Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Work In Progress Wednesday Number 41

As I mentioned yesterday, I spent the last week in Las Vegas *grins* Perhaps unsurprisingly, I didn't do a whole lot of knitting while I was there. In fact, I didn't pick up my needles at all (although I did buy some yarn) ;)

So this post is not a whole lot different to last week, although I did remember to take a picture this time!

So, the 2 socks on the needles - boyfriend's sock is still halfway through the cuff, and brother's is halfway through the toe (which would be more impressive if they were both cuff down, but his is toe up, so not much done!)

As I mentioned last week "I also cast on for a vest to go over a shirt, in my lovely 100% alpaca yarn that has been waiting patiently in stash for a while." - that's the purple in the middle. I'm cobbling together a variety of patterns for this one, as nothing fit quite what I wanted, so I'll make sure to write down what I do in case it works out well *smiles*

Shalom is at the waist shaping stage, so not too much more to do on the body:

Then I'm adding sleeves, and it will be done. I think this one should get some attention next, as it shouldn't take too much longer. 

As for the book - I quite like Jodi Picoult books, although after reading one I can't pick up another of hers for at least 6 months or they all seem to blur into one. This one is pretty good so far. Last week I was reading the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy and a few people asked what I thought... The concept is seriously similar to the film Series 7: The Contenders, and clearly inspired by Battle Royale, so it's not quite as revolutionary as the author would have you believe (based on the interview in the back of the book!) 

Having said that, I quite enjoyed it. The main character was somewhat annoying, and I would have liked more history of the world they were all living in - the premise of the games was a little weak to me. But overall, I still enjoyed it enough to read the next book (although I've heard that book 3 is pretty bad). 

As ever, if you want more lovely knitting and reading content, head to Tami's and Ginny's *smiles* Also, I'm linked up at Keep Calm Crafting On again this week

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

I Have Returned

Hi everyone. You may have noticed that, although I have been updating my blog, I have been pretty absent from commenting and linking this last week. Well, I was on holiday and pre-scheduled my posts (I figured it wouldn't be the best plan to announce to the internet that my house was empty for a week *laughs*), but now I am back.

So, you might be wondering where I was...

That shiny hotel is Trump International, in Las Vegas *huge grin* Boyfriend had to go for a work conference, and had a couple of extra days out there thanks to the way the flights worked, so I decided to tag along. We were there for a week (there were a few days where I was by myself while he worked, but funnily enough I found plenty to do!)

I spent the first day wandering down the strip, checking out the hotels and casinos...

On one of the days boyfriend had free, we took a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon...

Before flying back down the strip at sunset:

Of course, I have many, many more pictures, but I don't want to overload you with them all at once *laughs* Suffice to say, I had an amazing time. I even took a trip to a yarn store... And it will come as no surprise that I bought some yarn!

I wanted to buy some Cascade yarn (I know it is a staple, basic yarn in the States, but it's hard to get hold of over here!) and the teal in the corner is Cascade Dolce. I had to buy sock yarn, to make Vegas socks *laughs* so the pink yarn is Tofutsies sock. Middle front is some gorgeous Merino Top, the yarn store (Wooly Wonders) caters to spinners and weavers as well as knitters and crocheters. The ladies in there made me feel very welcome, and invited me to return with my knitting next time I came to Vegas *smiles*

On the far right of the picture is some yarn I picked up in Walmart, Caron Simply Soft (which really is soft!) and Peaches and Cream dishcloth cotton (because it came to about 97p!)

So, that was a very quick summary of my trip *laughs* Now I need to turn my attention to my blog reader, which seems to have a lot of posts I've missed in the last week!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Lucky Me... Again

It was my birthday yesterday *grins* I'll give you more details tomorrow, but I wanted to post about the 2 awesome packages I got to finally open...

I mentioned in the last 2 swaps I have participated in, that the lovely people sending to me had put something in the parcel for me to open on my birthday. Firstly, Karen had sent me a card with a couple of things in, as well as a squishy present:

Beautiful New Zealand sock yarn, and a card with a cute ceramic button, sheep notepad and a kiwi bookmark (in case the clues didn't give it away, the parcel came from New Zealand! I love that there is a kiwi bookmark in there!)

And the lovely Tink sent me a birthday card that really made me laugh, and 2 gorgeous sets of buttons, that are awaiting the perfect project to really show them off:

I feel so lucky to have met such amazing people through knitting, blogging and Ravelry. None of these gifts were part of the swap, or expected, they were just thoughtful and lovely things that some wonderful people decided to do. And I'm going to stop now before I become all gushy!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Roll With It

A non-knitting FO this week (I know I could show you my sock, but as I have something else available, I thought I'd save the sock for when it has a mate!)

