I’m so excited!

…. and I just can’t hide it!  *sings and dances badly*

It’s been a bit of a mad week!  I’ve had a really tight deadline to meet on something top secret…….. all I can show you is this:

No peeking!

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

But it’s done now!  Yay!  And yesterday I had some very exciting news when I checked Ravelry!

Two of my new designs have been added to the database ready for their release 😀

First, Swirl, a shawl with an unusual construction, in Let’s Knit Magazine Issue 69, August 2013 (out today!):

Swirl Shawl

Copyright Let’s Knit 2013, used with kind permission

This was so fun to make I’ve already made another to keep for myself – it’s just the right mix of interesting and uncomplicated.

Secondly, something I have been keeping quiet for quite a while – one of my designs in going to be featured in a Debbie Bliss book!

My Reversible Mobius Cowl (<—click there to see a much more professional photo) is going to be featured in the upcoming book ‘Creative Cables: 25 Innovative Designs in Debbie Bliss Rialto Yarns’, which is due out in July in America and I think September in the UK (but don’t hold me to that)!

Reversible Cable Mobius

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I’ll tell you more about both these designs in more detail soon, but I think they each deserve a post of their own!

In my fit of excitement last night, having just finished my top secret project and seen my two new designs up on Ravelry (and done my happy dance!) I decided to join Twitter…. eek!  Not really sure if this is a good idea or not, but I’ve done it now, so if you want to follow me or see what I’m up to I’m @Lottieknits :).

Please come and say hello!

Lottie x

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Shades of Summer

Strange as it may seem, for once we are having what might be referred to as (whisper it) summer!

If you live in the UK you’ll know why I say this with caution.  If you don’t, you’re probably thinking about just how much I’m playing to the stereotypical image of the British, who only ever talk about the weather and are obsessed with it.

I’d like to be able to dispel this as a myth, but I’m afraid that it is probably fairly accurate.  Most of us have a conversation of some sort (even if it is only brief) about the weather every day.  We have dreadful summers so frequently (last year we had one unseasonably warm week in March and then it rained most of the time, apart from during the majority of the international-athletic-sporting-event-beginning-with-O-that-must-not-be-named) so we do get excited at the prospect of warm and sunny weather and we all feel that we must make the most of it.

Enough conforming to stereotypes!  Back to knitting 🙂

So what has the weather got to do with this post?

Well, inspired by the nice weather, I decided to have a look at what was in bloom in the garden.

Our new Clematis has got flowers… and they’re huge!

Clematis (Pink Champagne)

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I found some pretty Lily of the Valley hiding under some other plants……

Lily of the Valley?

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I love the colour of this Azalea flower, a beautiful rich red with slight pink tones:

Azalea

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Although it was on it’s last legs, this yellow Poppy caught my eye with it’s tiny seeds dancing in the breeze around the remains of the flower and the last, still vivid yellow petal which had not yet faded.

Yellow Poppy

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Though it may not have the prettiest of flowers, I love the colour of the blooms on this Rosemary, a beautiful blue-purple with lavender tones.

Rosemary

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

The rest of the red ‘flames’ on the Flame of the Forest had gone, but one solitary ‘flame’ remained and though it is certainly not the most exciting photo ever, I just had to capture the wonderful summery coral shade of the leaves.

Flame of the Forest

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

And finally (although not plant related) I took this picture:

Ex-snail

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

This snail is no more, it has ceased to be…………. it is an ex-snail and, I suspect, has become a bird’s dinner!

When I got back inside and examined my photos every colour reminded me of something in my stash!  (Well apart from the ex-snail.)

A bouquet of yarns!

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I love these happy floral shades!  Very inspiring 🙂

Clockwise from top left: Manos Fino in #2106/Poppy, Fyberspates Faery Wings in Spring Greens, Manos Fino in #2630/Aster, Rowan Kidsilk Haze in #659/Ultra, Artesano Alpaca DK in #C704/Violet left over from Runa, Fyberspates Vivacious DK in #811/Mixed Magentas and #804/Sunshine, Araucania Botany Lace (this didn’t have a colour number and isn’t usually available in the UK, but the coral colour is fabulous), Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply in #305/Purple and in the centre, a skein of Natural Dye Studio Precious 4ply in Coombe Martin and a tiny left over scrap of Easyknits Biffle-Boo in Simmering Summer Nights.

What are your favourite shades?  Does your garden inspire you to knit with more floral summery colours at this time of year?

Lottie x

Giving in to temptation….

Last week I mentioned that I wasn’t really making much progress on my socks, and that I was tempted by some exciting yarn…….

Matching gloves?

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

…….. well I succumbed, because I am weak when it comes to yarn and pretty projects.

I’d been thinking of making a pair of Charm fingerless mittens from Louisa Harding’s book Three Graces for a while to match my Wagtail hat (from Mr Magpie by Louisa Harding).

Wagtail Hat crown

Wagtail Hat
Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Well, on Sunday I gave in to temptation and cast on, aided and abetted by the current KAL (or knit-a-long, for the uninitiated) on the Louisa Harding Lovers group on Ravelry (come and join us, we’re very friendly!).

