Thursday, 31 May 2007

Late For The Party

I've been shopping!

I got some acrylic/wool 85/15 yarn from a charity shop, enough for a sweater (even though I already have about five projects lined up in my head) and a couple of magazines.

The new Knit Today - I love that magazine, and all the patterns in this edition look like stuff I might actually make! You know when you get a magazine and it has 2 great patterns, then the rest are stuff you KNOW you'll never let anywhere near your needles? Well, this one doesn't have any of those for me. I know other people will have different tastes, but I liked all the patterns in this one - even the baby ones are nice, and I never really pay attention to baby patterns, not having any babies to knit for.
And on the left, that's VK from Winter 1989. I was looking through it and, OMG, big boxy colorful (intarsia) patterns were big then! But there's a few I might make (smaller, less boxy, less colorful ones), and it's interesting to look through it to see what knitting was like 17 years ago!
I saw a Jean Greenhowe book as well, but was trying to be good and frugal, and I thought I don't knit toys so I'd leave it. I'm kicking myself now, well, the insane collector part of me is. Maybe I'll go back see if it's there still. I don't know. I've still got stuff coming through the mail that I'm waiting for. Do I really need another book that I probably won't make stuff from for years, if at all?

I also bought some old sci-fi novels. I love the old style sci-fi books, the thin ones with the cool artwork on the front. They're just so full of imagination, and I spend nearly as much time looking at the cover as I do reading them!

It's just a shame I can't read them while I'm knitting - too fiddly with little books like that. But I did discover podcasts! (I know, where have I BEEN?) and have been listening to Cast On while knitting the blueberry top. I'm going through all the old episodes, and was listening to the one with the Rogue sweater, where she describes the big craze in 2004! Where have I been? I only just discovered blogs last year, and I'm only starting my own just now! Still, that's me, always the last one to the party! We'll just say I'm fashionably late, huh?

Oh, speaking of podcasts, is there anyone out there who knows how to put buttons onto the sidebar in Blogger? I can't figure it out. I can get links up there, I can get pictures up there, but I want a picture that is a link, if you know what I mean, so I can put one up for Cast On. If there's anyone out there that could tell me how to do it, I'd be so grateful, I just can't figure it out!

Monday, 28 May 2007

Blueberry not Blackcurrant

No progress on Rogue - it's not even cast on yet. The pattern isn't even printed out yet. I've been trying to get on with the Blackcurrant Ice Cream top. I keep making mistakes with the cables and not noticing for ages, then having to rip back. I had to rip out 3 inches yesterday! But that's nothing, the day before I knit about 7 inches altogether (not in one day, right enough), realised I'd made a mistake, ripped back and got thoroughly confused trying to put the stitches back on the needles. So I got annoyed and ripped the entire thing. This must be the fourth or fifth time I've started this top. At least it's my fault the past few times. I was so gutted when I found the error in the chart the first time, then when I couldn't fix it quite right the second time. Now I've got my head round it though, and mostly I'm working from a chart in my head, rather than the one in the magazine. It's a shame about the error cos it's a really nice pattern. Here's a photo of the progress so far:

This is going to be the back. For the front, I'm not going to make those bobbles on either side - they look a bit too nipple-tastic when it's held up against me. Oh, and I've also made it a bit longer by continuing the cables for a few rows more than they were meant to. It seemed very short for me, it's better for me to have it too long than too short - I'm more likely to like it that way. It seems like it'll turn out to be a suitable length now.

I like the way this yarn is knitting up, even though I've no clue what it is. The ebay listing said it was wool, but in the UK that's often used just as a way of saying yarn. It doesn't feel like wool or cotton, but it doesn't feel like acrylic either, at least not 100% acrylic. It's plied kind of like a bit of string, and I'm not really sure how to describe the feel of it. Not as rough as wool or acrylic, but definitely not as soft as cotton. I think I'll have to take it somewhere, maybe a yarn store or something, and see if anyone else knows what it is. I never wash my hand knits in the machine anyway, or rub them, so it would never get a chance to felt, but it's bugging me that I don't know what it is. Oh well, I like it anyway. But I'm going to have to rename the top to Blueberry Ice Cream - the color is just not blackcurranty at all.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Finished sweater

I've finished another sweater!

