knitting

Bears, Cowls and Pompoms!

I have had a productive knitting week so far, my lovely little Bakery Bear is coming along very nicely.

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I’ve done his head, body, ears, nose and arms so just have his legs to do before I assemble him all together and make his outfit. It’s a quicker knit than I thought it would be although I am using DPN’s which can be quite fiddly on the smaller rounds (the pattern suggests using magic loop but I’m not so good at that). I’ve never made a toy before and am pleased I picked this as my first pattern as the instructions are really clear and easy to follow. Hopefully I will be able to show you the finished bear next week!

I thought I had finished my new cowl design at the weekend, I reworked the top half and blocked it but when I tried it on yesterday it still didn’t sit right.

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I am happy with the lower layer as it sits really nicely at the front, but the 2nd repeat doesn’t fall naturally back on itself, so it’s back to he drawing board, I ended up ripping it back to the 18th row and I now have a new plan 🙂

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And I had another set back this evening as my computer crashed. I thought I had recently saved the work I had done on the design programme I use but it turns out I hadn’t saved since Saturday night….a few choice words were uttered! Luckily I had transferred the charts over to Word as I started writing up the pattern so I can recreate them – but that’s a job for another day…

And PomPom magazine arrived yesterday! If you are unfamiliar with this publication its a quarterly magazine with gorgeous patterns, all beautifully photographed, and has some interesting articles. This quarter also features a recipe for winter cocktails – yes please!

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Just look at a couple of the beautiful patterns…I think my favourite in this issue is the Art Deco inspired Turnberry by Courtney Spainhower

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And this peacock feather inspired oversized scarf, Avalon Ballroom by Clare Lakewood is just too pretty for words…

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My knitting wish list just got a little longer!

knitting

Podcasts and Progress

It’s thanks to my friend Vero and her brilliant podcast ‘Along the Lanes‘ that I have recently been introduced to the whole new world of knitting podcasts. Being a newbie to podcasts I found it quite overwhelming to know where to start and what to watch but luckily for me one of the lovely ATL Ravelry group members started a thread on recommendations.

So I have started watching the Bakery Bears Podcast. Hosted by husband and wife team Dan and Kay from the UK this is a fortnightly knitting podcast packed full of different features and topics. One of my favourite sections is the ‘Favourite Places to Knit’ part where they go out and about. The episodes I have seen so far have included visits to stately homes and castles – they are great at showing you round and giving the history of the places they visit, I always learn a thing or two from their adventures!

Other regular features include ‘what’s off YOUR needles?’, what’s on YOUR needles?’, ‘what’s in YOUR oven?’ and ‘what’s on YOUR stereo?’. Every week they choose someone from the Ravelry group to answer one of the questions and share the answer in the forums. I nearly fell of my chair when I was watching this week and Dan asked ‘so Jem Arrowsmith…what’s OFF your needles’!

Kay is also a very talented designer and I just adore her Bakery Bears. Here are Mr Bakery Bear and Mrs Bakery Bear.

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Photo’s taken from Kay’s designer page on Ravelry.

I have ordered some yarn this week for my own Mr. Bakery Bear, this will be a present for my best friend who is due to give birth at the end of November.

I am now going back though and watching all the back episodes, I’m now on episode 10 and it’s taking quite a while as some of them are about 2 hours long, but they really are great!

I have quite a list of other podcasts that I want to watch once I am caught up with the BB’s but if anyone else has any recommendations I would love to hear from you!

This week I have also been working on my Peggy Sue by Linda Wilgus and I am now onto the cabling section at the bottom.

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I’m a bit concerned with my yarn though as I am using frogged yarn from another project. I don’t know how clearly you can see it in the pictures but some of the stitches aren’t sitting as nicely as I would like in the bottom rows before the cabling. I’m hoping this will be fixed in the blocking…

I have also been working on a cowl design.

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I thought I had finished it yesterday but when I tried it on it really didn’t sit right. It was twice the depth of this but I have frogged it right back to the middle and I’m going to try something else so it sits a little more snugly. I’ll let you know how it goes!

This weekend is the first in a long time where Mr. A and I have a clear diary, so I have a whole weekend of knitting planned and I can’t wait. Wooohoooo!!

