Knitting

The Very Best of Amature Hour Episode 1

So here you have it folks! My first ever full length podcast… complete with reflections in my glasses, non focusing projects and a dog that really wanted in on the action too! The irony being that as soon as I turn the cameras off and settle down to edit Eve and Hutch are as good as gold little monkeys they couldn’t behave when I was filing.  I’ve included some out takes at the end of the filming too. mind you this has taken me a good two days to write and upload the podcast… everything is a learning curve, Eve’s been fractious this morning and so this podcast is brought to you by a frantic rocking motion whilst singing the baby shark song….! Happy easter folks.

So things that I mention and the places I bought them… found them… general information and rambling.

Riverknits Yarn – www.riverknits.co.uk  – Bobble Marley hat pattern – Ravelry

Baby Long Legs Yarn & Fibre – www.babylonglegs.co.uk

The Little Grey Sheep – www.thelittlegreysheep.co.uk

Stranded Dyeworks – Amy Florence – www.strandeddyeworks.co.uk

Rachel Coopey – Birstwith Hat Pattern

Coop knit Sock Yeah yarn & print vesion of Toasty 2 – www.coopknits.co.uk

I purchased my Fringe Field bag from YAK in Brighton

The Olann sock yarn is from The loveliest Yarn company in Nottingham

My Lykke short 3.5″ needles are from A Yarn Story in Bath

Project page for my short socks including pattern notes and the patterns used in my Ravelry projects page.

Pattern for brioche mini shawls available through Ravelry here as well as some great examples on how people have adapted the patterns to make full size shawls.

Thankyou for watching the podcast… production quality will improve… I promise I will also stop playing with my hair and saying Ummm & ‘Right’ so much in the next one… A definite learning process.

Adventures, Yoga

Yoga… Day one with mum

I’m not very good at yoga… & by the accommodating nature of yoga its self, to not be very good at it takes a lot of effort. I have abandoned my yoga practice in the last year or so and that’s been due to baby and my own laziness and ability to make excuses or always finding something else to do instead. I am in need of some self-care now. Labour and birth of our beautiful daughter have taken its toll on my body and 11 and a half whole weeks after her birth I’m just about at a point where I feel that I might be able to sit cross-legged on a stack of cushions without something popping out!

So on a wet and windy Thursday morning after a difficult night and half a gallon of coffee I decided there are no time like the present. The baby and dog had other grand plans of their own…

Waiting until they were both asleep isn’t an option for me, Eve now likes to be in the thick of everything and unless I take her out for a walk I have no hope of her falling asleep… So she’s tucked up in her baby bouncer… The dog, safely installed on the sofa will be the least of my troubles of course.

Ambitiously I am attempting 30 days with Adrienne, a you tube accessible yoga routine that I hoped would break me back into the practice and help me find my head space, my calm and what was left of my inner strength within this shredded post partum husk of what I now call a body. The fourth trimaester is definately the most difficult.

I was surprised after putting baby into bouncer and gearing up my you tube this morning how comforting it felt to be sitting on the floor and grounding myself again… I had long given up hope of finding my yoga mat under the piles of wood and tools that had been rammed on top of it in the mini dumping ground under the stairs so a baby blanket and cushion was more than adequate.

Nothing was going to stand in my way of getting 5 minuets peace and the badge of honour to say I tried…

On goes the video…

shuffle shuffle… cushion under butt… breathe, center, tell dog off, pause video, tell dog to get out, breathe, centre, turn video back on…

Hit in face with stinky dog toy….

Laugh (first time this morning)

Try again, make it to stretching up in the air… F*&K me that hurts! What the F**kadandilly have I done to my shoulders and arms?

White noise on to settle the now grumpy baby… and a push in her bouncer.

This really isn’t happening for me today. First set I managed an indulgent 7 minuets before I gave up and had to focus my attentions elsewhere… Back to motherhood and the now fractious baby. However after a feed and louder while noise played through my now dying phone, I managed to get back to the rug (never did find my yoga mat) and the baby blanket on the floor to complete my yoga practice.

I DID IT!