You may recognise the fabric as one I was sent in a swap some time ago. I hadn't found a use for it until I recently decided that it was about time I organised my knitting needles... So I made a needle roll *grins*

I'm still pretty rubbish with my sewing machine, and straight lines are apparently still beyond my capabilities *laughs* But having said that, I'm really pleased with it. My needles are now all neat and tidy, and I can find them without spending ages hunting through a drawer for the second of a pair ;)

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday Number 40

This week I finished my first sock, but as I have 2 other pairs of socks on the go, I decided not to cast on the second one right away. I think there is probably such a thing as too many socks at once *laughs* Since I finished that, I have been working on Shalom, which is now at the waist shaping stage and shouldn't take too much longer to finish the body.

I also cast on for a vest to go over a shirt, in my lovely 100% alpaca yarn that has been waiting patiently in stash for a while. Well, with lots of socks on the go, I needed something new and exciting for me too *laughs*

I haven't been reading much, but I have bought the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy, as I have heard so much about it that I figured it was about time I knew what people were talking about ;) Haven't started it yet, so it's a little sneaky to picture, but I will be starting it this evening so I think it counts *laughs* I hate when I can only find a book with the film tie-in cover though, is that just me?!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Blog Hub Swap - final day!

Last day, and I'm sad that I have no more parcels to open, this has been such a fun swap *grins*

I was particularly intrigued by this package, because the last thing on the list of must-be-included-items for the swap was "a local delicacy". Well, this package was flat, so I had no idea what it could be!

Then I opened it and read the note, and it all made sense. You see, Tink lives about an hour away from me, and made the very good point that anything she can get where she lives, there's a pretty good chance I can get where I live too *laughs* So instead of sending me something that wouldn't be unusual or exciting, she sent me this:

You might recognise the image from my sidebar - a while ago I came up with the idea of dusting off my unused cookbooks and actually making some of the recipes (which reminds me, I haven't done one for ages!) Well, Tink decided to join me in my challenge, and has made some gorgeous sounding recipes from her books.

So, in honour of the challenge, and the fact that today's gift should have a food theme, she made me a mini cookbook of some of her favourite recipes that have come out of the challenge. I was blown away by how thoughtful and sweet this gift is, and must declare that I wish to internet-marry Tink right now *laughs*

Thank you, I love it.

I have been so lucky with this swap. I've received some amazing presents to open, so thoughtful and perfect for me, and I hope everyone else participating has had as much fun as I have.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Blog Hub Swap Day 6

Today's parcel was an interesting shape, and I was very intrigued to tear it open and find out what exciting things Tink had picked out for me to open next *grins*

3 little vials of... Wiltons Food colouring *grins*

I've had loads of fun dyeing yarn with Kool aid, but as mentioned in the note, people also use Wiltons colouring (and I have seen some amazing results with it). Apparently you can actually buy this stuff in the UK, at Hobbycraft, which I didn't realise.

So now I have red, blue and purple to play with, and I can't wait to get some bare yarn and give them a try *grins*

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Blog Hub Swap Day 5

Day five... Only 2 more presents to open after today :( I'm enjoying this far too much to stop *laughs*

So, today's package had 2 wrapped pieces, a big one and a little one. Interesting...What were they?

2 awesome books *grins* The note that accompanied these said that Tink saw these and immediately thought of me. And how right she is! The essential foreign swear words is so funny (and although I don't swear on my blog, I am a little more sweary in real life!)

As for the "Picturesque Word Origins" book, it's amazing. I have quite a few posts that demonstrate just how much I love words, and reading about their origins is fascinating to me. I love this book, thank you so much Tink!

Of course I can't post about this cool book without a few extracts for you *smiles*

Escape: originally meant to slip out of one's cape
Monster: comes from the Latin monstrum - a divine omen of misfortune

Remorse: originates in the Latin remordere, meaning "to bite again"
Subtle: from the Latin subtilis, meaning "woven fine", was applied to delicate fabrics

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Blog Hub Swap Day 4

So, this morning I got to open day 4 of my swap packages *grins*

I guessed that today might be the patterns, based on the shape of the parcel, but there's another flat one waiting for day 7, so I'm very intrigued!

I was right about today though ;)

The note with these said that I have expressed a desire to knit socks that are a little more interesting than the plain ones I have been making until now, so Tink hunted through Ravelry to find some interesting patterns for me *smiles*

So I have 3 new pairs of socks to make, and I didn't have to hunt through the many, many pages of patterns to find them myself ;) I particularly like the pattern on the right of the picture, "little minx", really interesting texture that I'm excited to try out.

Even better, I still have three days of packages to open *grins*

Friday, 17 February 2012

Blog Swap Parcel 3, Finished Objects, All Sorts of Excitement!

Day 3 of the Blog Hub Swap, and the shape and feel of my parcel indicated that today was yarn day *grins* And yes, I did give the parcel a squidge before I opened it! So, I won't keep you in suspense, here's what Tink picked out for me...

