Friday, 31 December 2010

FO: Ice Queen

So my final knit for the year 2010.


I finished at twenty minutes to 11 so I was cutting it fine, and this was actually supposed to be finished for Christmas so it was already late.
I knit it for my mum after a bit of a fiasco with some Rowan Big Wool. I was aiming to knit something which resembled the headscarf that Judy Garland wears at the end of Meet Me In St. Louis when she sings Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. My Mum told me when she was little she had always wanted one just like it, so I set about to knit something similar with the Big Wool and some Kidsilk Haze I had in my stash. I knew exactly how I was going to do it, and I knew it would work (I wont say more because I will re-attempt this for the future) however the yarn was far too heavy for it to work and so on the 23rd of December I ripped it out and started Ice Queen.
This has taught me several new techniques, which I will list later, but the best has been knitting with beads. I actually made a little video of me knitting a couple of beads which I might post at some point, but I learnt to hook them on with a tiny crochet hook, and it is so cool! The effect is great!

FO Report:
Name: Ice Queen by Rosemary Hill
Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze in cream
Needle Size: 5mm and 3.75mm 16in. circulars
Problems: I love the feel of Kidsilk haze, but I hate to knit with it, it is so fiddly! Other then that this was actually a pretty speedy knit once I got down to it. I also hate picot cast offs, so much work for each stitch!
Modifications: No modifications, I knit the chart A version of this in stocking stitch.
Skills Learnt: Knitting with beads, picot cast off, knitting with crazy mohair silk blends (yes that is a skill)
Knit Again?: Yes I think I would, it really is very pretty, I think I would add more beads though.
Score: 8/10 because it is so pretty.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Project 2011: Reading

So, my first proper post in a while is going to be about the coming new year.

I have discovered over the past few months while studying that my time is very limited, and in order to accomplish anything at all it has to be planned and well structured, and for me that has not been easy.
A year away from the structure of university and a lot of time spent out of employment has meant that time often slips me by, and so I have decided to set myself a few challenges for 2011, I am deciding to call them 'intense resolutions', because they are a bit more in depth then 'eat less chocolate', and I am determined to fulfill them!

They fall into three categories, Reading, Knitting, and Beauty.

Picture from my iPhone last week when moving my bookshelves, thats a lotta books to shift!

Reading is going to involve reading one book per week from my collection. As it stands I have a list of 92 books which I own but have either never read at all, have never finished, or have only read for university and can't really remember them all that well. In 2011 I hope to reduce that by 52, and here is the important bit, NOT BUY ANY MORE!!
 It really does startle me that almost a quarter of my books I cannot remember or do not know what happens in the final chapters, ridiculous! So I shall read them, and I can completely justify this as being legitimate time spent because as my lecturer told us this term, librarians must be well read!

Even more books from the book move!

Now, you are probably wondering why I haven't cut that down to 52 books, and the simple reason is that I am a bit picky and I know that if I limited them and chose one per week, for say september now in december, then I will not want to read that book then, I have also selected 92 books that are of different genres and length so that on weeks when I have deadlines I can read lighter fluffier stuff or a novella or choose to finish the last 5 chapters of something, as opposed to an epic piece like Anna Karenina which would be more suited to the holidays (Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky I am looking to you for Easter's double bank holiday weekends, a royal wedding and Crime and Punishment go hand in hand I think!)


This is the key piece of kit for managing this task, The Moleskine book journal. In the front are a few pages which are for planning, where I am going to write which week I read what, and then there are sections for reviewing each book you have read in an alphabetical section. At the back there are also sections where you can add your own labels, and I have added these:


This first tab (the pages we are open on) contains an alphabetical list of which books are in the challenge, the next tab contains my wish list, which I will add to whenever I want to buy a book and can't because of the challenge. The next tab is a list of all my books, this is just for personal reference. The final tab I have stickied are for reviews, where I will review any books which spill over from the official review section.

That semi-filled in review is for Fight Club, which will be my last book of 2010,
 about 60 pages to go, but its great so it wont be hard.

