Settler Shawl – finished!

Before I went on holiday I wrote the post “It is meant to be.” The shawl that I was knitting is all finished. Knitted, blocked and end weaved in. I LOVE it.

This is my swatch.

This is my swatch.

We had a very long car journey (6 hours or so) and I did not want to waste a minute so got started with the swatch. It is a very important part of the process although Libby (the designer) had said that she thought that most people would not bother with a shawl but I was going to do this ‘properly’.

I say do it properly but I didn't want to waste time blocking so I gave it a good tug, let it settle and measure this (Sorry Libby). Yes it was all on my knee but I had a lot more quality knitting time ahead of me in the car.

I say do it properly but I didn’t want to spend the time wet blocking so I gave it a good tug, let it settle and measured this (Sorry Libby). Yes it was all on my knee but I had a lot more quality knitting time ahead of me in the car.

I also took the opportunity to practice the cross over pattern that I had not done before, which was just as well because I got it completely wrong!

I didn't read the (very clear instructions) properly which I put down to doing it in the car!

I didn’t read the (very clear instructions) properly which I put down to doing it in the car!

The first bit of the shawl was all garter stitch (one of the reasons as to why I was keen to get going whilst in the car.) It shows the variations in the colour of the yarn really well. It also makes the project a great one to take out and about. I went on to take this project onto the beach and was able to take part in conversations whenever I was doing it.

The criss- cross pattern done correctly :)

The criss- cross pattern done correctly :)

Once you get onto the cross over pattern it is still not difficult (as long as you get it correct;)) but it does require a bit more concentration – I had to look at what I was doing whereas I didn’t for the garter stitch.

Once finished the magic can take place!

Before blocking - please note that the foam blocks that I am using are small. I had to go out and buy bigger ones to fit it onto.

Before blocking – please note that the foam blocks that I am using are small. I had to go out and buy bigger ones to fit it onto.

After a soak in water, a gentle dry within a towel and pinning out this is what you get:

IMG_1075I think that the transformation is amazing. I just know that I am going to get LOTS and LOTS of wear out of this.

I loved knitting this and I love the end result even more. A real win – win :) The good news is that you can get your hands on this pattern TODAY here, or if you fancy your chances and waiting for a bit then I have 1 copy of the pattern to give away thanks so much to Libby also known as Truly Myrtle.  All you have to do is leave a comment below and I will randomly choose a winner on Saturday 6th September.

A huge thank you to Libby for giving me this opportunity.

Good luck and enjoy.

PS: Joanne I have not deserted you, I am currently working very hard on your project ;)

Bank Holiday Acticities

Regular readers of this little space will have noticed that I have had a little holiday. I have read many of your wonderful blog posts over the last week but have only just read and answered many of your comments. If you have a comment from me that makes no sense at all then forgive me for the long pause.

I shall share a bit about my holiday in a later post but today I want to share with you our adventure today. It is a bank holiday here in England this weekend and, surprisingly quite sunny. This was just as well as I had promised my boys that I would take them to the local junior park run. For those of you who don’t know, park runs are free, timed, weekly events that take place up and down the country (and even internationally). The adult distance is 5K and my eldest has beaten me several times over this distance.

Our local park run takes place in a wooded area with gravel pits.

Our local park run takes place in a wooded area with gravel pits.

Today was all about the under 14′s. It was run over 2k and was a REALLY pleasant experience. It was really well organised with a very clear briefing (by a very friendly youngster) and a brief but fun warm up.

The warm up.

The warm up.

It was very well marshaled with the whole course covered so that participants could be seen at all times. (It is a public park.) It was a lovely atmosphere with parents allowed to join in.

My children set off at a real sprint and we soon lost them all. After a while I managed to catch them up and ran the majority of it with my middle one (there was no way I was going to be able to catch up with my eldest, indeed I expected to be lapped by him!) My youngest managed to help his Dad get around in one piece!

The finishing funnel.

The finishing funnel.

Later that morning the results were in letting them know how fast they ran it, what position they were in and how they did compared to their age group.

I think this is an event that we will be returning to. I cannot fault it at all – especially as it is the only way I will ever get my husband running (and it will do him the world of good!)

I hope you all enjoyed your weekends as much.x

It is meant to be!

Last week something really exciting happened on Twitter. I noticed a link to instargram by a friend Truly Myrtle. I clicked through and saw the most beautiful shawl. What is more she designed it herself. I was feeling a bit cheeky -

Conversation on twitter.

Conversation on twitter.

How lucky am I? The e-mail come through really quickly and I got straight online to order the yarn required.

Having ordered it I then had a panic – it would not come in time! I decided to phone the shop Meadow Yarn and try to upgrade my postage to a faster service. You know what? The lady was SOOOO lovely that she offered to do it for me without charging me any extra as her random act of kindness for the day. I was totally gobsmacked!

