Friday, 30 November 2012


Thanks for the comments and opinions yesterday - I still haven't decided what I'm going to make, but I think it might have to be Berwick, it just looks so snuggly ;)

Well, although I did finish my Tweedy Cowl, and blocked it, I am currently lacking my photographer who is away with work. So that'll have to wait.

Luckily I do have something finished to show you anyway ;)


I made more yarn *grins* Isn't it lovely?

It is spun from this gorgeous corriedale fibre, that the lovely Heather sent me in a giveaway from her blog. I actually have half the fibre left too, so I can make another one, although I am spinning something else at the moment.

I haven't actually calculated the weight (I think it's roughly DK though) or the length yet, I've been too busy oohing and aaahing over how pretty it looks *laughs*


Thank you Heather *grins*

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Change of Plan

After posting about the entirety of my work in progress pile last week, I picked up my Concur cardigan to make a bit of progress with it. Unfortunately, I think I was right when I said that it was probably going to be too small.

In fact, I'm almost certain it will be, although being knit in pieces means I can't just try it on and see.

So I have decided to rip it out and make something else. Not my favourite thing to do, but it's better than leaving it forever half finished *laughs*

I haen't yet decided what to replace it with, but here are the things from my queue that might fit the bill...

$5 in Paris

© kc2sjj

I love the shape of this, but I also love stripes, so I'm torn between finally making it, or waiting to make it in 2 colours.


  © canarysanctuary

I really like the combination of hood and v-neck, but I'm not 100% sure I have quite enough yarn.


© Carrie Bostick Hoge

This is my most recently queued item, from the recent Twist Collective. It looks so cosy and cute. Again, yarn requirements may be tight, but I have short arms, and would likely make the neck slightly shorter, so it's possible.

What do you think? Any other pattern suggestions for 950 yards of worsted weight yarn?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Too Cold to Think of a Decent Title

Good morning on this freezing cold Wednesday *shivers and tries to smile*

I'm rethinking my current WIPs, and wondering if I should cast on lots of hats, gloves, mitts and scarves *laughs* I have actually finished my tweedy green cowl, so I shall post more about that on Friday.

Since finishing that, I have been giving my Subtle Stripes cardigan some attention. I think I've done about another inch, so not a huge amount, but enough that I feel good about finishing it sometime ;)

I have done a little bit of reading this week, which makes a nice change as I haven't read much in ages. I re-read (for the umpteenth time) Memoirs of a Geisha. It's one of my very favourite books of all time, and I read it every couple of years. It's been longer than that since the last time I picked it up, and it was like meeting an old friend.

Does anyone else re-read books they love over and over, or is it just me?!

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

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Socks Come Marching 2 By 2... Hurrah

I've been asked a couple of times recently about how easy or difficult it is to knit socks 2 at a time, so I thought I would do a post about it *smiles*

I'll preface this by saying that I tend to only do toe up socks by this method, mainly because I like toe up socks *laughs* I have small feet but large paranoia, so when I knit cuff down, I always end up with loads of yarn left over, because I desperately don't want to run out and end up massively misjudging!

So, toe up socks, 2 at a time. I learned how from Silver's wonderful tutorial, and as that has lots of pictures and step by step instructions, I won't try and replicate it here. Instead I'll cover my experiences with this method.

Starting with - if you can knit socks, you can knit socks 2 at a time. Also, if you can't yet knit socks, do so. It is easier than you think. I wrote a whole post about that very point - "Socks are Hard" - read it and come back (hint: the post title is a lie, socks are not hard to knit, honestly) ;)

Ok, back to 2 at a time...

The fiddliest part is casting on. Toe up cast on can be fairly fiddly anyway (it is for me anyway!), but having to wrangle 2 sets of stitches seems way too complicated at first. But when I realised that it didn't matter if I stretched that first set of stitches, because they get tightened up with the next row, it all became much easier.

Tip one: don't worry if the cast on stitches are a bit loose. 

Then you just knit the socks as you normally would - at the mid-toe stage you may find that they can look a little like a bra/bikini top *laughs*

The first few rows are still a little awkward, until you have enough increases to have turned the socks into a more 3-dimensional shape, but it's not difficult, just a tiny bit fiddly the first time you do it.

The first time I knit socks plural, I was super worried about tangling the yarns. So when I turned the socks to work on the other side, I would also switch where I had the yarn. I tend to keep one ball either side of me, so I'd turn the socks and switch the balls of yarn.

This works, and is certainly a good method to avoid tangles, but I have got a different method I use now - when turning the work to move on to the other side of the sock I turn it clockwise and when turning back the other way, I turn anti/counter clockwise. This also avoids the tangling issue, although I find I need a fair amount of slack in the yarn when the balls are on the opposite side.