I am allowing myself two extra rules:
1. I am allowed to read library books which are not in my collection, if and only if I have completed my book for that week. Ideally if I have finished a book I would like to move onto another one to complete, but that might not be possible.
2: I may read the book in question in audio or ebook format, one of my other challenges will be knitting related, and reading a paper copy of a book while knitting is not the easiest thing in the world, so this allows for that!

So that is part one of project 2011, I am hoping that this will also provide me with lots of book reviews for this blog, as it is called '& Ink Stains' for a reason, one which often goes unfulfilled. I hope to post a list of the books which I will be attempting to read on on of the pages at the top of the page, crossing them out as I go, so keep an eye out for that!

Wish me luck!!

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Happy Holidays!!

Happy Holidays everyone!
I hope to have a couple of posts over the next week of one of the presents I knit and also progress on the couple of items on my needles.
For now I will leave you with an image I have just snapped as I am watching the latest Agatha Christie's Poirot :)


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Snow day!

I have been beavering away with University over the past couple of months, but I have been knitting, and as today is a snow day (more images of that at the end) I have a chance to actually take some photographs and show you!

First up is another Robin's Egg Blue Hat, for my sister for christmas.


I knit it up in Rowan Cocoon and grabbed the button from John Lewis. I did make a couple of modifications to the pattern, I changed needle sizes for the stockinette portion as I felt mine didn't have enough stretch, going up to 6mm, and I like the way it has come out. It is waiting to be blocked at the moment so hopefully it will still be great after that!

Next up is Marian. 
I first came across this pattern when I was browsing Ravelry for hats and discovered all of Jane Richmond's designs (which I love, and have purchased). Marian is a simple chunky weight cowl knit in seed stitch and I am loving it, this picture was taken at around noon today and already I have knit a lot more, it should in fact be finished this evening. I have made some modifications to make it bigger, which I will go into in more detail when it is finished, but suffice it to say, I LOVE it and can't wait to wear it!



The next item to share hasn't been started yet.

These are the ingredients I intend to use to cook up my Mum's christmas present (he kidsilk haze there is from the shawl that I frogged at the beginning of december, it just wasn't going anywhere). She told me the other week that she always wanted Judy Garland's head scarf thingy from Meet me in St. Louis when she sings "Have yourself a merry little Christmas" so I am having a go and designing one for her!

Finally is my Eric Socks, which I have been meaning to knit for aaaages!


As you can see I haven't gotten very far, and that is purely because these are meant to be my traveling socks and I keep forgetting to pack them in my rucksack :S
I am still very happy that they are started now though as I got the yarn way back in March. 
These socks have brought to my attention that I do like to hoard yarn though, and I do always seem to have a pattern in mind for it when I get it, so I suppose it isn't as bad as if I were to just buy it and have no intention of knitting with it, I am going to say though that for the foreseeable future I am only going to knit from stash (I have all the stuff I need for christmas present knitting). We shall see how long that lasts. 

Have you ever tried to go on a yarn diet? 

Snow pics, as promised:

Yesterday afternoon when it was starting to get heavy

This afternoon, not at the deepest point because I didn't want to get my jeans wet, but that is over a foot and a half of snow on our back patio!

Deep deep snow, a lot of it, in a rare moment where it had stopped my Dad was desperately trying to clear the back so we could get the car out, but it is snowing again as I type!!

Let me assure you, this is incredibly unusual for England, My part of England anyway. We thought last years snow was bad, we have so far had over twice as much and it hasn't stopped, and it is earlier in the year! Mad!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

For Warmer Ears...

...just add Baby Llama.

...and some needles


and be snug for winter in an Autumn Leaves Calorimetry :)

FO Report:
Pattern Name: Calorimetry by Kathryn Schoendorf
Yarn: Mirasol Miski in Coral
Needle Size: 4mm
Problems: Although my gague appeared to be right, the finish item is a bit big, despite going down needle sizes. Next time I would definitely knit smaller!
Modifications: I ran out of yarn so I had to stop a couple of rows short of the suggested amount in the pattern.
Skills Learnt: Not learnt but refreshed my short tow knowledge. I also got a great iPhone app for counting stitches!
Knit Again?: Yes, requests for Christmas have already been asked.
Score: 7/10

