Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Colourful Crafting

In light of yesterday's post, about crafting balance, I have a smaller set of WIPs to show you today. These are the things I have actively been working on this week! All other projects are sat in my pile-of-lonely-projects-awaiting-attention, and there they can stay for the moment ;)

So, granny squares, spinning and Super Awesome Happy Rainbow Socks are my primary projects at the moment. I posted about the squares on Monday, nothing more to report really at this stage.

My socks are as super, awesome and happy as ever. I'm torn between a desire to have them finished, and the pleasure of working on them *laughs* I still have a few stripes to go, as I plan to use up every scrap of yarn to have them be as long as possible. I can't wait to wear them, although the weather right now is not conducive to hand knit socks *laughs* Not that I am complaining, I like the sunny weather!

Spinning is going well, although I do seem to end up with tiny bits of fluff all over me and everything else when I'm doing it... More practice required I think ;)

One thing I have noticed from this picture - look how varied the colours are *grins* After spending so much time working with grey, I seem to have subconsciously chosen a whole array of bright colours. It certainly makes for a more vibrant in progress pile ;)

As ever, if you want more lovely knitting and yarn along content, head to Tami's and Ginny's *smiles*

Tuesday, 29 May 2012


One of the topics during blog week was crafting balance, and I don't think I ever completed it. But last night it was something I was thinking about, so I thought I'd write about it today...

I am terrible at balance *laughs*

When I first started knitting, it was a struggle to balance it with reading (my other favourite activity). I tended to read an entire book/series of books instead of knitting, then I'd knit and not pick up a book for weeks.

Since then I have also taken up spinning and, more recently, crochet...

This has thrown my balance even further out *laughs*

Well, last night I was thinking about balance and decided that I don't have to have any. If I spend an entire week spinning and not picking up my needles, because that's what I feel like doing that week, then great. If I knit or read or crochet exclusively, also great. So it means my other projects wait longer... So what?!

I needed to remind myself of this. I think it comes from knitting being my primary craft - I seem to expect the most progress to occur on knitting projects and the others should fit in around that. Well, no one but me is responsible for my progress, and no one but me really worries about when something gets finished.

I know people reading are often keen to see a project in its full glory, as much as I am keen to post it, but I also know that there's no way you want it finished in a certain timescale or at the expense of anything else *laughs* Having a blog does not make me more pressured to finish things - but sometimes I need to remind myself of that!

So, I'm officially giving myself a break. So much so that last night I didn't craft at all.

Also, I did a google image search for balance, to get a few pictures for this post. I was particularly amused by this one *laughs*

Make like a monkey and jump from thing to thing - that shall be my new philosophy *laughs*

I'm linking up at Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Crafting On.

Monday, 28 May 2012

* Nothing Like A Warlock

I mentioned last week that I had learned to make granny squares. Since then, I have really been enjoying playing with them. To be honest, I'm still not 100% sure I actually like them, but I know I like making them and right now, that's the main thing *laughs*

I'm really enjoying the rhythm of the double crochet. And, being that it is so hot out at the moment, the fact that I only have small parts to make at once is definitely a bonus!

I've been playing with different layouts, to try and decide which types of squares to make next, but I have a feeling it'll change with each few I make anyway ;)

I've also made a few larger versions, to make the overall layout a bit more interesting.

As you can probably tell, I still have no real idea of what I'm making (probably a blanket though!) or how I plan to put everything together. But right now, I'm just enjoying the process.

Oh, and the photos are a bit weird because I took them under the window. The orange is actually all the same colour but I wasn't paying attention so I didn't notice how bizarre it all looked *laughs*

"Carl: A vampire is nothing like a warlock. My granny could kill a warlock." - From the film Van Helsing

Friday, 25 May 2012

Spinning Around*

I mentioned on Monday how I'd been very into spinning lately. Well, between spinning the 2 singles for my blue yarn, I grabbed a handful of the fibre Heather sent me and had a quick go with it *grins*

I only used a little, and was fairly quick and easy about it. So my singles ended up pretty chunky, but that was fine for this little experiment. I just wanted to see what it was like to spin.

Plied together, I had an approximately aran/worsted weight, which I was very happy with *smiles*

So I knitted it into a strip, just to see what it looked like...

