Slow Progress

Just thought I’d give you all a quick update to explain my absence this week! My partner, Rob, is currently taking part in the 3 peaks yacht race. This is a crazy event where teams of 5 sail up the west coast of the UK dropping off a pair of runners at various points asking the way where they run in land and summit the highest peaks in Wales, England,  and Scotland. Rob is one of the runners in team Sail 4 Cancer raising money for them and the work they do. Its a really great cause so if you do have some time you should find out more about the work they do our if you are feeling super generous you can support them with a donation.

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Team Sail 4Cancer excited to start the race

Currently their progress in the race is pretty slow as we have had no wind so the teams have been doing a lot of rowing rather than sailing. They set off from Barmouth in Wales on Saturday afternoon and reached Caernarfon around 2 in the  morning – that’s when they had to run the 24 miles to the summit of  Snowden and back. They then sailed/rowed to Whitehaven to make the long journey to the summit of Scafell Pike (around 54 miles cycle and run). Just this morning they have set off again to  Scotland where the highest peak of them all, Ben Nevis, awaits.

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Looking calm in Caernarfon

It really is a crazy challenge I think you’ll agree and all to raise awareness of this amazing charity!

So, i’m sure you’re not here to read about crazy sailing/rowing/cycling/running races… On to the crafting!

Well I actually made a new sailing themed dress to wear at the start of the race to see them off. I was hoping to get some pictures on the beach but we didn’t have time. I’ll just have to get some at the end in the beautiful scenery of the Scottish Highlands

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I am also making great progress on my cardigan for the outfit along. Once I saw the boat off at Caernarfon I undertook the epic drive to Fort William

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I stopped off on the show off Loch Lomond

I am now here and it is beautiful but I will probably be waiting another couple of days for the boats to show up given the lack of wind making for poor sailing conditions so there’s plenty time for knitting in this beautiful scenery.

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Hopefully they will get here before we  are due back at work next week!

H.

Ps. Sorry for the rubbish photos but i’m writing this whole post on my phone so there has been no chance to edit!

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Outfit along 2016

As Me-Made-May draws to an end I have been thinking about what I could do to keep the part of my brain busy that enjoys snooping  looking at all the amazing things everyone else has been making. I thought I would be at a loss come June.

However, the awesome crafting community has come to my rescue! This time in the shape of the Outfit along. What could be more exciting than a bunch of crafters creating outfits by both sewing and knitting whilst discussing it every step of the way! Cue major excitement! I really enjoyed the selfish sweater knit along at the start of the year so can’t wait to take part in this one!

The Outfit along is run by Untangling Knots and Lladybird covering the knitting and sewing aspects respectively. This year the chosen patterns are Zinone for the knitting and Sewaholics Hollyburn for the sewing. Unfortunately, neither of these two really inspires me but never fear! I will be taking part anyway – I will just be choosing different patterns .

Right now I am thinking of making a different untangling knots pattern – the Agatha cardigan (one day I may make a knitted garment by a different designer but for now I am in love with all of Andi Satterlund’s patterns!) During Me-Made-May I have realised how muted my colour palette is in my makes so I think I will make the cardigan in a red yarn – possibly Cascade 220 in ruby.

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I will be pairing this with a dress made from the fabric I bought at the Knit and Stitch Show (bottom left in the picture above). A gorgeous cotton poplin floral (oh look we’re back to monochrome again!) I am open to suggestions for the pattern but I am thinking possibly the Lilou dress from Love at First Stitch or a Sew Over It Betty...or I am actually currently working on a custom bodice block, so depending how that goes it could be in the frame. Any suggestions are more than welcome.

Who else is joining in with the Outfit Along? What are you making?

Helen

 

 

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions my own

Matching a pattern to your style

Last weekend I had to take a long train joureny and so needed something to knit. All the projects I had on the go required multiple balls of yarn – not ideal for train knitting. So I decided it was time to get started on another cardigan. I have been eyeing up Vianne, another Andi Satterlund cardi, for a while and had even swatched it a few months ago (just after I finished Chuck). Given the hot weather recently it seemed like the perfect project. The lace panelling will make it the perfect summer cardigan.

