Friday, 27 April 2012

FO Friday: three little things & one little lady

We are celebrating a special little lady's birthday today. 
This is a scheduled post as I have a few Finished Objects to share with you, two of which are overdue. As usual I'm sharing these with FO Friday and Creative Friday

You may remember a secret project a few weeks ago...? 
I can now reveal it's a Pixie hat for Another's baby! (The baby is gorgeous, by the way.)
YARN: Patons FAB DK in rainbow colourway
PATTERN: from a leaflet

Pixie Moon has been getting some new clothes too
(but let's be honest, it wasn't her clothes you were looking at recently!) 
I can't tell you which yarn I used and I improvised the design - my first attempt at a one-piece crochet cardigan. It worked out well but the colour isn't great for photos so you'll have to take my word for it! 

And finally, while perusing one of my favourite blogs yesterday I spotted a little Autumn Hat which inspired me to get out some cotton and make a Spring Hat for Little Miss. She has very fine hair and hates it blowing in the wind, but it's not cold enough for anything woolly or sunny enough for a sunhat, so this is just perfect. It was meant to have a pretty flower on the side and one more round of crochet at the end, but when I tried it on for size I was told "it's fine as it is, actually" and she took it.  Who am I to argue with the Birthday Girl? *shrug*
YARN: Wendy Sublime Cotton DK

She kept the hat on all afternoon and tried to wear it in the bath which I think is a good sign. I've a feeling there may be more of these to come - but next time I won't tell her until it's complete (with flower!) 
Thursday, 26 April 2012

Where did the time go?

On the eve of our baby's birthday I find myself sitting here wondering where on earth the time went.  In some ways it feels like a few weeks since I held her tiny body in my arms. In other ways it feels as though this awesome person, this funny cheeky kind loving beautiful soul has been in our lives forever so that I can't begin to imagine what life was like before she came. 
(Pretending to have a beard like Daddy!)
It must be natural to feel a little sad these children are growing up so quickly,  just as I get used to one phase, it's all change again - except for the love of ice cream! 
"One more sleep" until she is 3! 

KCBW Day 4 - A Knitter/Crocheter for all seasons?

Today's prompt: As spring is in the air in the northern hemisphere and those in the southern hemisphere start setting their sights for the arrival of winter, a lot of crocheters and knitters find that their crafting changes along with their wardrobe. Have a look through your finished projects and explain the seasonality of your craft to your readers. Do you make warm woollens the whole year through in preparation for the colder months, or do you live somewhere that never feels the chill and so invest your time in beautiful homewares and delicate lace items. How does your local seasonal weather affect your craft? 3KCBWday4

Living in the UK, and being subject to four different, if not totally predictable, seasons has most certainly affected my crafting. Apart from anything else, there are two children to clothe and as they outgrow each season's clothes before they can be reused, it means there is a constant need for garments that are suitable for the weather. Just today I made a little cotton crochet beanie hat for Little Miss as it's too windy for a brimmed sunhat and not cold enough for a woolly hat (I'll show you that tomorrow!) 

Last Spring I was just getting into knitting in a big way, and I started off with various shawls and some of these have been worn throughout the year, but mostly they were made with specific seasons in mind which was reflected in the colours and yarns chosen....

Spring Tulips Shawl - made from lightweight Noro and Spring colours
Stitch Sampler Shawl in Autumnal colours and cuddly Mille Colori
.... and as the seasons have changed and I've been making more things for the children, my knitting became more practical and driven by the things that were needed, and my penchant for pretty shawls took a back seat. 
Sweets for my Sweet Shrug to cover t-shirt sleeves in the Spring & cool Summer evenings
Easy Eva Tunic cover-up for September chills
But of course alongside the practical things I make, there are some whimsical things that are just made for the love of making them and are not dependent on seasons. Lovely things that just make me happy, such as these.... 
Pixie Moon (and her subsequent clothing and frivolities)
Beekeeper's Quilt (WIP)
So yes, I am a seasonal knitter. But some things are just too good to wait! 

