Tag Archives: Knitting

#knitforwinter

I was contacted a few weeks ago to be asked if I wanted to take part in a charity knitting project that is being organised in collaboration with Sunrise Senior Living.

The name of this project is #knitforwinter and it involves bloggers knitting a hat, mittens or scarf  (I have been sent the materials, and had to choose from a selection of patterns).  When done, I just send it back, and the items will get donated  to an age charity, for them to sell in their shops and raise money for a great cause.

We see news reports of the elderly struggling with the fall in temperature, according to Age UK 1 older person needlessly dies every 7 minutes from the cold. The aim of this campaign is to donate cold weather items in order to raise money for age charities that help prevent these deaths every year.

I’m gladly taking part so that I can contribute but also spread the word.  Here is a link to the recent blog post where you can find out more and meet other bloggers taking part.

Now, want to know what I am knitting?

#knitforwinter

It’s an Infinity Cowl using brioche stitch (OMG this stitch is soooo difficult to diagnose when you have a problem! And it makes me think of croissants.  I know, they are different, but still, that’s how my mind works).

As an idea of scale, this is one big ball of wool.

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It’s possibly the size of a normal domestic cat (one that my cat would have for breakfast).

And want to see the stick I got for bringing my knitting with me away for the weekend?  (You might have to click on the link to see the picture).

 

Lightwaves shawl

I knit a shawlette, but the observant amongst you may have seen that before Christmas, when I showed a poor photo here.

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It’s the Lightwavesshawl by Susan Ashcroft and it’s made using Rowan Alpaca, from Black Sheep Wools.

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It took me nigh on a year to knit it not because there is a load of knitting ( a load of stitches, yes, all on a long circular needle;-) )

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But it took me a long time due to my ‘omg I don’t know how to do that’ inertia.

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It’s knit over circular needles with a combination of stocking stitch and garter stitch. Nothing particularly scary there, except keeping accurate count. And even the pattern advises of a mid way stitch marker. But the complexity comes through the creation of the waves which are formed using short rows. This clearly was my first short rows experience but hey, I am not phased by them now. The short rows enable you to knit each colour block almost in one continuous row- short rows are deployed for going backwards and forwards to knit the deep parts of each row, to create a wave effect.

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The pattern was really good with extra links for knitting short rows. I cannot fault it, more my knitting ‘L’ plates. I probably almost followed the pattern, but it will not be the most polished rendition on Ravely I bet. But then, despite the appearance of a couple of knitted things in the space of a month that might lead you to think the contrary, I do not knit a lot.

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So, despite this being unpolished and with plentiful flaws, I am really pleased I tackled something that felt like a steep learning curve for me. I love the colours and the softness of the yarn. Although if I made it again ( and I do have a quantity of yarn left that could be used) I would change the order of the colours to be more rainbow like and blended… Thanks Dad for braving the wind and being my beach location photographer supreme!

A Manly Scarf for #debsknittingchallenge

A few months ago I was asked if I’d like to take part in a knitting challenge – namely to knit something up for a special man in my life for Christmas.  Strangely the challenge came from Debenhams, a department store, selling amongst other things, all sorts of knitted things for men, & women, grown up & young, and not somewhere I associated with handknitting & crafting.   But I said yes, especially as they offered to contribute towards my supplies.   And especially since it gave me an idea about what to do for someone who is usually difficult to buy for, my Dad.  He seems to have everything he needs, and what’s even more tricky, is that it’s his birthday close to Christmas as well, a sure test of the well of inspiration.

manly scarf #debsknittingchallenge

Now I am not known for my knitting prowess, as recently mentioned.  So I was modest & realistic in my choice of project :  a scarf in something soft & *manly*.  The Manly Scarf #3  by Luise O’Neil caught my eye – an interesting stitch combo to give texture (it’s a kind of herringbone) – but not beyond the skills of the Badger.

Manly scarf #debsknittingchallenge

It has a four row pattern repeat which I just about got to grips with half way in & found my own rhythm for remembering where I was mid-row.   Before this stage, if I lost my place, I tended to rip out the whole row as I really couldn’t tell by looking, what place in the row I had got to.

