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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A little update .....

Hello. How are you? I thought I'd post a quick update -

My Over The Sea To Skye is coming along nicely..... I'm so enjoying this project.

And so too is my Smithfield. Aran yarn and big needles... what's not to love?

I hope your week is good.....
Til soon.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cables and shawls....

Hello! Thanks for stopping by and I hope all is good in your little part of the world. I've been having a wonderful time as it's been school hols here so three weeks of no early mornings, lazy days at home and lots of knitting time! We go back on Monday but I'm trying not to think about that too much....

I finally finished the "redo" sweater that I was reknitting and it came out rather well. Want to see?

(Excuse the quality of the pics but my Mum took them on a cloudy day. The wearer was busy with building work and was less than impressed about stopping to model it!)

I was very happy with the result although it's a little short in the sleeves. This will be remedied by picking up stitches around the cuffs and knitting another inch or so. The join won't show once its washed. I've done that a couple of times before and it works like a charm!

Another pic? NO problem.

Just LOVE that cable! It's a new one that I've never tried before and whilst it was a bit fiddly to do in the beginning, I soon got the hang of it. I love the contrast between the simple moss stitch panel down the centre and then that huge chunky cable! Gorgeous!

What else, I hear you say? Well, I made a little shawl/scarf for a friend of mine. She loves pink so when I saw this yarn I knew it was perfect for her. The pattern is Linus and this is the second one I've made now. The first you can see here.

I love the simplicity of this pattern which lends itself well to fancy yarns. I've seen it made up in sock yarns, self-striping yarn and various tonal yarns. It's easy, very quick (I made this in 2 evenings) and is a great stashbuster project. Because it's knitted end-to-end you can just keep going until you run out of yarn which is fab for me as I'm not very good and working out how much yarn I have! I really hope she likes it....

Then I started a project which I am VERY excited about. Let me first give you a little bit of background so you understand the reason behind my enthusiasm.

Here in South Africa there is very little choice when it comes to yarn. Almost all of the stuff you buy in the shops is 100% acrylic and whilst this is fine for most projects, sometimes I crave something a little more special. I see all the blogs of my UK and American friends where they show the most amazing yarns that they can get at their LYS but it's all just too expensive for me to even think about importing.

A few local companies are cropping up now with some locally produced yarns for example Nurturing FibresAfrican Expressions and Vinnis but we have nothing like the variety that my overseas friends have. 

However. For a long time I have coveted a yarn from African Expressions called Soul which is handpainted and I finally took the plunge these hols and acquired some! So exciting! It lay in my drawer for a few days and I kept looking at it and touching it and then going on Ravelry to choose a pattern, then going back to look at it again ..... I'm sure you know what I mean. You so desperately want to cast on but the anticipation is all part of the process.....

I finally decided on Over The Sea to Skye which I have to confess, I chose largely because of the name!!! I cast on yesterday and this is my progress so far -

The yarn is made up of 15% kid mohair, 15% mulberry silk, 50% merino and 20% acrylic. It's beautiful to work with and with all the stitch variations, I'm able to see how it responds with each one. I can't tell you how much I've loving this project and I know I'll buy this yarn again (even if it means remortgaging my house to do so)! I will need to invest in a ball winder tho as I had to wind this by hand which wasn't easy. This was how it started out ....

and this is what it became ....

All those yummy colours! They do various other colourways but I know I'll never make socks with this yarn as it's just too gorgeous to be hidden inside shoes!

I'm off to knit (of course) and will hopefully finish my shawl before going back to school on Monday!

Til soon.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Half way through.....

Well, here we are half way through the year and it just so happens that I'm half way through 3 WIPs! Do you want to see?

First up is my reknit for a family member. Frogged an old sweater and am reknitting 2 sizes smaller (he's lost some weight don't you know...). I've finished the back and am almost done with the front -

It's looking a little skinny at the moment but I'm hoping with some blocking (and serious stretching!) it will be ok. I measured it against hubby and it seemed fine on him so here's hoping....

No 2 WIP is a shawl I'm knitting for myself. As you can see, I'm not really halfway through it but it grows pretty fast so I'm sure halfway isn't too far in the distance.

My final WIP is a sweater for me in a gorgeous grey/brown aran yarn. I started this a few weeks ago but the cable adventure above and my shawl have taken over somewhat so Smithfield keeps getting shoved to the bottom of the workbasket.

It's a top down pattern and this is the collar - looks a little skinny too but the yarn is quite stretchy and I've pulled it over my head more than once just to check! In the pic the yarn looks more grey than brown but it's both all flecked together. 

