The Knitting Magpie looks forward to colder weather.

Hello all magpies who like me are looking forward to the arrival of Autumn ๐ŸŠ and Winter โ˜ƒ๏ธ ( & apologies to those about to herald the arrival of Summer ๐ŸŒž)

I do like summer and this year the UK had had approximately ten years of its usual sunshine quota, I am now officially over summer.

I am however totally over excited about the arrival of cooler & ideally cold weather. I adore hunkering down in front of the log burner with winter projects. Beautiful though lightweight summer yarns are I never get the same feeling of comfort that I do from gorgeous winter wool.

Earlier in the year I treated myself to the Canal Sweater kit from We are Knitters in grey spot. Throughout summer my gaze kept drifting to this beautiful Meri Wool but it did not lend itself to 30ยฐ temperatures. Now however it is time to commence this lovely sweater..

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I mentioned previously that we would investigate my kit & yarn stash, however I’m saving that for a another time. I will be having some surgery later this year on my hand(s) so this Magpie will not be knitting for a while. This will be the time to do some sorting of projects so we will pick this up later.

Until my most excellent hand surgeon gets stuck in I am trying to fit in as many projects as possible so when not at work I am attached to my needles.

Over the next few weeks my plan is to complete my sweater, complete a blanket as a host / hostess gift for some friends in Venice in some Crazy Sexy Wool in an lovely Olive colour and numerous hats & scarves as gifts.

As we are down on the beautiful North Devon coast for a week I’ve managed to complete a couple of smaller projects. A freestyle crochet shoulder shrug for my mum ( who is tiny & always cold). I wanted something she could layer under a jacket for extra warmth without the bulk of a scarf and am pleased with the result. I used some Lil Heal the Wool from my stash which worked well.

For me I commenced the Sea Pink hat & mitts from the Birlinn Yarn Company. I love the finished hat ( not yet blocked) and am about to start the mitts. I love their seafaring sheep ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

Also completed is Thea Coleman’s wonderful charity hat pattern called water. This formed part of my husband’s birthday gifts and the result is lovely.

I used light Aranmore from The Fibre Co which is a mix of cashmere, silk and merino. A yarn I will use again.

I think I shall go and download an audiobook and cast on the mittens to my Sea Pink set while himself is off tramping over the Noth Devon coast path. I had to agree toย  this week being one of R & R (with for me the onus being on recuperation) so I feel no guilt about my enforced laziness.

Do let me know what you are all looking forward to project wise in the cooler months as I love hearing from you.

Until next time have a great crafty autumn.

Love

Magpie. X

The Knitting Magpie gets side tracked by shiny new projects…

Hello to all Magpies who like me cannot resist a shiny new project, no matter how many WIP are currently taking up space in your brain / home ( you can read more about my tendency to collect here:ย About the knitting magpie. )

I had decided I really really needed to finish off some of my numerous WIP before starting anything new. Now in my defence I do have some mitigation for having a few projects on the go at any one time.

I like to have a ‘TV ‘ knit available, my viewing of choice tends to be subtitled BBC4 drama, the darker the better so at this point I want a relatively clean knit – currently the Judako bag is fitting the bill for this. I’m using BC Garn Alba in coastal colours of seafoam, coral and dune gold for this beach / festival bag:

 

 

Next I like something with a little more attention required that I can complete whist listening to Audio books either in my garden arbour hideaway or by the French doors watching the birds feed. The Eternal Optomist Scarf by Mindy Ross fitted the bill perfectly for this. I used one skein of the lovely cashmere I bought last month in Venice along with some rose quartz beads. The finished scarf forms the featured image this week and it was an enjoyable knit. The was one slight hiccup when I realised I had failed to insert a yarn over but a little faffing with a minature crochet hook allowed correction without completely undoing numerous rows of pattern.

