Weekly update with some pairing fun!

This weeks shop update is LIVE! I moved back to a bit of cool blue/greens as that side of the colour wheel is still very close to my heart. I’ve also gotten some camel/silk lace up this week for those looking to do a little lace knitting (and maybe even starting on those special holiday gifts!).
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From left to right in the banner above:
  1. Westminster lace in ‘Alban‘ – 50% Baby Camel • 50% Silk
  2. Westminster fingering in ‘Light Grovesnor‘ – 50% Baby Camel • 50% Silk
  3. Westminster fingering in ‘Florence‘ – 50% Baby Camel • 50% Silk
As some of you already know, a few months ago I made a Camomille by Helga Isager and have been wearing it to death. It is  the perfect light shawl – large enough to wrap several times around the neck on a cold morning, blissfully super warm from the gorgeous BFL/Alpaca light fingering, but at the same time light enough to fold up small and shove into a bag.

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I have had a few requests for the yarn I used in the shawl and have finally had a chance to dye some up, so these will be going up on the shop this week as well.

I also had a long talk with myself (!) and will be releasing some of the hoarded blush BFL/Alpaca as I used in my version above and have dyed more of the camel/silk lace in charcoal grey, which I’ve named ‘Colebrooke‘. A beautifully dimensional grey, this colour has hints of purple and warm browns up close:
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I thought it might be fun to show some possible pairings for subtle shawl striping. Below are some pink/grey pairings.
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The right hand pair shows the Westminster ‘Colebrooke‘ & blush BFL/Alpaca, ‘Liminal‘,  pair I used in mine, the left is a reverse with ‘Napier‘ – pink/grey/purple- in Westminster lace and a semi solid grey in BFL/Alpaca.

As I was researching images for this post I also came across this stunning image, which at first I assumed was another Camomile…
….but it turns out that Christina’s gorgeous, Camomile-like version is of Elise Dupont’s Merlot crescent shawl pattern (available as a €5 download on Ravelry). Christina has simply striped her solid and variegated yarn above, as opposed to alternating holding the fingering yarn together with the lace, as on Camomile. Any of the yarn pairings I’ve shown here would work for this look.

Though if you prefer,  you could always knit it exactly as Elise designed it, which has beautiful blocks of variegated colour broken up by solid stripes and trim. So pretty!

More paring possibilities, below left, both Westminster – Lace in ‘Colebrooke‘ and fingering in ‘Florence‘ for a more silky/drapey version. On the right another one with ‘Florence‘, but this time with the amazing Bloomsbury silk lace in silver/grey ‘Dusty Miller‘.
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Of course there are many more combos to be made from the yarns in the shop, but I’d best stop here as this has become an epic post! If you have any questions about yarn pairing don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

Tassels and tea

Well the day finally came…the last stitch of my Cammomile. I stretched it out for as long as I could but really did need a light summer scarf, so it was time.

I had to wait for a few days until ‘Mr. Purl’ could be convinced to take a few half-hearted snaps on a scorching hot day, but finally got around to it this weekend!
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I think I made the body a touch too long as I just didn’t want to stop, but I think it will be perfect in the autumn when the weather drops. Kettle_Yarn_Co_camomile13
And it works perfectly across the body like a sontag, below, so I can play dress-up! (makes me feel a bit like I should be saying ‘y’all’ and wearing petticoats, which suits me fine right now as working through Justified and True Blood, so all up in the Southern thang!)
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I was dreading making the tassels a bit, but they turned out to be quite easy in the end. I made them a bit longer than most of the others I have seen (used my mini Moleskine notebooks to wind around) and then added some grey seed pearls I’ve had stored away for years in my jewellery supplies as they matched perfectly with their ‘oil on water’ purple/pink/grey sheen, for a bit of subtle bling.
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I am still not so sure about the tassels in terms of function, though, as they are constantly being caught on things. I have already had to shorten the strand as they were driving me nuts the first day I wore it, but might try sewing the tassel directly to the lace and see if that helps. Otherwise they might be coming off!

One little glitch with my yarn combo, which I absolutely adore- BFL/Baby Alpaca in the pink and Camel/Silk in the deep grey – I am not thrilled with the supplier for the BFL/Baby Alpaca, so hope to find another mill that either carries or can spin it for me. It is a lovely yarn but the service is just ‘meh’, which doesn’t thrill me! Fingers crossed I can find a substitute, though I might have to wait on this for future – too many other bases to decide on at the present and HEAPS more testing to go!

Getting things up and running with Kettle Yarn Co. seems to be stretching out longer and longer as I find yet more things I need to work out before going live. It is taking FOREVER (especially for someone with no patience what-so-ever. heh.).

