Saturday, 31 January 2009

CanCans Fingerless Mitts

Another pair of fingerless mitts!


I'm getting a bit obsessed with fingerless gloves just now. They're easy and quick to make, warm in the winter (definitely needed here just now!) and they leave my fingers free to work my camera, Ipod, take money out of my purse or whatever.

These ones are from the CanCans pattern, which was another of those patterns that came up on ravlery as a new pattern, and wouldn't get out of my head. I think it's those ridges at the top and bottom, they just called to me, and forced me to make them :)

They knit up really quickly, and the cables added interest. They have decreases as well which make them really snug (but not tight!) against the arm, and hence really quite warm. I used Stylecraft Special 4 ply in Navy, which to be honest is quite splitty and annoying to work with, but it makes a nice soft fabric, thin but still quite warm. I've worn them outside already, and they kept the chill from my hands quite well :)

If I was going to make them again, I'd probably knit a few inches straight in the pattern before beginning to decrease, but just because I'm obsessed with long fingerless gloves right now :) They're a decent length as the pattern is written, it's just if I would modify them for myself. I'm totally happy with them though! The thin fabric resulting from the fingering weight yarn means that they're thin enough to go under thinner jacket arms, so they're good for wearing with a more "dressy" coat.

I decided my next project would be the Shetland Shorty shrug, which I'm also using Stylecraft Special 4 ply for, but in black. Again, splitty and annoying, but makes a nice fabric. It's coming along well, and I can't wait to have it done so I can wear it! I really don't know why the pattern sat for so long printed out, before I started it. At least organising my patterns reminded me of it (and lots more patterns) so the poor thing can be finished! :D

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Trying To Organise

I'm in the process of trying to organise my crafting life. It seems like there's wool, patterns, needles, bits of fabric, bags with more wool and various crafty things lying all over the house at the moment, and it's getting a bit much! :)

I've put all my wool into the one room, on shelves, and in bags, but all together. My knitting needles and crochet hooks and various sewing needles etc are a bit of a problem, though. No matter where I put them, they seem to migrate out to various places in the house. And scissors just seem to disappear into the ether! I've no idea where they go! I'll have to work on that part of my organisation.

I've put all my magazines into box files, and put them beside my crafting books on a bookshelf in the living room - I tried having them in the spare room, but I would just drag three of them into the living room to browse through, and never return them, so I figured if they were all in the living room, I could at least keep them tidy on a shelf but they'd still be available for browsing. And I've put all the patterns that I've printed out, but haven't knit yet, into poly-pockets and put them all in a Hello Kitty ring binder.


I got the ring binder cheap from Woolworths when it was going bust and having its huge sale. (Still sad about Woolworths going bust!) Isn't it cute? I love Hello Kitty! I also got a bunch of HK DVDs from the pound shop, and have been sitting watching Hello Kitty cartoons like a child! Still, it's fun :D

I put a whole packet of poly pockets into the ring binder, put my four latest mags in the back so that they would be handy and I wouldn't have to drag out the box files, then proceeded to fill up ALL the rest of the pockets with patterns that I've printed out then abandoned. 36 patterns! I hadn't realised that it was so many! (Mainly because they were lying all over the house!) So I've resolved to knit through at least most of them. There are a few colourwork patterns in there, so I can still continue the Year of Colour :) but I'm going to try to reduce the pile at least a little. I feel guilty having printed them all out then left them for other projects :)

My first two are the Sheep and Wool hat and Shetland Shorty. I haven't cast on either yet, (been working on another pair of fingerless mitts!) but all the materials are organised around my chair. And two spaces in my folder are empty!

Monday, 26 January 2009

Quickie Handwarmers

I've been working on a design recently (isn't it a bit annoying how designs have to be secret till they're done?) and I've had to knit the same thing twice, in a different yarn, and also to check the pattern I've written up. Well, I'm 3/4 of the way through the second one, and to be honest, I was getting a little burned out. Not because of the pattern, cos I really like this one, and I loooove the yarn I'm using for the second version, but more because, well, I've already knit it once. Like, last week. And because it's secret, I feel like I've got nothing new to blog about. (even though I've got about four projects waiting for photos, or simply for something to be written about them. We'll just forget about them for the time being ;) They'll get their turn in the spotlight soon!)

