knitting

Spectra, Socks and Sitka Spruce!

My knitting needles have been busy this month so I thought I would share a few of my recent FO’s 🙂

First up is Spectra by Stephen West. If you are a returning reader you may recall me telling you about the shawl workshop that I attended at the Sheep Shop in December with none other than Mr. West himself! As if that wasn’t enough of a treat, local yarn dyer Sparkleduck held a trunk show at the shop tempting us with an abundance of beautiful yarns…so I combined the handiwork of designer and dyer and this was the end result:

Spectra

I flippin’ love it! The design was easy once I got the hang of the short row shaping and the constant colour changing of the yarn kept it interesting. The border section was knit in 100% superwash merino wool in the colour Inky, and the middle sections is 75% superwash merino wool, 20% nylon and 5% stellina which gives it a little sparkle 🙂 The colourway is called Enchantment and I could go on for hours about how pretty it is…but here’s a picture instead!

Spectra Instagram

Another lovely feature that the short row shaping provides is the way that it curls when left to drape.

Spectra drape (2)

And the finished item is a very generous size.

Spectra scarf

Here’s another close up of those gorgeous colours before I move on…

Spectra colour

In my last post I was so excited to say that I had just finished my first ever sock! I promised a better picture and here it is:

Sock

And now I have 2 🙂

Finished socks

Knit in aran weight wool on 4mm dpns they are very cosy, and aren’t those colours just lovely? I really like how they all fade into each other. I made the socks from a kit from Rosies Moments  purchased at my visit to Festiwool back in November. I have now cast on a 2nd pair for which I will use the same pattern but after those I will be branching out and trying a pair from this book.

Toe up sock knitting book

If I can master this technique I am hoping it will spell the end of never having a suitable travel project to hand!

And last but not least I finished the Sitka Spruce by Tin Can Knits hat at the weekend. Early last year my friend Vero and I had a day of yarn dyeing and I dyed some mohair yarn that had been sitting in my stash for quite a while. I dyed it orange at first but it came out sooo bright it was almost luminous! So I overdyed it in a brown colour and had a much better result. The dye took to the yarn in a way that I could have never imagined and produced a really deep colour that in some lights is a deep rusty reddish brown but in others is still a vibrant orange.

Sikta Spruce Pattern

And here is the back.

Sikta Spruce back

See what I mean about the difference in the colour?! Both pictures were taken around the same time but look totally different! And check out the mohair halo – it’s going to be so warm to wear, this one is definitely coming to Iceland next month!

There were 2 options for the hat, a beanie or a slouchy. I opted for the slouchy fit but deliberately went down a needle size as I was concerned that the fuzziness of the mohair would mask the stitch pattern. The end result is somewhere inbetween the sizes, although verging more on the beanie side. Luckily the gamble paid off as it fits just perfectly!

Jem Arrowsmith Sikta Spruce

Until next time, happy knitting! x

knitting

A New Book and a New Sock

This weekend there has been a change of plan. I was due to attend the Makelight Photography for Knitting and Crochet workshop but unfortunately the instructor has been struck down with tonsillitis so it is going to be rescheduled.

So instead I plan to (weather permitting) get out and about with the camera and just have a play about and see what happens. I have a couple of FO’s I want to try and get some decent shot’s of too 🙂

I mentioned in my last post an upcoming trip to Iceland, so this week I have been getting busy on Pinterest, researching places to visit and being inspired by some beautiful Icelandic knits. Keen to learn more it lead me to purchasing this book from Amazon.

Icelandic Handknits

I chose this book as it includes a foreword from the Iceland Textile Museum about the history of hand knitting in Iceland and the traditions and techniques used. All of the patterns in the book have been designed by Helene Magnusson and are based on original pieces displayed in the museum (a photo and description of the original piece that inspired the designs are included with each pattern). It’s a beautiful book and I am looking forward to taking some time to read it properly over the next week.

What with the weather being somewhat on the nippy side in Iceland I am planning to make a couple of hats before we go. Mr A has requested a beanie hat and has chosen the Farm Beanie by Allison Britt.