Travel

A Weekend in Sunny Spain!

Last weekend Mr. A and I had a wonderful time in Spain visiting my Dad and Stepmum (who I will now call D&G to save my little fingers!).

We flew out on Thursday afternoon and as the flight was about 2 and a half hours it gave me a chance to crack on with some knitting 🙂

Plane Knitting

Spain is an hour ahead of the UK so it was quite late when we landed into Murcia. D&G met us at the airport; they have been living out there for nearly 2 years now but this is the first time we have been able to get over to see them. They live just over 40 miles south of the airport, near Mazarron on the South East coast.

We woke up to warm sunshine on Friday which was most welcome. As D&G are active members of the local community they had a few commitments in the morning so Mr. A and I went for an explore and breakfast al fresco.

As it happens this weekend was also the weekend of the UK Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace (Ally Pally). Although I was unable to go this year we did stumble across this place – not quite the same as the knitting mecca but they did do a good breakfast!

Alley Palais

We also found the most amazing shop that sold just about everything you could ever wish for – here I found my perfect wine glass!

Wine Glass

There was some amazing stuff in there but I restrained myself and just came out with these cute little jars which I am now using to store beads in.

Bead Jars

Time flew by and before we knew it it was early afternoon; time to meet back up with D&G and make our way down to the coast to see the amazing sand sculptures at Bolnuevo.

Bolnuevo Sand Sculptures

Formed by wind erosion the sculptures have occurred naturally over millions of years.

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It was a pretty spectacular sight!

From here we headed into Peutro de Mazarron for a menu del dia (menu of the day). The menu del dia was introduced by General Franco as a way of providing affordable and nutritious meals for Spanish workers during the week. It continues to this day with many restaurants and bars offering a 3 course lunchtime menu, with a choice of 2 or 3 dishes for each course (including bread and drinks). D&G knew of a lovely place by the harbour – the food really was delicious and the entire bill came to just over €40 for the 4 of us!

Suitably full we took a stroll down by the seafront before heading back to the Villa.

Puerto de mazarron

On Friday evening we headed to a local bar for a few drinks, they had a Status Quo tribute duo on. I can’t remember the name of them but they were pretty good!

On Saturday we traveled inland to a pretty hilltop town called Aledo, located near the Espuna Mountains. One of the main features of the town is the remains of an 11th Century tower (Torre del homenaje) which luckily for us was open for viewing.

Aledo Keep

The part of the fort that still remains (also known as the Keep) is sectioned over 3 floors. The ground floor doubles up as a tourist office and the guide there explained how the Keep was used in the 15th Century. The ground floor was where water was stored, 1st floor was the storage of arms, 2nd floor was grains and wood and the 3rd floor opens up to a viewing platform.

Inside Aledo Keep

View from the top of the Keep.

View from Aledo Keep

I love this picture Mr A took from the top – he used a model village effect on it!

Aledo View

When we came back down the guide told us about another place close by that was worth a visit – the ‘estrecho’ or gorge. It wasn’t very far and D&G had never been so we decided to check it out. On arrival it looked like a picnic area but we saw some steps heading down and it lead to this…

Aledo Gorge

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Spanish Gorge

We walked quite a way before coming to a trickier part that involved a bit of climbing, we sent Mr. A on ahead to see if it was do-able in flip flops but the verdict wasn’t clear cut so we decided not to go on.

Some of the rock formations were quite spooky – Mr. A saw a skeleton in this one (right hand side, just above the middle) where as I saw a creepy monster face with an upturned nose. I wouldn’t like to be down there after dark that’s for sure!

Gorge Face

When we got back to the clearing D&G headed back up to the top but Mr A and I decided to venture round the corner to see what was on the other side. There was a well established path that followed the side of the mountain which we followed for a while, before coming to an aqueduct across the gorge. Mr. A was a lot braver than me and walked out a little way on the narrow ledge, before I panicked and called him back!

Gorge Aquaduct

Opposite the aqueduct was an abandoned house. I have a bit of a fascination with abandoned buildings so although it was a bit of a steep climb I just had to go and check it out…

Abandoned House Spain

What you can’t see very clearly is that above the door there is a number ’16’?!

