Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Various Bits

Sorry for the delay in posting, I've been very busy - I have lots to tell you about!

First things first - it's FINALLY snowing! I'm so excited! My mam has been ringing me from Newcastle every day this week to tell me that they have 11 inches of snow(!!) whereas it's been clear here. I decided to go out for a walk this morning to enjoy it, and I took these photos in Mile End Park;

I really did like how at 9.20 this morning there were already 3 snowmen dotted about the park!

Yet it still surprised me that there was a completely clear, untrodden path at this time.

I took some pictures to celebrate the changing season a few weeks ago as part of my research for my collection, and I couldn't help but notice the difference between those lovely warm autumn colours, and this crisp and cold leaf litter;

What's surprised me in all of this research is how green everything still is!

Except of course this little bush, that just looked so incredibly sad.

You're bound to have noticed that all of this excitement is over what many would describe as a rather feeble amount of snow. I seem to have snow repelling qualities, the whole time I was in Edinburgh (3 years) we had 2 decent days of snow - look at it now! The last year I was in Edinburgh was 2 years ago, when London was brought to a total standstill by it. Maybe this is some higher power telling me I am destined to die by snow, and it's probably best I avoid it!

In other, less snow related news (but equally exciting), last night was the Christmas party of my knitting group. This was a truly wonderful affair filled with good food (50% off no less), good gossip, and the receipt of my first ever swap gift! My knitting group has a long and exciting history before my arrival, and every year hosts a Secret Santa amongst it's many varied members. My gift has not yet arrived at it's recipient, so I won't say where it went (far!),  but I was fortunate to receive from a friend of mine, Trisha! She was incredibly generous and I was so excited to open all of my wonderful gifts at the party!

Yes - Wollmeise!

The cheeky thing had feined that she was helping me when I was trying to narrow down my choices the other week, but was in fact sneaking for information! It couldn't be better! This is in addition to sheepy post-its, a sheepy magnetic jigsaw (now on my fridge), a very useful bookmark (that may be used for chart reading too), needles, mini Daim bars (I love Daim bars SO much!) and a little sheepy to act as my new mascot on my desk at work! The pattern should be popping into my Ravelry inbox later today, so another surprise awaits!

Finally, some completed knitting related news!

Thursday saw the MODO pre-show party! MODO is a Univesity College London society of students (sciences, humanities, etc) who have an interest in fashion and textiles and every year we put on a huge fashion show to great acclaim. This year I'm rather heavily involved (check out the MODODiva blog for more info), and I'm planning to create an 8 piece collection inspired by the autumn season.

As a knitter, I had to start making all of this back in June, and so far have completed 2 of my 8 looks. As a pre-show party isn't really a pre-show without some sneak peaks, I was able to show one of these outfits off, modeled by the ever lovely Helen.

Are you ready?

This is the Leggings with Mesh Sides from Judith McGowan Michael's Knitting Lingerie Style (I love this book) without the mesh sides and with stripes (and a few other minor alterations), and a sweater of my own design, knitted in the round from the bottom up.

Aren't they fun! The mattress stitch has distorted the stripes by half a stitch, so if I were to make these again I'd probably use a back stitch instead, but it's the inside leg so it's not too noticeable.

Sorry for the blurriness in this photo (the lighting in the venue was rubbish), but I really think this image conveys what we try to do at MODO, and shows off the silhouette I was aiming for to it's fullest. In this collection I'm trying to use the thigh as a focal point, and I think the striped leggings really show that off.

The jumper will be written up, test knit and then the pattern will be coming out to you. It has 3/4 length  sleeves with negative ease, and a looser body shape, which flares out in the back to create a series of mini pleats around the yoke decreases. The yoke is worked using Sirdar Crofter, to provide a fair-isle effect with none of the necessary technical concerns, and with the additional use of Artesano Superwash Merino DK this jumper is easy to care for and easy to wear.  It requires an 80cm 4mm circular needle to complete.

Thanks for reading this rather epic post!

Speak soon!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Beginner's Knitting Pack with 2 New Patterns!

Hello all,

As you may or may not know, in my other life as a humble PhD student I also help out a lot with the University's Fashion Society. One of the events that I hosted this year was a Beginner's Knitting Class. I spent a long time putting together an instruction pack, and a couple of very simple patterns for my students to try when they got home. Today I bring the pack (and patterns) to you!