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I chose a gorgeous brown/ grey tweed effect yarn, an acrylic, Caron Simply Soft Paints in ‘sticks & stones’ – a perfect choice for my Dad & his Tweed.  Being acrylic it’s soft  against the skin too, as it has to be if I have any chance of it being worn….

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It knitted up as about 270 rows, and I have to say I really enjoyed the night time knitting on the sofa in front of the TV.  It also accompanied me on a few train journeys.  It watched a series of Breaking Bad with me & it  joined Man Men series 5 (got a lot of catching up to do!)

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I loved blocking it in daylight & seeing the resulting textures brought about by the yarn combo & stitch.

 

manly scarf #debsknittingchallenge

Hopefully my Dad will miss this post before he gets it wrapped up & presented to him for Christmas …I love the idea that I have made him something that he can get snuggled with (in a very manly way of course)!

I’m looking forward to seeing other #debsknittingchallenge offerings & there is some kind of surprise…& the name of Patrick Grant was also used to lure us in ….who knows?!  Anyway 14th December is the deadline for the reveal – just got my photos done in time…

Slipper socks – of the knitted variety

I’m knitting up a storm, well in relative Badger terms. I am not an accomplished knitter, as you know by the absence of any regular features on my knitting productivity, however at this time of year I do seem to be knitting more than at any other time of the year.

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Some are gifts, and I just cannot resist ! My golden rule is that it has to look simple to knit.   I have learnt from experience that when I come across instructions in knitting patterns that baffle me, that it adds a good three months minimum to the expected completion date.  I become paralysed by the prospect of understanding something new.

But as for a simple make- how about these Slipper socks from Bergere de France. I have only just cast them on, with a cute 9 stitches for the tongue and feel that making these in time for Christmas is most definitely achievable. But even if I don’t give them away I have sneakily chosen something that I’d wear myself, should replacement of my current stinky slipper socks be more deserving.

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I feel a great internal dialogue persisting about whether I keep them or give them away!

All of the pieces are available to buy at this link, buttons, the special suede sole, and of course funky colours. I fancied green stripes & boy, they are going to be bright! Now I am just waiting for my 6mm needles to get delivered ……my fingers are itching – there is nothing like a winter’s evening watching a film with knitting on the go.

And just to prove that I do finish stuff, here is a preview of something I started *quite a few months ago*

Light wavesMy “Lightwaves” Shawlette.  You see it’s knitted with “short rows” (automatically add several months delay as I was sent into uber limboland before attempting that particular process) & then add another four weeks as it lingered whilst I made the effort to find out about blocking.  I will provide more of a write up about it when the light is better & I can work out how I best like wearing it.  But, I do finish my knits!

Knitting for gifts though, seems so much more achievable- maybe it’s because I am choosing simpler accessories?  I shall keep you posted.   What do you think?  Are you in a knitting frenzy at the moment?

Disclosure, I have been sent the slipper sock kit to review by Bergere de France, but clearly am too early in the process to tell you anything more. Next time I will tell you whether I am keeping them for myself or not!!

GoT series one knitting: the slouchy hat

So I told you that I had been lounging, knitting whilst watching the Game of Thrones series one boxset?  (A recommended activity on cold wintry afternoons with the fire on I have to say).  Well this is the outcome & will forever remind me of the unfolding drama …

Well, I was knitting from Jane Brocket’s Gentle Art of Knitting, her “Ochre Hat” pattern.

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It’s a wonderfully simple pattern: rib, 10 rows of stocking stitch followed by 10 rows of reverse stocking stitch with shaping at the crown.

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It’s a large flumpy slouchy hat & the reverse stocking stitch bands give it a gorgeous texture.  Plus it is even simple enough for me to only have one instance of ripping out.

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I made it using Adriafil Knitcol trends 100% merino variegated yarn.  Boy I used to love it when the red came through the needles.  The blue/white part was more stripey & so created stitches that almost looked fairisle.  I guess this hat looked more complex as a result!

