Friday, 29 July 2011


It's Friday and not only do I not have a finished object to share, I don't even have anything fibery or creative! Uh-oh indeed...

This is partly because I am working on:

  • Cardigan that is long and not really inspiring me
  • Blanket that will be going on forever
  • Giant man socks that take forever
  • Socks for me that take a back seat to giant man socks so will also take forever *sigh*
And the other part is down to the fact that I have also been reading more in the last couple of weeks than I have been lately. I do find it hard to get a balance between these 2 activities that I love. I know some people get a lot of pleasure out of knitting while listening to audio books, but that just doesn't work for me. I get so engrossed in a book that nothing can disturb me, and audio books just don't have that same escape. I have heard that some people can knit and read at the same time - again, being so engrossed in the book means that I completely forget to knit *laughs* 

When I started knitting, I was so enthralled that I don't think I picked up a book for a couple of months. This is just about unthinkable for me - I used to read at least 4-6 books a week and often had more than one on the go to suit my mood, there would always be a book in my bag, I'd read walking down the street, etc. So to just stop reading at all was very bizarre (and contributed to me just knowing that knitting and I were meant to be!)

I'm trying to find a bit of balance now, which is slowing my knitting progress slightly, but reminding me how much I love to get lost and immersed in another world. 

To ease myself back in I picked up a copy of a book I adored as a teenager, Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. There's something I love about re-reading books from when I was younger (not least of which is that they take no time at all to read *grins*) I've since started rereading a series by one of my favourite authors, Christopher Brookmyre. In fact, that reminds me, he hasn't brought out a new one in a while... Must check if there's one due! 

I have a lot of books, and a lot of well loved authors. So who knows, maybe I'll strike that elusive balance and post a bit more about what I'm reading as well as what I'm knitting ;)

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Magic Balls

I think I mentioned a little while ago that I'd taken part in a swap through Ravelry, and that I'd enjoyed it enough to sign up to another one... Well, I received my parcel from my swap partner yesterday *grins*

This was a "magic ball" swap, where you wind the yarn with little presents tucked inside for your swapee to discover as they unravel it. Such a fun idea :) I've parceled up the package to send to my recipient, and was very excited that mine arrived already.

This is what greeted me as I opened the package, with a lovely note from Rachel in Ohio, thanks Rachel :)

2 balls to unwind *grins*

I love the colours she chose, very me wouldn't you say?! In with the note was the label for the yarn, from etsy, along with a little stitch marker. Apparently, when she ordered, Rachel told the seller I liked orange, and this little stitch marker got made especially for me.

So, being the impatient person that I am, I had to get unwinding right away ;) I roped boyfriend into helping with the first ball, and rewarded him with dinner before I got to the second one *laughs* Lots of cool presents appeared as I was unwinding, but to save you a photo montage of the entire process, here's the final selection of goodies:

How lucky am I?! I got:

  • A cute red notions bag
  • Bag of buttons
  • 2 bags of gummy butterflies
  • 2 fabric quarters
  • Package of various jewellery findings (excellent, I needed more of these!)
  • A vial of pretty orange beads
  • Incredible neon stripy socks
  • 2 strings of beautiful beads
I love everything Rachel chose, in fact, I am wearing the socks to work (with a skirt, to fully show them off!) and can't wait to use the beads and findings to make something pretty. Here's a close up of one of the strings of beads (and the fabric), look how gorgeous they are:

Thank you Rachel, you really put together a cool package for me, and I'm excited to send mine off to its recipient - I hope she likes it.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday Number 12

Firstly, I'd like to thank everyone who stopped by yesterday, boyfriend was really excited by all the comments (and especially happy that people got the Star Wars reference *laughs*) So thank you for that :)

Now, having purchased and used a new circular needle, my sock sized DPNs had magically become free. So I cast on a sock for me ;)

This is using the yarn that I dyed myself *grins* I'm really enjoying knitting with it, seeing how the colours come together and smelling the fruity scent of the Kool Aid. I thought it would be cool to show how it has transformed, from skein to ball to sock:

So, that's what I've mainly been working on this week. Cria has had a few more rows, but certainly nothing worth showing off. The blanket has grown a little bit:

Not a lot, but enough to make it eye-searingly orange again *laughs*

That's it from me, but as ever, head over to Tami's for more :)

Monday, 25 July 2011

L is for....

