the shawl of many colours

dear diary,

a couple of months ago my ‘little’ sister came to visit. She lives in Germany (as does all my family), and we therefore don’t see each other anywhere near enough. We both like many of the same things: crochet, knitting, sewing and crafting, as well as cooking and gardening, and it is always such a treat to spend some time together.

This time she came to stay with me for just over one week, and I can promise you we made the most of it. We went shopping, we did lots of crafting, knitting and crochet, and we did lots of cooking together too; and all of this whilst chatting and laughing a lot.

One of the highlights of that week was a visit to Colinette yarns in Mid-Wales, about an hour and a half drive from where I live. We both bought some yarn (of course), some for a cardigan each (more about that another time), and a pack of 5 small hanks of Jitterbug in different colours, which I thought would make a lovely long multicoloured shawl.

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This is how ‘the shawl of many colours’ was born, and today I would like to share the pattern with you. The shawl is a very simple design, a combination of garter stitch stripes and some garter stitch eyelet rows worked in. The shape is quite narrow, first you increase on one side only, and after a while you decrease on the opposite side only.

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The Jitterbug yarn is a beautifully soft Merino yarn and is available in about 125 shades. It is perfect for all manner of knitting and crochet, lending itself especially to make beautifully soft and drapey accessories.

My aim was to design something that could be knitted fairly quickly and without too much fuss. This is a project perfect for using up left-over sock yarns, a project that can be taken to knitting group or would be perfect for TV knitting, and  I am very happy with the result. At over 250 cm long, the shawl wraps around your neck a few times, caressing your skin and keeping you snug and warm while at the same time cheering up even the dullest winter’s day.

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This is a FREE pattern and you are very welcome to download it HERE. I know my ‘little’ sister will and next time we see each other we can have a wonderful outing wearing our matching shawls. I hope it will be very soon.

Enjoy! x

log cabin knitting – a free pattern plus simple tutorial

dear diary,

Pile 1

log cabin dish cloths

To make a quilt has been a long ambition of mine, but somehow I never seem to find the time to start a new venture and persevere with it long enough before knitting or crochet calls.

merican Log Cabin Quilt

traditional log cabin quilt

Log Cabin quilts in particular have held a long fascination. Always worked from the middle out using strips of fabric resembling logs, these quilts have a very long history, especially in America. Some people even claim they represent the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, the log cabin President, and the simple pioneering values of frontier America: honesty, hard work, humility and liberty. True or not, the simplicity of these quilts certainly make them very appealing and there are many beautiful photo examples to see on the internet.

Sennybridge Quilt

sennybridge quilt made near brecon in wales – early 20th century – brecknock museum

Never finding time to sew a quilt made me think that it must surely be possible to achieve this with knitting. I set forth and gave it a go, and what better way to work it out than by making a humble, yet very useful dishcloth, simply worked in garter stitch throughout.

Here is what you do…

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First you knit the inner square (left), cast off and then turn the work 90 degrees clockwise and pick up stitches (one for each ridge) and knit as many rows as you like. Cast off to last stitch, turn 90 degrees and do same on each side.

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When you have done all four sides of the middle square you do the same again for the outer square. If you want this to become a huge dish cloth, a towel or even a blanket just keep going this way until you are satisfied with your result.

Here are two I made earlier…

finished 2 squares

For those of you who want to try their hands on this because, like me, you like small quick little projects that are very useful and make great gifts, here is the link to the FREE pattern.

Enjoy! xx

 

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

Book Launch

dear diary,

You know how much I like a challenge! An idea that has been in my head for a while, to publish a series of books offering a selection of small designs, is finally coming to fruition. I thought long and hard about how best to publish, in print or on-line, but as I am a great believer in simple solutions I have decided to go the on-line route first…

…and so it is that I can announce with greatest pleasure, that the first book in the Lola Loops series is being launched on Wednesday 7th November 2012 at noon UK time. It will be available to download on this website and on Ravelry from that day.

I am quietly excited about sharing Lola’s knitting adventures with you and hope you will like the things she has been making as much as I do. To make the launch a little more exciting I am giving away an extra pattern design to the first five people who purchase the book from this website. Watch out for the next post tomorrow when I will explain how it works 🙂

 

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