Abandoned House

As always with these places I like to imagine the kind of person that would have lived here. It looked like the house had been abandoned for many, many years and it must have been a pretty remote existence.

No 16

Fascinating stuff!

We made our way back to the top and found a place for lunch. There was no menu del dia today as it was a Saturday, so instead we had a selection of traditional Spanish tapas.

After lunch D&G took us to the Espuna National park where we drove up the side of the mountain taking in some exceptional views.

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It was a lovely day of walking and sightseeing.

On Saturday evening we went for a curry at the local Indian restaurant and then to the Club House to watch a live band. We flopped into bed exhausted that night!

Our flight home was on Sunday afternoon so we just had a lazy morning at the Villa, soaking up the last rays of the sun and going for a lovely Sunday carvery at the Club House. D&G dropped us back off at the airport in plenty of time for us to catch our flight back home…the whole weekend went so quickly, I wish we had been able to stay an extra day or 2!

knitting

Getting back into the swing of knit!

It’s fair to say that I lost my blogging mojo for a while, but I have been so inspired recently by reading other blogs and watching some brilliant knitting podcasts that I am keen to get started again. So without further ado here are some of the things that I have been working on this week!

On the Needles

I have 2 ongoing projects at the moment. The first is ‘Peggy Sue’ by Linda Wilgus. This is a free pattern on Ravelry which you can find here. I love this pattern, it’s so cute and I have quite a few 50’s style dresses that this will go perfectly with when it’s finished.

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Photo by Linda Wilgus from the Peggy Sue Ravelry page.

I started this a while back and was hoping to have it finished during summer but alas it’s still on the needles. I am making good progress though and have another inch or so to go before I start on the cabling at the bottom. It’s knit from the top down and is a great project to do whilst watching tele / podcasts.

Peggy Sue

I am making it in Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo which is a DK weight made up of 80% bamboo and 20% wool in light blue (shade 169).

The second project is a wrap design I am working on using a variation of the Parasol stitch pattern. The yarn is a 2 ply lace baby alpaca, silk and cashmere mix that I hand-dyed earlier in the year. The colour hasn’t come out very well in the photo though, it’s more of a greeny-jade colour.

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This one requires a bit more concentration although should become easier once I have done a couple of repeats, fingers crossed!

Off the Needles

I have just one little project to share this week that I made on Monday evening. It’s my first Christmas project and it’s a little snowman 🙂 I need to refine the pattern though as I’m not happy with his twiggy arms, and I think he needs a hat.

Knitted Snowman

Knitting Goodies

It was my birthday at the weekend and I was truly spoilt with some great presents. I went out to dinner with the girls last Thursday and they presented me with 2 new books for my knitting library…

Knitting Books

Where do I start?! ;)…

I also received this this gorgeous little hand carved box that Mr A’s uncle bought back from his recent trip to Armenia. It’s filled with sweets at the moment but when they are gone it will be filled with stitch markers and little knitting things 🙂

Armenian Box

And check out my new slippers!

Bear Slippers

Other Adventures

To celebrate my birthday Mr. A took me on a wonderful day out in London on to see the Lion King. I have wanted to see the show for years and it did not disappoint. In fact I would go as far as saying it’s one of the best I have been to!

The Lion King

The costumes were amazing, in particular I loved the giraffes – that’s some serious balancing going on there!

Lion King Giraffes

We went to the afternoon show which left us plenty of time afterwards to have a mooch round the city before heading to Sarastro for dinner. Mr A told me he had heard about this restaurant by googling ‘weird places to eat in London’ and went for the place with the best reviews! It is situated in Drury Lane, right in the theatre district and as soon as you see it you know you are going somewhere a little bit different.

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And the inside was pretty amazing too…

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The only way I can describe it is like walking onto a very ornate, over the top ship. Apart from the centre strip of tables, the rest of the seating was all in little booths along each side and along the top. Although there wasn’t any entertainment on the night we went it is also billed as ‘the show after the show’ as they often have live music and dancing – I can imagine it would be quite spectacular! It really was quite unlike anywhere I have ever been, and the food was top notch too!

So all in all it’s been a busy week! Mr A and I are off on another adventure this week so until next time….happy knitting! x