Saturday, 31 August 2013

Pick A Boo Round-up!

Over the last two months knitters from around the UK and all over the world (including United States, Canada, Crete, Sweden, Ireland and more...) have joined in for the Pick A Boo! knitalong. The 'rules' were simple - cast on one of the Boo Knits designs during July or August and update us with your progress. Little did I realise that so many people would get the 'boo bug' and cast on more than one! 

Here are just a small selection of finished shawls - clicking the link beneath each picture will take you to the individual project pages, the pattern name is in brackets where the project name differs. 

vhglass' Meringue (Fragile Heart) - source: Ravelry

Michelle166's Cloud Illusions - source: Ravelry

HelenKnitsUK's Cobwebs and Dewdrops (Out of Darkness) - source: Ravelry

Fairywool's Leprechaun (Quite Continental) - source: Ravelry

Tinkhickman's Cloud Illusions - source: Ravelry

Divani's Byzantium Dreams (Sweet Dreams) - source: Ravelry

I really wish I could show you all of the beautiful shawls but there are too many - please visit the "Finished Object" thread to see more. You can also find lots of progress shots (and some which were completed but not added to the FO page) on this thread and still more on Instagram tagged as #pickabooFO.

I can't tell you how much fun it's been to check in througout the summer and see the work of so many lovely knitters on Instagram and the Ravelry groupPeople have been generous about sharing their progress (good and bad) and to offer help and advice. Huge thanks to everyone who participated in this knitalong and special thanks go to Bev (Boo Knits) who was generous with her time - offering lots of encouragement and advice along the way - and for her giveaway prize, and also to the lovely Tabs of RosyRetro for her prize contribution.  

There will be another knitalong before the year is out, so stay tuned! 
Friday, 30 August 2013

Cwtch-speak lesson 5: Crafting Doldrums


doldrums - noun plural

- a spell of listlessness or despondency
- a state or period of inactivity, stagnation or slump
My yarny-friend Danielle mentioned being in "creative limbo" on facebook today and I can totally relate. On her blog, Annie wrote that in the ebb and flow of knitting, she is in the 'ebb' stage. It's good to know I'm not the only one feeling like this at the moment, although it probably should come as little surprise as the holidays usually have a strange effect on me. This week I simply do not have the inclination for crafting. There are a few reasons for this: 

1. Major distractions. It's been a busy week of puppy preparations - reading puppy training books, watching training videos and organising space for our little man and his things (all purchased, delivered and packed neatly away). By the way, we decided on "Archie" as it's the only name we could agree on.  (Netflix is also responsible for me watching ALL of Breaking Bad in the last couple of weeks - four and a half seasons to date. It's awesome - the best character-driven TV drama that I've seen.)

2. If knitting is 5% talent and 95% lack of interruption* then all might be explained in this point alone. I've managed 'holiday hexipuffs' and my 'Super-long Sleeves' but little else over the summer because I simply do not get uninterrupted time to concentrate on anything more complicated until the evening, when I am too tired (...and watching Netflix!). 

3. I simply don't want to knit my current WIPs. After going as far as to start a second Dragonfly Wings when I couldn't face finishing the first, it succumbed to the same fate - it's currently sitting in a bag and hasn't been touched for over a week. The Pick A Boo! knitalong ends tomorrow and I'm very disappointed that after organising it and seeing so many beautiful shawls, I haven't managed to finish any myself ... yet still can't find the motivation. (I'll show you other people's gorgeous FOs in tomorrow's post by way of apology!) I have a few other unfinished objects, but nothing I want to pick up right now.

So tell me, do you experience the crafting 'doldrums' too? Is it seasonal for you? How do you get out of it? 

* I love this quote from a cartoon which I spotted on a facebook page last week, which was not accredited / no link to the original source. The person who shared it has also posted my own cartoons on her page, in fact with the addition of her own logo on MY drawings (!!! - and neither removed it or added a link back to my site on request), so I am not linking back to the page as it is most likely the work of someone else. If you have seen the drawing and know the original source, please message me so I can link/credit accordingly. 
Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Spinning Show & Tell: Nada