Ok, for some reason I struggled with a word for this week. I was going to do L is for Learning, and talk about all the different things I have learned since starting knitting. But I'm planning to do something similar for my knitting anniversary in November, so I decided to avoid repeating myself!

One of my favourite words begins with L, "lethalogica". It means "inability to remember the right word", and I just love the fact that there is a term for it! 

So I decided to look up other unusual words beginning with L. As a huge fan of words and their meanings, this seemed like a cunning solution to my writer's block *laughs*

  • Lanameter - instrument for measuring the quality of wool (see, I even manged to make it topical)
  • Laniferous - wool bearing
  • Lentigo - freckle (I need to try and work this one into conversation some time)
  • Lethanomia - tendency to forget names (boyfriend has this!)
  • Lexiphanic - actually a synonym for my other favourite word (sesquipedalian) - prone to using long words ;)
  • Libriform - shaped like a book (why there needs to be an actual word for this, I'm not sure *laughs*)
  • Locutory - a room for conversation (how very civilised!)
  • Logophile - lover of words (that's me)
  • Ludic - spontaneously and aimlessly playful (as opposed to planning your playfulness with a purpose in mind *smirks*)
  • Lutescent - yellowish (not sure why "yellowish" isn't good enough?!)

So, I'm sorry for the cop-outness of this post, but inspiration really deserted me this morning! Tomorrow will have far more exciting content (boyfriend had a go at dyeing yarn) and Wednesday will reveal whether or not I managed to get to grips with toe up socks *laughs* And in the meantime, I think we've all learned that words are interesting, bizarre and sometimes utterly pointless ;)

Friday, 22 July 2011

You Gotta Have Two*

Behold, my Sunset Socks...

They are made of awesome *grins* I love these socks (you may have got this impression already!)

I wore them earlier this week and they are so much more comfortable than my first pair. I think partly due to my increased experience, partly due to a better gauge and quite a bit to do with the yarn. I had happy feet all day *laughs* and my colleagues were a little bemused at how excited my socks could make me!

It doesn't matter where I took a picture of these socks, they seemed to glow. I know the colours are fantastically vibrant, but they aren't quite as radioactive looking in the pink sections as they appear here! But I kinda like it ;)

I'm really pleased with the purl rows I added in for a small pattern feature. I tried to get a picture, but I think the glowing may have obscured it slightly...

Pattern: Silver's Sock Class
Modifications: Added purl rows to the leg of the sock for interest
Yarn: Zauberball in Fuschia

I love this yarn. It's fuzzy and not entirely consistently spun, but the finished socks are so soft and comfy and the colours are amazing. I have a feeling I'll be making more Zauberball socks!

Now, if I can just figure out the toe up process for boyfriend's socks, I'll be happy *laughs*

As it's Friday, you know the drill... head over to Tami's, Natural Suburbia and Wisdom Begins in Wonder for more goodness :)

*“True love is like a pair of socks: you gotta have two and they’ve gotta match.” - Unknown

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday Number 11

This week my sunset socks will not be appearing - because they are finished *grins* So please pop back on Friday to see them in all their wonderful glory ;)

My blanket now has its 4th colour section and I am now adding the next orange stripe. I'm still not sure how this will all work out, as I am really not following the dimensions in the pattern, but I'm loving it so far ;)

I haven't done a lot more on my Cria (with link added this time!), but I am pleased with how the buttonhole turned out, using Ysolda's one row buttonhole tutorial from the book *smiles* This needs some attention but was cast aside in my excitement to finish my socks ;)

So, that's it for my WIPs, pop over to Tami's for more...

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Bites and Kisses*

At the weekend I decided I wanted something sweet to eat, but had nothing in the house that fit the bill... Not without making something from scratch, that is ;)

I decided against cake, as surprising as that is, and went for something a little quicker. Cinnamon rolls *grins* Now, I've never made them before, and didn't really follow any sort of actual recipe, so they weren't perfect, but they were tasty and sweet and exactly what I was after, so I'm calling them a success *laughs*

As there was no actual recipe, and because I forgot to take in-progress pictures, this post will be a slapdash "I sort of did this..." kind of affair ;) But look, they came out good!

I had a partially used bag of ready made bread mix in the cupboard, so I mixed that up as per bag instructions, adding a small amount of icing sugar (if you're American, I believe it's called confectioner's or powdered sugar). Left it to rise for a bit.

