Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Rock Star Dashings

My bf has been playing a lot of guitar recently, and it's been freezing! So I figured he needed something to keep his arms warm, but still leave his fingers free to play the guitar. And after seeing the YarnHarlot's Dashings, I figured these would be perfect. And good for stash busting too! So I went ahead and made them.

I really like the cables on them. The kind of remind me of wood - bare tree branches winding around each other in the autumn. Something about the pattern seemed a bit un-intuitive, but nobody else seemed to have had any problems with it, so I carried on and just knit the pattern as it was written. And it worked out brilliantly! They're black (the bf doesn't like colours) so the cables are really hard to photograph, but they look really nice on. I knit them with 2 strands of 4 ply wool held together cos I didn't have any black wool thick enough to hand, and wanted to make them right away. They're really warm and cozy, just the thing for the cold winter!

Of course, the bf doesn't like patterns either. I figured he might like these cables, cos I didn't think they were too girly. But, apparantly they are. So these dashings now belong to me. Not that I'm at all bothered. I love them! So he's getting another pair, the same pattern but without the cables. Basically a tube with a thumb, but he's happy with that. And more of the stash gets used, so I'm happy too! :)

Shimmer Shrug Done

I love the way the arm flares out over the hand - it's so cool! And the sleeves are actually a decent length in this pattern! I always have to lengthen them, but these are great!

The lace pattern was a pain though. Is the last line in the pattern right? The way I read it, it seemed that the whole lozenge pattern moved a stitch to the right. But I looked on Ravelry, and Google, and couldn't find anyone who'd noticed this. All I could find was people having problems with incorporating the lace pattern into the raglan decreases. But I thought there might be a problem even before the decreases. Anyway, I just totally winged the lace pattern, basically making it up as I went along. But I think it turned out ok, and I'm pleased with it.

I really like this pattern. I think maybe the 19" size is maybe a tad too big, but it's fine just now - just hope it doesn't stretch in the wash. Next time I make it - I think there will be a next time cos it's a really great shrug - I'll make the 17" version.

Sunday, 16 December 2007


Oh, I am sore today! I had my last dance classes of this year yesterday, and boy, did our teacher work us hard! In my belly dance class we were doing undulations (camels, body rolls, or whatever else you call them) going up and down, and my back is paying for it today. Also, in my tribal style class, we were drilling some moves, and we've also been doing arm work to strengthen our muscles. The arm work is also very tiring on the back, but I'm noticing an improvement in how long I can hold my arms up while doing tribal. That was a big problem when I started - you have to keep your arms up for a long time, and most people haven't developed the muscles required for that, myself included. I do have the Arms and Posture DVD by Rachel Brice, but I need to use it more. I end up just standing watching her, she's so beautiful and inspiring and such a good dancer. It's a really good DVD, even when I skipped through it the first day I got it, I got loads of helpful tips. The work is very muscle intensive, so needs lots of practice lol!

So I was going to practice more today, but I think I should leave it till tomorrow. I think today I'm just going to lie around and complain about being stiff!

Friday, 14 December 2007

Shimmer Shrug

In an effort to destash some cotton I have, I'm now knitting the Shimmmer Shrug from Knitty.

I'm using some Patons 100% cotton that I bought off ebay last december. I remember buying it cos I thought the postie had stolen it (well, not my postie, cos she's very nice and doesn't steal things, I just mean the post office in general), cos it had been AGES and two other packages I ordered at the same time didn't come (they did just disappear), but it turned out that the seller had actually forgotton to send it. So that's how I remember that particular purchase. I remember that at the time I had also decided that it was going to be used to make the Shimmer shrug, but somehow never got around to it. Ah, I know what it was - I got confused with gauge. The pattern said to get gauge of 20 sts with 5mm needles, and I got confused because I got it with 4mm needles. Somehow that threw me, and I never got round to realising that I could just make it with the 4mm needles and it would be the right size. That didn't register for some reason. But now I know better, and I'm finally making it. I'm doing my usual worrying about if it's going to turn out too big (I'm making the 19" back size, and I'm wondering if I should have made the 17" inch size). I get a bit confused about the sizing for shrugs. But I'm just going to make this one at 19", and if it's too big, I can rip it out and start again. I'm getting better at realising there is the option to rip knitting out, and not throwing something in the corner to forget about it because I'm worrying about something. And this is a very quick knit. I only started two days ago, and I've done both sleeves and I'm half way up the back already, so I'm sure there's nothing to worry about. :)

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Checking Back In

Erp! I didn't realise it had been so long since I posted! I've been really busy, mostly with dancing, but also with preparations for christmas. Next year, I swear I'm going to start getting presents and stuff in October, just so I'll have enough time toget it all done. I always leave it till the beginning of December, and one month just dosn't seem long enough. It should be, but it's not. I still have a few presents to get - I've given up on the idea of making them.

