Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Happy Halloween!

Wishing you a spooky and magical Halloween!

Free crochet pumpkin pattern by Charlotte Heilling available on Ravelry.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Organised Knitting

I was going to start writing a post reviewing the first three quarters of the year and realized there's only two months left! I also realized that I haven't really been keeping track of everything I've been knitting and trying this year. Cue a really handy email from Space Cadet! Space Cadet is an Indie dyer based in America whose newsletter I enjoy reading every week. I haven't bought any yarn from her yet as postage from America makes the price way out of my budget. However, I hope I'll be able to in the future as she has some really interesting colourways. 

In the meantime, Stephanie from Space Cadet has produced a great template to organise your projects. I'm a tad old fashioned as I love notebooks and I know I'm not alone in this. Just look at any creative person or the hashtag 'bulletjournal' and you'll realize how much everyone still loves paper and pen. I don't think technology will ever replace this fully. There's something magical about the smell of a new notebook and of course a multitude of colourful pens. 

Stephanie's template is designed to be printed for both A5 and Traveller notebook sized notebooks. I have a pile of notebooks waiting to be used and I chose this lovely one for all my knitting adventures:

Then I printed and filled in my first ever project notes! I chose my baby flax jumper to write up as its the freshest in my mind. 

Note the lack of swatch.... These may happen one day! It contains sections for pattern details, needles although I need to add the sizes and a modifications section which I really like.

The template is available when you sign up to Space Cadet's newsletter which I would definitely recommend! It includes not just yarn updates but also links to interesting articles. I'm now wondering if I can do something similar for my weaving and sewing projects as well. Just a note - please don't copy these images and use them! Time has clearly gone into designing this and if you could show some love for Stephanie by signing up that would be awesome. 

Do you write up your projects? Are you more techy or paper based?

Friday, 27 October 2017

On my needles

Just the sleeves to go! My second baby Flax by Tin Can Knits.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Early Christmas

It's arrived! Already! I only ordered this yesterday morning during my commute into London and it was waiting for me when I got home this afternoon. 

Ahhhh!! So pretty! According to a comment on my Instagram post, West Yorkshire Spinners have already sold out and The Loveliest Yarn Company only had two balls left so if you would like one you'll have to be quick! 

As always the yarn came with a little treat - stitch markers and a handwritten message. It really makes the parcel extra special.

I also received the Winwick Mum sock pattern as well so can't decide - socks or cowl?

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Sweet Shop Candy Cane Yarn

Have you seen the latest yarn offering from West Yorkshire Spinners? Its a candy cane striped yarn in time for Christmas this year and I love it!

Photo from: www.theloveliestyarncompany.co.uk

Christine from Winwick Mum has designed a sock pattern that I believe comes free with every ball sold (her sock post here). I'm tempted to knit these especially with the contrasting cuffs, heels and toes. I agree with Christine that they remind me of Will Ferrell in Elf!

Photo from: West Yorkshire Spinners. Socks by Winwick Mum
However I'm also tempted to use it to make a Sockhead Cowl by Kelly McClure (Ravelry link) so I can pretend I'm wearing candy canes around my neck. Delicious! Although I hope it won't make me too hungry for sweets every time I look at it. 

I'm going to be ordering mine from www.theloveliestyarncompany.co.uk not because I'm affiliated or anything but because I love their Instagram and the sweet messages they add to every order. It's these extra touches that mean I will always check their website first before searching elsewhere.

In case you're interested the matching green yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Chocolate Lime and the red is Cayenne Pepper. Yum!

Will keep you posted on what I decide to make. Although I still need to rustle up some pumpkins first! (And the rest of my Christmas gift knitting but shhh). 

Charlotte and Harvey x

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Sunday chilling

After a weekend of doing absolutely nothing and a Friday off I think I'm getting back to my normal self. I'm less full of cold, I've caught up on sleep and have just spent time relaxing which is not something that happens often. I think its very easy to forget how important it is to pause and re-evaluate how you spend your time. This weekend was full of eating yummy food, bits of knitting and watching lots of tv with Will. I think both of us feel ready to take on just about anything now! Harvey slept a lot as well but that's pretty typical for him.

