Saturday, 18 November 2017

My RosaFlora Wedding Shawl

RosaFlora Wedding Shawl

I promised you a decent photo of my RosaFlora wedding shawl in action and now I can finally share it with you. I love our wedding photos, all taken by John and Soph of John Barwood Photography. This is one of my favourites and it shows off the shawl nicely. It a worth every stitch and every bead.

The big day

We got married at sunset by torchlight at the Roman Baths. We had dinner on the terrace overlooking the Great Bath where we had our ceremony and, as clich├ęd as it sounds, everything was perfect. Well, I couldn't hear my entrance music, which was a shame, but in the end it didn't matter because our guests applauded and cheered as I walked towards them. I have to say, that was unexpected and  sent my heart soaring. I nearly cried when I finally reached Mark... and then the registrar told me off for kissing him since that was "reserved for the end of the ceremony". (Of course he was joking.)

What I wore

But back to the shawl! I loved wearing it and I think it rounded off the dress nicely. I didn't go for a traditional wedding gown at all and simply bought a white textured dress from Lovedrobe I found at Evans for all of £69. It's short and ends just under the knee, has a v-neck and back, but doesn't come with the sleeves I would have preferred. So having a shawl was a great way to cover up. Luckily the weather was fine - I was worried it would be too chilly in my outfit during the outdoor ceremony as we had had a few very cold days.


The shawl had just the right weight and drape thanks to the golden beads I added to the edge, and the silk lace adds a touch of luxury. I felt wonderful wearing it. I definitely recommend RosaFlora as a wedding shawl so if you are thinking of making it for yourself, go for it! 

I used the recommended yarn in a cream colourway with pink accents and am very happy with it. Please note that the yarn on the seller's site looks much more lustrous than it actually is. The pattern is fairly easy to knit if you like lace. I only made mistakes at the beginning because I didn't pay attention, but once you get going, you're off. It took e just over a month to finish, which is half the time I had planned. And the shawl is huge! I hadn't expected that.

Over to you

Have you ever knitted something for a wedding, either your own or someone else's? Let me know how it turned out in the comments.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Pixelated Pullover: Take 2

Knitting my first Pixelated Pullover

It's been ages since I first cast on my Pixelated jumper, it's embarrassing. In my defence, I had pretty much finished it once before, but decided to rip back nearly all the way due to the odd fit and the sleeve of doom. I was well aware of the fact that I hate knitting the same pattern twice, so it doesn't surprise me that it took a very long time to pick it up again.

And now I have! I made sure to finish up my Christmas knit before getting back into jumper knitting. Sadly, moths gnawed their way into the bag in which I stored it, but there doesn't seem to be any real damage. The jumper seems fine even though it was clear that moths had certainly been on it in places. Some of the yarn also had signs of moth larvae, but nothing more. We will see what happens, I guess. It's a good thing the yarn is DK weight and not anything finer that is easily chewed through!

So I am slowly plodding on and enjoying this knit again. I really want to be able to wear the jumper this winter, so I better hurry and hope that nothing gets in the way this time! My plan is to simply knit it in a boxy shape without alterations because the customised fit was the main culprit before. As this is my first jumper, I think keeping it simple may be the best idea for now.

What's your current knitting challenge?

Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Longest Sock WIP Ever

Knitted socks in King Cole Zig Zag 4-ply

You may remember I blogged about casting on a new pair of socks with King Cole Zig Zag 4-ply way back in May. While I blogged about them in May, I actually started knitting them in March, to be fair. If you want to know how little knitting I have done this year, this project makes it very clear. These socks are finally finished and they are the only thing I have knitted this year.

It's terrible! Not the socks, mind you, but the fact that a simple pair that usually takes me 3 days to knit if I set my mind to it took me till October to cast off. It's a good thing I started them as early as I did because they are a Christmas present. So, basically, I was right on schedule.

I have quite a lot of yarn left over and even though I am not a fan of this colourway (too busy), I think it will come in handy for some sneaker socks to wear inside my winter boots or for bed. If you have any other ideas for this leftover yarn, please let me know!

So now that I have freed up some needles, I can finally get back to some other WIPs. While these socks have been my longest sock WIP, they are not my longest WIP ever. I do need to return to my jumper, which I nearly finished once and had to reknit because of fit issues. Let's hope the moths haven't got to it yet!

What's the longest a pair of socks has taken you to finish? Please let me know I am not alone!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Wedding Bells and a Honeymoon

Rosa Flora knitted shawl

It's been very quiet on the blog for the past few weeks, but I have a very good excuse: I got married! Finally, I got to wear my wedding shawl, RosaFlora, and, most importantly, married the love of my life. We even had the venue of our dreams, the Roman Baths.

I haven't got many photos of the day yet, so I am sure I will be able to show you a better view of the shawl later on. For now, you can have a look at my project photos on Ravelry.

It was a wonderful day, topped off with a lovely, relaxing honeymoon in the south of Spain.

White gold wedding rings and diamond engagement ring

We both had a fab break, but now it's time to get back into daily life. So look forward to regular posts starting next weekend. 


Giant unicorn float Islantilla Spain

Sunday, 17 September 2017

3 Reasons For the Knitting Granny Myth

I know, I know. I heard that sigh.

The most common reaction from fellow knitters upon hearing "grannies" and "knitting" in the same sentence is a sigh of resignation and rolling of eyes. Most knitters I now, if not all of them, started knitting when they were quite young. Some were children, others picked it up in their late teens or early twenties. By comparison, I began quite late at 29, if I remember correctly.

