Sunday, 20 December 2009

Borders UK in Administation :(

Probably most of you know of this already, but the book store Borders has gone into administration (at least, the UK division has, I don't know about other countries) :( Another casualty of the recession, I suppose.

I didn't actually hear about it till last week, and I didn't actually believe it till I went down to my parents house and passed the Borders store in Glasgow and saw all the closing down sale signs. It made me feel really sad. Whenever I go to my parents house to visit, it involves a long bus journey, and I have to change at Glasgow. So I would always pop in when I passed, and more often than not, buy a book (usually a knittng book) or a magazine or two or three. ;)

I went in to look at the sale, and it was so sad to see all the half-empty shelves. I felt like a total vulture looking round them all. The knitting and crochet section, which is where I went first, was totally decimated.

I bought a couple of books in the Glasgow store: Favorite Socks from Interweave Press, and Wrapped in Crochet by Kristen Omdahl. I'd been very interested in Wrapped in Crochet for ages, but it hadn't actually been on the shelves in the Glasgow store till then (I'd been looking for it specifically). Favorite Socks, well that was a bit of a vulture purchase. I'd seen it before, but hadn't been that interested when I flicked through it. But I figured with 30% off, it would be worth it. Then I looked at it more in depth on the bus home.

OMG, I want to make everything in that book! Seriously. I think next year I'll be doing my own Favorite Socks KAL - I guess it's not really a knit-a-long if you're the only one doing it though ;) and knitting through all the patterns in this book. I think this is the first book where I've actually seen the potential in all the patterns. Even with Cookie A's book, I love most of the patterns but there are a few that I'm not so interested in, or just plain wouldn't wear. But with Favorite Socks, I think I would knit and wear all of them.

I went to the Dundee store with some friends as well, and bought some other books, but they're not knitting or dance related. One was about lighting in photography, something that I'm realising I need to understand much more in depth. One was a book with Japanese patterns, and one was a book on Japanese death poetry. I thought the bf would like that for his Christmas ;) Yep, he's almost as weird as myself!

Anyway, Borders shutting down made me think about how different the high street in the UK looks compared to ten or even five years ago. There are almost no cd or record stores now. There used to be about 3 in every town that I can think of. There was space for HMV, Our Price, Virgin and loads of others to compete. And the pattern of them closing and being replaced by online stores seems to be repeating with book stores. It's really sad. I know that online stores like amazon have a lot more choice, and cheaper prices in general, but it's still sad that the options for high street purchases are rapidly diminishing. Sometimes it's good to just go into a store and look about to see what catches your eye, but that's becoming ever more impossible. I think you can stumble across some really interesting things in brick and mortar stores, that you just wouldn't come across on the internet. Of course, that argument works both ways, you can come across interesting things on the internet that stores just wouldn't stock, but I think it's important to have choice.

I guess what I'm saying is: whenever you can afford it, please buy things from brick and mortar stores. I buy a lot of things online because prices are cheaper, some things are easier to find online, and it's convenient. But is convenience a good reason for encouraging losing choice? I'm beginning to re-evaluate my own shopping behaviour, and I think I'll be changing some of it soon. For instance, Woolworths used to be the main store to buy a lot of household items, and now that's gone, I find I need to buy a lot of small things from ebay sellers because they're just not in the stores. Sewing equipment for example. So whenever I see something online that I could buy from a local store, I'll be going to the local store, if I can afford the increased price at that time (and the increased price isn't too much more)

To be honest, I'm not sure if anything can slow down this trend of high street stores closing, or if it's just a natural consequence of the internet. Things do change in life, after all, and maybe this is just the way shopping in a capitalist culture is evolving. But I do know that I think choice is important, and I think I'll have to look at my own behaviour to see how I can encourage choice.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Yarn Review - Stylecraft Baby DK

This was the yarn I used for the socks I just wrote about in my last post, and I thought I'd write a little review of it, since some things came to mind when I was knitting with it. I used it to make the socks that I made my Mum for Christmas, and also made a pair for myself. I knit it pretty tight, on 2.75 needles (4mm are what are recommended on the ball band), to make a thicker fabric for the socks.

My socks

It knit up into the socks quite nicely. It's soft and comfortable against my feet, and they make a nice pair of house socks, being relatively thick. I don't know how they'd hold up in shoes, but my intention is just to have a thicker pair of socks for the house, to keep my feet warm in winter.

