Thursday, 29 May 2014

Something different: Introducing the June 'fit-along'

Do you remember Victor Kiam? He loved his razor so much he bought the company. I'm not a millionaire, but as a blogger I can become an affiliate of brands that I use and love. This post includes affiliate links for Amazon and Fitbit - purchases made from such links generate a small commission towards the costs of running the blog, giveaways and products purchased to review.  

EDIT: We didn't stop after June! The fit-along is ongoing and we now have a dedicated facebook group
June fit-along banner
After my first pregnancy - which included various health problems - I started exercising regularly and got into good shape. The addition of a second child made me so distracted by everyday life I stopped paying attention to my own health and fitness. I started knitting and blogging... and sitting down a lot. Over the last five years this has pretty much undone my previous efforts and whilst I'm not overly concerned about the appearance of extra weight, my health has been on my mind a lot lately.

My uncle died at 46 from heart problems, leaving four young children - and a devastated family - behind. Another uncle needed a triple bypass in his forties. Their mother, my Nanna Shirl, died of a heart attack before her time (although I maintain it was a broken heart after losing her son). I am now 40 and really don't want this to happen to me. It's time to do something about it.
In the last few weeks I've started to make some changes to my lifestyle - in particular being more mindful about what, when and why I'm eating, and consciously doing more exercise. I don't enjoy the gym, but I like walking and nature, and I have Archie - a dog is the perfect excuse to be more active. I started using a free fitness app on my phone which is great and after some research, decided to get a device which would sync with the app to more accurately track my activity and sleep.

After much deliberation I decided on a Fitbit Flex. I like the way it looks and it has interchangeable straps (extras) for variety. It can be worn in water and as I leave it on between charges - just 3 hours every 5 to 7 days - I can forget about it. There was some deliberation about whether the Flex would track knitting as steps, but I can confirm that it doesn't make any difference to mine.

It's been really interesting so far - I've discovered that in an ordinary 'school day' I do much more than I thought (around 14,000 steps / 6 miles) but on the weekend it's really not so good without walking to school, and with less time on chores (around 8,000). On the other hand, my sleep is better than I expected. I am aware of being very restless in the night, and feel that I wake often. In the morning, this makes it seem as though I haven't slept very much at all. The tracking has shown that I do get a good chunk of sleep in between the restlessness. It's completely psychological, but this alone makes me feel more refreshed.
Fitbit sleep tracker
Knitting, blogging, reading and pretty much everything else I enjoy would be classified as 'sedentary' but since using a tracker I've found that I am more motivated to get out of the chair to do things, knowing that each time I do, I'm closer to my daily goals. 

Inspired by my enthusiasm, some family members and friends got the same device and we are encouraging one another using the app. It's definitely more fun to do it together... which made me think that it is like a knitalong - except it's a 'fit-along'. And that made me wonder if anyone else would like to join in. (I discovered there is already a Fitbit Ravelry group and a few existing Fitbit community groups made up entirely of knitters like this one and this one, and I would guess it's the same for other brands and devices.)

When I asked around, it seems there are some readers/followers using various devices already so I've started a 'fit-along' thread in the CftC group on Ravelry and I'm hoping that some of you might like to join in during June. It doesn't matter what your current activity level is, this isn't a competition. It's simply about making a commitment to get more active than you are already, if that's something you'd like to do. The group is there to help, encourage and share progress (which you can do as often as you like). You can join at any time, but the official start is June 1st.

You don't need to have a device! Whatever method you use to track your activity - it could be a mobile app*, a personal tracker or just your wristwatch and a notebook - feel free to visit the group to share your goals at the start of the month, and then your progress. If you use social media, the tag is #cftcfitalong.

If you use Fitbit, I've started a group on the community board there too. When you join the group, Fitbit will automatically add you to the group totals for combined steps/miles and you'll appear on the leaderboard. Please come on over to say hello.

