Autumn leaves stole – just in time for the weather getting colder!

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Ideally I would have used some lovely pictures taken in the park with lots of lovely autumn leaves around but it’s mainly been raining so you’ll have to make do with a self-timer picture and a messy bedroom….

Autumn knitting can often be a race against time to get your toasty new garments ready for the weather to turn. I’m sure that there are organised people out there who start at the end of summer to make sure they have their stuff ready on time but I am not one of them! Luckily for me the autumn has been pretty mild in the UK so far and I have cast off my Autumn Leaves Stole just in time for the winter chill to start creeping in!

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I used Garnstudio DROPS Alaska in 58 Senf. It felt like a bold choice when I ordered it as I often stick to greys and browns but I love it!  I’m really into oranges and yellows at the moment, it must be the change of seasons! The wool was a total bargain £1.60 a ball from The Wool Warehouse. I was slightly concerned that the wool wouldn’t be soft enough when I first started knitting with it but now it’s been washed it’s lovely and soft!

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This is the first project I’ve made on my cubic needles. I’m really pleased with them and I’m sure that they have helped my hands. Luckily you can’t spot where I switched from round needles to the cubics!

The pattern is really simple to follow and the repeats are easy to remember. It looks like it’s going to be quite small until you block it and then it grows massively!  I was really good and did a proper kitchener stitch to joint the two pieces together. I’m glad I made the effort as it looks really good and you can’t see the join at all!

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I wanted to make sure that I didn’t lose the points at the end of the leaves and the width of the stole in blocking so I made more effort that usual. I stretched it right out and fiddled about until I could find an angle that I could fit it across the bed (it’s massive so that was a bit difficult!) and then pinned it down to the duvet. I wasn’t quite sure if it  would work or if the pins would rust but in the end it turned out just fine!

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Here it is blocking out the (slightly messy) spare bed. I’m not sure what I thought that towel would achieve!

I’m super pleased with how it’s turned out. I’ve worn it a couple of times now and it’s really warm and snuggly plus the colour is so cheerful on a dark rainy day.

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Bridgewater blanket finished!

my finished Bridgewater blanket

I liked the Bridgewater I made for my Mum earlier in the year so much that I wanted to make a version for myself. It’s a fairly time-consuming project and I would have gone a bit mad if I had to work on exactly the same thing twice so I used 4 ply and 4mm needles to make it more of a blanket. I used Drops Alpaca and with the 4mm needles it gives an open fabric and a lovely soft blanket which I think looks very pretty. Drops Alpaca is almost certainly my current favourite wool.

The last time I made this project I made the rather fatal error of using dark wool which made the lace sections almost impossible to see in anything but bright daylight. I learnt my lesson this time around and used a nice light grey. I really like the colour and think it compliments the pattern very nicely.

It's hard to take a picture which shows how huge it is but this gives you an idea. Please excuse the messy book shelf!

As I was using much bigger needles I knew that it would turn out large but I didn’t realise quite how big it would get. As it’s knitted in the round for the final section before casting off I didn’t find out how huge it would be until I was casting off. I think that’s a good thing though as it makes it all the more snuggly.

The next time I’m making a lace project I really should invest in proper blocking pins. I tend to use ‘blocking’ as a rather extravagant term for washing and then stretching out on the spare bed on a towel. I know I’d get a much better finish and cleaner edges if I blocked properly. Perhaps I should make proper blocking my New Years resolution (maybe along with actually making a tension square…..).

 

I’m really pleased that it’s come out like a proper blanket and I’m really looking forward to snuggling up under it to watch TV or read a book. I am going to have to be very careful to keep the rabbits away from it though as it is exactly the kind of thing they like to chew!

Snowbird

Snowbird is finished, blocked and dried. I wasn’t sure about it at first so I thought I’d try the time-honoured trick of putting it away for a bit to see if it grows on me. I’ve just dug it out for some Ravelry pictures and I’m slightly annoyed that I’m still not keen.


