Monday, 28 July 2014

One down one to go...

Beautiful pattern, keep heart...
Maybe I'm just slow but this has seemed a very very slow sock to make.  Partly because it's the biggest sock I've ever knitted, it fits Scott perfectly so must be okay.  I think in Op Art Socks Stephanie van der Linden uses a slightly higher stitch count to get the beautiful results and the one sock done so far is just stunning.  I've like the construction, these socks are top down with the vertical bars created by a clever slip stitch pattern rather than fiddly stranding.  The heel is different to how I have created a heel before, creating a really well defined box shape and very sturdy with a slip stitch pattern that makes the fabric kind of a double layer over this most heavily worn area of the sock.  Now I just have to do the other one without losing heart...

The black wool used here is a 4ply I had in my stash, however the orange is a beautiful ombre from DROPS Garnstudio called Fabel in #153 Tex Mex, it contrasts beautifully with the black and incidentally covers all the colours of his football team, Dundee United.  The yarn came from the ever lovely Fluph, their Thursday night knit night is a welcome knitters sanctuary especially when I'm becoming discouraged by a project, always someone on hand to look over the bit of your pattern you're struggling with and help out.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Loveandpeas #3

Funky squirrel!
I haven't completely stopped my Loveandpeas makealong, stuff has got in the way a bit but here are two I have completed.  Number three was this adorable squirrel, for this one the technique to be used was filling stitches and I just had the best fun.  On the leaves I've used variegated 4ply wool in a satin stitch radiating out from the veins and then I've gone over the top of the veins in chain stitch in the same wool, part of the fun was trying to figure out which bits to stitch first.  The squirrel is almost all stitched in long and short stitch, angled to go in the direction of the fur, and is a mixture of embroidery flosses and wools.  The eyes and the lines on the face are backstitched in dark embroidery floss and the tummy is done with single short stitches scattered all over.  There are french knots on the squirrel and the acorn, and on the background flowers and just a bit of stem stitch on the curling acorn leaf stems.  What a lovely design!

Number two was a bit of applique and a deer design.  As with most
Pretty deer
things in fabric design there are a lot of different ways to do something and I followed the instructions and used interfacing to stabilise my bits of fabric before pinning them onto the background and blanket stitching them in place.  However, in future I will use fusible backing, something I've used so many times in the past but didn't think I had any (I did, it was hiding...).  It basically glues the fabric onto the background and you don't even need to stitch, but I would have done the blanket stitch anyway, it does look so good.  This time I did copy the embroidery pattern onto quilting paper, a flimsy substance like tissue paper which is strong enough to draw onto but tears away easily once you've stitch through it.  Then I embroidered all the loveliness of the design in place, wool for the tree, french knots, plenty more practice.  This was all done during the Boat Race and it did a lot to distract me from the rather awful result...

A parrot for a little prince

Funky parrot!
When I asked my friend Judith what I could make for her baby son Rhoan her answer was a little surprising but great fun.  I'd asked her to go look on Ravelry and she picked out a parrot.  It's been a while since I've made toys but I had plenty of spare wool so got to work on Rian Anderson's Toy Parrot.  It was an absolute pleasure to work something that knitted up in such a short time and was so well designed, the pattern is full of clever increases and decreases which give the parrot his lovely fat tummy.  And because tension didn't matter I just knitted in double knit (8ply) weight wool, which meant two strands of the finer stash wools I had in my needle.  This allowed me to play around with colour, the red for the head and tail is two strands of the same wool, but the tummy is one strand of yellow and one of orange held together which gave a lovely variegated effect.  I expected it just to look like two strands but no, they blended and unblended to look just like an ombre wool.  Before I knitted I did cross stitch and you often blend two different coloured strands of embroidery floss in the needle, but this was the first time it had occurred to me to try it in knitting.  I decided to embroider on the eyes as Rhoan is only little and was pleased with how they looked.  Even the beak has clever shaping to get the hook shape.  The wings were knitted with this amazing fuzzy yarn I had along with a strand of Blue Sky Alpaca Silk #139 Peacock which was my maiden purchase from Dundee's newest knitting shop Wool & Co.  I will just say that knitting with the novelty yarn was challenging and leave it at that, worth it for the effect but it was an experience!  A perfect pattern for using up your stash.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Yarncrawl Dundee

Router died on me after changing all my passwords last Thursday to try and keep my computer safe...  So this is a bit delayed, but I wanted to put out a post on our excellent yarncrawl round Dundee.  It really doesn't seem that long since pubcrawl was more part of my vernacular, I vividly remember the pub golf that was part of the initiation into Lip Theatre Company.  But this was pretty exciting too, especially now Dundee has five yes FIVE places you can buy wool and indulge in one of my favourite postapocalyptic life skills.

