Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Noro Blanket

Things have been a bit....everyday lately. Nothing dramatic one way or the other, just plodding along really.
Every couple of days we get a little glimpse of spring and all thoughts of knitting big warm sweaters go out the window, and then it goes back to grey and miserable and barely into double figures again. Which all in all makes it hard to know what to knit! I have a sweater amount of cotton yarn at my mothers house which I will only be able to recover next week for my big summer project, so in the meantime I'm spending a little time on a project I started back in the Christmas break: My Noro blanket.

It is made up of squares knitted in the round using random Noro Kureyon skeins I've picked up in various sales - Noro is a fun and interesting yarn to knit with, but rather expensive at full price for a quality that widely divides the knitting community. Kureyon is probably their most rough and ready yarn, but it felts beautifully, blending all those lovely colours into each other, and that is the idea at the base of my blanket. The squares are edged in Troon Tweed - a good, solid British tweed yarn that I have left over from a couple of sweaters I made years ago. I would probably have preferred to edge them all in the green, but I am trying to be frugal and stash-busting, so some of the squares will have purple edges instead as that is what I have at hand.


The blanket has actually turned out to be the perfect spring project: the
individual squares are small so don't feel to hot and itchy to handle in warmer weather, and I don't have to worry about finishing off a piece of warm clothing at the height of summer when I can't wear it :)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Are there any botanists in the room?

Last week, at the same time as the bluebells finally started appearing in the woods, these pretty little flowers appeared all over our front lawn. It's really peculiar as we didn't have them last year, I haven't sown anything there and nobody else in our street has them!
Any ideas what they might be?

Update: I have been informed that they are in fact the delightfully named "Cuckoo Flower" ( Cardamine pratensis ).  This makes me enjoy them even more, although it still doesnt explain why we are the only front garden on a road of identical houses to have them!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Actual Knitting Content!

and time to finally photograph a shawl I finished earlier this year in my own Lovely Linen.
I fell instantly in love with the pattern when it was first posted on Ravelry - I love the large scale lace edging and the garter stitch ridges that add interest to the body.
As usual, I extended the original pattern - I had plenty of yarn of course, and I much prefer a bigger shawl that you can really wrap around yourself.

Pattern: Lilac Wish
Yarn: Squeaky Elliot Lovely Linen in Denim - 2 and a bit skeins for my extended version. If you follow the original instructions, 2 skeins would be plenty.
Needles: 3.75mm

This weekend I also finished my Zauberball shawl - a project inspired by my friend Jan who came and waved a similar shawl in my face at KnitNight and made me instantly want one.
 Lately, I have been challenging myself to knit on slightly bigger needles for the yarn. I usually like my finished fabric to be super dense and bombproof, but seeing the pretty, airy effect that using larger needles produces, I wanted to have a go myself. This is the new 100% wool Zauberball, on the lighter side of fingering, and I knitted it on 4mm needles, which for me is huge! (I own about 6 pairs of 3.25mm, everything I knit seems to end up that gauge)

Pattern: Improvised from a basic top-down triangle with random garter sections
Yarn: Schoppel Zauberball 100 , one ball in Blaukraut, 3/4 of a ball Evergreen
Needles: 4mm


PS. I have now listed the Lovely Linen as a yarn on Ravelry. If you have made anything with this yarn, please feel free to share your projects - I would love to see what you made!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Bank Holiday bliss


  A little alfresco spinning, a little alfresco yarn drying, a little alfresco cat and freshly made tzatziki...

Monday, 6 May 2013


Went to visit the lovely lovely alpacas at Triskelion Yarns farm yesterday....and came back rather smitten.

Left to right: Taliesin, Diamond, Rhodri, Emry's bum, Olive, and Rhiannon.

We arrived just in time for feeding: micronised peas, yum! and then just sort of stood in the field surrounded by this glorious, curious, fluffy, chilled out animals and chatted for hours.

Unlike sheep, alpacas don't scatter it out into the field at the slightest human movement. In fact, they are quite tame and inquisitive and like to just huddle around and hang out close to you, although they don't really like to be petted as such. Caerthan did hold on to young Rhodri for us (he didn't struggle or anything, just sort of gave us the impression that he had other things to do) so we could get a little bit of a feel and admire the beautiful crimped white fleece hidden underneath the frankly quite grubby outer layer - alpacas being as fluffy as they are, everything just sticks to them: moss, sticks, earth, you name it. He was wonderfully soft though, especially on the top of his head.

We learnt lots of things about alpacas - that they are a great guard animal, for example, and that as such, they will guard anything (and everything) so that the bunnies in the field will move around with a detail of alpaca bodyguards around them to keep the foxes away. And also that the gentle, placid alpacas can kill a fox as soon as look at it - eek! I would have thought their defence would mainly have been the element of surprise - not sure how many alpacas the foxes of Carmarthenshire come across on their ramblings!
But by far my favourite thing about alpacas is that they hum. They just sort of stand in the field and let out the occasional, contemplative, world-weary "hummmmm", a bit like a sigh, but with more thought behind it. It's a soothing sound, and one that is so apt for use in everyday life. I intend to hum a lot more at work from now on.

The Boys

We had a little snoop around Caerthans lovely little farm house - I particularily loved his "yarn room", a sun room at the side of the house where he skeins yarn and cards his fibre with views up to his alpaca boys and down over lush valleys....and his gorgeous vintage kitchen cabinet!

Mark made a friend out in the front yard: Herbert the cat, who delayed our departure by another hour as neither of them wanted to be parted, and I got a sneak peak at some potential new yarn colours - please put "Radioactive Pond Algae" into production soon!


Mark may have spent a good chunk of the journey home pondering how and how soon we could set up our own alpaca farm - they are really addictive animals to be around and we miss them already!