Let’s Knit Baarbara The Sheep

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Just a quick one as the crazy start of term workload monster is tapping at my door. For once this isn’t a picture of Cat, this is a cute little sheep knit from the Let’s Knit kit “Barbara”. I was in the mood for a quick win, and I have been meaning to work my way through the bag of knit kits I have been hoarding.

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A lesser person would remind everyone that KnitWit also made one, even she admitted that hers has a slightly mutant quality to it. I will leave it to her to decide whether or not to hyperlink to that post…..

(KnitWit: Ok, fine – here it is! It may look like this sheep has grown up near a nuclear power station, but it photographs well!)

KnitWit’s Sheep

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For now, I will pet my new fluffy toy and see what other quick wins I can fit in among the start of term work-nado currently blasting through my evenings.

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I wonder if I have enough fluffy yarn to make a black sheep…..

Woolly Outings x 3

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A few years back there was a knitting extravaganza, right on my doorstep. Did I notice? No! I probably had my head in a nappy or some such glamorous pursuit. Look at me now though, on the ball! There are three exciting knitting things coming up, and I’ve finally had the time in life to read the whole article about said knitting event in full. This may sound minor (or conversely unobtainable for those with babies/toddlers), but reading whole articles uninterrupted really is a giant leap for mother-kind.

So, first up – the big one. Alexandra Palace – The Knitting & Stitching show 2014.

8th-12th October 2014

“The Knitting & Stitching Show is the definitive event for anyone with a love of stitch and crafts. Whatever your craft passion it is the perfect place to find inspiration, learn new skills and shop for all your essential supplies. Tickets on sale now!”

This is the highlight of LouBug’s year (no, really). The show that gets her in her car as she takes the white knuckle ride round the M25 all the way to North London. She then proceeds to spend every penny she has, load up her car, and when she gets home…deny, deny, deny! Luckily Mr LouBug has a PhD in philosophy, so he is thinking far higher thoughts and hasn’t time to dwell on the dent in their finances. I usually come home with bags of chunky yarn, ready for those essential snoods and scarves that I definitely need in every colour…

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UK WOOL WEEK
Monday 6 October 2014 – Sunday 12 October 2014
From the 6th-12th October, the biggest celebration of wool returns for the annual Wool Week 

Am not sure what to expect from this, all I know is the big John Lewis in Oxford Street had exciting things last year, so I may go and have a look. Last year they had a load of knitters in the window knitting their way around a plain white room setting. Will be keeping my eyes peeled.

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Fashion and Textile Museum

There is an exhibition on at the moment at this museum called Knitwear: Chanel to Westwood which runs from Friday 19 September 2014 until 18 January 2015. According the blurb it features inspirational vintage fashion knitwear from the 20th Century. It certainly leans towards the more high-end and glamorous end of the knit, as opposed to the lumpy winter knitted jumper end. Perhaps some inspiration before heading the Alexandra Palace?

KnitWit

LouBug’s Back!

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Term has started and normal service should resume on the blog. A new school has opened up the interesting question of when should I let them know about my crazy knitting habit? I might hide it for a bit (as I tend to blog rather than knit at lunch these days) until they have got used to me. Until then I shall keep on crafting on the QT!

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Summer has been a funny one this year, with surprisingly little knitting going on. I blame the general oddness of leaving a job I have had for the best part of a decade, and the resulting freak-out, which has made sitting and knitting for any length of time difficult.

On the flip-side my kitchen has never been so clean and I re-decorated my studio! The best way to channel this lightning storm of energy was to turn to crafts that require more of my focus than knitting (so less brain space for freaking), so I have been mostly cross stitching. I will admit that I have always been a little lost with what to do with finished cross stitch, I have always enjoyed the basic process but I am not a massive fan of framing them as pictures. I had started putting them on project bags (win-win), but then I stumbled across this frame kit in my LYS and it seemed a perfect match. A plan was hatched and so, first up on the finished list, here is this cute little sheep coaster cross stitch combo.