The yarn comes in 200g (590m/645 yards) balls, which was enough to make 2 women's socks with approx 10" cuffs, and one with 8" of cuff. I bought another ball to finish making Mum's socks, but I'm going to use the rest for yet another pair of socks (but probably patterned this time).

I really liked working with this yarn. It's really quite soft, and if I was making something for a baby that had to be machine washable, I'd definitely consider using this yarn. I think it would be soft enough, and the lilac I used is a really pretty shade.

Actually, when I was knitting with it, I got this strange feeling that it didn't actually feel like acrylic. It just felt too soft, and shiny, like cotton. In fact, I actually felt this way so much that I had to check the ball band to see if there was any cotton in it. I was pretty sure it was 100% acrylic (which is turned out to be), but it just felt like cotton in my hands, you know? And it has a slight sheen, just like some cottons that I've come across. It is 100% acrylic, which is what I had thought when I picked it up in the shop, I just thought it was odd that in my hands, it felt like cotton. Not bad odd, in fact I really liked it. It might even be a nice yarn for a scarf or something. Being acrylic, it won't be as warm as a wool pair of socks, or scarf, but it feels nice against my skin. I think it would make a nice scarf for the spring season.

The stitch definition is very clear too, again, like cotton. You can see it in the photos of the socks.

Mum's socks

One problem I had was that the yarn was a little splitty. I've had this problem with other Stylecraft yarns (Special and Life, which I mentioned in this post) It was probably exacerbated by the fact that I was using smaller than recommended needles, but overall, I think it's just the way Stylecraft yarns are spun. With the Baby DK though, it behaves so much like cotton, that any splitting is quite visible. In fact, the way that the yarn split and behaved was another thing that made me think it had some cotton in it.

Overall, I really like this yarn, and I think I'll defintely use it again. It's soft, and I think makes a nice alternative to cotton, because it behaves so much like it. Like I said, I think I would use it in a spring scarf, or a baby sweater or something. Next time I'm in the yarn store actually, I think I'll have a look and see what other colours they have ;)

The Obligatory Christmas Preparation Post

This year I hadn't really planned to do much Christmas knitting (kind of like last years actually), but I did a couple of things. Of course, for one of them, I didn't actually get the idea until December had already arrived (again, the same as last year!)

I thought I had posted about these when I made them, but evidently I didn't. I think I must have avoided it because I didn't want to upload the pics to Flickr as my sister is on there and can see my account. So I apparantly just uploaded the pics to ravelry. Now I'll have to upload them here directly. So anyway, they're socks for my sister. I made them waaaay back in June, and it was kind of an accidental Christmas present. I made a pair for myself out of the James C Brett Magi Knit DK

(on 2.5mm needles) (it took 68 sts to get the pattern to line up correctly) and when I was about half way through them I realised my sister might like them. Being very selfish, I didn't want to give those ones up, so I made another pair for her. So that was the first Christmas present out of the way, bought or made.

My socks

Mum is getting a pair of socks like these, but with slightly smaller (length ways) cuffs.

Mum's socks

Mine (I had to made a pair for myself of course!) are 8" after 20 rows of ribbing, Mum's are 6" after the ribbing. I just made the feet the same for mine and hers (and my sister's) because we all have the same size feet. I hope they fit OK! :)

I knit these with Stylecraft Baby DK in lilac, with 2.75 needles. Just a plain sock with a heel flap, 68 stitches around so they're comfortable house socks and not too tight. Using the DK made a thicker fabric, so even though they're acrylic, they'll be quite warm in the winter.

And actually, that's all the Christmas knitting that's been done around here.

I've done most of my Christmas shopping as well. I only have one Christmas gift to buy, and a birthday gift. These people who have birthdays around Christmas!!! :D I was very organized this year, usually I'm rushing around the week before Christmas trying to find something. But this year, I ordered half of the stuff off the internet, and got the rest in 2 shopping trips. Not bad!! I still have to order the Christmas food off of Tesco's site for delivery, but other than that, Christmas here is organized! Yay!! Now if I can just wish hard enough for some snow it would be perfect! ;)

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Purging Evil Yarn

One thing about me, at heart I'm a hoarder. I'll hang onto stuff for ages, years even, after it's become apparent to me (and everyone around me) that it's just clutter, with no use or reason to be in my house. This includes yarn. Yarn such as this:

It's a giant cone of very, very thin yarn that I got off eBay. I saw the colours, and some random numbers which would have told me that it was thinner than sewing thread, had I bothered to find out what they meant. Needless to say, I ignored the numbers, and bid for the yarn.

