Wednesday, 30 January 2013

I'm Such a Rebel

Last week I promised I would be a good girl and finish Daisy's raglan before I started Tilly's cabled cardigan.

I lied.

I tried so hard to resist the temptation. Honestly. When I was nearly at breaking point I ran to instagram for support, which worked, until I started getting these comments:



This of course, made me want to knit the new cardigan even more... I had had an awful night, nightmare after terrifying nightmare, once cooled down and I had stopped shaking I decided to do some knitting to take my mind of the horrors.

And what did I knit?

I casted on Tilly's cardigan of course!!

This is my second project from my personal challenge A Year of the Cardigan, I wanted to attempted seaming again as it's a skill I would really like to improve.

The pattern I have chosen for Tilly is Hallows Cardigan by Melissa Metzbower, a rather masculine pattern, but I thought if I used a cute shade of pink I would be able to get away with it ;) One reason I chose to knit this particular pattern, was that it used Worsted/Aran weight yarn. I love, love, love working with those weights. I tend to stick to DK, so it is nice to have a change every now and again :)

Of course, you need to know what yarn I've chosen. I'm using Stylecraft Special Aran, in their Fondant colourway. You all know how much I love using Stylecraft yarn, it is cheap and great quality. Personally I enjoy using it more than some of the expensive yarns I've tried ;)


This has been a really good knit to have on the needles, I have been in so much pain lately with my Fibromyalgia that I need something simple to knit, yet it still needs to have enough complexity to keep me interested. That is where the cables came in.


As you can see from the photo, I decided to mirror the cables on the right front, just because I think it looks a lot prettier that way :)

Other mods I made, was that I downsized to 4.5mm needles, so that I got the right gauge. Other than that, I followed the pattern to the letter :)

I've switched back to Daisy's raglan for a little bit, to see if I can finally finish than dang lace panel! I am also working on a few new patterns, I hope to have them finished soon but we shall have to wait and see how things go!

A quick side note, you may have noticed a few changes to the blog lately. I've added a few new pages such as:

The Year of the Cardigan - the update page for all the projects for this personal challenge

The Flying Needles Knitting Club - I have my own knitting club!! Come and check it out, we have a Ravelry group where we talk every day, and we also do a webchat a couple of times a month.

Learn to Knit with An Accidental Knitter - Here you will find all my photo and video knitting tutorials

I've also updated my about page which is now entitled Whose Writing?

Head on over to this lovely lady for more WIPW posts!



Friday, 25 January 2013

My First KAL

Back in December, Sally from Wool Diaries, suggested we do an Instagram KAL. I've never taken part in a KAL before, so I was really keen to have a go!

The pattern that was decided on, was 22.5 Degrees by Martina Behm. A lovely, plain, garter stitch kerchief.

It took a lot of self-control to not cast-it on before the start date, but at midnight on Jan 1st 2013, I was finally allowed to cast on.

I chose to make this an ombré kerchief using King Cole Galaxy DK Yarn, so I started with Mars, which is a light grey/grey striped yarn, I then moved onto Jupiter, which was a grey/black striped skein, and then finally I would finish it in Venus, the plain black colour.


I used half a needle size larger than the yarn should be knitted with, so that the kerchief would have a slight lacy drape and feel to it.


When I joined the skein of Jupiter in, I was worried that the black was too much of a contrast, but my lovely instagram followers urged me to continue.

Finally I got to the long rows, and this was the low point of the project. I hate it when yarn doesn't go into perfect stripes on GS, as you tend to get your GS row split into half, a black side for example, and a grey side. So, I did almost stop and rip the entire project out at one point, but I then realized that who really cares if it doesn't stripe perfectly? This isn't shop bought, its handmade. With that point made, I carried on.

I reached the scallop edge, which took forever. In hindsight, I shouldn't have chosen black as my ending colour, it meant that it was really difficult to not only create the scallops (which were actually very easy to make) as you couldn't see where you were meant to put the needle, but when finished, you couldn't see the scallops unless you pressed your eyeballs right up close.


me being lazy and taking FO pictures without weaving in the ends...


