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!

Interactions & Community…

When Kate at A Playful Day issued her ‘Love Your Blog’ challenge last week I felt compelled to join in. This poor neglected space really needs a kick start and what better way than to take inspiration from another super talented blogger!

Kate’s first ‘prompt’ – Interaction & Community – got me thinking about how and where I exist within this crazy crafty world of knitting & yarn. Of course, running an on-line yarn store it might seem that I’m fairly central but it often doesn’t feel like that. We don’t do ‘shows’… we’re tucked away in rural Suffolk, with a young family and that makes it logistically just too complicated. We’re not physically open to the public so all our lovely customers are at ‘arms length’ via the web site and often pretty anonymous. So, I have to grab opportunities to interact with this amazing community when they arise and that’s where my knitting comes in handy…

I just finished knitting myself a new cardigan.

Many evenings spent creating, stitch by stitch a garment just for me. I chose the pattern, the yarn, the shade and knit each and every stitch myself. Knitting isn’t generally a team sport, it might even be considered by some around here to be quite anti-social 😉 Questions directed at a knitter in this house might possibly elicit a sharp response… “Shhhh, I’m counting”, “Hang on, just let me finish this row…” you know how it goes…

But this cardigan wasn’t a solo effort, it involved a huge community and lots of interaction 😉

A quick snap to show early progress… Sharing love for the yarn and the pattern along the way and receiving lots of lovely encouragement via Instagram…

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Celebrating my lovely little local haberdashery (where I chatted with a fellow knitter while choosing buttons and thread)…

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A sneak peak of the finished garment while we wait for an opportunity to capture it ‘in action’ going down well on Facebook…

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And the final reveal (documented, of course, on our beloved Ravelry)…

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I’m not a ‘natural’ model but the urge to show off a finished cardigan outweighs the instinct to avoid the camera and gives me a very good reason to blow the cobwebs off the blog 😉

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And the final cherry on the cake… while enduring the local ‘panic’ chocolate egg buying in my local supermarket on ‘Easter Saturday’ (goodness, the shops are only going to be closed for ONE day!!!) a fellow shopper tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘I love your cardigan, do you mind me asking where you got it?’ Well… thanks for asking, I made it myself 😉

This solitary hobby sure involves a lot of far-flung community and a fair bit of interaction. Now, what to cast on next?