Friday, March 25, 2016

FO Friday! Baby things

Wow, how long has it been since I did FO Friday? A long time.

Anyway, I finally sewed buttons on some tiny cardigans and so I can share them with the world.

Here's Little Coffee Bean by Elizabeth Smith.

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I used Debbie Bliss Cotton DK, which is really more of a worsted weight yarn. This meant using a looser gauge than intended, because the combination of cotton yarn and tight gauge would have made armour rather than a cardigan. As a result, this sweater is large - technically 6 month size, but I'm pretty sure it's way bigger. That's cool. Hopefully it will fit the small one in an appropriate season.

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These are the cute owl buttons I bought at EYF, in action.

I ran out of brown yarn, so had to make the button bands narrower than called for, but I think it looks okay.

Next up: Puerperium by Kelly Brooker

I used Rico Design Essentials Cotton DK, which is quite a shiny cotton. I have been building a small stash of this since it comes in lots of great colours.

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The free version of this pattern is just sized for a newborn, so that's what I made. I added some colourwork for interest, adapted from a colourwork pattern found in Geometric Knitting Patterns by Tina Barrett. Knitting colourwork flat is not my favourite thing ever, but for such a small knit it wasn't so bad.

Yay for tiny knits! I currently have no baby knits on the needles and am trying to make some headway on some knitting for myself, but I hear the call of tiny quick knits, so I'm sure I'll have something else on the go soon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

EYF round-up

The Edinburgh Yarn Festival happened and I bought many things. Let's see how I did.

Plan: buy buttons for two baby cardigans.
Result: two sets of cute buttons from Textile Garden
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I've sewn on the owl buttons and I'm working on the purple ones today. I find sewing buttons so tedious, but the result is worth it. Look for an FO post for these two cardigans soon!

Plan: buy yarn for Liesl.
Result: three skeins of Triskelion Elmet Aran (this particular yarn isn't on Ravelry yet, link is to other yarns from this company)

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Triskelion Yarns blew me away and were my favourite discovery of this year. Beautiful rainbow colours in really interesting, gorgeous yarn blends. The one I bought is BFL/Masham. I don't know anything about Masham sheep, but the yarn is fabulous - a bit rustic, but also smooth. Looks to be hard-wearing. The colour is a beautiful forest green that matches some buttons I already have - yay for button stash-down! Can't wait to knit with it and I'd love to try some of their other bases.

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Badly lit picture of the fantastic Triskelion stall.

Plan: Wollmeise
Result: So much Wollmeise
I thought I'd go for Lace-garn and DK, but in the end I went for Lace-garn and Pure.

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The lace yarn I bought is the purplest I've ever seen. (Do not be fooled if the photo makes it look blue). Colourway: Der letzte versuch. This will be some kind of cardigan, pattern to be determined. It feels heavy for laceweight - more of a light 4-ply.

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Wollmeise Pure in the Sabrina colourway. This is actually teal, not grey/blue/green. TEAL. SO MUCH TEAL. Two skeins should be enough for a sweater, and I'm thinking of making Low Tide by Tin Can Knits. (I bought the book containing this pattern at EYF last year, so things come full circle.) I got these skeins wound by my good friends volunteering at the yarn-winding station - £1 per skein, proceeds went to the Teapot Trust, a charity providing art therapy to chronically ill children. Everybody wins!

Browsing the Wollmeise stall was certainly an experience.

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So much colour! Gaaah! I stopped there first just because of the location, and I almost didn't leave... I'm excited to knit with the yarn I bought since it's beautiful and feels so different from other merino yarns I've tried. It's very sturdy and tightly-spun. We'll see how it knits up.

Plan: buy a gradient set.
Result: a cake of merino/silk laceweight from Bilum

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This is Pukpuk by Bilum, a Hungarian yarn company I'd never heard of. They had lots of gorgeous gradients, as well as solids available. I'm not sure what this will become, but I've had a running list of gradient-suitable shawl patterns, so will look to that first. I don't often knit with laceweight, but I have enjoyed doing so in the past.

Verdict: it's a miracle! I pretty much stuck to my plans, even if I did go over my suggested budget by a little. I didn't come home with any single skeins of sock yarn this time, though there was much loveliness to be seen and prodded around the marketplace. Guess I'm satisfied with the loveliness in my house at the moment. Though I'd better get knitting if I want there to be space for more EYF yarn next year...

