Tuesday, 12 November 2013

New Email!

I've just discovered that the email address I use for this blog has died a sad death - humble apologies if you have emailed me and I appeared to have ignored you!  It was not intentional!  I have substituted my general all-purpose email which I promise I check faithfully daily - so it definitely does work!  Would love to hear from you!!

Lovely Surprise

I got home from a staff meeting at lunch time to find an envelope with a Patons knitting booklet and some lovely new 4mm needles - just what I needed too!  My favourite size 4mm are quite bent from use.  I'm not sure what it is I do to knitting needles but the ones I use the most are quite wonky!  It's amazing I manage to knit anything straight on them.  I got these goodies because I've had a letter and pic published in Simply Knitting - and do you know the sad thing?  I don't even have the magazine yet.  It used to be sold by my local newsagent AND my local Waitrose but they both - in the same week - stopped stocking it and have some or other knitting mag I've not heard of and don't want.  Living in the centre of London, you'd think it would be easy for me to pick up any magazine I want.  In fact, I'm going to have to walk for 25 minutes towards Holborn Circus before I find a WHSmith big enough that actually stocks Simply Knitting.  (But then, the stock every magazine in the known universe, so it's a sure bet to go there.)  Why has Simply Knitting become so hard to find?  Are they not one of the biggest knitting mags in the UK??
The solution of course is to get a subscription, but I've already had a subscription and cancelled it.  For some reason, the magazine is a whole lot better when I have to go out and physically buy it.  Weird.....

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Pictures for the Candy Stripe jumper....plus a few squirrels

Autumn has arrived at last so my daughter can wear her new striped jumper. And her new boots. And her new jeans! The pictures were taken on Tavistock Square where we were feeding squirrels. We had about five or six of them coming back for more treats, including a baby squirrel halfway up an ivy-covered tree - quite hard to feed the babies (well....almost fully grown, but still smaller than the others) as they are VERY skittish.  

Autumn - our favourite month!

Got that nut!

You can see the back of the beret in this picture

A very silvery squirrel making a mess with his nut!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Cool Cardi

After knitting all those stripes with frequent wool changes (every four rows!), I decided to knit something easy - virtually no shaping, except for the sleeves, only one button hole...what could be simpler!  I've never had so much fun with a cardigan - I love the way the stripes developed.  Although each ball is essentially the same, they are not identical, so you can't always tell how the pattern is going to develop.  I thought it was a young woman's cardi so knitted it for my daughter.  However, it's so fabulous I've decided to knit one for myself as well!
The yarn is Sirdar Crofter DK Fair Isle Effect and the pattern comes from Issue 108 of Simply Knitting.  It's truly the easiest cardigan I've ever knitted - and yet it looks the most fabulous.  My daughter wears it with everything and miraculously, it manages to match everything as well.  I love this yarn so much I want to keep knitting with it forever!
I'm having a problem finding this colour and have an awful feeling it's been discontinued!  NOOOOOOOOO!  Why is it that anything with orange is inevitably dumped?!  It's my favourite colour and impossible to find in nice shades!

ps Yay!  Deramores is still selling this shade - it's called Isla.
I've sent this one to the Simply Knitting letters page

That interesting rock was put there by the IOA, which is just across the road - I worked there during the summer!

The stripes and patterns are just gorgeous

All photos taken on Gordon Square, Bloomsbury

Candy Stripes

It's a long, long time since I last blogged!  Where have I been, one might wonder:  for once, I've been knitting and knitting successfully, at that - not much Bad Knitting at all!  Makes a nice change!
I finished the stripy jumper I was making for my daughter JUST as the first leg of the summer heatwave hit us.  Typical!  I got VERY tired of changing yarn all the time as the stripes are quite narrow.  I used what was left over from another jumper as well as the owl - this meant I was mixing DK with 4ply but fortunately it isn't noticable.
I also tried out knitting the neck on DPNs with some success!  I was really just experimenting as I want to try this out with other creations and it wasn't too difficult.  Not keen on DPNs - too prickly!
I had such fun with the delicious colours that I used what was left and made a beret.  
Once the weather has decided it really is Autumn, I'll get my daughter to wear the combo and photograph her.  
Knitting the neck with DPNs

The finished item

Those stripes in close-up

The Beret

Aren't the colours delicious?

