Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Winter approaching

Sunday felt like the first proper winter's day. Though it has never been exactly hot this summer, the air on Sunday had a definite chill about it. I remember this always happening each year round about the time the schools go back for the Autumn term.

So with this in mind I cast on my gorgeous orange wool to knit a new pair of bed socks, as I only have one pair (my yellow socks with red beads) and they are in high demand and need back-up.

They are so easy to knit, basically just a tube with a bit of ribbing and turning, so I'm hoping to get them finished fairly soon. I've adjusted a Debbie Bliss pattern, which she knits flat, as I much prefer to knit socks in-the-round. There's no sewing up afterwards, so much easier! 
I also took a GREAT liking to this bicycle material I found in John Lewis recently. I initially thought of making a skirt with it, but quickly remembered that white clothing and I don't go well together at all.

Then, while Hagos was on tour, I had a great hankering for cotton napkins of all things. I occasionally read through old knitting, sewing, baking, general crafting books and magazines and I looked through Bend-the-rules-Sewing by Amy Karol, and I loved the photos of her mix-and-match napkins. So I spent a lovely evening cutting them all out and sewing them up. I absolutely love them.
I also made two toiletries bags out of the grey bicycle material. One is for a friend, and I hope she doesn't read about it here before receiving it in the post, and the other I made for Hagos, though he said he likes his old toiletries bag so much he wanted another exactly the same, so I'll probably do that and keep the bicycle toiletries bag to give to someone else. 
I have been really lax at taking photos recently. I've been to four events at the Book Festival: Alasdair Gray, AL Kennedy, Maggie O'Farrell and Rebecca Hunt. I didn't take any photos of the Book Festival at all! 

But now that I'm not reading towards upcoming events I'm contemplating which of the three books above I will read first. Probably in order from top to bottom. I want to read The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. It's only about a hundred pages. Then The Little Stranger. I've only recently discovered Sarah Waters. I knew about her, of course, and read The Night Watch a couple of weeks ago and absolutely loved her storytelling. Really involving. And then I was so impressed by Maggie O'Farrell at the Book Festival I immediately ordered her book from Amazon.
My husband returned home a couple of weeks ago from a long tour of America, Canada and Japan. Though I think the anticipation of it being a long tour meant it actually went by rather quickly and it didn't feel so long after all. Five and a half weeks.

Anyway, Japan is my favourite destination on earth and I would love to go back for a visit. I love Japanese design, particularly with stationery paper, fabric, knitting, styling, cups and plates etc. It is all so understated and just right. So my lovely husband brought me back some Japanese stationery to add to my collection. 
The notecards are particularly spectacular. I'm not sure I'll ever use them!
But the writing paper is beautiful too. Exquisite.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Red and Purple Loop Jumper finally finished - after six years!!!

Well apart from all the ends still to be woven in, I've actually finished knitting and sewing together my red and purple loop jumper. I almost can't believe it myself. 

I think I'll probably just weave in the ends that would otherwise hang down (as you can see in the photo) and knot all the other ends. There are too many to deal with. So, it will have a kind of fringe on the inside. But that's okay. 

I tried it on straight away and really like it. Although I still don't know what possessed me to buy that colour of purple, except those are the colours used in one of the knitted examples in the book and it looked good in the book! I wish I'd knitted the main colour in blue, but nevermind, I have a pair of deep purple cords that it'll go with very well!
This is the next thing I'm knitting from another of the Rowan magazines. Again, I bought the wool for this years ago, though I never really started it. Well actually I did start it on a plane journey a few years ago, but the 4-ply rib took ages to knit up, partly because it's such a wide rib. Anyway, that was enough to make me put the project away for about four years and I only took it out recently because I'm determined not to spend any more money on wool until I've knitted all the outstanding projects I have wool for already.
This is the finished version in the magazine. I don't plan to knit that big butterfly attached to it!

Once I got into the body of the jumper I actually really like it. And it's very easy to knit. Not much shaping and just a repeat pattern over 8 rows using the two colours. The body of the jumper is knitted on 5mm needles so that makes up for the 3mm needle rib!
The first of my strawberries turning red! I hope to be able to eat it in the next couple of days. There are lots of strawberries appearing all over the plant.
I love this photo of me and Meg out collecting potatoes in the early morning a couple of days ago. What more does a girl need except a cat friend, pyjamas, wellington boots and home-grown potatoes? Well, my husband coming home in two weeks' time will complete the picture nicely.