Oh Serendipity, you wondrous thing…

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Night falling over our camp

Last half term we took a very welcome break from the electronic world and all its intrusions, and returned for a blissfully happy few days to Abbots House Farm on the North Yorkshire Moors, a campsite with clean, basic amenities (loos and hot showers) along a beautiful drive, right in the place where the television series Heartbeat was filmed.  Goathland has retained its latterday charm and a walk into the village from the site sees you navigating wandering sheep, roaming free wherever they choose. It’s about as picturesque as you can get.

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Goathland

Our field was entirely empty apart from us. We set up camp with three hikers’ tents and a tarp, under which we constructed the fire pit barbecue where we cooked our suppers every night. And along the bottom of the field ran the old steam railway with half-hourly trains providing plenty of waving opportunity for the children.

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Getting ready to wave

No screens, no social media, no intrusion… we even had a visiting squirrel allow us to feed and stroke it.

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The time not spent hiking saw us whittling, reading and – of course – knitting. The picture at the top was taken from the doorway of my tent. Other than a 100-mile stint on the Pennine Way before my youngest was born,  I don’t think I’ve felt happier or freer.

Our beloved Teddy was diagnosed with autism back in 2012 and it feels as though we are just emerging as a family from the restrictions such things (happily now mostly in the past as he continues to develop and amaze us) as major meltdowns and flat refusals can put on daily life and especially on outings. Camping and hiking are just perfect for this little whirligig – totally content and always exploring.

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The beautiful drive leading to the campsite
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A walk along the Esk Valley Trail introduced us to this lady, happily grazing totally unflustered by the many walkers passing her.

Other than simply describing our last break, what is the point of this post, you ask? On a knitting blog, you ask?

Well, the most wonderful thing happened this morning.

I received a message through my Facebook page containing this link: http://www.pitchandstitch.co.uk/

Yes, ladies and gentlemen of the yarnie persuasion – an entire weekend of camping AND knitting! In the most idyllic setting….

I’m in. Who’s with me??

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Ted’s stripes

Having made a gazillion pairs of beauteous boot socks, I had a mega-tonne (well, not quite, but it certainly looked that way in the sitting room cupboard) of Drops Nepal and Drops Big Delight left, and it was as I was knitting the leg of a sock that it struck me… that would make an awesome sleeve. This is the one I was working on:

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So I found the cream and the blues and my measuring tape and set about measuring Ted.

He’s 6 – he’ll be 7 in August – and long and lean.

I decided that this one would be a bottom-up jumper, so: knitting from the bottom up to the underarm, then knitting the sleeves to that point, and joining them all on a circular needle to begin the raglan decreases up to the neck.

I worked out the gauge at 5 stitches and 6 rows per inch and jotted down everything I could think of that I’d need.

Around his tummy: 24″
Around his chest: 26″
From the nape of his neck to his bottom: 17″
From underarm to wrist: 13″
From shoulder to wrist: 18″
From underarm to bottom: 12″ and
Around his upper arm: 9″

I used 4mm circulars (80cm) for the 2×2 rib and switched to 5mm circulars for the rest of the piece.

Taking his widest point (his chest), I cast on 130 stitches (26″ x 5 sts per inch). With hindsight, I might have added another 5 for ease, though it does fit perfectly as you’ll see.

I knitted 6 rows of 2×2 rib on 4mm needles in Drops Nepal in cream and then switched to Big Delight and 5mm needles. The stripe pattern is 4 rows of Big Delight and then 2 rows of Nepal which 6-row repeat, most handily, is an inch.

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I repeated this until I got to 14″ (13 x 6-row stripes and the rib) and then put it aside (on stitch holders or waste yarn, or even on the needles if you have enough pairs) to knit the sleeves.

Again, using Nepal and 4mm needles, I cast on 44 stitches (9″ x 5 stitches per inch, then minus 1 to keep the 2×2 rib simple) and knitted 6 rows of 2×2 rib, switching then to 5mm needles and Big Delight. Since sleeves are always longer, I knitted 14 x 6-row stripes per sleeve.

So, to join the sleeves to the body:

First, I *put 10 stitches of the body stitches on waste yarn (this will be the underarm, which you will join to the sleeve with Kitchener stitch at the very end) and put 10 sleeve stitches on waste yarn. Then slip the remaining 34 sleeve stitches onto the main needles,  then slipped 55 stitches from the body** and repeated from * to **  I then had 178 stitches on the needles and placed a marker for the beginning of the round.

Using Nepal, I knitted two rounds.

Then I knitted around once in Big Delight and on the next round, to divide for the raglan decreases, I placed markers before the last stitch of the last round and after the first stitch of the next, knitted 53, placed a marker, knitted 2, placed a marker, knitted 32, placed a marker, knitted 2, placed a marker, knitted 53, placed a marker, knitted 2, placed a marker, knitted 32 and arrived back at the first marker.

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For the 3rd row of Big Delight, I began the decreases (you can see them underway above), very simply: knit 2 together before and after the 2-stitch raglan (between the two markers either side of the sleeves)

For the 4th row of Big Delight, knit around making sure to slip the markers.

And I continued the decreases every other row whilst sticking to the 6-row pattern (4 rows of Big Delight, 2 rows of Nepal) until I had only 1 stitch left in the sleeve sections (between the two markers).

Then I switched to 4mm needles and Nepal for 6 rows of 2×2 rib and finished with a super-stretchy bind-off. There’s little worse than putting all that effort in and being unable to get the blasted thing over yer head! 😉

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Maddeningly, Teddy was at school when it was finished (so inconsiderate!) so I had to wait until I was home from work and he home from school to take him back to the studio to get some pictures.

