Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Woo Hoo!

I've been linked as a designer on Ravelry!

I've only got one pattern there so far, the free scarf patten I put up here ages ago, but I'm hoping to have many more linked there soon! I'm very excited, I just had to post! :D

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Jewel of Yorkshire 2008

Wow! The weekend at Jewel of Yorkshire was amazing! For those who don't know, it's a weekend of bellydance workshops, shopping and performances in Saltaire, Yorkshire. There are always tons of teachers and workshops to choose from and the souk (market-place thingy) is wonderful. Lots and lots of sparkles, enough so that I got sparkle overload at one point and had to go sit down before my brain exploded!

I chose to do 4 workshops this year - 2 with Raqia Hassan (famous Egyptian dancer), 1 with Ozgen Ozgec and 1 with Anne Kingston. That last one was billed as belly burlesque with 2 veils, but apparantly that information was wrong, it was one veil connected round the neck (much like Isis Wings really). I was a bit diappointed, but I learned a few interesting moves from it, but I think they'll apply more to my Isis Wing dancing.

Raqia is amazing!!!! She's so talented and lovely (she has the nicest smile BTW, it just lights up her whole face). I learned so much from just those 2 workshops. I had been a bit hesitant to book them since I had never seen her before (or even heard of her) but she was highly recommended, so I took the opportunity, and I'm glad I did. I'm only sorry I didn't book more workshops with her. She taught choreographies, but she said herself she was more interested in teaching the moves and technique. She broke the moves right down, explained where they had come from, what dancers she watched and how she got her inspiration, everything in fact. I took notes and learned a whole bunch of new moves and variations on moves. I need to drill them all now so they stay in my brain. She's very inspiring. She took the time to correct and help individuals in the class as well. She was watching us all very closely and gave us instruction, but she did it so nicely! It wasn't like "You're doing it wrong" It was more "Just move this way, and you'll get it". If any dancers out there get the chance to learn from her, take it!!!

The workshop with Ozgen was also fantastic. I'd seen him on youtube (even linked his video lol) and he makes it look so easy and effortless. But there is so much in his dance! It's very tightly choreographed, and the moves change all the time for interest. That makes it hard to learn in a way, but he broke everything right down, even though it was a masterclass, and probably a lot of teachers wouldn't have taken the time to do that. Again, he explained things clearly and took the time to make sure we had the moves. His performances at the evening hafla were amazing! He's such a dynamic performer, with tons of energy and well, it was just fantastic. I wrote on my review sheet that they should definitely get him back next year, cos he's great!

I'm thinking about going next year in April. Usually the group of us that travel down just go to the October one, but there are a bunch of fab teachers booked for the April one next year, so I'll have to start saving my pennies! (Lorna Gow, Sara Farouk, and Maria D'Silva just for starters! And I've still to look up/learn about some of the other teachers who I'm sure will turn out to be fab too!)

This post is getting a bit long so I'll have to write another post with photos of all the shinies and sparklies I bought at this year's one. :D

Monday, 20 October 2008

Trystero Is Kicking My Bottom!

A while ago, I tried to start Trystero by Cookie A. I love the pattern, but back then it seemed too hard. I don't know what I was doing wrong, but I just couldn't even start the cabled portion properly. I got the ribbing done, then got stuck. I put them down and left them, meaning to get back to them.

And I didn't. Until Socktoberfest came along! I've never participated in Socktoberfest before, but this year it suddenly struck me that this would be the perfect motivation to restart these socks. I'm determined to finally finish them!

SO. I started knitting them, on size 2.25mm needles, same as I always use. This time, I didn't get stuck at all. The pattern just suddenly seemed to make sense. It's fairly straightforward - I don't know why I got stuck at all the first time. It's just a case of knitting the rib then moving round a few stitches and following the chart. I'm magic-looping this time, maybe that makes a difference, or maybe my brain is just switched on this time round! :) So I was getting really into knitting them, and got down to the heel flap. Then I decided to try them on.

Can you guess what's coming? :)

Yup, too tight.


