Owl and Lavender

Todays post is about my latest finished projects. I don’t think I’ve really stopped knitting gifts since the first couple of months after Xmas, which is all well and good. So this post is about another knitted gift, and also about something for me. So since I cast off the maple leaf shawl I knitted for my best friend I instantly cast on a shawl for my mum as it was her birthday at the start of this month. I find it helpful to have to projects on the go at the same time, basically if anyone asks what I’m knitting and they are the person the gift knit is for then I don’t really want to be showing off what I’m knitting for them if I intend it to be a surprise, so I like to have something for me on the go at the same time, yes sneaky I know, but it works, plus I get something for me.

Anyhow, this year I decided to knit my mum an entrelac shawl with a lavender theme, now if you’ve read any of my previous posts you may recall that I have knitted entrelac shawls before not only for myself (as in Finally complete!), but also for one of my aunts (the pink shawl in Not more knitted gifts!?and also my best friend (the storm grey shawl in  More than just knitted gifts.). So baring in mind how much I adore yarn by Eden Cottage Yarn, I knew I had to knit my mum’s birthday gift in their beautiful yarn. It just so happened that I had two skeins of BFL Sock in two different shades of purple (Wisteria and Damson) and two skeins of Milburn 4ply in Steel in my stash, which I was having trouble picking out a project for, mainly because I wanted to knit something with all three colours.

Now two of the entrelac shawls I’ve knitted were knitted in Eden Cottage Yarns BFL sock, which knits up into a gorgeous fabric, so I knew what to expect with those two skeins. But I’ve only ever knitted with the original Milburn 4ply and that was just a sweater and fingerless mitts, so knitting a shawl with the relaunched Milburn 4ply would be something different and interesting. I have to say I wasn’t disappointed, I mean I loved the original Milburn, but the new Milburn is even softer and the colour stands out so much more. When comparing the steel colour of the new Milburn with the grey of the original Milburn, you can see the difference. The steel colour stands out so much more and yarn has much more of a sheen which adds to the colour. I am really pleased with the how the shawl I knitted turned out. I was extremely surprised with how large it turned out to be, the other entrelac shawls I’ve knitted only had 400 metres of yarn go into them, so basically one skein, where as my mums one had about 500 metres of yarn knitted into it, and wow its so big. Even better is I still have half a skein of each of the BFL sock skeins and more of the Milburn left so I can knit something else with those (maybe something for me :D).

So thats the gift knit that I finished recently. Now for the knit for me. At Xmas a friend gave me a super knitting pattern book called Knitting Wizardry: 27 Spellbinding Projects. I’d been wanting this book for ages, mainly because there is a cardigan in it which I’ve been wanting to knit for myself since I saw it on Ravelry. This cardigan is called Ginny’s Cardigan on Ravelry but is called Owl Cardigan in the book, which could be a little confusing. Anyhow, I decided at the start of June as a birthday gift to myself that I needed wool to knit this cardigan, and really really wanted British wool to knit it with. Luckily for me the most wonderful new online shop dedicated to British yarn opened at the start of June. So this saw me ogling loads of DK on their site trying to work out what would work best with this Owl Cardigan, and after much uming and arring I decided on West Yorkshire Spinners Jacobs DK in Brown/Black. So after finishing my fingerless mitts I knew I had to cast this cardigan on, the wool is so yummy, so sheepy and it smells delicious (OK OK, I love the smell of wool, yum). Now I have to say that I really do recommend popping by Brityarn, the lovely online shop I purchased this yarn from, the owner, Isla is super and the yarn is delicious.

I did add a few little mods to my cardigan, I made the sleeves longer, not because I have long arms (I really don’t) but because I like my wrists and tops of my hands to be cosy. I eliminated the pockets, I really didn’t see the need for them. And I chose to eliminate the button holes from the button band, why I hear you ask, well I wasn’t really in the mood to be making buttonholes and then having to sew round them and all that, and I like to back my button bands with ribbon and I find it awkward doing that around buttonholes. So I chose to use snap fastenings along with backing the button bands with ribbon.

