Saturday, 21 January 2017

Patons Everyday Moments: The Creative Collection

Once I started to knit, my likes and dislikes changed. I used to hate the look of cabling - until I started a pair of socks with little cables in it. I still enjoy them now and think cabling is wonderfully versatile. My experience with tweed has been similar. Before I became a knitter, I disliked the tweed look and didn't understand why so many people loved it. It looked too rugged to me and, as far as I could tell from my limited experience, it didn't even feel nice. Yet once I encountered all sorts of yarn over the years, I began to yearn for some tweed, too. Now I finally have a hand-dyed hank of tweed sock yarn in my stash that a friend made especially for me and I am trying to think of something nice to knit it into. I think it is fair to assume it will be socks, but I haven't settled on a pattern yet.

Patons Everyday Moments: The Creative Collection (sent to me for review by Laughing Hens) is a small collection of 8 patterns using Patons Tweed Style yarn. This yarn consists of 50% pure wool and 50% acrylic and comes in 14 different colours. If tweed is your thing, have a look at this pattern collection and something just might catch your eye.

Among the 8 options, you will find 2 hat and cowl sets (one for him and one for her), a poncho for her, a coat for her and a jacket for him, and 3 pullovers.  They all look very cosy and just right for the kind of weather we are having right now. Due to the thickness of the yarn there isn't any lace in this collection, but you have interesting cabling and straightforward stocking stitch. 

I can well imagine knitting one of the jumpers or the jacket for Mark, actually, though there are no patterns I would knit for myself - I'm just picky like that. Though I have to say the lady's pullover with cabling does interest me because it reminds me of the Icon Dress and Traveller Tunic. I have been tempted by the latter especially.

The instructions are laid out clearly and are mainly written. There are some charts for cables as well as diagrams to help with shaping and blocking. The measurements for individual parts of the garments are listed in a table for all sizes so you always know how your finished piece should measure up. (Also great for any modifications you may need to make.) At the beginning of the pattern, you find all necessary tools and materials, basic stitches, sizing and tension information, and abbreviations so you can prepare for what you're getting yourself into.

Have you used a Patons pattern before? How did you get on with it? And is there anything you're tempted by in this particular collection? Let me know!

Disclosure: This pattern collection was sent to me free of charge by Laughing Hens in exchange for a review. My opinions are impartial and honest and I do not receive monetary compensation for my post.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Yarn to Dye For

Rooster merino yarn introduced by Absoknittinglutely

A quick scan of my blog will show you that it has been lacking posts about dyeing recently. It's been a while since I played with my dyes and I have been itching to give it a go again. I have been especially tempted ever since Laughing Hens sent me this gorgeous hank of undyed superwash merino. Just look at the photos: it's sooo squishy! I don't think I have ever dyed such luscious yarn before, so I look forward to seeing how it will take to dyeing.

I can't stop touching it. Before I choose a colour, I will have to make up my mind about what to knit this wool into. It is too nice for socks and as it is pure merino, it wouldn't hold up very well to being worn on my feet. This 4-ply would make a great hat or even gloves. It's a good thing I have been thinking of knitting new gloves lately, especially now that we have had a few very chilly days over here. If you have any other ideas, let me know! For your information, I have 400 meters of this yarn, so that is very decent.

I am tempted to dye this differently from the way I usually work. Maybe I'll first knit something and then dye it. I would love to just partially dye the fingertips of gloves, for instance, or the top of a hat. So many possibilities! Also so much potential for disaster, but that makes it particularly exciting. I remember an attempt at speckle dyeing going very wrong... If I feel brave enough to give it another go, I would like to pre-dye the yarn in a lighter shade first and then try speckle dyeing over it in a second round. One day I might actually get a hang of this!

What kind of dyeing technique to you like in the yarns you buy or dye yourself? Do you have particular colours you return to again and again or do you like to be as diverse as possible? I've noticed I tend to stick to the same colours and really need to branch out a little. Perhaps this lovely yarn will be something completely different! I shall report once it's done, of course.

Disclosure: This yarn was sent to me free of charge by Laughing Hens in exchange for a review. My opinions are impartial and honest and I do not receive monetary compensation for my post.

Friday, 6 January 2017

#Craftblogclub Secret Santa 2016: Part 2

You have already seen what I made for my #craftblogclub Secret Santa swap partner, so now it is time to reveal what I have received.

When the package arrived before Christmas, it was a bit of a mystery. The address was German, but I knew it was from my Secret Santa. I thought I was the only German person taking part in #craftblogclub on Twitter, so I couldn't think of who this would be. It threw me because of my own connection to Germany, too. 

When I opened the handmade card that came with the package, it was even more mysterious. It began in German and then continued in English with an apology for the bad German grammar. It wasn't bad at all so I thought it was a native speaker at first. And then it finally dawned on me that I had spoken to a lady who lived in Germany, but was originally from the UK. Mystery solved! I quite enjoyed that conundrum, I have to say. Thank you, Rosie B from Craftbotic!

Rosie filled the package with all manner of handcrafted Christmas decorations that went on our tree straight away, I especially liked the yarn ball baubles, holly and clay reindeer. The gifts reminded me of how I always say I will make my own decorations one day and yet I never do... Rosie has used such a variety of techniques to make her gifts to me and I love it. 

And this is why I love Secret Santa. It can go a bit wrong sometimes, but usually the surprises are great fun and the excitement that comes with it is the best part of it. You do your best to find something your partner will like, but you can never be sure until they receive it and say something about it. You receive a gift as well and learn something about your Secret Santa, their preferences and skills, too. It's a lovely thing and I have enjoyed being part of 2016's #craftblogclub Secret Santa once again.

What are your experiences with Secret Santa? Do you love it or loathe it? What was the best gift you ever received from your swap partner - or has it ever gone wrong? Let me know in the comments.