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Saturday, 25 July 2015

New Project on the Needles: Borderline Blanket

I've been meaning to blog about my new project all this week but it's been a crazy week and I just haven't gotten around to it. Do you ever get that? It's been so busy at work that this week that I've really needed my knitting time at the end of the day! So much so that blogging was side lined. So I've actually done quite a bit. I had originally thought I might start another shawl but having done a shawl for the last 2 projects, I decided  I wanted a bit of a change. I had already downloaded Borderline by Angela Alves of Delusional Knitter Designs and the Revelations of a Delusional Knitter podcast and it was in my queue.  Also as I have mentioned before, I have a few friends/family who are having babies this year and I thought this would be ideal as it would fit in not only with this but also with the Actually Knitting PALKAL which is running until September.

I had previously picked out some colours and really soon after casting off the Settler Shawl I cast this on. It's knitted from corner to corner with diagonal stripes so it was also a good excuse to use up some of my (ever growing) stash. In fact the pattern calls for worsted weight yarn but I have adjusted the needle size as I have a large amount of DK that I could use. I've also picked colours that could work for either a girl or boy so that I can decide later who to gift it to.

To start with it grows really quickly. I'm heading towards the middle and progress is slowing down but the fact that it's stripes means  I'm constantly thinking that I'll just knit to the next stripe, so I'm already nearly at the middle.

It's a really straight forward pattern and colour repeat to follow although I'm trying out the After This Row tool that I won on a giveaway on Angela's podcast (even though the one I chose was the one for Scarves, Shawls & Shawlettes). Simply, it's a tool to help you keep track of where you are up to in a pattern, with space in the actual tool for you to keep all the details of the pattern. I've been keeping track of the colour repeat and when I need to start decreasing. It's a great tool and it would be perfect if you were doing something more complex, such as a shawl with a pattern repeat, or with increasing/decreasing every so many rows. The book also has other handy pages, such as a page for notes, shopping lists and tags for you to attach the ball band and a sample of the yarn to so that you can refer back to them after you have finished a project.

I'm already really happy with how the blanket is knitting up and I can already tell you that I will definitely make this again! I'd like to see how it would work with self striping yarn too, although I am trying to weave in the ends as I go on this one. I also think it would look great in shades of the same colour, like all different shades of blue for a boy for example, and also I bet it would look great in rainbow colours.

How about you, what are you working on?


Thursday, 16 July 2015

FO: Settler Shawl

Finally, I'm finished! So here are the details.

Pattern: Settler Shawl by Libby Jonson from Truly Myrtle
Yarn: Coastal Colours from Lancashire in the UK. 70% Alpaca, 20% Silk & 10% Cashmere
Needles: 4mm circular needles

This is a stunning pattern. It's a crescent shaped shawl that's knit from the centre out. The main part of the shawl is garter stitch and it has a beautiful but simple border pattern. It's taken just a month to complete and it counts for the Actually Knitting PALKAL supporting podcasters and also the Truly Myrtle KAL. I swatched and blocked which are new-ish things for me but the blocking particularly was really worth it - it really shows off the pattern. The yarn is stunning. I had never used a yarn with silk in before and it slides differently on the needles and between your fingers to other yarns. I got used to it but it was a bit strange to begin with.  I'm so pleased with it. I'd recommend the pattern and may even do another one in the future!

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Almost there - Knitting WIP Update & musings on acrylic yarn

The title says it all. I am almost there with the Settler Shawl that I have been knitting for the Actually Knitting PALKAL and the Truly Myrtle KAL. The border has progressed more quickly than I thought and I only have 1 row and the cast off left! Admittedly it's what I have mainly been working on this week and since I have been a fair way into the border it's been really hard to put down. With what's left I think I will finish it this weekend which really makes me smile. Then I will just need to wash and block before I can wear it. Plus I'll feel justified  in casting on something new. Not that I haven't already, but you know what I mean!

I'll also be able to post in the FO threads of the 2 KALs and join the other beauties that are already posted there.

Actually I have already cast on something new. I go to a knit and natter group on a Saturday morning every other week and I haven't really wanted to take the shawl with me, mainly because I don't want to get the beautiful yarn dirty and also I don't want to mess it up while I'm nattering, So I started on the King Cole baby jacket for my husband's cousin's baby. They already know it's a boy and I have started knitting with a beautiful blue acrylic yarn. It's actually from the local Poundland store where the yarn is always on offer for £1 a 50g ball or 3 balls for £2. Poundland do a whole range of colours and I've used it a few times. This one has got quite a dry handle but it still knits up nicely and is not at all splitty.

