Saturday, 30 April 2011

New Look

Hey, check out my new look *grins*

I decided a few days ago that I wanted to move away from the default blogger templates to make my blog a little bit more personalised.

So, here it is, my new look. I think it's a bit cleaner, crisper and a bit more me. I'll probably be fiddling with some of the little design pieces over the next few days/weeks, as I try to get it just right, but I like having something that feels like it is totally mine.

Hope y'all like it ;)

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Every Gentle Wind*

I'm a bit behind on the "what I did over Easter" post, mainly because I was too excited about my finished cardigan and had to post that ;) Also, that's mostly what I did over the long weekend *laughs*

On Monday I did go out for the day.

I had a very happy time in Paperchase. I love that shop. I have an unreasonable love of paper and stationary and new notebooks and all the other fabulous things they sell. I managed to restrain myself though and only bought a couple of things...

Not sure why - but I picked up a couple of these gift tags (what can I say, they were in the sale!) I think they're quite cute, and probably will be good for card making or something ;)

I also got something I keep meaning to get...

Incidentally, it is very hard to take a picture of clear plastic. As you can see from the label, it is a cookbook stand - where the plastic goes over the book to keep it clean. As I have a small kitchen, having cookbooks propped up will be helpful, and as I am extremely messy in the kitchen, keeping things clean easily is a good thing *chuckles*

*"May brooks and trees and singing hills join in the chorus too, and every gentle wind that blows send happiness to you.” Irish Blessing

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

More Details

I completely forgot to provide any pattern/yarn details for my finished cardigan, d'oh!

Pattern: Lore Hoodie from the Vampire Knits book (Rav details here)

Yarn: Wendy Aran with Wool (75% acrylic, 25% wool) in Tarn Heather - a bluey/purpley colour

Modifications: I hadn't seen the errata for the pattern, so I didn't catch that it was supposed to be chunky yarn rather than aran - although I did keep thinking that the picture looked bulkier than aran. I just cast on for the larger size to get what I was after, so no problems there. I also made the edging narrower - more from laziness than anything else really *cheeky grin*

Difficulty: 2/5 as long as I paid attention ;)

Love? Yep - I love it. I'm really happy with how it came out. The hood's a little snugger than I would have gone for, although I did steam block it out a bit. I just need to get the right buttons (or toggles) now. I have to say, I'm so pleased with it. I keep looking at it, amazed that I actually made it! *smiles*
One thing that made me smile while I was wearing it was the 2 guys I go to lunch with every day. When I mentioned that I'd made the cardigan one of them said "I didn't even ask because I didn't think it was possible to make stuff like that". The other piped up with "I like the holes" *laughs* He even pointed to the lace section so I knew he meant the deliberate holes ;)

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Happy Dance

Thanks to a long weekend I have finished my hooded cardigan *happy dance*

Ok, so it's not really the best picture (I was quite tired at this point!) but it shows off the length. I'm really pleased with what a substantial piece of knitting this turned out to be, it's the biggest thing I've made and probably the most well done.

In fact, alongside my poncho/wrap, this is definitely my favourite thing I've made *big smile*

I had been getting sick of the lace "skirt" part recently, which is why the cardigan had been languishing untouched a little bit. I'd throw in a pattern repeat every now and again to keep some movement, but I was a bit bored of it. Then, on Friday, I realised that I'd finished the lace part, yay ;)

After that bit, the rest involved a fair amount of changes. Although it's stocking stitch the rest of the way, each row seemed to involve increases, attaching the sleeves, decreases, casting off, picking up stitches... And so on. So it then managed to keep my interest and I was excited to get to the next section. Even better, everything was done in one piece, apart from the sleeves which were knitted in the round and then attached, no seaming!

Or so I thought. I had forgotten the fact that the edging piece is knitted in one long strip, then sewn to the edge of the cardigan - all the way up, across the hood and back down *sigh* So that was last night's job, sewing over 100 inches of edging.

But now it's done, and I'm wearing it and have already had a compliment, so it's all good ;)

I steam blocked the skirt, to bring out the lace pattern. It grew by about 5 inches and it now all flowy and drapey - just as it should be.

Actually, as a comparison, here it is on the needles (remember the alien life force?!) All bumpy and looking a bit like an egg carton...

And here it is now, blocked and flat and looking like it should (apart from being blurry - not sure what happened there, the picture looks fine on my phone)...

Bit of a difference, huh?!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Easy Breezy

I forgot to mention when I posted about my stash enhancement recently that I also bought this book:

I've heard so many good things about Kim Hargreaves patterns, and I want to make more garments rather than just accessories, so I splashed out on this too.

