Ripple me this

No, there’s been no sewing going on in these parts. And precious little knitting too. It’s all about crochet my dears!

Ripple blanket

I’ve revisited my first woolly hooky love in recent days by starting a lovely ripple blanket using up scraps of wool left over from this project and these projects and whatever else I can find. It’s for general purposes (in other words – it’s MINE, gerroff baby, gerroff husband and gerroff cats). It’s the width of a double bed so it’ll take a while…

It’s so relaxing sitting of an evening with this on my lap, hooking away. Terribly easy but terribly yarn-hungry. Oof – it gobbles up £5 balls of wool quicker than you can say ‘another Hob Nob dearie?’

To those who were wondering if I ever finished the Baby Sophisticate cardigan – yes I did and it’s been worn countless times now. Wish I had a pic of it in action but this will have to do.

Baby Sophisticate

It was fairly straightforward. Used vintage buttons I think I picked up in a second hand shop in Norwich – I love that metrosexual shot of pink in a boy’s cardigan (let’s ignore that they’re a bit leany to the left – dunno what happened there but it’s not obvious when on!). My boy can rock colour you know. He’s got yellow trousers and everything. He gets it from his dad who wore pink shoes on our first date. Make of that what you will.

In sewing news… eurgh. I just can’t get round the lack of time and space thing. I’m trying, really.. I’m often to be found sadly pawing through my patterns and fabrics but I don’t take it further. It’s just getting over that hurdle… any tips on making a return to the needle? I’m just about to watch the Great British Sewing Bee on iPlayer so maybe that will galvanise me into action! I tell you what else has got me excited – Tilly’s brand new pattern! Check out Coco – she’s a proper little madam.

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A suitable cardigan?

So I think I’ve found my next project, knitting wise. Isn’t this adorable?

Armande

It’s another Andi Satterlund pattern which suits me just fine as I so enjoyed making the Miette. Andi writes of her new design, “After binge watching Island at War followed by a bunch of Joan Hickson Miss Marple episodes, I decided that I needed a long, cozy, casual, retro sweater. Big pockets and a collar were mandatory, and what I came up with, Armande, is a delightful 40s- and 50s-inspired mishmash of a cardigan.”

And just like the Miette, it’s free! I’m thinking a rich red or a moss green. Though I love this mustard too. I’ll get to it after I finish knitting up a baby cardigan for number one son. It’s the Baby Sophisticate Cardigan by Linden Down. Here’s what it should look like (if I do it right).

Baby Sophisticate Cardigan Linden Down

Cute, huh? What’s on your needles? Or your sewing table for that matter!

Oh and can I just give a shout out to Jennifer who won the giveaway for the Georgia dress a couple of weeks ago. Jennifer – get in touch!

Completed: A winter Miette

Miette

Knitting. Incredibly calming, hypnotic and fulfilling. Simply check out Karen’s post and the wonderful comments on the pleasures of knitting for more lovely thoughts on its benefits.

Knitting. Scary, frustrating, a lot of WTF and ‘awh jaysus I’ve done this bit wrong but I don’t know what I did wrong and now I’ve got to rip out hours of work and start again waaaah’.

Welcome to my first ever knitted garment! It’s the Miette by Andi Satterlund, a free pattern no less. As a new knitter (let’s disregard the knitted ‘ribbons’ I used to make and wear in my hair until EB from primary school scoffed at me one day while we were sitting up a tree. I was GUTTED I tell you) I had plenty of both reactions to this project. I’ve already described having to rip back about 40 or so rows which was pretty annoying but not heartbreaking but from there on in it was pretty much plain sailing.

Miette2

There are mistakes I know. I think using a K2, P2 ribbing technique for the neckline instead of the recommended ktbl2, ptbl2 let it down a bit but I found the latter completely impossible to do. The neckline also seems a little wide to me but maybe just because I’m not used to this deep neckline in a cardigan. I like my knits up round my lugs if ya know what I’m saying. There’s a slight bagginess at the front where the sleeves meet the chest but hey, there’s room to flail.

The wool also isn’t great. I think it was some cut price shit from Hobbycraft or something. I’ve still got two huuuuge balls of it left. It’s really thick and itchy so I’m wearing a thermal vest under it. Yes. A thermal vest. What? Don’t you? You’re missing out mate. Because the yarn is so fluffy I think you also lose some definition on the lace work around the edges. But this is all ok. BECAUSE I KNITTED THIS! Oh and in case you were wondering, yes I can do all the buttons up, but I prefer it half open for some reason.