Baby double knit from the Knitting Pin for Lexi's Jacket
We got the number 73 bus in from Carnoustie, an excellent service that runs from just round the corner from us on Newton Road all the way to Ninewells Hospital, it is a lifeline for the carless and passes a good hour watching the world go by!  We clambered on and up to the top deck and the bus picked up Marta (her account of the yarncrawl can be found here) and her two boys and the kids happily blethered away all the way in to the end of the Arbroath Road.  We all got off there and turned up Albert Street to the Knitting Pin.  
Pompom yarn from the Knitting Pin

What a sight greeted me.  A vast range of every type of commercial yarn all by type, I easily found the double knitting section and was able to take my time picking out four beautiful shades of baby double knit yarn for my next big project, Debbie Bliss' Check & Cross Stitch Jacket for my neice's christening present. Caitlin was enchanted by the pompom yarn and picked out a ball to try  I left knowing I now had a failsafe good yarn store to go to, that here I would find a selection of inexpensive wools and notions that would enable me to make up any project and that I would find service that was friendly and helpful

From there it was a bit of a walk down the town but in the spring sunshine this was a delight, down Albert Street to the Murraygate and along to the Forum Centre to shop number #2, Wool Craft in the Forum Centre.  This is the shop my husband's gran used for wool and although small it has a wide range of commercial yarns, sundries, notions and stuff for other needlecrafts: cross stitch yarns, buttons and needles.  There's not much to say other than this has been my go to Dundee wool shop for years and it's good value.

Big Wool and Big needles!
A short hop then along the High Street to Union Street and down to the youngest member of the yarncrawl: Wool&Co.  This opened up just the end of last month and currently stocks luxury yarns from Rowan, Erica Knight and Blue Sky Alpacas as well as beautiful birchwood knitting needles, tiny rosewood needles for knittting in the round and cones of yarn for machine knitting.  The owner Laura shares my passion for British yarns and this is where I got the beautiful teal coloured Blue Sky alpaca/silk yarn that I am currently using to knit a parrot (!) for baby Rhoan from Rian Anderson's pattern Toy Parrot with Pirate Accessories, a delight to knit up, Anderson uses shaping delightfully.  Caitlin fell in love with a pair of mega chunky mittens, Laura had clevery designed the pattern to be used by beginners at a how-to-knit workshop so they would have something usable to take away with them.  Caitlin bought the turquoise Rowan yarn and 10mm needles to make her own and Laura sent me the pattern, thanks to the wonders of modern technology I was able to check right away that her email had reached me!

Fluph's spring window display, Totoro bottom right!
Then a longer walk up through my personal history across the University Campus to Blackness Road, to Fluph and the warmest welcome from girl (Leona) and dog!  We admired the beautiful window display and Caitlin and I particularly fell in love with Leona's little Totoro and soot ball.  Caitlin sat and knitted Rhoan's parrot while I got a very welcome cup of tea, then we hit the debit card: the last balls of wool for Lexi's jacket, a book for me and more wool for the child!

Drops Big Delight, an Aran weight yarn for Cailtin to learn cables
Fluph is the only shop that stocks Garnstudio Drops yarn and for this alone I would love them.  I discovered Garnstudio when I discovered Ravelry when I was first starting to knit again and could not believe their generosity, they offer a huge range of free knitting patterns and their Misty Vines waistcoat was my first big project.  I was unable to use their yarn as I like to touch yarn before using it, and our nearest at that point was Aberdeenshire.  There is now one in Glasgow too but in total only three stores stocking Drops yarn in Scotland and I'm lucky enough to be close to one!  Garnstudio are Scandinavian and since the 80s they have been producing delicious wearable designs, often scandinavian and nordic in style.

Book, Drops yarn and I had to have a tote bag
So I picked out four balls of Karisma yarn for Lexi's jacket, three white for the background and one dusty pink for the cross stitches.  And then I spotted Little Red In The City by Ysolda Teague and fell head over heels. Thing that I love about this book
1.  Micro cables
2. Hooded lace cardigan, I love hoodies
3. Pages and pages of how to customise a commercial pattern to your personal measurements
4. The friendly style of writing
5. The delicious photographs
6. The Scottish connection
7. And the thing that made me buy it, Teague photographs and speaks about two models, the girl on the cover models the patterns throughout.  She is triumphantly rubenesque and shows how the patterns look on real people!

