A little while ago I showed you one or two little hints as to how my knitting needles had been occupied recently. Well, now I can show you what I have been doing. It is a long(ish) story as most of my stories are, but it all started when I joined the Rainbow Swap organized by Lululiz, where we all had to choose the colour of the parcel we would like to receive, and then we were all randomly matched. I chose red, by the way, and I was partnered with Bekimarie, who chose pink.
Lululiz very sensibly sent round a questionnaire about likes and dislikes for us all to fill in, and together with the hints I gleaned from reading Beki's blog, I had a good set of clues to lead me on. I decided that with winter coming on, some cosiness was in order, and Beki used the word cosy in her likes - so I decided to knit her a tea cosy to go with her vintage china. And here it is above.
The pattern is from the August issue of Let's Knit magazine, and uses Twilleys Freedom pure wool. The cosy itself is a very simple pattern, quick and easy to knit. The flowers, however, took me a quite a while, as it took me some time to work out quite how to do them. Possibly because I had a cold and a thick head. You might have spotted that the flowers on top of the little hats here have a certain resemblance: that is how many I had to knit before I got it right.
I did buy the yarn, because my provisos for Dottie Angel's Utmost Challenge allow me to buy supplies for specific handmade projects, and in fact I realize now that my yarn stash is not as large as I thought. I tend to buy yarn with specific patterns in mind, and although the projects are queued up, I rarely buy yarn just to stash away. I have a lot of tiny amounts left over from previous work, which I save for mending or sometimes brooch-making, but nothing suitable for this pattern. The flowers are made with Patons Diploma Gold DK - bought purely because this was the only yarn in the colours I wanted. My local yarn shop has a fairly limited colour palette I found, and only a few colours are stocked in each range. I do buy quite a bit of yarn online, but I prefer to be able to feel the yarn beforehand, so it is not ideal, especially it is also not easy to colour-match when buying online. Beki told me that she liked red very much, too, so I went for red and pink flowers, and red gingham ribbon, which I had previously bought from Lupin's supplies shop.
Beki likes fingerless gloves, so I knitted a pair for her, and another pair in a brighter pink colourway for her daughter - once again in the Sirdar Crofter yarn I have used before, here. Cupcakes were on the list of likes, so I made a felt cupcake brooch for Beki's daughter using the kit I received from kind Sarah at Paper-and-String, which you might remember from a previous post.
Beki likes sewing and collects fabric, so I thought a little haberdashery might be in order: some vintage buttons in pinks and reds, some beads and scraps, handy for embellishing some of the fabric hearts she makes. She is about to start up a blogshop for her wares, and the little swiss roll of fabric might come in handy for these two - some Laura Ashley, Cath Kidston and Liberty-style florals I had in my fabric stash (which is much bigger than my yarn stash).
I wrapped some rose handmade soap and some seeds in more pink fabric, and reused the calico bag that held my wonderful Brittany salt from Elizabethd, embellishing it with some felt and a button. I filled the bag with lavender from my garden, which you might remember from here and here, so that perhaps Beki could make some lavender bags from the fabric scraps. The spotty ribbon was from Paper-and-String, and the pink gingham from Lupin. So all the wrappings and bows were reused or reusable, and all were already in my copious stores: I am always very grateful for the opportunity to draw on these stores, and demonstrate that my propensity for hoarding is justified!
Lululiz emphasized that this swap should not cost a lot of money, and encouraged us all to be thrifty and look in charity shops for treasures. I have also to keep in mind the Utmost Challenge, but I think that I have kept to the spirit of this, and proved that present-giving can be fun and rewarding without reaching for the credit card. I really enjoyed thinking what to give Beki, and making things for someone else is always more fun than making for yourself, I find.
And if you would like to see some more exciting parcels in all colours of the rainbow, go and have a look at French Village Life for blue, Lululiz in Lalaland for beige, and Red Gingham for, yes, red. And I am sure that there will be more coming soon in a wonderful riot of colour, all for you to feast your eyes upon.
And before I get back to my knitting, some thanks are due to all of you who sent good wishes for Princess Bunchy, who still has a hacking cough, but I think will survive. And also to Sophie who very kindly gave me an award recently - I would like to pass it on to all of you who have read so far, as you certainly deserve it!