Eden Cottage Yarns

Well I think it's fair to say that I fell in love last weekend. I'd long suspected that this would be the case but my 'favourite of favourite' circle of indie dyers just made room for another: Eden Cottage Yarns

Victoria's booth was like a siren song that all weekend I popped back to, sighed and wished myself in a better place knitting wise. I wanted something in every yarn weight. I could just see the projects with her gorgeous sense of colour and great selection of yarn bases. 

In her own words, Eden Cottage is the

"home of semi-solid colours, from muted pastels, to stone-washed mid-shades and rich, jewel-tones. The yarn is dyed with an emphasis on simple but gorgeous colours, as well as sustainability, and ECY has become synonymous with a muted palette of semi-solid shades"

. Victoria is not kidding. Her stand at Unravel was like a wardrobe full of knits waiting to happen. Everything was just so wearable. 

I brought a sweater quantity home, my single yarn purchase all weekend. I wanted to save myself for something I truly wanted and apparently, I truly wanted Oakland DK. This is New Zealand Polwarth, handdyed in the 'Midnight' colourway. 

I think it's destined to be a Hooray Cardigan by Veera Valimaki. I've been wanting to make one for ages, ever since I saw the thick cables on the front. I think this bouncy and crisp feeling yarn will give great stitch definition and I'm excited to try a new-to-me fibre too. It made adding it to my stash feel much less naughty somehow as I didn't have any other Polworth. See? Totally justified!

(C) Veera Valimaki

Sunshine

OH this weather! Yes, I've kicked off a blog post talking about weather. I'm so British right now but do you know what? This wet weather is getting me down. Layers, miserable walks, no freedom for toddlers and absolutely no decent light with which to celebrate FOs. 

Luckily I had a skein of this wonderful stuff. It's Vivacious DK in the 'Sunshine' colourway and it has cheered some really miserable days let me assure you. I worked on two hats, ripping one back because I couldn't find a rhythm and starting afresh on the Evernia. It was the right decision because a) it had lace and b) POM POMS!

The yarn held up really well to so much pulling back so I'm hopefully it will wear well. The hat is a little slouchier than I'd ideally like as I cast on with the wrong needle size but a brim that can be pulled over your ears in this weather is no bad thing let me assure you. It looks even slouchier in these pictures because it's worn by my sister who is a dot of a thing in comparison to me. She was a good sport to let me snap pics on a sleepy Sunday morning after the Playful Tot had kept her awake all night. Ahem. 

Tori has written a fab pattern with multiple options. There's charting and writing instructions and everything is crystal clear and WORKS. I actually feel quite addicted to hat knitting right now. A designer I know proposes that a hat is the perfect medium for trying things out and practising technique. She's absolutely right as I got my Lace fix with the instant gratification of a hat rather than the sobbing that would have gone with full on Lace shawl. 

Oh and the variation in colour between pictures? Yeah that would be the lack of light and need to photoshop it to oblivion in order to see any stitches. urgh. Roll on Spring. 

In the meantime? More hats!

Handspun Heaven

Right before Christmas, I received a package that can only be described as an early Christmas present. Nestled amongst samples of Lo-Lo hand balms, David's teas and some pretty yummy chocolates were these two fabulous skeins. Let me tell you, pictures in the current monsoon weather we're enjoying, do NOT do them justice.

This has left me with two dilemmas. First, what on earth should I knit with them? I adore handspun but thus far it's all gone into the 'Golden Stash', the collection of skeins too precious to pick the perfect project for. I do not want this to happen but yet.... they're perfection itself. Any ideas?

The second problem is the issue of how does one reciprocate? I want something so amazingly mind blowing that the person knows how much I understand the value of handspun.

I wonder how much Benedict Cumberbatch is going for these days?

Blink and it's Gone

Well this week was fast. Really fast. So fast paced and so intense that I just had no time to knit. None. I have had to work every available opportunity.