Fluph runs workshops too, I may be back on Thursday for their regular knit night

Refreshed we wandered along down Annfield Road to the Hawkhill and cut through to the Perth Road.  Our final destination wasn't a knitting shop as such, but a shop I've often wanted to look into when going to or coming back from Ninewells on our bus.  Creative Creatures is a small but perfectly formed craft shop that sells a wide range of, well, stuff, including the thing I spent last week searching for: buckles.  Knitting yarn, felting tops, kits, buttons, embroidery supplies and much much more.

Tired out and satisfied Caitlin and I walked down to the newsagent next to the Queens Hotel and caught the number 73 all the way home from just outside the University's Tower Building.

All of these shops dovetail perfectly, they all offer something the other's don't and I hope they all survive and thrive.  And we met some shop owners who were fired with the same adoration of the squish stuff as ourselves and were helpful and enthusiastic about our little crafty kids.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Loveandpeas #2

Hooped and on the go!
The second piece of bunting was Blossoms and a butterfly, and this time I transferred my pattern by sticking it to the window and using a fabric marking pencil.  The white fabric I'm using has butterflies on in already, but I used the reverse as it's more subtle.  I would like to say this was a deliberate choice, but actually it was just an accident with a positive outcome!  I've hooped it this time and it's coming on.  For the stems I used some leftover variegated 4ply (from last year's hats) and used stem stitch.  The leaves are and will continue to be backstitch in green embroidery floss, the ones on the stems are worked with three strands in the needle and I will work the falling leaves in the background with just one which will hopefully give a perspective effect, make them go into the background a bit.  The large flower is outlined in chain stitch with two threads of muted lilac embroidery floss in the needle, and the buds the same but either back stitch or single long stitches.  I think the butterfly is going to be gold embroidery floss and the dots and flower centres the golden wool but it may well change...  This is a joy to do, thank you Jenny!

Finished and cut out with 1cm seam
Well, that was Monday 17th March and I made myself sit down tonight and finish it off, I'd done the butterfly in gold 4ply knitting wool, some stem stitched, some couched, and had one flower, the flower centres and the lower falling leaves to do.

So an evening stitching away in front of the tv and it's done, just in time for the next one!  I kept to my scheme and I like the way the gold dots stand out but not too much.  I can never quite manage french knots, no matter how many times I practise!  The little wispy flower stamens were done in five strands of embroidery floss in the needle, two brown, two gold and one white.  Looking at it here I like it.  Now, where is that squirrel.  So many favorite animals, after all this I may even feel brave enough to make up my own corbie design!

And there's a reason why it's on fabric I'm not even using.  This is the wonderful prize I received from Fair Trade Fabric, I could not believe it but I won one of their prizes of fabric bundles and I wanted to give them a big big thankyou.  I will use it for something, I shall just put it on my shelf and stroke it for a while...  It's wonderful to find companies that combine a passion for quilting quality fabric with ethical values

Monday, 17 March 2014

Dominic's squirrels

Front with shawl collar and fun cat and dog themed buttons
My husband's grandparents Margaret and Matthew died last year.  They had long been the heart of his family, we visited at least fortnightly, their house was full of life and children.  I'll always remember Margaret with her hands full of knitting, she knitted for all her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren as they came along.  When we were clearing the house and her pattern book was looked at there was much laughter and remembering as the jumpers that were knitted for each family member were picked out.  The family goes on, the newest member of the clan will be christened shortly and without Margaret I wanted to take up the role of new baby knitter.  And baby stuff can be a welcome relief after doing larger pieces, quick to knit up and very very cute.

Our latest member is a wee boy, and Ravelry provided me with a sweet pattern called All In A Nutshell, a sturdy cardigan yoked with squirrels.  Due to footballing issues I had to be careful with the colours, but luckily our old faithful Wool Craft in the Forum Centre had soft Jarol Heritage DK in a lime green (#37) and squirrel red (#132) - the best kind of squirrels, obviously!
Details of squirrels on yoke

Cardigan from the back


Tangerine, and black...
I have been really good, honest.  Just one new book by Flying Fish Quilts author Wendy Williams and a couple of pairs of needles I really did need.  And I had managed to resist all the delicious wool in Dundee's fabulous Fluph wool shop right up until the weekend, then I spotted this Garnstudio wool.  It is destined to be made into socks for my darling boy, and if you know him then you'll know why this is going to be knitted up with black 4ply into one of the stunning designs from Stephanie van der Linden's Op Art Socks which Caitlin and Scott very kindly got me for Christmas.