Dancing-wise, it's been all go until now, and now there's nothing till after xmas! Boo! I performed at a hafla a couple of weeks ago, which was fun, then last week I performed at a charity event. It was a supposed to be a duet, but my friend had to pull out at the last minute, and I ended up performing in front of a group of strangers all on my ownsome! The weird thing is, that wasn't the scary part for me, the scary part was having to go in and introduce myself and talk to everyone. The dancing was the easy part - just listening to the music and making sure to keep my smiley face on. Most people would say it's the other way round, but I have to be different! I suppose when I'm dancing I have something to concentrate on, but when I'm not my social anxiety goes into overdrive.

The main dancing thing I'm working on now is an Isis wings routine for a hafla in March. I even dreamed about it last night, that's how much I've been working on this, and thinking about it, and listening to the music, and imagining bits of dancing that might go with it. All while I'm supposed to be Xmas shopping, aarg! Still, I'm planning to have it all done by Thursday. Let's just hope that goes to plan.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

The End of the Endless Ribbing (at last!)

Yay! The jumper is complete!

After that I tried to cast on for the jumper I was going to do for the Fall Cable KAL , but that didn't turn out too good. I don't think the yarn is right for the pattern so it got frogged. I think I'm just going to do lots of small projects instead. After the bf's jumper I'm in the mood for small, quick knits. Speaking of which:

The first one is Jackyll&Hide from the latest Knitty. I knit this cos I like the way it looks as a hat, but it's pretty cool that it folds down into the mask. Should make for an interesting talking point when I'm wearing it, lol! It knit quite fast, only 3 days.

The 2nd is the Aran Tam, form One Skein Wonders. This also knit super fast - only one day for this, and I'm now working on the Yorkshire Tweed Beret from the same book. This is actually the first pattern I've knit from this book. There is errata for the pattern, but it's just a case of an extra knit stitch being placed in rows 7 and 8. You'll know it if you knit the pattern, it just obviously shouldn't be there. I really like this hat, and may knit more, who knows?

I seem to have become obsessed with knitting hats - must be winter coming on!

Monday, 12 November 2007

The End Of The Endless Ribbing (almost)

The bf's jumper is almost finished! All the main knitting is done, all that's left is the neckline and the sewing. And I'm going to say that it will be done tomorrow, but it seems every time I post a deadline or time on here, that it never works out. So don't be surprised if it doesn't, but that's my plan.

I cast on Eunny Jang's Print O' The Wave Stole in an unknown yarn from the charity shop (probably acrylic but it feels very soft so it might not be).

I really like this pattern so far. I'm adapting it in that I'm not going to do two halves then graft because 1) I suck at grafting and 2) I hate it with all my soul, probably because of 1). I just don't get how it's supposed to be seamless but every time I try it I end up with a horrible big line down the middle. Oh well, with this pattern I decided just to ditch that idea, and make the pattern go one way all the way till the end. The number of pattern repeats might also differ eventually, because I don't know how much yarn I'll have, and it's looking quite big already at 20 repeats. That's another reason I like this pattern. I've been knitting for 3 days on it, and I'm at 20 repeats already. I can't memorise the pattern completely, but it's pretty easy so long as I have the pattern close by to peek at every now and again, just to make sure.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Help! I've become a yarn snob!

I started monkey!

I'm making it from Opal yarn, in the colorway Schlange. The stripes in the yarn might be overpowering the pattern a bit, but that might just be me doing my usual this-isn't-working paranoia bit that I do in the middle of every project. It gets a bit tedious actually. I know it'll probably work out fine, but I spent most of my knitting time wondering if I should frog. With this one, I'm just going to keep knitting, and if it doesn't work out, I'll try it in another yarn. Part of me is thinking that's very exuberant and decadent (frugal Scottish Calvinist heritage rearing it's ugly head there, I think), but I do love this pattern. It's very addictive! I started it last night thinking I'd get a little bit done then go to bed and didn't actually notice the time till it was like 4 in the morning! I had to get up at half eight too! So I think there'll still be enough enthusiasm to try it in another yarn.

One strange thing while I was knitting - I got this really weird feeling/thought thing like, now I'm a real knitter cos I'm using this pattern everyone else is using, and an actual branded type of sock yarn. What's that all about? I've no idea where that sprang from. When I noticed myself thinking it I was really surprised. It was like all my other knitting, sweaters and lace and all, didn't matter unless it was with a real yarn. Of course, when I think about it, that's complete bollocks. All my knitting counts as 'real', even when it's some obscure unbranded acrylic from the 70s rescued from a charity shop. And I certainly don't hold with yarn snobbery, and think oh, the price tag says 7 quid a ball, it must be better than the rest. That, again, is just bollocks. (Sorry for the sweary making, but honestly, that's how I think of it) So why did I suddenly get this feeling of validation? Have I been subconsciously affected by people raving about 'proper' yarns, and if so, why? Am I that weak? I didn't even realise it was happening.

