Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Just checking in:-)

Hello, hello! Been computerless for a few days and unable to blog - did you miss me?:-)) The result of all this DIYing  and changing rooms we've been doing is that I've been moving my computer and all my stash from the workroom - yikes! - and that's taking a bit of time:-) We are in the interim stage, where everything hasn't quite found it's home and is piled everywhere around the house. (even in the bath!) It looks worse than it is - well, that's what I'm telling myself. Don't disillusion me:-))
Despite all this, I have been doing a little knitting. My green knotty gloves have been finished off, yay! - and I am knitting away on the second of my little minx socks. Unfortunately, my camera and cable are somewhere in the mounds of 'stuff' so maybe we can have new pics of both soon.

Thank you for all your kind and helpful comments/ideas for the magenta yarn. I still haven't made a final decision but I have decided that the Vivian I was intending to knit for my sister in a lovely dark teal colour (since last year-oops!) should probably be first on the needles:-) S'ok, she knows I'm knitting it so no spoilers:-)) so I can keep both you and my sister updated with my progress. So without further ado....

Knitting progress check; 

Vivian - not on the needles yet but I have knitted the gauge swatches so it's getting close! Once I can get to the yarn and the needles that is:-)) Watch this space!

Limone twist - new sock pattern by Karen Scott to test knit. Really looking forward to this!

Little Minx - on the way to the second heel and then the home run to the top. Yay!

WIP's - slowly but surely:-) Keep checking the sidebar.....

Now, back into the fray of sorting, chucking, recycling and generally trying to make sense of the chaos:-)) What I really need is a Mary Poppins never-ending spacious cupboard that stores all my stuff invisibly and keeps the house looking neat and tidy. The only other alternative is to rationalise.... and I'm not very good at that! Back soon.... I hope!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Jane's having a giveaway

Ooh, Jane over at Colours from Chaos, designer of the lovely Gail/nightsongs shawl pattern is having a giveaway to celebrate the release of her new pattern Luiza. Talk about gorgeous!!

Photos from Jane's blog

If you love this as much as me and want a chance to win a free copy of the pattern,  all you need to do is blog about her giveaway and leave a comment on her giveaway blog post and maybe this lovely shawl pattern could be yours all for free.  It runs till the morning of 5th March so pop over there and enter - I'm there already:-)

Gail/nightsongs shawl I'm still working on....... designed by Jane

I was first to comment though - what's the chance that number 1 comes up on a random generator.... I'm thinking unlikely! It's usually something like 32 or 19, or something in the middle:-) Even if I don't win, this is definitely going in my to-do list although I still have to finish nightsongs first after my mistake near the end which I still haven't quite fixed! (note to self - remember to use life lines as they save a load of hassle when you mess up two rows from the end!)

Good luck if you are entering!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Food for thought

I've spent a lot of time lately surfing Ravelry looking for patterns for my lovely magenta yarn. There are so many out there that are lovely that it's hard just to chose one but I am pretty slow at garment knitting so I only want one complex cable knit on the go at a time. I've narrowed it down to three, problem is, I love all of these:-)

The top right is Ysolda's 'Vivian' cabled hoodie - just lovely with its complex cables and the shaping is to die for. I'm not saying I'll look like that wearing it but the pattern is certainly designed to flatter, isn't it? I've read up on Ravelry that it is a lovely knit, complex but rewarding so I'm excited to try this one out. Ysolda writes such well designed patterns this could be a real treat.

The orange jacket is designed by Classic Elite - the montera embroidered button jacket.  It is lovely too but I think I love the colour more than the style - although the buttons are definitely cute. But a possibility.

And the last one is the Fireside sweater designed by Amber Allison, that I considered knitting recently too. I love the chunky cabled look and how fitted and snug it looks as well. The collar is a nice touch too but I'm finding it hard to imagine in Magenta. Or maybe this would look lovely extended into a longer coat - over the hips? I'll have to see if it's knitted top down. If so, I can just continue with some increases over the hips:-) and knit till I run out of yarn.
But if I'm going to go to all the trouble to knit a long coat, then I have to bring Sylvi into consideration. I've been waiting to knit this since it came out as it is a big commitment of time, yarn and effort! But absolutely gorgeous! Even after looking at lots of other colour variations on ravelry, I just can't get past loving this red. Even loving magenta as much as I do, do I want a full length, in your face, magenta jacket when it could be knitted in this luscious red? Sigh. I don't have enough magenta to knit this either but I could get more before it's sold out..... Food for thought.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Haberdashery finds.......

