Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Things Need Updating...

I think my spring-clean fever has extended to the blog. I was looking through it, looking for a post, and I discovered how out of date it is. Apart from the fact that I hardly seem to post any more, my sidebar links are sooooo out of date. I listen to about a million more podcasts now, read another million more blogs, some of the ones listed don't even exist any more, I think. Also, I look at other blogs, and they have like, pretty pictures in the background, and fancy lettering, and all sorts of neat gizmos. I'm so 5 years ago with my basic blogger page, lol!!

My first update is the blogoversary gadget doo-dad thingy.

Get your own free Blogoversary button!

You can get your own here.

Actually, getting that gizmo reminded me that my blogoversary is in only 11 days!! My blog will be 4 years old! I'll have to think of something cool to do for it :)

I don't think my updating/spring cleaning will be happening today - I've got a ton of stuff that needs doing, and no matter how long I spend on it, it never seems to get done. Maybe tomorrow, but probably not. Again, those neverending tasks.

Hmm, just a thought, I've got a bunch of free time on Saturday. I think maybe it'll be getting done then. Till then I can indulge in my other favourite pastime and write lists of what needs to be done, so that I can feel really good about myself when I check them off. Yay, sounds like a plan!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Mitten Knittin' (and a rant about thumbs)

I haven't been knitting much recently. I've got a serious case of spring-clean-fever and have been going nuts washing windows, cleaning skirtings - if you knew me in real life, you'd be so shocked! So, it's good that the house is getting somewhere near clean, but it means less time for crafting :(

What I've been knitting are mostly mittens. I'm about to start some Galileo mittens with my handspun - black and orange, should turn out pretty funky! :D What I have been knitting is the #03 Green Autumn (Druid Mittens)by Jared Flood, from Vogue Knitting, Fall 2008. I'm using yarn that I bought from the Yarn Yard at knit camp last year - I don't know what particular yarn it is other than it's fingering/sock weight merino/nylon and is brown :)

First off, I have a rant about mittens and gloves with thumbs on the palm. My thumb is not coming out of my palm. My thumb sticks out at the side, just like most other humans'. Why designers feel the need to put thumbs on the palm I have no idea. It just pulls the mitten all out of shape when you put them on. Sure, they look just beautiful in the photoshoot where they're lying on a table, but as soon as you put the them on, your mitten is twisted halfway round your hand and just looks kinda fugly in my experience. I don't want to give myself some RSI by holding my thumb round in front of my palm all day just to make my mittens look pretty.

So, I decided to change the thumb placement. Also, I like gussets. It's just shaped more like an actual thumb. So, I thought, I've done thumb gussets before. I know the general theory, I'll just stick one on the side of these mittens and be good to go.


This pattern is one of those that inserts a thumb gusset onto the palm. You cast on half as many palm stitches as you actually need, and knit the thumb in the remaining stitches. So the thumb is on the palm, AND it'll be too tight because it doesn't have enough stitches. *facepalm*

I didn't realise this about the stitches until I'd knit the cuff, and frankly I couldn't be bothered ripping it all out and casting on the right amount of stitches, besides the cuff would be too big then. So I increased the palm stitches till I had the correct amount needed for the entire palm. Then I put in some stitches for the gusset and increased from there. These are the notes I wrote on my ravelry page for them about my mods. I think they're vague enough to satisfy any copywrong worries, but if you have the pattern, you'll be able to follow along, I hope.

On the increase round, I increased till after the 2nd sl1,p3,sl1, then increased the remaining stitches to the full amount needed for the palm. After that, I added two more stitches for the thumb. I worked the palm as on the chart (minus all those thumb stitches - again, palm thumbs grrr!), and increased a stitch on each side of the thumb on rounds 1,4,7,10,13,16,19,22,25 (as numbered on the chart) so I ended up with 20sts between the palm and back of hand. I knit these for one more round, then put them on hold to pick up later.

For the other hand. I placed the thumb stitches just after the second sl1,p3,sl1 on the inc round, then increased the palm stitches.

I just knit the thumb stitches, no patterning. Will see how it turns out when I pick them up as to whether I keep them plain or not.

So that's my mods and my rant. It's just that it was my first time substituting a thumb shaping, and I got more than a little miffed at it. Here's a pic of how the mittens are looking so far:

Druid Mittens

Despite all my whinging, they're actually looking rather nice :)

The colour is actually a little darker and browner that this. I love the cabling, and it was fun and interesting to knit once I'd worked out all my issues with the thumbs. I just need to pick up those thumb stitches and knit them now, but the call of the Galileo mittens is becoming too much... :D

Monday, 4 April 2011

Some more pretty spring shapes :)

Because I like to share my pictures all over the internets apparantly :)

I really liked the texture on the trunk of the cherry blossom tree in my garden.

Cherry Blossom Tree Texture

This is another tree that's growing in my back garden. I'm not sure off the top of my head what it is, I guess we'll see later when the leaves fold out! I liked the weird shapes the growing leaves were making.

Shapes On A Tree

Shapes On A Tree

Shapes On A Tree

Shapes On A Tree

That last one is my favourite - all spiral-y and pretty colours. Nature is beautiful at this time of year!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Spring Is Here :)

We've finally had the last cold snap here, and it is now officially Spring - well, I say it is and that's what makes it official ;p

I've been wandering around my garden looking to see what has come back. We had a really cold winter, and the ground was covered in inches of snow for weeks. So I didn't hold out a lot of hope for many of my plants. But most, if not all of them, came back! Yay for hardy perennials! :D

Reappearing Lilies
Baby Lily

These are the ones I was most surprised at - Asiatic Lilies. There was no way I thought these were strong enough to survive the winter, but I went out my back door the other day, and there they were! I can't wait till they grow and flower, I love lilies!

Yay, it came back!

Another surprise - Dicentra or "bleeding hearts" If you'd seen the mess this was in a few weeks ago, you'd be surprised too. There was nothing, not even a green sprout, just a mess of brown sogginess. Then, all of a sudden, this appeared! :D

A couple more growing pictures:

Returning Peonies
Lupin Rebirth

And some water droplet macros:

Water In A Leaf
Water In A Leaf

And what do you do when it's warming up, and nature is blooming all around you? Why, you knit colourwork mitts of course! ;)

Starstuff Mitts
Starstuff Mitts
Starstuff Mitts

These are the Starstuff mitts by Amy van de Laar - a free ravelry download. I knit them out of Stylecraft Special 4 Ply, using 2.75mm DPNs for the cuffs, and 3.25mm needles for the hand. I like them :D They knit up quite fast, and the pattern was easy to follow once I got the hang of the "extra" stitch at the end of the chart. Basically, you just follow the chart and knit till the last 8st repeat is finished, then you knit stitch no 9 from the pattern, substituting in the "extra" stitch colour. That makes more sense if you're actually reading or knitting the pattern, I wouldn't bother trying to understand me if you're not :)

I'm having a real mitten craze just now, browsing ravelry like mad for colourwork patterns, and I've got 2 other pairs on the needles just now. Just the thing to knit in springtime :)