There has been no spinning this week. Nothing. It's suprising to find I'm really missing what had very quickly become a daily ritual of "15 minutes after breakfast" and it's very high on my list of priorities for when our lives revert to the structure of school terms and activities. When I get back to it, my plan looks something like this... 
  • Figure out how to use Christine's drumcarder so I can get back to my raw fleece. 
  • Start knitting a 'proper' project with my handspun - especially after seeing Tanya's Capucine as that pattern has been in my queue for ages.
  • Learn about dyeing - there are a few books on my shelf which haven't yet been opened as they arrived just before the summer holidays and I can't wait to get onto them, but perhaps the practical side will have to wait a while, at least until after the pup is here and settled. 
Spinning needn't be expensive
In related news, one of the local villages held their annual fete at the weekend and I picked up some more "bottle bags" - I've posted them on Instagram previously, but I don't think they appeared here? They are made by a lovely local lady to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Care and Support and she sells them for a very small amount at the local fairs, all of which goes to the charity. They happen to be perfect for hanging my spindles out of harm's way. I can think of plenty of other uses for them too - they would make lovely gift bags and if a little wider would accomodate fibre with the spindles -  perhaps that's something else to add to the list! 

If you've actually done some spinning this week and would like to share your link, please feel free to do so below. 
Monday, 26 August 2013

Snippets: Excitement & planning...

Yesterday we had the pleasure of meeting the most wonderful Miniature Schnauzer and her litter of month-old pups. They were all beautiful but, for me, it was love at first sight for one little black dog - with a splatter of white on his chest and on one paw - like he'd been stepping in paint. I know a few lovely 'pepper and salt' coloured Schnauzers, but seeing how beautiful the black mum was (an incredibly friendly and confident bitch with a wonderful temperament, such a lovely mum for our new addition) and looking at this little chap's face, our fates were sealed. (In the excitement, I didn't remember to focus the camera so the pictures are terrible, but I think you'll understand why!)
Meeting our pup!
So we have four weeks to prepare for his arrival, and a lot to get done including: deciding on a name (possibly Frank or Gus?), reading up on puppy training, preparing the kids, reorganising the utility room as his quiet space in our busy home, and getting his things ready.  You have four weeks to prepare for cuteness overload. If you can't wait that long, I have a Mini Schauzer Pinterest board. Happy Bank Holiday!

PS There is still time to enter the yarn givaway by leaving a comment on Friday's post
Friday, 23 August 2013

Super-long Sleeves FO (and recipe)

Super-long Sleeves FO
The Recipe: I originally planned to make another pair of my Supremely Simple Versatile Cuffs, with a few mods for knitting in the round, but once I saw how this yarn was knitting up, I decided to knit on and make them very long and straight so that they would go right up over my elbows (to wear with short sleeved tops), as follows...
  • C/O 52 stitches using a long tail cast on and 4mm circular needles
  • Join to knit in the round using the magic loop method, being careful not to twist the stitches
  • K2, P2 rib until the work is 38 cm (being the desired length to the thumb opening)
  • Continue the rib pattern by knitting back and forth along the rows (ie no longer in the round), for 4 cm to create the thumb opening
  • Join to continue knitting in the round for another 4 cm (being the desired length from thumb to finger) 
  • Bind off in pattern
The Yarn: for these long 'sleeves' I used 150g of Regia Alaska Colour DK (8 ply)/ Colour 08940.
Regia Alaska review.Having used Regia sock yarns (fingering / 4ply) on a number of occasions I was keen to give the DK a try. It is 75% superwash new wool and 25% polyamid and comes in a huge 200g ball with an RRP of £14.99. As one might expect it is a sturdy yarn and while it isn't terribly soft to the touch, it's perfectly comfortable on my arms and would be great for legwarmers, slipper socks, boot liners etc. This is an 8 ply yarn and with the wooden needles I used for the first armwarmer, I found it a little splitty. I was knitting while at the farm park and concentration was minimal so there are a few places where I have split the yarn. For the second, I switched to metal needles and didn't have the same problem.

I'd definitely use this again - I have 50g left for a smaller pair of 'sleeves' for Little Miss - and I'd like to make some thick winter socks in another colourway. The great thing about this being DK is that it knits up really quickly and a pair of socks could easily be finished in just a few evenings.