Yesterday was such a lovely bright day, I just had to down tools and be outside. We actually sat in the car saying - ok, where shall we go? Does it matter? - as long as it is out and about, feeling the warmth of the sun on our faces. Oh, how I've missed the sun! I must say this spontaneity didn't take into consideration the chill factor - Brrrr! Clear skies in winter usually means cold, cold, cold! But the car was warm and we drove out and about a little further afield for novelty:-)

And we just browsed. We popped in to see if we could find a lovely rug for the living room - sold out - sigh, but possibly back in stock next week - yay! And we went around a good charity/thrift shop that is tucked away on an industrial estate which sells furniture and all sorts of odd things. We spent quite a bit of time there and I could have taken lots of things home with me that were lovely but I don't really need:-) - a lovely little rocker, a little sewing table with an old singer sewing machine still inside. Now if that had been electric, I would have been squeezing that into the car toot sweet. But I don't need another sewing machine and I certainly don't have room for another table so I reluctantly left it behind.

But I did find a little gem hiding away that had just been put out that day.......

Yes! A little art/craft storage box that folds out with lots of little drawers. At first I thought it was the shop's display box as I opened it and it was full of lovely haberdashery things, some with prices on them.

I thought, ah well, maybe the box is not meant to be mine after all but then the man in the shop passed by and I innocently asked if the box was for sale too.... YES!! The man he say yes:-)) And then he casually says - do you want the little bits and bobs thrown in as well or shall I empty it for you? Aaargh NO!! 

I really had to  stop myself from looking over-concerned at the mearest thought of him throwing all the good bits away!! (we're still a-waiting on the price here and I don't want him to think I'm too desperate - although I am:-))

Then a weird thing happened. He had started trying to up the importance of the things inside - oh, look! a rug hook etc - but then he actually mentioned one of the supports needed to be re-attached and that it was also missing a handle - which I hadn't even clocked at that point. Then I realised! Goodness, a genuine person! There was me thinking that he was going to do the whole sales speel and all he was actually doing was being enthusiastic over my find. Sometimes we can get so jaded and cynical, it's refreshing to be surprised:-)

Of course, that made me feel a little crappy about trying to get a bargain! But he gave me the box and all the bits for £4 which is a lot cheaper than I expected to pay but fair I think. And look at all the stuff inside!! Okay, some of it is tat: rusty scissors and curtain hooks:) but there are some good large bobbins of thread in there as well as ribbon and edging lace.

And my favourite! A knitting aid to count rows from 1972's Woman's weekly magazine - cool! It has a needle gauge on the right to check the sizes too. I don't know whether I'll ever use it but it's great fun:-)

And the box only needs a little screw on one side to hold that last support in place  - and what's that to a 'getting-there'  DIY  expert?!! I did notice a few woodworm holes but they don't look recent - I'll treat them anyway, just in case.

So all in all my little trip in the sunshine was very conducive to my happiness:-)) Maybe I'll have to go on another excursion next week - possibly to see if that rug is back in stock..... Hope you are having a good day! 

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Playing with blog pages

Pages! Yay!!

I've been playing about with the new pages feature on blogger and have added two new tabs under the header. Just playing for the moment but do tell me what you think. The layout format is still limited and I had to give up trying to get lots of little pictures into a grid and go for a mosaic instead, but for now, it's just nice to have separate pages and clear up the sidebar a bit. I also ditched having three columns so we are back to everything being on the right again. Force of habit maybe but it feels more comfortable and less crowded now.

Is there anything you would like to see on a separate page to make it easier to find? I haven't done any tutorials per sae but there are some posts that have more of a how-to feel to them. Hmm, maybe I can see if there are enough for a page of their own. I've also been thinking about putting my new dyed yarns on a shop page here instead of Etsy - once I get back into my stride again, that is:-) The idea would be to have a shop update on a regular basis, say the 1st of every month if there is enough interest. What do you think?

Since I've spent most of my time playing online today, not much knitting has been going on but my new cheap and cheerful aranweight magenta yarn has arrived - Yay! The photo above is from the shop site and is a little pinker than the real thing but you get the jist - deep, rich, intense colour!! I got 2x400gm balls of this wool/acrylic mix with each 100gms= 200metres so I can choose a jacket or a long cardi with this amount. It's such a lovely deep, purple magenta too so it's going to be very scrummy - yes, I'm itching to cast on despite my resolution to finish all my outstanding projects but it's a bit cold out there so it's just the right weather to cast on a warm, chunky knit, don't you think?

I'll take some better photos of the yarn tomorrow and show you some pics of what I'm thinking of knitting. Maybe I'll have enough left over to knit a pair of magenta mittens like these ones!!

Am I very sad for being so excited over scrummy, deliciously coloured magenta yarn? Nah:-) You all understand! Back tomorrow with some magenta madness! toodlepip:-)

Monday, 8 February 2010

Considering the roses.....

There's something about fresh flowers that gives you that happy, uplifting feeling. Aahh:-) even if the rest of the house is in chaos, the delicate patterns and colours of nature remind me it is all transitory and all will be calm soon enough.

