Friday, 28 March 2008

Happy Blogoversary

Today this little blog is officially one year old and in honour of the occasion, I allowed myself to fall off the stash wagon and had a trip to Ipswich to check out Purl and Co. What a fab shop, although not the easiest of places to find if like me, you don't know Ipswich. Still I bumped into a very lovely lady (wearing a rather nice hand knit scarf) who overheard me asking directions and very kindly took me along and pointed out the right road. Aren't we knitters fabulous? It really made my day.Of course I couldn't visit a new shop without making at least one purchase and they had a great alternative selection to anything I can get around Colchester. So I treated myself to some Colinette Point 5 in shade Florentina - the same shade as I knitted the sockapalooza socks in that I loved so much. I should be able to get a funky new hat from the skein. Then I spotted a ball of Noro Cash Iroha on special, how could I refuse? So together with a ball of the Silk Garden to give a nice colour contrast I'm going to make a new bag and in the spirit of kharma, I'm offering it out into the world.Although I mostly blog for myself, I know there are a few of you that return and sometimes you even comment. Thank you for putting up with my meandering thoughts and occasional whinges, I'd like to give something back to you. I'll put the name of everyone who comments on this post into a hat on the 15th April and the lucky winner will be the recipient of a Bearium Necessities original bag. I might even post some sneaky peaks of the finished item as it grows.

It's raining.

Wow this month has gone quickly, Easter has come and gone (along with the nice weather it would seem) and now we're heading into the school holidays again. One more day of freedom for me and then the Mighty Midget will be home for two whole weeks, I can foresee one or two problems if the weather doesn't pick up again. Anyhow, I hope you all had a good Easter, here's a couple of pictures from mine.
View from the back window on Easter Sunday, four hours later it was all gone!
Pond dipping at Fingringhoe Wick on Easter Monday - the MM and grandad checking out what they'd caught. It was a bit early in the year to catch much (and very cold) but we managed a few cadis fly nymphs, from freshwater shrimps and a great diving beetle. I have a feeling I might be going to be asked for a net to use in our pond, not that he usually bothers. The other weekend he was down the garden fishing frogs out with his bare hands. They do say that life's never dull when you have children around.

So just why am I complaining about the weather? That could be because it's raining yet again but probably it's more down to the fact that I've not only lost my favourite beanie I've now lost one of my gloves as well. Not the whole pair, just one. I'm guessing it has wandered off to join all the odd socks that don't return from the washing basket.

It wouldn't be such a problem but it looks like we're in for a cold, wet spring. Yum. So what am I knitting this week? You guessed it, mittens. This time, I'm not interested in anything delicate, I want something warm and I want it yesterday. Break out the aran stash! So here's mitten number one, warm and toasty and knit in an evening. I'm hoping I'll get the second finished tonight as I have a feeling I'm going to be needing them.
So in knitting news, what else is on the needles? Actually I should probably rephrase that as I have a rather large pile of UFO's. It should be what am I actively working on? The second sock of kindness is past the heel and I'm now on the home straight and heading for the toe. I finally found the pattern I'd lost for my Komi Mittens (from Charlene Schurch's book Mostly Mittens) and I've finished the first mitten oh and more excitingly, I've got a new bag pattern on the go. It's all knitted and awaiting felting. I'll leave you with a sneaky peak.

Friday, 14 March 2008

FO - Forest Canopy No 3

Two finishes in one day, well almost. It's more a case of it's nice camera friendly weather today, a quick respite between this weeks gales and the rain that's forecast for the weekend. So here in all it's glory is the latest of my Forest Canopy shawls and once again, it's for someone else. sigh Modelled by the mighty midget in his usual cheeky style. This time around I'm using some 4ply out of my own dye pots in a rather nice shades of blue, purple and mauve. I do have virtually a whole skein of this left and as there's not going to be quite enough for another shawl, it'll probably end up as socks. I think I might have to repeat this colourway as it came out really well and I have some rather nice undyed merino 4ply lurking in my stash. Back to the shawl, after blocking it measures 56" x 25" (or in new money that's 142 x 64cm) which works out to thirteen pattern repeats plus the edging - two more repeats than the original pattern. Shame I have to give it away really, I'd better wrap it up quick before I change my mind.

