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Friday, March 31, 2006

Tithe Barn Craft Fair & Swatch for my First Cardi Design

Well, I've been hinting for a while about the stash enhancement that isn't mine, therefore, doesn't really count. This lot of yarn is for the knitting I'm doing for the Craft Fair in aid of Breast Cancer and Cancer Research Charities and now it's show and tell time so here it is!

Ouch!! I went to Sharon's cottage to "choose some yarn" for projects and was positively encouraged by her to come away with much more than I think I could possibly ever knit by November. In fact, this is not all of what I first came away with (quite a lot of it was returned after sorting!) I went through it and selected only the yarn that I could envisage working with and turning into something and then I separated it into plain (left), pretties, being variegated, etc (right), sparklies (front), and yarn that was present in sufficient quantities to make more than just accessories (centre). It's mostly acrylic with the odd gem thrown in like some nice fluffy mohair or some colourful variegated wool. As the Fair will be held in November, I thought people might be in the mood to buy seasonal type bits and pieces so the sparkly yarn can be used for trims on hats and wristwarmers, mittens, gloves, etc.

All of the yarn was chosen half an hour before one of the meetings to discuss the Fair and I was invited to stay. Well, I have to tell you that the enthusiasm of those ladies was so infectious that I found myself volunteering for all sorts of things. What have I done?!!! The whole project came about after Sharon's mother was left for rather a long time undiagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, she's responded very well to treatment but the experience left both Sharon and her mother wanting to do something to help and raising money towards Breast Cancer and Cancer Research Charities was the way they decided to go. Everyone in the village has responded so generously. All of the yarn for knitting has been donated and is still coming in. One lady's knitting toys, another baby clothes, and Sharon and her mum are making tiny colourful Xmas stockings (dozens and dozens of them!) each of which will have a lollypop inside for children. These will be hung on the Xmas tree and on the rafters of the Tithe Barn in Lenham which is to be the venue of the Craft Fair and, again, has been offered free of charge for the day. This is a very upmarket and salubrious location and is often used for art exhibitions and such like. Here's a photo so you can see just how charming it is.

The emphasis will be on quality and the items will be displayed accordingly. Other crafty people will be making items such as handmade jewellery and Sharon, who runs a high class catering company will be supplying her culinary delights for sale. The butcher is providing sausages free of charge for hot dogs and the list just goes on and on!

Anyway, after the meeting the enormity of what I'd let myself in for began to sink in. Wasn't my next project going to be the Elann lace cropped cardi and what about all the WIPs still to be done? More importantly, I've been hankering after a challenge for some time and the 'Design a Knit' workshop at the Knit Tin with Jane Crowfoot I attended recently just fired me up even more. How was I going to find a balance between the knitting of endless scarves and other accessories until November with this creative spark that is smouldering away, ready to burst into flame at any time? Well, the answer is obvious really, isn't it? I think there's going to be a lot of scarf and accessories designing going on but also there's sufficient of the aqua coloured yarn (centre of photo above) to make a sweater or cardi so I thought I might have a go at designing one.

On first glance, aside from the quite nice colour, this yarn (Wendy Dolce) seemed a bit unprepossessing so, having just bought all four volumes of Barbara Walker's Treasuries from the Knitting & Crochet Guild (I told you I had a bee in my bonnet!), I had a browse to see if I could capture a moment of inspiration.

I also got out my Creative Knitting Folders, a set of 1980's partworks which were given to me by my MIL.

Now, although these are pretty much redundant as far as the patterns go, I find the stitch libraries and techniques sections of this set invaluable. The stitches are clearly shown in colour and the techniques are also illustrated in a very easy to understand way. I had an idea of something a bit fancy (as it's for a Xmasy type fair) and quite liked the idea of a stitch that would take some beads nicely.

I found this under Decorative Loop Stitches. It's Butterfly stitch and I've seen it used with beads before so I made a swatch with the charity yarn and some Gutermann beads which I won't be using in the version proper as they're a bit too heavy and also too expensive in the quantities I would need.

I knitted a reasonably large swatch.

I quite like the look of these beads from Earth Faire but I think I'll order a few different types so that I have a choice. What I'm envisaging is the main part of the cardi done in this stitch but with a lacy stitch for an edging perhaps. The sleeves will be three quarter length and I think I'll give it a vee neck. I've downloaded some knitters' graph paper from here so that I can block draw the template and it'll also make it easier to work out the decreases for the neck shaping. This knitters' graph paper is particularly good because you can enter your row and stitch gauge and it'll download it to the exact size. Normal size graph paper is more difficult to work with as it uses perfect squares and knitting stitches aren't perfect squares. Knitters' graph paper is, therefore, also ideal for motifs, cables, etc, as you get a proper representation as to how it will actually look when it's knitted. I'm hoping that there'll be enough of the yarn left over to make a matching evening bag,

Changing the subject, I've decided to do what I've noticed quite a few others are doing and that's to respond to comments in the comments section of my blog. I will still be emailing people personally, of course, but it's more of a case of sometimes one would like to respond to comments but doesn't have an email address for the person who commented or it's not easy to find and it does seem a bit one-sided not to respond when people have taken the trouble to comment.

In other news, I'm afraid I still haven't done the collar on the Noro jumper (Fitzgerald from Noro Knits) but just to prove it really does exist and isn't just a figment of my imagination, here's a photo of it in its present state of incompletion.

I'm almost certain that the recipient doesn't look at my blog but, just in case he does, I'll refrain from saying who it's for.

Hope you all have a great weekend!


  • At 7:06 pm, Blogger colin said…

    This multicoloured sweater is lovely

  • At 7:35 pm, Anonymous jess said…

    Wow, but what a great cause though. I love the venue, and hope all goes well.

    Don't get overworked and enjoy the weekend.

  • At 5:52 am, Anonymous Judith in Australia said…

    Love the coloured beads on the paler yarn. Looks great!

  • At 8:58 am, Blogger Rain said…

    The craft fair sounds like it's going to be a huge sucess and for such a great cause.

    The noro sweater looks great so far.

  • At 1:30 pm, Blogger Marie said…

    I so admire people who take the time to knit for charity. The beaded butterflies are beautiful - I'm sure it's going to be a wonderful design. Looking forward to seeing the Fitzgerald finished, as I plan to knit it too someday.

  • At 6:38 pm, Blogger Cherry Rolfe said…

    Phew, you are a busy bee!! I love the beaded sample. The design sounds great. I was involved in a community project a few years back and really enjoyed being a part of a joint enterprise - I hope you do too. I am sure you will!
    The Noro is just gorgeous.

  • At 7:09 pm, Blogger dreamcatcher said…

    That is a lovely swatch, the yarn looks very light and airy too. Looking forward to seeing your design progress :-)

  • At 1:34 am, Anonymous Linda said…

    Gosh, you're ever so busy! Love the butterfly pattern with the beading, and I have to say that I reaally love the Noro sweater. Lucky recipient!

  • At 7:00 pm, Blogger KnitYoga said…

    Thanks for all your comments, especially the encouraging ones on my swatch. This is my first time designing a garment and I need all the encouragement I can get, believe me! :-)

  • At 10:38 pm, Blogger nanatoo said…

    That was a great knitterly post. Just the 4 BW books together make my eyes happy.

    The barn is a lovely place, I would like to go to the craft fair :)

    Fitzgerald is lovely, I'm sure it will be gratefully received.

    The swatch is so pretty - what a beautiful cardi you'll have.


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