zig-zag shrug a la made with loops

dear diary,

zigzag shrug 1

After a summer filled with crochet I thought it was high time for a little knitting this week, and what better way to get into the mood than a day out yarn foraging with good friends.

A trip on the Welsh Light Railway, an old steam railway operating between Welshpool and Llanfair Caereinion, to visit Colinette Yarns was organised, and last Tuesday four yarn addicts set off for a day of colourful woolliness.

We had a lovely day of yarny goodness with a little nostalgia thrown in, and all came home with a little bit of ‘this & that’. Here is what I bought…

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…well, actually I bought three hanks of this, but two have been made into something (more in a moment).

This is Hullabaloo, a 67% wool/ 33% black welsh aran weight yarn. Totally squishy and a joy to work with, it knits up 18sts and 25 rows using 4.5mm needles. It comes in 50g hanks at 75m per hank and is available in the usual array of colours that Colinette has become famous for.

My colour is called Dali shade – Sunflower Susie and I have knitted it into a shrug. The Larch – Zig Zag shrug from the Isis book to be precise. But, as you know me well enough now, I can never make anything following a given pattern, always having to change something…no different this time.

In the book the shrug is knitted using Colinette Isis yarn which I am not particularly fond of, so I changed it for Hullabaloo. As I had used it before, and fallen in love with for it’s beautiful softness and the fact that it contains Welsh Wool, I also knew what to expect when knitting it. I re-worked the pattern: Isis knits using 7mm needles and I wanted to use 5mm, I also wanted to change the arm opening a little to be slightly more snug.

Knitting started on the train ride back, continued over the last couple of evenings and I have enjoyed every moment of it. Holding knitting needles after a summer filled with hooky time has been pure bliss.

zigzag shrug detail

Tonight is our monthly knitting group meeting and two guesses what I will be wearing and showing off…

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…can’t wait to hear what the ‘girls’ will say.

I hope you are all having a week filled with new discoveries, yarny or otherwise.

Tell me what you have been making, you know I would love to hear from you.

Whatever it is you are doing…enjoy xx

daisy buchanan scarf

dear diary,

Last weekend ‘my man’ took me to the cinema to see The Great Gatsby. This re-make of one of my favourite movies is full of glitzy special effects using current music styles somewhat jazzed up and stars Leonardo Di Caprio, one of my favourite actors. In my opinion this version doesn’t come close to the 1974 film starring Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby and Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan, but that’s just my humble view and I let you decide.

Gatsby 6

daisy buchanan scarf – 100% silk

I am a great fan of the writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and  the Great Gatsby is probably F. Scott Fitzgerald’s greatest novel. It is a book that offers damning and insightful views of the American nouveau riche in the 1920s.

Fitzgerald seems to have had a brilliant understanding of lives that are corrupted by greed and incredibly sad and unfulfilled. This novel is a product of its generation, with  the powerful character of Jay Gatsby at it’s centre. Gatsby is rich, powerful and world-weary, but ultimately really nothing more than a man desperate for love.
F. Scott Fitzgerald paints a picture of a lifestyle and a decade that is both fascinating and horrific, and he  captures a society and a set of young people that is on a downward spiral of decadence. Fitzgerald was part of that high-living lifestyle, but he was also a victim of it. He was one of the beautiful but he was also forever damned. In all its excitement, pulsating with life and tragedy, The Great Gatsby captures brilliantly the American dream in a time when it had descended into decadence.
All this makes for great movies with fabulous backdrop styling and costumes,  and I am a huge fan of the style and designs of the Art Deco period. I simply adore all those floaty flapper dresses worn with masses of long strings of pearl necklaces, fabulous head dresses and the fact that women made an effort on how they looked every day. (No sloppy baggy track suit bottoms in sight!).
With this in mind I wanted to design something that Daisy would have been proud to wear.
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I present the ‘Daisy Buchanan scarf’ –  knitted using gorgeously drapey and soft 100% Silk in soft summer shades. This is a FREE pattern and you can download it  here or by going to my Ravelry page (link in right column).

Enjoy feeling floaty all summer! x

 

 

the two way cardigan

dear diary,

this coming Saturday a few friends and I are embarking on our long awaited Colinette outing and I am looking forward to it very much indeed. What could possibly be better than spending a day in the company of like-minded yarn-obsessed friends visiting a place that can only be described as yarn heaven.

