Well that was productive

Happy Bank Holiday Monday!

I do love a long weekend, nothing quite beats the feeling on a Sunday night of knowing you don’t have to go into work the next day. Don’t-cha think?

There’s also the lie-ins, the good food and, you guessed it, all that knitting time. And this weekend I’ve really made the most of all that knitting time, finishing all three (that’s right three!) of my Works In Progress.

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The silk top finished it’s blocking…

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…the Madelinetosh shawl has grown somewhat…

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…and my magical dream socks are finally done!

It’s a lot to take in. I know. Let’s work in reverse. These bloody socks. They’ve been on my needles for around 6 months. That’s a long old time for a pair of socks. I had a misfire, pulling back sock number one to start again with more stitches, and then I just got a bit bored of them. Odd, isn’t it? To get sick of multi-coloured, sparkly things (Ooh La La by A Stash Addict, to be exact). But I did. Then there was the fact that it was my lunchtime project, which only gave me 45 minutes of knitting at a time, so it’s no surprise really that I didn’t ever make much progress. But here we are. Half a year later they are done, a bit snugger than I would like, but then they still need a good block so let’s stay positive, people!

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(It’s so bloody hard to take good photos of your own feet! Photo by me.)

Remember my Multnomah shawl? I used just shy of a skein of Madelintosh sock (purchased on honeymoon) and I loved it. With a bit of wear though, I discovered it was a little small for the way I wanted to wear it – round the front, neckerchief stylie. So I undid the cast-off, picked up the stitches and added another set of 5 pattern repeats. It had a slightly hurried block (I needed to hoover where it was pinned out) but it looks perfect, see!

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(Cheesy grin for my accomplishment. Photo by me.)

Last but not least. My beauty. My shining glory. The best thing I have ever knitted. My Purl Bee Summer Sweater. I LOVE IT. Yes the caps are necessary. I put it on the first time yesterday and it fits perfectly. I was stunned, Steven was stunned – he even said “Wow that looks really good” and he never says that about my hand-knits! The Debbie Bliss Silk is light, soft and glorious to wear. It all came together.

I added bust darts, to increase the finished chest measurement by 10cm. I also increased the sleeves by 13 stitches (I only meant to increase by 8, but my maths went a bit screwy – I’m glad my maths went a bit screwy, the extra space is very welcome). Both adaptations seem to have worked wonders and I, for one, am shocked in a very happy way.

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I had way more yarn than the pattern called for, so I thought I’d be laughing, but it turned out that I had to unravel my tension square to finish the last row and cast off for the neckline. Clearly my added fabric ate up a whole heck of a lot of yarn. It just means that there are some contrasting finishes on the neck and sleeves. Finishes, by the way, that happen to be my first ever attached I-cords.

Let me just take a moment to say that I love attached I-cords. They are therapeutic and steady and I don’t have to pick up a gazillion stitches. (Two things I dislike greatly in knitting: picking up stitches and sewing pieces together, closely followed by casting on.) Not only were they wonderful to work, they were the very last finishing touch – no seams! My kind of pattern.

And, because I promised, here’s my take on the Purl Bee’s photo. It’s rubbish, but hey.

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So now the question is, what to knit next? I have 390 yards of Madelinetosh left and I can’t decide what it’s destined to be. I’ve learned recently that I don’t really wear hats, gloves or mitts, and I don’t really want to knit things I won’t wear. So will it be a cowl? Another, different shawl? Or super posh socks? What do you guys think?

I hope your weekends were lovely, and filled with plenty of crafty fun!

P.S. I haven’t forgotten the duckies! They need a photo shoot of their own…

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Paste it daddy!

Oh hey! Somehow it’s been over a month since I last posted. Again! How has that happened? Life has a strange way of getting on top of you doesn’t it? A whole heck of a lot of birthdays, commissioned knitting and other stuff that wasn’t so fun has got the better of me in the last few weeks. But I am here to say no more! I’ve got some pretty knitty things to show you…

Before I get stuck in, I hope it is apparent that my title is a quote from It’s A Wonderful Life, otherwise it sounds a bit odd. And I chose this title because, drumroll please, I have finished my Zuzu’s Petals! In my mind there’s a fanfare going right now. I know, it’s overkill, but it makes me happy.

Since the weather has picked up I’ve even been able to take some half-decent photog. So, the grand reveal, here it is!

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(Photo by me, isn’t she pretty? Look at all the colours!)

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(Photo by me. Ignore the wonky spine – I forgot to yarn over one row…had to fix it…bodged it, of course.)

I’m really pleased with how this has turned out. I think I mentioned that I’d needed to add a few stitches to the cast on, because I was making it with such fine yarn. Well when I got to the lace section, I needed to add another 6 (oops) but you can’t even see that I had a little fumble on that row, and I did it on the bit that’s always at the back, so no harm, no foul!

The lace section threw me a bit, because there are no close-up shots of it in the pattern. The way the shawl hangs it kind of masks it, and you can only see the very edge, which is different! I had faith though, and I’d glad I did because it’s so pretty. Look!

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(Photo by me. I love the way it really does look like fallen petals, so clever, so aptly named.)