(Apparently everyone else must have known what the numbers meant, cos I won it and got it quite cheap)

On the cone, the colours are quite nice. The photo on eBay was obviously taken in very bright light which made it look much more autumn-y. So even if you ignore the tiny, thin threadlike yarn that looks loose on 2.25mm needles, it still had something going for it, didn't it?

No. It did not. I tried knitting up a swatch of the yarn (on 2.25mm needles, of course), and aside from the fabric being all loose and holey, the colours looked awful. Seriously, seriously bad. The brown and salmon-pink pooled and mixed together with the white to make it all look . . . dirty. It wasn't dirty, but the colours together just looked like sludge. So, disheartened, I put it on the shelf in the spare room.

It's stayed there for a couple of years now, being studiously ignored by myself, and I swear even the other yarn in the stash gives it a wide berth! Yesterday, I got this fantastic idea that I could cast on double the amount of stitches I would need for a scarf, and knit it in a tube. This would increase the thickness of the terribly thin fabric, and it would look fab, all drapey and wonderful (I'd forgotten about the hellacious colour mixing).

Today, I cast it on. I would have needed 140 sts for a relatively skinny scarf! But I persevered and knit a couple of rows. The stitches caught on the end of the cable as I knit magic loop, and I had to tug at it to get it past. And even though it didn't actually squeak, this was some seriously bad acrylic. It felt . . . slimy, even though it wasn't actually dirty. Shudder. I am by no means a fibre snob, not at all, I love to knit with acrylic and in fact that's mainly what I do knit with. You can get some really wonderful acrylics, I think. This however, was not one of them.

Anyway, have you noticed the past tense all through this post? Yup, I gave up. The scarf has been ripped (actually I couldn't even bring myself to do that, I just broke the yarn and threw the tiny amount of knitting I'd done into the bin). And the yarn, well, it is no longer considered part of my stash. Ordinarily I would put it in the charity shop with no further thoughts, but this yarn is so bad. I'm half tempted to throw it straight in the bin. However, I don't think my Scottish frugality will let me do that, so I guess it'll be going off to the charity shop.

Maybe somebody out there will actually like the yarn. Maybe somebody will be able to find a use for it. Personally, I doubt it, and kind of hope that no-one else gets suckered into buying it, but I guess it's possible, and as long as there's that hope I feel too guilty to just plain chuck it.

Actually, it's kind of a release. In my head, it's now gone, even though it's just in the hallway waiting to vacate the premises. I'm not one for stash purges (too hoard-y), but this one feels goooooooood!!! Now to cast something on, in some nice yarn!!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Bias Stripe Cowl Pattern Available For Sale!!

Hi all!

I've been designing again! I've gotten really into cowls recently, and ideas just keep popping into my head. It helps that the weather around here has become much colder recently, so I'm inspired to make warm things to wear :)

Bias Stripe Cowl

This is my Bias Stripe Cowl (ravelry pattern page link). It's a stripey cowl with a difference!

It's knit on the bias (hence the name!), which creates interesting and funky diagonal stripes. The rib-type pattern creates stripes perpendicular to these, so your neck and face are framed in diagonal stripes. It creates an interesting knit, and it looks so lovely peeking out from under a winter coat.

Bias Stripe Cowl - detail

It's knit straight then joined together with a 3 needle bind off (instructions are included). Links are included with instructions on how to do a provisional cast on.

This pattern is an excellent stash-buster, taking about only 30 grams of each colour. And with that in mind, I wrote the pattern for 4 weights of yarn - fingering, DK/light worsted, aran and chunky.

Bias Stripe Cowl - worsted
Aran/Worsted Weight Version

Bias Stripe Cowl - DK
DK/Light Worsted Weight Version

You can purchase this pattern on ravelry, or you can use this download link: and it costs £2 for the 5 page pdf.

I hope you like it as much as I do! :D

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Moscow Ballet - Sleeping Beauty

(I wrote this into my 101in1001 blog, but I thought I'd cross-post it here as it's about dancing. Not belly dance, but dance nonetheless. Plus, it was so good, that I have to tell as many people as possible!!)

Last night I went to see Sleeping Beauty by the Moscow Ballet, at the Alhambra in Dunfermline.

Oh. My. God.