The best bit of all? IT CAME :) I was so grateful that I phoned the lady straight away to tell her that it had arrived. The Yarn is soooo yummy:

Wasn’t this project just meant to be? I really hope that I enjoy knitting this. It has a quick turn around so look out for updates :). Oh and I will so be visiting Meadow Yarns again!

 

 

Something New

Test knitting means that I challenge myself to learn new techniques without really thinking about it. I agree to make the piece and then do whatever it takes to be able to complete the item. My latest test knit hadn’t even got started before I had to (admittedly re-) learn how to do a provisional cast on using a crochet hook.

It is not a difficult process but one that means you work from an edge that can be undone and added to at a later date.

This is what it looks like once you have started with the yarn you are knitting with:

The provisional cast on with the beginning of the pattern.

The provisional cast on with the beginning of the pattern.

Looking good so far :) There will be more ‘firsts’ for me on this pattern coming up!

 

Finishing the old, starting new

When I finished my latest knitting project I realised something:

knittingThe night I finished the project I was happy to have finished but the morning after I felt quite sad as I realised that my much-loved, go-to project that I could pick up easily was finished.

Luckily for me my next project has already been decided and I picked the pattern and yarn up today. Many of you will acknowledge that I am feeling happy to have a new project, something that is particularly highlighted as I have the added excitement of not being 100% sure of what it will end up looking like. This is because, as like the last project, I will be knitting the first ever version. I love this and feel so, so privileged. It is a bit sad as it means that I am unable to share either with you for some time but be sure, I will when I can.

This is the yarn that I have just finished knitting with.

This is the yarn that I have just finished knitting with.

The colour has not come out in this photo, it is a lovely purple colour and it is lovely to work with so I am very excited to be working with more of this yarn for this next project.

Another thing that I like about knitting up things for the first time is that I get to try out techniques that I have not come across before. For the last project I had to wait right until the end to try out the new technique but it was worth the wait. It was the centre double decrease.

This shows you how to do it should you wish to know. It is a really great way to decrease quite heavily in an even way.

As for my next project…..well this is new for me right from the start as it is colour-work! I shall keep you informed as to how I am getting on. Meanwhile any tips for me?

I AM the BOSS!

There are some projects that constantly test you, one minute you think that you have got the idea and everything is fine but the next everything seems to come crashing down around you. This is definitely one of these projects.

Start…….stop……..rip back…….

I started off thinking that it was doable only to abandon it completely the next day.

My first attempt.

My first attempt.

I started again,  thought that I had mastered it …. until I made a mistake. It got left for another week before I started again, taking it back a few rows before starting again. This time I decided to show the beads exactly who is BOSS! I tightened my tension and all was going well until I realised that I had added in an extra bit. It got abandoned again!

I am on the right lines once the tension is tighter.

My second attempt!

I…will……not….be….beaten. I…..AM……THE……BOSS!

Can you see where I tightened the tension?

Can you see where I tightened the tension? (To the left – the beads sit up better) This is still not right as I have added an extra bit so will have to take it back….again!

This is one project where I shall not be beaten. I shall complete it. It is not that complicated – I am just being a bit dumb and it is taking at least twice as long as it should!

Here is how it is done:

It is growing- slowly. I am now going to have to work out what to do with the 'first' bit...

It is growing, although very slowly. I am now going to have to work out what to do with the ‘first’ bit…

See not at all complicated really. Keep your eye’s peeled for the finished bracelet. It will be done – promise.

You Broke Me!

This is what notsogranny said about ‘my’ personal trainer because whenever I sat down for any length of time on Sunday I stiffened up and ended up hobbling along. Saturday morning I had been put through my paces, for the first time in 2 weeks, and I was suffering!

Source

You may remember that when I was training the London Marathon last year, my biggest fear was that I would get injured. In an attempt to combat this I booked some sessions with a personal trainer. The idea was to strengthen all the supporting muscles that don’t actually get used that much in running. I know I was surprised too – there are some muscles in the legs that don’t get used that much in running!

Due to my illness I didn’t use many of the sessions that I had paid for but have now been trying to meet regularly with him. The sessions may appear to be quite ‘easy’ to some as I am, not huffing and puffing or sweating profusely. That is not the aim.

I start off rolling my muscles on a ball and with a foam roller to loosen them off and get rid of knots (which often hurts!). I then move onto squats, lunges, leg curls, step ups interspersed with a few lat pull downs and chest presses. Yes my legs get a bit wobbly and even hurt a bit but at the time it is never that bad.

Source

It would appear that the break of 2 weeks was just a bit too much for the legs. There is a part of me that likes the ache as I know that I have done something good but I have to admit to being a bit embarrassed as I hobbled and moaned around on Sunday!

Source

I was even still stiff on Monday but did manage a gentle jog, which was just as well as I saw this lovely sunset:

Sunset over the cornfield.

Sunset over the cornfield.