So that's my WIPs for now. I really hope to have some finished things to show you in my next post so pop back when you can!

Til soon....

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ninja Mum!!!


Had a good week? Mine was busy and it didn't help that I've been suffering from a lung/chest infection and didn't realise! Felt rough, had a bad cough and tight chest but hate taking antibiotics so thought it would pass eventually. Wrong. Went to doc yesterday and am now on meds. Hey ho....

Am again joining in with Shelley for WIP-A-Long so here are mine....

First up my Linus scarf/shawlette. What a fab pattern! Will definitely be making this again. It's the first one I've made that actually stays on and doesn't force me to spend half my day readjusting it! I finished it on Monday and have worn it every day since! Would recommend it to anyone but especially beginner knitters as it's just garter stitch (plain knitting) throughout. Can't tell you how much I love this!

Along the top edge is a small little lacy detail. So cute and stops it from being boring (both to knit and look at)! The middle pic is the truest to colour as I made it in grey.

Next is the cable jersey I am redoing for a family member. Slow going but it's coming out really well. Very happy so far.....

I haven't done anything on my version of Ritas Aran Jacket this week. Too much cabling what with the above garment! Have stashed it for a while but will definitely go back to it.

Youngest child has requested a black balaclava so that he can pretend to be a Ninja (he does karate)! I HATE knitting in black but what could I say? So off the yarn shop we went early this morning and I have begun. This will definitely be a labour of love.....

Last up is not a WIP but something I adore! This stands on my kitchen window sill and she makes me smile every time I see her.....

I hope she made you smile too!!!
Til soon.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Yay it's May!!!


I thought I'd link up with Shelley at Little House In The Corner for her WIP-along!! She seems to have just as many WIPs as I do so here are mine....

First up, a jersey for a family member. I knitted a jersey for him a few years back but he's lost some weight since then so it got kinda big and baggy. My amazing mother unpicked the entire thing (and it was BIG so hats off to her - she's got oodles of patience)! Now I have the task of reknitting it into a garment that actually fits him. I'm using an old Wendy Aran pattern that I've had for some years - I've made at least 2 before so I know the pattern well. I couldn't find it on the internet but it's cables (of course) and moss stitch.  I'm not very far with it as you can see. The yarn is actually a smoky green colour but the photo looks more grey...... will keep you posted.

Next up is a mini-shawl (I think they call them 'shawlettes') that is for moi. I needed something in grey just to keep my neck warm on chilly mornings and this pattern is super easy. I'm doing it in a solid colour tho. My camera clearly doesn't like grey or green .... this looks blue!

Last WIP is this that I'm making for myself. Also in a dusty grey yarn (I'm clearly in the 'grey' zone at the moment) .... I'm a bit further on this one - this is one of the fronts...

So there are my current WIPs. Have you got any you would like to share? If so, pop over to Shelley and link up.

Have a great weekend!
Til soon.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

We'll just skip March....


Well, I'm 4 months into 2015 and my plan to post once a month has failed before it really got going... hey ho.... never mind. I guess it's the thought that counts so we'll just forget about March and move swiftly onto April....

Actually, both of the FOs I have to show you were finished in March so technically I'm still good and what's a few days between friends?

First up are these beauties....

Aren't they fab?  The pattern is A Nice Ribbed Sock by Glenna C and even though my self-striping yarn didn't match up on each sock - I DON'T CARE COS I LOVE THESE SOCKS!!! I've worn them twice and they are sooooo warm! I used Elle Sock Wool but I can't remember the name of the colourway so please don't ask. Basically they're cream, green and brown stripes and the yarn is very soft so the resulting socks are incredibly light to wear. Beautiful....

My second FO is a cardigan. Now, I've got a bit of a 'thing' going with cardigans at the moment and I'm rather afraid it's my age cos I'm going thru the menopause and sweaters just don't work with the hot flushes! However, cardigans are GREAT! When the flushes hit I can simply open a cardi for a little ventilation and close again when the flush is over. How convenient! Also, cardis don't mess up one's hair when one takes it off you understand, although I've NEVER been one of those women who pfaff (is that even a word or just a sewing machine manufacturer?) with their hair. Mine gets a bit of a ruffle after my shower in the morning, a quick comb through and that's it until next time! Still, any item of clothing that doesn't involve going over the head on removal is all good in my opinion!

