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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Spain was fabulous!

We've been back from Spain for almost a week now and I wish I was still in Spain. I love hot sunny weather. We left Spain in nearly 30 degrees (and that was in the evening) and when we landed in Bristol it was 10 degrees and raining. It was a bit of a shock to the system. Its been feeling really autumnal since we came back even on a couple of sunny days.

We spent a lot of time on various beaches. We're lucky that the southern Costa Blanca and Mar Menor/northern Costa Calida region has lots of beautiful beaches. If you wanted to, you could probably go to a different beach every day for two weeks. Here are our favourite beaches.

 Two different beaches along Mar Menor

 Mar Menor on the left and Calblanque on the right

Calblanque on the left and Cabo de Palos on the right

On the beach, in between falling asleep listening to audio books and cooling down in the water, I knitted a pair of socks.


We did also spend some time by the pool and I did some sock knitting there too.

My other favourite knitting place was on the balcony of my parents' apartment. I love sitting out there in the early mornings and evenings knitting and watching the world go by. I mainly knitted on a new shawl design which I got about 2/3 of the way through. I've barely picked it up since we got home though.

We didn't spend every day on the beach though. One day we got up really, really early and drove in to Alicante and caught the TRAM up the coast to Altea. Altea's old town is full of narrow streets and pretty white houses and is built on a steep hill. As I injured my knee a few days before we left, I did struggle walking up all those steps but the view from the top was worth it.  

We got to Altea just after ten and spent two hours there before we caught the TRAM back to Alicante. We were glad we got up early as it was already getting too hot to be walking up hills.

We also visited one of our favourite places - the city of Murcia. We always go in the evening as it's cool enough to enjoy the shops in the narrow streets in the old town.

We were lucky with our chosen evening as there happened to be a fiesta on. So we stayed late to watch the parade of the Moors and the Christians. We only watched the first two hours of the parade but it was amazing! Lots of fabulous costumes and the highlight for me were performances by Andalucian horses. They performed an advanced form of ballet.

We did visit a couple of other places too but this was mainly a holiday to relax and recharge. I did mange to finish the socks minus the afterthought heels, which I finished last weekend. I love these socks. Yarn is by Mudpunch who dyes the most amazing self-striping yarn. I don't normally bother matching stripes on my socks but decided to give it a go on these socks and I'm pretty much spot on with the stripes. 

However, once I got to the heel I couldn't be bothered so the heels don't match. I did afterthought circular heels. I am planning to write up a pattern for socks which can be worked toe up or top down with afterthought heels as every time I knit a pair I get asked about the pattern.

I also knitted a pair of beaded lacy wrist warmers. I made them quite long so I can wear them with 3/4 sleeves and they'll cover the exposed part of my arms. For this pair I basically made a tube. For the pattern I will give a choice of a tube or proper fingerless mittens with a thumb. There will also be a choice of lengths. I have finished the second wrist warmer since I got home but haven't had time to take photos yet.

It's back to reality now and I've already taught two workshops since we got home and tomorrow we're off to Yarndale in Yorkshire. Will I see you there?

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Let's Knit 123 - Cover Sweater

Have you seen the new issue of Let's Knit yet? Issue 123 which is in the shops in the UK now has my design on the cover. Let's Knit says: 'We think Anniken Allis might just be the queen of stylish yoke sweaters! We love this striking design and the pretty lace details are an added bonus. This garment is worked in the round, starting with the body. You then set this section to one side while you knit the sleeves. Finally you join it all together on one circular needle and work the yoke, neck and shoulders.' There's no sewing up to do!

This sweater was knitted in Baa Ram Ewe Dovestone DK which is a blend of British wools. This sweater has a simple shape and even if you've never knitted a sweater in the round you can do this! Just give it a go! Both the lace and fair isle patterns are easy to knit. You can pick up this issue in the shops in the UK now.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Fiesta Kit

I'm wearing size 2 and I'm a tall, plus size.

Fiesta  is the perfect layering which will take you through several seasons. The relaxed shape is the perfect canvas for the bold lace pattern. Fiesta is worked in one piece with easy shaping and no sewing up. Its worked in the round to the armholes with increases to create batwing sleeves. The top of the sweater is worked back and forth. 

Size 2 on a tall, slim model. 

Size 1                     
Length: 62cm/24 1/2in     
Bottom width:60.5cm/23 3/4in
Top width: 129.5cm/51in

Size 2
Length: 74.5cm/29 1/4in
Bottom width: 75.5cm/29 3/4in
Top width: 144.5cm/57in

Notes are included in the pattern on how to adjust each size for a customised fit.

Size 2 is shown on Emily who's tall and slim and me who's tall and plus size.

Kits are available in a choice of eight colours. The yarn is Navia Bummull which is a blend of cotton and wool and is one of my favourite yarns. See all the kits here The kits include all yarn, a printed and pdf version of the pattern. You will need 4mm circular needles  (not included).

Please pre-order kits before 28 September. Kits will be shipped in mid-October. Pattern will also be released in October. 

