Monday, 28 February 2011

Race to the Finish Line 2

So, second finished project from the weekend - my tank top *grins*

I was getting so sick of doing this one, unlike the wrap from yesterday it wasn't a pleasure to knit at all. I definitely prefer natural fibres and soft, fluffy wool. But, I am very happy with how it came out, so it ended up worth it in the end. Especially considering I didn't have a pattern, I made it up myself *puffed up chest*

I actually prefer the back, there seemed to be better stretches of colour in the yarn, so I ended up with slightly more defined stripe (plus, check it out, I even tried to do some neck shaping!)


The colours are a little more accurately reflected in the picture below, the others seem to have washed it out a little bit...

I'm so pleased with how it came out - for yarn that didn't look entirely as though it would produce a particularly pleasing finished product, and considering how sick of it I got, only an inch into starting the back!

In hindsight I might have changed the 4x4 ribbing at the bottom to 4x2 instead, but I quite like the chunky look - it goes with the yarn I think. I really like the soft v-neck and I'm please with how it fits, I made it deliberately short as I like to have my shirt showing underneath a tank. 

Overall, well done me *laughs*

Race to the Finish Line 1

I had a very productive weekend, finishing not one but two projects.

So, first thing I finished was my poncho/wrap (after the last blog post in which I mentioned it, I'm having a hard time not calling it my "infidelity wrap" - but that doesn't really seem to give a good impression - so new name required!)

I'm really, really pleased with it. I started with a pattern but, as I said before, didn't follow it exactly (or much, actually). The lace in the pattern is much more defined and regimented...
I like it but I wanted something a little more organic, so I followed some of the pattern but not all - I like the way the holes in my version are offset and a bit less structured.

I also decided not to do the garter stitch edging, as I quite wanted the neckline to roll in slightly, just to make it that bit snugglier. I love the way that worked out *big grin*

It's so warm and cosy - 5 balls of Debbie Bliss Como - so it's 90% Merino and 10% cashmere. No doubt it'll pill a fair bit but right now I love it. For a poncho/wrap, I think it looks pretty classy *proud smile*

Apologies for the washed-outness of my face in the photos - forgot to put make up on before doing the modelling - not a mistake to make again!!!

Friday, 25 February 2011

It's My Party and I'll Knit if I Want To!

Ok, actually I won't, because (for the first time ever) I'm working on my birthday*pout*

But it is my birthday *grin* and I'm 27, which is my lucky number (I'm trying to ignore its proximity to 30 however!) So it could be worse ;)

So, what did I get? Well, this is not a definitive list, I don't want to show off *smiles*

First up, this totally awesome "paper watch"... You get to doodle on it yourself, which is so cool *grins* I doodle all the time (especially in meetings - ooops!)

In craft gifts, I got the Anticraft book - I just love the title "Knitting, Beading and Stitching for the Slightly Sinister". Not sure how many of the projects I actually want to do (they're a little obsessed with skull motifs) but it's a beautifully presented book, with lots of bits to read.

Whenever I have a birthday I'm reminded of the song we used to have at my primary school - we never had the regular happy birthday song, we had a different version that was sung in assembly.

We wish you many happy returns of the day,
We hope you will be healthy and strong all the way,
Strong to do right, 
Slow to do wrong,
And thoughtful to others all the day long

I recall being somewhat dismayed by that last line the first time I heard it - thoughtful to others?! It's my damn birthday. Ah, the wonderful selfishness of being 8 years old *smiles*

Thursday, 24 February 2011


Yesterday was my "back from holiday, doing washing and generally preparing my smooshy, relaxed brain for the onslaught of my neglected inbox before going back to work" day.

I did bugger all :) A small amount of holiday washing was completed (I'm not completely lazy - just mostly lazy *laughs*) I considered it to be an excellent use of my time catching up with all the things that Sky+ had happily collected for me while I was away.

That and knitting *grins* I'd missed it, you see. A whole week with no sticks and string.

I sat myself comfortably, cued up the TV and looked at the back of my tank top. And looked at it some more, thinking "I really should get on with this, it won't take too long to finish"...

Being the contrary madam that I am, as soon as the words "I should" crossed my mind, I immediately didn't want to *chuckles*

So I picked up the soft and cuddly Debbie Bliss Como that I bought in the sales and cast on for something else...

Once it reaches the desired length it'll be folded and stitched together into a beautifully squidgy and warm poncho. It's a nice lace-ish pattern, just some offset yarnovers. I'm sort of following the pattern, although not entirely (I seem to be almost incapable of following one properly - despite not being entirely experienced enough to make as many alterations as I think I can!)

I really like the way the stitches seem to meander across the fabric - I can't wait to finish it!