The pattern is from The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd. It's a set in sleeve sweater with a crew neck. I really like that book. This is the fifth sweater I've made from it. It's made with Sirdar Flash in Sunset, I think it's called. I've already ordered the Peacock color from ebay so I can make another.

I seem to have been going through a bit of a finishing phase recently. I sewed up this and Mariah, both of which I had had lying around for months. There's just something about sewing things up . . . I don't know what it is, because it doesn't take that long really. I feel really weird now cos there's nothing waiting to be sewed up any more. Nothing. It's all finished. Knitting isn't quite the same without something calling from the bag in the corner to be finished up. Oh well, I've got two, soon to be three projects on the go just now, so they'll all be waiting to be sewed up at the same time soon, I expect. Those are the Blackcurrant Ice Cream top, the Peacock sweater (when the yarn arrives, next week hopefully), and I was going to start Durrow, like I said in the last post. However. (By the way, this happens a lot with me, there's always a 'however')

I swatched for the pattern, being really good and swatching in the proper stitch pattern and everything, and it was going good. I had gauge on stitches and rows. But the color wasn't quite right. I had imagined the yarn as more of a dark wine red, and when it knitted up it was more of a scarletty red. Too bright for Durrow, I think. I'm thinking that pattern will look best in dark wine red, black or navy. Or another dark color. But this yarn is quite bright and cheerful. SO I was knitting it up, thinking I was just going through that phase of 'could I be knitting something better', then suddenly I remembered a pattern I'd bought ages ago, after seeing Purl Friday's finished one - Rogue. This seemed perfect. But I didn't feel right just changing pattern like that. So the swatch sat there for a few days while I pontificated. I kept staring at it, thinking, I bought this to make Durrow! It wouldn't be right to just change - besides, I'd already told everyone, in real life as well as here, that I was going to make that one. But I think I've decided. The yarn wants to be Rogue. It told me so when I was swatching (stop looking at me like that, you know yarn does that!). So I have to let it be Rogue. If I try to force it into being Durrow, something terrible will happen (by the way, you should also know I can be a little over dramatic). So pictures soon of Rogue progress, and I figure that leaves me free to go shopping for yarn for Durrow! Yay!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007


Finally, after months of procrastination, Mariah is finished!

I love it! This pattern is soooo beautiful, and so much fun to knit. It was designed by the fabulous Jodi Green, and I saw it on Knitty when it first came out, and fell instantly in love with it. I spent ages looking for the perfect yarn, then came across 4 balls of some obscure yarn in a charity shop. This one I still have the ball band for - Touch of Class luxury DK by Coney. Acrylic, wool and nylon. I saw it sitting there and thought instantly - Mariah! So of course I snapped it up, and started knitting immediately. It took me ages to get round to sewing it up though, and I really regret the time it sat there in the UFO pile when all it took was a little sewing. I'm so pleased with it now it's finished. It's a fantastic pattern (did I say that already, lol). I can see it's one I'm going to come back to in the future. But next up is Durrow, another pattern by Jodi. She's so talented! Cables seem to be a recurring theme in my knitting right now, but I'm not fighting it. My pictures don't really show off the FO to its best. It doesn't help that my t-shirt is showing through!

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Stuff I've done recently (imaginative title!)

Knitting news. I've finished the front or back of the Blackcurrant Ice Cream top. I need to block it before I knit any more though cos I'm a bit worried it's going to be too tight. I held it up to me and it looks like it's the right length, and it'll go on if I make it that size, but it seems a bit clingy just now. So a-blocking I will go, and I hope it goes well, cos if not it means I need to go a-frogging too.

Today I also really need to sew in a zip. I've been putting off sewing in this zip for months, and I don't know why. The actual object has been sewed up for ages, I'm just really crap at sewing things, I prefer knitting them. But I'll definitely sew it in today, then tomorrow I'll have some exciting pictures to put up. There, I need to do it now, cos I've said so in public. Another thing this blog will be good for - getting me to actually do stuff.

On Saturday I went to my dancing classes - they were all excellent. Bollywood was really hard, I missed last week, and she crams so many moves into one lesson. I really need the practice time in between classes otherwise there's just no way I would get any of it.

