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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sew chuffed.....

Hello and welcome! 

I'd like to introduce you to someone. 
This is Amelia.

Now I've had Amelia for 20 years. She was a gift from DH when we first got married and together, Amelia and I have made various soft furnishings including 4 full length fully lined curtains (been there, done that and never again)! We have also made one or two very simple tops for me and the odd cushion cover for friends.

However, Amelia and I have not always seen eye-to-eye. You see Amelia is very experienced. She has gadgets and gizmos and buttons and levers that do all manner of sensational things. I, on the other hand, am a novice sewer and Amelia knows this. Not only does she know it, but she takes great joy in reminding me of it ..... often.

I'll be chugging away on a project when suddenly WHAM! Amelia decides to jam. This is normally right in the middle of a seam or a zip or some other really tricky bit of sewing where I'm sitting on the edge of my seat, holding my breath and sweating like a marathon runner. But Amelia doesn't care. She jams and then makes it very very difficult for me to unjam her. Thread gets tangled, fingertips turn into marshmallows and projects end up being thrown across the room and then pushed roughly down into the depths of the dustbin.

Not today though.

Today, I made this with Amelia's full co-operation.

"Oh!" I hear you cry, "It's a cushion cover. Big deal." Well, actually it's not a cushion cover. It's a rather delectable "zippered pouch" as my American friends call them. (In England we would simply call it "a bag".)

But it's no ordinary bag because it's the first thing I have ever sewn WITH A ZIP!!!! I have to admit that I've tried before but Amelia has always been in "one of her moods" and I've always been at my most nervous. But not this time. This time the zip went in first time, no mistakes, no problems, no jams and no swearing by me! A first in every department.

I even lined it. Aren't you impressed? I am.

So after all my years of fighting with Amelia, how did I manage to complete this project in not only 1 day but in 1 hour???? Well, it's all down to this rather lovely post on this rather lovely blog Melly Sews and I have to say, I couldn't have done it without her. Not only are there pictures (always good for a visual learner like Moi) but there is a video too!!!!!! How cool is that?? Perfect.

More pics? No problem.

The outer fabric.

The lining.

And here it is stuffed with one of my current projects A Log Cabin Blanket from a fab designer Staci Perry at Very Pink

And if I do ever get bored using it as a bag then I could indeed use it as a cushion cover (stuffed with yarn, of course)!

I'm off now to skip into my kitchen for a celebratory cup of coffee!
Life is good.
Til soon.
ps   No sewing machines were harmed in the making of this bag!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Over The Sea To Skye .....

Hello... How are you? Thanks for stopping by.

Remember this?

Well, it's turned into this.

The pattern is Over The Sea To Skye and if you get the chance, please make it because it's easy, rhythmical and a pleasure to make. There are lots of lovely stitch changes to keep your brain happy but it's still great a great TV knit or something for one of those long car/train journeys. Here's my Ravelry link for my project if you're interested.

In terms of the yarn it was spectacular! Everything I wanted and I'd been dreaming about knitting with this yarn for some considerable time so expectations were high. It worked up like a charm, didn't slip and slide on my needles and then blocked quickly and easily with no snagging on the pins. I've worn it twice since making it and it's as light as a feather and very very warm. I can imagine that socks in this yarn would be amazingly warm!

Enough words. Here are some more pics.....

That last pic really shows how the yarn works differently depending on the stitch. I'm always fascinated by how using different stitches can complete the change the look of a yarn. I'll be using this particular yarn again I can assure you....

Til soon.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A little update .....

Hello. How are you? I thought I'd post a quick update -

My Over The Sea To Skye is coming along nicely..... I'm so enjoying this project.

And so too is my Smithfield. Aran yarn and big needles... what's not to love?

I hope your week is good.....
Til soon.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cables and shawls....

Hello! Thanks for stopping by and I hope all is good in your little part of the world. I've been having a wonderful time as it's been school hols here so three weeks of no early mornings, lazy days at home and lots of knitting time! We go back on Monday but I'm trying not to think about that too much....

I finally finished the "redo" sweater that I was reknitting and it came out rather well. Want to see?

(Excuse the quality of the pics but my Mum took them on a cloudy day. The wearer was busy with building work and was less than impressed about stopping to model it!)

I was very happy with the result although it's a little short in the sleeves. This will be remedied by picking up stitches around the cuffs and knitting another inch or so. The join won't show once its washed. I've done that a couple of times before and it works like a charm!

Another pic? NO problem.

Just LOVE that cable! It's a new one that I've never tried before and whilst it was a bit fiddly to do in the beginning, I soon got the hang of it. I love the contrast between the simple moss stitch panel down the centre and then that huge chunky cable! Gorgeous!

What else, I hear you say? Well, I made a little shawl/scarf for a friend of mine. She loves pink so when I saw this yarn I knew it was perfect for her. The pattern is Linus and this is the second one I've made now. The first you can see here.

I love the simplicity of this pattern which lends itself well to fancy yarns. I've seen it made up in sock yarns, self-striping yarn and various tonal yarns. It's easy, very quick (I made this in 2 evenings) and is a great stashbuster project. Because it's knitted end-to-end you can just keep going until you run out of yarn which is fab for me as I'm not very good and working out how much yarn I have! I really hope she likes it....

Then I started a project which I am VERY excited about. Let me first give you a little bit of background so you understand the reason behind my enthusiasm.