So where does this common idea come from that only old people knit? Here's what I think may be  some of the reasons why the knitting granny myth still prevails.

1. They are our teachers

There are several ways people first learn to knit and most of the time, though not always, they have a teacher. This may be an actual teacher at school for those who studied Home Economics, but often we learn from an older relative. It comes as no surprise that mothers and grandmothers would be the most likely people to teach us to knit.

2. Knitting takes time

An older person has many skills to pass on and seems the most likely teacher, but this may not be the only reason they are associated with the craft. Knitting takes time and in these times when everyone needs at least one job to make ends meet, in addition to other commitments, sitting down for a spot of knitting isn't always possible. Generally, retirees have more time, so they may be seen knitting more often than younger people. Of course, younger knitters still find the time, but the perception is that grannies (never grandpas, of course) have little else to do and can spend their days knitting.

3. Women as primary homemakers

Similarly, the idea of women as the primary homemakers and men as the breadwinners still prevails. So women are thought to be the ones who make the home cosy, do the cooking and baking, tend to the garden, and pursue crafts like knitting, crochet and sewing. This idea is still ingrained in most of us and often goes hand in hand with the idea of knitting grannies. 

I think it will take time to overcome these preconceptions we have about knitters, if they'll ever change. In the meantime, younger knitters can look forward to one day being granny knitters - I doubt we'll stop just so we an put an end to the myth!

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Join the #knittinghour Destash!

Our weekly #knittinghour on Twitter is always a fun hour to spend with fellow knitters. Two years ago we had a sock KAL for beginners, suggested by participants, and last week they came up with the idea of a destash. 

Of course we need to have a destash! Every one of us has some yarn  they no longer want, so why not let someone else enjoy it? All knitters are welcome to join in the fun.

How do I find #knittinghour?

Go to Twitter and search for the hashtag #knittinghour to see all our posts. Don't be shy! Say hi and remember to use the hashtag in all your tweets so we don't miss you.

When is the #knittinghour destash happening?

We will start our destash on Thursday, 14 September 2017 at 19:30 (UK time). 

How does the #knittinghour destash work?

Join us during #knittinghour and flash your (de)stash! Post photos and details of what you want to sell or swap. If someone is interested, they will reply to you directly and you can then discuss the details such as who pays postage, what payment or swap you would like, etc. Similarly, if you see something you would like, just reply to that person's tweet to let them know.

If you are a member of Ravelry, you probably know that you can add yarn you want to trade or sell to your stash. Post a link to your destash page on Ravelry and everyone will be able to browse your offer. Not everyone will be a member of Ravelry, so please do also have photos ready to tweet just in case.

And that's it!

Let me know if you have any questions that I haven't answered in this post. Now, please excuse me: I need to stash dive.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Knitting Separates the Wheat From the Chaff

knitters are great problem solvers

In my post about the 5 reasons why knitting makes you smarter, I mentioned that problem solving is one of the skills required to be a successful knitter. I believe that the way we deal with problems we face with any project determines what kind of a knitter we are, how far we will be able to develop our craft, and ultimately separates the wheat from the chaff.

Are you a knitter?

Honestly, not everyone is cut out to be a knitter and that's okay. Not every knitter is the same either and we vary in our skill levels and preferences.

All knitters, in my opinion, need patience, the ability to recognise a problem and find a way to solve it. Youtube will only get you this far, so sometimes you will be on your own. Of course we don't have all the answers from the start and we develop our skills over time with every problem we encounter. We read books, we ask fellow knitters for help, and we search the web for information.

Easy peasy?  Not always.

The problem may be as simple as picking up a dropped stitch, but even this can be harder than expected. Losing a stitch in a simple stocking stitch piece is easy enough to fix, but I remember the first few times I dropped a stitch in an intricate lace shawl or across decreases. It's still a challenge now and I have to be able to carefully read my knitting in order to sort things out.

How tenacious are you?

Such moments are when we find out if we are really cut out to be knitters. Do we sink our teeth into the problem and don't give up until we've found a solution or do we give up at this point? Ripping back is always an option and part of solving problems you encounter, so don't feel like you have given up or failed! You've seen that something went wrong somewhere, nothing else seems to work, so all that's left to do is to rip back and start over.

Even if you rip back straight away without first trying to find another solution, this can be a good thing. It may be less challenging, but it can potentially save you a lot of time. Especially knitters who are more interested in the finished project rather than the process will most likely opt for the faster method.

Do you give up?

It's whether you give up completely or not that matters. If you are a beginner and early mistakes completely throw you to the point that you go off knitting altogether, that's okay. Knitting may not be for you or maybe it just isn't the right time for this hobby yet. (I tried three times over many years till I got the hang of it.) 

Knitters persevere. They want to finish what they've started, even though it may not be entirely free from mistakes. Those can be ironed out over along the way as we gain more confidence and learn more skills. You won't even realise you're doing it and, one day, you'll look at what you've just accomplished and think of how you'd never have managed it just a few months or even years ago. 

Liam Neeson a particular set of skills meme

If in doubt, be a badass.

Of course, even tenacious knitters will sometimes take short cuts. I can't tell you how often I simply decided a wrong stitch in a lace shawl would just have to stay as it was because I couldn't be bothered to fix it. You can't always have perfection (says the perfectionist who undid her entire jumper and is still trying to adjust it to fit her body type).

As knitters we need patience, endurance, and a very particular set of skills. 

In the world of knitting, be a badass Liam Neeson. - Tweet that!