Decemberist

Brrrrrrrr!  Tis the season of lovely warm scarves!  When I saw Countess Ablaze post her Decemberist shawl on Instagram I knew I wanted one to wrap my neck in all the snuggliness and keep me warm for the rest of the winter.

The Decemberist is a top down triangular shawl pattern by Melanie Berg knitted in super chunky yarn and is brilliantly written and easy to follow.

I love to knit with indie dyed yarn and all of my other shawls and scarves are in a beautiful riot of hand crafted colours.  But I felt a bit intimidated by the 293 metres of yarn the pattern calls for.  That takes it into three 200g skeins of most indie dyed yarns which given my confidence level before starting the project seemed like a lot of money for something I might mess up.  So I choose the budget brand Drops Andes in their medium grey (colour number 8465) which is a wool/alpaca blend and I was pleasantly surprised by both how soft it was and how well it behaved while knitting.

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Just look at those great big chunky stitches!  I knitted mine on 9mm needles and it has a nice drape but I don’t think that 10mm would have hurt at all.

It was so much fun to knit such large yarn on great big needles and watch how fast it grew into a shawl.  In fact the blocking took almost as long as the knitting!

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Pinning it out really opened up the gorgeous lace pattern and was definitely worthwhile but I live in a draughty, cold, old house and it was taking aaaaaggggggeees to dry.  So I changed tactics for the last bit with a rigged up washing line, all of my pegs and the trusty aga.

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Then it was ready to wear!

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So for less than £10 and under a week’s worth of evening only knitting I have a lovely shawl!

But… as big and snuggly as it is I kind of want it to be bigger!  Mine didn’t come out to nearly as big as the pattern designer’s and looking through the Ravelry Project Gallery this is a common theme among those not using the pattern specified yarn.  The pattern calls for Woolfolk Hygge which I have struggled to find to buy in the UK and Yarn Sub say that they do not know of many closely matching yarns.

As it was Countess Ablaze that set me on this journey, and now I know how wonderful the pattern is, I think I’m going to knit another using some of their lovely yarn!  I’ll also go up a needle size or two and I’ll be sure to let you know how I get on. 🙂

 

Reyna Shawl

When I look at my handmade shawls draped across the back of my chair it is clear to see that my favourite colours are rainbow and shades of blue.  All four of the shawls and scarves I have made are in the blue zone of the spectrum.

When I was making my plans for Yarndale this year I set myself a couple of shopping guidelines. No rainbows and something that wasn’t blue!  I also wanted to buy more semi solid yarn than variegated skeins as my Ravelry favourites have lots of shawls with contrast details and I keep buying just single skeins that appeal. Do you want to see how I did?

 

Oooh look at all the lovely squishness! And pattern books. Such lovely things in waiting!  Just avert your gaze from the rainbow in the bottom right corner, apart from that I think I did quite well on my rules! 

This post is about one skein in particular dyed by the fabulous Mothy and the Squid. This is a super wash, merino, sock weight yarn in gloriously earthly, leafy tones called Autumn is Coming. 


I felt that I must get this knitted up while it was still autumn and the colours were echoing my surroundings and so it jumped my queue and I cast on soon after Yarndale. 

I decide to make a Reyna shawl by Noora Laivola. It’s a single skein shawl pattern with alternating areas of garter stitch and a simple eyelet mesh and I found the pattern clear and easy to knit. 


I love these colours so much! The finished shawl has a lovely drape thanks to the open texture and has come out a perfect size for warming my next on these chillier days.


Want to see all of it instead of these sneaky bits?! 


Close to You

I’ve got something very exciting to show you!  My husband bought me this amazing skein of yarn for Christmas and it is just yarn perfection to me.  My most favouritist colours are rainbow (obviously) and blue tones making this everything I look for in a colour combination.  It’s a soft and squishy merino nylon blend and was hand dyed by my lovely and extremely talented friend Sarah at Arwen Makes.

The yarn colour is called Whatever the Weather and it came with a set of weather themed stitch markers.  Seeing this little rainbow in between the rainbow of stitches on the needles makes me smile.

The yarn sat on my desk (pictured here in Weekly Photo – Happy) brightening my world while I spent a lot of time working on my Spice of Life blanket but with that all wrapped up it was time to knit it.  I chose to make a shawl with the yarn and picked the free pattern Close to You by Justyna Lorkowska. I really enjoyed working this pattern.  Lots of knit stitches and minimal counting made it perfect for sitting in front of the TV or watching my children play and the zig zag eyelet border adds a bit of interest.  I will probably knit it again.

I love the way it turned out.  This yarn suits this pattern perfectly with the rainbows spreading from the edges and I’m really looking forward to the cooler days of autumn so that I can wear it all the time.

Jewel Rainbow Breathe Shawl

I finished my shawl! Just 3 days ago I published a Yarn Along post in which I described this shawl as never ending and yet it turns out a rainy bank holiday weekend was all that was needed to get it finished.
But before I rush straight into the finished article here’s a bit of background.  Last month I was browsing a Facebook group of lovely yarny people and saw a photograph of a Hitchhiker shawl made from a beautiful yarn that looked like little flashes of rainbow on a darker base. Straightaway I had to ask where it was from.  It was hand dyed by the wonderful Arwen Makes and was called Jewel Rainbow.  I got in touch but she didn’t have any more of this colour way on a sock weight yarn for me to recreate the shawl I had fallen for. She did however have two skeins of the same colour on a DK weight Donegal Nep so I snapped them up!