Anyway, the yarn is lovely, and the pattern especially so (and fun, too). I'm just going to have to learn not to take it so seriously, I think :)

Friday, 2 November 2007

What I've Been Knitting

Well, there's the pic from my last post, but that's going to stay a little secret till probably Sunday. :) Hee hee, I'm such a tease!

And then there's this:

Oh. My. God. Will the ribbing never stop?!!!! It feels like I've been knitting this sweater for EVER. It's going to be for my bf, and he won't wear anything with an interesting stitch pattern. Well, actually, he's asked for cables on his next one, which is totally adventurous for him. But it's 'safe' cables, just running straight up and down. And this one is taking forever. I've done the front and two sleeves, and I've only got the back to do now, but it just seems to be dragging on. That's six inches of ribbing in 4 ply yarn there, and there's about another 17 inches to go till I get to the armholes. I can't believe I'm desperate to get to armholes just for the interest created in shaping them! I just keep reminding myself of how pleased I'll be when he's wearing it, and that keeps me going.

Oh, and I've started my project for the Fall Cable Knitalong, but I've only done the ribbing for the back so far. I can't remember if I posted about it here or not so here's the pic just in case I haven't (can't be bothered checking):

It's from VK Autumn 2000, by Melissa Leapman.

And that's it. There's loads more that I want to knit (my ravelry queue has 26 projects in it, and I haven't really been looking hard for things to add) but I'm a bit wary of having more than 3 items on the go at once. I'll never get any of them actuallyy finished. So I'm trying really hard to get these done, then I'll cast on something new, but I can definitely feel the startitis bug developing. Ravelry's such a bad influence! :)

Last JoY Post

OK, so there's not many pics from JoY, cos my camera doesn't work well in the dark. (Yet. I've got a feeling it can, it's just that I haven't learnt the magic secret to it yet. I think it's something to do with shutter speeds, but I'll have to get my bf to look at it some day). Anyway, the view from my hotel room window was quite nice:

Here's the building where the workshops were held:

And here's what I was working on when I wasn't dancing:

(I'll blog about that later)

Here's some links for JoY:

Jewel of Yorkshire

I couldn't find one for Seetha, which is a shame cos she's fantastic. Or Asmahan, which is weird. I'm not the best person at finding things though, it's probably on Google somewhere and I've missed it.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Jewel of Yorkshire Part Two

The hafla on Saturday night was really good. Somebody said there were too many acts, but I kind of liked that. It was more of a 'watching' hafla though, it was in the main hall with the chair laid out in rows, and one act was on straight after another, with a couple of breaks. There was a dancing room upstair with a DJ but not many people went up there, even on the breaks. I think it was a little too spread out for that. The people dancing were really good though, especially Seetha (wow! I could go on about her for ever), Djamila and Khaled. Asmahan was dancing as well, as the 'star' of the show - she was very good, definitely more cairo style than the rest. I'd better explain why I liked Seetha so much - she did an AMAZING dance with Isis wings - my new prop of choice, my jaw was just on the floor, and I wanted so much to grab her and get her to tell me all she knows about dancing. She also did a cheeky dance with two giant burlesque type fans which everyone I spoke to loved. That dance had finished and all I could think was 'who on earth is going to follow that?!' And the answer - probably the only person who possibly could - Khaled. He came on from the back, totally unexpected, and proceeded to dance among the seated audience, on chairs, getting someone else to dance from the audience as well - he's definitely the best audience-worker I've seen in the world of belly dance. Fantastic! Oh, there was another dancer I'd never seen before too - Artemisia - she was also fantastic, and great - she did a veil dance that was very atmospheric and floaty and made me wish I could do more than swish a veil from side to side. :)

My Sunday classes included Romany Gypsy with Raheesha - I learned a lot about putting emotion into the dance, and storytelling, and I was very inspired with the moves she taught us too.

The I had a class with Djamila - Surprising Effects and Movements, which was hard, but also inspiring and informative. There were a couple of moves I just could not get into my head for a while, but she taught us a lot of interesting combinations, and they're definitely worth practicing.

Then I had a class with Seetha - 1001 steps and drops. I'd been looking forward to this all day after seeing her at the hafla the day before, and she didn't disappoint. She taught us hip drop and step combinations, and we drilled them. Some of them were really hard, but she was very good at getting us to go over them and telling us if we were doing something wrong. She was very good at looking through the whole class, and showing us all the moves from different positions so we could all see.

I came away from the weekend totally inspired - and with a new costume and Isis wings! I learned so much from all the teachers I had, and I'm definitely going back next year. In fact I'm saving now so I can buy even more costumes and stuff.

Next - a post with pics and links, since I don't have time to get them all looked up and uploaded just now. And then I'll get back to knitting, I promise! :)

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Jewel of Yorkshire - part 1

Wow! I had a great weekend! I learnt so much, my head is just buzzing with dance inspiration.