There are quite a few patterns that I want to make. I chose this book because I'd heard it was good for summery patterns, and it is. Which works, as we're nearing summer (or, are already there if this weekend's been anything to go by!)

I particularly like this pattern:

I love that sort of neckline, and I think cardigans are probably my favourite versatile piece of clothing, so this is definitely on my list.

There are a couple of short sleeved cotton tops that I really like too, plus a tank top and a jumper, so I'm pretty pleased with my purchase.

In order to justify casting any of these on, I have been making excellent progress on my hooded cardigan. In fact, I'm up to the shoulders now *grins* Hopefully I'll have a finished object to post about soon.

My aim, as I get stressed by too many WIPs, is to have one garment and one accessory on the needles at any one time. I may add in a third (small) project depending on boredom levels. But anyone whose been reading previous posts will know that my plans tend to go awry almost as soon as I make them *laughs* so we'll see how long that lasts ;)

Thursday, 21 April 2011

In Need of Cheering Up

Over the last week or so, I've felt a bit in need of cheering up. So I did what many of you will understand - I bought yarn ;)

First I purchased one ball (don't ask me why only one, it makes no sense to me either) of Mini Mochi in the colourway "Jungle":

I liked the fact that it reminded me of a parrot or something *smiles*

I put in a low(ish) bid on ebay for some more Manos Silk Blend, because I really have fallen in love with the stuff! And I won *grin*

This is the "Capricorn" colourway - not sure I'd have chosen this one had it not been cheaper than rrp, it's not one of my favourites. But I do wear a lot of black, white and red, so it's probably a sensible choice, wardrobe-wise ;) As per usual, I bought this without a clear plan of what to do with it, so it'll probably sit looking pretty in my stash for a while *laughs*

And finally, thanks to a dangerous link on The Crafty Cripple's blog , I ordered some 100% silk yarn. I've been dying to try this, especially after discovering how much I love silk blends. And then it was on offer, so of course I just couldn't not!

It's quite hard to show the colour, it's a silvery grey that's sort of green... If that makes any sense at all! Purchased from Artist's Palette Yarns, it certainly lives up to the name "Gleam". It's so, so very soft and lovely. Haven't worked out what to do with it yet. I want to make a skinny scarf... I have been attempting to make one with various yarns for a while but haven't found the right fit, I think this will work. I just need to figure out the pattern that will best show it off. I swatched a couple of things last night to see, but none of them was quite right.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

There Is No Blue*

I haven't done any knitting over the last two nights - I think I overdid it at the weekend and needed a little break!

Last night I had my friend Phil over for dinner, so I spent the time before he arrived making mini pizzas, chorizo crisps and mum's fab recipe for marmite and cheese palmiers (and, before anyone mentions how much they hate marmite - so do I! Somehow, with cheese and puff pastry it just works though).

Monday night I looked at my knitting and couldn't muster the motivation. Instead I made a couple of cards. Which makes way more mess and involves tidying up afterwards *frowns* not sure that worked as a great "no motivation, do something simple" plan!

Anyway, I made an Easter card for my grandparents. They like it when I write to them and I haven't done so in a little while, so this seemed like an excellent idea. I'm very into orange at the moment for some reason. I forgot to take a photo of the birthday card I made for my brother, but that was orange too (more bright, less pastel though!).

I don't know if this (sorry, blurry) picture shows it off, but the flowers, words and butterflies are heat embossed on, with a glittery finish. They look pretty cute.

Not sure what this one is for, I just had a tiny scrap of brown fabric and some wooden beads, thought they looked nice together and made this as a result...

So, that was my crafting news. Must do some more knitting if the shawl and cardigan are ever going to be finished though!

*"There is no blue without yellow and without orange". Vincent Van Gogh
Title also appropriate as this post has no blue, yet all my knitting is currently blue ;)

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

In Perpetuity

So, as I said yesterday, I did lots of knitting over the weekend and managed to finish my scarf, bringing me back down to 2 WIPs. I'm now trying to convince myself that I don't automatically get to cast something else on as a result *laughs*

I'm not very good at convincing myself.

But, I did come up with a cunning solution... I cast on for the sleeves of my cardigan *wise nod* Oh yes, I managed to stave off my desire for something new, by technically casting on something I hadn't been working on, while also making progress on my current project. I rule ;)

In case you're worrying that I have tiny T-ex style arms, the sleeve on this cardigan are supposed to be elbow length, and they get knitted onto the body portion directly - hence why they look teeny here.

