Thursday, 31 December 2009

It has begun!

The Harry Potter knitting and crochet house cup had it's sorting yesterday! I am waving my geek flag high up for everyone to see at the moment because I am rather proud that I get to be a Slytherin! Obviously in the book they aren't very nice, but in the HPKCHC the Slytherin bunch have been the friendliest from what I have seen, they are certainly the most talkative, and I have ordered some nice green sock yarn to commemorate what I hope will be a fun three months.
If any of you knitter's are fans of the Potter books, and are on Ravelry feel free to join the group, you don't have to participate but you can certainly cheer us on as a Not Quite First Year (NQFY) which is what I was for a while. It is definitely fun seeing the massive tasks people take on for their OWL projects.

In other knitting news some of the packages that I ordered a couple of weeks ago have started to arrive! The one from the US hasn't yet and I am seriously regretting not paying the extra for tracking (it was about $15 more though!!) as I would like to know if it is in the country yet, but two packages from the UK are here.
First up from Get Knitted, some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Midway.
Have a clickity to see it bigger and marvel at the pretty blend of colours. I can't wait to plan what I am going to use it for, I have around 420m so I am tempted to make Ysolda's Damson shawl as I do have other sock yarns in my stash and more on the way, I shall have to wait and think about it a little bit though.

Also from Get Knitted I got some chunky 10mm straight needles in the Knit Pro acrylic version. I looked at treating myself to some wooden ones but I couldn't justify the price for a size of needle that I wouldn't use very often. At the moment I have transferred them to my Bella's scarf in purple so that I don't have to use those awful metal Addi needles any more (which I am contemplating sending to a new home) but they are a size up on the size I was using before, I am hoping that it wont be very noticeable, and that I can block it out if you can tell.
When they have done their job finishing that scarf they will be used for what I actually bought them for, the french press slippers. I haven't cast on first thing this morning because I am waiting to see if they will fit as on of the classes for the HPKCHC when the classes are posted tomorrow!
ALso my order from Amazon came today, so I am the proud owner of the Harry Potter knitting pattern book and have now completed my Harmony stitch dictionaries! The edgings and trims was the last of the 5 knitting ones, so until I decide to branch into crochet I have everything I need for getting creative.
Speaking of getting creative, I ordered some beautiful silver coloured laceweight yarn last night to make a shimmering shawl which I plan on trying to design myself! Obviously this is something which is in the future and I am just preparing myself at the moment, but it is an ongoing project that I am really looking forward to. I really want to do something with stars in the yarn overs.

Just a couple of fun pics now, I got this little guy for christmas:

He's called Bramble, I have wanted a Beagle for years and again didn't get one, I am not allowed while I am at my parents house, so my Mum got me this little Steiff Beagle instead, he is my current desk mascot!

I am contemplating popping a pic of my favorite things at the bottom of my posts for fun, good idea? These are one of my favorite things right now...yum!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Me. The dumbass!

Yes, I am, because I finished 'The Thirteenth' about a week ago and forgot to blog about it!!!
I really must keep better track of my post it notes!
It was really good, I mean really really good. The idea behind the story is perfect, it is something I have never come across before and it is something I thoroughly enjoyed. It is well structured and doesn't feel like it has lost its rails at any point which is good for a first novel.
The ending had a twist and I was surprised by it, which doesn't often happen, this was a good thing because it was the sort of surprise that had clues and it could have been guessed at but I certainly didn't guess, it didn't come out of nowhere and yet was enough of a twist for me not to have sussed it out, which considering the amount of detective fiction I read is impressive.
Obviously I don't want to ruin it, but it is really difficult not to tell you what happens so I will just give you a snippet of the first of the crazy things that I mentioned last time.
Well, Val as I mentioned wakes up with a tattoo on her arm and as I mentioned she manages to make water suspend as a ball in the air at a boiling temperature, well what I didn't mention is that she does this after one of the symbols for the tattoo starts burning and she then sees someone in trouble in a piece of glass. When she touches the glass she gets transported to where that person is and has to use her powers of manipulating the elements in order to save the person. After she saves the person, the symbol disappears!
This happens several times and Val faces all sorts of situations and meets new people who become her scooby gang and we begin to learn that there are people out to get her who are causing the danger. I wont say any more, but it is always nice to know that a book has a villain in it.
The best bit? The ending is lined up for there to be more books!! I really hope she carries the story on because I really liked Val and her friends, I want more. There aren't many books that I immediately want there to be more of, Harry Potter and Twilight were two of the main ones, and defiantly the books in the True Blood franchise, but these are things that are already established, this isn't and I still want more.
A good thing to note which I realise a lot of parents of teenaged children worry about is obviously sexual content, there isn't anything more then a kiss in this so far, so that isn't something to get anxious over. There is obviously the age old message of "with power comes responsibility" (which for some reason that I can never quite fathom some parents seem to want to protect their children from) but I think that the choices that Val has to make in this book are the sort of choices that wouldn't directly affect most children, but are ones which they can find parallel's with, and in turn this would teach them the value of many things in their lives.
Working at W showed me just how difficult it is for a parent to judge the content of books in that way, thats why us booksellers are so required, and this is definitely ok for audiences of around 14/15+ I would say, which in itself is quite strange for a book where the main character is 18 years old.
So if you fancy a bit of an actiony/fantasy adventure then I would give it a go, or if you have a friend or relative that is into teen fantasy stuff this would also be a good one for them, I am already lending it to my younger sister.

