Sunday, April 19, 2015

A little of this, a little of that

Bertie's blanket 3
Evie Box sweater
Pink pop sock
Libert London embroidered cushion
Colouring with thread
Colouring with thread
Brit bunting cushion
Pin cushions

First up: A huge than you to all of you that sent sock yarn squares for Bertie's Blankets.
The original idea was to make one large hospital bed sized blanket out of these squares. But after I started to assemble them, I decided that there were enough squares to make 2 good sized lap blankets, and why not spread the love :) This is the first of those lap blankets that I dropped off at a local hospice this week. It has been over 3 years since Dad was in hospice care, and so I wasn't expecting the emotions that came with dropping this blanket off. A mix of sadness for what has been, together with gratitude and happiness thinking about all of you that have been so kind to support this effort. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

That's the biggest news this week.  Other than that, I've been playing around with a couple of different projects all of which have one thing in common - they needed to be an easy distraction after some busy, and mentally exhausting work days:
  • There's the Evie box sweater in the red yarns which is a beautifully simple garter stitch in a variety of yarns.
  • A sock, which originally was in a cute pattern but required too much mental processing power, so riiiip, it became a vanilla sock.
  • Free-form embroidery on some Liberty of London decorator weight fabric which I turned into an envelope cushion and gifted to a friend today.
  • Upon completing that cushion, Naomi wanted a cushion too, so I pulled out the British bunting fabric that I picked up in the UK last year and made another simple envelope cushion cover for her bedroom.
  • Finally these darling little pin cushions using some espresso sized cups, fabric and a hot glue gun!
And that's it my friends. It has been good to craft this week.
Hope you are well.
Sam xxx

Sunday, March 15, 2015

This week in review : March 15

Vespa Yarn
Vespa yarns
Sarah watts jigsaw

Lovely new Vespa self-striping sock yarn and a beautiful project bag from a friend.
Seaming Bertie's (hospice) Blanket - the very pretty sock yarn blanket, for which you kindly donated squares. Isn't that pile of threads so pretty.
A relaxing jigsaw puzzle that I stumbled upon at Barnes and Noble, showing an illustration from Sarah Watts (a fabric designer that I like).
Some pretty new fabric.

The weather here is glorious. Naomi is a bundle of energy and wanting to test out her new big girl bike at the local park. I hope you also have fun plans for this Sunday. And Happy Mother's Day to all Mums in the UK.


Saturday, March 07, 2015

Frosty Daybreak

Springtree road Late Dusk Cashmire sock - north pole Daybreak Daybreak5 Daybreak4 Daybreak1

This is a really enjoyable knit - the Daybreak Shawl from Stephen West.
I used 2 skeins of sock yarn to work this:
  • Spring Tree Road Muscadine sock - Late Dusk colorway
  • Phydeaux Yarns Cachemire sock - North Pole colorway
Both yarns are fabulous, but there was something about the denim-like quality of the Muscadine sock that I was really drawn to - it picked up the subtle flecks of Navy in the Cachemire sock yarn, and the depth of the color makes a lovely contrast with the paler north pole colorway.

Both yarns wash up beautifully - the final shawl is light, airy and so very soft.

I really enjoyed working on this shawl, but it took me a little while to wrap my head around the increase instructions in the first section of the shawl.  But a quick ravelry search later, and I found Pieces of Kate's extremely helpful notes for section 1 where she details out the number of stitches needed before you make an increase.  If you are going to knit this shawl, I highly recommend you check out her advice.  Once you get past the first section it is plain sailing!

That's all from me.  Looking forward to going and checking on what you've been working on.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend,
Sam x

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Huddling indoors

Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is sure delightful,
And since there's no place to go,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow....
oh the weather outside
This wonderful yarn arrived in the mail today from Mountain Girl Yarns... I am in love! I wanted to get a picture of this beautiful yarn up on the blog today, but it is dark indoors... so outside in the snow we went.
but the fire is sure delightful
We quickly moved back inside, where you'll find me taking advantage of the snowy weather to huddle indoors and continue working on the Daybreak shawl from Stephen West. I started this one earlier in the week, and it is a nice easy knit for a nice easy day.
Stay safe and warm, Sam xxx

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentines Day!

