Color Affection

Comfort knitting. Miles and miles of garter stitch. Perhaps not the most challenging knitting but easily achieved in front of the telly on those dark and long February evenings. And surprisingly quick. I’m happy with the result. color affection by Veera Välimäki is very comfortable and the yarn drapes beautifully.

The yarn is all yarnpony. A soft gray cashmere mix and a lush burgundy merino. The two skeins complement the skein I dyed at one of her workshops. When selecting the colours I was hoping the colours would shift fairly seamlessly from shades of gray to rich burgundy and I think it worked. I think my color affection will get a lot if wear this winter.

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A second featherweight

I never thought I would say this, but I have now completed not one but two cardigans in lace weight yarn. A slightly modified version of the featherweight by Hannah Fettig I knitted for my mum, also in Fyberspates Scrumtious lace (this one in teal). It’s amazing what one can achieve from one skein, or 1km, of silk weight yarn. Knitted from the bottom up, I extended the sleeves and front pieces and made the ribbed edges around the neck and on the front slightly shorter. I was holding my breath I bound off as I with this modified version with larger front pieces ending up with a mere few yards to spare.

I’m enjoying wearing the cardigan. It is truly as light as a feather and the silk/merino mix makes it as warm as any chunky cardigan but without the heavy weight. It is very comfortable and I think the yarn drapes beautifully. And all at the bargain price of £4 from a Leith walk thrift store.

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Embroidered baby gifts

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I made some embroidered vests for my friend’s baby. To prevent the stitch from pulling and ruining the fabric I ironed interfacing to the back of the vests.

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For some embroidery advice hop over to embroidery queen Wendy Gratz’ guest post over at Made By Joel’s blog.

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Edinburgh Yarn Festival – the overdue blog post


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A long overdue blog post about Edinburgh Yarn Festival that came and went quicker than you can say Indiana Jones. If you haven’t already, do check over at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival blog to take a look at our photo album.

Wee sheep Big Sheep

Big sheep Wee sheep. The Pom Pom sheep created by visitors in collaboration with CraftReactor

I had a wonderful time, and was slightly overwhelmed, meeting all the talented and enthusiastic knitters, some of which came baring gifts:

gifts

I received some  gorgeous swiss biscuits from knitter and volunteer Sigi (who is also the maker of these amazing recycled bags) and a set of beautifully handmade envelopes from Louisa of Cathnesscraft collective fame. Listen to Louisa’s podcast about EdinYarnFest which features a brief conversation we had on the day and an interveiw with Karina Westermann (Kari Bookish) who taught on the day but is perhaps better known for her lovely knitwear designs. Thank you! Such a treat! :-)

At the end of the day I walked away, exhausted but incredibly happy, with a mere skein of Old Maiden Aunt Corridale 4ply. The ‘Aniseed’ colour complements the teal coloured corridale I dyed at a workshop at the Old Maiden Aunt studio many months ago and I’m currently combining the two to finish off my Larch cardigan.

Tired girl with CraftyAllybag

Tired girl wearing a CraftyAlly bag at the end of the day

Thank you to everybody who came along on the day and to all of you who helped to make this day so memorable!

The Edinburgh Yarn Festival was captured elsewhere by other bloggers:

Roobeedoo
Creating Ruth
Woollie Mind
Kristenmakes
Oranges & Apples
Yarn For The Road
Blue Blue Grey
Chatiryworld
Yarn Poetry Bliss
Stitch Mastery
Fourth-Edition
YarnPony

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Featherweight

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I’m so pleased to be able to say that the Featherweight I’ve been knitting for my mum is finally finished (blogged here). And she loves it! I think it will be perfect for the slightly cooler summer days or evenings. It’s been a bit of a slog, partly because I decided to up the size right after I completed the body, but it is so pretty that I might very well knit it again!

It was knitted in Fyberspates Merino Silk Lace in colour way Day (80% merion, 20% silk). A yarn that I believe sadly has been discontinued. The yarn is soft and the colour subtle. Beautiful!Featherweight 1

Hannah Fettig is such a wonderful designer. I adore her simple designs many of which are in my queue including June’s Favorite Cardigan and Effortless Cardigan.

 

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Shop update with a wee Easter special..