I even have a huge chunk of yarn left over – it might actually be half the skein (before you ask, I haven’t weighed It yet, that would be far too sensible). So I could make another one exactly the same…or not. What do you think? My shawl obsession doesn’t seem to be going anywhere…but does a girl need two shawls in the same yarn? Ah the big existential questions that I tackle on this blog.

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(Photo by me. Dodgy selfie, no make-up, cos that’s how I roll.)

The length is perfect in terms of coverage and tucking into coats and things, plus I think the drape at the neck is really pretty.

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(Photo by me. Let’s just ignore the hint of double chin there. And yes, those are typewriters on my dress, be jealous.)

And because it’s the law, here’s a shawl on a wall shot. Some of you may recognise this wall. It has played host to my mum’s shawl too. I do really like this wall. It’s pretty and in a quiet part of Bath where the number of judgemental eyes is kept to a minimum. Apologies for the litter, didn’t see that until I uploaded the photo (such shoddy photography skills!)

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(Photo by me. This shows the shape and construction of the shawl a bit better. Hint – the long side on the left is the front.)

Before I go, I have a little teaser for you. I don’t mess around you see. I’ve got another finished object to show you (yes, you know the one) and I’ve already made a start on the next project. Here is a swatch…anyone who can guess what it is and what it’s going to become gets a prize!

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Until next time lovely peeps!

A Spot of Gift Knitting

Once I had finished my honeymoon shawl, I had a sudden urge to cast on another one, straight away. I had some yarn waiting, a beautiful selection of Louisa Harding Orielle, in earthy oranges and reds. They were the perfect tones for my mum, and a shawl was just the gift project I needed for her birthday – big enough to show how much I care, but small enough to be manageable and finish-able.

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(Would you believe that’s two skeins of red, and only one of yellow and orange? It’s true!)

Hunting for a pattern proved a bit tricky. If you search for shawls in sock weight yarn on Ravelry, you get almost 6,000 patterns. That’s a lot of surfing to do. I knew my mum wouldn’t want anything over the top or finickity, so I went for a plain stocking stitch body, with a lace trim, Out of Gas by Zhora Designs, to be exact!

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(The lace is apparently inspired by catalytic converters…I don’t know what those are so I can’t really comment.)

The pattern is inspired by a particular episode of Firefly, a series mum and I both love and have watched together many times. It was just the perfect choice. A few weeks of intensive knitting, and a serious case of the knitting claw (I blame wooden needles and alpaca yarn) culminated in this:

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(Shawl on wall, it’s obligatory, and again, say it…you’re welcome. Yes I did take this photo in public, and yes, people did stare.)

I love this yarn. After initial worries that the yellow didn’t work I really like the colour blocking. It was a joy to work with; beautifully soft but with just the right amount of crimp for unusual and pretty stitches. The shawl isn’t actually as deep as it should be, because I ran out of yarn, but it’s plenty big enough; I blocked it on a bath-sheet sized towel and it covered the entire length…that’s a big ol’ shawl! Needless to say, I’m pretty sure it will keep mum cosy and warm. There’s a hint of sparkle in the yarn too, so it has a sophisticated touch. Dressed up or down, this shawl will take mum anywhere.

Oh! And in case you were wondering, mum loved the shawl – totally worth enduring the knitting claw for the look on her face.

Let’s talk about KNIT baby!

It’s been a while, after all! And besides, I’ve got a Finished Object to show you…

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(Photo by Thoroughly Modern Lizzie) Jaunty angle, ‘cos I’m artistic, innit.

When we were on our honeymoon, I did a geeky thing. I dragged Steven to the wonderful, to the amazing, Purl Soho. Actually, I dragged him there twice; once when it was shut, and once when it wasn’t…oops. Purl Soho is a knitting mecca. It’s a warm, bright, lofty space, packed to the ceiling with yarn, needles, patterns and haberdashery. I spent far too much time and money in there, cooing over squashy things and enjoying an opportunity to be warm and dry. Steven was an oasis of calm and understanding. There’s a reason I married him.

Alongside some yummy merino and silk that became mittens right there on the honeymoon (more on that story later) I bought some Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in scrummy Nightbloom. It’s a sockweight yarn, which is my favourite to work with, but I didn’t want socks from this. No, no. This was to become a shawl. Something casual I could wear everyday, whether for work, a cuppa or a walk, and think of rainy NYC in May 2013 whenever I wore it. And that’s exactly what it has become.

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(Photo by Thoroughly Modern Lizzie) Shawl on a wall, go on say it…yeah, you’re welcome.

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(Photo by Thoroughly Modern Lizzie) Such pretty Feather and Fan details.

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(Photo by Thoroughly Modern Lizzie) Mandatory shawl on railing shot. Right outside work. ‘Cos I’m that kind of nutter 🙂

I love everything about this shawl, from the shape, colour and pattern to the nature of the yarn and the way it matches almost everything I own. The pattern is a freebie from Ravelry, called Multnomah. It was simple and easy to follow (once I’d read the whole thing, duh!) and didn’t actually take that long in knitting hours. One of the best things about this shawl is that it has left me with a whole skein to play with. Matching gloves? Slouchy beanie? Socks? Suggestions are welcome! But until then I am truly madly deeply in love with this shawl and everything it reminds me of.