Friday, 19 October 2018

Yarn Along: All about the Christmas jumpers

Just like that the newborn days are over.* I can't believe our daughter has been here for over six weeks already. We seem to be doing pretty well, and have been out most days. So far the third is definitely proving to be the easiest (though a lot of that may be because of managed expectations)!

I have managed to rediscover the knack of both knitting and crocheting while feeding the baby, so for a couple of weeks I worked on a blanket for a friend's new baby. The baby arrived at the end of September, slightly earlier than their due date, and before the blanket was finished. Once the baby was here I made a concerted effort to finish the blanket and got the whole thing done by the end of the baby's due date. Hooray! The blanket pattern is Hydrangea Blanket by Lucy of Attic 24 and was a pleasure to crochet - the pattern is simple and the blanket grew quickly, a perfect mindless project (having said that it is a bit smaller than I planned as my maths was off, oops. It's still plenty big enough). If you want more details, you can find them on my Ravelry project page.



Since the start of the Festive Cheer KAL, I have been concentrating on festive knitting. A couple of weeks ago a new pattern leapt to the top of my queue: Vinterskov by Karie Westermann. I've wanted to knit myself a festive jumper for ages, and this is such a subtle and understated festive design that it'll get worn well past the festive season. I'm knitting it in Cascade 220 Superwash** that has been in my stash for ages. The pattern came out on a Thursday and I'd already swatched by the end of Friday! As soon as the swatch was dry and I knew I'd got gauge I cast on. The jumper is making lovely progress (with the small caveat that once I'd knitted a few rounds I thought the gauge was a bit tight, so I put the whole thing on waste yarn and blocked it to check the blocked gauge. I needn't have done as it was fine! It's always best to be safe though; I want this jumper to fit).




The other festive knit that is on the needles is both festive and a gift. I have been meaning to make mini Harry-Potter initial jumper-decorations for a Harry Potter obsessed friend and her husband ever since they got married five years ago. They now have two children, so that's an extra two to knit. I have no idea why it took me so long to get round to casting on as each one only takes an hour or so (plus embroidery time; the embroidery is still to come). I'm using the Mini Christmas Jumper Bunting pattern by Sue Stratford, and the jumpers are so easy to knit! I might even make more than the four I'm planning...


And what have I been reading since I last wrote?

The Creakers by Tom Fletcher
I was reading this last time I wrote a Yarn Along post, and the book continued in much the same vein: a fairly classic 'what's under the bed?' story. I enjoyed the story, but wasn't captivated by it. I'd happily read it again with any of my children though, which I think is a good sign. The Christmasaurus is definitely better!

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
A book passed on to me by a friend, and one that came highly recommended by my husband who got to it before I did. This is the diary of a UK doctor about his time working in obstetrics and gynaecology. I read this *fast*. The writing is very readable, and many of the anecdotes are very, very funny, in a rather black way. The book also managed to be enlightening about how the NHS works, and was at times poignant and heart-breaking. I would recommend this book to anyone (unless you are particularly squeamish; if that's the case you should probably give it a miss).

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
Yes, I have now started to include books I read to my children... I missed out on The Worst Witch series as a child, but a few friends have suggested them as things to read with my four year old, and the box set was available at a very good price from The Book People a few weeks ago, so I ordered the seven-book series. Book one has not disappointed. Set in a boarding school for witches, with main characters Mildred and her friend Maud, two witches who aren't very good at following the rules, and you have a fairly classic children's story. Written in the late 1970s-early 1980s, The Worst Witch has aged well: I enjoyed the story, as did both my four year old and my seven year old. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
I picked this up based on recommendations from a few friends, and, let's be totally honest here, because the cover has battenburg cake on it. I read the first few chapters and every word sent me to sleep. Apparently it's not for me! I'm not sure I read enough to tell you anything about it; I've popped it back on the 'to read' pile, and might get back to it one day.

My Teenage Diary
This book accompanies the Radio 4 series that I love, so it was an excellent library find. The book is excerpts from celebrities' teenager diaries, and it is as unintentionally funny as that sounds. The diaries do work better on the radio, as there they are read by the celebrity in question, but the book is an entertaining enough diversion. 


What have you been working on recently? Read anything good? 

Linking up with Ginny for Yarn Along.

Until next time, happy knitting.

*Confession: I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago, and it's taken me ages to get round to taking the photos for it! I've edited it to make sense with what's actually happening at the minute.

**Affiliate link.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Yarnometer: July 2018

The Yarnometer (my monthly look at what yarn has come and gone from my stash) has taken a bit of a back seat over the past couple of months, but it is back! Over the next few weeks I’ll be catching up with weekly posts. Here are my yarny ins and outs for July.


Projects finished
Socks for my son
These were a joy to knit; I had earmarked the yarn as socks for me as not only is it in my favourite colours, but it is also sparkly (it’s Opal Surprise if you want to try and get hold of some - the yarn is discontinued, but you might get lucky on a destash). In theory children’s socks are quick but as my son now has size 3.5 feet, they’re not that much quicker than mine!


Two Christmas stockings
The big reveal for these will happen in October, when the pattern is published by Knit Now magazine, but for now, here are a few hints: they’re intarsia character stockings and there’s a ‘boy’ version and a ‘girl’ version (not that that should limit you, I love them both!). The delay between writing this and publishing it means I can share these with you now! Here they are, Mr Men and Little Miss stockings! The patterns will come with issue 94 of Knit Now magazine.

Mr Men and Little Miss stockings. Image copyright Practocal Publishing

Siren Song socks
This was a pattern sample for my Siren Song socks and the yarn from Phileas Yarns was lovely to work with, if a pain to photograph!

The ins and outs of yarn
Yarn in
  • 120 g of hand-dyed yarn from Beehive Yarns. This was part of the Tits Out yarn collective that happened in the summer, and this yarn is a very bright and very pretty speckled yarn with a bright pink contrast. In theory I think this was meant to be a sock set, but I think it would make a fabulous shawl.
  • 200 g of yarn in the Love Knitting* sale. I was sent these Yarns to review, and the review can be found here. I didn’t get round to knitting the Beeswax Hat before the end of the KAL, but it will happen in the autumn,  it I have turned the stripey yarn into socks.
  • 550 g of Sublime Extra Fine Merino* in pink, and 550 g in turquoise. Two discontinued colourways of one of my favourite Yarns came to my attention in a July, and I couldn’t pass up the bargain. I’m currently spending a lot of time trying to decide what to turn them into.
  • 100 g ‘Blue yarn from Kath’. Who is Kath, and what was the blue yarn? I have no idea, but it’s on my list, so must have been a thing. I wish I knew what though...**
  • 650 g yarn for a commission
  • 100 g Bo Peep DK* from West Yorkshire Spinners to sample



Yarn out 
Destashed
  • 589 g was sent to my mum (who likes a good yarn parcel!)
  • 100 g was given to my friend Lynda for her birthday
  • 120 g was sent to Knit for Peace 

Knitted
  • 53 g: socks for my son
  • 84 g: stocking 1
  • 90 g: stocking 2
  • 90 g: Siren Song socks 

Total
Yarn in: 2270 g
Yarn out or used: 1126 g
Total: +1144 g (hmm, another month where more comes in than goes out...)

Year to date
Yarn in: 20937 g
Yarn out: 7452 g
Yarn used: 4701 g
Total: 6514 g

Well, another month in which I seem to have managed to have bought rather more yarn than I’ve used. Did I do better in August?!


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**I remembered! It was some lovely blue hand-dyed yarn from a destash. It'll become a hat for this winter