My first blog tour: Bake Knit Sew By Evin Bail O’Keeffe

I’m so excited to be taking part in my first ever blog tour. Evin, the designer behind the award-winning blog EvinOK, has created a beautiful recipe and craft annual featuring (as the name suggests) recipes, knitting designs and sewing patterns, divided by season. Bake Knit Sew is available digitally, as well as in paperback. It features over 80 full-color pages devoted to this seasonal collection of recipes and patterns, as well as two photocopy-ready templates for sewing projects (bunting and felt mittens) and a resource list.

Keating Hat by Evin Bail O'KeeffeFor this leg of the blog tour I’m focusing on the knitting patterns, but I have to say that the recipes made my tummy rumble so I’ll definitely be doing some baking soon (lime poppy seed scones anyone?) and I think the bunting would make a nice first sewing project if I ever decide to take on another hobby (who doesn’t love bunting!). One of my favourite knitting patterns is a gorgeous, slouchy hat – the simple design makes it perfect for showing off some beautiful DK weight hand dyed yarns.

Cobblestone Boot Toppers by Evin Bail O'KeeffeI also really love the Cobblestone Boot Toppers. I love wearing boots in winter and adding some boot cuffs is a great way to add some colour and texture to an outfit. These boot toppers are knit with Aran weight yarn so would be a nice quick knit, great for Christmas presents. (I know! I said the ‘C’ word in November).

Falling Petals Lace Shawl by Evin Bail O'KeeffeRegular readers will know that I love knitting shawls. So it’s no surprise that the Falling Petals Lace Shawl caught my eye. This is a lace weight shawl, but I would probably knit this in fingering weight, or even DK weight for an extra layer of warmth in the winter. The relatively straightforward lace pattern (written and charted) would be a great first shawl for a beginner, but looks so delicate so you can impress your friends and family with your talent.

Evin is generously offering my readers a 10% discount on Bake Knit Sew. Head over to get your copy of the eBook on Ravelry or a signed paperback directly from the publisher. Simply use the discount code BLOGTOUR for 10% off. Thanks Evin!

Giveaway

Evin is also offering a free ecopy of her book to one lucky reader. To enter leave a comment below by 4:00 p.m. GMT Saturday, November 22, 2014, telling me which of the designs you would want to make or recipes you want to bake to be in with a chance to win an ecopy of the ebook. Your comment also counts as entry to win one signed paperback copy of Bake Knit Sew being given away on the 22nd of November to one lucky reader on this blog tour.

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Winner must have a valid email address or Ravelry account. Value of the prize is $16.00. No cash equivalent will be offered. 

Blog Tour Schedule

If you want to read more about the knitting patterns, recipes or sewing patterns head over to the other blogs on the tour.

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Seeking Inspriation

I’ve been trying to write a blog post for some time now. But I seem to be lacking inspiration. Or perhaps motivation. I’m not sure. I’ve also been feeling some blog envy recently, there are some beautiful sites out there. But rather than being inspired by them, I feel instead a bit dejected that I don’t have the skills to make my blog what I would like it to be. Or maybe I just haven’t given it enough attention yet. Whatever the reason, blog posts have been started but none finished.

But I have been knitting.In the last week or so I have finally put the finishing touches to two dog jumpers and one human hat. But the weather has been too warm recently to ask the dogs to model warm jumpers for my amusement so I don’t have any FOs to show off at the moment.

Yarn 001I am still working away on my Winnow and I’m on to the border now. This is going to take forever. Forever. But it will be beautiful and it will be worth it.

Yarn 031And finally I had a good root through my stash to put together a donation to HandmAid. This is a fabulous craft day in aid of Laura Lynn Hospice. As well as being for a worthy cause it’s also a really fun day out. I’d encourage anyone in the Dublin area on September 27th 2014 to pop along.

I’ll get my blogging mojo back soon I hope. Is this something you have experienced as a blogger?

