(Indigestibly large post follows. Feast or Famine at Blithe Dance these days.)
OK, some catching up to do! I finished the cushion, and what a pleasant knit it turned out to be. I never use such bright and vibrant colours myself, so it was quite refreshing. I'm really pleased with the final result and fortunately my recipient liked it too.
The colours are magenta and red, with peacock blue buttons. The brief was: bright, jewel-like and shades of IKEA and Debbie Bliss. It's certainly very inviting on a chair - I had to haul the cat off during the photo session. I covered the cushion pad with some red taffeta to confine the feathers and stop the white grinning through. Since I like my knitting to behave, I also tacked the cover shut along the foldline to stop the buttonholes pulling.
I' ve just remembered I thought one of the buttons was out of line and forgot to adjust it! Too late now...
I was housebound with the children (potty training) when I finished, but I did want to add a little gift or two to the package. It is not the weather for posting chocolate, so continuing with the cushion theme, I thought I would put in a catnip mouse and a lavender sachet using last summer's garden harvest.
I like the Wendyknits catnip mouse pattern, even though I always get the decreases wrong when I make it. By now I didn't have any bright or jewel like wool in my stash, so it had to be dark green Magpie aran. I'm struck by the similarity between the knitted piece and the Vulcan B2 bombers that used to thunder over my childhood home in Lincolnshire. Somehow the shape just rang a far-off bell. My father is a former RAF radar technician, so he was always keen to point out passing aircraft to his pre-school daughter, which is probably why she ended up as an engineer!
(More pictures of the aircraft at this most excellent website.)
The cat did not care about that when it was finished! I sewed a little internal sachet to keep the catnip confined. I just gave it to her for a second, to check it was catnippy enough - no worries on that score.
When I made one of these for home, I used some brown Kid Classic yarn. The problem is the mouse is far too realistic and can give you quite a shock when the cats bat it across the floor of an evening!
After months of very low-key knitting, I was emboldened to try something more challenging. For a lavender sachet, of course, you only need to knit a square. I can't even attempt this without a pattern though, so after googling I could only find this pattern from Interweave that I liked the look of. Further emboldened to discover that Polly had knitted one too. As luck would have it, my only Koigu KPPPM in stash is a lavender shade.
Here are the progress photos, including my Very First Ever Mitred Square. Good thing I'm shortsighted is all I can say - it was two evenings of cross-eyed squinting on 2.25mm needles.
(Pattern neglects to say you don't need "a" stitch holder, but at least eight, which dangle about like hairpins as you work).
But the final effect is lovely, really lovely. I like the way the squares get fractionally smaller towards the top, and the detail of knitting the edge stitches to get a good selvage for picking up. (I've always been a plain knit-and-purl-to-the-end-of-the-row girl.)
The recipient (not a blogger) sent me a lovely picture of her cat wrapped around the mousie, but I've had an unfortunate deleting episode and lost it. Looking forward to meeting her soon in person though, at a local wool shop of course!
What next? I've set myself the difficult (emotionally) task of knitting a hat for a friend with a recurring breast cancer. It is might hot here, so I didn't think a bulky hat would be appropriate. I have some blue yarn for Knitty's beautiful Shedir, but she does love bright colours and the Calmer palette is a bit restricted. I've found a 4-ply hat pattern in an old Rowan book, converted it to top-down and in-the-round, and got going with some Koigu KPPPM, my new favourite yarn. It's sure bright, and apart from a characteristic band, I've got away without too much pooling. Hope she likes it. And that I have enough yarn. Oh dear. Wish I didn't have to make one though.
Sorry, I am shamelessly knitting on one Addi, one Aero and have a cheapo plastic stitch marker. This is the tacky seafront of knitblogging, isn't it?
Finally, some very positive knit-futures. This is the kind of email you WANT to receive from your mum - I think she deserves one of those sachets for this. She went to a closing-down Rowan stockist (Needle'n'craft in Lincoln, sadly) for me and after much consultation via mobile phones...
Hi samList of what I managed to get for you - they had obviously sold a lot of the rowan yarn.Handknit cotton (greenish) shade 318 lot 1578196 8 ballsHandknit cotton (beige) shad no 205 lot 1630850 9 ballsAll seasons cotton Lt green shade 193 lot 22K4 9 ballsShe charged me £1.91 a ball thoug the All seasons was more expensive - so that is 30% to 50% off.