Friday, 31 December 2010

Christmas Wrap-up

Well, now that Christmas is done, I can update with a few of the things I made *grins*

Firstly, I did manage to get my mitts done, and wore them on Christmas Eve! I have, however, only taken a picture of one of them, as I forgot to ask someone to take a pic of me wearing both *rolls eyes*

I love them :D

When I first showed mum she wasn't fantastically impressed (she hates mitts), until I told her that I'd made them myself. Then I got to bask in the glory and praise ;)

I also finished off the chocolates and fudge from a previous post:

On to the finished objects that I couldn't share previously, firstly my brother's scarf, beautifully modelled by the man himself. I'd like to point out that he was far more pleased with it than he appears below, but he chose the picture to be used!

I also got some money from my grandparents, with which I went yarn shopping yesterday, but that's a whole post in itself!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Mitt > Sock > Mitt

The "sock" I was knitting (you know, the one I thought would be a mitt, then got all ambitious and decided to make a sock... that one) has returned to its original form and is now a completed mitt:

Ok, by "completed" I mean, almost completed, just needs ends woven in ;)

I'm so happy with how it came out. No pattern really, I just did some ribbing until I got bored of that followed by stocking stitch until it seemed about long enough for my hand. For the thumb hole I stopped working in the round and knit back and forth on the needles until the hole seemed big enough, then joined it back up, throwing in a couple of rounds of reverse stocking stitch for interest, more regular stocking and some more ribbing (again, no measurements).

As it was fairly quick to complete I decided that I should get the second one made before Christmas, so I can wear them (is this sounding at all familiar?!) I want to be able to show my mum how much progress I've made as a knitter, so I am determined to get the second one done.

Progress on second mitt so far:

I have all evening, and some of tomorrow morning, before I have to leave to meet mum and brother, so I think I can manage it! I'm ignoring the need to do packing, make labels for boyfriend's parents' gifts, eat, sleep, last minute housework... But this time I don't feel like my optimism is entirely based outside of reality *wry smile*

I love the yarn, Sirdar Crofter, it's so cosy and it was a stupid amount of fun watching the patterns emerge (what can I say, I'm easily amused!) Less amused by the bamboo dpns, they feel really flimsy and have developed a significant curve, slowing progress somewhat. As I plan to use my new ability to knit on 4 needles to my advantage, I think I'll need to invest in something a bit better.

This will probably be my last post for a little while, as I'm going away for Christmas, and have no internet connection at home, so updates when I get back might have to wait :(

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Christmas Treats

Last night  I had a productive evening in the kitchen, making treats for Christmas presents.

As it's pretty close to Christmas, I decided on Chocolate Bark (or something similar) and fudge.

The Chocolate Bark is particularly easy and effective - melt chocolate, shape into bars (or blocks, or freeform shapes) and add toppings.

The toppings I used were:

  • Walnut, Almond and Pecan
  • Almond and white chocolate nibs
  • Walnut, dried cherry and dried cranberry
  • Mixed fruit
  • White chocolate swirl

Here they are setting:

There's two of each flavour, and I'll package them up in cellophane bags with pretty labels (pics to follow - once I've actually made the labels!)

Then fudge... It's gorgeous, but such a pain to make. Not complicated, but it requires a tonne of stirring.

Melt butter, sugar, milk and condensed milk together over a low heat. Stir lots until all the sugar had melted/dissolved. Then boil, stirring lots. After about 10 minutes of that, you take it off the heat and stir/beat for about another 10 minutes... Like I said, a tonne of stirring! Plus, it gets thicker during the last stage - so as your arm gets more and more tired, it gets more and more difficult to stir *rolls eyes*

It doesn't look like much right now, but it will be sliced into cubes and packaged in little boxes. There are 2 varieties here... Plain and Whisky.  Having "tested" the reject sections, I can confirm that they are both very good *grins*

Monday, 20 December 2010

Non-Knitting Related Post!

So, when I started this blog, it was supposed to be about craft, not just knitting, and then I appear to have forsaken all other crafts and got well and truly hooked on knitting...

But as my boss is currently off sick with pneumonia (had to look up how to spell that!), I thought I'd go back to my first craft and make him a card.

I'm pretty pleased with how it came out. My first instinct was to immediately grab some green card and embellishments, and then I wondered why I always go green for a get well card... Just seems to fit usually. But after a huge lack of inspiration, I settled on a totally different look. A more "manly" look, I think *laughs*

Of course, thanks to the massive amounts of snow, and the proximity to Christmas, chances are it won't arrive until he's better. So I sent a him a picture instead ;)

And by massive amounts of snow, I mean 6 inches over about 45 minutes... Brrrr

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Reality Strikes

Ok, so my optimism of the last post came crashing down a little bit!

Compare the progress I have actually made:

To the progress I thought I'd made:

Well, ok, I don't have a picture of that, but imagine it about twice as long!

