Friday, 22 January 2016

Kuretake Clean Color Brush Pens

A bit of a divergence from my usual knitting topic but I've been drawing a bit recently. I'm a sucker for a nice notebook. I love the Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks. I have an A5 one for my everyday notebook/bullet journal but I recently bought one of the smaller pocket ones.

I'm planning on using it to write all my knitting notes in and put some sketches in.

The other thing that I've bought recently is the most amazing brush pens. The Kuretake Zip Clean Color Real brush pens. I bought mine from Cult Pens, who have always been easy to deal with. The pens are Japanese and from a lot of shops come directly from Japan. I just bought a selection of pens but I've put another order in for more, as I love them so much.

The pens have an actual brush tip to them. You can get a really fine line or thick one - depending on the pressure you use. They blend with one another. The really good thing is they are water soluble, so you can get some really nice effects with very little effort.

The only downside I've found is the paper has to be cartridge or watercolour paper to use water with them - they're absolutely fine on any type of paper if you don't use the water. I used them in a colouring book and it did bleed through. You can get quite a bit of blending without the water though.

This one is in my standard moleskine notebook and I haven't used any water. If you go over same section more than once the colour deepens. What I think is really cool, is the soft colours. The light grey is great for adding shadows. I'm attempting to draw something every day, so I'll see how it goes.

This one is on cartridge paper. I was just doodling and trying out the different effects you can get. All the colours have water added to them and combined with the Pigma marker really makes the pictures sing.

The bottom left image is a colouring book and I've used the colours without water. You can still get some nice effects and blending.

I'm working on a creative lettering idea at the moment. It's the first verse from The Tyger by William Blake.

Anyway, as you can perhaps tell I think these pens are brilliant and I'm looking forward to filling my sketchbook up.

Monday, 18 January 2016


We had a lovely weekend in London and with a few pennies in my pocket, I made a visit to Loop.

I came away with yarn mainly for knitting socks.

There's some Madelinetosh Sock in Neon Peach, Blue Moon Socks that Rock in Firecracker, a couple of balls of Lang Jawoll Sock yarn for some stranded socks and 2 hanks of Quince and Co Finch in Apricot. They kindly wound one of the Finch for me in the shop, so I could get started while I was in London. 

I started a Flax Light by Tin Can Knits. It's a super easy pattern and I whizzed through it. Ravelry project page.

I didn't do any modifications as such but I used the Estonian Cast-On at the neck - my tutorial for it is here

I used TechKnitter's Fake Tubular Cast-Off for the cuffs and the bottom edge. It's a really easy cast-off and gives an interesting finish. 

1 x 1 ribbing is not my favourite type of knitting, I really dislike the open knit stitch and I just feel like it doesn't look good. I worked the neck and the bottom as normal but on the cuffs I worked the ribbing with a combination purl and though it hasn't closed up the knit stitch, I do feel like it looks a bit neater.

The yarn is Quince and Co Finch and it was lovely to work. It has a lot of body to it and the stitch definition is superb - the garter stitch is really shown off well.

The jumper is for a friend and I don't know the sex of the baby, so I went with a unisex colour. Perhaps not the most baby friendly colour as it's stronger than some would prefer but I always knit what interests me. I wouldn't say I was a process knitter per se but I want to enjoy what I'm knitting and not be bored with a non-descript colour.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016


I did get a few nice knitting bits for Christmas, mainly books this year.

I'm really loving all of these.

From left to right - Botanical Knits 2 by Alana Dakos, New Lace Knitting by Romi Hill, Sock Architecture by Lara Neal and Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook by Felicity Ford.

The first two are pattern books and there are some really beautiful ones included.

Knitsonik is a self published book that is just gorgeous and really interesting. I've really enjoyed reading this one.

The Sock Architecture book is very good and I think my favourite one, since it's the one I've used the most so far. I've started a toe up Dydas with the leftover WYS yarn from my Holly socks.

A lot of the patterns have toe up and toe down versions. There are options for different toe lengths and whether you want gussets or not. There's a lot of info and you could easily use the patterns as bases for putting your own patterns onto.

Over New Year, I started a stash busting shawl. Here's the pile of yarn I had to play with.

I worked out which colours I had enough of from other people's project pages but at the moment I'm not really in love with the colour combination in the shawl. I liked it before I started knitting. It might be because it's a departure to what I normally like - I tend to be drawn to brights, blues and yellows. I'm going to finish and block, then make up my mind. The pattern is Exploration Station by Stephen West - I seem to be on a bit of a Stephen West kick at the moment as that's the 3rd one in a row. Though I think it's because there's a lot of garter stitch involved (which I do love) and they are great for watching the TV at the same time.

I'm going to try and keep a list of exactly how much yarn I've used for each section, so others can use it if they want to do the same. I'll put all the details on my Ravelry Project Page.

Monday, 4 January 2016

New Year

Hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas and New Year. I enjoyed mine though glad to be back to some semblance of normality.

I’ve got a few projects to share that I gave as Christmas presents.

Actually, the first one wasn't a present but I didn’t get around to blogging about it. This one was for me.

I started on a weekend away as I thought it would be one of those really easy travelling projects. It was a very simple pattern. I worked it in one colour but I’ve seen some nice multi-coloured versions about.

The yarn is Posh Yarn Martha Sock and the pattern is Dotted Rays by Stephen West. There’s something about it that bugs me a bit but you’ll have to spot it for yourself. Here’s my Ravelry Project Page.

This little one was a Christmas present for my new godson. I’ve made this one before for another friend and it went down well. I did it in about a week before I had to give them the presents so was a bit rushed. The pattern is a Sirdar one and the yarn is Rico Baby Classic DK. Here's my Ravelry Project Page.

I only managed to snap this one photo of the mitts. I’ll try and get some modelled ones but Mum got these for Christmas. The yarn was one I got two Christmases ago from my Mum and I think she picked her favourite colour, so it was only fair to make something for her and give it back!

The pattern is Tatara by Olga Buraya-Kefelian. It has short rows around the wrist section that allows the fabric to rib up. It’s very clever and interesting enough to knit. The yarn is Loft by Brooklyn Tweed which is very nice and creates quite a spongy fabric, though you have to treat it gently because the style of yarn means it does break if you give it a tug. Here's the Ravelry Project Page.

This was the big hit of Christmas. Mum absolutely loves it and has been showing it to everyone.

It’s the MKAL by Westknits and I kept seeing all these stunning photos of shawls around Instagram. I had no intention of doing it as I was a bit under pressure work wise but I was tempted in the end. I ended up stash diving and using some yarns that were intended for other projects but they went so nicely together. The green is Drops Alpaca, the beige is the original Baa Ram Ewe Titus and the lovely dark brown is Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply. Doodler by Stephen West. Here's my Ravelry Project Page. I kept a list on my project page on how much I used of each yarn in each section, which might be useful to those planning on making one (Nicki!).

The final project was for me and it’s my Christmas socks. The yarn was the limited edition Christmas one from West Yorkshire Spinners and the pattern was free with the yarn. Here's my Ravelry Project Page.