Don’t get me wrong, the pattern is lovely and some the finished versions I’ve seen look great but I’m just not sure about mine. I’ve narrowed it down to a few possibilities

a)it’s too long on me

b) I should have used the suggested wool rather than one which I already kind of new would be too small so it’s kind of narrow

c)it’s summer so a winter cardy isn’t very appealing

I am very much hoping for C. So with optimism I’m going to put Snowbird back into the cupboard until the autumn comes.

In with the new

So snowbirdis finished, collar sewn on and drying out. Hopefully the magic of blocking will make it grow and also look a bit more like the lovely picture on the pattern.The reverse stocking stitch on the sleeves, collar and sleeves wants to curl in at the end as I can’t be botherd with proper pinning and blocking I might have to try and pass that off as a design feature.  I’ve tried it on pre blocking and I’m optimistic that it will be alright. Maybe just wear around the house alright granted but definitely wearable.

I always get really exciting about starting new projects. I suspect it might be the clean slate element. That and the lovely new wool. It’s hard not to get sick of staring at the same wool in the same colour for weeks on end so the opportunity to work with one is a welcome relief!

Normally I’ve decided what my next project will be and got the wool way before I finish the old one but this time it’s taken me ages to decided what I want to do. Despite my best efforts not to make yet another project in felted tweed everything I like seems to be crying out for some lovely tweedyness!  In the end I gave in and decided to make a minimalist cardigan out of a nice light grey shade.

Having had my hiatus from felted tweed for Snowbird I’m keen to get back to my favourite wool. It’s not too expensive, hides little mistakes, drapes nicely , and it doesn’t curl up on the ends like the alpaca I’ve just been using. Even the texture and the colour palette are awesome! Of course there is a saturation point at which a girl must accept that she has a wardrobe full of cardigans knitted out of felted tweed, but it turns out that day isn’t today.

Faith, hope and blocking

I have been very excited about my current project Snowbird by Heidi Kirrmaier. I got the idea from a knitting friend.  I turned up for some Christmas drinks and dancing in possibly the thinnest cardigan I own. Given that I really feel the cold and am often sporting multiple layers and a double cardigan in the winter this was an odd mistake on my part especially as London was covered in a fine layer of snow at the time.  I can only put it down to being very excited about the new dress I was wearing that night. When I had shivered my way through Bloomsbury to meet my friends I found them all very sensibly attired and layered up. A friend had her snowbird with her and let me borrow it to get myself warmed up. I was so taken by the comfy slochyness that I had to make one for myself.

I found some amazing fairly traded wool from a friend’s shop (Knit with attitude in case you’re interested). It’s beautiful alpaca in a rather lovely maroon colour. I was very proud of myself for not buying my usual green felted tweed and excited about my lovely new cardigan. I’ve really enjoyed the pattern and the is great to work with. Somehow I’ve managed not to make any massive mistakes (that I’ve noticed) and other than a slight issue with the sleeve (when I seemed to forget how to count for some reason) I haven’t had to re-knit anything.

So far so good. However, because of the size of circular needles I’m using even though it’s top down I’m unable to try it on properly and see how it will fit. The stocking stitch panels on the border have also curled in slightly making it impossible to tell if it will come out with the baggy fit I was aiming for or not. I’m also suspicious that the wool is a 4 ply even though it is allegedly a double-knit. Luckily my knitting is very loose and normally comes out bigger than it’s supposed to be however I can’t help but worry that after a good few weeks knitting I might end up with an overly snug and slightly unflattering cardigan. Despite this I am determined to finish my Snowbird in the hope that the magic of blocking will solve all my problems. I’ll finish the pockets and the bottom stocking stitch section, sew up the collar and with a little luck post blocking I’ll have the snuggly warm cardigan I’ve been looking forward to. Luckily for me I am sure that the joys of the British ‘summer’ will give me plenty of opportunities to wear it!