On a non knitting note, I got the coolest new trainers today, they are made by Simple, and are eco trainers, made from natural and sustainable resources and recycled products, the sole of the shoe is an old tyre (very apt as my dad works for a company that makes recycled lorry tyres) and you can even still see the tread and the skid marks from the tyre! It is nice that my shoes have a history. (Also I didn't pay that price for them, they were £64.99 at Schuh and I got Student discount :D )
I also may have treated myself to another Radley handbag with my christmas moneys, one that is a more every day one in a satchel style!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Round up

It feels like it has been ages since I blogged about any knitting content, when really it has only been a week, strange! I think it is because it has been a very busy week for me, and I have only managed a couple of little posts about the holidays. Well it is time for knitting content.

First up! The Bella's Mitten's for my sister's christmas present were finally finished today. I finished the main body yesterday evening but couldn't bring myself to fiddle with the DPN's for the thumb until this afternoon. My sister doesn't like modeling things for me so I only managed to take a picture of one what with holding the camera with my other hand, but here it is:

I really like them I have to say, if she doesn't wear them I might just steal them back, they are really smooshy and warm because I held two strands of the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino together. I like the colour too, purple is my favorite colour but it doesn't really suit me, it is just the right colour for my sister though so I hope she enjoys co-ordinating them with her outfits.
All I have to do now is finish the scarf. I decided to stop doing the scarf so that I could use what was left after knitting the mittens at the end of the scarf and get a bit of extra length out of it. Well it turns out there is quite a bit left so I should get a fair few repeats extra and I am rather glad that I wont have little bits left in my stash.

Pattern Name: Bella's Mittens
Yarn Used: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in 013, around 3.5 balls, maybe a little less.
Needle Size: 5 mm, 100 cm circular, magic looped.
Problems: The yarn became a bit splitty when I was doing the decreases, I think this was a combo of juggling two strands and my knitting getting a bit tight, the needles just kept going through.
Modifications: I chose to do the moss stitch palm pattern again as that is how the originals are Tonia likes things to be correct.
Skills Learnt: I magic looped this, and this is the first project I have done that on, I did a trial swatch a while ago but haven't used the technique throughout a project yet, it was much more enjoyable than managing the DPN's. I had also never held two strands together before and although it wasn't particularly enjoyable it was torturous either.
Knit Again? If you look back through the blog I am actually half way through a pair for myself!
Score: 7/10 I liked these but the little things that frustrated me made me bring the score down.

Now for a few things I have acquired. As presents I got a couple of knitterly things. Two more Harmony stitch dictionaries (I only need the edging one now, which is on order) so that I can start getting creative with colourwork, which is something I haven't done yet, and try out some more cables.
I also got the Cath Kidston 'Sew!' book which has some great things to make in it and even comes with the fabric to make a little shoulder bag.