The pack can be found here - MODO Beginners Knitting Pack

It contains two patterns,

Super Easy Fingerless Mittens;

And Super Easy Airy Beret (which is really more of a beanie, but as many beginner knitters struggle with a loose tension in many cases it may well look like a beret);

Modeled by me in the stunning Victoria Park, in Hackney, London, photos by the ever handsome boyfriend.

The yarn used for both patterns was some acrylic I picked up at Whitechapel Market for £1.80. Regular readers of this blog will no doubt already be aware of my yarn-snobbery, but I must say I was very pleased with this stuff (unfortunately it came without a label, so I can't really recommend anything in particular). The colour in particular is fantastic, just the sort of thing I want to be knitting in this glorious autumn weather.

Patterns can be downloaded from Ravelry too, here (Fingerless Mittens) and here (Airy Hat), and the pack will be linked to permanently from the side bar of this blog too, for any future followers.

I warned you there were things coming this week!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Bothered Owl Christmas Party

Always one to enjoy a local London knitting event, I have recently bought a ticket to attend the first Bothered Owl Christmas Party. This new event will be a mulled wine and mince pie filled affair with lots of yarn related fun. I'm particularly excited as my friend Pippa of Sweet Clement Yarns is making one of her very first forays into yarn sales, and I'm very excited to see Tilly Flop Designs (who made the button below) in person. The event is on the 6th of December from 6.30pm, click on the Christmas Tree for more info!

ps. Sorry for the short post, there are a couple of beginner patterns coming up this week, and a new sock (just one mind)!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Wollmeise at Loop

As I am aware that some non-knitters read this blog, I feel I should probably explain in advance some of the craziness that is about to commence. Wollmeise is a German yarn brand widely believed to have the best colours in the world. Until Saturday, it had only been previously available out of one shop deep in Bavaria, and in online updates well known for their ability to crash servers. I was fortunate to be able to get hold of a few skeins at Knit Nation this year (see here for the related post) and was completely hooked.

Following the announcement on Ravelry that Loop would become their first stockist, near hysteria resulted, and we were expecting the masses to descend on Islington on Saturday. It turns out that this anticipation may have worked in our favour, as even though myself and my friend Lucy were there before 10 o'clock (for the 11 o'clock opening, and Lucy still managed to beat me by half an hour!), the day passed in a very civilized manner. While we waited for the shop to open we were treated with biscuits and given permission to use the loo - perhaps a sign they appreciated how excited we were! At 10 to 11 there were about 20 people milling around and the doors were opened.

The queue (not including me - I took the photo!)

Lace weight was kept on the ground floor, and sock weight upstairs. I didn't need any lace (although I was tempted) but had a list of sock colours in my head to buy. We fought past each other up the stairs and were greeted with mountains of yarn.

Call me weird (you won't be the first) but I just go giddy over those browns.

Some of us got very excited - Trish is underneath all of this yarn!

The budget was blown rather spectacularly, and I went home with these beauties.

Golden Pear, Spice Schwammerl, Schwammerl, Olio vergine and Daisy, for those Wollmeiseaholics out there. I've already treated myself to winding the Daisy (what? I have to show something off at knit night tonight!), and have very grand plans for the rest!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Sneak peek

Ok, so it's been a couple of weeks without a post, and I apologize, but I must say there hasn't exactly been much to report! I've been pretty tied up with MODO stuff (see here for details), the Fashion Society at UCL that I help run, and have been making a lot of things I want to keep a little bit secret.

The reason for this secrecy is that on the 4th and 5th of March next year I will be presenting a mini-collection on the catwalk as part of the MODO Fashion Show. I am currently planning 8 looks (that's fashion speak for "outfits"), and as such a large amount of my available knitting hours are inevitably dedicated to producing the garments I want to show. This is a massive opportunity, not only for the fun involved, or for getting my name spread around London universities, but for me to get some professionally shot photographs of my designs.

But, because I'm not completely heartless, I'm going to provide a sneak peak on this blog into some of the things I'm doing.

Yes, I am experimenting with reverse stockinette.

And ordinary stockinette. In black....


And creamy-green. You may remember this as the yarn I dyed back in September, now knitted up to produce a speckled effect. 

I'm pleased as punch with how that's turned out!

There's also some colour changes.....

And some texture changes.

That's all for now, and will be most of the plainer textures included in the collection. Understandably, it's much quicker to knit up these plainer pieces, so hopefully a few more bits will be finished soon. If you're very good, I may provide a quick glimpse at some lacework next week.