Sunday, 17 September 2017

hello, stranger

We'll get right to it - I've been a stranger these past couple of months and I'm sorry, shall we start a new for autumn, the best season in the year? Run up to Christmas, such such excuses to stay inside and knit with hot chocolate and wine, mm mm mmmmmm (not necessarily at the same time). 
It's been, as ever, busy busy busy in work and in life! Work's going fabulously - we've had a run of short print deadlines, and the run will continue for another couple of months, which when in the thick of it, is incredibly stressful, but I find I am thriving on the challenge and loving every second, even when I feel like I can't possibly finish everything. But I can and I do and I love it - it feels so good to say I love my job, I and hope you all can say the same, or will manage to one day soon if you are looking. I will also have a sock knitting pattern (my first sock pattern!!) publishing in Knit Now before Christmas too, how terrifically exciting I can't wait! Don't worry, I will let you know as soon as it is available.

Not only has work been hectic, but we have big big plans in the pipeline too - we're finally getting married! We've set the date for next year, booked many a things that needed to be booked, the honeymoon deposit is down - It. Is. HAPPENING and I couldn't be more excited! I have plans to hand-make a lot of the bits for the wedding, from decorations to, wait for it, the dress itself! I'm going to sew my own dress and I can't wait to share some updates with you when that ball starts to pick up speed, but don't worry it won't all be sewing - I plan to knit a wedding shawl (be prepared, it WILL include Wonder Woman) and crochet many a bits and pieces for centre pieces, because let's face it, it wouldn't be my wedding if it wasn't at least partially covered in yarn and video games. 

That's my quick update-how-do-you-do-its-been-too-long-lets-catch-up - how about you? What have you been up to since I've been gone? In between all this of course, much knitting has occurred, including a hoodie for Ben, sewing is also taking place such as for London MCM Comic Con next month, and crochet aplenty - including the little chap I want to show you today as a little welcome back to the geeky knitter. 

Longhoh is a Pocket Monster from Sabrina Somer's new book Pocket Monsters which, let's face it, might be heavily influenced by a certain video game/mobile game/TV show/Japanese cult phenomenon, but I don't want to pry! Longnoh's pattern is featured in issue 19 of Crochet Now as well, which is the other magazine I work on (and love!) and as soon as I saw this pattern for the magazine I knew I had to make him!. 
A bit like a baby Charizard, Longnoh is designed to be made with a red 4-ply cotton and small hook, so he should be no more than 10cm high and fit, literally, in your pocket. I however am partial to a larger toy so I upped my yarn choice to an aran wool-acrylic blend and 5mm hook. I used Hayfield Bonus Aran with Wool in shade Peppermint - mmmmm, I have enough to make a jumper that I haven't started yet, but having seen how gorgeous the colour looks worked up I know I will cast on as soon as I finish Ben's jumper.

The pattern was easy to follow and he is so full of character and looks so adorable with his big felt eyes, I'm rather tempted to make more from the book and have a little collection. I think he is so cute, and he now sits with me at work.

Gosh, I do always forget what a pleasure it really is to bash out a blog post and say hello to you lovely people! Rest assured I will do my best to keep you informed more regularly, if nothing more than I am waaayyy behind on the #EnchantedCottageKAL and we are nearing the end of it, and I want that blanket gosh-darnit! Tell me what you've been up to since I've been gone, and let's keep in better touch!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

#EnchantedCottagKAL Part 5

In case you hadn't noticed, I am a touch behind on my knit-along squares, or at least I am a little behind in keeping the blog up-to-date. In fairness to me, today I am bringing you part 5 in the #enchantedcottagekal and part 6 has only just gone on sale this time last week, but of course at work I've see sneak-peeks as far as part 9 so I feeeel behind, but perhaps we can agree to disagree.
Anyway! Here we are at part 5 - lace knitting. Man, I have to tell you the Hyacinth square was a difficult one, undoubtedly feeling more so after I cruised along last month with the crochet whirligig. At some points in this pattern, you had to p3togtbl (what an acronym) - purl 3 together through the back loop - after already yarning over and p3tog and doing a handstand...I did have to rip back my first attempt, and it took several pattern repeats before you could even see the pattern. But, as usual, once it took shape it looked rather good. Perhaps not my favourite square to knit (nothing on the galaxy spiral still!) now that I have it finished, I really have come to like it.

I'm pretty eager to start part 6 as soon as I can / finish one of the 5 other things I'm knitting - it is mosaic knitting, which I have never tried, and it will finally get some much needed pink into the rather earthy looking blanket so far :)

Sunday, 25 June 2017

a handmade wedding outfit

No beating about the bush with this blog post title - I made a wedding outfit for my pals' wedding this month, and I'm finally getting round to bragging, ba boom. Oh, mildy unrelated brag too, I am know deputy editor on Knit Now and Crochet Now, and Ben and I are looking for wedding venues, so I'm quite pleased with June 2017 thus far! Back to the craft-and-grind though.

This year, I've actually become rather obssessed with dressmaking and I am really developing a love for it. I might even go so far as to put it on par with knitting, if only because as soon as I finish a dress I'm ready to start another; I actually finished one last night, planning to cut out the next one later. Back on track - I had this crazy idea that I really wanted to make a dress for the wedding, and then, well, here we are!

I opted for a dress pattern from an older issue of Love Sewing magazine - another title I worked on as editorial assistant (until recently!) which is just my idea of perfect, loose with no sleeves and an elasticated waist which allows more room for eating, drinking and dancing at events. After making a practice dress with some cheaper cotton (I found out I needed to shorten the bodice for a less-bulky top) I set about making the dress proper with some beautiful John Kaldor satin from Minerva Crafts. Satin is difficult to sew with (I am still very much a beginner, though I can lean towards advanced) and there are plenty of errors in the dress, but I love it SEW (#punalert) much! It was such a lovely fit, so comfy all day long, and plenty of people commented on it.

image taken on a phone, not our best but we look gooooooooood - shoes from New Look if interested

Once I decided that a dress was to be made, in true why-not-take-on-as-much-crafting-as-possible fashion (every, damn, Christmas) I wanted to knit the jacket to go with the dress! For my birthday just gone, Ben bought me all the Rowan Softyak I needed to knit a jacket that I had my eye on for a couple of years actually, but just didn't have the excuse to spend that much. A birthday is definitely a good enough excuse.

Softyak, a yak hair (I know, right?!) and cotton blend, is a chainette yarn that is an absolute dream to knit with, and so so comfy and soft to wear! If I were to knit the jacket again I would possible go up one size as I like my cardigans to have more positive ease. But it is definitely the smartest thing I've ever knitted, and I suppose for a wedding this is the aim. The design of the jacket was beautiful in it's simple design that really allowed the yarn to shine in the knitting. I've not knitted drop-sleeves before but they are something I will knit again: lovely and easy to insert, not too much shaping, great for knitting while watching TV or walking to work.

The dress was completed 2 nights before the event, and the jacket? Ahem - in the taxi on the way (yes, I did have a crochet hook and pair of snips in my bag all day). But I loved the result and process so much, that I will be making another dress (different style), and aiming to complete another cardigan (that I started 2 years ago ...) for another wedding at the end of July - quite excited again!

And I do plan to show off the rest of my dresses on the blog soon, but as you read earlier it's been an excellently busy and exciting month! Here's to more of the same, and I really hope you are having a lovely summer guys :)