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Posts Tagged ‘hand knit’

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Finally! The laying and sanding of our sitting room floor has unfortunately eaten up rather a lot of knitting time, but after a few hours in the car last weekend visiting friends and the odd row snatched here and there, my Jared Flood shawl is at last finished.

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It consisted of three sections, all knitted using different techniques, which kept it interesting, although I was ready for it to be over with by the end!

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I did try take some photos of it without the use of children and dogs as props, but the colour just didn’t look right. It’s a gorgeous Shilasdair yarn dyed using tansy flowers. My sister is the recipient- I hope you like it Sophie!

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Just a quick present for a friend- I used a varigated yarn which was very sweetly given to me, and I just made it up. I tried an i-cord cast on and bind off, which result in a lovely tubular edging in which the stitches run perpendicular to the rest of the work.

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For some reason the cast on ended up tighter than the bind off, so that’s the top as it hugs the neck slightly more. It’s just moss stitch, as I wanted something simple and reversible.

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I hope it keeps its recipient cosy during our Aberdeenshire winters!

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I’ve now knit this pattern most of any I’ve tried- it’s no longer necessary to dig it out from the bottom of my knitting bag or rip back and start afresh the seemingly endless times I had to when it was way out of my depth. I still love it and enjoy it, and the resulting fabric is stretchy, bouncy, and beautiful enough to be special without being so fragile and precious as to be squirrelled away for the moths to enjoy. I don’t think there’s a specific baby in mind yet for this one, the client who wanted it was given one for her baby and just wanted another one, this time in a darker grey. Otis certainly enjoyed it!

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As often is the case, a quiet blog belies a busy time here at the cottage- the Easter holidays promted a huge push on the ‘garden’ (still more accuratey described as scrub land) and I’ve not been idle on the crafting front either. In addition to wee Fergus’ quilt, I’m still knitting ‘Quill,’ a Shetland hap-style wrap for my sister,which is a Jared Flood pattern. There’s no rush on this, and the progress on it creeps ever more slowly as each round gets larger. It’s great TV knitting, though (until I get to the rather more complicated-looking border!)

Also on the needles is another Old Shale baby blanket, this time in a dark grey superwash merino, which is soft and bouncy. I’ve knitted this (yep, another one of Jared’s) pattern several times now, so despite its lacey appearence, is also now quite happily mindless.

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It’s the first Easter holiday we’ve spent at this house, and I must say I’m loving the days warm enough to spend outside but evenings cool enough to still warrant a fire. The cold, dusty hearth of summer is such a sad sight, I feel.

As always, the last weekend in April heralds the Banchory Scout Jumble Sale, a bit of a Deeside institution which raises in excess of £10,000 for the Scouts every year. It must be a mammoth undertaking, but, as ever, the queue snaked round the block. The bric-a-brac table was  full of hidden gems and slightly out of breath punters jostling for space as we raked through the piles of baking tins, china and a large porcelain white tiger figurine (which, along with two very, um, sculptural candelabras, was sold to a most satisfied chap). I did my best to steer clear of the embroidered textiles this year -tempting as they always are- because I am amassing a huge collection and am rapidly running out of space! Instead I bought some glass jars for flour, lentils and the like, for £2, and 9 beautiful hand thrown pottery mugs, interior and rims glazed in a lovely bluey green, also for the measly sum of £2. I feel very much the cat who got the cream as I sit here sipping tea.

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I also bought two very large, very fluffy and -crucially- very absorbant towels for… the dog. A 5 year old German Wirehaired Pointer named Amber came to live with us just over a month ago, and after a few issues here and there, is settling in pretty well. She’s very sweet and very affectionate, and despite now having to sweep the floors pretty much constantly, the happiness she brings the boys and the joy of taking her for walks (good recall! A first for most dogs I’ve known!) is worth it.