It was amazing!! The dancers were absolutely fantastic, every one of them. They had such amazing control, grace and poise. Last time when I went to see a ballet performed, I hadn't been dancing long, so I was more taken in with the spectacle of it all, but this time I spent quite a bit of time watching the dancers' legs, and I was just blown away with how well they danced. They were all perfectly in time with each other, and I was impressed with how they worked spatially. They were always in the right place to go into the next move, and if they were working with other dancers, they were just right there. You couldn't see them looking around to get spatial cues, they were just there. Amazing!

The set pieces were gorgeous, lovely scenes of the castle and the forest. And the costumes were fantastic! The Queen had a lovely corset-type dress, and all the female dancers had lovely costumes too, tutus and dresses - sigh, they were all so lovely!

I hesitate to say this, purely because I find the expression more than a little puke-worthy, but it was truely a magical experience. The skill of the dancers, the excellent choreography, the set pieces, the costumes, it all pulled me in and entranced me. I got drawn right into the story and the rest of the audience did too. Everyone leaving seemed to have starry eyes :)

This was apparantly the first time that a professional ballet has been performed in Dunfermline, and it was fantastic! The Alhambra seemed to work well as a venue, it has a big stage, and the seating is arranged well. I was halfway back, and I could see everything perfectly. No big heads spoiling my view. The chairs seem to be just at the right height.

I sincerely hope I can go see more of the Moscow Ballet's productions. This one was a fantastic experience, and if they're near you, I would highly recommend you go to see them. Even if you're not into ballet (I'm not in general), these dancers are just so good, and so talented, and obviously work so hard, it all paid off, and the show was amazing!

BPT Modification

From this:

To this:

Modified BPT

About a year ago now, I "finished" my BPT jacket (the pattern is from and can be found here). I wore it for a while, but then stopped because there were some aspects of it that I didn't really like. I had used a yarn which was really too thin, so the fabric was quite drapey. I had elected not to do any waist shaping, so it kind of just hung there, looking all loose and floopy. And because I had used acrylic, the I cord edging rolled like nobody's business! (apparently I cord edging doesn't work on acrylic according to someone on ravelry. So it must be true ;) )

It sat in my cupboard for ages, and I contemplated just ripping it back totally, but never really got round to it (my laziness turned out to be a good thing actually). Then I got the idea, what if I made it shorter, into a cropped cardi? It's knit top down, so I could just pick out the bottom part and rip back up to the chest. Then all I would need to do is add some ribbing, and it would be fine. That would solve all the above problems. The drapey fabric wasn't really a problem at the top of the sweater, just at the waist where there was no shaping, so it hung loose. And ripping the bottom would get rid of that I cord. So I went ahead and did it!

I like it much better this way. Before I could rip out any of it, I had to take the zip off, and I still haven't gotten around to trimming it and putting it back on, but I actually kind of like it without the zip. I wore it when I went to Jewel of Yorkshire in October, and it was great for that time of year, keeping my top half warm, but because it's cropped I wasn't too hot.

I kept the cable on the back running down into the ribbing:

Modified BPT

I like the little detail it adds. :)

This is the first sweater I've modified so heavily, and I have a couple of others that I'm not so happy with that I might change in some way. This mod turned out really well, I think, so it's given me some confidence to change some of the other ones.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

New Twist Collective!!!!

OMG!! Have you seen the new Twist Collective magazine yet????

I'd completely forgotten it was coming out, then I saw a pattern come up on my friends activity on ravelry. I'm so glad I caught it!! this issue is amazing! I've queued 14 patterns from it, and I like some of the others, but they're just things that I can't see myself making right now. (but knowing myself, I'll probably queue them all later)

My favourite by far is Bright Star, by Cathy Carron. That one went straight to the top of my queue. It's a cropped cardi, with what I would call quarter length sleeves, an interesting textured stitch pattern, fold over collar, and a cute "space" above the buttons with no neckband. I totally love it!! I can see this will be getting made sometime very soon! Oh, and I just remembered - I have enough bright red worsted weight yarn left over from my Simone sweater . . . OK, I'm going to have to go off and buy this pattern now!

OK, done. :D

I also love:

Kelmscott by Carol Sunday (a lovely lace cardi with an interesting shawl collar)

Farinelli by Ysolda Teague (gorgeous lace opera length gloves)

Ormolu by Barbara Gregory (lovely colourwork pullover that just could end up being my first colourwork sweater)

Frost Tapestry by Robin Melanson (colourwork hat, gloves and neckwarmer)

and Skara Brae by Stephanie van der Linden (pullover with beautiful cable pattern, appeals to my scottish-ness I think).

