Sunday, 19 March 2017

KNITCRATE march box

I am much more on the ball this month with collecting my missing post and getting my butt in gear to write the blog, so funnily enough, even though last week I introduced you to the February KNITCRATE, I am rather pleased to be able to introduce to the March crate in much better time!

I just this morning picked up the crate from the post office, and I am absolutely over the moon with the contents!! There is a beautiful note card explaining the inspiration behind the theme, colours and choices for this month's KNITCRATE (main box) which are the earthy, deep tones of root vegetables and left over winter stores. Even though we are all moving into spring, we just can't seem to shake off the end of winter, so this box has put a lovely warm, rich spin on that idea.

The 2 skeins included in this month's crate are a delectable selection from Knit One, Crochet Too. The fingering weight yarn is called Crock-O-Dye and is so soft against the skin - 65% superwash wool, 20% nylon and 15% silk, oh man oh man the silk mmmMMMmmmmmm. With 380m per skein, I am looking forward to a lot of knitting with this beautiful wool. The downloadable pattern(s) - generous enough for two this month! - are for shawls, one beginner and one intermediate. I have never knit a shawl before but I have wanted to for so long, and now I can and I can't wait to get started tonight! The colours are a lot darker and deeper than my usual choice, but when I mentioned this to Ben he said that these two will make such a beautiful shawl, and I know he is right and it will be a beautiful, grown-up shawl (if I can say that) - perfect for when this spring weather inevitably turns cold and wet ... oh, look outside it  is now! :)

I was expecting another bath bomb or similar extra goody along with the yarn, so I was pretty excited when I found that it was in fact these adorable sheep stitch markers! They are so cute and lovely!

The box comes with a list of the value of the items in the crate and I am once again very impressed at the quality of the contents, not only for it'd value but for the quality, value, and how excited I am when I first open it to find out what goodies I have to play with!

Don't forget, if you click this link and enter code Geek20 you can save an exclusive 20% off the first month of your subscription! The March box is still open until the end of this month! And if you want to find out a little bit more about this awesome monthly subscription, read my first post about it where I go into a little more detail. 

And now, I am off to start my first ever shawl with the gorgeous wool! Happy Sunday :)

Sunday, 12 March 2017

have you heard of KNITCRATE?

Not too long ago, I was approached by the lovely team at KNITCRATE who asked if I would be interested in working with them to review their monthly subscription box and to offer my reader's a special discount if they were to sign up for the box. My response? Oh, yes yes please!

I am a huge fan of subscription boxes, and I used to be a subscriber to Lootcrate (one for nerds, very good, highly recommended) and for a long time I've wanted to treat myself to another subscription, in particular to knitting if I could manage it. So it was with utter joy that I accepted a subscription to KNITCRATE, and my first box arrived and ... well, just journey with me on the unveiling of the February box.

I couldn't quite believe the quality of the contents of the main box - or Knitcrate - which came in a fabulously bright red parcel (I would have taken a picture, but I was just too darn excited!). Inside were 3 delicious skeins of Mrs. Crosby Loves to Play yarn - Steamer Trunk is 100% superwash Merino wool, and I have THREE skeins of the stuff! It's soft, soft, and did I mention, so so soft? The colours are deep, bold, and the green (named Garden House) is subtly toned throughout as well, so I can't wait to see what it looks like knitted up. It's a worsted/aran weight yarn so it should knit up nice and quick as well - bonus!

And that's not all; a luxury, lavender bath bomb is included as well as a download code for a pattern from Ravelry, which for February is a bag. I myself don't knit bags, but I have the pattern JIC and I might find some other use for this b-e-a-utiful yarn. 
For around $45 I think this is incredible value for money, particularly if - like me - you wouldn't normally treat yourself to such lovely yarn as this so to have it send to your door is a treat. I also plan to thoroughly enjoy my bath bomb tonight with a glass of wine (and watching Yu-Gi-Oh I think ...) 
If you want to sign up to Knitcrate then simply click this link, and if you enter code Geek20 and you will receive 20% off your first month! 
But if this isn't for you, and socks are more your thing (as they are fast becoming mine) then how about Knitcrate Socks?