 

Changing the pattern

The pattern is designed to be knitted up with 0-3 inches of negative ease and is cropped in length, similar to my Miette. Whilst, I love this cardigan and wear it a fair amount, it is not exactly my usual style. I thought about lengthening the pattern in a similar way to my chuck jumper but don’t think this really fits with the style of the cardigan. Instead I decided to make it more loose fitting and so cast on and started knitting in a size that has 2 inches of positive ease.
Vianne in progress

I have now knit up to the point where I have joined the under arms (this is knit top down) and am contemplating what to do next. The pattern calls for a number of decrease rows to create waist shaping but as I am hoping for a looser fit I think I will just knit straight down and maybe add a bit of shaping at the bottom so it sits nicely on my hips.

I am also a little concerned about what to do for the sleeves. The pattern shows 3/4 sleeves but I think with the looser fit perhaps full length would be better.

p.s. I will post Instagram updates with my progress so make sure to follow me there is you want to see updates!

Calling all sock knitters…

 

I know a lot of people love to knit socks. It is never something I have had any desire to try before. The thought of spending time creating something beautiful that is going to sit on my feet just bemuses me! However, I am willing to be converted. What is it about sock knitting that is so great?

Why should I knit socks?

Convince me. If you had to give me one good reason what would it be?

I have many reasons why it doesn’t appeal to me, but maybe I am wrong.

  1. They are going to go on my feet/
  2. No one will see them – I want to be able to admire my knitting when I wear it
  3. They look small and fiddly to knit.
  4. I don’t like double pointed needles – they are way too faffy
  5. Once you have the elation of having finished one (YAY!) You have to start right over again and knit the next one.

I could go on, but I feel like that is enough reasons.

However, if you want to convince me I would be willing to give it a try. Who knows, I could be converted to becoming a sock knitter. If you were me which pattern would you start with for socks?

You could even send me a link to your most fabulous knitted socks to try and convince me! Find me on Ravelry here and share your makes with me!

A quiet couple of weeks

 

pot labelsSorry for the radio silence for the last couple of weeks. I was knocked back with a virus and then had so much work to catch up on! For those who don’t know I am a PhD student in my day-to-day life working on agriculture. This last week I had a huge experiment to set up so have not really had time to write much here.

Don’t worry though because I have lots to report so you can expect some updates soon. Here come the teasers!

Before I got ill I made a new skirt using up the last of my green and blue tartan used for my Megan dress and Lou Lou dress. However, for a couple of weeks after making it I did not look in a fit state to take any photos. So as soon as I get round to taking some I will show you!

Also, my sewing room is almost complete based on some of the ideas I shared here and featuring my new ironing board cover too!

Finally, the only activity I could cope with whilst unwell and the only thing I’ve had time to squeeze in over the last few days is knitting! So after the success of my first cardigan I have been working on a jumper – I already have most of the body and one sleeve done so it hopefully shouldn’t be too long before I can share that with you too!

Thanks for your patience and continuing to read despite me not having any projects to show you, but hopefully there will be plenty to come soon!

If you want to keep up to date with my jumper progress you can find my project page over on Ravelry

Miette Cardigan

Miette Cardigan on HsHandcraftsThe Selfish Sweater Knitalong is an event designed to allow knitters to make something for themselves after a long period of gift knitting in the run up to Christmas. It is run by Andi Satterlund of Untangling Knots, who has some amazing patterns for a range of knitted jumpers and cardigans.

I had never knitted a garment before so I thought this knitalong was the perfect excuse to give it a try but decided to play it safe with her Miette pattern which is free! So there was nothing to loose if it turned out to be way too difficult! (It wasn’t too difficult at all though, and the pattern was really easy to follow)

I knit my very first cardigan!

