A Solstice Day

Exiting your home with a three year old is rarely graceful. After a morning tucked contentedly inside, sipping tea (me), learning new puzzles (her) and making food to share with friends, we prepared to greet the first Winter's Day. Within the usual flurry of coats, bags and 15 reminders for her to use the bathroom, I glanced out the window for a weather check. The trees bent sideways and confirmed that today was all about hand knit sweaters. 

Antler Cardigan by Tin Can Knits, yarn from Lioness Arts. (Project notes  here )

Antler Cardigan by Tin Can Knits, yarn from Lioness Arts. (Project notes here)

Tucked into waterproofs and puddle stomping boots, Little One ran gleefully across the grass to meet her friend and together they danced and laughed at the ferocious wind. Two protective mothers tied hats around little ears and I was glad for her woolen cardigan as she raced off to explore. 

Antler Cardigan. Pattern via TIn Can Knits (more details  here )

Antler Cardigan. Pattern via TIn Can Knits (more details here)

I finished this cardigan a while ago but haven't slowed down enough to take pictures lately. In fact, I'd not brought my much loved Nikon out of its camera bag since we moved over a month ago. I would be willing to lay money that this has been a contributing factor in my feeling antsy and unable to create lately. 

Today though, today was a good day for collecting stones and hurling them at the little stream nearby. This cardigan not only kept her warm but survived rolling in damp grass and a sudden downpour that came at us sideways thanks to the wind and sent us scurrying inside for pasta and cake. I will always be in complete awe at the powerful resource wool provides. 


I've included all the project notes of my version of Tin Can Knit's Antler Cardigan here on Ravelry. Yarn is via Lioness Arts



FO: Mara Shawl

aka the Ode to Garter Stitch. 

A Playful Day's Mara Shawl

A Playful Day's Mara Shawl

I have dreamed of such shawls as this! Warm, squishy garter stitch in soft Merino yarn. It's huge, it's embracing and it is sad that I didn't get it finished, blocked and ends woven in till early Summer. It's ok though dear shawl, we will have many hours to huddle together in front of a laptop come Autumn. Trust me. 

A Playful Day's Mara Shawl

A Playful Day's Mara Shawl

This was such a comforting knit. The pattern is a freebie put out by Madelinetosh called Mara. The yarn is Organically Farmed Merino Wool - Aran Weight. Using Aran weight rather than the DK weight this pattern calls for was my first modification and I don't regret it. I wanted a wearable blanket for cold, work from home days and I would say I've got it. You can read all about my lovely green garter stitch wonder on my Ravelry page here too. 

A Playful Day's Mara Shawl

A Playful Day's Mara Shawl

Further Modifications:

  • I opted for size 5mm needle to account for thicker yarn
  • As per another knitter's notes, I used the same increases as are used in Ishbel (every row rather than just one) to make it longer for maximum shoulder coverage.
  • I basically knit till the yarn ran out (a little too literally)
  • I used a suspended bind off for a nice neat ribbed edging. (I used this tutorial)
A Playful Day's Mara Shawl

A Playful Day's Mara Shawl

I had a few problems when I ran out of yarn and had to tink back then tried to futz around with the bind off several times but ultimately, I love it. I'm almost sad Summer is just round the corner. 

Almost. 

Tell Me a Story of An FO

A couple of episodes ago in the podcast, I got very nostalgic about my knitting and kind of walked everyone through some of my top ten projects. It was fun to look back and got such a great reaction from everyone, with stories to tell and memories to smile at, that I thought I might feature an FO a month and tell its story. 

Sometime you knit things just for the love of the yarn. Sometimes you knit for the necessity of warmth or celebrating a birthday or event. Sometimes you knit something because you want instant gratification. These socks were knit with just that reason: quick gratification. 

(c) A Playful Day

(c) A Playful Day

I was in the middle of a big transition in my life- waiting for a rental flat to become available and most of my stash had gone into storage along with most of my belongings. I held back some speedy projects that I could use to cheer me up with quick success while I crossed off days in my calendar and swung between trips to my parents, friends guest rooms and the odd sofa or two. These things happen. 

(c) Star Athena

(c) Star Athena

One of the stash prizes I'd pulled out was Brown Sheeps Lamb's Pride Superwash Sport in the Cornflower Blue colourway. I figured a sportweight sock would swish by as I take forever to knit socks. I picked up some stash magazines and settled on Kimono Socks by Star Athena that featured in the Fall 2008 issue of Knitscene. 