I can’t believe how quickly they are knitting up!  I was soon done with the cuff:

Charm KAL cuff

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

…… and by the end of the day I’d nearly finished and just had the last two rows and the picot cast off to go!  (It’s amazing what you can get done whilst watching the Canadian Grand Prix!)

Ignore the oversized stitch holder.  If I’d stopped to find a smaller one I might have missed some of the action!

Charm KAL: first mitten nearly done!

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Before you ask, yes, I was very close to finishing, but when you’re falling asleep mid-row it’s time to stop and go to bed (yes, I know, I lead a very wild, rock and roll existence).

I’ve now cast off the main body of this mitten in Grace Hand Beaded and I’ve just got the thumb to knit and then I’m half way!

Some KAL participants have already finished, but shhh!  I had other things to finish first (but not my poor neglected socks). 

The Charm KAL runs from the 1st June 2013 until the 30th June and there are prizes!  If you fancy joining in, head over to the discussion board on Ravelry for full details.

Have you ever taken part in a KAL?  Did you enjoy it?

Lottie x

Going nowhere fast

……. at least when it comes to my socks……….

Sock-in-progress

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Why?  Well I’ve been finishing off knitting something else.  Something secret which I will be able to show you soon-ish, but not just yet.

Socks in progress

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

So my socks have been neglected.  Poor neglected socks 😦  Luckily for the them I only have to cast off my top secret project, then I can start on them again.  Then again……..

Matching gloves?

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

…………… I could knit some mittens to match my Wagtail hat!

Oh dear.  Can you tell I’m a bit bored of my socks?   Help!  Encouragement required!

Lottie x

Maybe it was the vampires……

Eek!  It’s been over a week since I last posted, and that certainly wasn’t the plan.  But why has it been so long?

Well, last week was a Bank Holiday Weekend in the UK (so we had Monday off – yay!) and I was looking forward to it.  I had ideas for swatching and sketching that I wanted to get done and I had it all planned out.

Saturday: Finish swatching.

Sunday: Do sketches for the swatches that worked.

Monday: Relax!  The work is done!  Wayhey!  Maybe write another blog post if you feel like it.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, this was not what happened.

Saturday:

Wake up!  It’s a nice sunny day and Spring or Summer or something resembling it looks to have arrived!  Be happy, you’ve been waiting for it since March (when we had six inches of snow)!

Snow in March

Snow in March
Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Have breakfast in a sunny kitchen.  Decide the sun is maybe not agreeing with your eyes.  Feel a bit of a headache starting.  Take paracetamol.  Ignore it.

Develop killer migraine that makes you feel not only headachy, but nauseous every time you move.  Even if you just move your head.  Like you’re on a boat (and as anyone who has ever been on a boat with me will know, I am really not a good sailor.  I get seasick on lakes.  Calm lakes.  Even when the boat hasn’t set off yet, but is just rocking slightly as other people get on.  Urgh.).  Draw the curtains and put on sunglasses because you can’t stand the light.  Wonder if you’ve become a vampire.  Feel frustrated and awful.  Get nothing done.

Sunday: See above – more of the same.  Gah!

Monday: Feel slightly better but still pretty awful.  Spend all day trying to decide how to finish a swatch, when it should only have taken an hour.  Meh.

As a result I’ve spent the rest of the week trying to make up for lost time (in between going to work) and finally got finished on Thursday.  *Sigh*  Obviously I can’t show you any of the swatches, but I can show you this, the unseen side of knitwear design:

Yarn cakes

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

These cakes of yarn have dangling from them on circular needles all the swatches that didn’t work out (I did these before last weekend).

This is the thing I hardly ever see written about knitwear design, the rubbish half-baked ideas that didn’t come out right.  (It’s not helped by the fact that I am so picky.  If I don’t love it, and I mean really love the idea, so much that I can’t wait to cast it on right now, then it doesn’t see the light of day.)  I’m sure everyone has them – well I hope so – but it is rarely acknowledged that one of the most important things about designing is know when something just isn’t working and knowing what to leave out.

You have the perfect vision in you head, but somehow it just doesn’t want to come out of your head and on to your needles.  What makes it onto your needles is something that isn’t quite there yet.  Something that still needs work.  Either the yarn isn’t right, or the stitch you’re trying to invent is messing with your head, or just didn’t look how your fantasy design did when you dreamt it up.

I’m not going to show you the swatches, because there is still mileage in them yet, and I’ll probably frog them (the yarn is too nice to waste) and try again.  They are really the evolution of an idea.  I think they’re getting there, but maybe the idea just needs a bit more brewing time.  When it’s had the time it needs to simmer in my head it might just become really exciting.  I’m holding out for that moment.

Hopefully this weekend will be better than the last.

I blame the vampires.

Lottie x

P.S. In an exciting development, my Moon River Shawlette was mentioned on the Noro Yarns Facebook page today!  How exciting!  You can check out the Facebook page here and Moon River is available on Ravelry here

Moon River Shawlette

Moon River Shawlette
Copyright Charlotte Walford 2012