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

In Progress (including the missing Knitalong update)

I really don't want to miss out on all of my 'normal' posts this week while taking part in KCBW so here's a very quick update for WIP Wednesday and the Yarn Along. 
READING: Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb

This week I've mostly been working on the Knitalong shawl. Running low on the contrast colour,  I  finished with that after the 11th stripe and am now onto the border. Unfortunately the rows are getting long - probably close to 400 stitches. It's quite laborious as it feels as though there's not much progress at all - but it will be worth it when it's finished, as it feels completely gorgeous. To break up the boredom I cast on a test knit for Joanne at Not So Granny last week and have done a little work on that but I'm trying not to let it distract me from the shawl.

I'm delighted to be back to The Farseer Trilogy with part 2 - Royal Assassin after spending a few days reading the book club book I mentioned last week (I was right, not my kind of book at all and I didn't really enjoy it but finished it ready for the group discussion).

Hoping to catch up with the other posts at Tami's and Ginny's later in the week to see what you're all up to! I'm especially looking for books that may be suitable for book club discussions - any suggestions would be great. Have a great week xxxx

KCBW Day 3 - Your Knitting Or Crochet Hero

Thank you so much for all the lovely comments on yesterday's photo post. I had so much fun setting it up so it was lovely to see your feedback. Today's Knitting & Crochet Blog Week brief is to write about your crafty hero. I find inspiration in so very many different places including Pinterest, various books/magazines and many many blogs (a few of which are listed here). There are so many people I could choose but I'm going to introduce you someone whose knitting is beautiful but whose photography and blog  also really inspire me - Alicia Paulson

I first came across Alicia's blog "Posie Gets Cozy" more than a year ago and it was her beautiful home and photography that initially captured my imagination.
Image reproduced from 'Posie Gets Cozy' with kind permission of Alicia Paulson.
Alicia and her husband Andy - her High School sweetheart - live in Portland Oregon, which judging by the many many photographs I have seen of their environment, is stunning (see this post, for example) and has the most beautiful light.  I quickly became an avid blog follower and it wasn't long before I had ordered one of Alicia's crewel work sampler kits and began lusting after everything on her Ravelry designs and project pages (where Alicia makes such wonderful use of colour and buttons - two things I am passionate about).
Ravelry Project Page
Posie Gets Cozy includes lots of different crafts, as Alicia is talented in various disciplines including knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, cooking... and her photography is absolutely breathtaking. It's not only about the beautiful things though, and the blog has chronicled various ups and downs over the time I have been following - a few posts have literally left me sobbing into a tissue, yet still so much beauty comes through the screen and the generous way in which Alicia and Andy allow us into their lives makes this blog feel quite intimate despite the large following. 
If you haven't visited Alicia's blog, shop and patterns, I would highly recommend a visit. But grab yourself a drink and make yourself comfy first, because you may want to stay a while. 

I'll be back later with my regular Wednesday reading and WIP updates.
Tuesday, 24 April 2012

KCBW Day 2 - Photography Challenge Day!

Today challenges you to be creative with your photography, and get yourself in with the chance to win the photography prize. Taking interesting photographs in this instance isn't about flashy cameras or a great deal of technical know-how, it's about setting up a story or scene in a photograph and capturing something imaginative. Your photograph(s) should feature something related to your craft, so that might be either a knitted or crocheted item, yarn, or one of your craft tools. One example of setting a scene would be to photograph a girl in a knitted red cape walking through the woodlands with a basket of goodies, as in the Red Riding Hood tale, or you might photograph a knitted gnome hiding among the flowers in your garden. Photo editing is permitted for competition photos - 3KCBWday2

Tuesday is always a manic day around here and so with just an hour to come up with an execute the idea, I'm pleased to present to you Pixie Winslet. 
Model: Pixie Moon
Jewellery by Swarovski via my friend Joe
Inspired by: James Cameron
Thanks to: my sister for the idea 

I loved visiting other Knitting & Crochet Blog Week posts yesterday, but there were SO many! If you're participating, please feel free to leave a link in the comments so I can find you easily. And if you want to catch up with the other posts from around the world, you can simply google 3KCBWDAY2.
I'll be back (much) later with my Knitalong update! 

Edited: I just noticed that people can nominate photos they enjoyed today, if you'd like to nominate Pixie, please complete the form here.