Friday, March 18, 2016

Edinburgh Yarn Fest planning

I'm heading out to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival later today. This is pretty much the highlight of my yarn year, and I am so lucky it's local to me. I always find these events a bit overwhelming, though, so I try to plan before I get there... and then I usually fail to stick to my plans and come home with all sorts of unexpected lovelies. Seriously, the vendor list for this year is so insane. Going to try not to hyperventilate when I get through the gates.

Last year I was on stash-down when the yarn fest rolled around, but yarn fest purchases were on my list of exemptions. I still managed to come home with four single skeins of beautiful sock yarn that I have not yet used. (I used a little bit of one of them for a baby hat - and I have plans for the rest of it, but otherwise these lovelies are still waiting for projects.)

Let's take a look at my best-laid plans for this year.

Non-yarn items:

Buttons for two baby cardigans.
My Puerperium and Little Coffee Bean are both entirely finished except for buttons, and typically I have nothing suitable in my rapidly expanding button box. There are a few vendors there that will have buttons - I'm particularly excited to check out Textile Garden - so I'm sure I'll find some great things.


Yarn for Liesl.
Ever since I frogged my old version of this cardigan years ago because it had stretched out, I've been meaning to make another. With my current shape, I think it would be super useful - for the first time in my life I actually think I look good in cardigans that are only buttoned at the top! If I add buttons all the way down like I did last time, it should continue to be useful once the baby is out. Plus, I remember it being a really quick knit, and I would love to make a quick sweater for myself before the baby arrives. As a bonus, I have some great buttons for this already, so I'll try and get some yarn to match so I can work on using my button stash.

Some Wollemeise.
This is my first chance to buy Wollemeise in person. Not going to pass this up. I'd like to pick up a skein of lace, since the yardage on those is amazing and I might be able to make a whole sweater out of it. I'm also considering getting some DK for a second attempt at Evenflow, but we'll see what I can find!

A gradient set.
I'll see what I see, but there's bound to be something beautiful. I've had my eye on several patterns for gradient shawls etc lately, so I'd like to get some suitable yarn.

I'm looking forward to checking out Kate Davies new yarn, as well as Ysolda's, and I'm sure to spend some quality time perusing the Old Maiden Aunt stall.

Notice I have no "single skeins of sock yarn" listed on my shortlist. Will that stick? Unlikely. I'll report back with my success / massive failure later on!

Are you going to EYF? If you see me, give me a shout. (I'm the one in the Raiun cardigan with a 33-week bump!)

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Bring on the yarn fumes!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

WIP: Torrent Socks

Thought I'd give a proper update on one of the Blue Period projects I alluded to before.

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(They're blue, but not THIS blue. Photo colour does not correspond to real life.)

My Torrent socks are proceeding apace. Given how many projects I have on the go, I'm actually surprised by how quickly these are going. Nearly at the heels! The back of the ankle is all stockinette; I think this helps with the speed as well as making them very enjoyable to knit. I get bored easily with all-stockinette projects, and bogged down with nothing-but-lace, so these are the best of both!

Ever had a project go more quickly than you expected?

Sunday, March 06, 2016

What does making mean to me?

A Playful Day is back with her podcast, and has a new creativity/blogging challenge.

What does making mean to YOU?

Making means different things to me at different times in my life.

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Food tins - washed, dried, and ready for upcycling

Lately, making confers on me a sense of control. For example, 2016 has brought some unexpected work-related changes that have left me feeling frustrated and disenfranchised. There is nothing I can do to change this situation for the foreseeable future, so I've been left feeling powerless and stuck. However, even when life gets chaotic I know that I at least control what I'm producing creatively. (Of course, creativity has an element of chance / serendipity / unpredictability, and that's cool too.) I need to remind myself of this at particularly stressful times; I often find stress impedes my creative impulses, even though intellectually I know that I'll feel better about things if I get out there and make stuff.

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Drainage holes hammered through the bottom, decorated with washi-esque tape

On that note, I've been using my knitting and other creative pursuits lately as manifestations of my own choice. I can choose what I make and when. I have the power to create a physical object with my own hands. I can create something beautiful that is also useful to me. Making gives me something else to focus on, other than the things I can't control.

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Tada! New pots for some wee succulents

Images in this post are from this morning's attempt to turn food tins into plant pots. I'm rather pleased with them, but we'll see if the washi tape gets ruined if I spill when watering...