A Curious MKAL

For me, this time of year always feels like a bit of a ‘beginning’… much more so than January 1st, when we’re swept along on a tide of bonhomie, or the arrival of ‘Spring’ which is always more of a gradual creep here. September seems to come out of nowhere every year! Boom… it’s here, summer is almost gone… again. September means starting to think about cooler weather, retreating back inside for longer evenings in front of the fire and with that, inevitably for a knitter maybe, casting on new projects. It’s woolly season!

So, when I heard from Helen at Curious Handmade that she was about to release a Mystery Knit-A-Long shawl pattern I whooped and started plotting. The Summertide MKAL is starting on September 10th, timed just right to take advantage of the return of children to school (not ours I hasten to add!!) and tap into a crafter’s desire to find a little bit of ‘making’ time again. And why not ‘make’ along with a bunch of other like-minds? Helen’s Ravelry group is a busy bustling place and there’s a thread to discuss colour choices, yarn choices, whether to stash-bust or splash out… you know how it is…

One of the suggested yarns is Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light and I spent a delightful hour (or two) earlier this week coming up with possible colour combinations for this two colour shawl – you can see my ideas over on the Curious handmade blog.  Obviously this got my creative juices flowing and I’ve spent the rest of this week deliberating over the two shades I’ll use for my Summertide MKAL…

Inspired by my own inspiration (is that a thing?) I decided to go for it… rather than a subtle neutral pairing or a muted green combo, or my usual yellows and mustards I thought about what I’ve been wearing this summer and used my current favourite top as a springboard.

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(‘scuse the wrinkles, it’d been a long day…)

I’ve found myself drawn towards blue lately… I’ve never been a ‘blue’ person, always greens, mustards, browns. Autumn shades to compliment my ‘auburn’ hair… I guess it’s time to face up to the fact that the hair isn’t auburn any more!!! :/ So, cool blues and navy have edged in, with a splash of mustard and orange of course. This loose cotton top has been my favourite purchase of the summer. From Seasalt, it’s been great on its own on hot days but it’s also proving to be perfect layered over a skinny tee (the only way I’ll wear a skinny tee!!!) so I can see it proving popular long into Autumn.

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Aided by Rhubarb tea and a Gingernut biscuit I set about finding two Madelinetosh shades to replicate this combination of soft sky/teal blues and orange and came up with…

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Tomato and Well Water. I’ve loved the vivid orangey/red of Tomato since I first set eyes on it but it was always going to be too much as a sweater or cardigan. It’s been discontinued now by Madtosh so I knew I had to grab a skein before it went forever and Well Water, a soft tonal sky blue is the perfect foil for it. OK, we’re set, I’ll see you back here with regular updates and over on the Curious Handmade Ravelry group as we knit ourselves up a Summertide Shawl!

The perfect antidote…

As the evenings draw in (it was *dark* at 7:40 here yesterday evening!!) and the mornings start misty and cool I always mourn the passing of another summer. As a ‘yarn peddler’ I have an internal emotional tussle each year as Autumn envelops us, for I am truly a ‘summer soul’… Sandals, blue skies, elderflower cordial, skin warmed by the sun, Swallows & Swifts, paddling in the sea… these are the things that make me truly happy (and knitting of course 😉 ). So, as the inevitable passing of my favourite season becomes more and more apparent I need to look to the little things that remind that Autumn is a wonderful season too…

Of course, I need look no further than my needles. And Autumn is surely the season of the shawl… time to air the myriad that have been carefully stored away for many months, time to be grateful for the cosy warmth as the first cup of tea is still sipped outside whenever possible, time to sit knitting in the evening relishing the additional comfort of some fine gauge shoulder apparel…

And, of course, time to knit some more!

This is the gorgeous Pebble Beach Shawlette

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Designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade, it was the winner of the Unwind Brighton Design Competition back in June and I bookmarked it straight away, knowing that it was destined to hit my needles as soon as it was on general release…

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By a serendipitous coincidence, just as the pattern became available we had a surprise delivery (also resulting from the Unwind show in Brighton) of Sweet Georgia ‘Tough Love’ Sock yarn and so pattern and yarn became intrinsically linked in my mind and I had no choice but to cast on the first shawl of the ‘season’ in this lovely yarn…

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The yarn is a ‘proper’ sock blend of Superwash Merino (80%) and Nylon (20%) and is hand dyed in a range of layered tonal ‘jewel’ shades that would, of course, make jaw-droppingly beautiful socks but are also absolutely made for shawls, scarves and lightweight sweaters…

DSCF4356I chose ‘Slate’. Imagine wet slate on a Welsh hillside, glimmering with subtle mauves among the charcoal greys and you won’t be far off. This is a wonderfully complex shade that will coordinate with all manner of cardigans, jackets and eventually coats as we head further into ‘knitting season’…

The pattern was a dream to knit. My favourite combination of simple repetition and interesting construction (it starts with a few stitches cast on and knits out from the centre top…) it positively flew off the needles. Go on, knit yourself one and join me in celebrating the arrival of Autumn with a new shawl…

All the details of my knit are here on Ravelry.