Knit Love

I dedicated this year to improving my skills in making. I wanted 2016 to be The Maker's Year and so far I think I've done pretty well. I've improved a lot of my existing skills and grown more confident in trying out new things (have you seen my wreath obsession? It is out of control). However between you and me, my one true love will always be knitting. 

knitting flat lay

It's that time of year when I start to receive messages from others who don't normally knit but have dug out some yarn they meant use to make a sweater for their child. I see knitting appearing in my timeline with increasing regularity. I smile knowing why: the cold and need to nuzzle, clothe and protect ourselves and our little ones. For me though, knitting is a constant low rumble of need deep in my belly. I see a world where we can create things from beautiful natural resources and I wish I could knit faster. 

That's why this Autumn I have cast on my New Favourite Project. It started with an introduction to Ioana of Moeke Yarns, our sponsor for this month's #wipsandblooms join in on Instagram. As we spoke, we chatted about her passion for making and before long 4 skeins were whispering their magic to me and I knew what I wanted to knit. 

Moeke yarns

Each morning I wake hours before my slumbering tot. I creep downstairs in the dark, flip on the kettle and start the familiar whir of my laptop. It's time to work again. Sat at our farm table, a soothing brew by my side, I type as dawn breaks, pouring all the first energy of the day into writing. These early starts are increasingly cold and I long for a shawl to pull around me and perhaps become the companion I need in those dark hours of creative solitude. 

These four skeins have begun their journey to be just that project: The Comfort of Lines shawl designed by Melissa Schaschwary. It was a magical moment as I scooped the skeins out of the box Ioana kindly sent to me; I felt an instant connection to a story and a crafter far across a sea that understood the tactile joy that comes from a yarn with character. It would be easy to fall into cliches about rustic glory but there's a depth and crunch to this yarn that is utterly charming. The nature of its plies means that as a fabric, the stitches won't sit smooth and uniform but twist a little, give a little and tell a little of the sheep from which the wool came. 

Moeke Yarns on the needles

Moeke Yarns are produced from Romanian wool, with traditional methods and no harmful chemicals, spun in a traditional fiber mill and dyed using plants. My skeins are Elena, a 100% Romanian half-bred Tigaie wool and Heritage, a blend of the Tigaie and Romanian produced merino. Their undyed colour is partly why those skeins spoke so strongly to me that day. Emptied onto my marked and dented farm table, I smiled, feeling a connection to something I understood. Living life bestows marks, wrinkles, nubs and bumps. I was  utterly charmed and haven't been disappointed on the needles. This has become a project I linger over, smiling as my fingers find little specks of straw, a slightly thicker ply and watching the fabric shift and change with these little details. 

So while I work at my desk, shivering a little each morning, I smile too, thinking of the big shawl to come. I will clothe myself in a material that has already weathered winters out on Romanian pasture and I will know that it won't be just my cooling tea bringing me comfort soon, it will be wool. 

This sponsored blog post is brought to you in collaboration with Moeke Yarns. Skeins were recieved for review purposes. Views expressed here are my own

Socktober and the Love of Self Striping

I adore vanilla socks when I have some self striping to hand. I really can't beat some plain knitting and the addiction of the next stripe on it's way as I tick along. I don't really do subtle socks and the phrase eye searing has been used before.

Recently though I've had a hankering for some patterning, if only to break things up a little. So with the inspirations I've found from Socktober and a new sponsor who is something of a self striping whizz, I thought I'd share some of the patterns I'd love to get knitting with some bright self striping and good tv. (BC Yarnings fans stay tuned, I have some self striping that I'll be chatting about very soon and it's pretty special let me tell you). 

(c) Knittinggrams

(c) Knittinggrams

These Fruit Strip Gum Socks, featuring a spiral rib look really fun. This is a paid for pattern on Ravelry from Leah Oakley and seems to get great results. It's a one row repeat and plain foot so should fly off the needles. Definitely one for my queue. 

(c) Grumperina

(c) Grumperina

I'm still not entirely sure why I have never made a pair of Jaywalkers already because they look incredible. It's a free pattern from Grumperina and there's so many notes on Ravelry that even the phrase 'works up quite tight' doesn't daunt me. Must get these on the needles. 

(c) Connieb125

(c) Connieb125

These look really comfy and I love how the lace pattern works with the self striping. The Groovy Socks are a free pattern by Caroline Hegwer and are worked top down with an after thought heel. I like just zooming through and putting the heel in later so another for the queue!

(c) Marian Molden

(c) Marian Molden

I like a little interest and some plain ol' vanilla for my socks and these Caffe Macchiato's hit that sweet spot. It's a top down pattern with a choice of heels (one of them is the Fish Lips Kiss heel- have you tried it?)

(c) KnittingAmy

(c) KnittingAmy

I love these ones! Blurred Lines by Megan Williams of the Stockinette Zombies videocast (try it, it's awesome) - I want some now! The pattern includes Megan's OMG heel- a mock gusset that doesn't interrupt the sequence of the stripes. MUST try this one!

 

What socks have you been working on this Socktober? Come tell us!

Traipsing Vines Wrap/ Shawl

A little while ago a pattern appeared in my Ravelry library with a lovely note. I was in one of my frantic rushes to meet a deadline and I believe there was some teething too so I forgot to share it. Luckily, I had said 'please remind me if I forget....' So here is the post I should have shared a little while ago. 

(c) Three Irish Girls

The pattern is the Traipsing Vines Wrap/ Shawl by Arlin Chondro-Halim of the Lost Geek podcast. It's = a really beautiful design that I instantly liked but even more so when I read the kind notes attached the gift pattern. 

100% of sales of this pattern during the month of January and February 2014 will go to relief efforts of Manado flash floodJakarta flood, and Mt. Sinabung eruption. Funds will be directed to local Red Cross and local evacuation sites. 

It's a beautiful pattern for a great cause. It's also brilliant because it solves the problem I always have of wraps etc. slipping off. 

Hidden half-length sleeves keep the wrap in place without distracting from the overall look. From the front, the shawl can look like a long cardigan if you let it down, or it can look like a regular shawl if you wrap it around your arms. Isn't that clever?

Please do go and take a look and download a copy. I'm currently pondering what DK yarn I might purchase at Unravel to work it up in.... And what fancy occasion I should showcase it at. 

Thanks for the pattern Arlin and I wish you luck wit your fundraising efforts!