tinkerbellknits

Marbling books with the Tarts

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I have to confess I had amazing fun last night. Having done a few random activities recently where I found myself with older groups of people I was starting to wonder if I wasn’t really a 70 year old trapped in a 30 year old’s body. There’s nothing wrong with older people, its just a bit disconcerting to realise all the things I’m interested in and sign up for are generally frequented by people much older than me.

Anyway, back to yesterday. I rushed home from work, a bit fed up having been stuck in traffic for ages. I very nearly collapsed in front of the TV and gave up on moving again for the evening, but instead I nuked some leftovers and legged it back out of the house before I could change my mind.

And I’m glad I did. I went to the local Women’s Institute meeting. Yes, I thought it would be full of the over 50s too; the WI certainly has a perception of being for older ladies. But I went with the impression that any group that is called Tea and Tarts and is on twitter can’t really be that old; or if they are they are cool nonetheless.

I had a fab night. We met ina real ale shop/bar in town and as I walked in I knew I had found that rare group of funky young women who like what I like. I’m not a member of the WI but this was an open session for their craft night. Craft night, in a pub?! Count me in!

The session was on marbling and book binding. So we spent the night dunking card into baths of water and oil based paint to create the marbled covers. These were then given a blast with a hairdryer before being cut and pads created. I have to be honest this was the simplest workshop I’ve been to in ages as the only tricky bit was sewing the paper and card together.

They’re not the neatest but will do for little stocking fillers for family at Christmas (oops I’ve said the C word! :) )

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Tinking Buckland

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I love this jumper by Lisa Richardson. I love the colour and the yarn and I love the pattern – even if i did have to lengthen the torso a bit. However, I wore it a few times earlier in the year and it still seems a bit short still – I like my tops to be quite long.

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So, having put it off all summer, I’m now tinking it before it gets so cold I want to start wearing it again.

I tried unpicking the cast on row and unravelling to the stocking stitch, but this wasn’t as easy as you’d think as it was quite knotted. So it took cutting the yarn at the end of the row of stocking stitch and pulling away the ribbed section and picking up the stitches. This proved much easier.

So here I am knitting downwards. I’m going to add about 15 rows of stocking stitch and then do 10 rows of rib and I’m knitting it circular for speed, although it will mean the seam disappears at the bottom. I have since finished this and the length is loads better but I do have a crease line where I’ve picked up the stitches which I hope disappears when I re-block it.

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Halloween’s come early!!

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If it wasn’t crazy enough that I’d started knitting pumpkins in September for Halloween then it was really lovely to be celebrating early with a surprise parcel from my Tiny Owl knits Halloween swap partner.

When I got home from work on a horrible wet Tuesday to find this left at my neighbours how could I not be a very happy girl?

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The shawl is knitted in Noro Kureyon sock yarn and it is gorgeous and warm.

My swap partner got some bonfire sweets, a couple of mini skeins and a day of the dead pendant. Plus some 100% wool mittens with crochet skulls. I’m not a fantastic crocheter so I felt quite proud I’m managed something other than granny squares.

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Not getting knotted with stranded knitting

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I was very happy to have a whole day knitting with the lovely Ann Kingstone at a stranded knitting course at Spun shop in Huddersfield recently.

The course covered the basics of stranded knitting, but also included the scary art of steeking (eeek!) and applied i-cord. If that wasn’t enough complicated information to absorb at the weekend I had to start with figuring out crochet cast on.

I’m frankly a lazy knitter, and usually stick to my long tail method of casting on as its so far served me well. So if I was going to do a temporary cast on it would be with waste yarn so I could just unpick it later. But with Ann leading the course I was not about to be that lazy. And actually it not that difficult – its just crocheting a chain over a knitting needle which takes the stitch – I should learn to be less lazy!

So here’s the work in progress and the finished result!

Ann has some great clips on her website for some of the techniques, which frankly are too complicated to try to describe. Especially by a knitter who is still a bit overwhelmed by stranded knitting and all that goes with it! (though I am tempted to have a go at a sweater soon)

So here is the project which I started in the class and managed to finish that night.

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Firstly stranded knitting is not something I do often due to the terrible results I’ve had in the past so learning a technique to get the tension right was my first lesson. Yarn in two hands, are you kidding me?!

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Once the main bit was finished it was time to steek – or take a pair of scissors to the knitting that has taken the best part of 5 hours to create. Anne cut it for me as the fear of it all unravelling was too much to bear!

As you can see, if you knit a design in the round you need to create a small panel of extra stitches which can be cut into and then folded behind. Hence the column of red and green stitches.This also helps with carrying across the second colours in each line so you don’t have huge floating stitches at the back of your work.