According to the pattern I was supposed to knit the sleeves first, but I wanted to get stuck in to the main section because I am impatient ;)

I also knitted some more of my lovely blue shawl, but it is currently in The State Of Perpetual Sameness, and it doesn't matter how many more rows I do, it just won't seem to grow *sigh* Which is why I got bored and finished my scarf and 2 sleeves instead.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Sneaks In*

I did lots of knitting this weekend *smiles* I did end up with claw hands a little bit though!

I'll post about some of the other progress tomorrow - best not use up all my news in one post ;) but the main news is that I finished my scarf *happy dance*

I couldn't decide if I wanted it to be a scarf or a cowl though. I usually wrap my scarves double, which seemed overkill for this particularly warm and dense snuggly fabric. So I added a couple of poppers to each end so that I can do both...

Slightly short scarf


Double wrapped cowl (so, so cosy!)

Or, as I am wearing it today...

Not sure why I look so frowny in this picture! I love the way it works like this. Not too hot, shows off the pattern nicely, plus I can stroke it at will *laughs*

I really love this pattern, and the yarn. In fact, I want it in every colour now ;) I'm toying with the idea of calling it my "scowl", especially based on my expression in the picture above, but I think that might give the wrong impression!

Pattern: My So Called Scarf
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend (colourway Gemini)
Modifications: cast on 60 stitches (as the pattern calls for Wool Classica rather than Silk Blend), made slightly shorter, added fasteners to be able to wear differently
Difficulty: 2/5
Overall love: 5/5 :D

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open.  ~John Barrymore

Thursday, 14 April 2011

My Stash

There's a "flash your stash" thread over on ravelry that I've been enjoying (read, drooling over *laughs*) Some of the stashes people have are just huge! They're like personal yarn stores ;)

Anyway, I decided to get all of my yarn out (including the novelty yarns that I usually pretend don't exist...) and take a picture of my 6 month old stash.

Not a great picture because the light was pretty terrible yesterday (what happened to all the sun?) but here it is... My little stash *smiles*

I think it's a fairly healthy amount given how short a time I've been knitting - and does show some restraint because I keep wanting to buy more and more ;) I can see why people end up with so much!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The Breathing Rose*

Now that I have three works in progress, any progress on each of them is fairly minimal, and non blog worthy... D'oh. Any minute now I'll no doubt cast on something else, just so that I have something to show you!

Anyway, I'm sure I'll come up with something else to talk about...

I recently joined my local library, as it is about half a minute away from my office it seemed silly not to.I've found some fantastically ancient knitting books in there - some of the jumpers from the 80s are just... I'm not sure if the word is amazing, hilarious, breathtaking or just wow ;) If it didn't take so long, I'd knit one just for the amusement of it *laughs*

One of the other books I found was...

How to make Origami jewellery. Now, I don't make jewellery... Yet ;) I'd like to, but I have enough craft stuff taking over my house as it is, so perhaps now is not the time. Fingers crossed for a full craft room one day though *crosses fingers, then stops because it's hard to type*

The reason I brought the book home from the library, and purchased the appropriate paper to go with it, was to make one specific thing. This:

My dad used to make these when me and my brother were kids *fond but sad smile* He called them Japanese water balloons, and often filled them up with water. I remember how cool I thought it was, that my dad had magically turned a piece of paper into this amazing thing, and that even though it was paper you could put water in it. So when I flicked through the book and saw that it had the instructions for these, I had to make one.

I also discovered that I am not very good at Origami *laughs* My ability to fold in a straight line is apparently limited... Which will come as no surprise to my mum who will know that I also cannot cut in a straight line. Not sure what possessed me to take up card crafting, given these fundamental limitations!

I made a couple of simple things, that disintegrated before I could take a picture, and then attempted this...

If you can't tell, it is supposed to be a crab. Yep *nods* Ok, so not much like a crab at all *sigh* In my defence, the instructions in the book are really confusing. I tried making a butterfly, which was going well until I got an instruction that involved folding not just paper but also the laws of physics.

So, perhaps making anything out of the bits of folded paper I managed is a bit of a stretch, but it was fun trying ;)

"But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold." Oliver Wendell Holmes

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


I realised that my post yesterday was a little thin on details (other than my rambling about why it was a good idea for me to start a new item with two still languishing on the needles!)

At least I mentioned the pattern. The yarn is the heretofore unblogged Patons Smoothie DK that I bought during my most recent stash enhancement at my mum's LYS. I picked it up in the shop because it was £1.25 a ball, in a lovely spring-like colour and it was (appropriately) so smooth. I was kinda surprised to find it was a pure acrylic because it looks and feels a lot like cotton, but a little bit softer.