So what's been happening recently?

Just before my cycling weekend in the Cotswolds with Will (post here), my yarn kit for the latest Stephen West MKAL arrived. I ordered it about two days before the first clue came out and I was amazed and grateful at how quickly the yarn arrived. The whole kit is from For the Love of Yarn which is based in Glasgow in Scotland and is gorgeous. You can find her shop here. Although I'm slowly adding to my yarn stash I don't have enough to stash dive for a project and these colours were perfect:

Harvey wanted it all for himself. Or he's hungry. Probably hungry... Right food first and then the rest of the post.

Ok Harvey is fed and asleep on the bed so I'm back:

We've had some very stormy and grey weather here so the lighting has been challenging for photos. The colours really pop in real life and make me pause whenever I spot them in my room. Fitting when the MKAL is called Speckle and Pop!

Now I've had to pause this knit for a little while. I'm really enjoying it except for one slight problem. I don't own a swift or a ball winder. I know! Hence the messy ball of pink yarn above. I had to get a bit inventive to hand wind 400m of yarn. 400 metres. By hand. It took aaaaages! It felt like I was on an episode of Blue Peter. Now children, take one vitamin bottle and tape the end of a skein to it:

Drape the skein around a chair

And after what feels like hours you will get... a messy ball of yarn!! I think I've earned my Blue Peter badge, don't you? For those outside the UK, Blue Peter was a childrens program which amongst other things had a crafting section. The running joke was that the show could make anything with some toilet rolls and a bit of papier maché. I wonder if there's anything like that on tv now?

It was worth it to be able to start the mystery knitalong. This is how far I got:

And then re-read the pattern and realised I would need to wind ALL of the skeins in the kit for the first clue. Well that was that really. My birthday is at the end of November and I have very subtly suggested a swift and ball winder might be nice. (Subtle meaning I've emailed Amazon links to Mum and Will entitled Birthday Gifts.)

So until then the now not so mysterious mystery knitalong will have to wait. And yes I won't even pretend I haven't looked at other peoples projects. Which were ah-mazing. If you've made a version - well done!!

In the Cotswolds I finished my first ever jumper:

This is the Flax jumper in Aran weight yarn, designed by Tin Can Knits. I used the free Caron Cake I received from Knit Now magazine for subscribing (post here). Its a free pattern and part of their learn to knit series called the Simple Collection. You can find it on Ravelry or just Google Tin Can Knits Simple Collection. Alternatively just follow this link. Each pattern has great tutorials attached on their website which made this incredibly easy. It was also part of my year goals for 2017 (see here). I'll be reviewing my 2017 goals later this year around December time. I can safely say I may have over aimed slightly! I have a project page for it on Ravelry which will be updated properly soon.

Then this week came the uber cold! Or that's how it felt anyway. Cue sitting in bed watching stuff and knitting.

If you haven't come across this podcast before, I cannot recommend it enough. This is Inside Number 23 hosted by Katie. She's really chatty and fun. She mainly talks about knitting and sewing with bits of life chat thrown in. It was definitely one of the highlights of last Friday when I was getting very grumpy about being ill!

And last but certainly not least - I have a new-ish cast on! I started this on Thursday and I'm flying through it.

Yes, you guessed it. It's another flax! This time for my cousins little girl. Is that a second cousin? I can never work it out. Answers on a postcard or below! My only slight tweak to the pattern is that I'm not doing the garter panel down the sleeves. This is for two reasons: 1. I kept forgetting to do it on the first jumper so its a little bit variable and 2. I really didn't enjoy knitting the panels. So instead I'm happy to knit a simple raglan jumper. If you've never knit a jumper before I would say this one is perfect for beginners to try as I'm a beginner myself but also it comes in sizes 0-6 months all the way up to XXL men's and the tutorials are very helpful. 