So, I needed a quick project to rejuvenate me :)

This pattern (Crocheted Hand Warmers by Nadine Borovicka) came up on the Ravelry new patterns page a little while ago, and I just haven't been able to shake it from my head. The pink and brown combination, and the cute little flowers really caught my eye, and kept shouting to me. So I started my version yesterday, and finished them today.


I used James C Brett Super Soft Baby Double Knitting in pink, and some Stylecraft Special DK in brown. Small amounts of both, and a 4mm hook.

I made some small modifications. I added in an extra row of DC before the thumb opening, an extra row in the thumb opening, and a few extra rows at the top. I wanted them to be a bit longer in the hand :) I also picked up some stitches round the thumb opening, and did a row in pink SC, and two rows of brown SC. I didn't do any decreases around the wrist opening. The flower embroidery was improvised. The first one went really well, then I had to try and match it on the other glove. Which I did! The first time I did it, I made two left gloves! :D I didn't get a photo, unfortunately. So I had to pick out the embroidery and do it on the correct side of the hand! It didn't take too long, though.

I really like them, they're very cutesy :) I kept the colour combination the same as the original pattern, because that's part of what was sticking in my head, was that combination of brown and pink. Hopefully now they'll stop shouting at me, and I can get on with other things! :D

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Norwegian Star Hat

Project 2 in the Year Of Colour!!


It's the Norwegian Star Hat by Stephanie Taylor. I chose it because it had a more complicated chart, actually knitting something recognisable as a pattern, but the chart wasn't too big, 16sts by 15 rows, I think, so it was totally manageable.

It knit up so fast! I started yesterday and I would have been finished yesterday except I had to rip back to before the decreases and add 5 more rows in black to make it a bit longer. I have a huge head! :D

I totally love, love, love this hat. I was staring at it in the mirror for ages just marvelling at the fact that I knit that pattern! Those blue stars, I knit them! And even though I had to strand across 5 sts at a time sometimes, my stranding looks pretty regular.


I'm so chuffed. Eventually I had to be told to calm down because I was getting a little manic about what is essentially just a hat :) But I totally love this colourwork thing. I just have to decide what to make next :)

Monday, 19 January 2009

Salvaging Trystero

The saga of the Trystero socks is finally over!

(Actually, it was over in December, I've only just decent pics of them now, so I hadn't blogged about it)

After casting on the first time, I got thoroughly confused and had to rip :( The second time, I decided to use Socktoberfest as a motivation to get these socks knit, because it's such a lovely pattern, and I didn't want it to just disappear into the ether of projects that will never be knit. So I cast on, knit down past the heel, halfway down the foot, and it was too small :( I hadn't accounted for how the cables would pull in, and no, I hadn't done a gauge swatch ;)

Not to be outsmarted, I re-cast on quickly, going up to 2.75mm needles (I'd been using 2.25mm the first and second times. I knit down to the toes this time. I tried it on when I was just past the gusset, and it seemed OK, so I just kept going. However, it wasn't OK. This time,it was too big!! The sock was too wide, and looked like it was going to stretch a little more with wear.

I gave up. The nearly completed sock, and the yarn (purple pure wool 4 ply by Rennie, off of ebay) went into the corner. And there it sat till December, mocking me. Every time I looked into the corner of UFOs, my mood dropped, because I was so annoyed with these socks. I swear, it was laughing at me!

Eventually, I got fed up being annoyed with it. I picked it up, to see if there was anything that could be done. Maybe I could rip back to the heel, and use a smaller needle from there on. Or something. Anything to get the damn socks done!

I put it on over my hand to look at the stitch pattern, and pulled it up so that the foot was over my hand, and the cuff was over my forearm. And then it came to me. Fingerless mittens! I could rip back to before the heel, and just continue from there, with no heel turn, knit a few stitches later in waste yarn to attach a thumb to, knit a few rows of ribbing at the top, and hey, presto, a fab pair of mittens!

