Saturday, 15 December 2007

Something to make you smile

I dug out all the Christmas decorations this morning and look what I found lurking in the bottom of the box - some of last years knitting, aren't they cute?
Well in an ugly sort of a way :D They are of course some of the Alan Dart Christmas gnomes. The pattern was originally published in Simply Knitting's 2005 Christmas supplement but I managed to get hold of it when they reprinted it last year. I wish I had time to knit more of them this year as they'd make fab presents.

They're a great way of using up odds and ends as they don't take a great deal of yarn to knit although, knitting with the eyelash for the beard was a bit of an eye opener as I'd never used it before. It definately has it's place in the scheme of things but I couldn't contemplate knitting a whole garment in it, it'd be a nightmare!

for Kai: I'm using Sirdar Bonus DK for the BSJ with various odds and ends from my "tail ends" bag for the stripes. The DK isn't as dark as the picture shows and has three different shades of brown plyed together, it's rather nice actually and I don't usually like brown :)

Friday, 14 December 2007

A BSJ at last

So here's the first of my Christmas knits. I have finally managed to get my grubby little mitts on a copy of the Baby Surprise Jacket pattern by Elizabeth Zimmerman. A few months ago a lady, who I've never met again, brought a couple of these along to our Stitch and Bitch meeting. One already stitched up and another unfinished to show how it was constructed. It's such a simple idea to make a cardigan completely in one piece and so completely unlike anything I'd seen before that I was hooked.
It was my first ever introduction to EZ and I've been trying to get hold of the pattern ever since. I've got a couple of her books now but I've never managed to get hold of the Opinionated Knitter, even my library (my favourite source of knitting books) was unable to get it. I have found a couple of sources in the US but the price of getting it shipped just made it unworkable. So you can imagine my delight the other week when I discovered that KnitnCaboodle are now stocking it and two days later the pattern was in my hand.
I have to say it was all I could do not to cast it on there and then but I was in mid bag making swing so I couldn't. As soon as the craft weekend was out of the way though I dived straight into my stash to find something suitable and cast straight on. This is actually the second version as I cast it on initially in blue but it just wasn't working for some reason and after all my excitement, it was becoming a chore to knit. So a change of needles later and a new ball of yarn and the rest is history. Dexter's BSJ is growing and growing, this picture is from a couple of days ago, I'm already past the first mitred corners and I'm increasing again. It's actually almost starting to look like a cardigan now. If it keeps growing like this, it might even be finished by the start of next week.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Wow it's the middle of December already!

Where has the time gone? I seem to have gone from knitting manically for the craft fair to suddenly realising that I'd barely started my Christmas knitting. Anyhow enough of that later, so much has happened over the last couple of weeks but I guess I'd better start where I left off... at the craft fair.

I knitted, felted and dyed like a demon and made it to the craft fair despite the last minute intervention of a puking mighty midget. There we were, mum and I, (with the still poorly mighty midget in tow) unloading the car. We went inside to set up the stall and realised that we'd left most of the bags I'd made at home in a box on the dining room table. So, it was back in the car for me and a last minute dash home to collect them. All was set, we were ready for the off. Which to be honest, never really happened.

Talk about a damp squib, especially after all the stress and the panic beforehand. I don't think I have ever been to such a quiet event in all my life. Still, we stuck it out and made it to the end and sold a couple of bits. Covered the cost of the table but not a lot more. So, lesson learned, don't rely on the organisers to publicise an event, you need to do some shameless self promotion as well.

So anyhow, I still have several bags left and some rather lovely yarns too. I've already got plans for a couple of the yarns once the Christmas knits are out of the way but I think several of them might make it as far as Etsy in the New Year.

Here's a little taster.


Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Mmmmm chocolate


Oct2007 009
Originally uploaded by Bearium
Just a quick hello to say I've not dropped off the planet, I've just been busy knitting. I've some rather lovely (if I say so myself) little bags to share with you. They're mostly at the assembly stage so once I've had the sewing machine out and finished the linings, I'll get the camera out.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Counting down the days

and I'm busy trying to get enough things finished to fill my stall. Two weeks to go and counting! It's a little daunting to say the least as although I've always knitted gifts for friends and family, I've never actually put myself out there as it were and offered them for sale. Here's the results of last weeks dye fest dry and ready to be wound. It's mostly semi solid colours for felting with and I'm pretty pleased with the result so far. I've been playing around with some Ashford dyes and trying to be good about keeping records. I tend to be fairly intuitive about the colours combinations I use but if I want to be able to repeat any of the batches, I need to be a bit more controlled about it.