FO - Ganomy hat

After much faffing around and copious frogging, my modified ganomy hat is finished at last. It's warm, it fits but I'm not entirely sure it's all that flattering. I think it could do with being a bit shorter in length but the top shaping is pretty much there. There's a little picture of me wearing it at the bottom. Actually it doesn't look as bad in the picture as it does in the flesh. Maybe I'm just being too critical?

I very nearly cast on again for another to make yet more modifications but instead I returned to my UFO pile and picked up a pair of socks I'd been working on.

I'd been putting off grafting the toe but as I couldn't cast on the next until I'd done it, I just bit the bullet and got on with it. I don't know why I didn't do it before, the first sock knitted up super quick and I don't usually suffer from second sock syndrome these days. I must have been sidetracked by something else. Can't remember what though now :s The pattern is called Socks of Kindness and has this lovely textured lace. I've finally found a pattern that stands up to the Opal Neon!

Anyhow in other knitting news, I'm officially a designer, or so it says on Ravelry anyhow. I don't know whether anyone will actually want to make my rocket but hey, it's just a bit of fun. Now I have to get down to the serious job of converting my scratchings for some of my bags into proper patterns.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Fly me to the moon

Originally uploaded by Bearium
"Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars. Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars."

This little rocket was inspired by my son's space themed bedroom and his need for a doorstop so he doesn't have to sleep in the dark. A bean bag provides the necessary weight but is optional. It's worked in the style of amigurumi patterns in a continuous spiral and I am using UK terminology throughout.

The tension is not actually critical but the fabric needs to be dense enough that any stuffing does not protrude between the stitches. I'm using a 3.5mm hook and Sirdar Bonus DK yarn and am getting a tension of 24dc/25rows to 10cm/4". I'm not quoting quantities of yarn as you can use odds and ends from your stash. The finished height is 16cm/6.25".

Notions: plastic pellets/beads and something to make a bean bag from (I used an odd sock), toy stuffing.

Rocket Body:
Row 1: Begin with your cast on loop on your hook, using the tail of the yarn make a loop and then 6 dc into the loop. Now pull the tail of the yarn to close the loop and mark the beginning of the round.
Row 2: 2dc into every dc (12 stitches)
Row 3: (1dc, 2dc into next st) rep to end of round (18 stitches)
Row 4: (1dc into next 2 st, 2dc into next st) rep (24 st)
Row 5: (1dc into next 3 st, 2dc into next st) rep (30 st)
Rows 6-10: continue in this manner increasing 6 stitches per round until you have 60 stitches
Work 2 rows dc into every stitch
Row 13: (1dc into next 9 st, 2dc into next st) rep (66 stitches) change colour.
Rows 14-23: work 10 rows, dc into every stitch
Row 24: First decrease round. Decrease 6 stitches evenly per round by working 2 stitches together. (1dc into next 9 st, 2dc dec) rep to end (60 stitches)
Rows 25-28: work 4 rows dc into every stitch
Row 29: (1dc into next 8 st, 2dc dec) rep to end (54 st) Insert bean bag here and stuff allowing room to continue working the top edge. Continue to add stuffing as you go along.
Rows 30-33: work 4 rows dc into every stitch
Row 34: (1dc into next 7 st, 2dc dec) rep to end (48 st)
Rows 35-36: work 2 rows dc into every stitch
Row 37: (1dc into next 6 st, 2dc dec) rep to end (42 st)
Rows 38-39: work 2 rows dc into every stitch, after first row, change colour
Row 40: (1dc into next 5 st, 2dc dec) rep to end (36 st)
Row 41: work 1 row dc into every stitch
Row 42: (1dc into next 4 st, 2dc dec) rep to end (30 st)
Row 43: work 1 row dc into every stitch
Rows 44-47: continue decreasing 6 stitches per round as above until 6 stitches remain.
Cast off

Fins (make 3)

Using red yarn (or another contrasting colour), work 2 rounds as per the rocket body
Row 3: 5dc, (2dc into next st)twice, 5dc (14 stitches)
Row 4: 6dc, (2dc into next st)twice, 6dc (16 st)
Row 5: 7dc, (2dc into next st)twice, 7dc (18 st)
Row 6: 8dc, (2dc into next st)twice, 8dc (20 st)
Row 7: 9dc, (2dc into next st)twice, 9dc (22 st)
Row 8: 10dc, (2dc into next st)twice, 10dc (24 st). ss to join round. Break yarn leaving enough to attach to fin to body.