I started to make my cardigan over the Christmas break. I had so much time during the days to just sit and knit. Especially given all the horrible rain we had there wasn’t much to do outside and given the fact that a lot of places were flooded we couldn’t really go anywhere. So I actually made loads of progress really quickly and had most of the cardigan knitted in just a couple of weeks.

Mietteeee

Taking part in the knitalong made knitting my first garment so much fun and through the Ravelry group I was able to get loads of help whenever I got stuck with anything. I’d really recommend taking part in a knitalong if you are trying something for the first time. The community spirit was great and I didn’t feel stupid at all asking silly questions as everyone was so helpful!

One of the new aspects to me that came with knitting my first ever garment was binding off in a stretchy way. I chose to use a modified stretchy bind-off adapted from the one described here. To make this work for a 2×2 bind off I knit the knit stitches and passed the previous stitch over as usual. Where there were purl stitches I passed the yarn over before purling and then passed 2 stitches over.

modified bind off

Also new to me was picking up stitches for the button band and ribbing around the neckline. This was something I found really tricky. The button band wasn’t too bad but required picking up fewer stitches than there were rows so required a little bit of working out. However, on about the third try I got it.

button band

However, for the ribbing around the neckline things got even trickier as some of it was in the same direction as the stitches and other parts were across rows. It took me about an hour of working out, picking up the stitches, realising I had done it wrong and stating again before I was finally happy with the way I had picked up the stitches and could start knitting the ribbing. I am glad I persevered though as I know it would bother me if it wasn’t how I wanted it (even if nobody else would even notice!)

top ribbing

The only other thing I found a bit tricky was putting the sleeves back onto the needles (They had previously been put onto scrap yarn whilst continuing with the rest of the body. Somehow I had managed to twist all the stitches whilst transferring them to the yarn which made it really hard to get them back on the needles. I think this was probably something to do with the way I took them from the needle to put them onto the yarn. I used a crochet hook but I think I would have been better to use a darning needle and thread the scrap yarn through whilst the stitches were still on the needle before taking the needle out.

 

Mietteback

The details:

Pattern: Miette Cardigan by Andi Satterlund

Yarn: Drops Paris in Petrol

Needles:Drops Pro circular needles 5mm (4.5mm for ribbing)

Alterations: 34in bust cardigan with sleeves shortened by a total of 8 rows

Thoughts on the pattern and fit

I really loved the pattern as it was so easy to follow. I was terrified of attempting some of the scarier aspects of garment knitting like joining sleeves but this seamless approach made it  really easy to follow

The only modification I made to the pattern was to omit 6 rows from the sleeves and an additional 2 rows from the ribbing on the sleeves. They are supposed to be cropped but even now they are still a little bit too long.

I am fairly short (5’3) and this pattern is a good length for me. It is cropped but sits just about on my natural waistline. It is a little longer at the back.

sideMiette

I chose to knit the 34” bust size as it was the smallest available. My bust measurment is 34” so there should be no negative ease on me and I would say this is fairly accurate. Although this pattern is designed to be worn with negative ease I am very happy with the fit and like the fitted feel without any stretch as it means the button holes don’t gape!

Thoughts on the yarn

I used Drops Paris in Petrol.
I love the feel of the yarn, it was really nice to knit with and moved easily along the needles. The only issue I found with it was if you caught a single thread it easily snagged and, unlike wool, did not easily return to the main twist.

The colour is amazing, I really love it but I am not sure I would describe it as petrol, it is more blue and fairly pale.

All in all i really love this cardigan and I am so happy to be able to wear my first knitted garment even if it is seasonally inappropriate for the sudden cold spell we are having

MeinMiette

If you like to know more about this make why not check out some more detailed notes on my Ravelry project page.

Want to see more of what I’m working on currently? Head on over to Instagram!

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Pinterest Inspiration: Cosy Cardigans

Pinterest inspiration is my place to show you what I’ve been falling in love with recently over on Pinterest. This is one of my favourite places for finding inspiration and I can easily loose a couple of hours pouring through all the beautiful things to make.

