Remember, remember the fifth of November…

I really meant to participate in NaNoBloMo this November (if it’s still going?) but here we are already on the 5th of November and I forgot!

So, brief synopsis of the many months since I last posted – kids got bigger, cheekier and learned lots of things, I knitted some kilometres of yarn, we went camping a couple of times through the summer, I finally finished decorating our daughter’s bedroom and I launched my solo yarn shop, http://www.owlaboutyarn.etsy.com. I’m also on instagram now, you can find me there as @jennieworld.

Let’s pretend I’ve not been away and dive straight in. I’m struggling through a pair of colourwork mittens at the moment. It’s a lovely pattern, although you do need to be familiar with knitting Scandinavian style mittens as directions are sparse, but it’s a free pattern on Ravelry – Heart Mittens. But I’m not in the mood for colourwork, and there are a hundred and one things I’d rather be knitting and so I’m knitting as fast as I can to get them done! I’m well over half way through the second mitten, so it shouldn’t take me too much longer. Here’s the mitt-in-progress;

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Once this is finished, I cast on some plain flip-top mittens, and then some more mittens which I’m designing in my head at the moment! I’m visualising a whimsical little cable up one side…hopefully pictures soonish!

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Working hard at new things

I’m determined to, at some point, write about everything that I’ve been doing since I last blogged regularly. It may take me a while, but bit by bit I’ll get there!

At the beginning of July, I was trying to decide what to give to my sons’ teachers for the traditional end of year gift. Cheeky has two teachers this year, as they’ve come back from maternity leave on a job share, so I had three gifts to find.

I decided that they would have lots of chocolates, flowers and toiletries and so, being a 24/7 knitter, decided to use my talent for the greater good and make them something! I decided on mittens, being a lot quicker than scarves, and then decided to knit fingerless ones with the intention that they could be useful during autumn P.E. lessons in the cold wind!

The first pair I knitted from an existing pattern, with slight adaptations. For a start, the pattern made elbow length gloves but I didn’t have the time for that so I made them a few inches shorter. I was pleased with how they turned out;

The second pair, though, was a different story. I really wanted to make a pair of mittens with a cable (twist) design, but couldn’t find a pattern I liked anywhere. So then I sat and thought to myself, this is silly. I’ve been knitting for a long time now, I should really be able to design my own patterns rather than relying on Ravelry‘s database for everything. So I designed some myself!

I was really pleased by how they turned out, and also that I managed to match up the yarns exactly between the two gloves so that the stripes happened in the same places on each one! And then I had to make something for a Ravelry swap I took part in (about which, more later) and so I thought, another pair of mittens from this pattern would be a good idea, just to make sure that the pattern works well and there are no errors;

And here they are. I was even more pleased with them in a solid colour, as the pattern really pops at you from these ones. So i decided to bite the bullet and publish the pattern on Ravelry, which means that I’m now a published designer! It was very exciting to see “Jennie Powell’s original designs” above my pattern, and I’ve opened some floodgate or other in my mind. Every day I’m thinking of new patterns to create. I’ve just got to find the time to knit them now!

Winter cottage mittens

Last summer, I was thrilled to win the yarn and pattern to make Winter Cottage Mittens using Posh Yarn and Dee‘s own pattern in a competition run by Annat2 on her blog. I was a little worried about trying colourwork for the first time and so I procrastinated and delayed until the coldest days of late January finally persuaded me to cast on for the project at the beginning of this month.

The first mitten took me a full week to knit, but I’d got into the swing of it by the second one, and that one only took three days – that’s progress for you! I’ve been waiting to post this until I got a decent photo of them, but I keep forgetting to ask one of the family to take a picture of me wearing them, the few times we’re together in daylight, so I’ve given up! You’ll have to make do with this picture of them lying on my jumper on top of a clothes horse!

Also, please forgive the wavy edge to the cuffs – I’ve been wearing these since I finished them, every day for the school run, so the cuffs aren’t as neat as they were when they were newly knitted! I love them though; they really keep my hands warm, they’re cheerful to look at and they even serve as an impromptu purse when I need to nip to the shop for bread or milk after dropping the kids at school!