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Friday, September 08, 2017

Workshop Focus - Handmade Studios

I'm really excited to be adding a new venue to my list of workshops this autumn. I've met Linda from Handmade Studios several times at shows and I'm so happy that I'll now get to visit her lovely shop and teach three classes this autumn. Handmade Studios is located in Rowlands Castle near Portsmouth and is easily accessible from London and other parts of the South East.

I'm teaching three classes at Handmade Studios and they're all fair isle related. 

21 October - Slip Stitch and Fair Isle Colour Work - this is the class if you're new to colour work. We'll start with easy slipped stitch colour work (see photo above) where you only work with one colour on each row and then we'll move on to stranded colour work (fair isle) and you'll learn how to knit with one colour in each hand, strand the yarn correctly and how to knit in the round.

Rambling Rose from Let's Knit (copyright Let's Knit)

25 November - Fair Isle Yoke Sweater - in this class you'll learn to knit a sweater with a circular yoke and a fair isle pattern on the yoke, like in the Rambling Rose sweater above. As well as fair isle techniques, you'll learn all the maths to knit your own sweater.

9th December - Fair Isle Knitting and Steeking - in this class you'll learn fair isle techniques. We'll knit a little tube and then you'll re-enforce the steek and cut it. This may sound like a scary class but it's really not! You will learn all the techniques to enable you to cut your own steeks with confidence.

Fancy any of these classes? Contact Handmade Studios for more details and to book.

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Sunday, September 03, 2017

Workshop Focus - Selbu Mittens

Fair Isle knitting seems to be popular this autumn. I'll be teaching more fair isle classes than lace knitting classes. Selbu mittens come from Norway and use stranded knitting/fair isle techniques but the stitch patterns are very different from those seen in the Shetlands. 

In this class, you'll learn how to knit holding one colour in each hand or, if you're a continental knitting, I'll show you how to hold both colours in your left hand. You will also learn how to strand the yarn correctly, how to knit in the round on the magic loop technique and how to shape the mittens. 

We'll knit a mini mitten in the class and then you get one of my mitten patterns to take home.

Coming up in a few weeks, I'll be teaching my Selbu Mittens class at The Slipped Stitch in Sherborne, Dorset and La Mercerie in Cowbridge, Wales. Both these shops are lovely and both are set in really beautiful small towns.

So why not treat yourself to a day out and learn something new at the same time? See all my classes here and contact the individual shops for more details and to book.

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Friday, September 01, 2017

Getting Ready For Spain

We left for Spain yesterday and I spent far too much time trying to decide which knitting to take with me. We travelled with hand luggage only so I had very limited space. If you're worried about travelling with your knitting I wrote a blog post about it - Travel Knitting.

I usually knit socks on the beach so I brought a ball of Mudpunch which is my favourite stripey sock yarn. I'm a bit worried one sock won't be enough but I didn't have room for another ball.

I also need a small, relatively easy project to live in my bag for when we're out and about or if I fancy some slightly easier knitting. I know that when we get back I'll need a pair of hand warmers so I cast on for a new pair using Regia sock yarn. I had some hand warmers in this yarn a couple of years ago but I lost them. This was also my travel project for our flight.

And of course I need a shawl. It took me ages to decide what to bring but I settled for this bright trio. Clockwise from the top is two skeins from Spectrum Fibre and the bottom one is from La Bien Aimee. I've only just started this but deliberately didn't knit too much on it before we left. My goal is to finish it while we are here.

So have I brought enough knitting? I'll let you know. Follow me on Instagram if you want to see snaps from my holiday.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Beautiful Weekend

We've had an absolutely stunning long weekend here in the UK. I think we've had the hottest days of the summer. Vanessa came home for the weekend which made it even more special.

We live near some beautiful beaches and we take the dog for a walk on them lots in the winter but we don't actually go to the beach that much in the summer. This weekend, Simon and Vanessa fancied going for a swim at one of our nearest beaches in West Looe. The water is too cold for me so I enjoyed the view while knitting on my sock.

Last year there was a display of Poppies outside the Tower of London to commemorate World War 1 and this year a small part of that display is touring Britain. At the moment it's in our nearest city Plymouth so of course we had to see it.

The Poppies are displayed at the War Memorial on Plymouth Hoe and it's absolutely beautiful.

It's hard to capture the beauty with a camera but if you're in the South West do go and see it or if you'er somewhere else in the UK, check if they are having a display near you.

Plymouth Hoe is my favourite part of Plymouth. It looks out over the Sound and there's always lots of small boats and you may even see navy ships and the cross channel ferries.

On Sunday we had to take Vanessa to Exeter for her to catch the train home. We took a picnic and headed up on Dartmoor but it was so busy. The roads were gridlocked so we found a quiet spot for our picnic and then headed towards Exeter.

But on the way home we decided to drive across Dartmoor from Exeter to Tavistock and we found a quiet spot at Bellever Forest and stopped for a few minutes. 

It was lovely to have a few hot days to get used to hotter weather as we're off to Spain today. More on that in the next blog post.

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