Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Purple Cashmerino Cowl

It's been a bit of a busy week this week! I've been working on my christmas presents, playing around with designing new patterns and working towards setting up my Etsy shop. So what can I show you today? Not presents:-) and not everything is photographed for the shop and the patterns are, well, still at the scribbling stage!

But I can show you the next cornflower cowl I've been knitting. As this is probably for me anyway, its no real secret - and its been sitting on the sidebar as a work in progress for a bit now too:-) My Debbie Bliss cashmerino finally arrived and I cast on pretty quickly. After the alpaca its not quite so soft but it does give this pattern a chance to show of its complex twists and cables.

Although I've only knitted a few inches, you can see the pattern emerging and how crisp its looking. Very different from the first grey version but I like it in a different way. For a start the colour is gorgeous - even though it photographs a different colour in every picture! And although not alpaca, you must admit cashmerino isn't bad at all:-) I should have been further on than this but I spent an hour or so knitting this watching tv - fatal!! - and made a mistake which, of course, I didn't realise till I stopped. So, it took me only a few minutes to rip back my hour's worth of work. Ach well:-) Back to the same place I started at! Best not to knit this while being distracted by television, I think!

If you are interested in knitting the Cornflower cowl pattern, its now up on Ravelry here  - free for a limited time only. I was going to knit this in the smaller height but I don't know now. I do like the idea I could cover my nose and ears if it gets a bit too nippy! And the weather here is getting darker and colder now so I'd better get this knitted and off the needles soon!

If the weather is a bit brighter tomorrow for photos, I should be able to give you a preview of a few things going into my shop  - opening 1st November!!  Only a few days to go - yikes!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Leafy lace cowl

My new Manos silk blend yarn arrived a few days ago. Isn't it nice? This colourway 6461 is called Taurus and it's a 100gm skein - 30% silk and 70% merino - yum! Although the recommended needle size is 3.5-4.25mm /US 4-6, it knits up more like a worsted/aran weight and I found 4.5mm's about right for gauge. Yes, of course I've already started knitting with it!

I hadn't any knitting plans when I bought it except having a really nice skein of manos to 'own':-) I rarely fall for the labels but I do like to indulge now and again. And I can see why people do. Lovely yarns are sooo addictive! Alpaca and silk blend in the same month! But its an expensive addiction at £12 a skein. But, I tell myself, this could make a shawl, a pair of gloves or a beret and there you have a lovely present for little more than you could buy something. Or maybe with inflation, its a bargain:-)

But on to important things like what have I been making with this lovely yarn?

Well, I've been designing myself a lacy cowl to wear that matches my cranberry/pink coat. After knitting the lovely snuggly alpaca cowl, I thought this yarn would be lovely and soft around the neck too and it is definitely my colour.

The Manos has a slight variegation which I like but it doesn't get in the way of the lace pattern too much. The pattern is a double leaf motif I found in a stitch dictionary and as I was working out the repeats for the cowl, I realised how familiar this seemed. Very similar to the lace border on the Veylas mitts! It's not exactly the same but there seem to be lots of traditional variations out there in patternland. I could spend ages looking for new structures to try.

It's knitting up very quickly and I love the way the bottom edging curves due to the shaping of the leaves. The top edge should curve too - in theory! I'll tell you when I get there. I'm about halfway so far and just knitting along happily enjoying the softness of the yarn, the way the lace leaves 'appear' as I go and thinking how the choice of a yarn can really 'make' a pattern - as well as a gorgeous snuggly cowl:-)

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Cornflower Cowl

Well, I was intending to show you this lovely grey cowl as I was knitting it but it was such an enjoyable knit, it didn't take long at all! So, I have progress pics and final posey shots for you:-)

Okay, where were we..... the last you heard about this project was me drooling over my lovely parcel of baby soft grey alpaca:-) I cast on pretty much straight away and have enjoyed every knitting minute of it. The yarn is such a pleasure to knit with and it knits up with such a nice drape and feel - gorgeous.

I was test knitting this lovely cowl design - 'Cornflower Cowl' . I love the way the cable patterning looks with the softer alpaca. You can still get good stitch definition but its softened slightly by the fibres in the alpaca. The pattern is quite easy to remember and I've spent my evenings listening to talking books, twisting cables and knitting away happily. It only took me four eveings to knit - and I'm about average speed, I think. So this is a great idea for a lovely quick christmas knit. I'm already planning some more!

And, just to show you how the cowl looks on, I got John to take some posing pictures for you:-)  Now, I've never worn one before - probably because I have a lot of scarves - but I loved it! I somehow thought cowls would be tight and restricting around my neck (I have a short neck which is a bummer for polo necks - no graceful swan-like neck for me:) But no! This was soft, cosy and immensely secure. I suddenly realised I wouldn't have to keep tucking in the ends of a scarf anymore - bonus! I didn't consciously realise that bugged me until now and now, the problem is solved, and very nicely too.