We headed off on the Friday night - it took about 8 hours to get there. That was including stopping off for a meal, and getting lost in Bradford. Apparantly the people I was going with get lost every year, and I can see why. It's really easy to turn off into the city centre, and once you do, it's really hard to get back out again.

On the Saturday, I had 3 classes. One 2 hour class on Pharonic dancing (it was supposed to be taken by Seetha, but she got held up in Amsterdam, so Djamila took the class. We did a short routine, with lots of pharonic type moves in it, and I'd definitely be interested in doing this type of dance again. During the class, I was thinking the routine would look nice with candles. Djamila said she normally performs it with a candle tray balanced on her head, but I think it would look nice with tea lights held in the hands as well, because the hands are very straight in pharonic dance (think Walk Like An Egyptian).

Then I did a class in hip movements to drum solos. To be honest, I think this one was a bit basic for me as regards the moves, but the teacher did give me some advice that my hip movements are too soft for drum solos, and I should sharpen them a bit. I hadn't really even thought of that before, so I'll have to get to work sharpening my hip movements. I get a bit scared that if I try to sharpen them, then the technique will just disappear, and it'll just be me throwing my hips about all over the place! But thinking about it, I can see she was right. It's fine when I'm doing a softer, slower dance, but I definitely need to work on those hips for faster dances!

Then I did a class on Isis wings. I'd been looking forward to this for ages! I can't really describe Isis wings that well - they tie round your neck, and there's the two wingy parts that hang down, with a stick in each end to hold onto and manipulate them. You'd probably be better lookng them up on google if you want to know what they're like. Anyway, this class was just a basic introduction to Isis wings, and I was really doing it to see if I liked them before I bought a set. And I did like them (and bought some)! I've got a song planned already, I just need to book time in the local hall to practice cos my ceilings are too low!

So I was finished my classes by about 2 o'clock. I did some shopping at the souk in the main hall. When I went I honestly didn't mean to spend much money. I'd saved up just in case though, and of course I ended up spending most of it. I bought a new costume, Isis wings, some DVDs and some CDs. I'll try put pics up later. I just want to get this up first since it has been nearly a week since I went.

Next post - the hafla at night, and my Sunday classes.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Off to Yorkshire!

Yay! It's finally here! I'm off to Jewel of Yorkshire today! An entire weekend of nothing but bellydance, whee!

I've got 6 workshops booked, three on each day, eek! Most of them are only about an hour long though, so I should be able to manage :)

In case you can't tell, I'm really excited about going. :) See you when I get back!

Friday, 5 October 2007

Hello . . .

Oops, I've been kind of neglecting this blog lately. I've been caught up in Ravelry, that's why. Adding projects, books, joining groups. I knew it would eat up time, but it's been eating up a lot! But I'm not wanting to drop this blog, I like to ramble on too much!

Here's a pic of my bf's sweater I mentioned a couple of posts ago. Finished, after a whole year! He really seems to like it, which I must admit I was a bit surprised about. He wears it a lot, and when his brother came round, he made a point of saying, "Look at my Sweater, Amanda made this for me." I was so chuffed! And the feeling I got when I saw him wearing it the first time! Who knows, if it goes on like this, I may become less of a selfish knitter, and start making more things for other people. Actually, he pretty much demanded another one, so that's in progress. I'm 3/4 of the way up one sleeve. (I'm doing the sleeves first, so I'll know if I've got enough yarn, and if I don't then they can be altered somehow)

Dancing is a bit disrupted just now, it's the October mid-term holiday for the classes, so some classes are on this week, some are off, some are off next week, and others are off the week after. I go to classes in 3 different districts, and they can't all have their holidays at the same time, can they? Oh well.

Oh, and it's only a week now till I go to Jewel of Yorkshire, for a whole weekend of belly dance. I'm so excited. This is my first one, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

50th Post Free Pattern! The Sparkle Scarf!

My 50th post! And so I thought I'd put up a free pattern. The Sparkle Scarf!

I came up with this pattern in between Mystery Stoles, while looking for something quick and easy to make. This certainly is easy - only one line to memorize. Here's a close-up of the stitch pattern:


I used a spare ball of mohair I had lying around (on 6.5mm needles) - the yarn looked almost grey all wound up, but as it knitted into the pattern, it suddenly seemed much brighter, and well . . . sparkly, hence the name.

Finished Size: Mine is only 7.5 inches wide by 3.5 feet long, I'd normally knit it longer, but that was all the yarn I had. I like it anyway. Of course, you can knit this pattern as long as you want, and it'd probably look good in a variety of yarns. Anyway, enough waffling, here's the pattern:

Cast on an odd number of stitches so that it's as wide as you want. I cast on 29 sts, which gave me the 7.5 inches. Your own gague will depend on the yarn and needles you use.
Row 1: *K2tog, YO* rpt till last st, K1
And rpt till the scarf is as long as you want it or you've almost run out of yarn.
Cast off.