I wanted something a bit countrified (again, is that a real word?), a bit tweedy but without being too chunky. South African winters can get chilly but never really arctic. This particular cardi is another Glenna C pattern, called Rustique although I've modified it somewhat. Glenna's version had a shawl collar which I've omitted as shawl collars are too much for even the coldest South African winters and a different cable pattern up the front. I wanted something a little more Celtic so changed the pattern to incorporate a Celtic knot cable. Please excuse the pics but it's a miz day here so even outside the light was rubbish! Anyway, here she is in all her finished finery!

Did you notice the secret pockets I put in? I stuck my youngest son's mirror sunglasses in the pocket to make it a bit more obvious - by the way, you HAVE to have mirror sunglasses when you're pretending to be a secret agent (apparently)....personally they make me feel really old as we used to wear them back in the 80s as a very trendy accessory!

I digress so let's get back to the sweater....

The above pics were taken inside as they seemed to show a much better stitch definition than the pics I took outside. However, the outside pics are truer to the real colour so here's a few to give you an idea of the tweedy green ....

Oh yes and I forgot to mention that it has a rather fetching cable running down the centre back....

Well, that's it for now. Am finishing off a blanket for TV watching and a baby cardi for a friend of mine so I may well be back within the month to show those off! Goodness, two posts in one month! I may have to go and have a lie down in a dark room for a bit!

Til soon.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fab Feb FOs!

Hello. Yes. Welcome. (That's in tribute to my favourite character in Boston Legal...)

It seems that I'm tending to blog about once a month at the moment so I'll run with that for a while and see how it goes. I'd love to blog more often but I guess it's just not meant to be. Still, here I am.

So, first up is an FO that I'm particularly proud of. Remember this from January?

Well, by the miracle of knitting, it turned into this....

It looked a little frumpy hanging in the tree all by itself so I tarted it up with a colourful scarf and it made all the difference! It looks great with jeans (and no, I don't have a pic of that) and is super warm. It's Minetta by Kirsten Kapur and is a really easy and enjoyable project. I used a stashed 4 ply yarn (80% wool) which I suppose is going to be waaaaay too hot for even the coldest South African winter day, but even if I only wear it once or twice, it'll be worth it.

Here's a back view which is equally the centre cable panel!

That panel stopped me from committing suicide whilst doing the back which is how I normally feel when doing endless stocking stitch! Enough to keep it interesting but not enough that I couldn't watch TV or listen to audiobooks at the same time....perfect.

Here's some cable and button love....

And a view without the scarf. (Please excuse the shoulders ... there are NO shoulder pads (I'm not that desperate to replicate the golden age of the 80s, although it was the greatest decade of all time) - it's just the hanger I was using!

One last look then before I move on ....

And so, onto another FO!!! For a while now I've been wanting to try Tunisian crochet. However, until recently my local yarn shop didn't stock the hooks and I wasn't about to embark on an internet shopping spree because it never stops at one item does it ...... or is that just me? However, I managed to lay my hands on a hook a few weeks ago and decided that today was the day to make something useful.

A month or so ago I was given these rather wonderful things. They're called Snippits here in SA - and they are totally FAB! For us crafters, scissors can be a bit of minefield. Some are too big to carry around in a little "bits and bobs" bag, some are too small, made in China and fall apart after about a week so we're always on the lookout for the perfect cutting tool. Well, I think I've found it with these little beasties cos they're perfect.

I know they look a bit antiquated and when I first saw them I was reminded of some of the lethal hardware that my grandfather used to keep in his shed, but believe me, these are The Business. They are extremely (and I don't use that word lightly) sharp and have a point on them that could make a grown man weep. They are small (just over 2") and feel great in the palm of my hand. Being almost flat, they allow me to cut yarn really close to my work which means I don't get those little tails sticking out all over the place.

But, they needed a little holder - something small but thick enough to keep me from spearing myself every time I dug around in my project bag looking for them. And then it hit me! Tunisian crochet was the answer!!! Out came the hook and the yarn and I got going.....

A little bit of green yarn left over from my Luscious Lime II project, interspersed with a little orange bamboo silk.....

It was so easy (after watching only one Youtube video on how to do Tunisian crochet I was soon an expert)! Quickly it turned into this....

A perfect Snippit Sleeping Bag! And here are the Snippits all tucked up with points end in first (again, so I don't stab myself)!!! An excellent way to spend a couple of hours!

And that's pretty much it for now. I have started my next project which is Rustique by Glenna C. I'm doing it in a forest green tweedy sort of yarn which I love so I should have that finished by next time!

Hope you are well!
Till soon.