Fluph is a really friendly little shop, I was lucky enough to squeeze in last week for their Women In Science week event.  It's a sad truth that women in science need to be celebrated, still very much in the minority.   There were patterns for red blood cells and the place was packed with people chatting away about knitting, crochet, crystallography, sickle cell anaemia, malaria, science, tea, cakes, yarnbombing, fibonacci sequences and binary bonsai, often in the same sentence.  Just wonderful!

Loveandpeas: a S-A-L

There are times when you have more than enough on your plate and you spot something and decide you need to MAKE space for it.  I could have done this project myself but I doubt anything but a sew-a-long would have made me do it, just the same as it took a KAL (knit a-long) to motivate me to
Stash fabrics, Anchor embroidery flosses and 4 ply wool
make my first large scale knitted project.

I've loved Jenny Blair's work since spotting it last year up at Peel Farm Shop in Glen Isla as part of Angus Open Studios 2013.  I stalked her work to her exhibition at Kirriemuir's Bank Street Gallery and followed her on Facebook.  Last month she announced a sew-a-long making bunting to her designs and I put all my to-read books back in the library and cleared my decks.  For 6 weeks Jenny promised to print a design each week for us to stitch up.

Week 1 covered fabric selection and a Barn Owl Embroidery design.  Thanks to many years doing cross stitch I have a vast range of  embroidery flosses and was able to dive into my fabric and wool stash to find fabrics and threads that came together in my favourite Scottish palatte: golds, mossy greens, browns and muted lilac.  

I thought I knew what a barn owl looked like but worked with a picture on my phone just to keep me in
Back stitch was used for all the lines except the flowers

touch with the colouring.  Because I made life hard for myself and used a dark green for this first flag I couldn't transfer the pattern with in any of the usual ways so printed it out and stitched through.  Never again, the paper was a nightmare to remove at the end and I discovered I do actually have transfer paper so I would use that next time!

Once finished I pressed it, I hadn't put this one in an embroidery hoop as I forgot to and just cut out the bunting shape, luckily the paper stablised it.  I'm not sure about the colours, but I know from experience to leave it and come back to it if I'm still not happy at the end.

Young Embroiderers' Guild book project

This project is one I have taught a couple of times, first as a full day workshop with a group of Young Quilters at the Quilters' Guild Regional Day and then as a two hour workshop with the Young Embroiderers, it was certainly interesting trying to adapt a day long workshop to a two hour one!  

Granny's book of quotes, painting is also by her

Spine detail from Granny's book
I learned how to make books at the wonderful courses I went on at Springfield Creative Arts and used this knowledge to recreate a now rather tatty little book made by my beloved grandmother Peggy James to keep quotes in, one which has guided me since youth is one she wrote down in 1934:
If you have two loaves -
Sell one and buy a lily
The book is constructed from a back piece and a larger front piece which wraps round the back to form the spine.  The back cover is punched with eyelets and treasury tags threaded through to hold the hand cut pages.

The first version I did of this was just in cardboard, but with the project I have taught twice the cardboard is covered with fabric to make neat little books containing A5 sheets of paper and card.  I use one to hold knitting patterns when I'm carrying them out and about, Caitlin has one with card sheets that she uses as a scrapbook for her completed origami creations from one of Klutz's ever fabulous books Origami Fashions

My front and back covers from the Young Embroiderer's workshop. 
The version I did as a mockup for the most recent version was fabric from my mum's stash, I'm fairly sure it dates from the 1970s and was a skirt, great patterns for playing around with.  On the front cover I followed the linear pattern and did a line of beading and a line of pekinese stitch in wool and tapestry cotton.  On the back I followed the mad psychdelic paisley with beads and metallic threads.

So here are my instructions.  For the day long workshop (about 5 hours in total) the Young Quilters were able to embroider their fabrics before putting the book together, but for the shorter workshop I made up the books to the end of stage 5 without decorating and they had to sew through cardboard, which wasn't easy but they made light work of it!  For the Young Embroiderers project as my boards I used thin cardboard thoroughout, but for the Young Quilters' project I used 3mm greyboard for the back cover, this sturdy book board is impossible to stitch through so any embroidery would have to be made up before glueing.

