Crafty Christening

Baby BAM in shrugIt feels as though I have no time to spend on making things recently, and yet I have a ton of stuff to write about. First of all here’s my version of the Entrechat cardigan for BB.

Her original one was made by my very talented sister-in-law Paula, who took a chance on making the 12 months size in DK instead of worsted. It fitted so well I was a bit nervous about making the 6 months size
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Finally! Finished filet crochet stole.

Centre filet crochet heartWow, it’s been a really long time since my last post, hasn’t it? In my defence, I haven’t had much time or energy for, well, anything really! We moved house three weeks ago and the new place has needed a lot of work, not that I actually did much more than supervise as Baby BAM is due in just over two weeks!

I am ENORMOUS! I’ve been very lucky, with just the usual nausea, heartburn and tiredness to content with, but now I’ve reached that stage where I’m just too damn big to do much. There’s not long to go now though, and both me and the Mister can’t wait to meet our little one!

I haven’t finished many projects lately, but there is one that I’ve resisted blogging about since June! It was a present for my little sister’s birthday, so I had to hold off until I had a chance to give it to her (and I didn’t want to leave it to the Post Office to lose). Continue reading

Finished! My Lacy Leaf Shawl

I took part in my first knit-a-long… and finished on time! So naturally I procrastinated for a couple of weeks before writing about it. Well, it simply wouldn’t do to raise anyone’s expectations about me being efficient or anything, would it?

Lacy leaf shawlI heard about the KAL from Mollie&Claire (she had me at the words “This is going to be a seriously unstressful KAL”!), and up to eight weeks to complete a shawl seemed a reasonable target. Continue reading

Time for a little dolly – and a blanket in progress or two

After finishing two large WIPs in quite a short space of time, progress on my other numerous projects feels a little slow. There seemed to be only one way to go after such large and unwieldy blankets, and that was smaller, a lot smaller! Fortunately the perfect pocket-sized project turned up in the form of the kit attached to May’s issue of Let’s Knit magazine, a little dolly called Daisy May.

Let's knit Daisy May DollyI was very pleased how well she turned out! Continue reading

Knitted sugar leaf shawl finished!

My last post was a very sad one, and before I move on to happier subjects I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who took the time to read, like or comment on it. Meredith was a wonderful little cat and it was kind of you all to spare a thought for us.

Anyway, happy thoughts! I have a finished project to show off. It’s the shawl I’ve been knitting in Araucania Ruca, which is a deliciously soft yarn made from 100% sugar cane. It took two 100g skeins which works out at a total of about 482m for the whole shawl, and it always amazes me how much further yarn will go if you knit with it instead of crochet!

Sugar leaf shawl on sofa

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A knitted shawl, a crochet shawl and badger related excuses

Sometimes everyday life gets in the way of my blog, and sometimes it bundles me into a sack, throws me off a cliff and leaves me fending off wild badgers with nothing but a teaspoon and the evil glint in my eye. The last week has been nothing but badgers and teaspoons.

To be terminally cheerful about the whole thing, the upside is that I got a lot of knitting done whist waiting around the hospital, and Mr BAM is now safely home and infection free after some minor surgery. Also, I can safely say that I have definitely not missed my vocation as a nurse. We really don’t pay those poor people enough!

I impulsively began knitting another shawl almost as soon as I”d finished my Noro one, but opting for a much simpler pattern ( LaLa’s Simple Shawl – free pattern on Ravelry) so I could just pick it up and go whenever I had time to kill. After the slubby Noro yarn, the slinky sugar cane viscose of the Araucania Ruca yarn I dug out from my stash is amazingly soft, if splitty.

Knitted viscose shawl work in progress

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Knitted Noro lace shawl – nice!

I tend to think of myself as a crocheter. That’s not to say I can’t knit, I just prefer to crochet and I honestly couldn’t tell you which craft I learned first. At the beginning of the year I decided I was going to knit myself pair of socks every month, and that lasted until I finished my second pair. I had the wool to make March’s pair…. but it never happened.

So much for that plan.

Knitting just wasn’t grabbing me the same way crochet does. I could do it, but I just couldn’t love it. It was only after I went to Fibre East this year and saw (and lusted after) so many beautifully knitted lace shawls that something inside my brain shifted and I was hungry for knitting. I’d never tried knitting lace before but now it was calling me…

I’d bought some Noro Taiyo 4 ply in a sale online a while back, and a quick poke around through the free patterns on Ravelry turned up the Rosalie Shawl pattern by Sharon Jane. I sprung for some Pro Style Symfonie interchangeable circular needles and I was good to go!

