Friday, 22 May 2015

FO: Three Purple Garments

Hello. My name is Jenny and I'm addicted to purple. Or I am, at least, firmly in a purple phase...

Since I last wrote regularly, I have been knitting quite a bit - though not, I confess, three garments' worth! I worked on these one after the other over many months, but it just happens that all the finishing, blocking, and button-attaching has happened in the course of the last week.

First up, the Simplicity cardigan by Mary Arranella [rav link] in easyknit's Slink in the colour Viola. This laceweight cardi only took me six weeks and one skein of yarn to knit. I enjoyed knitting it a lot, and it wasn't very complicated. I'm hoping it will be a useful, versatile garment that I can wear to work or just around the house, when I get a little cool. Open or tied together:

Next, Thermal by Laura Chau, from Knitty Winter 2006, in Jarol Wool Rich Heritage 4ply, bought from my new LYS, Wool for Ewe. Also an enjoyable knit, though the finished product has come out a bit long in the sleeves for my liking. I'm thinking about revisiting that button band, because I think the neck is a bit wide/low for me and it just doesn't sit right, but then I need to figure out how to fix the 'sitting right' thing (go down a needle size, cast off more tightly, or something. The whole thing took me a year to knit, so I'm going to have to gear up for a revisit. 

And finally Skelf by Ysolda Teague [rav link], knitted in King Cole Merino Blend Aran in Lavender, bought from the soon-to-close Mill Shop at Texere Yarns. According to ravelry, I cast this on in July 2012, and while there have been some trials and tribulations including a massive rip back when I decided it was just the wrong damn size, I have spent maybe a year trying to find the right buttons. I think these will do, but I have a few options in my button box if I change my mind. Again the sleeves are a little long for me, but giveen that it's a cosy aran-weight jumper I can probably cope with that. Lovely fit and interesting construction, if I wear it enough I might knit a second; I'll just make sure I get the yarn and the buttons together this time ;)

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

WIP Wednesday

Left it a while again before blogging. It's been a difficult few weeks. There are a lot of draft posts knocking around, I've just not felt that they've been 'good enough' (whatever that means). So, let's just dive in with what I've been working on:

1. I knitted a sleeve on Spoke.

This is my long-term garment project; a pattern from Knitty that I'm knitting in [now discontinued] KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Tonal that I bought when I went to the US in 2012. I've been enjoying knitting it (though not photographing it, the yarn is difficult to capture), but there were a few things I wanted to change about the pattern. The sleeves were knit flat and I didn't want them flared at the bottom, so I've done a provisional cast on at the top of the flared part, knit them up to the shoulder. Plan is to knit a second one to the same point, attach them to the body and then see what I should do to finish the bottom end of the sleeve.

2. Simplicity cardigan

Loving this one! This pattern is one I've heard a lot about [rav link], but my brain went 'pssh! when are you going to have time to knit a laceweight cardigan?'. I bought a skein of Easyknit's Slink in the colourway 'Viola' when I didn't get to go to Woolfest last year, thinking I'd make a shawl. I tried a few things and didn't get on with any of them, then after a few hours on Ravelry I decided I'd try this. I'm a tiny bit worried about yardage as I've only got the one skein which might be a bit short, so I've put the body on hold and started on a sleeve.

3. Green seagrass socks

These have been a bit of a slog, but I've only got to sew up the toes and block them. The pattern is the Hourglass socks from Knitty, and the yarn is Spirit by sparkleduck in the colour Sea Quine, bought at Woolfest 2013. This has been a slow knit, especially the last little bit. I have had some brilliant yarn from sparkleduck and this is also great, but it does dye my hands blue as I knit with it. I'll do a citric acid soak as part of the blocking process, as described here by Jasmine from the Knitmore Girls, but there is nowhere from which to buy a small amount of citric acid round here, so I'm waiting until I go to my parents' in July. This has not given me much motivation to kitchener stitch the toes!

4. Trillian

And finally, my most recent cast on is Trillian by Martina Behm [pattern on Ravelry], in Deeply Wicked by Easyknits (yes them again), in the colourway Killer Queen. Loving this, it's perfect for going to work, taking to knit night, etc. I'm a tad worried it might go through a phase of pooling too much, in which case I'll rip it out and do a Hitchhiker instead, but for now - loving it. 

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2015

Last weekend, I popped down to Edinburgh, Husband in tow, to check out Edinburgh Yarn Festival. It seemed rude not to - in the Frozen North, there are not many yarn festivals less than a half-day's drive away. Plus, it's Edinburgh, a city that will always hold a special place in my heart  (being where I met said Husband). Overall, I really enjoyed EYF; and looking back, I enjoyed every aspect of it.

The diversity of stalls was great, but not so huge that seeing everything was an impossible task. I saw all my favourite, usual suspect stalls but also got some new ideas for where to get future yarn. I also liked that it was All Fibre - the sewing or card-making parts of my brain were on vacation. Naturally, I got myself some yarn - more on that story later!

The venue was well chosen, plenty of stall space and breakout space. The travel arrangements were simple. The food arrangements were simple - excellent tea & cake in the cafe, and when lunchtime came about we could've used the cafe again or just popped next door to Asda (though we had brought a picnic). It was well-organised, with plenty of venue staff and volunteers to keep things ticking along.