1. Choose 4 fabrics for front cover, back cover, front lining and back lining.

2. Cut the fabrics:
Front cover 18.50cm x 28.00cm
Back cover 18.50cm x 24.00cm
Front lining 15.25cm x 24.75cm 
Back lining 15.25cm x 21cm 

3. Cut the boards
Front cover 15.50cm x 21.50cm  - score two lines parallel to the short end, one 2.50cm in and one 3.50 cm in (these form the folds for the spine
Back board 15.50cm x 21.50cm

4. Decorate - embroider, applique, glue, stick, paint, draw...!
5. Glue front fabric piece to front cover, and back fabric piece to back cover.  Apply the glue to the board rather than the fabric, and work well in.  I use a stencil-style brush with a squared off end to work the glue well in.  I used craft pva for these everyday books, it dries flexible, usually clear and you can stitch through it.

6. Glue the linings in place and finally bend the front cover along the creases of the front cover.  Glue it in into place either inside or outside the back piece, nestling them closely together.  Clip together, either with clothes pegs or the clips you get on the end of trouser hangers, and if possible leave to dry.

7.  Punch holes in the back cover.  I use an eyelet making kit and a hammer though this is hard work and eyelet punches are available

8. Cut paper/cardboard to A5 size and use a hole punch to punch holes in the shorter edges.  With a piece of thread, wool or anything of the sort thread a lace through and tie the pages in place.

I've used various things for my laces, ribbons, even an old pair of earphones with the earpieces cut off.

Front cover beading from a red-themed multipack

Small paisleys embellished with blue metallic thread

A dress for Emily

Emily sitting pretty on our shelves
I find most dolls which have human faces frightening, but the two my daughter Caitlin has inherited are different.  This is Emily, given to her by my mum and she has a sweet face and pretty hair.  For Christmas I decided to knit her a dress from a book that I'd bought for Caitlin full of lovely knitting and crochet patterns to make for her dolls.  Admittedly she hasn't done any herself yet but I'm sure she will.

Dress Up Your Dolls by Lise Nymark is packed full of delightful designs both knitted and crocheted, dungarees, cabled sweaters, day dresses, evening wear, all sorts of clothing that can easily be customised.  The designs are for a standard 18" doll and Emily is bigger but it's fairly easy to add a row here and there, I added quite a lot to make it longer and I think it's still a bit short, but Caitlin loves it and I guess that's all that matters!

Emily's dress is adapted from the Safari Dress pattern.  The purple wool is James Brett's Top Value DK, an acrylic that is nevertheless soft to knit with (#8431 Lilac).  Purple is Caitlins' favourite colour and the wool came from the stash of my grandmother-in-law, the much loved matriarch of the family who died last year.  For the trim I wanted something fluffy and this certainly was that, it's Beregere De France's Plume #2010.  It was very slippery to knit with but was only for a short stretch.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

And a final picture of those gloves!

Long cable gloves, much needed just now
And I finally managed to get a picture of my long alpaca gloves made using Alpaca Loft's supersoft dk yarn and Garnstudio's free online pattern. It is difficult to take a picture of your own hands, and gloves aren't easy to photo to get all that wraparound detail in.  They are just so warm and in this weather are on most of the time when I'm out and about, though not gardening, just too good for that.

#2 Caitlin's cardigan

Front, worn over a long-sleeved black t shirt
Button band and cables

Back showing colour changes and sleeves
...I created Caitlin's cardigan.  As I've said, it was pure pleasure to knit but the pieces curled and I had two options, to block before or after assembling.  I chose after so I could check the fit and it was fine, but sewing up seams with variegated wool isn't easy, in the end I made the coloured stitches a feature where I couldn't hide them on the side seams.  The little cap sleeves fitted nicely into the armholes and I was able with care to stitch them in invisibly, thank goodness I had experience sewing sleeves otherwise I might have been very confused.  At least woolen fabric gives more than woven.

There are only two cable panels, simple plaits either side of the button band, and the rest was stocking stitch which I like better for this cardigan than reverse stocking stitch, the traditional background for cable panels.  Stocking stitch allows those wonderful colour changes in the aran to show up, and I do love the different colours in the two front panels and back, collar, sleeves and button bands, something that would not have occured if I was knitting in the round.  I really liked the details, the picot row at the bottom that folds up to be a little strong zig zag edge, the way no raw edge is left, all are picked up with button bands and collars, the way the button band pick ups merged under the cable bands and contrasted with them.