Hope you like it!

Sunday, 23 September 2007

More Mystery Stole-ing

Yep, I'm making another. I know I said I was going to start the print o' the wave stole, but I figured I really should get a start on xmas knitting. So I'm making another stole just the same as my own for my gran. I could have given her the other one, but I'm horribly selfish, and figured I could make another one just for her. It'll be better anyway, since I'm used to this pattern now. So here's the new stole at the end of clue 1:

I'm using a different yarn for this one. It's almost the same thickness, but when knitted up it feels a little more solid. It has a red and greenish strand twisted round each other, and I quite like it. Yet another charity shop buy. The colours in this picture are pretty accurate.

This one is knitting up really fast. I've been working on it for 3 days, and I'm on chart E. I'll just do the same as for the other one - work up to the end of chart F then graft them together. I'll try not to whine about this one so much though. At least I know what'll work for blocking this type of yarn now though.

I've also been playing on Ravelry. I haven't added any of my FO's just yet - I still have to upload them to Flickr. I had to set up an account there. But I have uploaded some of the books I have (the others weren't in Ravelry yet). It's really cool how you can click on the book you have and see the things people have made from it. It's made me look at some of the patterns in a new way. And I've become obsessed with the page where you can see the new patterns people have uploaded. I keep checking back just to see what else there is! Definite time eater.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Happy Happy! FO's

Yay! The mystery stole is blocked and complete!

After leaving it for a while, I finally felt up to trying to block it again. Pinning it out wet didn't seem to work, so I tried ironing it. And it worked immediatly! I'm not entirely sure why, but if it works, it works. And who am I to question it?

I'm so happy it's finally worked out. The seam where I grafted is still wonky - there's nothing I can do about that now - but it actually looks like a piece of fabric now, and I'm very pleased with it. (I'm working hard to ignore the seam, it is my first lace item, after all)

In fact I'm feeling so pleased with it, I'm going to try some more lace - Eunny Jang's Print o' The Wave Stole. I'm going to stick with rectangular stoles for a while before I venture into the world of triangular shawls.

Oh, I finished my boyfriend's sweater too - it's being washed just now to pull out the ribbing, so I'll get some pics tomorrow. I'm glad that's finished too - it's only been a year!

These two projects have been things I've learned from. I'm now better at sweater necks - his head can actually go through this one! - and I'm feeling a bit more confident about lace (although I'm sure just cos I wrote that I'm going to get smited somehow!) Grafting is still scary though - I need more practice at that!

Oh, and I got my invite to Ravelry! Yay! I'm on as Yarndancer if anyone wants to come say hi. I can see it's going to eat up a lot of time - but that's not a bad thing. :)

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Cleaning Up

Wow, what a whiny post last time! I'm kinda embarrassed. I had just finished grafting the pieces together, and wasn't feeling very happy about it. Looking back at the stole, I suppose the grafting isn't TOO bad. Only another knitter or someone who was looking very closely would be able to see that it's a bit uneven in places. So I'm not feeling too bad about that just now. I haven't even attempted to block it again though yet. I've just been letting it sit there. It's a lovely pattern though, it's just my lack of abilities that I think I was upset over. I like to be good at things first time lol. But in a couple of days, I'll set it out to block again, see if I can stop it curling. Lol, where's the starch?!

I've not really done any knitting recently, since my bout of finishing things off. I've set up a couple of things, I ripped out the rasta blankie as the crochet was using up far too much yarn. I'm going to do something else with it, that I'm quite excited about, but I'll make a full post on that later. I also ripped out the neck of a jumper that I was knitting for my bf. I was actually knitting it about a year ago, but I made the neck too tight, and it wouldn't even go over a child's head! So it's been sitting there, and I finally dragged it out to work on it again. It doesn't need much work, just the top of the front and back. What I did wrong last time was picking up the neck stitches, then knitting them. It wasn't till I read a post by Grumperina, I think it was, explaining that it worked better if you picked up and knitted a stich at a time. I've done it on other sweaters since then, and it definitely does work better that way, so I'm going to try it on this one. Lol, it's been so long since I looked at this, that I had to swatch again to find out what size needles I used! (2.75 with 4 ply yarn in case you're interested lol)

Oh, and I've been cleaning! I got a new Dyson, and I love it!

It's the bestest hoover ever! I love to just watch all the dirt swirling around. I know, weird. You don't need to say anything. I know. But it's so cool! My dog leaves a lot of hair lying around - a LOT! - and this thing is brilliant. My carpet is actually cream, not gray! Who knew? ;)

(Not that carpet though - that's the horrible kitchen carpet. Ignore it.)

Friday, 7 September 2007

It's No Mystery . . .

I suck at sewing, grafting and blocking. Ug.

