Waterlily Knitting

I love the Waterlily pattern by Meghan Fernandes which was published in the Spring 2014 issue of PomPom magazine.  The combination of knitting in the round, Latvian braids and lacework are so appealing.

I knit my first Waterlily in 2015, starting on 11th June and finishing on 28th Aug, using beautiful Splendor 4-ply yarn in Little Cat Feet from GingerTwistStudio. Initially apprehensive about the Latvian braid, Meghan’s wonderful tutorial walked me through the construction. I generally struggle with lacework, but the simple repeat pattern soon clicked into my memory.  I was happy with the result, and for its debut, wore it to the Edinburgh International Festival for my birthday treat.

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A second Waterlily followed. Again I used a wonderful yarn from GTS, Luscious 4-ply in Gorblimey.  Both braid and lacework flew off my needles this time, and once again I was pleased with how easy the pattern was to knit.  And, this version debuted on a recent wonderful weekend away!

 

My Knitting Journals

I learned to knit as a child. My mother taught me. I knitted through my teenage years and into university. Then, I put my needles down. I’m not sure why: maybe it was my job with its long hours, shift pattern and UK-wide travelling. When I next picked up my needles, much had changed: modern circulars; interchangeables; independent local yarn shops; YouTube tutorials; and Ravelry! Hats, scarfs and mitts flew off my new single-pointed needles but I lacked the skills or knowledge to progress further.

So, on the day of returning from a family holiday touring round northern Portugal, I dropped my bags and headed out the door to travel up to Stirling for a one-day Finishing Techniques course run by Carol Meldrum at McArees. Saturday 10th August 2013 was one of those pivotal days that come along in life occasionally.  I learned to pick up stitches with precision accuracy, to sew up seams with seemingly invisible yarn, and to create flawless buttonholes! More importantly, Carol’s knowledge, enthusiasm and endless patience were inspiring.  Knitting which previously had been a casual aquaintence, within the space of a day became a very close friend!  Carol encouraged us to take notes during the course.  I hadn’t brought a proper notebook so on the train back to Edinburgh that evening, I started thinking about what sort of notebook I wanted: A5, hard cover, square paper, and an elastic band to close the book. A pocket of some sort would be a bonus! After trawling the Internet, I found it: the Habana Graph Notebook A5 from Quo Vadis.

   

And so it started. First page was copied notes from Carol’s class. Second page was a stuck-in photocopy of a sleeveless pullover pattern from one of my knitting books. Then I thought, why not add details of yarns and needles used, and the project start date. It snowballed: yarn samples, pattern amendments, and finally a photo of the finished article were added. Washi tape started to play a big part in my life! That Museum of Modern Art tape purchased on a previous trip to New York suddenly found a use. Other multicoloured, patterned or pastel Washi tapes followed.

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The notebook had surreptitiously slipped from a few course notes and patterns, to a chronological documentation of my knitting projects and progress. When the first notebook was full, a second and now nearly a third have been filled.

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And, always in the back pocket I keep my most treasured class and workshop notes: Carol’s Finishing Techniques; Clare Devine’s Kitchener Stitch picture tutorial; and Tom of Holland’s notes on darning.

Bandit Brioche!

In February, I went on a wonderful course run by McAree Brothers knitting shop and taught by Carol Meldrum, known as Beatknit. The course was on hand knitter’s tuck stitch also known as brioche.  It was amazing, and a great start to learning this technique.

I next encountered brioche knitting at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March when I attended a workshop run by Stephen West of Westknits.  His shawls, his enthusiasm for brioche, and his amazing sense of colour were all so inspiring!


So, I started thinking about a new design for my machine knitted fabric.  Colour choices in brioche are so important.  Stephen West makes it look very easy!  After a number of attempts, I came up with a design.

As its not proper brioche, I needed to find a new name for it.  These are some of the rejected names: bogus brioche (sounds like a hybrid monster); bad-ass brioche (son raised eyebrows and said No); pseudo brioche (too serious); artful brioche (maybe)! I eventually settled on Bandit Brioche: it’s not real brioche; and it’s a wee bit of a chancer!

Hope you like the new design which I will be selling at the Boggs Community Market on Saturday 7th May.

Boggs Community Hall Spring Market – Saturday 7th May 2016

  

I’m delighted to announce that I will be attending the Boggs Community Hall Spring Market on Saturday 7th May between 12pm and 4pm.  I shall be selling my Woolly Originals craft bags and taking orders for bespoke items.

The Hall is a vital resource in Pencaitland, used by the local Boggs Holdings community. It needs refurbishing and the committee decided to hold a spring market to raise funds.  

So, if you’re in the area or fancy a trip out to a beautiful part of East Lothian, come along! There will be a variety of stalls selling produce ranging from sour dough breads, organic fruit & veg to plants, homeware and artwork.  There will also be a cafe serving food and drinks.

See you there!

 

 

 

Fair Isle Dog Jumper

I have quite a few hand knitted jumpers in my wardrobe. Sometimes, it’s difficult to know which one to wear when I’m planning a walk with my dog, Badger. However, until today, poor Badger only had one black fleece from which to choose! After numerous comments from friends and family about the paucity of knitwear in Badger’s wardrobe,  I decided to create for him the ultimate Fair Isle sweater!

After researching dog patterns, I choose the beautiful Fetching Fair Isle pattern from “Dogs in Knits” by Judith L Swartz. After swatching the Jamieson & Smith 2-ply jumper weight Shetland wool, I increased my needle size to 3mm and reduced the number of colours in the pattern from eight to six.  

The coat knit up beautifully, though the distraction of other projects delayed its progress, taking me three months to complete the main body.  Sewing in all the wool ends then took almost a whole weekend! The steeked leg holes were relatively easy to do, having steeked a few cardigans.  Finally, the coat was washed and blocked.  

I’m delighted with the result, and as the pictures show, so is Badger!  Just need a cold day to take him for a walk and an “in-action photo session”!

     

  

  

  

     

 

Navia Jumper

I have finished my Navia jumper!  The beautiful Faroese wool that can be purchased from The Island Wool Company is wonderful: soft, warm and easy to knit. I used a pattern by Malan Steinholm published in Navia Book No. 17.  The sleeves needed adapting slightly to shorten them, and the length of the body also required altering. I made a few modifications to the zigzag pattern too, to ensure it “matched up” on the sleeves.  I just need to wait for the weather to cool to wear, which probably won’t be long, knowing our Scottish summers!