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The Knotty Knitters Meet the Alpacas

Our knitting circle had a brilliant day out on Saturday.

It was part of my quest to have 50 special treats before my 50th birthday in October!! I wrote about this previously here.

When trying to decide what a group of friends who like to get together to knit and enjoy a cuppa might like to do for a fun day out I tried to think of something yarn related. What I came up with was Alpaca Trekking.

I love it.

I’ve done it before, as a fun activity to do with family & friends when my children were younger, and once, when I was Brown Owl for the local Brownie pack a few years ago we had a very pleasant evening stroll with the girls.

I always go to Treeside Alpacas who are absolutely brilliant. The owners are a lovely knowledgeable couple who really make it into a special experience. We saw them when we had our day out to Leeds Wool Festival where they were doing mini treks.

It was a rather windy on Saturday afternoon but we were very lucky and it didn’t rain on us!

First we spent a little time chatting and getting used to the 7 gorgeous fluffy boys. Then we all chose an Alpaca to walk with and set off on our trek. The Alpacas don’t rush, and the route around the farm is not too strenuous, so there was plenty of time to chat to Rosanne and Nigel about their characterful creatures and enjoy spending the time together. The walk back was a bit quicker as the boys knew they were going to get fed at the end.

I took a great many photographs but I’ve tried to pick out the best ones here.

 

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Shells and Gems

Back in May I wrote about my Shell scarf pattern which I had added to the shop.

I mentioned that I had bought this beautiful yarn at Spring Into Wool and I was planning to make another one.

I actually finished it a few weeks ago but it has been waiting to be blocked.

The yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Wensleydale Gems and I absolutely love the colours it’s available in.

I was desperate to see what it would look like knitted into this scarf but I was a little concerned that it might be a hard or prickly yarn so different to the gorgeous soft Sublime Alpaca that the original is done in.

Not so, however. The yarn is so soft and fluffy – not as soft as the Alpaca – and it drapes beautifully.

I blocked it at the weekend and the sun was out so I grabbed some quick photos.

It’s so great to see my design in a different yarn and colours.

As you can see I also bought another yarn from Home Farm Wensleydales which is destined to become a Shell Scarf too!!

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The Dark Self

Last week I visited this an exhibition in York called The Dark Self.

The artist, Susan Aldworth has created this collaborative piece of work which explores the experience of sleep.

It was most interesting to me as it involved ‘1001 embroidered pillowcases hung from the church ceiling, sewn by local people, community groups and schools’

There are also prints, sculptures and a film to see in this very peaceful and atmospheric installation.

It’s open Wed-Sun 11am-4pm until 3rd September 2017 at York St Mary’s YO1 9RN and admission is free.

 

The pillowcases are all old hotel ones (nice bit of up-cycling) and they have been sewn onto using a limited colour palette which is pleasing to look at and I think suits the theme rather beautifully. I took lots of photos which give a feel for the experience, but it wasn’t easy due to the way they are all hung, so if you’d like to get the true atmosphere it’s worth calling in if you’re close by.

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Quick and Easy Scarf

A couple of weeks ago we had a little sight seeing trip to London for the weekend.

Obviously I needed a bit of knitting to take with me for the journey, and I had nothing appropriate on any needles, so a new project was called for.

Having found a very charming skein of sock yarn in my stash (Ripples Crafts Hand Dyed Sock Yarn), I cast on for a scarf and was jolly happy with myself!!

There was plenty of knitting time on the train and a tiny amount of knitting time during our stay.

On returning home I decided that the scarf was not going to be long enough with just this one skein of yarn.

I was very happy to find some yellow West Yorkshire Spinners 4ply which went really well with the one I was using and merrily continued with my new scarf. Now it is finished and I am very pleased with it.

This is such an easy stitch to do, creating something which looks very impressive, especially when combined with a yarn such as this from Ripples Crafts. It would make a nice winter scarf if done on larger needles using something chunky!!

