Tuesday, 23 August 2016

'Pool' from Indigo by Kim Hargreaves

Time for a major catch up on projects or maybe I should say a catch up on re-incarnations.  As a Rowan consultant I've always had a stash of yarn for a project every season and I am never short of a project to do but about 6 months ago I began to realise that I wasn't enjoying my knitting and other sewing projects, I was actually feeling pressurized about doing 'stuff'.  I was also picking up 'Marie Kondo' vibes and recommending it to friends who were de-junking their lives: although I wasn't planning on buying the book for myself as I do not need to clear out and organise. But it was making me think about my projects and surroundings and I came to the conclusion that I was doing too much and needed to focus on one thing at a time, complete it - complete being the operative word - and then move onto the next project.  So, I cleared the decks and focused on making 'Pool'.

As I said, this is a re-incarnation.

'Angie' from 'Honey'

In 2014 I knitted 'Angie' from the book 'Honey' by Kim Hargreaves, I made it in Soft Knit Cotton Sunset Red 582.  It knitted-up well and I enjoyed making the project but when I wore it, it did not suit me and I didn't feel happy in it.  I am a 'hippy' girl and the peplum shaping did not work on me, so I decided that I would unravel it and plan another project, I don't have a problem ripping back projects it upsets me more when they don't work out and I'm not using them. And good yarn is too expensive to waste.
So, I had a good long look at projects as I did not want to make the same mistake again and I came across the 'Pool' cardigan from Kim's book Indigo.

Image result for Pool By Kim Hargreaves
'Pool' from 'Indigo'

What I particularly liked about this project was that I had a look at Ravelry to see 'real women' in it and they all looked good; I always try to check out projects on Ravelry.  The project had been knitted in Rowan's Denim and as I was going to use another double knitting yarn I knew the tension would be alright.  I really enjoyed knitting this although I made an alteration in the shaping instead of doing the boxy shape I chose to introduce some shaping at the waist for a more fitted outcome.  So, voila, this is the result and certainly at the beginning of a Yorkshire Summer and during the Spring I had a lot of wear and compliments from this cardi.

I chose some engraved Silver heart buttons from Black Sheep Wools which were quite expensive to go on it but I really struggled to find something suitable, when I saw these they really worked with the cardi - I think they reflect the 'V' in the chevron of the design.  Size wise it felt a bit 'neat' when knitted but I was limited as to how much yarn I had, however, when worn it started to loosen off and it is now the perfect size for me.

So that's one project from this Spring/Summer and there is more to follow...

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

2nd 'Quilt in a day' @ Black Sheep Wools

Last Thursday I taught my second 'Quilt in a Day' @ Black Sheep Wools, this is one of my favourite workshop venues and I've spoken about it here .  Not only is it a cracking workspace for quilting workshops but it has a great retail area with the added bonus of a sale at the moment.
7 ladies attended the workshop and most of them were novice quilters, we worked hard and my lasting impression of the class was Cabbages, Deer and Flowers, read on and I'll tell you why.....

As a textile designer I tend to respect fabric and the design work that has gone into producing that piece of fabric, consequently when the ladies turn up with their 'stash' of fabric I think about what we can do with it and how we can use the design 'elements'.  One lady had chosen one of my favourite fabrics that is based on Cabbages, I have a fat quarter of this that I keep in my stash and every now and then I take it out have a look at it and it makes me happy, its the first time its ever been used at one of my workshops.  Another lady chose one of Kaffe's flower patterns and another lady chose Tula Pink's 'Deer' fabric, all of these fabrics were begging to be 'fussy cut' and although it took longer to cut the patches it was very worthwhile.

Tula Pink's Deer fabric

 The ladies very hard at work

Starting to piece together the quilts 

And attaching the wadding....

So finally, these were the finished quilts....

With the Deer

With the Flowers

 Love this colour combination, and I think its looking a bit 'Klimt'

Some great retro fabrics here

And it's those Cabbages

Gorgeous colours combos on both of these ...

Finally, I had to do a bit of retail therapy so I purchased some lovely buttons - you'll see these soon - and some Tula Pink fabric.  I plan to make another top like this and really wanted to use one of Tula's designs so I chose this, it's avpretty bold print for me but it was in the sale so I thought I would give it a go.  Half term is coming up so I guess I will be sewing ;)

Friday, 25 March 2016

A busy bee

I suppose I should be posting Easter stuff with the holiday upon us but I think I covered that one in my previous post which was a super fast Fluffy Bunny. What I do have to show you is a Bee that I have made for the trust involved in the running of the school that I teach at.  The Head Teacher - who just so happens to be a crafter person - brought me the bookmark for the trust and asked me if I could do anything textiley with it 'leave it with me' I said.

