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FO: Brandywine Shawl

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Brandywine Shawl is one of those patterns in my one-day-I-will-knit-this list. I coveted the pattern ever since I laid my eyes on it and was lucky enough to receive it as a gift from a swap I participated in ages ago, (thanks, Susan!) but just never found the drive to actually knit it.

I hand-dyed the yarn I used for this project, originally planning to use it for colourwork but I was itching to cast on a shawl in this yarn. The pattern is a gift from SusanFromAthens during a Sundara swap. 🙂

My original cast on date was actually the 12th of August 2011. Yes. So long ago. I was in the middle of Chart B, that much I remember, and I made the mistake of not marking my place in the chart. So when I dropped the project to work on something and then came back to it, I could not read my work! I had no idea where in the chart I was.
modelled by marina

So nearly 3 years after that original cast on, I frogged what little progress I had and restarted the shawl. The years between had hopefully given me enough experience to know better than to rely on my own (failing) memory.

I did 12 repeats of Chart B since the skein is quite generous and I think I could have added one more repeat and still have leftover to contribute to my sock yarn blanket.

It was fun while it lasted but I am glad to finish this shawl. Seems like ages ago when I first had the desire to knit this complicated-looking shawl. I struggled with the i-cord bind off and even thought of doing just a regular stretchy version but it looked untidy and out of place. So I persevered until I got the hang of it, which was quite satisfying because now the shawl has a nice neat top edge.

Thanks to the ever gracious Marina for modelling the shawl for me.
brandywine shawl

Cast on: 27 July 2014
Cast off: 2 January 2015
Needles: US 6 – 4.0 mm / US 8 – 5.0 mm
Yarn: Wollmeise “Pure” 100% Merino Superwash, Natural
How much: 0.9 skeins = 473.2 meters (517.5 yards), 135 grams



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I had to check in on my Facebook notifications tonight.

Only because there were quite a few new members signing in to the Knitting Amiras group and I’m the only page administrator who can let them in.

Still not checking newsfeed or any other notifications. My husband shows me stuff but as long as I am not posting, commenting, viewing and saving posts and videos and links, I’m not breaking my diet. *closes eyes, sticks fingers in ears and goes lalalalala*

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

Late post: I Knit London

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Note: I hit “Publish” too soon so the first post went up without any text! Sorry about that.

Okay, so I Knit is this cool shop and sanctuary for knitters and crafters tucked away on Lower Marsh in London, just off the Waterloo tube station. The owner, Gerard, is the sweetest thing, soft-spoken but warms up to you after a while. Oh and he also dyes some amazing colours on yarn!

Here is what I purchased on our little trip there with the Amiras. The project bag is a prize I won from a competition on Two Go Crafting‘s Facebook page.
iknit haul
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Yarn enhancement

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Nope, I was not in London for iKnit Fandango. Luckily, I have friends who were there and were kind enough to indulge my yearning for yarn (like I do not already have enough to last me two lifetimes!) and play yarn mule. So, thank you, Mina and Mel for bringing me back these lovelies.

Okay, this was not from the market but I saw that Mina managed to get some of these when she posted on Instagram and I had to ask. I actually had four balls of these, two different colourways but someone started petting them and might have expressed desire to take them off my already overflowing stash. What can I say? I’m easy. And I love Lisa so much not to share the love. So she went home with two balls of another colourway. This is supposed to self-stripe in a Fair Isle colourway. I cannot wait to see how it works up!  It looks like the balls are different colours, but the are the same dyelot.  Maybe one is just wound up differently?
Arne and Carlos

This was a pre-order from The Yarn Tree. I have Mina to thank for this skein. She tagged me on Instagram when the dyer offered the pre-order and because she knows me too well. The name of the colourway is Vincent and The Doctor, and, Mina, knowing how much a fan of Doctor Who I am, knew I would be interested. So I followed links, clicked here and there and voila, signed myself up for a skein of this beautiful colourway. It’s 75% merino, 25% nylon, 4-ply sock yarn, not sure how it knits up and what pattern to use for it yet, but I know it will be fantastic!
Vincent and The Doctor

Now this skein is from iKnit Fandango! Mina chose this for me. This is Regenbogen in Pure.  I asked her if she could pick up two skeins of Wollmeise Pure for me, different colours that I could knit up in stripes, and she made the decision for me. And I love her choices! The other skein, not pictured, is the Natural so nothing exciting to show you. I am now searching for a plain, striping top that I can knit up and have ready for cooler months in Dubai. Suggestions are welcome!