I then rolled/stretched it out flat, coated it in melted butter, caster sugar and cinnamon. No measurements, but it seemed to work ;)

I then rolled, sliced, and placed into a cupcake tin (this should really be a picture of the rolls rising in the tin, but I forgot!):

Actually, before the rolls went into the tin, I filled each space with a little extra melted butter and sugar. In hindsight, this was an excellent plan, the bottoms went really sticky and crunchy and delicious *grins*

I baked them until they looked about done (see, I'm a very unscientific cook!) and turned them onto a plate, upside down so the sticky part was on top. Then I glazed them with vanilla icing glaze to make them extra decadent:

*grins* Very tasty!

The vanilla glaze was made with homemade vanilla extract, which is about the easiest thing in the world to make. You get a miniature bottle of vodka and a vanilla bean, sliced the bean length- and width-wise, pop it in and leave it.

If you hold it up to the light, it looks like this:

See the beans just hanging out, flavouring the vodka...

To make the glaze I just mixed a few drops with some icing/confectioner's/powdered sugar and some water. I'd add more vanilla next time I think.

* "Cinnamon bites and kisses simultaneously" - Vanna Bonta

Monday, 18 July 2011

K is for... Knit Nation (of course!)

Yep, Knit Nation was on Saturday *grins* I hadn't been last year (having never picked up knitting needles or even considered such a thing) so I was pretty excited to go this time. I did try to take lots of pictures, but I got there first thing and it was pretty busy, so most of them came out like this:

I'm not very socially outgoing with people I don't know, so I wasn't very good at asking for photos, even though I'm sure no one would have minded. But I did get a few (blurry) shots as I was walking around.

A somewhat depleted selection of Wollmeise on the Loop stand. I met the lady responsible for Wollmeise outside just before the marketplace opened, she was lovely and was very flattered when I said I was looking forward to getting my hands on some of her yarn *smiles*

The Habu stand. I'd heard of Habu before and been intrigued, they make yarns combined with all sorts of strange things, including paper and steel... I loved the way the yarns were packaged, on cones or these little parcel-like bundles, and it was cool to see what it was like once knit. Not my cup of tea, but really interesting nonetheless.

A hanging display at the Juno Fibre Arts stand. The lady there was so nice, and very admiring of my Clapotis *grins* Incidentally, that wrap is really very warm - I was melting in the marketplace!

So, that brings us to the end of my usable pictures of the show... I know, I'm rubbish! But, I have got nice pictures of what I bought, which hopefully makes up for it *laughs*

I took a set amount of money and planned to only spend that. Amazingly, I did. I spent exactly what was in my purse and no more. Very proud ;) I also told myself that I did not need to buy skein after skein of sock yarn. As you saw from my post on Thursday, I already have plenty that I am excited about using, and I tend to get a little stressed if I have too much waiting for me! I wanted to have a look at some yarns that I have been coveting for ages, to see if they are as nice in the flesh as I was hoping, so I have a long list of things that I do want to buy once I have used some of what I already have.

So, I bought 1 skein of sock yarn that's intended for a shawl and not socks... Wollmeise ;)

I had to buy some, just to see what all the fuss is about. I was slightly wincing at the £20 price tag (hence why it definitely won't become socks!) but actually the skein is 150g rather than 100g, so it's better value than I first thought.

My second purchase of the day was a Blocking Kit from Brownberry Yarns. Perhaps buying it so early in the day was a mistake, I was lugging the tube around for the entire time, but never mind! I've wanted one for a while and it was a good price, so I'm happy.

After going to the Loop stand for the Wollmeise first, and passing the blocking kits and having to immediately get one, I decided to have a wander and look at lots of things before deciding what to buy.

I got this adorable "emergency yarn" keyring from Old Maiden Aunt. And fell in love with their beautiful colourways. It took a lot of willpower not to spend all my money on their sock yarn *laughs*

At The Bothered Owl, I purchased these cool stitch markers...

The Great British Yarns stand had lots of Knit Picks, which I'd seen were on their website. I've heard a lot of good things about Knit Picks, especially for such a reasonably priced brand, so I had a lot of fun squishing all the skeins *grins* Sharon, the lovely lady on the stall let me play with their sample book to see all the swatches, and I came away with this lace weight alpaca. I love the colour, and it is so, so soft. I resisted the sock yarn, but have made a mental note to get some in future. I'm a sucker for really soft yarns ;) I also picked up a skein of undyed sock yarn (I know, I know, but I promised the boyfriend he could have a go at kool aid dyeing!)

