Thursday, 21 May 2015

Tiglar complete!

Ta Dah!  My Tiglar sweater is complete and now gifted so I can put it on my blog :)  Mot sure that my photos do it justice but anyway this first one is one I took the day I finished it - a lovely sunny Spring day!  (not sure what's happened to our weather since then - it's almost back to Winter now, so good lopapeysa weather) . . .

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out - it was a perfect fit as I used an existing sweater as a template.  The only finishing to do once I'd completed the pattern was to graft the underarm stitches together using kitchener stitch (and darn in loose ends of course). This is a technique I'm well used to during my sock knitting so it stood me in good stead - I still follow written instructions for it though!  It gives a lovely neat finish and it worked well - no lumpy, bulky underarm seams. 

Love that this style of sweater is done entirely in the round and in one piece - I'd definitely make another one :)

If you're thinking of making a lopapeysa, I'd definitely recommend giving it a go - they're great fun and quite straightforward (you might need good arm and shoulder muscles though - they become quite heavy by the time you reach the neck shaping!)

See you soon!
Alison x

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Good progress and a little backtracking . . .

As per usual I got so involved with my lopapeysa/icelandic sweater project that I did not manage to chart my progress as I went, but here's the next part of the 'story' . . .

I finished the main part of the sweater (using an exisiting sweater as a template for sizing - that's the grey one underneath BTW) . . .

So that was the body ready, now for the sleeves . . .

I made two, of course, hehe!  Nothing too challenging so far - just getting used to stranded colour knitting on much larger needles than I'm used to!  Basic increasing every 12th row - nothing tricky, just keep counting!

OK, so now we have a body and two sleeves ready for joining together, that's the fun part Yay! . . .

You now join the everything together on your main circular needle (the one the body is knitted on) - you leave a few stitches from each sleeve on a holder to be sewn up later.  Your sweater is now getting quite cumbersome to carry - it's quite a heavyweight! . . .

The instructions to join the parts together were fairly straightforward - well I managed it anyway - I definitely broke sweat at this point though, pheeeeew!.

It's now time to follow the colour chart for the yoke - this was the part I was looking forward to!  The knitting up of the main parts can get a little boring but this yarn knits up fast :)  I was a little worried about my knitting tension of the colour work - some online advice suggested going up a bigger size of needle but I decided to keep my knitting tension loose instead - this was a little tricky but turned out well . . .

So strange doing colour work on these big needles - it was a challenge to keep everything nice and even.  I decided to strand in some of the longer floats at the back after much ummming and ahhhhing.  This website was reassuring  re floats though so I didn't fret toooooo much - when in Iceland and all that (yes, I know I'm not but you know what I mean - I was trying to be authentic!)

Anyway it's all gone swimmingly - I'll reveal the finished sweater next week after the recipient receives it.  If it's too small  . . . . well I could wear it myself!

See you next week with the finished sweater - hurray!!  BTW I'm making this one here by Vedis Jonsdottir :) Great pattern :)
Alison x

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Lopi Love :)

I got this lovely bundle of yarn in the post this week . . .

It made me very happy indeed!  I'd spent a lot of time thinking about this yarn - should I buy, should I not?  I can't really afford it but . . . .  Anyway to cut a long story short I've had a little craving to make a Lopi sweater for a few weeks now - not sure where it came from, some Ravelry inspiration probably!  Anyway I realized it was Other Half's birthday next month - I had my raison d'etre or rather an excuse! to go ahead and buy the yarn to make him a sweater.  Actually I bought half this month and will buy the other half next month - split the cost, needs must!

Yarn arrived on Tuesday lunchtime . . . I had the sweater started on the needles by the afternoon, hehe!  Was in fact the day my eldest was going back to Uni - so the knitting was keeping me calm and relaxed in between packing duties!  Here's the start of the Lopapeysa (icelandic sweater - I've been doing my usual research!) . . . 

I'm really happy with the colour combinations - sorry, they're not quite clear here, but they are a charcoally black (black sheep heather to be exact!), off-white/natural (ecru heather) and a lovely earthly mossy green.  I'm using a sweater pattern from a Lopi yarn booklet I bought last month - oodles of lovely icelandic sweaters, cardigans, hoodies - swooooooon!

