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!