There is another 200g ball of this colourway here for one lucky reader, courtesy of Black Sheep Wools. To enter the giveaway please leave a comment below, telling me what you'd make from it, and remember to leave an email address/your blog or ravelry name so I can get hold of you if you win! I'll make the draw next Friday 31st August - good luck! 
Wednesday, 21 August 2013

My week of knitting

My week of knitting - a doodled info graphic for Crafts from the Cwtch blog
I should have worked on my Dragonfly Wings shawl in advance of tomorrow's update....  
I should have finished the socks that have been in my bag for several months, untouched...
I should have tidied the house following two trips away in as many weeks... 
...but I didn't manage any of these things.

So what have I been doing? Driving to Wales and back, spending time with family and friends, and constantly refereeing two children who are over the summer holidays and can't wait to get back to school in a(nother!) fortnight. At this precise moment I can't wait either... although I know I'll feel very different on the first day of term. 

When I've had the chance to do anything else I've been reading all about puppies*, knitting a few hexipuffs and starting a brand new project. I'll tell you all about that, and the yarn, on Friday when I'll also be offering the chance to win 200g of the same colourway. Until then, I suppose I'd better get back to my list of unfinished things.
WIPs & books - August 21st 2013
*We are going to see a potential pup at the weekend!!!!!!!

I'll be back tomorrow with a sorrowful knitalong update, but in the meantime, you can find more 'work in progress' posts here, here and here
Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Spinning Show & Tell: Catch-up

Not only has it been a couple of weeks since I posted my last update, but the kids and I are away again so this is a scheduled post to give you a quick look at what has been spun recently. You'll see the answer is - not very much, but I do have two small finished skeins and another two 'straws' of spinning ready to be plied when we get home, with a further batt waiting to be spun up to accompany the purple alpaca/BFL. 
Spinning show & tell - August 20th 2013: Alpaca, BFL & Dawning Dreams spindle
I knitted from several handspun trial pieces while on holiday (for my hexipuff collection) and it worked up really nicely, so I'm hoping that's a good indication. Hopefully the soft smooshiness of these is evident - I can't wait to get them onto the needles... but have some other things to complete first.

Half an hour of spinning at the weekend resulted in my poor spindle taking quite a battering as it kept crashing to the floor - proving that 'little and often' is a much better approach. I have included a couple of close-ups in the hope of feedback from experienced spinners, particularly on the amount of twist in the plying. It's hard to know when you are learning from books and videos. How much account should I take of the the fibre/blends? Should I spin or ply differently for alpaca than I would for other more sturdy fibres? Does anyone have any good links or resources they could recommend? Any advice would be appreciated.

Well that's it from me for now, but if you have some fibre or spinning you'd like to include in this Show & Tell, please use the form below to add your link.

Thursday, 15 August 2013


... is exactly the number of rows left to finish my Dragonfly Wings shawl for the knitalong*.
... is the approximate number of minutes it will take to tink back to the mistake, so I'm going to get on with it. 
... is roughly the number of times I have thought about ripping the whole thing out in frustration and starting again from scratch.
Dragonfly Wings
... is also the exact number of years since I married D.

I read about a couple who had been married for very many years and when asked for the secret of their longevity, replied that it was really very simple: there were times where one or other of them had wanted to get divorced, but those times hadn't coincided. I can relate. Through some of the most stressful times, when it didn't seem we could make it work, it felt that it might be easier to rip the whole thing apart in frustration than to put it right.

When you make a mistake in a knitting pattern,  you can either fix it (properly), frog it (undo it and start again) or bodge it, which is to make the best of the mistake without undoing the whole thing, and carry on, perhaps even using the 'mistake' as a feature (like the M1 increases in my Dragonfly Wings). I suppose what I'm saying is that we've bodged our way to ten years of marriage, and as I sit here in our lovely home watching the children play, I'm feeling happy with that we have cobbled together so far and I hope we can continue to bodge our way through life. Happy Anniversary D xxx

*There are two weeks left in the Pick A Boo! Knitalong, and so it's not too late to join in. Details are here. If you're blogging along, please add your link below. I'm planning to have my finished shawl ready for next week and to show you some of the other gorgeous FOs. Happy knitting! 
Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Summer WIPs & books

