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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A bit of silk for summer

Good morning beautiful people! I don’t know about you, but I am so relieved it’s the weekend. Thank god for lie-ins, am I right?

So now that my pink cardi is all done and in the general rotation, and my socks are chugging a long nicely in my lunch breaks (onto sock number two woo!) it’s time to show you new things around here.

Ages ago, and I mean months ago, I found the Purl Bee’s Silken Straw Summer Sweater. It was one of the first things I ever pinned, and I instantly fell in love with it. Bizarrely, I was hit by a very uncharacteristic bout of patience and consideration and have left it in the back of my mind all this time. I wasn’t about to splash out on the Silken Straw yarn ($30+ per skein, and I’d need 5 skeins!) but I did get my hands on some discontinued Debbie Bliss Pure Silk (link to it’s replacement). 8 skeins in complementary colours. How often does that happen? I’ve got about 150 meters more than I need which is perfect, because I had to do a bit of adaptation (eek!)

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(Photo from the Purl Bee. I may have to recreate this with my finished object. Shame my room isn’t pure white…)

The pattern is very simple, and that’s one of the things that drew me to it in the first place. It’s all about the yarn and the clean lines. But it only comes in two sizes and that was a bit of a sticky spot for me. All of the dimensions in the large size were perfect, except for the bust. I needed another 10cm (4in) to fit the girls in. Handily, that’s my tension measurement (thank god I did a swatch!) so I knew exactly how many more stitches I needed, but I wasn’t sure how to get them in. The great knitting guru Faye helped me with some maths and now I’m good to go when I get to that bit. Did you read that? “When I get to that bit.” I actually read ahead and planned ahead in a pattern! This is huge growth for me!

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(Photo by me. Stripy stripy…the pink bit is so curly!)

Anyway, I’ve just started the waist shaping and I’m loving it. It’s knitted in the round from the bottom up, just acres and acres of stocking stitch (perfect to go with my new TV addiction – Modern Family). I had 5 skeins of mint (yes, that’s what that swatch was!) 1 of purple, 1 of blue and 1 of pink. I decided to do a 5cm stripe of each at the bottom, then if I can work out how, I’ll mirror it on the sleeves too. Hopefully it will all tie in and look beautiful. It’s going really well so far, the mint is definitely my favourite – good thing that’s the one I have most of! I think it’s going to be a really valuable addition to my summer wardrobe, and hopefully, the timing will be perfect.

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(Photo by me. It’s growing so fast.)

I’ll keep you posted, as ever, and soon I shall be showing you sock progress too…thrilling, I know.