Train Knitting

There are many, many drawbacks to living and working 180 miles away from my fiancé. I absolutely love my new job, but I have to commute an 8-hour round trip each weekend back to York to see him.

One of the few perks of this commute is that I get some knitting time on the train. Especially late on Sundays, when I head south and enjoy a few hours of quiet before the hectic week starts again. This is how I spent those hours yesterday:

Ice Cream Socks

Knitting Venue: 19.24 from York to Birmingham New Street

Yarn: easyknits Cherish, colourway ‘ice cream dream’ (Ravelry project notes here)

Pattern: my own simple socks

*Sheepish*

Well, it’s been a while! 

Life has been busy since I last posted. They say big things happen in threes, and I think that pretty much rings true for me the past six months! I have a new career, I’ve moved around 150 miles from York, to a small town just south of Birmingham, and Graeme and I got engaged! All of this has led to a real lack of blog updating – and in all honesty, a real lack of dedicated knitting. 

I’m settling into the job a bit now, and am slowly getting time back for my knitting. I’ve been focusing on smaller projects for the last few weeks, enjoying a few brief flashes of achievement to get me back into the creating. 

The first project I’d like to update you on, are these mug cosies I made for my Dad’s birthday this weekend.

  

They’re a simple pattern from Debbie Bliss, available on ravelry as a set with a tea cosy. These are a bit special though, as they’re specially themed for my Dad who’s a general car enthusiast and Ferrari fan in particular! I chose the colours to match the Ferrari logo, while trying to maintain a bit of subtlety…

 

I’ve been told that they’ll be excellent car-cleaning and garage mugs, so I think they were a hit!

Knit Cowl Gift

Do you have family or friends that you can always give homemade gifts to, because they really appreciate the time and effort that went into making them? For me, my mum is definitely one of those people. She always loves whatever homemade offerings I present to her. I don’t remember all that well, but I suspect it started when I presented her with the first hideous pasta collage when I was small and grubby, and has pretty much continued from there.

It was her birthday a little while ago, and I knitted her the Leaving Cowl by Maria Magnusson

The pattern was a free Ravelry download, and I absolutely loved knitting it up. The pattern was very easy to follow, and although the lace pattern takes a bit of concentration at the beginning, it’s the sort of pattern that you soon pick up and eventually knit almost automatically.

I knit it in the round so I didn’t have to sew up any pesky edges, and added a pattern repeat in the length, to make it a little more slouchy than the pattern showed. 

I used Eden Cottage Yarns Bowland DK, purchased at Woolfest 2014. This yarn worked so well with the pattern; it has a beautiful drape while still holding it’s shape, and the ‘Steel’ colourway that I used is a grey/beige shade that reminds me of silver birches. 

Although it’s too warm to wear the cowl right now, hopefully once autumn gets here (probably not that long now) she’ll get to wear it! Happy (belated) Birthday, Mum!

Not Just For Woolfest

I don’t think you’re ever too old for friendship bracelets. Definitely not yarny ones. Absolutely definitely not Woolfest yarny ones.

I made these for the four of us who went to Woolfest last weekend. They were very simple, just a straightforward cable with a single stocking stitch at the ends of each row. I got the inspiration from A la Sascha’s Cabled Bracelets, a series of free patterns I found on Ravelry. They were so quick to make; I managed three in one evening and hurriedly finished the final one the night before the Woolfest expedition.

The yarn is Louisa Harding Grace hand-dyed double knitting (proper posh!) in the colourway ‘Merry’.

I’m so happy to report that I’ve seen all of us wearing our bracelets subsequently. Proof that retro bracelets are definitely not just for Woolfest.

Wool Fest!

Some friends and I went to a festival this weekend. Nope, not Glastonbury. This one was more wooly than muddy. It was the Woolfest event held in Cockermouth, Cumbria (yep, it’s shot to the top of my all-time list of favourite place names). The drive up through the Lake District was so lovely, and we even did a bit of knitting in the car on the way.

None of us had ever been to a wool or fibre festival before, and to be honest I don’t think any of us knew what to expect. In reality, it was a bit like a County Show, but every stall sold or displayed wool-related things. I think for the first hour, we were a bit dazed, and just wandered around ooo-ing at everything.

We soon discovered that we were four very different shoppers. One of my friends spent the whole day restrained and not buying, until it came to the final hour when she went mad and bought more wool than the rest of us combined. Another friend went round making some pretty risque noises at particularly soft yarn but was quite reserved in her purchases. We had a non-knitter with us (gasp!) who humoured the rest of us in our yarn buying but was really just there for the animals.

And me? Well, I bought a bit…

As you can see, I bought a small selection of the gorgeous yarns that I spotted on the day. Our favourite stall by a mile was Easy Knits, whose self-striping sock yarn is easily the most colourful I’ve ever seen!

My favourite purchase of the day, though, was this.

An umbrella swift. There were a few to choose from, but in the end I decided on one made in Sweden by Glimåkra. It’s beautifully made, and was by far the most reasonable despite being a genuine quality product.

We were all so excited about finally being able to wind skeins into cakes properly that as soon as we got back home, we reached for the wine and the chocolate and began to wind all of our new purchases. Five and a half kilometres of yarn – and a few glasses of wine – later, we’d properly tested the swift and can report that it works fantastically. No more skeins-around-feet (or skeins-around-boyfriends’-hands) for us!

Socks on a Train

As last week was Worldwide Knit in Public Week, I took my knitting on a road (train) trip down to London. I plugged myself in to music, and worked away on my sock for the Socks with Sarah May challenge.

I’m absolutely loving this Malabrigo sock yarn – it’s slightly elastic so it creates a very snug, tight knitted texture that should be very durable.

I’m getting on quite well with the magic loop method. I seem to be knitting far tighter with it than I do with my usual DPNs, possibly because it’s new and therefore scary, or possibly because I can pull to slightly firmer tension with larger needles. I’m not sure it’s any quicker than the DPN method, but it is definitely easier to transport. So far, I haven’t punctured a single bag with the needles, which is a regular (and sometimes very painful) problem with my DPNs.

My goal is to finish by the end of June. One month late is fashionable, two months late just seems gratuitous. I’ve got four days. Pass me that midnight oil…!