Hello Friends,
Are you having a good Valentines day? Any fun plans?

We'll be driving down to Colorado Springs today - that's where Joe and I met, 14 years ago. Its just a short drive down from Denver and we always enjoy spending a day in Old Colorado City and seeing Garden of the Gods.

But first, I wanted to quickly share the socks that I finished for Joe.

valentines socks

These were completed just in the nick of time yesterday evening.

valentines socks

The yarn is Crazy Zauberball (the Black/grey/white) and Shibui sock (red). I like that they both appear to be the same from the cuff down to the heel, but that one foot has the darker yarn and the other foot the lighter yarn. I hadn't planned them to work out that way... but for me that's part of the fun of working with these types of yarn.

valentines socks

The pattern is one that I made up as I went along. I share it here in case you might be interested:
The socks are worked from cuff to toe, using size 2 needles.

  • Cast on 70 stitches and join for knitting in the round, place a stitch marker at the beginning of the round to help you keep track of where each round starts and stops
  • Work 10 rounds in a K1, P1 rib
  • Work 5 rows in K9, P1 pattern
  • Then work the heart pattern below (retaining the K9, P1 pattern as illustrated in the heart chart), using your contrast yarn for the hearts

    heart diagram

  • Once the heart chart is completed, continue working in K9, P1 pattern until leg is desired length (for my socks this was approx. 8.5 inches)
Add in waste yarn for a provisional heel:
  • Using a waste yarn of a contrast colour, knit 35 stitches
  • Now, reknit these stitches with your working yarn (in my case the zauberball) retaining the K9, P1 pattern around
  • Here's a good resource for how to do this, from the Knit Purl Hunter:

  • Continue knitting in K9, P1 pattern until the foot is the desired length (for my socks, this was approx. 6 inches)
  • Arrange the stitches so that you have 35 stitches on needle 1, and the other 35 stitches split fairly evenly between needles 2 and 3
  • Switch to the contrast yarn
  • Knit 1 complete round
  • Then knit a decrease round:  On needle 1: K1, SSK.  K until there are 3 stitches left on the needle.  K2 tog, K1.  On needle 2: K1, SSK, K to end of needle.  On needle 3: K until there are 3 stitches left on the needle.  K2 tog, K1.
  • Work a knit round, and then work a decrease round and keep alternating between these rounds until there are 30 stitches left
  • Using Kitchener stitch, graft the live stitches together
The afterthought heel:
  • Go back to the waste yarn and place these stitches on your needle, while removing the waste yarn
  • Follow the instructions for the toe, to complete the heel
  • Again, for a great resource, the Knit Purl Hunter has the following instructional video

Darn in all ends and then repeat for the second sock. :)
That's all there is to it.

modelled secret socks

For the folks in the US, wishing you a lovely long weekend!
Happy Valentines to all,

Saturday, January 31, 2015

WIP Weekend

I had all good intentions of writing a WIP Wednesday post, that almost became a Things-a-progressin Thursday, and then... well, you get the idea, it's the weekend now, so WIP Weekend it is.  The main work in progress has been the secret socks. I started knitting these the other week and got to a point where I decided that I wasn't loving how they were looking. They were fine, but they weren't great. Do you ever feel that way?

