Update


Not much has been happening in the world of craft, but I did managed to finish a few projects.  The first one I am super excited about is the Central Park Hoodie.  I have been wanting to knit this pattern since I first saw it on Ravelry a few years ago, but I never had the right yarn (or enough of it).  And so the pattern, like so so many others, stayed in my queue and taunted me everytime I thought about what to cast on.

Then I found I finally had the magic trifecta: time, yarn, and pattern.  Voila. In 3 weeks I had all my hoodie bits and a week later they were sewn up.  Magic.

I love it, but I have to say, if I were to do it all over again, I would have made it a 36.  I did some investigating on Ravelry and it seems like everyone mentioned that this pattern ran a bit small.  However, I think I like my jumpers a bit tighter, and while this hoodie is cozy, it’s not quite form flattering.  Also, I have a feeling that this yarn (New Lanark) might grow a bit with wear, meaning I’m about to end up with closer to 4 inches of ease. Oh well.

But enough about knitting, what else has been happening?  Oh, just insane wedding planning!

Because I’m a masochist, I decided that I could HAND SEW everyone a goodie bag, and that I could then fill the goodie bags with Scottish related stuff.  Like a wee bottle of whiskey, some short bread cookies, and some other crap.  But this means finding a good pattern and have atting it.   Yesterday I tried out a sample one to see what it would look like:

In my wedding colours! Burgundy/merlot  with black interior and embellished with a cream ribbon in the same colour as my wedding invites (what what for making them all from scratch, bitchez!)

Not gonna lie- it took me forever to make this one.  Mostly because of the small things, like cutting the squares on my ironing board because I don’t have a table. Or changing the thread to match the ribbon before changing it again to match the bag.  So the new plan is to spend a day just cutting. Then just sewing the ribbon on. Then finally I can piece all the bloody pieces together into a bag. Because that? That only takes like 10 minutes.

1 down, 59 more to go!

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I’m not a scarf knitter.  I don’t like how long they take, how it never really changes, and how much I would rather be knitting a jumper.

BUT, for some reason, I have managed to pump out not one, but TWO scarves this month, and the harshest of winter is already behind us.

why this sudden scarf splurge?  Well, it all began when I was trying to clear out my stash a bit.  I found I had 4 balls of Knit Picks comfy worsted left over from a shirt I did.  It was back when I was just starting my knitting adventure, and I tried to ‘conserve’ yarn by making the top an inch or two shorter than cracking into a whole new ball.  Oh, how I wish I hadn’t.  Anyway, I didn’t know what to do with just over 400 yds of the stuff- too little to make a top for myself, and I didn’t want to make copious hats and mitts.  And then I remembered that the scarf I knit for my partner’s mum whilst flying back from America was the ONLY scarf she ever wore and that it was looking a bit scruffy.

Voila l’Irish Hiking Scarf :

I managed to bang this baby out in just under two weeks, with only knitting at home after work in front of the telly.

The next one out was inspired by how much I really really wanted to do this pattern.  My friend in Edinburgh has this scarf made from BFL, and I’m not ashamed to admit how envious I was of it.  So the opportunity to visit Loop in London was just the excuse I needed to find myself some equally enviable yarn to make it with.  Voici le Just Enough Ruffles scarf, made from the delicious Malabrigo:

It’s long enough to wrap twice around my neck and soft as a baby cloud.  I love it.  It took me 3 days and left me with enough yarn over to make a pair of matching fetching mits.

AND, because I just fell in love with the Malabrigo so much, I might have went online and spontaneously bought another skein to make a 198yds shawlette.

What? DON’T JUDGE ME!

I sense a new era of shawl knitting on the horizon…..

New Years resolution- ACCOMPLISHED!

That’s right! It has been my desire and New Years resolution to learn how to knit colourwork.  Every winter, Ravelry becomes flooded with the most AMAZING looking mittens.  Like the gorgeous Fiddle Head Mitts.  AND lovely wintery jumpers, like Kate Davies’ amazingly cute Paper Dolls and Cold Snap.   This has propagated much jealousy.

