2015 and a new start

Happy New Year dear reader!

Pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable.  Tea?  Coffee?  something stronger?  Bovril?

I apologise for being away for so long, 2014 turned into a bit of write off for me, so know it’s done, dusted and hidden under the metaphorical rug we are starting again.  I think the best thing for me to do is to pretend that my long absence didn’t happen and we’ll just pick up where we left off.  Frankly I haven’t achieved much in that time, craftwise, so you’ll just have to trust me that you are not missing much.

As we start a bright new year I have several WiPs (of course, what a surprise) – I’m still working on Giovanninia, still loving it and the pattern is slowly starting to make sense (6 repeats in and 19 to go…) so is slowly working it’s way up the “I can work on this out of the house” listings.  Tirrold is also still ongoing, and I’m still in that 111 rows of 1×1 rib.  I also haven’t done much commuting so that had dented knitting time in that respect.  I also started another sweater Garland, a 1940’s inspired design, after I fell in love with the sample at FibreEast 2014.  It’s beaded and 4ply – I never make it easy for myself do I?  Laura is the one crochet project that is ongoing – in fact it’s in exactly the same place as it was when I last posted in May last year.  Naughty girl!  must do something about that, but it really requires concentration.

Achievements of 2014

Projects and Yarn from 2014

The little guy on the top right there ishalf pound bunny, and is one of two finished projects in 2014.  The other I didn’t get chance to photograph before it went to it’s new owner.  Half Pound Bunny is gorgeous though, and about 1/3 the size of the original one pound bunny.  I enjoyed making him, and he’s very loved in his new home.

Over Christmas I had the joy to be able to (finally) get round to visiting the wonderful Black Sheep Wools in Warrington.  It’s about 20 minutes from my parents, and I’ve been trying to drop in for a visit for the last 2 or 3 years.  A massive (compared to most UK yarn stores) warehouse of a place with everything from fun yarn to finest silks (and a tea shop, don’t forget the tea shop!) I may have lost a few hours due to yarn fumes.  Of course my visit coincided (accidentally) with their winter sale and I may have had a bit of a blow out.  Though to be fair I have bought very little yarn the last two years.

I came away with three packs of 10 skiens (oops)  – Rowan Siena 4ply, Rowan Creative Linen (dk) and Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran (10ply) – but it is a jumper worth in each case.  The 4ply had already been tagged to make Ice by Bernadette Ambergen, a beautiful pattern bought for me by a friend for my birthday.

I’m really looking forward to making this, and am having to be very disciplined in not picking up the needles immediately and discarding everything I’ve already got going on.  However I resigned from my day job in December, so might be going back to a regular commute rather than a cycle commute – at which point I need something nice and easy for the train rides.

The other project I was working on last time we spoke was a pattern designed for the beautiful Cumulus from fyberspates.  It’s finished and I’m 99% pleased with it – it’s going through testing before being made available to everyone, so watch this space. It’s exactly what I wanted, light, warm and perfect for halo yarns even though it’s crocheted rather than knit.  The one “downside” that I’m working out, is getting a better stretch to the cast on edge. I’ve tried a chainless foundation and (surprisingly) it doesn’t quite work, so i’m having to come at this one a bit laterally.

Cumulus Cowl

Cumulus Cowl

What I’m upto these days

Deep breath.  I am determined to try and update much more regularly than I have been.  Ok, that wouldn’t be terribly difficult to be fair.  My current aim is once a week – but we’ll see how realistic that turns out to be!

So, I need to update you on where  I am and what I’m doing.

My hands: still playing up – I’m just about to finish the 3rd course of steroids, as it would appear that steroids is the only thing that beats this thing (still unknown) into a cocked hat once the pain starts. Annoying, but at least we know what works even if we still have no idea what the triggers are (stress is still the favourite of the medical community).

I taught my first course of 2014 yesterday.  A lovely intimate course with three lovely lovely ladies who absolutely got everything I said and went away with lace weight yarn to make their own lovely variations of the Eva shawl.

