Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Slow Coach

Ach! I did it again!
This post was supposed to have been a few days ago, but I went and got distracted, time flies when you have nothing to do it seems.
Remember the snow from my last post? And how cute my red wellies looked in it? Well check out how they looked a few days after that!

The snow got quite a bit deeper for a few days there, I had to wear 3 pairs of walking socks when I went out, and my feet were still cold! I am really not used to this kind of weather.
On the plus side look how pretty the garden looked, it's Narnia!

(Note, that light is actually only about to my knee, not a full blown Narnia lamp in the middle of nowhere, but that is still thick for this country)

Now, what else kept me from posting, aahhh yes, Ms. Charlaine Harris and her wonderful Sookie Stackhouse books.

This picture of books 3-6, but I now have all of them, because when I went out the other day I had to get 7, 8 and 9, I just had to. After reading books 1 and 2 I decided to wait to get the others, well I waited long enough for the postie to bring them, but I couldn't wait for the next ones I really couldn't, they are just great. I only feature books that I really really like on this blog so that gives you an idea of how much I like them, they completely gripped me, I literally put down one after finishing it and had to pick up the next one, I stayed awake until 4am to finish one of the books and had to stop myself from staying up any later then that to start the next. They have just the right balance of humour, grit, and make believe that they go down nice and easy like a glass of cold milk. Perfecto!
Now I just have to wait until May for the next one, though I do keep reading the snippets of the first chapter that are available on Ms. Harris' website.

Obviously the Sookie books have a TV series to go with them and I may have come across series 2 of that show online somewhere *ahem* and sat and watched all 12 episodes one after the other twice now, including repeating episode 9 at 26 minutes into the episode just to fully take in how pretty Mr. Skarsgard, aka Eric, is in the buff, which allowed for some knitting time :D (knitting while reading only leads to dropped stitches, read on for an example of this)

The main thing I have been knitting is these:

I have only finished one as you can see, but do not fear! This is not a case of the One Mitten Syndrome!! I have actually cast on the second one and it is about one third complete, I am only taking a break from it to update this actually.
These are the Hurricane Mittens pattern which was written to compliment that hat I featured a couple of posts ago. I have done them in an opposite colour scheme to add a bit of interest and so far I am not sure about them, the second mitt I have actually started in the smaller size, as the first one doesn't fit very well, it is a bit loose, so if I prefer the smaller size I will be frogging this one and redoing it. I have also added a full thumb which isn't in the pattern and I am intending to add a flip top to make the mitts changeable between fingerless and full mitts.

I have also... wait for it...
FINISHED my Bella's Cable Scarf in purple for my sister!! This scarf has been on the needles since the beginning of september so it is a huge relief to have it cast off and wrapped up in some nice paper waiting for January the 23rd.

Here is a little shot just before I wrapped it, note, no needles anywhere! So happy about that! Especially as this is where the dropped stitches when reading occurred, I made a mistake in the cable and frogged back 8 rows to fix it and in doing so managed to drop 6 stitches back a couple more rows, it was very frustrating, but now it is all done.

I was going to do a FO report on this one, but I have knitted the pattern before, so I will just remind you of what I used, I knit my own pattern on 10mm needles with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino yarn in shade 13. I used about 3 and a half balls of the stuff and it took forever, but it is a really nice open scarf and is really long and should wrap around little sister's neck plenty to keep her snug. If I could change anything I would probably slip the last stitch on each row to make it a little neater.

Right my last crafty persuit of the past could of days is one I am rather chuffed with. It came about when I got these through the post:

I had completed my Knit Pro needle set, and they needed a home, the tin I was keeping all my knitting stuff in wasn't very organised at all. So I whipped up this new nice safe home for them.

I think it looks a little like a clutch handbag, but it rolls out like this:

As you can see there are spaces for everything. I made it from that lovely red striped fabric I have used before (all my stuff matches) and some plain cream cotton for the lining and some dense sew in interfacting for rigidity, and I basically had a look at the ones available to buy and whipped up the perfect combination of all the ones out there already.

Here we have my needles from 3mm through to 6mm tips, and a pocket for my fixed circular needles which are sizes 2mm to 2.75mm. As you can see if you look closely I had to make the pockets for up to the 5mm size shorter to accommodate the smaller needle tips that I have in those sizes.
And on the other size I have pockets for the needles up to 10mm in diameter and then I have little pockets for my cables (the idea for this I borrowed from the Della Q interchangeable needle cases) and they lay nicely over the larger needle pockets so that it all fits. in the folded out picture you can also see I made a zipped pocket to fit into the middle seam to hold bits and bobs like stitch markers and point protectors and crochet hooks. A simple velcro fastening holds everything together.
I think it looks quite smart, it used things I already had around the house so has saved me the £25 it would have cost to buy one and it has already had plenty of use. Good all round I think!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Going on a treasure hunt...

Yesterday morning I was woken by a lovely sound, the doorbell, the postie was bringing me some packages! So I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs, I couldn't find any keys, so annoying, I had to run upstairs and get them from my handbag, by the time I got downstairs the postie had gone. This is where my detective skills came into play, I could see footprints in the back garden. I sensed a hunt for my packages!

I went and put on my red wellies that I got for christmas and went out into the snow
The footsteps were leading down towards the path so I followed them

They went past the garage so on I went, I was sure they were heading for the greenhouse.