Of course, on top of the hat and cowl, this is likely to be the third item I'll have cast on and finished while my poor tank top languishes in the knitting box, occasionally poking itself out to glare at me recriminatingly. Ooops ;)

On the plus side, I am using up some more of my stash - which is good news as I keep wanting to buy more pretty yarn but I'm being very strict with myself and not doing so until I have used up at least a chunk of what I already have. The slight issue is my constant rationalising - you know, the bit that says "Ok, so you have 3 balls of brown aran left over from your jumper - but that's leftovers, so you don't have to use that up really" and "Well, I know you have those DK balls that you were planning to make a blanket out of, but you want to make an aran weight blanket instead, so those are just pointless random balls with no purpose, they don't need using" *rolls eyes*

I'm trying to be a little more sensible, and work on the premise that, until I can fit more yarn into my little yarn stashing area, I'm not allowed to buy more. So I can come up with excuse after excuse, but it's about space (of which I have little) and that's the end of it.

At least this poncho will use up 5 balls of chunky, space eating yarn - that should get me well on my way ;)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

I'm Back :)

Hey, so I'm home from my holidays, and the weather is grey and drizzly.

Today consists of the totally joyless unpacking and holiday washing, before heading back to work tomorrow *rolls eyes* Oh well, at least I'm nicely relaxed and calm - I anticipate it lasting at least 2 hours into my first day back ;)

Monday, 14 February 2011

So Much For Finishing....

I was feeling a bit ropey on Friday night and Saturday, so my plan to finish my tank top sort of fell by the wayside. I could easily have done it, but I wanted something soft, and fluffy and comforting. Acrylic just didn't fit the bill.

I got out the remaining purple Alpaca Silk, that I had left over from my shrug thingy, just over a ball left. I figured it should be enough for a cowl, so got knitting. After I had finished and seamed it up, I realised that it would be the snuggest cowl ever, not quite was I was going for. It went over my head, but only just... At which point, I realised it was the perfect size for a hat ;) Quick cinching together of the top edge, and a hat it became *laughs*

Side note: it's seriously challenging to take a picture of yourself in a hat, without looking like an idiot, or only managing to get the top of your head in shot! Case in point:

As cute as it is, I was a little disappointed because I really liked the pattern (that I'd made up) and thought it would be cute as a cowl. But then I realised that I had another 2 balls of Alpaca Silk, in a short of sherbet pink, that I'd ordered from ebay. Aha!

So I made the cowl after all... I didn't seam it up, as I wasn't sure I liked it just as a loop, but crossed over at the front instead. I put some poppers along the edge, and now I can wear it 2 ways.

The (made up) pattern is essentially 6 rows of garter stitch, followed by 4 rows of stocking stitch, to make a sort of rib. It stretches out slightly on the hat, which I think also works really well. I'm pretty pleased anyway *smiles*

I realise that I look like a college student in the top picture, somewhat emphasised by my choker. I made, well assembled, it at the weekend too. It's a tiny glass vial, that I filled with sand from a very special beach. It's my favourite beach in the world, and the place where we scattered some of my dad's ashes, so it's nice to have it close.

And, in a slightly more uplifting final note, check out how awesome my t-shirt is!

Also, although this picture is completely out of focus, it makes me laugh. Ninja-speed cannot be captured by a feeble camera ;)

Oh, and just so you know, this blog will be a little quiet for the next week or so... See you soon x

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Secret Project Numero Uno

Aha, now that my mum has received her little present, I can blog about it ;)

It's the first thing I made during MegaCraftingSaturday as it shall now be known *laughs*

I wanted something relatively easy to start with, to get back into using my sewing machine. Searching for easy sewing projects kept bringing up tutorials for making "tea wallets".

Now, mum doesn't drink tea, but she does drink coffee. Decaff specifically. And, to make sure she can always have a cup when out and about, she keeps a stash of decaff sachets in her bag. A plan was formed...

Yep, I'm sure you can see where this is going *laughs* I modified the shapes in the pattern to make a "coffee sachet wallet". Ok, not as catchy a title, but I thought it would be nice to have something to keep those loose sachets neat and tidy (especially as mum has lovely posh handbags and lovely posh purses...)

So, here it is:

I had exactly the right size of cute fabric sample for the outside, with enough left to make a binding for the top of the inner pocket. And I had the right size and colour fabric scrap to make the pocket, which was left from a gift bag I made for a present. The lining is a nicely textured heavy cotton (I think!) that I also used to line the drawstring bag and had plenty left for other things.

Coordinating ribbon and the right coloured button too... Clearly this project was meant to be *smiles and ignores the fact that I didn't have quite the right coloured thread however*

Ok, so my stitching isn't fantastic, and I still can't seem to sew in a straight line *rolls eyes* But I was really pleased with how it came out, and mum seems pretty happy with it too. 

All in all, a good project *satisfied grin*

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A Little Progress

Just a quick update today... I finished the front of my tank top.

I spent bloody ages trying to match up the different colours in the variegated yarn. For someone who hates symmetry, I spent a lot of time trying to make this symmetrical... Strange.

But, I managed it (mostly... it's not perfect, but it's close enough to pass muster!) Although, it looks more wonky in this picture than in real life, which is helpful, given that I'm using this picture to illustrate my success *rolls eyes*

I decreased from the middle, at each side, to make a v-neck, then I decided to cut the v-neck short and continue the top sections straight - hopefully resulting in a sort of deep, sweetheart neckline effect... That's the plan anyway, we'll see how it looks when it's on!

