Monthly Archives: February 2016

The first stitches

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Robin has been helping (re)arrange the props to show off my early progress on the Selkie shawl. I am fast thinking my studio assistant is my signature photography style.

I’m really enjoying this stage of the shawl. It’s the ultimate slow knitting, all garter stitch (I am the ultimate slow knitter, after all!). The analytical part of my brain couldn’t help wonder what proportion of this centre panel I have knit. A quick calculation and I have 40% complete. By my reckoning I might have completed this central part by next week’s post, not that I want to ruin the surprise of where I may be up to! I am not sure how many of you will rush back to see a bigger beige triangle!

I am loving being part of a KAL. Valerie, Michaela and I have a little Instagram group set up and we can share progress, questions and generally catch up as often as we like. I must admit I feel particularly blessed to be able to turn to them for advice. I think I may be the weakest link!

Thank you all for your lovely comments last week on the Owlet. I so appreciated them all. I can report that it has flown to it’s new home. The blocking had me on the edge of my seat – it grew then contracted. As it turns out I think the size will be good for Thali. It is in the mail and I reckon Helen will receive it tomorrow….actually this is the thing that has me on the edge of my seat. Please keep everything crossed for me that it fits (and she loves it).

Okay, indulge me with this one…! I shall post a ‘proper’ completed Owlet pic i.e none photo bombed, over on Instagram when Helen has received it.

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I am also looking into patterns and yarns for a very special baby knit. A dear, none knitting friend is having a baby in April, The baby will be in hospital for the first few weeks if not months of her life. I want to knit something useful and am aware a baby in intensive care may just be in a nappy. A mutual friend suggested cloths that could be held in the mother’s nursing top to get her scent that then could be left with the baby when they are apart. I have found a couple of small cloth patterns that I like but am wondering what the best yarn would be. I certainly want it to be natural but should it be wool or cotton or a blend? If any of you have experience of babies in intensive care please let me know if you have any thoughts.

Joining you all, along with Ginny and Nicole. Have a happy knitting week!

Also known as Owling

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Verb: owling
To knit the cables on an Owl or Owlet

This week’s owling progress has been rather slow, merely down to not having as much knitting time as usual. I’ve got the sleeves finished, joined in the round and am two thirds through the cable work.

My lovely partner in craft swop, Helen, has finished Robin’s little crochet cardigan. I am so ridiculously excited to see it and to see Robin wearing a cardigan which I know was created, not only with yarn, but also love. My world since becoming Robin’s mama has changed hugely (for the better in every single way). Back in the old days I was responsible for negotiating and implementing trading agreements for the supermarket giants, aka flogging stuff. I wonder if the way forward is simply trading stuff.

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My little photo bombing studio assistant’s birthday gift to me arrived this week. My boy has such amazing taste! I am delighted with these three skeins of Ginny Yarn, dyed with sumac and indigo. I have no idea what project I will use them for. Hmmm, I wonder if Robin was dropping a big hint, after all, that grey-blue would look gorgeous with his colouring.

When the Owlet is finished I will be starting on the Selkie, along with my Sister in Shawl, Valerie. I’m really pleased with the colours I have picked out, shown in the top picture, and am so looking forward to casting this on. I’d better get back to my owling…

Hoping to get a bit more time this week to catch up on all your projects, along with Ginny and Nicole.

Have a wonderful week of knitting and crafting.

How Now Brown Owl

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My studio assistant has been helping me set up my photo shoots again. He is very good at adjusting the props and unwinding any balls of wool.

I am currently working on my third Owlet. This one is for a very special little girl. I connected with the beautiful Helen (in all senses) after following her on Instagram and seeing she has a little Etsy shop where she sells her beautiful knitted and crocheted children’s clothes. We thought it would be fun to do a craft swop, a gorgeous fair isle cardigan for Robin and an Owlet for Thali. I love this Cascade Ecological wool she picked out. It feels so rustic and the colour is, I think, perfect for an Owlet.

When, when will I learn? I was so excited to get knitting that I threw aside the swatch, reckoning that because I’d worked with other Cascade Yarns and got gauge, there or there abouts, I’d be just fine. Well, this Owlet is coming up small. A quick message to someone I know has worked with Ecological has kind of eased my concerns. Apparently this yarn grows A LOT! No doubt I’ll be stressing again at the blocking stage. I just want this to be perfect for Helen and Thali’s. Yeah, so I should have swatched, right?!

Linking late with Ginny and Nicole….have you seen Nicole’s darling baby? Swoon.

Celtic dreaming

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I completed the Aibhie hat in my very special Ginny yarn. It was such a lovely knit, I honestly enjoyed every stitch and highly recommend the pattern. It ended up a bit bigger than I hoped, even though I measured my head, followed the sizing recommendations AND dropped the needle size by 1 for both the brim and body of the hat.

No, of course I didn’t knit a swatch! In my defence the finished object had the correct circumference measurement. Instinctively I knew a medium would be too large for my little noggin but I didn’t trust it and thought the measurements would be a better guide than gut feel. This tale has a happy ending thanks to Operation Controlled Shrinking. A few blasts in the tumble dryer for a minute at a time and the fit was much better.

I posted this picture on Instagram yesterday and couldn’t resist sharing it here so apologies if you have already seen it. I actually think Robin’s smile is so uplifting that this is really a public service!

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Next up I am so excited to be knitting my first shawl. Selkie is Mandarines latest design and it is so beautiful. I had planned to knit Blom for my first shawl project but Selkie came along and stole my heart.  There is an image of Selkie here and here.

What makes it even better is this will be a Cross Atlantic KAL. Valerie and I will be sisters in shawls and I am so happy about this! I have picked out my colours since the swatch card arrived and am awaiting the wool delivery from Jamieson & Smith. This is going to be a very relaxed KAL as Valerie has several WIPs already, I will be achingly slow, no doubt, plus I have another Owlet to cast on for. More on that next week when the yarn arrives.

In other very exciting news I have a small parcel jetting over from Ginny containing three skeins of her yarn, courtesy of Robin. What can I say, this boy may only be 15 months old but he sure has great birthday present taste.

Joining up with Ginny and Nicole.

Watching Birds

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Robin adores birds and gets very excited when he sees them in the garden. To encourage more visitors, who may stay longer than a fleeting moment, we found a lovely bird table last summer and stocked it up with seed, positioning it in a prime viewing location. I was very excited and had to be prised away from the french doors where I was forever checking to see who and what was happening on the table. Truth be told, nothing at all was happening on the table. It was pretty disappointing and it felt like a snub to see our feathered friends tucking into seeds in the feeders of our neighbour’s gardens!

So we upped the anti and found higher value treats; meal worms. Oh yes, we rolled out the big guns! These, along with relocating the table to a further away spot, quickly encouraged the birds in their masses. We have spotted lots of starlings, robins, sparrows and blackbirds, along with the increasingly frequent and very greedy pigeons. This weekend Chris attempted to pigeon proof the table. They still try and get to those meal worms and it is highly entertaining watching them.

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This pigeon is a Frequent Flyer at the table. Can you see, he has a damaged beak? I feel a bit sorry for him so don’t begrudge him a few meal worms

Robin and I love our breakfast and lunchtime bird spotting. Of all the birds the robin makes my heart so happy. To be with my little Robin bird, watching his name sake and listening to their beautiful song…that is so very precious. It makes my boy very happy too.

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