So I did just that:

Basically, I repeated chart A until I was where I wanted the thumb to go, knit a few stitches in waste yarn, then did another repeat. I decreased stitches at the hand ribbing, to make it a big snugger. Basically, I just decreased wherever there was a p3, to make it a p2, so that the ribbing from there was k2, p2. Then I bound off, and picked up the stitches for the thumb and knit a few rows in ribbing, until the thumb was as long as I wanted.

I made the mittens elbow length, which I love. They're super warm under my jacket, which is good because I wear vests and t-shirts normally, so extra long mittens means I don't have to put on another layer under my jacket. They're quite gothy too in the purple. ;)

I really like the Trystero pattern as gloves (pattern here, by the way). It's made me look at sock patterns in a whole new way now too. I've been browsing ravelry ogling sock patterns and imagining them transformed into gloves and mittens.

Hopefully one day I'll be able to actually knit the Trystero pattern as a pair of socks! I don't think I'll try it for a while though, I'm all Trystero'd out at the moment! :D

Saturday, 10 January 2009

First FO of the Year of Colour!


I finished my Stripey hat!

I love it! I can't quite believe that I managed to complete a project in stranded colourwork! I'm so proud of myself right now :D

I thought it was going to be too small when I cast it off, but I gave it a good steam-blocking, and it fits fine now. I recently discovered the magic of steam-blocking hats, and it's wonderful. I put my hat over a pyrex bowl, and just blast the iron at it. I generally don't put the iron straight on it, unless maybe it just needs an extra flattening, and then only for a second. I did that for the top of this hat, because it was a bit pointy before blocking, and it made it so much nicer. The strands at the back got much neater and straighter too with the steaming.

As an aside, like my new head? :) I blagged it off my Dad when I went to my parents' house at Christmas time. It was just sitting in a corner anyway :D Now it only takes a second to take pics of finished hats, and I don't have to harangue any
one else into taking pics, then not having them turn out the way I would have taken them. Now all I need is a fake leg like Cookie A takes all her sock photos on, and I'll be set!

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Back To The Beginning

I had to rip :(

My gauge was too tight, I had a whole extra stitch to the inch. I tried it on, and it did go round my head, but it was very tight, and I don't think it would really have worked. I was trying to convince myself that it would all work out when I blocked it, but then I reminded myself that "it's only knitting" and ripped it all the way back to the beginning to start again.

I suppose it's only to be expected that my gauge would be different as I'm doing something new. Apparently I knit super tight just now, but I'm sure it'll even out in time. In the meantime, I went up to 4.5mm needles, and just started again. It looks much more like the correct size now :) But 4.5mm needles for DK weight yarn just seems insane to me on some level! :D

The knitting also went much faster the second time around. I think I'm getting (!) used to this type of knitting, and I'm still super excited about it. Trying the little band that I had made on also made me excited about the hat when it's finished, I think the colours go together quite well. So, even though I had a sad face at the beginning of this post, I'm not really sad at all.

One thing for anyone else out there trying stranded knitting - if you have to rip back to the start, do it one row at a time! The two yarns get very tangled up if you try to pull out about ten rows then wind it back onto the ball. I would tell you to ask me how I know, but I think you can imagine ;) It was not pretty!!!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Look! I Can Do It!

Well, after much humming and hawing, and procrastinating, I finally bit the bullet and just started my Stripey hat. And I can do this stranded colour thing!!! It took me 2 hours to do 7 rows, right enough, and my left hand hurt a bit afterwards, but I did it!

Photos! :


I'm using the leftover burgundy yarn from my Mariah sweater, and some unknown black yarn from my stash. It feels like it might be a wool blend. I figured I hand wash most of my knits anyway, so it shouldn't matter if the yarns are slightly different. It took me ages to decide which colour to substitute for the blue and gray of the original pattern. Maybe that's why I was so anxious about knitting with more than one colour, because I'm scared I'll choose a sucky colour combination. Eventually I decided the burgundy would be the blue, and the black would be the gray, so that the hat will have the burgundy at the top, and not be mainly black, which I was tempted to do for the safety factor - black goes with anything, and would look good as the main colour for just about anything as well. But I stepped out of my comfort zone, and chose to use the burgundy as the main one.