It was a lot of fun spinning this - the colour changes made it really interesting and a nice break from the denim blue. It was slightly strange though - going from spinning merino to corriedale, such a different texture and feel to it.

I'm now spinning the rest of the fibre, but this time much thinner to get as much as possible out of what I have. No idea what I'll use it for, but that's not the point at all *laughs*

*Yeah, I know, not very imaginative! I'm running out of spinning related titles that are clever ;)

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

As I mentioned on Monday, I have been working on the socks I shall now call my Super Awesome Happy Rainbow Socks (my mum now insists I name all my sock projects as it amuses her, and I do aim to please *laughs*)

In fact, I have mostly been working on these socks - they've still got a way to go because I'm planning to knit as far as the yarn will go to make the most of the yarn, but they're currently my main project

I have made a little bit of progress on my shawl too. A row here and there (and quite a few rows while watching The Bourne Identity - action films apparently make me knit faster!) and it's almost done. Almost.

As you can see from the bottom of the picture, there is something new going on too. After a stressful week at work, combined with the migraine I mentioned on Friday, I wanted something new but different. So I decided to learn to crochet a granny square...

 It actually went quite well *smiles* So I am now making lots of black, orange and black & orange squares. I don't really have a plan for them yet but I'm enjoying the rhythm of the stitches and the hook.

Incidentally, photographing black with radioactive orange is challenging *laughs*


So here's my little stack, I'm not being too fussy about them. Some have small errors but overall they look pretty good. And it uses up some stash yarn that had no purpose. I'll save deciding what to do with them until I've made a few more I think ;)

As ever, if you want more lovely knitting and reading content, head to Tami's and Ginny's *smiles*

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Pale Walls of Dreams*

A little while ago, I posted this picture...

Just to demonstrate that I haven't completely given up on spinning *laughs* I've been working on this denim blue fibre from Vegas:

Well, recently I've been all spinning all the time. I found myself forsaking other crafting to spin, and have been really enjoying it. So, I split my fibre into 2, spun them both and plied them together, and now I have this:

I made yarn *big grin*

I have about 55 meters of approximately DK weight. It's 100% merino and is so soft and squishy. I love it *grins some more*

I have a light blue fibre that I also bought at the same time, so I plan to spin that to about the same thickness and knit something with stripes.

But first, I'm spinning the lovely corridale Heather sent me, just for the fun of having different colours ;)

"Talking, talking. Spinning a web of words, pale walls of dreams, between myself and all I see." - John Gardner

Linking up with Keep Calm Crafting On

Monday, 21 May 2012


A little while ago, Alex over at Mighty Distractible posted about a quest to track down a shawl pattern from a French shop. After having very little luck, she emailed me to ask if there was any chance I could help, being somewhat closer to France. I didn't get very far, but Alex was extremely grateful for the research I did when trying to help *smiles* You can read about the quest, and the happy ending, here.

Shortly afterwards, I realised that I had a small quest of my own. Ages and ages ago I'd seen some rainbow socks made in Knit Picks Felici self striping yarn. Since then, I have wanted to get hold of that yarn to make some of my own.

Unfortunately Knit Picks don't ship to the UK, and the only place to buy their yarn over here didn't have that colourway. I do realise that there are other rainbow yarns out there, but this one had got stuck in my head and I wanted it *laughs* No luck was had when I stalked ravelry stashes to see if anyone was selling, but then I remembered Alex...

To save you the suspense (and because there's a lot of text and no pictures so far!) - I have my yarn *grins*

When I emailed Alex to ask if she would possibly order the yarn and then ship it to me, as long as it wasn't too much trouble, I got a speedy reply saying the order had been placed *grins* I love crafty friends.

A brief wait while the yarn was shipped to Alex and then on to me, and then I had the crazy bright rainbow yarn in my eager hands. I, of course, cast on straight away ;)

Toe-up (to use all of the yarn), 2 at a time (to avoid second sock syndrome)... I even started the socks at the same point in the colour repeat so they'll match.

I'm not normally bothered about matching socks - in fact as they're handknit I usually like them to be a little different. But these socks need to match I think.

And one more picture, because I really love how bright and happy this yarn is *laughs* It's gorgeously soft too.