Edited again: Pixie Won!!!!! Thank you so much to everyone who voted for this picture and  huge congratulations to all the other people who were nominated. 
Monday, 23 April 2012

KCBW Day 1 - Colour Lovers

Hello! I am delighted to be taking part in Knitting & Crochet Blog Week 2012 and to welcome any new visitors (and if you don't already know about KCBW, each day this week I'll be joining hundreds of other crafty bloggers to bring you a series of posts on given topics.)

Today's brief: Colour is one of our greatest expressions of ourselves when we choose to knit or crochet, so how do you choose what colours you buy and crochet or knit with. Have a look through your stash and see if there is a predominance of one colour. Do the same with your finished projects - do they match? Do you love a rainbow of bright hues, or more subdued tones. How much attention do you pay to the original colour that a garment is knit in when you see a pattern? Tell readers about your love or confusion over colour. (3KCBWDAY1)

This one is easy....
I really do love ALL colours. As a nature lover I'm constantly astounded by the different colours that are presented in the sky, in the flora and fauna, and the way that the different light conditions affect them. It's often the context and contrast that makes the individual colours "pop" and that is what really appeals to me. The local fields are currently filled with rapeseed and some days it's so bright it's truly breath-taking. At certain times of the day, the blue sky contrasted with the white clouds that precede April showers makes me stop in my tracks - usually to take photos! As the seasons change, so do my favourite colours.
Considering I love all of the colours, if one were to look at my projects on Ravelry, it may be a surprise to find a disproportionate quantity of pinks, blues and purples. 

There are a number of reasons for this including the kids' preferences for their own garments and the fact that with an olive-tinged skin I can't get away with wearing many shades of orange, yellow or green unless I have a suntan. Unfortunately, living in Northern Europe, this limits me to about one or two weeks a year where these colours suit me. Regular readers will also know that I like things to match or co-ordinate and as I make quite a lot of accessories, this means my yarn choice is often linked to the outfit/shoes/handbag the FO is to be used with. For this reason, I seem to have lots of matching yarn and handbags *blush* maybe that's another photo for another day. 

If you'd like to see how other people select their colour, you can find the related posts KCBW here
See you tomorrow! 

Saturday, 21 April 2012

On ambidexterity

My right hand has been so dominant throughout my life it's taken me about 25 years to be able to make a semi-decent job of painting the nails on my right hand.  I've never been able to catch a ball with my left hand. (Some might say I'm not much better at catching with my right, but that's for another post!)

In fact, aside from displaying my wedding rings and stopping my watch from dropping off, my left hand has always been pretty much useless....until I learned to crochet and it was needed to hold/tension the working yarn. That was definitely the hardest thing to get right.

A couple of weeks ago Mum noticed I was using my left hand to thread needles when sewing. Since then I was shocked to find myself washing my hair with my left hand as if I'd been doing it all my life, I realised the filter jug and kettle were suddenly facing the "wrong" way, suggesting left handed use, and just before starting this post I caught myself stirring two saucepans - using both hands. I'm pretty sure this all started when I taught myself to knit "Continental". (You can find my "Continental Knitting Post" here about my reasons for changing the way I knit.)

I looked up Ambidexterity on Wikipedia and it mentions knitters which had me wondering... 
Ambidexterity is the state of being equally adept in the use of both left and right appendages (such as the hands). It is one of the most famous varieties of cross-dominance. People that are naturally ambidextrous are rare, with only one out of one hundred people being naturally ambidextrous.[1] The degree of versatility with each hand is generally the qualitative factor in determining a person's ambidexterity.
In modern times, it is more common to find people considered ambidextrous who were originally left handed and who learned to be ambidextrous either deliberately or during childhoodinstitutions such as schools, jobs where right-handed habits are often emphasized or required. Since many everyday devices (such as can openers and scissors) are asymmetrical and designed for right-handed people, many left-handers learn to use them right-handedly due to the rarity or lack of left-handed models. Thus, left-handed people are much more likely to develop motor skills in their non-dominant hand than right-handers (who are not subjected to left-favoring devices). Right-handers may become ambidextrous due to an injury of their right hand or arm. Ambidexterity is often encouraged in activities requiring a great deal of skill in both hands, such as knitting, typing on a computer, jugglingswimmingpercussionkeyboard musicbaseballlacrosse,surgeryboxingmartial arts and basketball.
Of course my right hand is still much more dominant but the dexterity and strength in the left is noticeably improved, resulting in it being unconsciously used it a LOT more now. Has anyone else noticed anything like this after switching to continental knitting, or becoming a crocheter? I'd love to hear your experiences. 
Thursday, 19 April 2012