Knitting (k)nirvana

Do you know that feeling of reading a book but not wanting it to end? That sense of wanting to stay in a world you’ve been part of – a collaboration built from the author’s words and your imagination that has fleshed out a story you just don’t want to put down – even though you can see those precious remaining pages slowly dwindling away? So you start to put the book down more often and find other things to do, stretching out the painful pangs of impending separation a little bit longer…?

That is how I am feeling about my Camomile.
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I am so close to being finished this one, but have been finding myself dragging my heels at the last little bit because I just don’t want it to end. Is that sad?

This one has been such a breezy knit and the yarn combination such a lush pleasure to handle and work with that I found myself casting on for my first socks instead of finishing this off…and then immediately started a second pair in active denial!! (I think I understand sock addiction now, by the way. Quick, satisfying and a small canvas for trying out new stitches!)

This is definitely the most luxurious thing I have made yet.

Alas, I finished the lace yesterday and am now just procrastinating on the tassels. Sigh. Separation anxiety already.

;-?

On a more cheerful note – another huge thank you to Gail for bailing me out, yet again, with some knitting help. This time with my serious aversion to kitchener stitch. How sweet is this…she filmed a tutorial for me!!  I have been following another tutorial since I started and now realise that the set up rows were missing and that is likely why I have been having so much trouble with the technique. Or so I hope. I will be trying Gail’s tutorial out on my second sock heels tomorrow.

Fingers crossed.

Camomille – comfort tea in a shawl

Enter stage left new project. The gorgeous Camomille by Helga Isager.
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Alternating rows of doubled fingering/lace yarn with rows of single lace creates a lovely, light and airy  textural contrast that is knit up to a large, cozy shawl…and then has the magic element – TASSELS! These take the shawl to Frida-esque heights for me by giving it a subtle bit of Mexican flavoured panache that I have been craving since re-watching the movie Frida a few weeks ago!

The pattern I actually have in The Bird Collection book is the Dunlin shawl for children, shown below. But I can’t see a difference (can you?) so will just make it larger! This will be a shawl I can cozy up in on chilly summer evenings.
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I have been planning this shawl for a few months  after seeing Leila’s jaw-dropping example on Ravelry.
She not only did a beautiful job matching her yarns, but added a lovely detail of these turquoise ceramic beads on the gorgeously fat tassels. So perfect.

I’ve decided to go halfway between the one colour version and the two-tone Dunlin version on mine, but with less contrast between the grey and pink and a titch darker overall. I  dyed up some beautiful BFL/Silk light fingering in a delicate blush almost-pink and a silky soft but weighty Baby Camel/Silk in a deep metallic pewter for this one.
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I can’t tell you how good this combo feels. I have never knit anything quite so…exquisite. The BFL/Alpaca is a light, fluffy almost weightless yarn while the Baby camel/Silk gives it drape, depth and the most gorgeous shimmer. Combining the two makes a lofty/drapey hand that I just can’t really describe, but is oh-so yummy!

This combo is such a pleasure to knit I am having a hard time finishing my Buttercup! I just don’t want to put this one down. Especially as I am doing more odious twisted stich ribbing for the Buttercup and it is painful! Not least because I have done the bottom hem twice to get the tension right. Gack.
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I haven’t yet decided if I will finish the final lace row with the glowing pewter silk, or the softer blush yet. Figure it will come to me the closer I get to finishing, right?

Best knit vest EVER!

I finally got my wish on Sunday as light levels were at long last high enough for me to document my Silver Bells, otherwise known as Helga Isager’s Nightingale Vest.
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Now I might have been a little exuberant with the title as it is the only one I have knit up to this point, but it was so satisfying to knit with all those sculptural bells, and is so satisfying to wear as well, that I am standing by the claim (until proven otherwise)! The bell texture on the front of the vest is thick and squishy, but also very flattering as it acts a bit like ribbing so is rather figure hugging in all the right ways!

I was told at a recent knit night that it has to be seen on to be believed, so here we go:
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You can see how the vest snugs in even though it was knit without any waist shaping.

It also keeps its shaping when open, due to the fab twisted stitch on the back of the vest. Love how boldly defined this stitch is.
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Here it is unbuttoned.
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It is very feminine and flattering without being too frilly, and is perfect to wear over this season’s smock-y dresses or toughened up with some jeans and boots.

My mods were to shorten it a bell, start the arms one bell lower and the neck shaping a bell after that (this will make sense if you are looking at the pattern!). I also finished the buttonband with i-cord buttonholes instead of knitting them in. This was my first try at these and they are a keeper for future projects, as the cord creates a nice clean edge around the whole band and the buttonholes are nearly invisible when not in use. A very nice detail to add on this one.

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All in all I feel this little vest is going to be a wardrobe staple for a good many years! Success. 