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My plan is to make a set of these coasters (different pictures but all circled with coloured felt) and finally work through some of the mini kits I seem to have stock piled.   Depending on feedback, they might even edge towards the Christmas gift pile, however, Mr LouBug has already firmly turned down one so I might play it safe and stick to socks.

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My big finish of the summer, I can happily report, is the great yellow duck. I started it about three years ago and it has finally been finished!

Words cannot describe the relief to finally finish it, fun though it was I think I will stick to the mini kits for now. I decided to put it on a big project bag, and I think it works well against the pink. Remembering the “fun” I had fixing a previous patch (that was a good 1cm off centre), I took my time getting this on. I am proud how well it has turned out.  I was so impressed by this feat of stamina and stubbornness, that I have strategically put the bag out so that I can admire it while knitting. The red jumper that had been hibernating in the bag has now magically become a go-to project.

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I started this jumper earlier in the year (I think this was an accidental new year yarn buy) and based it on my big grey jumper pattern. Don’t worry folks, by the time it blocks it will fit my delicate frame (at the moment it looks like a good jumper for Jack Skellington). I have faith in my working out.

So if you hear a strangled yell of pain in about two weeks you know to send chocolate!

LouBug

Tangoed By A Knitted Scarf

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Here’s my latest effort – although, as ever, these terrible images just do not do this scarf justice. It’s orange. Really bright orange. Not even Peter Andre could match this shade, and even if he could I bet his skin doesn’t have light-reflecting particles in it, so there!

It is the same yarn that I used for the day-glow light-reflecting woolly hat earlier this year, the one with the pom-pom the size of a melon. When I put said hat on my young son’s head, his poor feeble neck could hardly hold it up. That pom-pom was heavy.

I deemed it too daft to wear myself, so duly gifted it to my first-born son. Who looks daft now though? Me with my mad high-vis scarf nicely matched with my six-year-old’s day-glow head…ho hum.

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Anyway, now for the science bit. I went for a slightly altered version of the open work infinity scarf I made a while ago, pattern taken from Knit 1 LA. With a 12 stitch cast on, it was easy to memorise the pattern and not mess up (in fact there isn’t a single mistake in this scarf, woop woop!). I even managed to complete a large chunky in the gloom of the cinema whilst watching Mr Peabody & Sherman.

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Row 1: Sl 1 (slip stitch as if to purl), *K1, (yo, k2tog) twice; repeat from * end k1
Repeat Row 1 every row until you have enough yarn left to bind off.

(Pattern thanks to Knit 1 LA)

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I left this scarf as a scarf, rather than a cowl, so didn’t sew the ends together. It definitely looks better this way, and the open knit makes it appear less bulky. The original infinity scarf was made from much chunkier yarn, but even with the open weave, it was still very, very chunky!

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KnitWit

Mad Hatter And The Giant Knitted Hat

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Oh yes, looks normal doesn’t it? Well – ta dah – it isn’t! Beneath this lovely (birthday gifted yarn – thanks LouBug) cabled and ribbed woolly hat is a crazy inner layer. Not on purpose, natch, but out of necessity.

Despite my best efforts, this hat came out HUGE. My first guess would be dodgy yarn substitution – which is a slight triumph over my last dodgy yarn sub, in the sense that at least this product is still just about wearable, and not teeny tiny doll size. Still, one cannot go around looking like a slightly bonkers Smurf, can one? Smurf was not my deduction by the way, but rather words uttered from my four-year-old’s as-yet-unable-to lie mouth. So assuming that he speaks the truth, the hat had to be ‘dealt with’.

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I tried numerous jaunty angles and styles, all as hideous as the next. The only way to make this head-warming-delight even slightly ok was to basically halve it. So, I turned the bottom half into the top half, which by some stroke of luck just left the lovely new yarn on view, and has hidden the older, duller yarn.

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One the one hand, I can see that braced against the bitter arctic winds of the upcoming winter I shall be exceptionally toasty. On the other hand, this additional woolly padding does make my head look exceptionally large. Not Cindy doll large, but just enough to give me an Ally McBeal edge.