These are just the ones I'm drooling over most though. I've queued more, and when I was going through the magazine, I was very excited to see all those lovely patterns. Sigh, maybe one day I'll be a proper "grown up" designer, and able to design such lovely things . . .

I haven't been so excited about an issue of Twist Collective since the very first one, and I think this issue may even surpass that one (but I'm not sure about that yet, I do love the patterns in that first issue). With the last issue I had been a bit worried that it was all going to dissolve into cutesy baby patterns, which are lovely enough, but not relevant to me since I don't have, or see myself having any babies, cutesy or otherwise ;) But this issue totally restored my faith in it, and I can't wait to get Bright Star cast on!!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Stuck In The Land Of Rib


I haven't posted in a while because of this:

Never Ending Sleeve

Another sweater for the bf. This one is take 3, the final one. The other two I made, he said were fine, but then it turned out the ribbing pulled in too much, and it felt too tight, and the arms were too tight, and the armholes were too small, so he didn't wear them. Being a complete glutton for punishment, I decided to try make him another one. This time out of DK yarn, not fingering/4 ply!!! But it's still taking forever!! K2, P2 rib has to be the most boring pattern on the planet if you're making a full sweater out of it.

I'm using the raglan pattern from Ann Budd's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, but I'm making a few changes this time. I'm using the 6sts per inch count for the body of the sweater, but the 7sts per inch count for the arms, since they seemed to be too small width-wise the last couple of times. It means I'll need to do a bit of number fudging when I get to the yoke of the sweater (it's knit from the bottom up), but I'm sure it won't be too hard. I'm using Teddy Vanguard DK with 3.25mm needles. I like the tighter fabric the smaller needles makes with ribbing.

The body of the sweater was actually not too bad to knit. Even though it was K2, P2 ribbing, I could feel which stitch was coming next so I could knit and watch movies or something. Now I'm on the sleeve though, and I have to mark off every round so that I can increase every 8 rounds, and oh my god, it's boring! My mind has to be focused on some level where I am in the round, and where I am in the number of rounds, and it's so tedious. Luckily I'm not one of those people who can hide it very well when I'm bored - usually people find out because I'm yelling OH MY GOD, I'M SO BOOORRRREEEDDD! at them ;) So the bf isn't expecting it to be finished tomorrow or anything. Just as well!

When I get too bored, I've been making small projects, so I can start and finish something quickly, and it distracts me. I've made these two skulls:

Red Skull

Pattern: Day of the Dead Crochet Skull by

Yarn: small amount of white acrylic, and red cotton

This pattern crochets up so quickly and is so much fun to make! I'm going to sew mine onto something, but I'm not sure what yet. I was going to sew the white one onto my denim jacket, but it turns out I put that into the charity shop a while ago, and simply forgot that I had done so, so I'll need to find something else to sew it onto.

I also made this choker (I haven't sewn the buttons on yet, but I have blocked it - a minor miracle for me!):

Pattern: Zigzag Choker by clarabelle This is a very lovely pattern, quick to knit up and very pretty. I made mine from red cotton that I had in my stash, but I don't know what brand it is.

I also finished a bunch of gloves and mittens, but I'll write about them later. I just wanted to get this post up, and get back to blogging. And to have something to do besides that ___ sweater. Never again, I tell you, never again!!

till next time ;)

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Look What I Did Last Night!!



I'm such a party animal, I apparantly spend my Friday nights making amigurumi birds!!

Pattern: Caroline's Birds by Marlo D. Cairns

I used tiny amounts of blue and yellow acrylic, 4mm and 2.5mm hooks. This pattern is a really good stashbuster for those tiny bits of yarn left after a project, and it crochets up super fast too. This one took me less than 2.5 hours, not sure exactly how long, but really quickly anyway!!