It was therefore very happily that I realised I needed to take some pictures for some work I'm doing and would have to knit. Sure, I could have just snapped pictures of knitting tools solo but it's so much nicer in projects right? Then I reasoned that if I was knitting up swatches, I might as well be casting on real projects for the next few months.

Right?

It seemed perfectly reasonable to me. So with the Playful One dispatched with the Giant I set about knitting and snapping. Sending the little one out was kind of essential given her penchant for my skeins. This is what happens otherwise.....



Yup. Note the blur of rapid movement!



Like mother like daughter right?



I'll fill you in on all the casting on and off I achieved very soon. Right now I need to run. Again. This coming week is looking even more frantic.

x

Knitting Love

Oh I have some wonders to tell you about. When yarns and great designers collide, magic happens, it really does. I FINALLY finished up some items, including blocking, weaving in ends and photographing, which almost never happens around here lately. So it's high time I waxed lyrical about a few things I've been working on. 

First there was the Uncommon Thread wonder yarn, Lush Worsted in 'Bois', 231 yards of MCN heaven. I bought this for a specific project way back in October when I pictured long knitting times as I started my maternity leave and waited for our baby's arrival. I chose Dryad by my knit crush, Jared Flood. Yum. Delicious cables, intricate details and wonderful bouncy yarn to work it up in. It was a challenge but that was ok. I was going to be impatient for an arrival, I'd be thankful for the distraction. Right?

Wrong.

It went to the frog pond 4 months after Playful Baby's arrival as I just admitted defeat. Cables and charts were not my friend when I barely had time to knit so I ripped it out and chose Setzer instead. It was still Jared, but a lot simpler and 'kinder on a frazzled mind' looking. Silly me forgot my deep seated loathing of wrap and turns but I'm quite pleased with the end result and know The Giant (its recipient) is too. You can see my Ravelry project notes here


I also finally, finally finished my long love affair with Plume by Lisa Mutch. I adore Lisa's designs as they are just so ME. I want to knit them, wear them and talk about them. They are simple, stylish and interesting enough to keep me happy while not being so mind bendingly complicated that I can only work on them in total silence for 15 minutes at a time. Lisa likes thoughtful construction that leads to effective results. I love that. 

I took two very beautiful yarns out of my stash for this knit. More Uncommon Thread, this time both fingering weights. The main body was knit in Posh Fingering in the 'Nimbostratus' colourway, and between the delicate grey and the lustrous silk and cashmere content in this yarn, I immediately loved this shawl. Once I added a bright Cerulean blue in Silky Merino Fingering, I knew that I was creating one of my all time favourite shawls. These yarns are exquisite and I think Ce is possibly a genius. 

It took nearly a year to knit and block but my god, I love it. I worked a few modifications that you can read about here to make the most of the yarn and make it my biggest shawl to date. I can't wait to wear this around me this autumn. I've barely taken pictures of it but I'm sharing already because I'm impatient and waiting 2 more days to take better pictures just might just kill me. 

Starting Somethin'

Ok that title was meant to be about an obsession I've started but now I have the song in my head and I love it. I love the old Michael Jackson stuff, it's my favourite stuff to dance round the kitchen and sing into wooden spoons to while I'm cooking.

Yeah yeah! 

Anyway. I talked in the last podcast about my current love of simple gift knitting, stashing down and productivity. Well, it's becoming out of control. As I packed up my stash ready to move house (there were tears, I won't lie), I decided to keep a basket full of knitting so see me through the next month. I pulled out odd skeins, remnants, scraps and a few treats. 

Here's what it all looked like when I'm done. All are destined for gift knitting of some description, I just don't know what yet.


Let's delve in




A bag full of sock/ 4ply remnants. I have no idea what these want to be but they will be something of this I can be certain.


A small selection of sportweight that I'm hoping to combine into a design of... something....


