Caught my eye – Rainbow Dress

I arrived back in Edinburgh to glorious summer weather and seeing as the theme this week has been summer knits I thought I would share this with you.

The Rainbow Dress by George Hallam is a fab little dress that comes in a huge range of sizes from newborn to age 10. These sizes are split over two patterns, which is also available as an ebook for just over £5. Great value considering how many years of wear you would get from these patterns for the little ones in your life.

Clean lines and a stylish A line finish make this dress both practical for active kids and a great blank canvas for showing off gorgeous yarns. The rainbow examples are so fun and bright (I love bright colours for kids). This design could also easily be knitted in solids and semi solids too for a completely different look.

The pattern pages are full of simple modifications that can be made to the dress to add interest and details. Perfect for summer worn alone or later in the year layered with a long sleeve t-shirt. I can see a few of these dresses in my future for my little one.

Copyright Georgie Hallam. Used with permission

Copyright Georgie Hallam. Used with permission

Copyright Georgie Hallam. Used with permission

Copyright Georgie Hallam. Used with permission

Do you have a go-to pattern for the little ones in your life?

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Summer Knitting

It has been a glorious few days here in Scotland and while I am in the midst of knitting a warm woolly sweater I have also been day dreaming about summer knitting. It is the time of year when I want to have light airy tops and something cool between my fingers as I knit. Ravelry is bursting with fabulous summer knits and I thought I would share my pick with you.

The original idea for this post came from my obsession with two summer knits that were released a few months ago. The first is the Folded Lace Tank that was released in April 2014 by Bristol Ivy. It was published in the magazine knit.wear, which never fails to produce a stunning collection of stylish knits. The tank is knitted with Manos del Uruguay Serena a wonderful combination of alpaca and cotton. I am so in love with this top.

Copyright: Interweave Knits. Used with permission from Bristol Ivy.

Copyright: Interweave Knits. Used with permission from Bristol Ivy.

Back in February Pom Pom Quarterly released their Spring magazine and ever since I have toyed with the idea of knitting the Waterlily top by Meghan Fernandes. The sample is knitted from Kettle Yarn Co. ISLINGTON, a silk / wool blend with a fabulous drape and the lustre on silk can provide.

I have seen a few examples of this top knitted up by fellow Ravelers and heard it is a great pattern to work with.

Copyright: Juju Vail. Used with permission from Pom Pom Magazine

Copyright: Juju Vail. Used with permission from Pom Pom Magazine

In true Clare style I have also trawled the pages of Ravelry to find some other gorgeous summer style tops to inspire you.

I really love the clever construction of this summer tee Sun Tea by Laura Aylor. Perfect for using that one special skein of sock for the top / yoke paired with a complementary or contrasting main colour for the body.

Copyright Laura Aylor. Used with permission.

Copyright Laura Aylor. Used with permission.

The clean lines and simple details of these designs make for pretty summer knits that are interesting to work on too.

Laura has also released another fabulous design that has me itching to cast on. Sirocco, a stunning t-shirt stye top knitted in Madeline Tosh Merino Light. I only spotted it this morning and I am smitten. 

Copyright: Laura Aylor. Used with permission.

Copyright: Laura Aylor. Used with permission.

Laura has a 40% discount on her summer knits until June 27th. I might have to stock up on some of her patterns. 

Camelia Tee by PlaySweetMusic uses a merino silk blend, meaning it will be heavenly to wear, soft and so silky. I love the cute little lace details on the shoulders and the shape of the neckline. Beautiful.

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Another silk / wool top with beautiful details is Grace Kelly by Susanna IC, perfect for dressing up and dressing down. This top is a winner all round.

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Fancy something a little lighter? Maybe this one is for you. Mediterranean by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud. Relaxed but stunningly beautiful details make this a real winner in my book. Knitted from lace weight silk and plant fibre it will be perfect for the warmer weather, while equally good over something a little warmer for cooler weather. Another top that can easily be dressed up and dressed down.

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The next two pattern ideas are similar in style but also very distinctive in their own right.