But I was scared.  Scared for several reasons.  First, and this is the lamest reason, but the one that terrified me the most, was starting.  Just the concept of ‘adding CC’ kept me at bay.  Just how, exactly, does one ‘join CC’? I have issues with joining new yarns.  After several garments developed holes due to failed yarn joinage ( and trust me, I always weave and knot those bastard ends in like I’m trying to bury an incriminating body from the past), I now only use the felted join or Russian join.  Problem? You can’t do that when you add a second colour.  And NONE of my knitting books addressed how to add the second yarn. NONE.  Thankfully, I found a great way on KnittingHelp.com that told me to make a slip knot with the CC around the MC and then go from there.  And it’s amazing.  You slide that slip knot all the way up to the knit stitch and voila- no holes, no scare.  Then you simply pull out the slip knot and weave away the end. Excellent.

The second thing that held me back was my “unique” knitting style.  Since I learned how to knit via online vids, I didn’t actually understand that there was a difference between Continental and English style.  So I learned to knit by holding the yarn in my left hand, throwing with my left hand, and essentially left-handed knitting.  Which I realised was halfway to Continental, so that’s how I knit now.  But I never used the right hand to do much except hold my needles.  So I always meant to learn proper right handed English style. I mean, I’d seen it enough being done in knit group and I understood the theory of it.

Fast forward to Saturday afternoon.  I somehow found myself drooling over the colorwork mittens.  And wanting to jump in.  Plus, I have a lot of spare balls in my stash that I want to use up.   But the Queen of Bad Knitting Decisions did something totally uncharacteristic  and decided to do something smart- practice.  On a hat.

I had some spare balls of Plymouth Boku hanging around that I’ve been meaning to use for ages, as well as an almost full ball of some grey yarn left over from Kiki’s x-mas mittens.  I would jump in, just start knitting, and figure out the technicalities along the way.   The only bad decision I made was in making the s/m instead of the m/l for fear of not having enough yarn.  Turns out I had PLENTY!

Now, this looks more impressive than it really is because I used a variegated yarn. So it’s the aptly named Fake Fair Isle hat. And I used fake Noro.  I can only imagine how wonderful this would be with Noro, but Noro Kureyon costs like $9, and Boku is $6.  DON’T BE FOOLED!  I am not a fan of this stuff at all! It’s all pretty and stuff, but then you knit with it, and it’s like the equivalent of  buying a ‘Brand New’ DVD of Spiderman from a street vendor in Hong Kong for $1.  Just not the same as the real thing.  But apt for first stranding experiences.


Yay for stranding!

Things I learned: That colourwork heck of tightens up your gauge.  Or at least it did to mine.  Maybe it will loosen up with practice.

-That I can English style knit.  Not very well, not like a pro, and certainly no where near as fast as I Continental.   I totally have to watch what I’m doing, but I can do it.  Double fisting it? Check.

-That I knit better when there is more colour variation.  Switching between two colours every one or two stitches is  fiiiine, but the whole knitting for 8 stitches in one colour I don’t like.  And yes, I taught myself to weave in my ends when I had to go for long periods (8 sts) of one colour, but that sorta tightened up my gauge a bit more.

-Colourwork uses way less yarn that I thought.  I made the bad choice of casting on the smaller size, and the hat does not fit. I mean, this hat is for a child in primary school, and I know none of those.  I read on Ravelry that many people seemed to encounter this problem too, so I’m glad it’s not just me.  But I don’t know if it’s the pattern or the colour work causing my gauge to shrink, or what, but I have a HALF BALL of fake Nono left.  And the whole point of the hat was to USE UP the bloody ball.  AND I still have 2 more balls of this stuff left.

I suppose the next project to learn is entrelac.

In addition to the hat, I also found the time to finish the Mitten I Sorta Invented.   And by that, I mean I totally copied Ysolda’s mitten skeleton for her Snapdragon Mitts, but omitted any embellishments whatsoever.



The yarn I used is another one I hate- Rowan Tapestry.  It lured me in with it’s pretty colours, but the damn stuff is so splitty and I kept stabbing my needles through the yarn and fraying it, that I’m not sure if I can be bothered to finish the other one, esp. when I now want to used up some Rowan Kid Classic on some mitts like this, or this, or this! (shhh, I know that Kid Classic is supposed to be a worsted yarn and that NO ONE uses it for colour work mitts, but I gotta find SOMETHING!)