We only attended Saturday, I didn't take any classes, and I didn't take my camera - hence the shoddy quality of these photos, sorry (there are some much better ones on the festival website). I didn't chat to as many people as I perhaps would have, were Husband not also around (it's possible that this will be his one and only Fibre Festival; to paraphrase the subsequent discussion, 'I enjoyed watching you enjoying yourself'). But if I had to summarise in one word: fabulous.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

An Update

It's been rather quiet here lately. This has not been for a lack of knitting exploits; rather, to add to last year's busyness, we bought a flat at the start of December, moved in on New Year's Eve and concluded '2014: The Busiest Year Of My Life' with a celebratory glass of fizz and a debate about which room to redecorate first.

I've just about caught up with myself now, and as such have some brain space available for blogging. I'm hoping to share some properly photographed knitting projects with you soon, possibly along with some home decorating adventures and maybe even a bit of baking. Until then, au revoir!

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Where do I start?

It has been a while, hasn't it? I've decided to follow the example of Nic of the Yarns from the Plain podcast (which, if you don't already, you really should give a listen!) and do one post where I tell you what's been going on in life, and then use the next one to catch you up with the knitting. I am going to go as far back as April, because that feels like the last time my feet hit the ground, and do it chronologically to make sure I get it all...

1. During the first week in April, I submitted my PhD thesis for examination. I posted about this at the time, and it felt like the culmination of a lot of hard work.

2. In mid-April, I started a new job. The first five months were classroom-based learning with a fab bunch of people :) so it's been pretty hectic socially! also the course had exams :( so work-wise, I've been really busy. These five months were is Devon, too, which meant flying to Aberdeen to get home, or getting the train for 5 hours to get to my parents' in Yorkshire, so my weekends have also been busy and involved a lot of travel.

3. I got married!!! At the end of May :) we had a fantastic day and it was brilliant to see everyone. I knitted my wedding shawl (more on that story, sometime!) and I loved wearing it :) sadly, I couldn't get time off training to go on honeymoon, so was married on Saturday and travelling back to Devon on the Monday. That was quite a wrench.

4. End of June, I passed the midterm exams for the training. After getting married,  I really had to knuckle down but I did it :)

5. Mid-July, I was a bridesmaid for my bridesmaid, which was so much fun and next to no hassle. I just didn't want to have to say that all of July I worked, because...

6. Mid-August saw the final exams for the training, which I also passed (and I did better than I expected!!)

7. During the last week in August,  I successfully defended my PhD thesis. This involved a fair amount of preparation, which just added to my crazy workload, but I am so relieved that it finally paid off.

8. Second week in September saw me finish off the classroom training phase of the new job, which meant I could take annual leave again, hooray! So I did, and we set off to France on honeymoon for just less than two weeks :) got back a couple of days ago. Lovely and relaxed and ready to hit to hit the next few months hard!

So yes, it's been busy but I have managed to do some knitting too :) more on that story later!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

FO: Socks x 2

Once again, thing have been  busy around here - and they're not showing signs of stopping, so reader you have been warned: sadly blogging will remain intermittent for the foreseeable future. Partly I've just been too busy to sit back and take stock of things, and partly I've been too busy to knit :( I have managed to get some bits and bobs done in quiet moments though, and so I'll tell you about some socks I finished.

First off, I knew a long time ago I wasn't going to be able to go to any knitting festivals this summer. Firstly, Woolfest fell right in the middle of my midterms so that was out. Secondly, Unwind Brighton was clearly out as it was the day my bridesmaid was getting married herself [and I returned the favour ;) ]. Harrogate Knitting and Stitching is out as it's going to be too hard to get to come November when I'm back living in Scotland and working full-time. Finally, it's not yet certain that I'll be able to make it to Yarndale, because it's the weekend before my new job starts at the other end of the country so the logistics may be tricky. I love these events: the projects, the yarn, the colours and most importantly, the company. Going to them makes me happy.

I needed a plan that was going to reduce how much I missed going to them. This plan has three stages:
1) Knit with yarn I have previously bought at a festival
2) Knit a pattern inspired by a festival
3) Buy yarn from a vendor I'm missing out on visiting

Parts 1 and 2 are accomplished by these socks:

Pattern: Pavilion by Rachel Coopey [rav link]
Yarn: EasyKnits Deeply Wicked in Crystal Blue bought at Woolfest 2013

Pavilion was a mystery knit-a-long (KAL) intended to coincide with Unwind Brighton, with a design inspired by the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. I have loved the look of a lot of Ms. Coopey's designs, but not quite managed to bite the bullet and make any of them yet. I've also never done a mystery KAL. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to decide if I liked the designer's style and the idea of a mystery KAL and the upshot is: LOVE THEM. Also love the yarn, the colour is delicious and they feel like they will be great socks (not yet tested as it's way too warm for woolly socks!). 

Part 3 of the plan was achieved by some late-night yarn shopping which ended in me getting the yarn to make these guys:

Yarn: Easyknits' Cherish in Hockney.
Pattern: Nutkin by Beth LaPensse [rav link]

Also love these socks. The yarn has a little bit of cashmere in so it feels delicious. It's also bright-flippin'-yellow, there's no two ways about it, and I would challenge anyone to feel less happy after looking at that colour. The pattern is easy enough when you get the hang of it, and has a new-to-me short-row heel plus a toe that involves the (also new-to-me) three needle bind off. While I'm probably never going to do another three-needle bind-off, I'm glad to have had a stab at it. They've gone to a well-deserved home back in Yorkshire where I hope they're well loved :)

Thanks for stopping by x