The first is Portico by Sarah Gresbach and comes in both adult and “little people” sizes. This is always a big pull for me. Not that I want to be matchy matchy all the time but I do like the idea of mini versions of the designs I love.

Copyright Sara Gresbach. Used with permission

Copyright Sara Gresbach. Used with permission

Copyright Sara Gresbach. Used with permission

Copyright Sara Gresbach. Used with permission

This top by Stefanie Pollmeier called Nachtfalter was released by Holla Knits, a great cutting edge knitting collection curated by Allyson Dykhuizen

I love the colour, I love the cut, the style, the lace, I love, love, love this top. Need I say more. I think it could easily take you through all the seasons too. Stefanie also designed the Garland sweater that was in Pom Pom and is well worth a look if you want a glamorous autumn / winter sweater.

Copyright Stefanie Pollmeier. Used with permission.

Copyright Stefanie Pollmeier. Used with permission.

Next, a top that I think would be the perfect beach top. It that could easily be dressed up or down for day wear and casual evening wear too. A fabulous holiday knit. I really love this design, Beverly Beach Shirt by Kate Bostwick and have bought the pattern, I just need to decide on some yarn.

Copyright Kate Bostwick. Used with permission.

Copyright Kate Bostwick. Used with permission.

The final top Sophia by Juliet Moody is stylish and has so much promise. Knitted in worsted weight wool it would make a warmer summer top and also a great autumn (and maybe winter) top depending on where you live in the world. Scottish winter – maybe not, but it would have been perfect when I lived in South Africa.

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I know some people stop knitting in the warmer months (or so I have been told). I certainly keep knitting through the seasons, it would take more than some warm weather to pry the needles from my hands. Do you knit in summer? Have you got a special summer project on the go at the moment?

Weekly Round Up #6

Its been a busy weekend here, I still feel like I am walking around with my eyes open but my brain half asleep. It is a very odd feeling. I am fueled up on coffee but soon I will need to reduce the silly amounts of caffeine I have been consuming and return to a more normal coffee intake. Hopefully my brain will wake up in the next few days.

Yesterday was the fabulous Indie-burgh Yarn Crawl organised by Jess from Ginger Twist Studio. I am going to do a separate blog post about that for tomorrow so won’t update you about it here.

This week I thought I would share some events coming up in the next month that I am either attending, or that I thought might be of interest to readers.

First up is an event in a few weeks. Unwind Brighton promises to be a big deal and lots of people are going. I am very excited to be flying to London to stay with a friend and then travelling on to Brighton for the yarn festival. Are you going? I will be at the podcaster meet up on Saturday and then mooching around squishing yarn and nattering with fellow knitters. Can’t wait.

Next up is this coming weekend. I am heading to Glasgow for a knitter’s day filled with adventure. I am meeting some lovely folk and we are going to eat cake and visit two fab yarn shops. Yarn Cake – which does exactly what it says on the box, sells yarn and cake. A genius combination. We are then heading to a new shop called The Queen of Purls. Next week I shall be sharing a full report of yarn squishing and cake consumption.

I am a little disappointed though as I came across a flyer for a great event in Edinburgh. Unfortunately I will be in Glasgow. It’s called Knit the NLS (National Library Scotland) and kicks off at 2pm on Saturday. They plan to ‘yarn bomb’ the NLS. How fab is that? Are you local? Do you think you will pop along? I would love to hear about it if you do.

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I would love to hear if you have ever been involved in a yarn event like this before. Have you made something for a mass yarn exhibition or attending something like the Woollen Woods? 

I would love to hear about your experiences.

 

 

Week in pictures #4

This week we said good-bye to beautiful Canada and hello to sunny Scotland. It is very good to be home.

The blurry photo here is indicative of the way the wedding ceremony went past me – quite literally in a blur. I spent most of the afternoon chasing after a little person whose new favourite word is “no” …. she has a great time though.

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The reception was fantastic, relaxed and really good fun. I got to ride in a yellow school bus and after a certain little person was safety tucked up in her travel cot I have time to have a little dance too.

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The trip home was a little challenging, little people do not take kindly to being woken up at 11pm and put onto a school bus. Alls well that ends well though.

