Wednesday, 27 April 2016

FO - toddler summer cardigan

toddler cardigan yoke drips design colourwork baa baa brighouse brew clifton yarn pink green knitted baby cat dress george asda

Two good things happened this month (Well, relating to this post anyway.  Way more good things than that actually happened)  I received a lovely, squishy, yarny gift from Baa Baa Brighouse and my favourite small person turned one year old.   Obviously, Matilda wasn't getting away without a hand knitted gift on her special birthday, so the two good things collided and turned into one great thing - this cute little cardigan.  And then I found a cat print dress in Asda, and a fluffy cat-shaped toy, so that parcel was a whole bag of awesome by the time I was done with it.

toddler cardigan yoke drips design colourwork baa baa brighouse brew clifton yarn pink green knitted baby

Pattern - a combination of the Seed Stitch Toddler Cardigan by Brought up by wolves and Drips by Bethany Hill

Yarn - Baa Baa Brew in Clifton and some leftover mint green DK

Needles - 3.5mm

Notes - I was a bit apprehensive about testing new yarn.  What if it was rubbish?  What if the colour was horrible?  What if I pick the wrong pattern and it looks dreadful?  In the end, it turned out I was being overly dramatic (nothing new there) because this yarn is all sorts of gorgeous.  Here's a list of reasons why...

- It's soft.  Delightful for running through your fingers with each stitch and perfect for toddler-wear.
- It's made from 100% British wool.  Because who doesn't love locally sourced produce?
- The colours ebb and flow beautifully.  Pink is not my favourite and even I wanted a piece of this.
- One skein can make this whole cardigan.  You know, if I wasn't me - I just had to drop in another colour.
- It comes in the prettiest packaging.  I'm a sucker for a good ribbon tie.
- The other shades are gorgeous too.  I think Brookfoot would look lovely in place of my green.

The construction is a little different than the original cardigan.  I really just used the pattern for the yoke section then, when it came to splitting the back, front and arms, I did the sleeves first to ensure I had enough pink yarn.  With the body, I knit down until I felt the length was right for the pattern to begin.  I had to do some calculations to make the design fit, adding two stitches to the needles to ensure it would fall evenly, then I just carried on with the green yarn until the overall length looked proportional.  Matilda has a pretty long body so even if it looked a little cropped, I figured the sleeves being short would help it look like I meant that to happen!

Has anyone tried this yarn?  Or been knitting for kiddies lately?

Linking up to Ginny's Yarn Along.

*my pink yarn was provided by Baa Baa Brighouse for the purpose of review.  As always, I speak the truth!*


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

FO - crochet lace scarf

crochet lace scarf pierrot triangular shawl pattern finished object pompom coloured yarn turkey wool alpaca lanoso alpancana

Yup, another lace scarf.  I can't help myself, I just love the simplicity of this design and how easy the project is to cart around on public transport.  This scarf is actually my third but the second (made mostly on the way home from Orkney) was never blogged - I had intended it to be a Christmas gift but couldn't decide who to give it to, so maybe this year it'll make it out of the gift drawer!

crochet lace scarf pierrot triangular shawl pattern finished object pompom coloured yarn turkey wool alpaca lanoso alpancana

Pattern - Triangle Shawl by Pierrot

Yarn - Lanoso Alpacana (200g inc pompom)

Hook - 5mm

Additions - Pompom made using small yellow Clover Pom-Pom Maker*

Notes - I got this gorgeous yarn from Tam's mum last year.  She found it in Estonia when she was on a cruise to Russia, although the yarn is actually made in Turkey.  It might be my most well-travelled piece of knitwear!  It's a wool/acrylic/alpaca mix and it's very fluffy.  I did a lot of the crocheting on the train when I went to visit Sarah last month and by the time I arrived, I required a good brush down before I could show my black dress in public again.  Because of course I had to be wearing black when I got yarn attacked.

