Sunday, September 13, 2009

The quick and the slow

DH and I went up to London to walk along the Regents canal so of course I needed a little something to knit on the train, this little chap just fitted the bill perfectly, magic looped with stash DK he came out a whole 4" tall, and only took the journey to and from London to knit. Should make a nice little handful for a babe in the next Baby pack project pack.

As for the slow, well the Yarn Forward blanket had it's ups and downs, plenty of problems with the patterns but it's done - took 5 months to make but I'm really happy with the results - I think DD is too judging by the fact that she is currently snuggled under it on the sofa watching TV.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I made socks !!!

I've just finished the socks I started to take on my walking trip in May, and do you know what - I enjoyed making them! simple pattern sock stew which I adapted to knit two at a time, toe up on two circs. Rather enjoyed them, I'm beginning to think I may be converted :0)

I'm even thinking of casting on another pair !!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pins and Needles

I found a lovely pincushion pattern when I was browsing the web (as you do) and couldn't resist. I used the remains of a fat quarter that DD had chosen for her GCSE textiles (their brief was to choose something to represent themselves !), and thought it would be nice to have a matching needlecase. Then I decided the original pattern for pincushion came out too big for what I wanted, and made a mini version.

I was really pleased with the results, and the pattern is written so well.

I am still knitting, honestly! I have finally finished the squares for the YF Mystery blanket, and now have to sew them all together :0( and decide on a border. I think most of us over on the Ravelry knitalong were rather disappointed at the way Yarnforward suddenly abandoned us. Five months of knitting, giving us different themed squares each month and then suddenly when we were eagerly awaiting clever ideas of finishing, we were told we could crochet them together, back stitch or mattress stitch .... oh and add a border if we liked!
Oh well, hopefully I will have a picture of the finished article soon. Having added a few more squares myself to make it bigger, I now have the wonderful task of sewing 35 squares together. (I'm sure it won't be all that bad, if only I could get started!)

Sad sewing and Beautiful butterflies

Every so often I feel the need to do some 'sad sewing' I'm beginning to think it could be related to anniversaries of my own losses, but I don't wish to dwell on that and work it out, so I just do my sewing, send it off to Bonnie Babies and get it out of my system. So this is the current sad sewing

burial gowns

Now onto more cheerful things. It was such a beautiful day yesterday, the sun was shining, the bees were buzzing and the butterflies were having a wonderful time on and around my buddleia, so I got out DH's posh camera and had a play

And the last one is not for anyone who dislikes insects - this butterfly looks quite evil in close up, it's face when it fills the screen is sooooo ugly!!!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Strange thing for a knitter to buy

Well that's what DH said anyway, but I was browsing in a charity shop and saw this bag of knitted squares (well moss stitch rectangles actually but let's not get picky) and decided they needed to be put to good use. When I went to the till the lady said " Oh, I'm glad you are buying them, they must have taken someone a very long time to knit" to which I politely agreed and somehow managed to refrain from adding ' but it didn't stop you only charging 50p for them did it?'

Anyway, after playing around for a while I came up with a layout I was happy with and a couple of evening later I had this....

which will wend it's way with my next Baby Pack Project pack - Very satisfying to have created a brightly coloured little blankie and put someone elses hard work to good use.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Back to the real world

Shame... I'm back in the real world having just had 8 days on board..

and those two little dots are DD and I! And the little orange dot in the distance is the security man running up to tell us we were too close to the quay side!
We had a wonderful time, even considering the weather - as it was mainly France and Spain and not too exotic the weather thought it would be rather English just to make us feel at home, not that warm and lots of rain. The Bay of Biscay was entertaining too - a force 8 thank you very much, though it didn't trouble us too much, (good old sea sickness tablets) and DH and I quite enjoyed our walk round the deck, leaning at a 45` angle just to stand up, and experiencing near weightlessness as the ship pitched!

