Still knitting…

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Just a quick post to prove I am still alive. I’ve had a busy summer (mainly not knitting!) but now the weathers turned I have had lots of inspiration for new projects, designs and blog posts so expect more from me very soon. Currently lusting over this Rowan design “wilderness” from Pioneer, which I intend to cast on very soon if I can decide which shade of Creative Focus Worsted (if any) to use!

For Baby…

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I don’t have a baby and I don’t know anyone who has a baby so I’ve never considered knitting for babies, it does appeal though because everything is smaller therefore cheaper and quicker to make! You can used more luxurious wools without breaking the bank and that ennui you get from repeating fiddly cables or motifs over and over might never kick in.

My boyfriend’s sister is expecting her first child at Christmas and after seeing that their mother had already knocked out an all-in-one suit complete with bear-ear hood I thought I better get cracking! Below I have posted some of my favourite patterns and ideas from the internet…

The pattern above and the one below are by Maria Carlander, click the image for a link to her blog.

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These cute little shorties don’t seem to be available from Tomboy Knits any longer, hopefully I can find a similar pattern that I can adapt.

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Super-cute hoods / popovers from Purlbee. Perfect for a winter baby – I’d be tempted to add a cable to the Stocking Stitch panel!

a35d39bcdb3ffc23844f23bc8c8026cdCute romper – couldn’t find a pattern though :-(

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Tres chic turban for a baby girl, has a matching dress which I don’t think I’d bother making, from Pickles.

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This is a sophisticated set by Solenn Couix-Loarer - seems yellows are popular choices for baby clothes – perhaps because they are unisex?

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Equally as sophisticated is this sweater by Purlbee. Love the yarn and delicate cables.

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Another yellow baby garment found on Erleperle blog, couldn’t seem to find the pattern so if anyone out there has a link please leave a comment…

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Again another design without a link, I’m sure I could knock one up easily enough from an existing pattern such as the one below by Maria Carlander.

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Mini legwarmers for babies are a novel idea and the colourway / design options are endless.

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Cutesy booties from Purlbee!

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December booties by Carrie Bostock. Love this pattern, it’s very similar to a vintage pattern I own.

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Baby blanket by Purlbee. You could change the colour of the stripes accordingly.

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Finally, a more traditional blanket from Garnstudio.

Swallows and Amazons For Ever

A friend of mine who is a DJ / record collector once told me that he had a dream about finding a rare and very expensive record, in his dream the record was €5 and he found it at a foreign fleamarket, anyway to cut a long story short – he then found said record whilst on tour in Europe, at a fleamarket for five euros. I wasn’t sure if I believed him until today…

Recently I had a very frustrating dream where I had stumbled across a stash of old rowan books in a charity shop (sad I know) and I had to keep going back to buy them – in that stash was Book Number Ten: Swallows and Amazons For Ever – the one everyone wants cos it’s got Kate Moss in it and loads of Kaffe designs. Ever since I heard about this book I sort of secretly desired it even though I’m not a massive Kate Moss or Kaffe Fassett fan, it always intrigued me… well enough that I’d actually dream about owning it.

So today after a morning of bad luck (came off my bike on the way to a hospital appointment!) I decided to cheer myself up with a visit to my favourite East Dulwich charity shop. I headed straight over to the shelves where they keep the knitting patterns and what should I see looking up at me? Yeah you guessed it. Rowan Knitting Book Number 10 for 75 pence! 75p! I nearly had a heart attack  (someone is currently selling this book on eBay for £51.99). Anyway the rest is history…

Update…

Ugh, when I started this blog I vowed I wouldn’t do what I do with all of my other blogs, i.e. go AWOL for weeks without a post. Anyway, I’m back and the main reason for my silence is because not much has happened on the knitting front. I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired whilst finishing off the Short Raglan sweater (above) – the completed pieces were just sat in a bag for weeks. Finally I took action, stitched the seams together, finished the neck and blocked it (still haven’t woven in the ends). It’s looking great, a behemoth of a jumper, very boxy and bulky, not going to be able to wear it for at least 6 months without sweating!

Anyway some things that did happen while I was on hiatus…

I finally discovered a really quick and easy Pom Pom maker by Clover. I volunteer at an arts and crafts class for disabled people once a week where I have been teaching knitting techniques – a couple of weeks ago we made French knitting necklaces, on the Monday just gone we made pom pom accessories and the pom pom maker really came in handy. We tried these pom pom looms too but the results were rubbish!

A few weeks ago I did a carboot sale in Pimlico (which was a waste of time  - no one wanted to pay more than £1 for anything) but I did get some nice Vintage Aran knitting patterns – in hindsight I wish I’d bought the lot but the seller was a real battleaxe and would only let me have 3 for £2!

At the same carboot I got this Dover quilting book, which has a lot of swastika designs (it’s pre WWII and probably refers to the Native American use of the symbol). Anyway, got me thinking I’d quite like to make a quilt, especially after seeing Kaffe’s quilts. It’s probably not something I am going to get into in a big way but I’ve always coveted patchwork quilts and would love to make my own.

Another Dover book I have been reading recently is Mary Thomas’ Knitting Book, written in 1938, it is interested insight into the history of knitting and details many different techniques. It’s a bit like a potted encyclopaedia of knitting, I’ve learnt a lot from it even if it can be a bit of a tedious read at times. I would recommend it to any intermediate or even beginner knitter – you can read as many modern, trendy knitting books as you want but this has the fundamentals and is very simple to follow.

As well as knitting I also enjoy sewing my own clothes, I have just started this Wiksten Tank dress in a pale grey fabric and I’m waiting for some hand dye to arrive so I can try some dip-dying like this.

Finally, Drops, are having a month long sale this May. Everyone knows I love Drops, lovely cheap wool (real wool or alpaca or mohair etc.) so I went a bit nuts. I don’t know what I’m going to make with it all, probably something grey?!

A Life in Colour

This afternoon I cycled up to Bermondsey Street to visit the Fashion and Textile Museum for the first time. First time? Yeah, shameful I know… The FTM has always been on my radar but I’ve never been really that inspired by any of their exhibitions enough to actually get off my arse and go. Anyway, I went because the current exhibition is a retrospective of Kaffe Fassett’s 50 year career in Textile Arts. I have to admit that I have never really a massive fan of Kaffe’s but after visiting the exhibition I have a new found respect for his works – especially his creative use of colour.

I always found his work too busy, a bit OTT… a chintz overload basically but on closer inspection of the various displays, I found that there were loads of pieces featured in the exhibition that I loved individually. Plenty of dream sweaters were on display along one wall of the exhibition and the main part of the room paid homage to Kaffe’s fantastic quilts and knitted blankets.

Maybe I’ve come away a bit brainwashed? It was an intensely rich and colourful experience. My only disappointment was that there didn’t seem to be any of his designs for Missoni on display but then the exhibition tended to focus more on his personal work and design.

If Kaffe’s your thing then I’d recommend that you go as soon as possible and even if he’s not, go but perhaps save it for a gloomy day…

Oh La La

My mother sent me a French knitting dolly in the post and inspired by “Wild Knits”, I have been exploring it’s possibilities. I had always thought of french knitting as something for children but add grown up yarns (silk/alpaca blends, mohair, variegated sock yarns) you can get some strangely luxurious results which can be used as an embellishment to your knitting.

I’d love to use the mohair rope as a trim for matching hat and mittens, you could also sew it onto a sweater to create contrasting shapes and texture (a bit too 80s maybe..?) or experiment with fine wire to create jewellery.

I even found some old wooden sewing spools that I am going to attempt to make into spool knitters with extra pins so I can experiment with different gauges.