Tip two: find a way to avoid tangling the yarn that works for you, there's no one right way!

You might think that the heels would cause a bit of an issue with 2 at a time socks, but actually they are done individually, so no worries at all. You knit one sock's heel before moving on to the next one, so there's really no difference between 2 at a time or individual socks at this stage.

Tip three: worried about the heels? Don't be, they're done separately :)

Once you've done the heels, off you go up the leg. And if you're reading this far, you probably already know how that goes *laughs*

I knitted my Starpower and my Multicoloured Swap socks 2 at a time, so as you can see, you can knit patterned socks by this method too.

Casting off is as simple as for one sock too, so there's really nothing to it. The hardest bit is the cast on, but it gets easier. For me, the best part about 2 at a time - no second sock syndrome! And, surprisingly, I have found that it doesn't take twice as long to knit a pair versus knitting an individual sock. A little longer, but not by much.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Christmas Jumper Day

As promised yesterday, I thought I would post a bit more about Save the Children's first ever Christmas Jumper Day.

On 14th December, more than 250,000 people (and counting!) will be wearing a festive woolly to school, offices and workplaces all across the UK, with everyone taking part donating £1 to Save the Children.
Think fluffy nosed reindeer and cross-stitched snowmen! Anyone can take part – you can decorate an everyday jumper with tinsel and baubles, rescue an old one bought in a moment of festive joy, or even knit one if you've got the skills – it's completely up to you.
Money raised from Christmas Jumper Day will help bring life-saving care to some of the world’s most vulnerable children. In the world's poorest countries almost 7 million children die every year from easily preventable causes like diarrhoea and malnutrition. Simple solutions, like vaccines and mosquito nets, save lives – so your knitted jolly jumper could make a real difference.
We want to spread the word far and wide to get as many people as possible involved in a day of jumper joy on 14th December.  
At the fabulous knitting event I went to last week, we got to have a play with the knitting patterns Debbie Bliss had designed. You can make your own cute little egg cozies too - patterns are here *grins*
Or, if you're feeling brave (and speedy), adult size Christmas jumper patterns for the event are here

I was honoured to be part of the campaign, and I'm not the only one. Celebrities are also joining in the fun...

For all your social media needs, here are the links:

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Awesome Knit Night

Last week I had the good fortune to be invited to an event to help launch Save the Children's new Christmas Jumper Day - to make the world a better place with Christmas Jumpers on 14th December.

The event was held at the Save the Children shop in Primrose Hill, which is gorgeous and I would like to move into *laughs*

The event was hosted by Debbie Bliss, with her special guest Trisha Malcolm, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Knitting. Debbie had designed some patterns for the event, which are so cute...

There's a third mini jumper, but I'm saving that one until I can show you the one I made ;) I only managed to knit the front at the event, as I was so busy chatting *laughs*

I had a really lovely time, meeting bloggers and some lovely ladies from Save the Children who were telling us about the work they do at home and abroad.

One of the bloggers I met was Susan, from Damn, Knit and Blast It... I was a bit of  dork when I went over to say hi, as Susan's was actually the very first knitting blog I ever read *laughs* I think I managed to chat to everyone, at least briefly, and walked back to the tube station with Susan and Gemma, from the Knitting Fraggle. We also discovered that all 3 of us have boyfriends/husbands with the same first name, which was quite amusing.

I had a great time chatting to Debbie Bliss, especially when I realised I was wearing a jumper made from her Fez yarn. We bonded over our mutual sadness that both Fez and Alpaca Silk had been discontinued by the manufacturer *laughs*

And I did do some knitting in amongst the chatting, snacking and drinking, see... ;)

I'll post a bit more about Christmas Jumper Day tomorrow, as it was the whole reason for the fab night, but in the meantime, check out the other lovely ladies' blogs too...

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Cookbook Challenge Revisited

Last night I wanted to make something warming and cosy and rich and tasty. Boyfriend has been travelling a lot with work lately, and yesterday was a horrible day of getting trains in the rain. So I scanned through the cookbooks, and my cookbook challenge posts and chose...

Chicken and Chorizo Traybake.

As before, I used sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes, as I prefer them immensely.  And, as before, it was so, so tasty *grins* In fact, I think this one was even better than last time.

This time I also served some fine beans, for a bit of freshness, and a few chunks of bread to mop up any juices ;)

The combination of chorizo and sweet potato is just gorgeous, and with the caramelised onions and chicken added in, it really is a perfect winter meal. Plus, everything goes into the same pan at the same time - so easy!

Anyway, I know this one has featured before, but it was so good last night that I thought it deserved a second showing *laughs*

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

What to do...?

As I posted a fairly long overview of all the projects I am working on, on Monday, I won't bore you with them all again ;) There is one more project, however, that I did not post about... My fluffy cowl.