For the cheaper rate of around $30 you receive a generous a skein of wool perfect for knitting, you guessed it, socks! February saw Mrs. Crosby make an appearance again with Train Case, a generous 100g (425 yards) skein of 55% superwash Merino wool, 15% nylon and 30% viscose which will become a fabulous pair of socks just as soon as I finish the pair of socks currently on my needles. Enchanted Garden is the name of the colourway, which has gorgeous flecks of green and blue running through the cream wool.

As with the main crate, the box (very nice) arrived with a download code for a pattern for a pair of socks (which I will definitely be using) and a bath bomb (to be saved for next Sunday I think!) 

Again if you want to sign up to Knitcrate Socks, or maybe you fancy a crochet crate, a beginner's crate, or something else, you will find it on their website!! Just click this link and make sure to enter my special code Geek20 to receive 20% off your first month! But hurry, you have until 31st March to sign up for March's box.

**Big thanks to KNITCRATE who very kindly sent me these 2 boxes for review. All thoughts, opinions, and gushings of wool-related excitement are my own. Sign up is open on KNITCRATE now for the March box, not February.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

#EnchantedCottageKAL 1

Since taking part in the Spice of Life CAL last year, I've really been looking forward to starting up another yarn-along, and in particular I wanted to try out a knit along (KAL) seeing as I had already tried the crochet scene. So I was delighted when we started a KAL in the latest issue of Knit Now

Issue 71 sees the introduction of the Enchanted Cottage KAL (mmmm that name!) and over the course of the next year, each issue  will reveal a new square that will result in a scrumptious blanket at the end of the project. This is a mystery KAL which makes it all the more exciting, as I have no idea what the finished blanket will look like.

I say each issue has a new square - actually there are 3, because there are 3 blankets to choose from! Acorn Cottage is great for beginners, and is knit in WYS Aire Valley DK. Blackberry Cottage is perfect for knitters with a little more experience under their belt, knitted with WYS Bluefaced Leicester DK. And finally, the blanket I am working on, is Hyacinth Cottage, one for the creative/experienced knitter who would like a little bit of a challenge with each square. This is knitted with WYS Illustrious, a scrumptions 70% Falkland Wool 30% British Alpaca wool that is b-e-a-utiful to knit with! It's so smooth and SOO SOFT - I had so much fun knitting the first square!

The first square is the galaxy spiral, an absolutely fascinating design that is knit in the round from the centre out. The knit and purl ridges make this wonderful texture that is so mesmerising to look at - seriously, when I finished I couldn't stop looking at it, and every time someone came over this week I just had to thrust the square under their nose! The pattern recommends beginning with DPNs and then moving onto circular needles, but I found it just as easy to start on the circular's with the magic loop method. It was so so much fun to knit, simple repetition but with the challenge of increasing steadily, yarn overs, and also a 3 stitch increase that I rather enjoyed once I read the pattern correctly.

I loved it so much, that I decide to knit a second.

That's the beauty of this KAL - 1 square a month will give you a blanket, and 2 squares a month will give you a bigger blanket, score! I've set myself up for knitting 2 a month, as I love to snuggle in as large a blanket as possible. That, and my tension is very tight, so where finished squares ought to finish measuring 20cm across, mine are closer to 15cm. But that won't matter as long as I keep it consistent (probably should knit a tension square - learn from my error people!).

This is going to be a nice pile of squares soon, and after that, a blanket yes yes!

Are you joining in the KAL? You can find out some more information on the #EnchantedCottageKAL on the Knit Now website, and of course make sure you grab issue 71 from your local shop or online so you can get started! I'm going to be updating my progress on the blog, and I will aim to have my squares up not long after the next instalment is available so you will have plenty of time to knit along with me! 

PS - sign up for the #biggeekyswap is still open! Sign up closes next weekend, so hurry if you want to join in! Find out more about the swap here, and click the button on the right to sign up! See you there!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

free knitting patterns - teddy bear hats

As promised, I am delighted to bring you two free knitting patterns for a set of teddy bear hats, the first designed for a beginner knitter, and the second for knitters with a little more confidence! Again I would love to say a quick thank you to La Petite Epicerie who so wonderfully provided the yarn for these patterns and the below step by step tutorial! You will soon be able to see the tutorials over on their website too, but in the meantime you can always buy the yarn you need from them -  links in the patterns below.