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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In the pink

DSCF2217 (Copy)I finished up the Ponderosa for my friend a few days ago and have since been trying to get a nice photograph. I am not a talented photographer at the best of times but cerise pink is really tricky to capture accurately. Robin and I went for a walk with the hat and tried a number of settings. It really made me smile to myself as we must have looked mad, rummaging in the hedgerows for props, laying the hat on the ground ‘artistically’ and generally acting suspiciously along the canal tow path. I think (I hope) this is something other knitters understand. It is just so lovely to have a record of our little projects to celebrate their creation.

In the end the shot I posted to Instagram was one I took in the house which I loved because Robin photo bombed it with his cute little fingers. That night I was sharing my photography frustrations with my tech savvy husband who casually said “you know you can just adjust the colour with Fireworks, don’t you”. Ahem, well no I probably can’t but I know a man that can!

This hat is a really nice little knit, it holds my interest without having me breaking into a sweat. I really recommend it. I think the yarn choice, Drops Lima, works well – I knit one previously in cream – but it does grow a little. Anyway, I am sure my friend will be happy to have this little bright pink hat to keep her warm on her daily dog walks. You know, the pink hat that really isn’t as pink in real life!

Last week sweet Sarah at The Aspiring Farmwife left a comment suggesting I ask my LYS to look at the Latvian Yarn to check my assumptions on gauge and yardage. I took her advice. It seems my instincts were right and they also suggested that a sweater may be pushing my luck on yardage. I have spent two nights this week not knitting but cruising the pattern shelves of Ravelry for a vest pattern. I just can’t find what is in my mind’s eye so I’m moving on for the moment.

I’m really excited to have cast on an Aibhie Hat, designed by Ginny. This is super special as I am using some of Ginny’s yarn left over from the gorgeous shawl that I received for my birthday. This is my first venture into lace work (and there really is only a touch). I have no photograph to share yet but hopefully, before next week, I’ll be found in my unnatural habitat trying to find the perfect light and conditions to show it off to it’s best!

In other news….THE OWLET FITS!!!!!!

Have a wonderful week ahead.

Joining with Ginny, Nicole and all the Yarn Alongers and Keep Calmers of the world.

Decisions

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That HUGE ball of wool to the right there (like you needed a hand spotting it) is the Mystery Latvian yarn. It turns out that it is actually closer to a DK. I got out the back of a fag packet and calculated that there is about 560m. Maybe. Those back of fag packet calculations can be a bit inaccurate. I measured out 10m, weighed it and then used that to calculate the meterage based on the total ball weight. If any of you have any brighter ideas I am all ears!

I am still searching for the dream toddler Fisherman’s (or Aran, or cable) sweater pattern. I bought a couple of vintage patterns from Ebay but I am not 100% sure. I am also really nervous that I will get to 80% knit and run out of yarn. And then cry a lot as I will have been cabling my little heart out. I feel like I am out of ideas about where to find a pattern which is ridiculous really.

In the meantime I have cast on a Ponderosa in Drops Lima, Cerise. It is for a friend who loves this shade of pink. In fact it isn’t nearly as florescent in ‘real’ life. I really love this hat pattern by Melody Hoffman (bmandarines) – straightforward enough for it to be a relaxing knit, enough of a pattern to hold interest. Just as well it is straightforward as all I can think about is my Latvian yarn and Fisherman’s Sweaters!

Oh! I nearly forgot the Owlet! Here it is in it’s finished glory. I actually think I shrunk it a bit when I popped it in the airing cupboard, door ajar, to dry out fully. So instead of worrying that it is too big, I am now kept awake at night thinking it is likely too small! Sigh.

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Knitting along with Ginny and Nicole.

Making plans

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The Owlet is languishing on a towel as I write this. I thought I’d spare you, dear reader, a shot of a tatty towel and an unmade bed. I love seeing styled shots of projects being blocked and looking perfect but that is not my reality!

I’m very nervous about whether it will fit the recipient. I came up a stitch over on gauge but went with the needle size suspecting the yarn would grow when blocked. Oh how it grew! I spent half an hour faffing about and laying it out, trying to adjust the size. Robin thought it marvellous fun, stealing my tape measure, lunging at a sleeve and pulling it 4″ longer. It will take flight to the East Coast of America shortly and then we will see if it fits this year, next, the one after, who knows when!

(By the way, do you know Meg? She is an incredibly gifted singer and Waldorf teacher who has a new project developing learning tools for harmonious song. There is a beautiful video here if you are interested in hearing her angelic voice. The Owlet is for her gorgeous boy).

Instead I’m sharing the Latvian yarn a friend of mine gifted me from her pre Christmas trip to the markets of Riga. Sweet Melody recommended a yarn shop and this yarn is just so wonderfully rustic. There are bits of dried grass in it still! I posted a picture on my Instagram feed asking for help in working out the gauge. I now believe it to be worsted, veering towards DK. I need to calculate how much I have and whether I have enough for a sweater for Robin. In my mind’s eye I am envisaging a fisherman’s jumper. Oh wouldn’t that be so dear? I so enjoy the research and planning but tonight I’ll wind this skein and try and figure out the yardage.

Thank you so much for the comments last week. I love to read them and i’m so happy to answer questions too. I was especially touched that a few readers asked my advice about projects. I do hope I can encourage and support despite my limited experience so do please check back if you do pose a question.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead and joining dear Ginny and Nicole.

Entwined and encased

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Life is full of new pathways, signposts, reroutes. New births, rebirths. Coming of age, turning of age. And here I now find myself teetering over the edge into a new decade.