Well I only did a little knitting, some sock! and 4 squares for my Mystery Blanket - one to replace that naughty number 4 of colour work

One using the yarn I bought in Lisbon

A stripy one using odds and ends and the 6th of the beaded patterns from issue 15, so the next set looks like this

The reason I didn't do as much knitting as expected was that the day before the cruise I went on a workshop to learn to make Armenian Lace so I was happily practicing my new found skills - it is a knotted lace so only needs thread, needle and scissors and here is what I achieved.

and a close up because I am proud of my new found skill

Suffering from post cruise blues I have ordered 2 books on Armenian Lace and with a few more weeks til I go back to work I am planning to do more.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The prom

They never had proms when I was at school but it seems to be 'in' at the moment. DD wasn't too keen at first but then when she found 'the' dress, she was a lot happier. Friend was supposed to be arranging the limo - but as soon as I knew which friend, I had my doubts, and I was right. A couple of days before the prom, she admitted she had done nothing about it! So most of the girls were taken by parents in their cars, but fortunately the uncle of DD's closest friend came to the rescue and took, friend, DD and another in his jag - he even dressed in a suit and got out to open the doors for the young ladies, so that they could arrive in style.

I didn't expect to feel emotional - I mean I think DD is beautiful all the time, but in her posh frock all ready for the prom I felt a great surge of pride (and a little sniffly too), so being the proud mum I just had to share a couple of pictures. DD is in purple, and friend with uncle is in the middle.

DD is lucky in that she has both male and female friends, and I rather liked this picture which shows how comfortable they all are with each other - they are just friends not couples, and I think that is great

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Unlucky number 4

I hadn't realised that number 4 is considered to be an unlucky number, but once I started the Mystery Blanket from Yarnforward magazine I started to wonder.
Cable pattern number 4 was incredibly difficult to get square - it was determined to stay kite shaped and had to be blocked to within an inch of it's life to get anything near a square.
Lace number 4 was a bit of a so and so as well - whilst I ended up with a pattern I liked, it doesn't seem to be quite what the designer had in mind!
And as for colour work pattern 4, well! I still haven't mastered it, I fiddled, I tinked and eventually I frogged and I am still trying to pluck up courage to start again.

I'm quite pleased with the 5 colour work squares I have completed, even though I've decided it isn't really my 'thing' ( note the technical blocking system again)

Anyway I have now been told that 4 is the most unlucky number in Japan (and it's pronounciation is similar to the word for death) - so that explains it, and as in Japan they often miss out room or flat number 4 (in the same way as we do 13) perhaps that gives me permission to miss out square number 4 and replace it with one of my own. But knowing me and the fact that I don't like being beaten, I may have to win this battle yet.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The next installment

I've been busy with the next installment of the Yarn Forward mystery blanket squares, this month it was lace - much more my cup of tea I have decided, thoroughly enjoyed these and there were far fewer errors in the patterns this time than in the previous set which helped me whizz through (whizz being a relative term, I was probably far slower in completing them than most people would be, but at least I had them all finished with plenty of time before issue 14 hit the doormat)

In fact enough time between finishing and issue 14 arriving to knit a few more rows on Buttony (my! those rows are long) and for a bit of instant gratification I made these

BSJ Inspired bootees - Quick, easy and so cute. The pattern is written for worsted yarn, but being a 'relaxed' knitter, I used DK and 3.75mm needles and they still came out new baby sized.
I have now made all the bits to assemble another Baby Pack Project pack, so these will be on their way to South Africa shortly.

Monday, April 27, 2009

One track mind

I think I must be obsessed. We have just booked a short trip in the Lake District, DH and DD will be coming down from Scotland where they are visiting relatives, and I will go up to meet them in the Lakes, a 5 hour train journey on my own, and my first thoughts – yes you guessed it – KNITTING TIME, woohoo!

