a great recipe for Orzo and Tomato Salad in a recent foodie magazine which I took along. The salad was colourful and quite easy to throw together. Lots of fresh herbs. It was really tasty and will definitely get made again.

Alfie loves to sit and watch us cook. Ever hopeful of some scraps.

Last Friday, Watford town centre was taken over by giant insects as part of the" Imagine" arts festival which is happening this week. Giant ants, an immense praying mantis and a supersized spider were so impressive that you barely noticed the puppeteers working incredibly hard to bring them to life.   These amazing puppets towered over the crowds and breathed steam over us as they moved around drawing gasps of amazement from everyone. They were absolutely awesome!!!

I have never seen anything quite like these.