Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Some Springtime Loveliness

The weather here has been a bit drizzly and damp the past few days, so to brighten things up, I thought I'd post some pics of flowers and plants from my garden :)

Wallflower flowers :)

Wallflower flower :)

A wallflower plant that my bf planted from seed last year, and this year it's really blossomed! It smells really nice too, but it makes me sneeze :( Stupid allergies! I really love the colours though :)

My Tulip


I planted some tulip bulbs last year, but they weren't terribly succesful, only one came up this year! But it's very pretty, and I'm quite proud that I managed to grow that many. I usually kill plants just by looking at them!

Here's a pic of the leaves of an acer tree that I planted, this came already grown, that's why it's even big enough to have leaves - I didn't have anything to do with it!

Acer Leaf Focus

And I planted some bamboo shrubs along the side of the fence. They're just small just now, but they'll grow big soon! I took a pic of my troll toy hiding behind a clump.

7/30 07/04/2009 Bam-BOO!

Now if the weather would just brighten up, I could go out in the garden and enjoy all these plants for real! :D

Monday, 27 April 2009

WIPs and Patterns

I think doing lots of small projects is helping my knitting mojo come back. That and browsing all the fab patterns on ravelry. :D I have more than my usual number of WIPs on the go just now, but it seems to be working out fine. Yesterday I worked on some socks, and managed to finish the first one:

Express Lane socks - first one done!

Pattern: express lane by Diane Mulholland
Yarn : Rennie 4 ply pure wool
Needles: 2.75mm (my gauge seems to have tightened or something recently, I've had to go up a needle size for socks)

This is another pattern that I had printed and had been sitting in the hello kitty folder for ages, and since I'd enjoyed making my last pair of socks, I pulled that pattern out, and got to work. And it's fab!! I love the pattern. I've made a few mods - I'm doing a figure 8 toe cast on, and a reverse heel flap a la widdershins, and I'm only doing the lace on the front. The first one knitted up really quickly! I made it mid-calf length. The trouble with toe-up socks for me is that I'm always tempted to continue right up to the knee, but that takes too long! I think I've made this one just right.

I've been making the feather and fan comfort shawl too, but mine is going to be more of a shawlette.

Feather and fan shawlette

I'm using a random laceweight that I found in a charity shop a while ago, and 2.5mm needles. That one's going ok, but it's getting larger now so the rows take a little longer. Not as long as if it'd take if I decided to make a full shawl though! Just as well I'm into the triangular type scarf just now :D

I've also started the josephine crocheted gauntlets which I came across on ravelry and also have been meaning to make for ages, but I'm only a few rounds into those, so there's not much point in taking a picture yet :)

There's also the vest that I'm trying to design for myself, and have just got hung up on the numbers. I don't understand why, cos when I do it, it'll be easy enough, it's not going to be complicated or anything, but my brain just doesn't want to do it just now. So it's in the corner, but it's still a WIP, it's not been abandoned yet!

Oh, and I found these pattern booklets in a local charity shop too!

Vintage Crochet Books

I didn't buy them all in one go, but over the past couple of weeks. I feel kind of weird taking them up to the counter, cos it's a young girl who's been serving recently, and I'm sure she must just be like "why on earth would you want those old things?", but she's nice though, and probably isn't thinking that at all, I'm probably just projecting my own issues, but anyway, I was well chuffed when I saw them! They are kind of old fashioned with the edgings being on tablecloths and doilies and all sorts, but they seem easy to adapt to modern usage. And I love pineapple crochet designs, so I was very pleased when I saw that one!! (I managed to keep the squee to myself though, and not totally freak the poor shop assitant!)

There are a bunch of other things I want to cast on right now, and normally I'd get a bit freaked out about having so many things on the go, but I've decided just to go with the flow. Compared to other people anyway, I don't even have a lot of WIPs! And I'm sure I'll go through a finishing stage as well later on, so they'll all get finished really quickly, and I'll feel really productive! :D

Thursday, 23 April 2009

FO - drunken bee socks!!

FO - drunken bees

Drunken Bees

Pattern: drunken bees, by domesticat

I've had this pattern printed out for ages, and since I couldn't find proper motivation or concentration to go find a new pattern on ravelry, I just flipped through the folder and pulled this one out to have a go at.

I attempted these socks before, quite a while ago now, and it didn't go well ;) I tried it on DPNS, and with twisted stitches at the beginning of every DPN, it wasn't long before my needles fell out of the stitches, I got lost in the pattern, ripped them out, and put the pattern away. But I figured, now I know how to do magic loop, maybe it'll be easier. The stitches wouldn't be able to fall off the needle so easily on a circular.

And it was easier!! I still had to concentrate quite hard on the actual stitch pattern, as it's quite involved and intricate, but it went much faster than before. I didn't have to rip back once!

