Knit A Long Part 3 – Finished!

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I finished the actual knitting part of the Namesake cowl knit along a little while ago but did my usual avoiding the blocking and getting distracted by new projects. However, the weather has turned pretty cold here so I was spurred on to finish. I often don’t bother with the blocking but it is worth it, this looks so much better afterwards!

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I am really pleased with how this has turned out. I love the length of the medium size, it is a perfect length simply draped once but also doubles up nicely. I did intend to give it to my mother as a Christmas gift but I will have to make another for her as this one has definitely made it into my wardrobe! I love the colour and the yarn is so soft, it goes perfectly with my new winter coat (even Mr Pig agreed). As I mentioned in the post when I started the KAL, I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and I was really pleased with the final result especially the stitch definition. I was a bit worried about not using the suggested yarn but as it is not available in the UK I had to make a substitute.

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The pattern was brilliant and I will be making more cowls for Christmas presents. The photo above best shows off the Channel Island cast on and cast off used in the pattern. Aside from these new techniques, the pattern was fairly straightforward but just goes to show what a beautiful pattern you can make from simple knit and purl stitches. It was great having the new and well-known techniques perfectly balanced, it meant it wasn’t too difficult but held my interest.The only thing I will do differently next time is to knit the first couple of rows straight before joining in the round and sew up later. This bit was quite fiddly and I think it would be easier to avoid twisting when joining for knitting in the round.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my first Knit A Long experience and have discovered the wonderful Knit Purl Hunter. The Ravelry group has been fantastic for sharing experiences and seeing other people’s cowls in different colours and sizes. I cannot wait for the next one in January, a scarf called Endgame which Knit Purl Hunter introduced at the end of the final Namesake clue. The first clue for Endgame is released on the 1st January, what better way to start the new year and avoid the post-Christmas blues!

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The most wonderful time of the year

I love Autumn. I love the colours, I love all the leaves on the tress falling, I love walks in the woods, I love wearing jumpers and boots, I love sitting indoors all warm and cozy when it is raining and windy outside, I love fireworks and bonfires, and most of all I love the lead up to Christmas. I seem to have convinced myself it is nearly Christmas very early this year and the preparations are in full swing. I think it started off with making Sloe gin and blackberry vodka we will use for presents and it got my brain thinking about other gifts and crafts!

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I was browsing the internet for lampshade making kits but got distracted by the advent calendar making kits and just had to buy this amazing one from The Homemakery. I saw this panel on a few other sites but they did not show it as well as this one. There is also a brilliant blog post and suggestions for backing fabric and binding. I was so desperate to get started, I ordered it in my lunch break at work hoping it will come soon. Luckily, it wont come this weekend and I might get a chance to finish some other projects that keep getting forgotten about.

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I have finished clue 2 of the Knit Purl Hunter KAL and am half way through clue 3. Clue 4 is a new bind off so I have done the bulk of the length now. I really wanted to keep up with the clues being published but we have had such busy weekends recently with two weddings I have not been able to keep up. It is a lovely pattern and is totally reversible and symmetrical in all directions, super clever! I can’t wait to finish and start wearing it now it is getting colder.

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I have also failed with my September Craft goals. I did finish the jumper but have not totally finished the cross stitch. I have done all of the sewing, I just need to frame it and do it soon otherwise it will get forgotten about forever. I started in 2010 so it will be brilliant when it is finally finished, framed and on the wall.

I also plan to start doing up a dresser this weekend, it’s going to be a busy one!

Knit A Long – part 1

I have completed the first part of the Knit Purl Hunter KAL – Namesake cowl.

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I was so excited when the first clue came out but had to wait until I had enough time to sit and concentrate to start. The pattern has a Channel Island cast on – something I have never done. I took a quick look at the brilliant video linked in the pattern and knew I would have to give it some time and concentration. Once I got going it was fine and didn’t seem to take too long. I was perhaps a bit hasty, impatient and wanted to get on with the pattern so didn’t give it as much time as I should have. Some of the stitches look a bit wonky, I might just have to keep this cowl for myself when I have finished! When I make another one, I think I might watch a video of someone demonstrating using English knitting to see if that helps! I love the look of the little knots on the cast on and want to master it to be able to use on other projects.

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The rest of clue one was a quick knit and produced a fantastic pattern just using knit and purl stitches. The texture is lovely too.

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I can’t wait to start clue 2. I am a bit behind as the third clue is released this Thursday! After looking back at my previous blog posts and projects I have realised that everything I make is some shade of blue. I think I might need to branch out and be more adventurous with colour in my next projects!

Had a whale of a time!

50% of my September craft goals are complete!

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Today I finished this jumper for my friend’s little boy. She had him last Tuesday and spent most of her pregnancy trying to find baby clothes with whales on so I couldn’t resist adding a motif to the jumper I knitted for him.

