Swirly Whirly!

When I blogged about Swirl a few weeks ago I told you I’d made another for myself and I said this:

I enjoyed making it so much I’ve already made another to keep for myself, but more about that when I get some decent photos (I’m waiting for the weather to pick up a bit).

Well no excuses with the weather – it’s certainly been sunny, but as I keep saying too hot for me!  You’d have thought that whoever is in charge of the weather would have taken the hint by now wouldn’t you?  😉

Swirl!

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

The trouble is that when it’s too hot, by the time I get home I feel about as motivated to get changed and have my photo taken as I used to about English Literature at school.  I hated English Literature.  To me it just seemed the most pointless subject known to man.  (Can you tell I have a science brain?)  I like facts, stuff with evidence behind it that you can be pretty certain about, like physics (I can still remember the names of all six quarks – up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom – in case you’re wondering) although if someone reads that in 100 years, new physics will have been discovered at CERN and it might all be wrong.

I like arty stuff too, but English Literature just seems like speculation to me.  Read a poem/book/etc.  Try to figure out what the author really meant by all of it.  If it’s a historical text, the author isn’t around any more to check.  What if they wrote a poem about a dog and you think it might be about the futility of existence, but they really just wrote about their dog, with no hidden meaning at all.  Isn’t it arrogant to assume that we know what they meant, what they were thinking?  Sometimes I want to get a poem into a school anthology just so someone can analyse it, find the ‘hidden meaning’ and then I can prove them wrong.  Or give it a subtext on the futility of English Literature.

I’m rambling again.  I must stop doing that.  But today it has been slightly less hot and more bearable, so I have photos!

Back to the shawl!

Swirl!

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

This was originally my swatch for Swirl but it seemed a shame to waste the yarn (Easyknits Biffle-Boo which I bought at Andyfest last August) so after my submission had been accepted by Let’s Knit and I had finished the sample, I undid the cast off on my swatch and just kept knitting until I ran out of yarn (it’s the sort of shawl where you can pretty much do that).

Swirl!

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

The only difference between this and the sample in the magazine is the edging.  I nearly ran out of yarn so I had to cast off a row early – on the same row where you work the edging – which is not ideal, but I wanted to use every inch of yarn I had!

Swirl!

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

This yarn is lovely to knit with and I love the colours – which is the reason I bought it in the first place!  I was worried that I wouldn’t have anything quite the right shade of pink/red or purple to wear with it for the pictures but then I remembered this dress and luckily it was the right colour. 🙂  I’m really pleased with it and I’m sure I’ll wear it a lot once the weather is cooler.  It’s rare for me to actually get a chance to make one of my designs to keep for myself so to have made this feels like a nice treat!

Enjoy your weekend!

Lottie x

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Swirl

Last week I showed you Swirl and promised you a post all about it, so I’m keeping to my word!

In case you’re not a regular reader of my blog (Welcome!  Make yourself at home!) or you have a particularly short memory, this is Swirl, my latest shawl design featured in the current issue of Let’s Knit! Magazine (Issue 69, August 2013):

Swirl Shawl

Copyright Let’s Knit 2013, used with kind permission

I really love the styling in this photo!  But enough of that.  You want to know the design ‘story’ behind the shawl.

I wanted to create a shawl that would work really well with all those pretty variegated yarns that really call to you in the skein, but once you get them home are difficult to find a pattern for.  Obviously you could knit variegated yarn up to any pattern you like, but an intricate lace pattern or detailed cabling would be lost in a highly variegated yarn and all your hard work in knitting something complex would be for nothing.

Just one teeny problem.  I love variegated yarns, and have many in my stash.

I also like more complex interesting patterns.

They say that all designs start with a problem that needs a solution (although I’m sure there would be a more eloquent way of phrasing that) and that was my problem.  Most of the stitch patterns that I swatch in variegated yarn just give me that little niggle in the back of my head that says ‘it’s ok, but it would look better in a solid colour’.  It’s rare that I think a stitch pattern looks just as good in a variegated yarn as it does in a plain one.  So I really needed to find the exception to prove the rule!