One more mini-share: The Arwen Cardi.  I’ve been slowly progressing on this and am thiiiiiis close to being 1/3 DONE.

If you can see, I got the left side basically done.  It’s the left front, the sleeve, and half the hood.  I just repeat on the right side, knit the back panel, and then sew up the sides.  Simples!

Now I just need to find the time….

Well, things have been going slower lately due to unforeseeable events (like funerals, snow extremes, and maniacal job applying), but there is some progress getting done.

I’m now on the sleeves of my Owls jumper, and I’m debating if I want to do too much of it, or wait and do the mindless Stst at my knit group on the 20th.  Although I suppose I could always just do the back of my Arwen!

Yes, I’m still trudging along with that, and have learned a new trick to help me git’er done  faster- cabling without the needle.

I’ve been wanting to learn this for AGES, and now have the perfect excuse. I used the version seen here:

This means that I’m flying along with this project. I am also very impressed with my yarn- I’m still on the first skein and already mostly done with the left front panel and  halfway through the arms.  Mayhaps I’ll have enough for a matching sent of gloves and hat?

Whew! Having survived the WORST NEW YEARS EVER, I’m back and throwing myself in the a plethora of projects!  But first, let me re-cap on on the old.

Here’s some of the pressies I knit for my fab friends:

The wonderful Kiki got Rose Red by Ysolda (seen here in Orkney Angora St. Mangus in charcoal)

and

Snapdrago Flip-top mitts also by Ysolda

My other friend Zonko got the same mitts, but in purple, and a slouchy beanie that I already showed on here.

As far as New Year resolutions go, I only have one: Learn to knit colour. I want to learn Insarsia and Fair Isle and to begin pumping out lovely things such as Fiddlehead Mittens, Lett-Lopi Vest, and Paper Dolls. MUST HAPPEN! I’ve been fantasizing over them for ages.

Instead, I started off the New Year trying to use on some stash (and knock some more items off my queue). First up is A Cardigan for Arwen using the wonderful yarn my mom sent me. I’ve loved this cardi since the moment I saw it- those cables, those wonderful cables! So complex looking, ad yet so elegant! I’m about 10 inches into the left front panel and loving it! The cable pattern is pretty easy to memorize once you get an understanding of the pattern.  Which I didn’t at first, almost two pattern repeats in.  I’ve been spoiled with cable patterns where you purl every dot and knit every blank- so I didn’t bother to read the directions very well. Turns out you only purl every dot and knit every blank on the right side and then knit the dots and purl the blanks on the wrong. Bugger. But I’m amazed at how fast this is coming along and can’t wait to get ti done.

I’ve also started another Owls.  I know, I know! But I love how fast this jumper knits up, and I needed something to do while watching endless episodes of Smallville (yay for not having TV…)and you can’t exactly knit the Arwen jumper mindlessly. I also have a funeral to go to this week and need some simple plane knitting, so hopefully I can get this one up and out of the way quickly.

Let’s hope for a knit-astic new year!

Whew, the Christmas holiday is over and me and my Darling Honey are back in the wet, miserable English suburbs. We had an absolutely LOVELY Scottish Christmas, and now that I’m back, I have loads of updates.
1) I finished the Coffee Princess (Ysolda’s Snow White) while on holiday. I know, I really really really wanted to get it done before we left, but I just ran out of time. But a half hour on Boxing day meant that this baby was FINISHED! The only issues I had were that I should have added an inch or two between the decreases/increases so that I wouldn’t have to have added length to the top, and that I really really really need to join better.  I Russian joined my ends together and they kinda left a telltale line where the join happened.  But not enough to bother me.  Outta sight, outta mind.

