Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday 15 October

Almost a whole month has gone by without posting anything. It's not that I didn't want to - blog writing just seems to get pushed to the bottom of the 'to do list'. And it's not even something that's on the not-so-fun to do list, because I really enjoy writing. It's just that there are so many other fun things to do, that blogging is one of those things that gets left behind. Maybe I need another month of subjects to get me going again...

Anyway! Enough of that, I'm here and I'm writing, that's all that matters.

As I said in my last blog post (or the one before that - it's been so long I've forgotten and frankly I can't be bothered to go back and look it up), I craft a whole lot more than I ever show here. So, a few photos of FO's or finished objects.

This is my Alice cardi. Last year as a thank you for helping out at Latitude, Amy Twigger Holroyd sent the team of volunteers this pattern. She'd had a knitted one hanging in the knitting tent and I had enjoyed wearing it on the chilly Sunday afternoon, and really wanted to have one of my own. So I ordered chunky wool and needles 9mm! and cast on. But try as I might, I couldn't get the gauge right. It was far too wide and by the time I got gauge, the fabric was so stiff it felt like a straight-jacket. So I emailed Amy and asked her if she could bring her own yarn to this year's Latitude. By this time I already knew the pattern knitted up quickly (the lace is very easy to memorise) and before I knew it, I had been set the challenge of knitting it by the end of the weekend at Latitude. Despite knitting A LOT and getting sore wrists, I didn't complete my challenge, but I did finish it a few weeks later. I absolutely loved knitting it. It is so cleverly designed - everything is related to each other - the number of stitches you cast on for the front, is related to the number of rows you knit on the sleeve and many other aspects such as those. I've no idea how she figured it all out, but it made me discover a love of garments with an unusual construction.
Amy has just finished her PhD thesis on knitting, sustainability and consumerism (you can read more here). Her designs do not follow fashion, but are just, well, unique items I suppose, that will stand the test of time. I have to admit to taking a while to get used to this cardigan. I didn't think it was very 'me'. I liked it on everybody else but me (I think 14yo looks fabulous in it, but in my terribly biased view as a mother she looks fabulous in anything). I don't follow fashion at all but my style is very unobtrusive and definitely doesn't stand out. I feel happy in what I wear, but I do really like Amy's philosophy (and since meeting her, have bought very few new items of clothing). But then I started getting compliments on my cardi, and it is so comfortable to wear, that it's slowly becoming my favourite top. In fact, 14yo recently said that I wear it all the time. Bit like 11yo who will wear the same pair of trousers and same t-shirt day in, day out, refusing even to put them in the laundry. I do wash my outfits, promise...
And Amy, if you're reading this, thank you for the pattern. I'm sure it's not the last of your patterns I'll be knitting. You're very talented!

This is Harriet's Jacket. I have been reading Elizabeth's blog for a while and admire her designs very much. I followed her blog while she was designing Harriet's Jacket and as my Alice was such a success, I decided to buy the pattern when Elizabeth set up a KAL for it. It took me much longer to knit than most of the other people taking part and I wasn't an active participant anyway, but again this ingenuous and unusual construction kept me gripped for about 2 months. Mine is longer than Elizabeth's and with hindsight (despite my gauge being spot on) I could have gone down a size, it's a little big on me. I need to make the buttonholes slightly smaller as the little red hearts I found, are a little too small for the buttonholes, but they pick up the red flecks in the yarn so well. The best bit about the construction was that it was all done in the round with no seaming at the end, all that was needed, were a few ends sewn in. It's extremely comfortable and warm and I'm sure I'll be wearing this a lot this coming winter (specially if we're going to have the coldest winter for a long time, as is being predicted. Even though I don't really believe in long-term weather forecasts, I'm still a little apprehensive if they're true!)

I'm not sure if I've posted photos of this crochet bag before. It was a project in an issue of Simply Crochet last summer and didn't take long to whip up. Very useful as it's so incredibly stretchy, that it's a bit like Mary Poppin's bag...

A much needed crochet hook roll from Cute and Easy Crochet by Nicki Trench, a book that I often recommend for beginners as the drawings are very clear and the projects are perfect for practising yet you end up with something useful.
I love the roll but it needs a flap over the top to stop the needles flying out - ask me how I know... ;-)

My resolution to only craft for myself this year has gone very well. I have only made two or three little items for others and then only for those who are close friends. This cloth was for a friend from WeightWatchers, after our weekly weigh-in we go for a celebratory or commiserating cup of coffee and talk about the books we've read and family and children and everything else in life.

At the moment I'm working on a pair of socks for Socktober, a KAL organised on Twitter. The only 'rules' were to knit up a pair of socks in October and show photos of it. I've knitted up the first pair and am halfway down the cuff on the second one but progress has been quite slow in the last few days.

Excuse the rubbish picture, it was taken on my mobile at work. Was installing 111 updates and it took such a long time and my desk was clean already, so I knitted... ;-)

This weekend I helped out at the stand for the UK Handknitting Association at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London, teaching knitting and crochet. I had a great time, although I did regret slightly not signing up for the whole weekend. I only had an hour to look around which isn't enough really, and when I went around, it was so busy that it spoilt it for me somewhat. I don't like the greed that comes over people when there is so much on offer. There was only one stand which I really wanted to visit and that was Shilasdair Yarns. I did manage to get there and for 23 pounds I got this:

I just love their colours and that they use all natural dyes. I found out about them last year and got 4 hanks too, which have now been knitted up. This is destined to become one of Brooklyn Tweed's designs (Coal Cardigan). But first to finish that second sock - it's the semi-final of the Great British Bake-Off tonight so I should be making some progress...