Windows: (make 2)
Using a contrasting yarn, CO and work 2 rows as per the rocket body. ss to join round. Break yarn leaving enough to attach window to body. (For a larger window, work 3 rows as per the rocket body)

Assembling the rocket:
Stuff the three fins and space them evenly around the base of the rocket. Place them so that the base of the rocket body sits on the floor. Although the weight of the bean bag in the base of the body should provide enough stability for the rocket to remain upright, the fins will add support and stop it from rolling sideways. Stitch them firmly in place. Add the windows to the rocket body and again stitch firmly in place.

Et voila, one completed rocket to do with as you please. Ok now the serious part, this is my design and I’m happy for anyone to use it. In fact, I welcome any feedback as this is the first pattern I’ve put “out there”. It is for your own personal use, do not be rude and sell it on. Thanks

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Musings on a hat

I seem to remember that I mentioned previously I had started a hat and now having finished my latest FC (it's blocking on the spare room floor btw), I've picked up the hat where I left off.

The thing about diverging from a pattern is that you're never exactly sure how something's going to work out. I know in my mind's eye what I want it to look like but getting there is another thing entirely. Having decided I rather liked Fiona's variation on the ganomy pattern, I thought I'd have a go too. I quite like fitted hats and also, I decided that unlike EZ in her rather "pithy" instructions, I didn't really need a ping pong ball in the top to make my hat float in emergencies. Yes really. So how to shape the top to fit my head then?

Well, it seems it's a case of trial and error. Plenty of trial and lots of error - hence the rather fetching green lifeline that I have now added. I'm finally happy with the shaping of the front, now I just have to do something about the step in the back. Of course, I could be lazy and just add a giant pom pom to cover it up but I'm not sure whether I'd actually wear it then. Ah well, back to the drawing board then. it's a good job I've actually been taking notes this time.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Third times a charm?

Forest Canopy
Originally uploaded by Bearium
Well it should have been anyhow, I absolutely love knitting this pattern (Forest Canopy shawl) but this one should have been finished and blocked last weekend. I've been plodding along with it all week not being able to do more than a couple of rows at a time but it's finished at last.

Of course, there had to be a last minute drama. All of my current projects seem to have had them recently, anyhow this time I ran out of yarn. With only about twenty stitches left to cast off as well! It would have been such a cruel twist of fate if I'd had to frog back a few rows but luckily I had cast on with the only skein of yarn from my haul that I'd actually dyed two the same.

Crisis averted and I now just have to block it before it can be posted off to it's new owner. I just hope she likes it. One of these days, I am actually going to keep one of these shawls for myself!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

All seasons in one day

Wow it's cold. The heating's on and I'm still cold. These last few days we've seen just about everything that mother nature can throw at us, actually that's somewhat of an exageration but we've had howling gales, rain sleet, ice. We've even had a couple of power cuts thrown in for good measure and did I mention that it's cold?

I've lost my favourite hat and although I've started a replacement (inspired by Fiona's modified ganomy), it's now languishing on top of my workbag as I can't knit! My dreaded tennis elbow has flared up and I'm trying not to knit to rest it which I have to say is torture. It is of course my own fault, it always is. I should know by now when enough is enough and stop earlier but it's so hard to resist when you're nearing the end of something. That lure to do "just another couple of rows" is so hard.

So here I am frustrated and fidgety, trying to stay warm. Hmm, I think I might just go and fight the cat for that spot next to the radiator again.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Happy Mothers Day

and yes, I do know that it was yesterday but hey, share the love. So for all you yummy mummies out there, I give you a big bunch of lovely dutch irises. They're quite short lived as cut flowers but how can you resist such a vibrant colour? Admittedly, I had to buy the flowers but I also got my first ever mother's day present that I didn't have to buy myself, complete with card and labels that the Mighty Midget had written himself. (School does pay off after all!). All in all, it was a lovely day. I hope you all had nice relaxing days too.