A Big Knitted Hug

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I’ve been a little absent on here of late, sorry.

The truth is I’ve been a little absent of late everywhere.  As I said in one of my previous posts,  there have been many changes to my day to day family life recently.  To top it all off, the optician spotted something amiss at my youngest’s routine eye test.  He’s been to the hospital twice so far and we’re currently waiting for him to be called in for a few more checks.  Fingers crossed it’ll be nothing, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

My absence and by that I mean, I feel like the lights are only half on, has resulted in me hibernating with my knitting, Netflix, YouTube and many cups of tea.  It’s not as bad as it seems, I have ventured out of the house daily for the school run, walk my four dogs and to go to the shops or hospitals.  I haven’t really seen my friends though, or got on top of my work for the magazine – this one might be a little late 🙂

The knitting is my constant companion and there has been smoke coming off my needles.  A few of my projects are for Christmas, so they’re not allowed out of their project bags for public viewing just yet.  One of my more recent FO’s was the knitted hug I made for Dina to take with her to Brighton.

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If you saw Episode 5 of the Olann and Podcast, you’ll have seen the giant ball of Cascade Eco+ that I had wound?  Here’s the photo I took of it for Instagram, the Digestive was just for size comparison, but they’ve also become a firm favourite again.  So I’ll be rolling out of my den when Winter is over.

I had spotted a lovely version of Caitlin Ffrench’s Offhand Lace Shawl on a blog I read, sadly I can’t remember which one, if I find it I’ll let you know.  I loved the look of the yarn they’d used and having tracked it down, my husband brought the mahoosive 250g hank back with him from his last trip to the UK.

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I was originally going to knit the Offhand Lace Shawl, but then thought it would be nicer to knit one of my own designs and opted for the If I Was Your Girlfriend.  I used an 8mm needle to create a larger, looser tension than you would usually use for a chunky yarn.  The Cascade Eco+ is made from 100% Peruvian Wool and is super warm, which is good, but I’d rather Dina wasn’t so hot she couldn’t breathe.

I followed the directions as written in Issue 4 of Olann and, as I knew the shawl would already be quite large without the need for extra rows.  The green, whist reminiscent of my much worn version of the shawl in navy and green, was a happy accident rather than a design choice.

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I had knitted all of the moss stitch boarder in the Cascade Eco+ and had cast off over two thirds of the stitches, but lost my game of yarn chicken.  I raided my stash for something suitable and did toy with the idea of working the cast off in a different yarn.  I even had a very similar coloured chunky yarn (blue – no surprises there), but I thought it would look better if the whole band was a different colour.

I had two balls of Katia Peru, shade 15 in my stash and despite thinking I wouldn’t need them both, I wasn’t prepared to take any chances.  Having ripped the band back, I was so grateful for the extra ball, as I ended up needing a little of it just to cast off.

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I used a lace cast off so as not to pull the shawl in – knit 2 stitches, * then knit the two stitches on your right needle together.  You will now have 1 stitch on your right hand needle.  Knit another stitch and repeat from * to end of row.

The cast off sits nice and flat and although it takes a little longer than a normal cast off, it’s still so much quicker than a sewn cast off.

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I managed to catch a few photos of Dina wearing it before I took her and Shane, her boyfriend, to the airport to catch their flight.  of course we were in a rush, so I didn’t have time to adjust it properly, but you get the gist?
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We did try to get one with Errol, but he wasn’t having any of it.

I can happily report that Dina and Shane are settling into life in their new surroundings.  They’re having to jump through a few bureaucratic hoops to get National Insurance numbers, bank accounts and exchange driving licences, but that will all fall into place soon enough.  It’s no easier being a British Citizen either, in fact it actually seems a little more difficult.

From a crafty point of view, Dina has a wealth of places near her. There are lots of great shops including Yak, C& H Fabrics Ltd and the Brighton Sewing Centre and the Brighton Repair Cafe and Kerrie Berrie also look interesting.

I’d like to think I’ll be able to make a flying visit to see them before Christmas (they’re staying in Brighton), but we’ll have to see if time and funds allow.  In the mean time at least I know, that if the day is proving a little tough for her, she has my knitted hug to wrap around her.  I know it’s not quite the same, but…..

Now it’s time for a bracing walk with the dogs, so I don’t feel too guilty about spending the rest of the afternoon knitting.

Happy Making

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