You can read about Fitbit here and find Fitbit and other Activity trackers on Amazon.
The New Flex: Wireless Activity Tracker

*There are lots of good apps for iOS and Android including My Fitness Pal, RunKeeper, and various pedometers. Check your app store for reviews and more information. 
Wednesday, 28 May 2014

WIPs & Books: Sock Maths

Do you recall that I set myself the goal of designing a pair of socks before the end of June? Well... it's almost JUNE! The most scrumptious sock yarn arrived from Eaden Yarns today - a skein each of Blush and Grey from the 'capsule' collection. They are so beautiful I'm feeling highly motivated to get on with the socks! 
WIPs & Books: Sock maths!
So while the children are having fun playing together (it rarely happens - I have to take advantage of it!) I'm working out some sock maths and making a chart. There is a cute little design in my mind - it's simple, summery, and has an afterthought heel which is new for me but something that completely makes sense. I'm using sock yarn scraps (and my new birthday Chiaogoos) to make some swatches and if it all goes to plan,  I hope to start knitting up 'the good stuff' before the end of the week. Very exciting.

I finished reading Maya Angelou's memoir 'I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings' over the weekend, and had started to write about it when D sent a text to say she has died today. I'm sure that if you're not already familiar with her story, you will read many synopses of the book and her early life in the news (including the link above) over the coming days. To say I enjoyed reading it would be misleading - I usually avoid memoirs which include child abuse, it's too upsetting - but it was interesting and the writing compelling - there is no doubt that I'll continue to read her story in the follow-up books at some point. For now I'm onto The Great Gatsby which has been selected for our local book club.

Tomorrow I have something a bit different to tell you about - if you could be with some motivation to put down the needles for a little time each day to get active, then it might be of interest. It's not a 'kal' but a 'fal' - all will be revealed tomorrow! Hope to see you then. 
Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Show & Tell: The Wonderful Knitting Machine

I hadn't planned to post today until I came across this fascinating documentary. I already knew that knitters have played an important part in supporting troops, but I hadn't realised quite how important socks were in the first World War and how a sock knitting machine made such a big impact and saved the feet (and lives) of many. If you have 15 mins it's worth a watch - let me know what you think (I love the "second heel" toe-method). 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Snippets: Family Time

Blue skies
Our home at Manor Farm (Featherdown Farm)
To mark the end of my month-long 40th birthday celebrations, we headed into the Hampshire countryside for a long weekend of 'glamping' on a Featherdown farm. Well, I say relaxation* but let's be honest, it's never really a holiday when you have a young family, however it was lovely to spend some time away together without all the usual distractions (I didn't even do any knitting!).  
Fresh eggs
Feeding the cows
Cheeky chickensBottle feeding an orphan lamb

Highlights of the weekend included a ride out with one of the farmers while the animals were fed and inspected one morning, hand-feeding two orphan lambs, and looking for fresh eggs. Yesterday it was just about sunny enough for a spot of bathing in the hot-tub and relaxing in the hammock. 
Our own (wood-burning) hot tub and outdoor shower
Slowing down

The weekend was lovely but the weather was very cold which meant the 'tent' was absolutely freezing at night once the fire went out . We drank a lot of tea to keep warm and when we weren't drinking tea we were waiting for the water to boil on the wood-burner so that we could make more. It was worth it however - My Boy has declared it "the best weekend of his life". 

It's the school holidays and I may not be around very much this week while I'm spending time with the children but I'll be back soon with some sewing (!!) and a new knitting project.
*Archie came with us, and did not find it to be relaxing AT ALL. The chickens were taunting him, by staying just out of his reach as they clucked and pecked around our tent. The lovely walks did not even make up for the fact that he didn't get to chase the sheep or cows, and as he refuses to remain under a blanket for longer than two minutes, he spent three nights shivering. I have never seen him quite so happy as when we walked though our own front door this morning!
Wednesday, 21 May 2014

WIPs, Books & a Winner

WIPs & Books: a new design and Maya Angelou. Great combination.
READING: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
KNITTING: a new summer design idea out of Bergere de France Bigarelle 
(Obsessively) LISTENING TO: Ghost Stories by Coldplay - LOVING this album!

