Sunday, 21 February 2010

French Press Slippers

They're finished!

In Malabrigo Worsted, Forest. Extremely quick, and the pattern's very well written, so easy to follow.


What to do with a packet of basil that's hanging around in the fridge going nowhere? Make pesto of course.
I just blitzed the basil with pine nuts and parmesan and seasoned it. Job done.
Yesterday I whipped up a pair of slippers. My group, Hammersmith Stitch N' Bitch is doing a KAL, which we've called Slippathon 2010, for the French Press Slippers that almost everyone on Ravelry's made - they're popular! They're currently in the washing machine felting. Photos to follow when dry. I'll show you everyone else's versions too when we've all finished.
DH's cousin's hat is also blocking (from Friday) and I'm about to start my next project: a present for a friend's sister's baby, at her request. Then I'll start thinking about the tank top that I want to start. The group's also doing a Tank Top KAL, though we'll all be using different patterns. It should be fun to see how they all turn out.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Gentle Rose

It's finished and I love it!
I wore it to work on Tuesday, which was also Knit Night, and it got lots of good comments.

It's been finished for three weeks, but had to be blocked, plus at this time of year I always have to wait for the weekend to photograph FO's because it's dark when I leave for work in the morning and even darker when I get home.
What I loved about it:
Moss Stitch edges
Cabling detail - the amount, process and the finished result
Beautiful yarn
Beautiful colour
Fluted sleeves which also turn in at the elbow to createa puffed look - they feel really nice and look flattering
Ribbing - flattering and clever arrangement - the ribbing on the fronts and back is echoed by the sleeves, the detail of which also taper at the side
Sizing is perfect
Very thick and warm
Speed of project - v. quick; took about 3 weeks
Would make another, or similar with modifications
What I didn't love:
At least one knot in every ball
Depth of colour differed noticeably, despite using exactly the same dye lot throughout
As you can see, the positives far outweighed the negatives.
The only modification I made was to knit the sleeves in the round (of course) and the entire body in the round, only separating at the very top of the fronts and back. This made it much quicker, and of course I avoided having to seam.
I would have picked up stitches and knitted the sleeves from the body, but I didn’t want to fuss over the sleeve shaping calculations, so I knit the sleeves in the round separately and joined them to the body using mattress stitch. I thought I would be able to kitchener stitch the top of the back to the two fronts, as I did on the neck band join, but as they’re ribbed they looked better with mattress stitch.

Yes, there is band of slightly different-coloured pink along the bottom. I used exactly the same dye lot for the whole project. As I have enough yarn left over, I thought about picking up the stitches and re-working that area, but there’s no guarantee that the colour will be right that time. Fortunately you don’t notice it so much when it’s on.

Sunday, 14 February 2010


Delicious pissaladiere, expertly cooked by DH. Yes, having issues with rotating the image. Blogger doesn't always make things easy.

Happy Valentine's Day

DH and I realised on Friday that we had worn the same socks that day (sort of). Are we telepathic or what? Yes, I know: cheesy.

Gentle Rose is blocking, along with the Dream in Colour Shrug that I made a year ago and never got round to blocking. I'm now on to another comissioned hat and will soon be working on a blanket for a friend's sister (at her request). Any good baby blanket suggestions welcome please. So far I've got the Big Bad Baby Blanket, a Log Cabin, Brooklyn Tweed's Tweed Blanket and the Honeycomb one I've made before.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Spinning Night

On Tuesday night, Hammersmith Stitch N' Bitch had a change from our usual venue of Caffe Nero. Instead, everyone came to my house and Toad taught us how to spin!
Here we are learining how to card roving to form a rolag, and using a drop spindle. Toad was a great teacher, incredibly patient and calm, and had kindly brought enough drop spindles so we could all use them at the same time.

Andrea brought along her friend Blanca who was visiting from Germany, and was a great addition to the group.
Here's Toad showing us how to spin using her wheel. She looks very professional with her apron. Believe me when I tell you that her hand-spun yarn is very good. I keep telling her to sell it on Etsy.