As well as being a secondary school we now accommodate primary school children so I immediately thought of a toy and looking into amigurumi.  I searched on Ravelry and came up with this little guy....


I thought I could 'develop' him to become our little bee, he had a nice big head so there would be plenty of 'learning' going on.  So I purchased the pattern and if you would like to do so this is the link. It's a good pattern very clear and easy to follow.

I started working on this during my half term holiday in Scotland, I had taken a yarn stash from home but on visiting my hometown in Fife I came upon this yarn stash from the wonderful shop Tiger , I came across this shop when we holidayed in Denmark and was thrilled when they came in the UK and I found one in Dunfermline. ( Although nothing in Yorkshire yet) Tiger is inexpensive and just joyful, as a teacher and crafter I can always find something here and on this occasion I got this yarn pack - above - for £2.  Just the colours I needed, 15gms of each so I set to work on it.  Notebook and pen are also from Tiger notebook has graph paper inside: excellent!  

So the result was this little guy and they were thrilled when they saw him at school, I found the face quite hard to do as it can really make or break the toy and I did a lot of unpicking but I think I got the happy chap that he is meant to be with a twinkle in his eye.

I hope you have a lovely Easter, I am off to Bath with a group of ladies for a few days and hoping to see some textiley stuff down there and I also really want to get round to working on my Liberty Quilt: but that's another story.  Happy Easter. 

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Easter Bunny

One of my most popular posts is my Crochet Birds for Easter which I produced last year and I thought it was time for something new.  I spied these on Pinterest and decided to have a 'go' at making these Easter Bunnies and I am glad to say that they are super easy and super quick: which they need to be as it's not long to Easter.

They only take a small amount of yarn so are great for using left overs, so let's get started...

I chose to use Rowan's Fine Lace and their Kid Silk Haze as I wanted an element of 'fluff' to the Bunny, I used 2 strands of Fine lace and 1 strand of Kid Silk Haze.  I knitted on 5.5mm needles, I casted on 28sts and worked in garter stitch - knit every row - for 40 rows to produce a rough square shape: and that's it.

I then plotted out a triangle of stitching on the top half of the square, I used a co-ordinating colour but have shown you the layout with the red yarn.

This was then pulled and gathered together - you are creating the bunnies ears and head.

Before you completely sew it together put some stuffing into the pocket created.

Sew up completely.

And pull tight: that's the head made.

 Now, go to the other end of your work and sew up the seam,

like this.

Now put the stuffing in from this end.

Then restitch the seam with large stitches,

and stitch the base together 

 and pull the thread tight to create a round body.

Then attach the pom pom tail,

And you now have your bunny body!

Stitch a couple of eyes with some fine yarn 

And you have your completed bunny, as a variation I have also made this bunny.............

this little chap is created by knitting half in white and half in black and going through the same making up process
- Happy Easter!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Rowan's 'Etherow'

I have finally finished 'Etherow' and it has been quite a knitting journey, at one point I thought it wasn't going to see any cold weather and was going to be finished in the Spring but just as I finished the casting off the weather has turned cooler and its going to be great wearing it this next week in Scotland.

The problem for me has been my on going Tennis Elbow which is 90% right and I didn't really think the project through when I got the yarn. How did I imagine I would make a Sweater without seams on 2 needles?  I think the last time I did a sweater like this was back in the early eighties when I knitted an Icelandic sweater for my father: they were all the rage but I couldn't remember that far back!
So I started the project armed with circular needles and 4 pins, I checked my tension and decided to size up to 5mm needles, I used the yarn shades in the pic - Hoby: magenta and Saxon: cream -  and I got started but began to realise a few evenings later and in the mornings that my arm was aching.  Circular needles require more 'holding' than the resting under the elbows of 2 pins and I began to find that I had to rest my arm.  So it wasn't a fast production rate.
Fortunately, holding the weight of the knitting was not an issue as I can report that Rowan's Alpaca Merino DK is as light as a feather and pretty gorgeous to knit with.  Anybody who saw me knitting this was really taken aback when they felt the jumper they couldn't believe how soft and light the jumper was.


I found one issue with the pattern, when I was doing the bust shaping at the front and I was knitting rows rather than rounds when I turned the work I 'wrapped' it round the last stitch and this stopped the creation of 'holes' in your work - you can actually see these in the photo in the brochure.
I also altered the waistband and chose to a plain rib in the same colour rather than the cream striping.   

The sweater came out to size - I made a medium -  having made my needle adjustment and at the end there was only 12 stitches to sew underneath the armpit: that was rather nice to do.  But when I was knitting the main body and not really feeling to be getting anywhere I had to keep reminding myself that I was knitting the front and back at the same time. 
But its finished - so bring on the snow... 

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