Saturday 1 December 2018

Countdown to Christmas!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Well almost. Since becoming a knitter, I have started to slowly start planning for Christmas knits well before the date appears on the horizon (by which I mean 4 weeks... oops). But because my birthday is right at the end of November, before that date it's definitely NOT Christmas! I'm heading into London later today to go ice skating as a delayed birthday social. I spotted this ad at an underground station and couldn't resist despite a historical lack of affinity with the ice. I'm about as able on ice as a newborn bambi so if you fancy a laugh, feel free to come along and watch. Amateur gymnastics on ice coming to a rink near you!

Birthday gift stash enhancement

My lovely mum went to Peru for a three week holiday and came back just before my birthday. I asked if she could bring an alpaca back with her and although she couldn't bring back a whole one, she came close! She bought 10 50g balls of luxury DK baby alpaca in cloud grey. So squishy....

I cannot wait to choose a project for this. Interestingly baby alpaca isn't from young alpaca, it's the inner layer of their pelt which keeps them extra warm in the chilly Peruvian mountains. I've heard alpaca has a lot of drape and stretches massively during blocking so will have to be careful when choosing a size. Any tips?

I also received two cakes of 4ply yarn in unknown fiber. Definitely part alpaca but less soft than the grey yarn. It's still soft enough to wear next to the skin.

There's about 150g of each and I'm thinking of a shawl maybe? The yarn doesn't break easily so I could also weave with it. Decisions, decisions...

I have another yarn gift from my boyfriend's lovely mum but that's back in Plymouth. I will add a quick post when I head back to the coast. In the meantime, here is the parcel as it arrived:

Is that the end of it? No no no....

Back in April, yarn dyers started advertising their advent calendars for this year. Despite being ridiculously in advance, I know advent calendars sell out really fast. I hadn't bought a yarn advent before and after researching a few, I pre-ordered a DK advent from For the Love of Yarn. I have a kit from this company for a Stephen West MKAL from last year which I still need to finish. The box arrived a few weeks ago:

I was strong and didn't open any of the individual parcels but I couldn't resist opening the box. It's like a mini sweet shop for yarn. Yum!

And today I could finally open the first bag!

And now, I can safely say - it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Hope you're having a great weekend, Charlotte and Harvey x

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Yarnporium Stash

I completely forgot to post my purchases from Yarnporium! So without further ado:

Lay Family Yarn 4 ply in the 4th Earl colourway

The rest of the yarns are all from Debonnaire Yarns. Erica who owns Debonnaire was there on the day. When she spotted me trying to match different blues, she sat next to me on the floor and pulled out a whole spectrum of blues from her stall including from pre-packed mini sets. Despite how busy everything was around us, she took the time to help me choose the perfect yarn for a project. Thank you Erica!

Why blue? Because it's the main colour for my best friend's wedding and I want to knit her a shawl as a physical memory from the day. I'm planning to knit the Iara Shawl by Renée Callahan of East London Knits. It caught my eye because of the detailing between the colour changes in the shawl. Link to Ravelry here.

They all have sparkles! I'm not sure if I have got all the blues I want with the grey yarn as the edging. I may swap the dark blue minis for a lighter colour that matches the wedding colours more closely. The white and grey with speckles of orange yarn is going to be a hat, possibly for a Christmas present.

Did you go to Yarnporium?

Have a great week, Charlotte and Harvey x

Monday 12 November 2018

On the needles - weekend WIPs and wanderings

After my post on Friday stating my amazing knitting plans, I have spent a lot of the weekend relaxing and doing other things.

I did all of two rows on the Jaycee cardigan.The gap between the two markers is the entirety of the knitting I completed last week.

I think the back and forth of the cardigan for so many weeks meant that I wanted to work on something ANYTHING else. So that's exactly what I did.

I finished the ribbing on Will's Christmas hat while watching a new-to-me podcast called Sew Perfect Purls.

I then finished a DK weight hat I started back in April as I needed the needles for the cable part of Will's hat. I love the bright splashes of colour and self-striping colourwork of the yarn. This is Adriafil Knitcol DK in colour 72 Velazquez fancy. It's the second one I have made this year and I just made up the pattern as I went along.

It's been really satisfying to have a finished hat and to work on a few different projects.

The weather this weekend has been really changeable. Going from this

to this

And back again within five minutes which means a lot of time indoors making yummy food.

It was gloriously sunny for more than a few minutes on Sunday. I was really glad as it meant that all the local Remembrance ceremonies could go ahead without a downpour. This year was the first year I haven't been part of the ceremonial side of Remembrance for around nine years. After holding a minute's silence and reflecting on all those who have gone before us, I decided the best way to honour their sacrifice is to celebrate every moment we have been given because of it. Living in a military city, you are always aware of the commitment and hard work that soldiers and sailors give to this day. Thank you.

I took advantage of the sun to travel across the local ferry to visit a friend.

For some reason the rusty ferry chains glinting in the light caught my eye and I had to take a photo.

My friend lives a short drive from the city but far away enough that her main view from her flat is this:

It was wonderfully quiet. I don't think I noticed how much noise is around me where I live in the city until it was taken away. Perfect. 

How was your weekend? Have a wonderful week!

Charlotte and Harvey x

Friday 9 November 2018

On my needles

It has been a busy week at work but now I am on day one of five days off! Knit time!

Today I am planning to work on the Jaycee cardigan for my Mum and a cable hat for my boyfriend from Interweave Knits Holiday 2016.

This has been my progress on the Jaycee for the past two weeks:

10.5 cm last week and 13.5 cm the week before. Getting there! The yarn is pleasant to work with as its 100% wool and isn't too slippy. It has good stitch definition as seen at the collar in a previous post (here). The yarn is Darnie by Studio Donegal.