Here's the stage of knitting today - not far off from finishing the main body of the sweater which is knit in the round . . .

I really love this yarn - it's chunky weight so knits up fast and is really warm and lightweight.  I'm sure there was a craze in the late nineties? here in the Hebrides for these sweaters, I don't know anyone personally who owns one though so I'm very excited to be making one.  It's all going swimmingly so far- fingers crossed!  The patterned yoke will be the biggest challenge so I'll have to take extra care then :)

We should all be wearing Lopapeysas today - look at the snow here, brrrrrrrrr! . . .

Poor wee lambs will be shivering next door!

Will keep you posted on my lopapeysa progress - such a lovely knit :)
Cheerio an Drasda!
Alison x

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Happy Easter Bunny :)

I'm a very happy Easter Bunny as I've finished my Easter socks - Yay!!

Here they are and they fit just perfick . . .

These were a joy to knit - very straightforward pattern.  The self striping yarn does all the work for you.  I decided not to try and make them match exactly as I thought it would be fun to see how the colours worked on the second sock - if you look closely you can see the difference - subtle, eh!?:)

I love the flea stitch pattern on the sole too - very toasty!

It took me far longer to complete the second sock as I decided to take a leisurely pace and enjoy my Easter Hols with my boys, which I did! :) :)

We had some lovely sunny (but windy!) weather here in the Hebrides and I enjoyed a plod or two out the moor track beside our home.  Everything went at a very leisurely pace - no work or school deadlines or timescales to meet - just nice relaxed mealtimes, some homemade muffins here and there - I enjoyed my 'staycation' on the croft very much, hehe!

Hope you had or are having a nice Easter break too . . . 

See you soon :)
Alison x

Friday, 3 April 2015

Bubbles - Circular Shawl

While I remember and before I completely immerse myself in my upcoming Easter Hols . . . the finished 'Bubbles' circular shawl.  This is an old 1950's baby shawl pattern which was great fun to knit and very absorbing (which I'm sure my family will testify to!) - it took a month to complete . . . . 

I did block the finished shawl although it's made in acrylic yarn which seemingly doesn't respond to blocking but I thought I should follow the pattern instructions anyway which was to wrap the finished shawl in a damp towel, then stretch out and pin flat to dry . . . .

I pinned it out on one of  the boys old duvet covers ( which helpfully has a square grid on it!) placed on top of the carpet in my eldest's bedroom before he came home for his Easter break (it was the only piece of  spare floor big enough in the house!).  I don't think it did any harm to block it - maybe it opened the pattern a little bit but not really very much!  It was a good experiment anyway :)

It's difficult to show the shawl in it's true beauty!, but here are some more pics anyway . . .

Sorry, my photos are dreadful!  It does have a lovely drape to it though - I knitted in 3 ply Baby yarn (Colemans Comfort I think!) on 5 mm needles.  The recommended needle size for the yarn is 3.25 mm needles so it's a good illustration how you need a considerably larger needle for knitting lace, certainly in this case.

You can see my project notes on my Ravelry page for more info and maybe even some better photos (I've no idea where I've put them now -oooops!).

Have a lovely Easter, whatever your plans are - I'm off to enjoy my week off, maybe finish that second sock - we'll see :)

Alison x

Friday, 27 March 2015

Easter Socks :)

I seem to be jumping from one project to another with great urgency at the moment - no idea why, but I can't cope without having some 'crafty/knitty' project on the go!

My 'Bubbles' shawl is all done and dusted with and I was really pleased at how it turned out (pic to follow).

The general idea was to draw things to a brief halt before the Easter Hols . . . . hmmmmm, well that was the idea anyway :)  However an old pattern jumped out from my folder, saying 'knit me, knit me!' - you know what I mean, hehe!  I was looking for a quick 'knitty' fix before eldest son comes home from Uni for the Easter break (I'll need all my time to make him some home cooked meals as an anti-dote to student fare/ready-meals!)