Farm Beanie

(Photo taken from the Farm Beanie Ravelry page)

And I have chosen the stunning Norrland by Sara Burch.

Norrland

And if I have time….the matching mittens!

Norrland Mittens

(Norrland photo’s taken from Ravelry)

Aren’t they just amazing?! I fear I may be a bit ambitious here, but it’s good to have goals right?

In other news, after 10 years of knitting I have just made….. my FIRST EVER sock!!

Ta daaaa!

Sock

(Forgive the rubbish photo, it’s been really dark here today and in my eagerness to share I didn’t have time to find nice light to get a decent pic – hopefully I will tomorrow!) It’s made from the Rosie’s Moments sock kit I purchased at Festiwool which came with some aran weight yarn, a set of 5mm dpns (although I ended up making them on 4mm needles), a printed pattern and a project bag. The pattern is really clear and easy to follow and I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to sock knitting. I will be casting on the other one tonight and they too will be coming to Iceland 🙂

So I have plenty to keep me busy this weekend. I hope you have a lovey one whatever you get up to!

Happy knitting x

knitting, Photography

Photography & Knitting

Happy New Year!

As a PA by trade I love a spot of forward planning and the start of the new year is a great chance to do just that. I took the opportunity of the break between Christmas and New Year to work on some unfinished projects and think about things that I would like to accomplish this year.

One thing that I have always wished I could do better is to take better photographs so over Christmas I enrolled on the Craftsy Course ‘Shoot It – A Product Photography Primer’ with Caro Sheridan. It’s a 10 lesson online course that teaches you how to take beautiful shots of your handmade products and garments. At 2 and a half hours it wasn’t a long course but it did offer some useful tips on composition, colour and post processing. A couple of areas I wish there had been a bit more content on were on camera settings and lighting. However, it was great as a starter course and the instructor really knew her stuff. And now I want to learn more!

So next Saturday I am off to London to do a ‘Photography for Knitting and Crochet Course‘ with Emily Quinton from Makelight and Kate from A Playful Day. I can’t begin to tell you how much I am looking forward to it!

I also signed up to the free online taster course with Makelight, every day for 5 days Emily sends an e-mail with hints and tips designed to improve and inspire your photography. I am on day 4 and there has been much to think about, including how to use Instagram better. I have had an Instagram account for a while now but not really paid much attention to it so I spent some time the other day looking at other people’s photo’s and it has really inspired me to get more creative with my pictures.

If you are on Instagram I would love to see you there, I am @jemarrowsmith so do pop by and say hello!

Another thing I want to improve on this year is using Ravelry better to document projects and stash. It’s a chance to delve back into the stash and think a bit more about what I have and what I can make with it. I love that Inspiration Knits recently declared 2016 the ‘Year of Yarn Stash Love‘ and has invited people to join in by sharing photo’s on Instagram of yarn stash and WIP’s with the hashtag #yarnstashlove

So here is my offering for today, my most favourite yarn ever! This gorgeous silk and baby camel blend from Copperfield Yarns and hand dyed by Oliver Twists was purchased at The Knitting & Stitching Show in Alexandra Palace in 2014 and I am still searching for the perfect pattern for it…

Copperfield Yarns Oliver Twist

In knitting news I have finished my Spectra which I started at the brilliant workshop with Stephen West in Dec. It’s blocking at the moment but will post some pictures soon.

I have also nearly finished Peggy Sue, I just need to add the button bands.

Peggy Sue Progress

My next project is going to be a shawl that I am designing as part of the C&G knitting course. I am going to be using the Uncommon Thread Tough Sock yarn in colours (top to bottom) Bois, Tea Smoked and Squirrel Nutkin.

Uncommon Thread Tough Sock

2016 is already looking to be an exciting year with lots of fun things planned including making my first custom made sweater, a knitting weekend and a trip to Iceland! I do hope you will join me along the way 🙂

Until next time, happy knitting! x