Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Looking Back on 2008

In 2008, I knit and crocheted 65 finished objects!

The highlight of my knitting year had to be getting my arka pattern published on The Inside Loop! I've been getting my designer hat on this year, and to be published was a great honour, and a good impetus! I've got a few other designs on the go :) As a (slight) aside, when I was at my parents over the holidays, my Dad had printed out the pattern and took it to show my relatives! I take it that means he's happy too!

I learned to read crochet patterns and be a "proper" crocheter. I've taken to crochet quite well, I think. I actually find it easier to adapt crochet patterns than knitting ones, if I need to make something smaller or bigger for example, even though I've been knitting since I was about 5 or 6! Maybe I don't feel as constrained by the "rules" and following the pattern, since I've done it for less time, or maybe crochet is just intrinsically easier to adapt, I'm not sure. But I definitely love it. Actually, 30 of my FOs this year were crocheted! (wow, I hadn't realised it was so many!)

I danced 5 solos with Isis Wings, one in a windy field at a local gala day! Let me tell you, if you're doing a Isis Wings dance outside, do it on a day when it's not windy! :D I danced Bollywood at a few charity events with my friend, and went to 5 haflas (I think, I may be forgetting one!) I even taught some school kids Bollywood, that was fun!

I learned in my Tribal class how to dance with a sword! I've done one performance with it, hiding at the back of the class in case my sword fell off my head, but I did it! Sword dancing is very cool, I'd definitely like to get better at it!

I opened a flickr account, and started thinking about photography more seriously. I've signed up for a digital photography/photoshop class in the New Year, and I think Tupac is getting seriously sick of the camera appearing!

I took a sewing class, and although that has kind of fallen away for a little while, I can now use my machine, and do some very basic sewing!

Wow, I seem to have achieved a lot this year! Looking back on it and picking out everything I've done was really interesting, who'd have thunk I'd been so productive I think there's a tendency to focus on the negative things in life, so trying to find all the positive creative things I've done was quite an eye opener!

What have you achieved out there this year? Here's something fun, think of all the things you've learned or done, or anything, and post them on your blog, or in the comments here if you want. Leave me a link in the comments if you do post on your blog, so I can go read! Let's be positive as we go into the New Year!

Friday, 26 December 2008

Happy Christmas!!


Tupac hopes you all had as exciting and happy a xmas as he had, and are all worn out and happy. (And that you all got lots of presents/teddies too!)

Monday, 22 December 2008

Hello Kitty Witch!

I have completed tons of projects recently! I've been going crazy for small quick projects like hats and scarves, and since I've had a lot of time to knit while other stuff has been going on, I've completed stuff at an average of one every two days for a little while now! I've added the projects to ravelry, but not all of them have photos yet. I'm too busy knitting and crocheting to take photos! ;)

I've got photos of some, so I figure to give myself time to take more photos, (and so I can get back to knitting soon. Obsessed, me? Nooooooo!) I'll blog about each of my FOs individually, or maybe two at a time. That way I can focus on each of them and give them the attention they deserve, and it also gives me blog fodder for a few days instead of cramming it all in one post then having nothing to say for ages :)

First off is my Hello Kitty Witch amigurumi, which I started on Halloween this year, thinking it would be super fast and it'd be done in one night (yeah, I think my brain was not quite engaged with that thought process!). I finished it today, three days before Christmas ;/

I was inspired to make it by seeing MandaR's one on ravelry, which actually did take her only one day!!!!! Very impressive!

But even though mine took ages, she's so cuuuuuute!


I totally love her! It was well worth the fiddliness, and sewing in of small bits ;) She's not very Christmasy, but she's up on the bookshelf in the living room regardless.

Oh, pattern details! It's the Amigurumi Kitty Witch by Armina Parnagian and it's available as a free Ravelry download.

Amigurumi are so obviously a Japanese thing! They're so small and fiddly, and you have to be so precise to get good results. I totally had to put myself in almost a zen mind state, deliberately slowing down every action to get it right. If I hurried, it looked bad, so I had to keeeep goooing veeeery sloooowly.