And to prove how much I love this jumper, I'm making one for myself as well! 

It's in slightly more muted colours with subtle specks. Its currently on hold while I tackle a few Christmas gift ideas (Christmas 2018 at this rate). Although three is a bit excessive, it has meant that I've gained confidence with garment knitting. Especially understanding gauge, tension and and how each part is created with different stitches. 

So what are you knitting this week? And how do you relax when everything has got too busy?

Hope you have a wonderful week x

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Coughs, Splutters, Cold and Flu

Sometimes your body tells you that you need to rest and you ignore it. You have too much going on, a 'to-do' list the length of your arm and you simply don't have time to stop still for a moment. Then your body decides to take the choice out of your hands and give you a cold, a bug, a flu or whatever you want to call it. So today I have come to a standstill and am finally listening. I have a hot drink and my duvet and a podcast list to watch also the length of my arm. Admittedly I still have to work this afternoon but this morning's theme is rest. How do you relax? Any podcast recommendations?

Friday, 13 October 2017

The Cotswolds featuring lots of sheep

I spent last weekend cycling around the Cotswolds in England on a rickety bicycle called Hortense with my boyfriend, Will, on a matching bike called José to celebrate five whole years together. I can't believe the time has gone so quickly and I feel so lucky to have him in my life. 

Anyway onto the important bit - sheep! Featuring other animals too. On the Saturday we went to Adam Henson's Farm Park which is a mix of rare breed sheep, rabbits, cows, chickens, goats and an educational centre for school groups and children.

I discovered bantams look like a squashed version of real chickens when they sit down.

But are so fluffy when they stand up. Look at those legs!

Goats will only pose for photos if there's a handful of food just underneath the camera. And that my Garthenor cabled hat is very warm!

Herdwick sheep are very friendly and incredibly soft to touch. They are going on my sheep wishlist (everyone has sheep wishlist right? Right?!)

More sheep but I can't remember the breed. Soft and friendly although mainly for the food we were giving them.

We finished the afternoon with a sheep show which explained how sheep have developed since early farmers a thousand years ago due to breeding, Roman and Viking invasions and what we needed them for.such as wool or meat. Can you guess which are the Roman and Viking sheep from the names?

In the corner of the barn were two gated areas full of fleeces. I was very tempted to get one but the thought of cycling it all the way back to the B&B was too much even for me. Although the farm park is very knowledgeable about sheep, they didn't seem that aware of the uses for the fleece. Hence why it was labelled 'wool' rather than fleece. The different breeds would have been interesting to spin but as I haven't bought fleece before I had no idea what I needed to look for. I'm going to go back once I have learnt a bit more about fleece, staple length and spinning in general. 

It was a fantastic weekend! My legs were pretty sore by the end but the cooked breakfasts and cream teas certainly helped cure our aches and pains. 

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Knitting and Craft Events for October and November

Morning everyone! 

I have gradually been making a list of all the upcoming events for the next couple of months. I'm hoping to have an ongoing calendar to remind myself of events and also as an easy way for people to find out what's happening. Below are the events for October and November this year. Let me know if I have missed out anything. Hope it helps!


1-31 Socktober!

7-22 UK Wool Week

11-15 The Knitting and Stitching Show, Ally Pally, London, UK

13-15 Lochness Knit Fest, Inverness, Scotland

14 West Wales Wool Show, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK

14-15 Bakewell Wool Gathering, Peak District, UK

21-22 Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Fesitval, Rhinebeck, NY, USA

20-22 Oslo Strikke Festival, Oslo, Norway

28-29 Kendal Wool Gathering, Kendal, Cumbria, UK


1-30 Wovember!

11 Festiwool, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, UK 

11-12 Nottingham Yarn Expo, Nottingham, UK

9-12 The Knitting and Stitching Show, Dublin, Ireland

23-26 The Knitting and Stitching Show, Harrogate, Yorkshire, UK

23-30 Threads of London Life, WSD Guild Exhibit, London, UK