More NaKniSweMo

Argh!

So I thought I had 10 balls of yarn.  Turns out I have 9 balls of yarn.  Of a discontinued yarn.  So my plans for a nice deep rib are out, and its most likely going to be 3/4 length sleeves.  But I’m still confident that I can get a sweater out of the yarn that doesn’t look like its been short changed.

Current stitch count: 41,860

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I put the body stitches on a holder cable and worked a ball of yarn on the sleeve just to see how far a ball will go.  I have two balls left plus the one in the picture.  I’m planning to knit the rest of that ball, use one for the left sleeve and the final ball to do the ribbing on the sleeves and body.  I will have little choice but to play yarn chicken.  Hopefully, I won’t need to unravel my swatch…

On the plus side, I absolutely love the sweater.  It has knit up sooo nice and soft, fits perfectly and I think I will be wearing it a lot!

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NaKniSweMo Update

Current stitch count: 31,868 stitches

Arendal

I used a tubular cast on for the ribbing, in the past I’ve always used the stockinette version and I’ve loved the neat finished look but not the hassle of undoing the provisional cast on and picking up stitches.  This is the first time I’ve done a tubular cast on for 2×2 rib though and when I googled it I found the long tail method.  Gotta admit, it might now be my go-to method for tubular casting on.  It’s a lot quicker and just as neat.

I have made a little mistake, you’re supposed to change to 4.5mm needles after the ribbing (and I thought I had) but a couple of inches into the main body I checked my needles and found out I hadn’t.  I tried it on and I think I’ve gotten away with it, I like the feel of the fabric and it fits so I’m carrying on.

I did have to rip back a couple inches at the underarms as it was a smidgeon too tight and I didn’t like the decreases in the pattern.  I added a few stitches each side and its much better for it.  The best bit of a seamless top down sweater is being able to try it on as you go!  Baring any other major issues, I think I’m still on track to finish in November.

*Fingers crossed*

NaKniSweMo Challenge

NaKniSweMo is short for national (or should it be international?) knit a sweater month.  It was inspired by NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which challenges people to write 50,000 words in November.  Swap words for stitches and you have NaKniSweMo.

I’m not sure if my sweater has the required number of stitches but my challenge for myself is to knit and finish a sweater in November.  Emphasis on finish because its not unusual for me to finish knitting a sweater only for it to languish for longer than I’m willing to admit waiting to be sewn together and blocked.

I’ve stacked the odds in my favour by picking a top down sweater that’s knit in the round.  Seriously, the only thing I have to do is sew up a few inches under the arms and block it.  It shouldn’t be too hard, right?

I’m making Arendal from Drops out of stash yarn; the sadly discontinued Rowan Lima.  Its a gorgeous blend of 84% baby alpaca, 8% merino, 8% nylon and knits up so soft.

Arendal

So far I’m on track to finish, wish me luck!

Allotment Progress Pictures May Edition

A month sure does go quickly!  This is how the allotment has changed during May.  The first picture was taken on the 1st of May and the last on the 29th of May.

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It’s good to see there’s a lot more green now!  It was a cold start to the month but things are really getting going now the temperature has risen and we’ve had some fabulous sunshine.  In fact, my strawberries have finished teasing me with their ripeness and I enjoyed a tasty bowl of them at the weekend.  Yum!

First Batch Strawberries

Chelsea Inspiration

I’ve been watching Gardener’s World, mainly to try to glean some fruit and vegetable tips from Monty Don, but I’ve found that I’ve been watching more and more of the rest of the show.  So this year, I decided to watch the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the first time.

One of the bits I especially enjoyed was the BBC Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens, which are five gardens designed around the five senses; taste, touch, smell, sound and sight.  They felt far more accessible than the impressive show gardens, after all I already have a taste garden!

The Jo Whiley Scent Garden inspired me to think about the scents I have on my allotment.   I have a wonderful selection of herbs and I grow sweet peas every year which have been very successful and fill not only my allotment but my home with their scent.

Sweet peaSweet Peas 2016

So to add to this I bought a Jasminum officinale at the weekend, the variety is Clotted Cream and it was grown locally.  Jasmine is at its most fragrant in the evening and since I’m often at my plot in the evening after work to water I thought it was a good choice.  Plus, when I’m not drinking coffee I’m drinking Jasmine green tea so it’s in keeping with my rule of using edible flowers on the plot.  (Although I’m not planning to make Jasmine tea!)

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Next job: creating an arch for it to grow up…

Still Knitting

I’ve spent quite a bit of time on my allotment recently, but I am still knitting I promise!  Currently on my needles is a pattern by Cath Ward called Lazy Ocean Shawl. I’m making it out of Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace a luxurious, 55% merino and 45% silk blend.

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I cast on sometime in March (I’ve gotten really slack at updating my project pages on Ravelry and I can’t remember when exactly).  Its on 2.75mm needles and laceweight yarn so I’m not expecting to finish it any time soon either, but I’m past the halfway mark and really enjoying taking my time knitting it.

The pattern only has four other projects on Ravelry but I can’t imagine that staying that way for long as its a lovely design and well written with both charts and written instructions.  In fact, I recommend checking out Cath Wards pattern page as its full of pretty lace shawls and scarves that are all available for free.

I made a few modifications; I added some width, omitted a couple of the eyelet stitches at the edges and didn’t do the border at the start as I wanted to have as much of the stole in the lazy ocean pattern as possible.  If you’re interested in the details of the mods, you can find them on my project page.

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I think of this as the ugly duckling stage of lace knitting; it doesn’t look like much now, but I know this will be beautiful when finished.

Refreshing the Herbs

One of the favourite parts of my allotment is my herb bed, partly because I have fresh herbs all year round and also because its established and low maintenance.

I recently found a picture of what it looked like in July 2015.

Herbs 2015(From the top; sage, fennel, thyme, parsley x2, bay, parsley, rosemary, chive, marjoram and dill.)

Fast forward to 2017 and you can really see how they’ve started to fill out the bed, the rosemary is huge!  It’s also evolved to include a few new herbs.

DSC_3450(From the top right; sage, fennel, thyme, curly parsley, mint basil, bay, coriander, rosemary and hiding behind the rosemary are chives, marjoram, flat leaf parsley and lavender.)

Thankfully, I didn’t have to do much to refresh the herb bed this year, just a bit of pruning and planting some fresh parsley plants.  I thought the original white planters from 2015 were looking tired and getting grubby but rather than replace them I bought a few pots of tester paint (£1 a pot from Wilko in Boathouse Blue), and spruced them up.  They look so much better now and the blue looks great against the deep green/purple of the mint basil which is just starting to come back after dying down for the winter.

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And in other news, I thinned out my spinach today and came away with the first crop of the year!  Spinach Crop