Candy Skein yarn *much grinning* I wanted to try some of this yarn for absolutely ages, but haven't bought any thanks to my stashbusting plans. Of course yarn received in swaps is totally allowed, so I was super excited that Tink sent me this! It's one of my favourite of Tami's colourways (although they're all gorgeous, so it's hard to choose!)

Talking of Tami... On to the Finished Objects (do you see what I did there? *laughs*) I have 2 to share today, both of which were submitted to Nerd Wars but both also happened to be projects I wanted to make anyway ;)

First up, my Impala Treads fingerless gloves (Impala is my team on Nerd Wars):

Picture 626

And a better picture of the colour, plus a close up of the pattern:

Picture 625

Pattern: Treads
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Fez, kindly sent to me by Laura
Modifications: Made them longer to make the most of the gorgeous yarn!
Other: I love these! They're so warm and cosy, and had some interesting pattern details that I really enjoyed *smiles*

And project 2, my Demonic Omen Hat (name is again a Nerd Wars reference!):

Picture 627 Picture 629

Pattern: Hurricane Hat
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted left over from making boyfriend's hat
Modifications: Longer brim and shorter patterned section (mainly because I got the measurements the wrong way round *laughs*)
Other: Love this yarn, so squishy and soft!

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

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Blog Hub Swap - Day 2 plus Some Yarn Dyeing

Day 2 of the Blog Hub Swap (you can find day one here) brought a new parcel to open. But first, I thought I would take a picture of the wonderful brightly coloured pile of presents:

Doesn't it look festive?! Tucked in there is also a white envelope with strict instructions not to open it until my birthday next weekend. Intriguing *laughs*

So, what did day 2 bring?

An absolutely gorgeous notebook, accompanied by some pink pens and some utterly cute mini-highlighters *grins* The message accompanying this said "because I know you love stationery as much as I do!" Yep, Tink is right there, I do love stationery *grins* I have a weakness for notebooks especially ;)

By the way, if you want to see what I sent to my swap recipient, she's blogging about it over here at Tanya's Blog.

In other news, my mum and brother came to visit me at the weekend. My brother requested that I make him another pair of socks, because the ones I gave him for Christmas were so good. Well, how could I refuse?! I grabbed the yarn that I had used before, which isn't the most attractive to begin with:

Mum and brother were quite keen to try out some yarn dyeing, so I grabbed some Kool Aid and off we went *laughs* It was lots of fun, especially as they'd never tried anything like it before. And now we have a much nicer looking yarn:


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Blog Hub Swap - Day 1

I know I don't ever post twice in one day, but after posting my WIP Wednesday post, I had something else to share...

A little while ago I joined the Blog Hub swap 2012 (the Blog Hub is a fab group on Ravelry for bloggers). This morning I had to pop to the post office to pick something up, and lo and behold, it was my swap parcel *grins*

I opened up the package to find a postcard telling me who my presents were from, Tink of Master of a Thousand Things *grins a lot* I was really excited by this, I've mentioned before that Tink is my evil twin/alter ego, so I'm very impatient to find out what she picked out for me.

The theme of the swap is that you send 7 individually wrapped presents, which get opened one per day and generate a week's worth of blog posts. According to my postcard, I am to open the packages in a specific order.

So, today I opened package one...

Three funky dishcloths *grins* The message inside the present said that Tink knows I hate knitting with 100% cotton, and she'd noticed me mention to someone on twitter that I had no handknit dischcloths of my own, so she decided to make me some. Very clever stalking ;)

Even better, the colours are awesome - a purple one (her favourite colour), a fabulous green crocheted basketweave one, and an orange one (my favourite colour). And the orange one even has an "N" on it *smiles*

Excellent day one Tink, thanks! I can't wait to see what I get tomorrow :)

Work In Progress Wednesday Number 39

Wonderfully oversaturated picture thanks to the sunlight streaming through my window! I kinda like it though ;)

Due to the fact that my sock and Shalom are meandering along slowly and not demonstrably different, you get a slightly arty shot of my current WIPs *laughs* I guess it's better than the picture being the same as last week. I have cast on and finished a hat in the meantime, but more about that on Friday!

You may, however, notice 2 new projects in the centre of the picture. The white and blue is the toe of a sock for my brother - who asked very nicely for another pair. The body of the sock will be knit in the same yarn overdyed an orangey brown colour, with toes, cuffs and heels in the colour you see above.

And the grey yarn is a sock for the boyfriend. This actually actually sock 2, I just couldn't post about the first one as the pair were for his birthday. I managed to run out of time, so he only got one sock wrapped up *laughs*

As you might be able to see, this sock actually has a pattern, which was one of my goals for this year. It's only a simple 2 stitch cable, but I also achieved my goal of cabling without a cable needle, so double whammy ;)

This picture might show the cables off a little better:

I haven't done much spinning this week, but hopefully I'll have more to share on that soon!