Miette3

Half of me wants to do another Miette straight away in a less fluffy bright coloured yarn. The other half wants to try another style of cardigan. I’m thinking sweet and preppy, ideally with a higher neckline and suitable for a beginner. Is that a tall order? If you have any recommendations do shout!

The Knitting, Stitching and Blogger Show

Since I live quite literally FIVE MINUTES from Alexandra Palace, and had never before been to the Knitting and Stitching Show up there, I felt it would have been quite, quite rude not to make an appearance this weekend. I’ve passed by before when it’s on and marvelled at the coachloads of silver-haired, sharp-elbowed grannies coming in from all over the country, yet always thought it might not be my cup of tea exactly. But this year I was absolutely determined to check it out, and I have to say, I’m glad I did!

Not only was it a gorgeous day for a walk to to the Palace (see Karen’s lovely scenic pics), my in-laws were down from Norwich for the weekend, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to go and have a look with Ann, my M-i-L.

We were only in ten minutes when who should I see having their picture taken together but new bride Zoe and Karen! Sewing serendipity batman! Zoe had to dash off to her stall (yes Zoe was manning an area for Traid, giving advice on upcycling and refashioning old clothes, as she is a responsible and caring human… not browsing for bargains like the grasping selfish seamstress I am…) but I managed to grab Karen for a quick chat and pic before we toddled off to look around. Here’s the lovely lady in question looking rather fabulous (are we both wearing Orla Kiely prints Karen?)!

Karen and me!Then it was off to try and cram in as much as possible from the exhibition and the stalls. Here’s my modest haul from the day:

The haulHere we have a metre of gorgeous helicopter fabric from Favourite Fabrics, first spotted on Jane’s tutorial for baby blankets. Hey – I’m a plagiarist an ideas magpie, what can I say? We also have four wooden buttons for the winter coat, an embroidery hoop, some assorted needles and a thread organiser to get me started on embroidery and a rather fabulous 5mm crochet hook. I’ve been frothing at the mouth with jealousy every time I see another swanky hook on the crochet vids I’ve been watching on Youtube so I’m delighted to finally get one of my own.

Then it was over to Zoe for a quick chat (thanks for being so accommodating whilst trying to work at the same time Zoe!) – we’ve never met so it was just lovely to see her in person. Here she is hard at work, bless her.

Zoe hard at work

Finally, off to the Royal Oak in Muswell Hill for a cup of tea and a sit down. Phew. Oh and we spotted this delight on the way out – a knitted village!

All in all I really enjoyed the couple of hours I spent there, but here are my tips for doing it well:

1. Dedicate a structured day to it. There’s so much to see and do it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Try and get booked in for a couple of workshops (like Shivani did) or talks in the morning as these are easy to miss out on. Shivani made the excellent point (in comments on Karen’s blog) that the coaches start to leave from 3pm and it empties out quite a bit so it might be worth leaving the shopping bit til then.

2. Bring a packed lunch. Alexandra Palace is a delight to walk around and have a picnic (yes, even in October!). At the back of the Palace is an enclosed deer park and there are loads of parks and woodland to the fore.

3. Have a budget and stick to it. It would be so easy to get carried away, especially at the sewing gadget stores, and it’s difficult to tell in all the excitement whether you’re really getting a bargain.

4. Don’t expect to get much in the way of dressmaking fabric. Most of the fabric available is quilting cotton.

5. Make the most of the expert advice on offer. I feel bad I can’t remember this particular stall’s name, but the lovely owner was invaluable and spent at least five or ten minutes in helping me find the right tools to get started with embroidery.

6. Which brings me neatly to my next point – bring a notepad and pen to take notes of shops and locations in the hall, otherwise you’ll lose track if you want to go back and visit them or buy from them again. And pick up as many leaflets/business cards as you can too.

7. Take the time to look at some of the exhibitions around the place. ‘Mining a Golden Seam’ was an embroidery exhibition from North East embroiderers. Inspired by coal mining, exhibitors were as young as 7 years old! Seeing something like this definitely makes you think about craft and communities, shared histories and narratives. Ooh it got me feeling all cultured like.

Maybe next year I’ll see some more of you there!