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Georgie ♥'s Hats


Oh yes I do! I finally finished this earlier just in time for horrible wintery weather and I do so love it. It looks great in my own humble opinion (though please ignore the shine on that pic). I think I shall wear it to Uni tomorrow :)


FO report: 
Pattern Name: Hermione Hearts Ron by Christy Aylesworth
Yarn Used: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in 009 - Grey
Needle Size: 2.75mm and 3.25mm 16" circ's and 3.25mm DPN's
Problems: I had to frog and reknit once because I dropped a load of stitches but other then that it was ok.
Modifications: No mods.
Skills Learnt: No new skills learnt, except for where I tried to learn to knit continental and then had to frog it because it went wrong :S
Knit again: Possibly, if I did I would change the way the decreases work because I didn't much like that.
Score: 8/10

Saturday, 2 October 2010

The basket of Dooooooom!

That is the WIP Basket of Dooom Dooom Doooooomy Doom Doom.

I have a basket (I bought it from Hemswell this summer when I went on that button haul) and in it lives all my WIP's. They often do not make it back out!


In there at the moment is the Hermione Hearts Ron hat (red bag) Bon Temps Marina (Blue spotty bag) Anisette lace wrap (green bag) some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino chunky that will be a pair of mittens to accompany my haven scarf and in the Alice bag is some Rowan Alpaca Cotton that I am going to make a teddy bear hat out of. 

That is a lot of projects for someone who has only been knitting a year (I just realised I missed my blogiversary, will have to do something about that!) and I really do have to do something about it. The teddy hat is going to be for a HPKCHC project so that will be sorted soon, and the Hermione hat is on the decreases now so should hopefully be finished this weekend. 

I think I have made the executive decision to frog the Anisette shawl, it is my first project using cracksilk haze and really I need something where I can just purl the wrong side rows as this takes too much concentration. I don't feel too badly about this as I think I have only managed about 15 rows, and there is a HPKCHC class that I can use the yarn in. 

Between now and christmas I hope to show you the contents of this basket diminishing, I would like to only have two WIP's at a time, but we shall see. For now, I will have to get my needles knitting!

Monday, 27 September 2010

On the fabulousness of hats

So I didn’t manage to get this out by the weekend like I had hoped, but I am getting it out to you now.

As I mentioned in my little post before, I am started back at University now. For Sarah, who asked, I am at the University of Sheffield in Yorkshire in the UK. I am studying for a master’s degree in Librarianship (which is why I have been volunteering for the past year at my local library) and the course should take a year to complete. It does mean that I am going to have a huge amount of work going on, I will have lots of studying to do while also keeping my part time job so my knitting time may be reduced a bit, but I do have an hours commute each morning I am there so when I don’t have an essay to draft I am sure I will be sat with my needles clicking away!


So, onto the knitting, I feel a bit bad because the WIP I showed you in my last post isn’t completed yet like I had hoped it would be. In case you hadn’t realised it is the pattern Hermione Loves Ron, which is a cable and eyelet detail beanie style hat based on a hat that Emma Watson wore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. If you remember the scene (cursed Katie) then I am also hoping to be able to knit myself the scarf she wears too once I have mastered Fair Isle. At the moment the hat is just going into it’s fourth chart repeat (the above photo was just after the first repeat), after that comes the decreases and then it will be done. If I am not too tired tonight I think it might be finished then.

The pattern calls for a sport weight yarn, and originally I was going to knit it in some Blue Sky Alpaca yarn I had seen and liked the look of but since then in order to keep costs down I had switched to some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in a almost silvery grey colour. I might still make the hat in the Alpaca at some point but for now I am happy with the way it looks and feels.
I like the needle sizes suggested, though I am having problems with my 3.75mm interchangeable needles, I have had a couple of Knit Pro ones where the screw teeth are either too tight or too loose after hardly any use and this is one of the pairs so I may have to get some new ones it it gets too annoying. I would hate to lose a whole hat just because my needle came undone.