I have actually finished it, save for weaving in the ends. But there is a but... It's so, so very fluffy. It's gorgeous to touch but now that I've pretty much finished it, I'm not sure I want it near my face *laughs*Just putting it on deposits a lot of angora fibre up my nose.

So I have a bit of a dilemma, because I don't really know what to do with it now. I'm half tempted to sew up the sides and make it into an oddly shaped cushion, purely for stroking purposes! The yarn isn't robust enough to make anything that gets a lot of friction, like mitts, and I don't have enough to make much else.

Ah well, even if I never use it, knitting it was a wonderfully tactile experience *laughs* Any suggestions welcome though!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Frog Pond

As I did a review yesterday of everything that is currently on my needles, I thought it might be interesting to look back at the projects that never got finished, and try to figure out why...

Unfinished Project the First

Feather and Fan scarf. I cast this on very early in my knitting career, before I knew much about anything *laughs* I cast it on too wide, so each row took forever, the yarn was cotton which I didn't like at all and I kept making mistakes but had no idea how to fix them. As lovely as the colours were, and the pattern, I gave up and moved on.

Oh Look, More Cotton

This was the project that absolutely confirmed that I am not a fan of cotton. I can manage a dishcloth or two, but 4 ply mercerized cotton is hell on my hands. The pattern was also pretty confusing - too many "at the same time" instructions *laughs* At one point I think I was keeping track of 5 different things at once, and it just wasn't fun.

Bad Yarn, Bad Pattern Modifications

Ages and ages ago, a colleague gave me some unwanted yarn belonging to his wife and there was this fabulous red colour with enough to make a vest. So I cast on, and immediately despaired. The yarn was acrylic, which I'm not too much of a snob about generally, but this felt like it was made of plastic bags. Ugh. Plus I was using a pattern for a different yarn weight and my maths was clearly so very wrong in trying to work out what I was doing *laughs*

Good Yarn, Bad Pattern

Well, by "bad pattern" I really mean "not the right pattern". I took ages choosing a pattern for this gorgeous 100% silk yarn and I still love the look of the scroll lace, but together they didn't get very far. Also I made a weird mistake somewhere and couldn't for the life of me work out what had gone wrong! The yarn is still in my stash, waiting for just the right thing.

Nothing Wrong, I Just Wasn't Feeling It

I planned to make a vest out of this gorgeous 100% alpaca yarn, but after a few inches it just wasn't working for me. As someone who doesn't like to rip things out if there's nothing actually wrong with them, it was quite liberating to discard this and move on. Again, yarn is awaiting the right project.

Have You Ever Tried to Frog Mohair?

Final project that went no where - my Wisp. Lovely pattern, and I was using Rowan Kidsilk Haze (often known in blogging circles as Cracksilk Haze due to its addictive properties). I made a mistake somewhere along the line and tried to rip things back. And got in a bit of a tangle *laughs* After 4 repeats of the pattern, and 4 mistakes I got fed up ;)

Monday, 19 November 2012

Stock Take

Thank you for the lovely comments on my redesign, I'm really pleased with it so it's great to get good feedback *grins*  Anyway, on to some craft content...

Despite needing a new project like I need a hole in the head, I have somehow managed to cast on something new *laughs* So I thought I would take stock of what I'm working on.

New Project - Tweed Cowl

I've had the Honey Cowl pattern in my queue for a while now, so I paired it up with some yarn I had received in a swap - Knitpicks City Tweed DK. I love the dark green, tweedy colour and I'm picturing this tucked into a winter coat. I'm hoping I'll have enough yarn to make a matching hat too. 

Oldest Unfinished Project - Princess Unicorn Socks

I cast on the first sock in January, so I really should get on and finish sock two *laughs* The first took a while, and I didn't fancy knitting the second one during the summer thanks to the angora in the yarn. But it's November, and angora socks sound pretty good right now!

Unloved Project - Concur Cardigan

[no picture, it's so unloved I completely forgot to take one *laughs*]

I started this cardigan a while ago, but it's knit in pieces and seamed together, which is something I don't love. Plus I think it may turn out too small, so I have been a little bit reluctant to pick it back up. It's made in Caron Simply Soft, though, which I have heard grows a fair bit, so maybe it'll be ok.

Project I want to be Finished but the Progress is Sooooooo Slow - Subtle Stripes Cardigan

I love this and I want it to be done, but it needs at least another 6 inches of body. It's light DK weight and the rows take forever, especially the purl ones *laughs* See, I have already mentioned that I don't like garments knit in pieces, but all-in-one always seem to get to a point where I get sick of them - usually at the point I am now ;) Clearly I'm a bit contrary.