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We had two days in a cabin on the prairies and I used the evenings to try and get some work done. Lots of exciting things coming up in the next few weeks.

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I also finished a relaxing holiday knit. Another Knit Night scarf. I love this pattern so much.

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Then we said good-bye to Canada … and my new favourite (though probably not that healthy) friend Jugo Juice.

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And Scotland welcomed us back with blue skies and sunshine. It feels good to be home.

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My fridge is now full of vegetables as we try to recover from the excesses of holiday eating

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All that is left now is to recover from jet lag, I think this picture sums up how exhausted we all are. A certain little person has spent a lot of time at night rocking and rolling and most mornings refusing to get up. I know how she feels.

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Hope you had a wonderful week. What have you been up to?

Caught my eye – Roundabout

This week I have a special shawl that “Caught My Eye” … Roundabout designed by PondeRosa Wolle. 

I love a slightly different shawl, and this one fits the bill. I think it would also be great for using scraps, either just scraps or as contrast colours with a main colour.

Constructed using short rows and a circular knitting technique, the pattern contains three different sets of instructions giving you lots of flexibility.

The pattern retails for Euro 3.50 which is just shy of £3, a great bargain. I also love the colour combination of the orange and blue. I am really becoming a fan of orange. I see an orange shawl in my future.

Copyright PondeRosa Wolle. Used with permission.

Copyright PondeRosa Wolle. Used with permission.

What is your favourite colour of the moment?

 

Weekly Round Up #5

This week I wanted to share with you what I have been listening to. The holiday has not been a peaceful put your feet up kind of trip so I have not had as much podcast time as I would have liked, but I have found the odd hour here and there to catch up on some old favourites and listen to some newbies.

First up, a new to me podcast – Helen from Curious Handmade is fab! She is an Aussie who lives in london. Her podcast is about knitting, designing, traveling and lots of other bits. She has also taken the bold step of going into the design and crafting business full time. With my upcoming shift to full time freelance work I have found this very interesting to listen to. She has a very active Rav group that I have joined and I have also decided to join in her sweater KAL and can’t wait to get started. 

CuriousHandmade_podcast

Next is my favourite northern las. Jo from the Shinybees podcast is a very dear friend of mine. She has a fantastic sense of humour and her podcast is jam packed with knitting, travel and general bits and bobs. I highly recommend listening. She always has a brilliant pattern pick, this segment always brings a smile to my face. Jo is also half of the duo behind The Golden Skein. If you like luxury yarns in fabulours colours I suggest you pop along to their website and check our their yarn clubs. 

Shinybees_podcast

I also caught up with A Playful Day, another London based podcaster. I really enjoy her podcast, she has a little toddler so I really feel like I can relate to her. This week there was lots of knitting chat that I always find inspiring. The voice behind A Playful Day works closely with many amazing people in the creative craft business so her blog is a great place for insightful articles and finding out a little more about the knitting industry. She also always has stellar give aways and a very active group on Ravelry with plenty of KALS.

APlayfulDay_podcast

Finally I also started catching up on another pod-cast, actually its a vid-cast from a South African knitter, designer and blogger. Pink Hair Girl. She is one of my closest friends and has just started her own vid-cast. I may be slightly biased but I honestly believe it is brilliant and would highly recommend giving it a listen.

PinkHairGirl_podcast

That is all I have had time for this week. There are so many podcasts I love to listen to, I just wish I had more hours in the day to listen to them. What is your favourite podcast or vidcast?

 

 

Week in pictures #3

This week was incredibly busy dotted with some moments of pure bliss. We spent some quality time as a little trio, mainly hanging out in the wonderful local playgrounds here in Canada. Today is the big day – the wedding – and then we will be able to take a deep breath and relax.

Here is a selection of my snaps from this week.

Family days exploring the mountains …

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A moment of adult time sampling the local beers at a craft brewery

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and a day hiking in the mountains without the little one, followed by a slap up lunch.

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Lots of time playing in parks and strolling through the forests with the little tot.