Soggy recap

I have been wearing the hell out of my Dragonflies jumper since finishing it in March. This thing really has been worth its weight in gold as the weather has been freezing in the UK and it has been keeping me warm nearly daily.

We had an unusually bright day on Monday so I managed to get it photographed after giving it a good shave to make it look fresh again.
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Unfortunately the weather turned back to cold and wet the next day so I haven’t been able to get some decent photos of my Silver Bells, which now is completely finished with shell buttons. The best I could do was this low light blurred mess below!
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Let’s all pretend it is a ‘romantic shot’, k?  😉

Silver Bells – part V…buttons, buttons, buttons

I managed to sort out the shoulders the other night on my Nightingale which, in the end, was really quite painless since I could clearly see where I had gone wrong.
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Some of you might notice I didn’t bother with the kitchener seam on the back neck, as I really couldn’t bear the idea of having to do it again, so just did a simple 3 needle bind off.

Here are two funny things –
1. I only realised a couple night ago (from looking up other examples of the arm edgings) that my buttonband is actually narrower than it is supposed to be by about half and I hadn’t noticed until now! Oops.

2. Oh, and remember the first row of bells that I had screwed up and was bemoaning ages ago?

I completely forgot all about it after that post and no longer see it anymore. The only thing that jogged my memory was seeing the post on the tag list. How funny is that?? Hah!

It just goes to show that all the (k)nitpicking is for nowt (as my darling Scots would say. I spent a weekend with the in-laws recently and my speech is still peppered with lovely little brogue-ish things!).

I had to take advantage of the relatively warm day today and blocked the vest first thing and laid it in the sun so it would dry quickly. I am really pleased that the lace alpaca strand bloomed beautifully! How pretty are the fuzzy bells?
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It is amazing how much one tiny strand of alpaca can add so much to a project!

The Phildar wool/nylon on it’s own was frankly somewhat unpleasant as it contains 30% nylon and feels rather lifeless (it is STRONG though). Adding the 2ply baby alpaca completely transformed the fabric. It is now silky and has a bit of drape along with all that lovely bloom.

(I love this alpaca and am definitely adding it to my dyeing bases. It dyes up with the most beautiful shimmer and will make gorgeous shawls! And now that I know what adding it to other yarns can do I will be using it for everything!)

Only buttonband/buttons left to sort out on my little Silver Bells so nearly, nearly there…

Silver bells part III

Things are going slowly and somewhat painfully on both the sewing and knit fronts. I am still working on the fitting for my Sorbetto.

Really.

Though I think I may have finally cracked the right shaping for the centre back this morning. Fingers crossed this is the last tweak! The sewing is exhausting!

On the knit front, I have finally gotten one side of my Nightingale Vest front finished this weekend.
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I have pretty well had to fudge the neckline and now have to immediately do the other side before I forget what I have done for the simultaneous arm and neck decreases! This is only my second time doing a v-neck, so feeling pretty nervous about it.
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Think it looks about right, though I worry that I am missing something and won’t realise until I go to join front and back. I also noticed that the pattern doesn’t do any shaping for the back of the neck, which makes me a little paranoid. Shouldn’t there be short rows to shape the round at the back?

Hmmm. What do you guys think? Have you done any vests that were straight across the back neck?

I am champing at the bit to start a few more projects and have been planning and dyeing new yarn for the day I can cast on.

Oh. And frogging. This is what is left of my Schnabu.
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I am stubbornly determined to find the perfect pattern for this yarn and think (hope) Organic by Ankestrick will be the one. Maybe next weekend I will get to find out…

Silver bells part II

After nearly 4 hours spent on a train Saturday merely travelling to and from Leytonstone in East London to Croydon in South London my little vest has grown and is now halfway to the armhole!
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I have decided to make my Nightingale Vest one bell shorter and start the neckline V a bell later as per Strikkemus’ suggestions in her project notes (I agree that the proportions will be a bit cuter that way and that the neck looks a bit long as is).

This is the plan:
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Starting the neck and arm decreases at the same time on row 8. I’d considered adding a bit of light waist shaping, but then realised I had already reached the waist at that point and it was too late. Hey ho.

Three glitches thus far, though live-able. Firstly, I got so engrossed in getting everything set up that I missed the first buttonhole, so have decided snaps it is! Second, I misread the set up instructions and added a crossed stitch right next to the last bell in the front panel so have this now:
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Luckily it just makes the bell on that side roll a bit more prominently which then hides the extra crossed row, so it is ok. Phew.

The other glitch is a little less ok. I somehow threw in a K2tog instead of an SSK in the row leading to the next bell…in the very first row!! And didn’t realise until I was a few bells up. 😦
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Peh. I am hoping to do a bit of duplicate stitch magic at the end and hope it works!