Thursday 30 April 2015

Just Perfect!

Many of you may remember that earlier this year I was having a cardigan knitting crisis.  I seemed to have lost confidence in everything I knit.  I eventually finished the Que Sera cardigan and at the time I was reasonably happy with the results.  Time has moved on and I haven't worn that cardigan very much.  In fact I'm already thinking of frogging it and knitting up the yarn in a new pattern!

So, knitting my latest cardigan (from wool frogged from yet another cardigan that didn't quite hit the mark) you can imagine the doubts I was having.  Should I retire from cardigan knitting and put all my efforts into socks?  Thankfully, that will not be the case.  My latest knitting project has turned out perfectly.

It's just what I want from a cardigan, good fit, easy to wear and the right amount of warmth. For this cardigan I have returned to an old favourite.

It's my Olivia pattern and every time I knit it I'm amazed at how quickly it works up.  I've knit this pattern twice before and I know I will wear it a lot.

It's knitted in the classic way, bottom up, knitted flat, in pieces and seamed together at the end.   There's a delicate crochet border to add a special touch.  The all over lacy pattern gives it a very feminine look.  The sleeves are ribbed right up to near the armholes, for a slim fit.  You can see details of the project on my Ravelry project page, here.

I think my problem is, I have very definite ideas about the style and shape of the cardigans I wear, and I do love to wear them, I wear one EVERY day.  So when I try a new pattern, if it doesn't fit in with my idea of a wearable cardigan, I just can't feel comfortable with it.

Am I becoming an old stick-in-the-mud?  I hope not.  I may end up with ten versions of this cardigan in a range of colours.  Are you the same?  Do you find yourself going back to the same formula time and again?

At least I know this cardigan will be worn a lot, so why not make a few more?  Maybe grey or dark blue next time!

Monday 27 April 2015

My How You've Grown, Sophie!

My Sophie's Universe blanket continues to grow and I'm still loving crocheting it.  Part 16 of the CAL has recently been released and there's five more weeks to the end of the CAL.

After my enforced break from crocheting due to eye strain, I'm back in the swing.  Last time I showed you my work in progress, I was up to part 7.  I was quite excited about the larger flowers that were growing up the sides.  Here's a close up after part 8 was completed.

Then came part 9.

Closely followed by part 10.

Part 11.

And I've recently completed part 12.

Isn't it just amazing.  I can't stress enough how much admiration I have for the creator of this wonderful blanket, Dedri Uys.  This is such an interesting project and the pattern is so well written and explained, and it's free.

I'm hoping to get another two or three parts completed this week.  But it's so addictive, I may well do even more.

Friday 24 April 2015

Is That a Bed Sheet You're Wearing?

Haven't we had some lovely weather, here in the UK, this week (although, as I write this, the sun has gone and it's turning rather chilly).  Spring seems to have finally arrived in the northwest of England.  The blossom on our tree has decided to put in an appearance.

Although it isn't in full bloom yet, I think it's hedging it's bets!

With the sunny weather, I have no excuse not to be gardening.  I've managed to tidy up quite a bit, so it's not looking too bad.  My dandelion collection is thriving and there's more moss on the lawn than grass, but interesting things are growing and I'm happy with my efforts.

I'm hoping to get my knitted cardigan finished this weekend and I'm making good progress with my Sophie's Universe blanket.  This week, however, I've been concentrating on dress making.  With the sunny weather I thought it was about time I turned some of my fabric collection into wearable dresses.

All well and good, but with advancing years, I seem have become more and more cautious .  There was a time when I would happily hack into a length of fabric without a care in the world.  Now, the thought of that first cut fills me with dread.  So I decided to do a trial run of my dress pattern.  I think you're supposed to do this anyway with a new pattern but I've never had the time for sensible ideas like that before.  It seemed a shame to put all that effort into making something that was only for practice, a bit like having to knit tension squares before you start the actual garment.

So I had a cunning plan!  I bought a bed sheet with a pretty pattern from Primark (reduced to £4) with the idea that if it didn't look too bad I could at least wear the finished article around the house.

And do you know, I'm amazed at how great the dress has turned out.  I haven't put the zip in yet (need to buy one) and the neck facing and hem haven't been completed, but it looks wonderful when I've tried it on.

The darts went well, the pleating for the skirt fell together like a dream and even putting in the sleeves wasn't too stressful.  The pattern was so well explained (I'll give details of the pattern shortly).

I'm still patting myself on the back, and I think I may be able to get away with wearing this out and about - no one need know it's a bed sheet!

When I've sewn in the zip and finished it off, I'll post some pictures of me wearing it.  And then I'll make it again with the proper dress fabric I've bought - let's hope it all goes as well next time.

Sunday 19 April 2015

Cambridge and some Knitting

Yesterday, we had one of our regular drives down to Cambridge, to take Eve back for her final term.  My, how time flies.

