Finished Object – Short and Sweet

It’s taken me a while to write this post. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m already excited and making other projects or because this one went a little wrong.

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Ta dah! The Short and Sweet cardigan. I made the length and sleeves a little longer than the pattern called for. As you can see it’s being modelled on a mannequin at The Sheep Shop rather than on me.  That’s the hint on what went wrong. It’s too small!

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I had the sneaking suspicion as I was making it that it wasn’t going to be quite big enough to sit right. I was hoping that because it is a cardigan that is designed to be small, that was just how it was going to appear until I was finished. No such luck! I checked my gauge when I was done (yes, yes I know I’m supposed to do that at the beginning) and that was fine. I can only assume I picked a size too small. Also the size I made was designed not to close at the front, leaving a gap, which I wasn’t keen on. Never mind! Some lovely person who is smaller than me will receive it in the future, I’m sure.

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All the details of the yarn used etc is in my WIP post if you are interested. I really enjoyed using the Bamboo Cotton mix. It has excellent drape and I think the cream colour suits the project very well. I’m already planning another go at this one. The next size up is designed to close at the front, a quirk of the pattern repeat, which I much prefer. I always like a cardigan to be big enough to wrap around me. I’ve chosen some brilliant 100% llama yarn from my recent Sheep Shop haul. It is a wonderful variegated grey and black colour, is soft and snugly and seems to have wonderful drape. This means the cardigan will be more of a Autumn/Spring wear, which suits me fine as it will probably be Autumn before I start!

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Finally, a funny thing I noticed as I tried it on the dummy. The pattern from this angle kind of looks like little skulls. Really angry alien skulls, but skulls none the less. Is it just me or can you see it too?

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I may have bought ‘some’ yarn…

‘I may have bought ‘some’ yarn…’ was the text message I guiltily sent to my husband yesterday afternoon. My husband knows me well enough to know that if I have taken the time to text him that I have bought some yarn (usually an every day occurrence in our house) then ‘some’ means ‘lots’.

I was at The Sheep Shop again yesterday for their Friday knitting club. Last week I did really well and resisted buying anything. But this week the pull was just too strong! Below is a picture of the full treasure haul. It was the hottest day of the year yesterday, so I must apologise for the washed out nature of the yarn shots! The bright sun made it a nightmare to try and get good pictures of the true colour of things.

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I bought 100g of Opal sock yarn in a crazy circus like colourway. It is a reasonably cheap and robust sock yarn and certainly not the sort of colours I would actually wear. I chose this one as I’m attending the Socks for Beginners class next Saturday and since the class will be taught using double pointed needles, which I have never used before, I wanted some yarn I really didn’t mind messing up when I undo and redo 20 times. I’m really excited about this class. I’m already dreaming of socks of many colours in beautiful (and expensive I’m sure) sock yarns.

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The Sheep Shop has just had a delivery of wonderful Sparkleduck yarn. It is not a yarn I have come across before, but I’m so very glad that I have now. I loved pretty much all the colourways on the shelf and the base yarns were all wonderful too. The sock weight base called Pulsar practically glowed with its silk content and beautiful deep colours (this might be the expensive socks I just mentioned dreaming about!). This time I picked up two skeins. I bought a Galaxy base which is 75% super wash merino, 20%nylon, 5% stellina. I always love the yarns with a little stellina in them. A little sparkle and none of the scratchiness, hurrah! I bought the Neptune colourway which is a wonderful deep blue with hints of sea green (the photos really don’t do it justice!). With the tiny sparkles in it, it will be like a deep sea adventure knitting with it. I’m thinking of making Stephen West‘s Herbivore with it. Sarah at The Sheep Shop had a sample of this shawl knitted up in the shop and it was really beautiful, yet simple at the same time.

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I also bought a skein of the Solo base which is 100% superwash merino single ply. I’ve not used single ply very much so I’m not sure how difficult or easy it will be to work with. I chose the ‘Here be Dragons’ colourway as I really love the way the colours blend. They could be iridescent scales on a dragon’s wings, but the colours also remind me of a steampunk bazaar! I think it’s likely I might try and knit Dragonfly Wings with this as I think it will suit this special little skein very well. I might also be brave and try to add beads as suggested in the pattern.

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Finally I was looking for some more DK to make a second Short and Sweet. I was going to go for another cotton based yarn, but then I noticed a lovely DK in varying grays. The yarn brand is called Araucania and I have picked the Puelo base which is 100% llama. I’ve never made anything with llama yarn before, so that will be quite the experience. It seems to have quite a lovely drape to it and I’m thinking that this warmer yarn will turn the new cardigan into more of an autumn/spring item. I’m hoping the different shades of gray will spread OK across the garment and not pool too much.

