Saturday, 31 May 2014

Brown Eyed Susan...

After breathing a sigh of relief when I finally finished the Paulie cardigan, I immediately started planning my next (crocheted) make. However, I knew I needed to finish the knitted shawl I'd started and abandoned (in order to finish said cardigan!) first. Brown Eyed Susan is one of many beautiful patterns in the book "Juju's Loops" and I thought it would be a perfect partner for the Rowan Fine Art sock yarn I'd been eyeing up in Marmalade Yarns for a while. My heart sank slightly when I read through the pattern and realised that the last few rows would have more than 700 stitches - I didn't want this project to be another lengthy one. However, this shawl positively flew off the needles and I completed it in a few short days.

Hot off the needles - unblocked 

The striped section went really quickly, whilst the ruffled border was the perfect combination of interesting, but not too complicated, to make me want to keep doing just one more row to watch the pattern grow. It ends with a crocheted cast off, which I'd never done before, but this was satisfyingly quick and easy.

A light blocking just to straighten the top edge

I have to say I absolutely love this shawl - the weight of the ruffled edge makes it hang really nicely and the yarn is beautifully soft and squishy (and was a joy to knit with). I feel like a Jane Austen heroine when I wrap it around my shoulders - I just need the long frock and large house (and Mr Darcy, of course!) to complete the fantasy!

I was reading the most recent post on Quilt While You're Ahead  where Monica talks about the current shawl obsession and reveals her latest gorgeous shawl. I fear I too am gripped by shawl fever and have been searching Ravelry for  inspiration - I currently have about 4 more planned. I'm banking on Frome being the kind of town that happily accepts/ignores the mad shawl lady who thinks she's living in the 19th century!!

Elizabeth Bennet aka Mabel!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

In the nick of time...

...I finished the cardigan! I was meeting my friend on Tuesday and finished sewing the buttons on at 11pm on Monday evening! Considering we had discussed this idea as a birthday present as early as last August I really didn't think I would be cutting it quite so fine! All I can say is sleeves are deceptively time consuming!

The pattern is 'Paulie' which is free on Ravelry. It is well written and easy to alter to your own measurements. I lengthened the body and lowered the waist shaping as well as making the sleeves full length. A few people mentioned problems with getting the shawl collar to lie flat so I added some extra short rows. It still kept flipping up so I've secured it in place with some invisible thread.

I did an i-cord bind off for the first time. I love this technique and will definitely use it again. However, through inexperience, I did it too tightly and consequently had to block the cardigan very aggressively in order for the button band to lie flat. 

I had planned to make the buttons myself - however, my clay ones looked wrong so I decided to use the technique described by Kate Davies in her book 'Colours of Shetland'. Wheelhouse buttons are made from yarn so can perfectly match your knitted garment. I was really pleased with the one I made but there was one serious flaw - it wouldn't go through the buttonhole! I tried making a smaller one but it was just too fiddly. Luckily I was able to find some last minute, complementary buttons at Marmalade Yarns - phew!

          So the cardigan is now safely delivered and my numb fingers can have a bit of a rest!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Making plans...

Creative time has been somewhat curtailed of late due to family commitments but I did manage to squeeze in a visit to Wonderwool in Wales a couple of weeks ago. I came away with a modest stash of yarny delights but a whole load of ideas for future projects. My favourite stall was Eden Cottage yarns - their colour palette is amazing and I could have bought pretty much everything. I restrained myself on the day but succumbed last week to these two gorgeous skeins - I got them from  Marmalade Yarns which, luckily for me, are now stockists of Eden Cottage Yarns.

I think I will use these for a stripy shawl, but I'm simply enjoying fondling them for now!

What I did buy in Wales were these lovely linen threads, which I'm planning on using for corsages.

I also got these mini ombré skeins which I want to use for some colour work ideas I have mulling about in my head.

In the meantime I'm going to be playing with mandala ideas in preparation for teaching a mandala workshop at Marmalade Yarns on 19th July.

I have one week to finish my friend's cardigan (one and a half sleeves to go!) and I also have a linocut commission which I haven't even started. Frome Festival is just round the corner so I also need to do some new work for that - I think I need to stop planning and start doing!