A.W.O.L.

This post starts with an apology. I have been very neglectful of my little blog recently, but unfortunately this has been unavoidable.

First, deadlines for new designs kept me away, though I expect that when said designs are published it will prove to have been more than worth it!

Much as I would like to keep my blog updated at least once or twice a week, I have to remember that the reason I have a blog is because I design knitting patterns and if it wasn’t for that, this space wouldn’t exist at all. There are only so many hours in the day, so with freelance design deadlines and going to my day job, at some stage something has to give.

Well, the deadlines have been met, but since then other things have kept me away. Personal, non-knitting related things. To be perfectly truthful I would quite like to start the year again, as apart from the excitement of my first front cover (which I would have gladly traded for all the other things to be fixed) everything else has been difficult, upsetting and exhausting. Some of those closest to me have been put through the mill and this is always a very difficult thing to witness, especially when you are in many ways powerless to fix any aspect of it.

Anyway, enough of the doom and gloom. Things are beginning to slowly return to normal, so I thought I should pop in and let you know I’m still here and haven’t dropped off the face of the earth.

I guess you probably want to know what I’ve been knitting as well!
A little while ago I started Ysolda Teague’s incredibly successful Follow Your Arrow KAL, so when a few moments have been free for a bit of relaxation I’ve knitted a few more rows on this.

I’m up to the final clue on this now (the clues I’ve chosen – each of the five clues have an A or B option – are BAAAA, which surely makes it a sheep shawl ūüôā this pleases me greatly even though it is really a happy accident!) and I’ve really enjoyed seeing this take shape. I expect that time to make another will be in short supply, but I’d love to make more with different combinations of clues!

20140319-140406.jpg

Please excuse the iPad picture! In reality the red is more of a coral red than the orange it looks in the picture, but the blues are fairly accurate.

As you might be aware if you’ve been participating in the KAL as well, the pattern is really for either one or two colours, but I’ve decided to use three colours because 1) I just can’t leave a pattern alone without faffing about with it to make it my own, and 2) I wanted to make a shawl to go with the budgie print dress underneath it in the picture and these colours of Araucania Botany Lace from my stash were just perfect! I’ve seen a couple of other three colour shawls on Ravelry that looked good, so I just decided to go with it. I did start with a plan of how to use the colours, then promptly forgot what it was and just decided to wing it, but I’m pretty happy with how it looks at the moment despite this.

Hopefully normal service will be resumed shortly, but I need a little time to re cooperate first! I’ll try to catch up with your blogs when I feel up to it.

Take care of yourselves!

Lottie x

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A slow news day…..

…. or even a slow news week is common in Britain around this time of year.

Parliament doesn’t meet during this month, so on a domestic rather than international news¬†front there is usually less in the way of important news.¬† As a result¬†this time of the year is often known as silly season, the time of the year when every journalist desperate for a story digs out a report on someone finding a picture resembling Jesus in a piece of toast, or a new sighting of the Loch Ness monster (particularly useful as it is hard to either conclusively prove or disprove, so the speculation can go on for days), an egg with ten yolks, or perhaps the world’s oldest living chicken or fattest cat.

Well today I thought I should write a post, but the trouble is I don’t really have anything much to tell you about.¬† I’m working on a new design at the moment, but it has to remain secret (though I am really pleased with it and would love to tell you all about it!) and as a result I’m rather lacking in both news and time to write something entertaining.

So as I don’t have a blurry photo of Nessie¬†to show you, I thought I’d better show you some fun knitterly stuff that I’ve acquired recently ūüėČ

When I started the new design I’m currently working on I realised that all my project bags were full, so my Charm mittens (that are nearly finished and just need a thumb and seaming – shh! don’t mention the KAL!) were unceremoniously jettisoned from one of my project bags to make room.¬† Something had to be done.¬† So I went on the Nicsknots website to order a new¬†project bag:

Nicknots project bag

Photo Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Pretty isn’t it?¬† The print is fun and makes me happy just to look at it.¬† I like bright cheerful colours ūüôā

At this point it is important to note several things.

The project bag is already full.

The project bag does not contain the new design, but¬†another idea¬†I’m sort of swatching/testing out.

The Charm mittens are still languishing somewhere, not in a project bag.

All my project bags are still full.¬† (Yes, one of them has half a sock in it, but I won’t mention it if you don’t.)

*sigh*

While I was looking covetously at carefully choosing a project bag, I came across something else that was irresistible….. a crochet hook roll with sheep on!¬† Sheep!

Nicsknots hook roll

Photo Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I’m a sucker for anything knitting related with sheep on, so I just couldn’t resist it, especially when I realised that I don’t actually have a case for my crochet hooks, so buying this was completely justified (and it has sheep on – this is what I call a win-win situation).¬† ūüėČ

We also had this book arrive at work, ‘A Knitted Sock Society’ by Rachel Coopey:

A Knitted Sock Society

Photo Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

So, in my continued quest to force myself to love sock knitting, I bought a copy, along with a skein of pretty Araucania Ranco Multy.¬† Rachel Coopey’s designs are amazingly detailed and well thought out, so if anything will make me love sock knitting,¬†this book will (the yarn is probably too busy for any of these designs but I just loved the colours – stash busting FAIL – again).

That’s it for now I’m afraid!¬† Perhaps I’ll have more to tell you next week!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find an egg with ten yolks laid by the world’s oldest chicken and put it on a piece of toast that resembles Jesus!

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!¬† ūüėÄ

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