Thursday, 31 May 2012

A little bit all over the place...

Having finally decided on the Baby Cables and Big Ones too as my next project the weather took a turn for the better and boy oh boy has it been hot! Once again I'm not complaining at all as it's been simply lovely to get out in the garden and really tackle some long overdue jobs. The only problem being that my hands were too hot and sticky to knit with the wool/alpaca blend I'd chosen. 

That's it so far! All I've managed is the cast on, then the second round which places markers for all the cables. I know, bit feeble! The next round needs you to place markers for the raglans as well, so whilst waiting for some more stitch markers to arrive in the post I came over all fickle!

Rather than get all hot and bothered and irritable with the jumper, I decided to cast on another Ishbel in a merino/silk blend. This seems to slip through my fingers a lot more easily and goodness me what a joy this has been so far. The colours are beautiful and it's my first time using Posh Yarn, certainly don't think it'll be my last! I've properly raced through so far and just like reading a good book, I really want to slow down and make the enjoyment last a bit longer. 

Interspersed with the knitting I've been reading 'The Paris Wife' by Paula McLain and I can honestly say it's been as much of a pleasure as knitting with the merino/silk.
Smooth flowing writing added to my love of reading on the Kindle has made it a complete joy. I'm honestly trying to slow down the knitting and the reading to make it all last at least until the end of the weekend, but knowing me that will be tricky.

Apologies for this being a little late, unfortunately the day job just intruded a bit too much yesterday! I hope you're all enjoying your knitting and current book. To keep up with lots of other lovely WIPs and books please pop on over to Tamis place and Ginny's place

I've ended up with a reading list almost as long as my Ravelry queue thanks to the yarn along which I'm delighted with for the summer.

Friday, 25 May 2012

So proud, but so emotional...

Its a strange day, my baby girl has gone in for her last official day at school. All the girls had decided to go in wearing their old school uniform which they haven't had to wear for the past two years. I cannot explain the huge lump it brought my throat to see my beautiful grown up 18 year old dashing off to school all excited in her school togs :( She does have to go back next month to sit her last two A level exams, but then schooldays are done and hopefully off to Uni. All I can see in my mind's eye is her little scared face on her very first day at Primary school as a cute, curly haired, very shy 4 year old and I just want all that time back please? It can't be too much to ask surely? 

Ok deep breath, I had a little cry on her first day and now I've had a little cry on her last, enough now. She's grown from that shy little girl into the most confident, funny, bright, entertaining, talented, hard working, gorgeous young woman and I'm so proud of her I could burst. I bet she'd be surprised to hear that, I'll show her this one day. I know that it basically means I've done my job properly, so on we go to the next phase of her and my life.............

Hooray Henry it's a Hat!

Well knock me down and call me Shirley I've managed to finish yet another project! I can only assume that it's the encouragement given to me by all my lovely readers and the prospect of sharing the news with you all via Tami's FO Friday and Linda's Creative Friday linkys. Thanks so much ladies for giving me the gentle push I need to keep on going and I so love sharing what I'm doing with you all.

Will's beanie is now complete just in time for 29c heat to descend on us. Honestly it's no wonder us Brits bang on and on about the weather all the time; we've gone from a frost at night a week ago and temperatures of about 10c to blazing heat and sunshine. I mean don't get me wrong it's glorious and I love it, but we're never ready, there's never a gentle rise in temperature and a lead in to it, just bang 'there you go Summer, that's what you wanted wasn't it?'

Here in the South East of England along with many parts of the country we are officially in 'drought', we have a hosepipe ban, despite having about five weeks of solid rain through April and early May so getting out and doing the gardening has been a bit of a challenge. It's either rock solid ground or so muddy you can't do anything with it, anyway today I've achieved. I've cut grass, weeded, pruned, emptied pots, put up the hanging basket and does it look any different (well apart from the grass) no! It's been a gorgeous day though and I'll round off with a special few pictures for you.
 Me, totally rocking the sunglasses, gardening clothes and woolly hat combo, lovely jubbly! to round it off though I popped outside our place at work on Wednesday to eat my lunch as it was so warm and lovely, just to show how glamorous the view is....

