Saturday, 28 July 2007

Good intentions?

You know they say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions and I always have great intentions of blogging regularly. For some reason, it just never seems to work out that way. It's been a funny old week so far and as any parent will tell you I am sure, the first week of the school holidays is hard. Well, it certainly is for me anyway. Not only am I having to adjust to having the munchkin under foot the whole time, he's got to get used to being at home with mummy and not having his friends around all the time. We've nearly come to blows a couple of times but we've survived and it can only get better from here on in. One week down, five more to go.

So anyhow, back to the knitting front and all the stuff I'd intended to post already. The pictures have all been waiting, honestly. Firstly here's other parcel that got me all excited last week. My first order from P&M Woolcraft and I'm guessing it probably won't be my last. There's a copy of Interweave Felt magazine which I have to say, I am really impressed with. I've not actually seen any of the Interweave magazines before as they're just not stocked anywhere around here. If this one's anything to go by, I'd seriously consider a subscription. Tucked in there is also some Madder and Woad seeds, some Alum and also a copy of "Natural Dyes, Fast or Fugitive" which is full of recipes for dyeing. I'm planning on raiding the garden over the summer for dye plants so watch this space.

Sockapalooza socks in all their finally glory, well finished and ready to block. I'm not usually one who actually bothers to block socks, life's too short imo but hey, these are a gift after all so I am going to show willing. As a result of this, I don't actually possess any sock blockers but being resourceful (cheap) I have opted for the homemade approach and have concocted something suitable - you'll see that shortly. Anyhow, see that tiny skein of wool at the bottom, that's all that was left of the skein. 100g of yarn in one pair of socks. I'm a bit disappointed I have to give them away as they fit me nicely!

So a quick round up of the other projects OTN, MS3 has taken a back seat to get my sockapalooza socks finished and I really must pick it up again this week. The next clue's going to be posted on Friday and I still have 3 and 4 to finish. Gulp! Also, I had of course to read Harry Potter so that was one day's knitting out of the window. I more or less read it cover to cover last Sunday afternoon and was done with it by about 9pm. I'm now having to grow all my fingernails back again as I chewed them all off while reading it. Definately a good read and far better than number 6 which wasn't really up to scratch. Am now considering having to go back and reread the rest of them and I guess I should actually watch the films at some point too.
Back to the knitting, this week I've managed to finish the first front on my Chevron jacket. It's all warm and fuzzy and I'm loving knitting it. The only downside is I am sure I'm going to need additional balls of wool. One front and the back completely used up six balls (out of the thirteen allotted), have cast on the first sleeve tonight to see how much that'll take up but have got the shop to tuck an extra two balls away for me just to make sure. I popped into the Woolcabin today to pick up some more of the yarn and they'd got some new Freedom Spirit colours on display - absolutely lush and I want them.
I really must revisit the project amnesty cornerat some point soon and pull another project out of there too. I'm determined to clear out some more of the unfinished items and get them finished before the winter. Realistically I think I should be aiming for one a month, it's either that or I should frog them and use the yarn for other projects. Hmm, there's something for me to ponder on and on that rambling note, I shall sign off for the night.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Something to make you smile

on yet another rainy day. There was me thinking we'd missed the worst of the weather as we'd had two lovely sunny days. It started at lunchtime and hasn't stopped since!

Anyhow here's a little something that makes me smile every time I look at it. Hot from the Yarnsnob's dye pots, I bring you some fabulously squishy sock yarn, dyed and named just for me. How cool is that! I'm not sure I want to hide it away as socks, I think it deserves to be a lovely wrap that I can show off to everyone.

Thanks again to Laura for picking me as the winner on her blog competition and to Elaine for dyeing me my winnings.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

just a quick hello

I've not posted for a couple of days but I have all sorts of lovely goodies I want to show you. The postie has bought me a couple of fab parcels this week and I have finally finished my sockapalooza socks. Yay, I can get back to knitting for me again!

I'll get the camera out shortly and take some piccies then I'll be back to fill you in and share the love.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Anyone for chocolate?

Do any of you out there watch that Diet Doctors programme? I was surfing for something to watch and thought well, there's nothing else on, why not? It's one of those programme's that always makes me thankful that I'm in good health but it always amazes me what people actually do to their bodies. Tonight's "victim" was seriously overweight, eats 8 (yes I really did say 8!) bars of chocolate a day. Yes really.
Now I like to have a bit of chocolate every now and again but 8 bars? I don't even eat that many in a month, it's no real wonder she was fat and unhealthy. It's not exactly rocket science.