Our holiday was the relaxing break we'd hoped for and there was plenty of time to enjoy the gentle sounds of sheep in the field opposite our room, three good books and the usual family activities of swimming pool antics, too much food, and (dubious) entertainment. Sadly the sheep were only kept in the field after dark so I didn't manage any photos - please feel free to use your imagination below.
So there are three books to tell you about. Firstly I finished EDEN by Dean CrawfordUnconventionally for a published author (his Ethan Warner series has been on numerous best-seller lists) Dean is experimenting with self-publication alongside the traditional release of his other books. (It's an interesting experiment which you can read about on his blog.) I really enjoyed this one and would go as far as to say that despite some typos/errors in the version I downloaded, this is my favourite of Dean's books so far. It's a post-apocalyptic thriller in which 'civilisation' breaks down following a natural disaster that wipes out modern technology. The story (based on science-fact) and character development are interesting, and the effects of the new world order on the main characters was something I found both chilling and easy to believe (and not totally dissimilar to the 'human' aspect of the characters in The Walking Dead) I'm looking forward to the sequel. 

Next I finished listening to something completely different - Behind The Scenes At The Museum, another great book from Kate Atkinson. If you liked  Life After Life (which I recommended previously) and haven't read this one, check it out. I would dearly love comments from anyone outside the UK who has read this book already - I wonder whether it is as enjoyable without the cultural references, and suspect it is as it's another multi-generational tale full of wonderfully written characters. I've just downloaded The Cuckoo's Calling for my next listen, and if you have any really good audiobook recommendations please leave a comment as I have another credit waiting to be used.

I also downloaded Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone and finished it in a couple of days - it's not at all my usual thing (monsters, angels, a LOVE story...) but the fact that I read it in a few sittings is proof enough that I became totally absorbed into the worlds and characters within.
Hexipuffs on holiday
The perfect poolside project turned out to be my Beekeeper's Quilt - it was great to knit while watching the kids play, or listening to an audiobook and unlike most knitting projects, wasn't too hot to work on under the Mallorcan sun, although I quickly realised that in warm weather, metal circulars are easier to use than wooden DPNs! The leftover yarn from Whippoorwill resulted in such lovely hexipuffs I'm going to get more Kauni yarn just for this project. I managed to make fifteen or so before the filling ran out - when the Kauni was almost used up I mixed it with scraps of handspun, before finally moving on to sock yarn scraps. Despite suggestions (from Instagram friends) of sacrificial cuddly toys or ripping apart the hotel pillows, the end of the stuffing put an end to my holiday knitting but not to worry. I now find myself in the fortunate position of having only a couple of WIPs (handbag socks and my Pick A Boo kal shawl) which means I can definitely cast on something new this week.... and I'm spoilt for choice.

There is also some spinning in the works - my apologies to anyone who was looking for a Show & Tell link yesterday. There was a lot of exciting (and secretive) stuff happening and I didn't manage to get to my computer in time to post the link. Normal service will resume next Tuesday, and I'll tell you all about our exciting day just as soon as I am able to! In the meantime, I'm tending to a sick boy who is feeling very sorry for himself as we had fun things to do today. Hopefully it's just a 24 hour bug (and not contagious!) as we have another trip planned for the weekend that I don't want to miss.

*By request, here's the link I posted previously - click here to start the 30-day free trial with Audible, including one free audiobook download (that's yours to keep).
Thursday, 8 August 2013

Pick A Boo! from... guess who....?

With Sarah on holiday I thought I might pop by and gate-crash the party! I am Bev and I design shawls under the name of Boo Knits!  I have been enjoying the Pick-a-Boo KAL so much and there are so many wonderful shawls being created, I am in total heaven.  Yarn, beads, lace, colour, texture each one quite different and unique.  I think that is the wonderful thing about knitting - you get to create something unique, each stitch of it made with love and joy.  

I love the childlike excitement of walking into a yarn store or opening a package, usually before the postman has reached the end of the drive, the smell of yarn, the sparkle of beads, the wonder of blocking when the crumpled piece of ‘rag’ is transformed into a wondrous beauty.

I didn’t set out to design shawls, I didn’t even set out to knit them; I really just fell into it. I wanted to do something in the evenings and decided to knit a hat; bought the book and the yarn. I didn’t even cast on. I went back to the yarn store after a couple of weeks and bought another ball of the same yarn, deciding to start simple and practice by knitting a big woolly shawl because it was just knitting and I didn’t think I would be capable of knitting the hat. I went back several times for extra yarn and eventually took my finished shawl in to show the owner of the store. She smiled and told me I had knit a lace shawl - I didn’t believe her, it was in worsted weight. I had no idea that lace could be in any weight and that the feather and fan stitch meant it was a lace shawl nevertheless. I could have floated home, I was so astounded. I bought a skein of lace weight yarn there and then and decided to knit a ‘real’ lace shawl. I did but mainly because everyone that saw the fine 2ply yarn told me that I would never knit with it.

