Rosebud Ski Hat

Over Christmas I had three days off from knitting as I didn’t have the correct needles to start my Rosebud hat by Brooklyn Tweed. I was itching, fidgeting and sweating due to lack of knitting, until I finally caved and went off to buy needles at The Woolly Brew in Pittenweem. (If you live on the East Coast of Scotland then I recommend a trip here as it is such a lovely wee shop in a picturesque village with great sea views! The ladies here are lovely and very helpful too.)

For my Rosebud, I used Rowan Creative Focus Worsted yarn in white that I bought in Edinburgh. It is a 75% wool / 25% alpaca mix and is lovely and soft. It is quite easy to put your needle through the strands though as it doesn’t seem to be as tightly bound (not sure if this is the right term, probably not) as other wool, so I had to be careful not to be distracted by the TV too much!

I chose to make the larger, slouchy size as I don’t think fitted hats suit me too well and I wanted something a little different. As I was knitting, I watched the hat grow and grow, thinking will I look like a chef? Will I look like the Michelin man? Bo Peep? Maybe I should stop and knit the smaller, more fitted size… Alas I carried on and this is what it looks like!

photo (29)

What do you think?! It will certainly keep my lugs warm next week when I am skiing in France! What did you make over Christmas?

Cx

Christmas Time and Resolutions!

Just a wee post to update you on all the lovely knitting goodies Santa kindly brought me at Christmas!

Christmas

I got a lovely book called 200 Fair Isle Designs by Mary Jane Mucklestone. This book is amazing and makes steeks (cuts in knitted fabric to create arm holes) look less daunting! There are lots of lovely patterns that can be used to design sweaters, scarves, socks etc and the charting is in black and white but it also shows different colour combinations. I hope to be able to adapt/design a pattern with it soon. There are instructions on how to design a Fair Isle jumper in the introduction, but I’m worried about how to do shaping. Fair Isle sweaters are more boxy than fitted so this may negate the need for shaping… we will see!

A copy of Interweave Winter 2011 magazine (not shown)! Betties Pullover caught my eye when I was browsing through patterns, so I was very happy to get this as a present. I have already ordered my wool – I really wanted to get the same yarn that was used in the magazine from the Alpaca Yarn Co, but I didn’t realise how expensive it is to import yarn into the UK from the USA. So, instead, I have chosen a similar colour from the extensive palette at Jamiesons of Shetland. I really hope it comes this week as I have been super patient! I also really want to make the Livingstone cardigan in the Interweave magazine too, but that one will need to wait for now.

I got a lovely crocheted flower pin from Andys cousin who has just started to crochet. I love the pink/orange wool used and will be great for Spring and Summer to add some colour to my coat.

I am a little behind but as everyone on the blogsphere seems to be making New Year Resolutions, or re-sew-lutions, maybe I should too..! So here are my resolutions:

1. I want to knit 6 items this year. I already have a list of jumpers the length of my arm on my list (see my previous post) but I would like to tackle a skirt too after seeing this lovely one on Golden Scales blog. There isn’t a pattern for the skirt so I might need to do some experimenting to get it right…

2. I want to sew 6 items too. I made two tops last year but one (the Colette Sencha) I’m not so keen on and I haven’t finished hand sewing the arms yet… My other top was the Colette Sorbetto. I really like this top and it was made with Liberty Arts fabric, so pretty! It does fit but I think I could tweak it just a little to make it better though.

3. I want to learn to crochet! Lots of people I know have started to crochet and it looks really fun so I would like to try my hand at that. I plan to join a knitting club this year too so hopefully will get some pointers there but if anyone can recommend a good website with crochet tutorials and easy beginner patterns, let me know!

Hopefully I will be able to stick to all of these! What are your New Year Resolutions?

Cx

Happy New Year!

Well I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and I wish you all a Happy New Year! I had a lovely time in St Andrews, chilling out, knitting and doing a lot of eating! Time to start running again….

The run up to Christmas was especially busy as Andy took me to London for my birthday mid-December. Can you believe this was my first ever visit to London! I loved it! We spent a few days visiting our lovely friends and saw all the big tourist attractions. I managed to get some knitting done for my Secret Santa present on the train!

For those that are unfamiliar with Secret Santa, everyone picks a name out of a hat and then you buy that person a present for £10. I like to buy my person something that they will use and for £10 it is pretty hard to find something for someone I don’t know very well that isn’t too gimmicky. I decided that I would make a scarf for my present. I found this pattern for Cupido Cowl which was really easy to knit and uses the lovely Rowan Kid Classic yarn. I actually found this pattern ages ago (for myself) but never got round to knitting it. The stitch repeat is super simple and it knitted up really fast! It is really cosy but if I were to knit it again I would cast on extra stitches, maybe an extra 50, so it is slightly longer.