Yesterday I mentioned that I'd cast on a new project - it's an idea I've been mulling over for a little while, and if it works out as I hope then you'll be seeing more of it soon enough. The yarn is a new one for me - I haven't used a cotton/linen yarn before, but after the Facebook conversation where many of you kindly recommended different 'vegan' yarns for one of my readers, I thought I'd give it a try. So far I am really pleased with how it's knitting up. There'll be more about it when the project is finished. 

In the meantime, I'm pleased to announce the winner of the 'My Rag Doll' book giveaway - it's Gill W. who gave all her own rag dolls away to her nieces and has made dolls before so I hope that she will love the book. By the way, I really enjoyed reading the different doll stories - especially finding out that another Sarah had the very same (ugly) doll as me which she posted on Facebook! Thanks to everyone who entered and shared their memories. 
Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Big plans, small progress and 'Love At First Stitch'

As a child I was terribly impatient. In many ways I still am - knitting helps. My Nan always told me that I shouldn't wish time away as it goes quicker when you get older, and before you know it, it's all gone. Since having children I have certainly found my relationship with time is constantly changing - it's currently speeding up so much that my "baby girl" is a leggy five-year-old (going-on-fifteen) and I've been planning an eighth birthday party for the lad. Eight! How did that happen? I swear that the days have merged into a single high-speed blur since my own birthday last week. I had grand plans for those days, but seem to very little to show for their passing... except more laundry and taller weeds. 

Last night, in desperation, I cast on something new, using a cotton/linen yarn and I'll tell you about that tomorrow. 
Big plans, small progress
For a while I've been meaning to write about Love at First Stitch - the new sewing book by Tilly Walnes  from Tilly and the Buttons blog and the Great British Sewing Bee series 1. I was sent a review copy by the publishers before it was published and I wrote lots of notes about it in a notebook. My notes turned out to be quite tasty - Archie literally ate my homework. This a sore point as it isn't the only book he has ruined lately! Consequently, here is a delayed and slightly shortened version of my planned review.

I have to tell you I have never been seriously inclined to sew my own clothes. As I've mentioned before, I've always drawn sketches and had my "tailoress" Nan or "sewing bee" Mum make them (if you missed the previous posts, my mum was on series 2 of GBSB). It's that whole dog and barking yourself thing. Despite this I was keen to read this book - I like Tilly's style and secretly hoped that Mum might make me some of the things in it. I wasn't disappointed, but I did get a little shock when it arrived - not only are the designs lovely (expected), but I actually feel that I could work my way through it and make them for myself - this was completely unexpected. 
Book Review: Love at First Stitch

The  book is marketed as a "refreshing approach to dressmaking" and I wholeheartedly agree. There is no jargon. There are fun tips - like how to behave in a fabric shop! The techniques are explained in detail with step-by-step photos. Tilly says at the beginning that this is the dressmaking book she wishes had existed when she started sewing, and I can see why. It guides the beginner from the fundamentals of using a machine, to making a whole selection of key pieces for your 'handmade' wardrobe, as well as providing inspiration for customising the patterns to suit your style and body. 

As a "curvaceous" beginner I have found some of the other sewing books I have to be quite restrictive. Tilly has a whole section on pattern sizing, and how to custom fit the patterns by combining multiple size patterns - useful if, like me, you are not a standard size. This is another plus, 'shop sizing' which can be demotivating, isn't used! Instead there is a chart to work from for each pattern with eight different options for cutting out the patterns, based on the relevant measurements.  