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So much so that my Mum has leapt at the change to knit her own version.  I gave this one as a present, & it looks so much better on the recipient (she has long hair).

So I’ve got series two now ….what’s on the needles? 😉

Hope you are all having a great weekend. Hope to be catching up with you soon …xx

Wiser and warmer: FO Wisdom cardigan

This feels like a great start to the weekend:  I have a new cardigan.  But not just any cardigan, this one is the first item of clothing I have ever knitted!  Woo hoo, champagne feels most definitely in order (but then when isn’t a good time for some fizz I ask you?! 😉 )

This is Wisdom by Kim Hargreaves using Rowan Tweed wool.  Delicious stuff, knubbly in the most gorgeous purple with blobs of blue & white cropping up every now & then.  It has contrasting pocket linings & sleeve edges which I have done in lime green.  The pattern is knitted in bands of double moss stitch & stocking stitch.

My trials in making this have been documented along the way, and it’s taken me about a year.  yep.  That’s long.  I have only had Xmas present scarf making to compete with this on my needles.  Apart from that I’ve been mainly, er, knitting this.  Clearly every now & then.  I had lots of ripping out.  I know for a fact that I got the sleeves’ pattern wrong, not understanding the instructions until reaching the same point on sleeve two & realising how I should have done it (it was a minor error I am living with).

The final push took me a long time.  I’d finished the actual knitting yet the stitching up was slow.  Why you might ask?  After so many months of intermittent beaver-like activity surely the stitching would be easy?  My main strength is sewing, surely this should be a breeze & the reward?

Hmm, well there were two factors that prompted drag.  Firstly (& this sounds REALLY pathetic) the evenings were getting too dark to stitch this dark wool, seriously!  The light in our lounge is appalling & I just couldn’t see.  In the end I finished the sewing, yep you guessed it, in my sewing room.  What genius!

Secondly I was in a panic after sewing up the body & trialling the sleeves.  They seemed WAY too short.  I put my head in the sand, turned the other way & hoped they’d stretch overnight over the course of three or four weeks by lying in a pile.

I overcame this by speaking to my all knowing knitting & sewing guru, my Mum.  She suggested basting them to see just how short they really were.  So I did.  And yes, you can see they are “bracelet length”, but nothing that my monkey-sleeved Renfrew can’t compensate for.  I sewed the buttons on last night (in my sewing room).  So the verdict after this shaggy dog story?  I am loving it!  I know there are flaws, but I learnt such a lot knitting it.  Making pockets, that even one stitch buttonholes are bigger than they seem, & of course how to rip out & pick up.  I managed to knit a neckband with picking stitches up & knitting all in one go.  I never tried anything like that before. Even the sewing together was a new experience.

As for the wearing?  As you can see today I am working from home (hence the gloves!!) & am nice & cosy.  The cardigan is cute & warm.  It’s got a nice shape to it, & whilst I would have preferred sleeves to match my gorilla arms, they are not out of place with the rest of the style’s cropped-ness & nipped in waist.  I think when fastened, the buttons get stretched a bit – possibly I should have knitted a size larger, who knows.  But definitely a timely completion as purple is one of my winter colours (funny that, considering I started it last winter!)

So what next do you ask?  That is a good question.  I quite fancy crocheting or knitting a cushion cover ….any suggestions?

Loving knitting: Wisdom Kim Hargreaves progress

This post should really be called “Loving Kim Hargreaves” as I think I have a real knit crush on her designs as you might gather.

So it was 9 months ago, that’s 75% of a whole year, that I started knitting my very first garment.

You may remember if your grey cells function better than mine that I decided on the beautiful Wisdom by Kim Hargreaves, made from high end Rowan felted tweed in a purple colour.  It is lush, it has these nubby bits in, pops of blue & white which over the last 9 months I have become very familiar with.  The pocket linings & very first row of the sleeves are a contrast colour, lime green in my case.

I have learnt so much about reading the language of knitting patterns, I have made SO many mistakes & ripped out a good 100+ rows in various stages, the largest being a chunk of about 40 rows.  I look at the front & actually can’t see the buttonholes (so small are they), but there does appear to be a (gasp) hole not located in the button band, much bigger than the intended buttonholes!  I shall sew it up.  I shall.