Talking of the colour, it is not at all like it appeared yesterday. Here's a closer colour, and despite oversaturated appearances this photo has not been touched up.

Actually, I found a picture on the Patons website, that is even closer... So, somewhere between these two is about right *laughs*

Until I started blogging myself I wondered why people always apologised for their photo quality when showing yarns - now I get it!

It's a slightly strange yarn, made up of a bunch of threads loosely wound together, which took a bit of getting used to at the beginning. Now that I'm a bit more used to it, it's actually quite nice to work with.

I loved the start of the pattern - starting with 5 stitches meant that it grew pretty quickly to start with. But increasing by 4 stitches every other row does add up somewhat, and now it seems to take forever ;) So I think the length of the finished piece will very much depend on when I get sick of it *laughs* It's currently the length of about a "shawlette", having used up just over 1 ball. I have 3 more balls, although one is a different dyelot so hopefully I won't need it.

Monday, 11 April 2011


Um, so you know I was having difficulty in a previous post deciding what to knit out of my two works in progress?

Well, I'm not quite sure what happened, but somehow a third item seems to have cast itself on *laughs*

So, here is my first shawl... I've wanted to make a shawl for a while, and I keep putting it off because I'm just not patient enough for lace quite yet. But I thought that it would be helpful to learn a bit about shawl construction before I jump into some of the more intricate designs, so I cast on La La's Simple Shawl.

And yes, I know I could have waited until after I've finished at least one of my other projects, but I didn't ;) This was partly inspired by the ferocity of the air conditioning in my office... I thought it would be nice to have a shawl draped over the back of my chair, available to keep my shoulders warm at a moment's notice. Besides, the scarf can wait, it's 20 degrees out there at the minute and I don't think I'll need a scarf for a little while.

Yeah, I know, I sound very much like I am justifying it. Essentially, I wanted to start something new, so I did *grins*

It really is a very simple shawl, I like the way it looks but it's pretty much rows of stocking stitch, garter stitch and a ridiculously simple lace row.

I think it'll be pretty good :)

Friday, 8 April 2011


No crafting news to update due to the fact that, last night, I went to see...

Derren Brown, yay *grins* (no spoilers, I promise)

I love Derren, and seeing him live is always good - he's very funny and engaging, and the evening is filled with moments of "WTF?!" and "How in the hell...?!"

The set was utterly awesome. I didn't take a picture (because I am very rule-following, and the posters said not to *laughs*) so you'll have to trust me on this... It's amazing. A steampunk style set up, that I wanted to steal piece by piece and take home (Derren could come too, if he wanted *cheeky grin*)

I have to admit, this wasn't my favourite of his live shows. Primarily, I think, because it's still early on in the tour and there are still parts that need polishing, and partly because I was so blown away by some of the others that he'd have had to go some to top it! Also, the Reading Hexagon is a weird venue, that I've always found seems to suck some of the atmosphere out of the room.

Having said that, I'd still totally recommend it ;)

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


I thought, after having a week of pre-defined posts, that I'd have loads to write about after blog week finished... Apparently I spent all my time reading blogs and very little time actually doing anything crafty *laughs*

I'm still working on the two projects from my last post, but not enough progress has been made to share again (if only I was that quick though!) It's funny, these two WIPs remind me of this post I made about knitting personalities. I was trying to decide if I was a product or a process knitter and came to the conclusion that it depends...

On my current projects - the hooded cardigan is something I really want finished so I can wear it. Plus, between the endless rows and not entirely squooshy yarn, the process is fun but not joyfully so. Product all the way.

My so Called Scarf, on the other hand, although I really want it finished so I can wear it, I'm really enjoying making it. The stitch pattern is mindless enough to be done while chatting, or in front of the TV, but enjoyable enough for me to want to carry on. The yarn is so gorgeous, and watching the colour patterns emerge is much fun :)

So, here's the dilemma... I want the cardigan. However, I keep putting it to one side so I can knit the yummy scarf. But I want to keep knitting the scarf forever. How do I make myself knit the cardigan?!

And, to avoid a totally image free post, here's a gratuitous scarf closeup (with some interesting focus issues, sorry about that!):

Monday, 4 April 2011

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Wow, Knit and Crochet blog week was great fun to participate in! Thank you to everyone who stopped by, and thank you to everyone who commented *smiles and waves* It's been great getting to know so many new blogs, and I hope some people continue to pop by every once in a while :)

And now I have to figure out what to write about... It was really cool having pre-defined topics *laughs*

So, engage brain, review current knitting progress, and.... go....