Gorgeous yarns from 'Andyfest'

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2012 – 2013

So I had a look through my stash to find the most variegated yarn I had, one with lots of contrast, the sort of yarn that screams ‘If it works in this, it will work with ANY variegated yarn!’ and I came up with a gorgeous skein of Easyknits Biffle-Boo that I bought at Andyfest/Bluefaced Open Weekend last year (such a lovely day out, and such a lot of nice yarn – I did of course buy far too much!).

Then I thought about the usual shawl shapes, and whether there was something a little different I could do.  There are so many beautiful shawl patterns out there, mostly triangular or crescent shaped, but as my stitch pattern would have to be quite simple I thought it needed a shape that would add extra interest.  After all, as long as you have the right number of increases every row, you can put them wherever you want!

With all that in mind, after letting all these thoughts simmer in my head for a bit, I came up with this:

Swirl Swatch

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Large eyelets, for lots of contrast with the stocking stitch sections and an asymmetrical swirl shape for something more unusual!  Plus the swirl shape is easy to wear around your shoulders without it slipping off.

The swatch was fun to knit and I got a bit carried away!  But eventually I cast off with a scalloped edging that flowed nicely out of the eyelet pattern:

Swirl Shawl Swatch

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Now it was sketching time:

Swirl Sketch

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Once the shawl had been accepted I had to choose a more widely available yarn for my design.  This wasn’t difficult – I have a bit of a weakness for Manos Fino (a 4ply version of their popular Silk Blend yarn) and that comes in some pretty variegated colours, so we chose #6881/Jewel, a pretty mix of blue, turquoise, pink and purple.

And here is the finished article 😀 I’m so pleased with how it turned out!

Swirl Shawl

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Rubbish model though!  I enjoyed making it so much I’ve already made another to keep for myself, but more about that when I get some decent photos (I’m waiting for the weather to pick up a bit).

Hope you like it!

Lottie x

Karma Chameleon!

So, the second challenge of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2013 (having yesterday failed to choose a house that sums me up as a knitter) is to choose a project that reflects the qualities and attributes of your house.

So I guess I need to either pick a house or invent a new one.

Darn.

*scrabbles around for a bit of paper and a pen*

*doodles*

*faffs about ineptly on Photoshop*

Ta-dah!

I hereby give you the house of the Chameleon:

House of Chameleon Crest

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Chameleons like many different types of project and are likely to have a WIP to suit every mood and whim. One day they might prefer the comfort of a simple project, the next a challenging project with new techniques knitted to a perfect and exacting standard. They are indecisive, sometimes to the point of frustration. (It is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind!)

House chosen/created! What a rebel 😉

So what might I choose to make? Errm…… well that’s the thing about Chameleons……. they’re not really sure which project to cast on first. One day I think I know what I want to knit and am really excited about it, and then the next day I look at what I had in mind and think it’s all a bit, well…. meh.

Because of this I tend to have a lot of different ideas about what I want to make floating about in my head while I decide if it is really what I want to make or not. But this one has been on my mind for a little while. Last year I joined the Easyknits Sushi Shawl Roll Club and I got this:

Easyknits Sushi Shawl Roll

Now these are not really my sort of colours (but there are many colours that change as you knit – like a Chameleon! Do I get extra points for that?), but that’s how the club works, it’s a mystery, so I’m fine with that. But I do want to use it for something as it’s a really soft and squishy Merino/Cashmere blend. I like the blue, but orange and yellow don’t really suit me so I need to find a way of keeping the blue near my face and the rest of the colours away from it. The best idea for this that I’ve thought of so far is a top down shawl, starting at the blue end and working down to the yellow and orange (but I will have to rewind the shawl roll to do this as the top unravelling end where you start to pull the yarn from is in the orange section).

But which pattern?

How about Lyrica Euterpe by Romi Hill? I like these sort of little shawls and wear them a lot as scarves, and this has an interesting construction, beginning with a semi-circle and then switching to a traditional central spine in the lace border. You can also add beads, although as the yarn is busy that might be a bit much!

What do you think? Should I go for it? Do you want to join the House of Chameleon? Leave a comment below to let me know 🙂

Lottie x

Progress so far….

It’s been a little while since I went to Andyfest and came back with all that yarn *ahem*.

Unfortunately for the yarn/fortunately for designing I’ve not had much time for non-work knitting since then, so I’ve not made much, but actually having finished something(s) by now is quite good by my usual standards!

