Monday, December 15, 2014

Planning My Christmas Knitting

I'm not talking about knitting Christmas presents here. I'm only knitting three Christmas presents. One is a pair of rainbow socks which I've got to finish tonight as it's for a friend I'm meeting tomorrow. I've got 2/3 of the second foot left to do and the afterthought heel. I'm also knitting Rico reflective hats for my nephews in Norway.

I've got an early January deadline which I'd hoped to finish before we leave for Norway but I'm a bit behind and I may not be able to finish it before we go. As it's due a couple of days after we get back from Norway, I may have to take it with me to finish in Norway.

I usually get a lot of knitting done in Norway. I'm not taking any other deadline knitting apart from a club project I need to finish and which I'm not sharing as it's top secret - there's still time to join the clubs by the way. Next year I'm running the Easy Lace Club and Beads & Lace Club. They will run alternate months so if you fancy a monthly yarny treat, you can join both (and you get a discount if you do). Details are here.

I bought this Wollmeisse about 2-3 years ago on a trip to London. I did cast on something and ripped it out at some point. I'm thinking about doing a crescent shawl with this one. I've got 600m which will make it a decent size shawl. I am thinking of adding a second colour. I've got another skein of Wollmeisse somewhere which I think will match but it means going through my sock yarn stash, which is huge, to find it. This shawl will be an easy lace shawl but I haven't charted (or decided) on the lace pattern yet. 

I bought some Caterpillargreen shawl yarn recently. It's self-striping but in a very clever way. It's designed for top down triangular shawls with a centre spine. The stripes stay the same width all the way through the shawl which is very clever as the rows increase by 4 sts every other row. I'm not that keen on knitting a triangular shaw though so I'm wondering if it'll mess up the stripes if I do a centre insertion of some sort. Again, I don't want to knit a completely plain shawl but I want to include some easy lace but I haven't decided on what yet. Here's an example here of how it knits up. I'm thinking this may be my one of the projects I'll take in my hand-luggage.

Emily wants a pair of Fab Funky Fibre rainbow socks (Vanessa wants a pair too but that'll have to wait till after Christmas, I'm getting a little bit tired of rainbow socks now and it's too late to get more yarn).

We're going to the cinema tomorrow night to see Paddington and I normally take a pair of ribbed socks to work on. I may cast on for Emily's rainbow socks or I may cast on for a pair of Fab Funky Fibres socks for me. The skein below is one of two 50gr skeins of a green yarn which is separated by rainbow stripes. Whichever pair I decide to cast on for, this will also be my travelling project when we fly to Norway on Friday.

I want to design another pair of Selbu inspired mittens using Cerise and Light Grey Navia Duo. They go so well together. Very girly and I already have an idea but i haven't tried to chart it yet. Don't forget to check out the Vaffel Votter mittens and Silver Birch hand-warmers kits in the shop.

Earlier this autumn a beautiful skein of ombre yarn arrived. It's Freia Handpaints and I love the colours. It would become a shawl of some sort but not decided on what yet which means it may not come with me.

So do you think that's enough knitting for 2 weeks? There is a yarn shop 5 mins from where my parents live (or at least here was 2 years ago) so I can buy emergency sock yarn if I run out of knitting.

What are you knitting over the holidays? 

Friday, December 12, 2014

We've got Navia kits!

We've had another delivery of Navia Duo which means we now have Portwrinkle kits in stock. The kit includes all the yarn needed to knit the Portwrinkle scarf in the colours shown. There is 2 balls of Light Grey and one each of Pink, Turquoise and Lime. You will also get a printed pattern (and if you want a pdf copy for your Ravelry library just let me know your Ravelry name when you order).  The only think you need to is a pair of 4mm needles.

There is also a bigger selection of colours available in Silver Birch and Vaffel Votter kits.  Silver Birch are hand warmers featuring a feminine picot edge and a contemporary leaf pattern. 

We've got kits for the original samples - Bahama Blue and Light Grey and Charcoal and Lime.

I've also added a few new colour combinations for Vaffel Votter. Vaffel Votter are inspired by traditional Norwegian Selbu mittens and comes in 2 sizes. Both the Vaffel Votter kits and Silver Birch kits include 2 balls of yarn and a printed pattern (pdf Ravelry pattern is available on request). All you need are needles - your choice of double pointed needles or circular needles.

Perfect as a treat for yourself or a present for a knitter in your life. Here are some of the other colourways avaiable:

 Light Grey and Cerise.