So those are my latest finished objects, I’m so happy with all of them.

I’m currently working on Xmas gifts, a new top for myself, altering a bunch of my clothes (well I have to start using my sewing machine for something), and I’m also working on a semi secret project (so watch this space).

Happy crafting all :D.

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Another Cardigan Down

Cute And Cropped Cardigan

I finally finished knitting this cardigan today, the photo above is of the cardigan pre-blocking. I’ve since washed this cardigan, and laid it out on my dining table with lots of colourful pins in it (blocked it). I’m debating the merits of cutting up some scappy fabric I have kicking around and using it to stablise the button bands (as the grosgrain ribbon I have is too wide for the button bands on this cardigan). As I often have problems with button band stability I’m swaying in favour of this idea, but at the same time I know it will mean me either figuring out how to use the sewing machine my mum lent me, or hand stitching around the fabric first, its a silk kaftan that is beyond repair. I have already decided to use more pretty rabbit buttons (I need to buy more of those soon, maybe some different ones).

The yarn I used wasn’t the weight recommended for the pattern, as the smallest size avaliable to knit was a 34″ bust, which would have been too big as I have 32″ bust. So instead of trying to find a nice worsted weigh wool, or a slightly thicker DK, I opted for Shilasdair Luxury DK w/Camel, which I think feels closer to 4pky in weigh than DK, maybe sport weight, but definately not a DK yarn. Either way I’ve achieved the size I was aiming for. I did find with the yarn I use that where I wrap the yarn around my fingers for tension that I ended up with slightly blue fingers due to dye rubbing off. I can only assume this was down to it being hand dyed and the type of dye used. I did find when I washed the cardigan for the first time that a lot of dye came out. so I will have to be careful when washing it in future just in case it does the same every wash.

I’m looking forward to wearing this cardigan, it feels beautiful. Also I can’t wait to start knitting my next few projects. I recently bought some yarn to knit a Christmas pressie for my best friend, and yarn to knit a little pressie for one of my aunts. On the note of Christmas pressies I really should start making more effort to look for gifts for everyone.

One cardigan down!

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I finished knitting this lovely cardigan two days ago. I finally have a chance to wear it today, as I finished sewing the last of the buttons on this morning.

Its knitted following Ysolda Teague’s Lauriel pattern. I shortened the ribbing on the cuffs slightly and also on the waist so that it wouldn’t sit too low down. I decided to added grosgrain ribbon to the insides of the button bands as reinforcement as when I knitted this cardigan for my mum I found the snaps pulled a lot on the wool.

I’m very pleased with how this cardigan has turned out, it goes really well with my 50’s style dresses and skirts. It’s lovely being able to wear it finally. 

Since finishing this cardi, I have started knitting another cropped cardigan using a different pattern, so far so good.

Current knitting!

Currently I have three on going projects. One is the usual inbetween projects project, namely the blanket made from squares which is slowly but surely progressing. I decided recently, having tried out entrelac because I wanted to see if I could do it (and I can of course), that I will edge the blanket with entrelac ‘squares’. Well I really like entrelac, and think it would look amazing in the autumnal colours I’m knitting the blanket with. I know it won’t be finished for this winter, its going to be rather big, but will look fabulous, maybe it will be done by next winter.

The second project I have going on is a cabled aran knit cardigan in Rico design country aran. The yarn is simply divine, and the cardigan is progressing wonderfully. my mum bought me the pattern and the wool, because she wanted to see me getting on with something for myself. Which is lovely of her, I have an amazing mum. So far I’ve finished the back, and have started on the left front side, I like how this pattern is written, as I won’t have to pick up stitches for the button band, which I always worry about, but so far haven’t had a problem with. I will have to make sure I bothered posting updates on this cardigan, along with photos of my progression :). I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

I have also started knitting up a gift for someone for christmas, but I won’t say more than that as they don’t know what I’m making them, or that I’m making them anything. Actually I will be knitting a lot of gifts for christmas, hence why I’m starting now, after all, no time like the present :). Plus I like knowing that I’m well ahead with my gifts for people.

