Monday, 2 December 2013

Daytripping: Blackpool - Sea, Sky and Knitting. . .

I think Blackpool gets a bad rap. It's no more tacky than Niagara Falls and I've seen far more run-down communities in the U.K. than this town.  I was in Blackpool for three hours last Saturday as we went for fish and chips after the Liverpud and two friends ran a 10k race near Preston (I knitted at the finish line and provided moral support - and Bakewell Tart at the end).

I haven't been to Blackpool since I was a child but I think its biggest attraction is the sea!  You can walk on the beach for a long time and to me, the combination of sea and sky is always exhilarating and its proximity is one of the things I like the most about living in the U.K.

The piers are looking quite deserted at this time of the year but I do want to come back at the height of summer and have a proper seaside day.

It was quite chilly but I wore my new mittens!  The free pattern is Maize from Tin Can Knits and I knit it in Anna,  a wool/cotton blend from Imperial Yarns. I won two skeins in a blog contest from Fringe Association and it was perfect for this project. I added the black cuff with some Cascade 220 sport wool in my stash.  There's something very playful about wearing a pair of mittens (again, something I haven't done since I was a child).  Mittens at the seaside just filled me with a sense of fun. 

Here's the famous Blackpool Tower but unfortunately we didn't have the time to go up.  We also missed the annual Blackpool Illuminations which ended a few weeks ago.  They still light up the tower at dusk though. 

Though who needs the artificial stuff when there's this natural light show?

We did pop into an arcade (where I lost 50p) and a Vintage show in the Winter Gardens exhibition hall where for a pound, I found this knitting pattern book from 1947.

I'm especially tempted by this elegant scroll cardigan.

And I got to wear my new chunky houndstooth sweater that I had finished just the night before.  The pattern is by Erika Knight from the October 2013 issue of Knitting magazine (it doesn't seem to be on ravelry yet).  The yarn used is Rowan's Sweet Harmony by Amy Butler (green)  and Rowan Big Wool (black)This was very much a project that I winged and I think I got lucky. I didn't get gauge, I didn't even have the 12mm needles required for the colourwork, so I just knit the largest size on my 10mm.  I also didn't realize that the stranded knitting would pull the fabric together so tightly.  And the two wools aren't even the same thickness!  So the back became the front and I decided just to knit the back in plain stocking stitch.

My seaming job is definitely not the greatest (it's so hard to pin chunky wool together) and I don't really like the sleeves as there's very little shaping so it was much like seaming two rectangles together and trying to make them curve.  But it is quite cozy, very warm and it knit up quickly. Needs a little blocking though. 

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