We survived Edinburgh Yarn Festival! Did you come? It was incredibly busy, and it was absolutely fabulous to meet so many passionate and knowledgable knitters and wool people right here in Edinburgh. More on that in a separate blog post.

Daffodiles

With less time spent organising festivals and more time crafting I have had a chance to  update my etsy shop. There is a whole heap of knitting project bags and notion bags in a range of spring colours and I have also added a new range of linen bags with hand embroidered animals. Timely with the Easter break I will also offer an Easter Special. During the Easter weekend (March 29th – April 1st inclusive) there will be no postage on UK orders.

There are tote bags and draw-string bags large enough to fit a larger knitting project such as a jumper….

draw-string bagtote - stripes

liberty box bagmoda tote

… and a range of smaller zip bags that are small enough to easily slip into your hand bag but large enough to fit a pair of socks or a smallish jumper (I’m keeping my featherweight in one of these at the moment). Good to know is that they are wide enough to fit dpns.

 Embroidered hare on linenbag with stripes

vintage bag with golden tassleEmbroidered fox on linen

Ta da!

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Edinburgh Yarn Festival

Edinburgh Yarn Festival

If I’ve been a bit quiet over here lately it’s because I’ve been blogging over here. The Edinburgh Yarn Festival is less than a week away and in the midst of all the hard work I’m really excited to be part of it. It is going to be a day of knitting, crochet, spinning, yarn and buttons but most of all a wonderful creative crafting community.

I must be crazy because I decided to also have a stall in the marketplace selling a range of knitting project and notion bags. There will be pattern, embroidery, cotton and linen, rabbits and foxes.

Craftyallybags

Hope to see you there!

Edinburgh Yarn Festival
16th March 2013
Out of the Blue, Drill Hall
Dalmeny Street
10am-5pm
£2 at the door

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(eventually) Flowing Lines

I have been on a strict yarn diet over the last year. I have pretty much only been using yarn from my stash and haven’t been adding much at all. It’s been very satisfactory to watch the stash reduce and to actually be able to see what is in there, forcing myself to be inventive with those odd skeins of 4 ply or dk that were gifted to me some Christmases ago but never seemed enough or felt too special to do anything with. As it turned out I was in desperate need of a long sleeved comfy jumper to wear around the house and as I’m determined not to buy any more yarn until Edinburgh Yarn Festival I once again had to look through my stash, spend hours on ravelry and see what could be achieved with what is now left.

I finally knitted Flowing Lines by Vera Välimäki of rain knitwear designs.

CraftAlly Flowing Lines

I have long been a fan of Veera’s ever popular designs (particular favourites being the Hooray Cardigan, Color Affection and Gathering Stripes) but had never tried any of her patterns before. I’m attracted to her use of simple shapes and stark designs using both colour and texture. Flowing Lines seemed to do just that. It is a very simple boat neck jumper in reversed stocking stitch and flowing lines created by a simple cable stitch. It is finished now and I love it. It’s really comfortable and incredibly warm. Knitted in New Lanark Donegal Silk Tweed Aran it is just warm enough to be comfy in a drafty Victorian Edinburgh Tenement but too warm to wear in a well insulated restaurant (I tried).

To the untrained eye my Flowing Lines might look remarkably similar to another jumper I knitted in the same yarn. The knit and feel of the finished garments are however completely different. The reversed stocking stitch with only a simple cable stitch creates a much looser fabric that makes this jumper feel much more casual than the Beatnik with its fairly complicated cable pattern that creates so much structure and density to the garment. I love them both.

Generally, Flowing Lines provided an overall a pleasurable knitting experience but with a fairly traumatic beginning. I moaned fairly extensively about this over on ravelry and I think I better keep it there. ;-)

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When Reality meets Fiction

There once was a loving mother who wanted to knit her darling daughter a beautiful cardigan. She found a pretty pattern and sourced the perfect yarn: a hand-dyed local cashmere/merino/alpaca/wool blend in a colour that would look stunning against her daughter’s eyes. She went to a local craft fair to find the cutest buttons to go with the cardigan. For hours she adapted the pattern to her daughter’s measurements and set out the work to craft the garment (blogged here). Et voila’

The girl refuses to wear it. Apparently the cashmere blend is not soft enough but scratches her sensitive arms.