So it was tried on earlier in the week and was a little short round the chest but with plenty of give, cable panels are very forgiving.  So I blocked it and at the weekend it fitted perfectly over a long sleeved t-shirt, and we went into Dundee to choose buttons.  Caitlin within seconds found these orange cat buttons which perfectly matched the orange in the wool and I sat and sewed them on while she went swimming with her dad.

Just a perfect project for a child who never stops, the variegated colours are a vivid expression of her personality and the short sleeves mean it wont get mucky when she's playing.

Two finished projects in one week! #1 The mighty tunic!

Cable tunic- reverse
That's Caitlin's cardigan and my tunic finished, blocked and photographed all in
Cable tunic - front
one week, this morning was a beautifully sunny if windy and cold day, idea for bringing out the cable detail on all three of my projects.  It required balancing a camera on an ironing board and using the timer but I got there and am quite pleased with the results.

The purple tunic as you can see is really quite long, comes down to just above my knees and is ideal for wearing with leggings or thick tights and boots, I've got a sleeveless vest on here but it looks good over a long-sleeved one too.  It's quite heavy so it hangs well and is beautifully warm and soft, not at all itchy.

Would I do it again, well, yes, it is beautiful but it is a long project and as it's created in one piece it gets very heavy towards the end.  However, I really valued the lack of seams when...

Friday, 24 January 2014

Blocking at last on the epic tunic

Blocking finally in progress!
Am finally finally onto the blocking stage of my very lovely Cabled Tunic, the three inches of rib at the bottom in p2 k3 nearly killed me but I just kept telling myself it would be worth it, ditto with taking out and redoing the first sleeve after making a mess of it.  It's been a joy to knit, watching the cables emerge twist from side to side, cross and spiral round each other, learning how to do the yarn overs properly and to have holes not too big or too small, and not getting bored as I tend to with plain knit.  The purple Wensleydale aran (#54 aubgergine) I bought last summer at baa ram ewe in Harrogate has been a pleasure to knit with though I would be brave and use a brighter colour next time.

For the most part the tunic fits beautifully but the sleeves turn under slightly so I decided to do something I've never done before and block it.  My husband did look very blankly at me, he's from the knit and wear it school of knitting!

I looked online and found lots of excellent sources which took me through blocking, especially Interweave's own blog.  I put the tunic through a wool wash in my machine, as it will have to put up with this kind of punishment if it is going to survive and rolled it in a towel.  Then I pulled it out gently lengthways and widthways until the waist, bottom edge and length were the same as the sizes given at the beginning of the pattern.  As instructed I didn't pin the ribbing, this damages it apparently.  I then carefully pinned the sleeves to be straight across the top edge stretching them so hopefully they will dry without the slight curl, watch this space...  

Blocking pins were a bit difficult to source, I biked about 12 miles into our local city to my nearest decent knitting shop but they didn't have any so had to buy online, from one of my very favourite stores Barnyarns via Amazon.  I was a bit worried there weren't many in the tin but it's been enough to hold the tunic in shape.  Yesterday I went on a hunt for tights / leggings to wear with it, I dislike clothes shopping at the best of times but this was pure frustration, I eventually found some lovely patterned ones and am all set, now I just have to wait for it to dry!

After the slow work on this big project the work on a cardigan for my 10 year old has gone alarmingly fast. The Wensleydale, although an aran weight wool, was quite fine and I'm now working on WYS (West Yorkshire Spinners) short sleeved cardigan from their Works of Aran patternbook in their Aire Valley Fusions Autumn Mix aran, it's the one on the front of the book.  It just has a single twist pattern on the front so is quick to knit up and the wool is thick, soft and beautifully variegated, just stunning shades.  It's done the old way of front left, right, back and sleeves knitted separately and they have curled so I'll need to block them before joining them together.  Am just loving doing something that is coming together so quick, and having a fraction of the previous 200 odd stitches on my needle.  Knitting seamlessly in the round does have it's advantages, I don't think I could have faced knitting the front after knitting the back of my tunic, but it is heavy by the end!  I really prefer to knit using British wool if I can to support the industry, after these two Yorkshire excursions I'm hoping to go to New Lanark this summer and buy some of their wool.