Personally, I'm not a big fan on how it turned out. Fortunately though, it isn't going to be mine. Either my best friend Abby or little sister Rizzle will get to call it there own.

I did though, love taking part in the KAL. It was great to see everyone else's interpretation of the pattern, and some turned out really beautiful. I would love to take part in another later on in the year :)


Thursday, 24 January 2013

An Accidental TV Appearance...

I happened to be strolling around Facebook one (not so warm) September morning last year, when I noticed that The Little Knitting Company were looking for some knitters who'd be willing to knit a bag or scarf for their debut Create and Craft TV appearance (for those outside the UK, Create & Craft is a crafting shopping channel). Not thinking I would ever be chosen, I popped my name into the mix, saying I could make them a skinny scarf if they were still looking for helpers.

Well, it turned out they were! A day or so later, a little parcel arrived in the post. My mission? To knit the Snowdrop Skinny Scarf.

The yarn you receive in the kit is from their Lin 2.0 series, a 100% linen DK/light Worsted yarn. My skein was in Sapphire...


I have to admit, when I saw I had to knit a lace scarf in a short amount of time, I did get a little scared and wondered what on earth I signed up for. But, fortunately, it was a dead simple beginners lace pattern, which knitted up incredibly quickly. I would definitely the knit the pattern again, but I wouldn't use linen yarn, as it isn't my cup of tea.



As my sister was in and out of hospital around the time, it took me much longer than it would have generally taken me, but I managed to get it finished and sent off to Ruth with a day or two to spare, phew!

The day of the debut came and I didn't remind anyone in the house that my knitting was due to be on TV that afternoon, I wanted it to just slip by unnoticed, so that those who knew me didn't have to see my work and be disappointed. They ended up walking in and catching me watching the show, and of course I received some tellings offs for not telling them about it.

Ruth was fantastic on the show, and although I knew how nervous she really was, she didn't look it at all!

I did manage to take some screenshots of the show with my iPhone (you can do this by downloading the TV Catchup app, get the programme you want on then when you're ready, hold down the home button, and press the sleep button, you will have taken a screenshot of what you're watching!), so here they are!





So, that it is how my knitting got to be on TV! Unfortunately we didn't get to keep the scarves, which was a shame as I really wanted to give it to my Mum! But, I shall knit her one again, this time perhaps in something soft and squishy...


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Blanket of Doom Makes a Sudden Appearance...

If you popped round yesterday, you'll know about the big challenge I set myself for this year! I am going to knit 4 (dreaded) cardigans, a jumper (I picked lace for my first one, was that such a wise idea?!), and a sleeveless tunic for myself.

My first 'Year of the Cardigan' project, is Helena by Alison Green Will. A gorgeous little lace raglan pattern, I couldn't help but make it for my niece Daisy. I am making it in Peter Pan DK by Wendy, in Purple. I completely forgot until halfway through knitting it, that I used the exact same yarn for her last cardigan - doh! Ah well, she has grown out of her last one so here is the replacement.

This is my third raglan, (although I still haven't finished the second, oops...), and I can't emphasis how much easier top-down is than seamed patterns!

There isn't much I can really talk to you about; the construction is simple, and rather than increasing with KFB for the raglan sleeves, you do YOs with create a lovely lace effect.

I've put the arm stitches onto waste yarn, and have managed to reach the lace panel on the hem. I've not had much knitting time the past couple of days, so I've just been able to do a row or two of the lace. So, despite it being Wednesday (day 5), I'm only just halfway through the lace panel.



Remember the blanket of doom? Yes, well there has been a *little* progress...