At this point, I have nothing new to say about the construction.  I like how the colours have spread and pooled at different points, and that there was just the right amount of yarn left at the end to add a wee pompom.  This might become a feature of all future scarves - you guys know about my thing for pompoms, right?  I even have a dedicated board on Pinterest.

Although I always turn to this pattern when I only have a couple of balls of yarn to use, I'd like to try it out with an extra ball or maybe a contrasting border, so there will definitely be more of this pattern in future.

*post contains affiliate link*


Monday, 25 April 2016

Photo an Hour - April

vintage milk bottle windowsill blue riband charity shop

reading library book cinema paradiso bookmark postcard

09.44 - Another sunny day!  It didn't make me leap out of bed exactly (in fact I slept through my alarm) but it was easier to get up knowing I could go hang outside at some point.

10:51 - Mother was at work so I got to eat breakfast and read without Judge Judy in the background.  I'm having a hard time getting into this book (the last in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy), maybe because it's so much bigger than the previous two.

what I'm wearing today outfit jeggings cashmere jumper M&S plimsolls shoes

sunshine scotland trees outside

11:28 - Dressed and ready to walk.  I dug out my summer jeggings and shoes (both M&S) and even went without a jacket, although cashmere and a scarf were necessary - it was freezing in the wind.  A bit of music while I faffed about was nice company.

12:36 - Back home with a few zips I'd hoped to find in the charity shops and something for lunch.  It was still sunny in the back garden but the wind had found a way round there, so I ate inside.

pompom colourful scissors sewing supplies

upcycled bunting vintage fabric charity shop

14:28 - Missed an hour.  Too much eating.  I was in my sewing zone at this point - Mother's being very nice about me taking over the giant kitchen table with all my crafty bits.

16:50 - And again.  Time passes quickly when I'm creating!  Here's some bunting I made the other day.

zips sewing collection charity shop thrifted second hand

nice biscuit mini pin cushion nikki mcwilliams sewing

17:37 - My zip collection, all thrifted.  I thought I'd make some pouches out of fabric scraps, which went surprisingly well, unlike the dress I was trying to alter last week...

18:28 - Mother came home so I made some soup for dinner (meaning, I moved the bowl from fridge to microwave) and relocated to the living room in an attempt to be sociable.  My friend got me a little  Nikki McWilliams craft kit to say thanks for some knitted gifts, so I finished it off with some stuffing.  I love it, maybe even more than I love Nice biscuits.  Just a point to note for anyone that has one - I originally hand-sewed it together but it frayed terribly when I turned it the right way round so I had to redo it on the machine.  Luckily I make small seam allowances so I didn't lose any of the pretty print!

crochet granny square couch yarn

green tea dunder mifflin andy mug crochet granny square

19:20 - I have two knitting projects on the go but I took a notion to make some granny squares.  Another good part of living at home is a boosted knitting stash - Mother has about twice the yarn I do so I didn't need to go shopping for a complimentary yellow yarn!

21:32 - Missed another hour.  Oh dear.  Mother went back to work for the night and I made tea.

stripes knitting leger espace tricot cotton yarn

book minion slippers pyjamas

22:34 - I switched back to knitting.  Might as well cram in as many crafts as possible.  I'm knitting L├ęger by Espace Tricot as part of the TTTKAL and it took me forever to get my gauge, but I'm hoping it's all going well now, even if it does look kinda big...

23:23 - The laptop died and I couldn't be bothered fetching the power cable, so it was time for bed.

Thanks to Jane and Louisa for hosting!


Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Yarn Along

kaila cardigan kit jamiesons shetland yarn knitting yarn along

Knitting - Kaila Cardigan by Jamieson's of Shetland
I must have yarn to make myself about five cardigans by now.  It's the type of project that seems a bit daunting to me - I'm all about the quick knits - but it's also starting to seem a bit ridiculous that I don't have a cardi in my life that I've made myself.  I do have plenty that my mum made (this one and this one and these ones) so hopefully I can power through and add my own to the wardrobe!  