These were indeed a fast and satisfying knit. I loved the little icord ribbons and the yarnovers made it easy to read my knitting so really, I hardly looked at the pattern other than to check progress and the heel. I gave these away to a dear knit friend but I'd happily make them again. Especially sportweight, oh boy they're so much quicker (and snugglier)!

A really satisfying wip

A really satisfying wip

I rarely work from magazines despite gobbling up issues I love. Writing this post has actually reminded me that I own some amazing patterns and need to look back on my collections more. I quite often pull out old issues to browse through, a bit like a favourite recipe book. Do you do that?

Come celebrate some of your favourite socks and sock yarns over in the playful group- it's dangerously enabling over there folks! Happy Socktober!

Harvest Cal 14 Inspirations

As the month draws to an end it's been a god time to look through the growing FO thread over on the HarvestCAL thread and gleefully find inspiration for Autumn. I'm really struck by the diversity of entry and the amount of chatter this has generated. It was suhc a great suggestion from group members and everyone has really run with it. There has been inspiration spilling all over the place as apparently, I'm not the only one who loves Autumn and is excited for the season to get underway. 

Over the next few days, I'll be counting down till the end of the cal (midday GMT on 30th September), with recipe inspirations, activity inspirations and fashion inspirations to get you in the mood for crafting season. Let the inspiration begin here with a little round up of some of the FO's shared so far. 

Thank you so much to everyone who joined in!

(c) Emily37

(c) Emily37

Rebecca finished a sweater and it is a goodie. The pattern is Chalkstone by Isabell Kraemer who is a designer I've been admiring for some time now. This falls in the Ripening Fruits category as it was a long term wip having been started in March 2013 and just in need of a sleeve. Alas these things happen. More details on Rebecca's page here

Talking of Ripening Fruits....

(c) SecretSquire

(c) SecretSquire

That's Plum Wine from SecretSquire. Oh yes. (I promptly googled how to do it and found this goodie. You're welcome.) SecretSquire will always be a favourite person to inspire me as she shares my love of the Orcas Islands, the West Coast and all things literary. I always get good book tips from her. It would seem she also shares my love for boozy infusions and I can't help but feel it's a true crime that we live so far apart. Still, my liver is grateful. 

(c) cvd-aviatrix

(c) cvd-aviatrix

These apples were part of a big harvesting effort from cvd-aviatrix and I have to admit, I was green with envy. In her bounty she had apples, alpine strawberries and blackberries. There's a whole lot of puddings going on in her house I bet! In fact she shared a new recipe she tried from a recent pom pom issue ' Spiced Apple and Bramble Cake'. 

MoppyAmanda also used the CAL to prompt some stash maintenance- she knit up some yarn that had been sitting in stash for 2 years and made some throw pillows and a cushion cover for a stool. I think this is a great kickstart to the season and what better time of year to add more woolly goodness to your home decor? Perfectly timed for some snuggling weather. 

(c) MoppyAmanda

(c) MoppyAmanda

So how about things with you? Are you crafting gleefully as that cold weather begins to settle in a little? Got any great new recipes you're itching to try? Tomorrow I'm sharing recipe inspiration and it's made me very hungry indeed to research it I can assure you. An entirely selfless act too. Ahem. 

 

Remember, you can post your Autumn inspirations either on Ravelry or on social media using the hashtag #harvestcal14 for your chance to win one of these amazing prizes!

On The Pier

I like to champion my knits as a finish them because I feel like they are so few and far between these days (although I participate in some very serious imaginary knitting ALL THE TIME). This 'woohoo I finished' knit was just perfect: garter stitch, shawl, delicious MCN and a nod to Unwind. What's not to love?

On The Pier worked up in MacKintosh and NBK's MCN bases. 

On The Pier worked up in MacKintosh and NBK's MCN bases. 

On The Pier was announced as an Unwind KAL just as I was craving shawls. In fact, I promptly got struck down by Shawl Fever and it really is all Justyna's fault. Garter stitch across a crescent shawl with some contrasting stripes and simple lace? That's basically my ideal shawl. It had to happen and I have some serious stash that needs addressing. 

On The Pier worked up in MacKintosh and NBK's MCN bases. 

On The Pier worked up in MacKintosh and NBK's MCN bases. 

