Saturday, November 29, 2008

Destashing and crochet trials

I'm such a terrible blogger! The adage that the longer you leave it between entries, the harder it is to find anything at all to blog about is so true! I've been storing up things that I've been meaning to write about for the last few weeks but somehow never quite got round to it. Maybe this could be a very early New Years resolution, although I'm not really prone to making them!

One of my favourite co-workers decided quit a few weeks ago for various reasons, and today was her last day. I wanted to gift her something handmade as a sort of goodbye-working-with-you (we'll definitely be keeping in touch, so it's not so much a goodbye present), so started on the DROPS pleated bag rather last minute.

last minite bag by you.

I do really like the pattern, and it certainly knits up very quickly (I managed to knit up about 90% of it in a few hours on Thursday night) but things have stalled. There's just something I'm not too sure about, but I can't quite put my finger on what. I really like the pattern and the pleats, which makes me think I'm feeling hesitant about the yarn. I had a rummage through my stash in an effort to some yarn that was heavy enough for a quick knit in a Jules friendly colour, and came across a few balls of some random oddment/remnant yarn that I remember picking up in a few different colours at the Grainger market a few years back for a crazy low price. I'm pretty sure it's a wool blend, possibly even 100% wool based on the fact that I managed to experimentally felt a strand of it, but it's low grade and not too soft. I made a moebious scarf with some of the pink stuff when I first brought it home, but wouldn't knit another garment with it, it's just too rough. Which is why I thought it'd be a good choice for a bag, so I swatched and happily started knitting row after row of stocking stitch. I stubbornly ignored that annoying little voice of knitting wisdom that kept piping up to tell me that my gauge was too tight and the fabric was too stiff to be pretty and carried on regardless, foolishly thinking that all my qualms would be quashed (that's quite fun to say) once the bottom of the bag was seamed, thus getting rid of that weird flared out curled up look that was reminiscent of some crazed skirt and which was really annoying me. Now, with only an inch to go to completion progress has stalled as I have grudgingly admitted that the voice of knitting wisdom was right. The bag is now sitting in a sorry (stiff) heap at the bottom of the bed awaiting frogging and reknitting. Even though it only took a few hours to knit up the majority of the pattern, the prospect of frogging all those stitches just pulls at my heart! Maybe I'll work myself up to it tomorrow night. Think that on my second attempt I'll do a provisional cast on so that I can graft the bottom seam rather than sew it, as seaming is my most hated activity.

Instead, I started work on a yarn flower that I'll attach to a brooch back to fix to the eventual bag that Jules could detach and use as a cute little pin as well if she wanted. I knew I'd seen a pattern in a book somewhere, but could only find a crochet flower pattern in my pre-work morning frenzy. Now, it's been a looong while since I picked up a crochet needles in any other capacity than to rework or pick up dropped knit stitches, so I had to give myself a quick crash course in crochet. It really didn't work. I do want to become better at crochet, but at the moment I'm quite happy to crochet straight up and down scarves thank you very much! Crochet flowers will have to wait until another day. Luckily I found a nice easy knit pattern for knit flowers when I got home from work, and things are working out well. If only I'd found it this morning the boy wouldn't have had to put up with my potty mouthed outbursts and crochet induced strops!

Work on the wedding afghan has stalled also, after a more promising start. I was quite excited to see the trees develop, and they are very pretty, but there's really not been much progress of late. After the 40th row I got a little tired of the frequent little twists, which is silly really as there's not long to go before the first tree section is finished and I can try to get to grips with the flower pattern instead! To be honest, I don't particularly like the flower pattern, but I think I'll stick with it and see how it looks, mostly because I'm too lazy to hunt around for a substitute stitch!

tree of life wedding afghan by you.

My WIP pile has grown quite considerably lately, with 8 projects on the needles! I really must try to actually finish some things before trying to start anything else. Think I'll start by finishing the bag and flower. Small beginnings and all :)
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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Remember remember the 5th of November!

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I can think of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Bonfire night today! It seems to have crept up rather suddenly, I haven't even seen any of those firework safety government awareness ads on tv this year. I haven't gone out to see the fireworks for so long now, but we might go up to the top of the hill next to my house to watch for a little bit tonight. The weather's meant to be a bit damp though, so fingers crossed it won't be too wet! It's much better when it's dry, there's something so magical about the cold crisp night and the smell of fireworks hanging in the air. Might even get a chance to play with some sparklers! I think they can be so much more fun than fireworks. I think we have some in the kitchen drawer that have been in there for years, but I might persuade the boy to go to the supermarket with me to pick up some more. We need some groceries anyway, or at least that's my excuse! (Toffee apples totally count as groceries!!)

Didn't get a chance to post my new stash pics yesterday because the boy came round in the morning after his night shift! I'd planned a relaxing day alone with my yarn and ondemand TV, but instead spent the day with my yarn and ondemand TV and the boy snoring in the armchair in the corner :)

New stash by you.New stash by you.New stash by you.New stash by you.