Tam's mum got me the perfect Christmas pressie - a kit to make the Kaila Cardigan from Jamieson's of Shetland.  I love the yoke cardigan designs so I'm pretty excited to have one of my own.  It's been a bit of a slow process so far since I decided to knit the body as one piece then split for the armholes, so I'm only part way through the ribbing at the moment, but I intend to knit other things alongside it anyway. 

knitting cardigan kaila jamiesons sheltand reading library book the grand sophy georgette heyer

Reading - The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
I picked this up at the library last week since I've seen Alex declare her love for Heyer many times and I do love a book with lots of manners and daft misunderstandings.  I'm completely hooked - it seems like Sophy has come to life and I find myself thinking about her when I'm not reading.  The plot is pretty simple - Sophy comes to stay with her aunt's family after her father goes off on business to South America, and starts wreaking havoc on their orderly and rather dull life.  It took me a while to get used to the writing style (mostly because in one paragraph the character would be referred to by their first name and in the next they were Mr Whatever) but now I can't wait to pick it up again.

Linking up to Ginny's Yarn Along.

What's everyone else making this week?


Monday, 11 April 2016

Around here

what I did in march spring blog cake easter sangria outdoors dog rough collie yarn baa baa brighouse

March got kinda busy.  Being unemployed has not been the peaceful 'holiday' I thought it would be, although things are calming down a bit now.  Here's what I've been up to in the past month...

- I moved!  Perhaps the biggest event of the month, although somehow the one I forget to mention whenever anyone asks what I've been up to, is that I'm now living at home again.  Our landlady ended our lease at the end of March and since it didn't make sense to get another place in Glasgow when I didn't know where I'd be working, I went back to hang with Mother on the west coast of Scotland.  The remoteness of where I am now is starting to set in a bit (three hours from Tam on public transport!) but I'm very grateful to her for taking me in and letting me loose on her fridge and library card.  There's always chocolate and books in this house.  Oh, and NCIS on the TV.

- I'm still job hunting, although there seems to be even fewer options out there now than when I first started looking a few months ago.  I applied for a couple of things that were perfect for me and was rejected from one and didn't hear back from the other.  Yay.  My friend gave me some tips on formatting my CV so it's looking better than ever, let's hope it works.

- I've seen so many of my favourite people in the past few weeks that I don't even know where to start talking about that, so let's just say I'm appreciating my friends more than ever right now.  The best thing about having more time on my hands is being able to say yes more when people ask me to hang out with them!  It beats trying to cram everything in around a full time job and ending up exhausted.

K and I specifically requested no fuss when we left work (a request that was predictably ignored) but we did agree to a leaving night.  Almost twenty archivists packed into a local tapas place, where we sat for hours, eating and drinking and talking the night away.  It was ace.

- I went to Edinburgh Yarn Festival and took exactly no photos, but I got to meet Nadia for the first time and ran into Nessa again, and bought myself a Kate Davies book that I'd been eyeing up for ages.  I might finally get around to making myself a cardigan soon.

- Many day trips happened in March - Tam and I visited Falkland, the Gorbals and Culross (again), and I went up to Aberdeen to see Sarah and Matilda before I moved.  That was a fun trip, involving lots of delicious food, a trip to the park and lots of chatting about random nonsense.  Plus it's crazy seeing how much a little person can grow in just a few months!  I'm now firmly into the 'toddler' section of Ravelry when trying to find knitted goodies to make.

- Speaking of knitting, Baa Baa Brighouse sent me a skein of their gorgeous new Baa Baa Brew yarn to try out.  I just finished my project last night and I'm really pleased with how it turned out - more details coming next week!  There's a few finished objects sitting around at the moment, waiting to have the final touches added and photographs taken, so I guess we know how I've been spending all that free time.  Oh, and eating cake of course.

There's so much more I could talk about in more detail but I think I'll leave this post here and shut up now.  Although I'll add that I still take ages to write a blog post (hours if I devote myself to one task and days if I do other things inbetween paragraphs) but hopefully my speed will get a chance to increase now.  Cross your fingers!

