new year tidy up

Aaargghh, it’s been nearly two weeks since I came down with the flu, and I still haven’t recovered.  Every time I try to get out of bed (you know, to do something really energetic like get breakfast) I find that I have to go lie down again.  I know I wanted a relaxing break, but being forcibly bed-ridden is just not enjoyable at all.  Sadly I’ve been too tired to even knit, so I’ve mostly been clicking my way through the internet as a minimal-effort activity.  Scary but true:  I think I’ve read just about every current discussion thread on Ravelry.  Obviously everyone else in the world has been out and about enjoying christmas and new year, instead of chatting on the internet.

There are various threads on Ravelry about resolutions, getting organised etc, so in a surge of inspiration last night I sorted out my ever-growing yarn stash.  To be true it actually wasn’t too chaotic, but it’s nice to have everything tidy again.  I already had most of it listed on Ravelry (sock yarn excluded, because that would take forever to list), but I did discover one brand new bag of Rowan 4 ply Soft that I didn’t realise I had.  Yay!  I haven’t been well enough to go to the sales, so it’s like scoring a bargain for free!  I’ve been trying to match my stash yarns to my pattern queue, but I keep finding that despite having a yarn store’s worth of yarn, I always seem to want to make a particular project in a colour/yarn/texture that I just don’t have.  I’m not one for making new year’s resolutions, but I think I’d do well to focus on knitting my stash down for a bit.

Whilst I haven’t knitted anything new, I have managed to upload photos of my end of year baby-knitting projects.

Saartje’s Booties in Sirdar Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk DK (Rav link)

Saarje’s Booties in Artesano Alpaca (Rav link)

Mini scratch mittens in A Swell Yarn Shop Duets Skinny Sock (Rav link)

Baby Kimono Sweater in Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton (Rav link)

Whilst it was good to get some instant gratification mini-projects done, I feel the need to cast on for something more substantial, and in my tidying up I think I’ve found just the right yarn and project combination – Flo from Kim Hargreaves.  Worked in 4ply yarn, it’s bound to keep me busy.  If I ever get out of bed, that is.

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emergency mittens

The weather bureau did a good job this week, and correctly predicted snowfalls.  Here’s what I saw when I stuck my head out the kitchen window this morning:

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I haven’t been this excited for such a long time!  I’ve never actually been out in falling snow before, so you can imagine my childlike squeals of delight.

London being what it is, and completely unable to cope with ‘adverse weather conditions’, the city has ground to a complete halt today.  I had no realistic chance of getting to work, and my flatmate is working from home, so we agreed to head out in the snow and she’d let me run around like a five year old, all bouncy and giggly.

One problem: despite being a knitter, I don’t own a single pair of gloves or mittens.  My last pair of gloves got left at a train station last winter, and I refused to buy another pair on principle, but hadn’t made the effort to knit a replacement.

Some time in the deep, dark, distant knitting past, before I even knew how to knit on DPNs, I started a pair of vintage mittens with cable ribs (Rav link), knit on two needles.  They’re not much fun to knit, and not very interesting to look at, so they have been lurking in the UFO pile ever since.

However I decided that several inches of snow is enough necessitate some emergency knitting, so the mitts have been resurrected.  I finished off the second one this morning, sewed up the seams (very badly) and off we went.  Sadly the intervening years have altered the gauge somewhat, so one mitten fits perfectly whilst the other flops around a bit.  But that wasn’t going to stop me playing in snow!

It’s snowed consistently all day, so we had great fun messing about in the park behind our house:

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The snow was all light and fluffy, like swishing through clouds.  Just as lovely as I’d hoped!

As for the emergency mittens?  Plain, simple, and not very photogenic, but successful in stopping my fingers from falling off.

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and another!

Well, my coursework is all due in about ten days, which means it’s high season for  procrastination!

One of my chrissy pressies to myself was a copy of Boutique Knits, as I was completely besotted by the cloche hat on the cover. It has a real vintage style which I love.  I was a bit doubtful if the hat would work for me though, but I was determined to make it anyway.

Such a gorgeous pattern called for gorgeous yarn – Sundara Aran Silky Merino (Ravelry link).  I’ve been receiving Sundara Seasons Club packages every 2 months, so it’s definitely time that I start knitting with some of it.

I finished knitting yesterday, I braved the cold outside for some quick self-portraits.  As much as I love the hat, I was right with my prediction that it wouldn’t suit me.  I just don’t have a big enough head (or enough hair!) to make it work.  It just needs a bit more oomph.

Thankfully it looks amazing on my flatmate, so it has quickly found an appreciative home.  Given the seriously cold weather we’re having in London this week, the timing is perfect.  And I’ll still get to admire my handiwork whenever she wears it.

new year knitting

I’m not one for making new year’s resolutions (I’m not sure whether that’s from laziness or a healthy dose of realism) but this year, when it comes to knitting, I have at least begun as I mean to continue.

Last week I hit the shops with Woolystuff and made the knitters’ pilgrimage to the famous sales of John Lewis and Liberty.  I wasn’t expecting to buy much yarn, but came away with quite a stash – enough for three cardis, plus a few skeins of cashmere.

To celebrate our yarn goodies, we wandered around Soho and enjoyed some goodies of another kind:

What a brilliant day all round – a good friend, yarn sales, and Italian pastries.  Perfect.

Anyway, I was determined that my new yarn wasn’t just going to sit there, so on new year’s day I turned two skeins of the cashmere in to this:

Pattern: Crofter’s Cowl, by Gudrun Johnston.

Yarn: RYC Cashmere Tweed, two skeins.  I could have made it a bit longer, but cashmere is precious stuff!

I spent the entire day knitting and ended up with cramp in my right hand, but I really wanted it finished!  I think part of my need to knit a super-fast project was so that I could convince myself that I’m actually using this new yarn, and not just adding to the stash.  (For future reference though I think I should stop knitting things that are so difficult to photograph.  This cowl is the most tricky combination of dark colour and poor stitch definition!)

The cowl also worked out to be the perfect form of procrastination to avoid my uni assignments, but that’s another issue.