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Hue Shift Afghan


Here's something I wish I could knit!  I've never seen the like of it before - quite spectacular.  Can't find the pattern and/or wool in the UK though.  Might have to do a bit more hunting.  Or at least learn how to knit a mitred square first!
Check it out at knitpicks.com:  http://www.knitpicks.com/wpblog/knittin-out-in-the-open/?media=FCBKpost

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Striped jumper for Spring

Owing to a shoulder injury that suddenly got a lot worse in January, my Gedifra jacket is currently on hold - the very large needles were really difficult to work with....like ski poles!  Also, I was trying to knit the collar, which meant holding the entire project on my lap - very heavy indeed.  (What actually happened is that I messed up the collar and had to pull it out....great reason to abandon it for the moment...!)
Fortunately I can still knit with fine needles and a lightweight wool.  I made some terrific leggings for my daughter out of my stash and and currently knitting her a stripey jersey which is ostensibly for Spring, but it's slow-going so will most likely be for early Summer!

Delicious stripes for Spring
I'm using what I've got left of the Bergere de France Ideal (featured elsewhere in this blog) and Hayfield Bonus DK, which I used when making that toy owl.  The Ideal is 4 ply and a better quality wool than the very cheap Bonus but you don't notice it particularly unless you went very close!  My daughter chose the stripe pattern, which I wasn't sure about at first but seems to be working out.  The colours are very fresh and it's lovely working with something that's so easy when my shoulder hurts so much!

Read my previous blog featuring Bergere de France Ideal plus photo:

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Sheep in the Courtyard

My daughter and I went to see the Wool House exhibition at Somerset House this morning and had a lovely time.  I saw more things made out of wool than I have in my entire life!  But where were the sheep in the courtyard?!  I thought there literally WERE going to be, well....SHEEP in the courtyard, penned in, obviously, baaing gently in the rain while we patted them and oohed over the lambs.  Not in London, clearly....
My daughter learning how to spin
The entrance hall with real wool carpet tiles
Wonderful carpet in passage - VERY long!
Bedroom detail
Cushion detail on bed
Natural room
Cable chair

Natural room detail

Wider view of the Natural room

Flowers in the Drawing room

The Study

The Modern room

Saturday, 23 February 2013

A puzzled knitter

I run two blogs - this is the first one and has been going for some time now (I think it might run into years.)  And yet I have much greater difficulty running this blog than I do my Wordpress one.  I simply can't figure out how to like or follow other knitting blogs.  How dumb is that?!  You would think it would be totally straightforward but if it's a Wordpress knitting blog, I would end up having to use my Wordpress avatar, which totally defeats the purpose of finding other knitting buddies.  If you are a knitting blogger, reading this, and thinking, "good golly, she really is stupid!" then, please, tell me what I'm doing wrong!  I can't even figure out how to add links to other bloggers websites onto my blog!  And yet I do quite advanced stuff on my Wordpress blog.  Does this mean that, basically, the Wordpress is easier to control, navigate, build etc etc?  It's a lonely business making hash after hash with my knitting - I'd really like to meet others with all the enthusiasm but none of the skill.  I am, needless to say, a tad intimated by those marvellous women who knit several thousand toy rabbits a day and sell them, while dealing with heart-rendering family problems.

In the meantime, here is my current project:  the Gedifra jacket.