So the second it was all finalised I dashed into my work room to choose a project – I have to carry everything including heavy walking boots in my rucksack, so weight and space are an issue, but I will have two long train journeys and the spare time when I am there, so it needs to fill enough time..… Now I know my choice is going to come as a surprise to anyone who knows me – but I have decided to knit socks! I know to most people it is the obvious choice, but I don’t do socks, not that I haven’t tried, I’ve made 3 (and a half) pairs, I’ve tried dpns, two circs and magic loop (and with the last ones DD banned me from ever making socks again because apparently I moaned the entire time I was knitting them), but time is a great healer, and recently I have found that I love wearing the offending pair (the other two were for DD) and I really would like some more, and for a non-sock knitter it is surprising how much sock yarn I have in stash. I searched Rav, and found Sock Stew , adapted it for two circs, my preferred weapons of choice, and cast on ready as I needed to follow my step by step instructions which are spread over several pages and didn’t think that would be very practical on a bumpy train. So I’m all set to go – the only problem is I’ve got 4 weeks to wait!

I’ve just had a thought though - I’m quite happy travelling on my own but with all my luggage and no one to keep an eye on it, it could make it more difficult to go to the buffet car or the loo …..though come to think of it, if I don’t go to the first I won’t need the second !

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Two cuties

Lucy Lamb - (you may well have seen her in M&S) DH bought her for me for easter -he thought she was appropriate given my knitting and the fact that I had a lamb to bottle feed most years when I was young. Only trouble is, I don't want to eat her!

And perhaps I shouldn't say this is cute, but I'll say the pattern is instead

It's the Baby Pack Project bear. This one is made from one strand of something soft, fluffy, variegated and label-less which was acquired from a charity shop for 10p, together with a strand of a harder boucle (again details unknown) from the bottom of the stash. My knitting sat down between the bedside cabinet and bed, and I knit a few rows while drinking my morning cuppa each day and it soon grew into a soft squishy little friend for someone.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Playing with my new toy

I've finally given in and bought a new sewing machine - my old one, an 18th birthday present from my dearly loved and long departed Nan, has finally given up the ghost, it's been on it's way out for a very long time and I've limped on for sentimental reasons. Twenty seven years is a long time to have a machine, and it has had a lot of use, but it has now been replaced by a rather swish Pfaff, not a computerised one, but top of the range mechanical one, so I have been playing with it's stitches and generally getting used to it and created a little project bag - like I need another one but hey,it was fun, and having also bought a new larger handbag I now have room to carry a little knitting something so it seemed the obvious experimental project.

On to another machine - a knitting one - which I have had for many years but only sees the light of day occasionally. Inspired by those folk over on CT'n'Y I decided to have a little go again recently and created a baby gown for Bonnie Babies.

It was ok, but it's back in the cupboard again and the needles are out in preference. I am thoroughly enjoying making the Mystery Blanket from Yarn Forward Magazine despite all the errors in the patterns (there is a very useful KAL thread over on Ravelry if anyone is interested). Here are the first months, cabled, squares (please excuse the expensive and technical blocking system).
Having now seen the pictures in issue 13, three out of the six were exactly as they should be,one I knew I had done extra repeats (the only way to get it big enough), one is not quite right, though it will do, and one is, in my opinion better. It definitely made me realise just how much we rely on pictures as well as instructions.

It's lace this month, and the proof reading seems to have improved (she says tempting fate) and I am really enjoying this. It is a very long time since I have been so enthused with a project, I like the manageable deadlines, I'm using up stash and I have always wanted to make a sampler type blanket but never got round to working out the squares.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Dish cloth swap

Now that it has been sent and received safely, I can post a piccy of the cloth I made for the CT'n'Y dishcloth swap

I have to say, it nearly didn't get made, there were several errors in the lace pattern, the stitches just did not add up - at one point I even screwed up the pattern in disgust and threw it away, but I liked the design, I thought my recipient would too, and I am a very stubborn determined person and it was niggling me, so I smoothed out the pattern, got out my fingers and toes and did some counting, and hey presto!