To counter this unsightly look, I’m going to fashion a large pom-pom to sew onto the top to balance out the width. Perhaps even a pair of 1980s shoulder pads would work, or one of those jackets that look like boiler lagging? Until the weather turns, I still have time to source one of those Puffa jackets from my youth – do they still exist?

For those of you who are tempted to give this a go – the pattern was Tala from Rowan’s Easy Winter Knits and the bright pink yarn which slowly goes into black was Katia CAP ‘junior’, colour 64. Bon chance!

KnitWit

Sock It!

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The pre-summer hoard clearance has had a mixed success, with a number of projects finished (I will tot it up for a future post) and I really did resist casting on! Which obviously led to a massive glut of casting on as soon as summer hit, so I still don’t have any free row counters! I think I might formerly give up on that goal now until February and just buy a bunch of row counters. Why fight the inevitable!

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A clear winner of this finishing frenzy has been Mr LouBug, as he scored a new blanket AND a pair of socks. I am pleased with how the timey-whimey socks came out (trekking sock yarn for the curious) and I like the way the colour flashes look like a temporal vortex in Dr Who.

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The only down side to knitting these was the curse of dark yarn. We have all been there. Grab out you knitting at knit night only to discover that the pub lighting is not good for dark yarn and then having to peer like “granny who forgot her glasses” all evening. Not a good look, but worth it all to see his face (and then the look of sadness as he realised that the blazing sun was not sock wearing compatible). Bless him that he wore them for a good 30 minutes before I insisted he took them off before he melted.

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On a more selfish note, work has begun on my summer neon socks (fluro-mania we love you). Originally I was going to knock out a basic rib candy cane sock (no cuff, k2p2 to heel and then plain) but the yarn needed a little something-something more so I threw in a cheeky texture pattern to add interest.

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I have often seen this in pattern directories and overlooked it as too blokey, but I am really impressed with how it works with the neon stripes. One to bank for future use me thinks.

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Needing an easy sock to take along with me, I dug out some less eye watering yarn (Opal “Vincent Van Gogh”) and did do a basic candy cane with them. I am only half convinced over the colour wash (as the blue colour-way ones I did for Mr LouBug were much better) and they are unfairly placed next to the neon socks in my project box.

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Perhaps they will shine a little more when autumn makes burnt orange and mute colours more perfect.

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I will confess that I did buy a little more yarn this holiday (not as bad as last year though!). More on that later, but a shout out to Loop, IKnit and Sharpe Works and thank you for being lovely!

LouBug

 

Double Rainbows All The Way!

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Ok, so a bit of a cheat as this was finished just before I broke up, but all hail the mighty (and re-named) “Double Rainbow” shawl (pocket gods anyone?). Pinned out for blocking, it looked so much like the rainbow level of Mario cart that I couldn’t resist finding a LEGO car to complete the photo. Obviously this is why it knitted up so fast, it must have hit a booster bonus puzzle box!

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I will admit that this scarf is one of the few things making me wish September closer, as I cannot wait to wear it. Being made from 4ply sock yarn (just 100g, stash dive bargain!) makes it light and wafty (so more a glamour scarf than a heat grabber).

I love, love, love the pattern (“Summer Stream Scarf” by Asami Kawa). I will admit that it took a little while to feel the love, as it is knitted in two halves and grafted in the middle (so each row is twice as long as it should be). And there were hard words said to it on the small subject of yarn colour jumps (the saga of correcting it still leaves a small twitch above my right eye).

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I think you will agree that the hard work of splicing and matching have paid off and I have successfully matched the colours from left to right.

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I am even pleased with how well the middle graft went (which was always going to be a dodgy bit). Admittedly, I did have to re-do it a couple of times, but with some aggressive blocking I have made it as subtle as possible.

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But, who is looking at the middle when there is this excellent lacy trim to pet?

Now all I have to do is seek out some arctic level air-con so that I can justify wearing this early!

LouBug

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