I love this bird! I keep picking it up and saying "Brrrrd!", I'm sure the bf thinks I've gone insane :D I can see I'll be making a few more of these, in different colours. This one was blue and yellow because I was making it for the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup, Herbology class. The task was to make something that helps remove garden pests. This little birdy eats up all sorts of insecty pests! :D

OK, boring pattern notes. A lot of people on ravelry seem to have got stuck around round 14, which almost made me want to choose another pattern to make, but I'm glad I stuck with this one. I didn't have any trouble on that round. The only thing was on the round after where it said work under the tail, I thought it meant just work sc under the tail, but it soon became apparant that if I did that I didn't have enough stitches to work the rest of the round, so it was all sorted quite easily and quickly. I've amended my printed copy to read "working under the tail" to make it easier for me to remember for the next bird I make! I'd recommend the pattern for people with some experience in making crochet amigurumi, just because of the way it's written, not as basic or straightforward as some other patterns, but I could follow it with hardly any trouble, just a little thinking at some points. But I'd definitely recommend it!!! Cute birds! What more could anyone ask for???

ETA: Oh, quick note. I also used this pattern mod for the wings, as I think they look very cute!

Friday, 23 October 2009

More FO Photos!

I have 3 FOs to show off today. My ravlery profile page is slowly being removed of all those photoless entries! :D Of course, I had to decide to catch up just when the weather is turning cold and rainy and cloudy, and the light is absolutely terrible! Typical!


This is my Simone sweater. (pattern: simone by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes, from the book "French Girl Knits". Yarn: Stylecraft Special Aran with Wool, about 500g. Needles: 4.5mm, 5mm, 5.5mm, 6mm) It's no exageration to say that I got the book specifically for this pattern, I just love it! I'm really pleased with the finished object too, except that the sleeves are a bit short (they've been pulled and tugged quite a bit to get the photo). But I figure it won't be too hard to snip above the lace, knit some rows, then graft together again.

I have to stress that I love this jumper!!!! I love the flarey sleeves and the lacey cowl neck, two things that I'm really into right now!

9 to 5 Shrug
9 to 5 Shrug
9 to 5 Shrug

This is my 9 to 5 Shrug, a test crochet for Nicole Carmen. It's taken me absolutely ages to get these photos up, which I feel really bad about :< beats self over head with ball of yarn in penitence The shrug is fantastic, and the pattern is very easy to follow. My gauge was a bit off, which was totally my fault, either my gauge or much more likely, I’m a bit larger than Nicole! So I substituted trebles for doubles, and all was well :) I love this shrug, it's definitely going to get a lot of wear!

Double-Knit Headband
Double-Knit Headband

And finally, I learned a whole new knitting technique for this one, double knitting!! For the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup over on ravelry, this month's arithmancy class task was to make something showing binary. One of the options was to knit something reversible, so double knitting immediately came to mind with that one. This pattern (which is the Double Knit Headband from Knit Hats!) seemed like it had the easiest to follow instructions out of all the ones I had, so I decided to make that. I would normally have made the large size because of my huge head, but I was using thicker yarn, so I made the medium (and I liked the leaf pattern better than the ones given for the large size).

The first row where you put the front and back stitches together on the same needle was quite hard and fiddly, and so was seperating them at the end of the leaf pattern. The actual double knitting didn't go too badly, although my balls of yarn kept getting twisted round each other. I'm sure there's a tutorial somewhere for how to avoid that, but I just untwisted them at the end of each round, and it wasn't too bad. I'd like to try more double knitting, it seems like a really good technique for making these picture, almost intarsia-like, images on a thick warm fabric. And I'm counting this towards my Year of Colour, as it's a colourwork technique! :D

And now after all that, here's funny pictures of Tupac wearing my headband :D He normally hates wearing anything knitted, but he doesn't seem to mind this. Especially if he's being bribed with a treat for posing!

OK, Now Gimme The Treat!
Oh, The Humiliation!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Some Actual FOs!!

It feels like ages since I posted much about knitting here. I have been doing lots of it, I've just been really lazy about taking and posting photos. But now that autumn is officially here, I'm feeling much more motivated. I always feel more lethargic during the summer, and pick up again as soon as the weather turns colder. And now it's time for my picking up, yay!

My ravelry profile page still seems to be full of photoless entries, but I've been catching up a little at a time. Firstly, I got photos of my feather and fan shawlette

Feather and Fan Shawlette
Feather and Fan Shawlette

Pattern: feather and fan comfort shawl by Sarah Bradberry. This has been waiting for months to get photographed. It's kind of small to wear around the neck, but it is wearable (I was getting a bit fed up with knitting laceweight on 2.5mm needles, and just bound off when I felt like it). It's really good as a headscarf though, I should get some photos of it like that . . .