Circles and Spirals Socks by Mimi Kezer is such a fun pattern to knit!  There were only 9 projects attached to this pattern on Ravelry (now 10 with mine!) and I can't understand why - the photo grabbed my attention straightaway :)  

I used yarn from my stash (remember the self-striping yarn which was meant for a plain old 'vanilla' sock earlier in the year - too boring!).  I think these yarns were made for this sock pattern :) :)  The self striping effect of the contrast colour yarn gives a really clever effect of lots of of colour changes without the hard work - only two colours and it looks like twenty, whoooop!

I was a little wary of the 'flea stitch' patterning on the heels and soles but it was more straightforward than it looks and gives a lovely 'toasty' warm feel to the sock :)

The first sock came off the needles last night and I was delighted with the fit . . .

Very cute pattern and it really revived my colour stranded knitting skills - a good learning curve for colour work too.  Well done to Mimi Kezer for such a fun knit!

Now I can't decide whether to cast on the other sock straight away . . . . I probably will though :) :) :)

Cheerio an Drasda!
Alison xxx

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A Frothy Confection . . .

I've found myself (again!) doing a body swerve and going off to embark on a new project.  The snowflakes and flowers shawl is sitting pretty for a wee bit - but I will get back to it very soon!!

For some reason or other I started looking at baby shawls - I think mostly I really wanted to use fine yarn on bigger needles and push my lace knitting a bit further.  Anyhow I saw this old Patons vintage pattern from the 1950s and thought I'd give it a bash because (a) the yarn was cheap as chips, being acrylic! (£6 to knit a huge shawl - I can never resist a bargain!!), (b) I actually own a version of this shawl as it was made by a family friend for my youngest when he was born, so I had a good reference point!!, and (c) it just seemed a big challenge and I love all that frothy Victorian style of lace - just yummy!  Seemingly the pattern is an English Victorian version of an old Shetland style of shawl (but more of that later!).

The pattern is called Bubbles - A Beautiful Circular Shawl by the way.

Here's how it started - it has a garter stitch circular panel for the middle - the yarn overs (holes) make the increase and it just grows and grows . . .

It took three days however to complete the centre part and then onto the lace border . . . 

I think this is it sort of halfway through the lace panel (its an old Shetland lace pattern called Old Shale - see I did my research, hehe!!)

Long story short - because it is a very looooooong story, I completed the centre panel and border in about two weeks (Yes, that's where I've been all this time!).  I'm now into my third week of working this shawl, the lace border is complete and I started the lace edging this weekend.  I scribbled a note to say that I estimated 3 days to do the lace edging - who am I kidding!!  Now that I'm in full swing I'm giving myself  a minimum of two weeks - there are 54 scallops . . . .

. . . and it takes me 15 minutes to do each scallop - you can do the math(s)!!!  Well, don't bother actually - it just takes a long time LOL

It's really lovely to do though and I'm particularly enjoying the lace edging - very pretty!  I sort of rushed through the body of the shawl but the edging feels like I'm just adding the finishing touches, so it's quite relaxing.

Here it is today . . . 

It's a bit 'Downton Abbey' - even although I never watched the programme but I love how it's turning out.

Yarn purists might say (and I would have probably said previously) that it's a huge amount of work using a cheap acrylic yarn but I'm using the recommended yarn and really wanted to make it as a learning process.  Just to clarify - there are no babies on the horizon in my immediate family/social circle but some day I might get called up to make a baby shawl and I'll be standing at the ready having completed my 'training' hehe :)

Talking about Shetland Lace, I grabbed myself a little bargain on Amazon and treated myself to this lovely book as I've been getting into the whole lace/shawl knitting thing and I do love traditional knitting/crafts . . . 

It's a really lovely inspiring book - well, I felt I deserved a treat after all my hard work - let's call it an early Mothers Day pressie . . . . . for me of course :)  Written by Elizabeth Lovick - another knitwear designer Giant!  (I have an ever growing list of my knitwear designer heroes!)

OK, back to knitting my lace scallops . . . only another 38 to go!!  (they actually take 12 minutes each to do - not that I'm actually timing that or anything ;-))  However, you can't actually watch TV safely while doing them, so that slows me down somewhat!

It's blowing a 'hoolie' of a gale here in the Outer Hebrides today  . . . so if I'm not back for a while I'm hanging onto a fence post or something, clinging on for dear life - oooops!

Bye for Now,
Alison xxx