Pallet heaven!!!

Wishing you a very Happy Friday x

For lots of other lovely FOs and Creative Friday posts pop on over to Tamis place and Linda's place

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Decision made.....finally!

It's strange that I was having so much trouble finding a new project to cast on as normally it's exactly the opposite, in other words I'm usually telling myself off for casting on too many! My son came to the rescue whilst I was agonising and requested a hat. That was certainly a first. It seems that a college friend of his has a Mum who knits and he quite liked the hat she knitted him. No pressure there then. 

The plan was to cast on a ribbed beanie and while I was knitting that, hopefully another project for me would be easier to find. It seems to have worked and I'm almost done on the Beanie.

After much searching I've finally settled on a pattern for myself, which is Baby cables and big ones too. 

Its a really lovely looking pattern with a lot of different textures to keep the knitter's interest. I think my wool and alpaca blend will work well with all the stitch patterns, so I've eagerly cast on to get going. I've got gauge with a slightly smaller 3.75mm needle and as it seems to be a jumper that grows a little with washing and wearing, probably due to the garter stitch yoke, I'll be knitting the smallest size. Unfortunately I cam home from work with a nasty headache yesterday evening so I haven't made much progress yet, but as my evenings are pretty clear this week I hope to really push on with my knitting. Its typical that having found a gorgeous jumper to knit the weather has now turned quite warm, but after all the grey days and rain lately I'm certainly not complaining!

In the meantime I'm off to continue my latest book group book 'The Paris Wife' on my new found love my Kindle, only just started the book but it really promises to be a good one. Our last few book group choices have been very interesting and quite different topics, so I'm looking forward to really getting stuck into this one. I'll let you know how I get on next week. Have a lovely day everyone, hope you've got gorgeous weather like we have x

To see lots of other WIPs pop on over to Tamis place
For lots of interesting WIPs and books pop on over to Ginny's place

Friday, 18 May 2012

Relief and Joy!

'Its done, its done' I cried, generally to myself, as no matter how much I try to involve them in my creative endeavours my kids aren't particularly interested. No matter, as long as the bride, my gorgeous friend Rachael loves it then all is well in Woollyworld. As hoped I did manage to get the shawl finished over the weekend, in amongst cutting the huge jungle of grass that calls itself my garden and making a start on painting the hall. Pretty tiring weekend I must say, however I did have the presence of mind to book this week off work as holiday, so that I could push on with the decorating and as many other household jobs as possible. 

The shawl is now washed and pinned out on the lounge floor drying and looks as I hoped it would, gentle ivory colour, soft and large enough to manoeuvre in a few different ways on the big day. I think I'll give it a gentle press when its dried just to open out the delicate lace pattern, as although I now have blocking pins I'm not an experienced blocker (is that the correct term?) and struggle to be brave enough to drag it about as much as it probably needs. 

A very uninteresting picture I'm afraid, Its so dull and grey today even with all the lights on in the room! My blocking system consists of my son's beach towel plopped on top of a bath towel, on top of my lounge rug. Bit cobbled together but actually works quite well as the pins stab the rug (hopefully without causing any lasting damage) quite effectively.

The shawl has now been passed to the Bride to be who is really pleased with it and I even got a crafty look at some phone pictures of her dress, oh it's so beautiful she will look a dream. Rach is one of those wonderfully photogenic people with a heartwarming smile and I couldn't be happier for her and her lovely man, as they both deserve all the happiness in the world.

 I'm so looking forward to the wedding, as it's a real 'village affair', well if you don't count the fact that Tom is of Scots descent and will be wearing his kilt and Rach is from Yorkshire that is. 

On the day I will take plenty of pictures for you all to see. After all a shawl such as this doesn't come into its own until its in position round a bride's shoulders!