They were! However, there seemed to be some confusion and they went back on themselves, I tried the greenhouse door and it was frozen shut, 180 turn and following I go again

When I was passing the back of the garage I noticed these steps out of sync! The packages were under the table!!

I was far too excited then to take pictures so I just rescued the 3 packages and went back into the warm.

So what were they? Well the first came from a lovely website called Pure Purl. They have lots of the nicer brands of yarn that I find it difficult to find on many other websites. The package was wrapped so prettily I almost didn't want to undo it, but I did of course.

I just have to draw your focus to this for a second, it is a badge! It is safely pinned onto my coat at the moment :) Now to the yarn pron!
Malabrigo Sock, in Cote D'Azure. It is a gorgeous blue and I am thinking of turning it into Ysolda's Damson shawl but I think it will stay in the skein for a while because it is just so pretty!
Now package number 2, remember I kept slipping little hints about receiving a package from the US? Well I got this! It is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock in Goody Goody, I absolutely ADORE the colours, I love pastels, and I am thinking of using it to make Bellatrix socks for my homework in HPKCHC.
Last but not least is some more knit pro needle tips, some fixed circulars, 2 crochet hooks for dropped stitches and some soak wash all from the lovely lady at P2tog. I nearly had the complete set after receiving these (more in my next post, later)
So after that haul I sat and appreciated my stash a little and my needles, and I got a bit creative and decided to sew something up, more in my next post which should be along shortly after this one :)

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Happy New Year!

(there is knitting stuff further down if you'd like to miss out the new years stuff :))

A couple of days late, but better then never!
Man am I glad that 2009 is over, I have had some good times this year, I taught myself to knit and found a whole new world with lots of new people for me to talk to. I graduated from University. I left a job I had been in for 5 years, one which I had been miserable in for those 5 years and was liberated.There were bad times also and I am going to put those behind me, every year as the clock counts down to zero and I am alone with no-one to kiss I tell myself that this year I will make sure that I will put myself first, that I will vet men for any traces of being too selfish or too immature to be able to handle a real relationship, and for lacking the backbone to stand up and tell me the truth. This year this is even more important to me then the last, after being careful about who I gave my heart to this year I found that the man embodied all of those traits.

This year I have decided will truly be about me. If I happen to meet a man along the way, then he can come along for the ride, but I will still make sure that I leave enough room in my life for me to be happy. I am tired of waking up in the morning and not feeling happy with my lot, and really, although I am unemployed and heartbroken, I have my family and my health and my knitting :)

So with that in mind, a couple of resolutions:
I will learn to do some new knitting things, just now I have ordered yarn for my first jumper, I have also done my first piece of colourwork today (more later). So this year is for teaching myself new things. I would really like to be able to write a knitting pattern that I can put up for sale too.
I will try and be more healthy, already I am eating more fruit and vegetables, I don't drink very much fizzy drinks so that isn't much of a problem but I do love puddings, so I am hoping to off set those a little.
I hope to be able to read all the books on the list on my wall, it is around 60 books but I think I can do it.
I would like to be happy. My current situation leaves me without many of the things that have made me unhappy in the past, like the pressures of studies and working, bills and rent and paying for food, I hope I can use this time without as many stresses to be calm and happy, and not get wound up about so many things.

Those are just a few things, and there are more, but I am waffling so I am going to head on over to the knitting content.

First, my first piece of colourwork ever!
It is the Hurricane Hat, and I have used my two different shades of Malabrigo merino worsted to knit it up (the dark colour looks black here but it is the blue I have shown before) and so should go nicely with my coat. My first finished object of 2010! It is nice that it is something for me for a change. I knit it as a project for the HPKCHC in Arithmancy, it had to be a pattern with spirals on it.
The pattern is actually just knit in one colour, but I chose to make it a bit more interesting by adding the extra colour, when the pattern called for purl stitches to make up the swirl I simply knit that stitch in the red. I used the intarsia method so that i didn't have to carry the yarn across and impede the stretchiness of the fabric.

Pattern name: Hurricane Hat
Yarn used: Malabrigo worsted in Blue Graphite and Ravelry Red, I used a tiny amount of red and I am guessing less then half the blue!
Needle size: I went up to a 5mm circ.
Problems: None, the pattern repeat was really easy!
Modifications: Colour and needle size.
Skills learnt: Intarsia, I am also going to convert it into some mittens.
Knit again?: yes it is a really nice hat, hopefully have a pic of it on later in the week.
Score: 8/10, If i did it again the colourwork would be neater.

I am still waiting on some of the yarns and needles that I ordered (and have just ordered 2 types more, some more Rowan Kidsilk Aura for Kim Hargreaves' Calm and some Malabrigo Sock for Ysolda's Damson) but I got a couple through the post today!

YarnAddict Yarns Exotic Sock in emerald.

YarnAddict yarn Silky merino lace in silver.

These were a couple of reduced yarns, the green sock to commemorate my HPKCHC sorting which i think i will knit into the Nagini socks and the silver to attempt a shawl.
My mum also got me a knitting magazine which I forgot to photograph but it is great! It is called Verena Knitting and has over 50 patterns in it and only cost about £4!! I usually pay £6 for the knitter and get no where near that many!