Friday, November 26, 2010

Fisschhwwing

That was the noise of the last week whistling past me!
 This time last week I was having a lovely time in Bath. The skies were grey but we had fun in the spa,
got our caffeine fix drinking the nicest coffee I've ever had in the UK - trained in Melbourne apparently - thank you Australia.
Sightseeing and shopping.
 I'm not sure whether you can make them out for all the reflections but this is the amazing All Saints shop window display - masses of Singer sewing machines - stunning.
 Though I saved my purchases for another kind of shop. Doesn't it look cosy and welcoming? It certainly is. I'd love to shop here regularly. A gem.
I was quite restrained, just another idea for a Christmas gift!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Blogiversary Again!

This little creation makes it to four years old tomorrow, I swear it hasn't been a year since last time and four since the first post - amazing!
Nothing dramatically changes here now year on year, and that's part of the charm for me. The little ordinary details that get captured. The increased connection with the rhythm and cycles of the year. The space to obsess over things that the average work colleague or even my closest friend just doesn't quite feel the same about. Ceramic buttons - squeal! 
I'd definitely say to anyone learning to knit that they should keep a blog about it along the way. (So any new knitter without a blog if you're reading this and fancy it - do it! It's fab.)   It's so easy to forget what it was you didn't know (everything) and take your skills for granted as there still feels like a whole lot of everything you don't know. There have been dramatic changes since those first days, changes that creep up on you. I'm tickled by this post from early in my sock days where I say "my pattern uses something called Kitchener Stitch.." at least that's one thing I've got licked now.
So celebrate with me you lovely blog readers, I'd blog without you but it's much more fun with you! Four pictures of pretty things for four whole years of blogging. If you'd like to receive a set of these wonderful buttons or the stitch markers made in South Africa for Injabulo, a wonderful little company I found this year, please wish me a happy blogiversary in the comments and let me know which set you'd prefer. I'll do a draw next weekend if there are multiple people falling in love with these lovable creations. This weekend I'm off to Bath with my cutie patootie (and the Christmas knitting!). Life is good.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Christmas Knits

The list I made back in August when I had just ordered the yarn for the Vogue cowl seemed so modest. I thought I'd refined the strategy to perfection last year, ie plan only a realistic number of things and make sure they are patterns that I actually fancy knitting. I got very focused and came up with a one page list of very few hand knits for only those who have made requests or who I think would really like a hand knit gift and was impressed at how ahead of the game I was. Things looked so promising with that first gift ticked off at the start of September. Now with just the cowl and a sock and a bit complete I'm feeling much less smug, it's looking somewhat more daunting and yet I still want to add more to it!
I'd say I'm not sure why I do it. I am of course. I do it because I love to knit, I want to give handmade, meaningful gifts and in most cases the best way I can think to do that is with something knitted. 

The first year I learnt to knit it was just before Christmas and I dashed off some scarves and socks as gifts and was very proud of myself.  I soon learnt the lesson that not everyone will love the gift just because I made it for them - my Mum had clearly been too kind in response to everything I brought home from school - in fact I know she was as her house is still littered by wonky embroidery and strange pottery creatures! Looking back now I can see why some of those first knit gifts never saw much light of day but these days if you get a knit from me I'd say you're blessed.
No honestly! I even generously try and combine what I want to knit with something I think the recipient will want! So I've moved on from the early days but where I've got to now seems to be with wanting to knit a cardigan for my best friend - seriously? How many cardigans do I manage to make in a whole year, yet alone in about a month with a bazillion other things to knit! 

She's got a birthday in March so maybe I'll start it and then when the inevitable happens and I miss Christmas I'll be ahead of the birthday game. Actually maybe that will be my whole strategy for next year - gift knits for birthdays only and not Christmas. Though there are few knits it feels right to give in the summer. Maybe if they're a summer birthday the gift can be knit then but gifted at Christmas. I like it!

So my summer start on the list this year hasn't gained me any great headway but at least the looming deadline gives me carte blanche to have a casting on partay this weekend! I knew all this gift knitting wasn't selfless.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Adaptability

When the horror of the tangle pushed me into starting the knee highs I felt I was diving in on something that needed a little more planning.  My auntie requested some knee high socks for her Christmas gift socks back in the spring, so the idea  has been percolating in my mind for a long while but I was holding off until I had some time to work out the details. Then the socks need for planning became less than my need for some calming sock knitting so I thought I'd just get going and adapt as I went along. I wasn't sure of sizing, calf-shaping, heel type, anything in fact bar the yarn and that I wanted to rib the leg so it would have the best chance of fitting - but I knew all the rest could be figured out along the way and it has been.
I've been enjoying the lovely Kaffe Fassett colourway. I had some fun playing with the way it echoes the strength of the colours in my anemones.
Thanks to Dr K for reminding me that this is the self same yarn Bells used for her knee highs.  The memory of those must have been a subliminal inspiration as I was sure for a long time in advance of the knitting that this was the right stash yarn for this project. Now Bells was a smarty pants on two fronts - she had more than two balls of the yarn and did her socks from the toe up. I wanted to use up what I had and thought with some 2.75mm needles I'd get a pair of knee highs out of it. I would have gone with toe ups but I just didn't have the patience to watch a tutorial and I don't have any toe up cast-ons in my head so I had to dive in top down and hope that there would be enough yarn. 
Not so much. 
But I love it anyway. I striped in some leftover Kaffe Fasset Regia I had from a pair of socks I made for last Christmas which had the right tones if not the right stretches of colour. I wanted to keep up the momentum and not wait and try and get hold of more yarn. I wanted to use what resources I had both in terms of yarn and mentally. These socks have become all about being adaptable, a prime example of as in knitting as in life. I'm trying hard not to over plan, to delay things until everything is perfect. In trying to overcome the ME I've seen that this in area I need to relax and learn to trust more in my own skills and capabilities. So as ever there's a lot more in this sock than just yarn. I'm so glad I just got going and even more so that I kept going and enjoyed every relaxing stitch. A little triumph which I love for its imperfection. 
Now on to number two!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Can you curse yourself?

Does writing something at the end of your blog post like "More to see of this at the weekend I feel sure." constitute some black magic spell that means you're bound to stuff up your knitting? Hmmm beware is all I can say! Last time I was here I was feeling all confident I'd have most of a beautiful Wollmeise sock to show you and instead (much delayed by the various toings and froings of the real life which do get in the way terribly of knitting and blogging don't they?) here is the tangle that ensued shortly after that post.
It's a good job that wool and pattern are so beautiful and meant for each other as this was the second attempt - first time around things were looking good but were coming out too tight - this time too loose so that everything has got tangled up -  in this pic with the pattern you can see what I'm aiming for - cool hey? - so there will be a third attempt!
Not for a while though, I put them aside and reached for a simple socky alternative - top down, garter rib - the only twist being that these will make knee highs. This shot of the yarn and cuff was taken the weekend before last and I'm down to the heel now so if it won't curse me I might dare say there'll be something good to show this weekend! 
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