Saturday, 31 December 2011

Merry New Year!

WOW! Where did December go??


I haven't blogged for a while - I've been super busy and I spent Christmas in the middle of the French countryside with no internet access (and a LOT of cheese), I promise to do better in the new year.


2011 has been a busy year for me, I went to Knit Nation and Fibre Flurry, I released 25 designs and I did a lot of knitting! I'm looking forward to 2012 - there are exciting things lined up and I can't wait to tell you about them!


Merry New Year to you all! (I'm quoting Trading Places - one of my favourite films)


I'll leave you with one of my favourite moments on 2011, an Ibiza sunset.


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Thursday, 8 December 2011

Van Gogh loves socks...

I haven't got enough handknit socks. Which is completely ludicrous because I spend most of my life knitting them, but many of them are samples and have to either be sent off or kept pristine for shows or events. At this very moment I'm waiting for a pair to dry on the radiator so i can wear them later.


In an attempt to rectify this I am undertaking a personal challenge to knit myself at least 8 pairs next year and I'm going to use the Opal Van Gogh yarns which are sooooooo pretty. I've knitted a monster/stripy sock for Kayla at Fibre Flurry to display in the shop (it's hard to see what these yarns will do in the ball) and I love it:


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These are kind of self striping/self patterning yarns, each one is inspired by a specific Van Gogh painting and I'm going to knit plain stockinette socks with black cuffs, heels and toes.


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If I had to chose a favourite (and I really do love every colour) it would be the second stripe, I love the yellows and blues.


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You can see the famous Sunflowers represented here and just above it is the Starry, Starry Night. I'm notoriously bad at sticking to personal challenges but I am determined to do this one - I'll keep you updated with my progress throughout 2012!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Monday, 5 December 2011

Adela Mittens

The latest pattern to be added to the Winter One collection is the Adela Mittens:



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They are cabley and snuggly - just in time, I think the snow is on it's way here and it's already arrived in a lot of places around the world!



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You can buy the pattern here:



The pattern includes instructions for a fingerless version too:



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The cables on the left mitten mirror the cables on the right mitten and there are charts and written instructions. The yarn is The Knitting Goddess DK Silk and Falkland Merino, it's soft with a bit of shine and its a dream to knit with, I'm dreaming of a cabled cardi....



The next pattern to be added to the collection will be a matching beret, here's a sneaky peak...



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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Goodbye Wovember...

I'm sneeking in under the wire with this one, I meant to write about it much earlier in the month but time got away from me somewhat.....


This blog has been championing Wool this month - not only for knitting but clothes available on the high street, the Hall of Shame is an eye opening look at misleading labelling.


I visited Frome recently and the lovely Jen took me to her Local Yarn Shop where I picked up these 2 balls of proper woolly wool in natural colours...


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I think it will be a hat and I will bedeck with one or more of the fantastic badges made especially for Wovember from this Etsy shop


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I also picked up this set of fibre bumps from Hilltop Cloud this month, all natural colours from various breeds, they would be perfect for the Sheepheid hat but I've got the yarn for that already so I'll have to come up with something else, maybe for Wovember 2012.....


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Sorry for the plastic covered photo but I want to keep them all labelled and in order - I did give them a sniff (I know I'm not the only one who sniffs fibre and yarn - I've witnessed others do the same!) and it smells so deliciously sheepy!

Friday, 18 November 2011

For The Tree....

The festive season is rapidly approaching and this is my contribution to Christmassy embellishment this year:

 For The Tree...


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You can buy the pattern here


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They are cute little mini-stockings, knit in the round with little short row heels and each stocking uses approx 5-6g (20-25 meters) of each colour - I used traditional red, green and white but i think they would looks great in other colour combinations - purple, grey and green are my particular favourites at the moment. There are five variations with stranded colourwork, cables and beads.


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I'm knitting these as little Christmas presents this year, i might pop in a few chocolates or small girts like nail polishes for my sisters - they are addictive, I had to force myself to stop knitting different variations and get on with some other jobs that need doing!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Coming along nicely...

I'm making good progress with my spindle spinning, when I first decided to learn I had grand ideas of spinning something I could knit socks with. It took me a while to spin a fine enough single so that when it was turned in to a 3-ply yarn it resembled something like a fingering weight, but I can do that now so the next challenge was to find a fibre suitable for socks - I don't want to put in all that effort and then wear a hole in them!


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I got a sample batt from HilltopCloud and had a practice, this is the result - it's only a 2ply but it's fine enough to be sock yarn if it was a 3ply. The fibre is British Shetland wool, Merino and Trilobal Nylon, the nylon will help the socks wear well, although I may use a commercial sock yarn for the high wear areas (heels & toes), it depends what yardage I get.


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This is the fibre which will eventually be socks! Three different shades of pumpkin orange - 1 for each ply, these are pick n mix batts, 35g each. I'll be spinning them as soon as I've finished what I've got on my spindle at the moment....