Oh and I have to tell you that Mina also shared with me a bunch of lovely, heady dried Lothian lavender! That would surely not have passed customs check at the post office so thank you again Mel for bringing to back to Dubai for me. I am going to put them in smaller packets and place them in my yarn bins, the wardrobe and even the car. My closet smells heavenly already and they have only been there for an hour or so!

Okay, enough from me. I realize I haven’t blogged anything in weeks. I do have stuff in draft but have not had time to finish them. I hope to fix that soon. Have a good week ahead!

Lessons in Crafting

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This past weekend, I had not one, but two instances which proved that you cannot take anything for granted, no matter how much of an expert you think you are, or how long you have been doing the same thing. Trusting your instinct is great but trusting instructions/patterns that have been proven time and again by hundreds of others before you is not something you can ignore.

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FO: Hallow Moon

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A little while ago, Dieuwke ran a KAL in her Ravelry group. Anyone who signed up to knit Hallow Moon gets the pattern for free. It’s a neat little shawl with knitted on i-cord on either edging. It does tend to get a little hairy at first but once you get the hang of it, you’re good to go. Also, Dieuwke created a simple, concise video tutorial for the i-cord technique so you won’t have to struggle to figure it out on your own.
hallow moon
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Wordless Wednesday 4.2015

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FO: A study in stripes

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Preeti and I did a KAL in summer last year. Gee, why does it sound like it was so long ago when it was only a few months in reality? Well,it was in 2014 so it is actually a while ago. Anyway, we talked about it and decided to knit Stripe Study Shawl together. I have made one in the past and decided I have way too many single skein sock yarns to make multiple colour combinations of the same shawl. And it’s garter stitch, what’s not to like?
sss-kal (3)
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FO: Rockin’ this island!

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Intricate, double-sided lace patterns have always intimidated me. Not least because they are usually charted and my brain does not translate those easily into working instructions. If it’s a short chart repeated multiple times, then maybe I would be able to memorize it but if it’s double-sided lace it’s not as easy. This is partly why I have started and stopped knitting Jared Flood’s Rock Island Shawl twice! The edging lace chart was just too complicated for me. It didn’t have rhyme or reason, as one other knitter said, to facilitate memorization of the 8-row chart.

At some point in March this year, I decided to give this another go. I’m glad I did because look at the finished shawl. Thanks, Eliza for modelling it for me! Gratuitous shot of the dessert display at The Lime Tree Cafe. You’re welcome!
rock island (2)
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Owl mania

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Ever since earning my Sewing Machine Driving License, I have not gone near any machine. I looked at fabric stashes on Pinterest, does that count? Anyway, when reMADE DXB announced a Saturday session of their Too Whit Too Whoo workshop, I signed up right away. I thought I’d figure out how to actually sew when I get there. Good thing that fellow Amira Louise was in the same workshop!

So first things first, we had to choose our combination of fabric for the owl. There was plenty to choose from and it was not easy! But Paula helped me pick out these pretty ones. Not something that I would normally choose but they blended and complimented each other very well.
fabric chosen

Next was to trace the relevant shape on the appropriate fabric and cut them according to the owl template. It was not as easy as it sounds because you would want to be economical about it and not waste any fabric, esp if they are expensive. Theresa helped me with this and I am glad to say I did not waste any fabric.
looking good

And then the sewing began. Fun! The big parts were easy enough, but the fiddly bit was the feet. My owl has mismatched feet. One is in desperate need of a pedicure and the other could use with losing a bit of weight. But no worries, the feet are not the prominent features of the owl anyway.
nearly there

After all the machine sewing was done, it was time to stuff up our bird. Paula provided a pack of stuffing from Daiso. It was just the right amount of stuffing too, not too thin, not bulging either. Hand-sewing the opening shut using ladder stitch was a bigger challenge for me!
all stuffed up

And there she is! All plump and big-eyed. This owl is now with Adrianna, I hope she likes it and the googly eyes don’t scare her. I want to make more! And thanks to Louise for the hand-me-down-but-good-as-new sewing machine, I will be able to do so very soon. Just need to get my supplies together and clear out some space at home.

If you are in Dubai and would like to learn how to make cute stuff like this owl, please visit their Facebook page where you will find lots of inspiration, their winter workshop schedule and just general fun stuff that will appeal to crafters of all ages and skill level.