But this already has a future home as a christmas pressie so if I want to be ready for winter, I'll have to get some more yarn on the needles, my cornflower cowl pattern in hand and start a new talking book!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Yarns for sale!!

Well, I didn't mean to be away so long! Between dyeing and knitting my cowl I've been a busy bee:-) But I've got some new yarns finished, lots more bright semi-solids planned, some designing going on and a finished knitted cowl to show you this week, so its all been happening lately!

But I've also got to the point where I'm running out of blank yarn stock so I'm going to have to use what I have left to sell so I can afford to buy more - and keep dyeing! So, from now on - including today - all yarns I post will be for sale. Each skein will be $28 and I will try and work out a paypal button to make life easier. ETA: yarns now available in my new Etsy shop - Ultraviolet Yarns

Please note there is only one skein of each colourway of today's yarns so it will be on a first come first served basis. 
ETA: All sold now-sorry!

But I'm happy to dye anything in the yarn gallery in as many skeins as you need - just contact me to let me know what you fancy.


First up, a lovely subtly variegated grassy green I've called 'sweetgrass'. This is a bit yellower than the emerald I knitted my Veyla mitts with but I really like it. I'm thinking nice subtle tonal stripes for socks or autumn mitts would work well.

'Rich Plums'

And my favourite of this bunch, the rich plums mix - definitely my kind of colour palette this one.  It's a more subtle blend of harmonious plummy tones giving quite a soft feel overall. This would go with most of my autumn/winter wardrobe!

'Cranberry and Plums'
And then, using the same colours as the plums, I painted this skein with definite bands of colour rather than blending the tones. Quite a contrast - much clearer and more definite colour sections. It will be interesting to see how this knits up in contrast to the other one.

I've also added a yarn gallery on Flickr which has all the colour schemes I've dyed so far to the sidebar on the right - near the top - due to a request to see them all together. I'll keep adding all my new yarns here so you can find them easier than trailing through blog posts:-)

Oh, its all exciting! I've actually taken that first step!! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Test knitting

Today I received a very lovely parcel in the post - the yarn for my test knitting project, some gorgeous soft Rowan baby alpaca. I can't describe how lovely this is, just heavenly:-) Its so soft to the touch it makes you realise just how brash and hard all those other yarns have been:-))) And I thought cashmerino was nice. This is on another level entirely and after I stopped fondling it :-), I got around to knitting with it - sigh, perfection! Yum, yum, yum!

So what am I test knitting? It's a lovely cowl pattern by designer Karen Scott called Cornflower Cowl full of lovely cables and twisted stitches and I'm enjoying every minute of it. I think this alpaca is spoiling me!! How will I go back to my acrylic stash now!!! But not just providing me with this yummy yarn to test knit with, Karen also included some of her lovely stitch markers for me as a gift - aren't they lovely? Especially for socks which is perfect as the normal ones are a major pain being far too big and getting in the way all the time.

A close-up for you. I love the little heart on the left:-) Do you think Karen knows about my love of pink? It came in a bright pink mail bag, wrapped in bright pink tissue paper and the stitch markers were in this pink organza bag with a pink ribbon!! A lovely way to start the day. Thank you so much Karen!! There was another small gift too......

.....but it didn't last long enough for the photo shoot:-))

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Hexagon crocheted blanket

I'm starting a new project this week..... A large cosy crocheted hexagon blanket, to be precise:-) It has to be a stash busting exercise as I have so many little balls of yarn stored that aren't big enough or even nice enough to use on their own. Unfortunately this means that most will be acrylic but hey, the colours are lovely and bright!

I took all the available stash that isn't in the loft (that's too big a job for me right now, but someday...) and laid it out in a colourwheel to see what colours I wanted to use. I want a nice, clear, bright palette - no murky or subtle tones for this one!! So there are a few on the wheel that will have to go, particularly the toothpaste green at 11 o'clock and the dusky rose about 3 o'clock. I did see a lovely apple green yarn a few weeks ago that I knew I should have picked up but I was being 'good' - sigh! I just knew I'd regret it! Well, I'll pop in on thursday and see if it's still there but I don't have high hopes because, well,  that's sods law, isn't it?!

I also need more of the pale pink as that little ball is all I have and I like it a lot. Most of the others have more than one ball in the stash cupboard so hopefully I won't be buying too much. Spending too many pennies would defeat the whole stash busting exercise really:-))

Once I get the missing colours, I can get going so watch this space for some colourful crocheting goodness:-))

Sunday, 11 October 2009

All the reds

This weekend, we have some dyeing going on! Using those reds I was playing about with over the last week or so, we have a scarf blank called 'All the reds' especially commissioned for EJ. I would like to thank EJ for being so understanding this month with me being unwell which has delayed her receiving her especially commissioned yarn. But at long last, it is dyed, rewound into a skein and ready to go.