I popped upstairs to the salon to have a look at all of Ysolda's samples and had to buy Whimsical Little Knits 2 and get it signed. I didn't take Little Red with me for signing, as I really didn't want to have to lug it around all day!

At the Nimu Yarns stand I bought this beautiful shawl pin. I love it, it's so very me *grins*

This brought me to within £20 of my self-imposed spending limit when I spotted a bargain bin back at the Brownberry Yarns stand. As soon as I put my hand in, I was overwhelmed with soft squishiness. So I bought 6 skeins of this beautiful baby llama yarn. I love alpaca, so I figure llama makes perfect sense ;)

The skeins are quite short, so I shall have to plan what to make carefully. I love the colour. In fact, I was very drawn to a lot of the grey yarns I saw (especially on the Old Maiden Aunt stand). I steered well clear of everything orange, no matter how much it called to me!

So, that was Knit Nation for me. I had a really good time, and could have spent many, many times the amount of money I had set myself. Looking forward to next year already *laughs*

Friday, 15 July 2011

Time Enough*

I haven't finished any knitting this week, but I do have a finished object to share *smiles*

I decided to try and make another project bag (my last one turned out far too small). I used the same tutorial, but this time made the fabrics a little bigger than before, to compensate. It turned out too big *laughs*

It was also quite a stressful experience, as my sewing machine decided to play up quite dramatically. It would stitch for an inch, break the thread, stitch again (after being rethreaded) then jam... And so on. The bag took over an hour! Not fun. But I made it through, and managed to insert the zip and line the bag, so that bit worked out ok.

Not sure about the dimensions though - it's shallower and wider than I had planned *frowns* And, as I say, bigger than planned. Looking on the bright side, this means that I can fit a project larger than a sock into it (or 2 small projects as I have in there at the moment), so it could be worse.

Just have to do a Goldilocks now and manage to make one just the right size *laughs*

The sides are pretty far from even, thanks to the sewing machine malfunctions. Frankly I just wanted to get the stitching done, so I wasn't quite as careful about getting everything exactly straight. It's got a very cute lining though ;)

As it's Friday, you know the drill... head over to Tami's, Natural Suburbia and Wisdom Begins in Wonder for more finished objects, fiber arts and general creativity :)

And come back here on Monday to see my excitable ramblings about Knit Nation and my (hopefully) amazing purchases ;)

* "The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough".  Rabindranath Tagore 

Thursday, 14 July 2011

All About Socks

For anyone not interested in socks, I recommend skipping this post *laughs*  I used to be one of you, no idea why people were so obsessed with sock knitting, but I decided to make just one pair and now I'm hooked!

I love the socks I made, I'd wear them every day if I could, but that wouldn't be very pleasant so I resist. Instead, I must make many more pairs of socks. I dream of one day having a sock drawer entirely populated with hand knit socks *wistfully imagines the riot of colour* Well, I'd probably still buy plain black ones, seems pointless to make those ;)

Anyway, as I'm progressing through my second sunset sock, as posted about yesterday, my mind immediately turned to my next sock project... I already have a range of available sock yarns to choose from:

What a dilemma *laughs* I really want red socks, I really want to see how the yarn I dyed knits up (that's the one in the middle), I can't wait to see how the colours work in the DrachenWolle (on the right), the Riot is DK and I want to see how that works for socks... I want to use all of them, right now ;)

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday Number 10

So, this morning I have a few updates to my WIPs, plus a new one *grins* I have also decided to hibernate the green cotton top. I'm just really not enjoying making it at all and I don't want knitting to stop being something I enjoy and turn into a chore! I haven't frogged it in case I do decide to come back to it, but it has dropped off the radar for the time being ;)

Which of course leaves the field open for a new project *laughs*

So I cast on Cria *smiles* I've been wanting to start this for ages, but I was patiently waiting to get the book so that I could start to use the tips before I cast on. But, my patience ran out *laughs* I did get boyfriend to help with the taking of measurements, and I did do some maths... And then I cast on.

