Photographs of sunrises and sunsets can feel a little bit clichéd, but with views like these over the past few weeks who can blame me for wanting to show the skies off!

Sunrise over south-east London

Morning over south east London

Sunset over Denmark Hill

New moon over Denmark Hill

There are benefits to waking at 5am and magical sunrises are definitely one of them. Likewise, watching the sun go down on a clear night with a new moon also takes some beating.

Aren’t the colours wonderful. No filters, no touch-ups, just taken as I saw them.

 

I spent Sunday afternoon in the company of two dear friends as they got to grips with crochet.

Sam arrived as an accomplished knitter having done a little bit of crochet in the past, but Michael had never held a crochet hook or knitted and came to the craft as a brand-spanking new learner. As Michael is a left-hander and I am right-handed, it was quite tricky to show how crochet is worked the opposite way round but Sam was on hand to explain things in a much clearer way. If any of you are left-handed crocheters and have any tips or links that I could share with Michael they would be hugely appreciated.

After a few hours getting to grips with holding tools, learning about tension and being reminded not to ‘knit’ with the yarn he had created a shoelace long length of chains and moved on to working rows of double crochet:

Michael crochets

There’s a wonderful point every yarn crafter reaches with a project where you suddenly realise that you have created a piece of fabric. From nothing to something, with visible results of your efforts and everything falls into place. As a seasoned knitter, and relatively seasoned crocheter, it still happens to me; turning a sock heel, working a ribbed hat brim in the round, fastening off the end on a granny square, even something as simple as knitting a swatch. Something from nothing.

We sent Michael off with a new project bag and visions of him quickly surrounding himself with crochet, knee deep in newly acquired yarn stash and us having to perform an intervention!

Did you learn anything new this weekend?

 

Remember that discussion we had about taking and keeping track of notes? How are you all getting on with that – still scribbling on the corner of newspapers and back of envelopes? If so you’re going to have absolutely no excuses as this gorgeous notebook, ‘designed by knitters, for knitters’ dropped through my letterbox last week.

Knitters Notebook || True Brit Knits

It’s the brainchild of the talented knitwear designers behind the pattern label True Brit Knits. There’s Wendy and Belinda, who you met on the blog at Christmas with a brilliant festive New York report.

A simple knitting needle motif is embossed in foil on the heavy cardstock cover:

Knitters Notebook cover ||True Brit Knits

Open the notebook and there is a whole host of practical treats.

The A5 pages are plain on one side with graph paper on the reverse which makes sketching, charting, and maths a cinch. There’s also a few perforated pages at the back of the book which you can tear out without damaging the spine:

Knitters Notebook graph paper detail

If you have forgotten which chart symbols are which and how to cross your cables, fear not as there’s a handy abbreviations list inside the front cover:

Knitters Notebooks inside front cover

The back cover has the essential piece of kit I am often missing when knitting-on-the-go, a ruler. Brilliant, and so handy for quick checks and much easier than trying to remember which fingertip is an inch long!

Knitters Notebook inside back cover

Isn’t it fabulous! Absolutely no excuses now for keeping your knitting (and crochet) notes all in one place.

Knitters Notebook cover ||True Brit Knits

As if the notebook wasn’t exciting enough, I became the proud owner of a True Brit Knits ‘Knitter’ prefect badge!

We didn’t have prefects at school, so these badges were only ever something I read about in Enid Blyton boarding school stories. They are available in four colours; red, blue, green and my choice, yellow.

Knitter prefect badge || True Brit Knits

You can order the Knitter’s Notebook via the True Brit Knits online shop and for now, please contact the TBK ladies if you are interested in a Knitter badge. You will also find their fabulous designs and ephemera at most of the UK knitting shows over the coming months so stop by their stand and have a browse and a natter.

Knitters Notebook back cover

However, I have a notebook to give away to one of my lovely readers. Simply reply to this post leaving a comment, feel free to leave a notebook story or note-taking hint or tip in the comment as well, and Mr K will dig in his knitted hat and pick a winner at random. Entries close at midnight BST on Monday 21st April 2014 after the Easter Bunny has been!

Thank you to the True Brit Knits ladies for sending me this fabulous notebook, it’s an absolute joy!

 

Spring socks! Lime & Soda are my debut pattern in the May issue of Knit Today magazine:

Lime and Soda socks || Rachel Atkinson for Knit Today

Named after one of my favourite drinks, Lime & Soda have been designed with a lace rib that gives stretch in all the right places so you create a well-fitting sock. The faux-cables mean there is no need for a cable needle making this a quick and easy to memorise stitch pattern.

Lime and Soda heel || Rachel Atkinson for Knit Today

Knit in Artesano Definition Sock Yarn, a bouncy 4ply more than worthy of its ‘Definition’ name as the yarn really does make the stitches pop! I have used the shade Mushy Peas but the pattern will work equally well in any shade from the palette.

KnitToday_LimeandSoda_Image

A huge thank you to Jane for beautifully knitting the sample in double-quick time!

Knit Today, issue 98 is landing with subscribers and hits the newstands today. As always, do let me know if you knit a pair as I love seeing our projects!

Final image © Knit Today magazine issue 98.

 

Having been fooled into thinking Spring had arrived, I’ve woken up to grey skies and pouring rain the last two mornings. Thankfully reports of hundreds of lambs skipping around the British countryside and these beauties are keeping the hope of better weather alive:

Daffodils

Lots of progress has been made on my Spring knitting.

Josephine shawl progress

The Josephine shawl is done, dusted and awaiting blocking. I’ve really enjoyed making it and picked up some more beads at the weekend to start on another beaded project. I’m thinking Celestarium and have promised friends I won’t wear it like a cape even though I’m sure the temptation will be too much at times.

Jil Draper Hudson yarn

Having cast off Josephine, I immediately cast on a soon to be revealed secret project designed for Jill Draper Make Stuff  ‘Hudson‘ yarn, a new Spring arrival at Loop. It’s an aran yarn of my dreams; smooth, firmly plied but soft and Jill’s dyeing technique is just wonderful. I can’t wait to show you the finished item!

Brolly shawl progress

My main SKIP North project was the Brolly shawl. Acres of garter stitch is perfect for knitting and nattering so made good progress and I’m nearly at the border. I still love these colours and the Isager yarn is also a little slice of woolly heaven. It’s slightly crunchy and ever so sticky making it perfect for garter stitch and right up my street!

Toasty by Rachel Coopey

In other news I can reveal the winner of the fabulous Coopknits Toasty book giveaway! Mr K picked a name at random from his knitted hat and that name was Sian who left the following comment: “What a beautiful range of patterns, now desperate to get my hands on some Titus (in every shade, they’re all stunning!)”. Congratulations Sian, I’ll be in touch to arrange delivery of your book. Thank you so much to everyone who left a comment and to Rachel Coopey for the fab prize.

Hope the sun is trying to make an appearance where you are!