Friday, December 22, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Am really feeling the affects of the jetlag - 8 hours time difference is too much for me - my body gets confused when the clocks go back so I expected it to be a challenge! Still I'm making it through the wakeful wee small hours by listening to knitting podcasts which I just adore. I'd never downloaded a podcast at all until I found BritKnitCast (yey have got episode 9 loaded up to listen to tonight) KnitCast and Cast On. Have added CraftLit to the family - thanks Kendra - and CraftyChica is fun when some more general craft and a dose of glitter is in order! I can't add anymore until I'm up to speed with these knitsibs - being a total anorak I had to go back to the start on them all :o)
Monday, December 18, 2006
I managed to get my lovely Volcanoes finished just before I left last Saturday and worked on Green Heather while I was away. Sadly for my friend whose Christmas present it is there is only one so far! Knitting is showing me how optimistic I am - or perhaps just utterly unrealistic.... I'm seeing him tomorrow to eat, drink and exchange gifts so it'll have to be one sock plus an IOU!
I really love knitting socks, am definitely already getting better - the only thing I'm not happy about is the toe grafting - my pattern uses something called Kitchener Stitch and I'm thinking I might have a look round the virtual knitting world and check out the alternatives for pair no 3.
Off to wrap it now, photos of San Francisco yarn later, just a small enhancement as I wasn't near any of the bigger shops.
PS Thanks to my 1 true beloved for foot modelling so well :0)
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Having got onto the foot of number two I dicsovered that what I assumed was some misnumbering in the pattern was in fact me switching half way through sock one and reading the pattern for socks in 6-ply which is in the same leaflet as my 4-ply pattern. You wouldn't think it was that difficult to stick to the same page all the way through one small sock would you? Oh well you live and learn.
I'm off to San Francisco on Saturday with work and am looking forward to some yarn tourism while I'm there as I hear good things about the shops.
I was really frustrated to find out that Heathrow won't let me take knitting needles through security even though the airline would let me carry them on! Aargh - these ridiculous rules - I could take a pencil which is infinitely more dangerous than a 2.5mm bamboo dpn! Oh well at least it gives me time to catch up on my poor neglected to read pile - saw a timely post about this from Lolly just now.
I'm planning to pack my knitting in my main luggage and then at least I can knit when I'm away and on the flight back as US security seems to be a lot more sensible than UK!
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Two of these have been lingering just short of the line for a while but I just couldn't get interested in sewing in the ends - especially on the really stripey one, so many to do - and much more exciting knitting to be getting on with like my beloved socks.
The scarf on the right is a bit of cheat to call a finished object of mine really as my Mum did well over 2/3. Thanks Mum :o) It is knit in Sirdar Curly Wurly in Charcoal which I absolutely hated knitting with, so it's a good job Mum came to the rescue to help it get done in time for Christmas. The bobbly nature of the yarn was okay but the base yarn is I think called a 'boucle' style yarn and I really hated the feeling of knitting this - as if you needed to get the dips in the yarn to meet together to make a successful stitch. Uggh. I used all five balls I had in the scarf, so it's a lovely great big fluffy thing and best of all I never have to knit with it again :o) The dark grey one is primarily some mohair-a-like called Sunbeam Sumatra which I picked up a big lot of on ebay. I've put in some stripes at the end in Wendy Shimmer and the pretty sea breeze yarn I knit my first scarf in. I kept the stripes minimal as I was a little striped out after the middle scarf which has that sea breeze yarn as the base. I really loved knitting that one as I added some lovely silky cord, pretty gold thread and several yarns, but it was so tedious sewing in all the ends that I think it'll be a while before I go so crazy with the stripes again. I'm a little disappointed with the edges which dip in quite a lot on some of the stripes as I didn't really know to try and match the yarns' tension, but it's all good experience for me.
Other knitting news:
I have finished the first sock and I LOVE it (with a worrying passion!) - the second one is cast on and I'm sure it'll be finished soon but I was as ever over ambitious to think I might do both this weekend. I'd forgotten how tricky I'd found it to get started on the last one in the terror of the heel but I'm away now.
I have ripped out half a scarf as I decided it looked ugly and it was boring to knit, still at least some of it survived and I'm feeling much happier with it now and thus it is progressing faster.
