Saturday, December 08, 2012

Some knitting done

Two down, on to the third cowl. One week to go.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Sewing is not knitting

but it is fun. This is the second of my sewing groups, two to try and ensure I can attend at least one every month. I was working on my first commercial pattern today, a Simplicity skirt, managed all the cutting out which the big tables are such a treat for.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The cowl challenge

One month, three Honey Cowls, sounded just the right side of not possible when I started, am one cowl done (in the rich, bright blue of Rico Essentials Merino DK) and one a strip in (in a much more lovely in person green Shilasdair) and just two weeks left to go. Hmmm, well at this stage only one thing about whether I can get three done is certain, typing on a keyboard isn't knitting.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Next question -

did I buy enough yarn?

Looks like that's a yes!

The top haul are treasures from Nest and Loop where I travelled yesterday on a super fun yarn crawl. Both shops are overflowing with beautiful things, and I particularly loved Nest which has a little cafe area and is such a welcoming place.

That super pink lace-weight was the only off plan purchase yesterday, it's Scrumptious in every sense of the word. That was what I was hunting for in the also fabulous Wool in Bath for a couple of lovely Ysolda patterns but they didn't have a colourway in Scrumptious that called to me. They had some rather fine alternatives though with this cream and soft blue green. Hmmm seem to have acquired a substantial yardage in lace-weight suddenly. Better get back to the gift knits so I get a chance to get on to these treats this year!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Did I bring enough knitting?

Just coming to the end of a week away, here's my current holiday knitting spot. Some may say I have more projects than required, I make it five plus the patterns and now the yarn after a stop at Wool Bath for a few more. A perfect amount, something for every mood!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Insanely beautiful sky

I tried not to take too many photos of this overwhelming glory. Knowing all the time how futile it was to try and photograph it and remembering to just look at it and let it sink in as well. Still you can't blame a girl for trying and I think even the half glimpses the camera has captured of tonight's sunset are worth holding on to.


Saturday, November 03, 2012

Bubbling up

Since coming back from SquamItalia! it's a wonder I haven't cast on thirty new projects. Spending that time with inspiring teachers and knitters has led to me feeling much more creative than I have all year. Combined with the bite of autumn, I've found a wellspring of ideas for new projects has bubbled up. As I sat down to write this I was thinking of the shawls and cowls that have been catching my eye:
Xeni by Kitman Figueroa from Amirisu
Xeni by Kitman Figueroa 
This beauty is from Amirisu an online knitting magazine like Twist Collective which is published in English and Japanese and was co-founded by lovely Meri who I met at Squam. It's only the feeling that I want to finish my Aestlight before I begin my next lace shawl that has caused me to pause before jumping in to this one which has so much texture to it as well as a beautiful lace pattern.
Aranami Shawl by Olga Buraya-Kefelian
Time spent with my Rowanspun has got me wondering whether I have enough in different shades for a shawl I've had my eye on for a while, and it is all garter stitch feeding my current fleeting obsession.
Big Herringbone Cowl by Purl Soho
Then there are the cowls. The Purl Bee is always a source of inspiration or
Barley Sugar by Ysolda Teague
Ysolda's laceweight rib is definitely calling me or
Honey Cowl by Ann Maria for Madelinetosh
I'm currently adoring this simple delight. I'm thinking I might try and get me some actual Madelinetosh for it and knit with that for the first time. I'm currently planning a dream yarn shopping list as I'll soon be on holiday with a trip to the lovely Wool Bath in the works and a fun yarn crawl I've been invited on to two of London's finest stores Nest and Loop.
Arbutus by Jane Richmond
I'd just need one skein of Madelinetosh for this clever design, part of a very beautiful new book Island just out by Jane Richmond. Mmm mmm mmm, happiness is a pile of things you are ITCHING to knit!

You'd think that would be plenty to be getting on with but as I sat down at the computer to write about these I found a scrap of a note with a list of words on it: Fathom, Grenadine, Devonshire and Linden. What do they all have in common? Ah all lustworthy cardigan patterns from Twist Collective that I was trying to distract myself from Miriam with. My roomie at Squam, lovely Shelly, had a beautiful Miriam (that she really needs to take a photo of) but I don't think raglan sleeves are the most flattering for me so I was pondering alternatives, to you know, knit when I'm sleeping.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


The shores of Garter Triangle Island are out of reach as I bob about in the waters of Bird's Eye Lace Lake. They are gentle waters really, a simple two row repeat to make this wide open lace but they are the kind of waters that I like to have a little of my knitting wits about me so that I at least catch when I've missed something or done something unprescribed before I'm working back and discover it on the the next row. Handily I already have the perfect counterpoint piece in my current WIPs. A long, vertically striped garter stitch scarf in various shades of woolly, soft Rowanspun. The perfect piece for my week night evenings when I generally lack much in the way of wits having left them trailing behind me in the day's work. These plumper, snugglier stitches require so much less concentration. They help smooth out the brain waves in an echo of their ripple and get to work on repairing the wits for the next day and for the next voyage out on the Lake.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Guest post

Percival here. Well obviously my name is not really Percival it's Simon but she who sewed me thinks Percival the Polar Bear has a nice ring to it, so you know, I'll go along with it to keep the peace. She has been promising me some friends all week but all I've seen her do is disappear out of the house muttering something about 'work' and when she's here she just plays around with some green string. Not sure how she thinks 'a whole bear troop' is going to get created unless she gets her needle out. She keeps reminiscing about how fun it was creating me. She had a day off this work thing apparently and sat around drinking tea and eating macaroons with another one like her who shares my birthday before heading out for an evening of cocktails. Apparently the lateness of the hour on a school night may be to blame for limited productivity for the rest of this week. Hmmm I think this all may be a ruse, she may be on to my plan for world domination and think she can stop me if she doesn't create me some soldiers friends. La la la. Nothing to see here. I'm just Percival looking cute.