I have 2 things I'm working on at the moment, the hooded cardigan from Vampire Knits. I'm making somewhat slow progress on this, due to the 150 stitch rows (I know I want to try lace, which has way more stitches per row, but I'm putting that out of my mind for the moment!)

This is the fir cone lace section, that will need some blocking before it looks like it should - no idea how I'm supposed to block an acrylic/wool blend though! Any ideas gratefully received ;)

The back of this looks like some kind of alien life form:

Or maybe a fungus? Either way it is slightly terrifying *laughs* It looks worse in this picture because of the colour, I'm really gonna have to try and capture the actual colour at some point, it's looked different in every shot!

My second WIP  is My So Called Scarf. I love this pattern, and of course looks wonderful using my Manos silk blend. I cast this on because I figured my alien beast was too unwieldy to take on the train. I made a fair amount of progress.

I also tried taking an arty shot of it, as my photos tend to be a little bland:

I quite like this one *smiles* If I used a proper camera instead of my phone, maybe I could have even used the macro settings to make it even better, but it is a general improvement I think.

I did get some strange looks knitting on the train, but it kept me busy for a boring trip. I did wonder if I'd get any knitting done at mum's, now that I am getting much better at talking and knitting at the same time *laughs* Well, as long as I don't need to count anything anyway!

I got a few rows done, but the rest of my knitting activity this weekend is a story for another time...

Sunday, 3 April 2011

My Knitting Time 2KCBWDAY7

Write about your typical crafting time. When it is that you are likely to craft – alone or in more social environments, when watching TV or whilst taking bus journeys.

Hmmm, well my typical craft time generally involves my sofa, my TV and a whole lot of nothing else *laughs*

I like to curl up with my needles and yarn, stick on a DVD (or catch up on my Sky+) and get stuck in. The DVD or TV I watch depends on whether or not I'm with boyfriend at the time. If it's the two of us, it'll be a TV series we're watching together, or some kind of film I don't need to pay much attention to.

Most of my recent knitting has been to the tune of seasons 1 to 6 of:

Mmmmmm, I do love me some House ;) Other things I watch are:

Apart from the yarn and the TV, I don't think there's any particular ritual or activity that makes up my knitting time (apart from forgetting to eat now and then when I'm enjoying myself *ooops face*). If I'm at a particularly tricky bit, or if I just need to concentrate, then I do tend to pause what I'm watching so as not to be distracted. I also stick to things I've seen before until I'm sure of myself in the pattern, then catch up on new shows when I'm settled.

I knit on the train on the odd occasions that I actually catch one (far less often than I used to). Last time I did, the people around me looked at me like I was an alien *laughs* In fact, I'm planning my train knitting for this weekend (for that to make any sense, I should mention that this is a pre-scheduled post, due to the fact that I'll be away... Hence the train *wonders if that actually did make any more sense*)

So, that's about as exciting as it gets really... No wonder my mum worries that I'm turning into a boring old lady *fond smile*

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Something to Aspire To 2KCBWDAY6

Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant?

I posted about this very subject, back in January, so I did think I should maybe skip this topic and play the wildard instead (all about embellishments). Then I realised that one single button is the extent of my embellishment usage, so perhaps that wouldn't work *laughs*

But the post I did before only covered 3 patterns, and there are plenty more that have been added to my neverending list of things to knit, in fact there are still a few things from my previous "must knit " post that I haven't got round to yet either *rolls eyes at self*

Lace is still something I really want to try and do properly, if only because I am totally in love with this pattern (more details in original post):

As I've not made a shawl before, I think I'll make a simpler one first, to get the hang of the construction!

I've only done one sort of cable so far, so I'm planning more experimentation in that area, but as the weather is getting warmer perhaps that'll be a little while off (cables always strike me as a wintry thing, is it just me?)

And, as I have mentioned a few times, I am determined to make socks *determined face* Everyone seems to get such a kick out of them *groans at the unintentional pun* and I want some of that!

Above all of these, though, is finishing... I really need to get better at that *sighs* I hate doing it, but after spending so long making things, I should take that extra bit of time to finish them beautifully. I should, really *trying hard to convince self*

Friday, 1 April 2011

And Now For Something Different 2KCBWDAY5

This is an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity in blogging to the same level that you perhaps push your creativity in the items you create.

This is me...

Note: majority of pictures my own, otherwise from copyright free sources (to the best of my knowledge). If there's anything that seems like it shouldn't be here, please let me know so I can take it down.