Knitspiration: Winnowing

I’ve been neglecting my blog recently, but not neglecting my knitting. So I should have several projects to share over the next little while. (That reminds me I have several projects that need less than half an hour of finishing each before they are actually finished, a job for this weekend…)

Anyway, I suspect I’m not alone in spending waaay too much time browsing patterns and projects on Ravelry before I choose my next project. So I thought why not share those projects which have inspired me on my blog? I think I’m going to make this a regular feature on my blog.

I’m currently working my way (slowly) through Winnowing by Bristol Ivy.I’m knitting it in Coolree Alpaca/Silk/Cashmere 4ply in Camelia.Here are some of the projects that inspired me to knit my own Winnowing.

luminen's winnowingI love the light shining through the knitted fabric in this photo. [luminen’s winnowing]

leighsideknits' A Straw ShawlI just love the colour of this shawl, I’m going through an ochre/mustard phase at the moment. [leighsideknits’ A Straw Shawl]

sarahbird22's WinnowingOne of the things I love about this shawl is that it looks so wearable, I’ll be able to wear it around my shoulders for a bit of extra warmth when the temperature drops.[sarahbird22’s Winnowing]

alfanhui14's Winnowing WheatSee how wearable this shawl is? And I’ve just realised I’ve chosen two yellow and two grey projects which are both colours I’m drawn to at the moment. [alfanhui14’s Winnowing Wheat]

Where do you go for knitting inspiration?

(Permission has kindly been granted by each of the knitters to share their project)

A quick photoshoot in Marley Park

046I met a friend recently for a walk and a coffee in my local park. I brought my latest knitting project along, Sweet Dreams by Boo Knits, to get some photos of it. I often forget that there is a beautiful walled garden behind the coffee shop in the park because dogs are not allowed, but today we ventured in (having left Ollie and Mia briefly in the car).

042It’s a small walled garden but really beautiful. And what photographer can resist a bike leaning up against a wall? We also met this guy in the courtyard, he kept shaking his feathers at us in a suggestive way so I took a few quick snaps and then moved cautiously away.

006

The shawl itself is knit in Louisa Harding Orielle in Ice and I used 4 skeins. I ran out of yarn about two rows into the final chart so hightailed it into This Is Knit where the staff helped me pick out Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply in Slate to finish the last few rows. Orielle is technically a DK weight and the Fyberspates a 4ply, but both are closer to a Sport weight so they worked beautifully together. The Orielle has a sparkle woven into the yarn and the sheen from the silk in the Fyberspates give it a very elegant air.

031I wanted to wear this shawl to a wedding of a knitter friend of mine and managed to finished it at 11am the morning of the wedding. The picot bind off took around 5 hours to complete. If I never see another picot again it will be too soon. But the effect is beautiful. I gave the shawl a quick block and dried it as best I could with a hairdryer before the wedding but it needed a proper block when I got home.

038This fabulous model was tucked in behind a tree in the walled garden and willingly obliged as I took a few photos. The grey in the shawl will go with so many of my ‘good’ dresses and the alpaca in the Orielle is very warm so I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of this shawl. The crescent shape sits very comfortably on my shoulders so I’m really happy with the final product.

 

Following my own arrow

I’m just back from an exciting trip to New York where I got to walk in the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade with Finglas Concert and Marching Band. As well as the parade we visited the New York Public Library and two gorgeous yarn shops. But more on those in a later blog post.

Before we headed away I finished my Follow your arrow mystery kal by Ysolda Teague.

NYC2014 028The experience of a ‘mystery’ knit along was new to me and I learned a lot in the process. First of all the mystery part of it was more difficult than I expected. I found myself peeking at the pictures in the spoilers threads on Ravelry before deciding which clue to choose. And in the case of Clue 4 I didn’t cheat, but ended up ripping back the clue and starting it again as I wasn’t happy with the result.

