Year of Projects and birthday patterns

I’m not going to be joining the third Year of Projects blogalong. Health issues covered on my other blog mean that I’ve slightly adjusted my priorities for the moment and although I shall be knitting regularly I can’t commit the time to blogging about it every week. I remain truly grateful to everyone who has shared their mad skilz and projects with me over the last two years, and who has helped on the myriad occasions when I got stuck and/or left lovely comments here. It’s fair to say that there’d be at least half a dozen fewer hats in this world if it hadn’t been for all the encouragement and support you gave me here, thank you!  I’ll still be reading YoP blogs, stockpiling ideas for the autumn and winter and gazing in awe at your various achievements, good luck to you all for Year 3! If you want to follow me on Ravelry, I’m Afterglow over there.

On the sewing side, let’s see. My Esme top came to an inglorious and abrupt halt when my newly serviced sewing machine started sewing tangles rather than stitches AGAIN. There are actually no words for the disappointment I felt just 1.5 cuff seams from the end. I need to take the machine back to the repairers, once I’ve ripped out the knots, rethreaded and finished, very very slowly and carefully. I am also going to bite the bullet and buy a new machine with a fortuitously maturing endowment policy. Other than that, I’m helping with skirts for the school carnival entry. I have my fingers crossed that the overlocker will do what I need it to do, ie quick and dirty attachment of elastic to the waists and fishing line to the bottom hems as I can’t trust my machine not to chew up someone else’s lovely fabric.

IWP_002414’ve had some excellent birthday related post this week. A book of seaside and underwater knitting and crochet patterns, which takes me back to the Maldives every time I open it. Also the ByHand London Anna dress pattern, which was a case of covet on sight. I’m torn between the maxi version with slit and the midi version in broderie anglaise. If that wasn’t enough, some generous birthday cash enabled me to lob a third pattern into my Village Haberdashery basket and check it out, so today’s postie delivered a clutch of delightful indie patterns. Namely the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt, which I fancy short and groovy for autumn, the Sewingcake Hummingbird skirt which needs to be short and denim for the Orange variant and in a stashed silk gingham check for the Pink variant, and finally the Mission Maxi which I plan with the godet skirt in a fabric that has yet to reveal itself to me. I’m excited about all these patterns, but especially about the Hummingbird, which will allow me to fit the skirts exactly to my travel-sized hips and economy-sized waist. Of course there is nowhere near enough summer left to make all of these, even before I take out holidays, daytrips and a raft of medical and dental appointments, but that’s half the fun, isn’t it?

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Very berry Felicity hat

I haven’t blogged in ages. Sorry. This has largely been down to the trinity of lack of energy, lack of knitting mojo and lack of time. Last week, following blood tests, at least two of these turned out to be due to anaemia and an overactive thyroid gland, so my current priority is to undergo the various tests, scans and referrals that are lined up for me to start getting my health back on form and my get up and go back from wherever it has gone. Sadly, I can only blame the lack of time on myself and the restrictions imposed by a 24hr day. There’ll be two or three blog posts today as I catch up on everything, but I’ll do my best to keep them all focused and short.

felicity 1Here is the hat that I’ve knitted for Small Girl’s teacher. It’s the Felicity light  on Ravelry, with quite a few rows missed out to reduce the slouch a bit. It seemed to take forever to knit, but probably wasn’t really that long and is almost certainly nowhere near the time that the recipient puts in out of hours for school work. The yarn is Lang Mille Colori sock/lace weight and needles were 3.5mm, 3.75mm and 4mm dpns. I think this is the fourth one I’ve made and there are definitely more to come, it’s such a straightforward and flattering pattern. I’m very happy with this one, the yarn worked up beautifully into a soft, drapey, pink-but-not-too-pink hat which will scrunch into a pocket with no trouble.

I hope you’re all well and enjoying a better summer than we’ve seen here. There has been precious little sunshine. I have my fingers crossed that August and September will be better.

