Thursday, 28 August 2008

A little late but the shop is live!

Well it's been a bit of a strange week over here at Bearium Towers and I think I'll be pleased when I return to the normality of the school run next week. Suffice it to say, the shop got a little delayed. Anyhow I'm pleased to say, it's live and you can check it out here. I still have lots more to put on there including some of my hand bags. I'm thinking about making up some bag kits too anyhow, I'd appreciate any feedback.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

An award and an update

Probably one of the things that keeps me blogging about what I do is that the wider blogging community are so friendly. You try things, sometimes you fail, sometimes you produce something amazing either way, there's always someone who's interested. They might be able to offer suggestions for improvements or who can inspire you to try something new or to go on and create something even better.A few days ago Machelle nominated me for one of the I heart your blog awards.
1. The winner can put the logo on their blog
2. Link the person you received your award from
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of the girls or boys you’ve nominated

I'm going to give the first one to Vixx of Monkeyfeet. She's still a relatively new knitter in the scheme of things but has thrown herself head first into it with a passion and her business Wild Fire Fibres is going from strength to strength. I'm going to give another award to both Kate and Diane who continue to inspire me. Kate has produced some of the most beautiful knitted lace I've seen over the last few months and I am in awe of Diane's spinning prowess. Somewhere between all that they are finding time to produce The Inside Loop magazine. If you're not already reading it, why not? Issue 3 has just gone live.
I love Moggle's blog as apart from becoming a published designer recently, she writes great reviews. Kai's blog gets a vote too, I've been following her blog pretty much since I discovered the blogopshere. She's been learning to spin over the last year too and I've been ogling her wheels and fibre for ages. I'm beginning to see a bit of a common theme here as many of these blogs have quite a bit of spinning going on at the moment! I'll nominate Elaine too as she's been knitting up a storm recently and never fails to make me smile with her highs and lows. She always takes such lovely pictures of her projects too. Cinders blog is always interesting too as she somehow manages to juggle life, knitting and dyeing with her illness. I have to take my hat off to her as she doesn't seem to let it hold her back. Finally I'm going to add another blog that I discovered randomly through Ravelry. Well, not entirely randomly as I was searching how to build a spinning wheel and I came across She Who Measures, a girl definately after my own heart. She has this amazing small holding and is an incredible bodger of the "why buy it if you can build it yourself" variety. Very inspirational, I can definately see me trying to have a go myself in the near future :D
I could keep on adding more and more people as most of the blogs that I return to are pretty amazing. So if you're reading this, give yourself a pat on the back.

Right on to the update, it's been a bit of a battle to get near the computer this last week. Everyone's been stressed out and wanting to be online of an evening to wind down. So belately I'm pleased to announce that The Bear Necessities shop will be live by tomorrow morning. I was hoping to have been able to have got this done by last Friday so I'm determined to have everything uploaded this afternoon/evening even if it means trying people down to get them out of the way!

Thursday, 21 August 2008

UK Swap: Yay, my parcel arrived!

After the afternoon I've had (involving the MM, the kitchen sink and some plaster of paris), I have something to make me smile again. Here's my yummy smelly and squishy parcel courtesy of Machelle - isn't she a star?! Where shall I start? Well, there's yarn of course, a skein of very soft undyed slub yarn and a ball of Lana Grossa Mille in my favourite shade of red. My very first Knit Picks needles. Wooden DPN's in teeny 2mm size - I had to take them along to my knitting group on Tuesday night to show everyone. Another Addi Turbo to complete my set of 3mm circulars and some lush smellies. They're by Michelle Wishi and smell fab. There was a bar of chocolate but it's almost completely gone after this afternoon! and there's also some drinking chocolate which I can see me having this evening to unwind. The buttons are hand made by Machelle herself. I'll have to find something lovely to put them onto and perhaps take a better picture as well. Thanks once again Machelle, it's a fab parcel :D

Now I'd best get the last bits of my own one wrapped up and get it in the post too. I've definately got something to live up to!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

