Thursday, 28 February 2008

Did you know?

That apparently I'm a Wednesday blogger? I don't blog every day but I almost always post on a Wednesday! I've no idea what it is about Wednesdays that makes it so, but it is. I'm sure you're thinking by now, what on earth am I wittering on about?

Well, this little blog is growing ever closer to it's first anniversary which, for a non diary keeper, is a bit of a milestone. I've really quite enjoyed keeping a diary of the highs and lows of my knitting projects and as it looks like it's going to be sticking around for a bit longer, I thought it was about time that I looked at it a bit more closely.

This whole blog thing was really new to me when I first started out and so I didn't think too much about what my blog says about me. I just grabbed the most appealing template available and started writing. I've stuck with it ever since and while it works well enough, I've never actually sat down and personalised it at all. Anyhow, I think it's about time my blog grew up. While most of the time I'm fine with computers, sometimes I can be a complete numpty. So please bear with me, I'm about to start playing and I'm not one hundred percent sure I know what I'm doing!

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Did I say I wouldn't buy any more?

I know I said I wouldn't be buying any more yarn but how can you go to somewhere like the Natural Dye Studio and come away empty handed? It was of course, an absolutely fantastic morning. The sun was shining, it was an easy run over and I found it without getting lost this time around. Mum and I ended up at the penal colony last year - yes out in the wilds of Suffolk turns out to be the perfect place to keep crims. It's incredibly isolated which is probably why the RAF made such good use of it during the war. There's still a couple of the bases up there as and my aunt commented when we drove past one of them, "wow, they could have filmed Colditz here". This time, I went armed with a map just in case but to be honest, I didn't need it in the end. I honestly don't know how went went wrong last time it's pretty much a straight run through once you get to Sutton Hoo. Don't let the comments about the military and the crims put you off though, it's a very beautiful part of the world. It looks like there'd be some really good walking around there and you're very close to the sea as well.

Anyhow Amanda welcomed us with tea and biscuits and a tour of the studio. She'd got one of her dye vats on the go and we all got to see her in action. I think everyone was impressed with the indigo and it's fascinating to see the way the colours change with the air and also the variation in colour produced by the different yarns. We poked through all her bottles and jars and asked lots of questions which Amanda very patiently answered. Actually, she obviously really enjoys what she does and seems only too happy to share her enthusiasm. If you get a chance to head out to Suffolk, it's definately worth calling in to visit.

We all spent far too much time fondling the yarn and of course, everyone came home with something. I bought some laceweight myself, it's Venus (Alpaca lace) in a very pretty pink and blue and some of my favourite NDS yarn, the BFL Dazzle 4ply sock. They actually produce several other sock yarns but I absolutely love the Dazzle.
I think this one's in the Peacock colourway. Even the Mighty Midget who joined us at the last minute for our trip seemed to enjoy himself. That's him with the wall of yarns pulling yet another silly face. He doesn't seem to be able to look at a camera without pulling one these days. Hopefully he won't be trying that with the school photographer next month or there's going to be trouble!

Vintage Babette?

I'm sure I've mentioned in the past that I hoard patterns. Being a crafty family, I've inherited quite a lot over the years and I think that this is where this one probably came from. It's in a very old booklet published for Good Housekeeping magazine in the fifties. Most of the patterns are really dated by this one caught my eye as it looks remarkably familiar.

My crochet habit is having a bit of a resurgence lately and it's got my looking through old patterns for inspiration again. Well that and the fact that almost everyone I know on Ravelry has either been bookmarking or casting on for a Babette blanket. In fact, I was on the verge of buying the pattern myself since Interweave have made it available as a stand alone pattern.

Anyhow, I digress. In my folders I found this rather beautiful (in a my granny had that sort of thing kind of way) bedspread pattern. If you ignore the roses, the plain squares look just like the ones used for the Babette blanket.

So there you go, hoarding is a good thing and it just proves, old classics never die out! I think I might make a Babette style blanket after all.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Vicarious Ogling

Originally uploaded by Bearium
The ladies of Colchester SnB are on the move and we're descending on the Natural Dye Studio this weekend. Amanda has agreed to welcome us into her studio so, rather generously, I am offering to squish and fondle on your behalf. Actually that sounds rather rude but anyhow, you catch my drift.

Come on, it's all lovely but what would you really like to get your hands on? Sock yarn, lace weight or might I tempt your fancy with some alpaca silk?

FO - Nordic Sweetheart Hat

Can I just say now, I love this hat! I'm also bit gutted that I have to give it away but a promise is a promise and I made it for my sister. The pattern kind of sells itself so I'm just going to post lots of pictures and you can decide for yourselves.

The finished hat
View from the top
Inside and out

The pattern is of course, Nordic Sweetheart Hat by Anne Featonby. You can get it here. Anne was kind enough to stop by the blog the other day and made a comment. Cool huh, I don't think I've ever been noticed by a designer before! The yarn fell off the stash mountain and is an unlabelled shetland 4ply on 2.75mm dpns. This is the smaller of the two sizes and is a little tight on me which makes it perfect for my sister and easier for me to part with!

and finally, me trying to pretend it fits me. Will I make it again? probably not the full length hat but I think I'll be doing myself a cut down beanie version.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Revenge of the UFO

....... aka stashdiving is dangerous for your health.