Pattern pic
Previous attempt - FAR too small but reasonably well knitted

Without flash - better colour definition


I started with the sleeves as I've discovered this is a great way of tackling immediate problems - if you don't like it, there's not much work to pull out!  (Specially in this case as the sleeves are short.)  I followed the pattern exactly and yet not only are they different lengths but neither of them have ended up with seven stitches after decreasing!  This sort of thing drives me mad because I don't know whether it's me (have I misunderstood the pattern somehow?) or the pattern itself (long since discontinued so no one to ask.)  I've got them both on stitch holders and will measure them once I've finished the back and front.  That way, I might actually get perfectly fitting sleeves.
Or have to reknit them entirely.
The pattern stitch I'm using is one row purl, one row k1,p1 rib.  Very effective!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Confidence restored!!

My Gedifra Diandra jersey turned out to be fabulous - warm and cosy and looks good too for something that is home-knitted by an inexpert knitter!

I added rows of Swiss darning to make it more interesting.

 The neck edge is simple two rows of knit.

I enjoyed knitting with the Diandra so much that I promptly set about knitting some very chunky wristies, called "mitts" in the Rowan pattern I used.  I'm not keen on knitting cable but these were very simple and I even managed the clever slit for the thumb!

I wear them when on my computer as my hands get very cold.  

My daughter was so keen on the mitts that I made her some too:  I used the leftover Squiggle super chunky that I'd used to make her poncho.  It's much thicker wool so I had to adapt the pattern a little and only made one row of cable.  Also super-warm for the bleak February weather!

So keen am I on knitting with Diandra that I'm currently reknitting a pattern I'd made two years ago.  It's a short-sleeved jacket which is meant to be close-fitting and tightly knitted, using thinner needles than I'd used for the striped jersey.  Although it fitted, it felt too warm and the front gaped, making my bit of podge seem even podgier!  So I'm reknitting it in a bigger size with the 8mm needles to get a looser, more casual fit.

 Yet another yummy colour from the discontinued Diandra range (but have a look online:  some places do still sell it!)

This is the Rowan pattern I used for the mitts.

This is the Gedifra Diandra pattern I used for the jersey:  as you can see, it's a complex cable pattern, which I totally ignored and made a plain, striped number.  For reasons I don't understand as I made no errors and followed the pattern shaping religiously, my neckline isn't quite as low.  (I sometimes think they use machines to knit the pictures you see in pattern books, meaning we can never recreate them perfectly!)

Below is the pattern for the jacket.  I might make more buttons, though, as I'm really very tired of this daft fashion of having your tummy hanging out of an open-fronted cardi.  I'm not exactly fat but I'm no stick insect either and it's seriously not flattering (also it's chilly!)  They've used poppers to close this cardi/jacket with the button sewn on top.

Bad knitting is a little happier this month!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Saved by Diandra

After the horrible disaster of my five-foot wide cardigan, I dived deep into my wool box and hauled out the Gedifra Diandra I bought on sale several years ago at John Lewis - back in the days when they actually had proper sales.  It's quite chunky but different patterns require different needle sizes - 8mm seems to work best.  It's the most deliciously soft wool mixed with 15% linen and it's SUCH a shame that they discontinued it.  Why do they always discontinue lovely wool??  This seems to be an eternal problem.  It only cost £1 a ball on the sale so I bought about 40 balls in lilac, a sandy beige colour and a reddish brown.  They are all still available if you look very hard on the internet, but no one has the creamy colour left, which is a great shame:  I would have loved to have knitted with it.  I need hardly say that it's a pleasure to knit with AND it goes really fast.  My confidence as a knitter has returned somewhat!
Really need to get my act together and get some pictures taken.  In the meantime, this is what the front looked like when I was knitting it:

I didn't have enough lilac for the jumper, so decided to stripe it with the beige colour.  Not ideal but honestly, the jersey is so lovely and soft and warm and pretty, it doesn't matter if it isn't a work of art. I also - cleverly, I thought - did the sleeves first so that when I was finished the hardest part (the V-necked front knitted separately), it meant I was nearly finished.  I had to knit the front edging about three times before I got it right and it's still not ideal but it'll do.
I'm now knitting cable mitts (Yes!  Me!  Cable!!) with the beige colour and they look so fab my daughter wants some too...

Photos at the weekend, I promise!