I'm not sure if I'm doing it "right" - I just jumped in without watching any videos or anything because I didn't want to confuse myself immediately. My stitches look correct anyway, they're not twisted or anything, and that's more important to me than if I'm doing it "right". I'm using one colour in each hand, holding the left-hand yarn like I would hold my yarn in crochet. My left hand is tenser than in crochet, trying to keep the tension, which is why it hurt a little after the two hours. I just decided to take a break after noticing it hurting, and I'll need to find another knit project to work on in between times doing stranded knitting, I think, at least until my hand gets used to the unfamiliar motion, and stops tensing up so much. I don't want to injure myself! :D

I'm totally excited about stranded knitting, now that I've jumped in and started. I keep looking at patterns (not knitting patterns, just patterns I see around me) and thinking "oh, that could be knit!" And I've got a feeling my rav queue is going to grow even more !

Monday, 5 January 2009

My First Colourwork of 2009!

Well, I've finished the secret project (the knitting part anyway!), so I have permission from myself both to play video games, and to knit something fun where the pattern is all laid out for me. :)

I haven't started it yet (Breath of Fire called me first!) but I'm going to start it later today - Stripey by Torirot. It looks like a good beginner project as the stripes go straight up without moving around, so I think (!) I'll be able to keep track of what I'm doing!

It's ridiculous that I actually feel a little anxious thinking about doing colourwork. I mean, it's only knitting! Even if I totally mess it up, which I probably won't, it can always be ripped back and redone. I think I've just built it up in my head to be something more impossible than it actually is. The silliness of my "fear" is what's driving the Year of Colour. Plus there's all these great patterns out there, and I was holding myself back because I thought I wouldn't be good enough at it. Very silly.

So I'm very excited about making this hat! I suppose I'd better get my butt off of the computer (and away from those time-sucking video games) and actually knit it, eh? :D

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Making A Deal With Myself


I noticed something weird the other day while scrolling down my blog page. In both 2007 and 2008, I wrote exactly the same number of posts, 64, without even intending for it to be the same! Spooky!!

I haven't been knitting anything in the New Year that I can write about, really. I'm in the process of designing something, which I had to do a lot of swatching and ripping back on. I'm nearly finished the actual item, but all the swatching really took it out of me. I've had to make a deal with myself, no more video games till the knitting is done! Which is quite an incentive actually, since I'm playing Breath of Fire on my snes emulator, and I'm quite far into the game. I'm also playing Prof. Layton and the Curious Village on the DS (I got that game for xmas), and I'm obsessed with working out all the puzzles! But my knitting was falling by the wayside, so I'm going to keep knitting this project till it's done, then I'll be allowed to play games again!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

7 Things

I got tagged ages ago by Samsara with this meme, but em, it kind of got buried under Christmas stuff. I always did mean to do it, and it kept coming back into my mind, but somehow it just never got done :/ So anyway, here it is:

The Rules:

1) Link to your tagger and list all these rules in your blog.

2) Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.

3) Tag 7 people at the end of your post by including links to their blogs

4) Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

The Facts:

1. My favourite dinosaur is the Stegoaurus.

2. I've always been interested in ancient Egypt, the pyramids and pharoahs and mythology etc. It's simply fascinating to me, and I went to see the Tutenkahmen exhibition when it came to Edinburgh when I was little.

3. The World Wonder that is most interesting me is the Colossus of Rhodes. I've been to Rhodes, and seen where it used to stand, and I think that's why it's so interesting, cos I can imagine it standing there.

4. My favourite artist is Salvador Dali.

5. I kind of collect and read books about World War II. I have quite a lot of them, but I'm not sure why I'm so interested in reading about it. I don't normally like to read about war and the military, but for some reason it just interests me.

6. I love Vincent Price movies. I'm not sure which is my favourite, he was so fantastic in all of the ones I've seen.

7. The first computer/console I ever used and played games on was my dad's ZX Spectrum 81. I used to play games on it (they took ages to load on the tape deck) and I did some Basic programming using magazines he bought, and I also learned to touch type using a program that he had. Yes, I was just as geeky as a kid as I am now. ;)

Hmm, those were all kind of historical random facts about me, even though I thought them up randomly. All this New Year stuff must have my mind thinking about the past, even unconsciously :)

I think most of the people whose blogs I read have done this meme, I'm sure I've seen it on a few. So I won't officially tag anyone, except to say that if you haven't done this meme, then feel free to consider that I've tagged you, and if you have done it and you want to write more random facts, then I've tagged you too! Let me know if you do this meme, so I can come have a look!