I've just grafted the two pieces of the mystery stole. Well, I say grafted. More like hacked the two pieces together with hardly an even set of yarn-overs next to each other, and a big line across the middle. Honestly, I was almost crying as I attempted to sew this thing together! It just wouldn't stay even. Then the yarn broke as I was pulling it through a stitch (luckily there was enough left to do the rest of the grafting, but still! It was an emotional moment). Then it all bunched together and I had to tease it open. It's just as well my house doesn't have a fireplace, because ceremonial burning sure seemed attractive at one point.

Eventually, I finished. I chose to graft it instead of doing a three needle bind off because I figured there wouldn't be a line across the middle. I mean, that's the main selling point of grafting, isn't it? That there's supposed to be no seam line. Well, mine has one. But now I'm thinking I should have just done the three needle thing, as it would have been a lot easier.

Plus, my blocking was crap. The two pieces looked so pretty all pinned out. But, as soon as I took the pins away, the edges just curled in along the line of YO's. I must have done something wrong with that too. I guess I'll have to try ironing it or something.

Ugh. I'm not happy. I put so much work in, and it's now a curly, seamy mess.

It's sitting in the spare room just now, out of sight. I'm not even going to post a picture, because the process of setting one up would be too much. It's just going to sit there, thinking about what it's done, till it decides to play nice, and block properly. (I think I can cope with the squiggly seaming if it blocks next time) It's weird though, the inside portion is blocked fine, the YO's are staying in place and everything. It's just that the edges are curling in on themselves. I'll have to figure out what went wrong. After a strong drink. :)

Finished Objects!

I haven't posted for a while, but I have been busy. I finished the bi-directional vest:

I like it. It has an interesting construction - you knit the centre panel first, then pick up and knit out to the sides. You do this for both front and back, so they're both the same, then pick up and knit round the neckline, hem, and armholes. It's all in straight lines, which is good. It knit up fast, and was good practice at picking up stitches. I had to rip out the side bits though and knit them in a smaller size cos I made it too big first time. I made it in the size I normally make, but it was too big so I had to make it a size smaller. Must be something about negative ease, or something, but I can't be bothered thinking too much about it just now. When I finally got it to the right size, I liked it. I did have to rip out the scarf I had made previously in that yarn though, cos I ran out, and just couldn't wait till I could find more.

I also made a hat:

I love it! It's from this pattern (I've been manically going through the crystal palace yarns free patterns page, in case you hadn't guessed!). The yarn is Sirdar Valentino, and it took a ball and a half. I made it a bit longer than the pattern called for, I must have a big head or something, knitted hat patterns always come out too short on me. I like hats to at least reach my ears, ideally to cover them. It gets cold here in winter! So instead of 7 inches like the pattern said, it was more like 9. I've been looking for a rolled brim pattern for this yarn for AGES, since I bought it. It just screamed out to me that it wanted to be a rolled brim hat, and this pattern was perfect for it. All the other patterns I could find were for different gauges, but this yarn substituted quite well for the one in the pattern.

And . . . the mystery stole is blocking!

At last. Tomorrow, I promise I will sew it together. No more procrastinating.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

'Complete' Knitting

I read Grumperina's post yesterday about not feeling like a 'complete' knitter because she doesn't like knitting sweaters, and it got me thinking. What is a 'complete' knitter? Is there such a thing?

My first instinct on reading her post was one of disbelief. What? She doesn't classify herself as a complete knitter? Is she insane??? She knits such wonderful things, designs items the knitting world goes crazy over (is there anyone in the world who hasn't made a pair of jaywalkers, cos it sure doesn't seem so), knows about complicated techniques and more importantly, can explain them in language even I can understand. If I had had to make a list of complete knitters, she would have been right up there at the top.

In the comments, the general consensus seemed to be that it doesn't really matter what a person knits, so long as they enjoy it. Yep, I agree with that. There are items I'll probably never knit (I'm not a fan of knitted bags, for example. All that knitting, and it'll need lined anyway? I'd rather just sew a bag, once I learn to sew properly, that is). But it's not that that keeps me from feeling like I'm the best knitter I can be.

I'm more interested in processes recently. It was cables for a while - that was fun, and they'll definitely come back into my knitting. It'll be lace again, once the mystery stole is blocked and finished (yep, still not done), and I'm having great fun with the bi-directional vest. However, it usually takes me the full length of a sweater to feel like I've 'got' the process. Socks are OK to practice things, but not to learn them, and scarves can be just boring sometimes (I still seem to make a lot of them though. One day I'll show you them all). I find with a sweater there's enough variation in the shaping plus the front, back and sleeves are different, so there's always something to think about.

The more I thought about it, the more I felt that my own sense of 'completeness' is felt in mastering processes. It doesn't matter so much what I make, just so long as I'm making. And even then, 'completeness' isn't quite the right word. I feel in order to be a master knitter, I would need to learn every process, and try everything at least once. But I feel a sense of completeness whenever I'm making, whether it's knitting, crochet, dancing, writing, and I guess I would apply that to other people too. It doesn't matter what they're making or doing, so long as they feel happy, and hopefully even complete while doing it.

