Monday, 31 October 2011

Making the most of work

I’ve been at my new job for a couple of months now and am starting to settle into our new family rhythm with me working more days and longer hours.

I really enjoy my journey into work as I usually get a seat on the tube at some point in my 40 min train ride and this means that I can get some knitting done! So it is good productive ‘me’ knitting time.

The little walk I take from the tube to work is also a pleasure. Being at Oxford Circus means that I walk by some of the flagship stores and get to see some amazing window displays. I’m trying to remember to bring my camera out with my more as I totally missed taking pictures of the brilliant window displays for Wool Week this year. Jigsaw and Liberty had lovely windows and I kicked myself for missing the photo opportunity!

However, I did manage to have my camera on me last week when Claire Nixon was doing a live knitting installation in the shop window of the newly refurbished Oasis flagship store on Argyle Street.

She was showcasing her knitted interior including huge lampshade and footstool, while knitting on over size chairs with supersized yarn and needles. It was cool to see hand knitting live on the highstreet!

Finally the sight that will always bring a smile to my face in the morning:

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Nola Jane

I finished Flo's Nola Jane jumper yesterday and she had a spell of wearing it today. As you can see it looks sooooo cute! Unfortunately I had to take it off of her quite quickly as the pure wool it is knitted in was making her sweat! I think it will have to get very cold very soon for her to get any wear out of it as it's already snug and if she has a growth spurt then it's bye bye Nola Jane.

I really enjoyed this knit. At first the cuff and hem seemed a little excessive as they're doubled up but it really does give the jumper a beautiful structure. I found it really hard to graft the seams under the arms and was left with gaping holes at each end, so I just whipped them together with a few stitches to close them up. This didn't leave a great end result, but it's only under the arms so I wasn't too worried about them. The only modification I made to the pattern was to do just 3 rows of the crochet ruffle as my ruffles came out quite big and I didn't want them bunched up under Flo's chin.

Overall it was a lovely project and I would definitely would knit something from Petit Purls again as all of their designs are totally gorgeous. The colour also really suited Flo and the quality of the yarn makes this jumper something I will be passing down in future. I just wish I had made it a size bigger!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Yumming Bird


So last week I discovered that I work around the corner from the Hummingbird Bakery. I’ve been working my way through the recipes in their most recent book called Cake Days over the last few months and love pretty much every recipe! So I thought that I’d pop in to see what the shop had to offer.

Needless to say it was a lovely little shop with the most beautifully iced cakes on display.  I of course had to buy something and went for a Carrot cupcake. The best thing about it was that they packaged my cupcake up in it’s own little box with a handle! So I skipped back to the office with perfect cupcake box dangling from my hand and straight to the coffee bar for an accompanying Latté. Yes, my office has a proper coffee bar with barista and everything – I am totally jammy in this respect. YUM delicious!

The cake was totally scrumptious and I enjoyed every bite however £2.50 for a cupcake is horrific. Knowing that I could make a batch of 12 for about the same price is sure to keep me out of the shop and in the kitchen. I just need to work on my icing skills.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Free Rapunzel!

Last week I managed to finish the hat my sister in law asked me to make her and she loves it! Well, you’d hope so after she’d chosen the pattern and bought the yarn for it, but it’s always nice to have your handy-work appreciated.

Free Rapunzel was really fun to knit and although I don’t make a lot of things in bulky yarn these days but was lovely to see the knitting growing so speedily out of my needles and to have a project come together so quickly for a change.

The cabled brim was a nice interesting design, with a bit of interest without being mind melting. I also enjoyed knitting the plats down from the ear flaps, which look like simply platted yarn but are actually a long knitted cable. The pom-pom and tassels topped off this funky knit perfectly. Fun to make and definitely fun to wear.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Ally Pally 2011

Today was a good day.

Mum and I met the lovely Annisa on the steps of Ally Pally and we worked the aisles, room by room, scooping up the inspiration by the bucket-load. The student shows provided lots of ideas as usual from recycled materials to knitted furniture.

I kept getting distracted by buttons and fabric as there were so many gorgeous stalls to tempt me in, but I managed to resist, apart from two fat quarters, ahem! The most gorgeous stalls that I have to mention were a couple of little querky makers. Kate Haxell’s stall pulled me in with pure whimsical charm. Her cute jam jar and teacup pin cushions really made me smile.

Then there was Tugba Kop who made me laugh with this old man portrait bag. There were more fantastic leather goods and portraits of old ladies playing bingo on the stall. Her art work is well worth a look.

There was lots of fun at the annual ‘yarn dive’ on the black sheep wools stall. Annisa got stuck in and I nabbed a bargain of 10 balls of Rowan Purelife organic wool for just £14.99 – Score!

My other purchase was from the lovely Millamia girls who had their latest book on sale and their yarn at a discounted price. I of course had to get involved in that and so bought the book and yarn to make Flo a cardigan for next winter.

Also worth a quick mention was an amazing new design I caught on the Purl Alpaca’s stall called Lillian. Another multifunctional knit from these talented people, the garment can be a top, dress or poncho. My favourite is the top variation. So gorgeous.

Another year gone by and another great Knitting and Stitching show. Bring on 2012!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

The Disorganised Knitter

Somehow this year I have totally managed to let Ally Pally creep up on me! I didn’t organise myself a ticket until a week before, how uncharacteristically disorganised of me! Perhaps this year’s show won’t be as much of a military operation as it was last year, although I still maintain the general rules: take a packed lunch, a room at a time, only considered purchases allowed and no panic buying! Some may laugh at these (Nicola) but you’ll be sorry when you miss out on some amazing bargain yarn because you’re fannying about trying to get a sandwich from a kiosk.

This year I have no idea what I’d like to buy so am going to let the show give me inspiration and hopefully not persuade me to spend too much money. I’ll be there on Sunday, so if you happen to see me rummaging through the bargain bins, do say hello!

There are 2 things on my needles at the moment, the Free Rapunzel hat and Nola Jane baby jumper.

The hat I am making as a request from my sister in law who saw it and immediately bought the yarn and handed it over to me to knit for her. The pattern is from Tiny Owl Knits,which is also the website responsible for the current hexipuff craze with the Beekeepers quilt. Thankfully this fabulously sunny weather we're having this week is buying me some time to get it done before the chill sets back in.

The jumper is from the cute as a button Petit Purls and I’m making it for a very deserving Flo. I couldn’t believe it when I realised that I haven’t knitted anything for her since Christmas last year when I made her the stripy babygrow! I should be ashamed! I'm almost ready to join the arms to the body, so I'm quite pleased with my progress. The cuffs and hem are quite ingenious. They are done by crochet cast on, knitting for and inch, doing a row of reverse stocking stitch and then knitting for another inch. You then undo your crochet cast on and knit the cast on edge together with your live stitches to create a perfect little cuff or hem,with the purl stitches creating a neat fold. It's a bit of effort but a lovely result. Flo will just wipe her mouth on it I suspect.

In other news it was our 3rd wedding anniversary last week and the Mr kindly bought me 2 gifts! I got the lovely Great British Bake Off book (for the second series, which I love by the way) and an amazing gold ball of yarn necklace! I totally wasn’t expecting it and it was such a lovely personal gift. Love you Mr!