This last one seemed to herald a new beginning for myself. It started with a change of pace as I prepared for the birth of my beautiful son. It consolidated as I started exploring a new me, a complete me, a mama me. I found a new passion just as the decade was coming into its final hurrah and thus this space and this space started opening up, allowing me to make new connections, deepen ones I felt I’d been gravitating towards.

It feels so appropriate, and such a physical recognition of this new place I find myself in, that my dear husband sought to bring some of these threads together, to be connected, quite literally, into a beautiful gift to celebrate these many trips around the sun.

Commissioned with love by the man that I love who, together with me, created my other most precious gift.

Stitched with yarn dyed naturally and especially for this project by the hands of the woman who inspired and motivated my love of this wonderful craft in it’s very infancy.

These story tale strands literally entwined into this beautiful Monsoon Shawl by the dearest and sweetest of souls, who I have so much admiration for and who has inspired me to stretch myself and explore my own capabilities in knitting and beyond.

Thank you dearest Chris, dear Ginny and Lori. Wearing this shawl I am encased in love, friendship and the beauty of yarn perfection.

What a wonderful start to the next 10 years.

Hoot

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Happy New Year.

I am making steady progress with the Owlet for my craft swop. There have been some sizing amendments along the way (I want it to be perfect and discussing sizes by message can be surprisingly tricksy). I realised I had forgotten the body increases so had to rework THE ENTIRE BODY but that was fine as it was relaxing knit stitch all the way. This Cascade 128 yarn knits up really quickly and is so easy to work with.

My super clever husband fixed my blog last week after someone kindly let me know the comments function had gone haywire. Sorry if you got caught up with techno frustration, please let me know if you have any problems.

I hope your year has been yarn filled so far and I am looking forward to hopping over and catching up with you soon.

Linking up with Nicole and Ginny.

It’s all about the woodland creatures

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I was so happy to finish my boy’s squirrel sweater for Christmas. I didn’t get it blocked but that really doesn’t matter. The neckline took a couple of attempts but I’m really happy with how it turned out. I basically did a really bold decrease round a few rounds after the squirrels, knit a round including German short rows (great tutorial here) and finished with an inch or so of ribbing. It fits great and might even last two winters if i’m really lucky! My husband has said he wants a matching one and actually, me too! Thank you for all the lovely and encouraging comments last week, I so appreciated ever one of them.

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Next up is a knit for an Instagram friend. Meg loved the Owlet I knitted for Robin’s birthday and I couldn’t help but offer to spread the owl love! She has sweetly offered to make Robin a pair of trousers so I guess we have a craft swop going on, across the pond. Fun! I’ll be adapting the pattern to lengthen the arms and body but other than that I’m looking forward to getting my owl on. I’m using buttery soft Cascade 128 as her boy is sensitive to itchy wool. It is so soft and I love this colourway that Meg choose.

I hope your festivities have been wonderful. Next time we catch up it will be 2016 – see you on the other side friends.

Joining Nicole and Ginny.

The Squirrel Collective

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It’s Christmas and a bit of belief goes a long way in making it feel magical, right? A few nights ago I really lost hope that this little sweater would be ready for Christmas Day but right now, 14 squirrels a-scampering around the yoke, I am starting to have a bit of belief.

I still have to figure what to do with the neckline. The pattern doesn’t call for short rows… but then it also has a roll neck which i plan to omit… but then I’ve never tried to figure short rows without a pattern. Ach, decisions, decisions and colour work sure does create a lot of ends to weave.

Mentally i have given away a lot of hand made, nice to do prettiness this Christmas. That’s the reality of mindfully mothering a 14 month old. I know I’ve got my priorities just right and a gorgeous Solstice tree and a hand knit jumper is a pretty good bit of prettiness in a sea of emptied cupboards, sleep deprivation and teething woes.

And what a year of knitting. I only started in July and this is my lucky 13th knit. I’ve found an incredible on line community of inspiring, talented and, above all, kind knitters. I believe next year I’ll meet more of you and enrich deeper some of these connections I have made. I believe I’ll knit up a storm, learn new skills, clothe my family in more handmade, woolly wonder. I believe it and therefore it must be true.

Thank you for being part of this place I find myself. I wish to you a truly beautiful Christmas and a year ahead filled with peace and happiness.

Joining Nicole and Ginny

A tangible sigh of relief

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Did you hear the angels as they burst into a chorus at the weekend? Hooray. The hat, yes the ‘knit three times’ one, is off the needles. Happiness is a finished object. I think I can safely say I probably won’t do this pattern again. Chris seems over the moon with the way it turned out but I’m not loving the ‘kind of is’, ‘kind of isn’t’ a slouch thing or the little holes that appear on the decrease part. Really the only important thing is the happiness of the recipient so I’m moving on to projects new.

Next up is the Squirrels jumper for Robin. I’d like this to be his mama handmade Christmas gift so I think I have 16 sleeps to knit. Crikey. That suddenly sounds terrifyingly close but I think it is doable. Well, it has to be so there may be some late nights. I’m making a few amendments to the pattern in the form of additional colour work to the sleeve and body hems, just to bring in some contrast to the green.  I did the hem last night and really enjoyed myself. The body should be a quick knit ahead of the sleeve construction then joining the pieces altogether and tackling the squirrels.

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How about you? How is your gift knitting coming along? I don’t think there is a nicer gift than a hand knit and i’m itching to catch up with how your projects have progressed.

Joining Ginny and Nicole and their community of inspiring crafters.