Knowing that it will be impossible for me to resist one or two purchases, I thought it might be a good idea to use the yarn from my last visit almost 3 years ago…

Yarn 1

colinette zanziba – colourway mist

…to finally make a cardigan inspired by a garment I saw during one of my visit’s to Germany.

Knit Notes 1

design notes for two way cardigan

This is basically a cardigan made up of three rectangular sections using two different stitch patterns which, when assembled, can be worn both way’s up. This means that the original collar can also become the lower back by wearing the cardigan the other way up. Confused?!? Here are some photos to help…

Two way Cardigan 1

first option with collar being collar

Two way Cardigan 2

first option with original lower back

…and now turn it upside down…

Two way Cardigan 3

second option with original lower back now as collar

Two way Cardigan 4

second option with original collar now as lower back

I am quietly chuffed that my idea, subsequent scribbles and math’s have worked. The two way up cardigan will have it’s first outing on Saturday to visit it’s place of birth in mid-wales. 🙂

Lola Loops – Six small things for Spring & Summer

dear diary,

Finally, after many weeks of sketching, mathematical work-outs, lamenting about yarn choices, knitting all the items, writing (and testing) patterns and a fun photo shoot, Lola Loops for Spring & Summer 2013 is ready.

Just like the first, this second Lola Loops book has been a true labour of love and I couldn’t have done it without the help and kindness of many people. So this is my official big – HUGE – Thank You to:

‘My man’, the artist Mark Gittins, who spends endless hours of his valuable free time sketching Lola Loops illustrations. Without them the books wouldn’t be the same.

Steve & Helen, of Stash Fine Yarns, who have been enormously kind and supportive, and I am so very grateful for their sponsorship of all my yarn needs for this book.

The stunning photos were taken by the very talented Amelia Gale-Hasleham on location at Pen y Bont Touring Park near Bala in North Wales.

Thank you, thank you to ‘my girl’ Anna-Maria, who did a fantastic job modelling with beauty and good humour in sub-zero temperatures – you are gorgeous.

A special thank you to my dear friend, Jackie Donovan, who yet again gave up many hours in her busy schedule to test knit my designs.

A big big thank you to all of you, I could not have made this book happen without you xx

I will introduce the designs over the next couple of posts. Here are the first two:

Gwendolen Shawl gp3

GWENDOLEN – REVERSIBLE SHAWL

Keeping the chill off during the first days of spring and cool summer evenings, this shawl uses the short row technique to give a cresent like shape and is presented in two verions. The first using Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend for a warmer hug, the second is knitted using Fyberspates Vivacious for a loftier drape.

 

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HAF – LACE SUMMER SOCKS

Stepping out in one of summer’s main colours, these socks are pretty enough to wear in open toed shoes. The delicate lace pattern can easily be accomplished by knitters of all abilities. Perfect socks to put your best foot forward.

 

Lola Socks Sig

I hope you will enjoy knitting these designs as much as I loved creating them. x

The week that was…

dear diary,

this week that was full of germs and need not be remembered!

Oh yes, my girl and I have had the ‘bad lurgy’ all week and have spent most days  just moping around in slow motion trying our best to keep some cheer in our lives. Not easy when outside it’s gloomy and inside you spent hovering between the pantry (to warm up your wheat cushion in the microwave to soothe your tummy) and the bathroom (I won’t elaborate).

Spending time in my studio always cheers me up. The tranquility of being surrounded by yarn, books and notions, looking out over the mountains is soothing at all times and makes me instantly feel better.

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Corner in my Studio

I did manage to play with yarn almost every day, even if it was only for a little while…

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Colours of the Rainbow

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Flowers for Red Riding Hood

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For a Crochet Workshop

Work on my new Lola Loops book had to take a back seat, as I mostly managed to make a lot of mistakes which made me realise that tummy bugs and paracetamol don’t get on well with mathematical charts that need to work when put into practice. I can’t wait to get back to work on it though as it will be full of lusciousness in this years S/S Pantone colours. Here is a sneak view…

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To be used in Lola Loops Spring/Summer

If there is anything good about not feeling well at all, then the only thing I can think of is that one can manage to catch up on reading all those lovely magazines that keep piling up.

Well I have done plenty of that this week too…

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…always best

Today we are feeling a little more human, the sun is shining and we have opened the windows to let the germs fly far far away. 🙂

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Today from the Studio

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