On blogging habits, comments and spam

Image Source
I spend most of my time with people aged 5 and under, and my husband is not the slightest bit interested in the main things I write about, so blogging gives me a voice that I wouldn't otherwise have. For the first few months no one really read my words and there were very few comments from those who did (some of the posts that few read are posts I still consider my favourite). Still, I wrote. There were things I wanted to note down and remember, to look back on and to show the children when they are older. It started 'for Me' with no consideration to anyone else reading it (because no one was!) but over time this has changed, largely because my experience of reading other blogs has shaped the way I would like people to interact with mine and whilst I still write about what I want to write about, it's not just written for me now, I know that there are some other people reading and your feedback is valued.

And as much as I love writing a blog, I love visiting others even more - peeking into people's worlds, seeing their pictures, imagining living their lives.... I read LOTS of blogs. There are a only few I subscribe to by email - these are the voices that really 'speak' to me, and I never want to miss a single post. Generally I use a feed reader to keep up as this is the only practical way I can keep track of the hundreds of people I follow in the limited time I have. 
My Flipboard
If I know/follow someone on Facebook or Twitter too, I'll sometimes click on their links to new posts which means viewing their blog via another app, but most often I'll catch up with posts on my iPad, or sometimes my iPhone, using Flipboard. (This presents the posts in a simple magazine format which is easy to flick through while I have a cuppa.) Both of these methods make reading the posts easy, but there are a number of frustrations with commenting on them. 

Captcha/Spam prevention is not just preventing spam, it's preventing comments!! A lot of times I write a lengthy comment on a post only to find that the captcha thing just doesn't work on the device (or maybe the app?) I'm using. The word verification image doesn't show up at all, and therefore the comment can't be submitted. This is SO frustrating! 

Even when I can see the images (on my device or my laptop) my eyes actually find it hard to read them. So I try again. I'll be honest, if I can't make out the 2nd image, I usually give up in frustration. 

When participating in memes/link-ups I try to visit as many participant blogs as possible and to comment on as many as I can. Often it's a short comment on the item - a quick sentence of feedback just to let the person know I dropped by and took the time to read their post. But sometimes, the word verification isn't embedded in the comment form and it takes SO long for the captcha page to come up - even on a laptop - that I think my comment has been submitted and am clicking off the page just as the captcha is coming up... Arrgh, too late. I rarely go back in this instance, as I'm already onto the next blog. (Hanging around to verify the word means there is another blog that will have to be missed due to time constraints.)

When I started blogging and so many people had word verification in place, I thought it must be necessary, but as it annoys me so much when I try to comment on other blogs, I switched mine off last June. Since then have only needed to delete 4 or 5 spam comments. 

Using Blogger, it's easy to switch it off - just go to the dashboard > Settings > Posts and comments

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one to get frustrated by this stuff. What's your take on it? 
Wednesday, 18 April 2012

In Progress: variety is the spice of life

Whenever I start a project that will take a while (like a massive shawl), I start thinking about little things to make alongside it, and strangely, seem to get more done. This week I've already finished a little item with Pixie Moon - we'll show that to you on Friday - and started a couple of other things as well as working on the Knitalong project.  
READING: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
MAKING: 1. A decorative 'something' for the kitchen (crochet & fabric)
2. Framlingham - a sweater sample for Joanne at Not So Granny (knitting)
3. Stripe Study Shawl by Veera Valimaki (for our knitalong)

I can't tell you much about the sweater yet as I've only managed to cast on so far, but this yarn has been sitting here a while with my name on it (since I decided Chele needed something with more drape). The little kitchen decoration is hopefully going to be finished this week so I'll save the details until then.
The Stripe Study Shawl is going well. I updated on that yesterday but have to say that I tried draping it around me last night (as much as I could with a cable that's too short) and it feels A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! It's the softest most snuggly thing that I have ever held against my skin. I can just imagine how lovely it would feel wrapped around sun-kissed shoulders for a walk along a foreign beach at dusk. Sadly that's probably as close as it'll get to sun-kissed shoulders OR a foreign beach this year. Dreaming is fun, though.