I really love these colours -very intense but still with the feel of Autumn. This blank is painted from light to dark in the middle back to light again at the other end. Very similar visually to the calm horizons in the giveaway last month.

I dyed a couple more skeins, one semi solid and one variegated, in cranberries, plums and purples but they are still drying so photos soon - well, depending whether it stops raining and I get some decent light!

On a shed note, the water has mostly dried out and doesn't seem to be flooding again even after a full day of rain. I think it must have been a flash flood after a month of dry weather hardening the ground so the water ran off the hill instead of soaking in. But, just to be on the safe side, the shed is getting a waterproofing inside. Haven't quite figured out quite how yet or just how expensive that will be but I think it is definitely necessary to stop everything getting ruined once I move in all my work stuff if it happens again.

Got a bit of startitis for a few new projects too so more this week as they progress.... Happy knitting!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

A river runs through it - and a little bit of knitting:-)

Woke up this morning to the words 'the shed is flooded......' Whaaa....whaaaat?!' I dozily replied. How, what, why? Well, that certainly woke me up this morning I'll tell you! Grabbed some messy working clothes, donned my welly boots and slogged up to the shed, through boggy puddles which, it transpired, were caused by the river running out of the shed door. 'Oh...... (substitute a big sweary word -or two -here).

I wish I had been more with it to take some pics - or a video, but that may have had to be edited:-) - to show you just how awful it was. Over two inches of water deep with water running out of the back wall along the full length of the shed about a foot up from the floor. Running out? More like pouring literally through the blocks. On further investigation, it seems there is a new drainage ditch running along the back of our sheds in the field behind, which isn't abviously draining. Well, yes, it's draining, but following the path of least resistance, which seems to be through our shed and down the slope of our garden towards the house. And still the rain keeps on filling the drainage ditch up........

Poor shed, it was so nearly dry inside and ready for the electrics. Sigh! Maybe its just as well I hadn't got them done yet with that amount of water pouring in. And at least I had tidyed it so not much was actually on the floor to be damaged. I'm looking really hard for a silver lining .....

Anyway, back to knitting. That has been slow going as I've been tidying like mad for my parents visit this week. They are staying for three days and I had to make a space in my spare room/workshop - major job with a lot of shifting of my 'stuff':-) - for them to sleep in. But it all looks lovely and tidy now.

But on to the knitting. My first christmas project is Durrow designed by Jodi Green. This is for John - but its okay, he knows about it so I can blog about it safely:-) It is mostly a 4x2 rib for the body with an intricate cable on the sleeves - lovely. So perfect tv knitting. I've knitted about 14" of the back so far and I will start shaping - small size - at 17". Not bored so far with the rib pattern as it's not quite as monotonous as stocking st:-) but enough that I sometimes switch off and then find I've made a mistake inches down. I'm hoping after laddering to pick up all these stitches, blocking will be very forgiving!

The yarn is an wool/acrylic mix by Robin -75% acrylic and 25% wool  - and comes in big 400gm balls. It feels nice to work with and has a tweedy look to it which is making the larger areas of knitting more interesting and breaking up the solid colour nicely. Each 400gm ball has 800 metres of yarn so I think two balls should be enough to cover it!

But can't wait to get to the cables as it seems a very interesting pattern - more celtic swirls that regular cable structures. Well, I'll have to wait and see - if I can manage to be patient till then! I may not have a lot of blogging time over the next few days as my computer is in the 'guest bedroom aka workshop' but maybe I will have made more knitting progress by then:-) It's easy to knit and talk at the same time, don't you think?!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

The veyla mitts are finished!

I finally made a decision on the buttons for the Veyla mitts and plumbed for the small victorian style buttons. They fit the buttonholes very well and suit the delicate lacy style overall I think. Although it took me a while to decide which ones to eventually go for, it took me even longer to get around to sewing them on! - as I said its been a lethargic week...:-) So as promised, lots of photos of the finished Velyas for you.

So a pic of one mitt off, then one mitt on. I love how Ysolda really thought about how the buttons would sit on that curve - very nice design detail.

And just for you, a tricky picture taken from my viewpoint by John - he had to stick the camera pretty much in front of my face for this one:-)) Thank you for being patient enough to take these pics!!

I think I'll get more chances to wear these now its getting a bit colder. I really noticed the difference in the air today. Time to pack away all the summer clothes, I think and bring out all the layers. I've been thinking more about crochet and stripes and I think there will be more stripes in my future! Stripey scarves, gloves, mitts - and socks of course! Maybe its my antidote to winter coming. Colour, colour, colour!!!!

Oh, I've got to look a bit more natural in these photos:-))


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