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Monday, January 31, 2011

Because I don't have enough on my plate already

I decided to knit a little pillow for my little niece Laurie to carry at our wedding on Saturday. I chose knitting over sewing as my sewing machine and all the wedding dress fabric are still up in Bolton and even though Mum could have posted the fabric to me I didn't fancy sewing satin by hand - or rather I didn't fancy my chances of sewing it in a straight line.

Plus it meant that I got to knit this lovely cable from my Vogue cables Stitchionary.

Ring pillow

Sneak preview of the rings if you're interested.

Pattern: Ring bearer (pattern forthcoming when I have a moment)
Needles: 3.25mm and 3.0mm
Yarn: Rowan British Sheep Breeds BFL DK
Notions: crochet hook and waste yarn for provisional cast on, ribbon to tie on rings.
Ravelled here.

I was very pleased with how this turned out - as with so many things the applied icord makes all the difference.

Ring pillow

Feeling the knitted LOVE

I read Kate's lovely post about her scarf earlier and I knew exactly where she was coming from. I too was a recipient of the knitted LOVE last week at my hen day when I was presented with over seven metres of amazing knitted wedding bunting created by Felix, Judith, Gabrielle, Emmylou, Ruth D, Ruth V, Mel from Scotland, Gemma, Jenny, Mikal, Carla, and Mel from Reading. When I opened the tissue paper package I couldn't believe what a beautiful and thoughtful gift all these knitters had created for me so thank you so much all of you.

Knitted wedding bunting

Each flaglet is knit in a different shade of white, cream, or natural coloured yarn and they are decorated with buttons, beads, lace (including lace from Judith's wedding dress), and embroidery.

Knitted wedding bunting

The icing on the cake came when, after I'd admired each flag, Felix handed me my very own flag-making kit, complete with vintage Aero needles, pattern, yarn, ribbon, and buttons, and pointed out the spare foot of icord at one end of the bunting on which I could thread my flags if I wanted to. I've already knitted one flag and I'm just about to cast on for a second.

I can't wait to hang up my wonderful bridal bunting in our reception venue on Saturday. If you want to knit your very own amazing bunting you can see the pattern and mood board (so impressed that my bunting had a mood board) here.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

More on the hen day

Felix has writted a lovely post about the fabulous hen day which she organised for me here. Do click through to see more pics of us dyeing yarn, the amazing knitted bunting, and Felix's very clear definitions of what does and does not constitute cheesy hen do crap.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Monday

Going back to work on Monday after my lovely hen day might have felt like a bit of a come down except I was only in the office for half a day before catching the train to London for shopping, tea, and opera. I love the train journey between Oxford and London. There are some lovely stretches of countryside around Reading and it's great to see the fields changing back from brown to green after all that snow and rain.

First stop in London was John Lewis where I did some very organised card shopping sorting out two weddings, two birthdays, a thank you, an anniversary, and Valentines day before heading up to the haberdashery department to spend my Christmas vouchers on yarn. It took at least half an hour for me to look at the yarn, pick a colour, check the yardage, check the recommended gauge, wonder about choosing a different colour, wonder about choosing a different fibre content, lust after the new Amy Butler yarns for Rowan, get distracted by the fact that my hands appear on the first page of the new Rowan, wonder about stripes, go back to the first yarn, decide that stripes would look good, pick colours, pick different colours, finally make it to the tills and resist the impulse to break out of the line to change colours again (and I didn't even mention the part where I started looking at the felted tweed and wondering whether I should just knit something for myself rather than a dress for the new niece that's on her way). btw this happens every single time!

Rowan Wool Cotton

Anyway - here's what I ended up with. Four balls of Rowan Wool Cotton in dark brown and very pale purple to knit this. Should look cute I think.

After all that I headed off to Yumchaa on Berwick Street as recommended by the lovely Lara. It really is a little oasis of calm and delicious tea just minutes from Oxford Street-not that I don't love the John Lewis tea shop but I'm so happy to have found a lovely tea venue in central London.

More tea drinking tomorrow as I'm meeting up with my future sister-in-law, who wasn't able to make it to the hen day, for tea and cake after work. I will be at Bluestockings but not until a little bit later (around 7 or 7:30).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

You know you want to see it

Aeolian wedding shawl

I finally took the plunge when I got back from the hen day and pinned out the Aeolian shawl for blocking. It should be dry by the time I get back from the opera tomorrow - so looking forward to unpinning it and seeing how it drapes.