Cosy Cardigans

This week winter has arrived and I have been digging out all of my cosy woolens. This also means I have been scouring Pinterest for winter themed makes! I especially love to wear a cosy cardigan at this time of year and curl up with a nice hot cup of tea! Here of some of my favourite finds.

My first find is this gorgeous patterned cardigan. I would love to knit this in a nice cream or grey colored yarn and pair it with jeans and some boots for those crisp winter days! The pattern is called White Pine and you can find it here on Ravelry.

 

 

I also love this cardigan which features some delicate lace work for those who like a bit of delicate charm to their cosy layers! Again, the pattern is on Ravelry here.

 

 

 If you prefer something a bit more fitted what about this cute cardigan by Drops design? The pattern can be found here and what’s more its totally FREE! I would love to make a cardigan like this in a warm red or orange. Perfect to brighten up a dreary winters morning!

 

 

 

Finally, what’s not to love about this super fun “Two boyfriends Cardigan”. I really love this playful take on a winter classic, and really enjoyed browsing through the great ideas for colour combinations in the projects section of its Ravelry page

 

 

 

You can find all of these pins and more great knitting project ideas over on my Pinterest board for Knitting inspiration

H.

Do you love to get lost in the beautiful world of Pinterest? Leave your user name in the comments below and I’ll be sure to check out your profile! If you want to see the rest of my pins you can find me here.

A year in knitting

Happy New Year Everybody!! I thought I would round up the year by taking a look back at how far my knitting skills have come on in just one year!

Last Christmas I decided I wanted to learn to knit and asked for some supplies for Christmas. Nearly 1 year on and I feel like I am now a happy knitter! There were a few hiccups along the way but also some great projects too!

I started off just knitting a few swatches and was dropping stitches all over the place! At first I couldn’t figure out how on earth I was managing to loose so many stitches but once I got into the swing of things I managed to get going.

For my first proper project I decided to knit a cover for my Kindle. Not being a blogger at the time I didn’t get any good photos of the finished object but managed to  et one now – so you’ll have to excuse how grubby it looks but generally I was really pleased with it for a first project even if it did take forever!

Kindle cover.jpg

I then moved on to something much more extravagant…a hat! I still love it and wear it all the time even if the bobble is a bit loose and some of the ends have unwoven themselves

hat

Then I started this blog and the knitting began to be documented. I’m not sure if this made me think more about what I was knitting or if it made me want to make it better because everyone would see it but the skill level definitely kicked up a notch!

My next make was these fingerless gloves, it took a bit of help to figure out the thumb but after a few friends got stuck in we had it figured out and I was away! Another successful project.

For my next project I wanted to make some boot cuffs. After a long search on Ravelry I couldn’t find any that I liked that could be knit flat and did not quite feel ready to attempt knitting in the round so I decided to make up my own pattern! I also wrote up this pattern and it is available for free on Ravelry if anyone else, like me, wants to make some simple bootcuffs that can be knit flat and seamed.

Boot cuffs

Boot cuffs

After the success of writing my own pattern I decided to turn my hand to something more complicated! I think I was probably a it too ambitious and cast on a double length cowl on circular needles. Everything was going really well, I had managed the joining in the round and an inch of ribbing but once I got onto the body of the cowl things started to go worng! Why on earth I picked lacework for my 5th project I’m not sure but it certainly was a challenge. After only a few rows the lace pattern was completely out of sync and I was getting a bit demoralised so I decided to set it to one side.

beginnings of knitted cowl

beginnings of knitted cowl

This was quite a big decision as I dont like to give up on things easily. So instead of saying I had given up I have just left it for a little while to be returned to once my skills have improved.

So, I decided to try a different lace project to improve my skills. The oyster shawl seemed like the perfect solution as there was a large body with only a simple eyelet to contend with.

cream shawl WIP

It uses a much simpler pattern with periodic holes

After finishing the main section of this cowl I was much hapier to progress onto the more complicated lace border

Lacework

After working on this cowl for quite a few months I had to put it to one side for a while as I had some gifts to get to work on. I decided to knit a cowl for my mums birthday and had the perfect yarn for it! Again, I couldnt find quite the right pattern for it so decided to make it up as I went along. Hopefully I will get the chance to write this up soon (Watch this space!)