The book is perfect for beginners to work through and patterns progress from a simple headscarf to a stylish dress (both pictured), with each section/design introducing new techniques and skills. I particularly like the customisation ideas alongside each design which encourage you to make the clothes your own. If you're experienced and you like Tilly's style you might want to buy it for the patterns anyway - it's clearly written, easy to follow beautifully photographed all of which makes for a book which is informative and really quite lovely.

You can find Tilly on Facebook, Twitter, and on her fabulous blog. The book is available now!
Thursday, 15 May 2014

A birthday doll and a giveaway!

Suzanne and SallyAs a little girl I loved raggy dolls and I had quite a few. My favourites were an enormous Holly Hobbie (long gone) and a scrappy little thing with a soft body and a plastic head and hands (!) which my Grampy bought me on a day-trip when I was three. I named her Suzanne and she went everywhere with me for many years.

Suzanne is old and frail now, and lives in a box. To be honest, it's the best place for her - she's quite scary looking with her crazy eyes, thumb-sucking and matted old-lady hair. (I'm not really sure why I loved her so much, except that Grampy bought her).

At 40 (yesterday!) I still love raggy dolls and have bought several over the last few years ("for the kids") including some special handmade dolls and of course I made Pixie Moon who you've seen many times on the blog.

A few weeks ago Stitch Craft Create sent me a review copy of the newly released book My Rag Doll by Corrine Crasbercu. As Mum is the sewing expert of the family, I asked her to look at the book and give me some feedback, then I forgot about it as the review wasn't scheduled until next week... Until Mum rang the doorbell to wish me a happy birthday, with this in her hands...
Meet Sally, made for my 40th birthday by my mum
Isn't she adorable? I think she looks like a "Sally". (I'm pretty sure my Holly Hobbie doll was also a Sally.) Making her secretly and in a hurry, Mum didn't have time to separate the yarn used for the hair. I've done that now (it looks fab!) so I'll show you soon and I'm going to try making her some clothes before the end of the week... which brings me on to the book.

First things first - this is a truly beautiful book. The dolls are expertly photographed and styled. It all looks so lovely that even my mum (who doesn't like dolls at all) wanted to make one - that should tell you a lot. If you like the photography style of 'Mollie Makes', this will be right up your street. There are 11 different dolls which are all based on the same template, and so many lovely outfits I'm not sure which is my favourite. I wish the clothes were sized to fit Little Miss as they are completely adorable!
'My Rag Doll' book review

Now an important caveat: This book is not for beginners. If you are a doll-maker, or a sewist with lots of experience, you might just love it. Mum's feedback was that a less experienced person might struggle with the (incomplete) instructions and things like the lack of seam allowances. She hadn't made a doll before and relied on her years of sewing knowledge to make sense of the instructions - as the author is French I wonder if some details were lost in translation?

Another frustration - it's necessary to enlarge the pattern templates, so a photocopier is needed - my doll is currently shoe-less as Mum had to go to the post office each time she needed something printed at the right size (her printer can photocopy but not enlarge). Some of the materials lists could also be more detailed - for example the doll is made from an "old sheet dyed with tea" with no alternatives. (FYI Mum bought a metre of calico and probably had enough left for three more dolls.) Knitting materials for a hat say only "small ball of navy blue and grey cotton yarn" without stating the weight - you have to read on to find out that it's knit on 4mm needles which gives an indication of which weights might be suitable, but that may not be so easy for someone who doesn't know about yarn.
image from My Rag Doll - used with permission
I've read a few disappointed reviews, and as a beginner at sewing myself, I can totally understand the frustration of those who'd hoped to make these beautiful dolls only to discover the instructions require a fair bit of prior knowledge. It's a shame the disappointed reviewers didn't know this before buying the book, because there is a lot of really nice content and for someone who knows what they are doing there's a whole lot of inspiration. (Did I mention that it's really beautiful?)

