Saturday, 2 September 2017

FO: Dinah (Sincerely Louise Knitted Triceratops Head)


This is another belated FO post - I haven't really been blogging since I started podcasting, but I have missed sharing my thoughts on my finished objects here. I love chatting about them on camera, but there's something about writing down my experience that is lovely. And I'm (hopefully!) far more articulate here!

This silly but wonderful knitted triceratops head kit from Sincerely Louise had been in my stash for a long time. I bought her as a birthday present to myself at the 2016 Knitting and Stitching Show, but didn't work on her for almost a year. Before I ever worked on her, I knew she'd be called Dinah.

Finally, when I moved back to London in December 2016, I brought her with me, with the intention of casting her on. I think it was the promise of a new home in my hometown that made my fingers itch. Or maybe it was the exhaustion of a new job, a daily commute into central London and the regular trek back to Portsmouth to see Rich at the weekends (that all feels so long ago now!).

Whatever it was - the chunky yarn, the thick wooden needles, the fairly simple pattern - it was came together as the perfect project at the perfect time.

I have to say that I was surprised by how quickly she knit up. Silly really - as I said, the needles were thick and the yarn was chunky! I expected it to be far more complicated to make than it was, but the actual knitting of the pieces was very simple indeed - the most complex bit was the frill, but that was more fiddly than complicated.

I think I probably spent as much time making it up as I did on the actual knitting. The making up is probably the only reason it wouldn't be something I'd recommend to a beginner - because there is a lot of it and the making up is what really brings the character of your beastie to life.

But hey, if you're an adventurous beginner I think you'd have so much fun with one of Louise's designs. I probably won't make another head (there simply isn't the space in our future flat) but I love the quirky charm of Louise's designs and would love to make some more in the future (there's a mole tea cosy I remember spotting on her stall when I bought this kit that I think is just the sweetest thing).

I love this project - it's so fun, so unnecessary and yet something that I know is going to put a smile on my face every time I see it on my wall. My Dinah is a little lopsided in the face as my seaming and stuffing leaves a lot to be desired, so she looks a bit bemused, like she's chewing her lip. But that is just what makes her unique and that's what knitting is for, right? Making something unique :)

You can find all the details about this project - pattern, yarn, progress pics and notes - on the Ravelry page here: Dinah.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Tea & Possibilities Episode 33: Tea Free

INTRODUCTION

You can find me on Instagram and Ravelry. We also have a Ravelry group!

The Best Year Ever KAL is a year long knit along which started on 1st January 2017 and will be running until 31st December 2017. You knit 4 things that bring you lots of joy and you could win a prize! 

It's a tea free week again - very much pints of water weather here in London. If you are in need of more tea inspiration, t
here is a tea recommendation thread in the Ravelry group.

Thank you to everyone who sent kind messages for Rich while he was in hospital, he is totally on the mend now and we have rebooked our holiday! 



WIP'D UP!

After some chilly days and stormy weather, it's been another scorcher here in Londontown!

I really ought to finish...

La Bien Hat
Ravelry Page: here
Pattern: Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure
Yarn: La Bien Aimee - Merino High Twist Sock in La Littoral

I frogged and restarted...

Hat Kick Take #3
Ravelry Page: here
Pattern:  Fuego Hat by Justyna Lorkowska
Yarn: MadelineTosh Tosh Vintage in Candlewick

Got some needles on the way so that I can move onto the next stages of these hats.

I frogged my Cornish Lilli Pilli and have cast on instead...

Cornish Affection
Ravelry Page: here
Pattern: Color Affection by Veera Valimaki
Yarn: Stranded Dyeworks Paradise base in custom dyed colourways (Amy is sadly no longer offering custom dyed yarn)

You can find my blog on the (Little) Girl Gang Blanket and look out for one about Dinah, my knitted triceratops head in the next week or so!.


HERE BE SPOILERS

I'm bringing back this segment as I have really been enjoying the latest season of Game of Thrones!

I am a big fan of the books and have really enjoyed the series adaptation, especially as we are now no longer in book territory!

If you aren't interested in Game of Thrones or want to avoid spoilers for the book and the series, please skip ahead to Knit & Natter at 28:52:03.


KNIT & NATTER

This week's Knit and Natter is inspired by Anna Maltz's article in the latest Pom Pom Quarterly (issue 22) about capsule wardrobes.