As ever, if you want more lovely knitting and reading content, head to Tami's and Ginny's *smiles* Also, I'm joining up with Frontier Dreams' Keep Calm Crafting On again this week :)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Stash Status Update

I thought it was probably about time that I checked on the stash busting progress I am making *laughs*

Last time I checked on it was 9th January, when the figures were:

Total stash (balls): 99.5
Total stash (meters): 19,632
Total stash (yards): 21,469

Since then I know I have made some inroads... The way I work it is that works in progress count as stash until they are fully finished, so finishing things like my ballet sweater have a nice impact on the stash total ;)

Thanks to Ravelry, it is easy to keep track, and downloading the stash spreadsheet means I can total everything up without having to get it out and count it *grins* Just in case anyone was wondering how I managed to get the figures!

So, today's totals:

Total stash (balls): 88.8
Total stash (meters): 17,705
Total stash (yards): 19,362

Not bad *smiles* Nearly 10 balls down, and a couple of thousand meters/yards gone. I haven't bought any yarn in that time either, which obviously helps!

It doesn't seem like a huge amount, but as I'm not counting the balls in progress there will be another batch to come off as soon as I finish some more projects ;)

I still have lots of projects I am excited about for yarn I have already. Plus my brother has requested more socks, apparently the ones I made him are awesome ;) Well, I have some of the same yarn that I used for his last pair sitting in my stash, so that works for me. I have the perfect yarn in stash to make a secret project for my latest swap... That's some stashbusting of the best kind - having the perfect yarn to hand rather than buying more. 

And, as there are no pictures in the post, here's a gratuitous shot of my gorgeous llama yarn... 

Monday, 13 February 2012

Giveaway Winner

Good morning everyone *smiles* Monday morning seems like an excellent day to announce a giveaway winner!

So, without further ado, let's take a look at the random number generator...

Congratulations number 12! Who would be *drumroll*...

Chrissy, of Stitched Together.

Chrissy chose Floral Language, a very pretty colourway too *smiles*

Congrats, I'll be in touch!

Friday, 10 February 2012

By Definition*

I think you can guess what this is...!

Finally, my fuzzy ballet sweater is finished *grins* I stopped working on it before Christmas, to focus on gift knitting, and for some reason it took me ages to summon the motivation to pick it back up. Which was silly really, as it only needed a few inches of sleeve finishing and the ties for it to be complete.

I think part of my reluctance to finish it was because I didn't think I was going to like it and I wasn't sure it would fit. Luckily, I pushed on and finished and now I love it *laughs*

It's so much cuter than I thought it would be (even if the picture doesn't show it off as well as it should - I was a bit dopey this morning!)

It's really cosy thanks to the fuzziness.

Yarn: Kidsilk Aura (from stash!) - 5 balls
Pattern: Fuzzy Ballet Sweater
Modifications: Lots *laughs* because my yarn was a lot thinner than the one used in the pattern, I had to wing it with stitch counts. I should have written down what I did, but I just made it up as I went along ;) Luckily it worked out!

It's a bit too cold to wear it at the moment, as the view out of my window is dominated by snow, but I have a feeling this will be a perfect spring item. And it ticks off a few of my crafting goals - using stash, knitting garments and finishing WIPs *grins*

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

* "Well, fluffy shirts are, by definition, very comfortable" - Hugh Dancy

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Lucky Me :)

Last night I got home (shivering, man it was cold!) to find a parcel waiting for me. A swap package had arrived, and you know how I enjoy swaps!

This swap was based on the theme "head, shoulders, fingers, toes" and the aim was to make something for your recipient from stash yarn in one of the theme categories and include a warming soup recipe. I sent my swappee the cowl made from Manos Silk Blend yarn that featured in a previous WIP Wednesday post (I forgot to get a proper photo of it before I sent it off though, d'oh!)

The person sending to me (not the same person I sent to) sent me all sorts of wonderful things.

The postcard indicated that the lovely Karen who sent me the parcel is from New Zealand. And the white envelope at the top of the picture contained this lovely desk calendar (that is making me want to go to NZ right now!)

The purple parcel contained my swap gift, from the shoulders category... A beautiful scarf:

Made with New Zealand yarn, in one of my favourite colours *smiles* I tried to get a good picture of me wearing it (which I am doing right now!) but the colour is much truer in the picture above.

But the sweetest thing in my parcel is the gold package and a second white envelope. Karen noted that she'd seen from my profile my birthday is in a couple of weeks, so she sent me a special extra parcel as a birthday gift. How lovely is that?!

Of course I now have the agonising wait until I open it (if I manage to wait of course *laughs*)

ps, there's still time to enter my giveaway ;)