Shawl Knitting is Brilliant! And so is podcasting :)

I’ll start with a quick plug of my latest podcast episode (number 5)…..just in case you want to take a look! ……

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….I’ll put the show notes right at the end of this blog post……

……but if you’re just here for the blog, then here’s what I’ve been up to in the last few weeks……

Firstly, the weather has turned glorious and so the making of silage has commenced in earnest on the farm! Here’s one of The Men frantically collecting the cut grass from the paddocks before the rain came! I waved from my vegetable patch…..oh, to drive a tractor! It’s on my list…..(well, I’d settle for a ride on mower actually! Look at how much grass I had to cut this weekend! That’s only a third of it! Why did I tell the Estate gardener I’d like to cut my own grass?!)

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…..the guinea pigs moved into their summer residence, and settled in very nicely. They are really enjoying making tunnels in the long grass and doing alternate bouts of grazing, napping, grazing, napping! The operation was of course overseen by Charlie…..

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…..notice how I abandoned the grass cutting after not very much grass cutting at all?! If only I had twenty more guinea pigs and a couple of Alpacas, that would surely solve the problem!

I sowed a bed of cottage garden flowers…..here’s the project in the preparation stages….(this is no half-hearted attempt! I’ve got netting and everything!)

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…and here it is with seeds scattered and chicken-defence-netting in place!

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It seems to be doing the trick, the only thing I have to worry about now is slugs! I’m going to try nematodes! I dare not put down slug pellets as the dog might eat them (not to mention all the wildlife). Cross your fingers for me! I so want a beautiful bed of flowers here, to feed the bees and butterflies and bring lots of beautiful colour and scent into my garden!

Here’s what will hopefully spring up in the next few days…..

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These packets of seeds were only 99p each from my local farm stores! I picked my favourites…..I also have some sun flowers germinating in the greenhouse – they can go out when they are bigger!
I’m so excited to be out, working in the garden again….we have had to wait a long time this year in the UK, the winter was long and Spring took a while to arrive! But that all seems in the distant past now, with the sun shining and the grass going crazy! Next stop, vegetable patch! I’ve got beans, peas and chard to plant out! Hurray for summer!

I’ll pop a few more pictures of the garden and farm on the ‘Loop and bar Garden’ page (see in the menu bar at the top of the home page) – for anyone who may be interested to see more!

I’ve been busy with my knitting and sewing too! I’ve been really enjoying being part of the Mandarine’s Shawl KAL over on Ravelry……here’s how big my shawl is now…..

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I’ve made a lot of progress on this over the weekend, after a bit of a repeated stop-start! This is owing to the wonderful, magical super-brilliant using of the stitch markers after every lace repeat. Why oh why did I not take the advice of my lovely new friend and Canopy Buddy (That’s Antonella, of Diary of a Yarnaholic podcast), and Melody (advising another KAL participant) to place the markers at every repeat, right at the start? Who knows. All I know is, it’s the way forward and I’ll be doing this for every lace project I ever do in the future! It makes such a massive difference to the success of each lace row! I’m whizzing ahead now, nearly at the applied border – can’t wait for that:) This project is a great learning one for me, there are new techniques and stitches and I’m learning a lot about what effects different stitches give to a piece of work – especially now that I’m using the markers, as I can concentrate more on what the stitches are doing in the pattern rather than stressing about if I will get to the end of the row with the right stitch count!
I’m also loving the yarn now…….I was worried at the start of the project that I’d made a bad yarn choice for the stitch pattern (I’m using Sulka Nina by Mirasol) and I would choose a smoother, less ‘haloed’ yarn if I do this shawl again, as suggested by Melody in the pattern, but I think this has worked out ok, especially now that I have worked the longer sections of the lace repeats – the lace pattern can be seen more clearly now! I am really enjoying this pattern and the interaction on the KAL has been fantastic – lots of friendly people sharing their lovely shawl progress and helping each other out! It’s a great way to make friends in the knitting community. I may have to do another Canopy for the Autumn, in different yarn and colour, to add to my growing shawl collection……

…speaking of which……

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…Here is my second shawl project, and I’m loving every stitch of this one too! It’s the ‘Andrea’s Shawl’ and I’m knitting this in ‘The Uncommon Thread’ BFL single – I LOVE this yarn so much! I want to make everything with it! It’s working very well with the pattern although it is a lot finer than the suggested yarn weight, so I’m getting a much smaller shawl that the pattern would normally result in…but that’s ok. I now know that if I knit this again with a similar weight yarn, I can easily add in a few more lace repeats to make it larger.

I’ve been sewing too……

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I ordered labels……

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…..and made more project bags! My new favourite thing….apart from shawl knitting and stitch markers, that is…….

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I didn’t manage to get any really decent pictures of the bags this morning, in a bit of a rush as usual, so I will show them in the next post (or you could take a look at the latest podcast episode and see them on there!)…..but here is one of them…….

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…..and it’s housing my Mystery WIP!……..

I’m working on a small project that I’m calling the Mystery WIP – I’ve showed it on the podcast, but wanted to share it here too……when I came across this pattern I just absolutely HAD to make it! I am using the beautiful Jamiesons of Shetland spindrift yarn for this, because I love this yarn and there are so many colours in the range – it was ideal for getting the colours to match those in the original pattern.

The idea of the Mystery WIP is simply that I’m showing a WIP but not telling what the pattern is until I show the finished thing! Just a bit of fun! Maybe you can guess what it is going to be? Here it is so far…..

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The main part of the item is knitted in this beautiful peacock blue colour, in two parts, and joined at the top. I will be joining on the next colour after this row. You may have noticed a cheeky little novelty yarn in the picture! Does this give any clues? Any ideas, anyone?

I will of course give full pattern details and credit when I show the finished item in the next couple of posts / podcasts. I can’t wait to finish it! Watch this space :) ……

……and finally……….

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….the big rug re-make is complete! Shortly after taking this (slightly fuzzy and out-of-focus) picture, as predicted, Charlie came in and plonked herself down on it and went to sleep! So it’s being put into immediate use by it’s previous owner, who seems very happy to have it back (albeit in a different shape!) I love this rug now – it’s really squishy and a much closer gauge than it was previously. I really do prefer the colours in blocks as they are now, rather than in one-row stripes – it was too busy before. I’m really pleased I did this and enjoyed working with my giant crochet hook again! I may need to make another in the near future!

Podcast show notes:

Welsh Word of the episode:
Gweill – knitting needles (plural)
Gwaell – one knitting (singular)
Nodwydd – sewing needle

Shawls:
Andrea’s Shawl , knitted in Mirasol Sulka Nina, colourway ‘Bark’
Canopy, being knitted in The Uncommon Thread, BFL, colourway ‘Attic Room’

Knitting shop mentioned: The wonderful Loop in London……www.loopknittinshop.com

Addi Click review by Sarah from Crafts From the Cwtch……the review can be seen here

Podcasters mentioned:

Shara from What Shara Made (podcast) and website/etsy shop

Antonella from The Diary of a Yarnaholic podcast

Melody of Mandarines podcast

Mystery WIP – yarn: Jamiesons of Shetland spindrift – I want all of the yarn from this website.

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