I only got this one skein of wool for christmas, though I did get money to spend on more. I had been wanting to try out Noro but it's price and my lack of creativity had always stopped me from getting some, Mum jumped in though so now I can see if I can find something that will make the colours knit up nicely, I am thinking maybe the Noro Hat or maybe a shawlette so that I can really show off the colours. It is the sock weight Kureyon and a lot of shawl patterns seem to work with a skein of sock yarn so I shall hunt. I have a couple of other sock yarns at the moment too (and two more to come in the post, stay tuned) so I wont be detracting from my sock knitting abilities by doing this and I want to make this into something more then socks as it was a christmas present, and is therefore special.

I have recently signed up for something on Ravelry called the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup, basically you sign up for a term, get sorted into houses and then take classes, each class has a requirement for homework and your homework is a project which you propose and then finish within the time frame for points. Points obviously win your house points. I am a big harry potter fan and so I am looking forward to this, I literally can't wait to be sorted. I am hoping that this will be something to keep me from losing my mind now I am job hunting again too. Hopefully I will be able to make my skein of Noro into one of my class projects.

A couple of other things that arrived via the postie are these lovely balls of yarniness:

These came from Loop, that fab shop in Islington which I rave on about quite a lot, on top is a skein of Malabrigo Worsted in Ravelry Red to go with the Blue Graphite colourway I already have which I am going to use in my first ever colourwork project. I am planning on making these Herringbone Mittens only without the pom-poms (I am not fond of pom-poms, see Koolhaas hat for why, a crime against knitting my Dad made me commit there, he did like his hat on Christmas Day though!)
A couple of weeks ago I managed to get a Blue Duffle Coat with red toggles and red tartan lining. I have been after a blue duffle coat for a very long time, I have Paddington bear calendars and always wanted one. I have also always wanted red wellies and this year Santa brought me some red Hunter wellies for christmas, well a red and blue outfit requires red and blue mittens, so I finally decided what I would do with the blue Malabrigo I had bought. The colours match my coat perfectly, a really dark navy and a really bright red. I am waiting to cast on though to see if it will fit into my HPKCHC projects!

This next yarn is some very nice Cascade 220 in Chocolate. Another yarn I have never used before and one lots of people talk about so I am looking forward to using it.

A couple of weeks ago I said I was going to knit these French Press Slippers for my Mum's birthday, well this is the yarn for them, It will be my first felting project so I have been reading up on hand felting as I don't trust my washing machine. The needles I need are on order and now it is just a matter of waiting until the post gets back to normal after the holidays.

Hopefully I will have a Bella's scarf FO post soon, I am looking forward to getting back to not present knitting, and an update on recently ordered things next week, especially something winging its way over from the U. S. of A. which I am a little excited about!

Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Just a quickie to say Merry Christmas and that i hope you all have a wonderful day whatever you are doing to celebrate.
Also, my sister's present didn't quite get finished but she got to unwrap one mitten with a note saying the other is 2/3 done and she was happy.
Have a great day everyone!!
Georgina xx

Sunday, 20 December 2009


So. Pretty.

P.S. Bella's Cable Scarf for my sis is ALMOST done, prob wont get the mitts done too by thursday but she has a birthday in January so.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

The Thirteenth.

This one is going to be a book related post and is one that is currently close to my heart.
Working at Waterstone's I come across a lot of books, some great and some not so great, and The Thirteenth is one that I think is great!
It is a self published title from an author local to our area and is G. L. Twynham's first book, and I think she is off to a great start. I received a complimentary copy today for helping to arrange that the book be sold in our branch and I started to peruse it on my break, big mistake, my break is only 15 minutes long and I really didn't want to put it back in my locker! It is classed as part of the fantasy genre and is sort of in the same sort of area as all the twilight and other supernatural books with teenage characters and things that are currently selling, except there so far isn't an amazingly beautiful vampire lurking anywhere, and it is about the female character of the story being the strong powerful heroine. It's British too which makes a change for this genre.
Obviously it is self published, so there is the odd spelling mistake etc, but so far I am really hoping it does well so that the author can bring out some other titles!
I will give you a brief summary of what has happened so far.
The story follows a young girl named Val who is turning 18 the day after the book opens. The day before her birthday she starts to experience excruciating pain, and on the day of her birthday a mysterious tattoo of the circle of the zodiac, plus a thirteenth mystery symbol, appears on her forearm and crazy stuff starts to happen. Already at this point I am struggling to not just sit and read it all in one go, and not to tell you some of the crazy stuff that happened in just the first couple of chapters. I love the character and what I know of the plot, the character is written to be very real, leading a normal life, working in a musty old bookshop (I can so relate to bookshops), and this appeals to me. Having had a normal English childhood it is nice to see a novel with more of the elements I grew up with so that I can find paralells with my own life within the story, as opposed to the American teen supernatural books which I can only partly relate to, though I couldn't make water suspend in the air in a ball and heat to boiling temperatures for when I am in trouble, and I doubt the majority of American teens can either!
I literally cannot wait to read on, so I am going to take a quick snapshot, let you know it available on and that I will give a much better review when I have read the whole thing. I have a day off tomorrow, something tells me that I will have it finished!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Let it...

Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snowww.

Today while I was pottering away in the kitchen I looked out of the window and saw the above, a blizzard had appeared out of nowhere. Unfortunately it was a bit off and on and didn't really settle very much, there are supposed to be heavier snow storms tomorrow though, typical as I wont get my red wellies until Christmas Day! I hope it snows after Christmas too (I am not holding out for snow actually on Christmas day, but that would be cool Mother Nature if your reading)

So what was I doing in the kitchen when this blizzard appeared? I was making these:
Red Velvet cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. They are yummy.
This is actually my second attempt in as many days, the ones I did yesterday didn't go right at all, somewhere in the mixture I added way more liquid then necessary and the mixture was like batter. I think these look very festive with their Christmas trees though!
If you have never had Red Velvet cake before you are missing out, it is bright red obviously and has a subtle chocolate taste, and the cream cheese frosting is great. One of the things I miss about London is not being able to go and pick up one of these cupcakes from one of the Hummingbird Bakeries dotted across the capital (or one of the other fab cake places I know). After a long day of shopping treating myself to a cake was a nice luxury.

On a knitting note I finished my Grandma's Ripley hat, here is my Mum modeling it for you!
I think it looks great and it only used up just under 1 ball of the DB Cashmerino Aran I got, so I may have to make one for myself, or maybe I will use Malabrigo for mine.
The ends are all weaved in now, all I have to do is add sequins, I am not really sure whether to add any because my Mum thinks my Grandma might not wear it, but I really want it to be a special spangly hat and so I think if I add any at all they will just be dotted around the edge.

(So forgot this bit)
Pattern Name: Ripley in size small.
Yarn Used: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in 009
Problems: None, just my own confusion about the pleats, couldn't understand where they were on the picture it at first!
Modifications: None, possibly some sequins.
Skills Learnt: Pleats, picking up and knitting stitches.
Knit it again?: Yes, for me!
Score: 8/10

In other Ysolda news I also got my copies of Whimsical Little Knits and Whimsical Little Knits 2 today in the post! I did the Ravelry download option in order to get the Ripley pattern and then decided to do the print add on option so that they are always safe in my Ravelry library and in my library at home, having the print option is also nice because they are such cute little booklets!

With this finished I only have one present left to complete, it is a big one however, my Sister's Bella's Scarf and Mitten set, I haven't even started the mittens but the scarf is not far off, and if the mittens don't get finished they can be for her birthday which is in late January.

Speaking of birthdays, my Mum the lovely head model there has her birthday only 3 days before my sister (who refused to model the hat for me, such a spoilsport) and I am going to make her a pair of these. They are the french press Felted Slippers and I came across them on Yarn Harlot's blog, she says they can be made in 90 minutes, my knitting skills are obviously no where near as good as hers so mine will take a lot longer, and I have never felted before so this will be my first go, but Mum really liked the pattern so it will be worth it. I got a bottle of Sock Stop to make them non slip so they should be ok for everyday wear around the house for resting her hard working feet. Now I just need to decide which colour to make them, Mum isn't being very helpful about this, so I shall just assume she will like whatever colour I choose!

Just a parting shot to explain why I have gone from no Christmas feeling to lots of Christmas feeling, we put up our decorations last night, FINALLY!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The Hat Monster

I absolutely LOVE this Ripley hat pattern, but I think currently it looks like a very grumpy monster! The pleats on the back of the hat which give it the cloche styling look like a downturned mouth, I will not however be using the sequins to turn it into a face with eyes.