This was the last time we would be doing the journey there and back in one day - thank goodness.  We're planning to visit Eve sometime in May and stay a few days.  Then our final trip down will be at the end of June when we all go down for her graduation.

My husband and I share the driving, but I have to admit, he is very good and actually does the greater part.  This is wonderful for me as I can get some knitting done on the journey.

I'm currently working on another cardigan.

This cardigan is one of my patterns, Olivia.  I originally knitted this in a mohair yarn, but it shed so much it was unbearable.  I reknit it  in a pretty pink wool / acrylic mix DK yarn and it was perfect.

It is so easy to wear, I love it.  It's also amazingly quick to knit.  I've been meaning to make another one for ages but something else always took priority.  Finally I've made a start and I'm enjoying knitting it as much as the previous times.

I'm using yarn I've frogged from a previous knit that is now unloved.  The yarn is the discontinued Sirdar Balmoral, a wool, alpaca and silk mix.  I love this yarn as it doesn't seem to go bitty.  The yarn was originally knit up as Patsy, a pattern by Kim Hargreaves.  A lovely cardigan but I didn't wear it as much as I would have liked.

It's good to reuse yarn in this way, and I must admit that I enjoy frogging and reknitting more than I suspect I should.

Anyway, I've finished the back, left front and I'm almost done with the right front.  Should be finished shortly - I still can't believe how quick the knitting is.  And of course it's in my favourite colourway - a lovely berry colour.

Whilst in Cambridge yesterday, we had a walk around St John's College.  I leave you with some pictures I took.

As Eve said, when we arrived yesterday, Cambridge is so pretty.

Wednesday 15 April 2015

April Socks

With a packed weekend of sport on television, Formula 1, cycling, golf and of course, football, I got plenty of knitting done.

I've finished my lovely April socks.

Don't they look just gorgeous and cosy?

The pattern was really interesting to knit.  It was actually a mystery KAL, which was run in October and November last year by A Wee Bit Knitty.  The pattern is available for free, here.

I chose a plain colour for these socks because I wanted the textured pattern to stand out.  Full details of my project can be found on my Ravelry page, here.  Next month I'm planning on using one of my more colourful yarns for my May socks, I can't wait to start.

Monday 13 April 2015

April Squares

I'm happily back crocheting again now - all's right with the world!

I've been completing my April squares for the Block-a-month challenge on Ravelry.

The main square was this one.

The pattern is called Romantique Afghan Square, and it's by Joyce Lewis.  Quite an interesting construction.

The filler square was this one.

It's called Sun Catcher Afghan Square by Julie Yeager.

This was quite a nice pattern to make.  The original pattern has a stained glass window effect, but I chose to make my square more flower-like.

The small square was my favourite this month.

This one is called May Flower and it's by Donna Mason-Svara.

All the patterns are free downloads on Ravelry.

I got the equivalent of twelve large squares now and when they are laid out they are looking very colourful.  By the end of the year I'll have an amazing blanket - what fun.

Saturday 11 April 2015

Another Shawl

Despite the sore eye, I have managed to get some knitting done.  I've finished the shawlette I was making for myself.

It's taken longer than I had hoped because I have only been able to knit for short periods, but now it's finished, I've very happy with it.

It was a lovely pattern to knit.  The pattern is called Ashton Shawlette, and it's a freebie in Ravelry, here.

There's plenty of interest in the pattern and I wouldn't mind knitting it again.

I wouldn't use the same yarn though.  It's Red Heart Sport Socks Color.  When the yarn was soaked it smelled very strongly of damp dog.  Even after it dried there was a slight hint of dog left in the yarn.  I'll have to re-soak it in something with a pleasant scent to banish the dog.

Full details of this project can be found on my Ravelry page, here.

I'm hoping to get back to some crocheting this weekend, lots of sport on the television, so ideal knitting and crocheting time.  Have a good weekend.

Wednesday 8 April 2015

In the Garden

The sun came out yesterday afternoon and it was lovely and warm, so I made it out into the garden.

Once I get started I quite enjoy the tidying up and prettifying of the garden - I just find it difficult to get started!

Anyway, there's lots to be done to tidy it up but I was cheered to find some splashes of colour.  If I edit out the messy bits I thought I could share some of the more pleasanter parts of the garden.

The final flourish of daffodils.

My Mother-in-law's hydrangea, I thought I had killed off last year, is still with us.

Grape hyacinths and tulips about to bloom.

Lovely red berries on the holly Bush.

The plum tree I bought from Asda for £5 is growing some leaves.  Fingers crossed for plums next year.

Some purple flowers!

Little beauties hidden by the bluebell leaves.

Bulging buds on the wisteria.

And a lovely peacock butterfly.

There's hope for the garden yet, so long as the weather holds fair, I'm happy to get out there.