As well as draping knitting about the place, last night I also finished Robin Hobb's Assassin's Apprentice and have to say I really enjoyed it. It's the first part of the Farseer trilogy and as such is pleasingly slow paced with a host of characters whose intentions and loyalties are slowly revealed as the protagonist (the bastard of the late King-in-waiting) grows from a 6 year old to a trained Royal Assassin. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series...but that will have to wait. 
Did I mention that I was invited to join a local book club? We are due to meet next week and I need to read the chosen book before then. It's Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and judging by the pinky and very 'girly' looking cover, it's not the type of book I'd usually select for myself. Hopefully it'll be a pageturner and I'll be able to whizz through it quickly to get onto the next in the Farseer Trilogy. 

Well it's almost time for Little Miss and I to head to the gym/creche (*groan* I am so unfit after my surgery/recovery) so I'll leave you with links to more Works in Progress and the Yarn Along xxxx
Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Stripe Study Shawl Knitalong - Week 2

Hello! Tuesday means two things for us (a) it's an incredibly busy day here, and (b) time for the Knitalong update....which is a quick one because of (a)!
As you can see, my Stripe Study Shawl is progressing. It's on a 100cm cable and I  can no longer stretch it out so it's hard to get a decent photo. It's getting wide - REALLY wide - and the rows take a long time now, but it doesn't feel as though the shawl is very long yet. I think this is an item that will take quite a bit more knitting and also some blocking to get it to the size I am anticipating.  As I usually knit for just an hour or so at night, this is going to take me a while to finish (there's still plenty of time to join the KAL!)
YARN: Silk/Cashmere 4 ply - special purchase from Nimu Yarns

I just love seeing all the other variations on the Instagram gallery - here are the 10 latest photos.....
You can add yours to the feed by tagging them #sssknitalong. We are using the same tag on Twitter

Feel free to leave a URL link to your shawl below (blog/twitter/flickr etc) and you can also head over to my conspirator, Nat's blog where she's included a Mister Linky this week. I look forward to taking a peek at how you're all getting on. 

I had a break from the shawl yesterday so that Pixie Moon and I could start a little crochet project. We'll be back with that tomorrow. 
Monday, 16 April 2012

One week and counting

Next Monday will be the first day of the 3rd Knitting & Crochet Blog week, and it looks like it's going to be the biggest and best yet.  The topics are and the list of prizes (prizes!) look great. I'm already wondering what on earth I can do for the "something different" post.....? 
If you knit/crochet and blog and you'd like to take part, you can find details here and here. (And if you don't already blog but would love to, this would be a great way to get started.)

I'll be back tomorrow with the latest on the Stripe Study Shawl Knitalong.
Hope to see you then!  
Sunday, 15 April 2012

Snippets (of life): Sunhat Raincoat weather

"Sometimes it snows in April" 
- Prince

It hasn't quite snowed here this last week of the school holidays, but the weather has been incredibly changeable. Bright warm sunshine one minute, then by the time you decide it's safe to take a walk to the park, it rains. Not much fun for the kids once the novelty of wet sand has worn off. We spent a lot of the week in-and-out of the garden, reading, drawing and being a little bit stir-crazy! 

Yesterday something amazing happened. (Well, actually a couple of amazing things as I also went for a lovely birthday celebration lunch for a special friend - without the kids, and with just other women, wine and excellent food. I so rarely get to do this, it was a real treat.) I digress. Yesterday I introduced my Mum to the delights of the Yarn & Fabric shop in Guildford (I've written about it before) and....I DIDN'T BUY ANYTHING!!!!!... although I was seriously tempted by this little selection:
Tomorrow it's back to some kind of normality when pre-school restarts. Then it's back to school on Tuesday. You know, I might moan about them when they are here making a mess and lots of noise, but I won't half miss them. 
Wishing you a great start to your week
Friday, 13 April 2012

FO Friday: Good news, bad news

The good news: I have a Finished Object this week!
The bad news: I can't show it to you yet. 
Here's a peek...
YARN: Patons FAB DK in Rainbow colourway
This isn't my usual type of yarn as I'm not a fan of acrylic, but I love the colours and having used it before, I can report that it washes and tumble dries beautifully so I thought it would be perfect for a little (low-maintenance) gift for someone. Hopefully it will have been delivered next week and will be able to show you, because I'm quite fond of it (and have a few requests to make more!). 