Friday, 2 January 2009

Christmas 2008

Hey, now I've written the New Year posts I wanted to write, I can finally get round to writing about my Christmas!

We just had a quiet Christmas Day at home. My bf's mum came round and my bf made roast beef with roast potatoes and onions. Yum! (He made it for New Year too!) Tupac was very excited when the beef came out of the freezer to defrost, and even more excited when it started to cook. He actually sulked when it dawned on him that no, he wasn't going to get the yummy chunk of raw meat :) He went over to his bed, and lay down looking really unhappy, and wouldn't even go for his teddies when they were thrown! He cheered up a little when he got the leftovers from the plate, but then decided he wanted the rest of the beef that was leftover and that we were going to eat later. He wouldn't eat his own food, because he was determined he was going to get this beef. He got a little, but not as much as he wanted. Poor dog! :)

I went to my parents house on Boxing Day, and we opened presents and had another big meal, gammon and pineapple, potatoes, sprouts, peas, everything you could think of! Then we sat about and watched some of the DVDs they gave me (lots of Stephen King movies, so we had a scary boxing day watching The Mist. Good movie, with a totally f-ed up ending.

The day after, we went to my aunties house. I got to see my cousins little baby (she's nearly a year old now!) and we played with all her toys. She's so cute! She's at the stage where she can almost walk. She can walk across the room if you're holding onto her, and is obsessed with anything shiny. She wanted to play with all the decorations and totally took her chance to point them out to these new-ish people to see if we would give them to her. My Dad actually held up a shiny decoration for her to touch and she was well chuffed! She has some cool toys too! I love playing with kids toys, cos I'm just a big kid myself at heart. I'll have to resolve to go and see her more often. Last time I saw her, she was really just a little baby and she's grown so much over a year!

I got some knitterly things for Christmas. I got Knitted Icons by Carol Medlrum, which is very cool. I totally want to make Godzilla and King Kong first and fight them against each other! :D I also got some yarn from my parents, and the drop spindle I'm getting next week is actually part of my Christmas too.

After all that I came home the next day, totally exhausted! It was a nice Christmas, quietly busy, and with lots of nice time with my family. And lots of nice presents too! :)

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Looking Forward To 2009

This year I have a few resolutions about being creative.

2009 is going to be my Year of Colour, I've decided. I'm going to learn how to do proper stranded colourwork, and I'm going to do lots of it :) I think starting with small projects will be best. There's some mitten patterns I want to try, and scarves. I can't go too wrong with those, surely :) Heh, refer me back to this page later in the year, when I'm sure I'll be whining about how hard it is, and how I messed it up!

I want to get good enough to be able to knit a full colourwork sweater. The sweater might not actually get made this year, but my aim is to improve my skills so that I would be able to, if I wanted. That sounds just vague enough to be acheiveable! :)

I also want to do more drawing. I was looking at some of my old pictures last night (yeah, I'm such a party animal!!), and I realised I haven't actually drawn anything for at least a couple of years! I like drawing and I have a ton of art supplies, so I want to draw at least a little this year.

It would be good to improve my sewing.

I want to do more things on my 101in1001 list, but that's kind of already resolved, so it doesn't really count :)

I also want to improve my photography, and to get a new camera. I think I mentioned yesterday that I'm taking a class later in the month about digital photography and photoshop. I don't know yet if I want a digital SLR camera, or just a fancy point and shoot one. I don't really know enough about cameras to know if I would need all the functions on an SLR. I think I'll need to get digital cameras for dummies and swot up!

Oh, nearly forgot! I also plan to get a drop spindle (hopefully next week) and start playing about with making my own yarn! That should be fun and interesting!

But yeah, the main resolution is to knit more (any!) colourwork. I'm a little sick of thinking it's beyond me, so I want to kick colourwork's bottom and learn to do it.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2009 is happy, productive, and full of good things for you all!