Pebble Beach

I have just finished my Pebble Beach Shawl and I am so pleased with it!

This is the second shawl I have made designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade and I am again really amazed how she manages to make such a simple design work so well!

The yarn is from the lovely Jocelyn at Dubai Knits and is a skein I won in our recent meet up where we had a 'lucky dip' and I was especially lucky to get this skein of 100% Superwash
Merino 4ply in the Skinny Jeans shade.

My plans for this year are to make things for me that I will actually wear!  Since I am not working, my day to day 'winter' wardrobe is very much made up of blues (well jeans!), greys and black.  My current favourite brand is Eileen Fisher and I am leaning towards her casual looks for the daytime - trying not to fall into the sweat pants and old t shirt hole!!!  So this colour way is perfect for me.

If you are looking for a quick knit (if you knit the small size as I did!) and something which is very satisfying then I would thoroughly recommend the Pebble Beach - but I am not on my own - there are currently 1549 projects on Ravelry!!!!

Helen's pattern is easy to follow and the % system works really well!

My craft room has its own little bathroom so perfect for soaking knits

Pinning the picots out took a bit of time

Totally worth the blocking though!

Extremely rare selfie wearing my Pebble Beach!

Don't forget to check out my Anchor wave, where I talk about my shawl as well!!

Join me on Anchor

Hi everyone!

I have been playing around with a new Social Media App called 'Anchor'.

The idea of Anchor is for you to record short pieces to share with others on just about any topic you like - and then other users can record responses - so its like having a conversation!

I love the idea because its quick and current and also sometimes platforms like Twitter and Facebook don't always convey thoughts very well as sentences can be taken at face value and especially with Twitter, the limited number of characters you have can sometimes mean that you can't really get across what you want to say.

So I decided to give it a go and so far so good - obviously I will mostly be talking Knitting and Sewing!! But I could see myself getting hooked up in conversations about books and movies etc!

You can sign up and don't have to record yourself - just listen - but you'd be missing out - its just like having a conversation on the phone - and you can re-record if you think you sound like a weirdo - which I have already done a couple (or even more) times!

Anyway you can download for the IOS in the App store - not too sure about Android, but I am sure there is or at least will be an App for that operating system too!

Look for me under the hashtag #knitting or #knittersofanchor and my user name is Louise Atkins.  There are a couple of other yarn users - most famously Jo from ShinyBees!

Link below for more information!


New Beginnings and Finishing the Past

Hi everyone and a very belated New Year greetings - yes we are well into February and I am still thinking of this as the New Year!

Well many many things have happened since my last post on the 6th December - won't go into it all here but the major thing is that we moved house and my oh my it was traumatic!  I have moved about 15 times in my life, so I should be used to the upheaval now, but I think probably I get more frustrated each time because I am such a control freak that if I can't be settled within the first week I get frustrated!

We have moved to a brand new development, and although its nice to be in a brand new house, as one of the first half a dozen residents in a 'village' of 200 houses we unfortunately seemed to experience all the 'teething problems' - Gas supply, leaking pipes, wrong wiring in the internet and TV boxes,  having to change and re-wire nearly every single light fitting, cupboard doors falling off the first time we used them etc etc!!

Anyway here we are at the 9th February and I think we are pretty much settled aside from one internet point and only a sandpit for a garden!

One of the things that I am most happy about is that I have space for a craft room!  Pretty much every villa or apartment here in the UAE has a 'maids' room.  Plenty of people do have live in help (as I did when Fred was small and I was working full time) - its very cheap here and options for full time child care are limited outside of the home - nurseries often shut at 1.30 or 2.00pm and thats fairly useless if you have a full time job!

Often these rooms are fairly small - but in this house its a really good size (which is a step in the right direction, some maids rooms I have seen are bordering on 'Cupboard Under the Stairs') so seemed a perfect solution and meant that the 3rd bedroom can really be the guest room and ready for Flo when she comes home from Uni.

I have managed to use all current furniture and amalgamating things from Flos old room and the old 'office' in our previous place.  So over a couple of days I managed to sort it out and put away my precious stash and find a home for my new sewing machine.  I even have a spare dog bed so Roscoe can sit in with me - oh and of course the cat!!!

I was going to use the basket for WIPs but the cat seems to have other ideas!

Very happy with how the room has turned out - my 'special' display skeins - rest of my stash is pretty much all in the baskets!
So now I am spending a lot of time in here, especially since I also have a TV with my Apple TV attaches so I can listen to my podcasts whilst I am working and watch Netflix in peace!!

Now speaking of Podcasts, I have had to catch up with a lot which I missed whilst we were moving and one of those was the fabulous Knit British podcast.  Louise had a lovely section on WIPS of Doom - and I have one of those!!!!!!  So I decided to finish it and here is the story........

Way back in 2006 I was lucky enough for two things to happen 1. My daughter was accepted to become an Urdang Associate - a weekend place at a very prestigious stage school in London - based in Islington. 2. Loop opened its first store in Islington!  So most weekends I was up in Islington taking Flo to classes and although I did not have the spare cash to spend every weekend in Loop - I was a fairly frequent visitor!

Now I can't exactly remember when I went in and saw the sample fluffy bolero hanging up in pale blue fluffy clouds but I did - and I had a dress which would go beautifully with a fluffy BLACK version! Yes what on earth was I thinking!!!

Anyway the pattern came with the GGH yarn and it was from a copy of Rebecca Knitting Magazine. I was very happy with my purchase and new straight Rosewood needles for the job! I very rarely knit on straights these days.....

Anyway I think I cast on in early 2007 when I had a few weeks in-between jobs.  I remember taking the project out and about with me because it was a light and portable project - although had to be done in good light and was almost impossible to tink back - so needed a fair amount of concentration!

The main parts of the bolero were finished reasonbly quickly as I recall - but as there were 7 separate pieces, it was going to take some sewing up and I thought I had pretty much run out of yarn and on a trip back to Loop, there was no more......!!!

So this is probably about a year or so later and my knitting took a back seat as we started to make plans to emigrate to the Middle East.  However the WIP of Doom got packed along with all my other treasured knitting and stash (although I have to say I did not have too much stash back then!!).

After joining Ravelry I also managed to upload it as a WIP!

But there it sat, and sat and sat...........  I thought I did not have enough yarn and also the thought of sewing black mohair together in the heat of Abu Dhabi always put me off!

So here we are 10 years later and I am listening to Louise in my new craft room and I think YES! I am going to finish this!!!

It took a whole afternoon to sew these pieces together and pick up and knit the collar.....but its finished!!! Very very little yarn left and I had to make the collar 1cm shorter than required.  I sewed it all together with black cotton yarn to not only save on yarn - but who wants to sew anything together with mohair yarn!!!

So now just two things - firstly I need to start a campaign to bring the Bolero back in fashion - it was big 10 years ago - but not so much now!!!!

Secondly a few things have happened since 2006:

- I have had a new Niece and a new Nephew!
- 3 Family Weddings
- Moved to Abu Dhabi
- My baby daughter starts University
- Barack Obama becomes American President
- We lose some great people like, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Terry Wogan and my lovely Mum.....

All these things went through my head whilst I sewed and knitted every last stitch, so yes it was a chore, but it was the best memory maker!

So my heartfelt thanks to Louise for spurring me on to finish!