First, I made this lovely shawlette while I was on holiday all the way back in September.  The pattern is Rosaleen by Rachel Coopey with a skein of Easyknits Cloud in the ‘Petrolhead’ shade (I’m a bit of a motorsport fan, so it seemed quite appropriate):

Rosaleen Shawlette

Rosaleen Shawlette
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

I love the edging on this, the bottom edging reminds me of flowers and features beautiful twisted stitches (I love twisted stitches).

Rosaleen edging

Rosaleen edging

The top edging is a twisted stitch rib that ties in with the bottom edge nicely.  Did I mention how much I love these twisted stitches?

Although I finished the knitting on holiday, it is a little bit difficult to block shawls in a hotel room, and I didn’t fancy trying to take pins on a plane just for that, so it did languish unblocked for a while before I got round to that bit, hence the lack of photos until now.

It’s a great pattern and it made a good holiday knit, being in DK weight yarn it was fairly quick to do.

The yarn is gorgeous and works well with the twisted stitches and the lace, although I was cutting it a bit fine with the yardage, as the recommended yarn is quite a bit longer per skein.  I had several moments of doubt about whether I would have enough, and spent a lot of time nearer the end of the shawlette working out how I could shorten the edging if necessary, as well as nervously measuring out the remaining yarn.  So if you’re planning on making this in the same yarn I would get an extra skein, especially as I knit fairly tightly, so I tend to use a bit less yarn.

Happily though I had just about enough to finish it as per the pattern, with a tiny ball of yarn the size of a cherry tomato left over!

Come back tomorrow for the second finished item!

Happy New Year!

Lottie x

Bluefaced Open Weekend (or ‘Andyfest’!)

Last weekend I was lucky enough to go to a very exciting event with some of my friends from Stash, the Bluefaced Open Weekend,  (or ‘Andyfest’ as it has become known on Ravelry!).

Now I know some of you will be thinking ‘More yarn and knitting things?  What a busman’s holiday!’ and while I suppose you may have a point (and I did see and chat to lots of lovely Stash customers – it was lovely to see you all!) I did thoroughly enjoy myself, and of course, I may have sucumbed to temptation/been weak willed bought a small cough amount of yarn, purely for ahem, research purposes, you understand.

One of the many things that were really nice about Andyfest was the relaxed atmosphere.  There were stands from Easyknits, Posh Yarn, The Natural Dye Studio, Fyberspates, The Knitting Goddess, Nicsknots, Babylonglegs, Felt Studio, Ann Kingstone and Laughing Hens but nothing was too crowded and there was plently of space to sit and chat with a cup of tea and a piece of cake in between stroking yarns!

I didn’t get many photos as I was too busy having a great time and buying lovely yarn, but in case you missed out on all the fun, here’s why you really must come if it happens again (I’ve got my fingers crossed that it does!)

The Natural Dye Studio stand

Beautiful yarns and stunning crocheted blankets on The Natural Dye Studio stand

These stunning blankets from the Natural Dye Studio are in Amanda’s new book ‘Into the West’.  My favourite one was the rainbow graduated one next to the yarns, Rita.

Fyberspates and Felt Studio stands

Gorgeous yarns at Fyberspates and amazing handspun at Felt Studio

There were some gorgeous yarns on the Fyberspates stand, and I may have had a moment of weakness/madness and bought 3 skeins of absolutely divine Fyberspates Faery wings, which is to die for.

And at the end of all this I came home with a lovely pile of gorgeous yarns!

Gorgeous yarns from 'Andyfest'

Gorgeous yarns!

Fyberspates Faery wings, Posh Yarn Natasha and Sylvia 4ply ‘orphans’, Easyknits Twinkle DK and 4ply, Cloud and Biffle-Boo, a pack of Mini skeins in Flower Power from The Knitting Goddess, and a skein of Precious 4ply from the Natural Dye Studio…….

Nicsknots project bag

Fabulous Nicsknots project bag – big enough to hold even a sweater WIP!

….and a bag from Nicsknots to put it all in (well, maybe not all at once!).

Did any of you go to ‘Andyfest’?  What did you get?

Lottie x

P.S. The offer on Moon River has been extended……

Get ready for Autumn!

Get £1 (GBP) off Moon River until 00:00 GMT on 1st October 2012!

Discount is automatically applied at the checkout. Enjoy! ♥