 Plum and Pink

 Red and Charcoal

 Royal Blue and Red

There are other kits too. You can find them all here. Or why not treat yourself or a knitting friend to a club membership? You'll get a monthly kit for 3 months. Choose between Easy Lace and Beads & Lace or go for both!

Have a lovely weekend x

Monday, December 08, 2014

It's a Fab Funky Fibre Rainbow

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen a few progress photos of my rainbow socks. I cast on 2 weeks ago for a bit of selfish knitting in the middle of mad deadline knitting. These socks are addictive - just one more stripe! The yarn is Fab Funky Fibres and they do a big selection of selfstriping hand-dyed yarn (as a former hand-dyer I can testify to what a huge job it is to create even stripes like this - I'm impressed!)

I divided the skein in two by winding the whole skein into a centre pull cake. Then I wound off approx 50gr which meant that the two yarn cakes were wound in opposite directions as I didn't rewind the second half. I'm not at all fussed about matching stripes. In fact I quite prefer mis-matched socks.

I did these socks toe up, using a 2x2 rib, as I wanted to make them as long as possible. I could have made them a bit longer but the leg is 90 rounds and I got bored. I normally make my sock legs about 80 rounds. I decided to try another afterthought heel. I used to think that the only afterthought heels available were short row heels which I don't particularly like, whether they're afterthought or not. They don't fit my high instep very well. So I usually do a heel flap and gusset. But with the stripes on these socks, the increases for the gusset would disrupt the stripes so afterthought heel flap is really the best option.

In the summer I bought Lara Neel's Sock Architecture (Amazon link, Ravelry link). This book is great and I will do a more in-depth review once I've worked through more of the options. It has a selection of patterns but it also has a selection of pick and mix heels and toes for both toe up and top down socks. On my last pair of socks I tried the afterthought thumb-joint/hat top heel which I liked a lot and it fitted me very nicely. 

I looked through the book yesterday and chose the afterthought thumb-joint flat top heel. I think it's a great alternative to a short row heel for those who don't like short rows and this heel fits me perfectly.

The thumb-joint bit is the magic ingredients I think. I'm going to try this with a short row afterthought heel too, I think. Intrigued? Buy Lara Neel's Socks Architecture. You won't regret it. I bought the e-book but wish I'd bought the print book as well. 

I usually use the Turkish (sometimes known as Eastern) cast on for my toe up socks (google it, there are lots of tutorials or come to one of my classes). It's also the casting on method I teach in my Toe Up Socks classes. Lots of knitters prefer Judy's Magic Cast On. I've tried Judy's method before and it looked good but I didn't think it was any better than the Turkish Cast On which I find a lot quicker and easier to do. But I decided to re-visit Judy's Magic Cast On which I used for sock no 1 (on the right in the picture below). I did my regular Turkish Cast on for the second socks (on the left). I did my normal wedge toe. I've compared them carefully and I can't tell any difference between them. So use whichever method you prefer and find easier.

I will be knitting more of these rainbow socks. Emily wants a pair and a friend expressed her wish to have a pair when I saw her last week. I often knit her something for Christmas so I've decided to knit her a pair of rainbow socks. I'm seeing her next Tuesday and the yarn was ordered yesterday so I'll have to knit fast. First I need to find out which shoe size she is without her realising I'm knitting her socks. I'll cast on Emily's socks when we leave for Norway in 2 weeks. I may make it my travel day project.

Thank you to those who commented on my review of Holli Yeoh's Temptest book. I used a random number generator this morning to choose commenter number 8 which is Lin Malcolm. Lin please contact me with your Ravelry name and/or e-mail address and I'll arrange for Holli to contact you with your prize.

Monday, December 01, 2014

The Knitter - Albertine

Have you seen the new issue (issue 78) of The Knitter? That's my shawl, Albertine, on the cover.

Albertine is knitted in Fyberspates Gleem Lace in a stunning colourway. The shape is a semi circular shape using the Pi formula made famous by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I love semi circular shawls, they sit nicely on the shoulders and can be bunched up around your neck and worn as a scarf too.

Beads are added to enhance the lace pattern and complement the gorgeous colour of Fyberspates Gleem Lace. I love the lace pattern in this shawl. In fact, I love everything about this shawl. And I wish I'd get it back before Christmas as I'd definitely wear it on Christmas Eve in Norway. 

Albertine takes just one skein of Gleem Lace. If you don't have time to knit this before Christmas, why not add a skein of Gleem Lace to your Christmas list and then you can cast on on Boxing Day.

I'm really happy with the way The Knitter team have styled and photographed this shawl. It looks so scrumptious and luxurious.

