Thursday, 25 January 2018

Colour Bomb Knitting

I've been on a yarn diet over the past year, trying to dutifully knit from the stash, but when I saw this colour-bomb yarn over on Etsy I knew it had to be mine! Its hand-dyed 4ply sock yarn in the colourway 'Sherbert Rainbow' dyed by Kate Selene. Luckily you can request for the skein to be wound into a ready-to-knit from ball, which saves time winding it up yourself - bonus!

I decided that a colourful pair of long, fingerless mitts are what I need for Spring 2018, cast on the required number of stitches onto my bamboo dpns and off I went...

The yarn is a joy to knit with and I've finished one mitt and have cast on for the other. Its been fun seeing how the colour striping works out when knitted in the round and I'm happy to report that there's been no obvious pooling of colour, unlike other yarns I've knitted with.

Before starting on the mitts, I wanted a lazy knit to do over Christmas, where I could knit in front of the telly without having to count rows, patterns, stitches etc. Delving into the stash I found a bag of yarn that I brought from a car boot sale years ago. I can remember being surprised at finding it, as its quality yarn and I think cost me under a fiver. I decided to knit a simple cowl with this DK yarn, knitting with two strands simultaneously on 6.5mm needles as I wanted a heavier knit than the usual DK texture. 

Like the previous yarn, this is also from an indie yarnie and one that's local to me too: May Hill Gotlands. I've cribbed the below quote from their website, because they describe it far better than me:

"We produce wool, sheep skins and woolly creations from our flock of Gotland and Gotland cross Blue Faced Leicester sheep that graze within sight of May Hill, the famous landmark near Newent, Gloucestershire. This Viking breed originated about 1000 years ago on the Island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, off the Swedish coast. It is becoming increasingly popular because of the high quality, beautiful wool it produces. The lambs are born black but turn grey/silver as they mature. The young coats are silky, curly and, to quote Tolkien "like dusk silver as water under stars".  Gotland wool was even chosen to make the Magic Elvin coat in the film The Lord of the Rings".

Now doesn't that make you want to knit with it?

I'm glad that I had this project on the go as I fell ill with a lurgy over Christmas and ended up recovering whilst bingeing on Amazon's Outlander series and mindlessly knitting. I soon noticed that my cowl with its undyed yarn looked similar to the knits used by Outlander's costume department, so I've nicked named it the 'Fraser Clan Cowl'!

Friday, 20 October 2017

A Tight Squeeze

Last weekend I was painting...the parents' hallway that is, with Mum's favourite colour: magnolia. I've tried to entice her over to the brighter side, but she's not having any of it. I was surprised when she let me paint my bedroom in ox-blood red when I was in my teens (I was going through a big Victoriana phase), but she gleefully painted it magnolia as soon as I moved out (it took more than two coats to cover the red up though -hee!).

On my way back home I thought I'd make my last ever stop-off at one of Stroud's best antique/collectors shops: The Malthouse Emporium. It was a last visit as the Malt House has been forced to close trading for good from its current premises in Stroud, which has disappointed/angered a lot of The Malt House's traders and customers (read more here: here). However, all's not lost as it still has its Tewkesbury branch.

Little did I expect that I'd be coming home with this...

At home
 ...yes it was a true impulse buy! Heart ruled over head.

In The Malt House
I did check that the dresser's measurements would fit into the alcove, which was the only place where it could live in the kitchen. Yes, it all looked fine on paper, but back home it was a different matter.

We had to take the skirting board off, hack an inch or so from the chimney breast...and then I realised that when I was measuring I didn't take into account the width of the architrave at the top of the dresser (sigh). So, we had to take off the architrave side strips and cut off a bit at the front to fit it in! Not what I wanted, but I've kept them and can easily fit them back on if needed at a later date.

I've been having fun filling it up with stuff. My cookery books conveniently fit into the two big drawers...

...and I've been adding to the shelves... minimalism in our gaff!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Cypriot Delight: McCalls 9697 Pattern Review

This post is a bit late by a few months, but better late than never!

Back in July with an impending holiday in Cyprus, I decided that I needed a kaftan cover-up for the beach and picked up this 1969 McCalls 9697 pattern from the stash. Although I love the maxi versions, I thought that 'C' looked more practical with its mini-length.

Luckily I had the perfect light-weight cotton fabric to suit the pattern, that I had brought from Abakhan in Preston a few years ago. 

With only six pattern pieces to cut out and sew, this project was an absolute doddle from start to finish and was ready to be packed away in the suitcase a few weeks later.

Being lightweight and with daily temperatures around 34°C (bliss!) meant that it dried quickly after its daily wash.

If you're looking for a quick n' easy holiday pattern, I'd recommend searching this McCalls one out. Its so timeless and cost a lot less to make than buying its equivalent in a high street shop.

It's been quite few years since we last visited Paphos, but it was great to be back and revive my rusty (very) basic Greek.

We had a very relaxed holiday and towards the end found a very friendly 'locals' cafe tucked away in Kato Paphos where I could practise my Greek and enjoy a strong black coffee - Cypriot style!

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