I've got a few bags drying and plenty more to knit up too. I'm looking forward to mum getting back from Manchester tomorrow night so I can put her to work. Not that I won't just be pleased to see her of course! Well that and the fact she's found me a big pack of sock wool to dye as well. Yay.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Have you got The Inside Loop?

I've been catching up on my bloglines and have found some exciting news, Kate and Diane are about to launch their own online knitting magazine! It's based in the UK and is going to feature British designs and yarns, the blog is live already and it's looking really good so far.

theinsideloop
They're accepting submissions for the first issue. Will I be brave enough to send one in?

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Blast from the past

Over the last few weeks I've been attempting to sort through my stash a little and as usual, it always turns up something interesting (or should I say lurking?) at the bottom of the box. This has probably got to be one of my favourite projects that I've never actually finished and if I'm completely honest, I never will. It's one of my early attempts at Intarsia and wasn't entirely successful - probably the reason it was never finished . At the time it was also an overambitious Christmas knit for mum. I did actually get as far as completing the back and one of the sleeves before I gave up and as with many things started and hidden away, I've never been able to bring myself to frog it.

Today I finally decided that discretion is the better part of valor and have accepted that while it is never going to be finished, it can be useful after all. It'll probably end it's life as a cushion or something .... at some point. Or what is also known as stuffing it back into the bottom of the box until I get the time (or inclination) to do something with it. Guilty as charged on that one I'm afraid.

See the cute little seal jumper though? I did make that one for the mighty midget when he was tiny but I haven't got a picture of it as far as I know. He looked very cute as I'm sure you can imagine. Anyhow, all the remaining yarn from the non-jumper is not going to go to waste it's going to be an EZ Tomtem jacket for him once all the bag making is done and dusted.

The pattern for the jumper above comes from Knitting Wildlife by Ruth Herring and Karen Manners and is as the post title suggests, a real blast from the past. As a child of the eighties I can't help but love it as it brings back all sorts of memories. I thought you might like to see some of my favourite designs from the book. Just look at the hair and the bat wings, you can't help but smile!

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Here's one I made earlier


Jaywalk
Originally uploaded by Bearium
It's my Jaywalker socks, they're finished and a perfect fit and of course, I've already worn them! I ummed and arred about matching the stripes but in the end I opted not to bother and actually they've ended up matching quite well.

No thanks to Opal that is as, not only was there a break in the yarn, it had be rejoined in the wrong direction!! As I was mid stripe I decided to wind the wool on to make it match and noticed straight away - luckily before I'd started knitting. I don't have a problem with the stripes not lining up but I'd have been really peeved if they'd started going in the wrong order. This is the first time I've had a problem with any of the Opal wools I've had and hopefully it'll be the last.

Anyhow down to the details:
Pattern: Jaywalkers by Grumperina
Yarn is Opal Rainforest2 in Peacock colourway
Needles: 2.5mm BB dnps

The pattern was very easy to follow and shows off the striping in the yarn beautifully. Will I make them again? yes
With the best will in the world, I don't think I'm destined to survive the blog-along but at least I do have an internet connection again today. Well, more or less anyhow. It's soooo slow!

There's several little men digging holes just down the road to fiddle with the phone lines. Goodness only knows what they're doing! It shouldn't affect us here as we're on a different exchange (or so I thought anyhow) but the internet was down late into the night. It's still pretty dicey now but at least it does seem to be working a little. Ahh, the joys of living in the sticks.

Monday, 5 November 2007

I've failed already and it's only Monday!

Hmm, that makes it sound far worse than it actually is. What I should say is that I was trying to blog along with the NaBloPoMo and try and blog everyday for the whole of November. I knew it would be difficult as I'm not a particularly regular blogger but I thought I'd make it past the first weekend at least. Oops :s Ah well, nevermind. It must have been my inner pessimist talking when I didn't sign up officially. Still, I am a little disappointed with myself.

After the way last week ended, I actually had a lovely weekend. Thanks for all the lovely comments, I don't like whinging but sometimes it can't be helped. We spent Saturday morning out beating and then went along to the local fireworks in the evening. I don't think I've seen fireworks that good since millenium night. They were superb!