 

 

It is rare that I can just knit but when I really want to turn my brain noise down I will pick either a complex pattern or cable. I have in my stash a 75% completed sweater – the Kykuit by Michelle Wang for The Yarn Collective. I am working this in Yarn Collective Hudson Worsted in the Olana Ochre colour. I absolutely love this pattern which I started early January but had to put aside come March. I plan to pick it up again in the next few weeks ready for Autumn.

 

 

The eagle eyed among you will have noticed that my left hand is in a functional splint ( as is my right) and whilst it is a great place to store your cable needle it does mean I can only work on some projects for a very short amount of time, hence having a choice of options on the go. I cannot however blame my complete overabundance of yarn, kits & fabrics on my unstable joints – just a lack of willpower ( and not enough hours in the day) ๐Ÿ˜˜

Next time I may tell you a little more about the stash and my plans to tackle it, below is a snapshot of some of the loveliness plonked on the day bed in what I laughingly call my dressing room ( I have plans for decorating this but first I need to be able to get into it!)

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Now, shiny new projects. I really really didn’t need to start anything new but – the very naughty We are Knitters had an offer on which included the Goa Tee, a kit that had been on my wishlist. Ok I told myself sternly, you can order it and put it away for the spring. As you can see that worked………..

 

 

I am trying to organise my thoughts (again) into getting ready for Christmas, all the time being conscious that real life doesn’t stop so I can knit ๐Ÿ˜• I updated my gifting accessories from the lovely MOO. As I have care labels that I attach to finished gifts by ribbon to the tags I decided on sticky gift tags to secure wrapping and also some fab postcards. One side can be written on for personal messages.

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I already have some great sew in labels that I order from Bags of Love

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and am currently perusing various external tags in either wood or leather for bags and hats – ahhh etsy ๐Ÿ’“

You can keep in touch with me on Instagramย ย @knittingmagpie and also the Facebook group which you can find by clicking this link:ย The Knitting Magpie

Well I must go and pretend to at least catch up on some chores as back at work tomorrow. Have a happy, healthy creative time whatever you may be working on.

Love

Magpie X

 

 

The Knitting Magpie on holiday (food, wine, wool & audio books).

Hello everyone. I hope you are enjoying a crafty warm summer ( or a crafty keeping warm winter) depending on where you are.

Himself and I have just returned from a trip to Italy where food, wine and wool were the order of the day with a side helping of audio books. I’ve only discovered the joy of these fairly recently. I started listening to help switch off on my 1.5 hour daily commute home from work and then found they were the perfect accompaniment to knitting. The return from work calls usually for a thriller(!) where as currently I am working my way through the marvellous M C Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series read by Penelope Keith whilst knitting.

We started our jaunt in Venice where we were very spoilt by our friends. I also found time to pop to Lellabella for some of their sumptuous ethical cashmere. I picked a very pale pink and a dark crimson. As I hasn’t planned to shop that day my credit card was back at the house so himself paid – a bargain ๐Ÿ˜˜

 

 

 

If you visit Venice do call in to this tiny Aladdin’s cave of wonderful woolly treats.

Venice always allows me time to craft as K likes to cook. Early mornings find us haunting the Rialto market for the best fish and in the evening after chicetti at our favourite bar I settle on the tiny balcony with a glass of wine and my project whilst he cooks. One evening this time he had just served a lovely crab and fennel linguine when on turning to fetch his own wine a large gull dived in and helped himself.

 

 

Our second week was spent further north just outside of Bardolino on the shores of Lake Garda. We were high up residing in a beautiful cream stone 15th century farmhouse which consisted of 8 suites and a pool with lovely staff on hand who provided lazy breakfasts on the terrace.

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As you can see there was little inclination to leave, the hammock in the top left and the feature pic for this post show my knitting spots for the week. The bottom right shows the first outing of my Le Chic dress competed in time for the trip.