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A long, long time ago I cast on a wrap for my sister. It was to be the biggest version of Brooklyn Tweed’s Topiary, a geometric, cabled wrap designed by Michelle Wang for the company that looked just lovely in the pattern photos. I’ve used Jared Flood’s patterns before, and found them to be well written, beautiful and clear. The models are apparently all friends of the designer, and are not only gorgeous but epitomise fresh-faced American youth, full of eager potential in their stunning hand knitted garments. Just look at her, she’s so beautifully happy with her Topiary wrap:

What’s not to like? I bought the pattern and plunged in. And quickly realised I was out of my depth. Once I had mastered the actual reading of the chart (aided by an attack with some highlighter pens) I realised that I would never be able to memorise it or be able to knit it with anything other than maximum concentration. At first, this was ok: I was breastfeeding Otis to sleep (yes, I started this years ago) and so had a good hour or so every evening of being pinned to the bed. It was a good use of the time. But then it was put away once I realised it wouldn’t meet the birthday, then the Christmas deadlines; and then it languished. I tried to take it up again a few times, but my heart wasn’t in it. I also had made the error of using a slightly hazy yarn which rendered the time and effort put into all those tiny cables completely pointless, so poor was the stitch definition.

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I was a third of the way through and I just realised I had to give up. After gloomily contemplating frogging the whole thing, I decided to just cast it off, fold it in half and seam it to make a cushion.

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I still love the pattern, even with the poor stitch definition, and am actually rather pleased with it.

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My lovely sister is rather inundated with cushions (her own doing, so I presume she must like them), and I know her husband relishes the chucking of cushions with gusto to make room for actual people on their sofa. She seemed happy with it, and to be honest I mostly feel relief: that it’s finished with, and that I can rummage in my knitting bag without coming across it and feeling the UFO (Unfinished Object) Guilt. Farewell, Topiary!

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I enjoy making things -mostly!- so there’s a lot of love in with the usual frustration and perhaps puzzlement at patterns and ideas that perhaps don’t always pan out the way I thought they would. But every so often I find myself making something special, something to give a little warmth in more ways than one, hopefully. This cosy headband fell into that category: a great free pattern from Susan Hummel called the Wishbone Headband which knit up really quite quickly. It used two techniques that were new to me: a provisional cast on and the use of the kitchener stitch, or grafting, at the end to join the live stitches together. This was pretty faffy, but I got the hang of it and the results weren’t too bad.

Grafting on the right side

Grafting on the right side

And on the wrong side

And on the wrong side

I bought more yarn than I needed for this wee project, so I might just have to have another go at those sweet little cables and spread a bit more knitted cosiness around…

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They do say children growing up is bittersweet; surely part of the sweetness is a legitimate reason for making them new versions of what they’ve grown out of! Sol needed a new hat and his previous one had been such a success I just repeated the pattern, adding a few more stitches to the cast on and a few rows to the length.

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This time he declined a decorative button <sniff> because he wouldn’t be as well camouflaged in the woods, apparently. He chose the colour, which is another Erika Knight yarn, this time in a chunky weight, in the shade ‘Gunge.’ Such was my revulsion at the name I nearly didn’t buy it but I just re-named it ‘Moss’ in my head and sallied forth.

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This time my skills have grown to include a three needle bind off which I really like the look of- but otherwise it remained unchanged: a moss stitch border, knit stitch in the round and I lined it with red fleece.

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This does make it look like some sort of frog puppet, but when you’re 5 that is in no way a bad thing.

Next up: still knitting, but back to DK instead of chunky, and some delicate little cables.

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Cable knitting is amazing: you spend one fiddly row faffing around stretching stitches all over the place, then a couple of rows later the weaving, winding nature of the fabric appears almost magically.

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I hope to finish this (it’s another present, so I can’t say much more about it!) soon, then on to more knitting, this time a rescue mission on a project I abandoned almost two years ago, more of which later. I do have plans to return to quilting soon, but the weather is so… knitterly it seems only appropriate to put the kettle on, chuck another log on the fire and cast on another project.

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