I'm no angel when it comes to diet, I'm a firm believer that having a little bit of what you fancy doesn't hurt but you have to know your limits. My problem is that I'm a bit of a slacker when it comes to exercising so while I felt very smug at having a (mostly) good diet, I did feel guilty enough to go and get my yoga mat out. I have to admit I did get it out in front of the tv (come on, I'd seen the before, I had to see the after as well) but I did some yoga for the first time in months. I ache as I've used muscles I'd forgotten I'd got but hey, now I really can feel smug and supercilious. I eat well and I'm exercising. The trick is now to keep it up.

Monday, 16 July 2007

MS3 - Clue 2

I fought the mystery stole and won. At last! I did indeed have to frog clue 2 back to the lifeline - the error continued to elude me and I just couldn't be bothered wasting more time in trying to find it. Especially when clue 3 was published Friday. I sat down Friday evening and got stuck into it, after all the problems I'd had, it just flowed from the needles. I finished the last few rows last night and put a life line in as soon as I'd done. The life line turned out to be a total lifesaver and I will never heap scorn on anyone who can't knit lace without one again. I have learned my lesson - the hard way of course, but learned it I have.

So here we have it, loosely pinned out to show the lace developing and a close up to see the beads glisten in the light.
Any ideas on a theme yet? Not having read all of Melanie's comments on it, initially I had thought that it might be Harry Potter themed, black and white being darkness and light. I thought it looked like a snake's head a the point but apparently, she has ruled out HP. No matter how many times I look at it though, still keep seeing a shield. Maybe it'll be heraldic, apparently her themes are usually pretty cryptic so it'll probably be something entirely different! So, back to the drawing board again for another think.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Chevron Jacket - increasing

Hi guys this is for MurrayandLiz who stopped by my blog yesterday. I wrote these instructions for the Chevron jacket to help out another knitter on the Angel Yarns Knitting Forums. We've got a little knitalong going on for this jacket and you're more than welcome to come along and join us :)

When you are about to start the increases on the back you should have the rs facing you and you should be about to commence the purl row (K1, p15 to last st, K1) It doesn't matter which size you are doing as the pattern each size has one additional chevron repeat so you would be increasing by the same number of stitches no matter which size you're doing.

ok the chevron pattern is based on 15 stitches with one stitch either end to contain it. So to increase at the edge, you want to be adding an additional stitch outside the existing pattern repeat (chevron). Usually when you M1, you knit a stitch and then pick up the next loop and knit into it but as we are increasing right on the outside edge, you don't have a stitch to do that with. So, what you want to do is what I said before:

(rs)p1, M1, p15, *K1, p15 rep from * to last stitch, M1 p1

the (p1, M1) at the start of the row makes your new stitch at the edge (the p1) and the M1 becomes the K stitch that would be the normal first stitch of the pattern. When you turn to start the next row you now have an additional stitch outside the pattern repeat and as this is the pattern row (ws row) you will knit that stitch, then commence the main pattern.
(ws) k1, (main pattern as written to last stitch= p1, M1, k6, sl2.... etc), k1

Making sense so far?
So when you get to the next row that you want to increase on (4th row), which is a rs row again (so another purl row) it becomes
(rs) p1, M1p, *K1, P15 rep from * to last 2 stitches, K1, M1p, p1

So long as you keep the main pattern going (the 15 pattern/purl stitches with a stitch at either end), you should be able to continue to add more and more stitches at the outside edge until you get the required number.

Hope I haven't complicated things further. You might find it helpful to find some scrap wool and cast on 17 stitches (one chevron pattern) to test it out.
Shout you need more help.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

as swift as that?

I thought I'd share this afternoon's project with you. Look what I made! With the assistance (hindrance) of DS of course. It's not exactly perfect and I wouldn't look too closely to the joints etc but it should do the job. I hope. Yay, I can wind my loony boony with no fear of it ending up in knots. Well, that's the plan anyhow. Hehe and no more chair dancing when I want to prepare yarn for dyeing too.

Anyhow, instructions courtesy of Crafty Diversions. Materials, mostly from the cupboard. All I had to buy was the bolt, washers and dowel. So, a swift for less than I fiver. What more can I ask?
I still dream of having a beautiful umbrella swift but hey, a girl can't have everything.

Has it been a week already?