I think you’ll agree a) it’s very fetching and b) I may have overdone the pictures… Well – knitting and Teddy – two of my favourite things ❤

Luscious LongSocks

You might be forgiven for confusing these with the Beauteous Boot Socks for they are, in fact, enormously similar…

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However, the BBS are rather too thick to continue to wear through the Spring – early Summer and the late Summer – early Autumn seasons.

So!

The Luscious LongSocks are born.

Knitted with Cascade 220 for the solid colour and Lang Yarns Tosca Light for the graded colour, they are soft, light and still snuggly for chillier days under boots or with shoes, or chilly weekend mornings with your jammies 😉

If you fancy a go at them, you can find the pattern here.

Hobbit Hat (free pattern)

I find myself here, on the beautiful North Norfolk Coast. Wide, sandy beaches, and sunshine that has taken us by surprise.

But… you know… it’s February.

How in the world did someone who knits hats not bring enough?!

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My new moniker is, apparently, “The Wool Psycho”, so it goes without saying that needles and yarn had found their way into my essential packing list.

Quick – cast on!

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This hat fits us all, from Teddy (aged 6, above) to me. Though it might be a bit of a stretch (no pun intended) for beloved husband, since his bonce is quite spectacularly large. Probably the brains 😉

For this hat, you will need a ball of Rico Creative Melange Chunky (in this case in CurryGreen), a 7mm circular needle and depending on your speed, a couple of movies.

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So without further ado:

Cast on 64 stitches and join in the round without twisting.
Knit 1 round, purl 1 round and knit the 3rd round.
Then begin the Knit2 Purl2 rib for 10 rounds. This gives a hat that is super slouchy without folding up the rim, or nice and snug if you do.

Knit for 34 rounds.

Then K2tog all the way around.

Then knit around.

Then K2tog all the way around again.

Cut the yarn leaving a long tail, then sew the tail through the live stitches and pull tight. Tie off securely and weave in the tail. Sew in the ends, and wear to your heart’s content.

Happy knitting! 🙂

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My Other Half

I got two beautiful skeins of The Yarn Collective’s Pembroke Worsted in Smoky Quartz and Copper Agate.

It’s gorgeous stuff. I mean gorgeous. Beautiful shifting colour, delightfully squishy, and lovely to knit with.

So, what to make with it?

A pair of Valentine’s boot socks for my husband. And, since Valentine’s Day was fast approaching, they needed LOTS of hearts.

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Oh, and in the spirit of different but similar halves of a whole, I thought they’d be rather beautiful mirroring each other: mismatched but matching.

So here they are in all their glory:

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And, as ever, if you fancy a crack at them yourself, you can find the pattern here.

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(Oh, and because he’s a Wool-Widower and such an obliging sock model, I let him keep them early 🙂 )

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Happy knitting! ❤

Stripes and Swirls

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I’m a sucker for a sale.

Well, actually, let’s rephrase that. I’m a sucker for a YARN sale.

And I’ve been bombarded with emails telling me how much cheaper it all is since Christmas, so when this stuff – Sublime Luxurious Aran Tweed, 40% wool, 40% cotton, 20% llama –  was about half price, it was obviously irresistible.

Even though… erm… I didn’t exactly have a plan.

But I’ve been completely bonkers about stripes lately. So, obviously, there had to be stripes.

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And nothing is complete these days without a bit of a motif… When I told my beloved husband my plan to mix ’em up he looked, let’s say, a little skeptical. But he did have the good grace to follow the look with “But what do I know?”

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One of the most positive side-effects of this journey through my woollen world is this: for many years, an expression of doubt or uncertainty would have put me off continuing along my trajectory but at this grand old age and with the experiences I have under my belt (which I hesitate to label ‘good’ or ‘bad’ since they all led me here, after all) I don’t care. I have the courage of my conviction, and I’m going to do it anyway. Sometimes, of course, it doesn’t work.

This time, I’m relieved to report, I believe it did.

So, the Stripes and Swirls Sweater was born and I love it:

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If you fancy a crack at it, you can find the pattern here.

And beloved husband?

“I think it’s your best yet.”

See?

Happy knitting!

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One Hat Two Ways

I thought you might like this…

See, in the spirit of waste not, want not, and not having loads of scrappy bits of yarn left over that you can’t bear to throw away but won’t quite make something else…

The Owl and the Pussycat, remember?

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So, I had one ball of Lang Merino Color+ yarns in colour 9 and one ball of Debbie Bliss Falkland Aran in Camel

The Debbie Bliss provided the base colour for the hat, while the Lang Merino produced a beautifully undulating colour up to the crown.

Well!! I had quite a lot left, so I thought “Why the heck not?” and I reversed the colour scheme.

I completely love the result. What do you think?

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Here they are together:

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I should probably stop knitting these now, but I’ve seriously loved them so don’t be surprised if one or two more sneak in…

(You can find the pattern here if you want some owls and pussycats yourself)

The Owl and the Pussycat

I tried.

I really did.

And it really did start off as a hat for ‘Imself:

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And, I am very happy to report, he tells me it is “the hat he always wanted”. So, TICK that one off the list!

But it has, of course, evolved into something a little more delicate, something a bit more feminine, something a bit less…. big and we now have The Owl and the Pussycat mark II

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Or, if you’d like to see it on:

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And yes, it is actually now, as we speak, beginning its fourth incarnation with the pattern in relief:

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(I’ll post a pic of the completed relief hat when it’s finished 🙂 )

I used 4mm needles for the rib, 5mm for the body of the hat and two varieties of aran-weight wool: solid colour and graduating.

If you fancy a go yourself, you can find the pattern here. After all, it’s still chilly enough to warrant something woolly on your bonce, n’est-ce pas?

Happy knitting!

 

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