Its that time of year again when the year is before us, time for planning and preparing, nights start to shorten and I love it!
I hope that 2021 was not too traumatic for you and that you share my sense of hope for the future, particularly now that the threat of covid seems to be lifting.
In this post I will mention my knitting projects, forthcoming wool shows for 2022 and have a general catch up!
First of all I want to mention my Hirst Cardigan. This is my first time with Shetland wool and I have totally fallen in love with it. The texture seemed a little coarse at first, but I was reassured that it would soften up by Liz, one of my knitting buddies – and it has. I read the reviews on Ravelry before starting it and felt a little unsure as a couple of them claimed that there weren’t enough instructions. I found the instructions to be perfect and accurate. I knit the largest size and on every decreasing row, the number count was spot on. I found picking up the stitches a bit of an effort in concentration and chose time when I was alone, had no other pressing jobs (that I couldn’t happily ignore) and good light. The number was perfect for the tension of the garment and I found it useful to put a stitch marker between each section so that I could keep track of where I was instead of having to go back to the beginning and start to count again! When I have stitches to pick up regardless of the thickness of yarn I always the divide the number into manageable chunks, for example if I am picking up 80 I will divide into 4, measure the length of the edge, and put pins in to section it off. This means that I am more even in the stitches picked up, makes it less daunting and helps me to keep track of where I am.
I made a few changes in the pattern to fit my body shape. The pattern starts with a set number of stitches at the bottom and then increases up to the armholes. I am a pear shape so I looked to see how many the final count was and cast on that amount. I then panicked thinking I may run out of yarn so ordered 3 more balls of the main colour. (I needn’t have bothered!)
The cardigan is knit in flat pieces with the sleeves knit in the round, then the sections are put together for the yoke where you can choose to knit forward and back or in the round by adding a steek. I have never done a steek before so chickened out. I knit back and forth and kept an eye on my tension. Knitting in fairisle is so beautiful to do, seeing the colours make beautiful shapes and watching the contrast and blending of the colours. I wanted to do nothing but knit when I was at this part! Especially when watching “Shetland” on the telly – perfection. When I came to do the button band I picked up the suggested amount of stitches, and started to knit in moss stitch but it became wavy. I frogged it and knitted in single rib, or knit 1 purl one. This tightened it up beautifully and I am so in love with this cardigan that I ordered another batch of wool straight away! I have had a cheeky request from my best friend and guardian angel (she saved my life when I had a sub-arachnoid haemorrhage in her company) for one for her for Christmas. I laughingly told her that I would not have time as they take about 4 months to knit. I have bought another beautiful purple heather set of Shetland yarn to do one in time for her birthday in May though, so I hope she doesn’t read this or else she won’t have a surprise!
Knitting on size 11 or 3mm needles takes ages to grow, but I have come to realise that it is the process of knitting that I love. I really appreciate the garments when I have finished but as I have said before, when I finished my beautiful Marie Wallin’s Maple cardigan I felt sad that the activity of doing it had finished! I obviously need to do more fairisle!
The yarn I used is Jamieson’s & Smith 2 ply jumper weight, it knits as 4 ply and their description of 2 ply is the way it is spun, 2 threads wound together. I am so impressed with their colours and quality of their yarn that I bought a shade card. I prefer their colours to Jamieson’s & Jamieson’s but that is just a personal thing. I think they are more subtle and less harsh which suit me fine!
Speaking about fairisle, I saw an advert for The Knitter magazine and saw on the cover the gorgeous jumper “Seraph” by Nicola Diggins I have this delivered on subscription and wanted to buy all the wool necessary for this in the same colours. I love it. I checked in my stash and I have most of them already! I have enough to keep me going with my 2nd Hirst cardigan and then Sue’s cardigan!
I wrote the first section of this post over the Christmas period and am now catching up half way through January!
I have knit my second Hirst cardigan and made a few changes in the pattern again. This time I used the wavy line at the edges of the star and tree fairisle to act as a border between the two main colours. I also tried doing the steek method which has terrified me! I have yet to cut it and am researching the different methods of doing it. I shall value some advice from my knitting mate Liz. I have also watched Andrea’s tutorial on Fruity Knitting podcast. I will share my progress in the next post!
Whilst I summon up courage to cut the steek in my 2nd Hirst cardigan, I have started Sue’s which is beautiful to knit. I am going to jazz it up a bit by putting the wavy line above the welt and at the bottom of the sleeves too. I saw a lovely picture of a child’s cardigan and hat on Facebook which used the same heathery purple as the main colour and had shades of yellow, a lovely pale buttermilk shade and a more vivid shade too. These looked amazing and went beautifully with the shades of green! I promptly ordered some pale yellow to incorporate into the yoke. It is so much fun planning the colour section and I have ordered some beautiful shell buttons with purple flowers painted on to go with it.