I played around with colours till I struck on green and cream. I love it! It's feminine but not too fluffy which is where I like to sit if I can. The green is 'swamp' on Iona Fingering Weight from Mackintosh and I think it's far too pretty for such a ogre-ish name! Sadly, I used NBK's MCN Fingering in Cappuccino for the contrast. Why sad? Because I now have a serious need for more of that base. My word. Lisa's neutrals plus this fab base? I'm ruined. 

On The Pier worked up in MacKintosh and NBK's MCN bases. 

On The Pier worked up in MacKintosh and NBK's MCN bases. 

I love this shawl and think crescents are perfect. They sit on your shoulders easily and are perfect for layering. I'm eager to knit more shawls and have a single skein project on the needles that's long and I predict I'll tie it like a scarf once finished based on this assertion that crescents are where it's at for warmth. It also shows off details spectacularly as it drapes around you don't you think?

Yum! More details on my project page

With a Hint of Autumn Comes Sweaters

There's something about the faint hint of Autumn in the air that makes me quiver with knitterly excitement. It's gone from 'oh-my-word-I-actually-think-I'm-felting-this-yarn-as-I-knit' hot to slightly cooler in the mornings and yesterday I reached for socks. Yes, Autumn is coming and so begins a fresh knitting season. I personally LOVE this moment in time where it's still warm but there's an air of change and a hint of pumpkin, leaf fall and snuggly layers in the breeze. 

It's perfect timing then that I worked to finish a sweater for the Playful Tot. I'm dreadful at finishing off knits so I made myself pull out this little sweater and get some buttons on after a bath as soon as I saw potential for wearing it. The Tot is thrilled. 

Hine in Lush Worsted 

Hine in Lush Worsted 

The design is 'Hine' by Kelly Brooker and I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out. Being a robust little thing, I aimed to knit this with room to grow for the Tot as she's already sporting 2 year plus clothes and not yet hit this milestone birthday (where is time going?!?!?) It came out just right- roomy but ready to wear already so this will hopefully go right through to Spring now. I think this pattern is great for layering which I'm fairly sure is a must for toddlers, or at least it is mine. 

Hine in Lush Worsted

Hine in Lush Worsted

The yarn is Lush Worsted from The Uncommon Thread in the 'Bois' colourway. I love it. It's deep and moody enough to be a tad grown up and add interest to each stitch but warm and rich enough not to make a little girl look too serious. The base fluffs up nicely for a bath too so I think it'll be nice and warm on those chillier mornings. 

The best part was the buttons. I have a much maligned button box that got some serious attention. 3 little buttons with a spare just in case were found that I think are just perfect. What do you think?

Hine in Lush Worsted

Hine in Lush Worsted

You can see more lovely pictures and further project notes here on Ravelry. 

Winter Sweater and May Day Sun

As always, I have spectacular timing. Just as we're gearing up for barbecues and Pimms, I finish and block my chunky weight winter sweater!

Hickory by Cecily Glowik Macdonald

Hickory by Cecily Glowik Macdonald

The pattern is Hickory by one of my favourite sweater designers, Cecily Glowik Macdonald The yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky which is now discontinued and I have to say while it's hardwearing, I'm not over the moon about the self imploding/ knotty balls they were wound into- nightmare! I harvested this chunky weight from my first ever sweater. The pattern was called Nati and you basically knit a giant cross with a hole in the middle to put your neck through and stitched up the sides. I thought this was ideal till I actually wore it and realised that it was too short in length and the sleeves were totally impractical.  

Nati by Lucy Hulett

Nati by Lucy Hulett

I realised this only got worn round the house on snow days. Not exactly getting an outing was it? So I pondered the best solution. It either had to be a chunky weight jacket with long sleeves I wore as a coat or a sleeveless number for cold days over tees and under coats. With not enough yardage for the first, I selected Hickory and got to swatching. 

sweater 2.jpg

The biggest challenge for me with this sweater was actually the reverse stockinette the original pattern calls for. That was the first modification I made as my tension when I purl and ability to tolerate that much purl just made that a no go. I got gauge and dropped a boundary line of purls along the lace sections to make them pop a little more. I tried it on as I went and opted for a snugger fit as I wanted this under coats rather than a little boxier as shown in the pattern pages. 

I can see me getting much more use out of this now. I even had some leftovers to make a chunky weight hat but I might be a little fed up with knitting brown and the weather is getting warmer which mean I'm contemplating shawls again. I do think I could get into chunky sweater knits though, particularly with a simple lace to break it up, add interest but still be nice and speedy!

You can see more details here on my Ravelry page. 

 

What have you finished lately?