Monday 14 November 2016

Busy Being Retired

Ten weeks into my husband's retirement and we have settled into a lovely routine.  We potter around the house and garden, go for long country walks and watch a lot of sport on television.

We've been enjoying plenty of walks along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.  The canal is 127 miles long and this year there have been celebrations to mark 200 years since its completion.


It really is a beautiful and peaceful place for a stroll.

And besides all this loveliness, I'm finding lots of time for knitting.

The past six weeks have flown by in terms of my knitting projects.  I've been joining in with a stranded knitting KAL with one of the groups I belong to on Ravelry.  I've put links to the relevant Ravelry project pages for each project.  Since chatting to you last time, and sharing my Fair Isle cardigan, I've completed my first ever pair of Fair Isle socks.

I can't believe I have put off knitting colourwork socks for so long, because I enjoyed knitting these so much.  I'm now busy browsing all the colour work sock patterns on Ravelry and I can't wait to start another pair.

I've also completed this cute Bumblebee Hat.

I was inspired by one of the other knitters from the Ravelry group to make this pattern.  She had had issues with the size of the hat, so I reconfigured it to match my favourite hat recipe, keeping the charts from the original pattern.

It was such a joy to knit and I couldn't put it down once I started.

So a very productive six weeks in terms of stash-busting.  For the four projects I finished for the KAL, I used 532g and 35 different colours in total, all in 4 ply weight.  Very satisfying.

And if that isn't enough, I knitted up a shawl with the Cuddlebums yarn I bought at Yarndale in September this year.

I love the little pops of colour in the pink background.  I used a favourite knitting pattern (it's free on Ravelry) called Age of Brass and Steam.  It's simple but very effective.

Lastly, I've been at the sewing machine again.  This time I made a simple skirt.

I used the skirt sections of my favourite Simplicity 2444 dress pattern and added a waistband.  I'm very happy with the fit and will be making more skirts like this in the future.  I would have liked to have shown you a picture of me wearing the skirt but to be honest, I don't trust my husband's photography skills!

I've recently bought two lots of new dress fabric and one lot of skirt fabric, however, I'm in the middle of decorating one of the bedrooms so crafty projects may have to take a backseat until the decorating is out of the way.  So until next time, I'm off to my pasting table to get suitable sticky.  Enjoy your week.

Friday 4 November 2016

Enjoying the Colours

There have been some beautiful colours to admire this Autumn.  The trees have been just amazing.  It's a delight to go for my morning walk and marvel at the gorgeous yellows, reds and oranges.

I've been knitting up some colourful goodness of my own.  My Fair Isle cardigan is now complete.

It's knitted entirely from leftovers of gorgeous Shetland 4ply wool, a mix of Jamieson & Smith and Jamieson's Spindrift.

In total I used 19 different colours and 369g of yarn.  It's a true stashbuster.

I'm really pleased with how it looks and the colour combination is just perfect.

I'm loving knitting Fair Isle (I always do).   It gives me so much pleasure to see the colour patterns evolving.  The only thing I have never knitted in Fair Isle is socks.  For some reason I've shied away from these.  I think I'm worried about the fit.  Socks need to fit well and if the tension is wrong on the Fair Isle, then it could be a disaster.  But I feel that the time is right for me it give it a try, so my next Fair Isle project will definitely be socks.  Just got to steel myself to cast on and get on with it.

Last week was my husband's birthday.  I thought I'd share a picture with you of the cake I made him (I pinched the idea from Pinterest).

He liked the surprise and the cake was delicious. (For anyone concerned, Barbie's legs fitted back on no problem afterwards!)

Have a good weekend.

Sunday 23 October 2016

Living the Dream

A lazy relaxed morning...
An afternoon walk through woodland..
or through picturesque valleys...
Followed by an evening of knitting and reading..
or maybe spent with a pint or two of good beer in an atmospheric old pub -

This is my idea of a perfect day.  Lucky me, I've been able to spend seven such days on holiday with my husband in one of my favourite counties, Shropshire.

We had our annual holiday to Church Stretton.  Usually we go Spring / early Summer time but this year we were able to enjoy the delightful Autumn colours.

This dog does not belong to us!

It was lovely to have a mix of slow paced relaxation with some vigorous mountain climbing.  It's just a pity it was all over so quickly.  Never mind, there's the return next year to look forward to.

I took a variety of knitting projects on holiday with me, but ended up just concentrating on my Fair Isle cardigan.

It's looking lovely and colourful and it's such good fun to knit. Hopefully it will be finished sometime this week.

Before we went away, I managed to complete a pinafore  dress.