My holiday project needed to be fairly compact as I have never mastered the art of travelling light, therefore I decided on socks. I don’t know why but even though I learnt to knit 300 years ago ( you can read a little more about me and how I learnt here:ย About the knitting magpie.ย ) I’ve never knitted socks. I picked a pattern from Loop London, ( toe up socks with afterthought heel) and added a frilled cuff to peek over ankle boots. I picked some South African Nuturing Fibres sock yarn ( I do like how they even use the waste dye water to irrigate their groves) in Humbug and had some leftover Rialto Lace, which used double was perfect for toes, heels and frill. As the World Cup was on ( football – yawn)ย  a couple of eveningsย  post dinner found us in a very nice bar in town where he could watch the match and I could hunker down with a negroni or two,ย  Agatha Raisin through my earphones and socks clicking away. He was amused to see how many folk found themselves watching my needles rather than the screen. I’m really pleased with the finished result and also mastered the Kitchener stitch for the heels. A further bonus is that there is enough yarn to make another pair in a reversed colourway.

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Now we are home and back to work and reality although the weather here remains unbroken. As usual I have far far too many projects on the go but I haven’t been able to resist casting on the pink cashmere. I am using this for the beautiful Eternal Optimist scarf from Mindy Ross, I am also part beading it with rose quartz. The pattern really appeals as it is made up of distinct sections from ‘seed pods’ through to ‘reap what you sow’ in different panels charting what happens in the garden, from propagating & planting to picking. I will keep you updated as it progresses. Currently I have just started on ‘Furrowing’.

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I guess I better go and continue the unpacking before picking up my needles again – boo hiss.

For those of you who have been visiting The Knitting Magpie Facebook group pageย  ย  ย ย ย https://www.facebook.com/groups/580224245691140/ย  I do hope you are enjoying it. Since creating it a little over six weeks ago it has grown to just over 200 members from all over the world. I love reading your posts and seeing yourย  projects.

Until next time I wish you happy crafting.

Love

Magpie X

Magpie gets ready for holidays – yippee.

Hi folks and welcome to The Knitting Magpie ( a little more about me can be found here: About the knitting magpie. ).

It’s that time of year when holidays beckon ( actually they beckon constantly but sadly work is required inbetween to pay for them ).

I have one afternoon not at work before we head off to Italy, during that time I really should put down my needles and at least consider the packing business.

I have recently finished two projects which are going in my case, both by Wool & The Gang. The Le Chic Dress which I like although the pattern does need editing as there are a number of errors. Not enough to affect the pattern ( unless you are beginner) but enough to irritate. I’m sure these will be rectified soon. Secondly I pulled out a vest I had done but didn’t like on me and re-used the Shiny Happy Cotton 101 spots to knit up the All Shook Up tank which I do like. In the pick also is my Hold Tight Clutch in Abbey Road which I use constantly.

One of the many projects I have on the go is my gelato sweater which I have based on one of my We are Knitters favourites- the Cartagena Sweater. I decided to do it in a light glazed dk cotton and it’s coming along nicely. I’m also trying out Knitpro’s cubics with this which currently I really like using.

Some of you may remember a month or so ago a Facebook Magpie Group was set up which now has 107 members from all corners of the world, you can find us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/580224245691140 – ( the link is temperamental so if having a broken wing moment Facebook – Groups – The Knitting Magpie should find us. X ) One of the group bought my attention to the lovely pompom quarterly magazine – I now have even more projects to add to my wish list.

Well I must go and commence figuring out the packing. I hope you all have a lovely crafty couple of weeks whatever you are up to.

Love

Magpie

XXX

The Knitting Magpie goes rogue- and does very little knitting.

Hello folks. I hope you are enjoying the start to summer ( or winter depending on your location).

I’ve dipped in and out of my current projects over the last couple of weeks having been side tracked by sewing a tote in the most gorgeous Llama fabric and crocheting my first ever piece of clothing.

