Saturday, 5 April 2014

Re-training my knitting brain

I’m currently plodding on with my grey CDA Petite Choses Cardigan.  This is being knit in grey rowan alpaca cotton which is a nice fluffy yarn but it’s a pig to pull out as it catches.  I should try to make fewer mistakes I guess. 

This is a free pattern and can be found here, it is in French but there in a link to an English translation.

I have mentioned before that I consider myself to be a beginner when it comes to knitting, I guess I could say I was now an intermediate knitter considering the range of things I have taught myself to do but… I always feel like a bit of a fraud.  You see knitting on long straight needles is a breeze for me, but using circular needles and double pointed needles has proven difficult as I am a ‘tuck your right hand needle under the armpit’ knitter.  This is how my Mam knitted and my Nanna before her and how I was taught as a kid.  It transpires it may be a bit of a northern thing or at least I have read that certain regions of the country tend to have pockets of us armpit lot.  This is a fine way of knitting and I am fast knitting this way, but you can’t tuck a floppy circular needle under your armpit, and tiny DPN’s tucked under there make me look like a demented T Rex (yes I tried). 
I decided that I would have to re-learn how to knit and how to hold my needles and yarn and I am quite proud to announce that I have nailed it.  It took about a week of persevering but I have cracked it.  There are lots of various methods of how to hold needles but I looked at them all and found a way that feels natural to me and this is it.

 Holding the needles like a pen and flicking the yarn over with the index finger of my right hand.

Flicking the yarn over
This is how I hold my yarn for tension

This cardigan was knit quite quickly on long needles up to the point where all parts had to be added to a big circular needle. It’s a bit slow going from there as I am using this cardigan as my practice to learn a new method of knitting.

I have been interchanging between the two methods of knitting and I find I am able to do both now without much trouble, there is a 3-5 second delay every time I pick up my circular needles as my brain puts my hand into the best position and the first couple of stitches are a bit pathetic but I soon get into it.  Fingers crossed I will have a completed cardigan to share with you soon.

I have already got my next project lined up and am itching to get started with it, on circular needles of course.

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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Colour Affection Shawl

I was the very lucky recipient of a stunning gift from my friend Lynda some time ago and I am totally in love with it.
My first Colour Affection Shawl (pattern by Veera Valimaki)
I wear this often, regardless if it matches what I am wearing, I just love it.  I wear it so often that I simply had to have another one in another colour so I bought the wool and the pattern and went for it.
I would say I am a basic to intermediate knitter and looking at the shawl that I have it just looks so complicated, but it’s really not.
It was a nice easy pattern to follow and I think that the overall effect makes it look a heck of a lot more complicated than it actually is.
I am in love with all things mustard at the minute and when I clapped eyes on this Fyberspates Yarn I had to have it.  
I bought three skeins in three colourways and I am really happy with how it turned out.
I have read about problems people have encountered when knitting this pattern, namely the hump that forms at the top and the tight sides with the carrying of the yarn up the side.  
I was aware of this and tried my best to give generous leeway at each colour change. 
This is not a complicated pattern but it is a grind, it takes a long time and towards the end your rows seem to go on forever.  When the shawl came off the needles I was a mixture of relieved and gutted.
The hump was very obvious; almost a hood shape and the sides were tighter than I thought they might be.  Gutted!
I thought I would block it and see how I felt after that and lo and behold, the miracle of blocking did its thing!
I adore it.  The mustard colour has a golden hue it is a simply beautiful yarn.
It is a large item and is very difficult to photograph, not to mention that the light has been rubbish lately too.
Here it is, my little pride and joy, it gives my other pink colour affection a day off.

While the wool was out I did make myself a pair of wristees following the same pattern I used to make these from the Learn to Knit, Love to Knit book, simple but effective with a stripe I think... now just watch a heatwave will hit the UK!
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Saturday, 15 March 2014

The Birthday Berwick Scarf

I knitted this up as a gift for my friend’s birthday last month and can share it here now. 

This shawl / scarf was made up as I went along, not a difficult pattern at all, I cast on 3 stitches and increased one stitch at the end of every other row to give the increase on one side, I called it the 'Berwick Scarf', if you've been to Berwick you will know that you need a sturdy warm scarf.
 Simple garter stitch, alternating between the Rowan Linen and the Rowan Alpaca Cotton finished off with a crochet edging, and a wibbly wobbly pom pom finish.

 The pom pom pattern was taken from here.

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Monday, 10 February 2014

The Season for Gloves and Cowls

I was the lucky recipient of some beautiful handmade gifts again this month. These arm warmers have been on my list of things to make for a long time now and my lovely friend Lynda of Laa Laa Land made me a pair as a gift. 

I was overwhelmed they are super soft and so beautifully made. 

The pattern is Alice Caterpillars a Suzie Johnson design from The Wool Sanctuary.