(ok that left edge could be a little straighter but I think it will look fine when it's unpinned)

Hen day

Just got back from an amazing hen day with my girl friends masterminded by the amazing Felix. Felix arrived this morning to whisk me away on my mystery day out. First stop was the Jam Factory in Oxford to meet up with Ruth (Great Malvern), Ruth (Chichester), Jenny, Mikal, Kirsty, Lara, and Ellen (plus baby) for coffee. We had a fantastic Yankee swap in which I ended up with Amy Butler's Sew It Kit and the girls presented me with the most beautiful hand knitted wedding bunting which deserves a post all to itself.

After coffee and the swap it was time to head off to the second mystery venue of the day. I was completely in the dark as to where we were going, even after we arrived in Wantage I had no clue until we walked around the corner from the car park and saw the sign saying "Fyberspates this way"!

The girls had brought bubbly, sandwiches, scones and cake so after we'd all enjoyed a spot of lunch and Jeni had explained the basics to us we set about dyeing some yarn. We each had a skein of Sheila sock, one of sparkle lace, and one of merino silk to dye. First of all I tried dyeing some of the Sheila sock - I wanted to recreate a skein of smoothie sock that I bought from Artist's Palette yarns a couple of years ago and I think I succeeded.

Hand dyed Sheila sock

This is going to look fabulous in a pair of socks.

Then I switched to green and dyed a lovely skein of merino silk as a semi-solid.

Hand dyed merino silk

I'm thinking either a scarf or maybe a hat and mittens.

Finally I dyed two beautiful skeins of sparkle lace in pink (far left) and silver (second to left). I love this yarn - it has silver in it!

My dyed yarn

I'm especially happy with the silver. I think it's possibly the prettiest yarn I've owned and I'm blown away that I dyed it myself.

I can't tell you what a lovely day I've had. I was so touched by the nice things my friends said about me and that they went to so much trouble organising this for me.

Thank you so much all of you! And to Jeni for letting us loose in her workspace!

Here are some photos from the day.

hen day mosaic

And here's all the yarn we dyed!

All the yarn

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wee pea jacket

Wee green baby jacket

More lovely stockinette in more lovely wool. This is Debbie Bliss' Jacket with Moss Stitch bands in the splendid grass green Corriedale from Blacker Yarns. This is going to be so cute when it's done. I thought I'd fancy it up with some of the little sheep from Jen Little's Sheep Yoke Cardigan.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wee sweaters

The Aeolian wedding shawl is done. I finished the bind-off at Bluestockings this evening with much fanfare and I'll be blocking it over the weekend. Hopefully I'll have blocking pics for you on Monday.

In the meantime I'm up to my neck in baby knitting. I've been knitting for friends' babies and I've also got a second niece* on the way hence this little thing:

Wee sweater for baby Porter #2

I just need to attach the sleeves and sew the side and arm seams. The pattern is Debbie Bliss' Boat Neck Sweater from Baby Knits for Beginners of which I must have knit about an umpteen gazillion by now (to the extent that I have the, admittedly simple, directions for the smallest size committed to memory).

I'm not sure that Sirdar Sublime Angora Merino is an ideal baby yarn (it's a wee bit fluffy to say the least) but it's definitely soft and warm and I had it in my stash. I've got plenty more baby things that I want to knit like this little sister's dress (very appropriate) and I can do those in a more suitable yarn.

* as far as they can tell from the scan

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Are we nearly there yet?

Phew just two and a half weeks to go to the wedding and everything's nearly in place. I just need to talk to the caretaker of the Assembly Room about tables and chairs and the caterers about sandwich fillings and cake flavours and there are a few jobs to do on the day before the wedding and on the wedding morning itself but it's all in hand.

I'm getting very excited about my hen do which is this Sunday. It's being organised by the amazing Felix and I have absolutely no idea what we'll be doing - it's all very intriguing.

I'm also very excited about the Aeolian wedding shawl which is nearly done - just the bind off to complete and the painstaking process of blocking. I can't wait to see it after blocking, I really hope it lives up to expectations because I fell seriously out of love with knitting it by the time I got to the last chart. It was like running 25 miles of a marathon and then discovering that the final mile is all uphill. It's a beautiful shawl but I cannot recommend knitting the beaded version as a fun experience.

OK - must get up and make coffee and sort out yoghurt for pudding before I fall asleep on the sofa. I'm feeling very sleepy after a very satisfying run this evening - a whole 5 miles which is a good deal further than I've managed lately.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

New Year celebrations somewhat muted after Liverpool's jammy win over the Whites (a shout for handball denied and an offside goal allowed? feels like déjà vu to me) but I've got my knitting, a glass of champagne and a box set of the first series of House to catch up on so it's not all bad.

I wish you all a happy and peaceful 2011 - it's going to be a very exciting year for us with the wedding and honeymoon (5 weeks today!).