What's everyone been up to lately?  Enjoying spring or wondering why it's still freezing outside?


Wednesday, 6 April 2016

FO - Knitted colourwork beret

knitted thrift hat shetland wool week beret colourwork

I know I've already shared a look at this hat on Instagram but I thought I'd add a few more details here.  Then I realised that, after moving house last week, I've lost whatever notes I took about my knitting process.  So, prepare for some improvising!

This guy was another hat-shaped leaving pressie for a colleague.  Not just any colleague though.  K and I had our own little team of two.  It's the first time I'd ever shared space with the same person every day in a job (every previous role I've had involved shift work with a bunch of other shift workers) so it's a testament to her awesomeness that we never got fed up with each other.  K learned to knit last year and I've been her official helper ever since - most work days started with tea and updating each other on what we were crafting the night before.  It was during one of our morning chats that K found and fell in love with the pattern for the Thrift Hat in my Shetland Wool Week annual, but since she wasn't feeling confident enough to attempt colourwork yet, I decided to sneakily knit it for her.

knitted thrift hat shetland wool week beret colourwork finished

Pattern - Thrift Hat by Outi Kater

Yarn - Red Heart Margareta 4ply in Blue, Light Blue, Fire and Sand

Notes - I had a pretty short time in which to make this hat so, of course, it went wrong at various points - all user faults, I might add, and nothing to do with the pattern, which was very clearly written, down to exactly how much yarn was required in each shade.

I redid the first section of colourwork twice since I didn't like how the colours were sitting together - once I decided to make the dark blue the dominant colour it looked much better.  It was also the perfect time to try out my newly learned two-handed technique (thanks, Karie!)  Things were a bit slow going at first but I hit my stride after a few rows, although (as is inevitable when I'm knitting colourwork) just when I thought I was steaming along nicely I'd end up having to backtrack thanks to a mis-counted stitch repeat.

I would like to have used the yarn suggested in the pattern but since time wasn't on my side I made do with some odd balls from my stash.  I got a bunch of the Red Heart Margareta on sale a couple of years ago - having bought a 50g ball of each shade, I have about ten colours that I can mix and match for projects (the yoke on this cardigan was made with the same yarn).  The red was very nearly an orange/pink shade instead but in the end, I decided to stay true to the original design.

inside knitted thrift hat shetland wool week beret colourwork wrong side

I presented K with her finished hat on the way to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival and she loved it.  She even got it a little bit ahead of her actual leaving date since I thought the festival was the perfect excuse to wear as many hand knits as possible!  It did mean I was sewing in the ends on the train before she got on, but hey, it was still finished on time.

Has anyone else made it?  Or faced similar colourwork struggles?

Linking up to Ginny's Yarn Along.

*post contains affiliate link*


Monday, 4 April 2016

The Buyer's Archive - March

striped stripe tshirts charity shop

Two years ago, I started tracking my spending on everything that went into my wardrobe to see exactly how much of my outgoings went on non-essential items.  It's been an interesting experiment and one I plan to continue indefinitely.  Check out my journey here.

Hello again!  It's been a few weeks...  Writing has not been at the front of my mind lately, since I've been kept busy elsewhere, so I might have to get around to writing an update type post soon.  Let's just get to the most important stuff first, shall we?  Buyer's Archive!

charity shop bargains march purchases dresses tshirt cardigan cashmere blue red florals

Last March was full of purchases and this March was no different.  I'm sure I've said this before, but I think my shopping habits ebb and flow with the seasons.  New time of year = new clothes in my life.

In March 2015, I spent £48.90 on wardrobe related items.  Spendy, but not bank breaking.  Was it worth it though?  Well, the cashmere cardigan has easily been my most worn item and it wasn't even included in last year's total!  I must have bought it after I wrote the post...  It gets worn once or twice a week and I suspect this will continue for a while.

