Another award?? Crikey!

I’ve been nominated for another award, this time by the lovely All Night Knits (you should go and check out her blog – it’s great)!  Thank you!

This time it’s the Versatile Blogger award.  Do I really deserve this?

Now I’m not really sure that crocheting a small fez for a teeny knitted meerkat and putting it on the internet counts as versatile, but perhaps I’ll have to try harder.  Can a knitting blog really be versatile without going off topic?  (Answers on a postcard please.)

Anyway, here goes nothing…….

The Versatile Blogger Award

Time for the rules (no rolling your eyes at the back there):

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award.  Done! 
  •  Include a link to their blog.  Done!  (This is easy, two down already wayhey!)
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.  (Fifteen!  Give me a minute….. *wanders off to look at nice blogs*)
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.  Seven things?  But I already did ten things last time I got an award.  *Ponders*

Ok so here’s how I’m going to go about this.  Not everyone likes to do blog award posts, as it interrupts the flow of posts on a particular subject, and let’s be honest it is difficult to make a blog post like this interesting to read (but I will try my best).  Also I don’t want to make anyone feel pressured about doing a post like this if they don’t want to.  Hard and fast rules can turn these sort of things into a bit of a chore.

So I’m just going to give you a nice list of blogs that you should go and have a look at if you have a few minutes to spare.  Some are well known (Kate Davies Designs) and some are hidden gems.

If you see your blog on the list….. lucky you!  You’ve got a blog award!  Post about it if you like, display the award in your sidebar, have fun with it, but don’t feel constrained by it or obliged to post about it if you don’t want to.

Seven things about me:

  1. I knit a lot.
  2. I crochet a bit.
  3. I collect yarn ‘by accident’.  Seriously, I never mean to buy any more, it just needs a good home!  *innocent face*
  4. I work in a yarn shop.
  5. I design knitting patterns in my spare time and even get them published :).
  6. Points number 4 and 5 do not help with point number 3.
  7. I haven’t got tired of this knitting related work, knitting related moonlighting, knitting related hobby combination yet.
  8. I can’t count.

Now finally I need to say thank you.  Firstly to All Night Knits for nominating me, and secondly to all of you who are reading this, commenting and following my blog.  Every time any of you do that it feels like a little award in itself.  😀

Lottie x

Beetroot Feet!

I’ve started my socks!

What?  Really?

Bet you didn’t think I would!  Well, you’d better believe it……..

A half-knitted sock

Proof!
Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I’ve even turned the heel and (whisper it) I’m quite enjoying it… but shhh…. don’t tell anyone! 

I’ve chosen Beat Feet by Rachel Atkinson from Knit Now Issue 20 as they looked interesting enough, but not too taxing, so I could concentrate on the construction of the sock and getting a good fit, rather than worrying about complex stitch patterns.  It’s a nice pattern which has been well thought out so that you can knit mirrored socks and the cable pattern is nice and stretchy, so it should be comfortable to wear.

Beetroot Feet detail

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

There is one teensy little hitch though….. (no, not the fact that I will now want to knit all the socks)….. a week ago, gripped by the urge to get started, I grabbed this skein of dark purple yarn from my stash, where it has been hiding for some time.

I didn’t really think about just how dark the colour was, or the nature of dark hand dyed yarn (i.e. it will tend to have some loose dye).  So I didn’t consider before winding it into a ball and getting started that it would lose quite a bit of colour.  It was only after I had wound it (by hand – couldn’t be bothered to get the swift and ball winder out) that my fingers had a slight puce tinge about them.

I put it to the back of my mind and just started knitting.  I mean, I was concentrating on knitting magic loop (I don’t really like knitting small circumferences in the round), which I’d only done once before years ago (when I had absolutely no idea what I was doing) so I didn’t really stop to think about the loose dye.

The next time I looked my fingers were a colour that would suggest I had been preparing beetroot.  It does wash off eventually!  But if I’d realised earlier I would have washed the yarn before I started (note to self: next time don’t get so over-excited about a new project that you fail to notice anything else).  I will definitely rewind the yarn into a small skein and wash it before I start the next sock!

Wish me luck for the rest of the sock!