 If I could sew as well as I knit, this book would be perfect for me as I am not good at reading written instructions and details, preferring to look at the pictures for inspiration, and then get on with it. Sadly I'll need some practice before I'm in that position, but luckily, with Sally to work from, I'm pretty sure I can make her some nice clothes and accessories, starting with my existing doll clothes patterns. I'll let you know!

If you're a good sewist (or know one!), or you just fancy a challenge after reading what I've written, there is a chance to get your hands on a copy of the book so you can decide for yourself. All you have to do is to leave a comment on this post, telling me whether you had a favourite doll when you were a child, and what happened to it. I'll draw a random winner from the answers next Wednesday 21st May. Good luck! 
Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Birthday WIPs & Books

It's my BIRTHDAY! With D in work and the kids at school I'd planned a quiet morning of knitting with my new ChiaoGoo needles (from the children) but I've had a couple of lovely surprise visits, and am heading off to meet a friend this afternoon.

Since my last post I have managed to make a few more flower brooches from the pattern I posted on Monday. They are addictive - there are more in progress. 
I've also finished reading Still Alice which is a well written and incredibly thought-provoking novel about a woman with early-onset Alzheimers. Now that I'm getting on, it's best I read up on these things, eh!? :)

I'll be back tomorrow to show you a handmade gift from my mum, a (sewing) book review and a giveaway. Hope to see you then!
Monday, 12 May 2014

Inspired by nature: Simple Knitted Flower Brooch

I noticed yesterday that our first roses have opened. It's too wet to sit outside to enjoy them, but they must have been on my mind at this evening's knitting club. Some of the children are now able to purl and I wanted a quick project for them to start next week to practise their purls, and to introduce kfb increases. I came up with this flowery little brooch which I thought I'd share with you too. 

You will need:
  • Double knitting yarn*
  • 4mm knitting needles
  • A button
  • A brooch pin
  • Darning needle for sewing up (it must fit through the button hole when threaded)
  • Cast on 40 stitches
  • Work in stocking (stockinette) stitch for four rows, ending after a purl row
  • RS: (k1, kfb) to end
  • Work in stocking stitch for three rows, ending after a purl row
  • RS: Kfb all sts to end
  • Bind off loosely leaving a tail of at least 25 cm to sew up
  • Wind the knitted strip into a spiral shape, with the smallest edge on the inside and the large edge on the outside, and sew in place
  • Sew the button onto the front of the flower
  • Stitch the brooch pin in place on the back of the flower and weave in any loose ends
There you have it! A very simple knitted brooch. A few of the kids got a sneak preview and loved it - they can't wait to make a start next week - I am not sure how many of them will finish within the hour but a more experienced person may well be able to make it in about half an hour or so. Happy knitting!

*My scales went missing before I could accurately weight it, but a good estimate is around 6.5g of DK yarn. 
Friday, 9 May 2014


possibility - pɒsɪˈbɪlɪti - noun
  • a thing that may happen or be the case.
  • the state or fact of being possible; likelihood.
  • a thing that may be chosen or done out of several possible alternatives.
  • the infinite choice open to a knitter when yarn and needles are presented. 

When I sit in my Cwtch surrounded with balls of yarn, most destined for as-yet-undefined projects, I can't help but feel the thrill of possibility. There are at least four half-formed notions in my mind that are not quite ready to surface yet. I've selected a ball of Noro Taiyo from my stash and have cast on using my favourite needles - it's nothing exciting, but sometimes it's just necessary to knit. It's the meditative act of making stitches that helps the ideas to work themselves out. 

There are some exciting new possibilities opening up (perhaps it's true that life begins at 40 - I'll tell you next week). It's time to make some decisions and then, maybe, some plans. 

