Over the August Bank Holiday weekend we had a great family day out at Ardgillan Castle. This is a beautiful country house in Balbriggan and is set in the 200-acre (0.81 km2) of Ardgillan Demesne. The building overlooks Barnageera Beach, the Irish Sea and Balbriggan.
It has been a long time since we visited Ardgillan and my memories are of family days out with mum snaffling bits and pieces of plants to make cuttings from. We were blessed with fabulous weather and to be honest didn’t do as much as we intended. The gardens were glorious and that was where most of our time was spent. Awash with colour, butterflies and bees there was lots of inspiration for colour combinations that will cheer up dreary winter days.
I imagine there is a very big garden team that keeps everything looking fantastic. I was surprised to see so many lilies and hard to grow plants thriving.
The children’s playground is well worth a visit and the Dog friendly café was a wonderful and inexpensive end to our day. Hopefully next time we will have a look inside the house – but hoping for a wet rainy day for that.
July has been a great month for knitting – lots of items off the needles and some projects that were sitting on the naughty step have been resurrected and sorted out. I joined a Mystery Mitten KAL in the I Make Mittens group on Ravelry and completed a pair and in between clues worked on an old wip – Mosaic mittens and also completed them.
The pair on the left were made using the two at a time method and the pair on the right one at a time. I think there is a big difference in terms of tension and quality of knitting stitches. The two at a time pair are quite uneven and the join is noticeable.
This month I am hoping to complete or at least start another two pairs and this time I think I will go down a needle size for the two at a time and see if this helps. Also this month the patterns will be nowhere near as busy with only two colours in use. This will also mean less darning in of ends always a good thing.
Last weekend I was fortunate to spend Saturday in Amsterdam shopping with my Daughter. We flew in early and spent the day shopping before having a late dinner.
I wanted to pick up some Souvenir yarn and as we were short on time and energy we headed to Stephen and Penelope, a lovely welcoming shop filled with yarns of all types and origins. I was delighted to see Hedgehog fibres continues to do well here and has a fabulous display of colour – it is nice to see one of our own doing so well. There were lot of Stephen West patterns on display and lots of inspiring ideas. I was surprised to Spincycle handspun yarns so far from home – another lovely brand. I could ramble on and on but the photographs say it all – spoilt for choice.
After much consideration I decided to go with Undercover Otter – a range dyed in Amsterdam and purchased 3 skeins in shades of grey. There are quite a few colours in this range that are exclusive to Stephen and Penelope.
So if you are in Amsterdam with some time to spare put this lovely shop on your list and also check out the shop next door – amazing buttons, fabrics and haberdashery.
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.
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.
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”.
I am a big fan of Melanie Berg designs and was very happy to see the July KAL in her Ravelry group was The Fibre Co Shawl 20 Jun-24 Jul 2017 that meant the focus was on four Shawls – Armadale, Falls of Foyer, Ingwer and Tamdou.
I had fallen in love with a lovely vibrant yellow (17 Gleb) in Drops Flora and have been waiting for the right shawl to use it. Tamdou was the perfect pattern – with lace panels in yellow and stripes to balance out the strength of yellow – the other colours in the shawl are 10 Indigo and 1 Natural. Really happy with how this turned out – just can’t wait for the weather to cool down so it can be worn.
Mittens are one of my favourite things to knit – they are quick, portable and using colour work are very colourful. I have been a member of the I Make Mittens group on Ravelry since December 2013 and over the years have made several pairs however this all came to an abrupt halt in January 2016. I was working on a mitten KAL and messed up really badly – so the project ended up being iced.
I decided it was time to get my mitten mojo back – and while on the hunt for needles for the I Make Mittens July KAL came accross the iced project. It was also a KAL and it is a lovely pattern Mosaikk http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mosaikk. As I may have mentioned before I hate having abandoned projects so I decided to try and see where it all went wrong. After re-printing the clues and checking and double checking I figured out the problem. When you are working on a KAL the clues come every couple of days – so you are working on several pages sequentially. When you are working on a colourwork item the combinations will change with each new piece of the KAL. My problems arose when I didn’t remember the what colour was cc1, cc2 etc and I worked away on the wrong combination. I had gotten all the thumb increases in on one mitten before I realised this.
The upside to this problem was I have started the July KAL and was very careful to lay out a sheet with the details and keep it to the top of the pattern pages so I won’t make the mistake again.
The Mosaikk mittens – well I have knit the corrected colours on the second mitten (mitten on right in photograph) and todays job is to rip back the first mitten and fix. Lesson learned and my Mitten Mojo has returned.