So what am I up to on the knitting front then seeing as I've had several big finishes in the last couple of weeks? Well, it's a case of bags, bags and more bags. I'm also in the middle of a bit of a dye-fest.
I have, perhaps rather foolishly, signed up to do a stall at a Christmas craft fayre at the beginning of December. I'm going to be selling handbags, purses and home dyed yarn. Gulp. I'm test knitting a couple more bags patterns atm but I really need to get my finger out and get a few more felted otherwise it's going to be a very empty stall indeed.

Am I getting worried yet? Hmm, perhaps.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Could this day get any worse?

Famous last words and all that but I can't believe that anything else can possibly go wrong today. I guess I'd better warn you now that there's not much knitting content in this particular post, I'm going to whinge instead!

I am currently surrounded by washing. There are sheets and wet clothes everywhere. DS has had a couple of rough nights and I am now officially out of clean sheets. I have 6 (!!) drying as we speak and the heating on in a desperate effort to try and get some dried out before bedtime. Not to mention the pyjamas. At half past four this morning (yes, really) I was scrapping around in the dark trying to find something dry that he could put on. Luckily I haven't packed the summer clothes away as yet so I did scrape together a shorts an t shirt ensemble as he refuses to sleep naked.

To top that, I in pain again, my ears feel like they're going to explode. Nothing I seem to do helps and it seems a waste of time going back to the doctors when all they said the other week was take painkillers. Grr. When is this cold going to go away?

Oh and the icing on the cake is that I realised this morning that the car tax expired two days ago. Doh! I grabbed the folder of car documents then realised my cheque book is missing. Not to worry thinks I, I'll just get the cash out instead as the Post Office won't accept card payment yet. I drove all the way over there to discover that both my Insurance document and the renewal notice were missing. "Bother" I thought and drove I the way back home again. I turned out the drawer, found an insurance document, scrapped around and even found the renewal notice and drove all the way back over to the Post Office again. Sorry the guy says, that's not the right document, I want a certificate not a renewal document. It's more than my job's worth to put it through on that document, the police wouldn't accept that, they'd tear it up. Jobsworth is about right I thought, I'm driving round with no car tax, what do you think the policeman would say about that then?! Grr. So here I am back home again, fuming, generally pissed off and feeling sorry for myself. Watching the clock until I can take another painkiller.

sighs rant over, it'll be back to knitting stuff again tomorrow. I promise.

FO - Indian Summer Shawl

It's done and I have the pictures to prove it. I have a fairly well documented love/hate relationship with this shawl so I'm going to let the pictures do the talking. The completed article does indeed look great but I think it's going to end up being wrapped and given as a gift at some point.

Being cotton, it's fairly heavy and as I'm fairly tall, it could probably do with being a little bigger. I like to feel completely wrapped in my shawls.

Maybe I'll feel a little different about it later on but for now it's decorating dolly instead of me.

So the details:
The pattern is Indian Summer Shawl by Tess Dawson.
I bought the pdf directly from the Angel Yarns shop but it is also in her new book.
Yarn is Sirdar Pure Cotton in lime and pale blue. I used two balls of each colour which is plenty for the body of the shawl but doesn't leave enough for a thick enough fringing imo.
Hook is an 8mm Brittany Birch.

Perhaps I should just give it away now? A Christmas blog competition coming on maybe.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

knock knock .....is there anybody there?


Oct2007 007
Originally uploaded by Bearium
sorry this amused me anyhow. The mighty midget was playing with the camera again and in among all the blurry shots I found this.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

A finish! Freedom Spirit Chevron Jacket


I'm back and I have a finish to show you. Actually I have a few but I'll post them later when I have better pictures. So where have I been? Manchester again to see my sister. It was half term and so we jumped in the car and disappeared for a lovely few days. I forgot to post on the blog before I disappeared. Oops. Had this jacket been in the smaller size, I might not have got it back as Hazel loved it. In fact, she'd quite like one of her own! I think I might have to track down some washing machine friendly yarn and make her one.

So back to the pattern - I loved it! Can you tell? I have actually deigned to be in one of the pictures of my finished projects, I'm usually the one behind the camera. The yarn is superb to knit and the design shows off the patterning within the yarn perfectly. Although I checked my tension before knitting, I have used more yarn than the stated amounts in the pattern. About 1.5 balls extra in the end. I also made the collar shorter by about two inches but I think it is more than long enough as it is. I made the medium but as the sizing seems pretty generous, I think I could possibly have got away with the smaller size. It does make me look a bit like a chunky monkey but as I love both the colour and the pattern, I really don't care.

Will I knit it again? Almost definately.

Friday, 12 October 2007

You know it's Autumn when .....