Cupido Cowl

photo (27)

And now I can finally post about my secret Christmas knitting projects that I made for family and friends!

For Andy, I made this lovely Fair Isle jumper using the Huron pattern by Brooklyn Tweed. I really like the patterns by this company and I know the jumpers fit Andy well, which meant I could then knit in secret! The pattern was very easy to follow although I was juggling so many projects I didn’t finish it until Christmas Eve! I had a dilemma a week before Christmas when I decided I didn’t like the contrasting yarn. After debating whether to swap the yarn or not, I realised that the yarn was more DK than Aran due to a mistake in the production which meant one strand of wool was super skinny. So in the end I had to drive to New Lanark to pick up the wool so I could finish it in time for Christmas!

Huron Huron

I really enjoyed knitting the Fair Isle Yoke which was a nice break from knitting round and round with no pattern. I used a new Fair Isle technique with both yarns in the same hand, which meant that the two balls of wool didn’t get tangled up. Not sure if this will work with longer floats but the longest in the Huron was three so it worked fine.The jumper has short rows just before the yoke and after to give the back extra height to prevent it from riding up. This method is really simple and really effective, although I still get confused when doing short rows though so I rely heavily on the tutorial by Cotton and Cloud.

I made a few changes to Huron  including ribbed cuffs and then I doubled the length of the ribbed collar to 10cm. I then folded it over and sewed it in place. I think this gave the jumper a more “finished” look than the simple bind off.

Next I made a few hot water bottles for female relatives.I chose the Folkie pattern by Martin Storey as I love the design and the construction looked relatively easy to follow. This is my first one:

Folkie

The Fair Isle knitting was really easy and simple. However the cover is knitted in pieces (front, upper back and lower back) and then they are knitted together. This proved tricky for some reason and so I decided to alter the pattern so it can be knitted in the round. Knitting in the round meant that I couldn’t have the opening half way up the back so I rewrote most of the pattern and in the meantime I changed the design to make it more Christmassy, and this is what I came up with:

photo (24)

I am currently writing up the pattern to publish so knitters watch this space! I am looking for a test knitter so if anyone fancies trying out the pattern, please get in touch.

Cx

Next on the needles??

As it gets closer and closer to Christmas, I wonder if I will be able to finish all my presents in time.. who knows! I can’t share these with you yet, obviously because they need to be a surprise to the recipients, but mainly because I haven’t finished a single present yet! UH OH! 

So instead, I thought I could share what I plan to make next. After my festive knitting, I plan to knit something for myself, but what?! These are a few things I have seen from browsing on Ravelry, Folksy and Pintrest.

I absolutely love the Zooey sweater that has just been published in Interweave.

I get email updates which is dangerous! I really want to buy this magazine as there are few other patterns I want to make too, but you need to subscribe and I don’t think I want to do that. I love the neckline and trim on the edges – it looks like mini-scallop edging! I love the colour combination here too and may try to match it!

I love cables and this Aidez cardigan would be a good project to get to grips with more complicated cabling. 

I found this pattern whilst reading lieslmade’s blog. I really like the lacy detail bit but I have never tried this technique before. I think it is a good start for lace knitting though as the band isn’t too big and would probably be fine for a beginner to pick up! I like the grey wool too, but I think I have too many grey cardigans so will need to pick something brighter!

Another favourite of mine is the Hester pullover.Hester has been in my favourites for a while but the pattern is only published in a magazine. I’m sure there will be other pattterns in the magazine that I will want to knit too. This sweater reminds me of one I bought a few years ago and I really want to make something similar to that but not sure not to go about the neckline and bust. All I know is i need short rows, but where to put them?! So I think this pattern will help me to make my own jumper and I can knit it with different stitch patterns too.

The Lucille cardigan is also very pretty. I do think, if I am honest about my abilities, that it is still too difficult. One day… I love the mustardy version that someone has knitted, I just hope that colour is still in when I get round to making the pattern!

I have been buying a lot of my yarn recently online and I miss going to an old fashioned wool shop and handling all the different types of wool available. I think for my next project I will take a trip to McAree to get some nice yarn. By the time I get round to finishing this next project, I’m hoping spring will be here and so the need for thick cosy sweaters will be long gone! here’s hoping… 

What are your thoughts on the patterns above? What should I make?! What are you knitting/making anything for yourself?

Cx

Oats!

Hello!