Not a lot of progress yet, but here it is:

I'm using Jaeger Monte Cristo yarn. It's a cotton/acrylic blend and is lovely and soft, I'm really liking working with it, and I love how the fabric is coming out:

I'm at the heel flap of my second sunset sock now. I decided to deliberately not match the purl texture rows, especially as the socks are matching much more than I was expecting. I've obviously made them the length of one colour repeat (well almost, the second one starts slightly earlier so the purple is further down the leg). Quite unexpected. They won't be perfectly matched, but that's never a reqirement for my socks anyway, handmade or not!

And finally, I have added the fourth colour to my blanket...

I'm amazed at how much I'm enjoying this. It really is the most mindless knitting ever, pure garter stitch, but I love how squidgy it is and how the colours are coming together.

So, that's my week in progress, head over to Tami's to see what other bloggers have been up to :)

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Hi Mum :)

I posted last week about the new craft papers I bought. I haven't made much with them, but I did make this card for my mum...

No reason, just thought it would be nice to send (or moreso to receive!) something pretty in the post *grins*

It's ok, she's received it now, so I can mention it here ;)

And to anyone that might need a pick-me-up this morning... You are great too *smiles*

Monday, 11 July 2011

J is for.... Junebug Win

Subtitled: See how I make the meme work for me ;)

Last month I entered a giveaway on figknits, during the Junebug giveaway month. I was very, very excited to win this beautiful yarn:

It's Shalimar Yarns, Zoe Sock, in the discontinued colourway "PillowMint"

But that's not all, the parcel also included a size D crochet hook (for those, like me, who have only just got to grips with knitting needle sizes and are still bewildered by crochet sizes - it's teeny tiny!) and a cute "mirth" t-shirt. I have to say, even though I don't crochet, the hook feels lovely to hold with its smooth bamboo handle. It's now in my notions bag waiting for me to learn how to use it *laughs*

The yarn is 100% Australian Superwash Merino and is beautifully soft. It's just over 400m worth, so I'm thinking it'll make some knee high socks, which will be fab *grins* My plan is to split it in half when I wind it, and knit the socks toe up, so that I can make sure I use all of the yarn (I usually have quite a bit left over as I underestimate just how small my feet are!)

And, just because I can, here's another picture, isn't it pretty *smiles*

Friday, 8 July 2011

More Finished Objects

Surprisingly, after posting a batch of FOs last Friday, I actually have a couple more to share this week *grins* I haven't posted them before, because they were both started and finished last weekend.

I was feeling somewhat uninspired with the things I'm working on, and pretty much just wanted to have a play for a bit. So I decided to use some of the goodies I was given by my colleague.

I posted about the bizarre King Cole Exotique, wondering what on earth to do with it. Tink very helpfully mentioned in the comments that there was a cute baby hoodie on Ravelry made from it. Seemed like an excellent plan. So this:

Became this:

*laughs* I should explain - I'm not pregnant and babies are not currently on the agenda (hence the stuffed toy model!) however I really enjoyed making this little baby hoodie. It was a quick and easy knit, using yarn that I really can't picture in an adult project. I have a few more bits and pieces from the yarn I was given that may well become baby clothes... I can always donate them after all, it only took an afternoon ;)

As ever, head over to the other Friday link parties for more crafty goodness: Tami's, Natural Suburbia and Wisdom Begins in Wonder

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Crafting & Cooking Supplies

Yesterday I bought myself a couple of lovely things *smiles* I am mainly posting them to prove that I buy things other than yarn ;)

I found a cute little 6x6 paper pack at 50% off, and as I haven't done any paper crafting for a while I thought it might be just the motivation ;)

I love how they all work together, so I shall have fun combining them into different combinations. They also work really well with some of my existing supplies (yes, I have plenty of supplies already, but I couldn't resist... Did I mention they were on sale?!)

The other thing I got, again on sale, was this book:

I think I've mentioned before that I like cooking and I especially like making kitcheny gifts for people, so when I saw this I fell in love. There are some fantastic recipes, plenty that I would like to make. The photography in the book is gorgeous:

I'm not really doing it justice, taking pictures of pictures is never easy ;) Plus I happen to have taken pictures of 3 things I'm not entirely likely to make (marinated goats cheese jars, marshmallows and lollipops) but there are so many beautiful pictures and I quite liked those ones *laughs*

First plan is to make the salted caramels, just need to get a sugar thermometer now!