The leaves begin to change colour and booze grows on trees!
Well the berries do anyhow. Take some sloes, cheap gin and a pile of sugar throw it all together and wait for the magic to happen.

In the meantime drink some of the Sloe Gin you made last year, tonic is definately optional. Cheers everyone :)

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Indian Summer round 2

I have developed a bit of a love hate relationship with this shawl. I love the look of the pattern and I would dearly love to have it finished and wearable but there's no denying that I really dislike the way that the pattern is written. It's been lurking in the naughty corner for nearly a month but then I discovered that Tess had included the pattern in her book. The library doesn't stock the book so I sent out an SOS to my lovely SnB ladies and Nadia has lent me her copy.
At first glance I thought the pattern had been amended but no, it's no different to the pdf I already have. I'm actually pleased to see that it's rated as advanced as I am sure that no beginner would be able to interpret the pattern correctly. It took three of us from our knitting group to make sense of it fully and between us we've been crocheting for 60+ years and even then, I have effectively rewritten the pattern.

Having said that I'm now making headway with it again although yesterday afternoon my original attempt looked like this:
Yes, I frogged it. Don't panic - it now looks like this which is a distinct improvement.
I'm still fudging the pattern a bit but as the book has a some new photos I have been able to jiggle the pattern a bit to make it work as it should. Both sides of the shawl are now done and and I am now ready to start the main shawl body. It's actually growing very quickly again - probably the reason why I love crochet so much. Although the huge hook and two strands of yarn could have something to do with it. If it carries on like this, I might even finish it over the weekend.

Moggle has a picture review of Tess's book on her blog here and here. There are some lovely designs and definately a few more that I will try out even after the problems I've had with this one.

Question: Would you match the stripes?

It's been a funny old week again this week and not much blogging has been done or knitting for that matter. The earache has turned into a cold and I spent most of yesterday feeling sorry for myself. A good night's sleep later and I'm ready to roll again. What a difference a day makes!

So what's happened since Sunday? Well, I have my first pattern from Sockamania to try out. It's a pretty sock with a cable up each side and both a toe up or top down option. Anni produces a new pattern for the group each month - that's some commitment! You can buy all previous pattern from her Etsy shop and there I one or two that I would really like to try. What really caught my eye this week is that Kate aka Bronte has written a new pattern for the most fabulous lacy socks. The pattern's called Rosamond and you can get it here. It's a definate add on to my to do list, I can see why Fiona was sidetracked by it!

I've also finished my first Jaywalker. The pattern shows off the striping in the yarn really well. but I haven't cast on the second sock yet as I have a bit of a dilemna - do I match the stripes or not?

I think I probably need too as they are so striking and my inner perfectionist is screaming at me. Unfortunately, the first sock starts with a couple of rows of green and the toe of the sock actually starts the next white band (although it's not visible on the piccie). It's only two rows of green and the stripes would be in almost the same position it probably wouldn't notice, well not too much. Maybe. Hmm, I think I'll knit something else for a couple of days and have a think on it.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Socks!

Yay, I got my invite to sockamania. I've been watching it for a little while and ogling all the lovely patterns. I love the idea of a monthly sock knitalong, I've usually got a pair on the go anyhow. So, no excuses now - knit up that sock stash!

Sockamania

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Why, why, why?

Whoever came up with that word should be shot. It's the bane of my life. Children you gotta love them but boy can they test your patience. I know I should be glad that I have a bright and healthy little boy but I could really do without the questions sometimes. Take this morning for instance, it's birthday season and we had another party to go to. I've hardly slept - between bedwetting (the mighty midget i should add, not me!), the cat deciding she should be fed at stupid o'clock and then the MM getting up at 7am (on the weekend!), sleep was not really much of an option.

Picture the scene.... I am trying to wash my hair and not get water in my ears again as I've had earache on and off all week when the questions start. You'd think I'd get a few minutes peace while in the shower but no. Mummy, why do caterpillars have lots of legs? To hold onto things. Why do birds only have two legs? Well, um, they have two legs and two wings. Why? A long time ago when there were dinosaurs, they didn't have wings they had legs and no feathers (yes I stupidly went there). Oh. Can you go away now and stop asking questions. No I like talking to you. So, beetles have lots of legs. Yes they're insects, they have six. What about ants? They're insects too, they have six. No I saw one with four. No you didn't. Why don't cows walk on two legs?.... and it goes on. He did finally leave me alone but by that point I didn't really know which way was up! Next time, I really must remember to lock the door.