I did enjoy the knit along aspect of the project, watching all the photos of the different option – how the different clues interacted and the colour and clue choices that other knitters where opting for. I don’t know if I’ll do a mystery knit along again but I did like having options in the pattern.

NYC2014 041I ended up with an AABBA shawl and I really love it. It blocked huge but with some wear the Coolree has unblocked somewhat and it’s very wearable. It’s also big enough to throw over my shoulders if I need a bit more warmth. Despite my inability to stick to the mystery part of the pattern, I’m really happy with the final shawl.

Clue 2

Just a quick post today…

IrishArrowKAL 001I finished Clue 2 of the Follow Your Arrow KAL during the week. I chose to do the lace pattern (clue 2A) on top of the kite shape (clue 1A). I’m not sure yet how I feel about my shawl. It’s interesting, but I’m not sure I’m in love with it yet. I love knitting lace, and I love complicated, mind-bending lace. This was pretty simple for me I have to admit, even a bit boring. I decided against the short rows because (after sneaking a peak at the Spoiler thread on Ravelry) I didn’t really like the shape it created.

IrishArrowKAL 009What I do really love about the KAL is seeing how different all the shawls are turning out. I’m pleasantly surprised at how different each option is. I guess I wasn’t expecting that. Each option creates a completely different shape.

I’ve had the quickest look at Clue 3 this morning and both options are lace, which makes me excited. I’ll probably have  a sneak at the spoiler thread though before I decide which option I’m going with. It turns out I’m not as comfortable with the whole ‘mystery’ aspect as I thought I would be.

A New Year Knit-A-Long

Happy New Year everyone and I hope you had a lovely Christmas. I had a wonderful two and a bit weeks off, eating and drinking and relaxing and eating and drinking some more. I spent some lovely evenings with my family and with my friends and I slept, a lot. It was wonderful.

Just before heading back to work there was some chatter on Twitter about a new mystery knit-a-long (KAL) run by Ysolda Teague. I really enjoyed last year’s Colour Affection KAL, it was fun to be working on the same project as my knitter friends, but I’m sceptical of mystery KALs. What if I don’t like the pattern? But the twist to this one is that for each of the five clues there are two options, making 32 different options, so I’m sure I’ll knit a shawl I’m happy with. And I know Ysolda’s patterns are really well written. So I gave into (the nice kind of) peer pressure and signed up for the KAL.

followyourarrow_square_medium2So with the pattern purchased it was time to turn to yarn options. The pattern requires 622m of fingering weight yarn, which means two skeins of most yarns. I bought some delicious Coolree merino/silk at the Knitting and Stitching show in a colour called Baltic. It’s a divine blue green depending on what light you look at it in, but there was no more of this colour on the Coolree website. So I headed into  This Is Knit today to look at some options.

HokusaiI ended up picking up some more Coolree merino/silk in a colour called Hokusai’s Wave, which I already had a skein of at home having ripped out my Renita shawl. But when I got home I realised that it’s actually the same as the Baltic rather than my other skein of Hokusai’s Wave, which I bought over a year ago now. So yay! I’m delighted because it really has the most amazing teals as well as blues in the yarn, it’s really beautiful. I won’t be at home in the daylight again until Saturday (goddamn you January) so the photo above is from the Coolree website. Even this photo doesn’t show off the beautiful teal-y blues of the yarn.

I’m really looking forward to casting on next Monday and I’ll try to keep my blog updated with my progress. Is anyone else joining the KAL? What yarn have you chosen?

First Stitches in Shetland Lace

Last weekend, my local yarn shop This Is Knit, organised a workshop on Shetland Lace with Gudrun Johnson. The class was really interesting. Gudrun began by explaining the construction used in Shetland lace, and then as we began work on our garter triangle, explained the history behind it. I found this really fascinating, it’s such an integral part of their heritage. I found some photos on the Shetland museum and archives website if you’re interested in seeing some historical examples. I love learning more about the history of knitting, it helps me feel connected to the past and particularly to the generations of my family who would have knitted to supplement their income.