But first, the knitting....... 
    Thursday, 8 May 2014

    Week of New Patterns: Clarity

    It's turning into the Week of New Patterns! First there was a new free 'recipe' on the blog - Simplest Garter Stitch Bandana - and then the official release of Seafoam Shawlette-to-Shrug, self-published on Ravelry and Craftsy. Today I'm completing the hat-trick with my first magazine-published pattern - Clarity.
    Image courtesy of Let's Knit
    The design is part of Let's Knit magazine's "Screen Shot" feature* - which introduces readers to a different 'online knitter' each month.  I was delighted and incredibly flattered to be asked to contribute a pattern and some knitting tips, and wanted my design to be a reflection of the things I like to make and wear myself. 

    Clarity is a versatile oversized wrap which can be worn in various different ways (do you see a theme developing here?). It's made from just two skeins of Malabrigo Sock, which is a gorgeous light- fingering weight yarn. Given it's size, and that it's a stocking stitch rectangle, you may be surprised to know that it's made without any purl stitches, and is knit in the round on circular needles. (If you've been reading the blog for a while, you may not be at all surprised, as I always prefer to knit in the round and on circs!) 

    In her Knitter's Almanac, Elizabeth Zimmerman says:
    When you set out on the annual family trip naturally you have you take your knitting; something has to keep you sane in the face of the possibly quite ferocious situations you will be up against in the next two weeks. Try a shawl. Do not scoff; it is the perfect travel knitting, as I have proved to myself many times. A round shawl, in fine wool, on a circular needle, is my invariable companion when space is limited, waiting-around probable, and events uncertain.
    This shawl may not be round, but meets all the other criteria - it's very simple (I like simple!) and easy to remember. It would make a perfect travelling project, and the finished object is also great for holidays as it can be folded small (it weighs just under 200g) and can be worn in so many different ways - as a wrap, cover-up, a little blanket, folded into a scarf...

    If you'd like to knit Clarity, you can get your hands on a copy of Let's Knit issue 80 from newsagents right now, or if you prefer digital magazines via the Let's Knit App from tomorrow. It's listed on Ravelry so you can link up your projects, or add it to your queue. I hope you like it and look forward to seeing your projects!

    *If you're visiting the blog for the first time after reading the magazine, hello and WELCOME. It's lovely to have you here. Please take the time to have a browse around - most people start with the 'tips & tutes' or patterns pages, but there's sure to be plenty to keep you occupied for a while. I hope to see you again soon!  
    Tuesday, 6 May 2014

    Design Notebook: Seafoam Shawlette-to-Shrug

    Way back last year, a knitting magazine was calling for Summer designs and the theme was 'travelling light'. I'd had an idea for a convertible shawl/shrug for some time and thought this might be an opportunity to try to get my work published elsewhere (this was before I was approached about writing various other things). The inspiration was a desktop wallpaper image which had been on my laptop (source).

    The initial sketches were for a rounded shrug so I swatched and submitted my idea... which wasn't commissioned. At this point, and totally coincidentally, Daisy from Devon Sun Yarns got in touch and we started chatting about yarns and projects that were planned. I mentioned my pattern idea and from the screensaver image, Daisy came up with 'Island Beach' colourway using her merino/bamboo base. It's a very soft yarn and the colours are so subtle and delicate - I think it's absolutely perfect for the design.

    The yarn and sketches sat on my shelf all over the winter. The nice thing about letting an idea 'stew' is that you can change your mind about it. When I eventually cast on, it had developed into a different shape - like a square, but with one triangle missing (does that have a name?).
    Seafoam Shawlette-to-Shrug
    There are several things I think work well about this pattern: 
    • It takes only a single 400m skein of 4 ply yarn
    • It's a quick project for an experienced knitter (mine took just a couple of evenings to knit)
    • It can be worn in various different ways - around the neck, over the shoulders, or fastened with removable buttons, as shown in the pattern
    • The border is simple enough for a relatively inexperienced knitter, and it's easy to spot any mistakes as the stitches 'line up' - in the questionnaires they completed, testers rated the level of difficulty as being 2 or 3 out of 10 
    • The same size can be worn by a child, teen or adult and when used as a shrug it only needs to 'fit' across the back, so will suit most adults regardless of chest size (testers ranged in size from UK 8 to UK 20)
    Seafoam Shawlette-to-Shrug
    Yes, I'm really happy with the way it turned out. It would seem that many other people like it too - I've had lots of emails and messages asking when pattern will be available. The good news is that it has been uploaded to Ravelry and Craftsy so you can buy it from either of those places now. 
    If you make it, I'd love to see how you get on. Please link your photos to the project pages on Ravelry/Craftsy, and if you use Instagram, the tag is #seafoamshawlshrug - I'll be keeping an eye out. 
    Monday, 5 May 2014