Which is this:


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Yes, it's a SAL/KAL (Spin-a-long/Knit-a-long) with the Knit Girllls - not content with joining in and committing to knitting something within a specific time frame (and mostly failing), this time I've committed to spinning some fibre AND THEN knitting it in to something within a specific time frame. Deluded. Yes.


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Anyway, it's lovely fibre from Cloudlover and it's spinning up beautifully, the colours are stunning. I'm aiming for a light fingering 2ply and all I can do is AIM.....

Monday, 14 November 2011

A Year of Socks....

This is what a year of my life looks like in socks:


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That's all 12 pairs of socks from the When Vampires Knit Socks club and I loved every minute of designing and knitting them!


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You can get all 12 patterns as an eBook for £20 (which is less than half what the individual patterns cost)



I'm excited to see Breaking Dawn at the cinema this week but I'm also excited for next years sock club which has been announced in the Knitting Goddess group on Ravelry, we're doing books again but this time it's Terry Pratchett's Disc World. These are some of my very favourite books and they contain an absolute wealth of inspirational characters, themes and settings which will make for such a fun club, I think places will open on Friday but if you want the inside track the best thing to do is to sign up to the newsletter.


It's going to be FUN!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Once upon a time.....

The other day I was asked when I started knitting and I remembered the scarf I knitted when I was about 16 and I remembered I still had it somewhere or other so I dug about and found it!


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I made the pattern up as I went along, randomly striping the colours and using knit and purl patterns for texture. I have no idea what the yarn was, something inexpensive and quite possibly acrylic but I has worn well - I know it went through the wash several times (probably after I dipped it in my dinner).


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Is it perfect? - No. It curls in on itself like only stocking stitch can and it's not as warm and cuddly as a more wool heavy blend yarn might have been but I still quite like it and it will be making appearances around my neck over the rapidly approaching winter months......

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Rosaleen Shawl

The Rosaleen Shawl pattern is now available to buy.


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It was the first design for the The Knitting Goddess Christmas Club and it was originally knit with their lovely Silk & Alpaca blend in a gorgeous grey called Dove.


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The shawl is knitted from the bottom up, starting with the lace border, the body of the shawl is shaped with short rows to make it a crescent shape which can be worn as a traditional shawl or wrapped around like a scarf. When we were at Fibre Flurry we spotted Brenda wearing hers 'in the wild' and very lovely she looked too!


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There is also a larger version which needs about 450 yards of yarn - I used 2 skeins of MadelineTosh Tosh merino DK which I've had for a while, the colour is Geode, its a purple with gold undertones, impossible to photograph accurately but stunning in real life!


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You can buy the pattern here:


The pattern is also available in the Winter One collection - this will include all the patterns from the Christmas Club as they become available as well as additional co-ordinating patterns, there will be 8 patterns in total, they will be released approximately every 2 weeks for the next 2 months.


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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Fibre Flurry!

Last weekend I was at Fibre Flurry and I had a fantastic time!

Thanks to the lovely Joy of The Knitting Goddess, I was there with my patterns....


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I'm not going to tell you how many times the 'washing line' of socks fell down, it's safe to say A LOT and my language towards it got progressively worse as the day went on.


I met lots of lovely people, some for the first time, some I had met before and really enjoyed catching up with. Topics of conversation included Poirot and Auntie Mabel (recently seen in Doctor Who), it was busy and tiring but lovely at the same time - I can't wait for next year!


I won this lovely prize in the pHop raffle...


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It's a bag from Nicsknots, a skein of yarn from Babylonglegs and a stitchmarker from Atomic Knitting - a special collaboration for the show, I love it!


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Sarah from the Undercover Owl delivered my new sushi sock bag and I found a skein of Babylonglegs sock yarn called Wasabi - how could I walk away when it was so clearly meant to be??


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I also picked up a SACK of grey merino from Hedgehog Equipment, 700g of it, I don't know if my poor little spindle can handle it, I think I need a spinning wheel.....

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Bears, Buccaneers and a little bit of Knitting...

On Sunday I went to the International Series NFL game at Wembley. I am an American Football fan - this is the third time I've been to Wembley to watch it and I'm sure it won't be the last.


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We started at the Tailgate party which was super busy so we didn't really see much, I paid £15 for 2 hotdogs and 2 bottles of coke - and there weren't even any onions! I was wearing handknitted items - it started off fairly warm but the wind picked up throughout the day and it did turn chilly, I was glad I had my hat, gloves and shawl!


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The Goo Goo Dolls played the pre-show and I do love the National Anthems! This years game was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. the Chicago Bears, I don't have a favourite team (although I am drawn to the Green Bay Packers because of the Cheese Heads) so I support the team who have to give up a home game to come to the UK to try and make up for the reduction in the number of their fans coming. Unfortunately the score was 18-24 to the Bears but it was an exciting game anyway!


I took my knitting, I was a little bit worried they wouldn't let me it to the stadium with it but they were only concerned about glass bottles, I didn't get much done though.


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I'm still knitting my Gothy Gauntlets for the Goth Socks KAL, I hope they will be finished by the 31st but this weekend I will be at Fibre Flurry so I am going to be cutting it fine...