I, myself, am working (as always) on several projects;

Giovannina – knitted lace rectangular shawl designed by Franklin Habit in lace weight Wollemeise.  Enjoying this project immensely, but it’s a little too concentration worthy to be a commute/t.v. watching project.  It’s growing, but it’s very slow  Given I bought the pattern and the yarn in 2011 there obviously isn’t any rush.  I’ve only another 19 repeats of the pattern to do.

Laura – crochet side to side crescent shawl by Lily Go in Fyberspace ‘lace’.  I say ‘lace’ it’s closer to a cobweb weight.  I’m adding beads to this as well – size 11 seedbeads.  Definitely not a ‘I’m not really thinking about this project’ and it’s going to take the proverbial “while”. It is however going to be stunning when completed.

I needed a project that I didn’t need to focus on quite so much, so (having been out and bought new needles specifically for the project) I’ve cast on for Tirrol by Fyberspates, in Fyberspates lace (see above).  It’s a sweater knit on 2.5mm needles.  And this is my ‘mindless’ project  What was I thinking?  Though I love the idea of getting a sweater out of a single (small) skein.  I have 111 rows of 2×2 rib to do first so again, this could take a while – but at least I can do it on the train / in a waiting room / watching TV / at knit group…

Finally about to research and do a genuinely quick project as a display sample for Purlescence – a crochet cowl in the glorious new yarn Cumulus.  It’s like a ‘thick’ version of kid-silk haze (it pretends to be a 4ply) and comes in the most stunning colours.  I have a ball of bottle green to play with and I’m thinking floaty light lace.  For those of you who want the technical details it’s 150m/164yds per 25gms, 3mm-5mm needles recommended, and is a blend of 74% baby suri alpaca and 26% mulberry silk.  It has a lovely halo and is very soft

Right  I must crack on.  I’ll try and take photographs for next week!

The problem of a new project…

So my finishing of projects over the summer leaves me in the odd situation of having no major projects on needles or hooks.

Ok, I have a few rows on a secret project to finish, and a thrummed muff that is staring at from the corner but I want to start something new.  As you know well, a new project has to fulfil several ‘rules’, and these rules will change depending on what the project needs to fulfil.

  • I want to use up some of my gorgeous laceweight or lighter yarns
  • I probably (therefore) want a shawl -but I’m not sure I want another triangle
  • I have a long coach journey in the middle of next month so whatever project I start can’t be too fiddly or complicated
  • I don’t want a boring project
  • I’d quite like it to be blue, don’t know why, just would – you know how it goes.

Now, I have lots of projects that don’t fit the ‘must be done on a coach’  requirement – small beads, complex lace charts, fiddly stitches… In fact I was surprised at how many projects I have that fall into that category.

The list of projects that can be done on a coach is much, much smaller but also contains stuff that is full of rows and rows and rows of boring garter or stockinette stitch.  So, I have:

  1. The Tirrold Jumper – laceweight, purple, bottom-up jumper sweater with an eventual  interesting lace panel at the top.  The yards of stockinette and rib have to be done at some point!
  2. The Textured Shawl – I have a raft of dark green mirasol K’acha marked for this.  DK weight, enough variance to be interesting but it’s triangular
  3. Thin Ice – easy pattern with a little variance to keep it interesting, blue, lace on the bottom edge and beads if I want to add them.  also triangular
  4. Finally, Laura is a crochet project that I’ve had in my queue for a while.  It’s beaded, so not appropriate coach crafting but I have some lovely fyberspates purple lace that didn’t work for the project I bought it for or I could go a little heavier and use the 4ply seasilk I have. I also don’t have a crochet project on the go at the moment, so I might just “cast” this one on as well – despite the fact I’d have to buy beads!

So, having done all that I think I’m going to cast on the Thin Ice and have that as this month’s project  -and maybe take the Tirrold as a ‘back up’ project for the coach if I’ve got to the complex bit of Thin Ice by then…

Of course in the process of trying to decide what to do next I emptied out my entire stash onto the study floor and even had a bit of clear out (gosh, go me!) – as do I really need that half skein of bright orange acrylic?  i’ve tagged the yarns I have for specific projects and made a list – I might even check it twice!  have lots of things to for the next few months now at least.

Right, best get started then..