It only took a couple of weeks of on and off knitting, and then I had my very first knitted shawl!

Shawl in Noro Taiyo 4 ply

I was really impressed with the pattern, and it was just the right level of difficulty for someone having a go at lace for the first time, with a gorgeous band of diamonds and a picot cast off to give it a lovely elegant edge.

It was fairly unimpressive size-wise until I blocked it, and although I knew this would be the case, I was still shocked at what a difference blocking it made.

Wanna see some more pictures? I know you do…

Before blocking the shawl barely covered my shoulders

Before blocking the shawl barely covered my shoulders

The difference is even more dramatic when viewed from behind.

From this...

From this…

... to this!

… to this!

It was pretty scary blocking something so delicate. The yarn is a slubby single ply composed of 50% Cotton, 17% Wool, 17% Polyamide, 16% Silk, so it doesn’t take much force to break it. I’d never tried blocking something so big before either so I did a bit of research before attempting it.

I soaked it  in a solution of water and Eucalan No Rinse Delicate Wash for 15 minutes (the yarn band did say no soaking and the Euclan said soak for minimum of 30 minutes, so I nervously split the difference , which seemed to be fine). I then placed it between two towels, and squeezed the excess moisture out. So far, so good. I was doing everything I’d been told to. Next came pinning it out.

Shawl pinned out

I decided to use blocking wires, which was fairly straight forward. I’m still not convinced I pinned it all out straight, but I’m willing to bet it was better than if I’d just winged it without the wires. T pins are definitely the way to go with blocking; there is less risk of the pin pulling right through your work.

I generally use interlocking foam play mats rather than the much more expensive purpose made blocking ones. They worked okay, but I found I had to stick the pins right through them and anchor the whole project to the carpet underneath – a process that would have been considerably easier without a certain cat trying to interfere! If I had a deeper pile carpet I could probably get away with pinning everything directly to the floor like my mum does.

I blocked the shawl as hard as I dared, and I was thrilled with the way it turned out. The gradual colour changes were perfect for this pattern, and I love the way the bright blue falls on the diamond lace panel.

Knitted lace shawl

I don’t own a shawl pin, so I had to make do with a pretty chop stick instead!

I don’t think knitting will ever really steal away crochet’s special woolly place in my heart, but I definitely have a renewed affection for the Dark Art, and I’ll definitely be knitting more often. I’ve written a formula for knitting bunting – it’s far too simple a thing to call a pattern, but I’ll be sharing it here soon – and I’ve already started another shawl, this time in super soft, slippery viscose.

Knitted or crocheted, shawls are awesome. Is anyone else making one?

Beth 🙂

Moogly HOHD

Pink sheep, pretty wash cloths and chunky shawls

What a week! How can it only be Monday?

This is just a short post because I’ve just finished my blog entry for the Hillarys Blinds Country Crafts Competition (see it here), and it was a whopping great long post with tons of photos. It’s so long I doubt the judges will even read it all, but I figured it was worth a try!

Mothers Day was yesterday so I can now post pictures of the things I made for my mum without spoiling the surprise!

Left to right: a poetry book "written by cats" called: I Could Pee on This; a candy-floss pink sheep ornament that I... um... customised? with a shawl and jewellery; and on the right a glass jar of wash cloths crocheted out of Lilys Sugar n Cream cotton.

Left to right: a poetry book “written by cats” called: I Could Pee on This; a candy-floss pink sheep ornament that I… um… customised(?) with a shawl and jewellery; and on the right a glass jar of wash cloths crocheted out of Lilys Sugar n Cream cotton.

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Finished crochet flower lattice shawl and more listings for Folksy

A while ago my sister, an avid (or should that be rabid?) knitter gave me some yarn that was overflow from her considerable stash, which included some James C. Brett Marble Chunky in shade 31. I love the combination of blue, green and purple and decided to make a nice cosy shawl with it.

I found this tutorial  from DearestDebi.com for a flower lattice shawl, and although the written instructions were a little hard to follow due to the layout, the video made everything relatively simple. With the craft fair out of the way (see previous post) I finally had time to finish it, and here it is…

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