Here in South Africa there is very little choice when it comes to yarn. Almost all of the stuff you buy in the shops is 100% acrylic and whilst this is fine for most projects, sometimes I crave something a little more special. I see all the blogs of my UK and American friends where they show the most amazing yarns that they can get at their LYS but it's all just too expensive for me to even think about importing.

A few local companies are cropping up now with some locally produced yarns for example Nurturing FibresAfrican Expressions and Vinnis but we have nothing like the variety that my overseas friends have. 

However. For a long time I have coveted a yarn from African Expressions called Soul which is handpainted and I finally took the plunge these hols and acquired some! So exciting! It lay in my drawer for a few days and I kept looking at it and touching it and then going on Ravelry to choose a pattern, then going back to look at it again ..... I'm sure you know what I mean. You so desperately want to cast on but the anticipation is all part of the process.....

I finally decided on Over The Sea to Skye which I have to confess, I chose largely because of the name!!! I cast on yesterday and this is my progress so far -

The yarn is made up of 15% kid mohair, 15% mulberry silk, 50% merino and 20% acrylic. It's beautiful to work with and with all the stitch variations, I'm able to see how it responds with each one. I can't tell you how much I've loving this project and I know I'll buy this yarn again (even if it means remortgaging my house to do so)! I will need to invest in a ball winder tho as I had to wind this by hand which wasn't easy. This was how it started out ....

and this is what it became ....

All those yummy colours! They do various other colourways but I know I'll never make socks with this yarn as it's just too gorgeous to be hidden inside shoes!

I'm off to knit (of course) and will hopefully finish my shawl before going back to school on Monday!

Til soon.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Half way through.....

Well, here we are half way through the year and it just so happens that I'm half way through 3 WIPs! Do you want to see?

First up is my reknit for a family member. Frogged an old sweater and am reknitting 2 sizes smaller (he's lost some weight don't you know...). I've finished the back and am almost done with the front -

It's looking a little skinny at the moment but I'm hoping with some blocking (and serious stretching!) it will be ok. I measured it against hubby and it seemed fine on him so here's hoping....

No 2 WIP is a shawl I'm knitting for myself. As you can see, I'm not really halfway through it but it grows pretty fast so I'm sure halfway isn't too far in the distance.

My final WIP is a sweater for me in a gorgeous grey/brown aran yarn. I started this a few weeks ago but the cable adventure above and my shawl have taken over somewhat so Smithfield keeps getting shoved to the bottom of the workbasket.

It's a top down pattern and this is the collar - looks a little skinny too but the yarn is quite stretchy and I've pulled it over my head more than once just to check! In the pic the yarn looks more grey than brown but it's both all flecked together. 

So that's my WIPs for now. I really hope to have some finished things to show you in my next post so pop back when you can!

Til soon....

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ninja Mum!!!


Had a good week? Mine was busy and it didn't help that I've been suffering from a lung/chest infection and didn't realise! Felt rough, had a bad cough and tight chest but hate taking antibiotics so thought it would pass eventually. Wrong. Went to doc yesterday and am now on meds. Hey ho....

Am again joining in with Shelley for WIP-A-Long so here are mine....

First up my Linus scarf/shawlette. What a fab pattern! Will definitely be making this again. It's the first one I've made that actually stays on and doesn't force me to spend half my day readjusting it! I finished it on Monday and have worn it every day since! Would recommend it to anyone but especially beginner knitters as it's just garter stitch (plain knitting) throughout. Can't tell you how much I love this!

Along the top edge is a small little lacy detail. So cute and stops it from being boring (both to knit and look at)! The middle pic is the truest to colour as I made it in grey.

Next is the cable jersey I am redoing for a family member. Slow going but it's coming out really well. Very happy so far.....

I haven't done anything on my version of Ritas Aran Jacket this week. Too much cabling what with the above garment! Have stashed it for a while but will definitely go back to it.

Youngest child has requested a black balaclava so that he can pretend to be a Ninja (he does karate)! I HATE knitting in black but what could I say? So off the yarn shop we went early this morning and I have begun. This will definitely be a labour of love.....

Last up is not a WIP but something I adore! This stands on my kitchen window sill and she makes me smile every time I see her.....

I hope she made you smile too!!!
Til soon.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Yay it's May!!!


I thought I'd link up with Shelley at Little House In The Corner for her WIP-along!! She seems to have just as many WIPs as I do so here are mine....

First up, a jersey for a family member. I knitted a jersey for him a few years back but he's lost some weight since then so it got kinda big and baggy. My amazing mother unpicked the entire thing (and it was BIG so hats off to her - she's got oodles of patience)! Now I have the task of reknitting it into a garment that actually fits him. I'm using an old Wendy Aran pattern that I've had for some years - I've made at least 2 before so I know the pattern well. I couldn't find it on the internet but it's cables (of course) and moss stitch.  I'm not very far with it as you can see. The yarn is actually a smoky green colour but the photo looks more grey...... will keep you posted.

Next up is a mini-shawl (I think they call them 'shawlettes') that is for moi. I needed something in grey just to keep my neck warm on chilly mornings and this pattern is super easy. I'm doing it in a solid colour tho. My camera clearly doesn't like grey or green .... this looks blue!

Last WIP is this that I'm making for myself. Also in a dusty grey yarn (I'm clearly in the 'grey' zone at the moment) .... I'm a bit further on this one - this is one of the fronts...

So there are my current WIPs. Have you got any you would like to share? If so, pop over to Shelley and link up.

Have a great weekend!
Til soon.