manchester shawl update

I am completely overwhelmed by the response to the publication of the Manchester Shawl a couple of weeks ago.  Thank you to everyone who had purchased and given me very positive feedback.  This has been a MASSIVE confidence boost to me and I am now looking at ways I can make 2017 my year of designing and publishing.  I have lots of shawls made that I need to write up, and design ideas that I need to work through!

At the moment I’m working on a Tunisian shawl design.  I had looked for a shawl that had certain elements and found lots of shawls that were *nearly* right but nothing that was *exactly* right.  So decided to make my own.  After lots of false starts and ‘almost’ rights (I like this, and this but not that….) I think I finally have a combination that is working so that is finally coming alongTunisian Under Wraps

I’m loving the yarn though.

Talking of yarn I’ve decided that I need to pull out the Stash and reorganise it all (again).  I need to order some boxes for it and dedicate a day to putting it all on the floor and then back into some better order.  At the moment I have two large boxes (and several smaller ones.  And maybe a couple of drawers.  And my ‘current project bags’……oh dear) which is ‘sorted’ into UNDER 4ply and OVER 4ply.

As much as I love those beautiful photos of rainbow cascading yarn cakes, it just isn’t practical with my life and I really don’t need to split by colour group or fibre – it’s not that kind of stash.  Frankly if I sorted my stash into ‘yarn with silk’ I’d have one huge pile and a couple of balls of cotton.  So I’m thinking a box per yarn weight/WPI so when I decide next year to design something in DK or 4ply or cobweb I can just pull out that box for a play and inspiration.

Does anybody else do this?  Have a system for something for years and then suddenly one day realise it’s not working anymore?

I don’t have a free weekend until October – but watch out for a photo update!



Perfect Weekend Sweater

Last October I went to the Knit and Stitch show at Alexandra Palace and scored 10 skeins of Artesano cotton for £30.

I wanted a ‘throw on’ weekend sweater for an upcoming holiday and the cotton was lying there looking at me.  A search of drops gave me a base pattern and after some modifications I ended up with…

cotton sweater side viewcotton sweater  front viewI adjusted the waist shaping and hem, added a moss stitch edging, added the same shaping to the sleeves and added the collar.

However, my crafting friends really weren’t convinced by the pooling. Most objecting to the ‘fingers’ over the bust line and hips, other objecting to the change between the bust, waist (where there are no increases) and hem.

I’ll be honest it didn’t bother me, but I wasn’t massively attached to the result so decided to try something I hadn’t done before, but for which cotton was perfectly suited.  Overdying.

Now, I’ve dyed other things in the past – garments that needed refreshing, tablecloths to match the wall paint etc… but these were all fabric and I hadn’t dyed something I had made before, and I definitely hadn’t bleached something deliberately before.  The internet was surprisingly unforthcoming about the best bleach and amounts to use.  I settled on Cillit Bang Bleach and Hygiene (it’s a purple bottle and picked up mine at Wilkinsons).  I ran a couple of inches of water into my bath (enough to cover the sweater just about) and added 100 squirts of the bleach.  After an hour, with the occasional swirl and turning over after 30 minutes I had this…

cotton sweater bleachedIt *really* didn’t bleach out the way I expected it to.  For some reason I wasn’t expecting pinks!

After that it was a simple case of throwing it into the washing machine with a 500g packet of Dylon machine die in French Navy.  A cycle later and I had this…

cotton sweater dyedand I LOVE it.

While the picture above looks like a solid hue, it really isn’t – there is beautiful, subtle tonal shifts throughout the sweater that show up in different lights.  I took a photo with flash to try and show this, so while the colour is (very) washed out – this does give an idea of the tonal changes…20160814_085716All in all I love it – I’ve had several comments on it while wearing it (including being asked if I frogged the original jumper) and it was a really interesting process.

I have worn it A LOT since I finished it (in fact I’m wearing it today).  For £30 (well less, I still have 4 skeins left) and the cost of the bleach/dye I am delighted.

cotton-sweater finished

Have you ever dyed anything?