I’ve written out the pattern and you can download it for free here.

 

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Something a little different…

A few months ago my son asked me if I would be able to knit a Leeds United cushion for his girlfriend to give to her Dad.

I said I’d give it a go but it would have to go to the back of the queue!!

On a recent trip to a lovely yarn shop called Knitting Pretty in Knaresborough I bought the perfect coloured yarn for the project, King Cole merino blend dk.

A couple of weeks ago I felt the time was right so I did some drawings for the family to chose from.

Once they’d let me know which design they liked the best I was off and running.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I knit most of my cushions in one piece to reduce the number of seams needed.

Here it is being blocked…almost ready for sewing together. Just the small matter of embroidering on the LUFC and crocheting a white Yorkshire Rose to finish it off.

This is quite different from the kind of thing I would normally knit and I am pleased with the finished result, I think that I managed to fulfil the brief!!

I’m told that Olivia’s Dad was very happy with it too.

 

 

 

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Knit a Shell

I first introduced my Shell Scarf on the blog last August and now, finally, I’ve published the pattern for anyone to buy online!!

I was waiting for the scarf and pattern to be assessed by my City and Guilds Tutor, and then I decided to make an alternative version, which would be easier to knit, so it has taken some time to get it organised!!

As mentioned in the previous blog, the yarn I’ve used is the most gorgeous , Sublime Alpaca DK which is a gorgeously soft yarn, and the colour choices were influenced by my inspiration. The yarn also comes in a wider range of delicious colours.

The inspiration, by the way, came from the little shell which I found on a walk form Warkworth towards Amble in Northumberland earlier last year.

The original scarf, Scarf One, is triangular shaped and lighter weight for the Spring and Autumn, whereas the new design, or Scarf Two, is bigger and warmer to snuggle up in the Winter months.

Both are knitted in a drop stitch rib, which I chose because it is not only very effective but, the fabric produced looks like the pattern of ridges on the shell which was my inspiration. I also really really like the excitement of dropping stitches on purpose (I’m sad like that!!).

I hope the following images show how the two scarves differ.

 

If you’re a less confident knitter, then you could try scarf two as it has limited shaping so is not so daunting.

I bought some exciting yarn when I visited Spring Into Wool in Leeds recently so I’ll be posting photos of the scarf knitted in different colours and fibres over the coming months.

 

If you buy the pattern, I would love to hear which scarf you choose to create and what yarn you have used.

If you send me photos I’ll be delighted!!

 

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Fern Scarf

I am working at increasing the number of knitting patterns available to buy from my website at the moment.

The latest addition is called Fern Scarf – named after the Fern Lace stitch pattern that I have used.

Last week we had some gorgeous spring sunshine so I ventured out into the garden to take some photos of the scarf in the beautiful natural light. 

There are 2 different sized scarves that you can choose from and you will need 200g (448m ) DK.

The scarf can be made in 2 different widths, the finished size is approximately 230cm x 15cm (168cm x 24cm)

You will also need a pair of 4mm needles.

I have used West Yorkshire Spinners Bluefaced Leicester prints DK. I really really like this yarn (see my Petal cushion using the same Owl colour-way). First of all it is bluefaced leicester which I love because it is warm and soft and silky. Secondly, the colours which they have chosen on the theme of Country Birds. When you look at the ball of yarn it is amazing to see how the knitted fabric turns out. The scarf shown is in the Owl colour-way and I have done a little swatch here in the Blue Tit colour.

This stitch is very pretty and works so well with the print yarns but I think a plain colour would also be very attractive. If you’re nervous about tackling anything beyond stocking or garter stitch, this could be an ideal project for you to try. The pattern repeat is worked over only 4 rows with the wrong side rows being purl only (except the g st edging), so there are only 2, easy to memorise, pattern rows to tackle. It truly is much easier than it looks and I’d encourage you to try it.