I want to talk a bit about the yarn choice here. Since I have started blogging I have noticed online that quite often acrylic yarns are portrayed in a negative light. It's also really since I've been blogging that I have explored other types of yarns. I've never been very good with wool and wool garments that you buy in the shops often leave me itchy and uncomfortable. Consequently acrylic yarns have made up a large part of my stash until recently. They also tend to be more reasonably priced and machine washable, reasons which have sometimes been a draw for me. Having now explored the likes of alpaca, superwashed merino and other blends, I am more aware of the other options open to me but that does not mean that I no longer wish to knit in acrylic. And I should not feel guilty about that. Knitting is about the actual process of crafting and the enjoyment it brings as well as the finished object. While it's nice to use a beautiful natural yarn, the process is still the same with acrylic. I'm still getting the same enjoyment from it and there are some really beautiful acrylic yarns and blends available on the market.

This has been mentioned in a couple of podcasts I have been listening to recently. Gemma from the Knitting in Wonderland Podcast mentioned it in her latest episode and she has made the most beautiful Campside shawl in Stylecraft Life in a dark green colour. Stunning. I'm tempted to make one of those myself (adding to my never ending list of intentions!) It was also mentioned during the Yarn in the city Episode 14: Knitting is not a competition, where they interviewed Karina Westermann. Westermann has written a couple of blog posts recently (links in the YITC show notes) questioning how social media is having an effect on our crafting.

Knitting not being a competition is also an idea I've touched on before when I did the MAL with Crafts from the Cwtch. Although the knit alongs I've taken part in so far are inspirational and motivational, I do have remind myself when I see the FO's rapidly filling the Ravelry threads that there are lots of people out there who do not work full-time, who live nearer to their work, or who knit as part pf their job who consequently have more time to knit then me. That's OK, it doesn't matter. What matters is that I enjoy it and I am really enjoying taking part!

Anyway, I'm off now - my shawl is calling! I'll hopefully post my finished shawl really soon. Happy Knitting!


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Knitting Progress & Plans

I still haven't really finished anything. Well, nothing big. I have made a crochet flower, which I wore in my hair today in memory of Wink from A Creative Being #wearingflowersinmyhairforwink. I'd been following her blog for a while and had set it up to deliver direct to my inbox. I was shocked and saddened to read that she had taken her own life and it has left me very pensive this week. I didn't know her personally, but it's made me think how much a blogger opens up to his or her readers and that by reading you are given an insight into the bloggers life. I feel like I knew her. It also made me think about mental illness, how little we really know about it, and how it is misunderstood/badly dealt with within society.

I have also been continuing with my tulips for the Knit a Tulip for ME campaign. I've completed 7 and I have 2 waiting to be sewn up. I want to do more, I want to be quicker!

In terms of my WIPs I have really only worked on my Settler Shawl from Truly Myrtle that I have been knitting for the Actually Knitting PALKAL. It's going well but because its a crescent shape and its knitted top to bottom there are an enormous number of stitches on the needles! I have finished the main body and started on the border. I did a small practice too with some scrap yarn for the border pattern, but its very simple to master. I'm loving the yarn too. I was a bit unsure to begin with because the yarn slides in a different way when it has silk in it, but now I'm loving it! Libby from Truly Myrtle has also started a KAL during July, and WIPs count so I will now be double dipping with this one!

So plans. I'm always planning, or plotting as my hubby calls it. I've got loads of projects in the pipeline and I honestly don't know how quickly I will be able to get them all done!

I am hoping, as well as finishing my Settler Shawl, I will also have time in July to knit the Rattan Shawl from Truly Myrtle which will count towards both KALs too. I'm thinking for this to use the first yarn I solar dyed myself. I've bought the pattern so I am ready to go. Good intentions.

Also for the Actually Knitting PALKAL I'm aiming to make the Borderline baby blanket by Angela from the Revelations of  Delusional Knitter podcast. The original pattern is in worsted weight yarn but I'm probably going to use DK and alter my needle size accordingly because I have loads of DK in my stash to use up. I've pulled out some colours for this already and bought the pattern, so again good intentions.

I have a a couple of babies looming this year from friends/family and so baby items are on the cards. As well as the Borderline blanket, I am also going to make the below King Cole Jacket. I've made it before and it's really quick to knit up. I will also have to make some other baby gifts, but I have yet to decide on what.

Finally, do you remember I was saying about needing few cardigans? I know I have the Autumn Berries pattern on the needles but I have also found this pretty but simple cardigan pattern from Sirdar and funnily enough, Deramores had the yarn on sale last week for 99p a ball! Bargain! At that price it was rude not to! The yarn hasn't come yet but I don't think I'm going to start it yet anyway. It's been quite hot here this week and knitting a chunky cardigan is not high on my priority list!

So lots of plan and ideas. What I really need is more time!