So, thank you Alex, for enabling my crazy sock needs!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Boring Title*

I've been a little bit absent from blogging and commenting (and, alas, crafting) over the past few days, thanks to a particularly unpleasant migraine :( I'm feeling a little better today, and luckily have something I finished last weekend that I can share *smiles*

My lace shrug that formed part of my crafting intermission

It was a really quick, easy and enjoyable knit, using lovely soft yarn. I'm really happy with how it came out...

It's a lovely shape and I have a feeling I'll make more in this style, perhaps with a different stitch pattern, longer sleeves, longer ribbing around the neck...

Slightly oversaturated picture to show off the lace pattern... It's simple but pretty and not too taxing for my lace-blind brain *laughs*

Pattern: Sagebrush
Yarn: 3 balls Cascade Dolce (bought from Las Vegas)
Modifications: I don't think I really made any, apart from making the ribbing on the sleeves and around the front a little longer than the pattern.

This was the first time I've used a provisional cast on, which went fine, and a 3 needle bind off for the underarm sections, which also went well. I like projects where I have to learn new skills *grins*

It's Friday, so you know what to do... Visit Tami'sNatural Suburbia and Wisdom Begins in Wonder. Have a great weekend   

* Ok, so I usually try and find a quote or come up with a clever title, especially on a Friday, but as per the first paragraph of this post, I don't really have the mental capacity this week *laughs* Suggestions for a better title welcomed!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


Regular readers know I have a fondness for words, especially unusual ones...

Recently I found an app for my phone called Locution, a repository of cool words.

So I thought I'd share a few of my favourites (as my stripe study shawl isn't much further along than last week, it seemed pointless to do another update *laughs*)

Logomisia - disgust for certain words. Personally, I hate the word moist. There's something just not right about it ;)

Desparple - to scatter. I just think its fun to say.

Apanthropy - love of solitude.

Gobemouch - a gullible person.

Pililoo - a hunting cry of distress. Another one that's fun to say *laughs*

Mentimutation - a change of mind. It always amazes me that there are actual words for things like this.

Sipid - tasty, flavourful. I like this one, I've used the word insipid but I never knew there was the converse sipid before.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Stash Status Update #3

I haven't done this since March, and as I am trying to keep myself at least somewhat on track, it seemed like a good idea to have a look at what's going on with my stash at the moment *laughs*

Last time I checked (after a brief period of buying more yarn), the totals were:

Total stash (balls): 111.05
Total stash (meters): 21,666
Total stash (yards): 23,393.8

The totals had gone up somewhat, thanks to a trip to Vegas where I bought a significant amount of yarn, plus a couple of purchases from destashes. 

So, let's look at the current totals...

Total stash (balls): 98.1
Total stash (meters): 18,695.5
Total stash (yards): 20,445.5

Excellent - I have actually used up 13 balls/skeins/hanks since I last checked. Definite progress in the right direction *laughs* Especially considering there has still been some yarn coming into the house...

3 balls to make a scarf for my Gran (as I didn't have anything suitable in stash)

Plus 5 balls from a swap. 

And a couple of skeins of Wollmeise, to replace the one I got rid of having decided the colour wasn't for me. 

The Wollmeise is nearly used up, but my system is that everything counts as stash until I actually finish the project. 

So, 9 in and my total is still 13 balls down *grins* I might be getting the hang of this stashbusting after all ;)

Friday, 11 May 2012

Quick, Sharp and Lively

During my crafting intermission, I started and finished a very quick and satisfying project.

First I felt like dyeing some yarn. I didn't have any undyed/cream yarn available, but I did have 4 balls of the grey Fez yarn I used for my Narragansett. So, armed with Wiltons dye and Kool Aid, I had a lot of fun playing in the kitchen (although, if you saw my post on Monday, I did make one crucial mistake *laughs*)

So grey became a rusty sort of colour...

I hadn't initially got a plan for the yarn, but after it had dried I found myself really wanting to make something thick and chunky. I don't tend to buy chunky yarn, but as the newly dyed yarn had no plan I decided to knit 3 strands of it together. This had the added bonus of avoiding any strange pooling.

