FO: Bright everyday jumper

I finished another project! And it’s not yellow or cream! Looking back at my projects over the past few months i realise there is a heck of a lot of yellow/gold/cream/white in there. While I love these colours, it felt good to work on something a bit brighter.

As you’ll probably know if you’ve read my blog before, I live in a small cottage which can get a bit cold for much of the year. My sister (also my house-mate) asked for a jumper for autumn/winter, an everyday kind of top that would be light but cosy, hard wearing and good for layering.

You’ll also know that I’m a sucker for topdown jumpers, and Patons Diploma Gold DK yarn (it’s affordable, it’s machine washable, it comes in lots of colours – that’s a win for me!). So I designed a really simple scoop neck baggy jumper with extra long sleeves. Here’s the finished item…

EverydaySweater

It took a while to finish this but I’m really pleased with the end result. I’ll definitely knit another one.

And I decided to cast on a simple vanilla pair of slouchy house socks out of some of my handspun. This is one of the first skeins I ever made on my Ashford . It’s a pure merino 2ply, about 150g or so, no idea how many yards, but definitely enough for some cosy socks! I don’t expect the socks to last long, it’s a very low-twist yarn, but I’d rather make something out of my handspun than just leave it sitting in a box somewhere. And yes. These will be gold/beige/cream…

MerinoHandspun

Yay weekend!

I’m pretty excited it’s the weekend, I’m not going to lie. I don’t have any great plans – in fact it’s rather gloomy and rainy out – but that just means I get to spend ME time in my cosy little cottage, and can do fun things like finishing my sister’s sweater, actually spinning (remember that??) and doing some yoga! Oh and catching up on all the new movies on Netflix, and basically just whatever I feel like doing.

Do you ever have those weeks that just feel so full-on in work and personal life that when the weekend finally gets here it’s like surfacing for air? I love it.

Easter chic

Well, you can tell by the title of this blog post quite how long it has been hiding in my drafts folder! It never made it to the top of the pile, largely based on the fact that I didn’t get round to taking photos. But I am still proud of the top that it was supposed to be about so I’m sharing it anyway!

Back in about March or April, I wanted to design a new top for spring, particularly something that I could wear during the long Easter weekend. In the UK we get both Good Friday and Easter Monday as national holidays and…sometimes!… We even have good weather! I decided to knit a really simple cotton t-shirt, in a bright, seasonal yellow. I adore the colour yellow, although it is typically not a great match with my very fair northern skintone, I love it anyway. So meet Easter Chic (and excuse my painfully posed … erm, pose):

EasterChic

I didn’t swatch or even think about the number of stitches to cast on for this, I simply cast on, measured against my neckline, popped stitch markers in at what I judged were sensible places, and then started knitting. I really don’t deserve for it to have worked, with such an appallingly rebellious approach to project planning, but I am so happy with the final product!

Here are the vital statistics:

Yarn: Rowan All seasons Cotton
Needles: 5.5mm
Size: fits a UK 8-10 – but this is a loose top, so could fit larger sizes as a more fitted style
Construction: seamless, top down, in-the-round, raglan

I chose to do a twisted rib rather than standard 1×1, and think it suited the yarn. I had not knitted with Rowan All Season’s Cotton before and to be honest was put off by the idea of an Aran weight cotton, but it was lovely on the hands, and – even better for a lazy person like me – it’s easy to wash in the washing machine, and seems to get softer with wear. I wore it over Easter, and this has become a staple in my spring wardrobe.

But wait! There’s more! While I really liked the aran weight and slightly rustic feel, my sister (who is much more stylish than I am) thought it would be nicer in a softer yellow and a double knit. Actually she said 4ply/fingering weight, but no way was I going to knit a garment in 4ply, that’s for socks only in my book. As luck would have it I found a lovely yellow yarn and recreated the top:

Sunshine2

(Clearly, sticking my hip out to the side makes this top look better).

Yarn: Diploma Gold DK
Needles: 4mm
Size: fits a UK 8-10 – much mire fitted!
Construction: seamless, top down, in-the-round, raglan

Which do you prefer? I like them both to be honest but then, I’m easily pleased.