I also went to a hafla in Tayport. I'm not sure about the etiquette of posting pictures of real people on the net so I'm not going to. Better safe than sorry, I don't want anyone getting annoyed at me for plastering their face all over the net. So you'll have to make do with my description instead. It was a small-ish hafla, with just a few performances. But there was a great atmosphere. Sometimes smaller haflas are good for that. Big ones can be a bit colder sometimes, not so much mixing of people. But this one was really good. The performers were all great, it looked like they were having so much fun. There was a buffet too (Food! always a good thing!). Yum! All in all, it was a great night, and I had a lot of fun.

Sorry about the lack of pictures today, I'll try post more tomorrow. Now off to block! (Ooh, I hope it goes well!)

Monday, 21 May 2007

7 random things

Yesterday I kind of tagged myself on Jodi Green's blog to do the seven random things meme. I figure it's kind of a good way of getting more about myself on the blog. It's hard to know how much to put about myself out here. I mean, most people who have knit blogs seem to put photos, names all sorts of info on their blogs, and I think that's what makes some of them so interesting to read. But I don't really know how much I want to put out there myself. I'm kind of (well, very) shy in real life, and I guess that influences my hesitation to put my real name or photos of me on the blog just yet. Maybe later I'll get more comfortable with it, and you'll all be bored to tears reading about my mundane life (ooh, I just got an interesting typo - mundance). Anyway, what all that was leading to was, that I figured this meme would be good cos it'd be more personal info, but not too much, you know? Here goes:

1. I hate getting water on my face. It causes a lot of problems, more than you'd think. For years I refused to wash my face, it's only recently I've started being able to use baby wipes rather than soap and water. I swim weird cos my head has to stick out of the water, and I eat fruit weird cos I have to wipe my face in between each bit, for instance when eating a big piece of melon and the juice gets everywhere. I also hate slime and reckon I must have blennophobia. Ug, if anyone ever does come to read this blog, you're just going to think I'm totally strange now. And you'd be right!

2. I can speak and read Japanese! I went to uni to learn it, but I ran out of money, and they wouldn't let me finish my course. But I can get by in Japanese.

3. I love reading. I have five bookshelves, not quite all full of books, but I've got more at my mum's house too. I'll read anything, fact, fiction, cereal packets, but my favorite books (at the moment, it changes often) are science fiction and war stories.

4. Red is my favorite color.

5. I can windsurf too! I used to work at a watersports park and took advantage of the half price classes. I've got a certificate and everything! I had problems the first few days cos I hate water on my face, but my body just learned to balance really good really quickly. The feeling of the wind pushing you along is amazing! I wish I lived nearer a lake or something so I could do it more often.

6. I love cute characters like Hello Kitty and Miffy. I went to the Miffy's 50th birthday exhibition in Edinburgh yesterday, and it was great. Look

Tribal Miffy!

Miffy doing a veil dance! :)

7. I like chocolate, all kinds of chocolate. (Ok, lame, but it's quite hard actually to think of seven random things).

Now I need to think of seven people to tag. I'm very new to the blogosphere and I feel kind of weird tagging people. But I guess part of the reason for starting this blog was to get into this kind of thing, and get involved in the communitah, as it were. So I'll tag seven people today, and put a proper post on tomorrow!

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Knitting and Crochet progress

Progress has been made on both the knitting and crochet fronts, but it's been a bit of a slog. The Rasta Blankie is still growing.

Colors are still a bit off, but you get the idea. I'm going through that phase I get with every big project, wondering if I like it, or whether I should just rip it out. But I've learned that I go through this phase, and I try just to ignore it now. It still nags away at the back of my mind though (am I wasting my time making this? Could I be making something even better?).

So I cast on a knitting project for when that nagging voice gets too loud. 'Blackcurrant Ice Cream' by Jean Moss from Knitting Magazine, April 2005. It's a lovely pattern. I'm making it in a navy blue 4ply, and I think it'll look really nive when it's done. But. (There's always a 'but', isn't there?) The pattern works in chart form. Difficult, but not a bad thing really. I cast on a few times trying to figure it out. Well, it wouldn't be a bad thing if there wasn't a HUGE error in the chart. Two of the cable patterns have garter stitches going up the back of them in the bottom half! Now, I know from looking at the photos in the magazine that it's not meant to have them. And I know from looking at the top part of the chart that it's not meant to have them. Luckily I had only done a few rows before I had to rip out and do it again, this time making the corrections as I go along. Here's the photo of the current progress:

And yes, that is I-cords at the bottom! The way it's made, it looks as if the cables continue off the bottom into cords. So that's the good thing about making this pattern - I learned to make I-cords! And they're so much fun! It was hard to stop at the required 5". I wanted to keep going and going! (Yes, yes, I know I'm weird!)

