Knitting, WIP Wednesday

Woollen Spun Fun

I posted last week about some dream knitting that I was hoping to embark on in the form of Joji’s ‘The Easy One’ knit from Brooklyn Tweed Loft. I did get round to starting it and today I joined under the arms so I am now part way into the long stockinette body.

Truth be told I’m really enjoying this knit. Joji’s pattern is written beautifully and it is simple enough for even my sleep deprived brain to cope with. The yarn is perfection… lofty and soft it’s just the most amazing experience to knit with but this leads me to an over riding dilemma. I adore this yarn but I recently had my attention drawn to the fact that Brooklyn Tweed were less than ethical in their methods and have in fact copied another small yarn producers work. I found this very sad… That even in the knitting community this is going on. I will profess to not knowing all of the facts as I’ve not phoned them and spoken to them personally about it, I am however resolved to buy from smaller companies on a more personal basis and with that in mind I purchased a jumper quantity of yarn from Garthenor on a recent trip to Yarningham last weekend…. Ops!

Back to the relevant information on this WIP, I’m in stockinette city now. I’m thinking about adding a little texture to the jumper further down but for the moment I’ve got a little while of knit all to do, which I don’t really mind. It’s odd, it doesn’t feel like its growing but I know that it is… I’ve put progress keepers on!

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, 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

Knitting, Knitting Accessories

Perfect Imperfections

I’ve been making these soft leather knitting bags for a couple of months now, they’re a job that I really enjoy doing… Each one has it’s own unique character and markings. The leather I use is this beautiful buttery soft conker colour that glows in the evening sun… Perfect for autumn!

Each leather hide is different, it’s part of the joy and the frustration of working with this medium. I’ve had hides that have needed to be returned as they really just aren’t usable and likewise I’ve had hides that are just too beautiful and special that I want to keep hold of them!

Today was a day of getting orders completed for sending… It was quite a sad day actually, I absolutely love making these bags but in the build up to Christmas I’m also having to slow down and not do so much as my pregnancy is progressing. This is the last batch of these bags that I plan to make until I come back to work next September. I love my work and I’m not looking forward to finally packing everything down into boxes ready for babies arrival (don’t get me wrong I’m excited about the next step with bump but my work is my headspace and my peace… I love to create).

I realised this morning as I was planning and pattern cutting the leather that I didn’t yet have a bag for myself. I’d always intended on making myself one but somehow never quite got round to it.

When cutting leather I like to lay the hide out and plan where to cut pieces, choosing the strongest, cleanest and most durable leather to fulfil my orders. But today that left me with this piece… a large enough piece to make a bag but with a hole in (either from the skinning or tanning progress). Not wanting to waste that amount of leather I decided to make a feature out of it. This bag is about 3” larger than any knitting bag I’ve made before and as it’s for me I added a stitch marker holder on the outside and an internal patch and flap pocket (two pockets only one stitch line brilliant!… See pic above for outside back view and below for internal view).

The bag is made using leather closer to what would be the cows belly and so it’s softer than I would use for a customers bag but fine for me. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with the leather taken from that area, it’s just more fibrous and prone to stretching.

So what of the little hole? Well I patched it with a beautiful rustic red colour and then hand stitched round the outside of the hole using my favourite stitch, one that I used to use to decorate the backs of hand stitched leather shoes and boots. Part of me wishes that there had been a couple more natural holes to decorate in this manor and I just love the stitching!

Such a small and seemingly simple ‘flaw’ but one that I have completely fallen in love with.

So a special bag calls for special contents, I’m keeping my Riverknits custom dye ‘Gringer Nut’ in there ready to become my Whitehorse jumper.

Hope you’re all having a fab knitty weekend and enjoyed seeing a little into the process of how things are made and developed.

Nu xx

Knitting

Where It All Began

I haven’t yet shared the story of how I came to be a knitter… Well it all started with a reenactment fair, a very unhappy relationship, realising that I might not be as academically minded as I would like and one ‘Happy Hooker’.

I can remember the exact point that it started… The desire to create. I had of course been introduced to plastic yarn, tight stitches and sticky metal needles sometime in my teens and found it a surprisingly stressful experience and not one I wished to continue with.

Walking round TORM (The Original Reenactors Market) in Coventry I stumbled across an incredible scarf that a woman had made up as a show sample. It was a simple (to her, but pure magic to me) treble crochet stitch scarf in a block pattern but done with colourful fingering weight silk and a fine hook… Wow! At that point in my life I had no creativity and very little colour whatsoever, I was at university doing a degree that would provide me with a future (or so I thought) but it didn’t speak to my soul like this little scarf had done!

I remember buying some bits and pieces from this lady and as part of that package there was a little 4mm wooden crochet hook and a skein of natural hand dyed blue yarn… It didn’t take long for a friends girlfriend to sit my down in the pub (I just happened to have the hook and newly wound ball with me at this point) and show me how to create a foundation chain and some basic stitches. That was it… I couldn’t stop!

It was a creative addiction that consumed me, something colourful and positive in my life to feed my imagination and drive me forward.

At first I thought there would be no way that I would ever transition to knitting. It looked so bloody complicated and at this point there were no YouTube videos or Ravelry… Just me and books! But slowly and surely I started to experiment. I was living in Oxford at the time and there was a lovely ladies clothing shop with a yarn section at the back in Jericho… So from here I bought my first set of knitting needles (Brittany Birch Needles) and some chunky yarn, I made a pair of two colour fingerless mittens… really badly sewn together with a thumb hole half way up but I didn’t care they were mine and I’d made them… I’d actually knitted them!

I now cannot imagine my life without knitting… It’s got me though some serious lows in my life and has remained the constant love. I do turn to crochet from time to time and for a while I worked with a shoemaker and designed some increadible one of a kind pieces.

Even though my roots are in crochet…. I am a Knitter!

Nu xx