Closely following the cardi in terms of wear has been my H&M t-shirts - the grey ones come out most often, the others less, but all get regular use.  Of my charity shop buys, the cream t-shirt is worn a lot and the Sonic one would be if I remembered I had it - every time I rake around the storage box, I rediscover it and immediately have to put it on, although the fact that this happens regularly might mean I have too many tops in there.

The striped shirt went in the charity bag before I moved.  The shape wasn't quite right so I found myself ignoring it.  I'm still on the hunt for a perfect shirt!  (Okay, this one is still awesome)

I liked the cream floral dress when I was wearing it but wasn't so sure when I saw the pictures I took that day.  It wasn't really warm enough to wear it more but I've kept it to try again this summer.  I love how the black and navy dresses fit but I never seem to reach for them - the navy one is especially ace but it creases as soon as I sit down.  It's very similar to another Matalan dress I had a few years ago and I eventually got fed up ironing it every time it went in and out of the wardrobe.

I got another couple of dresses last year that are still on the mending pile.  Oops.  I can almost guarantee that they'll be done soon since I'm planning a couple of sewing days this week, although it's not unusual for me to change my mind at the sewing stage.

Oh, and the cable knit vest got frogged.  I have no idea what I'm doing with the yarn but it's in a more useful position now anyway.

black velvet vintage charity shop florals M&S skirt top party

This March was a pleasing mixture of impulse buys and items from my list.  With a few bargains thrown in, of course.

M&S black velvet top via charity shop - £4
I spent ages looking for a top like this before Christmas and had no luck.  A classic case of finding what you're looking for when you stop looking for it!  It's a little big but it'll be perfect with my purple skirt for future parties.

Vintage floral skirt via charity shop - £4.99
Skirts haven't featured much in my life lately but I couldn't resist this when I was out shopping with my friend.  Again, it's a little big, but it worked fine when I wore it to the Yarn Festival a couple of weeks ago.  I'm just waiting for some warmer weather to style it sans tights.

striped t-shirts charity shop primark F&S tesco red blue white sleeves buttons

Primark red stripe top via charity shop - £1
I can't resist a striped t-shirt these days.  I need exactly no more striped t-shirts, yet I bought two last month.  This one's a good layering piece, in great condition and the price was perfect.

F&F stripe top via charity shop - £3.75
See above.  Not needed, couldn't resist.  I love the shape and colours of this guy though.

M&S thermal top - £9
M&S underwear - £7
I happened to go into M&S to pick up some new underwear on the same day their last giant sale started.  It was mayhem but I managed to get a thermal top to replace an old one that's been consigned to the camping clothes bag.  I think it's getting too mild to wear it now, which I'm totally fine with.

Regatta black waterproof jacket via charity shop - 99p
This was an awesome bargain and, contrary to what I just wrote, a rare example of finding something I was actually looking for.  There's a shop I don't look in very often where the clothing is 99p an item - it's mostly basic or tired-looking items that I guess aren't high enough quality to go into the regular stores, so I never expected to find a nice waterproof jacket in there.  It's light, dark-coloured and has nothing visibly wrong with it, just what I needed.

Long Tall Sally Hoxton skinny jeans via eBay - £31
I've talked a few times about my love for these jeans - I have them in indigo and black and I love them so much I've just re-dyed the black pair.  I regretted not buying more when they were in-store since they've never been stocked again, so finding a brand new pair of the indigo ones for less than they cost new was far too exciting.  They were won with a classic last minute bid - I don't know why everyone doesn't do eBay that way instead of driving the price up all week, but I'm still happy with them.

Vintage 1950s purple dress - £55
A spendy one, but after much searching, I found a dress for my brother's wedding in July.  It fits completely perfectly and I love it.  I may just hold out on a picture right now...  It's classic fifties style - fitted top, full skirt - which is exactly what I wanted, and now I need to go hat hunting to find something cute to match.

My spend for this March was £116.73.  Ouch.  At least I can console myself that a few of those purchases were not regular expenses!

How did everyone else get on in March?  Hazel, Donna, Lucy and Charlotte have joined in again!

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