I adapted a pattern from the Debbie Bliss Simply Baby pattern book I found in a charity shop a few years ago. I added contrast buttons on the shoulders:

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I found a small piece of blue spotty fabric in my off cuts stash and knew it would be perfect for a whale for this project. I ironed some Bondaweb to the back and drew a simple whale motif. I cut this out and gently ironed to the jumper and sewed around the edge using blanket stitch. I then added an eye using a french knot and a mouth in back-stitch.

 

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I hope she is pleased with it!

September Craft Goals

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I have purchased my yarn ready for the KAL. The yarn suggested was not readily available in the UK so I have chosen to use a Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran instead. It had the correct gauge and I have used it for a few other projects in the past. My yarn and needles will have to sit and wait patiently until the pattern is released on 2nd October!

Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran – Mallard (056) on Amazon.

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In the meantime, there are several projects I need to finish. Like many people I have countless Works in Progress (WIP) and feel that putting my intentions in writing might help to clear some off the list.

Top priority is finishing this jumper for my lovely friend’s little boy.

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He was born this week so I need to finish it and post it off before he gets too big. I just need to add buttons on the shoulders and sew a little whale on and it will be finished. All the knitting and blocking is done.

The second project I would like to finish is a cross stitch I have been working on since 2010! I keep putting it away for months on end and I am so nearly finished. I just have two little clouds to do. It is a Bothy Threads kit by Janet Bell based on her art work. I have two of her prints and thought a cross stitch would be a fun project. It has been a bit of a love hate project. I really enjoyed doing the houses, boats and huts but was not much of a fan of the large plain hills or vast expanse of sea! I did think at one point I might like to do another one in the range but I might leave that idea for a while and concentrate on my other WIPs. I feel motivated to finish it now and get it framed and hung in my new house.

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Writing what I need to do down makes me think it will be quick and easy and I should be able to fit more projects into September before the KAL but we shall see!

Knit-a-long

I received an email from Rowan Yarn in the week informing me of a new Knit along and was immediately very excited and keen to take part in my first knit along project. As it is a mystery afghan and parts of the pattern are released weekly, there is not too much information yet. I do know that it starts on 1st October and an introductory video has been posted here and a shopping list here. I looked at some other patterns by the designer Kaffe Fassett and came to the conclusion that the finished product may not match my style as it is super colourful and very different to the previous Rowan Afghan knit along which appeared to be more about different patterns which is much more my thing. I also decided that it is quite a financial committment to something I have not seen, not to mention the scale of the project so I have decided to start with a smaller project!

I spent some time searching various different places for a knit along to follow and finally decided on this one on the Knit Purl Hunter blog. It will be a pattern for a cowl and starts on 2nd October. The yarn used (Simplinatural-hikoo) looks like it may be difficult to source in the UK so I will have to spend some time researching a substitute. I can’t wait to get started and will hopefully end up with a beautiful cowl I can use as a Christmas gift.

 

 

The beginning: Engagement and step 1

The proposal was a complete surprise! We had been together for nearly 10 years so I just assumed it would never happen. It was my birthday and “Mr Pig” gave me a very special present –  a ring! It was a beautiful handmade box engraved with the words “Will you marry me? containing a handmade stainless steel ring. As this was designed to be a temporary ring, we went shopping for the real thing and I got my dream sapphire and diamond ring.

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The next stage was to start planning. We knew that we didn’t want to wait too long before we were married and that we wanted a summer wedding so knew we would have less than a year to plan. The first thing I wanted to do was look around venues but had no idea how many people we would be having so started by putting a rough guest list together, something I would strongly recommend doing first.

Guest list tips

  • Write lists – I had a wedding planner book that I used but Mr Pig favoured an Excel spreadsheet!(something that turned out to be very helpful and will be mentioned several times)
  • Ask all parents who they would like to invite – you don’t have to invite them all but it is better to over-estimate numbers at this stage
  • Decide whether you will offer plus ones to people and who and don’t forget to add them into your numbers
  • Decide if you will invite children. This can really push numbers up
  • Have this list in your mind when organising visits to venues.
Planning spreadsheet
Planning spreadsheet

The subject of who to invite can cause arguments between families! We knew that family is really important to us so we decided early on that the venue would have to be big enough for us and we would not be willing to cut the list. We decided we would invite children as we envisaged having a fairly relaxed day and they are an important part of our families. Plus ones were a bit more difficult. I came to the conclusion that if someone had a known partner when we came to sending invites, we would invite them even if we had not met. I decided not to give plus ones to single people to try to keep the numbers down a bit!

Once this important first step was done, I could begin the more exciting task of looking for venues…