Autumn daze

It’s been a loooong hard summer of work, travel and not much knitting, but I’m back from my annual week away in a beautiful part of the world (North Devon) and feeling refreshed, inspired, and raring to go. I had such a lovely break. Although today is definitely feeling autumnal, last week was beautifully sunny and I even got a bit of a tan! I spent everyday outside, all day, just walking around the beach and the many pathways. I loved it. Here’s the beach… I walked the length of this at least once a day…

photo 3

The sun shining through the leaves on one of the cliff walks – and you can just see the sea peeking through below…

Sunny leaves

I went to a nearby National Trust property on one of the days, and they had some very sweet wooden sheep sculptures just by the entrance. Isn’t this guy lovely? Grumpy sheep! I couldn’t resist taking pictures, naturally.

Grumpy sheepGrumpy2

Oh, and I did get a chance to do some knitting! I am about two thirds of the way through a sweater for my sister, a simple double knit crew/scoop neck design for the autumn.

I’m hoping that work will calm down a bit and I shall have more time to dedicate to my blogging and knitting. I have quietly been keeping up with all the lovely bloggers I follow, whose posts and pictures have kept me connected to the world of knitting through the past couple of months. I’m so grateful for that connection!

Sock blocking

I have been sock blocked by my own stupidity. As in blocked from actually making the socks I was working on using my lovely new Socks that Rock yarn. I am so used to churning out my standard vanilla socks that I never bother to swatch.  I completed the first sock using my standard 64 stitch pattern, and once finished I realised – gasp – that it’s too baggy round the toe! Now this has never happened to me before – maybe I have had good sock karma up until now, I don’t know – but I was pretty miffed. But rather than ripping back, I thought I would just move on to the second sock and reduce it down to 60 stitches. 6 inches of cuff later, I decided to try it on – I can only just squeeze the cuff over my heel!! Bugger. I realised that I stupidly picked up 2.25mm needles rather than the 2.5mm that the first sock was done on. So basically, I reduced the stitch count AND the needle size, by mistake and now have two socks to rip back. Which I am clearly not going to do right now as I am so annoyed I am going to put it away and move onto something else.

AND as luck would have it, Shannon at Very Shannon has announced the dates for the Summer Sweater KAL! I participated in this last year and made a gorgeous Cape Cod, by Thea Colman. I’m definitely going to participate again this year. I’m trying to decide whether to do my own design, or one of the many that I have favourited on Ravelry over the past year…there are just so many to choose from!

 

This week’s knitting…

I finished my shawl! It is currently drying in the sunshine after it’s bath this morning, so I will share photos later. This is a really lovely yarn, it looks like a soft, muted heathery purple but when you look closely at individual fibres there are some surprising colours… such as a bright bright blue, an intense white… magic!

I set myself the goal yesterday of getting this project finished this weekend as I was definitely feeling the need to Achieve Something. So pleased I did, but my hands are killing me today! Walking a fine line between my passion for knitting and RSI, as my sister warned me.

Other projects on my needles are my second Pi shawl, and a pair of vanilla socks in Socks That Rock Lightweight. SO ridiculously excited to be trying out this yarn. A lot of the bloggers and podcasters I follow are from North America where it seems everyone knits with Socks That Rock sock yarn, which is generally not stocked here in the UK. Imagine my joy when, on a recent trip to Loop Knitting in London, I found some! I think it took me a good half an hour to decide on which colours to choose. I went with Watermelon Tourmaline and what I think is called Olive Garden, but it appears I have lost the label so not 100% sure. The first are destined to be some plain vanilla socks for me, the second will be another pair of knee-highs for my sister.

Socks that rock - Watermelon Tourmaline

Socks that rock - Olive Garden?

FO: Golden socks

Earlier this year (much, much earlier) I cast on my second pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks. I used Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply in the Sunshine colourway for these as I had some left over from last year’s fingerless mitts design.

I finished the first sock relatively early on but then put it away and promptly forgot about it. Fast forward a couple of months and the second sock became my commuting project – many a trip between Oxford and London was spent working on this! I didn’t know how I would feel about the yarn as a sock yarn – for some reason it feels very garment-y and not very sock-y to me, but it’s actually lovely. I will definitely use it again for socks.

Golden socks of loveliness

 

Hermione's everyday sock close up