I had to change a couple of bits of the pattern. I couldn’t understand the instrucitions for the bow at all, so I just made some stitches till they looked vaguely bow-shaped. Don’t ask me what I did, I have no idea ;) It was definitely not what was written down anyway! I also had to miss out one of the 2sc-in-each-st increase rows for the gown, cos it came out looking too wonky with it in. I didn’t have any pipe cleaners for the broomstick, so I made three chains and twisted them together instead. Oh, and I didn#t have pre-made eyes, so I just stitched them on. And that's all my mods.

(Just as an aside, I was looking at the rav page for this pattern, and there's only 6 projects, including mine. Strange for such a cute pattern!)

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Xmas Knitting . . . Done!

OK, earlier on this year I thought I would have only two gifts to make for Christmas. And I ended up knitting neither of those. I was going to crochet the Seraphina Shawl for my mum and my gran. My gran passed away, and I made hers in the days after her death in an attempt to comfort myself. And I decided my mum would like other things better. Then I forgot all about Christmas till basically the beginning of this month!

It seems like I decided what to make people all in December. Just as well I've got a lot of time to knit :)

I made this for my friend from bellydance class, and gave it to her yesterday:


It's basically a knock off of the burly-que-hat from the Spring 2007 issue of Knitscene. I saw the pattern on Ravelry, and just thought of this woman, it's perfect for her. So I searched ebay, the in-search-of boards on Ravelry, all the shops I could think of, but couldn't find a copy of the magazine. Eventually I looked at the pictures and figured I could make my own version. I feel kind of bad just basically copying the pictures, but I do intend to buy the pattern as soon as I find it, and I could not find it anywhere, and this pattern would be perfect for my friend. I totally want to support the designer, so if anyone knows where I can buy the mag, let me know please :)

Anyway, I gave it to my friend yesterday cos it was the last class of the year, and it got a great reaction! Reactions like that are what make me want to give my knitting away, she loved it! I just knew it was for her as soon as I saw it :D Almost makes me want to give up being a selfish knitter!


I made this bag for my mum (I know she doesn't read this cos she doesn't have the internet!). I had made it for myself in the summer, in blue, and she'd hinted (read: told me!) that she wanted one for xmas in purple. That was what made me decide to make her this instead of the Seraphina shawl. :) It's the Cabled Baglet from One Skein Wonders. It knits up really fast, and is really pretty. She's getting this perfume bottle inside it, cos she loves butterflies :)


I went to the shops last Wednesday in an effort to find last minute gifts. I know it's not really last minute, but it's as last minute as I want to allow it to be :) The shops are horrible as it gets closer to Christmas. Me and a friend were scaring ourselves wondering how it would be to go into Toys R Us on the weekend before Christmas. Scaaaary! Then we imagined how it would be to actually work there the weekend before Christmas, and nearly passed out from fear! Kudos to all those workers in the shops, you're braver than me, and work so hard!

Anyway, I popped into the yarn shop (as you do when you're Christmas shopping ;) ) and they had purple sparkly yarn! Normally I would just walk right by it, but suddenly I thought that my mum and my sister love that shade of bright sparkly purple, and would really love scarves made from it. So I bought four balls (it was Stylecraft Cabaret, BTW), and went on my merry way. I also bought a couple of other balls of yarn for a shrug, but we won't mention them, k? ;) Then I was looking around trying to find something for my BF's brother's girlfriend. And just could not find anything. In a flash of inspiration, I looked down at my shopping bag, and thought "she can get a scarf too!". So I went back and got another two balls.


I knit the three scarves in two days! It was just 25sts of garter stitch on 7mm needles, for as long as two balls lasted. They turned out to be 6 inches by 6 feet, which to me is the perfect length for a scarf, so it all turned out good! I couldn't believe they knit up so fast, and the recipients will be more impressed with them being all sparkly than if I made intricate lace scarves for them.

It was my first time knitting using "fun fur" type yarn too. I figured if it was as horrible as some people say, then it would only be three scarves, and I could at least say I'd done it. But it wasn't bad at all knitting with the Stylecraft Cabaret. It's quite soft, and if you need to, it rips out easily and smoothly. I don't think I'd wear the scarf, just because it's a little too fluffy for my taste in clothes, but I wouldn't rule it out. Maybe the other people were using really rubbish fun fur or something. It's definitely all right for whipping up a quick scarf or three!