And is it possible ever to learn every single technique, in every possible permutation? I have never heard of any knitter who hasn't something new to learn. In fact, when reading letters sent into magazines, I'm often struck by how many older people write in saying they've been knitting for blah amount of years, and are still learning! And the enthusiasm that comes across in those letters is amazing. I kind of hope I never become a master 'complete' knitter, in case I lose the sense of excitement that comes with each new project. It's that excitement and wonder that completes knitting to me.

Anyway, thanks to Grumperina for her inspiring post. I'm sure I have lots more to say about it, but I've babbled on for long enough just now.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Some Knitting

OK, so I've finished the knitting on the mystery stole, but it's not blocked, or grafted together yet. But I'm getting there. Blocking and finishing are always the bits I procrastinate on.

I finished a hat to go with the scarf I made.

I made it using this pattern, with the mistake rib used in the scarf. Sorry about the crappy picture, I couldn't get a decent one with it on. I think it looks pretty cute on, so long as I keep my hair down. If I have my hair up it looks a bit weird. This is the first hat I've made, and overall I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

I've also started this:

It's the Taos bi-drectional vest from this site. I'm using Sirdar Bonus Flash for it, in the same color I used for the sweater I made a few months ago. I'm using up the left over balls for it. I'm not sure at this point if I'll have enough yarn for it, it's getting worryingly close. I'm trying to source some off ebay, but I don't know if it's been discontinued or not. If it has, I suppose I have a scarf made of it that I can rip back and use, so it won't be the end of the world. I like the look of this pattern, it kind of reminds me of the Fifth Element for some reason (my favourite film of all time!). It's knitting up quite fast, and the construction is quite interesting. The row gauge is very important though, so I had to swatch to check that for the first time ever (I normally don't bother). There's lots of picking up of stitches, so it's good practice.

Check out my picking up! It's my most even picking up ever! That's probably cos it's in a straight line though (I did maths to help me figure out where to pick them all up). I'm a bit rubbish at picking up round curved necklines. I absolutely hate it. There are always holes, or it's bunched up, and it just never looks right. But this picking up along a straight line, I like this! I'll be interested to see how this one turns out. It's very different from just plain knitting from the bottom up, and I'm having fun with it just now. I've done the whole front, and the centre panel of the back (or it could be the other way round since both sides are the same!).

Anyway, that's enough for just now. I've got quite a bit more I want to say on other subjects, but they can wait for a little bit, tomorrow at the latest. See, if I hadn't procrastinated on blogging yesterday, I wouldn't have this problem, but I just can't help myself. I'm a dedicated procrastinator!

Friday, 24 August 2007

LYS Discovery - And An FO . . .

. . . but it's not the mystery stole, unfortunately.

It's . . . a scarf. Well, I've spent so much time on the mystery stole, which I seemed to have made about 3 times more complicated than it actually is, and I wanted something quick and easy. Plus I saw this yarn in a charity shop - 9 balls of Richard Poppleton Giselle, and couldn't resist. It's hot pink, boucle and just a little fluffy, everything I would normally avoid. But it has specks of blue, yellow, orange and white running through it, and I thought it would look good as a scarf. So I bought all 9 balls. Hmm. It took 2 to make the scarf. Lol, I just like to buy stuff is all. So now I'm making a hat to go with it, in the same type of rib. Oh, the pattern for the scarf is here. I spent a bit of time trying to find the right pattern for the yarn, something that would show up all the colours, yet still be visible through them, and this mistake rib was just perfect. It was really quite fun, and fast to make after the mystery stole. And no, that's not finished yet, although I can see the end in sight after all this time.

And, I found like, the best yarn store ever! Well, OK, the best out of the three I've been to, but it's going to take some beating. It's only just up the road in Newburgh - Twist Fibre Craft Studio. I'd heard of it of course, it being nearby, but I'd never actually been. I don't go to Newburgh very often, if at all, and had never been there long enough to go in. But I was looking for a magazine, and saw on the net that they stock Vogue Knitting, and Interweave and all those magazines. So I went yesterday.

I was very restrained actually - I bought 2 magazines, and 2 balls of sock yarn. My first proper sock yarn! Yay! I got a ball of Opal (Schlange, it looks like from the inside of the ball band. I can't read german, but that's what's underneath the photo), and some Trekking, but I don't know what the colourway is called for that. The Opal is going to become some Monkeys, after I've finished drooling over it.

I got Vogue Knitting Winter 2006/07, and Interweave Crochet fall 2006 magazines. It was great! They had all the magazines I'm interested in - newsagents only seem to stock Simply Knitting or Knitting Today or Knitting Magazine, which is all very good, and I like those magazines too, but I like the range of styles you get in the American magazines, especially Vogue. I prefer Vogue to Interweave actually, because the styles are more unique and well, frankly off the wall for some of them. The Interweave knitting designs are nice too, and more wearable perhaps, but I'm at a phase just now where I'm inspired by more experimental designs.