Project I pick up when I don't know what I feel like Knitting - Legwarmers

I've finished one and I'm working on the second one. Because the pattern (if you can call it that - I pretty much made it up) is so simple, they are seriously easy. The problem is the yarn, it is so unrelentingly brown that there are times I can't bear to look at it *laughs*

Pretty but Frustrating Project - Noro Socks 

I've got past the heels on these now, which is good. I've mentioned before that the yarn is incredibly frustrating, it is so determined to get tangled that knitting socks two at a time (my preferred method) involved a fair amount of cursing ;)

So, that's what's on the needles... I think I need to get something finished, so I feel like I have made some progress!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Re-Design and Housekeeping

You may have noticed that I have a new header up there... What do you think?

I thought it was about time to perk things up a bit, so I changed the header, made a few tweaks to some of the layout options and made myself a new favicon (the little box with an "M" in it on your browser tab).

I'm quite proud of the new design, as I did it all by myself with my rudimentary photoshop skills*grins* My last header was designed by cunning boyfriend, and it was perfect, but I wanted a new look and decided to design something a bit cleaner and crisper.

I have also updated the "Things What I Have Made" page - I haven't put my finished projects in there for ages and it was about time to do some housekeeping *laughs*

Now I just need to work on taking better pictures ;)

I've been a bit absent from the blog world over the last week, thanks to some crazy busy work stuff, so I need to come up with a new plan for posting. I don't like not posting for a week, but my usual schedule isn't working right now.

I tend to post in the morning, off the top of my head, as long as I have remembered to take a few hasty photos. I think I need to plan a little bit more in advance, so I can schedule some posts for when work gets in the way.

Ah, I wish I could write for a living!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

A Week of Insanity

I mentioned yesterday that my crafting time over the last week had been somewhat taken up by GISHWHES...

What is it, I hear you ask? It stands for the Greatest International Scavanger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. The brainchild of Misha Collins (he plays Castiel in Supernatural), it is a week of finding/creating/doing crazy things.

I joined up with a bunch of my team mates from Nerd Wars and we coordinated getting some of the following items:

  • A mechanical catapult that can throw a pumpkin 100m
  • 3 people dressed as frogs, leapfrogging through Starbucks
  • A kilt made entirely of cucumber
  • A picture of a priest, a minister and a rabbi walking into a bar
  • Build a tea house using recycled materials under a bridge and have a cup of tea in it...
  • The prime minister or president of a country modelling a bra

Anyway, there were 150 items, some crazier than others *laughs*

I volunteered to make a model to answer the challenge "We know what a flea circus looks like, but what would a flea strip club look like"?

Yep, the pole is a DPN ;)

I also tried to "recreate the seduction of Eve, with fig leaf, snake and apple, at a bus stop:

I didn't use this picture, as the leaves were in the wrong place, but I like the shot anyway - boyfriend took it while I couldn't stop laughing and I think it came out really well.

One of the other challenges I did made use of my rudimentary drawing skills - it's supposed to be Misha Collins and the Queen of England, dressed in Steampunk garb, riding a single stallion:

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Minute Amounts of Progress

Well, I haven't been doing much knitting this week, thanks to taking part in GISHWHES (I'll explain tomorrow *laughs*) and not much in the way of reading either.

So my progress is pretty small...

An additional stripe and a half on my angora cowl. I'm on the final stripe now. It is so hard to photograph just how soft and fluffy this yarn is, but here's my best shot:

I have to be careful what I wear while knitting this, otherwise I look like I may have been assaulted by a muppet *laughs*

I've also made a tiny amount of progress on my Noro socks, but as I explained yesterday, the yarn is not fun to work with, so these may take a while!

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

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


When I posted that I was knitting some socks with Noro yarn, a couple of people asked why I said I probably wouldn't use it again... Good question!

So I thought I'd post about what I think. I know Noro can split opinion, with some people adoring it and some hating it. I don't know how strongly I feel, but I am most certainly not in the loving it camp *laughs*

A couple of things I actually haven't experienced so far, despite Noro being notorious for them, are knots interrupting the colours and vegetable matter. I'm pretty glad I haven't had to deal with that (so far!)

The main things that are bugging me are twofold. The first is something I knew may be an issue, although I didn't quite expect it to be so pronounced:

Thick and thin spots. I knew the yarn was rustic (which is why I am not complaining about it being rough and scratchy, I knew that when I bought it!) and would have variations, but some stitches are laceweight and some are aran/worsted - which is making my fabric look weird and bumpy.

But the thing that is absolutely driving me mad is the way the yarn twists on itself while I am trying to knit...

*growls in frustration* I have had yarn before that twists (Zauberball, I'm looking at you), but never anything this bad. I have to untangle myself approximately every 10 stitches. Of course, it doesn't help that I am knitting these socks 2 at a time, so the tangling is exponentially increased.