A clutch of DK and Worsted weights destined to grow up into hats/ mitts etc for holiday knits. Actually, there's already some missing from that bag as I wound it so it's looking quite sparse here. Honestly, I can't keep my hands of yarn for two seconds....


A skein of awesome from Candy Skein that will be MY gift: dancing socks. 


4 skeins of an aran weight that will be my first hand knit gift for playful baby. I'm looking forward to this moment. 


Oh and let's not forget an old friend who is beginning for another arm. 

I have no idea how long this will last or whether I will stashdown everything but for now I'm pretty committed to some productivity and getting ahead for the holidays. You might be too after Ravellenics or just because. If you are, we decided to have a join in along over on the Ravelry group and there's prizes! Come play!

It's been FAR too long

I realise as I start this post that I cannot remember the last FO I shared here on the blog. It's best I don't check. Let's pretend it's only been a month shall we? I've always thought we were good friends. Let's keep this little fact between you and I, yes?


So, here's a very unseasonal but very lovely FO. The design is the 'Eternity Scarf' by Michelle Wang and I cast on after a bit of an obsessive period of stalking eternity loops. I wanted all my scarves to be round for some reason. I also wanted texture and something to show off the lovely Berry Colourful Yarnings yarn that I'd been sent for review. 

The yarn in question is BC Yarning's Worsted MCN base in the colourway 'Cinna'. It's an 80% Merino, 10% Nylon and10% Cashmere base that is sproingy and pleasing to work into a squishy fabric. This is not a lofty yarn, nor one that has no life to it. Instead, I'd describe it as full of energy and yearning for ribbing and swaths of stockingette to showcase the variegation of the colour. I began with this:


And found the textured sections really pleasing close up.....


I'm not convinced I've got the size right as it won't go round my shoulders as planned but it loops really satisfyingly around my neck and I know it's going to wear well due to the twist of the yarn. I predict a very stylish Autumnal key accessory. So I'm thinking a good yarn for high wear accessories and I'm eyeballing the DK I have in my stash too...... hmmmmmmm....

A love affair

I promised you all a very indulgent post about a shawl that I have been completely in love with recently. To say that I am besotted would be an understatement. As evidence of the reason why please see the picture below.


Pretty isn't it? The pattern is called Whippoorwill and is by Carina Spencer, who is also known as Sweet Mama on Ravelry. The pattern has been in my queue for quite some time. On a snowy day in February I decided it was time to release some stash that had been marinating for quite some time and cast on.

Firstly, let's talk about the yarn shall we? The main body is knit in NorthboundKnitting yarn, Super Wash Merino, a lovely fingering weight that I thoroughly enjoyed working with. As always with Lisa's yarns the colour is absolutely perfect and I was completely addicted from the get go. The colourway is called 'Moonstone' and is now firmly in my all-time top yarns. The subtle variation in this wonderful yarn is just the kind of colour that I love in order to create an interesting fabric.

To complement this lovely neutral I picked a Tactile Fibrer Arts yarn that I had been sent for review. The yarn is called Bolinas Sock and the colourway is 'Pomegranate'. It is a bouncy Blue Faced Leicester with a high twist that has been naturally dyed and I felt the red popped wonderfully for this project. While I had a few issues with bleeding from the yarn I had been cautious enough to soak it first as I knew that naturally dyed and red are both prone to bleeding. Luckily, it was more a case of excess and so I didn't lose any of its' wonderful deep colour.

(I'll be doing a fuller review in this Sunday's podcast episode so stay tuned for more news on this lovely yarn. It's a goodie.) 


I loved working up this pattern, and was sad that I didn't do my homework before it was too late to realise that I could have squeezed a medium-size shawl out of these two skeins. Realising this, I set about adding an extra red ripple and the size is now perfect to wear around my shoulders this summer. You can see more details and notes on my Ravelry page here.

Roll on summer!

PS I appear to be getting better with this dictation software -  photos!