Aoibhe Ni’s Pax for Beginners at The Sheep Shop

IMG_1129

A pile of beautiful samples.

I love Tunisan crochet, so as you can imagine the beautiful PAX shawl has been on my list of things to make for a very long time. I was overjoyed to hear the PAX’s designer Aoibhe Ni was coming to The Sheep Shop to teach a class on how to make it.

Aoibhe, being the wonderful talented lady she is, has invented a whole new kind of Tunisian crochet – Tunisian Lace Crochet. When she came for the class she brought samples from her Legendary Shawls collection. All unceremoniously dumped in a big pile in the middle of the table, they needed no hype to make us ooooo and ahhhhh in wonder.

As you can imagine I was entranced by all the beautiful patterns. It took Aoibhe quite a while to get us concentrating on actually crocheting rather than pawing at gloriously lacy shawls.

Aoibhe’s new take on Tunisian crochet was, to begin with, quite bewildering. She said her inspiration was seeing those beautiful knitted shawls and wanting to recreate their style in crochet. I can totally relate to that as I love the look of knitted and have only recently taught myself to knit for just that reason.

After much patient tutoring and many confused looks I’m pleased to say everyone in the class eventually had the eureka moment when it finally clicked what we were supposed to be doing. Once I realised the basic structure and stitches it all suddenly seemed so simple and logical. Of course! Why didn’t I think of it that way before?

My samples are in DK and of course scrappy, but I managed to practice all the skills needed to create my own PAX.

                                         IMG_1135      IMG_1137

IMG_1141

Wonderful Sheep Shop owner Sarah and Aoibhe

Much fun was certainly had by all and everyone agreed that should Aoibhe ever return to Cambridge we would all very much like her to teach another class at The Sheep Shop. I know she does teach an advanced class but I think I would love her to teach a class on the new collection of garments she is releasing soon. I can’t wait for the Classical Elements collection to come out, as I really want to apply this new version of Tunisan crochet to clothes!

A little birdie told me that Aoibhe would be at Fibre East teaching several classes in July 2014. I would heartily recommend them if you plan to get started on any of her wonderful patterns as the classes are no end of help. I quite like the look of the Beyond the Basics class myself!

002_zps803e7ae6

A band of merry crocheters!

We are now holding a bit of a CAL over in The Sheep Shop ravelry group. Please feel free to join join us if you would like to make a PAX too. Aoibhe also has her own ravelry group in which there are lots of CALs, discussions and sneak peaks of new patterns. I of course ignored all of my many ongoing WIPS and cast on straight away. So far I’m pretty pleased but have yet to attempt the lace part!

uploadedImage_medium2

A simple beginning

Knitting Tutorial – How to YO (yarn over) at the beginning of a row

 

A tutorial demonstrated on the Anniversary Sharf project showing how to YO at the beginning of a row. Please excuse the colour changes in the video as I’m still in my learning curve. I will look to resolve the issue in future videos.

Valerie Bracegirdle’s pattern for the Anniversary Sharf on Ravelry is here

My Ravelry project page is here

The WIP video for this project is here

WIP Work in Progress – Anniversary Sharf

 

 

My current work in progress the Anniversary Sharf by Valerie Bracegirdle.

Find my Ravelry project page here;
http://www.ravelry.com/projects/KerryWallis/anniversary-sharf

The pattern is available to purchase on Ravelry here;
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/anniversary-sharf

Find the Agrarian Artisan KAL Ravelry thread here;
http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/agrarian-artisan-designs/2664758/551-575#564

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!

photo (20)

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.

photo (18)

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.

photo (19)  photo (17)  photo (16)

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.

photo (15)

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!

photo (14)

 

 

 

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!

photo (13)

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.

photo (16)

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.

photo (15)

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!

photo (18)

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…

WIP Wednesday

I have a lot of WIP’s, I’m just that kind of person. I love to start a project and often while I’m working on a project I’m dreaming up/dreaming of the next. You can see in the below picture a small selection of the projects I have on the go at the moment.

Post 05.06.13 A

I and my husband are set to move to Suffolk in just under a month, so the projects you can see are the projects that I have not packed away yet as I think I might be working on them before we move. I really like to have them all lined up there within easy reach, so as the mood takes me I can just reach out and grab them.

The project I have been spending most of the time on at the moment is my Garter Squish Blanket. It is a lovely mindless knit that is easily picked up and knit when I really can’t summon the brain power for anything with a complicated pattern.

Post 05.06.13 E

 

I stumbled across the Garter Squish pattern by Stephen West on Ravelry and instantly knew I had to knit it. Having gone through some of my stash in the run up to the move I am very aware of how large my stash is now. I’ve also a lot of acrylic DK in my stash from when I very first started crochet, that I don’t often use any more as I have moved on to more interesting yarns. This blanket seemed a superb answer to that over flow of stash.  I really love simple knit patterns that really show of the yarn and the texture of this pattern is wonderful. It certainly does what it says on the tin, it is the most squishy piece of knitted fabric I’ve made to date and I just can’t wait to curl up in it!

Post 05.06.13 C

I’m using 10mm (US 15) Knit-Pro interchangeable needles with a 150cm cable. I’m really enjoying these chunky needles, they make a very pleasing mellow sound as they click together. I have no idea what colour the blanket it will end up being over all, I’m trying my best to just grab the next ball of yarn as I need it and hopefully get a nice surprise!

Post 05.06.13 D

The pattern features a nice i-cord edging, which I have never done before. I’m quite pleased about how it is coming out. I think, if I have read the pattern correctly, it has an i-cord bind off also. That should be a bit challenge to my newly formed knitting skills. I did attempt to do an i-cord cast on, but I couldn’t get the hang of it and in the end I decided not to use it as it wasn’t specified in the pattern anyway. I think I might come to regret that a little. If all the sides have a lovely edging except my cast on edge it might look a little strange. I will have to just comfort myself with the fact that it is after all a comfort blanket to curl up in on cold winter nights, not a piece that I plan to impress anyone with.

Post 05.06.13 B

Having had a browse of Stephen West’s website West Knits, I can see I’m going to love a lot of his designs. I shall have to dedicate myself to improving my knitting skills to take the plunge and see if I can attempt some of his other designs. There I go dreaming of the next project again before this one is finished…