We made it to our party and on time for once. Even after I realised we hadn't wrapped the present and I'd forgotten to buy a birthday card. It was a lovely morning, we sat in traffic all the way home and we're both shattered.

Knitting, what's knitting? who has the time and energy for that?!

Monday, 24 September 2007

It's Monday so I'm rambling

I have said time and time again that I really should try and blog more regularly but for some reason I never seem to manage it. I have so many things that I want to share but I never get around to posting them all and it always seems a bit silly writing about something two or three weeks after something has happened. I'm a bit embarrassed but I've actually made myself a list of things to remind me that I'd intended to blog about them. I've discovered I'm a real list writer, I write lists for everything. A bit obsessive maybe? Possibly but I do know that if I go shopping and don't take a list, I always come back without the one vital thing I need.

So what's been happening over the last couple of days? Where shall I start? Well, I mentioned my gran briefly last time. She's been staying with us for the last week and as much I as I am always pleased to see her, a week is too long. Probably for her as much as for us. She has a different way of doing things and of course, her way is always the right way. Regardless. I would suggest that it's just because of her age but I think it's more of a cultural thing. My dad's family are from the north east and my gran is the epitomy of that north eastern stereotype of "strong" women. She's opinionated and not frightened of sharing them, which of course doesn't make for an easy life. She just can't help herself, she has to interfere. There was obviously a good reason that my dad put three hundred miles between him and his mum at the age of seventeen!
Anyhow, along with everything she disapproved of though, she did fall in love with the amigurumi bears. So I made her a little one to take away with her. Isn't he cute! and a definate improvement on the first one. I hope she likes him - I tucked him into the box of bits she was taking home.

On the amigurumi front, I'd like you to meet my little girl. Currently she's been christened "fugly betty". The name's kind of self explanatory really - I think she's going to need a bit of work to improve her looks. Actually, I'm quite pleased the computer's working this morning. I told mum what she was called yesterday and she laughed so hard she threw her coffee all over the computer!Hehe. Ugly face aside though, I am quite pleased with the adaptation of the bear pattern. I think I'll have to consider her a work in progress. lol.
I've just searched the whole house, fugly Betty is mia and I didn't get a chance to photograph her. I think Granny took her home with her. Who knew!

Back to the knitting - I thought I'd finished my Chevron jacket this morning. Yes, the sleeve is finished at last. I stitched up the shoulder seams, picked up the neck stitches that were on the holders ready to do the last couple of rows. Then I reread the pattern - I have 8 inches of collar to knit. Doh! So, the hemlockring will be waiting a little longer.
It's a good job I picked up a spare ball of yarn last week or I'd definately not have enough wool. It's official, the pattern needs an extra ball of yarn to complete so after all that umming and arring over yardage, I was right all along.

Friday, 21 September 2007




I have finally forgiven my postman, he has started bringing me nice mail at last.
Wednesday was a very good sock day, not only did my addi turbos arrive at last, my LYS was selling off their Sirdar Town & country sock yarn for £1.25 a ball! I was good - I only bought 3 balls but now there's no excuse not to start my Bayerische now. I have spare needles at last and some nice new green yarn to do it in. All I have to do is fight my way through a sea of amigurumi, all two of them so far. I must have one completed before tomorrow though. It looks like my gran has taken a shine to my little bear friend so I think I might be making her one before the weekend is over as well.

Then today, my postman has brought me a parcel of fab shetland yarn in some great blue shades ready for starting my christmas mittens. 500g of it - that's a lot of mittens! I am rolling in yarn. Yay :)

Thursday, 20 September 2007

small bear sidetracks Jaywalkers!

No you're not going mad, that really is a little purple bear. I blame Laura, it's all her fault. I go to SnB knitting socks and come home hooked on Amigurumi! I've another "on the hook" that's just about ready for sharing as well, you'll have to wait until tomorrow to meet her though.So, just why am I making these little critters? Well as I was saying, Laura showed me hers, she was making it as a present for one of her friend's birthday. Having just hit birthday season, (the mighty midget has a party to go to every weekend for the next month) I of course thought what a fabulous idea and the rest as they say, is history. I scoured the internet and found this little fella - how cute is he? (even minus the rest of his face) and a couple of others that I just have to try.

I'm going to add a keyring to them too. So, there could be a hoard of four year olds wandering around Colchester with critters dangling from their backpacks.

