Ode to Joy – so nice I need to make another.

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This lovely shawl is another test knit for Mooody Knitter Design aka Stella Egidi.  It is a perfect shape, weight and size for spring and quite a fast knit.  This is the link to the pattern on Ravelry https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ode-to-simplicity-2.

Every so often you make an item that is a perfect combination of yarn and pattern.   The yarn for this shawl was destined to be a sweater.   I visited Ginger Twist Studio in Edinbugh during the yarn festival.  I was determined to purchase a sweaters worth of something lovely.   I bought four skeins of this gorgeous Yackety Yak – 60% Merino, 20% silk and 20% Yak – it is beautiful, soft with a lovely sheen.  The colours are Selkie and It might as well be Spring.

Then Stella sent out her call for test knitters and all sweater plans went out the window.  The colours work so well in this fade pattern and used up about half of the four skeins.  I have worn it a lot since completing and have gotten lots of compliments.

The obvious thing to do with the remainder of the pattern is to make another – this time however  with the have started with the darker colour and am fading  it into the lighter this will be a gift.

 

 

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Fools Gold Shawl

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This lovely shawl was a Test Knit I completed in May for Britni Sherfield.  A lovely crescent shaped shawl that makes great use of short row shaping.

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This was a quick knit and the colour possibilities are endless.  The pattern has now been released and is available here  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fools-gold-shawl.  Using only garter stitch this is a simple pattern that produced an elegant result – another great addition to my shawl repertoire.

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Straight to the Point Beanie

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A lovely hat test knit –  a simple and elegant design by Capestrainm on Ravelry.    Morgan Capestrain is the designers real world name and her website is knitcraftandknittery.com.  Based in Tasmania this talented designer is also an indie dyer and a committed environmentalist.    The wool that she uses is “100% sustainable merino wool that comes from farms committed to protecting the environment and maintaining sustainable practices”.

I marvel at how connected we are on Ravelry and how easy it is to communicate with like minded crafters.

The test knit was a simple hat with stocking stitch panels and twisted rib panels adding interest and dividing up the panels.  I used some stash yarn (Yay!) – Drops merino extra fine in a beautiful rich purple. Working on a 3.5mm needle I used 75 grms, a ball and half  – that is 157.5 meters or 172.2 yards.  Size wise I used the stitch count for the large size and the length measurements for the medium size.

This is a nice simple hat that would be perfect for gift giving – the rib effect means it will adjust to different head sizes without being too tight.  Great for guys who want “nothing fancy”.

 

Never too late to learn something new

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Test knits can really surprise you.   The knitting community on Ravelry are very generous and when time and stash allows I give back by taking on a test knit.   One of my recent projects was a lovely colour work hat designed by Anja http://www.ravelry.com/people/FlowerBirds who designs the loveliest colour work mittens and hats.

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The pattern features a series of tucks at the brim of the hat – they look really cute in co-ordinating colours.  The technique for casting on for the tucks was new to me – it was a provisional cast on that used two needles.  One needle is kept live until you are ready to complete tuck.  After a little bit of fiddling I got the hang of the technique and it worked really well to create a neat finish.  The Nut-Hap pattern is on my virtual to do list   http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/nut-hap and I think I will get to use this technique again on a much larger scale.

So back to the Wagtail test knit –  I knit the mans size – the pattern was very well laid out and there is an explanation of the cast on, the design is really cute and worked well in my chosen yarns and the bonus was my husband and son were happy to model for me.  So success all round for a lovely colour work hat that appeals to all ages.

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Feeling the fear, packing the bag and doing it anyway.

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Today I finally got around to doing something I had wanted to do for a long time – go back to swimming lessons.  I learnt to swim as a child in Templeogue College Swimmming Pool and my son swims there so it was a good a choice as any.

Over the last 40 years or so I have managed to loose my breathing technique and really struggle with keeping my face in the water.  So this morning I joined the ladies class and I think the worst might be over.  As an adult the fear of making a fool of yourself is usually far worse that the reality of a situation.  I did find it difficult, was a little panicked but the lovely instructor Paula was great.  By the end of the session I was worn out, my legs felt like lead but I was happy that I had taken the first step.

Have I sorted out my breathing technique – no but I will get there with practice – lane swimming here I come.

 

 

Melanie Berg

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Melanie Berg recently visited Dublin and I was lucky enough to join her shawl workshops.  A really inspiring designer who also gives a great class.

In advance of the trip to Edinburgh I was trying to do some stash reduction and the results were this lovely version of Spice Market and a summer version of Drachenfels.

My spice market was closer to a fruit market but still a lovely result.  This is a link to Melanies pattern page  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/on-the-spice-market.

 

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The Summer Drachenfels turned out quite pretty but is missing all the drama of contrasting dark colours – will have to revisit. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/drachenfels

Did I achieve the desired stash reduction – absolutely not – discovered I had lots more than I thought so lots more shawls to come.

 

 

Stash Busting and planning

With the Edinburgh yarn festival now two weeks away it was time to make some hard decisions.  I had to take a look at my stash and make some sacrifices to make space for lots of lovely new yarn/

I spent some time last week deciding on what I could part with and re-discovering some lovely yarns that are just waiting to be used.  I have a really bad habit of “saving” yarns for something special.  When in reality everything we knit is something special.

Finally I came up with some yarn to be donated to our local charity shop – not as much as I had hoped.  The next issue was to use up some of the lovelies – I reviewed my ravelry queue and listed a number of shawls I want to knit.    I then needed to identify the best choices for social knitting.

It looks like the Edinburgh festival will be very social and too much lace work is not a good idea so I decided on Drachenfels http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/drachenfels   and On the Spice Market  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/on-the-spice-market.  Both these shawls have lots of garter stitch and use multiple colours – great for using up small quantities of really nice yarn.

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This lovely rose bouquet was the inspiration for my spice market shawl which will probably be more of a fruit market colour palette.  All the shawls are now set up and ready to go – roll on Edinburgh.