So all in all, progress is being made, difficult though it sometimes is. It's all a learning process, isn't it? That's what I'll keep telling myself.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Rasta Rhythms

The rasta blankie (its new official name) is still growing. Every so often I get worried about the colors, will it be too weird? It sometimes looks like some psycadelic escapee from the 70s. But then I figure, what if it is weird? Do I really want a boring neutral tone blanket? It might turn out to be nice to have a cheerful, (very) colorful blanket in the middle of winter. I'm just going to keep going and let the yarn turn out how it wants to be. If it's horrific then I can always rip it back and make something else. That's the beauty of knitting. It's permanent, in that you can make something and have a FO right there that you created, and yet if it's too horrible it's not like sewing, you can always rip it back and make something else.

Practiced some belly dance this morning. I think I'm getting better at putting moves together when improvising, I used to stop all the time, not knowing what to do next. But today I managed to keep going even though I didn't know the song. I think it helps that I've been learning the rhythms used in Egyptian music. This site is very useful for learning about the rhythms, what they are, what they sound like etc. I also got a couple of drum cds with different rhythms on them, to practice listening to. I used to think there was no point in learning about the drum rhythms, weren't they just the same as the drumming I hear all the time when listening to music? But as I've gone on, I've realised that no, they're not the same, that's why Middle Eastern music sounds so different. And as I've learned more about them, my dancing has definitely improved. I'm listening to the music differently now, and I kind of know what's going to come next, but don't ask me how I know this! And when I'm just listening to music, not dancing, I can pick out the names of some of the rhythms! Yay! I can pick out maqsoum, masmoudi and saaidi. Still a lot more to learn, but it's so exciting finding out more about the music and feeling like I might be 'getting' it.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Ripples of JoY

As promised, here's a picture of the crochet blanket-in-progress:

I love this pattern! It's from 200 Ripple Stitch Patterns, which is an amazing book, full of wonderful stitch patterns for knitting and crochet. This is my first crochet project which doesn't involve granny squares, and the first one in which I'm actually aware of what I'm doing and not just making it up as I go along, which I kind of did with the granny square blankies! The colors are a little different, the flash brightened up the blue and dulled the orange, and that's supposed to be red at the bottom! I guess if nothing else, this blog will make me improve my camera skills!

I've knitted a scarf using another pattern from this book, here's a photo of the stitch pattern:

I can see I'm probably going to use this book time and time again. I wouldn't say it's quite 200 ripple patterns, cos the author seems to think that changing the stripe colors and frequency counts as a whole original new pattern. I don't agree. But misleading though the title is, it's still a great book with loads of stitch ideas.

So the blankie is going to take up most of my crafting time for the next little while. I'm not sure about the colors, it seems like it's turning out a little rasta. They're all acrylic and bright colors, you know the type of yarn I'm talking about! But I'll keep going cos I like to see where these things end up, what it'll end up looking like, and if I'll like it!

In dancing news, today I got my confirmation for Jewel of Yorkshire! It's a weekend of belly dance workshops, hafla and souk, away down in Yorkshire in October, and I'm so excited! This will be the first JoY I've been to, but some of my friends have been before and it sounds wonderful. I'm going to classes by Asmahan, Djamila and others, and I'm doing the Isis wings workshop! I've never used Isis wings before but they look great! If you're a knitter reading this and not a dancer, I urge you to go to Youtube and search for Isis wings and watch people dancing with them. I'm so excited!!!!

Thursday, 10 May 2007

A bit about dance . . .

I thought I'd write a little about my dancing today, as my camera has run out of battery power and I can't take any pictures of knitting. I wish I could, I just learned how to crochet and am making a crochet wave blanket, inspired by yarnstorm's blankets. In fact, it's the same pattern, but I'll write about it tomorrow. I'll have to get some batteries!