It's sewn using my favourite dress pattern, Simplicity 2444 and the fabric is a fine needlework.  I just love the raspberry colour.

Because I'm working monogamously on my Fair Isle cardigan, I haven't managed to finish any other projects.  I did complete a shawl a few weeks ago but as it was a gift for my Mum, I haven't been able to show it to you until now.

My Mum's favourite colour is yellow, and as it is also my favourite colour, it was a delight to knit this.  You can see details of this project over on Ravelry, here.

So now I'm back home, and we may not have scenic mountains and dramatic valleys, but I'm lucky that my days are relaxed and filled with pleasant moments... and plenty of knitting!

Saturday 8 October 2016

So Proud

Yesterday, my husband and I had a trip down to London.  We only had three hours there, but it was well worth the visit.

We met up with Eve and walked to the Brick Lane Gallery on ... Brick Lane.  The reason for our trip was to see the exhibition entitled East End, the place we call home.

The exhibition is only at the Brick Lane Gallery this weekend.  After that it goes on tour around Tower Hamlets.

We were very impressed with the colourful pictures and captions that told the story of the East End over the past ninety years.  The story was told thematically around the idea of building and providing homes for East Enders.

There was also a very interesting film in which residents talked about what the East End meant to them.

The exhibition had been formally opened on Wednesday by the Duke of Kent and I understand he was very impressed with the display and enjoyed meeting many of the people who were included in the film and who contributed to the exhibition.

And one of the main people who has worked on this exhibition for nearly a year is my lovely daughter, Eve.  I feel so proud of all her hard work and what she has achieved.

It was just a shame that we weren't able to spend more time with Eve, but hopefully I'll be able to get down to London and see her again soon.

We might have only had three hours in London, but we certainly had many hours on the trains!  On a positive note, this did give me some extra knitting time.  I have started knitting up a Fair Isle cardigan using leftovers of Jamieson and Smith 2 ply jumper weight yarn.  This is as far as I've got on the sleeves.

I'm using 14 different colours so it will be a riot of colours and patterns!

The Fair Isle was too fiddly to take on the train, so I cast on a shawl with some of the yarn I bought at Yarndale.

I love the way it's knitting up and I'm tempted to carry on knitting this now but I want to concentrate on the Fair Isle so the shawl will be put to one side for now.

October is going to be a colourful Fair Isle month.  I've already made some mittens this month, using up tiny bits and pieces of Rowan Fine Tweed.

I ran out of yarn on the tip of the last thumb!

This yarn has been a favourite of mine since it first appeared five years ago.  Sadly it is now discontinued, no idea why Rowan have done this.  It's so annoying when they constantly change their yarns.

Anyway, I'm getting back to my colourful cardigan.  Have a good weekend and if you're in London see if you can get down to Brick Lane!

Monday 26 September 2016

Yarndale 2016

I think I've finally recovered from my hangover.  I've been bingeing on yarn at Yarndale and it's taken me a few days to get back to normal.  We had a fabulous time at the festival.  It was just as busy as last year and so many lovely stands.  Everywhere you turned there was yarn.  It was heavenly.

Having dieted for so long, it was wonderful to just go and overindulge.  I largely kept to the wish list I had made before we set off but I did slip in quite a few treats.  So here's my collection of loveliness.

Isn't it wonderful.  I didn't spend as much as last year but I feel I spent my money more wisely this year.

Grace went with me again and this is her collection.

I bought some gorgeous skeins for shawls.

I love the colours and patterns of the Cuddlebums yarn, on the left.

This pretty sock yarn had to come home with me.

I also bought this lovely British Wool DK weight yarn for a cardigan.

The yarn colour is called turquoise but it actually looks greener than in the above photo.

I topped up my purchases with other bits and pieces that I can use in Fair Isle and I also bought an undyed skein of yarn that I want to dye up myself, which should be fun.

At Yarndale we met up with Instagram friends for a picnic.  The weather was a bit cool and there was no sign of the sun, but the meet up was fun so that was all that mattered.

I received lots of lovely compliments on my Lily the Pink cardigan which was very pleasing.

So now I'm going to be working my way through my haul.  Plenty to keep me quiet for a long time to come.  I'll also still be busting the stash I already had - that's an ongoing mission.  The day after we got back from Yarndale, I finished this shawl.

It was knitted with the last of the untouched yarn that was bought at Yarndale last year.  I love the colours in the yarn, so I'm currently using the leftovers to make some fingerless mittens.  Details of the shawl project can be found on Ravelry, here.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and if you were at Yarndale, I hope that you managed to bag yourself some loveliness as well.