A capsule wardrobe has never worked for me, but I would love to hear if it has for you. I'd also love to hear any tips! Please share any blogs/videos you know of that don't focus on neutrals and plains, as this is my greatest stumbling block! 

Thanks again for joining me and I'll see you in a couple of weeks for another cup of tea!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

FO: The Little Crochet Girl Gang Blanket


(This was FO post a very long time in coming - I just never got round to editing the pics! - so Rich did it for me as he was off work)

As you know if you've seen my previous posts, I'm not much of a crocheter. I knit more than I crochet (by a long way) and I've only ever crocheted Christmas Stockings and blankets.

When one of my dearest friends announced she and her husband were having a baby, I knew I'd have to make them something. The last baby a friend had received a crocheted honey-bee blanket - crocheted in Lion Brand acrylic, it was a pretty blanket and has been used on several picnics. Hooray for washable yarn and sturdy crochet!

I'd seen the Crochet Girl Gang Blanket on the LoveCrochet blog (before I ever worked for them) and really loved it. This was a collaborative project between Emma Friedlander-Collins of Steel & Stitch and Emma Potter of Potter & Bloom

As my friend wanted gender neutral things in bright colours, this blanket, in the Steel & Stitch colourway seemed perfect.

I breezed through most of the squares, but hit a real road block with the Cable Square. I just couldn't get it right - it looked misshapen and... sort of intestinal? Not a great look. It was starting to really get to me, so I decided to make another square. 

I didn't want to repeat another square in the blanket, so decided to make up my own, combining two of the squares I loved best - The Flower Square and The Stocking Square.

If you're having trouble with The Cable Square too, you can try my Stocking Flower Square (see the bottom of this post).




On the whole, I was really happy with the pattern. But, I did have some issues with the triangles. I found that the Granny Triangles on the edges fitted a lot better than the triangles along the top, which were halves of the whole squares. 
This may be more a tension issue on my part than a design issue, but overall, I did find the squares differed slightly from square to square, based on who designed it. It's literally only a few milimetres here and there, but it was a little frustrating having to stretch out some and I did worry about ruffling along the top due to the top triangles being too large, but it seemed to work out.
I have to admit that I put off sewing these together for ages. I just couldn't face it. Were I to make it again, I would definitely block each set of squares as I finished them and sew them together one row at a time. It would make it a hell of a lot easier and would have been finished quicker (what do The Knitmore Girls say? 'How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.')
The border gave me a little trouble - I decided to take advantage of the car journeys to and from Portsmouth when we were moving to work on this. Sewing in the car was fine, if a little awkward, but I definitely wouldn't recommend starting the border in a confined space!
When I got home and spread out the blanket, I realised that I hadn't worked that foundation border evenly enough and it was tugging the blanket out of shape in places. I confess, I soldiered on to about a third of the way through the next row of the border before sighing and ripping it out. I then did the foundation border with the whole thing laid out on the bed, so I could see what I was doing and get it nice and even. 
That was incredibly time consuming, but was totally worth it - the next two rows zoomed along and then it was a simple case of checking for any stray ends, a final block and then tassels to attach.
I'm so looking forward to giving my friend this blanket for her baby shower in a couple of weeks. I'm sure she's going to love it! 
If you'd like to see a video of the finished blanket - check out Episode 20 of my podcast. You can also find all the details about this project - pattern, yarn and notes - on the Ravelry page here: (Little) Girl Gang :) See below for the pattern if you'd like to have a go!



Stocking Flower Square
Chain 4, join with ss to form a loop.
Round 1: Ch3; 3tr cluster (>yarn round hook – yrh), into space, yrh and pull up a loop, yrh and through 2 loops); repeat from > twice more; >ch3, 4tr cluster (same instructions as previous, but repeat 4 times instead of 3); repeat from > twice more so you have 4 treble clusters, join with ss to top of beginning chain.
Round 2: Ch3, >2tr, 2ch, 2tr into corner space, 3tr into cluster below. Repeat from > around and join with ss to top of beginning chain.
Round 3: Ch2, > in hump stitch htr 4, in the corner space (2tr, 2ch, 2tr). Repeat from > around and join with ss to top of beginning chain.
Break off yarn and continue with borders as before.