It's a fantastic pattern, I love how intricate it is, and it's very pretty. I wouldn't recommend it to beginners though, for a couple of reasons. One, because I had so much trouble with it the first time, even though I wasn’t even a beginner then, and also because the way the pattern is written out is pretty sparse. You have to make up how you do a lot of things, like the heel, toes, and pattern down the side of the actual foot, so you really need to be comfortable with sock structure, and adapting stitch patterns. But they look very impressive when you can do them! :D But, yeah, I'd definitely recommend using the magic loop method too!

They took me ten days, according to ravelry, and that was with a few days of working on other projects (I'm still swapping and changing between projects, to keep myself sane!!) I'm going to cast on another pair of socks now, because I feel like working on socks has definitely helped my motivation. They're small, portable, and have so many points at which you can get a sense of achievement, like finishing the cuff, or the heel, or the whole first sock! I love sock knitting! :D

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Finding Motivation

I've been dealing with my lack of motivation and general lack of energy recently by taking projects just a little bit at a time. Even if I only get a little bit done of the things I need to do every day, it's still better than nothing!

Today I took photos of all my knitted a
nd crocheted FOs, and WIPs, and am in the process of uploading them to ravelry, if you want to go have a look, my profile page is here. I'm still not ready to write about them all here yet, but I will soon enough :)

I've got 4 projects on the go just now, and am switching between them. That seems to be keeping my interest going. Normally I get antsy if I have more than 3 WIPs, and want to finish them all, but I think I'll probably end up casting more on just now! But it's cool, because whenever I go through a period of startitis, there's always a finishing period afterwards when I feel like loads has been done, because it's all finished at the same time!

Boring things like housework are also suffering because of this lazy, unenergetic feeling. I've started making a list of chores to do every day, and even if I only weed a bit of the garden, it's still less weeds than there was before. Must just keep repeating that to myself - I have a tendancy to get stressed, and want to finish everything all at once, then get annoyed when it can't all get done in the same day. Breaking tasks down into manageable chunks seems to help. I can make a list of all the smaller tasks, then I feel encouraged to do the rest of the job after I've ticked the first pieces off.

I reckon it must be the start of summer, and the change of the seasons that's causing this feeling of ennui. It always sets me off, the sun makes me feel like I should be a hundred times more productive and prolific than it's actually possible to be, but at the same time I just want to lie around and be lazy too. I liked Zu's idea that she left in a comment on my last post of crocheting small projects in the garden! That way I can combine both feelings at once! :D

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Where's My Motivation Gone????

Lately, my motivation has disappeared. Even knitting became a bit of a drag for a while there!! I think it's cos I was working on two projects that sapped all my knitting mojo away. They're still not done :( but I don't really hate them or anything. It's just that it required more energy than previous things, so they're "resting" just now.

One is an actual garment that I'm trying to knit without anyone else's pattern, essentially designing my own. It's not even difficult, no hard shaping or anything, but when it got to the bit where I had to work out measurements, and think about maths, my brain just melted, and it went into the corner beside the couch, where it seems all the "resting" projects go. I'm definitely going to finish it, but I'm taking all the measurements and maths bit by bit, and doing it slowly. That way it'll actually get done.

Writing this, I can hardly even believe that it sapped so much energy. It's not even difficult!!!!! That's it, I'll start working on it again soon! Very soon :D

The other project is a Baktus scarf using a ball of self striping opal sock wool. I saw the pattern and thought that the self striping wool would work perfectly with it, and it does! But, I only have one ball, and my weighing scales are rubbish! (I need digital ones!!!) First of all, I did the pattern wrong, and increased every 2nd row instead of every 4th, and only discovered the error when I was half way through and went to decrease. So I ripped that out, and did it again, but I've got to the end of the ball, and I've still got about 6 inches left to do because I estimated the halfway point of the yarn wrong (see, that's why I need new scales, so I can get it exactly). So it needs ripped out, but all that ripping and garter stitch really sapped my energy. I actually didn't knit for a few days because of it! I know, hardly the end of the world, but I felt like something was seriously wrong.

So the baktus scarf is also in the corner beside the couch, and will be ripped back and reknit from the real halfway point sometime in the future. I cast on a couple of small projects to help get me back into the rhythm of knitting. I knit the two-tone ribbed shrug from fitted knits, all in black, and I think that helped. The pattern and yarn had been in my immediate queue for ages, so it was an easy choice to pick up and get into, no thinking involved. It's actally finished now, but I can't get motivated to take pics either!! I have so many FOs waiting to be photographed. So that's why I'm writing this post, I'm hoping it will motivate me to take photos and then I can show you all!!! :D

I also haven't done a round up of March yet, and it's the middle of April already!! I'll have to do that tomorrow. I like doing lists of what I've achieved in a month, it shows me that I actually do a lot more than I think I do, and it's good for self-esteem. My brain keeps enough lists of bad things, it's good to have written records of good things!

Another post I have to write is about Jewel of Yorkshire. I went to the April event from the 3rd to the 5th, and it was fantastic!! Definitely need to write all about that!

Sorry for teasing y'all with posts that have yet to be written, but I figure writing out a list here will make me motivated to write them. It's all spring's fault - I just want to laze about in the sun :)