I have fallen prey to the trancelike state double moss stitch invokes with blocks of 20 rows of this stitch.  I prefer it to knitting the purl row.  I levitate with that flicking of the wool from front to back in between stitches ….you’re almost hypnotised thinking about it, admit it….

Where I am at on sleeve no.2

There are a few mistakes & I shall have to live with the sleeves’ first block of double moss stitch not being deep enough due to my stupid pattern reading….but I only discovered it when starting the second sleeve & getting it right.  Unfortunately sleeves have to match don’t they?  I took the pain, preferring to live with the slight mistake forever after rather than rip out a whole sleeve.  Would you have ripped out a whole sleeve, would you?  If yes you’re a better person than me.  You will have a view whether I chose the right path…..

I am almost finished, having a new spurt of knit-ergy after a few weeks/ months where it was out of favour for some reason.   Had I “watched” more of the Euro football  my knitting would be even further on.  So here we are, I have a back, 2 fronts & one sleeve.  Just the sleeve to complete & the neck edge.

Sewing it up scares me.  Actually finishing it scares me also.  How will I decide what to knit next?

There are a few contenders in the same book, “Cherished“.

“Raine” which has a lacy edge & ooh goodie more double moss stitch.

“Skylark” which has a lace rib throughout.

Or a simple cropped cardigan, “Fawn”

And “Goodwill” – in a stitch that looks as if it too would deliver more yogic knitting.

I also have Breeze (a recent Ebay purchase), also Kim Hargreaves.  I am not sure if it is aimed at the younger generation as the models are teens (oops!) but that’s not going to stop me.  Here are a few more pics to ogle at.

“Ruby” – Raglan sleeved with garter stitch trim.

“Hush” is a phenomenon in double moss stitch – love it

I do like “Lavender” as well for its lace hem & sweet little pattern.

There are a couple of peplum cardies including this one which looks cute cute cute

This is “Dolly”.  The interesting thing is that Breeze is most definitely a summer knits book & Cherished is for winter.  I have a shortage of summer cardigans, so judging by my speed at completion I should potentially start something from Breeze for next summer- possibly making the most of some summer yarn sales perhaps.  Any recommendations? 😉

But as with my sewing it feels more natural to start something to wear in the winter.  I don’t think this is a good plan, unless it’s something chunkier (& there are a few in Cherished, but long line jackety coats with epaulettes which aren’t me plus would take a hell of a lot of yarn), & chunky scarves which are pretty dreamy too.  Looks like it’s back to Cherished we go just to show you the scarves…

This is “Clarity” a crocheted scarf in Alpaca cotton, suitable for a novice (that’ll be me!)

Open work stitch snood called “Comet”, the vest is also a pattern.  So there you are.  Spot my indecision (as always!) but huge Kim crush.

All pictures (with the exception of the amateur purple knitting are from Kim Hargreaves’ site)

Distracted

Ok so not much sewing going on here- but hope to rectify that this weekend. I’m still reeling from an exceptionally late night morning on Monday Tuesday visiting London town to see the awesome Cake, an American band that sadly only one person outside my fellow cake groupie family had heard of.

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They’ve been going since the early 90s and are wonderfully quirky clever musicians, brilliant lyricists that seeing them live has to be in my top 4 live experiences.   Something they do to supplement their cool vibes -at each gig they give away a tree & ask winners to post pictures of their tree on their website as part of the “Cake Forest”-  love it!  (I didn’t try to win, by the way – couldn’t imagine carting it home via the Tube & British Rail!).  Anyway this awesome experience involved getting the last train back home, not getting tucked up in bed till 2am on a work night!! Honestly, whilst I’m glad that I still managed plenty of body bopping (with minimal impact on my ageing and mistreated joints )in time to the plentiful funky beats, I am clearly too old to miss my sleep, finding that it’s Thursday and I’m still prising my eyes open at any specific time of the day, not just during unnecessarily long meetings/  astronomy on tv.