Monday, 17 September 2007

A quick round up

I swear my postman is eating my mail, all he seems to bring me is bills! What's happened to all the lovely stuff I've ordered? I check the box everyday and there's nothing. Grr

Sominor rant over, what's on the needles then? I've finished my carry around project as you can see below so I have had to cast on for another pair of socks straight away. I mean, I can't have a set of empty DPN's that'd be crazy! I've been meaning to get on and complete a pair of Rainforest socks for a while as part of the sockathon and as I still haven't got my new needles, sigh, I haven't been able to cast on the Bayerische. So, peacock socks it is. I wanted a pattern that could stand up to the striping effect of the yarn so I'm attempting Grumperina's Jaywalkers. Can't quite decide whether the yarn is a bit busy even for these but I'll do a bit more before I make a decision.

My chevron jacket is almost finished. I'm half way up the last sleeve and now just need to pick up one more ball of yarn to finish it off. I've blocked the back and fronts and it's opened up the pattern fantastically.

Mitten number one is almost finished too. I've just got the thumb to do and then the grafting at the top. It knitted up surprisingly quickly.Hmm, that's about it for now. The Indian Summer Shawl has stalled a bit - I'm still not completely happy with the pattern so I've put it to one side for a few days. Oh and going through some stash this afternoon I discovered that I have enough aran yarn to knit several Hemlockring blankets! I think this one could be moving higher up the the "to do" list ;)

FO - stripey ankle socks

Basic toe up ankle highs, figure of 8 cast on and short row heels.
Yarn: 100% wool superwash 4ply homedyed.
Needles: 2.5mm Brittany Birch

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

What a monster



I have this fantastic weed in my garden and it's turned into a complete monster. I must have dropped one of the seeds off last years sunflowers at some point and when I saw this one coming up, I thought "it won't get that big" and so I didn't bother to pull it out. Oops.
They didn't get this big last year, that's for sure. The head must measure 18 inches across! I'm thinking there's going to be some very happy little birds in our garden this winter :)

I think I have the bug

The fair isle bug I hasten to add. I'm hooked - look what I got up to over the weekend! I couldn't wait for my new needles, I cast on anyhow and am trying to work around the cable problem. It seems to be working and my tension gets better each day. I'm even starting to get a bit of speed up with having the yarn in both hands. Actually, I'm enjoying these so much I think that everyone will be getting mittens for Christmas this year. I even got onto ebay and bought myself a bag of Shetland end of cones to to use. I'm already starting to play around with ideas for my own pattern. Maybe I'm getting a bit ahead of myself - did I mention already I'm enjoying knitting these? lol Unfortunately, this means that all other projects have ground to a halt including my chevron jacket which is on the final straight. I cast on the the final sleeve on Friday evening, it's sooo close to completion. I really must get the finished pieces blocked so that I can get it stitched together so that I can wear it.

Not only that I have spotted yet another project that I'm dying to try. Jam_mam aka Jacqui is doing her best to lure me into a Hemlockalong from the pattern on the Brooklyntweed blog. It is absolutely superb and I can't stop going back to take a peek at her progress. It's a definite one to add to the "to do" list, even better is that it's in aran which I happen to have piles of in my stash. Hmm, must NOT CAST ON ANOTHER PROJECT!

Friday, 7 September 2007

Mittens, swaps and needles

Well I couldn't wait any longer, I had to buy some needles (thanks for the comment Laura) so I have ordered two sets of addi turbos for a bargain price on ebay (from this shop). Ostensibly as I want to finally get on and do Bayeriche at last but more because I'm itching to have another go at fair isle. It's not as though I don't have enough other projects on the go already or anything!

Anyhoo, I had to pop into town today to collect a library book I'd ordered but of course I couldn't resist just popping upstairs to see if there'd been any additions to the knitting section since my last visit. I found this one, Mostly Mittens by Charlene Schurch. I'm sure it's been on the shelf there for a while but it'd never appealed to be before but this time it positively leapt off the shelf. Of course, I then had to spend some time this evening trawling the internet for other patterns just to see, that and Ravelry - my new best friend. I can myself wasting a lot of time on there, everyone's pictures are so great and I'm sure I will find lots more projects to try.

Back to the mittens, I also came across a mitten swap - registration's open until Sept 30th for anyone interested. I'm not going to actually join it but it's going to be a great one to watch I think. There's some really good links to patterns including these fabulous pirate mittens - check the rest of the free patterns there's a matching pirate hat too. Superb, I want one!

I'm not sure whether I can wait for my new needles to arrive before I cast on

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Magic loop needles?