Lottie x

Things I learnt from Blog Week

I learnt quite a lot from blog week. Participating was a bit of a last minute decision for me and I’m really glad that I did try it! I don’t think that I am a natural blogger, but I’m definitely improving. So what did I learn?

  1. Less is NOT more. More is more when it comes to posts. More posts = more followers/likes/comments 🙂
  2. Infographics can be fun!

    Venn diagram

    Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

  3. I like bad jokes. *blushes*
  4. I have a strong urge to name posts after puns based on songs from my youth/teens. A spectrum of colour was very nearly called Five Seven Colours in her Hair Stash (but you can’t use strikethrough on titles:(). This tells you several things: a) my rough age, b) I like music that makes me happy, not music that is fashionable, c) someone bought me Memory Lane: The Best of McFly for Easter (and I now have several earworms) and d) I like bad puns. Do you see a pattern emerging?
  5. I can use photoshop (a bit) to produce something tolerable.

    House of Chameleon Crest

    Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

  6. Chameleons are easier to draw than I thought!
  7. Free time and number of posts written are inversely proportional to one another.
  8. I knit far too much blue and turquoise.Wagtail Hat crownRosaleen Shawlette Holden Shawlette edging
  9. I am very indecisive.
  10. You lot are really nice and friendly!
  11. I actually enjoy blogging – and I never thought I would.

Lottie x

Just in time for summer……

I’ve finished my blanket/throw!

Cozy Blanket

The pattern is Chunky Bramble Throw from Hand-Knit Your Home by Melanie Porter which was featured in Knitting Magazine Issue 115 (last month’s issue) and I think it is both one of the largest and quickest projects I have ever made!  It took just 3 weeks in between other things and was a really relaxing project to knit.

I liked this pattern as soon as I opened the magazine, but then I like lots of things in magazines and I don’t have time to make all the things that I like!  I often open a magazine and get an urge to make all the things (unless it is an issue that is full of slouchy garments – that recent trend really doesn’t suit me).  So liking something like this is no guarantee that I will actually make it.

But this time it was different!  I remembered that I had twelve skeins of Araucania Limari lurking in my stash that I had been intending to use to cover a massive floor cushion, until I was met by project inertia and never got started.

I left it a week to see if I was still just as enthusiastic about it while I finished some other things (I don’t need any more WIPs), decided that I was, turfed all the Limari out of it’s storage box and got started.  I got through two and a half balls in an evening!  Brilliant!  Best of all this sort of project is perfect to knit while watching Casualty (a soapy medical drama that’s on TV almost every Saturday night on BBC1 in Britain – it’s sort of comfort food in TV form – we like to try to spot the overly obvious plot device) so it offers optimal enjoyment!  😀

Cozy Blanket

I did make quite a lot of modifications to the pattern.  The recommended yarn (Rowan Big Wool) is a bit thicker than the yarn I used, so used 12mm needles (the pattern recommends 15mm) and I cast on enough stitches for three more pattern repeats (which the pattern helpfully tells you how to do) as otherwise the throw would have been too narrow.  Then I just knitted until I had used eight of my twelve balls (I only had about 5cm left after casting off the bramble stitch section).

I saved four balls to knit a garter stitch border around the edge as without it the blanket would have been too stretchy and as unruly as an excitable puppy trying to run on a lino floor (it really did have a mind of it’s own).  This isn’t the fault of the pattern at all, more due to my choice of yarn and needle size (Limari is made of merino, alpaca and silk so it drapes more than the recommended Big Wool).

I added the garter stitch border on both the long sides first, then on both the short sides in a sort of log cabin-ish-but-not-quite way. Each side took just one ball.  I have about 2-3 metres of yarn left!  Stash Busted!  Yay!

I’ve made a lovely cozy blanket……. just in time for summer…….*sigh*

Have you made any stash busting projects recently?  Are they out of season?

Lottie x

Decisions, decisions…..

…… so last week I said I was going to try knitting socks…… what on earth did I do that for?

Ever since I said that, pretty sock patterns keep jumping out at me.