Thursday, 20 October 2011

This is skirt knitting weather.....

Autumn is here! This is the season where knitters come in to their own, all the hats, scarfs, shawls, gloves and mittens get worn. AND THEN there's the actual garments.

Which I have failed to knit.

I've got several on the go, I just haven't finished any.


I really want to rectify this woeful situation so a couple of weeks ago, when it started to get a bit chilly, I cast on a Lanesplitter Skirt.


As it turned out, nature was going to have a little joke this year: 'Autumn you say?? Ok....... NOT REALLY! Have a week of hot weather, just to confuse you!'. So I put it down for a while - it was too hot to sit with what looks like a tiny wool blanket on my lap. Now it is really cold (we could have snow in two weeks) I love sitting with a mini blanket on my lap!


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I'm knitting with Noro Kureyon, my Dad gave me 10 balls for Christmas last year (he presented himself in a yarn shop and asked for 'Enough wool for a jumper please.') and in the hope of getting more yarn this year I though I'd better use it. This is my first Noro experience and I love the rustic proper woolly wool feel of it.... the knots - not so much. They seem to come out of nowhere and have to be undone, I don't mind the colour sequence being disrupted because the stripes hide that but the volume of knots is irritating.


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This is great pattern, easily adjusted to different lengths and it's going to keep me toasty warm!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Socktober Continues...

So here is my second sock pattern to be released in October: John Huston - The Tarnished Hero





You can buy the pattern directly from The Sanguine Gryphon here. The sample is knit with their Eidos sock yarn, it's a delight to knit with and the colours are stunning!


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The design is inspired by decoration on military uniforms from the 40s and 50s, with a twisted stitch cable motif and alternate knit and purl textures inside the arrow shapes. They are practical but interesting and can be worn by men and women. They are a tribute to my Grandfather who was in the Royal Air Force during this period. Remaining pictures of him in his pristine uniform without a hair out of place have influenced the clean, crisp lines in this sock design.


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That's my Grandad Arthur on the left, releasing this pattern has been a bit emotional for me, which has caught me by surprise!


I really lovely knitting these and they are really versatile - the rib sections mean they are really stretchy and hug the leg for a really good fit. I always think socks for men have to be interesting to knit - big feet = lots of knitting!


The whole collection of Film Noir inspired patterns are fantastic - I wish I had time to knit myself a dress!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Disaster Averted

Just after I wrote my last blog I spilled a drink on to my laptop. Much sadness followed and I vowed never to drink or have drinks near a computer again. Luckily, after a week of drying out, it appears to be ok - but I am backing up A LOT just in case!


I have a new pattern out: Little Ice Age Socks


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From the pattern page: The Little Ice Age, from the 16th to the 19th centuries, wasn’t cold enough to be a true ice age but I bet that was little comfort to the people living in it! The last few winters have seemed particularly harsh and once the novelty of the first snow has worn off, the cold seems to last forever. What I love about cold weather is wearing hand knits, as many as is humanly possible but most of all I love wearing hand knit socks. These socks have colourwork and cables and are perfect to wear while you are snuggled up in front of the fire!


These were knitted in June and I had to convince my mum to light her fire for the photo shoot but I like the way they came out so it was worth being a bit hot and sweaty for an afternoon!


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These socks look a bit festive in these colours - you could of course knit them in any colours you like, but I love Christmas socks and these will be on my feet on the 25th December!


These are the first of 4 sock patterns I've got coming out this month - which is handy since it's SOCKtober.....

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A BIG box of yarn!

Last Thursday I went to the Fyberspates trunk show at Fibre Flurry.

There was some yarn and some pattern samples and it was all gorgeous!


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There was an extremely large box of yarn to rummage through and even more on display....


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This lovely shawl was also on display - Isaura by ├ůsa Tricosa, it has a really unusual construction, I love the clean lines of the design and it is so light but at the same time warm and cozy.


Fyberspates specialise in luxury yarns, most contain silk and the colours are just beautiful. I love silky yarns but they're not really suitable for socks, there were what I would consider more suitable 'sock' blends and a skein of the brand new tweed sock in reds and pinks came home with me, I really can't wait to swatch with it. I also adopted an skein of Sparkle Sock, the colours in this skein just blew me away and the sparkles are gold which I think softens the effect - I'm not usually a big fan of sparkles but I fell for this yarn as soon as I saw it.


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I also bought a copy of The Scrumptious Collection Volume 1 - it is full of lovely patterns designed for the different weights of Scrumptious yarn. I am particularly taken with Tirrold by the lovely Jen Arnall-Culliford, its a lace-weight vest and I think I'll knit it in navy blue. All the samples from the books were available to try on and Mikayla (owner of Fibre Flurry) tried on the Uffington waistcoat by Jeni Hewlett (owner of Fyberspates) and it looked so nice on that it will be the second pattern I'll knit from this book - it's knit in chunky, which will be a welcome relief after the lace-weight!