So, I knit a cowl. Thick, bulky, snuggly and really fast *grins*

I made the pattern up pretty much. I wanted to have the stitches sideways, so I used a provisional cast on, knit flat and then used a 3 needle bind off to seam it together. The "pattern" is just 1x1 rib for 4 stitches, stocking stitch to the last 4 stitches and more 1x1 rib.

Because of the chunkiness, I particularly like this with the reverse side showing...

But it works with the knit side out too. 

A perfect project for a quick break from my current projects *smiles*

It's Friday, so you know what to do... Visit Tami'sNatural Suburbia and Wisdom Begins in Wonder. Have a great weekend  

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


Sometime last week I looked at my WIP pile and was completely uninspired. I wanted to knit, but I didn't want to knit anything that I was already working on. I still want to complete them all, I just wasn't in the mood for them last week...

So I had a brief crafting intermission. I did some spinning, I dyed some yarn, and I cast on 2 new projects. And it felt wonderful. Instead of telling myself I should finish the projects already in progress, I shrugged and told myself it was totally ok to knit something completely different. Which sounds obvious, but sometimes I need to remind myself *laughs*

The rusty coloured knitting on the left is actually already finished, it only took a few hours. I'll show it off on Friday, so more details then ;)

The sage green is going to be a lacey shrug, using yarn I bought while I was in Las Vegas. The yarn is Cascade Dolce, a beautifully soft blend of alpaca, silk and wool. It's been really lovely to knit with, and this project is almost finished too. I just have a few more rows of ribbing to do around the neck and it's done *grins* And the lace pattern came out perfectly.

These 2 projects have really been a nice break from what I was working on - 2 things in fingering weight and 2 things in acrylic... Soft, fluffy, bigger yarn has been a nice change!

As for the book - you may have noticed a bit of a theme in my book choices recently... I've always loved Dystopian fiction, and with the recent success of The Hunger Games, there's a lot of it about at the moment. This one is based on the premise that all the adults/anyone over 15 disappears. It kinda reminds me of a little known TV show called The Tribe.

I do go through phases with reading - I'll read loads of crime fiction and then move on to satirical stuff, then on to dystopia, and so on.

As ever, if you want more lovely knitting and reading content, head to Tami's and Ginny's *smiles*

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Stripe Study Shawl KAL Update #4

I must admit, I haven't done much on my shawl this week. I'm on the border, so technically it's nearly done, but the border rows are just so long *laughs*

At least the green wedges had some interest from the wrap and turns, and the sense of achievement at finishing them. Now I find I am lacking the motivation to pick it up and just get it done!

I've probably done about a fifth of the border, and it's at a stage where it's very much "so close and yet so far". I know I'll finish it, and relatively soon, but I'm not forcing myself to pick it up. I'll do a row and then work on something else for a bit. I love the way the shawl is looking, so I don't want to end up resenting it *laughs*

This of course means that I am going to be way behind the others in the knitalong, some of whom have already finished, but hey, it's supposed to be fun, right?!

Monday, 7 May 2012


If I may be so bold as to give everyone some advice...

When dyeing yarn, wear gloves. Don't get so carried away that you think it doesn't matter. Kool aid is pretty potent *laughs*

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Luckiest Blogger in the World... Seriously!

A little while ago I entered Geeky Heather's blogiversary giveaway. I was really lucky and won the mystery Atlanta themed prize. And I do mean mystery - there was no indication of what might be included in the prize, just that it would be based around Atlanta.

I love surprises (well, this sort of surprise anyway *laughs*)

This morning, the package arrived. Conveniently, I'm working from home, so I was in when the postman brought it *grins* Which was handy as the box was huge!

Everything was wrapped, with little notes explaining why Heather had chosen each item. So much fun - it felt like my birthday with all the little presents to open.

Check it out!

I got an exciting range of sweet treats. Peach taffy (because Georgia's nickname is the peach state apparently). I'm eating this now and it is tasty but kinda weird! I've never really had taffy before. Look at the cute otter tin, from the Georgia aquarium. I love aquariums, and Heather is lucky enough to live only 3 blocks away. This will definitely be some kind of notions holder once it is empty ;)

A box of baked grits... I know that grits are a southern staple, and these snacks combine grits and Vidalia onions (according to my note, they are the sweetest onions in the world and a grown just down the road from Atlanta). I'm looking forward to trying these!

