crafting · Knitting

Today I’m Making… Fuss Free Festival Shawl


I am a member of the excellent FaceBook group Everyday Knitter run by the knitting designer Louise Tilbrook.  I’ve watched for ages people making her simple garter knit shawl and finally got around to casting one on while on holiday in Bulgaria last month.  To be honest I didn’t really enjoy the holiday so I was glad of it.  It was like a home for sausage obsessed grumps.

It is a very simple design so perfect for showing off a nice interesting yarn, and because it’s lovely and simple to knit it is perfect for holidays and knitting in front of the telly.


I am making mine using 200g of DK yarn, its a Rico Design Creative Galaxy that I bought in a sale at Pack Lane Wools in Basingstoke earlier this year.  I’m pretty sure I only paid a couple of pounds for it. It’s lovely yarn, really soft and a little bit fuzzy which offsets any scratchiness you might have felt from the hundreds and hundreds of little holographic sequins it is shot through with.  The pattern only asks for 100g of sock yarn but I love a big snuggly shawl so I’m doubling up and using DK. This is mine at the half way point.


So far I have knitted it on holiday by the pool in Bulgaria, in front of the telly at home, commuting to work by train and at my new Saturday afternoon knitting group at the library café in Fleet, Hampshire.  Tomorrow I have a hospitable appointment I am frankly dreading so I’m going to take it with me as a sort of comforter.

Here is a link to my one on Ravelry, where you can also buy the pattern though I think Louise is still sending you a free one if you sign up to her newsletter so check that out first!img_0394


crafting · Knitting

Today I’m Making… Fireflies Rising Shawl

This year for the first time I’ve managed to remember to buy a ticket for Yarn in the City’s Great London Yarn Crawl, this is their fifth year anniversary so I’m counting myself as double-lucky for bagging a ticket on the Metropolitan route.  Do have a look, it is going to be fantastic and I’m not just telling you this because I’m so pleased with myself, sometimes they get a cancellation so keep an eye on their Ravelry thread for ticket swaps.

Yarn in the City have a KAL for the yarn crawl, its the gorgeous Fireflies Rising shawlette by Helen Stewart, and at the time I bought it she was donating money to the charity Refuge which pretty much decided it for me.  One of the things I love about this pattern is she has a column showing in percentages how far you are along, I’ve just passed the 55% mark, I’m on 107 with 321 stitches on the needle!


A row is taking a fair old while to complete now so I’m not knitting this on the train to work anymore. Though thinking about it I travel in to Waterloo and with the huge engineering works in August I might well have time to do 3 rows per journey and read 50 pages of my book.  If I get a seat.

My yarn is from Once Upon a Time Skeins, who is a local indie dyer based in Basingstoke which isn’t that far from me but I don’t think she sells in any local shops.  I bought my skeins directly from her (she’s lovely) at the Yarnporium.  There is only one more skein left of the colour I’m on now and I had been wishing I’d made the shawlette just from this colour because its all lovely gingerish shades and knits so beautifully.  I’m going back to my natural red hair too so I think its going to look really nice on. The thing is, I’ve just spotted someone else has finished one in a very similar colour and it looks incredible, but, that means mine is still unique so I’m happy to stick with what I have now.

This pattern is such a joy to knit I’m very tempted to cast on another one straight after finishing this one. The fireflies are some very easy and satisfying yarn overs and double decreases, though having said that when I did the first set I made an almighty mess of it through trying to do it late at night after wine.  I pulled it back and redid it and just look how great it looks even before blocking, its a bit cableish looking while its on the needles.



I’m still trying to match my nails to my knitting and doing pretty well I think. I’m all up to date with snood orders too so no sudden nail colour changes to contend with.


I really want to wear mine on the day so please keep your fingers crossed for me that it doesn’t rain on 9th September and if you’re on the same route as me I am looking forward to meet you on the 9th and dying to hit the shops.





crafting · Knitting


I think I’m falling out of love with knitting shawls. I’ve knitted quite a few and have two on the go now and have about a dozen in waiting.  They’re fantastic projects, great for showing off lovely hand dyed and hand spun yarns and are fun to knit, but still, how many shawls can you ever need? Or give away?

Does anyone knit garments any more? Lets not include socks, though I love knitting those too but I’ve got a bit of a sock-saturation problem too.

My main problem with shawls is the shape,  I just don’t think the variations on a triangle are flattering, I much prefer a capelet or a good honest scarf and I find if I knit a proper shawl I just don’t wear it.  I’m craving a sleeve, a nice wide sleeve that I pull over whatever I’m wearing for a bit of extra warmth sort of kimono style.  I think I’ll have to design my own shawl/cardigans.