I will include a picture of it when it is finished. I have yet to decide whether I am doing a steek or not!
Apart from this I am busy planning for the shows that we are hoping to do next year.
These so far include:-
Spring into Wool 9th & 10th April
Buxton Wool Gathering 7th & 8th May
Wool@J13 14th & 15th May
The Wool Monty 18th & 19th June
Bakewell Wool Gathering 8th & 9th October
Kendal Wool Gathering (yet to be confirmed)
Fingers crossed that we will be able to exhibit at these wonderful events and meet you all!
The preparation for these shows is part of the fun. I enjoy buying in quality fabrics and making up project bags, crochet hook and knitting needle cases and a range of goodies for yarn based crafts! One of the things that sold really well and was just a method of using up small scraps was a range of coasters! I like having a range of matching things and made some face masks in the same fabric as the bags and cases and they sold well too! The stitchmarkers are always a draw and our handmade yarny themed greeting cards sell well at the shows and give my sister and I fun time together as we make them. She usually managed to keep a few for herself and take them back to her cottage when she returns to show her friends what she has made.
The break in the summer gives me the time to plan the new diaries for the following year and this year I have some ideas for new sections to include. There is also another product in the designing stages and as soon as this has been produced, I will share it with you and include it in our Etsy shop.
We were thrilled to have a normal December. This meant that my family helped me to celebrate my 60th birthday by coming to our favourite gastropub for a lovely meal and my husband totally shocked me with the most fabulous cake! I couldn’t believe it when I saw it and wasn’t expecting a cake at all. Thank you Mike for absolutely making my day! Mini-me even has my “Maple” cardigan on too”
Julie became 50 on 23rd December and decided she wanted a family gathering at the same place and wanted the same type of cake! Another lovely party was enjoyed including her keyworker Denise and fabulous manager Sam.
Christmas Day saw Mike and I sharing breakfast with our son Craig, wife Danika and her family while we watched our very excited grandsons Miles and Chester opening some of their presents. Then back home to cook Christmas dinner for Mum and Julie. We are getting used to Dad not being with us, and although it still upsets me to think about him, we can still talk about him and we enjoyed watching home videos where we were all together.
Boxing Day was great fun where we went to Nottingham for lunch with our eldest son Paul, his partner Zoe, and grandchildren Edie and Max. Then afterwards we went to see a brilliant pantomime “Robin Hood”.
We had Miles and Chester stop for a couple of nights and then found out that Zoe had tested positive for the dreaded covid virus. We tested ourselves daily and found out that Mike had it but I escaped it (this time). He wasn’t ill at all, just felt as though he had a cold and used the time to work on his project – a heap of scrap which once was a motorbike. He is literally stripping this down and cleaning it us, and then rebuilding it. Parts are arriving from the other side of the world and he is loving every minute of it. He asked me if I minded him spending so much time on it in the shed! I just thought that it meant more time for me to be either knitting or sewing!
I then complicated matters by tripping and breaking one of my ribs and having tissue damage. Agony. I had to sleep with 4 pillows and take codeine to manage the pain. I could only breathe very shallowly and couldn’t cough, sneeze, laugh or blow my nose. As Mike was covid positive I rang 111 and the Doctor said that they don’t even xray for fractured ribs any more, they don’t strap them up, and just gave advice for managing the pain and promote the healing process. No lifting, plenty of rest, keep walking around, do 10 slow deep breaths every hour, sleep pillowed up, and observe for signs of a chest infection. I woke one morning about a week after the fall in agony and this got much worse, we called the ambulance out and luckily my observations were normal, and they examined me and confirmed that one rib was probably fractured at the front and back. I had some aspirin and the pain slowly went, they felt it would be a small clot due to the trauma and advised me to go into hospital for a check up. They had been telling us that ambulances were waiting outside that morning for 16 hours and so I declined and signed a disclaimer, saying that if my symptoms came back I would get them back out.
This was over 3 weeks ago now and I am much better. I felt really sore for the first week and as we were isolating it didn’t really matter as we weren’t going anywhere anyway. I watched lots of catch-up telly and of course, as soon as I was able, spent the time knitting.
So as the song goes “Things can only get better” can’t they?
My next post will hopefully include my progress with cutting the steek and the finished product! Keep your fingers crossed for me!