Firstly my tote which I am thrilled with. I noticed the fabric on bagclaspsltd and fell in love with it, I then saw that they also did some really cute bag kits that included nice leather handles & clasps plus interfacing and hardware – right down to the bag feet. I also had some red ticking stripe linen perfect for lining. The finished bag just makes me smile, it is so cheerful.

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Now to my crocheting. I’ve always been a knitter and dipped my toe into crochet earlier this year with a bag & hat raffia kit. I decided to try my hand at the Verรซ Tee from We are Knitters in their hand painted sprinkle prima cotton and am pleased with the results, it was also really quick to do.

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I don’t know about you guys but sometimes I want a small project. With this in mind I have the Cedar Shake Mitts pattern from Loop London which I am doing in Happy Glamper from Plucky Knitter. The first one is shown here on my lovely heart glove blockers from Alexworkshopdesigns on Etsy:

 

Back to knitting now methinks before withdrawal sets in. I’m planning a lighter weight glazed cotton dk sweater in ice cream shades for summer.

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Have a good week and enjoy whatever project(s) you are currently working on.

Love

Magpie

Completion of the Twinset of Doom, Countdown to Christmas (with help from Zorro), matching my nails to my work and ( drum roll please) a new Facebook Knitting Magpie Group….

Hello and welcome to the current musings from the knitting magpie ( you can read more about me here):About the knitting magpie.

The Twinset of Doom- I told you about how this labour of love for my mum was driving me up the wall a couple of weeks ago. Well I am beyond delighted to say it is finished. I shall of course be less delighted if she:

A. Doesn’t like it

Or

B. It doesn’t fit…….

 

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I know it is only May and I can’t quite believe that I am mentioning the C word, but I started to think about gift making at a rate of an item a month – that is only seven gifts ( now you’re scared)! I started by pulling out some Take Care Mohair from my stash, left the room and returned to find Zorro using it as a pillow. I wrested a couple of balls from him and knitted up a Christmas scarf.

 

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Like gazillions of folk yesterday I decided the Royal wedding was the perfect excuse to sit around in the morning in my fave pj’s ( Desmond & Dempsey) , drink a cheeky glass of fizz and work on one of my current projects, the Le Chic dress from W&TG. Nails to match of course – it was a wedding after all ๐Ÿ˜˜

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So to the Facebook group.

Like a lot of things I do this wasn’t planned. If you have read my previous posts you will see that like a lot of craft folk part of the fun for me is swapping hacks and project plans and finding items of beauty that I want to share, this can be restricted if your online knitting group belongs to a single commercial operation. As a group I belong to has asked their members ( in general I hasten to add, not me individually ) to only discuss their products this left a few of us wondering the best way to continue to share without needing to send private messages all of the time. Susan, another group member I have become friends with suggested a knitting magpie group page, within a few hours ( believe me that’s fast as I hadn’t got a technical clue how to go about it) it was up and running. Now 24 hours later we have 27 members as far away as NZ – it’s very exciting as we can chat about knitty / crafty projects and discoveries from all over. It is a closed group, this means you are welcome to visit and have a look at what folk are up to but in order to post you must join the group. Come and have a look around and add in your creative finds, hacks and projects. The link is:ย https://www.facebook.com/groups/580224245691140/

I’m looking forward to next week as my best friend from NZ, she of the alpaca lovliness is coming to visit, it always goes by too fast.

Next time I shall show you the hopefully completed Le Chic dress and also I happened across some fab tapestry fabric for a new knitty tote which I shall try and complete over the next week, a sneak preview of the fabric is shown here. IMG_20180517_131354_037

Speak soon and have a happy creative week.

Love

Magpie

XXX

The cardigan of doom, a daisy chain dress and breakfast on the Blossom Trail.

Hello and a Happy Sunny (!!! )May Day holiday weekend.

