In Pursuit of a Blanket Fort

I’m not sure how it started. Did it start when I was a bit disgruntled after a meeting and ‘accidentally’ bought a bunch of Knitsch Worsted in Tangerine?

Nothing is better than a yarn hug

Nothing is better than a yarn hug

Did it begin when I learned the granny square and started to become obsessive?

A Granny Square Pile Up

A Granny Square Pile Up

Did it begin when I started seeing the squares from the Geek-A-Long Blanket popping up on Instagram?

However it began, I have three blankets now on the go. I lack remorse. Instead, I have plans for a blanket fort! Who wants to join me?

The granny squares are progressing nicely. I’m experimenting with a white border and I think two rows per square is enough, although I’m still mulling over three.

Granny squares squared

Granny squares squared

I’ve also started another colour. There’s one thing about this blanket – it’s using up the sock yarn stash of multi-hued madness. The colours just come to life.

Another day, another colour palette

Another day, another colour palette

Crochet is brilliant! Why was I so slow to learn? It’s a perfect occupation while riding buses and waiting in cafes for friends. I have so many plans…

Speaking of which, my Tangerine Knitsch perfectly complements my favourite flowers, the nasturtiums.

No filter required

No filter required

I’ve begun a Dahlia Blanket. It was a love-at-first-sight pattern and I don’t regret it for a moment. It’s one of those knitting projects where you stop every few stitches just to enjoy it all over again.

Dahlia in progress

Dahlia in progress

Then, because I’m upskilling, have been wanting to try double knitting, and was loving watching Geek-A-Long squares popping up…

Oh, who am I kidding? I saw The Princess Bride square and that was that. So I’ve begun at the point of inspiration, but have decided to be a rebel and am doing it all in shades in pink and green for a girlier geeky blanket.

My pensive Dread Pirate Roberts

My pensive Dread Pirate Roberts

Incidentally, I just read As You Wish and it’s great fun. Cary Elwes is so dastardly charming! I’ve been watching him in Psych too, but was there ever a more perfect swashbuckling pirate?

Anyway, in the midst of all this frenzied blanketing (totally a word), I also discovered the perfect rose growing in my garden.

Now to find a prince to curse...

Now to find a prince to curse…

Upskilling

Me: "It's not edible!"  The Scot: "It looks edible to me." Me: "Everything looks edible to you."

Me: “It’s not edible!”
The Scot: “It looks edible to me.”
Me: “Everything looks edible to you.”

A few years ago, I asked Mum to teach me to crochet. We spent a day creating a little owl. I was going to take a very cute photo of the owl, but The Scot got interested…

Fast forward to now. I took the beginner’s crochet class at KAN and hatched a plan to crochet a rainbow blanket. Only, I didn’t yet know how to crochet even a granny square. I did, however, have to make a quick trip home to see an irascible grandfather in hospital, and while Mum and I sat in his room, she took me through the simple granny square.

And I may now be slightly addicted to crochet.

A Granny Square!

A Granny Square!

I’ve always loved the concept of the granny square – embracing my inner granny and all.

You can never have too much colour

You can never have too much colour

A friend noted that I seem to have coordinated my crochet with my fruit tingles. Oh yes! It’s a great way to use those crazy skeins of sock yarn. I plan to use a few coordinating skeins and crochet around each square in white. It should look pretty as a blanket.

I’ve also been working on the Doctor Who sampler.

Appearing TARDIS

Appearing TARDIS

I’ve started on the TARDIS! I’m just figuring out if I can tweak the design slightly to include something from 12. Something about pudding brains… and a little Mary Poppins, because we always knew the truth about her.

A Quick Scarf Recipe

A quick project

A quick project

For the longest time, I had a ball of The Knittery’s “Daisy” wound up and ready to go. Only, Knittery yarn isn’t something you simply use. Since operations wound down quite a few years ago, I’ve been holding on to my stash and particularly “Daisy.” She needed just the right project. I started a few projects and just as quickly wound her back up.

Now, however, she is a light and airy scarf and I think it’s done her justice!

Light & air

Light & air

The colours are glorious, but a bit full-on. The open work of the stitch is what makes it work here. I’m also a fan of light, lacy scarfs. They’re easy to wear in cooler weather.

Scarf on a chair

The chair shot

The stitch is found in Barbara Walker’s second treasury and is a breeze. It’s actually a rib, so if you leave the scarf unblocked, you’ll get a squishier, ‘plumper’ finished piece. Here’s the basic recipe. Oh, I’ve called the scarf ’42,’ because I cast on 42 stitches and because maybe the question to the meaning of life is: “what’s the right pattern for this yarn?”

“42”

Cast on 42 stitches.

Row 1: K1, (yo, sl1 wyib, k1, psso) repeat until last stitch, k1.

Row 2: P1, (yo, sl1 wyif, p1, psso) repeat until last stitch, p1.

Continue repeating rows 1 & 2 until desired length is reached. Cast off. Weave in end.