There was no stopping me then but I found that with each shawl I made I changed the pattern. I wanted it wider, shallower, bigger, smaller, more lace, less lace ... Eventually, when I bought a skein of Faery Wings by Fyberspates I decided to have a go at making something myself using one skein; I didn’t even consider it a design. I knit my shawl and lots of people liked it, asking me to write it out so they could knit it too. Dragonfly Wings was released and I have just carried on knitting things I like and writing them down so everyone else can knit them too. I would never have imagined the fun I have had, things I have learned and friends I have made through knitting. So much magic from winding string (very pretty string) around sticks!

Above you can see the latest pattern, Kindred Spirit. An amazingly quick and easy knit with a super quick bind off in fingering weight yarn and kid silk mohair. I hope you will all join us for the MKAL for Halloween this year.  We will be casting on on the 1st October with the first clue so we will all have time to finish and wear our shawls on the 31st!  It will be an all over lace, crescent shaped, beaded shawl worked in 2ply lace (800m/100g).  More information will be released in the Boo Group, on Ravelry, nearer the time.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Spinning Show & Tell: Fearless Spinning

A Guest Post by Tanya Blackiston of A Yarn Loving Mama.

When our blog host Sarah emailed to say she was going on holiday and asked would I like to write a guest post for Spinning Show & Tell, I jumped at the chance ... not only because it sounded like it would be a lot of fun to write a post for someone else’s blog instead of my own ... but because I decided straight away that I would attempt something outside of my comfort zone for the project.
I have been spinning since 2009 and have, to date, focused on the attainment of a good conventional and functional yarn. I have been mostly stuck in 2-ply Yarn Land, practicing a variety of yarn weights and using a variety of animal fibers. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a perpetual desire to spin the most even and perfect skein of yarn, but after completing 2-ply skein number 11 at the close of the Tour de Fleece last month, I made a personal and conscious decision to try something new.

With a burgeoning desire to broaden my spinning horizons I took to Instagram, YouTube and new spinning magazine PLY for inspiration. I’m really excited to be able to share this journey with you, as this is my first ever attempt at an aesthetic but still functional ‘art yarn.’

Good old Ebay provided me with the raw materials for the project, which on this occasion was 100g of scoured Wensleydale locks, and 100g of Wensleydale top.
I began by spinning the whole 100g top as a singles yarn in my usual way.
The following evening, I prepared the locks by separating each one from the main bulk of fiber and laid them on my lap ready to incorporate into my spun singles. Then I was ready to begin the plying.
By the time the bobbin was full to capacity, I was feeling very jaded from a high level of sustained and complete concentration, so I left it where it was and called it a night. First thing in the morning, I was excited to wind the yarn onto a niddy noddy and inspect my work.
So far so good. I really liked what I saw, but my fibery transformation wasn’t over yet. On to the dye job! Using a nice kitchen (and child) friendly blend of food colour gels, I set to work adding permanent colour to my yarn.
After cooking on the hob for a while, the heat was turned off and the pot left to cool for a few hours. 
And then the exciting part ... the wash, rinse, dry ... and finally the joyful re-skeining and TA-DAH moment ... A beautiful OOAK hand-spun ‘art yarn’ in a luscious array of bluey-greens and teals.

I am immensely happy with how this yarn has turned out, in so much as I had an idea of how I wanted this yarn to look in my best case scenario imagination, and I’m pleasantly surprised by the fruits of my labour. Will I use this yarn as yarn? ... Maybe. Will I admire it, have it out on show and stroke it a whole lot? ... Oh yes!

So I guess that what I’m saying is that there’s no need to fear spinning, in any of its guises. If you are spinning-curious then you can look to purchase a drop spindle spinning kit and get started creating your very own yarn. And if you have already started this wonderful craft and are feeling the need to progress on to different methods, I’d say GO FOR IT. I wholeheartedly recommend that if you admire a certain look, texture or colour of yarn, then go out and make it happen ... fearlessly. Play with different fibers ... animal, vegetable and synthetic ... research different ways of creating yarns in a variety of textures, colours and sizes. I can assure you it’s a whole lot of fun, with a heaped tablespoon of creative satisfaction on the top.