The cotton is Anchor Magic (which sadly I believe has been discontinued) and there were some little gifts that went with it too, in matching colours, which I didn't think to photograph.

In my lovely parcel from Aknita there was a beautiful cloth in Rowan Handknit cotton, a lavender bag (I love lavender) some chocolate (ditto, but not together - have you ever tried Lavender chocolate - I thought it was weird!) a sweet painted bookmark of the Malvern Hills and some stitch markers in a cute little box.

She had clearly stalked me and put together a lovely package just for me.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Not afraid anymore

I may have been knitting for ever, and I don’t think I am too bad at it, but it’s the sewing up that lets it down, I’m not sure whether I never liked it because I wasn’t any good at it or if I wasn’t good at it because I didn’t like it (iyswim), but I’ve seen the light, or rather been taught it.

I attended Jane Crowfoot’s finishing course at Kangaroo at the weekend and it was brilliant, there were several occasions when a little light bulb came on ! Jane is an excellent teacher and showed us so much in the day. The setting is good too, once I got over the shock of going down an unmade lane past small industrial units and a scaffolders – I have to admit that it was then that I severely doubted the ability of my sat nav, though I did it a disservice as it delivered me right to the door. The class was in a nice workroom with plenty of natural light above the shop (very handy for shopping and the kind lending of needles when I discovered I needed to change sizes and had only brought what was on the list – typical me, any other time I would have brought everything but the kitchen sink)

As well as sewing up using mattress stitch (easy when you know how rather than guessing) she taught us different types of increase (found a new one) and decrease (discovered a variation that makes it sit better) how to do neat button holes and picking up stitches round a neck line plus several other little tips. And as for short row shaping, it actually makes sense now!

My little samples don’t look much but I really benefited from the day and am quite chuffed with my efforts.

Would you believe this is sewn up using orange yarn!

And no those aren’t mistakes on the ‘sleeve’ it’s where we practiced increases and decreases, and the buttonholes are examples of the good, the bad and the ugly, though not necessarily in that order!

And of course with a 10% discount I had to do just a little shopping - well it would have been rude not to wouldn't it?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Apparently I'm knitting a sock.

DH and I went up to London for our favourite walk from the Dome to the Eye, and naturally I passed the time on the train knitting. A wee boy kept staring at me then whispered very loudly to his mum "What's that lady doing?" to which mum replied, sounding very certain, "Oh, she's knitting a sock" Well I know it was on a circ and in the round but really, do I look like the sort to wear a sock like this...

I mean, what on earth did she think the blue fluffy line is all about?
I appreciate there was no reason why she should know it was a comfort doll but why not just tell the poor little lad I was knitting and leave it at that.

This is what my 'sock' turned into

Anyway, it was a lovely day, the sun shone and the sky looked like it was going to throw rain or snow at us at any moment but it waited until we were safely home. We walked our legs off and enjoyed ourselves in the process, I only took a couple of photo's but really had to share this one, to say I was surprised to come across sheep in this setting - in the middle of London with Canary Wharf in the back ground - is a bit of an understatement.

Making the strangest things!

I'm at it again, making strange things in the name of charity.

These are for Algerian Action as part of Project Washables, and I am sure I don't need to explain what they are for.
Many moons ago, when I used to do patchwork, I bought a large pack of sheeting offcuts and it contained lots of 10" squares (cut from the corners of fitted sheets) which I have discovered are the perfect size for making these. I know they are a strange colour but if the current alternative was a plastic bag or bin liner (!!), the last thing I would worry about was the colour.

They are so simple to make, just an outer pocket and an inner pad made of (in this case) old kitchen towels. I set up a 'production line' and rattled off 8 this afternoon. Just need to find some more old towels, and I'll be off again.

Earlier in the week I did a bit of sewing for me, and made a(nother) knitting bag - this time a small one using dragon(knit)-flys tutorial, very well written and I love the end result - though next time I would make it a little longer.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Night, night sleep tight.

