Sunday, August 27, 2006

Piece de Resistance

I have been SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO desperate to show this off, but I wanted to put on some purple gear and get my Dad (and his good camera and better knowledge of photography) and do it justice.

This (drum roll please) is the final part of my final package from my Secret Pal Tanja.

It is a shrug I saw on someone's blog a while back (the pattern is from Elann) and had fallen for in a big way. I noted it in my blog in the hope that one day I might be able to knit it, but lamented the fact it wouldn't be for a looooooooooong time! And then Tanja saved the day and knitted it for me!!!

What I love about it is that from the front, it looks like a simple lacy shrug, but then you see the back...
where there is this gorgeous, deep 'v' of lace and fringing, right down to my bottom! These photographs don't quite do it justice in that, in fact, it is a really pretty lilac (and not the pale blue it looks here) and as such, goes with practically all of my wardrobe. Oh and Tanja bought one skein too many and sent me that too, so I might be able to knit a little extra something to go with it!
I can't begin to tell you how much I love it, and indeed how much I love my Secret Pal for making it for me! Yipee!!!

Saturday, August 26, 2006


At first, I was thinking that I'd just like to gaze at my two skeins of Hip Knits aran silk in Blueberry Pancake (which I received in my final gift from my Secret Pal). But then I started to want to play with it as it is so soft to knit with and I had so much fun knitting the One Skein Wonder (by Stefanie Japel) for my friend Katie.

So, here is what I'm thinking...
How about I make myself a One Skein wonder (as pictured above) and then, how about a matching handbag? I just found this free pattern on Zephyr Style and I think its really cute. I am hoping that my friend Louise might be able to help me sew a cute lining in it and I shall have to think creatively about a strap...I'd love plaited purple leather...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

First Foray into Felting!

Well, my attempt to make the Clutch You'll Never Give up from Leigh Radford's One Skein has not been exactly what you'd call smooth sailing.

First, as I mentioned in a previous post, I ran out of yarn when knitting it and had to rip the whole thing back, start again and omit 3 rows. Next, I didn't understand the gusset instructions and instead of looking on the internet and finding some help such as the Knitty info brought to my attention by Kahla (but unfortunately for me too late), I just went ahead and did what I thought it was saying (which of course it wasn't!). It wasn't until I had given it its first run through the machine that the penny finally dropped with gusset sewing as I now had a huge lump running along the inside of the bad and it had really bumpy bottom. I should have taken a picture of it at this stage to illustrate my disaster, but I was so reluctant to even look at the bag I had to leave it alone for a week so that it could think about its behaviour.

At this point I took it to my knitting club and asked the advice of Nina, a fellow knitter who knits the neatest felted bags and scarves you ever saw, and we decided that in any case it needed felting again so I decided to cut out the bottom, re-sew it and felt it again.

This is a picture of the naughty bag after its second felting being pulled into shape by hair clips and a hanger. I have to say that at this point I had decided that if the second felting and sewing didn't work it would be binned. However, I think you can see from the pictures above and below that actually, chopping the bottom out made a really cute size and shape.
So here, finally, is the bag finished. I must confess that am really happy with it now because it has turned out very 'clutch-bag-ish' in its more squat format. I shaved it according to Piglottie's advice and finished it with a vintage costume jewellery brooch I bought for it long before I even started knitting it, which just fabulous! I am including a close-up of the brooch below.
So, in conclusion, if you are not an idiot, this is a really nice project to knit! I just hope its new owner loves it even half as much as it hasn't loved me! (huge sigh...)...and here is a little picture of it all packaged up and ready to go!

Monday, August 21, 2006


Is this any better? Can you see me now?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Final FANTASTIC SP8 Package

Well now, let me just show off!!!

My final package arrived from my Secret Pal early on Saturday morning and the excitement of it was quite exhausting - in fact I went back to bed to rest!

Firstly, my Secret Pal had made me 20 gorgeous stitch markers (ready to hopefully knit my Clapotis), in yummy shades of lilacs, reds and blues with lots of little twinkly beads, all served up in a lovely purple and red knitted pouch.

Then, she had managed to find me some Hip Knits aran silk in Blueberry Pancake (a shade which from the website had appeared out of stock and had made me sad on more than one occasion), which is just divine. It is such a 'me' shade, all that lilac and pink....and this was extra exciting to receive because after I had knitted with some of it (in the Peony shade) and given it away as a gift, I was feeling rather disappointed that I hadn't bought myself any.