Finally a finished jumper to show you! I’ve nicknamed my latest project Oats! The wool I am using his little specks of red/brown in it and reminds me of porridge oats.

This was a really easy pattern and has been pretty easy to knit up. It is knit from shoulder to shoulder so the arms don’t need to be sewn in after. Because it is knitted this way the rows of stitches go across the body instead of up and down, giving a slightly different effect.

There are rows of moss stitch (seed stitch) on the cuffs and around the edge, plus a band across the neck. This is really easy – the repeat is:

Row 1: *k1, p1 , repeat from * to end of row

Row 2: *p1, k1, repeat from * to end of row.

I wanted to hide the bind off on the last sleeve as I use the long tail cast on method and I wanted the edges to be even. As there is moss stitching around the sleeves, I thought that the invisible ribbed bind off might work. I gave it a try following a tutorial which was pretty simple to follow, but I thought the end result was a little bit messy. Maybe this isn’t suitable for moss stitches? So in the end I just went for the normal bind off and although it is a bit thicker here, I don’t think it is really noticeable. Does anyone have another method for binding off moss stitches?

I finished knitting this jumper a wee while ago, but I couldn’t find the motivation to weave in my ends and sew on the buttons. I had to re-cast off round the neck as the first attempt was far too tight and pulled the edges up. It is much better second time around!

I’ve had some compliments after wearing it last week (it’s so cosy though it’s not quite cold enough for it yet!) and it has motivated me to do more crafty things.

I’m making lots of Christmas presents just now so can’t tell you what I’m knitting just yet, but will endeavour to update more!

Cx

p.s. will get some (much) better photos taken!!

I’m back from Skye!

Sorry for a lack of posts this week, I was away on holiday! Andy and I went to the Isle of Skye in the Hebrides. The weather was typical of a Scottish summer, but we did have a couple of sunny days! I know this is a knitting and sewing blog, but my holiday did feature some knitting so I will sneak  some holiday snaps in! Here are some of my favourite photos:

1. Kilt Rock, Isle of Skye. 2.Eilean Donan Castle, Scottish Highlands.3. Glenbrittle beach with The Cuillins, Isle of Skye. 4. Plockton. 5. Glenbrittle beach, Isle of Skye. 6. Plockton seals with The Cuillins, Plockton. 7. Highland cows. 8. Shetland wool from Shilasdair, Waternish (Skye). 9. Andy wearing Guston, Plockton. 10. Knitting at the campsite, Glenbrittle.

We visited a little village called Plockton on the mainland of Scotland, near the Skye bridge. It is such a quaint wee village and we saw the most beautiful, vibrant rainbow ever! We went back on our last day of our trip to go on a seal tour! I may have got pretty excited when we saw the seals! There were lots of jellyfish too and it was such a nice day we could see all The Cuillins (the big mountainous ridge on Skye, the longest in the UK). I also got some pictures of Andy’s new jumper, Guston, what do you think?

As I had hurt my leg the week before we went on holiday, we didn’t plan anything adventurous and will definitely return to climb the mountains! We went up to the north of the island on the first day but the weather wasn’t great so couldn’t really see the Old Man of Storr or Quiraing very well, although we did see Kilt Rock and some lovely waterfalls. Andy also went swimming one day – it was pretty brave and after he “couldn’t feel his skin”!!

I also wanted to buy some local yarn but it is actually quite expensive! We went to Shilasdair yarns which are all dyed using organic and traditional methods. I bought the two hanks above – a dark grey and a white Shetland wool. These don’t show off all the lovely colours but I didn’t have a project in mind when I went so it was hard to decide what to buy. I think with these I will knit some cosy socks, a hat, a scarf or mittens. Maybe mittens…

Our last campsite was in Glenbrittle and it was lovely! We were nestled between the sea and the mountains and was such a fantastic view to wake up to! You can see me knitting away in front of The Cuillins whilst waiting for dinner! Camping was so much fun and can’t wait to go away again!

Back to knitting! You may be wondering what I am making next. I wanted something easier after doing Andy’s sweater, so I am making a cardigan using a pattern from Redheart, the cuff-to-cuff sweater. I have shortened the cardigan by two inches and I plan to add a few button holes as I wouldn’t wear it with a belt. The wool I am using is from New Lanark and it has little specks of red/brown in it and reminds me oats! It is knitting up pretty fast and I think I will be finished soon. Here is a wee taster!

Cx

Rose Sorbetto

I also have my first sewn garment, Colette Sorbetto, to show off too!

I love this rose printed fabric which I am pretty sure is Liberty Arts (brain overload in the fabric shop but I got it from where all the Liberty fabrics are). It is so pretty and it’s brightness will make up for the lack of summer we have had this year in Scotland!