DH has just come back from his annual business trip to the Nuremberg Toy Fair, yes honestly it is for work (at least he assures me it is ;-0) and on his pillow in the hotel, instead of a chocolate, was this....

and being little jelly sheep he just had to bring them back for me.

While he was away a friend gave me some oddments of 'fancy' yarn, and though initially I wasn't too struck, another friend suggested how good a little lady comfort doll would look in 'denim' jeans and a bobbly jumper - so I had to give it a go, and at some unearthly hour sitting up in bed knitting (well while the cat's away....) I decided earrings would be in order so that it was quite clear that she was a girl. I wanted to make sure they couldn't be pulled off so I came up with the idea of stitching loops of gold thread firmly where her ears would be (round a pen to get them even) and then button holed around them - voila, hoops!

And finally I finished Baby Blocks blanket from The Shop on Blossom Street pattern, although I quite enjoyed this pattern, and don't think it will be the last time I use it, I wasn't sorry to come to the end - there are too many patterns out there shouting "make me!" at the moment.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Not another knitting bag

Yep! This one is based on the Vintage Cloth Holdall from issue 3 of Sew Hip magazine - though I had to make it smaller to fit the material I had. I have to be honest and say I didn't think the instructions were very clear, but as I have made quite a few bags in the past I didn't think this would be a problem, and set about doing my own thing. I was very careful to make sure the handles weren't twisted and there I was congratulating myself over the finished article, when... I realised I had very carefully sewn the handles together incorrectly, and even topstitched them ever so neatly - oh well, they do say pride comes before a fall.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The saddest things I've ever made

Angel's Pockets

Sometimes I see an appeal which I know I just have to respond to, and this was one. I've knitted various items in the past for them, but in the newsletter that I receive from Bonnie Babies the challenge for January to April included trying to collect 2000 sewn burial items from supporters. In the past I've seen knitting patterns for these, but didn't realise they could be sewn too, so off I went in search of a pattern.

I know this is a very sad topic and hope it doesn't upset anyone, but Bonnie Babies send so much to Special Care Baby units across the UK, for those little ones that are born prematurely and those who sadly don't make it, and the thanks that they receive show how much it is appreciated by the recipients, that I can't help but draw attention to their work. I feel so lucky that DD was born on time and healthy that I think 'there but for the grace of God, go I'
I'm hoping to find time to contribute to the rest of the challenge which also includes 5000 knitted burial items and 1000 4ply blankets (for which they included a really nice Bubble Blanket knitting pattern) or maybe just make hats or cardis which they always need, but I really do want to try and do something else for them.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

First FO of 2009 and a good idea

This hat took me months to make, and it's only preemie sized!

Well actually there is a very good reason for that - it sat in one of the cubby holes in my car, and when I had to wait a few minutes (or more), usually to pick up DD or DH from a train, out it came and I knitted a row or two, I even got into the habit of parking under a street light so I could see what I was doing! It took a long time to complete - but it was only time that would otherwise have been wasted.

I thought I'd add a picture of a little something else I had at Christmas time that I didn't include in the last post.

When Father Christmas was shopping for bits and pieces for DD's stocking (yes I know she's 15 but you are never too old are you? and actually I'm not sure who enjoys it most - the one buying or the one receiving) this pencil case and little tin was spotted, and knowing what a good girl I've been this year, they were added to the basket just for me - I am keeping stitch markers in the tin and scissors, tape, cable needles etc in the pencil case - perfect, and don't you just love that little sheep.

Now on to the good idea. I was reading Yarnforward (issue 9) the other day, and came across the article by Natalie from The Yarnyard about p/hop, which really appealed to me, so this year each time I knit a free pattern I'm going to pop some money in a pot and at the end of the year I'm going to donate it to Medecins Sans Frontieres. For anyone who doesn't know what on earth I am on about - all the details can be found here over on Natalies 'justgiving' page or from the widget on the right.