Next up, my sparkly white snake amigurumi:

White Sparkly Snake Amigurumi
White Sparkly Snake Amigurumi

Pattern: Ayame The Snake by Mary E. Smith I used a sparkly white boucle that I got off ebay. I actually wanted the black sparkly boucle, but it came with a ball of white as well, but it turned out fabulous for this project! I love this pattern, it goes so quickly, and as you're stuffing it as you go, there's hardly any finishing at all! It's a really good stashbuster, and I totally want to make more. I want stripey ones, and different coloured ones. My house is going to be filled with amigurumi snakes if I'm not careful!

I also got a photo of my Berry Hill fingerless mittens

Berry Hill Gloves

Pattern: Berry Hill fingerless mittens by Liz Thompson. I love this pattern! It's one of those ones that I got obsessed with as soon as I saw it on the recently added patterns page on ravelry. I "fixed" by BPT jacket, which deserves a whole other post (I cropped it and added ribbing, it's now perfect for me!), and this is what I used the leftover yarn for. The pattern is really well written and easy to follow, and these are now my favourite pair of gloves. I've been wearing them loads because the weather has turned so cold so quickly!

There are a few more FOs that require photos being taken, but that's plenty for just now! And here's some pics of my latest WIP

Snowy Owl Mittens
Snowy Owl Mittens

Pattern: Owlmittens by SpillyJane.

I LOVE this pattern! I thought I would manage to resist the whole owl craze thing that's going through the knitting world right now, but it turns out I couldn't after all! I saw this pattern on her blog (link above), and just went nuts over it! The little owls are so cute! It's a good re-introduction to my Year of Colour 2009 (that kind of fell by the wayside over the summer. I don't think that's a good time of year for me to be knitting colourwork. It's too fiddly when I lost concentration like that).

I can't believe I'm knitting something so pretty! I keep looking down at it and marvelling. Colourwork seems like some kind of magic to me, it's just amazing to follow the chart mechanically then look down and see THAT! I want to make another pair already, this time with a white background and black owls. I want to experiment and see how the colours change and how the owls will change. I'm interested to learn more about the way the colours change when they're on top or bottom. But first I'll have to finish these ones! I started them yesterday, and that's how much I did in one evening! I would have done more, but my left hand started to get sore. I remember that happening when I first started doing stranded colourwork at the beginning of the year. It's just because my hand isn't used to that type of motion, but it's very inconvenient having to stop! If it wasn't for that, I think I would have kept going till I finished the whole first mitten, it's very addictive!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

New Blogs!

I've started a couple of new blogs, because I have some things that I want to write about, but I don't want to clutter up this page with lots of random stuff. I've been getting way back into non-fibery arts, like drawing and photography, so I'll be writing about that over on Yarndancer's Art Blog.

I also decided to make a seperate page for my 101 in 1001 project. I've actually done a few things off my list, but I kind of feel that they don't belong here, so they never end up getting written about, and it's kind of like they don't exist any more. So I'm giving it its own space on the web :) I know I'm like, halfway through my 1001 days already, but I figure I'll probably do another after this one, so it'll be good to have the site for that. And I'll be going through the things I've already done and writing about them over at Yarndancer's 101 in 1001.

Come over and join me on the new sites! I'll still be posting here just as much as I do now, because these are totally seperate subjects that I want to write about, but I'd love to see you all over there too :)

Friday, 9 October 2009

Jewel Of Yorkshire Time Again!!

Quick post before I set off for Jewel of Yorkshire, the fantastic belly dance weekend!!! I'm doing 3 workshops this time, 2 with Ava Fleming (very excited about these, I love her dancing) and one with Ozgen Ozgec. I'm also very excited about this one. It's a drum solo masterclass, yay!! I did a class with Ozgen last year, and he was fantastic, broke everything down, even though it was a masterclass, and was very clear about everything. And he's an awesome dancer, so it's always good to get classes from him. I just wish I could go to more! I'm doing a 3D moves class with Ava, and an Isis Wings class, very interested to see what she does with the wings!