And me trying it out!

I much preferred using the spinning wheel. It must have something to do with using the foot peddle as you have more control (this is something I know how to do with the sewing machine). I can't say that I produced great results; they were far from that, with the tension being completely off, resulting in thick and thin "yarn".
However, we got the idea and could only hope to reach Toad's skill level one day. The drop spindle I just couldn't control. It was really hard to spin it in the air at the same time as pulling out the rolag to create the spun wool, though others found it easier than I did.

Here's Jayne using the wheel:
And Icy using the drop spindle:

Some had better results than others, mine clearly being the worst! Andrea even began knitting with the yarn she spun!
She mixed up some green, blue and natural roving, carded it and spun it using the drop sipindle, then knitted this swatch, which looks very impressive. She said it was very dense and rough, as there was a lot of spin in the yarn. It really makes you realise just how much work goes into creating the perfect yarn that we all knit with.

We were well fed and watered and a great time was had by all. Can't wait to catch up next Tuesday, back at our usual spot.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

My First Pair of Socks!

Can you believe I finished them? I hardly can, but they were a lot easier than I was expecting. They're for my DS, and have been posted off to her already.

Most of you readers will think I'm a bit pathetic for not having managed to make a single sock before, but in case there are any sock novices out there, the pattern is Simply Splendid Socks by Lucy Neatby. I couldn't believe how easy it was, and really enjoyed the whole process. The reinforced slip-stitched heel, and then turning it, were my favourite parts.
You may have noted the sock-blockers. They're from Fibre Trends, and though they did a good job, for someone like me who probably isn't going to make enough socks to justify them, they were a bit unnecessary!

The yarn is Drops Fabel Superwash, and is self-patterened (obviously). I loved doing each row, not knowing what colour was coming next. Of course, it's not perfect, and doesn't make exact stripes, but I think that's what makes these socks unique, and all of the pastel colours sit beautifully alongside each other.

If you haven't made socks before, give it a go. It's worth the effort, and soon my little Sister's toes will be warmly encased in them.
My Mum's making some in a lovely blues-and-greens colour combo in the same pattern, and I'm looking forward to seeing how they turn out.

Pears. From the supermarket. I just love the way they're snuggled in their packaging. Reminds me of Orla Keily's prints, though I'm sure the pears would have come before her designs! If you hadn't guessed, yes I'm a fan, and have got several products.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Greenwich Market & Pressie in the Post

On Sunday Julia and Jo, two University friends of mine, and I went to Greenwich for lunch and a good look around Greenwich Market.
Here we are at one of the stalls. Jo and Julia are wearing scarves they had just bought, knitted in Scottish lambswool (of course).
We proceeded to buy up most of the rest of the market too. Here we are (minus me - taking the photo) at a stall with a girl who makes beautiful hand-sewn skirts and jackets. Yes, we bought those. They were really inspiring, and I'm really looking forward to the dress-making course I'm starting in April now.

If you haven't been to Greenwich market before I'd really recommend it. I'm ashamed to say that I had never even been to East London before, and was pleasantly surprised. We're going to make a point of having a proper walk next time, maybe flying a kite at Blackheath, and visiting the Observatory and the Maritime Museum. The market itself is a foodie and crafter's heaven, with everything from hand-crafted leather makeup purses, to handpainted lampshades, and tiffin bites and mulled wine.

Over the border, and high up into the Highlands, my Mum has got hens. Isn't this the sweetest photo of her? She's so happy with her new brood. The one in her arms is Biddie.

While not looking after her new feathered friends, she found time to knock up this beauty and spirit it down in the post to me:

This is one of her own creations, a scarf knitted in Colinette Point 5 (major thick-and-thin fun) and my favourite colour combination so far. This one is a rib, though she also does stockinette and moss (all work really well). If you look closely you'll notice that she held two yarns together. To pump up the colour, there is a beautiful purple Debbie Bliss tweed running through this, with litle flecks of red and green.

Tonight's our Spinning Night at Hammersmith Stitch N' Bitch, so I'll report back soon with photos. Can't wait!