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Oh good god its unravelling !!!

From here the first job was to get the top edge, still on my needles finished with an applied I-cord and then unpick the cast on edge, pick up the stitches and applied I-cord that end too.

In this photo I have also stabilised the work by crocheting a yellow set of stitches between the design and the extra column of stitches which are there for steeking. This prevents it unravelling (any further) and also adds and edge for where the edge of the work will be folded behind.

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Don’t do the stablising stitches too close to the edge of the actual design as for this cup holder I then needed to pick up stitches between the design and the crocheted line to then create an I-cord edge. This naturally folds over the waste bit of knitting behind.

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Ta dah!

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Early Pumpkins

My garden has not produced any pumpkins or squashes this year, probably due to the lack of time its had from me, so there is only one solution. Knit them!

I found this pattern via Ravelry but here is the Wool Windings blog where you can also find it.

I bought the yarn from Woolyknits my local and favourite yarn store where I can find very cheap 100% yarn for felting. However, this time its not felted completely, but I think I like the effect anyway.

For the larger pumpkin I just doubled the pattern and use the aran yarn doubled on 8mm needles.

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Here’s photos pre-felting.

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Fiddly knitting

Mum hilariously suggested she was 39 this weekend. A Freudian slip or a desire for eternal youth? She’s a long way off that since I’m 32.

Having been a rubbish daughter and failed to buy her something wonderful I took her off to BaaRamEwe in Harrogate for a workshop. Ok, I was taking myself off there as I knew a woolly workshop would make me smile, but mum loves craft stuff so I thought it would work as a birthday present.

Luckily it turned out to be a good decision. She was skeptical when we wandered in the pretty wool shop, but when I reassured her we weren’t knitting as such (and thus this wasn’t a day out just for me) but making jewellry she was much happier.

I however ended up a bit frustrated by the end. Fiddly or what!!

The first project we tackled was a thin beaded bracelet – I think given the fiddly nature of this it should have been our last project but we persevered. It is knitted in habu silk which has a very thin stainless steel fibre running through it which helps it hold its shape. It was fiddly to knit with on 3mm needles as difficult to see the stitches as anything except knots. At least we’d pre-threaded the beads to make it easier.

We both got a bit fed up that it wasn’t growing quick enough so we finished these at home later on.

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I’m still not sure about it, I think it would work nicely as edging to a fabric garment but not sure about it as jewellry.

So we ditched these after lunch and started something simpler. Knitting on only two stitches and placing a bead in between, on every other row these bracelets were much quicker to create.

I gave mine to mum as a present (although I’ve made myself another too)

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I wasn’t sure mum had actually had fun, but she did go home and finish her bracelets so she must have! I’ve converted a quilter to knitting :)

I then spent a couple of hours on bank holiday monday avoiding the rain. I’ve started test knitting the pattern for the fingerless gloves but I’m not going to be able to show you these as they’re top secret until Wessendenwoollies releases the pattern in the new year. The good news is that I’m using the yarn I got from the magic yarn ball swap that Tinyowlknits organised earlier in the year. (I’m keeping my eyes out on Ravelry for another one!)

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Yarn will save the day

Having had a rubbish end to the week in that I failed to get a second interview for my dream job and managed to get the flu too, there is only one thing I intend to do this weekend – that is picking up my knitting needles and finding solace in yarn (though I will fit in a spot of drinking and food with friends too if I’m less contagious).

Its been too long frankly since I spent quality time knitting and if the universe has other plans for me than finding a job and moving house then I am going to settle into the yarn stash and knit. I’ve been struggling to meditate regularly and I think if I just knit then it might have the same effect and if not I’ll at least finally finish the socks I’ve had on the go forever. (I doubt the shawl will be finished though the alpaca might make me sneeze.)

This week hasn’t been a total write off though. A friend from my knitting group – Wessenden woollies’ Sarah Alderson – has asked me to test knit a patterns for some lovely fingerless gloves which she plans to release early next year. When I’m allowed to share pictures I will do.

So I actually have a reason to knit now too. And perhaps buy yarn as well – since my yarn stash doesn’t feature much 4 ply and certainly not in the right colourway. (Come on, its been ages since I bought yarn – at least 3 months – oh my god that’s why I’m feeling unscrewed at the moment!)

Even better, its my mum’s birthday this weekend so I’m dragging her along to a knitting jewellry workshop at BaaRamEwe in Harrogate. Mum is really a quilter but can knit so I hope she doesn’t think the day out is entirely for my benefit!

So hopefully there’ll be some lovely photos to show you soon :)

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