You spin me right round

This time it's all about the spinning. I'm having a bit of an extended goldfish moment at the mo - I have so many projects on the go, I'm not sure I'm making a great deal of progress on anything. There is a partially started jumper on the knitting machine, three new patterns in the works, I still haven't finished the crochet BSJ and I'm about a third of the way through my Shetland Shorty. Not to mention the countless other WIPs - I definately need to have a UFO busting session again.
Anyhow, back to the point of the post. Those of you that have been loitering around here for a while might remember that some while ago I bought a spindle starter kit. I did a little when I first got it but then I put it down again. Roll on a few months of me ogling everyone else's spinning on their lovely new wheels and I have the bug again. I would blame the lovely ladies over at the AY forum who are "spinning along" but to be honest, the urge was already there. The first batch was really lumpy, but by the time I'd wound that off onto a handy toilet roll and spun another spindle full, I was beginning to get the hang of it a bit more. I bodged myself a lazy kate type device using a couple of knitting needles stuck in the top of a box and a hair grip and plied (cobbled would be a better description) the two strands together and hey presto, I have something vaguely resembling yarn. It's slubby, it's very orange and there's only about 20m of it, but it's yarn and I made it. Woohoo! I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do with it but I'm sure I'll think of something. At this point progress on all my WIP came to a halt, spinning fever had struck and I raided the cupboard for some more fibre. Yes, I really did have fibre stashed away already. (Some of it came with the spindle but I also had some from a yarn swap a while back.) So here's yarn number two. I've actually added a bit more to it since the picture was taken but look there's definately progress. There's far fewer slubby bits and I'm ever so slightly pleased with myself :D So much so that I went out and ordered some more fibre.
I keeping taking this one out to have a peak as it's lovely. My ultimate aim is to be able to spin my own sock yarn but I might not be able to wait that long to spin this. It's from the lovely Sarah aka BabyLongLegs and is 100g of Corriedale roving in Neptune. It's the most vibrant sea greens and I love it. Not only that it's got me thinking spinning wheels again.

Monday, 18 August 2008

FO - Baby Babette

Baby Babette
Originally uploaded by Bearium

I've been meaning to update this for a while as this was finished for the start of the holidays. It's my Babette style blanket for my friend's baby who arrived on the last day of term and to my surprise has been called Lucy!
I'm really pleased I chose the Stylecraft Kon Tiki yarn as the blanket has turned out beautifully. In all it took almost 8 balls - 2 balls of each colour for the body of the blanket and one each of the two greens for the edging.
As much as I absolutely love it now that it's done, the sewing up was a real bind. Fair play to those that have made the full sized blanket, I think I'd have been suicidal had I got to stitch the full number together!

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Brushing off the dust

I may or may not have mentioned at some point that I have a knitting machine stashed away. Apart from a very brief daliance when I first acquired it, it's mostly been gathering dust in the corner of the spare room. Til now that is. I had one of those very bright ideas (the sort I often regret an hour later) that the mighty midget and I could have a play with it and perhaps make him a jumper. Knowing how he loves anything mechanical, I also thought he'd get a bit of a kick out of it too.
Finding the machine was no problem. There it was all tucked away in it's case in the corner, the manual of course, was another thing entirely. I fished around in my cupboard and pulled out a box of what I knew contained bits for the machine. Old issues of Knitting Machine magazines, pattern books, stitch libraries, piles of pre punched pattern cards and even a few blanks to make more. To my horror (and having just promised the MM a new "toy" to play with), the instructions were nowhere to be found! Two hours of pulling things out of my jam packed cupboard and once I'd finished sneezing from all the dust I had a sudden epiphany and looked in the boxes that I'd bought to store my yarn stash in. Sure enough, tucked away neatly were the instructions, a complete set of tools and another ball winder and even better, a swift.
Breathing a sigh of relief all round, we got on with the business in hand and now have a somewhat cleaner and definately far less dusty machine. I've oiled it and now it's running like a dream. Now I just have to work out what I'm doing with it. The MM has of course already had a go and after I'd cast him on the back for his jumper, he cracked off most of the back in no time.
The only down side of letting your five year old at the knitting machine is that he has this insatiable need to twiddle all the knobs and dials. So I am going to be counting all the rows up to the sleeves to try and match the fronts. For some reason I'm guessing that the 931 rows on the row counter may be just a little way out!Thanks for the comments on the Toucan socks. With the star toe, the decreases (or increases if you're working from the bottom up) are spread evenly all around the toe rather than being at the sides. You also go down to a far smaller number of stitches and that combined with the way that the decrease rows are spread apart is what gives you a much rounder toe. If anyone's interested, I'll post my pattern notes .

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

FO - Toucan toe ups

Toucan toe ups
Originally uploaded by Bearium

Size: UK 6 made for Hazel
Pattern: my own, toe up with a star toe and afterthought heels
Needles: 2.5mm BB dpns
Yarn: Opal Rainforest Toucan 4ply

I really like the shaping that the star toe gives - it's a much rounder toe than many others. These are my first pair using an afterthought heel and it was definately a good way of matching the stripes. All in all, I was really pleased with the way they came out and Hazel has already ordered another pair this time long enough to wear in her wellies!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Hello all, yes I really did seem to drop off the planet. The school holidays have arrived. We've been far busier than I expected - and to think that I was really worried that the mighty midget and I were going to be tearing each other apart by now! I even managed to wear him out on a couple of occasions. My, aren't they adorable when they're sleeping? Anyhow, we're home from our trip to Manchester and getting in to the swing of this holiday lark. Mind you, I was ready for a holiday from my holiday by the time I got back. I think my sister was pleased to get her house back too (she certainly was ready for a respite from the MM). Blog posting should hopefully be returning to normal again. I have some FO's, a new (well dug out of a cupboard) knitty toy to play with and some knitalongs too, oh and an etsy shop to launch. Yay! but first I need some sleep.