I also received a skein of this stunning wool, it is Amoroso, Malabrigo from Uruguay and it was enough to knit a cowl to keep out this recent chill.

Shocking washed out photo I'm rubbish at this selfie lark!

I knitted this in the round in one piece and it took the full skein, the pattern is Honey and you can find it here for free on Ravelry.
I knit some gloves myself this month from this book that I bought myself for Christmas,

these have been given as a gift now so I can share here.

Really simple but effective pattern, I embellished them with some ‘forget me not’s’ and made a brooch to match.

I'm in the process of knitting, hooking and sewing gifts so I have nothing to show at the minute apart from these sneaky peeks.

Rounding the week off nicely with a kitty cuddle from my poorly kitty

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Friday, 24 January 2014

I cant throw pretty stuff out

I put my new Mollie Makes calendar up in my crafty cupboard at the start of the month and I couldn't bear to part with the old one.  Pages and pages of pretty stuff, just too good to chuck.
 Using a little envelope template (google it or make one yourself) I cut out each of the 12 pages drawing around my simple template on the back.
 Oskar was helping, but he got bored and napped instead.
 Folded them over and with a smidgen of pritt stick I had 12 adorable mini envelopes. 

 I use mini envelopes to keep my re-used paper hexagons in when paper piecing.
 The back page was calling me too, still too pretty to chuck but too thick to make into envelopes.
 I found some little key ring blanks in my cross stitch stash and make a new keyring for the back door key.

 Had I had enough I could have made dozens, but in the meantime I will hoard these away, too pretty to chuck.

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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 Round Up

Well here we are at the end of another year (grab a cuppa this is a long one).
I have neglected my poor blog this year but that is something I hope to change this coming year.  My dabble in social media was only ever supposed to be somewhere to document my makes and I must admit to having been draw in farther that I would have liked.  I have found myself absorbed in Instagram and twitter in the past to the detriment of my blog, that will change in 2014.

I have never really been a fan of new year and the associated celebrations I must say I find it quite a depressing time but it does give us the opportunity to look back on the last year and celebrate what has been achieved.
This last year has been a big one in our lives especially this last couple of months we have had lots to celebrate.
First up was our tenth wedding anniversary on 4th December 2013.  We celebrated in style in our favourite place, the Tyneside Cinema.

Two short weeks later it was my birthday....  my big birthday....

I was spoiled beyond measure and received some beautiful cards and gifts.  Oskar (Siberian) was my main birthday present

the best gift I've ever received but my beautiful handmade gifts from kind family and friends (you know who you are) came a close second.

beautiful yarn bowl
 gorgeous hand knitted santa socks
 beautiful handmade needle & scissor case

My beloved made my birthday extra special (as always) and he took me to Edinburgh.  We visited the Christmas Markets and just had the best day.
This 40th Birthday was the catalyst for a bit of a change in me.  Late 2011 when I was coming up 38 I decided that I was not going to be 40 and fat!  I have been overweight all of my adult life (from the age of 12) and some find they can accept themselves and are happy, but I have never been, ever.  I only mention this here as I need to document it for myself.  Since early 2012 with the help of Slimming World and Weight Watchers (which I currently attend) I have lost 5 stone. I only ever wanted to be a healthy weight and I never had a goal in sight only that I wanted to be able to walk into any store in the high street and buy clothes.  When I started this I was 18 stone and size 22 (can't believe I am typing this here in print), I am now 13 stone and a size 14.   
There are very few photos of me when I was huge as I hated myself so much I really didn't want it documented, this is the best I have
 in Kirkudbright October 2011 - 18 stone
December 2011 Size 22
 crap photo but you get the idea
December 2013 13 Stone Size 14
I plan to continue my weight loss and fitness this year to reach a level that I am happy with then work on maintaining it.

Over this Christmas period I had saved up some annual leave to have two weeks off work (mainly to rest my poor back) and I have spent much of that time making gifts for friends and family.

 sewing project cases

 christmas hangings

 pyjama case

The Gigi scarf I started on Holiday back in August.

 peg bag

 gloves, if you are close to me you will have received gloves of some description this year I got a bit carried away.

 a button lamp for my gorgeous god daughter who is mesmerised by mine

I made this for myself from a kit supplied by my lovely friend Lynda (you can grab one here, currently 40% off with the code 2014 at checkout). I have bought a second kit to make another matching one for the other side of the fireplace.
I was also the lucky recipient of some stunning handmade gifts for Christmas this year
 crochet make-up pouch
 lip balm holder

 a needle keeper, a gift from Lynda but made by Karen of Pedros Plaques.

Hand crochet mittens! Squeee!  Spoiled rotten.

Well that's your lot folks I will be back in the new year as I already have a list as long as my arm of things to make this coming year, not least as there are two babies on the way in our family and friend circle so a blanket or two will be my first priority.

Here's to a Healthy Happy 2014 for us all.

(Oskars Christmas outfit, couldn't resist x)

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