Wishing you all a happy Friday and don't forget to see lots of other wonderful projects hop on over to Tamis place

For lots of other creative posts pop in to Lindas place

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Decisions, decisions, decisions...

I'm feeling a bit of a fraud posting this under WIP Wednesdays as I don't actually have a project on my needles, but I'm hoping dear readers that you may be able to steer me in the right direction?

The only problem with there being so many wonderful patterns in my queue, in my pattern folder and in all the great magazines I have stored, is that now I have finished all my WIPs (yes you heard it, all of them!) I absolutely cannot choose what to cast on next. Its not that I've lost my knitting mojo I can assure you of that, its the fact that I promised myself that the next project would be for me. For some reason this fills me with indecision and major dilemma. When I'm knitting for others I find it quite easy to look at the individual, gauge their likes and dislikes and pattern and colour choices just seem to flow. When its my turn I just go all 'bleurgh'!

I'm determined though, so I gave myself a 24hr deadline (what on earth is it with me and deadlines?) to concentrate on what I needed, or would like to knit. Knitting from stash was a must as I've paid out quite enough on other purchases this month and to be honest I could knit for the next 3 years and still have plenty left, so surely there must be some yarn there for me :)

The stash boxes, baskets and bags have all been pulled out and thoroughly searched through to find some inspiration. There must have been some plan for this yarn in the past so why does it have to be so hard. 

In the depths of the stash I found 5 skeins of Stylecraft Ethical Twist in the Oatmeal colourway. Now I really love this Wool and Alpaca blend yarn and so want it to be a cuddly garment for me, only loving the yarn as much as I do makes the pattern choosing even worse. One option that I love is the Sweetgum Duncan jumper on Ravelry, but what I'd really like is a seamless cardigan pattern instead. That seems to be proving more tricky to find. 

As I'm meant to be decorating this week (no point taking a week off work and not getting it all done!) I may need to put this decision to one side and get back to my roller, brush and paint tin, at least it's still sort of creative.

All you lovelies out there must have a favourite seamless (preferably top down as I've recently discovered and love this method) cardigan pattern so do you have any recommendations for me please? Your ideas may stop me becoming obsessed with this search.

I was hoping to be at the point of repeating the mantra ok, now breathe, keep calm and cast on - sure I've heard that somewhere before! Unfortunately I'm not quite there yet!

To see lots of other real WIPs please hop on over to Tamis place

Friday, 11 May 2012

Raspberry Rosehip

Goodness I seem to have another FO two weeks running (does a little squeaky happy dance round the kitchen!). This has been an absolutely delightful test knit for the very talented designer Patricia Martin who is producing gorgeous designs for shawls, wraps, hats and mitts at quite a rate.

The Rosehip pattern isn't yet published, but I'll let you all know as soon as it is. Its been a lovely quick knit, essentially simple, yet with a lace and cable pattern on each long edge capturing my interest and keeping things moving along. The wrap only takes one skein of sock yarn, so is an ideal project for a lovely luxury skein you've got cosied up in your stash crying out to be released!

It was interesting for me to knit a project on 5mm needles with such a lightweight yarn, and as you can see it created a lovely light open fabric. Ideal for the infamous wedding I'm off to in June (see yesterday's post to explain) although I'm still not decided on the colour of the dress I'm wearing. That is a whole other story in itself. Do I go for the lime green or the midnight blue? Actually I could post some pics on here later and let you lovelies decide for me. Typical Libran that I am, the decision making process is a tad painful!

Anyway I'm digressing, apologies.

I did waver half way through the project as to whether I should've knit on a smaller needle, but I'm glad I stuck with it as it is as I'm loving the end result. I've finally finished blocking and have ended up with pink nails as the yarn lost a lost of colour whilst being washed. Oh well I can always paint my nails! Here's a few pics of the finished piece...

Now off to concentrate on finishing the Bridal shawl. Cheerio, see you soon x

To see everyones lovely projects check FO Friday posts

Thursday, 10 May 2012

WIPW - Mother of all deadlines!

