Wednesday, 9 August 2017

End of radio silence

Firstly, my apologies - I hadn't realised quite how long it had been since I last posted.  Every so often I would think "I must write a blog post.  I'll do it on Xday." and Xday would come and something would happen, and the blog post didn't get written.

But I am back now.  I had my week off at the end of June, and spent it mainly knitting and pottering.  Since then I have been back at work, and done knitting and pottering and playing a lot of Gardenscapes when not at work.  The knitting has had results in the form of finished objects.  On the other hand, playing Gardenscapes is not very productive.  And the pottering - well, the results of that vary from day to day.

So, finished objects.  First up is my second RAK project.  It is another hat and is actually a pattern that I have knitted before.  And I used up the yarn left over from the first hat, which was part of the point of the whole RAK exercise.

This is a second Knit Night Hat, a free pattern by Judy Marples, knit in King Cole Riot DK in the Dude colourway.  I have enjoyed knitting it both times.  It is quite straightforward, starting with a nice purl and slip stitch brim and then just stocking stitch to the end. 

My second finished objects are my Petty Harbour socks.  This is a free pattern by Rayna Curtis, which I knit in Opal 20 Jahre sock yarn in the "Wir sagen Danke" colourway.  Again an enjoyable knit.  This was my first pair of socks knit on 2.5mm needles, having dropped down from 2.75mm needles because my tension appears to have finally loosened up.

Now a quick diversion to stash enhancement.  At the end of July, I went to Fibre East, which is a yarn festival held in Bedfordshire.  I did have a budget, but I also took one of the best/worst enablers I know with me.  So this is what I bought:

From left to right, the first three skeins are Charisma by The Knitting Swede, a 55% wool 45% silk fingering weight yarn - the grey is Greystone and the blues are Nautilus.  These are destined to become a shawl from a pattern by the dyer.  Next up is three skeins of Ariel by Wrigglefingers, which is a 80% Blue faced Leicester 20% Firestar (sparkly nylon) fingering weight yarn in a one of a kind colourway.  I was only going to buy one skein (for socks) but my enabler friend was with me, so now I have enough for a garment!

Then comes the odd one out - this is totally out of my comfort zone and yet was the first thing I bought!  The dyer is Siobhans Crafts and it is a sparkly DK yarn in the Unicorn colourway.  I have no idea what I am going to do with this.  Next up is a 70% superwash merino 30% silk fingering weight yarn from Bellica Yarns in the Wolf colourway - again no plans for this as yet.  Then comes a skein of Pulsar by Sparkleduck, a 55% superwash Blue faced Leicester 45% silk fingering weight yarn in the Sea-quine colourway.  There is a sad story behind this yarn.  Heather, the dyer behind Sparkleduck, died unexpectedly and far too young earlier this year, so when her husband decided to exhibit at Fibre East with some of what she had been dyeing, I was not the only one who felt the need to buy one last skein.

My final purchase is already on the needles.  If you watch the Brooklyn Knitfolk podcast on YouTube (and you should!), you will know that Jaclyn is running the Hipster KAL.  This is a reaction against the multitude of Faded this, that and the other which have been all over the knitting world recently.  The KAL runs from 1 August to 31 October 2017 and whatever you knit must be over 50g and must have had less than 30 projects listed on Ravelry at the time you chose to knit it.  My choice of pattern was the Windshield hat by Niina Talikka and I am knitting it in Triskelion Heulwen DK in the Upstream colourway.  Heulwen DK is a gorgeous yarn - 70% alpaca, 20% silk and 10% cashmere.  I haven't a picture yet to show you as it is a top down pattern and trying to wrangle 5mm dpns for a 6 stitch cast on followed by increases done with knitfrontback has been interesting!  I will put in a photo next time.

I am still knitting on my Seaspray jumper (working the neck and armhole decreases), my Berries Snuggle (about halfway through ball 3) and my Ring O'Roses sock (just turned the heel on sock 1).  I am also working on my third RAK, which is the Honey Cowl, a free pattern from MadeleineTosh, which I am knitting in James C Brett Marble Chunky.  Finally I also have a new cast on from this morning.  I want to knit all the socks so this morning I cast on a vanilla sock using my West Yorkshire Spinners limited edition Marie Curie sock yarn using a ChiaGoo red cable 9 inch circular, which is a new brand of needle to me.

In other news, I got my Club 10 the other week at Slimming World.  This means that I have lost 10% of my starting weight and am now down to 11 stone 13lb.  I am now in two minds about my target - originally I opted for 11 stone 7lb, but am now thinking that if I go down to 11 stone 4lb, I will have lost 2 stone exactly.  Decisions, decisions.

What else?  Eldest niece will be moving to big school in September, so her year put on "Bugsy Malone" as a final hurrah.  She played the part of Louella, the wife of Dandy Dan, a gang boss.  She looked really good, did a very fine job and we were very proud of her.  Performing in the Gang Show earlier this year has done wonders for her self-confidence.

And my knitting horizons are going to be expanded.  At the beginning of September, I am going on a double knitting workshop run by Nathan Taylor, who has the Sockmatician podcast, which I am really looking forward to.  And then in December, my local yarn shop is running a brioche workshop which I have signed up for.  So by the end of the year, I will have stranded colourwork (Ring O'Roses socks), double knitting and brioche all under my belt as well as the techniques I had already picked up.

I will finish here and go and do a bit of knitting before bed.  So, all the best to you and yours, and I will try to post more regularly from now on in.