I’m so tempted to unpick the one I’ve been knitting all day today but I’ve knitted to the point where I have 400+ sts so that’s a lot of knitting to turn my back on.  Arrrgh I don’t know what to do!!! Oh knickers to it, I think some of my increases are a bit wonky anyway.  WIN_20160316_13_28_45_Pro

crafting · Knitting

Today I’m Making – Hitchhiker shawlette #3

Today is my day off and I have promised myself I will finish three things today, the first is wash and iron my uniform for the rest of the week, which I’ve half completed i.e. I haven’t switched on the iron yet. No rush eh?  The other two things I have to finish are the book I’ve been reading for far too long  – Donna Tartt’s The Secret History and my Hitchhiker shawlette.  I’ve made two in the past, one in the same yarn but a different colour (black, white and grey) and one in I Knit London’s incredible hand-dyed Pool Party yarn.


I know, everyone makes Martina Behm’s Hitchhiker  but its such a great pattern, so simple and enjoyable to knit and it lends itself so perfectly to variegated yarns.  The yarn is a James C Brett called Moonlight Sonata, I don’t think they make it anymore, its a bit fuzzy and has silver lurex thread running through it, they say it is a DK but it is much closer to a 4 ply.  Its a shame if they don’t make it anymore because it is lovely to work with.


I love my Knit Pro needles too, I resisted buying them for such a long time because I really don’t get on with bamboo needles and I thought they would be the same but now I’ve got some I don’t want to use anything else, they’re an absolute delight.

Now I’m near the end I have to think about the bind off method, I’ve had a look though my Cast On, Bind Off book, which I can’t recommend enough but in the end with the small amount of yarn I have left and not wanting to spoil the design by adding fussiness I’m going to use a standard bind off to give a neat straight edge.


Happily I should finish my book today too, I’ve only got the epilogue left.  Its a great read if you haven’t read it I do recommend it, I used to read a book a month but now that I don’t commute into London anymore this is the only book I’ve read so far this year I think which is a bit shocking for me.  The story is really gripping, I’m not giving anything away that isn’t revealed on the first page if I tell you its about a group of students that murder one of their friends, how they cover it up as an accident and the psychological damage it does to them and those around them.  Fantastic book.

I haven’t left the house yet today and as it has just started raining it doesn’t look like I’ll be wandering far from the sofa yet.

crafting · Knitting · knitting group

Today I’m Making – Wapiti Shawl by Cabinfour

I bought this gorgeous yarn from I Knit London about a month ago, Its the Shangri La hand dyed merinimageo in Pool Party which is a soft white with teal and turquoise. Its very much like a Greek holiday with the little white houses, the blue of the sea and sky and that gorgeous blue they use for window frames and doors. I love it and want to make something special with it.

And that is where my trouble started.  First of all I intended to make a Hitchhiker scarf but I’ve made one of those before and for no reason other than that I went off the idea. Well, if I’m honest there is another reason, I know someone else who made one a few years ago and hers was really baggy and she wears saggy old 80’s dippy hippy clothes and she put me off.

I’d seen a lovely shawl pattern called Knit Night that has lovely beaded picot edges and is designed to show off hand dyed yarn so I started making that.  A couple of false starts later and I was away.  I’ve started going to the Thursday knitting group at I Knit London so I took it along.  Beaded knitting gripping a small tube of beads between your knees drinking Swedish fruit cider made me realise I might not have thought this through properly and the beads were all the wrong colour and made the picots look scruffy.  Shawl #1 frogged.

Then I decided I’d still make the Knit Night shawl, just without the beads.  Marvellous.  Not very far in I got bored with garter stitch and thought my picots were too close together.  Shawl #2 frogged.

Started again with a an off the cuff variation of Knit Night, I spaced the picots out a bit more and imagethrew in some random stocking stitch to show off the yarn more.  This was really good and I was really happy with it, took it along to the Knit Night and another bottle of cider later realised it was getting enormously long and not at all deep because I was using smaller needles than the original Knit Night pattern and my extended spacing between the picots was short-changing the depth. I was into the second hank of yarn and over 500 stitches per row by now so to give up would be a big decision and a bit of a trauma with all the rewinding and so on…. Shawl #3 frogged.

Where did I see the Wapiti shawl by Cabinfour?  Its on Ravelry here:Wapiti Shawl. It has a lot of garter stitch in it aimagend nothing fancy to distract you from the yarn. Nearly everyone else has done theirs in two solid colours. I’m hoping that the mixture of garter and stocking stitch shows through enough against the colour changes.

Look, if it doesn’t work out, I can always go back to the Hitchhiker.  You can’t go wrong with Hitchhiker.  .