Yeah. Not so much. I realised that things were not looking likely for a Christmas finish, but I figured I'd give it a try anyway. Then, after making about 27 mistakes in the pattern row, I realised that rushing was not going to help.

So, in the interests of not cocking it up completely, I decided to take my time and work on it slowly and accurately *pouts*

I then figured that, as I was going to be knitting this for a while, I'd cast on something else to stave off any boredom that might occur. And, in true oblivious fashion, a second attempt at socks seemed to be the ideal option *shakes head at self* Yep, something I utterly bollocksed last time is just what I need.

To start with I did actually think they'd turn into mitts, but after a few rows I realised that I have skinny wrists and had not taken this into account with the number of stitches. So, instead of making something that will be too big, I am making something that is likely to be too complicated...

Having said that, I am making some progress; there is knitting in the round, no ladders or holes, and I have managed not to poke myself in the eye even a little bit :)

I know I need to take better pictures, my iPhone is not the best replacement for a camera. Really ought to find the charging lead so I can do it all properly!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Baseless Optimism

So, I've made some progress on my lace scarf (pic to follow when I can get to a camera)...

And this led me to the conclusion that I'd like to finish it by Christmas, so I can wear it to lunch.

There are a number of problems with this plan:

  • I have 11 days. Less if you consider the fact that it'll need blocking
  • I have a job, and therefore 11 days is really only evenings and weekends
  • I have housework, cooking, washing and boyfriend-paying-attention-to that also require my time
  • I am less than a third of the way through so far
  • I don't knit that quickly, or even remotely quickly
  • I have only just ordered the extra skein I need to complete the scarf
  • The last time I tried winding a skein into a ball, I ended up with 2 days worth of untangling to do before I could even get to the knitting part
And yet, somehow, I seem to be under the impression that if I try really hard, I just might be able to do it!

*shakes head* I forsee disappointment in my future.

Monday, 13 December 2010

One of those "meme" things

Subtitled: How the hell do you pronounce "meme" anyway?!

I wasn't tagged or anything, and I think this did the rounds ages ago, but I thought I'd put it on here.

Things I have done in bold

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars (although I suppose the tent might void it!)
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world (does Disneyland Paris count?)
8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightening at sea (sounds awesome though)
14. Taught myself an art from scratch (that's the whole point of the blog!)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables (well, tried anyway)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train (I slept on an overnight coach - but I don't think it's quite the same)
21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon (no way in hell)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise 
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person (no, but it's on my places to see list)
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors (I will, for my dad)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language (tried learning Japanese, but didn't get very far)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person 
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David (I'd love to, I've heard it's breath-taking)
41. Sung karaoke (never again!)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa (see 34)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (Got as far as the first platform as a child - we made the mistake of trying to climb it!)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone (although I don't suppose a toe counts?!)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person (another one on my list)
80. Published a book (I've written a kids' book, so maybe one day... *wistful look*)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (yep, quite a few actually *tries to avoid looking smug*)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one (too soon and too recently)
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Rode an elephant (nope, but I have ridden a camel)

So, that's 29/100... Not many, but there are plenty on there I categorically do not want to do!

Updated to include the 3 that I didn't know I'd done - thanks mum for pointing those out! So that's 32/100...

Friday, 10 December 2010

My 2nd Project

I thought I should post one of my finished projects... Apart from my first scarf and my brother's Christmas scarf (that I forgot to take a pic of before wrapping), it's the only thing finished and blocked:

It's a Christmas present for my mum (memo to self: do not give mum a link to blog until after Christmas!) - which took weeks of painstaking work.

Not sure what possessed me to buy eyelash yarn for my second ever project *laughs* but I thought it looked nice, so I went with it. Bit of a shock going from 8mm needles to 4mm, everything seems to take so much longer (I know it's obvious, but it hadn't occurred to me!)

To start off with, it seemed to be going fine, apart from the difficulty in actually seeing which bit of the fuzz was a stitch and which bit was just... well, fuzz. But it quickly started to get ridiculously tight. I wasn't sure what was going on, except for the fact that I knew mum was a tight knitter, so I figured I'd just inherited that trait.

As mum was coming to visit me, a couple of weeks after I taught myself to knit, I got some extra wool in, and some more needles, so that she could show me a few things. I'd decided my brother was getting a chunky, ribbed scarf, but for some reason I couldn't for the life of me manage to do a purl stitch.

So, I cast on and when mum came I asked her for some assistance. She took one look at me knitting and asked what I was doing. Hmmmm. Obviously something not right! Apparently, I had taught myself to knit into the back of the stitch *rolls eyes* So, I'd managed a whole scarf completely wrong (well, not "wrong", as mum kept telling me, just not quite what I thought I was doing).

No wonder I couldn't purl!