As the workshop progressed we added to the body of our shawls and then added an edging. This is a mini version of Gudrun’s design Flukra and it’s really beautiful, with lace losenges. She recommended a pure wool yarn so I chose Shetland 2ply Jumper Weight in pink. Hmm, I don’t think I’ll be knitting with pure wool again, I’m all about the soft yarns, mmmm alpaca. But anyway….

MiaI didn’t get my shawl finished during the class but decided to finish it at home. Initially I thought I might frame it, as a piece of yarny art (and I think I’ll still do that with another lace swatch). But when it was blocked I realised it was the perfect size for my dog Mia. She loves dressing up. So now it’s her shawl and she loves it.

I hope Gudrun doesn’t mind me putting her beautiful design on my dog. I think it’s super cute on Mia and she got so much attention in the park today wearing it. I’m still going to knit some Shetland lace for myself. I’ve chosen Loren, especially after seeing this beautiful version on the This Is Knit blog. Isn’t it beautiful?

Have you ever knit a Shetland lace shawl? Or have a knitting tradition where you come from?

My Paris

Paris08 124Paris08 098

Paris is one of my favourite cities. I just love the style and the architecture, the food, the language, but mostly the vibe. I love wandering the streets, soaking it all in. Sipping coffee and nibbling at a croissant, watching the world go by. Paris has a rhythm all of it’s own and I have been hypnotised by it. This pattern was called French Cancan and it immediate reminded me of the elegance and style of Paris.

My Paris 003A couple of things drew me to this pattern. First, the beautiful photos provided by the designer caught my eye on Pinterest, I was drawn in by that beautiful cable.

It’s also the same shape as my Colour Affection that I wore so often before the weather got too warm. And finally because I’m working on a group thesis at the moment garter is about all I can manage at the moment.

My Paris 041The yarn is Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply which is closer to a Sport weight than Fingering weight. The merino is so soft and the silk gives it a lovely sheen. This shawl was calling out for a muted, more natural colour than I’ve knit with recently so I chose the colourway Water. I think it will fit nicely into my wardrobe as so many of my other shawls are quite bright. It’s filling a gap.

The love yarn, love the pattern, love the result.

Sunshine on a Sunny Day

I was about to type we’ve been having some unseasonably warm weather. However, it’s exactly the weather you might expect for early June, except it’s been a few years since we’ve had such a good stretch of sunny weather. Or at least that’s how it feels.

Sunflower shawl 055As I mentioned in a previous post I treated myself to some Coolree Merino Silk fingering weight in Sienna Yellows. Sunflowers have always been one of my favourite flowers. I’m also slightly obsessed with chevron patterns at the moment. And, ochre yellow is my current favourite colour, so this Sunflower Shawl pattern felt like fate. I love the yarn, I love the colour and I love the pattern.

Sunflower shawl 037The pattern is really well written and lovely to knit. The designer gives instruction for lace weight, fingering weight and DK, in two different sizes. The pattern said I would need 550 yards of fingering, while I only had about 440 yards. But I felt I could skip a few pattern repeats and not run out of yarn. So I carefully measured my remaining yarn after each repeat.

Beginning 105g
A+B (1)=98g
A+B (2)=93g
A+B (3)=86g
C=77g
D (1-18) x1=60g
D (19-26)=52g
D (1-18) x2=30g
E=17g

Sunflower shawl 032I repeated chart B three times instead of four. When I realised I was going to have enough yarn to do the fourth repeat I was tempted to rip back and add in the fourth repeat, however as I was about to start chart E I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. So I would have had enough yarn despite the fact that the the pattern suggested I needed a lot more.

Ah well, I’m still so happy with the finished shawl. It’s perfect for this glorious weather and I hope when the clouds inevitably return it will be lovely to be able to inject a bit of sunshine into an outfit.