Skyscrapers and String


Shawling and Wrapping!

Hello everyone!

I hope you’ve been having a happy and creative time. It has been all go chez Jenny, what with poppy selling, knitting things for presents in a big flap and a rush and making wooly decisions.

On the work front it has been bonkers, lots of people are leaving and there is a lot of silliness going on. I am keeping calm and remembering to knit and drink mint tea.

I have had to fill in my appraisal, which is stressful as my boss has no self confidence and thinks that if you write down any achievements in any kind of positive language you’re unforgivably boastful, and need taking down a few pegs. If I’m not to write down what I actually did all year, and if I am not to say I am good at what I do, when I’ve done well, how can I fill in the form? Pfftt!

November is a horrid time of year for my family, it will be three years since I lost my beloved Poppa, and my dear Aunties were bereaved this month too, losing their parents and a husband in the same month. Also I have two friends who have lost their dads within days of each other. It is a gloomy time.

The charity poppies have been a big success, we’ve sold loads and the total stands at over £700 with more cash due to come in next week. I never realised how good it feels to raise money for others less fortunate than yourself, it truly makes your heart bigger.

On a wooly note, I have been wrestling with my time and my imagination. I simply have too many exciting things to do, and I want to start everything at once! I want to knit!

This is incompatible with two dinners out in one week, and swimming after work.

I also need to put my iPad out of reach as I seem to need to look up random facts mid row, then an hour of net surfing later I have run out of knitting time.

I have been making a shawl for my dear friend Alex’s birthday, and it has been very jolly.

Firstly it was using stash yarn, which feels virtuous, and secondly, because I had a random amount, I didn’t know how big the shawl would be. But, in some ways, that made it more enjoyable!!!

I had some Shilasdair in a beautiful tawny plum shade, some Isager twinni in a russet/spice and some coral spindrift. Lovely colours!

Oh but being on a deadline! Yikes!

It’s one of my “Jennifer” shawls, which means I just knit straight out of my head. This week I had a wonderful note from my dear friend Barbie and she asked me to write the recipe up, so I will! Isn’t it kind of people to take the time to send encouraging messages!

Here you can see a before picture, Alex did love it, I’m pleased to say!

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And after:

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I hope you’re all well. I have never been so happy!

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Saturday Loops

Hello everyone!

Have you had a jolly day today? I got up early to see my daughter off, she was heading off to do her barrister thingy at a Uni in London near Holborn or something. After she went, I went back to bed and had a most enjoyable lie in, with my dear cat:

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Jon put the bread in the oven from last night, and whilst I was on the tube to London to meet Lexie, he sent me pictures of the bread and text messages expressing his enjoyment of the hot bread plus his need for a nap as he was somewhat over full.

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I will be nomming the rest of the bread with some bacon and eggs in the morning. He has left me some, apparently!

On the tube, I was able to take some nice pictures of my crochet bag, which had its first outing today.

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We met at Angel, the weather today was so changeable, it was by turns horridly blustery, tipping with rain, sunny and then freezing. It started to literally pour down, so the first part of our jaunt was lubricated by gin and tonic, as we dived into the pub to get out of the rain.

We then went to Loop, it was very quiet. From there we popped over to our favourite haunt, the “Cuba Libre”. Disgracefully we drank loads of Mojitos and we ate tapas. It was splendid fun!

Jon was at home waiting for the Ikea delivery, and when I got home he’d put a whole work top up for me! Isn’t he good!

My cat was also pleased to see me. Look how it smiles when I fussed it this morning, it is so easy to love her!

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Emergency Repairs

A long time ago, when Etsy was new and I was new to crochet, I ordered some hand dyed sock yarn.

I wanted cream, grey and butter yellow. I paid an arm and a leg. I waited. I got a hank of bitter lemon and white yarn that looked like it had been dragged behind a bus.

To say I was disappointed was an underestimation. The hank was shoved into a basket on top of my wardrobe.

A couple of random purchases from Loop in the sale later, a couple of years passed and then there were three sorts of yarn that sang together! No more did my expensive purchase disaster haunt me, it beckoned me to make something nice with the shilasdair and the GGH Mystik.

So this is what I made:

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Well that’s the beginning…

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Oh hereI am wearing it with Katie:

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Anyhow, after a couple of years of really loving this shawl, it started to come apart! Nooo! Its my absolute favourite favourite thing I ever made!!!

So today it has had emergency repairs.

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I’ve had to sew where the tiny crochets join along the top of the triangle. What a nuisance!

If you ever make a crochet something in more than one ball of yarn really sew it together well! All the early things I’ve made have not worn well as I didn’t know better at the time!

At least it will hold up now for its lifetime, especially as I bought a jacket just to wear it with!

So funny how the things/people I didn’t like at first have now become my dear favourites! I must be a really bad judge of character!

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Shilasdair Saturday

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re all having a jolly weekend thus far!

My news is as follows:

  • The blue thai silk shawl is coming on apace. For anyone making the seed stitch wrap, have something tedious you want to finish to hand that is sticking stitch. You’ll thoroughly enjoy it as a change from the K1P1 tedium.
  • My amazing seed stitch wrap is exciting – I am about to start colour 5 (cream) today – (yippee!)
  • My friend Alison might be coming to visit next week, she has a houseboat and chickens
  • I am examining my collection of naturally hand dyed Shilasdair yarns from the aisle of Skye and trying to decide what to make from them
  • This week’s two balls of Kochoran are slowly forming into the inspiration for a gorgeous fuzzy spring jacket in teddy bear beige with Noro Stripes – mmmm!

Having a massive stash of yarn to play with just makes the brain thrill at the creative possibilities.

Any suggestions as to the Shilasdair below, please comment and help me along!

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Work In Progress – Sneak Preview!

One of my heroes, Elizabeth Zimmerman, said she liked to use up every last inch of yarn.

My heart says the same thing. In fact, I think it’s a craft based kind of OCD. A compulsion as opposed to an option.

About this time last year, I finally sewed up a Japanese Flowers crochet scarf, which was made entirely in silk. My DD had bought the yarn for me as a Mother’s Day gift and I started it in April 2011.
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Afterwards there was A Lot of leftover yarn.
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I sorted out the neutral shades and the autumn golds, and went to my favourite yarn store, Loop. There was a Japanese knitting book which was really expensive, but boy, it looked at knitting from a fresh angle! Inspiration leapt out and I also bought some hanks of Shilsdair yarn in Meadowsweet, thinking that would be a good base for a new design. That was April.
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By June, and a new cardigan later I still had a bag of leftovers. After a class at Loop I bought another book, this time, entirely in French, from the elegant and extremely gifted Cecile, and by August 5th I had a new crochet bag.

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You won’t be surprised when I tell you even then I was still left with yarn spare.

A magazine came with a metal purse clasp, I thought, right, a small money wallet, this will use the last knockings of wool. So August 26 last year I cast on. The purse grew and grew and grew, and became another handbag.

Since then, I have wrestled with finishing it.

Sewing:

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Blocking:

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Making a lining, sewing the side seams then sewing the beads on:

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Now I’ve had enough for one weekend! Back into the workbasket it goes! Couture! Blood sweat and tears, determination and true grit.