Will's hat was cast on a week or two ago but not really touched since then. It looks more like a collar than a hat at the moment.

I'm using the same acrylic yarn I bought from Hobbycraft I used for the matching scarf. Its very soft and machine washable. Will is very knit-worthy but also isn't someone who would remember to handwash a knitted item. So anything that can be thrown in the washing machine is perfect. The finished hat will hopefully look like this:

Photo credit: Interweave Knit Holidays 2016
The Interweave magazine doesn't have written instructions, just a chart. This was ok for the scarf although that only required two repeats unlike the hat. I think this might require a bit of concentration!

These are two of my planned Christmas knits. I say planned... I might need to write a list.

Saturday 3 November 2018

Yarnporium 2018

Well, what a day! I didn't make it to Yarnporium until the afternoon after losing my house keys (they were still in my front door...) and suddenly doing an epic deep clean of the house to find them. Then there was a mad dash to the post office for some parcels, left the house, went back for the yarn needed for my class and my purse then ran down to the train station. I'm not good at adulting...

I arrived at Central Hall Westminster, snapped a quick photo of Westminster Abbey and headed inside. #tourist

I had around 40 minutes before the class I booked to look at the yarn market. Go go go! There were loads of different vendors, all of whom can be found here. I was really grabbed by the mini skein chains by River Knits, they had different colour groupings from autumn colours to blues to greens. I didn't buy them but they're on my future wish list.

Here starts the hurried photos of a late person. Although the marketplace wasn't packed, every stall had customers in front of them. Out the way! (not really) Chatting to The Loveliest Yarn Company, the business had been steady and I hope it has been enough to balance the cost of the show. I wonder if the yarn industry is getting saturated? Or if there are too many yarn shows? Every vendor is highly talented but knitters represent a relatively small amount of the population and can only go to so many events per year. If I could attend every one I would!


Travel Knitter booth - love the map table cover!

This is Il Burato, one of the incredibly intricate double knit scarves designed by Nathan Taylor aka the Sockmatician in 4 ply yarn by Travelknitter. Also my teacher for the afternoon for 'Demistifying Double Knitting'. En route to the classroom I bumped into Amy from Stranded Dyeworks and Caroline of the Knitting Vicariously Podcast. Lovely, lovely people - have a listen to their podcasts on YouTube.

I forgot to take a photo of Nathan in the class, he taught with so much energy and enthusiasm that you felt you could make anything!

The double knit cast on:

Side A:

Side B:

Double knitting is a technique where you produce an inverse mirror image of a pattern on either side of the knitting. And both sides are knit stitch. Simple right? Actually if you can get past the basics, it really is. But it takes absolute concentration at this stage. Nathan explained each step really well and encouraged the exploration of mistakes to learn how to fix them at home. I'm halfway through the sample knit and will post the finished piece here when I'm done. I was in a friendly group but the sheer level of concentration meant conversation was out of the question! It's given me the double knitting bug and I want to try a beginner pattern Nathan has designed called Peano No. 1.

It was so nice to see various podcasters, shop owners, designers and dyers. I also saw a few familiar faces from the London Yarn Crawl last year. I say this a lot but the knitting/ yarn world is really friendly and welcoming and I feel lucky to have found it.

I wish I had more time to spend in the marketplace today to properly look at every stall and next weekend I'll make sure I head to Festiwool earlier in the day. And also keep track of my keys...

I bought some stash but I'll leave that for another post - its Saturday and its G&T time!

I'll leave you with Westminster Abbey late this afternoon.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Charlotte and Harvey x

Friday 26 October 2018

WIP Update!

Happy Friday! Well done for making it to the end of the week. We have had beautifully sunny weather here in the UK with only a hint of coolness today which is unusual for this time of year. Not that I mind. The pure blue skies are a joy to wake up to although I've never been affected by grey skies. You can still tell the year is moving on as the sunset is getting steadily earlier and the cosiness of the indoors beckons. The floor of the local forest is covered in conkers and beautiful autumn leaves. I heard somewhere that moths don't like conkers so I put a few in my yarn stash just in case!

It's also the time of year for coughs and colds which has led to a few days off work. I headed home to my mums for chicken soup and TLC and am feeling much better. I always love the journey home, not just for the welcome waiting for me but also for the views along the way. The first train journey passes directly next to the sea with nothing to block the view.

So, onto knitting. First - a long awaited finished object! For some reason the photos outside made the yarn look more of a washed out grey than the actual navy blue of the scarf. Looking at my Ravelry photos, this scarf is a different colour in every single one. Started in December 2016, this scarf has languished at the bottom pf my project pile, guiltily pulled out every so often. With my drive to actually finish things, it's been stuffed in my bag and taken everywhere.

Ta da!

The pattern is from Interweave Winter 2016 and is available on their website. It's easy to follow and makes a squishy, warm scarf. I have started wearing it, oops.... It will make it's way to Will by Christmas I promise...

I have added another stripe to my knit version of the Moorland blanket.

I'm using a free pattern on Ravelry using a feather and fan motif. For the original crochet pattern and the knit one, I have attached both to my project page here.

I've made a lot of progress on Mum's Jaycee cardigan in Donegal Studio Darnie. (project page). I have started adding progress markers as they really help to highlight how much has been knit that week. This helps when doing endless knit and purl rows of the main body.

And finally a teeny tiny bit more on my Flax Light. Christmas presents are getting priority now though with two months to go!

That's it for this week. What have you been working on?

Have a lovely weekend, Charlotte and Harvey x