Anyway, now I am proud to be able to knit, and purl, in the manner most people recognise as regular knitting ;) Plus, it means that when I see an instruction to knit into the back of the stitch, I know exactly what to do.

And mum's scarf? Well, doing it properly made everything much easier (still took forever though!)

Anyway, here's another pic, as the first one is a bit fuzzy (but hey, the scarf is fuzzy, so I'm gonna pretend it's a design decision!)

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Things Look Up

After the way everything went a bit wrong last week, I was a bit nervous about starting anything that wasn't a simple scarf project *rolls eyes at self*

Then I decided to stop being so disheartened and just get on with it.

So, introducing my new work in progress:

Ok, so it is still a scarf, and it's just a simple feather and fan lace effect, but I am so ridiculously proud of it *big grin* The first couple of repeats looked like rubbish, but I decided to stop being so impatient, and give it some time. I must learn to stop expecting the pattern to emerge immediately! Sorry for the rubbish picture.

I can't wait for it to be finished, it's the most fancy thing I've attempted so far and I want to show it off!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Knitting's cool now, right?

The other night I was sitting on the sofa knitting while the wonderful boyfriend cooked dinner. I was reminded of my mum's concern that I'd put him off by being an old lady *laughs*

Given his reaction when I offered threatened to knit him a pair of socks, she may have a point ;) Although he has expressed some jealousy at the scarf I knitted my brother for Christmas (that I cleverly wrapped up, so no picture of it to share). In fact, he didn't even flinch when I suggested knitting him a jumper (although I've heard too much about the curse to risk that one!)

Most people I've told think my new hobby is a little strange, but then they know me well enough to know by now that I am a little strange. "Strange and interesting" as my beloved dad used to say.

But from reading other people's blogs, it seems like there a plenty of twenty-something, hot knitters out there. So, do I even care whether or not it's cool? It's not like I've ever been cool anyway, far too much fun being random (in the true sense of the word) to try and keep track of what's in!

Friday, 3 December 2010


Apparently snow does not equal magic, yarn untangling fairies *disappointed slump*

I have made some more progress into turning this mess into an actual ball, but it's slow going. Serves me right for being impatient I guess, I just wanted to get started with it!

I also really want to write about last week's sewing project, but as it's a Christmas present for the boyfriend (I'm really gonna have to come up with a better nickname for him), I can't.

Which is annoying, because I managed to overcome my usual impatience, and actually measured things properly, pressed them before sewing and generally made myself slow down and do it all properly. Will have to take a picture and blog it after Christmas. 

Thursday, 2 December 2010


Well, it seems I named this blog appropriately, misadventures indeed!

I may have got a little overexcited by the whole knitting thing, and a little ambitious. I decided that now that I can knit scarves (2 finished and one still on the needles), it was time to knit socks.

I know a lot of people love sock knitting, and find it an excellent commuting project, so I figured how hard could it be?! So far I have managed to cast on 4 times, poke myself repeatedly with the tiny needles that seemed to be everywhere and create an interesting pattern that I shall call "lace" (but is perhaps, more accurately, some yarn and a bunch of holes!)

So I gave that up for the evening, frustration and impatience not being entirely helpful, and decided to move on. I ordered some gorgeous yarn to make the Sunday Market Shawl, which came in a skein rather than a ball. "No problem," I thought, "I can wind this into a ball in minutes".


I should have taken a photo of the yarn spaghetti mess that ensued! Safe to say, something went horribly wrong, leaving me and everything in the vicinity tangled up. Hours of unknotting the damn thing later, I gave up and went to bed! I'm trying to block out the image of what awaits me when I get home, hoping that some effect of being left overnight will have magically turned my mess into a neatly wound ball *optimistic grin*

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

On a whim

So, a few weeks ago I decided to learn to knit. I trotted off to John Lewis, bought a "learn to knit this scarf" kit (wool, needles and pattern) and returned to base...

First attempt went hideously wrong, the scarf seemed to be growing width-ways faster than it was growing lengthways. Eventually I frogged it and started again.

Second go was much better, I had the same number of stitches in each row, progress was being made. It seemed to take forever, and I decided pretty early on that I hated the splitty wool and garter stitch pattern and the fact that it was so tight I could barely move the stitches up and down the needles.

But I persevered, and here's the finished result. Not too bad for a first project, especially considering I wasn't knitting properly at all, but that's another story

The Difficult First Post

Hello *looks nervously around*

So, I'm trying to get this first post out of the way, so that I can get on to the good stuff, but I have no idea what to say to get started...

This blog will probably be a jumble of stuff, as I seem to get excited about learning a new craft, get annoyed that I'm not immediately amazing, and move on to something else!

A couple of weeks ago I started to learn to knit (more on that story later), a couple of months ago I bought a sewing machine, and before that I made cards (still do when an occasion arises). I also cook and have grand schemes for interior design that try to fit with the restrictions of my rental flat...

So, let's get on with it...