Although it doesn't look like much this only took me a couple of hours on Sunday night and it isn't that far from being finished, there is one more pleat and then the crown decreasing. I think it will be done by tomorrow at the latest, and that is only if I get bored this evening. I didn't get any done yesterday because I fell asleep at 7.30pm and didn't wake up until 6.15am, half an hour late getting up for work, I still made it to the bus though.

I treated myself to these yesterday:
I also got the super cool icing set from Lakeland that has squeezy bottles instead of piping bags, much better after considering my recent escapades where I managed to split 2 piping bags.
Hopefully some time soon there will be more cupcakes to show, really nice ones, top of the queue is red velvet cupcakes :D

Saturday, 12 December 2009

And in second place...

comes this post, because I have been up to planning knitting stuff and purchasing stuff and just have to share it!

My main purchase was these lovely things:
More Debbie Bliss, 'I just can't get enough' (The Saturdays is ringing in my ears) of this stuff, it was so nice for the Koolhaas hat that I decided it would be nice for my Grandma's hat too. After showing my cousin some patterns we went with Ysolda Teague's Ripley pattern, in the smaller cloche style. I went with grey because its nice and neutral and this grey has an almost silvery tone to it which I really like, and I am going to pop some pretty sequins on it in a flower pattern to spangle it up and make it really special.

While I was visiting the lovely Tricot to purchase that, I happened across something new they had in, this lovely ethical twist yarn. It was a bargain at under £5 for 240m and it is made with 85% organic wool and 15% baby alpaca and so is nice and squishy soft. It is another one that I just had to have and don't have any plans for yet, maybe a hat for myself or something similar would be appropriate.
My next two purchases are not of a knittingy nature, but they are fab, today I came across the Clarks sale and get this pair of wedges,
I have been eyeing up these wedge heels that Clarks have been doing for ages and have never managed to get a pair, so today i got these for half price! They are super comfy and flexible too, which makes a big change compared to my normal heeled shoes!

I also got what I actually went in for, these amazingly light and comfy slip ons. They really are so light you wouldn't believe it from looking at them because they have quite a thick sole.
My main pair of slip on shoes have started to show that they have been worn far too many times and so it was time for new comfy shoes for work, I haven't taken them off since I put them on for taking this picture! What do you think? I think they actually make my feet look not as big as shoes normally do (I have quite wide feet).

Finished Hat!

Yes a finished object :) these don't come along very often in my knitting world, though I am trying to finish more things at the moment so I can tackle some of the other things I would like to knit. This one was delayed by almost a week because I forgot Harry Potter was out on DVD monday, and so my allotted time slot for finishing this was reassigned to watching that with a box of tissues and this had to be squeezed into gaps in my days since.
So, here I am wearing my Dad's hat as it looked about an hour ago, (the picture isn't properly focussed because I had to put it in no flash mode and I am not clever enough to figure out my sister's camera properly :P)

Of course it doesn't look like that right now, because my dad decided it needed one of these:
Apparently, a woolen hat is not a true woolen hat without a bobble, so he has a Koolhaas with a bobble!

So the factual roundup, Using a little thingy I am going to use from now on (and prob edit into existing FO's)

Pattern name: Koolhaas
Yarn Used: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, 2 balls.
Problems: Because I am apt to confusing myself I got a bit panicked about decrease round number 2, I soon figured out how silly I had been though.
Modifications: I did the 5 pattern repeat version, and of course, the infamous Pom-Pom.
Skills learnt: Twisted knit stitches, knitting from a chart. I didn't get around to cabling without a needle.
Knit it again?: Possibly.
Score: 8/10, I feel very proud of this item, it makes me feel like I have graduated from beginners knitting.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Click, click, click,

Have gone my needles today.

Here is a progress update, I am almost done with the third pattern repeat, 2 more and then I start the decreasing, I think I can probably finish it tomorrow night and then that is one present down! Only a hat for my grandma (pattern undecided, suggestions would be wonderful) and my sisters scarf and mittens which i have been working on for AGES!