First it was Anna Richardson’s Jump ‘n’ Jive socks in Knit Now Issue 21, then Rachel Atkinson’s Beat Feet from Knit Now Issue 20 and Fiona Morris’s Bilberry from The Knitter Issue 56…… and now the latest issue of The Knitter has arrived and there are some pretty leafy green toe-up socks by Jacqui Harding in it!   I want to make them all!  I’ve bought 2.5mm DPNs and a 2.5mm x 80cm Addi Premium circular needle (I;m not sure whether to try magic loop of DPNs) and now I’m desperate to get started.

But which to make first?  And which yarn to use?

Easyknits Twinkle 4ply

Yummy yarns

I have some lovely Easyknits Twinkle 4ply which would be perfect to use for socks, but I sort of want to make shawls with it, and those multi coloured skeins would hide the pretty pattern details of all the socks I like.  Even if I do use it for socks how would I choose which skein to knit with?

Easyknits Twinkle 4ply

Sometimes I am so intolerably indecisive, I even annoy myself.

Besides….these photos remind me that I need to finish my cosy bramble stitch throw/blanket/snuggly thingy (just, as someone keeps reminding me, in time for summer – they know who they are)!

Cozy Blanket

Snuggly!

I’ve knitted a log cabin-ish border along two of the sides and I’m just about to finish the third….. better go and get knitting!

Which socks do you think I should make first?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Lottie x

All photographs Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Avocetta

Avocetta Capelet

Avocetta
Photograph Copyright Dam Walmsley for Practical Publishing 2013 (used with permission)

I’m lucky enough to have a design in the latest issue of Knit Now Magazine (Issue 21, which is out today)!  I love the photos!  They are styled exactly as I imagined when I designed the capelet.

Avocetta Capelet

Avocetta
Photograph Copyright Dam Walmsley for Practical Publishing 2013 (used with permission)

Avocetta is a pretty little capelet featuring twisted stitches, lace with integrated shaping, pleats and i-cord ties incorporated into an i-cord cast off.  It’s sized to fit UK size 8 – 26 and only uses 100g of Manos Del Uruguay Fino for all sizes (I loved using this yarn for Cleome, so I was excited to have a second opportunity to use it).

But enough of all that – you want to know how it was designed!

The theme for this particular issue was Tea Dance, which immediately got me thinking of pretty, feminine things, lace, full-skirted dresses and things to wear with them.

With this in mind I got to thinking about capelets.  I wanted something with an edge that wasn’t straight, but I still wanted it to look delicate.  I didn’t want the edge itself to be too lacy though, as I wanted it to hold its shape.  I kept thinking about all these things until they crystallised a little more.  Then I started thinking about birds and their feathers.

Eventually all these things combined in a swatch:

Avocetta swatch

Swatchy swatchy!
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

I chose twisted stitches for the edge of the capelet and then a succession of feather shaped lace patterns gradually decreasing towards the top of the swatch.  Thinking about the shaping of those full-skirted dresses, I added pleats at the top of the swatch.  I wanted to add an i-cord to tie it around your shoulders, but I thought a neater solution was required.  Why not run the i-cord ties into an i-cord cast off?  That would make the top edge nice and neat, with no fiddly ribbons to lose and best of all….. no finishing!!

Swatch knitted, it was time to sketch, making sure I got across the feel of the design and the sort of styling I imagined:

Avocetta Sketch

Avocetta Sketch
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2012-2013)

Now you can see why I’m so pleased with the styling and photos – it really is just as I imagined!

If you want to see more Avocetta goodness, you can check it out on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/avocetta and if you want to see me looking tired and wearing the sample 😮 you can look at my project page here

Hope you all like it 🙂

Lottie x

Liebster Award!

Last week (ish) t.e.d.d.y. who blogs at Funky Air Bear  nominated me for a Leibster blog award!  Yay!  Sorry I’ve been slow getting round to posting about it but with Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2013 last week I didn’t have time to do another post.  So here goes:

If you’re wondering what this is all about, here’s the gist of it from t.e.d.d.y.’s blog:

The Leibster Award is given by bloggers, to bloggers, and it’s purpose is to highlight blogs with under 200 followers that deserve a look. Encouraging people to visit blogs that others enjoy seems like a great initiative. The rules for the award are pretty straightforward:

1. Post eleven facts about myself
2. Answer the questions given to me by the person who nominated me
3. Invent eleven questions to ask people whom I wish to nominate for the award
4. Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link to them in my post.
5. Go to their blog and tell them.