I've been belly dancing now for 2 1/2 years. I go to a class on Thursdays, and another on Saturday. On Saturday I also go to American Tribal Style and Bollywood classes. I've totally got the dancing bug, I'm obsessed with it! My teachers are really good, and the classes are always interesting and fun. I go to workshops when I can, I've been to workshops by Lorna Gow (I also went to one of her classes before she went to Cairo, and she's amazing! I learned so much from just one term with her!), Fareshteh (not sure if I've spelled that right), and Khaled.

What I love about belly dance is that it's so suited for the female form. Any woman can do it, you don't have to be stick thin like a ballerina, and it really shows off the curves and attitude of a woman. Every woman dances differently, I've seen this in my classes, and their personality really comes through in the dance. We're all doing the same moves, but it can look so different. It's great for body image, because it is so suited for the female form. I've heard people saying it helped with recovery from eating disorders, and I know it's definitely increased my own confidence! Also, I love performing, and the belly dance 'scene' gives plenty of opportunity to do that, with lots of haflas where people get together and dance. The other dancers are so supportive and accepting as well. I never realised really how much I love performing (I always just thought of it as showing off before), but it's such a great feeling dancing for (and with!) other people. It's really opened up a whole other side to my personality that was hidden before!

Tribal is more about dancing in a group. It's mostly improvised on the night, one dancer leads and the others follow by reading her signals. This is definitely a dance for improving confidence! It's nerve-racking dancing in front of the group, having to remember moves, and signals, and make up the moves that are coming up next, all in the same moment! But it's great fun, and the people who do tribal are REALLY friendly and supportive. It seems to attract the type of person who works well in a group. I suppose in order to dance it, you have to be that type of person really. It's good practice for me, I'm quite shy and am not usually good in groups!

Bollywood! That class is sooo energetic and exciting. Lots of jumping, moving, and hand movements! Our teacher teaches us a dance every term, and it's so fast-paced, and fun!

I think I'm improving in my dancing. I still have a hell of a lot to learn, and much confidence to build up before I'll be anywhere near good, but it's very inspiring going to classes and workshops and learning new things. This is really just an overview about my dancing, there's so much more I could say, and I'm sure I will as this blog goes on.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007


OK, here are some socks, hot off the needles!

Bit of a bad picture, here's a close-up of the cables.

These were made from a pale blue cotton yarn (Patons I think, I've lost the ball band. Well, I say lost, I mean I threw in the bin, thinking I would never need it again.) Two skeinsone for each socks, toe up, with the cable pattern from Dad's Easy Cable Socks from Socks Socks Socks. I reversed the cable pattern on one sock, so they would go in opposite directions on each sock. I've made this pattern before, but from the top down as the pattern itself says to do. However, I've recently learned how to make toe-up socks, and like that much better. I get full yarn useage, instead of either running out, or having a useless tiny amount left over. And the seam on the toe is much smoother. My sewing skills are not really up to par, so when I graft toes it can be a bit of a mess, to say the least. When I learned though, I had to put together bits from different pattens I found on the internets, cos I wanted a slip stitch heel, and I couldn't find a pattern that went toe-up and had one with the right number of stitches. So I ended up having to make my own 'recipe' for toe up socks. It seems to work with all gauges. I'll post it here at some point, when I've actually written it in a coherent manner :)

are another pair of toe-up socks, made of some random acrylic (Patons baby stuff maybe, I dunno, I threw out that ball band too. I'll go to the shop at some point and sneakily see what it was). This was a nice yarn, I kind of like working with acrylic, I know a lot of people have a problem with it, but this one was nice and soft. The only problem I had was getting the right number of stitches to stop pooling. Even then I could see patterns coming out that I didn't want, but they weren't too noticeable, and there was enough randomness to keep me happy.

And that's some of what I've been making recently. There's still more, and there's the stuff I've made before to get photos of and put up here.

Monday, 7 May 2007

First post of the blog!

Hello everybody!

This is my new blog! I'll be writing about my love of crafts - primarily knitting, and also about my dancing - I do classes in belly dancing, American Tribal Style, and bollywood. I did wonder if I should have two seperate blogs, but I guess I'm just too lazy to keep track of two. Besides, they're both equal interests in my life, so having them both on one blog will give a more rounded view of myself as a person. (Warning, I have a tendancy to talk a lot of b*****ks! Don't say you weren't warned!)

I'll be posting later with info on finished objects, once I get my head round this Blogger thing!