Anyway, that's all my Christmas knitting done, so I can get back to making stuff for myself! Unless I think of anyone else who needs a scarf!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Plaid Scarf #2

Here's a pic of my 2nd Shades of Plaid scarf.


The details again: The pattern is from the CrochetMe book (amazon link) and is the Shades of Plaid (ravelry link) scarf by Julie Armstrong Holetz. I did my single crochet instead of chain variation, and it's very warm. Just what I need right now :)

I really like this scarf, even if the pic of it is a bit crappy :/ I'll try get some better ones, because I think I like this version better than the green, yellow and brown one. The colours are quite accurate in the picture, very tartany.

As soon as I finished this scarf, I wanted to make another one, but I'm stuck in xmas knitting garter stitch scarf hell just now ;) Well, it's not too bad, but there's a lot of knit stitch going on. I'll definitely make another at some point, it's my new favouritest pattern evaaar! :D I'm thinking about doing one in two colours with slightly different stripe variations. This pattern definitely has my colour imagination going. I keep envisioning different combinations and variations, and I think I'm going to end up with tons of them ;)

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Small Warm Things

Oh my goodness, it has been freezing here! I know it's December now, but still! The weather forecast predicted a big snow on Thursday, which didn't appear :( I looked out of the window on Thursday morning expecting to be inundated with snow from the way the forecast was, and it was raining!!! I was very upset, I wanted to make a snowman! Still, at least with the rain, the temperature has gone up a little. It's now more like 0 degrees Celsius, rather than -4! My gas and electric bills are going to be so huge, the heating has been on all the time more or less.

It's been so cold that I had to make some small things to keep myself warm. Any excuse, eh? ;) I did want to make some more sweaters, but it's too cold. I want small things that are quickly finished and can be put on to keep me warm.

I made this scarf:


The pattern is from the CrochetMe book (amazon link) and is the Shades of Plaid (ravelry link) scarf by Julie Armstrong Holetz. It's my new favourite pattern ;) I've already made another, but I don't have pictures yet. It's great for stashbusting, and I love the tartan-y effect. Must be my Scottishness showing through!

The pattern calls for making a mesh then threading a crochet chain through it, but my chain wasn't big enough for my mesh holes, so I single crocheted (double in UK terms?) into the chain. That made it big enough, and also made it super super warm. I wore my other one out yesterday, and it definitely kept the chill away! I can see I'm going to make quite a few more of these. I keep looking at them and thinking of new colour combinations for it!

I also have become obsessed with cowls. I don't know why, two weeks ago I thought they were the silliest thing ever. I mean, why not just wear a scarf?

But then I made this


and have now decided that they are great. This one is the Darkside Cowl by Sarah Fama, and it's available as a free download on Ravelry.

I love this also. I love how it keeps my neck warm, and yet is not bulky at all. I'm getting a new jacket for Christmas (shhh, I'm not supposed to know, really!), and I keep thinking how great this will look with it.

There was a kind of convoluted process to getting to make this. I have this other yarn that I was trying to think of what to make with it, and saw another cowl pattern which I thought would be perfect, but the pattern got lost in the yarn. So I started looking through the patterns on Ravelry trying to find another one. I didn't find one for that yarn, so I've ended up having to design my own. But then I looked at my yarn on the shelf and saw this gold yarn. I remembered seeing the Darkside Cowl pattern and it just clicked that the two would go well together. It knit up really fast, about a day overall, and I'm very happy with it.

So now I'm designing a cowl for the other yarn that I originally intended to use, and when I was tidying my stash yesterday I came across another two yarns that would look nice as cowls. Some wider and floppier and some tight like this one. It's a bit scary, this sudden obsession, but I might as well go with it. Because of Christmas etc, the new cowl pattern probably won't be written up for a little while, but I'm planning to write it up and put it up for free. Eventually. ;)

Now I'm off to make more small warm things :)