It seemed such a good idea at the time, evaluating my stash. I definately have enough yarn to keep me in knitting and crochet projects for at least the next year. (My wallet is definately breathing a sigh of relief) The only thing is, I discovered a whole new group of UFO's lurking at the bottom of the pile! Some of which I'd completely forgotten actually starting. So here to shame myself into actually doing something about them are the new batch. The question now is, frog or finish?
Afghan squares in assorted leftover blues. The motif is "Willow" from Jan Eaton's 200 Crochet Blocks book.Stripey stashbusting jumper for the Mighty Midget.Pale blue stole using motif from Hip to Crochet. (If I remember right the original pattern was for a scarf.)Pink (fake) mohair lace wrap cardigan. (What on earth was I thinking with this one?!)oh, and a crochet shawl.These are of course on top of my unfinished bayerische socks, Ivy, Komi mittens and that hairy felted tote. Not to mention various design ideas that I'm playing with. Gulp, I'd better get busy!

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Elephant feet?

Elephant feet?
Originally uploaded by Bearium
With success there often comes a failure to balance it out and I have to say this pattern (Fireside Footies) wasn't an unmitigated success. In fact, as a pair of slippers for the MM, they're pretty near useless. I've felted them as hard as I could but while they're the right length, they're far too big. They remind me of elephant feet - short and stumpy!

Now felting is not an exact science but I knew they were never going to be a perfect fit even before washing them. In hindsight, I'd have reduced the number of stitches to make them narrower but hey, it's a little too late now! Still in this household, nothing is wasted. Well, almost nothing anyhow. I'm going to soak them and reshape them and when next you see them they will have evolved!

FO - Clogs

Originally uploaded by Bearium
This is the first pair of clogs from the Fiber Trends childrens clog pattern and it definately won't be the last. I think they're great and more importantly, the Mighty Midget actually wears them! I was thinking about adding a non slip sole to the bottom but he seems to be doing ok without one - most of the house is carpeted anyway so it's not really an issue.

The yarn is aran weight out of my own dye pots held double as per the pattern on 9mm Denises. Roll on the next pair, I've got something in the stash that'll be just the ticket :D

Friday, 8 February 2008

Do you make my day?

Give the award to up to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about Blogland! Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so that they can pass it on. Beware! You may get the award several times!

Apparently I make someone's because I've been voted for an award! Thanks to Jessica (and also Kai who voted for everyone ;p) for thinking of me, I am actually very touched. I'm just sharing the things that I love doing and if my enthusiasm is passed onto someone else well, that's an absolute bonus. I know this blog can be a bit intermittent from time to time but thanks for coming back for another read :D

So, who in our little "blogiverse" inspires me? Well, several people who I would have put forward have already been awarded these but here are my nominations anyway:

Diane and Kate who have dared to say in the last year "knitting does happen in the UK too you know!" and are beavering away on their new knitting mag. Their designs aren't half bad too.
Soo who's lace projects continue to amaze me.
Kay who knits and knits and knits and still finds the time to go to college.
and while I could name a few more, lastly I'm going to nominate Fiona as she probably knows more about knitting than anyone else I know and generously takes the time to share it.

Thanks girls, you make my day!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Cool kitty

Cool kitty
Originally uploaded by Bearium
This is one cool dude isn't he? Sat there lolling nonchalantly on my sofa. Not unlike my real kitties actually, they loll a lot too.
I finally decided Nadia was right, it is probably a he after all, notwithstanding the pink shade of course. I can't call him Miss Pink Cat anymore, even if I gave him a bow, I think he'd still be a boy. There's something definitely masculine about him.
He's pink and he has attitude. I'm just going to have to think of something better to call him.

How much is too much?

Originally uploaded by Bearium
It got me thinking this birthday business, could I justify buying myself some new and pretty yarn with my freshly acquired pennies? Hmm, I think looking at this little lot, the answer is probably no! That stash along that I've been trying to avoid for so long just jumped up and bit me on the bum. Ouch.

Must knit faster!

Friday, 1 February 2008

I must be stranding!

Nordic Sweetheart Hat
Originally uploaded by Bearium
This is by far the most challenging fair isle project I've tackled so far but I'm loving it. Maybe it's just the vibrancy of the red colour but the pattern has a real zing to it. It's the Nordic Sweetheart Hat by Anne Featonby from She Ewe Knits.

I did get off to a bit of a slow start with it but now I'm zooming along - although I did unravel 2 inches of it last night! It's been a bit of a rough week and I didn't read the pattern properly (oops). Well actually I did, it just didn't sink it. The bit where it says, med/large size dec 6 stitches. I though that's ok, I'm doing the small size.

It wasn't until I'd reached the end of the next pattern repeat and it dawned that it's only written for two sizes. Doh! Anyhow, I'm knitting it quickly enough that it felt right to unpick and put in the decreases where they were supposed to be. The good thing is, I'm almost back to where I was last night so I'll be starting the decreasing for the top tonight. Yay.