I made some bias binding (the bit that goes round the neck and sleeves) in the same material as the top using a continuous bias binding tutorial from the Coletterie blog. It was my first attempt and although it wasn’t a complete disaster, the bias binding wasn’t even all the way round so I just bought bias binding instead. It was a little tricky to keep it even when stitching it on so there is a wee bit that is a little looser, but its pretty unnoticeable really. I also lowered the neckline and the armholes by an inch each.

My sewing machine didn’t like this fabric – see earlier post. I couldn’t get the tension to set and ended up carting my machine to the other side of Edinburgh for some advice from the ladies at materialise. We think it may have been a combination of the fabric and needle. Beginners, eh?!

I love the sewing community! A massive thanks to Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons, whom I emailed regarding my lack-of-experience issue!! For anyone else new to sewing, you must check out her blog. She has tutorials that take you through everything from buying a sewing machine to learning how to use it. Plus her creations are lovely!  Everyone is so helpful and, in a weird way, you feel like you know people after reading their blog and seeing what they are making.

Will promise to take some photos of me wearing soon!

Cx

One finished Guston!

And here we have it, Andy’s new sweater!

This is the Guston Sweater by Ann Budd (previously mentioned in this post and this post). I love the cables and this is probably my favourite knitted garment yet! I didn’t particularly enjoy stitching the arms to the body or weaving in all my ends. I also discovered that weaving in ends is boring – especially if you have lots of them! I didn’t manage to line up the cables over the shoulders as there would have been a bit sticking out over the edge. It’s fine though and not really noticeable.

I love this sweater so much! It is so comfy and warm, which is perfect for the weather we have here in Scotland. It is also a “boyfriend” sweater, so maybe I can wear it when Andy is at work…

Cx

p.s. my model was busy today so will need to wait a couple of days so I can snap some good photos!

Update – I got some lovely photos of the finished jumper whilst I was away on holiday in Skye

The adventure begins!

What a busy week I have had! I had a big deadline at work so I haven’t had much time to make anything. That’s about to change though as I treated myself to a sewing machine  and it arrived just in time for the weekend! My thinking was reasonable – its going to last me for years and I went for a refurbished Brother machine (effectively new) so it worked out at the same price as a cheap machine.

On Friday evening I managed to rustle up a quick muslin for a cute wee tank top by Colette, the Sorbetto Top. It only took a couple of hours to cut out my pattern and fabric, then sew the top together.

On Saturday morning I went to the second of my sewing classes at materialise in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket.

Note the beautiful summery weather we have been having!

The ladies there are lovely and so helpful! We are making Colette Sencha Blouse. Overall it isn’t too hard a pattern to follow, but we had to make two muslins the previous week due to all the adjustments! Apparently the other Colette patterns aren’t as complicated as this one! PHEW!

This is the first time Brigitte and Reese have run this class so we found that it took us longer than anticipated so I need to go back next week to make button holes and hem. Almost there!

I met my friend Seema from work on Saturday afternoon for a knitting lesson! Seema is left handed and I never appreciated how hard it would be for her to learn to knit the way I do. After a couple of hours of gossiping and watching YouTube tutorials for knitting left handed, we ventured down to the knitting section in JohnLewis for some much needed help. A lovely lady (who is left handed) showed Seema how to cast on and and then knit, in about 5minutes! Seema can’t cast off yet so she may have a scarf a mile long by now!

I  also picked out some lovely fabrics for my Sorbetto top. However I picked something that is really lightweight and I don’t think I have enough experience of sewing to be able to do this yet. I’m going to take this to my sewing class next week for some tips. 🙂

In the meantime I went to Mandors today as I really want to get started. I got a nice cotton which will be much easier to sew.

In theory. My tension has been funny all day! I’ve turned it up, I’ve turned it down, I’ve changed my needle, I’ve rethreaded my bobbin and upper thread and I’ve adjusted stitch length. I think I have done pretty much everything possible and it still isn’t right! Sometimes it seems to start off stitching well and then there are loops on either side. I need help!


On the knitting front, I have finished knitting the Guston sweater for Andy. I blocked it last week and it took 2-3 days to dry!! I just have to stitch the arms to the body, do the collar and put on his little buttons! I really like the look of this jumper and it looks like it is going to fit! 🙂

I’m still finding my feet with sewing so bear with me a little longer and I will have some pretty things to show!

Cx

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I hope to post more regularly once I get my hands on a sewing machine! Knitting is very slow to see progress and Im pretty sure no one wants a row by row account!

Cx