Friday, 27 July 2012

FO Friday

This is a scheduled post so I can 100% sure I'm not going to miss FO Friday! As promised, here are my toe up socks:


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They're not my best FO ever to be honest. The foot length is a bit too long, I think I under-estimated how much length the heel would add. Next time I knit toe up I think I will err on the side of caution. Newby error I guess.


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The other problem is due to the pattern, the ankles are very baggy. I knew this when I was knitting them and should have frogged back but I didn't. I don't have particularly slim ankles so they aren't too bad on me I guess but when my DP wears them although the foot length is fine for him the ankles look ridiculous. Yeah I know, my bloke has smaller ankles than me, oh the shame :-p

So I'm not quite sure what to do with these. I have a possible person I could give them to but I'm not sure if she'd like some handknitted socks or not. And if they'd even fit her. Hmm...


Hopefully next week I'll be back with a finished Wendy cardigan to show off which I'll be more pleased with :-)


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

WIP Wednesday

The children are currently playing nicely by themselves so I've sneaked off for 10 minutes to write this post. Even though I'm trying to keep the holidays fairly unstructured it does feel like we're cramming an awful lot into every day. Yesterday we did drawing pictures, chalking on the paving slabs, baking cakes, cycling, playing board games, riding scooters and water fights with the neighbours' children. That's on top of the usual playing their own imaginary games while I get on with some housework!

Today I've been mopping the floors as well as the usual cleaning the kitchen, hanging washing out and putting new washing in the machine. It's already baking outside so in a bit we're going to the nearby country park for a picnic :-)

Being so busy means I've not really got much crafting done. I've picked up the stitches for the front of Ava's cardigan and I can now work a row or two of moss stitch while the children are playing


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I've tried it on her and it fits just right. The sleeves need to be turned up and the cardigan is a little long but that means she'll have longer wear out of it. Fab :-)

My Framlingham has been hibernating a little this week, simply because I need to keep an eye on the pattern for doing the decreases on the waist. I just don't have the attention span at the minute for that lol. It's looking good though, I'm really looking forward to seeing it finished.


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I also got a shipment of yarn for making a granny stripe blanket. I did actually cast on (is it still called that with crochet??) and do two stripes worth but the foundation row was too tight and it was pulling it out of shape so I've frogged it back. I did go up 2 hook sizes from 4.0mm to 5.0mm but I think I'll try even looser than that. The first two rows are a bit time consuming but once the granny stripes are set up they're very easy and straight forward to work


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I tried laying the yarn out in a rainbow order but it wasn't very harmonious to my eyes, too many strong colours next to pastel ones and it just didn't flow right. So instead I very nerdily sorted the balls into 3 piles, lights, darks and mediums and then sorted them into this new order:


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I think this will work much better :-) I'm eager to get started but I don't think I'll have a chance until this evening now. Never mind though, it's going to be lots of fun!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Whoops

I missed FO Friday with my socks so I'll have to post photos this Friday instead. Last week was pretty busy as it was the end of the school year. Now the children are all off I'm not sure how much crafting time I'm going to get. Today I managed to do a little while the Smalls had a nap and the Bigs played outside on their bikes. I've almost finished the second arm of Ava's cardigan and then it's just picking up the stitches for the front section and working out how to do the collar. The instructions are non-existent in the pattern and the designer hasn't responded to any queries by me or other people. I will just have to wing it!


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There's some pretty funky pooling going on, especially on the sleeves :-)

My Framlingham has been progressing, I'm onto the waist shaping now and it's looking like a top rather than a random doughnut shape. No pictures I'm afraid as my phone has just given up so it's in the kitchen re-charging.


Now, remember in my last post I talked about learning to crochet? Well I kind of bought a book or two and well...


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(still need to weave in the ends, lazy me)

It was ridiculously easy once I used my left hand rather than trying to do it right handed. In fact as I knit right handed I was probably in a better position for learning because I'm already used to tensioning the yarn with my right hand anyway and the hooking is done with my left. I erm, also ordered some yarn for making a granny stripe blanket. This yarn buying thing... it's a sickness I tell you!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

WIP Wednesday

Well so much for only working on one WIP at a time. And so much for making some soakers/shorties for Ava to wear. Instead I decided to do a bit of stash-busting and found some beautiful yarn by Wharfedale Woolworks that I am making into a jacket/cardigan for Ava using the Neverland Wendy pattern. (The girl version of the Neverland Peter I made a few months back).

I cast on this project on Monday and made really good progress that day but haven't really touched it since as I've been too busy. It's knitting up much quicker than the other one I made, mainly because the first one was 4 years size and this one is 12-18 months!


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You can't see very well in this picture but the waist section has a fun stitch pattern. Not sure what it's called but it makes a diagonal stitch pattern. It was very easy to do and the instructions in the pattern were pretty clear.