Completed the whole practice amazingly enough. There is a part of me that knew this would be a challenge which is the main reason that I wanted to under take it at home and not in a class. I know that I would need to take it easy, to really feel the differences within my new body. The thing that I really didn’t expect was the intense emotional release that hit me after finishing the practice… Why did I want to cry and cry hard? I denied myself the cry… opting instead for more coffee and to find a pair of socks for my now frozen feet (Hadn’t realised quite how draughty my floor is). Was it the release of muscle tension…? Of all of the memories and stress that I’ve been bunching up deep in my muscles. Or was it simply the joy of finally managing to carve out a full 34 minuets and 56 seconds… Just for me, to care for myself and honour myself enough as much as i do others, to think of myself as a human being again and one that needs to be cared for. To trust that baby (in front of me dozing) my Husband (sleeping off a night shift) the dog (now having given up trying to join in yoga and curled up asleep next to my husband) and everyone else that I hold in my heart and worry about/feel I need to care for… that they will all be okay for the sum of time that it takes me to do this one thing.

I didn’t expect that at all. Wonder what I will learn about tomorrow.

Knitting, Socks

Upside Down Monkeys

I have wanted to knit myself a pair of the Cookie A ‘Monkey Socks’ for quite some time. I think I must be the only sock knitter without a pair and the simple yarn over increases and single stitch decreases create an easy to memorise pattern that is an addicitve knit.

So in true ‘change everything but keep the identity’ style I cast on a pair of toe up monkeys. The pattern on Knitty calls for 2.5mm needles. I thought that was going to be a liitle loose for a 64 stitch pattern as I knit all of my socks on 2.25mm needles at 64 stitches… So I ignored that part of the pattern and used 2.25mm needles it’s worked perfectly, very pleased I went down a size.

For the heel I used Nathan Taylors toe up sock heel with a gusset (my first time knitting one of these in a long time!) a bit of maths and some tounge poking out the side of my mouth concentrating later I bloody well managed it! Pat on the back to me at 3 am in the morning while feeding Eve.

I’ve made the socks cropped with added shortrows at the back to create a lip so they dont roll into my trainiers and bunch up under my feet… In theory and it adds a little attractive extra detail when I’m wearing them that I really like

These are my perfect springtime sport sock… I love wearing Converse trainers and these I’ve designed to fit perfectly about half an inch above ther top line of my shoes.

Details:

Yarn – Stranded Dyeworks Plateau sockblank in the Koi Colourway

Needles – Hiya Hiya sharp 2.25mm & 2mm Chiagoo mini interchangables for the top

Stitch Markers – Friperies & Bibelots snag free mini O’rings.

Leather Knitting Bag – Handmade by me

Knitting

WIP Wednesday – What’s on the needles?

In a bid to kickstart more regular posts I’m going to start a bi-weekly WIP segment… Bit of motivation and I love watching and reading about other peoples WIP’s, yarn choices and modifications. So kicking off with Brioche!!…

Double Denim Marl

So as part of the pattern selection I’m putting together at the moment I’m knitting up some samples and after knitting sooo many Bobble Marley hats my marling mojo is in full swing. I also wanted something a little quicker than just 4ply, so using a 5mm needle and a collection of Coop Knits Sock Yeah that I’d lined up for a broke the that wasn’t working for the project I intended it too.

Using grey, blues and greens I’ve colour graded the shawl with a mixture of one and two colour Brioche. I’ve even made tassels!! Bloody love a tassel… Don’t know why I don’t own anything with tassels on! So far this has been a quick enough knit, I’ve enjoyed watching my progress and getting from one colour change to the next. Still undecided as to whether or not I’m going to add a scalloped edge to the shawl but that might be a little more than my tired brain can handle at the moment. I’m currently working with this incredible teal colour that I use love! Sock Yeah yarn is lightly marled as it is, if you look closely there is such depth to this yarn that makes it a real pleasure to watch run through your fingers… I just love it. I’m hoping to have this one finished in the next week or so, if I can keep the motivation up!

White Horse Jumper

I keep wanting to write sweater… it’s not, its a jumper I’ve taken on the ‘sweater’ Americanism (nothing wrong with that). This project has been on my needles for quite some time and I’m now about 5″ into the body… I desperately want to get this finished to wear before the summer gets too warm.

I’m knitting it from 100% BFL from Riverknits in the Gringer Nut colour way that Becci dyed specifically for me for this project… such a talented woman! I’ve tried it on… It fits so far (always a bonus, especially as I started it whilst pregnant and my decision making processes were slightly impaired by hormones and sleep deprivation)

Thinking that I might make it cropped as I really love the way it looks with cropped sleeves and a slightly shorted body – I’m making a medium size so that it fits and flatters my new postpartum body.

Toe Up Monkeys

I’ve wanted to knit a pair of these for a long time, they’ve been in my queue for quite some time… I’m knitting these using a sock blank purchased from Amy of Stranded Dyeworks. This is her Koi colour way and I think it works perfectly for this pattern.