While I haven’t managed to finish this particular hat, I have managed to finish another one. I knit it for the HPKCHC using the yarn I had left over from my Mum’s French Press Slippers, some Cascade 220 in chocolate. The Pattern is the Robin’s Egg Blue Hat, though mine is obviously not blue. The challenge was to knit something that used a button in the pattern; it couldn’t be a button that you simply added on, it had to be written within the pattern, and I chose a lovely vintage one that I got from Hemswell on that massive button haul over the summer.
I like this hat, and my sister (who is modelling it here) has requested one for Christmas so It will definitely be knit again soon. The yarn is held double for the stockinette portion of the hat and single stranded for the seed stitch band. I knitted both on circular needles for ease as I find it most comfortable though I do think I may have to order some new smaller sized cables.

In other HPKCHC news, I was part of the exploding snap last month and I had a list of WIP's I wanted to sort out. One of them was my Bella's mittens in pink, which if you remember I only managed to finish one before I lost interest. Well I tried to re-knit and I still had no interest, so they jumped into the frog pond.


I am staying positive about them because I now have some yarn I can use to whip up a little something for my cousin if I want who is nearly 3 years old now. Possibly something Peppa Pig related!
I am sad to say that I haven't made much progress on my Marina shawl, again crazy working hours and sorting out the Uni thing have really eaten my time up so I haven't had the chance to sit and knit something which takes concentration, and as my first detailed lace shawl Marina definitely fits that category. Hopefully once things settle a bit and I go back to a smaller contract at work I will have some chill time to actually finish it!

I hope everyone is doing well, I shall hopefully update later this week with a completed hat, perfect for the miserable weather at the moment :)

Monday, 20 September 2010

Still here, just busy

Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that I am still here, and I have a couple of posts lined up, but I am starting my masters degree this week so there has been lots of crazy going on, I shall fill you in on that once I have caught up with the knitting posts.

I hope to have some knitting posts for you by the end of week, but for now here is a tease!


Tuesday, 17 August 2010

New Stuff

So, yesterday I went to York and paid them a little visit here:

Yarn ball ice creams!
The lovely Ramshambles, which I have been meaning to visit since it re-opened. (It was previously Sheepish which I had popped into a couple of times).
The staff were really lovely and we chattered a little about ravelry and I joined their group using my phone just as I left the shop (here) and they have the most Noro I have ever seen, ever, there is a whole bay and a half of shelving with it in, it was cool! I didn't get any though because I got these instead.

The colours are a bit funny :S
I had been looking for pictures of the patterns in Debbie Bliss' Land Girl patterns for a while and I really love them. I love anything vintage inspired, so I grabbed a copy of that, and I also had to choose between two skeins of beautiful hand painted BFL from right there in Yorkshire, the colours in this one won my heart though and so it came home with me. 
I haven't picked what I will use it for yet which is quite unusual for me as I like to search out patterns straight away but it is a 400m skein so I shall probably use it for a little shawlette or something.

I couldn't go to York without popping into Cath Kidston and grabbing a couple of sale bargains, I have needed a new pin cushion for ages as my traditional tomato shaped one keeps breaking the tips off my pins (I think it must be the filling) so I nabbed a little cheese-a-holic for £2.50


And to keep my camera safe, and nice gadget case for £6, though at the moment I am seriously considering ordering another to keep notions in, it is just the right size for bits and bobs.

Yes that is a button from my last post making it look like a face :)
I popped into the Bead Hive which is located up near the Minster and York St John University (next to the National Trust Gift Shop) and got a deal on a load of beads, it was 10g for £1 but 30g for £2.50 so of course I had to take advantage, I don't know if they will all be for knitting but some will be!


I recieved a few other things this week, but through the post, not from visits. 
I invested in a few books that I have heard loads about, and which I will probably discuss in more detail in the future.

books by mail

I bought some amazing Kauni Multi Effekt from Janette's rare Yarns for knitting the Northern Lights Shawl, in shade EJ (I got the larger ball for a larger shawl)

You can see the colour changes inside.
And finally I invested in several new Knit Pro Metal needles, both Sock DPN's and interchangeables for projects I have in my queue. It seems I cannot use Addi needles to save my life, but Knit pro metal needles I am ok with, not as quick or as sure as using my wooden and acrylic needles, but I am getting there.