In the meantime, here is a little photo collage of the Stripe Study Shawl Knitalong photos already posted on Instagram. If you're joining in and would like to add your pictures to the Instagram gallery, just tag them with #sssknitalong. 
If you're feeling inspired to join us, you can find all the details here
You can find more finished objects and inspiration at FO Friday and Creative Friday.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend, 
Wednesday, 11 April 2012

In progress

YARN: Nimu Yarns silk/cashmere 4 ply

Having gone into detail about the Stripe Study Shawl in yesterday's knitalong post, I won't bore regular readers by repeating it. If you haven't heard about the knitalong that Nat at Misadventures in Craft and I are doing, you can read all the details here. I managed a little bit of knitting on it last night but couldn't resist an early night in bed with my Kindle as I'm really enjoying this week's book. 

You may remember I'd purchased Assassin's Apprentice last week in the Amazon Spring Sale and I'm only half way through but it's very enjoyable. It's reminiscent of various other books I've read (Tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn are particular favourites of mine and there are several similarities so far) and the  slow unveiling of the characters is leaving me wanting more after each sitting. 

You'll notice a second knitting project under my Kindle. This is a little gift project so there won't be any pictures of this for a while, but it's something I'm hoping to finish this week.

I'm linking in with Tami and Ginny today, you can pop along to see more WIPs and books.
Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Stripe Study Shawl Knitalong - week 1

Good morning! I trust you are all rested and refreshed after the long Easter weekend...? I can see from Nat's post on Misadventures in Craft that she is as excited as me this morning about our first KAL update posts! There wasn't much time for knitting here, but thankfully the start of the shawl is quick and it only took a few hours over the weekend to knit the first 6.5 stripes - yay! 
YARN: Nimu Yarns silk/cashmere 4 ply (Unravel special purchase)

This is a great pattern - I can see why it has over 2,200 projects on Ravelry. It's simple enough for a confident beginner and is easy to remember once you've made the first stripe. I'm really enjoying it and hope to get more time to work on it this week. Over the weekend, I've loved seeing the yarns and wonderful colours that other people have chosen and I can't help feeling that I've been quite reserved and predictably "Sarah" in my colour choices. Having said that, this yarn feels AWESOME, so soft and it has a beautiful sheen and drape - can't wait to wear it! When this one is finished, I may well cast on another in rainbow stripes (isn't this beautiful?), or perhaps one of the other similar patterns by the same designer.

If you're taking part with us, please leave a link to your blog or online picture of your update in the comments. You can also use Twitter and Instagram (you can view the latter on followgram too) with the tag #SSSKnitalong. There are several posts up already, here's a preview....
If you're interested in finding out more about how to join in, you can read the FAQs post (which also includes a discount code on the pattern and suitable yarn from Nimu). 

Happy Knitting! 
PS I've linked in with Frontier Dreams' Keep Calm Crafting on today - you can see more posts here.
Monday, 9 April 2012

A quick hello!

I hope you all had a wonderful long weekend. 
We've been busy visiting Winkworth, spending time with family and eating chocolate (more on those another day!) 

I'll be back tomorrow with the first update on the Stripe Study Shawl Knitalong. Can't wait to see who else is joining in! If you missed the posts about this last week, you can find them here.
Hope to see you then.
Friday, 6 April 2012

GASP! A Finished Object (!) & more info on the Knitalong

What a busy week we've had - the children have been enjoying their school holidays (although they are still up at 6am everyday). The first week has gone by incredibly quickly and I can't quite believe it's Friday already. My mum, who has recently relocated to our village, is convinced that time goes faster here than in Wales, and I think she may be onto something. 