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So there you have it! Friday’s haul. Now I promise not to buy any more yarn for at least 24 hours…

Jolly Journey

Being new to Haverhill and the surrounding area I wanted to make sure I branch out and meet some new people. I also wanted to have a taste of exploring a little on my own, which is not something I really did that much when I was back in Basildon. What better way to get out and about than a yarny adventure!

Having investigated local yarn shops I found The Sheep Shop in Cambridge. The website told me that they also do classes and knitting groups. Jackpot! I decided to take myself along to the Friday morning knitting group. They have a Ravelry group so I introduced myself there first. I was given lots of lovely directions and a warm hello.

The bus trip in from Haverhill to Cambridge was reasonable. It takes about 50 mins on a double-decker, which was surprisingly nimble through the various villages. I got off the bus with a little less time than I had hoped and ended up walking double time to the shop. It took about 15 mins from the bus station. To start off with I was getting a little worried that I couldn’t find the shop, I knew it was on a residential street from the website, but I just wasn’t seeing it. Just as I was pulling out my phone to work out where I had gone wrong, I looked up and there it was!

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The ladies of the group were very friendly and expecting me as they had seen my post on Ravelry. It was really lovely to meet the ladies of the group and talk about all the projects they were working on and planning. I was told all about Fiber-East and how wonderful it is. It was brilliant to find a group of such warm and talented ladies all together.

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The shop itself is beautiful, cozy and warm. I really liked all the various samples of patterns and designs made up and displayed around the shop. I got a lot of inspiration from one visit and I imagine I will end up parting with a lot of money in this shop! I plan to try and make it to the Friday morning groups as much as possible. It was wonderful to discuss projects, charity work, craft shows and general knitter natter in such a beautiful little shop.

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After the group I wandered back into the center of Cambridge along the river. It was a beautiful day and very scenic. I looked for a cafe that was recommended by the ladies for lunch, Michaelhouse Cafe on Trinity Street. I was certainly not disappointed by the food. Locally sourced produce with yummy homemade recipes. I’d certainly recommend a visit for breakfast or lunch if you are in Cambridge.

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I spent some more time wandering around the town sight seeing and visiting quite the biggest Waterstone’s I’ve ever encountered. I get the feeling that it will take months for me to really get a feel for the city and all it has to offer. The bus station is thankfully (as I was half an hour early for my bus) is situated right next to Christ’s Pieces park. I lounged there for a while before I boarded my bus. I can’t wait to see if I can make it back next week!

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WIP Wednesday

So it seems to be a theme with the first two posts on my blog that WIP Wednesday is the most inspiring day of the week for me. As discussed in my last post I have a lot of them, so I suppose it would make sense that they are where I start!

Today’s WIP is something I started on Monday. Owing to the summer weather I have been wearing a lot of dresses (if you know me that is a very shocking thing!). I can’t stand not wearing something to cover my shoulders and upper arms as the bingo wings seem to be getting larger no matter how many calories I burn while crocheting. I’ve been wearing a very cute little cardigan I picked up from BHS a year or so back. I really love wearing it as it is so pretty, but always feel great shame doing so. Here I am, a person who is reasonably proficient in crochet, wearing a cardigan that was mass made for a chain store. It’s just not right!

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I chose some new yarn on the spur of the moment with no plan in mind. I knew I wanted to make a top much like the one I have been enjoying. I’ve wanted to try a bamboo/cotton mix for a while, as I have been hearing good things about it. I purchased 4 100g balls of DK King Cole Bamboo Cotton in shade 543 ‘Oyster’ from my LYS, The Craft Basket, in town. I bought 4 because I wasn’t sure exactly what I was making and wanted to be sure that I had enough.

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Once home I decided that I didn’t want to try and copy the cardigan I had or try to design my own. I wanted something quick and easy that I could be wearing in a week or so, not something that would take months to get through. I’ve only ever made one crochet garment to wear, it was a shrug for a friends wedding. I had lots of positive comments on it, but I was not overly happy with it. Mainly because I think I made it too small (revenge of the bingo wings yet again!). I really want to get into making and eventually designing crochet garments, but I figure walk before you can run. I paged through the many wonderful crochet and knitting books I received for my birthday and found the Short and Sweet in Stitch ‘N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker. It looks perfect for what I want.

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I’ve managed the upper back section and started on the right front so far. The construction confused me a little to start off with, but I have the hang of it now. I love the lace pattern, though I’ve found it really odd to work a lace pattern in such a heavy weight yarn. I’ve been working mainly with 4 ply or lace weight in my crochet for a couple of years now, so this was a bit of a change. It is certainly going to crochet up very quickly! I hope I can just keep my short attention span under wraps long enough to get it finished!

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My apologies for the quality of the photographs. I really must sort out a spot and set it up to take better pictures. Perhaps a little research into that area is in order…