Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Christmas!

At last all the knitting is finished, posted and delivered and I can sit down and r-e-l-a-x. A close call this year getting everything done - well it is every year, but this felt a tad close for comfort! Pretty much been in a knitting frenzy since the last post - I think I had good intentions but not enough stamina to see it all through! But it is all done and I think I will get myself a festive drink and some munchies and go watch a christmas film on the telly. It doesn't matter if it is silly or not, just christmassy:)

I think Willy Wonka - the original - is on later. I do like the Johnny Depp version but having grown up with Gene wilder and the oompa loompas singing, it has to remain my favourite.

So, no pics of what I've been making until after the presents have been opened - just in case:) But some of you may recognise a few things from previous blogs - ah ha, but you didn't know they would be yours though, did you!

So, wishing you all a happy, relaxing holiday with lots of good company and lovely gifts on christmas day,

elaine xxx

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Red marble slouchy

This slouchy is done as a request after my friend saw the yarn, saw the slouchy design and asked me to put them together in a beret for her sister. Since I only hunted the marble yarns out recently - for the stripey scarf - I hadn't considered using it in a beret yet. As a stripey matching beret, yes, but I haven't quite got round to that either!

Sometimes when you choose a yarn for a pattern, you have to weigh up the busyness of the pattern or the yarn. Rule of thumb - busy pattern such as mad cabling, stick to a simple yarn, solid or a semi-solid hand dyed as these show off the raised pattern well. Busy yarn with lots of colours, marls and textures usually like more simple shapes and patterns to show off the yarn qualities.
So mixing a medium busy marble yarn and a medium busy pattern with some yo's and a bit of a linear twist going on - hmmm. The jury says you can get away with it and it could be stunning but it may get too busy and confusing and lose all pattern definition. GO for it - at least you'll know how far you can push it!

So I did and I must say I am very glad I did. I was pretty confident that it would work but enough to be considered good enough for a present? I think this has worked out very well indeed and I love the marble gradations thoughout the beret as it works its way to the top. Being DK, it is a very slouchy beret but the weight of the hat sitting on the back of the head is quite comforting and cosy and looks good from all angles - in real life and not just in the best photos of the day:))

I do hope the recipient likes it but I am actually not bothered if she doesn't as I've decided to claim it as my own if its going spare - knitters perogative:)

Progress check.

Some new green mittens on the go and I need to get going on some gloves too.....

Considering starting on the knitting machine this evening - wish me luck and no more procrastination!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Liberated flower press

Just wanted to show you this find from last weekend. On a very cold and nippy sunday, we went to a car boot and market to browse for interesting stuff. It was so cold many vendors had packed up but a few brave souls were sticking it out in the blustery, icy winds debating whether they were mad or stupid - or both.

Sometimes at these things you get a lot of furniture or a lot of house clearance. Sunday was lots of small stalls with the remnants of peoples lives. Discarded items or obvious house clearance by the age of the stock. It's a bit sad really to see someones life deposited on a blanket on the ground but also in a way good that maybe some aspect of that person can live on and the items can be used by someone else who will want them and give them a new lease of life.

Anyway, this flower press caught my eye with its big bold aqua flower and it hasn't been used! Still pristine with the original clean blotting paper inside. Okay, its probably not that old but still it's nice to find a larger press. I don't tend to see them that often. Funny though as only a few days before I considered liberating a small press from its home in a charity shop and felt I couldn't really justify it as I already have one. I have too much stuff already and I do try to keep it down - although that may be hard to believe sometimes:) But I had no qualms about liberating this larger press at all - funny that!!

Progress knitwise: Machine 1 - knitting - 0

The machine is now up but knitting has not yet commenced as it took most of yesterday to clean it up. Dust and gunky oil, not a good combination! But it is now awaiting my brain to get into gear to start knitting...... I'll let you know how it goes. My brain getting into gear and the knitting!

The cat doesn't like this new machine - at. all.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Stars everywhere!

It's getting cold out there and it is definitely time for hats and gloves. Yesterday, I braved the cold donning hat, gloves and scarf and I was still freezing. I couldn't seem to stop the cold wind freezing my face and numbing my toes. As I can't do much about the weather, I can maybe help family and friends wrap up against the early cold and retain a margin of snuggability whilst risking the inclement weather:)

Just in time for christmas - the star beret. Actually two of them for you to have a look at. I may have mentioned I was having a bit of trouble with these as I followed the pattern faithfully, knitting super chunky on the recommended 3mm needles. Ok, my common sense said 'this has to be wrong'. Super chunky is usually knitted on 7mm. A drop of 4 needles?? But I thought maybe the designer knows something I don't. Maybe she is going for the super tight, really dense, warm look?! I know, I know....

But keep on knitting I did and I began hating it more and more. Eventually on completion, it looked nothing like the picture being about 2 thirds the size and fitting more like a skull cap rather than a floppy beret! And so rigid! Needless to say I have no pictures of that hat to show you!! It's been ripped back and I enjoyed every minute of it! Isn't it funny that it takes a few minutes to destroy something that took hours to create?

But instead, I have both the green mohair and the bright purple star berets completed for you to look at. I do like the crisp star shape and it is a very bold hat in the purple but soft and warm looking in the green. Perfect design really. And it is really a friendly knit once you ignore the needle size and use the normal size for what ever yarn you are using. Both these hats are knitted with chunky yarn (rather than super chunky) and the pattern still fits well.

I did knit the rib band on a smaller size needle for a snugger fit as it was too loose on completion for me. At least this is knitted from the top down so you can always change the band if you need to. Not like the slouchy I knitted before that falls past my nose when you pull it on;) I would have to go all the way back to the beginning to fix it so what's the point? Maybe someone has a bigger head than me and it will fit them better! But I did remember this lesson when I knitted another one this week. Perfect fit this time - hurrah!

I'm afraid this pattern isn't available online as it was published in the small booklet with the November issue of Let's knit in the UK. You could visit their website for back issues if you have to have it! They have some free patterns there too and a forum for advice etc. Better suited if you are new to knitting or need support on new techniques.

So wrap up warm and pics soon of the new red marble slouch beret!


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