If you would like to read a more in-depth ‘how-to’ write up of this spinning project, please go along to my blog for a read. Many thanks, Tanya.

If you'd like to join in with your latest spinning post, please add the details in the linky below and link back to this post. Happy spinning!
Tanya Blackiston is a lover of all things yarn & fiber, Drop Spindle maker, Spinner, Knitter, Dyer, Crocheter, Mama to one little boy, Partner to one Furniture Maker, and living in Hampshire, UK.
Please visit her Etsy Shop, Blog and many other online sites (with username ‘ayarnlovingmama’) including Instagram, Facebook, Ravelry, Twitter, Pinterest and more.
Saturday, 3 August 2013

'Say Hello' in August...

One of my favourite things about blogging is being able to share great blogs, websites and independent businesses with you all. This month I would love you to say hello to two crafty ladies, Julia and Rachel...
Say hello to ...... Julia from Hand Knitted Things
Hello, I’m Julia, I’ve been writing about my knitting projects and ‘other things that catch my eye’ on my blog Hand Knitted Things since 2008. Currently I’m self-publishing knitting patterns as PDF’s for instant download from my website and other places including: Etsy, Ravelry and Craftsy.
Two years ago I moved to a croft on the West Coast of Scotland. The following year I bought 4 Shetland sheep with the idea they would keep the grass cut and provide some natural colour fleeces for spinning into knitting yarn. The flock has grown in number to 22 (new lambs arrived and more sheep were purchased along the way) with white, brown, shades of grey and black now in the colour range.
Say hello to ...... Julia from Hand Knitted Things
You can keep up to date with knitting and yarn developments, sheep, sewing, crochet and ‘other bits and pieces’ on my Facebook page and via my blog.

Hello, my name is Rachel, and I’m the woodworker and owner of Little Woodlanders.  I live in England with my husband and 2 daughters, ages 3 and 6, and we homeschool.  I started making wooden lucets (also known as knitting forks) and toys for my children shortly after I discovered the Waldorf ideas about play and natural materials.  I love the idea of open-ended toys, made of beautiful natural materials, which allow children to use their imagination.  It’s such a joy to hold a beautiful wooden toy or tool in your hand, a piece of nature, and even more of a joy watching children’s imaginations go wild with the toys!
Say hello to Rachel from Little Woodlanders
My inspiration mostly comes from my children.  I see what they like to play with and talk about, and often get ideas from them that way.  I also get ideas from going outside and from storybooks. I’m always coming up with new ideas for toys and crafty tools.  My latest toy is the mermaid on a rock and I’m excited about the new beech wood I’m using on my thin lucets.  I’m also working on a new type of lucet which will hopefully be available in the next couple weeks! I have a couple other new ideas in mind for wooden craft tools as well! You can keep up with my latest news on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Flickr.  You can check out my Etsy shop and see some product and ‘how to lucet’ videos on my YouTube channel.

If you have a blog, or business you think would be of interest to Crafts from the Cwtch readers, please take a look at this page to find out more information about being featured in a "Say Hello" post.
Friday, 2 August 2013