Friday, October 19, 2012

There's always the knitting

The sunshine of Italy is feeling like a long time ago as I sit under murky grey skies this end of the week. The irritations of daily life are doing their best to impinge on my shiny, squam exfoliated outlook. I mean really, even if Squam is a fortnight ago I should still be on new friend high after a super decadent meet up with two very lovely squammers and their very talented friend. We all went for afternoon tea at The Savoy on Monday but even that seems a long time ago. Though - oh my - the lavender eclair - will never be forgotten!
So I have no excuses for feeling a bit flat but luckily when life seems a little humdrum again there's comfort close by with the needles and yarn. This is a Squam inspired comfort. These lacy stitches are the start of an Aestlight which I chose as my class pattern. Gudrun definitely inspired me to stretch out my shawl skills and try some proper laceweight and this interesting, traditional construction. It begins with just one stitch and you increase each row to make this central lace triangle. One day I will leave the safe shores of heavenly, soothing garter stitch and voyage out to pick up the edges to add on a lace panel before knitting on a border to make an edge to this cloud of soft, green joy. Till then I go gently onwards, trying to practice mindfulness with each fine stitch and holding dear memories of an excellent class.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I've been squammed

A week on and the freckles are fading but the effects of my time at SquamItalia! will be with me forever. I have pictures and I have a full heart. I'm not sure I have the words. I keep writing sentences and deleting them. It's so hard to explain exactly what it was like and why it has such an impact. The ingredients meant it was bound to be fabulous: a sunny hillside in Italy with views of the sea one way and the mountains the other, talented teachers and a whole group of powerful, creative women brought there by the vision of one to have fun and learn.

The magic is in how those people come together and in the creation of a space so removed from everyday life that I found I could cast off some of the restrictions I've learned to put on myself when I've come up against challenges and challengers in the past. Thank you so much to everyone I met for making my time unforgettable. When do you ever get the chance to meet so many creative spirits, open and friendly, reaching out and reaching within themselves? Beautiful connections to treasure forever. It wasn't neat and tidy and it won't fit in to any box I try and offer it. It was messy and wild and totally awesome. Perfectly imperfect.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

New toys for the weekend

It's a bright and sunny morning here in Oxford and I've got some bright and shiny new toys to play with this weekend. I gave in to my scissor obsession (I want these one day, you know the lottery winning type day!) and bought some beauties from Posie along with this year's felt ornament kit and then was delighted to receive another, very reasonable quality pair, free with the latest issue of Mollie Makes. My pincushion is stuffed and ready for action so it promises to be a happy, crafty weekend.

Monday, September 24, 2012

My hat

Knit in my beautiful Squam yarn and ready just ahead of SquamItalia (next week!!); here's the hat I had the urge to make for me after finishing up the Mr's.
Pattern: Butterfly Hat by Sofiya Cremin
Yarn: Jill Draper Makes Stuff - Superwash Merino - Squam colourway: Deepest Depths
Needles: 4.5mm DPNs and 16in Circ
Started: September 2012
Finished: September 23rd 2012
While the somewhat abrupt arrival of deepest autumnal weather yesterday here in England means it'll see some use straight away, that very same weather makes it even more delicious to note, that you could say it's not likely to be the most essential item for my suitcase given the current weather where I'll soon be knitting.

Weather for Abruzzo, Italy

24°C | °FMonTueWedThu
Mostly SunnyMostly SunnyMostly SunnyMostly Sunny
Partly Cloudy
Wind: E at 4 mph
Humidity: 78%33°18°28°18°28°18°31°18°

None of these photos does any justice to the really amazing shade of this yarn. It's the most indescribably rich, blue green, I love it to bits and the hat along with it. This was a super fun knit. I wanted a beanie style hat as my other hats for myself: Verity and Tetsubou  were knitted more because I loved the look of them and the challenge of the different constructions to knit. I think a nice and deep beanie style suits me better and will be easier to pull on without needing the aid of a mirror to get it positioned just right. Having the butterfly stitch makes the finished item suitably beautiful and was really fun to work. I think it makes the knitting zip along as instead of just 'one more row' the urge is for one more set of rows to get to make the next butterflies. I love the extra depth the gathers of the butterflies brings. You can see the pockets or craters on the inside.

I had a photo shoot assistant who I've been meaning to introduce for a while now. I call him Joey.

His rather fine ears made it in to the last post, and I have innumerable shots of him from the behind, comme ca:
Getting a shot of his handsome chops is proving rather hard as he always zeroes in too quickly for some strokes. 

He's definitely a frequent visitor here of late though his home is down the road. He and Panda have a tolerance of each other, I think they've made an uneasy alliance because he keeps away the much more aggressive tabby that used to haunt her food dish while she occasionally lets him have the food she's turned her fussy nose up at in the hope we'll give her something else. Her girth rather suggests we give in too often!

She stuck to the sofa while we braved the chills outside but does seem to have forgiven me for canoodling with him as she's been lying on the floor by my desk chair like a dog, purring her head off whilst I've been writing this. I'd say it was affection but I should know better!
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