A year on …

Some of you may remember this post from exactly a year ago all about a trip to the North York Moors, celebrating Halloween and learning to make socks. Back then, I had all but given up on knitting as a possibility. I’d admire other people’s work, sigh, then return to my crochet. One day, however, I walked into my then local wool shop, The Wool Stop and the lovely owner, Jen, was knitting socks in this colourway and I just knew I had to learn to knit socks so that I could use the gorgeous yarns.

I never looked beyond the possibility of knitting socks at all and yet everyone I spoke to said, ” If you can knit socks, you can knit anything” or experienced knitters would say they couldn’t make socks, so I began to wonder. Maybe I could knit something other than socks.

I was very lucky because all along I had so much encouragement from other bloggers and readers of my blog and from Jen at The Wool Stop. It was exciting! I was inspired by ErickaEckles and her knitting journey (read all about it here) and all of the amazing things that she was making and the knitting designers she would refer to. So I asked Jen to give me some knitting lessons to help me get started. She is a great teacher and gave me the confidence to try new techniques like colour work, cables and lace work. I definitely made the most of those lessons once I knew we were moving to Canada!

Which is where I am now. I had no idea that I would be writing this in Chase, BC, when I took that sock lesson. We had applied to move here but it seemed such a distant goal that we never thought about it much. I certainly didn’t think I’d be about to share my most exciting make yet.

Yes, I have completed and blocked and worn for the first time today, my Ishbel shawl and to say I am delighted would be an understatement. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen this hint of the finished product. If you’d like more details about the yarn I used etc, I’ve written it all up in my Ravelry notes. Before I show you a picture, I’d just like to say that this shawl would still be something I dreamt of making, if it hadn’t been for Lisa (erickaeckles) encouraging me to start and for keeping me going along the way. We both started an Ishbel (her second) at the same time and it really helped to have a friend to knit with, even if we were on opposite sides of the planet!).

So, here she is… My Midnight Ishbel

sock yarn ishbel knitted

Ishbel shawl sock yarn one skein

I wasn’t sure about the black yarn at various points during the knitting of the shawl but it isn’t a solid black. There are flecks of grey and white which I love. The points were much pointier when I unpinned it from the blocking mat but over the course of today they have started to curl so I may need to reblock. I’m pleased with the size, less than 100g used.

And because no post would be complete without some outdoor shots, here you go..

Ishbel shawl sock yarn one skein knitted

Ishbel shawl sock yarn one skein knitted

And one that captures the giggling fits I was having whilst my husband tried to take these pictures for me and maybe also how happy I am with my shawl.

Ishbel shawl sock yarn one skein knitted

I wasn’t sure if I would get much wear out of my shawl in the cooler weather as it is a light shawl but we went to Boo at the Zoo tonight for Halloween and it is warm. Yay!

I’m writing this whilst my meringue bones bake in the oven for a Halloween party tomorrow so I’ll sign off as I did a year ago. Time for a glass of wine and wish everyone a Happy Halloween.

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The issue of light

When we were in England I had worked out the perfect places to take pictures for my blog posts so that I was happy with the light and back drop. I’m yet to find these places here and it’s frustrating as I really do want my pictures to reflect my projects and me in a positive light.

Maybe this has become more important to me since I joined Instagram (I’m buttercupandbee). The standard on there is so high.

In the meantime, here are some of my current projects.

Hoping this is finished soon so that I can wear it.

Trying to add pattern to my socks.

And you don’t want to know about these yet!

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My Victoria Shawl .. of sorts

What with all the sock knitting I have been doing, I must say I have missed crocheting. So when I saw that Sandra Paul aka CherryHeart had released a new shawl pattern, I could not resist.

Here is my version of her Victoria shawl.

CherryHeart Victoria shawl crochet DK

The pattern can be found on her site or Ravelry and is designed using 200g 4ply sock wool. Although I have a lot of sock yarn stashed away (an embarrassing amount, actually), I don’t have two skeins of the same colourway, so I used DK instead. This meant I had to use a 5mm hook in order to get a decent drape.

The green is James C Brett pure merino and I used nearly 200g for 7 repeats of the main pattern. The blue is an unknown yarn that I bought in a charity shop. Let this be a lesson to me. I thought it was just the same wool as the green but in  fact it was much thinner so I had to drop down to a 4mm hook on the border. I had to stop short of the complete pattern on the border as I was running out of blue and the other ball I had that I thought was the same was in fact a completely different.

CherryHeart Victoria shawl crochet DK

The pattern itself was so easy to follow and had clear written instructions and charts. It has links to tutorials too, which beginners would find useful. My shawl took about 3 evenings to make.  I think that the design would make a beautiful blanket too.

CherryHeart Victoria shawl crochet DK

Wishing you all a very Happy Easter.

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I knitted a shawl!

I can’t quite believe it, but I have knitted a shawl! In my mind this shawl will always be known as the Fargo shawl as it was knitted over about 5 episodes of the second series, but its actual name is  Quaker Yarn Stretcher Boomerang (paid pattern).

The story behind the shawl is pretty straightforward. At Christmas I was lucky enough to be given the most beautiful ball of Noro Kureopatora colourway 1024.

noro kureopatora 1024

It was so brightly coloured and really tactile, very soft and squishy. It is 100% wool. I really wanted to do this yarn justice.

First off all I thought I would try a Noro stripe scarf and I bought a contrasting skein in green but it did not look at all like I imagined it would and quickly abandoned the idea.

Next I tried a Hitchhiker scarf in cream and Noro stripes. Oh dear. Less said about that, the better.

So I had a look (spent hours) on Ravelry and found the Quaker Yarn Stretcher pattern and decided it was ‘easy’ enough for me to do, that I had enough yarn and that it would not take me months to make, so off I went.

The shawl is supposed to be knitted loosely which was a challenge for me as I am quite a tight knitter. The yarn is DK but I used a 6mm circular needle to give it the right gauge. I did wonder how the yarn would knit up as it was thick and thin in places but it wasn’t a problem.

So here is my first knitted shawl…

noro kureopatora 1024 quaker yarn stretcher knitted shawl easy

I had a hard time taking pictures of this shawl. There was lots of hilarity when I asked my brother to take some pictures of me in the garden. I am just not very good a posing for the camera. My mum even had to help out!

It was not obvious looking at the wound ball that this wool had such dramatic colur changes and although I had googled it, I loved watching the colours emerge. In my mind, it looks like a sun setting over a deep, dark ocean. I wonder what you see.

noro kureopatora 1024 quaker yarn stretcher knitted shawl

I will use this pattern again. I have the other ball of Noro I can use but looking at all of the projects on Ravelry (nearly 2000!), it is a very adaptable pattern.

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