Next in my package I discovered some yummy Weleda hand cream and Dr Hauschka Shower cream. These were great to get my hands on as Dr Hauschka is so expensive over here and I've not had any Weleda before. They smell delicious and the hand cream is a great size for carrying around in my knitting tools!

I also received the top book on my Amazon wishlist, which was Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka the Yarn Harlot). I have been wanting to read this for a while, ever since I had a sneaky read of a couple of pages in Waterstones when I should have been looking for a philosophy book and embarrassed myself by laughing out loud!

Now, there were two more fabulous things in my parcel. One of them, I am not going to show right now, but will photograph properly (or my Dad will) in order to do justice to its beauty (its amazing!) and when I do, I will also reveal who my Secret Pal was.

The last but by no means least item I received in my final package was a lovely embroidered butterfly done by my Secret Pal's 12 year daughter Lena. Its so clever, I could never have done anything like that at that age, I was far too messy! So here is a picture of it nestled between some of my other butterflies.

I can't believe what a great package of prezzies this was. My other parcels were so great that I felt sure my Secret Pal must have exhausted herself and then she did it again, she assembled an absolute winner! Thank you Secret Pal (and Lena), you have utterly excelled in the art of spoiling Charlotte!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Purple Palace

I hope you like my new look blog?!

Huge thanks to Zara for helping me making it all pretty...just a few more things to tweek and then it will be the perfect purple palace!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lip Barmy!

Just to show something else non-knitting related that I've been up too...

Here are the lip balms I made with ingredients and a recipe sent to me by the wonderful Piglottie's Parlour. They are mint chocolate, made with Green and Black's cocoa powder! The gorgeous tins are by 'crockery queen' Emma Bridgewater; I saw them in my local cookware shop and was desperate to think of something to do with them, so when I got the lip balm recipe I was very excited!

As you can see there are only 4, so they have been designated for VIPs only (one of whom was MJMKnitting)!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Soap Wrapping

I have been having trouble deciding how to wrap my soaps. This is my most recent attempt using tissue paper, some see-through textured paper and some metalic elastic. The first few I gave away were just wrapped in tissue paper and they didn't look nice enough. I like the idea of using much sturdier paper, like wrapping paper, for example, or maybe some recycled or hand-made paper. These look ok, but I think I will keep experimenting till I get it right...

Anyway, I am taking these ones up to Sheffield to my friend Emily who has kindly agreed to put me up for the night at very short notice!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Still Afraid of Felting, but not Flickr!

OK, so I tweeked the code and lost the image title, moved it to the left and got rid of the black boarder and I think it looks better?!

Fear of Felting

Kendalls clutch pre-felting
Originally uploaded by cfknits.

So, I reknitted the Clutch You'll Never Give Up from the One Skein book and omitted 3 rows altogether and this time I had enough yarn. For those interested I just knitted one row less on each of the straight sections. Then I sewed up the bottom, which I found really tricky because of chunkiness of the yarn, and spent a good half-an-hour trying to work out what on earth Leigh Radford meant when she described the gusset seams. In the end I bit the bullet and sewed across the corners (you can kind of see the result in the picture), but I have no idea if this is quite right.

Anyway, now I just have to felt it and adorn it, and I'm really nervous!!! I have never tried felting before and I'm so scared my cruddy washing machine is going to eat up the purse!

I am also experimenting in this post with using Flickr for posting images. Blogger is being mean again and wont let me upload anything and then I noticed Flickr had a blog option. I don't like the fact it includes the image title (because now, if she is looking, Kendall will know what I'm making her), and I'm not thrilled by the black boarder, but apart from that I think it might be a good option?

More Sock Research

I have realised that I don't like it very much when I don't have several projects on the go - or at least to think about, so although I have just started a couple of things, I'm also wanting to get some more socks going. With that in mind, I've been doing some more sock research.

I have found a really nice and simple looking Sock pattern, which I think might be a good one to do next, or perhaps the one at Sock 101. My Secret Pal sent me a wonderful book with heaps of pretty sock patterns in it, but all the ones I really like are for more experienced sock knitters, so I think I need to find my feet (sorry couldn't help that one) a bit first.

I also had a look at Sock Knitters and found lots of useful resources and more free patterns. And then I had a look at lots of sites which help you calculate how many stitches to cast on and how many to use for the heel etc. These included one at Socks 101, the famous one by Elizabeth Bennett, and a useful conversion chart so I can see how long a UK size 3 foot, for example, is in inches and centimeters.

Finally, I found either cute sock blockers or budget ones...

Now all I have to do is choose some yarn!