I’ve often thought when I go along to the odd concert how I also enjoy checking out the rest of the audience. Most of the things I go to have a range of ages represented, and I’m always particularly curious to spot fellow 40 year olds at events for bands from our student days who have clung onto or adapted their teenage student style as homage to the band they’re attending. Theres usually plenty of balding tshirt and jeans wearing men, but I love seeing ladies carrying off their vintage wardrobes, the ubiquitous Breton shirt, a nice bit of floral, all sported with confidence. Me? If I’m honest I also think about what I’m wearing too, and it mostly involves wearing something I’ve made myself, because at the end of the day, these are the clothes I love the most that express personal style.  But am careful of not being overdressed too, attending gigs mainly with tshirt-wearing 40 year old men (with plentiful hair I hasten to add!!)

Anyway – one of my reasons for sharing this – I’m interested in how well known they are to any readers across the ocean as they’ve done so many great albums …. And any one else reading this – in fact come forward any Cake fans?! Convince me that it’s just the southwest that is sheltered from their brilliance?

Sorry, that was longer than I planned, here are some pictures of things other than Cake that are interesting me at the moment.
Plenty of knitting:

Patons Fab Big wool in teal
Another snood made with some fabulous acrylic “Patons Fab Big”.


A Martha Stewart knitted neck scarf has been started in heritage dk. I’ve also bought some merino blend Aran to make another.


I’ve noticed though that I seem to be scared of finishing woolen makes, with three things now waiting for their finishing touches & ends darned in. Hmmm. What does that mean?   Incidentally these are all Christmas makes, my purple Kim Hargreaves cardigan is on ice until I finish my list.

And I’ve also been spellbound by this amazing book:

Betty Foster's Adapting to Fashion
Betty foster’s Adapting to Fashion. It was really cheap,  nearly new with untouched pattern pieces included. Oh it’s not only practical with lots of help with step by step fitting and adapting, it also fills me with glee looking at the 80s styling that recall Duran Duran’s “Rio” days. Whilst there is a lot of attention to the bodice & tops/ blouses there are also pages for dresses, skirts, trousers & jackets.  It’s not a thick book, & once past fitting your basic pattern, it’s explained mainly by diagrams, simple enough even for me?

He he!  Some cool yoke adaptations, but look at the fringe – mine goes like that now if I don’t watch out!!

Another view showing various bodice dart workings – there are also pages on other types of darts – eg shoulder darts.   This book covers so many different styles using the basics, adding collars, (great pages on Peter Pan collars 🙂   ).  I can’t wait to try drafting different shaped sleeves.  And just one more …


Don’t you just wish there were also make up lessons included?

Hope you’re all either managing to stay focused or are easy with your distractions.  I think I’m going to pick up my knitting!

Sweet snood of mine

I am so lucky. I actually won Karen of didyoumakethat ‘s knittilicious giveaway.
The other day this was waiting for me.

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The wrapping paper was touchy feely flocked like curry-house wallpaper. A stroke or two later, a laugh at the very appropriate style laden card ” get out of my way, I’m fabulous” and then into the parcel itself….

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I was too excited to model it with my coat ( please imagine) but talk about soft to wear and the most perfect colour…. No silly! Not the Wolves hat!! Karen thank you,the craftsmanship is beautiful. I shall treasure my sweet snood and as I feel the chill, rest assured it will get lots of wear.

“she’s got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky”

Its the most gorgeous blue that is more tropical ocean colour than the sky, but I shall sing along to the tune but it’ll be “sweet snood of mine” ….

Getting a bit wiser

I’m getting in my stride with double moss stitch. Look, my Wisdom cardigan is growing. There are no obvious mistakes. (apart from this pic being upside down, ha ha! Trying out the wordpress app on my iPhone)

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The last time I wrote about this knitting I was in a quandary and state of semi reluctance about tension squares. Thanks to everyone’s advice I sat and knitted two more tension squares. Thing is neither were right and so I went with the needles that gave the right number of rows but not stitches- or was it the other way round? Can’t remember! I’d love to know what the advice would be next time.