My Framlingham is still growing. I've got a couple more rows of the raglan increase section to go and then I need to do some faster increases for the bust. I'm enjoying switching between this pattern and the cardigan depending what mood I'm in :-)


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Aside from these projects I'm finding myself having an urge to learn to crochet. I've just bought myself a book my Mum recommended that has instructions for left and right handed people (I'm left handed). I think I'll give it a go over the Summer holidays, I like the idea of hooking away in the garden while the children play. I did teach myself before but it was right handed and I developed  a very awkward technique. I also found the instructions not very intuitive. That was roughly 3 years ago though so maybe I'll find it easier now. I must confess, I'm desperate to make a Granny Stripe blanket like the very talented Lucy of Attic 24. It can't be that hard to learn right?

Monday, 16 July 2012

Making Monday

I finished my shawl and my socks on Saturday. The socks will be revealed on Friday but the shawl will remain secret until after the wedding. I'm very pleased with it though, especially the very time consuming but oh-so-worth-it beaded cast off :-)

Saturday evening I had nothing to knit so I decided to cast on my holiday project, Framlingham. I'm planning on knitting it until I've got past the arms (it's top down) and then putting it to one side and knitting some more woollies for Squishy. Here's what I've achieved so far:


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The yarn I'm using is a lovely aubergine colour with flecks of pink and navy when you look at it close up. Anything purple is good as far as I'm concerned though, it is definitely my favourite colour lol. It's Wendy Merino DK in the Mulbery colourway, seems pretty soft and my stitches look nice and even with it which is always good!

This week is the last one before the children break up for the Summer holidays. It is also just over 3 weeks until we get married! Getting rather excited about it now. Fingers crossed the weather changes though, I don't think a wedding picnic will be much fun in the rain :-S

Friday, 13 July 2012

Fluffy Post Friday

Oh I do like getting fluffy post! And it's been a while too, almost two months! This morning I gave my postman the biggest smile when he handed me a squishy parcel of yumminess. Now I'm pretty busy to-ing and fro-ing on Fridays so have only got quick phone pictures but I'll link to the original sale pages so you can see how beautiful these yarns really are.

So, first up we have "Memory of a Fearsome Tale" which is a beautiful purple colourway dyed on merino/silk superwash yarn fingering weight. It's scrummy:


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The next one is "Dragonfly Flying Too High" which is a bright teal colour dyed on the same merino/silk fingering base


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And finally there is a skein of baby alpaca/silk lace weight yarn dyed in a colourway called "Absinthe". My picture does not do it justice at all, it's gorgeous!



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All three of these yarns are destined to become lacey shawls, I'm really enjoying knitting with thin yarns at the moment. The middle one is definitely going to be a Peacock Shawlette, I think the colour is just perfect for it.

I'm so looking forward to knitting up these beautiful yarns :-D


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Thursday, 12 July 2012

Random

It's interesting looking at blogger's stats for how people have arrived at my blog. Despite it being mainly about knitting one of the most common ways people get here is by googling "42 weeks pregnant" or "43 weeks pregnant". They probably end up with me because my third child was born at 43 weeks and 4 days (or 44 weeks exactly going by the ultrasound dates). He was also a homebirth and weighed 11 lb 0.5oz  :-)

A phrase which made me smile recently was "woman with sheep, dyes her own yarn and sells it". How I wish I was that woman lol

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

WIP Wednesday

Just a quick post today as I need to wake the Smalls up in a minute so we can walk to school, hopefully dodging the rain...

First up is a bad picture of my Leyburn socks, you can see I've got past the heel but still have most of the leg part to go. Should be a quick knit whenever I eventually get round to it!


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My other WIP is my Wedding shawl. The rows feel pretty long now, I can't wait to see what it looks like off the needle when it's no longer bunched up like this. The few times I've pulled some of it flat to have a sneaky peak were very encouraging.


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I do love the magic of lace, the way it looks a bit rubbish on the needles but then when you wash and block it, it opens up and you can see the beautiful patterns emerging. Exciting!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Fed up of the rain

For those of us in the UK the weather has been completely rubbish lately. Well I say lately, since April it feels like it's been more or less constantly raining. Occasionally you will get a sunny afternoon that reminds you what the weather is supposed to be like at this time of year, and then the clouds blow over again. It is making me blue...

I've almost finished my Traveling Woman shawl but I've decided I'm going to wait until after the wedding before posting proper show-off pictures. It looks good though, I've added silver beads into the design using this person's suggestions. I'm onto chart B at the moment and am just about to start row 7 out of 19.

I've been able to make some progress on my second sock too, I'm onto the leg section now and looking forward to having a finished pair to show off soon.


I have also treated myself to some yarn. I've ordered three skeins of beautiful hand dyed yarn off etsy. I'll post details when they arrive but two are fingering weight and one is lace weight. One of the fingering weight yarns is destined to become a Peacock Shawlette.