Am thinking of adding to some new needles to my collection as I really enjoyed magic looping the fair isle swatch. Anyhow, I need better needles - the cable is far too inflexible on my pony needles but they're all I can get locally. So, I'm thinking I will probably try some addi turbos but what length of needles to buy is the question?
I'll probably just being using them for socks or small diameter knitting so, is 80cm (32" for those of you across the pond) long enough? In which case I can actually get some knit picks instead as Get Knitted have started stocking them.

So for all you magic loopers out there, what do you use?

Painting progress

So, can you tell what it is yet? It's looking somewhat better than when I last posted a picture, I think my sister's pleased with it even though it's not quite finished yet. Actually, seeing a picture of it like this even I can't see all the imperfections that usually jump out at me. Mind you, I always have been my own worst critic. Still, I have about a week left to complete it now so that mum and dad can drop it into Manchester when they go visit.
I'm really enjoying working with the acrylic paints so I might do some more. Mum's been trying to get me to do her a painting for years. For some reason she wouldn't hang any of the stuff I produced for my A level - something about it being too modern and no to her taste. Ho hum, have got no real excuse now have I?

Monday, 3 September 2007

On the hook today

I've finally made a start on the Indian Summer Shawl by Tess Dawson -I've had the pattern and yarn for some time and whilst I love the design, (in fact I fell in love with it the first time I saw the picture), the pattern has turned out to be a complete nightmare. I don't know whether it's just me or not. I've done quite a bit of crochet over the years so I'd consider myself to be a fairly competent crocheter, I've certainly tackled some pretty complex patterns but for some reason, this one has got me completely stumped. Some of the instructions seem a bit vague tbh and my shawl is developing a rather strange shape.
Anyhow, tomorrow night is knitting night so I'll see if Frances can make any more sense of it than I can. If not, I'll be having to ask Tess herself to see if she can point out where I'm going wrong. I did have a quick check on the AY forums already to see if anyone has posted about this already but there wasn't anything immediately obvious.

Asides from this I've also been playing around with the design for a summer hat. I had intended to make it as a present for my nan as she hadn't been able to find herself a sun hat this year. I'm using the variegated cotton yarn I picked up a Lidl earlier this year, it's lovely to use but I'm not happy with the design. I've tried freestyling without a pattern (the green) and with a pattern (the blue) but neither is quite right. I think they're both destined to be frogged and restarted - it's either that or they're going to end up converted into bags of some kind!

I survived the steek!

Scissors at the ready, here we go. Just a little bit, ooh go on cut the rest!
Sewing it up, omg, the thread has broken yet again. Watch out for that death grip, you're making it fray.Finally, made it to the end. it's all stitched up even if it has got a frilly edge on it.
The proof is in the pudding, pick up those stitches. Yay, I survived the steek.
and I can wear my badge with pride :)

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Catching up... and an apology

Wow, I really must apologise for the last post - it was pretty tasteless, actually, I might even delete it (but there was an awful lot of feathers). I was being particularly random but then, it's been that kind of a week really. I've had a migraine hanging about - think I must have been a bit more sleep deprived than I realised :s

So, what have I been up to then? Well not much knitting that's for sure, in fact I've had a fairly unproductive couple of weeks. Too much champagne at Stitch & Bitch perhaps? Actually, that's a story all in itself. Maybe later. So, back to catching up, hmm like I said not much knitting but I have managed to do some more on the painting for Hazel. In fact, it's fairly close to being finished. There's a picture somewhere - will have to find out where I saved it.

I still haven't got any further on the Mystery Stole and to be honest, I'm still in two minds whether to complete it or not. There's a part of me that doesn't like to leave things unfinished but when I'm not completely happy with the way things are working out, I find it hard to get on and get them done. I still am not entirely happy with the yarn so this is one project that could go either way. In the meantime it languishes in the "really must finish this at some point" pile.

The one thing that continues to grow is my Chevron jacket, I'm 2/3 up the second front now which just leaves the last sleeve to do before sewing up time. I'm getting quite excited about it as it's incredibly snuggly and as the weather's so changeable at the moment, it shouldn't be too long before I'll be able to wear it.