What’s with all the elevens??

Now, I should warn you all in advance that I’m rubbish at these kind of things.

If someone asks me one of those hypothetical questions like:

‘If you were a vegetable, what kind would you be?’ my thoughts go something like this:

‘Which vegetable is the most indecisive?’

‘Don’t be daft vegetables don’t have a conscience!  Or maybe they do?  What if they do, but we just haven’t discovered it yet?  Didn’t I hear that vegetables scream but it’s outside the range of human hearing?’  *mind wanders*

Then I just decide that I have no idea what vegetable I would be and that it was a silly question anyway.

Ok, so errm….. facts….

  1. I hate telling people about myself and I’ve got a complete mental block on facts about me.
  2. My name is Charlotte, but you can call me Lottie (everyone else does).
  3. I’m a knitter!
  4. I work part time in a yarn shop.
  5. When I’m not doing that I design knitting patterns freelance.
  6. When I’m not doing that I knit things for fun.
  7. Occasionally I make jewellery (earrings are my favourite, but I don’t knit those).
  8. My favourite sport to watch on TV is motorsport.  I follow lots of different types.
  9. It all started with Formula 1 back when Schumacher and Hakkinen were fighting for the 1999 World Championship – Mika Hakkinen won :).
  10. But now I follow: BTCC (British Touring Car Championship – my favourite!), Moto GP, WRC and other lower categories as well.
  11. This is a lot of motorsport to watch (each weekend of BTCC coverage is about 6 hours long!) – no spoilers please! – I’m quite behind and it’s all recorded!

1. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “crafts”?  Knitting!

2. If there is one thing you would change about your character, what would it be?  Good question!  I would definitely be calmer and less of a worrier – life would be so much less stressful if I didn’t wind myself up!

3. Mountain or Beach?  Mountian, but I always liked the beach as a child and I have many very happy memories of family beach holidays in Wales.

4. Bike or Drive?  Neither!  Walk 🙂

5. If you could eat unlimited quantities of one food, what would it be?  Garibaldi biscuits!  Once I start I can’t stop.

6. Cooking at home or Eating at a restaurant?  Eating out – it’s always nice to try new things.  But if I’m tired nothing beats home comforts.

7. What is the first section of a grocery store you go to?  Why don’t grocery stores have a knitting section????  This is a question that needs asking! 

8. Do you like chocolate?  Yes, but I don’t eat very much of it and I like dark chocolate best.

9. Pastel colours or Bright colours?  Bright colours!  Like this!

Easyknits Twinkle 4ply

10. What is your favourite craft?  Knitting!

11. Tea or Coffee?  Tea.  I only like coffee in cakes 🙂

So now to the eleven questions for my nominees to answer (I’ll be writing a post later this week answering these questions myself as well):

  1. Knitting or crochet?
  2. What was the first thing you ever knitted or crocheted?
  3. Can you crochet?  If you don’t crochet do you want to learn, or are you happy with just knitting?
  4. Knitting/crocheting garments or accessories?
  5. Natural fibres or synthetic fibres?
  6. When you choose yarns, do you choose according to the colour or the fibre?
  7. Self striping yarns (like Noro) or plain yarns?
  8. Varigated yarn that does the work for you, or semi-solid yarn that shows off details?
  9. Cables or lace?
  10. Fairisle or intarsia
  11. What is your favourite knitting or crochet book and why?

My eleven nominees (if you already have more than 200 followers please just ignore me and don’t feel obliged to take part if you don’t want to for any other reason):

  1. woodlandknitter
  2. polka-dots and sparkles
  3. Yarnrush
  4. Knits and Crafts of Derring-do
  5. yarnycakes
  6. knitnrun4sanity
  7. shetlandhandknitter
  8. Danni and Charlie do craft
  9. The Knit McKinley
  10. YuLianKnits
  11. ?

I need an eleventh blog to nominate!  If you know anyone else’s blog that you think deserves a look and has less than 200 followers, leave comment below, and I will nominate my favourite.

Please go and check out their lovely blogs if you can 🙂

Lottie x