2) I finally got the chance to cash in my gift vouchers for K1.  I had them in my purse since I left the NLS and really wanted to exchange them for £20 worth of New Lanark, aka enough to make the Central Park Hoodie or the Arwen or another Owls.  So imagine my angst and annoyance to discover that k1 no longer sells that wonderful £3 for 188yds of Aran goodness.  Thank god I can at least order it online.  So there went my hopes of being able to make a jumper.  And without a game plan pre-set, I panicked and didn’t know what to do.  Do I splurge it all on Fyberspates sock yarn to make a lacy shawl? No, don’t like any of the colours left.  Do I splurge it on Magnas Orkney Angora? No, they don’t have the colour of my other ball left and I don’t know what to do with 2 balls of that.  Had I been properly thinking, I would have bought 4 skeins of my favourite Artesano Aran and made a Leisl, but proper thinking was absent that day.  So with my Darling Honey anxiously pacing around outside in the icy Edinburgh cold, I rushed and bought 4 balls of Artesano Inca Mist.  Luckily, I have always always wanted to make Ysolda’s Scroll Scarf, so that what they’re going towards. And with the leftovers….I ‘ll probs get another lacy hat out of them…maybe another Meret.

3) I was SUUUUUUUUUUUUPER lucky to have a wonderful mom who spend a small fortune on me this Christmas buying and shipping me more precious yarn.  I got my order of Knitpicks Wool of the Andes Chunky that I’d bought back in November and then my Kissmas Pressis….MORE WONDERFUL YARN!  My mom went posh on me this year and sent me 8 skeins of Plymouth Pacca Tweed, an aran weight tweedy half alpaca half wool blend that is just luscious.  After much deliberation, I have decided to use it to make Arwen .   And I’ll use my KnitPicks to make another Owls.

4) I also got a bit of Kissmas money from The Parents, The Grandpa, and The Uncle, so while most of it is going to be squirrelled away for saving/rent/food, a wee bit shall be used for more yarn buying.  More yarn?!?! Yes.  Because even though I got loads now, I don’t have enough for all my specific projects.  Projects for the new year:
1) Arwen using my Christmas Pacca Tweed

2) Owls using my Knit Picks Chunky

3) Central Park Hoodie using my unbought New Lanark

4) Vine Yoke Cardigan using my unbought Cascade 220

I also have quite a few patterns I want to make from my Fitted Knits books including another Back to School U neck Vest that will be great in New Lanark, the Boatneck Bluebell sweater, the Textured Tunic, and the Elizabeth Bennet Cabled Cardigan, all by Stefanie Japel.

Whew!  This is not to mention all the smaller projects queued up, such as the scarf, a few shawls, and maybe a few shirts and hats to use up the stash.

Here’s to loads of knitting in the New Year!

The past few days have been dedicated to getting the Crimbo knitting down with.  And thanks to my new Knit group, I managed to suck it up and finish the damn shawl for my granny.

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I have to admit, I HATED this project. The pattern is great, but let’s face it- it’s one realllllllllllllllllllllllllly long sleeve. And I HATE sleeves.  That’s the part that takes me the longest on a jumper because it takes all my nerve to just sit down and get it done with. So this was the most boring project ever. Which explains why it took me 3 months to finally finish it- I made sure to do every other project I could think of just to avoid working on this.  But it’s done and I have to admit I’m sitting here wearing it just now. I know I have to give it up to granny, but hey, my arms are cold in this flat! Plus one of the cuffs is still slightly damp, so really I’m helping it dry faster.  

I also finished my x-mas pressies for my friends Zonko and Kiki.  I can’t show what I knit for Kiki because she reads this, but Zonko hasn’t checked this in yonks, so I can at least post 1/2 of her gift:
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Not very complex at all. I cranked this out in a night, but the awesomeness of the yarn more than makes up for the banality of the hat. Yes, the hat is knit out of my favourite Artesano Alpaca and is very squishy and soft.  I wish I had made the hat a bit more slouchy, but my friend wanted a slouchy beanie and I tried.  You can’t see it (because I failed and did my maths wrong) but the hat is divided in to 6 sections with purls- so it’s like a 18×1 rib or something.  I wish I had broken it down more into a sort of 8×1, which is more or less what the pattern called for.  whoops.  Check out what it’s supposed to look like here.   But anyway, done and done.

Now I can move on to the yarn that’s been calling me for over half the year: my Rowan Calmer. This stuff is LUSH! Which is why it’s normally something like £6 something a 50g ball.  But I kinda got some birthday money ages ago and spent that on yarn at Jenners- but it was on sale! 10 balls of Rowan Calmer, normally pricedf £67.50 for…..£35!!  I worked it out and I have enough for a jumper, a tank, and a hat! BARGIN! 

Here’s what I hope to make:

And then either

or

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