I've finished the moss stitch stripe and managed to do one and a half stockinette stripes since I last showed you! I've gotten a little faster, which means the 200cm wide rows are now only taking 15 minutes on RS & WS rows. Only have 5 more skeins of yarn to go 'til I'm finished, *sigh*

Part (*smirk* there is going to be more!!) of my payment for knitting this monstrosity was that Mum bought me the yarn for Tilly's cable cardigan, and Molly's retro cardigan. Both of which you can see the details of on The Year of the Cardigan page :)

We ordered the yarn Tuesday evening, so hopefully my squishy package should be here either tomorrow or Friday! I really want this cardigan finished by Saturday, so I can start a new week with a new project! I'm going to start with Tilly's Hallow's Cardigan, as I would like to take a break from raglans and do some seamed work! (plus I'm looking forward to knitting with very girly pink yarn ;) )

Well, that is my update for this week! If you want to check out some more WIPs, head on over to the lovely Tami's for WIP Wednesday :)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Year of the Cardigan: The Start of a Big Challenge


I've been knitting for two years now, and although I try and set myself new challenges, they're never ones that really stretch my skills as a knitter. So, this year, 2013, I thought I would set myself a big challenge.

You all know how much I detest cardigan knitting. I've tried to cure this over the years by knitting both seamed and seamless cardigans, but I still hate making them. I'm not very good at sewing up, or picking up stitches for collars or button bands, so I thought doing a cardigan themed challenge would really stretch my knitting abilities.

I've never made a jumper, so I thought I would add Jumpers/Sweaters into the mix as well! I have chosen to do 6 knits over the course of the year, which means I have two months to complete each project. If I manage to do finish every single project on the list, the prize to myself will be a hand dyed skein of yarn :D

In no particular order, here is the Year of the Cardigan project list!

For Daisy: This raglan lace cardigan will be for my youngest niece, Daisy. The pattern I have chosen is 'Helena by Alison Green Will.' The yarn I will use is Peter Pan DK by Wendy, in Purple (3003), and I will use up to 4 skeins of yarn as I am knitting the 2 years size.

For Tilly: This seamed cable cardigan is for my eldest niece, Tilly. I am making Tilly the 'Hallows Cardigan by Melissa Metzbower.' The pattern does look more of a guy knit, but I have seen others knit it in pinks and it looks very feminine! I decided to knit it with Stylecraft Special Aran in Fondant (1241), and I would use 4 skeins as I am knitting the 6/8 years size.

For Molly: Like me, my best friend Molly loves 1950s style clothes so I decided to make her 'Peggy Sue by Linda Wilgus'. Molly looks gorgeous in dark purple, so I am using Stylecraft Special DK in Emperor (1425), and I would use 3 skeins as I am knitting the Medium size.

For Me: My cardigan is going to be 'The Inspired Cardigan by MayaB', as I am really into retro knits! One of my best colours to wear is red, so I will be using King Cole Pricewise DK in Red (009). I'm not sure on the quantities I need until I purchase the pattern.

For Abby: For my best friend Abby, I'll be making 'Julissa by Vanessa Smith'. It'll be my first jumper, so I'm looking forward to knitting it. Abby looks fab in dusty/pale pink, so I chose to use James C. Brett Top Value DK in 22 colourway (it's a pale pink). I think I'll need about 5 or 6 skeins.

Knit 5: Don't know what to make, or who to make it for yet!

I have already started Daisy's cardigan! I'm onto the lace panel now, and it is coming along slowly. You can check out how I'm coming along on the ravelry project page, but I'll be doing a proper post all about the cardigan tomorrow for WIP Wednesday :)

I'm really looking forward to this big challenge, even if I still hate cardigan knitting by the end of the year, I will have gained more skill at making them. You can check out the blog page for updates on how the challenge is coming along. 

Have you set yourself a big challenge for 2013?

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Launch of the Online Knitting Club

Hi all, I have something new and exciting to share with you today :D

My big sis recently got me a webcam (yay), and it got me thinking, why not start our very own Online Knitting Club?!

I myself would love to go to a knitting club, but due to my health and caring for my sister I'm not able to. I know a lot of you have families, full time jobs, or chronic illnesses like myself that make you unable to go out and join in with your local group.

So now, I have the solution, an online knitting club! Now, this is going to take a lot of organisation (on my part) and discussion (which is where you come in), as to when and what time we do this.

So, what would this knitting club entail?

