7 Feb 2019

Love this time of year


It's been so cold outside this year that I think most of us have felt like hibernating in front of a warm fire and not emerging until Spring! However I don't know about you, but I always find there's something about the chilly weather that really makes me want to take up my knitting needles and start work.

There's a sense of purpose.
An acknowledgement that every stitch will soon be keeping someone warm. 

So one of my favourite activities at this time of the year is to look through stitch books and design lots of new things to knit in the days ahead. Then comes the equally fun part of deciding on yarns – warm yarns to take you from the icy blasts of winter through to the Spring, then some airy cottons for those first warm days. 

So that's what I have been doing for the last couple of weeks, and now I am just waiting for the yarn to arrive! In the meantime, I have been having a dig through my WIP (Work In Progress) basket. I don't know why I am always surprised at how many items are in there but it always seems to be a goodly number. I had a bit of an archeological dig last year, but the collection seems larger than ever now. 


A number of them are waiting for just one seam to be sewn up, or a button to be added, or to finish that row where the needle broke and I put the scarf down. Hmmm, that last project only needed a few more rows! I continually astound myself with my weak excuses.

Also in that same basket are projects needing a little bit of care. The photo at the top of this post, for example, shows a small repair needed on a scarf I made a few years ago, the Elizabeth Scarf. This is a reversible scarf using a stitch pattern from our book, Reversible Knitting Stitches, and you can read more about the book here.

I caught the scarf on a fence post a while ago and made a small hole, but then put it aside to make sure it didn't start to unravel. So, I am going to make myself a cup of tea then sit in front of the fire and finish that off. It will be good to have it back and useable again...

Until next time,

Happy Knitting!

Moira







28 Jan 2019

New pattern – Westernesse Bag


I have a new bag pattern! This is the Westernesse Bag and it's a duffle-bag style with lots of space to take everything you need for a day in the country.

The colour was inspired by a walk we took around a lake in Sweden last autumn-time. The leaves had just started turning colour but already they were carpeting the walkways and drifting slowly past us as we walked. By the time we returned to our car, the sun was low in the skies and just set the colours aflame.


I was carrying one of my favourite bags at the time, a roomy canvas hold-all with a single shoulder strap. This seemed like the perfect model for a new knitted bag. 

I like the ease of a single shoulder strap. Easy to pick up, easy to throw over your shoulder, simple to slip off when you get to the far side of the lake and want to sit for a while. The one here is worked in Moss Stitch and is a tube with a fabric band inside for extra strength.


For the body of the bag, I chose the Double Moss Stitch pattern from our book, Reversible Knitting Stitches, adding an extra repeat to enhance the textural qualities of the stitch. This really emphasised the colour bands, giving a strongly graphical result.


I then lined the bag with a Waverley cotton fabric. I had forgotten how much I enjoy sewing! I don't sew much these days but it was fun getting the sewing machine out again, and even more fun getting the fluff out of the mechanism so it would actually work. You can read all about that incredible feat here!

The cotton liner was simple to make and I love the fabric I found. This one has words scripted in French – just perfect for a bag I'm going to use when exploring new places.


I finished the bag by adding a plaited drawstring which runs through the top section to draw it together. I had intended adding a cord lock to keep the cords closed, but in the end I liked it just with a simple tie so left it like that. 

Then as a final touch I sewed on a large button made from coconut, with a simple cord loop closure. Perfect. Now, where shall we go for a walk next.... I'm thinking maybe it's time to go back to the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. It's ages since we were last there.

If you would like more details about the Westernesse Bag, then please click here

The pattern is also available on Loveknitting, where you can also find the yarn that I used, Lang Merino+.

Until next time - Happy Knitting!

Moira



Last Blogpost: Astonishing Day

14 Jan 2019

Astonishing day



There are days when I truly astonish myself.

What did I do that was so amazing, you ask? Well... drum roll... I fixed a sewing machine!!! OK, you can stop laughing now, but this happens to be the first time I have ever accomplished this feat. 

I had recently finished making a skirt and all had gone well. Even a dreaded buttonhole or two had gone without a hitch. However, today was different. I started the machine only to be greeted by a horrible clattering noise! The thread was firmly jammed under the feeder plate. 

I snipped away at the tangle until I managed to pull it free and remove the small cut threads. I started again, very gently, only to be greeted by another loud clunking sound and another jam... This time I could not remove the trapped fabric without cutting it away. Thank goodness I was working with an oddment and not the final fabric!


OK, I thought. I’ll lift off the feeder plate and then I can get to the trapped threads. I’ve done that before so didn’t feel phased by the prospect. However, it became clear that the culprit was a large build-up of fluff in what the handbook told me was the “spool holder”. 

Apparently I was supposed to clean this on a regular basis! Well, dust bunnies and I are old friends and the idea of stripping down a sewing machine to remove fluff build-up had never occurred to me before. 

Did you know you were supposed to do this? It was certainly news to me but then I suppose I can’t actually remember ever reading the instructions so it’s not surprising I hadn’t stumbled upon this piece of information before...



The manual talked about turning the handle until various rotating parts lined up, then removing the spool holder assembly and cleaning underneath. I gulped, then started removing parts until there seemed quite a collection. 

By now, I was feeling alarmed and wondering just how many of these would go back where they came from! 


However, 15 minutes later the spool holder was removed to reveal a good-sized pile of fluff inside. That was quickly removed so all I had to do now was reassemble it all...

I took a deep breath and before much longer all parts were back in again. Phew! 


Well, I expect by now those folks with an engineering bent will be laughing themselves silly, but it felt like a major step for me! My first (successful) taking apart of a sewing machine.


I plugged it in, turned it on and prepared to sew the sample again. A quiet purr came from my new happy machine and a perfect seam formed without a single snag or clunk.

Mission accomplished! Let the sewing commence!

Until next time,

Happy Knitting,

Moira


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