knit

How long is ‘long enough’?

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Or how long is ‘to the desired length’. I am talking knitting terms here. I am deliberating with myself. I am currently knitting a pattern called Spring Roll, by Annie Baker. The pattern recommends knitting with a particular cotton double knit yarn. Instead, I used yarn from my stash, a gorgeous Louisa Harding, Orielle which is mostly alpaca and knits more like a sport weight even on 4mm needles. Hopefully knitters reading this will understand the jargon. If not, you may learn something or move onto another blog post by someone else!

So it needs to drape artistically (!). Currently it’s 113cm at it’s longest point. If I’d gone with the suggested yarn I’d have needed 600m. I have about 550m. I am deciding whether to just keep going or whether I just won’t like it if it’s too short. Kind of playing yarn chicken, or just chicken. Do I continue or will it just not cut the mustard if it’s too short to be effective?

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Finished at last

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Ta dah! My little lacy number is finally off the knitting sticks. It’s sewn up and the buttons are on – it’s no longer a work in progress! Adapted from a 1980’s waistcoat pattern, using Paintbox Cotton DK. I shall wear it as a layer over a summer dress or two. In the UK you never know when you need an extra layer. Can you hear a sigh of relief that I never have to rip this one back again and reknit it? !

RIP, Knit, RIP, Knit, progress. Meanwhile, envying others beautiful crafts.

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My last blog post was about progress and deciding to tackle another WIP. I put aside a pale green scarf and picked up a half-done cotton summer top.

My boy, Mercury watched me as I ripped back. No matter what I do to the camera settings he is so difficult to photograph, being black (with the odd white fleck peeping up as he’s 12 now) he always seems camouflaged. Armed with coffee in one of my ‘knitty’ mugs I was ready to go. This mug was a lovely present from my long suffering husband, you can find them here https://www.dearewe.com/

So, I ripped back, knit, undid a few rows, found a fault, knitted again, found a dropped stitch, couldn’t pick it up, ripped back, continued (you get the idea!). Then yesterday I finally started sewing up and I am now on the home stretch. I am feeling rather proud this WIP has finally progressed but am frustrated this fairly easy knit nearly beat me, probably as I didn’t follow the pattern exactly, changed stitch count and sizing along the way.

Over the last couple of weeks I also thought about my fabric WIPs, none of which are top of the pile to revisit. Mine will be nothing as gorgeous of these, but wanted to share here to help inspire others. This first one is hanging in our local library. It is a work by Orpington Quilters Group. Beautiful, isn’t it? Unfortunately it isn’t hung well, I couldn’t get a better photo of the whole quilt.

This fantastic one was made by a friend at my knitting group. It is her very first foray into quilting, techniques learnt at a Beginner’s quilting group. Despite (again) my photography skills I hope you think it’s fantastic too. Anne, beginner quilter extraordinaire you have definitely inspired me to do better and in particular try the quilt as you go method. I was wondering how I was ever going to tackle the length and breadth of one of my half done quilts!

Bluebells, Lilacs and Knitting

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Spring has sprung and ‘my’ world is full of new blues and greens. I leave a patch of my garden here in the UK wild. Nature takes over, bluebells pop up – this year they are glorious.

Lilacs have arrived too. In Sussex my German sister in law has snipped off a few to adorn her dining table. They are so beautiful. This lilac bush was just a twig from Germany a few years ago and this is the first year there are blooms to enjoy.

I have just returned from a few days in France and lilacs are in my garden there as well. I only wish you could smell their wonderful scent.

And a little knitting for the journey to France. I switched between this new pale green wrap and another white lacy top currently being worked on. You could say is was a ‘mystery’ knit. I printed off a pattern before I left but the printer ran out of ink so I had the instructions but not the photos. It’s called Spring Roll by Anne Baker. It even has ‘Spring’ in it’s name! So there’s a little bit of my Spring. I hope you enjoy the views.

A Knit WIP no more

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This sparkly little toddler bolero was started in March and finished in April – that’s almost a record for me! I actually knitted the pieces quickly (it is a simple pattern and oh how I love making short sleeves!) but I procrastinated over the sewing up and as usual other projects popped up. Unfortunately this is not a great photo – snapped in haste before it went off to it’s new home.