Then I started searching Ravelry for something to make that would show it off. I chose the Breathe shawl by Siew Clark which you can get for free here.  It seemed like a fairly straightforward pattern and I thought the eyelets would help the heavier weight yarn to drape nicely. I also liked that it was a chilled out pattern that can be worked in any yarn, with any needles to make any size.

I cast mine on to 4.5mm needles and planned to go until I ran out of yarn. And despite a couple of wobbles where I was sorely tempted to bind off earlier I did indeed continue until there was just 20g left (the buffer being there because the last 4 rows are a different pattern and I couldn’t face a game of yarn chicken).

So would you like to see? How about a little close up tease?

Sorry what was that? You want to see the finished shawl? Oh go on then!

Now just to wait for a cool, crisp day to snuggle up under those beautiful rainbows.

Yarn Along

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On my needles this week the never-ending shawl.  Still.

On my kindle Dissolution by C.J. Sansom.

Yarn Along has helped me to make some progress on the shawl despite me being thoroughly fed up with it.  Last week I set out my intention to start on the second ball of yarn before today and I have achieved that goal!  The pattern is one of those that says “continue pattern until required size is reached” and I find myself knitting up those super long rows wondering if maybe it is big enough yet.  Or daydreaming about all of the lovely things I could make with the rest of this soft snuggly yarn if I just stopped now.  But it is that self same snugglyness that is keeping me going.  I know I will love this shawl more if it is big enough to completely envelop my shoulders and and so I knit on.

I have added a row to the habit tracker in my BuJo with the target of knitting 4 rows a day and I am trying very hard to knit those 4 rows before picking up anything else.  I have bought the yarn for my autumn wreath and it is sitting patiently waiting for me while I try out something new which is almost finished and I will hopefully be able to share here in the next couple of days.

So thats the craft situation.  On to the books!  I finished American Gods at 2am which I think is a pretty good recommendation for any book!  I really loved how different it was to anything else I have read recently and how the plot twists and turns meant I never managed to work out quite where it was going which kept me wanting to turn the pages rather than sleep.

I started Dissolution this morning with my breakfast so don’t have much of an opinion just yet.  This book has been on my to read list for around 18 months and got bumped closer to the top following a conversation with a friend who had just finished it and moved straight on to the next in the series, which is a great measure of how much she enjoyed it.  The deciding factor in choosing it now was the same friend pointing out it was reduced to 99p on kindle.  Because when there are hundreds of books on your to read list you might as well choose them based on what’s cheap!

My First Yarn Along

As you know my blog is pretty new and I started it not quite sure what I wanted it to be.  I knew I wanted to share the beautiful things I made and saw and maybe some of my thoughts on stuff in general and I think that’s what it is panning out to be.  I did know that I wanted to join up with other bloggers in some sort of craft related link up and so I have been keeping my eyes peeled as I browse around some of the fantastic creativity there is on t’internet.

I was utterly thrilled to come across Ginny at Small Things because her Yarn Along is right up my street.  Each Wednesday she shares what she is reading and what she is knitting, the perfect combination! So I shall be accepting her kind invitation to join her and also plan to share my Yarn Along each week.

This has however posed an aesthetic issue for me!  Being a busy mum to 3 young children I find opportunities to sit and read are few and far between and so my reading is almost all snatched in short bursts often alongside other jobs.  The exception to this is should I have any energy left by the end of the day then I like to read in bed, next to my sleeping husband who has to get up much earlier than I do.

I discovered very early on in my parenting journey that it is really difficult to prop open a book and turn the pages with just one hand when the other is occupied tending to the needs of a small person.  I turned to Kindle and have never looked back.  Now I read while cooking, changing the page with the press of an elbow if my hands are mucky; I read while emptying the washing machine and folding laundry; I read while knitting, again with the elbow page turning; I read in the woods while my children search for the elusive perfect stick, here using the nose press to turn the page if my hands are encased in gloves; and I read in bed with the light turned off!

But ebooks are nowhere near as photogenic as their printed siblings.  This week I have decided to put my kindle in the photograph and the front cover of my book pulled up on the kindle app on my tablet.  I’m not in love with the look to be honest. So I shall give it more thought over the next 7 days and see what I come up with.

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Here is my first Yarn Along photograph!  On my Kindle American Gods by Neil Gaiman.  I started this yesterday and am loving it so far, I’ve been completely swept up in the story.

On my needles is a Breathe Shawl by Siew Clark. Its been there for far too long really but as the rows have grown longer and are now taking 15 minutes apiece I am finding it more difficult to find blocks of time in which I will be uninterrupted to complete a row and am instead picking up projects which are much easier to put down when the children need me NOW.  I am hopeful that putting it here, and being accountable for progress each week will speed things up somewhat.  I am almost at the end of the first ball of the beautiful hand dyed yarn from Arwen Makes and plan to add a second to make a lovely big shawl.  I intend to be well into that second ball by next week…