Almost…

Update on my projects. I’ve finished the creation I was making for my other half, that is now all wrapped up and ready for Xmas only I forgot to take a final selection of photographs, so I’ll have to do that once its been given. I’m getting on nicely with the cardigan I’m knitting for my dad. I started the collar, which meant picking up stitches. I’ve got to say, with my fibro it is really really hard on my hands and arms, as I’m basically knitting onto the garment its heavy and the stitches I’m picking up from can be hard to slid a loop of wool through. But I finished the collar in the end, and now I’m working on the button bands. Already picked up stitches for the one which the button holes will be on. I had to redo the picking up on that as I’d picked up one less stitch than I needed. But I’ve managed to get there in the end, so first row in so far. I think its all coming together nicely. But I do prefer just knitting away rather than piecing things together I think.
Anyhow back to my beautiful bunnies :D.

Nearly Finished

I’m close to finishing off the main gift I’m knitting for my other half :D, just a few more rows and I think I’ll begin casting off, then I’ll see about knitting his second smaller gift. And I’m not saying what these are just in case he happens to read this.

After I’ve finished off that I’ll carry on with knitting the cardigan for my dad, I’ve the first sleeve to finish off before I move on to the second, and after that I can sew the raglan edges together and pick up stitches for the collar. I’ve never picked up stitches before, but I know I’ll need to work out how to pick them up evenly along the neckline of the cardigan, so this will be interesting for me. I’m sure it can’t be that hard, and I’m sure it’ll go reasonably well. I’m quite looking forward to it. I’m enjoying working a pattern as its testing the knitting skills I already have and its helping me pick up ones I’d passed by as I didn’t need them for what I was doing at the time with my knitting. So its encouraging me to look back through my knitting books and see what I need to do for particular things. As I’ve been knitting nearly a year now, although I’ve not been able to do it as often as I’d like and occasionally I’ve not felt up to it due to feeling ill, I don’t feel I’m doing badly as far as my knitting goes.

I must start knitting my older brothers gift as well, seeing as I’ll be working from a pattern again, I’m sure it won’t be terribly hard. But I do need it all finished before Christmas. So I’ll be knitting double time when I can. Its hard when you want to spend time with people, but also want to get on with knitting something that you know you can’t really knit around anyone as you don’t want to end up making mistakes.

Well time to break off and finish spending time with my lovely Freya.

Another clean out day!

My beautiful bunnies, Freya and Echo are getting their twice weekly clean out today. Of course I have plenty of other things to do before starting to clean my little monsters out. Like some ironing, as usual Echo seems very interested in the ironing board legs, especially the feet, I think that if I left her alone with it she’d try to chew it to bits. As Echo and Freya have to be kept separate due to Echo constantly trying to dominate Freya and Freya refusing to submit, I’ll be cleaning Echo out first and then on to Freya once Echo has been put away.

The good thing is that Echo is much better at using the litter tray now, she used to refuse point blank to go near it, and would keep trying to get behind Freya’s hutch. But since putting boards up to stop Echo getting behind Freya’s hutch and putting the litter tray in Echo’s favourite piddle corner things have got a lot better.

Its a shame that both Freya and Echo insist on trying to nibble at my knitting or I’d be getting on with knitting my dads cardigan, as I’ve managed to start the right hand side now and am just starting to work on the pocket, its easier than I thought it would be, but then I’ve been making sure to work out exactly what the pattern is asking me to do, as I don’t want to make any mistakes. I even managed to do my first increasing cast on, which I’m pleased with.

Once I get to be good enough at knitting, I’ll try to explain things better when it comes to knitting, but right now I’m still learning myself so I’ll leave the explaining to people who have more than half a clue about what their doing.

Right I’m being nudged in the ankle by an impatient Echo, I get the feeling she might be wanting a little attention. So I’ll finished off here, as if I don’t give attention when she wants it, she is likely to start digging into my ankle. She definately doesn’t know what subtle is unlike Freya, who is much more placid and would more than likely just flop at my feet instead of trying to attack them, but this is why I love them both.