I found myself signing up for yet another knitalong the other week. More of a challenge than anything DianeM asked the AY girls whether we were ready to "beat the steek?" and has provided us with a tutorial otherwise known as the Steek-a-long. The final part was posted this weekend but I have only just completed the first part, my swatch. Here it is in all it's glory, I'm pretty pleased with myself even if the tension did get a bit iffy around the sides. I don't care though, I have already learned two new things. Fair Isle and Magic loop (which is also part of the reason my tension went squiffy). I have had a couple of attempts at fair isle in the past but they've never been very successful. For some reason though it just clicked this time and I even managed to hold one yarn in each hand. The yarn definately makes a big difference, previously I've tried it with acrylic yarns but this time I had Shetland which is slightly sticky and really hold together well. The next step of course is to chop it up. So, can I beat the steek? Only time will tell but the scissors will be coming out tonight!

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Heading north

No pictures today I'm afraid, my knitting bag is packed and I'm ready to jump in the car. We're off to Manchester for a long weekend of climbing and catching up. Here's hoping the weather's not too damp so we can actually get out and about.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

This week I have mostly been...

wow, two posts in one day! Well, I have a bit of catching up to do as always but mainly due to the fact I haven't been able to get my pictures onto the computer. I really must get the software uploaded onto the other pc as this one keeps playing up. It's got an intermittent glitch that means it won't always turn on - bit inconvenient when you want to do anything I can tell you. Unfortunately, dad thinks there may be something terminal wrong with the processor. grr.

Anyhow, enough of my griping back to the knitting and it was Stitch and Bitch week again this week. It's so great to be able to get out and meet people who actually share the same interests as me for a change. In all the years I've been knitting (and crafting), I don't think I've ever had people I can actually talk about it with, outside the family that is. Our group is growing in numbers and we're becoming well known at the bar we meet at - they've even started setting up the tables for us. I can't wait for the next one and I've another 10 days to go!

So, roll on the photos. First up, my Chevron jacket - I'd devote a post to it but I managed to take such a crap photo. It really needs daylight to do the colours justice. Anyhow I've finished the first sleeve now so I thought I'd put it together to get an idea of how it's going to look. I'm really pleased although it's definately all going to need blocking before it's stitched up. I cast on the right front straight away but will need to visit the Woolcabin for my next batch of yarn. I think it's becoming a bit of a running joke now, my speculation of the yardage that is, having done the sleeve I have come to the conclusion that the pattern may be correct after all. hehe.
As promised some while back here's a piccie of my home made sock blockers. They're a bit "Heath Robinson" as my mum would say but they did the job. The only plastic place mat I could find at the time was Winnie the Pooh and as I didn't think to buy two, I had to shorten the legs to get two out of the one mat. I'd forgotten quite how big my feet (and my sock pal's feet) were. Not sure whether I'll ever use them again but I'll stash them in my knitting boxes just in case or if anyone needs a set of size 7 sock blockers, I'll send them on. I've acquired some more plastic packaging that would make some more. I'm nothing if not resourceful (that could probably read cheap) - as Bob the Builder says "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle".

I have finally started on my sister's painting. Mind you, I had to completely turn out my bedroom, the wardrobe and the spare room in order to actually find my paints. I do have a clean and tidy bedroom now instead of a junk room so some good came of it. I was trying to remember when it was that I actually went up to Manchester to see her last, probably May, so it's only taken me 3 months to get going. As much as I enjoy painting, I really have to be in the right frame of mind to do it. Anyhow, it's not much to look at at this stage not much more than a sketch but it's a start. Sis if you're reading this, I haven't forgotten!

Being forced to tidy up my room like that was actually quite cathartic and I did find various bit's I'd forgotten about including a couple more balls of sock yarn and some sachets of Kool Aid. I've got some undyed yarn in my stash and I was thinking I might get DS to "help" me to colour some of it. I think it's probably a good thing we have lino in our kitchen as I can envisage this getting messy. Still, he's asked me to knit him another pair of socks - he's also finally decided he liked the pair I knitted him last time. The only down side, he's also decided that his new socks should be pink!
I think this is probably the longest my dpn's have been empty in a while so I must be about due to cast on another pair. My sockapalooza socks have certainly got me looking at them again. Hmm, need more socks. Finally, here's a picture of the little bootie I knitted the other day. It's actually been knocking around in the bottom of my knitting bag for a couple of weeks. It's made up of several mitred squares and is really cute, well it should be anyway. Actually, it's not got a mate as I didn't like the way the colours have worked out. I used Opal Toucan but because it's so small, the stripes in the yarn are too big and it's ended up with large blocks of colour. I would love to be able to take credit for the design but the pattern was in Knitting magazine, Dec 2005 if I remember rightly.

Wow this has turned into a bit of an epic post, I really should start doing this more often! Haha, one day maybe.