I’ve not yet knitted a toe up sock with a heel flap and gusset but a friend recommended the sock maticians formula for toe up socks. I’ve got to the point where I need to turn the heel but I haven’t yet had a chance to sit and read through the pattern so I know what I’m doing without distractions (very difficult with a new baby).

Some people like to unravel their sock blanks and block then residing them before knitting with them, I love knitting strait from the blank but it does mean that I need to block anything I knit from them fairly aggressively after finishing, it effects my gauge very slightly but not enough to bother me. I’ve used 2 of Amy’s sock blanks before… They’re somewhat of an addiction! Great dye saturation and the colours she picks I really like. Not my usual colour choice ‘Koi’ is oranges, pinks, whites topped off with black speckles, so much fun to knit with and I’m really looking forward to wearing these.

Knitting

Instant Hatification – Stranded for Stranded

I watch a great podcast by Amy Florence – of Stranded Dyeworks. Amy is a very talented knitter and her podcast is really informative. Recently she’s been knitting Dipyrmid hats, this is a colour work hat knitted in the round from the bottom up using two colours. I love Amy’s examples of the hats, she uses her colour ways in different variegated and a semisolid yarn. I have a hank of Amy’s DK super wash merino in my treasured stash in the colourway ‘Naive Watercolour’ I’m pairing it with a bright blue hank of John Arbon’s organically farmed Falkland merino number ‘KBN37’. I’m hoping it’s going to work… There’s something that doesn’t quite add up with the pairing at the moment but we will see what starts to happen with my colour work starts… between then and now I have 4″ of ribbing!!

Ive put together a hank of grey KBN03 and Amy’s Mettlesome too if I like the first hat although I may end up mixing and matching… grey with the Naive Watercolour… decisions decisions! I’ve not knitted a colourwork hat or indeed any hat really without changing the needle size between the main hat and the ribbing… normally I go down a needle size for ribbing, this pattern doesn’t. I’m definitely putting in a lifeline and going up a needle size for the colourwork… We’ll see ow it goes. I’m knitting this for a prezzie… If it doesn’t work it’ll be mine (unless I can be bothered to rip it back) I’m my own worst enemy, I rarely swatch.

Needles – 3.25 mm Lykke 3.5″ small needles and then changing to 3.5mm for the colourwork as I know I knit a tighter gauge with colourwork and I want the hat to have some slouch to it.

This will be my first attempt using slippery yarn for colourwork… It might go terribly badly and end up being a blocked colour cable hat… but you never know! Thinking I may also need to use the longer 5″ needle tips to make sure that I’m getting the floats long enough.

Knitting

Coop Knits and The Little Grey Sheep

For quite some time I’ve been inspired by the colour work that other people are able to produce and I’ve wanted to be able to create similar stunning pieces but I haven’t been able to get my tension right, it’s been lumpy and has as a result left me feeling really flat about the whole affair.

After meeting Rachel Coopey at Unravel earlier this year and falling in love with her hat pattern Birstwith I purchased some mini’s from ‘The Little Grey Sheep’ and decided to give it a go again! Making an adjustment to the way that I hold my yarn in my left hand has made a world of difference… Arne and Carlos have a number of tutorials on their website and I combined their technique with my own and came up with an effective way of knitting with two colours rat really seems to have worked.

After having Eve, everything has taken a bit of a back seat, my knitting included. This has given me the much needed confidence kick that I needed to get back on track. Just in time for spring!

I cant recommend this yarn enough, it’s perfect for colour work and it’s so beautiful to work with. They have a wonderful selection of colours and it’s the perfect combination of soft and lofty with the grippy quality that’s perfect for colourwork. Love it.

Knitting, WIP Wednesday

Experimenting With Colour, Shape and Texture

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my knitting that I forget that knitting is my freedom and my meditation. I’ts an easy thing to forget… especially when you’re already stressed and wound up.

I started a project months ago after seeing an episode of Skeindeer knits where Elli had completed and interesting shaped shawl. Something about that shawl sparked my imagination and a need to experiment. I have a small collection of Wollmeise yarn that I purchased about 5 years ago when you cold only get grab bags in an update from them (Unless you were super quick and knew exactly what you wanted). So, using a 150g skein of my favourite green Wollmeise and a 100g sock black from Stranded dye works I set about experimenting with colour and shape.

I really enjoyed playing with different textures within the colours I had chosen and finding out what patterns really made the colours sing. I am purposefully not writing a pattern for this shawl so that I really can just play with it and knit what I want to into it. It’s a brilliant way of freeing my very cluttered mind at the moment! Knitting meditation!

Hoping to have it finished fairly soon!

Nu xx