I also went to my LYS (see I know the lingo!). Sadly it's not great (thankfully I was warned) and strangely combines a limited selection of yarn and knitting/sewing accessories with a key cutters, toy shop and some baby clothes of a pre-fab non-handmade nature???? Oh well, at least they had some pretty buttons and a circular needle which I was after to try out this hat pattern for my brother for Christmas.
Friday, December 01, 2006
The fabulous BritKnitCast pointed me in the direction of the SnB website and Carrie Anne made groups like this sound such fun that I was determined to pluck up the courage and go along. I've never been the best at that sort of thing but blogging knitters seem so lovely and friendly that I was pretty sure I wouldn't get my head bitten off by the in the flesh version! My knitting friend from work was keen too so with safety in numbers we went along to The Jericho Cafe (great hot chocolate) on Wednesday evening and met some lovely and highly talented knitters. I had a great evening and lots of assistance on my heel shaping. Everyone was far more experienced than me and working on amazing projects but they were happy to help me out and encourage me along! I did need it as I'm not great at reading patterns and the heel took three attempts but is now done and I am on to the safety of the foot - yey!
Knitters are so delightfully generous with their knowledge and so encouraging of fellow adventurers in their secret world. A big thank you to everyone who writes blogs, designs and gives away patterns, makes podcasts and helps out fumbling beginners. I have been so encouraged and aided by everything that is out there (or what I have found of it so far - every day I hear of or find something new). It has made it possible for me to move onto sock knitting when I still envisaged I'd be on plain garter scarves.
There seems to be only one downside - the dent in my bank account! In the last week as well as my proper sock yarn I seem to have bought a couple of larger lots of top quality yarn from ebay.
I just don't know how it happened. All the mixed yarn for scarfs I could justify as it was all for Christmas pressies but already I have abandoned that and started on socks for myself. Now some beautiful Rowan Plaid, called Moonwave - I think I was half won over by the name - has found a home with me and also some mixed shades of Noro Silk Garden. I'm holding the online knitting community entirely responsible - all those beautiful stash pictures drove me to it!
I was trying to wait until after Christmas to buy a big lot of yarn (and ideally a budget one at that)as that was when I was planning to start a jumper project for me but these lovely yarns (there may be some Noro Iro in the post too!) just wouldn't be left unbought. I think I may make this tank top with some of the Silk Garden if I don't chicken out or find something more basic and I'm going to try and find a simple chunky long cardigan pattern for the Rowan but they really must wait until I've done some more scarves as pressies. I'm going to have a big knitting weekend, mmm heaven and get some more completed projects under my belt - maybe even the socks...
Sunday, November 26, 2006
We have been away for a long weekend and when doing some shopping in Exeter on Thursday I found a lovely craft shop called Inspirations with a good knitting section. Having spent some serious fondling time with the yarn (most of my yarn knowledge is web based and while I can try and imagine what 75% wool, 25% silk feels like there is just no substitute for getting some hands on yarn time) I decided I'd take the plunge and have a look for a sock kit as I was aware I was leaping out of my comfort zone and wanted a bit more than to just buy some dpns. After wandering around looking a bit bemused for a while the very helpful ladies took me in hand and kitted me out with two balls of Sirdar Town and Country in Volcano (yey a yarn with a name), some 2.5mm bamboo dpns and a free sock pattern with nearly enough instructions for an absolute beginner. I was so excited I nearly tried to cast on when I stopped for a cup of tea in the next cafe! Thankfully sense prevailed and as I was seeing my Mum that evening I thought I'd hold out till then.
There were a few moments of pain during the casting on as I'm not used to such fine yarn and when the instructions read divide the stitches between three needles I duly did that and then tried to knit with just the three, soon thought better of that but I do wish patterns were a bit more basic!
Anyway as you can see I've been enjoying myself enormously all weekend but the excitement is starting to be tempered with some fear as I'm approaching the heel flap!
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
The following Sunday we went to my bf's parents for lunch and I plucked up the courage to ask his Mum, a very accomplished knitter, what I was doing wrong. I felt ashamed to admit to my freakishness but I had to get past this or my visions of goregous jumpers and cardis would remain just that! Turns out not a freak after all just a bit of a fool! Somehow I hadn't grasped that I needed to bring the yarn to the front or the back of the knitting before I inserted the needle. I was convinced my book didn't explain that, yet strangely on rereading it after we got home there it is in black & white...