I'm all packed, but my bag seems surprisingly empty :/ Don't know what's going on there, it's usually bursting at the seams! But I've checked everything off the big list of things to pack, so I think I've got everything. Hope so, it's too late now! :D

See you all when I get back!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Free Pattern: Aguamenti Cuffs

I wrote up another pattern, and put it up on ravelry, this time for free :

Aguamenti Mitts

Aguamenti Mitts

Aguamenti Cuffs

You can download the pattern from ravelry directly, or you can use this link: download now

I designed them for the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup, charms class, sept 09. The task was to make something based on Harry's use of the Aguamenti spell. I thought about it, and realised that even though we generally think of water as being cold, when you're in water, and you come out of it, it's always colder outside. So my reasoning was that water could keep you warm, and if you wrapped your arms in it, they'd be warm all day! And the aguamenti cuffs were born!

I took a stitch pattern from Jan Eaton's book, 200 Ripple Stitches, and adapted it quite a bit, to make a ripply, watery textured pair of mitts.

This pattern uses fingering/sock weight yarn, and knits up to a small/medium size (up to 9.5" circumference), but it can easily be made larger by substituting a thicker yarn and/or bigger needles.


Monday, 28 September 2009

Plumes Beret Pattern - Available To Buy

I've been working like a busy little bee over the past few days writing this pattern up, and getting photos etc, but here it is :)

Plumes Beret
Plumes Beret
Plumes Beret
Plumes Beret
Plumes Beret
Plumes Beret

It's the Plumes Beret, available for £2.50 from ravelry. Or you can use this link to purchase the pattern

It's a slouchy beret, written for small and medium sizes (20" & 22"). It uses Sirdar Country Style DK, or you can substitute any other DK yarn that gets you 24sts to 4". The lace pattern is both written and charted, and easy to follow.

I think the beret is great for transitional seasons like spring or autumn. It's very slouchy, and quite cute, if I do say so myself!


Sunday, 20 September 2009

Winning Prizes!!

The good thing about not blogging properly for a couple of months is that when you get back to it, there's so much to write about ;) This post is a bit image-heavy, but I couldn't pick the best one or two to show, so I just put them all up ;)

Recently, we had the local town "flower show", where people enter their flowers (obviously), handcrafts, baking and photos. Last year, my bf's mother, aka the MIL for short even though it's not technically correct, but never mind, went to look at the entries, and saw that they had this years handcrafts section list. So she got me a copy in case I'd be interested in putting something in. Well, at the beginning I wasn't so much (it seems like a very "old person" kind of thing to do, even more than knitting itself!), but then I saw they had a toilet roll cover section, and I had seen the perfect pattern on Ravelry (insert mischievous grin here!)

Bender, Guardian of The Bum Fodder!
Bender, Guardian of The Bum Fodder!
Bender, Guardian of The Bum Fodder!
Bender, Guardian of The Bum Fodder!

Bender, Guardian of the Bum Fodder!!

The pattern is by Elizabeth Jarvis, available here for free on Ravelry. And it is teh awesome!!!! It's very well written, easy to follow, and makes a fab Bender from Futurama toilet roll cover. What more could any household require????

I had to make it and put it in. I just had to! I had visions of rows of crinoline ladies, barbies with flouncy dresses on top of toilet rolls, and I couldn't resist putting a Bender cover in there. I know, I'm thoroughly evil and naughty!

But he won first prize!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some of the ladies running the event didn't know what it was, he even got called a monster, but I thought it was awesome when an older lady told me she loved the Bender cover and started talking to me about Futurama. Talk about blowing stereotypes out the water, I loved that.

Hello Kitty Witch - Prize Winner!

I also entered a Hello Kitty amigurumi I made a while ago, in the soft toy section, and she won third prize!!!

Prize-winning Buddies!

Prize-winning Buddies!!

The Hello Kitty pattern is by Armina Parnagian and is another free pattern from Ravelry, available here. It's another really cool pattern, very cute!

I was so chuffed when I went in an saw that they had both won a prize. The prize is little more than bits of paper with "First Prize" and "Third Prize" on them, but it's the fact that they won that I'm pleased with. I didn't enter them to win a huge monetary award or nothing! (OK, so I entered them to beat the crinoline ladies, which isn't exactly the nicest reason, and I'm sure I lost major karma points for that reason, which I feel kind of guilty about. Must go do something nice to make up for it)

Anyway, I just thought I'd post here and brag. I have next years list of handcraft sections, and I already have a few things lined up. But next time I'll be entering just for the competition. Even though it's seen as a bit of an "old lady" event, it was kind of fun. There was a really nice atmosphere, and it was nice to see other people's creative endeavours too. There were some fab soft toys and quilted pieces!!!! And there was only one crinoline lady ;)