Never ending knitting

The trouble with sewing is that it does make knitting look even slower than normal. Generally I’m a fan of slow – I bake bread, walk the school run, heat beans in a pan rather than microwave and so on – but sometimes I just want to FINISH THE DARN THING. I have one active project on the needles now – just the Nothing Fancy shawl (obviously I’m not counting the Vorticity socks which will stay unfinished until it’s too hot to knit anything else, so next year probably).

NoFa comprises 4 repeats of stocking stitch and lace, then a striped section and lace, then a ruffled border. I’ve just started the striped section, but have another 15 rows to go before reaching the giddy excitement of the stripes. Sigh. On the plus side, the pattern is straightforward, and the Yarn Yard merino is a delight to work with and entirely knot-free so far. I really love the colour – it’s hard to find a gentle purple – but this one is perfect with its gothic touches of grey and brown and a gorgeously gloomy pink.

Photos below are of Gizzie the cat, who like the rest of the family, is prone to thinking that if I’m STILL knitting that shawl then I must obviously be looking for someone else to pay attention to.

gizzie2Cat helping with knitting.

Hesh, the perfect hat.

It’s been three weeks, I’m sorry. The glorious Hesh hat was finished soon after my last post, stowed in my handbag, used the next day in unexpected snow, and appropriated by Small Girl very soon afterwards.

The pattern is free, via Ravelry. I used two different shades of Malabrigo Rios and have enough left to do another one. The Rios was a delight to work with, with the single exception of winding it. I made a size large. It fits me, and it fits five year old Small Girl too. If I was making one explicitly for her I’d do it in a medium purely to get it finished quicker and with shorter i-cords. If I was doing one explicitly for me I would try not to have the tassels hit at nipple height this time. She has worn it in ridiculously high winds, untied, and it’s still stayed firmly over her hot little ears. This is a hat that makes people smile. It’s warm. It stays on your head. It squished up to fit into a handbag without having so little bulk that it’s easily lost. Perfect. The knitting is straightforward and quick, the pattern clear. I was a stitch out on my final few rounds but it still turned out fine.

Still on the needles is the No Fa (Nothing Fancy) shawl. This is coming along well, even with the cussing that a row of yo y2togtbl will inevitably provoke when Small Girl goes back to school tomorrow and I have to tackle the 4 row lace section.

Apologies for the lack of links/graphics – I’m blogging on a different pc to normal and don’t have access to my beloved LiveWriter.

I should come clean and say that I’m completely off socks at the moment. Absolutely, massively, completely. I think I needed to do something bigger and not in pairs. In other news, I finally deactivated my facebook account a week ago. I’ve done so much sewing, despite it being school holidays, that I think I’ve broken my machine. I should also say that as a returner to sewing, I absolutely loved the first episode of The Great British Sewing Bee. Loved it so much that I blew a tenner on the accompanying book, which is great and will be even better value if I can get the local copy shop to enlarge some of the patterns for me.

 

Slow progress

It feels like not much has been finishing here. That’s not true though – my sister’s hat was finished and posted to her pronto, just in advance of last week’s cold snap. She loves it ❤ The Student Bank Account scarf is off the needles albeit with another 30 odd ends still to be woven in. I’ve concluded that multiple knitted stripes are not for me unless I can carry the ends up the sides. It does look good though and will be snug and warm around someone else’s neck- I’ve seen enough of it and the colours are saying someone else’s name.

The lace trim on the Arcadian shawl is growing slowly, each row is something over 350 stitches of gradually mounting mild panic that I might have got a repeat wrong. Most of the time it’s ok, and the dark grey yarn is doing a great job of hiding the entire pattern, never mind the mistakes. There are 6.5 rows left to go. It’s going to be perfect, even with a lost pattern. I got some rows done on the (first) Vorticity sock too, progress is slow but at least it’s happening now that I’m back down to two WIPs from four.

That’s my progress in the last fortnight. Now to catch up with everyone else.