Also today I have done some baking. I love baking, in particular I like to make this:

This is my Welly Fudge cake, I stole the recipe from my senior school cook years ago and it is still my fave comfort food, roast dinner followed by this lovely chocolatey saucey gooey gorgeous treat!
I also decided to get a little festive, I made green cupcakes,

With red and green icing,

The icing was supposed to look like this:
But i broke my piping bag, so I may just have to pop to lakeland and get myself a new set tomorrow after work.

If anyone is out there over the next few days, if I could have some suggestions for what to do with the skein of malabrigo worsted I got for my ex boyfriend that would be good, I don't want to knit it for him because it would take effort and he doesn't deserve it, but can't think of anything I could make for me from one skein. All suggestions very welcome.

Just a happy little image to send you off with, these are yummy :)

Friday, 4 December 2009

On the learning of new skills.

Today was my first whole day without unavoidable distractions since the thing with the Irish boy and I was determined that today would be the beginning of operation no more tears, and I have so far succeeded! I am quite proud of myself, I used to be a very strong person but my Mum said she had noticed I was not the strong person I used to be any more, and so I want to get back my confidence and things.

So, today, in order to maintain the no more tears plan, I distracted myself with knitting. Last night I finally started knitting the christmas puddings I am hoping to give as little presents this christmas. I basically have used the Little Cotton Rabbits cupcake pattern that I have used before, only with some tweaks. I used the top half of the cupcake pattern and knitted it backwards and then forwards so that I had a whole cake that would be separate from the case. I also didn't tie up the bottom of the cake, I left a hole big enough to put chocolates in.

Don't they look cute?! Each one has 4 chocolate christmas puddings tucked inside, and the little case means they don't fall out of the hole. I also didn't use the Little Cotton Rabbits holly pattern because I was getting an indentation in my finger from trying to do all the complicated twists with my sharp but not quite pointy enough needles.
I think they will be great as little gifts, and they don't take too long so are great for when I just want to sit for a bit in the evenings.
I do however need to make a few more, I want to give one to each of my family members that I normally give gifts to. I also need to figure out how much stuffing would be needed to keep it poofy after the chocolates have been eaten so that I can put it in little baggies for them.

So, some technical details, I am using some DK weight acrylic blend for the main body of the cake, I got a slightly tweedy one so that it looked like the orange peel etc. I am using hardly any per cake as they are small, knitted on 2.75mm needles so I should still have loads left over when I am done. Maybe I will make more charity things. The brandy sauce is 4ply mercenised cotton, as is the berries, holly, and cake case. Again I should have loads left, maybe I should tuck them away for making more next year.

Another thing I started working on today is this:

It is the Koolhaas hat by Jared Flood. I decided I would make this pattern for my dad's christmas present. My Dad is very short on hair due to the progression of time, and in his youth used to have thick dark brown hair so I thought a nice thick brown hat would be appreciated for when he is tramping around the garden doing Dad like things. To add a bit of luxury that his current woolen hat doesn't have (shop bought so has a high acrylic content, ick) I am using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. I have said before, and demonstrated in how often I use and purchase her stuff, that I love Debbie Bliss Cashmerino yarns, they are really soft and when knitted feel incredibly lightweight.

It is this hat that is teaching me new skills today. I have never knitted from a chart before, and this pattern has a chart. A lot of the explanations for reading charts seem to say that after you start knitting with a chart you will prefer it, but I don't so far. I am not sure if it is because I don't know what each symbol means without looking it up and it would maybe be better once I do, or whether because it is quite late and I get frustrated easily by mistakes at this time of night, but right now I prefer to read written instructions.

Another thing this pattern is teaching me is twisted knit stitches. I watched a video tutorial on the twisted knit stitch a couple of weeks ago on this lady's blog and it was great, I hadn't actually had to do one since then however so today I hunted down the video again to make sure I wasn't imagining how stupidly easy it was and started doing the twist!

Unfortunately my picture doesn't show the stitches very well, I may try and steal my sister's camera on sunday and take a better picture in better light, I am really proud of my progress today though. It is one of the things I love about knitting, that I am constantly learning something new. I haven't managed to cable without a cable needle yet though, that I think will be Sunday's day off challenge!