So that’s one less WIP in my pile! Yay! Tomorrow it’s back to reviewing another WIP before I knit or sew other ‘stuff’!

Despair! Knitting WIP. Lifelines. More holes than a cheese grater.

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Oh despair! I recently started another new project – yes, I know I told myself and everyone here that I would not start something new until I had more finished projects .. there was a good reason for this one though and I used yarn from my stash which justified it.

I had a five hour car journey ahead of me. I thought I’d stretch myself, try something a little different. ‘What could go wrong?’ Ha! Lots it turns out!

My latest WIP had got to the stage of sewing up. Who can sew up knitting in a car? If there is anyone who can, please give me hints on how to keep pieces straight on my lap and not lose marker pins and sewing needles in the footwell – I am all ears. Note, I’d be the passenger not the driver, of course! I chose a new project over the sewing up this time.

I did about a third on the journey

I hadn’t made anything lacy in a very long time and realised early on it’s probably because I prefer simple knits. I am using a vintage pattern but am not using vintage cotton and I am adjusting size and shaping. The gauge is slightly off (it grows in length but the width seems ok). I am making it longer than the pattern says so I did two borders rather than one. I went wrong a lot, ripped it back, reknit it. I did not mark off some rows as I knitted, I counted wrong. You name it, I did it! The yellow lines are lifelines, thank goodness I knew about those and had spare yarn with me (of course, I never travel with the bare minimum, not only in my craft bag).

I am now onto the armhole shaping. I am a triangle, a lot less wide at the shoulder than Mrs Average (who is Mrs Average, by the way?). Therefore narrowing the shoulder line involves more counting. Whilst the main body lace is easier than the border, knitting when weary means another lifeline after going wrong again, missing out a row, losing a stitch several rows back (how did I not notice? possibly a missed YO somewhere). I think this may be one of those projects that will take a long time.

Note to self, future car journeys, knit small and easy! Our final destination was to our house in France. We had a glorious weekend of sunshine and R&R, despite the knitting calamity on the way.

Since then, we had a wedding to go to back here in the UK. These fairy lights are just a snippet of the day I wanted to share here. Fantastic day, lovely party, love a wedding!

Knitting and Stitching in London in March

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I was at the Knitting and Stitching Show at London Olympia last Friday and I promised friends I’d do a little summing up of my favourite things. One day just didn’t give me quite enough time to see and do everything! I didn’t get to see any of the Live Theatre or do any Workshops. Next time I will book for two days and plan more.

To start with, I was enthralled by the Quilters Guild exhibition of Modern Samplers . Just a few snaps, only three quilts of many.

I was restrained with my purchases, possibly that’s another reason to go for two days next time! I found a wonderful button maker!

I only bought 2 buttons for projects in mind

I bought beautiful fabric to make a summer dress and a pair of beach pyjamas. You can’t tell here but the the cherry one is cotton and the jade a gorgeous cotton/silk mix. Then there’s a kit to learn how to adjust standard dressmaking patterns. Having struggled to make things fit me perfectly I hope this helps in future. Wish me luck with a lot of reading before the measuring begins. I’m also going to make a little fabric trinket bowl – or maybe two or three!

There were lots of lovely yarn sellers including independent dyers and spinners. I squished and admired and took business cards for future delights. I can hardly believe I had enough self control not to buy from each and every one of them on the day. Yarn is usually my downfall and I often go home with bags full!

There was a sweet knitted display called ‘The Enchanted Wood’, fairies and woodland creatures of all sorts. Donations were being collected for the Louise Hamilton Trust, a charity founded by the family of a young woman who died at an early age from Breast Cancer. The display must have been fun to make, these pictures are a small part just so you can get an idea of what it was all about.

Lastly, and sadly too, the exhibition of Dame Zandra Rhodes knitwear was a little small and poorly located (no pics). It was a shame as she only designed knitwear for the 15 years she had a shop off Bond Street and she is a great admirer of knitting skills. I can’t say what I saw inspired me to knit anything similar – imagine 1980’s picture jumpers in blacks and reds, however I think the exhibition company could have made more of this exhibit.

There was so much more to show you, just wish you could have seen for yourselves. If you did go, please share too!