Anyway I was off now, no stopping me, back on track - today ribbing, tomorrow.......increasing? Gulp!
So a few days later I thought I'll try a ribbed scarf again. Now this leads me on to the tale of the the three start scarf. (Bear with me, eventually we'll get back to ribbing because sadly it doesn't end with and then I knit a beautiful ribbed scarf, here see the pic!) I had bought some truly beautiful space dyed slub wool from The Kaleidoscope shop on ebay which has loads of very tempting stuff. So tempting that it had broken my first rule of wool buying for ebay within about 20 hours of it being made. Rule 1: no more than £1 per 50g until I had knit something tougher than a scarf. New rule 1 no more than £1 per 50g unless you really, really want it. At the time I bought this I hadn't actually knit anything and I was still wrestling with the bobbly nightmare yarn from my kit. You see I needed this wool as therapy, well look at it - I bet you want some ;o)
Monday, November 20, 2006
Is it wrong to feel so proud of something you have made? I seldom do after a bout of crafting - I'm normally wishing the object was a little more this or that - but not so far with my yarn creations.
Above we have two of the simplest knitted items in blog land but that doesn't make me any less proud. I love that I made something I'm genuinely pleased with - let's just hope my unsuspecting friends and family are feeling cold in the neck region this Christmas and share in my delight!
I really like 'big pink' as I have imaginatively named her as I was inspired to buy some 15mm monsters to knit her with to make her lacy and light. She's looking a little pale and peaky here - must be flashitis as she's a lovely mauvey pink when she's feeling full strength!
Sea Haze was FO2 but WIP1 so has a special spot in my heart. That and a couple of dropped stitches mean that she is mine all mine.
Not sure of the type of yarn for either of these as they came to me without a name, orphans adopted from ebay. They are a varying mix of wool and acrylic and nice and soft to snuggle into.
I shall save telling about FO4 for later- there have been a few more ups and downs on the path of her creation!
Sunday, November 19, 2006
I've always loved making things but often feel like they don't live up to my mental image of what I am trying to create, and require so much 'stuff' to get on with them, that when I slump onto the sofa after a day at work getting out the card, the paper, the glue, the cutter, the glitter etc etc seems like just too much effort. The thought of having a pattern to follow and a ball of wool and a pair of needles ready and waiting seemed very attractive.
I had no yarn, needles or idea of how to combine them so a knitting kit seemed like a sensible place to start and I found this one: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product//0715323660/ref=cm_rv_thx_view/202-8000182-0395021
The book is good and helping me a lot but the needles are a bit flimsy and the yarn was useless to start knitting with - really shiny, bobbly and easy to split. I couldn't see the stitches I was knitting for the bobbles and fuzz and I eventually gave up after a few attempts and got myself on ebay to buy some ends of balls of something plain to practice with.
Well that was an eye opener, a new hobby all in itself - I got my plain yarn and just one or two other knitting things :) !!! Oddly for someone with only one pair of needles my first arrival was this lovely knitting needle box:
closely followed by more needles to go in it and then some yarn, then some more and then a bit more... My boyfriend has been heard to ask whether an addiction to hard drugs might not be cheaper!
Anyway talking about my knitting at work (the stream of ebay packages delivered there as they won't fit through my letter box has alerted people that something is up) led to an introduction to the fab knitty.com and from there a link from Glenna C's lovely pattern Ivy led me to her blog and from there down the rabbit hole to the world of knitting blogs and podcasts. Suddenly knitting and knitting related activities have taken over my world!!
So far the knitting has been mainly restricted to scarves (and plain ones at that), keeping things nice and simple so that I can use some of the mighty yarn mountain that has been sent via ebay (they were all such bargains :) ) to create a scarf each for my nearest and dearest for Christmas.
There have been four completed objects so far - or I guess I should call these FOs (I think I get most of the acronyms now) and one more that is just waiting to be tidied up but more about those when I have some photos.
I just love that though all I have is the barest grasp of the basics I can make items I am happy to wear or give away.
And I really love the world of knitting blogs and so I couldn't resist joining in and keeping a record of my progress and those who have to spend time with me will be so relieved that I have somewhere to talk about knitting :)