Little bit of Lace

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Summer is a funny time for knitters. Christmas knits are starting to happen, but the will and want for summer knits is still burning bright. Those cool cottons, non-sweaty silks and light linens call more to me than the heat packing acrylic and animal fibres on my to-do list. I am a great believer in being a selfish knitter (not necessarily by not knitting for others but knitting only on my own terms) and so my eye has turned to my stash and my books.

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First up there – progress on the bath mitt front.

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I personally like the duck one, but concede that the picture is hard to see (any thoughts, oh great hive mind?). The heart one is fun, and the rectangle is a better shape but I’m not sure I like the 4ply as it is not as soft on the body. Next plan is a simpler zig-zag pattern and it really has to be this orange!

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Inspired by KnitWit’s lace scarf, and unearthing some lovely yarn while stash diving, I have decided to dust off my much browsed, yet to be used, copy of Victorian Lace Today.

I love that book. It is full of ridiculously beautiful lace projects (the ones that casually ask for 1700 yards of sewing thread fine yarn) with lovely photos and tempting instructions (chart led for those who are curious). I have owned this book for years, even started a few patterns, but never had the nudge to start.

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Sisterly competitiveness aside (Mr LouBug accused me a starting my lace scarf just to flex my knitting mojo at KnitWit), this was the nudge I needed.

It is made from some Kid Silk Haze, which has the distinction of being both the most expensive yarn beginner me ever bought and the most frogged. Seriously, frogging anything with mohair type hair should be a punishment only for the truly naughty. It was originally bought about seven years ago when I was trying to make a cardigan from a magazine and not really understanding how to substitute yarns.

The crucial difference between a cotton/wool based aran and a microfibre/cotton based DK was a lesson learnt the hard way (I tried to match the gauge and really didn’t understand why it mocked me from afar). Luckily I hesitated before buying the trim yarn, which was seven balls of Kid Silk Haze (which was actually the named yarn) and hedged my bets with buying only 3. The cardigan taught me that I do not like modular clothes (the back didn’t match the front and could have fit a hunchback elephant) and caused me to learn how to use circulars to knit flat (as the flexible cable means you can try it on as you go).

This then resulted in me both knitting and designing my first cardigan and leaving me with 3 balls of Kid Silk Haze. This yarn has quietly guilted me. Too nice to knit something plain, but any mistakes in lace with it are punished swiftly and with malice. After failing to knit a complex leaf pattern (which would only have been properly visible after blocking) I saved what I could and buried it deep in the stash.

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Until today. Since that wine soothing, chocolate healing frogging hell I have mastered many skills. For one I can read a chart without losing which line I am on! So here I go again, but this time with a much simpler, much more haze yarn friendly pattern (that leaf pattern would work better with a silk based yarn).

LouBug

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Bath Mitt Frenzy

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It was always inevitable that ‘Finish-Up February’ would stutter to a halt with half term and ‘Crazy Cast-On March’ would begin early (although I am now on the sleeves of the big green jumper!). It is this time of year when my project bag collection, love of new needles and prolific stitch marker making suddenly pay off. It is unusual for me to focus on just one area of knitting (usually it is a scatter gun of casting on anything from blankets to egg cosies) but I am currently mad about knitting bath mitts.

Flannels annoy me. They either have to be bunched up in your palm or flap about while trying to soap up. Bath mitts are a genius item that allow a languid, relaxing bath moment to happen while also being practical and allow gentle soaping alongside much needed exfoliation.

I haven’t really made many bath related accessories before, but I have been aware that they are a big thing with our knitters across the pond. I have always been a bit reluctant to dismiss it as a knitting activity, as I appreciate that my sock knitting is regarded as mildly barmy by some knitters. However, the moment is now with me, fuelled by the fact that my favourite bath mitt has gone way beyond “well-loved” and is now firmly in the “not-even-for-dusters” camp.

The time has come, my friends, I have bought my last bath mitt!

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I like to approach things mildly logically and my first step was to get stocked up with some likely yarn. Luckily KnitWit was down at LouBug HQ this weekend and so we hit the shops. I think I have pretty much cleared out my local yarn shops of all of the likely varieties of cotton (I might have gone a bit mad, but it was rather pretty and I can always use it).

Second step is well underway; I have fired up the old sketchbook and I have been bouncing ideas around to see what I can see. The real joy of bath mitts is that one side is plan garter stitch (for exfoliation) but the other is a blank canvas of possibilities. The main thing stopping me at the moment is every time I am about to start knitting the main side I come up with a better idea!

The third step is still to come, the testing phase. Me (being me) I have carefully noted everything down and I fully plan to test, wash and check all the outcomes. I have no wish to make a bath mitt that leaves my arms an interesting shade of orange (even though I do come from Essex) or one that turns my whole wash blue.

Now, I am aware that my various obsessions have led to me making multiple versions of an item (just look at my project bag, stitch marker and sock collections). I am currently ignoring the fact that if I make one from each of the yarn types then I will have more bath mitts than a reasonable person needs. Factor in the fact that each ball should make about two and all I can say is “Be warned friends and family members, this Christmas is likely to have a bit of a gift theme…..”

LouBug

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