Now to see what progress comes from it all! I love setting things up so I have an idea of what I could cast on next.

Some WIP's, FO's, and a little bit of pure genius.

I have gone and done it again! So many things have happened over the past week and I haven't gotten round to posting about them yet, so this will be split into two parts, Knitting and purchases!

First up, I finished my Hermione Everyday Socks!

hermione complete
Terrible Picture, taken quickly for the HPKCHC.

I am really happy with them because they are much better fitting then the other pairs of socks I have knit, previously, I can actually wear these to work or something, which I did the other day!

Pattern Name: Hermione's Everyday Socks
Yarn Used: Dublin Dye Company Merino Sock
Needle Size: 2.25mm
Problems: The small needles caused some problems with heat rash and every time it came to the heel flap I got a little confused because it is so fancy but I figured it out!
Modifications: I only knit 12 repeats on the leg instead of 18 because I didn't think I would have had enough yarn but I have 38g left so could have gone to 16 repeats, I do prefer a shorter length though.
Skills Learnt: Eye of partridge heel.
Knit Again?: Possibly, but maybe with larger needles and less stitches, to reduce the likelihood of irritation.
Score: 8/10

Now, speaking of progress made on WIP's, I have managed to get to my 4th repeat of chart 2 on my Bon Temps Marina Shawl.

marina aug

Isn't it looking pretty?! I have a close up of the pattern too because it is so difficult to tell what it is actually looking like and I love to check it every so often.

marina closeup

I adore how the colours are coming out on it too, It will look great when it is finished and blocked.

Now, as much as I love this pattern, I have been having some problems, not with the pattern itself but with my own lack of chart reading skills. I have used charted patterns before but not a lot, and I find keeping track of where I am is just as difficult as reading the written patterns. I contemplating dropping £15 on a Knit Pro Chart keeper, and then got an Idea.

not just for baking

This tray is definitely not just for baking! 
I had some old magnets from Ikea which were too large for me to use on my whiteboard and so I took the magnetic strips off the back, cut them in half lengthways and hot glued some ribbon to the back to make them pretty. Add in a baking tray I had in the garage from university and BAM! My very own chart holder with magnets that I can move up a row as I go! 

I felt very clever when I did this, and rather proud of my genius :)

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Itty Bitty

Just a little post today as I haven't made much progress on anything, mainly because I have been out earning money. I did however get something through the post which is exciting!


As you can see I got an Ashford drop spindle, just the standard student size, and some fiber! I have spun up some neutral fiber and it was a bit all over the place as I was practicing but this purple seems to be going much more evenly so I am quite chuffed! I shall post a picture when it is all spun and I have learnt to ply it.
The kit, which includes 5 40g bits of dyed merino fiber, top whorl drop spindle and some instructions, was about £12 I think from eBay.


Another little thing I managed the other day was to go on a button haul, this is just over £20 worth of vintage buttons which I got from my local antiques centre in Hemswell. I love having a variety of buttons to choose from for projects and things so I am hoping these will be adorning some lovely garments in the future.

I also received a load of beads from Janette's Rare Yarns at the bargain price of £2.50 a bag, but they aren't very exciting, just plain clear seed beads. I got 4 bags because I was going to be sharing some, but I will be keeping them myself now and so I think I might just use them to make a shawl with my Yarn Addict silver lace yarn.

Hopefully over this month you will spot a few WIP's becoming FO's as I have joined the HPKCHC's,  over at Ravelry, Exploding Snap challenge, which is to basically get all of your WIP's finished before the new term starts in September! I have managed a few rows on a couple of my projects at the moment but I haven't managed anything drastic, I have the rest of today off from work though so I hope to get some more Marina done :)

Saturday, 31 July 2010

No, it isn't a collapsable Harry Potter broomstick...

Which was naturally my first thought when I spotted that this had arrived yesterday. Instead it is a set of these:
Wires and t-pins for blocking my knitting, very handy! And also not that expensive, at £25 for lots of wires, a yard stick and 30 t-pins (I already have 30, and I ordered more, so I now have 90, enough?)