Atlanta themed goodies - a cute magnet that is now on my fridge, a nail file from Heather's alma mater Georgia Tech, and a pin from the 100th Olympic Games, held in Atlanta. Funnily enough, this year the games are being held in London, not far from me *laughs* 

In the top picture you can see a coke cup, and just about make out this bottle opener. I didn't actually know coca-cola was invented in Atlanta, so that's really cool. Plus I love coca cola, and I need a new bottle opener *laughs* A well timed surprise indeed. Also, my note tells me that Heather can see coke HQ from her window - that's pretty cool! I live relatively near to the Mars factory, and on a good day I can smell when they're making milky-way bars *grins*

And, if all those awesome goodies weren't enough, I also have this gorgeous corridale to spin! Heather noted that she'd seen I was learning to spin and the fibre is from someone who lives just outside Atlanta. Look at the amazing colours (more teal than in this picture though).

So, I stand by the title of this post - Luckiest Blogger in the World!

Thanks Heather, this was such an exciting parcel to open, and a really great way to learn about your city. In fact, it's definitely made me want to come and visit *laughs*

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Red Yarn at Night

Wow - my camera really hates red *laughs* But after so many weeks of all-grey knitting I needed something a little bit bright for contrast!

I updated progress on the gorgeous Stripe Study Shawl yesterday, so I won't bore you with that again. If you missed it, Narragansett was finished and is gorgeous and wonderful *grins*

Other grey projects - boyfriend's second sock, which has had about another inch of progress. I realised that I was hating knitting it on DPNs, having got so used to doing everything with magic loop. So, I have transferred the sock onto a circular and hopefully it will result in a little more knitting happening *laughs*

Gran's scarf is a little longer, but nothing really to write home about. 

And the red project will be a little vest to go over a shirt, using up some ancient acrylic given to me by a colleague. It's not the nicest to knit with, but it's a smallish project so I'm hoping it won't take too long. Plus, it's nice and bright, much easier to work on in low light than the dark grey of the socks!

In other news, I picked up my drop spindle for the first time in ages, and have been doing some spinning *grins*

I'm using the fibre I bought in Vegas - a pure merino in the colour "denim" - based on the colour the yarn is becoming with all the shades blended together, denim is exactly right. And it's so soft and lovely *grins* I think my spinning is improving - there are definitely still underspun, overspun, thick and thin bits, but it feels more consistent than it used to.

As ever, if you want more lovely knitting and reading content, head to Tami's and Ginny's *smiles*

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Pay It Forward

Yesterday I was visiting Tanya's Blog and discovered a really nice idea. So, I commented and am participating. The rules are as follows:

1. I will send a surprise gift to the first three commenters on this post. The gift will be handmade by me. It will be sent sometime in the next 365 days. It will be a surprise. We all love getting surprises in the mail, right?
2. To sign up and receive a gift, you must play along, too. Pay it Forward on your blog, by promising to make a surprise for the first three people who comment on the post.
3. You must have a blog (that is updated, as I will blog stalk you to find the right gift for you).
4. After commenting here, you must repost this or something similar to your blog in 48 hours. If not, I will chose the next person who comments.

I thought it would be a bit of fun to join in, so comment away and sometime over the next year you'll get a present from me *grins*

Stripe Study Shawl KAL Update #3

I missed a week of the SSSKAL updates due to Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, but I'm back today with news of how the shawl is growing *smiles*

It's now impossible to photograph properly on the needles, not enough room to stretch it out without losing a lot of stitches!

I've (finally) finished the twelfth and final green stripe, so now it's just the loooooooong rows of the border to do. Luckily I'm still excited about the shawl, because those long rows are really a bit of a chore *laughs*

From a picture I saw on instagram yesterday, it looks like my co-conspirator Sarah has finished her shawl and is blocking it already. Go Sarah *grins* I'm a little way off, thanks to my finger mishap of a few weeks ago, plus focusing on my Narragansett when I realised how close that was to being finished...But hopefully I'll be there soon.

I've added a Mr Linky below, in case you're participating in the kintalong and want to showcase your post too - I'd love to read it! And I'm linking up with Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Crafting On again this week.

Pop back later though, as I have another post coming (I know, 2 in 1 day!)