Sunday, 21 August 2016

FO: Rainbow flag baby blanket

As I've mentioned before, I'm at the stage in my life when all my friends are having babies. This month one of my friends had here second baby. Having rather out done myself with this traditional baby shawl for her first born, I felt I needed something different, but equally lovely, for number two!

This time, rather than going traditional I went modern, with one of Purl Soho's baby blankets, of which there are a delightful choice. I went for the Colo[u]rful Wedges Baby Blanket - both because I love the design and because it would use up some of my ends of sock yarn. 

The construction is very clever; short row shaping is used to make the firsted coloured triangle, the the shaping is mirrored to make one in the background colour, and so on. I went for a rainbow coloured theme to my blanket, and a soft light grey background.

The background yarn is Drops Baby Alpaca Silk, so super soft for baby. Each of the coloured triangles takes about 20 grams of yarn, so I was able to use up ends of balls from various sock projects.

This project was a delight to knit, and would certainly encourage me to try some of Purl Soho's other designs. I was a little late in starting on the blanket, but once I had started I was knitting at the rate of a triangle a day. The blanket was knitted, finished, and packed up in time for baby J's arrival, and certainly seems to have passed the snuggle test!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

FO: Summer Chevron Top

I pretty much fell in love with Debbie Bliss' Striped Chevron Top the moment I clapped eyes on the pattern in This is Knit earlier this year. 

Unusually, I not only bought the pattern but also the yarn used in the pattern - Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace. When it comes to knitting yarn I tend to be a substituter - I very rarely buy the yarn specified in the pattern, tending to swap it out for another option of the saw weight. Sometimes, this is to use up something already in my stash, sometimes it is s a question of the specified wool not being available and, sometimes it is a question of price. My knitting bff T is very much on the other side; she nearly always buys the wool used in the pattern, something I have been know to tease her about. I'm slowly bringing her over to the dark side of yarn substitution :)

Anyway, back to this pattern. I had a couple of problems with the pattern, but these were all my own fault and not that of the pattern.

On the plus side; I love the finished top, which is the main thing. The wool is beautiful, soft and lovely to knit, and I love the colours.

On the negative side; I started this knit when we went on holiday in May. It was last minute holiday, and I had less than 12 hours to do my packing, and pick my vacation knitting. I really wanted to start this top but I didn't have the correct size needles, so I went up size. This caused my tension to be a little off, and I tried to compensate for this by going down a size on the pattern. Result? I had to cast this on three times before I got the size right - Argh! Also, because of the chevrons you have to knit quite away before you get an accurate impression of the size the final piece will be - double Argh!

Having finally sorted out the sizing issues I hit a bit of a snag with what is a very simple pattern. The first band of colour at the bottom of the top is 12 rows of the pattern in garter stitch (all knit rows) - no problem there. Then the pattern switches to 8 rows of the pattern in stocking stitch (alternate knit and purl rows) in each colour - hum - seems I missed that instruction. I was still happily garter stitching when I reached the instructions for shaping the arms and was instructed to finish with a purl row - ah, what? I did have any purl rows!?! As this was my third attempt at the top and I had knitted nearly half of it I decided to keep going with the garter stitch. It produced a different texture to the fabric and I probably had to knit more rows to get the same length, but I do love the result.

My final hurdle with this pattern came with sewing it up, my least favorite part of any project. The pattern is knitted flat and has to be sewn together at the end, and because of the colour changes there are so many freaking ends to sew it. I have to confess that I finished knitting this three weeks ago but only summoned up the energy to sew it together this weekend.

Aside from the problems I created for myself and if you read it properly, the pattern is very easy and the result it great. I made the top the length given in the pattern and possibly it could do with being a little bit longer - or I need to get some higher waist jeans


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

White noise

It has been pretty quite around here, since the excitement of the Euros. You might be forgiven for thinking that I haven't been crafting much, but that isn't the case. I've been knitting, sewing, baking and gardening ... just not blogging. 

I don't really know why but I've just not felt like blogging, I'm hoping that's going to change soon. I've certainly got lots of things to share with you, and to whet your appetite here are just some of my current and recently completed projects.

Monday, 4 July 2016

#togetherstronger - Wales rocks on

I do realise that for a blog about knitting and sewing there has been a surprisingly large amount of football going on in these parts. Well, I'm sorry but it is just too exciting. Friday night's historic, spectacular, [insert your own superlative here] win over Belgium means that Wales are the smallest county ever to reach the semi-finals of the European Championships.


I was so excited during last Friday's match that I wasn't able to carry on with my knitting. If I hadn't I probably would have finished my Euro socks by now. Although, truth be told I also half feel that to cast off the socks before Wales have finished their run might be unlucky. As a result my toes will remain cold for a little longer.

While my socks sit on the side-line, my brother's Welsh dragon's badge is in a front-row seat as he continues his tremendous odyssey around France. He, and my dad, are currently staying with K & M from Walks Weeks near Lyon, waiting for Wales' match against Portugal on Wednesday.

Now I'm off to get ready for the final of the Great British Sewing Bee ... just to prove there is still some crafting going on around here!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Un, dau, tri ... Cymru am byth!

After my triumphant post the Saturday before last, the Welsh football team didn't do so well last week; letting in a last minute goal to give the win to England. But all was forgiven when yesterday they tonked Russia, three - nil. Triumphantly marching forwards to the knock-out stages, top of the group.

It is just as well really as I'm only halfway through my Euros sock project, and I need the boys to stay in for at least another three games to get the other one finished, or I'll be left with one cold foot!

In related news, the attentive reader will, I hope, be glad to hear that the Welsh dragon badge I made for my brother has appeared out of the postal vortex over the Irish sea and made it to him in time for the second and third match.

Roll on Saturday and the Parc des Princes. Cymru am byth!!!!