    Recipe: Simplest Garter Stitch Bandana (suitable for kids!)

    Simplest Garter Stitch Bandana

    A few of the children at knitting club have been fancying my triangular shawls. Some of them are doing so well, I think they are ready to make something like this. It's a recipe which is easy enough for them to knit, and it can be as big or small as they want - so they could make it for themselves, a teddy or doll. If you have a knitting kid, or are a beginner yourself, you may like to give it a go.

    Simplest Garter Stitch Bandana
    I used a sparkly yarn (50g x Rico Creative Reflection Print) which has been in my stash for while, but the recipe itself is unisex - My Boy would wear this same shape if made using a blue yarn (his favourite). It requires only four different skills - casting on, knitting in garter stitch, kfb increase and binding off. 

    You will need: 
    • At least 250m of 4 ply (or sock) yarn*, but you can use as much as you like for a bigger triangle
    • 4mm circular needles used to knit flat (they are not as heavy for little arms, and it's much easier than knitting on long straight needles, which I hate!)
    • Needle for sewing in ends
    • Cast on 1 stitch 
    • Row A - Kbf, knit to end of the row
    • Repeat row A until the bandana is to the required size, or you have just enough yarn left to bind off (about 3 times as long as the final row will be fine) 
    • Bind off loosely 
    • Sew in ends, ensuring that the sharp point is maintained at the cast-on edge
    *If substituting yarn, use needles which are a size or two bigger than the suggested size to get more drape. If you're not sure which size to use, try using different needles to cast on and knit several rows until you get a fabric you like!
    Thursday, 1 May 2014

    Many Miss Winkles! (The Spring Knitalong Roundup)

    Now that the Miss Winkle Knitalong is over, I thought it would be nice to show a small selection of the FOs for the benefit of those who didn't take part. There are too many to show all of them - and I can honestly say there's not one I wouldn't wear, they are all so great. I've selected a few which I think stand out for one reason or another. Clicking on any of the images will take you to the Ravelry page for that project.

    Faith used a second yarn for the loopy edge (and a stunning backdrop!) 

    Could Jo's yarn be any more Spring-like?? 

    I love everything about Laurie's project, including the photography

    Sharon's project inspired several of us to learn to knit backwards 

    Jodi's proved that pairing the right yarn and pattern can yield AMAZING results
     (I wouldn't have automatically chosen this yarn myself but I absolutely love the way it works) 

    I would like to take this opportunity to say a great big 'thank you' to everyone who took part in the kal, and to Devon Sun Yarns, Rosy Retro and Martina Behm for sponsoring the giveaway (and to Martina also for the lovely design). It was so much fun seeing all the 'Winkles', I'm already starting to think about the next knitalong! If you have any pattern suggestions please join in the Ravelry group where we will be discussing it over the coming weeks. If you would like to see more finished Miss Winkle shawls and progress pics, you can find them in the Ravelry project gallery and Instagram gallery - by searching #cftcspringkal.

    Tomorrow morning I shall be jetting off for a big pre-40th-birthday celebration weekend (!!!!!) with two of my most special friends, so don't expect to see me over the next few days... unless you follow on Instagram. Have a great weekend! 
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    Knit Now 50 Knit Now Cover 48 Let's Knit issue 80 Simply Knitting issue 115
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