Tuesday, 17 May 2016

On and Off My Needles/Spindle/Sewing Machine

First off my needles recently was my TARDIS Shawl.
It is knitted with fivemoons Luna Plus and I followed Kate Atherley's pattern Bigger on the Inside and made a few modifications.

My modifications:-
1.  Time vortex = beginning 13 rows, 8 pattern repeats on increase section, 3 centre increases, 8 pattern repeats (plus 7 rows) on decrease section and end 13 rows to make wingspan and depth of shawl bigger than original design. Total of 441 rows along which to pick up stitches for TARDIS section.  Blocked this section to aid picking up the stitches.
2.  I picked up the stitches evenly along curved edge without counting them and then did the maths.  I had 419 stitches and as I wanted an odd number of TARDIS, to have a centred pattern at the back, I added an extra stitch to the background either side of the motif (one in the repeat and an additional one in the start/end panel).  I also allowed for 4 background stitches at both ends of the shawl as I plan to curve the ends more than the original design by increasing into the front and back of the stitch beside the knit 2 edging. = 19 TARDIS
3.  Not happy with the bobble as it didn't stand out enough and left holes in the background (could be my yarn choice) so frogged back and added clear, silver-lined size 6 beads.
4.  I swapped the original ribbed edging for Casdena's lace edging and added beads to each point to match the lights on the TARDIS.
After blocking the shawl grew to Dr Who scarf proportions!  It measures 2.5m x 0.5m which is a very wearable size.  It wraps around my shoulders like a shawl and the long tails hang like a scarf.  I have already worn it once, but the main reason for knitting this design was to wear it to Comic Con in London.
I am continuing to knit the hexipuffs for my Beekeeper's Quilt.
During April I completed 35 of them.
I am trying to finish off my many WIP's this year and so to encourage me to crack on with my Festive Flock I have joined in with Molly's (A Homespun House) Spring/Summer Stellina KAL.  Appropriately enough I am knitting these little birds with some of my homespun yarn!
The final knitting project that I am working on at the moment is my Cabin Retreat Shawl.  I am using the Cabin Path Shawl pattern by Helen Stewart and I hope to finish it this week.  The yarn is Diana 4ply by fivemoons and it is lovely to work with.

On my drop spindle I am spinning my Snail Garden colourway that I blended on my board.  I started this at the Curious Handmade Country House Retreat and have nearly finished it.  I plan to ply it and hope to have sufficient to knit a hat.
The sewing section of this post isn't about a project, but about a purchase.  After much deliberation I have bought a new sewing machine and I decided to upgrade from a standard machine to a computerised one.  I have bought a Janome Atelier 7 and so far have just tested it to see that it works ok and I am impressed with it.  I'm itching to make something, but I need to complete more of my outstanding WIP's before I can start nothing new!

There has been some serious woolpiggery going on recently! :)
I have received the final two instalments of the LITLG's Spring Club.
This is Limpet, the skein I received in April.
I may pair it with the March skein Jellyfish.
This month I received Beach Lavender.  I so desperately want to cast a shawl on with this!
All these skeins are singles and I am so impressed by them that I have already signed up for the Summer Club, but this time for the sock base just for a change.
I also couldn't resist these beautiful yarns from A Homespun House.
Xenophilous Explains the Deathly Hallows on Jenness Fingering
The Half Blood Prince on Soft Sock
Another new to me indie-dyer that I wanted to try is Gregoria Fibers, so I ordered these pretty minis.
My final purchase is rather a treat to myself.  I have long admired Kristin's (Voolenvine Yarns) beautifully dyed yarns, but have previously been put off from ordering them by the postage fees.  I ordered 4 skeins a) to keep under the £137 import tax threshold and b) to make the post office charges more acceptable.  I had to pay £13.56 to the post office, before my parcel was delivered and £8 of that was their handling charge, so divided between 4 skeins I felt that that wasn't too bad and the yarn is seriously worth it!
Each skein is on the Nouveau base and the colours are stunning!
Faerie Hair
Jilted Rose
Dirty On Purpose
The last two I may use together.  As these are all single they most likely will be shawls - not such a surprise! :)
I think I may need to be on a yarn diet for a little while now ... at least until Fibre East! Maybe!! ;)

Friday, 13 May 2016

In the Garden

Even though the weather has been swinging from one extreme to the other this spring, the flowers have still put on a good show in the garden.

The tulips looked lovely during April.
My favourite ones are Queen of the Night.

In the patio pots I grew some bellis
and wallflowers for springtime.
As we moved into May the hardy geraniums started to bloom.  These are much loved by the bees.

The forget-me-nots are in flower at the moment.
I like to grow native wildflowers in our garden.

The poppies are starting to bloom; a flash of orange to contrast with the blue of the forget-me-nots and the purple of the geraniums.

The wisteria is looking and smelling beautiful at this time.

At the weekend we bought two water troughs, which we have turned into planters.
I have sprayed them a pale blue and they now sit at one end of our patio, behind the garage waiting to be filled with soil.
Other new additions to the garden are these birdcages that will sit on the patio table when I have planted them up.
I found some lovely hydrangeas in Lidl at a reasonable price, which I shall pot up too.
The first week of May the lilac is always in bloom beside the greenhouse.
It's all going on in the greenhouse!  Lots of vegetable seedlings ready for the allotment and tomato plants to stay in here.

In April I started planting at the newer allotment
I have a lot more to do and I'm a little behind this year with having been away and the colder weather has delayed things.
I discovered this chrysalis on one of the raised beds.  I wonder who is inside it?

At the weekend we had our first BBQ of the year to celebrate M's birthday.
There was steak and ribs for the carnivores and chickpea burgers for me, all with roast vegetables and halloumi flavoured with chilli.
Of course there was also cake! :)