Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Knitting all the Things

Lately I have been getting a lot of joy and relaxation from knitting.
Here are 4 things recently off my needles:

Scatness Tam.
This is a design by Kate Davies and is inspired by the Viking and Pictish shapes of Scatness, an ancient site on Shetland.

And the inside floats:

Dunedin scarf
Next is a Celtic knotwork shawl by Lucy Hague. I made this using a hand dyed yarn by Kate Selene.  I chose it because it reminds me of the bright green grassy fields with black cows grazing in the summer.

Aran Tweed cardi
Made this using a Patons pattern and varigated yarn. Really love wearing this as a jacket if it's just cold. 

Theme and Variation hap
This is a fun and easy shawl from Kate Davies book "The Book of Haps"

I think I am ready for Autumn!

If you want any further details, please ask!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Upton Dress

Cashmerette patterns have released a pattern for woven fabrics called the Upton dress.  As soon as I saw it on Jenny's blog I knew it would be a style that would suit my figure and that I already had the perfect cotton fabric for too.  So here it is: my Upton Volumes dress!
The pattern has three different front bodice pattern pieces to choose from, each with different types of bust darts, depending on the difference between your bust and waist measurements.  The tricky bit for me was that my measurements suited two different sizes, so I took the suggestion in the pattern and used the bodice size that was closest to my waist measurement.  I used the waistband to slope between the two differently sized parts of the dress, to bridge the gap from the size 20 bodice to the size 18 skirt.
Now that I have worn it for a day out, and that I have looked at photos of me in the dress, I can see a few changes that I will make when I make this dress again.  It looks a bit like there isn't quite enough room in the bust but too much room above the bust, so I will use a bigger front bodice piece next time.  Also, I think I might size up the waist and skirt too.  When I was sitting down, the tightness of the waist and under-bust bodice pushed my breasts up quite a bit higher than I am used too, and caused a cleavage crease, which I personally try to avoid!  So a bit more room will let everything stay where it is supposed to!
Posing with pockets!

I have had this printed cotton fabric called "Volumes" in the colourway called "Degas" by Anna Maria Horner stored away for over a year now, just waiting for the right pattern.  I really didn't want pleats or gathers to interfere with the vertical pattern of this print, and I wanted skirt panels wide enough to make the best use of this pattern.  I made the front a priority with the skirt print and would have loved the back to have the strip of colour to be in the centre but there just wasn't enough fabric in my stash.  I compromised and at least made the back symmetrical.
I didn't have an invisible zip so used a normal one and inserted it fairly badly.  Oh well.  I could do it again but I am too lazy really, and will just leave it as is.
Here is a side view to show the fit and the shape.  Sometimes with a full figure a normal dress pattern will end up having the waist band rise up slightly in the front.  But look at the excellent pattern drafting and bust accommodation here: no rising of the front waist band!  I am very pleased overall and will be making this pattern again.
Before putting in the zip I had made the waistband out of the coloured striped fabric but decided it was too busy and then opted for the grey waistband instead.  Here's the two photos that helped me be certain about my choice.

I already have ideas for a second Upton dress!

Friday, 8 April 2016

Knitsonik Icelandic hat

I have finished another hat!  This one has been in the making basket for a while now.  My sister had planned a holiday to Iceland, a place I am keen to visit too, but so far haven't been able to go.  I asked her to bring me back 4 balls of Icelandic wool in any colours she thinks go well together.  She chose these four as they were all represented in this amazing ice landscape.  And so I have surprised her by knitting up a warm, cosy and waterproof hat in this beautiful lettlopi yarn.
I have a book by Felicity Ford called Knitsonik, it helps you to develop your own colour work pattern using your own environment as inspiration to come up with colourwork ideas that would work in knit wear.  I went through about 5 sheets of graph paper and different designs to come up with my idea, and even now that it is finished, I am eager to try another version.  There are just no wrong answers when it comes to designing your own colourwork pattern!  I didn't know which one was my best one, and even now I am keen to give it another go!
I used the lines of the ice formation behind my sister in the above photograph as my inspiration.  All jagged and triangular lines.  Here is Mr Bingley keeping a close eye on it whilst it dries on a balloon.
I would definitely change a few things for my next incarnation, but this one will suffice for an Aussie winter.  Below are pictures showing the front, side and above:

I am very relieved and quite pleased that my crown design worked out as well as it did.   I am sure she will like this, especially as I STILL haven't finished the quilt I promised to finish 3 winters ago!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Crofthoose Hat

We love visiting the Scottish Islands and have taken MANY photos of the small cottages dotted amongst the beautiful landscapes.  When I saw this year's free pattern promoting Shetland Wool Week I just had to knit it up!