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Stolen moments knitting on my Knit Night …

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Realising my little baby is growing up so quickly …

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My first taste of S-mores … homemade and roasted over the fire

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And today … the big day … looking forward to a good party and hopefully a toddler who has fun and gets some rest too.

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Hope you had a wonderful week ….

 

Success

I am very happy to report that I have managed to secure three extra skeins of the Custom Woolen Mills grey 2 ply! Hooray. Let the sweater swatching commence.

I plan to use the last two days of my holiday, after the wedding is over today to swatch and think about knitting this sweater. It has been a while since I have knitted a garment from a pattern, recently I have so much work related knitting that everything else has fallen by the wayside. Don’t get me wrong – I am very grateful for the wonderful opportunities I have been given recently but I am looking forward to some “me knitting”.

To help keep me motivated I am going to join the “Knit a lovely sweater KAL” being run by Helen from Curious Handmade. I discovered her podcast while I was away and I am hooked. 

Are you knitting a sweater at the moment? Fancy joining me in this KAL?

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What to do with left overs?

I’ve been catching up on podcasts while I have been away and in one of the older episodes of my latest podcast discovery, Curious Handmade she talks about using scraps. We all have left overs and many people have started blankets and other modular projects. I tried and failed to knit a sock yarn blanket a while ago, but the podcast got me thinking about using left overs again. Being the sock obsessed knitters that I am I thought it would be fun to knit socks with the left overs. Each sock could tell such a story because all the yarns would be from so many different projects and encapsulate so many periods of time in my life.

This thought reminded me of these fabulous socks I spotted on Ravelry a while ago and I plan to use them as inspiration for some scrap socks. Tanis from Tanisfiberarts knitted these from small amounts of her own range of DK. 

I love that they are bright, colorful and mismatched. Image the fun you could have trying colour combinations and fun colourwork motifs.

Used with permission. Copyright TanisFiberarts

Used with permission. Copyright TanisFiberarts

Used with permission. Copyright TanisFiberarts

Used with permission. Copyright TanisFiberarts

What do you do with your left overs? I would love to hear about how you use up all the bits and bobs left over from your wonderful projects.

Searching for the perfect match …

Have you ever found a design that you just knew you had to knit, only to find that you could not find the right yarn?

This often happens to me but I usually find a way around it. I am good at substituting yarns and finding something that will work well with a pattern. Usually I can easily find something that will work, but not this time.

I instantly fell in love with this sweater the moment I saw it. Released back in May 2013 by Celily Glowick Macdonald as part of a larger collect Ashore, with Friends. I bought the pattern and immediately starting planning.

The yarn called for is Columbia by Imperial Yarn, a small company based in Oregon. I was not really going to be able to get my hands on it easily so I set about searching for an alternative.

Copyright. Cecily Glowick Macdonald. Image taken from Ravelry pattern pages.

Copyright. Cecily Glowick Macdonald. Image taken from Ravelry pattern pages.

I swatched with the yarn I thought would be perfect and it was a total disaster (admittedly it was the wrong kind of yarn, I was just hoping it would work). I searched for something similar to the Columbia by Imperial and someone kindly recommended Rowan Tweed, I thought it would be good but I was not in love with the idea and the yarn was going to stretch my budget. If I would going to invest that much (which I don’t mind doing) it needed to be true love, and it wasn’t. So the pattern fell by the wayside and I moved on to lots of work knitting.

The pattern sat in my library one of the “could have been” patterns … until yesterday. I had a Eureka moment and all of a sudden I knew what would work with this design. The Custom Woollen Mills yarn that I found on our first road trip in Canada, local mule spun yarn, soft yet rustic. It was perfect!

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The problem is, I only bought two skeins of grey (naturally the sweater is going to be grey) and today at another yarn shop they had three more skeins but they were from a different dye lot. I simply couldn’t risk it. I could cry. So close but yet so far. I hope they have some of the right dye lot in Calgary when we get back there later on. I really need to make this sweater in this yarn it is going to be so perfect.

Have you ever stubbled to find the perfect yarn? Do you often substitute yarns or always stick to the designers recommendation?