With this experience all too vivid in my mind I couldn’t help laughing when the Papa brought home his recent book find: Lotta Leaves Home by Astrid Lindgren (1962).

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The book is about Lotta, a five-year-old girl who lives with her parents and two older siblings. One morning she wakes up in a foul mood, having dreamed that her older brother and sister were mean to her special soft toy Bamsie. Not receiving the sympathy she firmly believes she deserves her sadness and disappointment turn to furious anger. She refuses to wear the knitted jumper her mother puts out for her but instead takes her scissors and cuts large ugly holes in it.

Lotta leaves home by Astrid Lindgren - cutting the jumper

Her grief and regret is disguised in anger of her family and Lotta decides to move away from home. Luckily her next-door neighbour, Mrs Berg, has a spare attic in her garden shed which is just the perfect househole for a five-year-old with its tiny bed, little table and chair and little chest-of-drawers. Lotta loves it! But as evening comes the corners grows darker, and the thought of home is so much more appealing…

Lotta leaves home by Astrid Lindgren - home of my own

Lotta leaves home is a wonderfully charming story that perfectly discusses the subject of tantrums and the stubborn mind. Doing so from a child’s perspective it is a kind reminder to parents that, in the moment, the strong emotions are real, but they can pass just as quickly.

As a knitter, of course, my heart was bleeding when Lotta took the scissors to her jumper. The symbolism of toddler rebellion being all too clear. My mother-in-law, also a knitter, has since the Toddler was a baby reminded me of the fact that was I to knit for my daughter, I better speed up because before I know it, she will refuse to wear what I knit for her. I could never imagine this would happen so soon!

As the Toddler grew out of the baby stage I moaned about the shortage of patterns available for toddlers and small children relative to the abundance of baby patterns. Having discussed this with my knitwear designer friends they have argued that designing patterns for toddlers and older children isn’t quite worth their while as they don’t sell as well as baby patterns. Now, this may be because parenting a toddler is more laborious than mothering a baby (with having returned to work, negotiating every aspect of life from the getting dressed to the eating of the soup) and there’s simply not as much time and/or energy left for knitting our little darlings wonderful garments. Alternatively parents have experienced their labour of love being left unwanted on the floor or (the horror!) shredded in the bin and simply resorted to focusing their efforts elsewhere. I have not yet given up my quest of knitting my little one a cardy which she happily will wear with love. Not yet.

Lotta Leaves Home. Astrid Lindgren (1962/1969) Magnet, London                                         Illustrations by Ilon Wikland

Please note: no actual knitted garments were damaged or destroyed in the writing of this blog post

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The New Year – and some Xmas pressie chat

Happy New Year! It’s 2013 which, of course, is the year of the Edinburgh Yarn Festival! YarnPony, Jo and I who are organising the day are super excited (and super busy). You can follow the progress and working up to the festival on the Edinburgh Yarn Festival blog where we shortly will reveal the classes and list of stallholders – all of which we are very proud!

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On the home front illness hit this household pretty bad this holiday season and amongst the Christmas preparation, travelling etc etc there wasn’t much time for blogging. Here comes a little summary of what I have been up to.

As Christmas knitting was piling up I took advantage of the wonders of one skein projects. Using 8mm needles (yes, that’s right) on bulky yarn (Malabrigo Gruesa, 100% wool, Super Bulky, 65 yard/100g) I churned out a hat for my wee girl in a couple of hours.

In the snow

This child sized pixie hat fits my three-year-old perfectly. It is the Wee Folk Art Pointed Pixie or Gnome Hat by Michelle WeeFolkArt which is a free pattern. I cast on 48 stitches which is the amount for a large hat, but followed the directions for a size medium in terms of height. In the end I had about 10″ of the yarn left. Phew!

Leading up to Christmas I was busy making knitting project bags for various Christmas markets and I couldn’t resist allowing the bag making to spread into my Christmas pressie making. Here are some fairly dodgy photos of the pencil cases I made for my God daughter and her wee sister.

Wee CraftyAlly bag

Wee CraftyAlly bag

I’m looking forward to see what excitement this year will have in store for us.

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