Anyway the good news is that it's Friday AND thanks to my recent knitting frenzy I have a finished object to share with Tami's Amis and Natural Suburbia. Well, it's not blocked yet but it's bound off, and as far as I'm concerned, that qualifies!  Unfortunately the pictures taken outside in the bright light don't really show the stitches very well, so these are the best we could do. 
YARN: Ruth & Belinda's Thick Yarn x 3 skeins
NEEDLES: 10mm circulars

I was worried it wouldn't fit my *cough* 'curves' so I made the larger size which used less than 3 skeins in total. I bought 4 skeins so still have enough left over for something else.

This was a great quick (if I hadn't left it on the table for a few weeks) and very easy knit and would be a perfect first cable project. The yarn is devine and I love the simplicity of the pattern and the finished item. I found it quite difficult to knit on 10mm needles as I prefer 2.5 to 4mm and 4 ply/sock yarn, but I do love the overall effect and variety is always good. A black one would be just perfect for the Winter - I definitely see one in my future. 

If you missed yesterday's post, Nat from  Misadventures in Craft and I have decided on a little knitalong and we asked if anyone else would like to join in. 
We've had a great response already (here, on twitter and on facebook) including some questions about the pattern and yarn etc. If you're still thinking about whether to join us, here's some more information to help you decide. 

I'm a novice knitter, which skills will I need to knit this shawl? Will I be able to do it?
You'll need to be able to cast on, knit garter stitch (knit each row) and bind off. You will need to be able to increase using M1L/M1R (link to videos). The shaping is done using short rows (link to 'wrap & turn' video). If you think you can do these things, then you should be able to knit this shawl without difficulty.

Which needles will I need? And what's the gauge? 
You'll need a circular needle of 80cms or more to hold all the stitches, but will knit it flat.
The gauge isn't crucial but the size of the finished shawl will vary if you don't match the stated tension which is: Using 4ply and 4mm needles = 20 sts and 40 rows to 10cm/4" of garter stitch.

Which yarn should I use? 
That is totally up to you. The pattern is written for 4 ply and if you would like inspiration for colours and blends or brands of yarn, I'd suggest taking a look at the Ravelry projects page where over 2,200 Stripe Study Shawls are already pictured. You'll see that you need two colours and a 100g/400m skein of each will be enough if you're using 4ply as per the pattern. I'll be sharing my yarn choice on Tuesday's update post!

Where can I get the pattern? 
You can download the pattern at Veera Valimaki's Ravelry pattern page. The pattern is also available from Nimu Yarns who are offering KAL participants buying the pattern and suitable yarn from them a 15% DISCOUNT  on that purchase. This offer runs until the end of May 2012. Either Isel or Ullscarf will give you sufficient meterage to complete the pattern. Use the code STRIPEKAL to activate the discount on your order of these products. Edit: this has now been extended to include Langstrath, Mickleden & the Different Lines pattern.

Will I need anything else? 
Just some stitch markers (or scrap yarn to use as stitch markers).

I'm in, what are the rules?
That's easy, there aren't really any rules - just knit along with us, tell us about your progress. You can do this on your own blog, by commenting on one of our blogs (we're posting our updates on Tuesdays), on twitter using #SSSKnitalong and you can also post to Instagram using the same tag. I've already cast on and posted a few sneaky pics.

Feel free to use the images we've provided. If you're in the the Southern hemisphere, you may prefer these which don't include "Spring 2012"!

I think that's most of the questions covered. If you have any more, please leave a comment. 

EDIT: I'm an idiot! Half of the images had the wrong text, they have now been updated!
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DISCLAIMER: Crafts from the Cwtch is part of the Deramores, Craftsy, Etsy, Creativebug and Amazon Affiliate programmes and works with a few carefully selected sponsors. Where posts or projects are sponsored, the opinions will always be entirely my own. You can find out more about affiliate links and blog sponsorship here.

Hello and welcome. If it's your first visit you may like to start with my most popular tips & tutorials, or the patterns. You can read more about me on the 'Hello' page and you may also like the CftC pages on Ravelry, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Etsy. I hope you enjoy your visit! Sarah

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