Each knitting club meetup will have 10 lovely people in it. The Flying Needles Knitting Club is a place for us all to share what we are knitting (or crocheting! crocheters are invited to come too!), talk about patterns, or just have a little banter between ourselves. It would also be great if you could bring your current WIP with you and we can all knit a long together while we talk.

This will be a great way for me and my readers, fellow bloggers and lovely crafters to meet up. A lot of us are spread around the globe, so we are unlikely to ever meet in real life *sad face*, but by using technology to our advantage, we can meet through the computer!

So here is how it'll work.

Step One
I will release dates and times for the next months knitting club meetup dates. (for ex. first dates I will be releasing are in February)

Step Two
If you find yourself able to meetup with us on one of the dates, great! Send me an email to anaccidentalknitter@gmail.com and ask to be put on the waiting list for your chosen date.
(This will be a Google+ Hangout, so please make sure you email me with your gmail address! And also please make sure you have Google+ enabled on your account)

The Terms & Conditions...

At the moment, Google+ can only hold up to 10 people, including myself. So each date will have 9 slots. The first 9 people who email me for each dates will be chosen, and I will send those chosen 9 an invite for the hangout.

If you have been chosen for a date and aren't able to make it for any reason, please email me straight away. This will mean someone else can take your place.

If you aren't chosen for either of those months dates, I am really sorry. I will write your name down, so if you weren't chosen for the previous months dates, you will be top of the list for the next months club dates (but only if you request this!)

If the club does prove popular, I will include more dates every month.

There may be the odd occasion where the knitting club may be suddenly cancelled for a particular date, but if that is the case, I will try my hardest to either find someone else to host it for that date and time, or re-schedule for another time in the month.

Important: If you are joining in the club, please make sure you don't swear, or use offensive language, as we don't want anyone getting upset or offended! It would also be great if we could steer clear of topics where conflicting views are involved, such as politics. As the last thing we want is an argument! But I know that since you're all so lovely we won't have problems like that! :)

Other exciting things...

If the club does prove to be popular, I will look into hosting special club KALs/CALs. If you are designer who would like to provide a discount for your pattern to all those in the knitting club, or you are a yarn dyer who would like to provide a discount for those in the knitting club towards a skein of yarn, or you would like to dye a limited edition colour specifically for our KAL/CAL, please contact me at anaccidentalknitter@gmail.com

Dates & Times

At the moment I am thinking of hosting the first club in February on these dates:

Saturday 2nd February (2013) at 3pm GMT (London, England time)

and

Wednesday 27th February (2013) at 7pm GMT (London, England time)

I'm hoping these dates are suitable for many of you, but if they aren't, would you mind commenting below on days of the week & times you would be available? (don't forget to include your timezone) That way I can move the dates and times around so more of you are able to take part.

In Conclusion...
I'm really excited about this club being launched, and I do hope it takes off :) Eventually it would be awesome if we had one a week! I've also got plans of having 'special guests', such as popular yarn dyers and designers.

Thank you all for reading this far, and I would love to hear your feedback on this idea :)

Charly xxx

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Learn to Knit: The Basics

Yesterday afternoon I took out an hour of my day to start my new project, 'Learn to Knit with An Accidental Knitter'. (hopefully) Every week, I will post one or more video knitting tutorials! This week I have concentrated on the basics, perfect if you are starting out knitting :)

Please excuse my odd English accent, I was born in Cheshire but have lived all around the British Isles so I have quite a muddled accent. I really hope you can understand what I'm saying :P

Here is how to Cast On...



Here is how to Knit...




Here is how to Cast Off...


And finally, here is how to Purl!


We did get a few funny outtakes from yesterdays's filming session, but here is one of my favorites, starring my little sister Rizzle (or who I am now going to call... The Attacker - watch the video to understand what I mean...)

video

I have created a page on the blog called 'Learn to Knit with An Accidental Knitter!', where you will find links to all my knitting tutorials! :) If there are any knitting techniques you would like to see, please leave your request in the comments section, thanks :D

PS,

Even if you already know how to knit, would you mind having a quick watch of them and telling me what you think? Whether I did something wrong, didn't make something clear etc? Thank you very much!

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