I got them from the lovely Loop, which has changed bricks and mortar location and I cannot wait to get down to see it. All the posts I have read about the opening weekend said how lovely and light and airy the new shop is!

Other new things are some lovely Noro Kureyon Sock in purples, I got this purely because I saw a beautiful Citron in this yarn and these shades and decided I wanted one for myself!

And some Mirasol Miski in Coral, which is so softy baby llama but I think I need another skein to make a hat, so I shall be hunting that down.

Other then that I have a new project on my needles, This is what I am calling the Bon Temps Marina, as it is knit in my Sookie Stackhouse superwash sock yarn from the Fresh From The Cauldron site.

So far I have managed the first repeat of the second chart, and next I will be getting into the more complicated bits so it is sitting until I can give it my full attention. As you can see the colours of the yarn really work up nicely in this lace pattern, I originally started knitting a different pattern which had a block of stockinette at the top and I ripped it out because it looked awful, lace is definitely the way to go with this colourway.

Also just a little thing, to keep track of my rows I fashioned this little dongle to pop on a bracelet with my row counter on, I am rather tempted to wear it as every day jewellery!

One last little thing which there may be more of soon, I gave crochet a go the other day, it isn't perfect but I was excited:

P.S. Thank you so much for the comments on my Damson, I wore it all day the other day and was mighty proud of myself :D

Friday, 23 July 2010

Finally FO: Damson

Here it is, fresh from the blocking you saw yesterday is my now completed Damson shawl.

I have to say before I go on that I really do love this item, it is the first time I have knit a shawl and it has gotten me wanting to knit more, I have been wearing it all day today to show it off and am really proud of how it looks. Especially because of the mistakes and fixings i had to do!

Damson near Damsons (or plums at least, albeit green ones at the mo.)

First off, after the good blocking I gave it yesterday my Damson measures 53" from point to point across the top and is 14.5" from the top to the bottom of the curve. This is slightly larger then the pattern states because I really wanted to open up the garter stitch a bit more, I like to be able to see the gaps between the rows of bumps. 
Now for the problems I had, I have mentioned already that I had to rip out a few rows a few times when my stitch counts wouldn't add up, well I had to do some more ripping at the end too.
I used the recommended yarn for this project, Malabrigo Sock, and my gauge seemed fine when I tested it, but I must have been slightly off because I ran out of yarn 2/3 of the way through my bind off. I ripped back to bind off in a different yarn and it looked awful, so I ripped back to before the looped edging and was going to bind off there with a straight edge but I found that looked too plain, and then I started to use my head, I only needed a few more yards of yarn, and the last row of increases adds about 1/3 more stitches (off the top of my head) so instead of double yarn overs with knit 1, purl 1 into each yarn over, I instead did a single yarn over and knit 1 purl 1 into that single yarn over, reducing my stitches without losing the style. This is the finished result, and I think it has worked out very well. Unless you compared it with a perfect one you wouldn't really tell that there was a difference.

I actually really enjoyed this learning exercise because I like puzzles, and knitting puzzles are the most fun. I may have gotten sick to death of tinking (and learning how to insert lifelines after the fact) but it was an experience anyhow!

Pattern Name: Damson by Ysolda Teague
Yarn Used: Malabrigo Sock in Cote D'Azure
Needle Size: 4mm circular's with an 80cm cable
Problems: Lost track of stitches a few times, ran out of yarn at the end.
Modifications: Changed edging to *yo, sl1 k2tog psso*. Then next row *k1, p1 into yo, k1* 
Skills Learnt: Triangular shawl construction. Blocking lace.
Knit again: Probably but not for a while!
Score: 8/10

P.S. In case you are wondering, those number play mats in the previous post are from Tesco Extra, they were £4.97, but I just got another set (because one was only just enough for the shawl and I might want to work on bigger things) from Sainsbury's, reduced for only £3 something, I would get them now if you are thinking of it as it seems they aren't available past the summer, I was looking last october and couldn't get any from anywhere! If you can't find any though, Silvia from over here suggested underlay squares for parquet flooring, so give that a go.
P.P.S. Anyone else think it's weird that Toys 'R' Us don't sell these?! At all?!