Ella Gordon is the designer of this free pattern available from the Shetland Wool Week website.
She has suggested four different yarn colourways, but so many people are coming up with their own!  It's such an inspiring hashtag to browse #crofthoosehat  I chose to stick with mostly natural yarn colours, but added red roofs to some for a pop of colour, and to remind me of our holidays.
The intricately patterned crown above.   And below it is inside-out to show my yarn floats.

I kept two rows of the more traditional coloured cottages, as I really like the natural brown colours, and also because we once stayed in a thatched cottage for two weeks on the Island of Benbecula.
And I added in a row of red-roofed cottages, as we have taken many photos of these whilst journeying through the Hebridean Islands of Scotland.

Overall, I feel this hat is too snug and too small for my head unfortunately.  My guage is really quite off too.  The pattern calls for a guage of 26 stitches per 10cm square, and mine was 30x36 stitches.  I think I knit this too tightly.  I will be knitting this again, but on bigger needles.  I do love it and really want to be able to wear the wee crofthooses to remind me of so many happy times.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2016

I am so lucky to be living in the beautiful country of Scotland.  Fresh air, wild scenery, atmospheric weather and so much History.  I just love all of it!  And within a reasonable distance is the beautiful city of Edinburgh.  This month was the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, a full weekend schedule of classes as well as a high-quality market full of beautiful stalls from all around Britain and the world.
As I had enrolled in a class I was able to arrive at 9am to wander around all the beautiful stalls in the marketplace.  But thankfully, even if you weren't enrolled in a class, you could still come along and enjoy the stalls and the fabulous hand-knits worn by all the attending public from 10am til 6pm.

The Event

Here are a few photos that I took, hopefully it gives you a flavour of the event.
wee county yarns
Lucy Hague - beautiful
Celtic Cable designs
Purl Alpaca

Stephen West
Emma Lamb

Kate Davies Designs booth
If you like the look of this festival, and would like to see more, here are a few links to other blogs about the event.  From some much better photographers too!
Julia Hedges (and a second post)

My Purchases

Here are the bits and pieces that I bought, along with links to the stall holders:

I love this Kate Davies pattern book, and especially fell in love with the hat on the cover.  The autumn colours and the curves are just perfect together.  So this was my first purchase, all the wool to make this hat.  The wool is Jamieson & Smith DK but I bought it from purlescence, as they had a gorgeous wall of wool on display.
I am planning to make another Baa-ble hat, but this time turn the sheep into Alpacas, and use undyed alpaca wool for it.  I already had some dark shades and was able to add these two lovely shades to my collection from John Arbon.
Next I met some very kind and friendly ladies in the Purl Alpaca booth, and bought this waistcoat knitting pattern called Balboa.  They had so many of the garments knitted up already so that you could try them on, which really helped in choosing a pattern.
I returned to purlescence to purchase colours for the new free pattern promoting Shetland Wool Week as designed by Ella Gordon.  It is gorgeous little croft hooses!  Can't wait to make this one.
Look at these sweet little mini balls of yarn from wee county yarns!  Think I will just have to make another hat!
A beautiful pattern from Black Bat that looks just like Lily of the Valley, my Mum's favourite flower, so I will make this as a gift for her.  You could choose any British Rare breed wool to make this in, so I chose North Ronaldsay, as it is my favourite sheep.  They live on a remote Orkney island and only eat seaweed!!!  We went there for our honeymoon and they've had a special place in my heart ever since.
I absolutely love Kate Davies Designs, and really wanted to buy the full kit for her new pattern called Miss Rachel, but I had to take myself outside and have a long hard think about it.  I finally decided that I wouldn't get it for myself at the moment, as really my skills aren't quite good enough to invest that amount of time and money into such a beautiful garment, only for it to come out anything less than perfect.  So instead I bought a small project bag, and I will use this with dreams of Miss Rachel for one day in the future.
Lastly, I bought some bits and bobs from other stalls including some needles, some wool wash, a beautiful ceramic button from Beyond Measure and some sweet sheep felted earrings from Aileen Clarke.
After my class I went back to the market stalls and chose some wool from Wollmeise so that I could make this pretty shawl called Jasminde that was given to us in class.

My Class

I took a class with Martina Behm from Strickmich to learn lace knitting skills.
We first started with chart reading and made a swatch, here is mine.

Then we started the Jasminde pattern and Martina helped a few of us with close up demonstrations as well as tips on how to undo our work when we make a mistake, because we know that we will!

Overall, I had an excellent day and would love to go again.  I was glad I went by myself so that I could look at the things that interested me the most.  I wasn't lonely either, as so many friendly ladies began conversations with me, both stall holders and fellow shoppers.  There were so many people from other countries visiting too!  Maybe you could plan a visit next year?!

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