If you can’t make it to Lake Como…

Como

Como

‘Como’ is now up on Ravelry! As you can see, he’s a lightweight shawl, not too big, but not too small. He’s a pretty easy knit, too, but rather than simple stockinette between lace panels, I’ve used a variation of raindrop stitch, which provides a nice nubbly texture and actually looks like ripples on the wrong side. Indeed, if you liked, you could wear it wrong side out! Here’s a shot of the wrong side on the practice knit (the Scot wasn’t impressed when I tried to get him to wear the shawl).

Wrong side texture

Wrong side texture

But what about that Doctor Who episode? I always suspected Mary Poppins…

I Went to Como… (but I didn’t marry George)

I was doing some ‘secret knitting’ earlier this year. Tash asked if I’d like to contribute a design to her last yarn club, “The Jewel Thief.” Now, I actually had a fairy tale salon, two conference papers, end of semester marking, a trip to teach fairy tales in Italy… so, naturally, I said yes. Because it’s Tash. Because I was really honoured. Because it meant I could get my greedy little hands on more Knitsch. Because I already had an idea.

We’re about to put the pattern on Ravelry, but I thought I’d give you a quick preview! And an idea of how the shawl came to be.

I had a brilliantly insane plan of bringing out a trio of designs inspired by Italy. I’ve already given sneak peeks of the sock designs on Twitter and Instagram and they’ll be out soon, but I was also mulling over a design for a shawl inspired by Lake Como. When Tash offered me green-blue yarn for my design, I snapped it up! It was serendipity!

The timetable meant that I started knitting here in Australia and then it was a race with the needles to finish the shawl by the time I reached Lake Como. Fortunately, there was also a 20+ hour plane trip.

Chocolate helps knitting - FACT

Chocolate helps knitting – FACT

We arrived in Zurich, ready to spend a few relaxing days with friends. I took the opportunity to laze about my friends’ flat, knitting and eating. It was lovely.

Shawl on the move #1

Shawl on the move #1

I was able to do some finishing touches on the train journey to Lake Como.

Shawl on the move #2

Shawl on the move #2

All done! We arrived in Lake Como. Lake Como is amazing. It’s glamorous! It’s like a postcard!

Not our boat.

Not our boat.

We couldn’t believe we were actually there. I couldn’t believe that the colours of Lake Como were actually captured in my Knitsch yarn!

The colours of Lake Como

The colours of Lake Como

So, here are a couple of shots of the shawl. Not complete shots, but something to give you a sense of the design and how it’s been inspired!

Como at Lake Como

Como at Lake Como

I called the shawl “Como.” It’s been nicknamed George. There were too many American tourists asking about George at Lake Como. Mum said it was tacky. So I called the shawl Como, instead. Although I did chuckle that it was released to the club pretty much on the weekend of George Clooney’s wedding!

Como at Lake Como, take two

Como at Lake Como, take two

I hope people have liked it. I hope people will like it.

Meet You Up on Happy Street

3 balls of awesome yarn later...

3 balls of awesome yarn later…

Sometimes, a girl just wants to be on Happy Street. And here she is! This is a DK version of Veera Välimäki’s “Happy Street” in Madelinetosh Tosh DK (Smokestack, Robin’s Egg and the indubitable and amazing Pop Rocks).

It actually works out about the same size as its fingering weight cousins, but with three stripes of each contrasting colour rather than five. The stripes are a little chunkier, but I kind of like that. They remind me of lines of highlighter across a grey page!

Colour pops

Colour pops

And the shawl is so, so squishy. It’s a curling up on the couch shawl. I think I’m being won over to the DK weight shawl. It’s so practical! It’s a little weightier on your shoulders and a little cosier. The drape is glorious.

I will admit that I played a little yarn chicken at the end.

The last yarn

The last yarn

I also cast off a little earlier than the pattern indicates, but the final border of grey still works in terms of proportions. There’s small balls of blue and pink left, too.

Cast-off curl

Cast-off curl

I love this shawl. It’s everything I wanted it to be. Much like the 12th Doctor, really. “Flatline” tonight!

An Evening Sewing with Mrs Higgins

Mrs Higgins, my 1950s sewing machine, was busy last night. After a day grading and revising, I thought I needed a change of pace. Plus, RoseRed had made a suggestion that I couldn’t resist turning into a reality.

"Look at the eyebrows! These are attack eyebrows!"

“Look at the eyebrows! These are attack eyebrows!”

Seriously, The Scot has found his Doctor! Look at their eyebrows. I actually would have gotten a proper grumpy shot of the Scot in his new coat, but I was holding a yoghurt dud to convince him to pose! When he looks grumpy, he has such a 12th Doctor look about him! I suppose it’s natural. They are both Scottish!

I also did some sewing for myself. Something to hide behind in case this week’s “The Caretaker” is scary.

Meet me behind the cushion.

Meet me behind the cushion.

I really am loving this series. I love every line where the Doctor comments on Clara’s appearance. I love the dynamic between Clara and Danny Pink (I love Coupling, so that’s not really surprising). I love the Doctor’s glee and his witticisms.

Although, I’ve also been catching up on Fortysomething, and seriously, you have to listen to Peter Capaldi do the Beatles! And the hand gesturing had me in stitches since it’s such a part of his Doctor! Plus Benedict Cumberbatch is in it – so there is a sort of pre-Sherlock/Doctor Who cross over.