There were a few things that were bugging me:
  1. They seemed too big and baggy (and I'm sure Joe doesn't want Nora Batty socks)
  2. The hearts seemed a little squooshed
  3. I was knitting a couple of rows from each end of the ball to give it a striped effect...  but the stripes weren't showing up
After much umming and aahing, trying to decide if these bugs were deal breakers, I ripped the sock out and started again, with the following fixes:
  1. Cast on fewer stiches and changed from straight stocking stitch to K9, P1 - this touch of ribbing seems to pull the sock in nicely and give it a little bit of leg huggability
  2. Added an extra row to the hearts so they are a little less stumpy
  3. Ditched the stripes
Back to the drawing board

Now I'm happy!  I don't love ripping out, but when I find myself knitting and knitting and questioning myself about the end result, I figure sometimes its best to just go back to the drawing board... or little notepad, in this case.

Secret Socks

The socks are now coming along nicely, although I am currently in that mental phase of  'I just want to be done' after doing rounds and rounds and rounds of the K9, P1 stitch pattern.  I may add in the afterthought heel right now just to break up the monotony.  But all in all, pleased with how these are coming along.

Other than the knitting, there's also been some purchasing.  First up, this lovely Spun Right Round sock yarn.  I don't have any plans yet... it just called to me like a siren song:

Spun right round

And some fabulous Kaffe Fasset fabric: 

Kaffe Fasset

My uncle has asked if I would make him a quilt with bright, happy, seaside colours.  Here is our colour inspiration for the quilt.
Quilt Inspiration

I think these fabrics will above work well with some that are already in my stash - I wanted some golden sand, and sea blue colours in there.   I might need some other brights too, to make it pop.  I'm still playing around with ideas at this point... I love this part of the process.

Warren quilt fabric?

I also pulled out the WIP Berties (hospice) Blanket.  It's been a thoughtful week for me:  A sweet high school friend passed away from breast cancer last Friday.  It has haunted me all week, and that gave me the nudge to pull this out, so it can be seamed and handed to a local hospice where it can bring someone some comfort.  Thank you to all who contributed squares - this is going to be a beauty.  I just have one last square to complete and then onto the seaming.

Berties Blanket

Go hug your loved ones xxx

Wishing you a good weekend,
Sam xxx

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Handspun Balaclava

"Have you seen this man?"
Do you know this man
Yup, looks like something off one of those wanted/CCTV deals, doesn't it. Although the person in question is normally wearing a subdued colour, not turquoise :)

I'd picked up this yarn last year. I can't remember what we'd gone out for, but we were headed downtown when I spotted some neon signs highlighting a yarn store that I had no idea even existed. So Joe, being the good hubby that he is, insisted that I go check it out. For local Colorado folks, it was the Blazing Star Ranch, and it is located inside a Vacuum store, which probably accounts for why I hadn't noticed it before. 


I'm kicking myself because I can't seem to lay my hands on the label for this. All I recall is that it was an alpaca handspun yarn, and I'm thinking there was less than 200 yards of it's aran-weight goodness!. The yarn is fabulous - so very squishy.

Yarn bowl and handspun

I looked through ravelry for something to make (such a handy site for plugging in yarn weight and yardage to figure out what your options are). When I showed Joe the various options and asked what he thought, he suggested that maybe I could make him another balaclava out of it. Erm, yes, of course. I'd knit him a balaclava a while back and he gets good use of that when he's out walking the dogs in the colder Colorado weather.

I made the pattern up as I went along... which translates as knitting, ripping out and knitting some more :) The final version was knit using a US10 circular needle.  I knit from the crown down to the neck.  Starting by casting on 6 stitches and working in the round in a K2, P2 rib, with increases every row until there were 84 stitches on the needles.  Once it measured about 6 inches, I cast off 20 for the peek-a-boo section (I'm pretty sure that is the correct balaclava terminology!) and then worked back and forth in the rib pattern for 1.5 inches, before casting those 20 stitches back on and resuming knitting in the round until the balaclava measured a total of 16 inches.


Joe likes the strangest things!  He's worn the balaclava a few times already.  I'll give him this, it is super soft and extremely warm.  Attractive...?  Well, I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder :)))

Hope you are having a good weekend,
Sam x