So Twist Fibre is my new favorite yarn store. The guy just got on with what he was doing while I made my selection, and didn't try to bug me into choosing, and the general atmosphere was very relaxing and welcoming. And the yarns! I'll definitely be back there.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Random Stuff - No Pics (sorry) :)

Lately I've been working on the mystery stole. I already said how I didn't want to make it with the wing, and was trying to reverse the lace pattern so I could just keep going - well, that didn't work out. My brain is not quite up to reversing a pattern like that. I just kept going at first, then realised after about 7 inches that I would need to reverse the side bits if I wanted it to continue into the triangle at the end. So I ripped back, and tried drawing various versions of the lace pattern and knitting them up. That didn't work at all. And I had decided in a fit of confidence to rip out the lifeline at row 287 or wherever it was. "Lifeline? Ha, I don't need that! I KNOW what I'm doing!" Remind me never to listen to myself again. Now I can't rip back and follow Melanie's directions for knitting seamlessly to the end. So, I'm grafting. See a few posts ago for progress on the second half, cos it looks exactly the same.
I'm suffering from Second Side Syndrome with this bit (I never get second sock syndrome but I've definitely got its variant). It's just cos I'm knitting the exact same thing, and I know I'm not smart enough to change it the way I wanted. That's frustrated me, but I'm persevering. It's a lovely pattern as it is, and I don't want it to languish in the 'where are they now' pile? That pile is already too big.

Some happier, dancing news. I bought my place on Yasmina's workshops in Edinburgh on the 25th and 26th, finally! I wanted to go to the Maria de Silva one a few weeks ago, but didn't have any money, so I was determined to get to this one. You can get information about the workshops on BellyDancingCaroline's website.

I can't wait for this workshop, or the other ones listed on her site! I also can't wait for Jewel of Yorkshire. It seems so long till that one! The middle of October! I haven't been away anywhere this summer, so I'm really looking forward to that one, getting away for a weekend and all.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Knitting Guru?

Hee hee. I love getting good results in quizes. I don't know if I'd describe myself as a guru but I definitely love my knitting!

What Kind of Knitter Are You?

You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting and do it all the time. While finishing a piece is the plan, you still love the process, and can't imagine a day going by without giving some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation involves leaving ample space for the stash and supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn ends and you begin.
Take this quiz!

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Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Summer Walk (pic heavy)

Today it's been really nice outside (makes a change!), so I decided to take the dog for a walk to a nearby forest. It was so warm, it actually felt like summer. This forest is about 20 mins walk away, pretty close but I haven't actually been there since last summer. But the dog seemed to remember exactly what route we used to take round the forest. He was always running in front of me - he'd get to just within eyesight then stop and wait for me to catch up. I'm always terrified he's going to run off - he's not too good at the whole 'come here' thing yet, and he gets so excited when he sees another animal, I might as well not exist at all, but he was actually really good. We only saw one other dog, and it wasn't interested in playing, so he just continued his running and waiting like before.

I took lots of photos, here's a few of the best.

Some Scottish countryside:

Inside the forest:

Some timber cut from the trees in the forest:

And my new desktop:

And of course, one of the dog. This was the best one I could get. He was either running off into the distance or doing things I'm sure you don't want pictures of :) Or if you do, I'm sure there are other sites that cater to that.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Knitter's Block

The knitting mojo seems to have left me for a few days now. I just can't seem to get motivated enough to get on with it. I've got several things on the go, but I'm spending my time just now playing video games and watching stuff.

I caught up with the mystery stole knitalong before clue 5 was out: here's pics up to the end of clues 3 and 4:

Then clue five came out and I found out it wasn't what I was expecting ie. it was assymetical in shape. I was kind of expecting it in pattern, but not shape and it threw me a bit. I spent about a day thinking about it, and I decided I'm not going to make it that way, but I'm not going to rip back to the lifeline either. I'm going to attempt to keep going with the pattern, then knit the end charts backwards, so the points will be the same on both ends. However, that takes thinking, and my brain's not really up to that this week. Maybe in a few days.

I've also been knitting jellyfish from magknits (speaking of which, I hadn't even realised the new one was out). Now that I've looked at the new patterns, jellyfish might get ripped in favour of summer sky. I've got to that bit of knitting where I get unsure of the pattern, whether I like it or not, whether to rip it or not. I think I've mentioned that before with other patterns ;) Anyway, that one's been in the knitting corner since I got to the picking up stitches part, and found that I had nearly double what I'm supposed to, so if I continue I'll have to make up the ribby part myself. More thinking.

Anyway, from this month's magknits, I like summer sky, and pink champagne. Not that I'm in the mood to cast anything on though.