Whatever happened to the "I'm going to blog every day" resolution? Looks like that well and truly went out of the window.
Anyhow, enough of the self recriminations, I have stuff to share!
So lets start with my sockapalooza socks and get them out of the way first. I finished the first sock at last and am a few inches into the second sock too. For some reason, I haven't had as much knitting time this last week as I'd hoped to have them finished by now. Definately glad that I decided on a toe up sock though as I've used every scrap of yarn from the ball and they're not particularly long.
One of the main culprits for the lack of progress on everything else (my chevron jacket is also temporarily on hold) has to be my mystery stole. It was thrown into the corner in disgust on Monday and only just been dragged back out again. I sailed through the first clue with almost no hitches and luckily I had the foresight to actually put in a lifeline before starting the second clue. I never usually see the point in them as you can almost always see where your mistake is. Well, that was before I started working with laceweight -I don't think I have sworn quite so much at a piece of knitting in my life! I have reknitted the same few lines at least twice and there's still a mistake in it. Bah! So with the new clue being posted tomorrow I have finally accepted that the lifeline was put there for a reason and I'm going to frog back to it and begin the second clue afresh. Luckily it's only about 8 rows but it certainly feels like a lot more.

It was stitch and bitch week again this week and I had another great evening with the Colchester girls. We're not a huge group but we've got a regular seven or so of us every two weeks. It's still a bit of a novelty for me as I've never actually had someone outside the family who shares the same hobby before. We've decided to remind the other knitters in Colchester (there must be more of them surely?) that we're out there and so I took some posters into town with me yesterday. I had some quite positive comments from the LYS's so hopefully we'll get a bit of interest. I took a poster into the library too but the woman there wasn't so keen on me putting up a poster although she did say we should make sure we're in their online listing - subject to approval of course. We knit, where's the harm in that? Anyhow I put copies of the poster into most of the knitting and crochet books on their shelf so I'm quite glad I didn't ask first about that! I know, I'm such a rebel. lol

While I was going into the LYS's I took a look into their sale baskets. Yes, I know I'm cheap but you never know what you're going to find. Lookie here, I came away with this pile of Rowan Plaid. It's not in my normal colour range and I'd never have bought it in a million years at it's full price but it should felt nicely and at 50p a ball I couldn't resist it. I might try a variation on the booga bag or maybe make a satchel type bag. Too many choices and too many other projects first so that's definately added to the stash pile.
Oh and I saved the best for last - I won something! Emeralcutie had a competition and was giving away a skein of Yarnsnob sock yarn. I never win anything but now I am going to have some lovely Yarnsnob goodyness to squish, mine's the purple/pink one at the top. How cool is that? Thanks very much Laura and Elaine. Now I just have to decide on which pattern to use it for, socks or a shared favourite - Forest Canopy perhaps? If you want your very only bit of Yarn snobbery, you can drop by her Etsy store and take a peek. Don't say I didn't warn you first though, there's some lovely goodies on there, resistance may very well be futile!

Thursday, 5 July 2007

The sock drought is over

The drought is finally over and I'm back knitting socks once more. Not before time I might add, the sockapalooza deadline is looming - only a month to go until the exchange date and I am only just starting knitting my socks. Gulp. I know I can finish a pair in a week if need be but I think I might be cutting things a little fine. What if I decide I don't like them? I rescued my Brittany Birches from the dreaded day glo sock and cast on again this morning. In the end I decided that the yarn though lovely (Colinette Jitterbug) is actually very busy so I have opted to do a plain sock. It's toe up and I'm flying solo - no pattern!
I do have a back up plan (pattern and yarn) but 3 inches into the sock and it's looking fine so far.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

MS3 Clue 1

After a couple of minor hiccups and tinking a few stitches I finally finished knitting the first clue this morning. Not entirely sure I'm happy with the choice of yarn, well colour anyhow. The sandy colour looks slightly grubby somehow now that it's knitted up.A little close up of my bead choice. I opted for the seed beads in the end as the size 8 (3mm) beads suggested by the pattern seemed far too heavy for the yarn. The smaller beads seem to work just fine - you just get the odd glint every now and again as they catch the light.
So, can you see what the theme is yet? No? Me either!

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Ticking along

Just a quick update on progress, my Chevron Jacket continues to grow. The back is all done and I'm started on the first front. It's actually a little bigger than this now as I've been meaning to post this for the last two days (yes I know I'm slack). I'm still loving this yarn and finally getting over my misgivings about the yarn quantities. The back took a little over 3 balls so maybe I will actually only use the number stated. I love the fact that you knit the front borders as part of the front - no picking up hundreds of stitches at the end. Yay!
While I had the camera out I thought I'd post an update on my Ivy. Yes, it is still a WIP. I've only managed the back and the first front but it's looking quite good. One day I will actually finish it (hopefully before the winter) but I can't help feeling that I might actually be knitting this for mum rather than myself. I think it might be a little short in the body for me after all. I think this is probably the main reason I've been getting so easily distracted from it. Bit of a shame that, needless to say, mum rather likes it. Hmm, Christmas present maybe?