There is a garter st edging at either end and along each side to prevent that curling up effect which is typical of certain stitches.

I like this Blue Tit swatch so much that I’ve cast on the wider version of the scarf.

I hope you might be inspired to cast on one for yourself.

 

 

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Pretty Petal

I’ve added these cushion knitting kits to the shop on my website. I really hope that people will love them and enjoy knitting them.

 

I used Bluefaced Leicester wool from West Yorkshire Spinners. This beautiful yarn is spun at the mill in Yorkshire using British wool. Bluefaced Leicester is highly valued as it is so silky and lustrous. I love knitting with it and, because the wool is totally gorgeous, the cushions are so soft and amazingly tactile that you just want to cuddle them!

There are 2 versions of the cushion design. One I have called Petal and the other is named Tile Petal.

Both cushions have a plain Ecru back with a textured version of the petal design, and both are available in a number of colour options.

Each kit contains all the yarn you will need to make a 16″square cushion and 5 pretty buttons to finish it off. You will also receive the pattern . You will need a pair each of 4mm and 5mm needles.

The finished cushion can be washed carefully by hand at 30 degrees, should you need to do so.

If you are looking for a gift for a knitting friend I believe that this knitting kit is perfect. The pattern is easy to follow for those with some knitting experience or those wishing to learn the fair isle technique.

A friend of mine recently purchased one of these kits from me. She had not done any fair isle knitting before and she very quickly knitted up a very delightful version of this cushion as you can see here…

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Easter Bunnies

This is my first blog this month as I’ve been away on holiday with my family. We had lots of fun in the snow and arrived home totally exhausted!!

Now we are home winter is on the way out (almost) and, as we are rapidly heading towards Easter, I decided to dig out a project I  created a couple of years ago.

It’s a little gift bag (it holds a couple of Cadburys cream eggs) and I think they look very seasonal just sitting around with the eggs inside waiting to be discovered!! If you’re having an Easter egg hunt then you could maybe hide some special eggs inside just to add to the fun.

They are quick to knit and you can use any oddments of yarn you like really. I have used about 25g of dk for mine but you could definitely experiment with different yarns. If you made them using some really chunky yarn then you might even get a full sized Easter egg in there!! We have blogged about this project before when I had given my friend the knitting bug and she re-discovered the joys of knitting after a break of many many years.  Although Karen is very clever, I do think the fact that she was able to knit her own bunny after such a long time away from the craft, shows that it is a project for all levels of knitters. I am also very pleased to say that she has kept on knitting and this week proudly showed me her very first hand-knitted sock 🙂

If you love easter and chocolate and knitting and would like to make your own little bag then I have added this pattern to my website for you and it won’t cost you anything to download it. If you do then I would be thrilled to see photos of the finished results and share them on my social media.

Happy Knitting x

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Sunshine in February

At the beginning of April 2015 I wrote a blog about my MASSIVE cushion which I had knitted for our garden bench.

This cushion really is enormous and probably not what anyone else would want to knit (although if you do get in touch and I’ll sell you a copy of the pattern!!).

However I have made some smaller versions which will make a bright and bold statement in any room. Here they are sitting on the much larger original cushion which now has an indoor home in addition to it’s outdoor one!!

If you would like to make your own ‘Sunshine’ cushion, I have produced 2 knitting kits which contain all the yarn you will need to make a 16″ square cushion OR a 14″ square cushion, and 4 gorgeous buttons to finish it off. You will also receive the pattern which I have written for either a 14″ or 16″ cushion. You will need a pair each of 3mm and 2.75mm needles.

This pattern is suitable for an experience knitter or someone with a little experience who would like to practise and learn the intarsia technique.

I’ve been finishing off a bit more  embroidery this last week. Not sure what it’s going to be yet but it’s been fun!!

It was a finishing off projects kind of week as I also completed this baby blanket which is going to be a gift as soon as the little one arrives 🙂