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After making my mum’s birthday gift I decided to join in with the innocent big knit too.

HH

Finally, in time for Christmas I finished the lacy border shawl. I was so pleased with myself as this was such a massive achievement, especially considering that less than a year ago I couldnt even knit a 3inch swatch without dropping at least 10 stitches!

oyster shawl full

So what now? well actually, I’m already progressing well with my next project. I have been an admirer of Andi Satterlund’s blog Untangling Knots for a while and really wanted to knit one of her cardigans. Especially as I kind of feel like you cant call yourself a knitter until you have knit a cardigan or jumper. So, when I saw she was organising a post-Christmas selfish sweater knit-along I just couldn’t help but start choosing my yarn and pattern.

I decided to go with the Miette cardigan, it’s a really cute cropped cardigan for the summer with a little bit of lace detail around the edges – perfect for showing off my new found skills!

I have chosen to knit it in Drops Paris, which is 100% cotton so it will be amazing for the warmer weather. In fact, I am enjoying knitting it so much I have raced ahead a little and already have the body of the cardigan done. There’s only sleeves and the button band left to do. I dont think the deadline for the knit-along in february should be a problem!

Body done

I almost cant quite believe how much I have knit in one year and how far my skills have advanced. Hopefully this will continue into 2016 and I can learn lots of new skills and complete loads more projects!!

H.

shawl knitting WIP detail

Oyster Shawl

I did it! I finished knitting my shawl!

oyster shawl full.jpg

It took a while and there were a few stops and starts along the way but I had completed my shawl in time for Christmas!

When I first began this shawl it was in an attempt to improve my lace skills. I had started to knit a lacy cowl but was really struggling so decided to try this shawl as the first section is just a solid knit with an occasional eyehole – the perfect opportunity to practice.

shawl knitting WIP detail

Then, once that section is complete the hard core lacework begins! At first I just took it steady but gradually I could gain pace as I learnt the repeats and began to feel more comfortable with the stitches.

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I had hoped to finish this shawl over the summer to wear at a friends wedding but when that didnt happen it had to get put to one side as I had some gifts to make. However, just before Christmas I found myself with a bit of time so decided to give it one final push and I’m really glad I did!

wrapped shawl.jpg

The final blocking stage was so important I almost couldn’t believe it. Once finished the lace section was a little disappointing as it was quite bunched together but after a little blocking all was fixed and now I love it!

lace.jpg

shawl

scarf shawl

The Details:

Pattern: Oyster Shawl by Ambah O’Brien

Yarn: Soft and cuddly by the WI for Hobbycraft in cream and Soft and Silky by the WI for Hobbycraft in slate

I still can’t really believe that I made it! I love the fact it can look really smart as a shawl for special occasions or I can wear it casually as a scarf. This means I will certainly get the most out of it!

H.

Innocent Big Knit

Each year Innocent smoothies run a promotion called the Big Knit where they raise money for Age UK by putting tiny hats on all of their smoothies and for each one sold they donate 25p to Age UK.

Age UK is a great charity who provide advice and help to the elderly across the UK.

I think the Big Knit is a really great idea as not only does it raise the profile of such a great charity it is a really fun and unique way of raising funds.

People, like me, who enjoy knitting can knit a bunch of tiny hats at virtually no cost to themselves. The tiny hats can be made from odds and ends of yarn from past projects and only take around 20 minutes to make and they are really simple too!

Also, the fact the smoothies have little hats on makes more people buy them, generating more money and also encouraging people to drink fruit-filled smoothies rather than fizzy drinks or something equally bad for you.

Anyway, now I hope I’ve convinced you all to buy a behatted smoothie when they come on sale in February I thought I would share with you some of my contributions to this cause!

I actually used the time spent knitting these hats to practice some skills I might want to use for future projects so many of my hats contained aspects of colour work or different stitch patterns.

 

H.