When you introduce change or a lengthy period of upheaval and chaos to the centre of your home, the centre of your calm tends to take a lot of buffeting unless you are super centred or very speedy with the DIY!  These last few months are testing that calm to the limits but it always seems worse when you are nearly there. I've tried to limit the areas of chaos as we progressed but now, it feels like every stick of furniture, book or bag of yarn is out of place waiting for the final DIY push so they can at last settle into their final home.

Tidy house, tidy mind! I suspect that means my mind looks like a spagetti junction right now;-) So I'm considering the order and balance of my roses, concentrating on finding that elusive calm centre - with my back to the clutter!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Little minx update

I've been knitting away at my Little Minx socks all week and thought it was about time to show you an update. The last time I mentioned these, I was unhappy with my choice of yarn and decided to use more subtle colour tones in the Almond zauberball. And I am so happy with the difference! The more solid bands of colour really let the twisted stitches show off don't you think?

You can see how the zauberball colour gradations are beginning to move across the sock surface as we get to the heel. I think this will still have a lot of tonal contrast going on overall - hopefully it won't have too definite blocks of colour.

This pattern is a toe-up , short row heel sock design with good links to tutorials if you need some visual help. This one is a simple W&T heel (wrap and turn) and all went nice and smoothly. This yarn is a bit splitty, especially picking up all the wraps so I tried hard to get a clean finish. Unfortunately, by the time I had finished knitting the heel insert, the colourway had changed significantly from reds to a more dominant brown shade. You can see the sharp line on the patterned section a few rows from the top. Sigh! After all the smooth subtle shading, it just seemed too obvious and very annoying.

I went away and tried to live with it for a bit but to no avail. So I decided to rip it back and try out an idea I had from experiencing this problem before. If I knitted an Afterthought heel, the tones in the yarn wouldn't be disrupted and I would have a lovely subtle sock again.

The afterthought heel is basically a knitted tube with only the toe shaped as you go. After you finish the sock, you add the heel section. You can do this two ways: cut a row of knitting on the st stitch side and pick up the stitches top and bottom of that cut row on two dpns/circular needles (favoured by Elizabeth Zimmermann), or you can add a row of waste yarn as you are knitting the tube, just where you want the heel to be placed, then after you finish the sock, unpick the waste yarn and place top stitches on one needle and the bottom stitches on another and decrease just like a toe and graft the ends together. It's quite hard to explain without how-to visuals and I found links to both versions if you want to try:

 Yarn Harlots afterthought heel using Elizabeth Zimmermanns cut version.

Knitting up a storms's version using the waste yarn technique.

I'm playing it cautious and avoiding cutting for now:-) As you can see, I have used some ochre waste yarn on the back of my sock. What is also really good about this technique is that if the heel happens to wear out, you can just unravel it back to the tube and reknit the heel with fresh yarn - cool, huh?

So progress so far? I have zoomed on from the afterthought line and have knitted about another inch or two since I took this picture. Hopefully with a few hours of knitting tonight, I will get this sock finished and the second one up and running. Oh, the reason the sock is folded in half is that as a rule of thumb without trying the sock on, the leg height is usually the same as the length of the sole. Once I get near the end, I try it on and see if I like the height and either start the rib or knit a bit more to suit:-)

So hopefully I shall be able to show you at least one finished sock soon:-) And if you fancy knitting this pattern up yourself, Karen has just released this on Ravelry here and even better, it's free! It's a lovely twisted rib pattern and a very good introduction to sock knitting and easy cabling. It doesn't take long to get into the pattern and before long, you have a complex and gorgeous sock emerging:-) Thanks Karen, for a very enjoyable knit!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Lucy bag all finished!

Today, we have another finished project, my stripey lucy bag:-) Goodness, my WIP's are coming down a little - still not quite to manageable proportions but very nearly. So another one disappeared from the side menu - yay!

All I had to do for this was to sew on the handles and make the flower decorations but it seemed to take a while as I had to play with colour combinations for a while to get the four best flowers for each handle join. I think I may have enough extras to decorate a few more bags though:-) but they were fun to do and rather addictive!

I followed Lucy's tutorial for the double flower although after the first few, I realised I wasn't following the american terminology and I had a slightly different shape emerging, but hey, they look good too. I didn't bother with leaves as I liked the flowers on their own but I was also a bit impatient to get it finished so I could use it! A lovely bright cheery bag, especially on a dull winters day. Very Lucy but also very me;-))

There is a little knitting going on but mostly I'm still sorting furniture out after having to clear two rooms to lay some laminate. How come it all fitted in before but now it doesn't? That's what happens when you decide to improvise and move things in limited space - you end up with a pile of furniture in the middle of the room! You wouldn't think I'd drawn plans to scale and everything:-)) I know a bit OCD of me! Never mind:-) It'll all go somewhere.....

As long as I still have some knitting to hand to keep my sanity!


Related Posts with Thumbnails