Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mixtape Zine

It's nearly the end of January (yippee - I just can't love this month the way I should!) and I'm doubly excited for the start of February as the new issue of Mixtape will be out.

I really enjoyed the first two issues, there could be more knitting for me but then I do in fact feel this about everything and am strangely pleased whenever I see someone knitting on film/telly/Shreddies packets!

I feel the fun that goes into this little publication and I like that the articles are on quite mixed (natch) topics .

Also on the subject of crafty magazines - does anyone know what is happening with Yarn Forward magazine? When I tried the url for the website the other day and again today it won't resolve to a site and I can't find a link from Hipknits.

Thank you for the scarfy compliments - it's been in use every day this week so far :o)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Scarftastic

Hot on the heels on one gift scarf comes another. A rather fine one if I do say so myself.Pattern: My So Called Scarf cast on 40 stitches
Yarn: 3 skeins of Manos del Uruguay; shade 6709
I used long sections of alternating two rows and carrying the yarn up the edge to introduce the new skeins because of the striking differences in colour from one skein to another. 3 skeins makes a really big, handsome scarf.
Needles: 8mm Wooden Straights
Started: 28 December 2007
Finished: 26 January 2008
Notes: It was a good job I didn't get too far on the secret knitting of this 'Christmas' present as when I showed the beloved the couple of inches I'd managed he requested it be made wider. Maybe surprise gifts should be banned! I'm pleased with the final size of this - a manly scarf. Took some knitting but already worth it to see how pleased the recipient is.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thank yous and Snuggly Socks

Two of the nicer things in life!

First of all a big thank you for all the kind and thoughtful comments on my last post; the ME is not something I want to dwell on here as knitting and blogging are great escapes for me but I'm glad I got it out there, it seems more honest and it's helping me already to have done it. Thank you friends.Secondly, a huge thank you to Knitty in Pink. I brought her back a couple of skeins of Koigu from Imagiknit and the lovely, thoughtful lady that she is she didn't just send me some yarn as a swap (but yum oh yum look at that Kureyon) but she knitted me a wonderful pair of Dashing as well - she saw I had them in my sidebar and rustled them up in this heavenly Rowan Yorkshire Tweed. Big thumbs up!
Thirdly the socks:These went straight on the hoof the morning they were finished and stayed on all day so I think they fall in to the Winner pile.
Pattern: Based on the Garter Stitch Rib from SKS
Yarn: Just under 200g pure undyed Alpaca from The Humming Herd, Cornwall - chosen in the main because of the Cornishness but it is lovely yarn wherever you are from! It's possibly a little loosely spun to make socks the most sensible project choice but I have four more skeins to play with
Needles: 3mm Bamboo DPNs
Started: 1 December 2007
Finished: 20 January 2008
Notes: Despite the yarn starting life not more than a few miles from my parents' home these are well travelled socks having been to San Francisco and back. Once the pressure of them being a Christmas knit was lifted I fell into the gentle rhythm of the simple pattern. I'm fond of this rib stitch as you only need to purl stitches on every other row so it's almost a plain stocking stitch sock but with the fit of a ribbed one. I subbed in 1x1 rib for the top because I used alpaca rather than wool and it is less stretchy. By the by I read an interesting article on alpaca by Clara Parkes in Interweave Knits which makes me crave her book even more.
My favourite part of the whole sock? The garter stitch border on the heel flap. It's the little things that get me!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Out of Juice

Sometimes when I take a little break that's when I realise that actually I'm all out of juice.

I was diagnosed with ME about three years ago; probably almost to the day. I'm in the midst of a bad spell of it. I'm always trying to find the balance between getting the most out of myself and pushing it too far. Tipped over into the too far lately. I've never mentioned my specific illness here but I need to work on accepting that I have it and stop hiding it from people - so telling you all seemed like a good first step towards that.

Anyway it was lovely to rest a short while at home with Mum and Dad and get some good fresh Cornish air, some of it of the sea variety - the garter stitch scarf was a hit.
Pattern: Cast on 20 stitches and knit :o)
Yarn: Colinette Point 5
Needles: 15mm Plastic Straights
Started: 12 January 2008
Finished: 17 January 2008
Notes: When the inner knitter calls for simplicity the inner knitter can have simplicity. The end result is a beauty. A complex stitch pattern would be wasted as it would get lost in the texture of the yarn. The garter stitch just stands back and shows off the wool in all its squidgy glory.
Recipient most happy.

Papa also happy with his socks. Sarah very happy with Knitty in Pink who is a generous and lovely lady. More soon!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Demob Happy

Released from work for a long (gloriously "not back till Tuesday" type long) weekend I feel crazy happy with finger tingling anticipation at a weekend full of knitting. Two long train journeys and cosying down with my Ma and Pa means that I shall have knitting in hand for many of my waking hours. Poifect.

This will be my travelling project on the way down; now I don't have to I am of course enjoying knitting my Dad's Christmas socks.

Keeping with my current garter stitch love these are a garter rib stitch.

Thank you all so much for your thoughtful and thought provoking comments on my last post; I had definitely started treating my knitting as something I had to do and getting too focussed on the idea of the process. When you stop with the fussing it's all so simple isn't it? Is it any wonder I'm happy as can be? No work for four days and the world of knitting is at my fingertips. Beautiful.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

On Garter Stitch Scarves

When I first started knitting my only ambition was to be able to make garter stitch scarves. I just wanted to get some creating in my life in a simple, relaxing form. Make myself and my nearest and dearest some beautiful scarves.

Blogs soon raised my expectations above that level and as I realised that I had the ability to learn and explore the craft more thoroughly I quickly left behind more basic items.

A bit over a year on I've made far more and more complex projects than I ever imagined; trying out techniques and yarns that I never even dreamt existed. Knitting became a full scale passion and my life has been infinitely enriched by the craft and this community in a way it just never could have been if I had only made garter stitch scarves quietly in my own living room.

As the new year has started I took a deep breath and looked at the unfinished presents and wondered why I hadn't knitted them or anything much else for the last couple of months of 2007. I remembered my initial aims in learning to knit and just stopped fretting about it all. I want to learn and develop as a knitter and I want to make wonderful amazing items for me and as gifts and I will, in time.

Enter a garter stitch scarf in Colinette Point5; this perfectly feeds my creating instinct without putting any demands on my brain. These won't be all I make this year but if garter stitch scarves are what my inner knitting mood dictates then garter stitch scarves it will be. It's whimsical knitting all the way here so it may well be I'll cast on for Venezia next week having just extolled the virtues of the brainless knit! Hurrah for knitting anything; infinitely better than knitting nothing.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

If you go down to the woods today...

...you might see these little guys.

Three bears that were a picnic to knit.

I needed a simple bear pattern for a little lady just turned three and I've been meaning to knit a bear for the Baby Pack Project ever since I saw Modelwidow's bear last year. I decided that a 'lend' of their pattern in return for a couple of cute chaps for their packs seemed like a fair deal. These made a fun quick 'distraction from the bigger things' project so I hope I might get a few more done this year.

Pattern: Baby Pack Project - Small Soft Toy
Yarn: Wendy Shimmer; 2 skeins
Needles: 4mm Wood Straights (mmm Brittany)

Started: 5 January 2008
Finished: 11 January 2008
Notes: What a fun knit for the first FO of the year.

I thought I'd try the pattern in the Shimmer as I have a small batch in the stash and I was inspired when I saw Criosa's bear in the Holiday Kal-Cal (The fact that I was inspired to make Christmas presents which turned into a birthday gift will be a theme for 2008 :o)


Couldn't be more straightforward, knit all in one piece, garter stitch all the way and then seam and stuff. The hardest part was trying to get the features visible at the end, but I really like their fluffiness and it's mighty forgiving on the seaming front.

You can just squeak three bears out of two balls but this little guy may have had more lofty proportions if I'd given him a purple jump suit instead of just a jumper. I was cutting off ends to finish his little legs as it was. Mind you don't tell the others but he is my favourite.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Colour

January can be a bit too grey, grey, muddy brown, grey for my liking. So I've signed up for Project Spectrum and sought out some colourful cheerleaders from around my house.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Temptation Thy Name is a New Project

Any new project!

As I gleefully wind skeins of yarn into fat, squishy balls, the yarns for the imagined items yet to be started seem so much more desirable than those of the WIPs.

My boss restarted knitting a couple of months ago after a long hiatus . She's just finishing off her third sweater; her third adult sweater. Sigh.

I would like to be the kind of knitter who works steadily through one project at a time, buying the yarn for just that project and not starting anything else until it is off the needles. However I don't approach anything else in my life that way so I think I'd better accept I will never be that knitter!

Here's to as many WIPS as there are knitting moods to be satisfied. I'm off now to persuade this little lady to share my snuggly throw with me and I might just get to work on something new.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year Catch Up

January is probably my least favourite month of the year - bleak and dark, no Christmas round the corner and a feeling that I should be good - eat less, spend less - all the recklessness of 'it's nearly Christmas' gone. Today, however, I feel like this could be a great January. After having most of December on holiday and away from home, having had a fabulous Christmas and caught up on some sleep, I'm feeling ready for the steadiness of routine and cosying in until all is lighter and brighter again.

I have much knitting to be keeping me busy as I have three outstanding Christmas presents to finish - that is three I am acknowledging as Christmas presents and will endeavour to finish this month. The cardigan did not make it, along with the earlier abandoned Dad's socks and Chris' scarf. All other gifts in progress/in mind are being reassigned for later events in the year.
The socks sadly look much as they did in San Francisco, so no new photo of those. The scarf is coming along now I am actually knitting it rather than just thinking about it. I'm using Manos in a wonderful olive green/brown mix and am very pleased with how it is looking in the My So Called Scarf pattern. This gift should make it around the neck soon I think, and at the desired width of the recipient now he had the chance to stick his oar in to the creative process - good job the surprise Christmas scarf became the not so surprise January scarf. The cardi is having a little rest while the other needle of the pair is relocated; otherwise of course it would be done by now ;o)
Christmas was a bountiful one for knitting related items; just look at this clutch of fabulous books and yarn (Thanks Fran, Delia and Mum :o) I also got the Happy Hooker book, some magazines and little bits like a mighty useful needle gauge. Plenty to keep fingers and brain busy and the January blues away.

There was also a very special knitting gift. Crafted by Chris and his Dad I now have my very own swift! Big thanks to the talented duo; this is a really wonderful addition to the knitting kit and I have the urge to ball up every skein I own just for the fun of seeing it whirl round!

Credit for dimensions etc should be given to Owl Knits I believe - great tutorial here; though I think this swift must be 100% unique as there can't surely be another out there with a slate ash tray as its base! ETA - Apparently credit is actually due to Crafty Diversions at this site which gave the inspiration for the swift above; lots of clever people out there!

Happy 2008 to you all; I'm off to get some fresh tea as I settle in for a mega catch up on the blog reading.
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