Friday, August 11, 2006


I too, like KnitYoga, am confusabled. I bought some Lamb's Pride and knitted the whole of the Clutch You'll Never Give up from Leigh Radford's One Skein, only to run out of yarn before the end! I checked my gauge and it was right and all the details of the yarn were right, so how did this happen???

Luckily, because it is knitting in the round I didn't mind frogging the whole thing as it was relaxing knitting in the first place. Now I am going to re-knit and take out a few of the straight rows, but really, I don't know how it ended up so big.

I'm off to look at the One Skein KAL to see if anyone there can shed any light...

Thursday, August 10, 2006


So here, finally, is a picture of the wash cloths I have been working on. I still have a tiny bit of Sirdar cotton left, and will try and stretch it out to one more cloth, but I had knitted a second bobble one and ran out, so I will have to be creative...

Apart from the garter stitch stripe, which obviously I didn't need a pattern for, the patterns all came from the Dishcloth Boutique. I'm really excited with them because I have knitted a bobble pattern and tiny cables for the first time and I think it was great practice! Although, as I said previously, I'm desperate to get hold of some Sugar'n Cream cotton in all those fabulous bright colours and I'd like to give the Mason Dixon Ball Band pattern a whirl.

Mind you, knitting wash cloths isn't all I've been up to. Thanks to Piglottie (who is the fabulous person I've been spoiling through SP8) I've learnt how to make soap and I would like to proudly unveil a little stack of a coconut oil and coco butter-based soap that I've recently made.

I have scented the soap with Cardamom and Vanilla and am calling it Posh Spice (well, I am from Hertfordshire!). I am utterly thrilled with it, in fact I don't think I can even express how exited I was when I had a shower this morning with soap I had made myself!!! My first batch went wrong, but this lot, I am happy to report (after the agonising 4 week wait for it to cure) has turned out brilliantly. Hurrah!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Touch of Glass

I'm very excited about Foreign Strand, the new online outlet for luxury knitting treats from across the pond. I have already bought some glass needles and a skein of crystal filled silk for my Mummy which were just gorgeous.

Right when I didn't need any other knit bits to covet!

Sugar'n Cream'n Stuff

Having gazed at all the dishcloths people are making at the moment I have found myself extremely bored with my Sirdar cottons in Sage, Venetian Blue, Flamingo, Raspberry and White and falling shameless for all the Sugar'n Cream yarns available in the US. They are quite the kitschest and funkiest colours I've seen in affordable cotton. No wonder everyone's cloths look so much cuter than mine! :-(

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Wash Cloth Update

Edit: I did NOT knit the wash cloths below. I am feeling really fraudulent! I posted the picture to say how much cuter they are than the ones I've been working on (due to cute Ball Band Pattern) and how cute the yarn is (which I believe is Sugar'n Cream). I'm really sorry to their real maker Compulsive Unraveler for any confusion!

I have been knitting away on my wash cloths which are intended to go with the handmade soaps I've just been learning to make (thanks to the person I am spoiling through Secret Pal - who is ace by the way!). I thought a handmade soap and a handmade wash cloth would be a really lovely gift and it would be good to get the cloths ready while waiting the month it takes for the soaps to cure.

Anyway, I have been using a chequered pattern, a bobble pattern, an easy cable pattern and some garter stitch stripes (I'll post pictures soon). I really like how they have been coming out, and I am trying to finish up all my Sirdar cottons this week so that I can get going on a gift for a friend, but after trotting round some knitting blogs I discovered a huge fashion for knitting the Mason Dixon Ball Band Dishcloth (show above) and even found a Flickr gallery dedicated to them. It looks like a really cute pattern and I love the two tone colours and the fact lots of people have done them in really kitsch colourways. However, I think the pattern is in the book and I can't stretch to a copy right now, so I'll have to wait to give it a go.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

KALs and Pals

I discovered a really useful KAL Directory the other day and promptly joined the Clapotis Knit-a-Long. I'm really pleased I did, because although I'm not knitting one (yet), I've already learned heaps and everyone is so helpful. I can highly recommend it as the group even have spread sheets to help you with the pattern...

Mind you, it will be a long wait till I can start. The colour I have my heart set on is Lion and Lamb in Valentine, but Get Knitted wont have it in stock until October! :-(


So everyone has been going on about this CuteOverload site, which I must admit I lost a good half hour to the other morning (especially the puppies), but then I discovered a cute over load of a different kind.

While surfing the knitting blog-o-sphere I came across the site Teds From Threads which is a site featuring Teddies and patterns for Teddies made by crocheting in really fine thread. I'm afraid I have fallen shamelessly in love the two critters below!