knit

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’!

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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!

Charity hat making is good for the soul – not quite sparking joy – it’s also a delaying tactic

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Here are two more chunky hats knitted for a local homeless charity I can not donate time to the cause but I can donate craft and a hat is whipped up in two or three knitting sessions. It’s good for the soul to give something back in any way I can. I admire those who do more.

This hat making is helping me clear some of my yarn stash too so it’s a win-win situation. There’s a lot in the media right now about clearing and cleaning your life which seems to involve sorting out and tidying up and getting rid of things that don’t spark joy aka Marie Kondo styling. This yarn is lovely, nice colours, great to knit with (Adriafil Mistero) but it wasn’t making me smile a lot as it’s left from previous projects and there was never enough to do anything bigger. It was languishing in a cupboard. I am so glad to have re-found it and hopefully it will spark joy for someone else in more than one way.

However …. as much as I am enjoying the hat making I know I am putting off other things, including finishing knitting and sewing larger projects. It is very satisfying to see something grow quickly and then be gifted. I am talking about my recent baby knits and quick projects. This morning I looked at a few half done/three quarters done/tangled/mistaken projects in my craft room. I looked, then ‘hid’ them from myself until another day. I am wondering if it’s not just my crafting that is being avoided.

For now, it’s time to cast on again. I am thinking this is almost my own version of ‘taking a basket weaving class’ with a slightly more fulfilling end.

Another baby knit for a weeny newborn

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Just showing and telling ..

I loved making this for the newborn in my extended family. It’s the third time I’ve used this pattern, Sirdar 1817.

It’s still a little big and might be for a while. Look at those rolled up sleeves – her hands are in there somewhere! And the bootees I made too – I knew they’d have growing room …

I love an easy knit sometimes. Do you have favourite baby patterns you’ve made several times?

The Mindfulness of Knitting – book review

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Some of you may remember I touched on this book a couple of weeks ago. I realised I hadn’t updated my thoughts, so here goes ..

I was given this book, rather than chose it. It seemed to be a title that celebrated being a ‘knitist’ enjoying the mindfulness of knitting without realising the benefits gained and then expanding that mindfulness by focussing on it. The first few pages were exactly that. I liked the confirmation of enjoyment and contentment. It was not like being preached to – I preach myself about the pleasures of knitting to anyone that will listen (husband shakes head in wonder as he sits next to me, totally does not understand my love of it!)

I loved this extract

There was also a great section about whether knitting is a hobby or just part of life’s necessity. Mention of discovering a late relative’s finished garments made from expensive yarns – the knitter a hobbyist perhaps, lucky enough to have a little money to buy nice yarns, searching them out from various locations and making fashionable items. On another page the author talked of being in a Northern English area where only local, purposeful wool was used and even undergarments were knitted – so perhaps more of a necessity there. It made me think I am a hobbyist but if I need a sweater to be warm I will go for warm fibre over prettiness. Wool reigns over manmade textiles for me but there are so many attractive wools anyway, plus I buy local and wherever I find yarn shops and online too. I am too much of a slow knitter to be make me one purely of necessity – I would be draped in half garments – though I possibly would have a lot of hats!

Sadly, as the book continued I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I had hoped to. I wanted it to be about embracing and expanding skills without stressing about it, and it did say that briefly, however towards the end it seemed to change the focus from enjoying your knitting to drawing patterns in a mindful way, not knitting patterns though, more like mandalas. Over all not quite the book I’d hoped it would become. It is only a little book though, so not much knitting time wasted.

Bye for now.

Crafting success !

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I want to shout from the rooftops – well, from my sofa actually. After yesterday’s failed knitting attempts my mojo came back today, and with it clear thinking. Picking up stitches around the armholes was a doddle. I undid the mega disastrous neckline – something I hadn’t even considered yesterday – repicked up stitches, reknit it, still not perfect but definitely not as ‘cobbled’ together as it was first time round. I even found the perfect buttons. Not blocked yet but feeling proud so wanted to share.

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Moving on, I’ve even revisited my pile of WIPs and organised them into some kind of better order. Here’s the next one to finish this week – a baby cardigan for imminent family arrival, loving the fluted edging. I have to admit it’s the next part that I take a deep breath for – sewing up an button band -but I am on a roll and it WILL be done.

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I’ve started a great book too – this was after my mojo came back – wish I’d read it last week! So far, loving it. If anyone has already read this, think of me as ‘Miss Marple’ today. More about this will follow another day for those who have no idea what that means!

I’ve always known the calm knitting brings – this isn’t a new thing, just sometimes we all need reminding. Signing off for now. Knitting calling.