I had to rip all of this:


Right back to the beginning. I've restarted on 2.75mm needles. I had to restart immediately, or I know I'd just put the pattern aside till next socktoberfest! I've done a couple of repeats now, and they seem a lot more stretchy, but I haven't tried them on yet. I'm hoping so much that I don't have to start them on 3mm needles! That just seems ridiculous to me somehow.

The pattern is really quite ingenious. It's straightforward but looks much more complicated because you move the stitches around to begin knitting the round in a different place. The technique's really quite amazing, simple yet so effective! (Maybe that's why I got stuck first time around, I just couldn't wrap my head round it.)

I'm very glad I decided to do these for socktoberfest, I don't think I'd have the heart to keep restarting otherwise! They're like the socks that don't want to be knit! I think they'll look really good when they're finished, if they ever get finished, that is!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Catch Up

Blimey, where to begin?! I've been suffering a little lack of motivation recently, which is why I haven't been blogging. I've even not been knitting for a few days! I'm hoping to change that though!

I knit this sweater:


and I haven't knit a stitch since! I don't know what's going on. I've been playing video games (the first Silent Hill for PS and Lego Star Wars on the DS when the bf's using the TV) and browsing my queue, looking for inspiration. I'm sure I'll find it soon though - over 1600 queued items now! It's almost getting to be a game with myself now, seeing just how many patterns there are out there that I would make one day. Lots of people use their queue for things they're going to make soon, but I fill it up with things that I would make theoretically, one day. Then it's easy to look through for inspiration. I also tagged each and every item in there and organised it. That took AGES! But now I have tabs at the top with seperate sections, and it's not so scary to browse any more. I just have to remember to add tags to new items as I add them, I always forget!

Anyway, the sweater. It's using the raglan pattern from Ann Budd's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns. I used a broken rib pattern (basically knit one row, then K1, P1 the next row) and James C Brett Aran with Wool. 5.5mm needles. It's absolutely huge! I knit it a size bigger than I would normally because I wanted it to be my slob-around sweater for the winter. As it's bigger it'll go over layers (and layers!) of clothes so I can be super warm.

The raglan pattern from Ann Budd's book is knit from the bottom up, which in some ways I much prefer to top-down. With knitting from the bottom I can see after an inch or so if it's going to be the right size. If I'm knitting from the top down, I always have to wait till it's under the arms before I can really tell, and it never is the right size. I haven't knit any top down sweater that I haven't had to rip back after the arm seperations, and it's really, really annoying! Nobody else seems to have this problem! But this sweater worked out fine. Only trouble is, now my bf's bugging me for one in black. I had a couple of balls of this orangey brown anyway, so I just got the inspiration that it would look good in a broken rib pattern, and knit away. Now I have to go and buy black for him. Oh no, more yarn shopping, whatever will I do!!!! :D

Ooooooh, speaking of yarn, check out what I got in the mail!


It's a present from Moggle for testing her liquorice shrug pattern. It's handspun BFL/angora, and it's lovely! This is the first handspun I've ever seen in person and wow! It's amazing. I can't wait to knit it up, I'm looking for a hat pattern just now for it.

I'm packing just now to go to Jewel of Yorkshire, a belly dance weekend in Yorkshire, surprisingly enough! I'm really looking forward to it. I'm taking four classes. Two with Raqia Hassan (a very famous Egyptian dancer), one with Ozgen Ozgec (Turkish male dancer) and one with Anne Kingstone - a belly burlesque one with two veils! I'm quite looking forward to that one! OK, I have to show you all this video of Ozgen:

Go to 2.25min and you'll see why I posted that one! Lol! I'm not quite sure what the shoe thing is all about. I'm not doing that kind of class with him, I'm doing a turkish oriental class, so I hope there's no shoe shenanigans in that one! He seems like a very good dancer from what I've seen on youtube so shoes aside, I'm really looking forward to learning from him. I couldn't find any vids of Raqia dancing, but people highly recommend her, so I thought I would take the opportunity to take some of her classes.

I'm leaving tomorrow, and coming back on Monday. It'll be nice to get away for a bit! :)