Not long after my last post, I'm afraid to say that I started to have problems with my hands again. The Baby Surprise Jacket, sadly, never happened. I was "out of commission" for the better part of 6 months. I was able to crochet a little, but not very much, and it was October before I started to be able to knit again. As to why I didn't come back to posting on here when I was able to knit again - I have no excuse! Mea culpa!
Since I started again, I have completed 3 projects, and have now started a fourth.
Here's what I've been up to:
1. Feather & Fan Scarf
This was my first foray back into knitting once things had settled down - a "feather and fan" scarf for my niece. I made it for her for Christmas, and she absolutely loved it. She put it on as soon as she unwrapped it, and it stayed there for the rest of the day!
I've found that I quite enjoy lace patterns, feather and fan is very easy to keep track of and produces a lovely shape. I shall happily do this one again, possibly even make one for myself at some time in the future.
The yarn was Louisa Harding's "Amitola" in "Marmalade", and it took just one ball. The colour changes were uneven, some very short and some very long, but it did keep it interesting. The yarn itself was beautiful to work with, 80% wool and 20% silk. The silk content meant that I could manage to work with it even through my wool allergy. Lovely wool, highly recommended.2. Old Shale Smoke Ring
My second project was this cowl for my sister-in-law, which I made for her birthday in February. The "old shale" lace pattern is very similar to feather and fan, so I found it simple to keep track of. I enjoyed knitting in the round too, not having to stop and turn the work at the end of every row meant that it went an awful lot quicker than the scarf.
This was Amitola yarn again, this time in "Hummingbird", and I enjoyed it every bit as much as the first project. The colour repeats were much shorter in this colourway, producing thinner stripes which I think were better for this pattern.
This is another pattern that I'll be happy to knit again in the future - it made a very good travelling pattern too, as it was quite compact. As with the scarf, it only took one ball of wool. Always a bonus!
3. Oatmeal JuJu Blanket
Just before Christmas I learnt that a friend of mine at work was expecting her first baby, so I volunteered to make a baby blanket for her - I got stuck in to it as soon as I'd finished the cowl for my sister-in-law's birthday.
This is the first time I've knitted a baby blanket (although I've made a few before they've all been crocheted), so it was quite challenging. I asked my Mum if she had any suggestions for a good pattern, we sat and had a look through Ravelry together and she came up with this absolute cracker. My friend is quite modern, so something a bit out of the ordinary was going to be a good bet for her.
Mum made a sample of it, which I took to work to show my friend and she loved it. She liked oatmeal as a good basic colour which would go with everything, so that was what I went with. The wool I used was Stylecraft's "Life Chunky" in Oatmeal. It's very soft but very robust, and has the added bonus of being machine washable and tumble dryer safe - perfect for a baby blanket. It took 3 and a half balls.
I absolutely love this pattern - an 8 stitch repeat which looks much more complicated than it actually is - the most complicated thing in it is to knit 2 together! It produces a fabulously textured blanket with a really interesting look to it. I shall cheerfully make one of these again. One really nice thing was that I found I could dispense with the pattern after a few repeats, in each row you need only look at the one before to tell you what to do.
So what next? Earlier this week I picked up this gorgeous ball of Noro "Sekku" from my local yarn shop. Sekku has been discontinued so it was in the sale, and she had just one ball of this fabulous colourway - so I had to have it. The project is titled "Pink and Purple Festival Shawl" for now, as "Sekku" is a Japanese word which means something akin to "festival".
Whether or not this one will work out, I don't know. I'm not accustomed to knitting with lace weight yarn, so I'm very much out of my depth at the moment. The pattern is relatively simple, that's not what I'm concerned about - it's the yarn which is giving me cause for concern. Fingers crossed!
I have time to play with this one, another friend is expecting a baby but not until December, so I have a little time before I need to start something for her. Watch this space!