Now those of you not used to the UK weather may not realise that to have blue sky and sunshine on a bank holiday is as rare as hens teeth. Usually we are wrapped up in sweaters and log burners are stoked up. Instead 0830 today found us in the car, roof off and The Eagles playing on the way to have breakfast at a gorgeous farm shop, nursery & cafe. We are lucky enough to live in stunning countryside and our route took us out through the Blossom Trail. It also gave me chance to wear my amore tee which I’d knitted freestyle earlier in the year which I am really pleased with. I used Wool and the Gangs Shiny Happy Cotton in Bluewater for the body and it seemed suitably cheerful. I had been under house arrest as not feeling brilliant this week so this was a great treat.

Now the cardigan of doom. Strictly speaking it is the twinset of doom but I only have the cardigan to finish. My mum had asked for a vintage style twinset for Christmas. Unable to find anything that fitted the bill I volunteered to order yarn and make her one. I love the fine ply yarn from Lichen & Lace so ordered some in faded rose. Then I realised that a twinset in single ply on 3.25 & 4mm pins wasn’t going to be a quick knit. To say I have fallen out of love with it is an understatement, if it was a marriage I’d be filing for divorce! A couple of weeks should see it complete. I will show the completed items with probably balloons and a brass band – hurrah.

I am a project floozie and have always got numerous things on the go. Currently I am trying out a daisy chain dress, again in shiny happy cotton in vitamin c. I am hoping it will end up as a 60’s style shift and treated myself to some tulip needle point protectors after seeing them in a post from littleblackdogsa.wordpress.com , they are so cute.

Thanks for reading ( to find out more about the knitting magpie click here: About the knitting magpie ). I hope you all have a glorious weekend whatever craftiness you are up to.

Love

Magpie. X

Magic ‘SOAK’ Flatter Spray, Gangstas and the COCO Sweater.

Hello knitting folks & welcome to the Knitting Magpie ( to find out more about the knitting magpie click here: About the knitting magpie.

I hope you have managed to take your needles into the sunshine on at least a couple of occasions ( if you are not based in the UK you may not realise what an event ๐ŸŒž ๐Ÿ˜Ž is).

I managed to finish my COCO Sweater purchased from the lovely Wool and the Gang this week although I have not quite finished sewing it up. I chose to knit it in magic mint & white and the colours just make me long for a holiday where the sea sparkles turquoise hues – sigh. The yarn is their lovely Shiney Happy Cotton which knits up beautifully. One note of caution it is a very fluid cotton so if you knit loosely you may wish to go up a garment size and down a needle size. I also drop at least 1mm in needle size when completing rib areas as well as using twisted rib as I find it holds the shape better.

I use Flatter spray by SOAK on all of my projects and find I rarely need to fully block. It comes in a couple of fragrances but I stay with the fig, reminiscent of Italian gardens – back to holidays again! A light spray and then a steam press evens up cotton and linen fibres and on wool ( steam only, don’t press) it reduces static and flyaway fibres. I get mine from Loop London as I’ve not come across many UK stockists.

Invisible seaming on stripes is a breeze and I always use my heavy solid silver barley twist needle for sewing up which was a gift many years ago from my mother – thanks mum.

Now to the Gangstas. Those of you familiar with Wool and the Gang will know that their gang includes everyone from the HQ team to their global manufacturing team to those of us who spend more of our salary that we should on their lovely products. Gangsta chat happens on their Facebook #MAKEALONG group page and it is a friendly international forum for the sharing of projects and ideas. Also being international there is always someone around for a woolly chat at stupid o’clock in the morning ๐Ÿ˜Š

I’m off to finish sewing up COCO and will post a pic when complete.

The finished COCO which I love ( although sadly we appear to have returned to winter today – brrrrr.

Next time I’ll tell you a little about the cardigan of doom!

Stay warm and woolly

Love Magpie

XXX

A journey into the magpies nest….

Thanks for joining me and to learn more read: About the knitting magpie.!

The only difference between an experienced knitter and new knitter is that the experienced knitter makes bigger mistakes faster. Be bold; there are no terrible consequences in knitting”.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee