Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Glam Knits

I got a text from my sister while I was at work yesterday to say that I had a parcel from Amazon at their house (for reasons of not having a proper letter box at my house all large mail is delivered to my parents house). So when 5 o'clock finally came round I hopped on my scooter and buzzed round there as fast as the traffic and the speed limit would allow. And there it was...101 things to do in a shed! But underneath that was my copy of Glam Knits, thank heavens. I decided not to actually blog about this last night, so that I would have a chance to have a good look through it and really decide what my favourites are in there. There are a good few patterns that I quite like in there, some I don't mind but are not for me and a couple in there which I must have. Now. I really love the Zig Zag Lace Wraparound and the Lacy Dolman is a total must have. Guess it is time to go off and reevaluate that queue again! Actually I am going to try and hold off on starting anything from this book for a little while and actually make the things which I have purchased yarn for already. I figure if I liked something enough to actually go ahead and buy yarn then I should probably just get on with it! This has really set me to thinking about why the hell I need to keep getting more pattern books. I have no end of projects which I want to make from the books I have, if I buy a new book I know I won't get round to making it for quite a while and I am more than well aware that the pattern book will still be available in the shop when I have run out of things I want to make in the books I have. This led me to an alarming question - have I become someone who collects things?

I should probably take a moment to explain that I have always wondered a little bit about people who do collect things. I've always looked upon it as some kind of strange mental disorder, especially when it leads people to fill their houses with thousands of frog statues or to have entire rooms dedicated to a singer or band. I've met people who will just collect anything, I don't think the item really matters to them, just the compulsion to collect something until they have them all. Is this what is happening to me?!?! I have decided not. Mainly because I don't really want it to be true but mainly because everything which I have, from the boxes of yarn to the shelves full of books does have a purpose. Each ball of yarn is a garment or item in potentia and each pattern I like is a part of the wardrobe of my future (or someone else's, but most likely mine). Now is probably the time to add that I was having these thoughts while I was riding to work this morning and at times like that I tend to just follow a vague train of thought which invariably ends up somewhere strange. It was the wardrobe of the future bit that really got me thinking. I'm a bit of a Terry Pratchett fan and I suddenly remembered about the Pork Futures Warehouse, more precisely, if I have enough knitting books and balls of wool, i.e potential clothes, am I going to need to get a new wardrobe in which to keep their ghostly forms until I have actually made them and if so I think it will happen quite soon. Luckily I arrived at work before I could give this any serious thought! Clearly the fact that Christmas is around the corner and I'm not feeling at all organised is getting to me.

On the Christmas front we have, however, finally come to agreement on what we are doing on the actual day. Discussing these things with Chris can be a bit of uphill struggle so I have given myself a bit of a pat on the back. We have agreed that we will each go and have Christmas lunch with our respective families and then we have invited them all to us for the evening. It looks like my family will be coming, but he has yet to ask his. I am quite looking forward to it, but I am very pleased that I won't have to work on Christmas eve so that I can spend the whole day shovelling things in the oven in preparation. I will actually have a nice long break this year for the first time in ages. The University closes on Christmas Eve afternoon and doesn't reopen until 5 January. Bliss! Right I'm off to get some knitting in, the back of the Slouchy Cover Up is very nearly done so I will try and get as much done as I can while I watch Heroes.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Cool..quite literally!

Woke up this morning and this had happened:

I got all excited because I do love a bit of snow, but alas it was all but gone after an hour or so. The pouring rain it left behind it was really quite horrible, but at least we got a little bit of snow to look at for a while.

While I had my camera out I finally remembered to take some photos of the Slouchy Cover Up that I have been working on. Progress seems a little slower now that I have increased for the sleeves but that is just because the rows are now longer. I found a hole yesterday and I have no idea how it came to be there, but I have now sort of fixed it. I can see where it was, but no one else would be able to spot it. Dropping the stitches down to correct it was a bit of a pain due to the fluffy nature of the yarn but it is done now. My main problem I am having knitting with the Kidsilk Haze actually has nothing to do with the yarn itself, I'm really enjoying knitting with it, but my cat Max also loves it. Despite the reputation cats have with yarn, my two are usually not bothered by it at all. Max will occasionally try to catch a needle of the working strand of yarn as it flies past her head (photos) but with the Kidsilk I keep catching her with the entire ball sticking out of her face! I'm working with two strands held together for this project, one white ball and one pink and it is the pink ball I have to keep rescuing so I wonder if there is something super yummy for cats in the dye? That little problem aside, I'm really hoping that this top turns out great, I wasn't sure how the two colours would turn out together but I like the effect. Basically it just looks pink and it is only when you look really closely that you can see the strand of white running through each stitch. I'm hoping that this will just give the finished garment a bit of a sheen which I wouldn't have got if I had just used two stands of pink. We'll see.

I have made a couple of knitting related purchases in the last few days, one is part of a grand plan which shall remain secret for the time being. I have also ordered a Knit Pick Option started kit. I couldn't really justify the entire kit, considering the time of year and the fact that I already have a perfectly good Denise kit. Unfortunately I have found that the although Denise needles are a brilliant idea, but for some projects plastic needles just won't do it. The kit I've ordered has just 3 sets of needle tip and I think 3 cables, but I think it'll be nice to have them and extra needle tips and cords are really reasonable and I only have to pay for the ones that I will actually use. I'll let you know how I get on with them. i have also ordered a copy of Stefanie Japel's Glam Knits and I am really hoping that arrives today. i have seen some photos of the projects in there and they look fantastic. i have purchased some of her patterns from her website before and really like them so I'm quite excited to get this book. The first ever sweater I made was her Bad Penny. I learnt a lot of lessons from that sweater, mainly to do with yarn substitution and how I cannot wear an entire garment made from 100% acrylic! Essentially the neckline was far too wide and kept falling off my shoulder and it could have done with blocking to make it fit better, but obviously acrylic doesn't lend itself to that too well. Plus as a slightly sweaty person, entirely covering myself in acrylic was a recipe for disaster and stinkyness. However the pattern was really easy to follow and certainly made me realise that making sweaters was certainly something I would try again. Fingers crossed that I can write something tomorrow about what I think of Glam Knits.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Life got in the way

I haven't written anything for a few days now due to things kind of getting on top of me. Unfortunately not much of this stuff has been good, however I have finished the Charades, woohoo! They have both turned out the same size and they do look like a pair so I am satisfied. I'm still not entirely sure I like the way they came out but they are not for me so hopefully I am just being fussy. With those done I have now made a start on the Slouchy Cover Up (middle 2 at the bottom) from Rowan Studio 5. I'm already increasing for the sleeves on the back so I'm optimistic that this will be a really speedy knit which will be done long before Christmas. In fact I'm so confident that I'm already picking out m next projects. I'm thinking that one this jumper is done I will make a star crossed beret (Ravelry link) with some left over Brown Sheep Lambs Pride which has been kicking around since last Christmas and then an Olivia from Kim Hargreaves Thrown Together Collection. I have the Correct number of balls of Felted Tweed in my stash which were destined to be this (Ravelry link), but I seem to be favouring quicker knits at the moment and I think Olivia might turn out to be a more 'useful' garment in the end.

So what else has been going on? Well our main news is that Chris has just been made redundant, he is due to finish on Thursday but we complained that he was due an extra weeks notice so hopefully he should receive that. Obviously he is by no means the only person that this is happening to at the moment, the figures for people made redundant in Britain in the last week or so have been staggering. This is a real blow so close to Christmas but hopefully he can find something new. He is a painter and decorator so I think he may have to think outside the box and branch out if he wants to find something, so hopefully this will be a good thing and lead to him finding something else he enjoys. To make matters worse his car broke down at the weekend which really made him feel conspired against! He had to work all weekend so I very gracefully allowed him to use my scooter. The dozy sod then proceeded to take all of my keys without leaving me his so I woke up and found that I couldn't leave the house, well at least not if I wanted to get back in. I guess I ended up with a whole heap of knitting time to use, but I ended up missing the Chatham Knitting group again which was a shame - maybe next month!

Ooh, nearly forgot, my sister has now completed her gloves that she was knitting. She got them done super fast and is now talking about the next pair, so sh has definitely caught the bug. I think I have persuaded her to try the next pair in the round. I think any trepidation that she feels has been overwhelmed by her complete unwillingness to sew seams and quite frankly I don't blame her. I'll have to have a word and get her to put a pic of the FO on her Ravelry so that I can link to it, I'm such a proud sister!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Busy busy busy!

Well I have had a busy week this week, consequently I haven't done ever such a lot of knitting, but I have spent ever such a long time thinking about it. Does that count?

On Tuesday night we went to see Quantum of Solace. I have to say that I did find my attention wandering at times, but it passed the time quite pleasantly. While it had all the action and stuff, I've always liked me a gadget or two, so in my mind it was a pretty good action flick but not so much a Bond film.

Wednesday night saw us shopping til we dropped at Ikea. Mostly we just bought grown up householdy things (there's nothing like a lengthy debate about crockery sets to make you realise it's time to try and recapture your youth!) I also got some nice glass jars which I am going to fill with various homemade sweets and yummy stuff to give away as Christmas gifts. I am trying to make sure I have got plenty of receptacles for this stuff well ahead of time as most of the bits and bobs will have to be made quite close to the day. Obviously I want to be prepared.

On Thursday I had my late night at work, they seriously cut into my knitting time, I haven't managed to persuade anyone that I should be allowed to knit while I sit on the issue desk. Oh well, maybe one day!

Yesterday I did manage to finally turn the heel on my second Charade, so I really feel like I am on the final furlong now. We were at Bluewater this morning, so no knitting done then either, however as Chris was busy waiting in line for Charley Boorman to sign his book I had plenty of time to shop by myself. Heaven. I got loads of bits in Lush so I can feel a nice hot bath coming on later and I spent a nice bit of time browsing the yarn and pattern books in John Lewis, which I always enjoy. I have finally got my hands on Rowan Studio 12, which has loads of stuff in that I want to make, particularly Sloppy Joe, the Bow Cardigan and Wrap Top. Guess I need to get my hands on some Kidsilk Aura or find a decent substitute! I also got Kim Hargreaves, Thrown Together Collection which I have had my eye on for a while. This is a really lovely book, I haven't decided exactly what I want to make yet, I'll have to spend a bit more time perusing it, but there are several patterns I really like.

Now for something i think is really cool, my sis is sitting next to me at this precise moment, knitting her first ever garment!!!! She is making a pair of armwarmers which are a kind of Fetching adaptation. The yarn is a bit thicker than that pattern and I have made it so she can do it flat, but the 4x1 ribbing is there and she actually went ahead and tried cabling and has made a marvellous job. She is just casting off the first one and I'm really proud of her. Her journey to the knit side is complete, mwa ha ha ha ha!!

Monday, 3 November 2008

12 weeks and counting

This is the second and final of my catch up posts, to be fair I probably could have got away with this one but I did write it last week!

This week has been a momentous week.
Chris, bless him, is a grumpy boy and mostly I accept this and get on with things but since he stated that he 'doesn't so holidays' I have found myself increasingly annoyed and more and more in need of said holiday. After more than two years together without a holiday I was really thinking that it wasn't going to happen. However, he happened to mention the other day that he had been having a discussion with a friend about Center Parcs and that it didn't sound too bad. Needless to say, I was online within seconds booking us a midweek break in January before he could change his mind! I am now getting far too excited about it, but man I need a holiday. There are a lot of activities that we can book onto before we can go, but really I am just looking forward to getting away and chilling out in the woods in a cabin with a nice fire and a big telly. Perfect for a quiet night and some knitting. As well as sending some time in the pool and the gym, I'm going to book us in for an evening in the spa, where can steam, sauna and footbath ourselves to our hearts content and hopefully by the time we are done Chris will have completely changed his attitude towards holidays. Or we'll want to kill each other, one or the other.

On the knitting front, not too much to report. The second Charade is going a bit slower than the first, but I have been fairly busy recently. I've pretty much finished the leg so hopefully it shouldn't take much longer. Once these are done I will cast on for the Slouchy Cover Up from Rowan Studio, work on that for a few days just so that I can feel that I am doing something for myself and then cast on for the pink and orange socks and work on the two simultaneously. That should mean my Christmas knitting is done in plenty of time and I'll have a jumper for myself before long too.. Right best get on then!

Cursed yarn

Ok, this is the first of my catch up posts. At time of writing we were most of the way through Socktoberfest and frankly things weren't going too well. First there was the debacle with the Flukes, which are still sitting on the coffee table awaiting my attention. The things started to go slightly pear shaped with my first Charade. Without ruining the end, it's ok, it all turned out fine but at that point I was beginning to think that the yarn was cursed. I actually bought three skeins of yarn back in January with the specific plan to make three pairs of Christmas socks. The pink yarn got it's chance first, tricking me into missing two pattern repeats in the second sock.Next up, the green and black yarn worked it's tricksy magic providing such an intriguing spiral effect that I was sent almost entirely bandy trying to find a way to continue this on the instep. This proved impossible, despite several ingenious 'ideas' which caused me to have to rip back, discover that the pattern doesn't really lend itself to being ripped back, retrieve the sock and all the needles from whence they had been thrown and take several deep breaths before finding the lost stitches and continuing on my way. The first sock is now done. I'm not sure if I like it or not but never mind. Once that is done I will have to see if the final ball of this unholy trilogy, the pink and orange, is actually evil as well or whether it will turn out to be the Cinderella to the two ugly sisters it arrived with.

Of course, don't get me wrong. I have not actual complaints with regards to the yarn (except for the tendency of the darker colours to come of on your hand - the recipient of the finished socks will also be receiving some colour catchers as part of her gift!). It is lovely and I'm happy with it. It is clearly just happier being a little ball of yarn that it is being socks and I guess that maybe I would feel the same.

We have the technology!

When I first started this blog I had my PC set up in the spare room and I envisioned myself spending a bit of time in there writing about my triumphs and less triumphant moments in knitting and in life. Unfortunately, about 2 days later we ended up temporarily taking in a lodger so my PC has been languishing in a cupboard ever since. I have been trying to keep up with this blog but I have really only been able to do this in my lunch break at work so I haven't been doing a very good job. However at the weekend I'd had enough, slightly lost the plot and went out and bought a laptop! Consequently I now have no excuse for not blogging, particularly as I really should be keeping myself busy so I don't spend any more money.

The next couple of posts will be a bit of a catch up, I have been outlining my posts by hand but had no chance to post them. I will also be adding in photos to my old posts. My laptop has a super duper card reader in it so I can get my photos off my camera even when I can't find the correct cable (i.e always!)