Back to my knitting now, I'll post some yarny pictures soon I promise :-)

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Playing the Knitting Game

I've been thinking about what projects I want to knit up soon and have come to the realisation that I am a bit of a process knitter. I do try to knit things I want to use but for me knitting is about learning new techniques and challenging my brain. I feel like I have a mental check list of skills I want to learn. Some of the more recent ones have been:

Cabling
Lace work
Knitting socks
Adding beads to my knitting
Knitting an adult sized garment

When I've got the hang of a particular technique then in my head I imagine that I've leveled up, like in a computer game. I'm only competing against myself but there are lots of other knitters playing their own versions of the game. I'm not sure if there is ever an end, it seems there are always new ideas coming out. Take contiguous sleeves for example, I'd never heard of the technique before knitting my Paprika cardigan but it turns out I had acquired a new skill without realising it!

So what techniques are the next ones I want to try? Well a fairly new one to me is knitting "nupps". Obviously it's not a new technique but it's one I'd not heard of before and now seems to be cropping up all over the place!

I saw this mystery shawl kal being talked about recently which has both nupps and lace in it so I decided to buy the pattern. I don't think I'll be able to cast on until a few weeks time but I think it's one I'll enjoy. The sneaky pics I've seen of it so far look lovely.

Another technique I'd like to try to master (alright, more like be competent in!) is colourwork. I first tried it as a fairly newby knitter back in 2008 and lets just say I didn't leave my floats quite as long as they needed to be... Basically my M/L adult hat ended up toddler sized and looking like a brightly coloured nipple!



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At the time I was really proud of it. If I created something like that now then it would be completely frogged!


Thrumming is a technique I first saw mentioned on the Yarn Harlot's blog. It looks like quite a bit of fun and would make some gorgeously warm mittens for Winter.

Another technique I want to use with making mittens is colourwork. Ravelry has HEAPS of beautiful mitten designs and I want to make some of them.

The knitting technique that is like the Boss monster at the end of the game for me is Steeking. Not only does it involve knitting an adult sized garment with a stranded design, you then CUT IT. You knit a jumper and then cut it down the middle to make it into a jacket/cardigan. And you don't knit arm holes, you cut them after you've finished. Mind blowing!

(Obviously it is a bit more technical than that, like sewing either side of where you want to cut your steek so the whole thing doesn't unravel but eeeek that looks SCARY!)

One day I will give it a go, but I'm not in a hurry to try it any time soon :-)

Not much to show on my WIP front. I've just finished the stockinette section of my shawl so I'm going to stick a life line in and then I might do a few rounds of the lace pattern. I've ordered some new snag free stitch markers which will hopefully arrive tomorrow. I'm planning on placing one separating each lace repeat so I know quickly if I've made a mistake. I don't mind risking the first few rows without them though :-)

Monday, 2 July 2012

Making Monday

I currently have two WIP's. The first is my Traveling Woman shawl knitted using a beautiful colourway called Witches Brew by Easyknits. At the moment I'm in the plain stockinette stage but it shouldn't be much longer before I'm able to start doing the lace work.


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There are yarn overs down the spine of the shawl and then at the edges as well. The 3 edge stitches are knitted in garter stitch which means on a purl row you have to do a YO between a knit and a purl stitch and then a purl and a knit stitch. When I knitted my Fragile Heart I found I got in a muddle at times with which way I should be wrapping the yarn and whilst it doesn't make a big difference, it can be less uniform between rows. Then I saw this blog post recommended and I'm now completely clear about which way to wrap my yarn so I thought I would share it in case it helps someone else :-)


My other WIP is my second sock. Once I get to the lace section on my shawl I'm not going to be able to work on it during the day and only for an hour two in the evening depending how much I need to concentrate and how tired I am. This is where my second sock will come in. The pattern is easy peasy, I know how many rows I have to do so I can just pick it up when I want something simple. As you can see I've not made much progress so far but there's no rush so I'm not worried.


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I've had quite a productive day today. I've done some housework, I made a shepherd's pie for tea and a rhubarb crumble for pudding. I've even made some biscuits for the children's lunchboxes. I think I've well and truly earned a cup of hot tea and some time with my needles :-)

Sunday, 1 July 2012

No buy June

As I mentioned at the start of the month I had decided I wasn't going to buy any yarn during June and I'm quite proud that I actually succeeded! And not only did I resist adding to my stash, I also managed to knit 2484 yards out of it (well technically some of that was knit in May with my Romantika but I don't count yarn as used up until the project is finished) and sold 110 yards so that's nearly 2600 yards out of my stash, not bad I think!

So what do I do now? I found it was a good exercise in making me think rather than just purchasing yarn because it was pretty. Right now I'm having a little bit of an urge to purchase ALL THE YARNZ!!! But at the same time I don't want to buy just for the sake of it.

This month I have two projects I want to get knitted up, I want to finish my second sock and I also want to knit up a Traveling Woman shawl. The shawl is especially important to me because I'm planning on wearing it next month when we get married!!

I think for the time being I'm going to resist buying any yarn until my shawl and sock are finished. Then if I've found a pattern I really really want to knit then I can buy yarn for just that pattern. However I will try to pick a pattern that uses stash yarn instead.

Eventually I'd like to get to the point where I have a fairly small stash and can buy yarn for a specific project as and when I want to knit it. Hopefully I'll get there by the end of this year :-)

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