I seem to be unable to help myself. No matter how much pressure I've felt with knitting deadlines previously, or how many times I've said I won't commit to deadlines any more, what did I go and do? 

Yes, I picked the mother of all deadlines, a good friend's wedding. Not only have I been knitting myself a wrap for the event in June ( more on that to come Friday) but I took complete leave of my senses about a month ago and after the excitement of finishing my first Ishbel shaw,l I asked the bride to be whether she would like a lacy ivory shawl for her wedding day! I know, I know what was I thinking? Well its pretty clear I wasn't doing any kind of thinking at all I was just going through post knitted object completion bliss.....

I was virtually positive she would tactfully decline and to help her along a bit I set up a couple of perfect get out clauses for her " I won't be the slightest bit offended if it's not your cup of tea" and "no problem if you already have something else sorted". After all there's nothing worse than having something pushed on you when you just don't want it. This is a bride we're talking about here, they're in charge you know! She surprised me with her enthusiasm, so off I set on yet another road to deadline :)

Further down my mad road I am about three quarters of the way through the bridal shawl now and  hanging on to the hope that this slightly crisp bamboo and wool mix yarn will bloom after washing and blocking. Otherwise its an awful lot of late nights coming up for me trying to prepare a mark 2 shawl?!

Having a reasonably quiet weekend coming up (apart from running a teenagers tennis session at our local club, aargh!) I should be able to complete the ivory loveliness and get blocking. Wish me luck everyone as the bride to be seems very excited about it............. 


Some frothy loveliness for you

WIP Wednesday - to see what everyone's working on check here

Friday, 4 May 2012

FO Friday - The cardigan of doom

Unbelievably its Friday again and as seems to be the norm recently its a grey, grey day. There is however a very large, enormous in fact, shiny bright spot in this grey day, and that is my FO. Not necessarily because I love it, but because its finished and I no longer have to think about it again hooray!

Here is what became known as 'The Cardigan of Doom'. Not because it was difficult, just because it dragged on and on, mainly as each time I knitted for longer than half an hour, the 8mm needles and 2 strands of Aran weight yarn gave me a horrible wrist ache. If it was for me I would have frogged it right back when it was started, which must have been about a year and a half ago. It was however meant for my daughter Fiona who had thus far never requested a particular item of knitting. She became very attached to the picture in the pattern book and just kept mentioning it! As us Mums know a small amount of flattery 'in the I'm sure you could knit that really easily Mum!' vein, will get you everywhere. 

I think I cast it on in approx November 2010 and just kept putting it down, stuffing it in a bag, moving it from room to room, until eventually a couple of months ago I decided it had to be gone. I didn't admit defeat and even roped in my Mum to help with the button bands and collar. It is now a whole and complete carpet like jacket of immense warmth, and I suspect once its been washed of immense size, but we'll worry about that if and when it happens! So in all its glory here is...............

The Cardigan of Doom - otherwise known as 'Lace Jacket' from the Big Easy by Debbie Bliss. Phew, I've never been so relieved in all my life. I'm not sure I care if she ever even wears it :)

Thursday, 3 May 2012

WIP Wednesdays - Raspberries and Cream

I'm feeling a lot more inspired after Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, so I'm very keen to continue on and join in with WIP Wednesdays and FO Friday.

I have 2 projects on the go at the moment. I know that I'm being very strict on myself, I must not submit to startitis!

 The first is my 'Raspberry Rosehip'

which is a test knit for the wonderful designer Patricia Martin. Its going really well knitted up in some gorgeous Lady Katherine Sock yarn by CountessAblaze colourway 'Tainted Love'.

 Setting that against my 2nd project my Ishbel shawl in natural wool and bamboo sock yarn

they look like a positively luscious bowl of raspberries and cream! At least that's what I thought when I saw them sat on the sofa together looking divine.......Here's a little peek.