Ta-dah! It's Whippoorwill

Whippoorwill FO
When this huge 150g skein of Kauni Effectgarn EQ Rainbow arrived from Etsy some time ago, I knew it had to become something special and scoured the Ravelry project gallery for inspiration. Whippoorwill was soon purchased (after seeing a smaller one) although it took a while to cast on. Whenever I've posted pictures of this yarn I've had loads of questions about it so here's what I think: 
First off, this 100% wool is "rustic" which is a nice way of saying that in the skein it's stiff and a bit scratchy. I would imagine that some people who are especially sensitive to wool might find it too prickly to wear next to the skin. As Whippoorwill is meant as outerwear, this wasn't a huge concern for me but after a soak in some wool wash it's definitely 'bloomed'. I have seen that term before and wasn't sure what it meant until I finished squeezing the water out of this in a towel and it dawned on me - it has fluffed up and is slightly softer to the touch but it's still rustic. That being said, there is a whole lot going for this yarn:
  • the colours - they are so rich and vibrant (there were a few joins but the colour was not affected)
  • after soaking in tepid water with wool wash, the water was clear - there was no dye residue
  • the transition between colours is wonderful - a perfect gradation
  • the price tag - yarn for this huge shawl cost just $22.60 including international post, which is around £15 at the current exchange rate.
Needless to say, there is another skein in a different colourway in my stash already. 
And so the pattern - I have a few Carina Spencer designs and they are some of the best in my library. Clear and comprehensive instructions, rows written in detail with the option of using a chart. This is a simple but effective construction. I love the way that it's shaped so that it hugs the shoulders without slipping off, and is big enough to be worn as a wrap-around shrug/cardi - I made the largest size to make the most of the yarn. The pattern is worth every cent of the $6 price, and I am thinking about making another in contrasting handspun yarns when I have enough yardage. It was such a joy to knit these long rows and despite the break (when I needed to frog part of it for knitting too much) and knitting half of it in the recent 'heatwave', it was bound off with mixed emotion because I could have happily kept knitting it. By the end I was using 2m of cable on my interchangeables and still had wristache, so it's probably best that it's finished. 
As for the bind off, you may have seen my anguished posts on Facebook and Instagram on Wednesday when I realised that the final row was going to be in my least favourite part of the yarn which is the greeny-yellow section. (I can wear orangey-yellows but not greeny-yellows and had actually considered cutting that colour out of all the repeats). First I tried skipping straight to the blue for the bind off row, but that looked too much of a contrast. Then I considered waiting until after the holidays for some extra golden-yellow yarn but it seemed wasteful to get extra for the sake of a single row. In the end I cut out a long (11g) section so that it was still finished with green, but not the worst bit. I don't think it made much difference in the end as it's so big. Which brings me onto the blocking. 
It needed to be lightly blocked as the edge had rolled up. I'd end with a few garter stitch rows rather than the eyelet row when knitting this again, to give the bottom a bit more weight.
While lightly blocking, an error became evident. Right in the middle (of course!!!) there is an accidental increase, which means there is a hole. I've blocked it with a pin holding it together and will add a sew it closed or it'll annoy the heck out of me. 

I've loved this project and hope to get plenty of wear out of it... but not yet. We are heading off to sunnier climes, but there will be lots happening on the blog while I'm away including some great guest posts, some lovely crafters for you to meet and the usual link ups for Spinning Show & Tell and the Knitalong. Have a great week!
Edit: I've uploaded some action shots of the shawl to Ravelry
Thursday, 1 August 2013

Pick A Boo! Disaster!

Dragonfly Wings WIP
So I got onto the lace section of Dragonfly Wings, was happily knitting away and even dared to think I would be able to bind off this week.... when I noticed a mistake! It's been one thing after another while knitting this very simple project - it feels cursed. Part of me is considering ripping the whole thing out and starting again with another yarn - it's been relegated to the bottom of my WIP bag until after our holiday. Speaking of which, there is a special Pick A Boo! post next week, so be sure to come back for that. In the meantime, I hope you're all have more success and please feel free to link below. Happy knitting.

Do you remember my boob recipe?

August 1st to 7th is World Breastfeeding Week and the aim this year is to highlight breastfeeding peer counselling. One of my first knitting patterns was a "knitted boob" which I made at the request of someone training to be a breastfeeding peer support counsellor. The customisable breast (you can make one in any size, colour and fullness etc) is designed to help with demonstrations to new mothers and mothers-to-be. The pattern is on Ravelry in both English and Portuguese. 

As societies change, mothers can no longer rely on having the expertise and support of an extended family during the weeks and months after delivery. Because of this, peer support is more important than ever for those who need help.  There may be a group close to you who would appreciate a few "boobs" - they are very quick to make and use just a small amount of yarn. 

If you'd like more information on the WBW aims and events please visit the WBW website
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
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

Never miss a post

Sew a Sailor Top with Fancy Tiger Crafts on Creativebug Pattern Drafting Course with Cal Patch Online Sewing Class
Cath Kidston (UK) Handbags Designed by a Knitter. Shop now.
Thank you for visiting these links. Further sponsor opportunities and details on affiliates are here.


As seen in...

Knit Now 50 Knit Now Cover 48 Let's Knit issue 80 Simply Knitting issue 115
Feel free to link to this blog, but please do not use any of my images without permission. Powered by Blogger.
Crafty Blogs
(based on today's UK hits only)