Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Review: KnitPro Thames Bag

I had a little treat last week. I’ve been so overly excited about it, that it verges on the ridiculous – so I thought I’d share it with you. I bought a beautiful new bag for my knitting needles – a KnitPro Thames Bag. I bought mine from A Good Yarn and if they’re not in stock, then they can be ordered in for you (I ordered mine).

They’re available in black, yellow, red, purple and blue. I bought the blue one and I’m really glad I did. It’s a beautiful blue – almost verging on purple and the velour material on the inside is such a rich colour.

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I do take my needles out with me to knit and natter quite often. I had one of the fabric KnitPro cases for quite awhile and it did the job, but if the case was upside down, then sometimes the needles fell out and the soft fabric didn’t quite feel like enough protection. I kept a few fixed circulars in one of the pockets too, which was a bit cramped for them; so I’ve been on the look out for something that fit the bill better. The Thames bag is perfect for what I needed.

The material is faux leather and the straps are detachable, so if you want it purely as a case then you can. The case is quite hard for extra protection. On the inside, it is like a folder. There is storage on the front and back covers, as well as, two “pages” on the inside.

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The elastic section is on the front and there is more than enough room to fit in my interchangeables. I’ve managed to fit in 13 pairs. Some share a space and the large needles have a section each – with a bit of jiffling, I think I could fit another pair or two in. The elastic is good and the needles do not move at all.




The next page has four deep pockets (all of them go down to the bottom of the “page”) and one sideways buttoned pocket. These would be quite good for notions, I store mine in a different way; so for the time being I have crochet hooks, needle gauge and some fixed circulars in mine.

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On the other side of the “page” is a full zipped pocket, which is perfect for all the cables for the interchangeable tips.

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The next page is a clear pocket, which I think is brilliant. I’ve used mine for all my short 16 inch circulars and the keys and stoppers. Being able to see what’s in the pocket is great, especially when trying to find the key that locks the interchangeables in place.

The back page has slots, which are very tight, so the needles don’t move about at all. I’ve put my most used DPNs and sock circulars in there. Though it could be good for crochet hooks too. At the moment the slots are perhaps a little too tight but I’m sure they’ll loosen up a bit with wear.

The whole thing zips up, so nothing is going to drop out of it. The one downside is the velour, which looks absolutely beautiful but will probably mark with use; particularly with the needles pressing on it.

If the case was another inch or two longer, then I would have been able to fit my 25cm straights in, which would have been the icing on the cake. However, I really love it and would definitely recommend them – particularly if you have a needle collection like mine!

And just because, here's a photo of my knitting...




Thursday, 20 March 2014

Downton cushion

That fabric, from last week, must have been calling my name, because it didn't sit there long before it was transformed into a cushion.


I felt that the blue one (on the left) didn't want to be cut up too small, otherwise the pattern would be lost. This really did limit my options. In the end I went for a very simple stripe pattern and put the work into the free motion quilting to bring out the shapes.

This was the pre quilted panel, basted and ready to go.
It did take some fussy cutting to try and get those panels to be lined up perfectly (if you don't look too close, they look the same!)

I was inordinately pleased with the zip. It's the first zip that I've been happy with and sadly, what I keep showing people who come to the house. Not look at my new Downton Abbey cushion, but look at this zip!! I found it hard to photograph the zip and I'm sure it's not up to the standards of most sewers; but I was pleased with it.



The free motion quilting took a a few hours. I used the shapes inthe fabric to quilt around. Those dotty circles almost look like flowers now.


I'm very pleased with the finished result. I keep on trying out ideas for the charm pack, but I'm finding the fabric quantity quite limiting. I had an idea to do a hunter's star cushion but to get the fabric to work, the pieces might have to be quite small - perhaps too small. I might fall back on the trusty half square triangles in the end.





Friday, 14 March 2014

Downton downtown


I had a little retail therapy the other weekend.

There was quite a lot of fabric bought. This was the haul!


The rippled one really did remind me of the Old Shale stitch pattern (what most people erroneously call Feather and Fan). Though Mr says it makes his eyes funny, so it won't be used for cushion as I'd intended.

These two were from Andover Fabrics' Downton Abbey range.


And the charm pack is one I've been on the look out for - Road 15 by Moda.


My patchwork cushions in the lounge have been very well loved and could do with replacing so hopefully these fabrics will step up and take their place.

I learnt a new crochet stitch that same weekend. Its modern name seems to be Diagonal Box Stitch - a rather uninspiring name. It was fun to do. Michele from Yarn Aloud taught us how to do it. There were a few examples about and I liked the look of it in a finer yarn. 



So after some stash rummaging later, I came up with a ball of zauberball and whizzed through to make a scarf. I used a 4.00mm hook, so it had plenty of drape when worn.  I worked it on the bias to make a rectangle shape instead of a square. I used the entire ball but it wasn't long enough to make a decent sized scarf; so I put a row of buttons on one end, so it could be worn as a cowl.



The spaces between the trebles make good buttonholes, so it can be buttoned up in any way you like.


The pattern has brought out the stripes in the yarn; or is it vice versa, the stripes have brought out the pattern well? Either way I think it's fab.



Monday, 10 March 2014

Mittens just in time for Spring!

My Narwhal mittens are finished. The pattern is Narwhal Mittens by Ysolda.

The yarn for the outer mitten is my own handspun. Briefly, blogged here


The inner yarn is some leftover Easyknits that seem to match well with the teal colour.


I made some plastic templates to block the mitten around because I didn't want to block the inner and the outer separately. I wanted them to fit snuggly inside on another.


Though the template was a bit slapdash, it did seem to work surprisingly well.



I especially like the little finishing touches on the design. The little fish on the ends of the thumbs is lovely.




I love the mittens. The yarn has worked nicely in colourwork and they are very warm. Just perfect for this lovely spring weather we're having!! Would have been a lot better if I'd finished them a few months ago.

The cherry blossom is out....


and the bees have been getting busy!