Matching the two sides did involve a lot of cutting out sections of yarn and rejoining at the appropriate colour. As a result the back looks like this:

 Ugh, lots of ends to weave in!

And I have a lot of small balls of single colours. Which at first I thought I might use to help me match the back to the front - then I decided that I'm not a masochist and actually, I'm ok with different colour transitions on the back :) and no, it';s not just because I'm too lazy for all the chopping, attaching and getting tangled *laughs*

Monday, 7 February 2011

Alot of Crafts*

*disclaimer for anyone who hasn't read this blog post, I do know that "alot" is grammatically incorrect ;)

I had a very productive weekend, I was on a bit of a crafting mission.

There are a couple of cool projects that I can't yet share *tries to curb my inherent impatience* but they can be revealed later in the week. So that's something to look forward to ;)

First up, I decided to dust off my sewing machine. I hadn't used it for ages, so winding the bobbin took a few minutes of head-scratching, tongue-poking out concentration to remember what went where. But I figured it out and got going...

Initial project (very much a "breaking back in gently, don't want to ruin good fabric" kind of project) was this beach bag. It still needs handles, but I managed to line it and include a pocket *proud grin* The fabric was actually a set of tea towels from poundland! Should be good for my holiday next week - I think it's structurally sound enough to carry a book anyway *laughs*

Then I made some more progress on my knitting. I'm actually liking this marble yarn more than I expected to (although the colours look a bit muddy in this picture, they're actually much better in real life), despite some slightly strange sections where the yarn doesn't change colour for ages. I've cut a couple of sections out to try and keep the striping fairly consistent, but I haven't quite figured out which bit I need to join to do the next stage while keeping the stripes. Some calculation required I think!

In between this flurry of activity, I also did boring housework jobs, prepared tasty slow cooked food and, get this, even tidied up the mess I'd made within a mere hour after finishing! Boyfriend was amazed to get back after the weekend to find no mess, no piles of fabric scraps, bits of paper, etc ;)

Friday, 4 February 2011

Not a Lot

Not a lot of knitting, sewing or crafting progress has been made over the last few days. I've still not been feeling 100%, and inspiration has been hard to come by *sad frown*

I think the problem is that there are too many things I want to knit (in addition to the long list of this post). I want to try knitting socks - I really love the idea. I also keep feeling like I should knit something I need, like a new black cardigan (mine's falling apart). And there's a blanket I want to make, to replace the throw on my sofa that doesn't match anything else. And I still haven't finished either of my lace scarves, so I feel the need to get on with those... *deep breath*

Plus I keep seeing yarn I want (I should stop reading blogs!) but my plan is not to buy more yarn until I have used the stuff I bought in the sales *pouts* I bought some gorgeous stuff, but I seem to want to skip that and move onto something else already.

But, if I am given yarn, well then it doesn't count, and I can start playing with that instead ;) Of course, this just delays the inevitable "but I want that one" petulance when I see something pretty ;)

So, with the variegated yarn I was gifted (thanks mum *smiles*), I'm making a tank top. It's based on an amalgamation of various patterns, so I hope it works! I haven't got far:

Mum gave me the yarn because she didn't like it. I'm not sure I love it, but the colours are interesting (although not in this picture - stupid lighting!). Don't think I could make a large garment out of it, as it may get a bit much, but a tank top should be cute.

It's 100% acrylic, which I was dubious about having become a bit of a snob already (as you can tell by the posh yarn used for slippers in my last post!), but it's really quite soft and at least won't need handwashing!

It's slightly, how to describe it...? Squeaky? Strange sensation while knitting, anyway. Not quite the joy of the alpaca silk, that's for sure. Which may be why there has been so little progress. I've just got to a section with what seems like a mile of green, so I may cut out a section so that it's a little more evenly striped. But I'm not sure what that will do to the next sections, so it may be a little rash!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

I Shall Name Them "Rolf"

As in, can you tell what it is yet? *laughs*

I wasn't feeling very well yesterday and I wanted something very quick to knit - instant gratification almost (I know, I've picked the wrong hobby if I want instant results *grimace*)

I also wanted comfort, and I remembered a pattern I'd seen for Pocketbook Slippers.

I made them with my green Debbie Bliss Como, after frogging the scarf/poncho/wrap/cowl I had started knitting on the train home (despite loving the fake rib I had created with a slipped stitch pattern, I realised it was never going to end up as something useful). This may make them particularly decadent slippers, being 90% merino and 10% cashmere, but they're very snuggly.

Snuggly, but not altogether attractive *laughs* The reason they look so big is because I sized them to go over my fluffy socks, like so:

Yep, even more attractive, right? *giggles* Just be glad I found the cream coloured fluffy sock - I was wearing bright red ones ;) Well, they do look a little elf-like (unfortunately in a "Santa's Little Helper" elf way, rather than the much cooler "Bow wielding, kick ass, Lord of the Rings" elf way... oh well)

What can I say, I get reeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllyyy cold feet (just ask poor, long suffering boyfriend!) I'm all about function over fashion when it comes to warmth, well, at least in my own home *grin*