And here's a close up to finish off. Look out for more of my shawls in coming issues of The Knitter. In the meantime, issue 78 is in the shops now.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Portwrinkle - 25% off

The flurry of new pattern releases continues. Portwrinkle was a very quick knit. Once I started I couldn't stop. I've been wearing this scarf several times since I finished it and always get compliments. It's bright but you can use more subdued colours if preferred. I knitted mine in Navia Duo and hopefully kits will be available soon (next week possibly).

Portwrinkle is worked as a rectangle combining three bright colours with grey for a fun, quirky accessory. A chevron pattern highlights the stripes and is interrupted at intervals by a crossed elongated stitch pattern. (There's a tutorial here). At the end the two short sides are joined to make the scarf into an infinity loop.

Portwrinkle can be worn in several different ways. Wear it as a long loop, or wrap it around your neck for added warmth and cozyness.

Portwrinkle is the perfect accessory to brighten up any dull winter day. Get the pattern before 5 December (midnight GMT) and get 25% off. No coupon code needed.

Have a lovely weekend x

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Sock Mojo has returned!

Once upon a time I used to churn out one sock after another. Then my sock mojo went missing. My lovely warm socks gradually wore out till I had no hand-knitted socks left. I do suffer from cold feet. So last Christmas I decided to try and always have a plain pair of socks on the needles in an attempt to increase my sock production.

In August while we were in Spain I cast on this pair. I finished sock no 1 but sock no 2 languished with only half a foot left to knit until Sunday. Sunday evening I finished this pair which is knitted in Sirdar Heart and Sole. I worked them top down with an afterthought heel and swirly toe from Lara Neel's Sock Architecture. I don't normally like afterthought heels as they don't suit my high instep but Lara's book has persuaded me to try a few different heels and toes. This heel, a thumb joint hat top heel, fits surprisingly well. I did a 3x1 rib and after I put the waste yarn in for the heel I forgot I was on the foot and carried on doing 3x1 rib.

After I finished the Sirdar pair I grabbed another sock wip. These are knitted in my own hand-dyed yarn, from the top down. I started them in 2013 sometime but knitted all of the second sock and most of the first this year. I knitted nearly the whole foot (for my UK size 8 feet) on Sunday evening.

Monday morning I felt I could justify casting on for a new pair of socks since I had finished 2 pairs. I wound a very bright rainbow skein of Fab Funky Fibres. I decided to work these toe up so wound them into two 50gr balls.

I'm even doing them on circulars which is very unusual for me as I'm a DPN girl at heart. I'm doing an afterthought heel again, to preserve the stripes. I'm actually over halfway up the leg. I've got a deadline this week so have been trying to ignore this sock but as soon as this deadline is done, I'm finishing this sock. I love the colours!

So since last Christmas I've knitted 7 pairs. Here are 6 of them which means I now have a pair for every day of the week.

Don't forget to read my review of Holli Yeoh's Tempest and enter the prize draw before Sunday. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Silver Birch

My favourite winter accessory is hand-warmers/fingerless mittens. My hands are always cold and with hand-warmers I can still do things with my hands like knit, type, drive my car, get money out of my purse etc and keep my hands warm. So I decided I needed a pair of stranded hand-warmers.

I love Orla Kiely products which feature her trade mark leafy pattern. I used those leaves as inspiration. The leaves get smaller as you move up the hand to the fingers. Again I used my favourite Navia Duo which is just perfect for stranded colourwork/fair isle.

The inside of 'Silver Birch' has diagonal lines moving out to the sides. Both cuffs and the top of the hands/thumb are finished off with a picot hem. The thumb is an afterthought thumb which is so easy to do.

The blue/grey pair is the larger size. I wanted to do the smaller size in lime and silver grey but the colours just didn't work together as there wasn't enough contrast. So I chose the charcoal grey instead.

The Lime is brighter than these photos show. I struggled to get the colours right. We took the photos in poor light conditions but then it's been bad weather and gloomy here all last week, so photography was a bit challenging.

'Silver Birch' comes in two sizes:
Small: 20cm/8in circumference 
Length: 19cm/7½in
Large: 22cm/8½in circumference 
Length: 22cm/8½in
Emily is modelling the smaller charcoal/lime pair and I'm modelling the larger silver grey/Bahama Blue pair.

The yarn is Navia Duo and I will have kits in stock as soon as the printed patterns arrive. In the meantime you can get the pattern on Ravelry with 25% off until 30 November (midnight GMT). No coupon code needed. Pattern will soon be available on Patternfish and Love Knitting too.

Don't forget to check out my 'Vaffel Votter' kits in the shop now.