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!