1.5 & 2mm dpns, because they are impossible to find in the yarn stores in town, some ecru and jade merino tops, and silk noil fibre in vanilla, turquiose and petrol. I've never spun silk before, so looking forward to giving it a shot! I've got a feeling that my spindle is too heavy for it, but I won't know until I try. for Ro & Johnny's wedding

Speaking of spinning, I've finished my ink blue merino singles and started yesterday on the sky blue merino. So far, I'm in the zone with it! I'm still quite a beginner spinner, and although I consider myself fairly competent towards the end of the ink merino I kept overspinning, spinning too fine and snapping the single, and just basically making a complete mess of everything! That's what happens when I pay too much attention to catching up with Spooks on BBC iplayer :) With the sky blue though, I'm almost halfway done with the sky blue and it's spinning like a dream! I'm aiming to spin the whole thing without a single mishap. I'm keeping my fingers crossed...

Onto the knitting now, and I've just cast on for the Tree of Life Afghan for Ro & Johnny's wedding. I decided a while ago to make an afghan for them as a wedding gift, but was taking my time finding it and assumed I'd have a nice long leisurely stab at it because the wedding was originally planned to take place around August. Ro recently decided to bring it forward 8 months and get married in December ( think I wrote about this before). Cue present panic! I was originally going to knit Burridge Lake Aran Afghan, but I like the symbolism of the Tree of Life afghan, especially since Ro is named after the Rowan tree, so I thought it'd be a particularly nice touch. I just love the intertwining branches. Not completely sure about the flower pattern, but don't really fancy looking and swatching a suitable substitute. Not the mention the fact that the tree of life doesn't need seaming, whereas Burridge Lake does! And I do like to avoid seaming whereever possible. Of course I know it's going be nowhere near finished in time for December, but I can give it my best shot!

I better get showered, off to see Quantum of Solace and then have a pub lunch (so much for a diet!).
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Where did October go?

I can't believe it's November already! This year is just flying by.

Didn't do much on Halloween, but Ben had a goodbye house party/halloween do last Sunday, so the fun and games started then.We've had so many good parties at Ben's parents house over the years that it was quite a bittersweet night (even if his parents are just moving around the corner!). Another closed chapter on my schooldays!

Bens bye bye house/halloween party 26/11/08 by you.
Bens bye bye house/halloween party 26/11/08 by you.Bens bye bye house/halloween party 26/11/08 by you.

Christmas came early! by you.

And this is what has been keeping me from doing practically everything that I've been meaning to do for the past 3 weeks!! The boy gave me a very early Christmas present, so I've been getting acquainted with my new toy. It is so much fun! My faves so far are the hula hoop games, the boxing and the ski stuff, but there's still a lot left to unlock!

Sadly, I don't think I've lost any weight yet but I'm going to have to get a move on because Ro's decided to move her wedding forward by about 8 months, to five weeks from now, so I have barely any time to make myself bridesmaid worthy! I also have to work on persuading Vicky to give me the day off work (more like swap a shift with someone) which is probably going to involve much begging as it's nigh on impossible to get time off in retail during Christmas. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

In knitting related news, I finished another Anthropologie inspired capelet for Julie for a wedding she was going to last Saturday, as she was in the same predicament as I was over the summer.

Julie's cardie by you.

It ended up being a madcap last minute knit, mostly because I spent the first half of the week playing on the WiiFit. I told her the yardage and she bought the yarn, and I recommended against the DB alpaca silk based on my shedding and stretching experiences with it, but she brought me 5 balls of it anyway! I thought she would, seeing as the DB range is about the only yarn brand that John Lewis stocks with so many pretty and vibrant colours. No matter though, since Jules didn't the same yarn availablity issues that I had, I felt it was safe for me to knit the cardigan in a smaller guage, which produced a much more structured fabric that I actually preferred. I knit it slightly smaller than measurements Jules gave me because I knew the yarn would grow. I made the body longer, but since I was running close to the deadline, and running out of yarn, I decided to knit the sleeves at the same time in the round. I ran out of yarn before before I could make them as long as they were intended. You can really see the stitch difference between where I was knitting flat and then changed to knitting in the round for the sleeves, which really bugs me. I would have ripped it back and reknit if I'd had the time, but no such luck. Had no time to block either (damn that wii!), so left Jules with instructions on what to do, and she seems very happy with the end result! Don't think I'll be accepting another commission for such a short time frame in the future though. It's one thing when it's a last minute knit for yourself, and you can try it on as you go to make sure it fits and if it doesn't there's only you to blame, and quite another when someone else is relying on you for something! Way too stressful, even if I brought most of it on myself!

I had Saturday off because it was my mums birthday, but then she went off to LA for holiday, so I got to enjoy it all to myself! What made it even better was that my texere order arrived, and inside was my new ball winder! I've been wanting one of these for ages, but haven't particularly wanted to pay the prices on ebay for delivery from America, so when I noticed that texere were stocking them I decided to add them into my order since I was placing one anyway.

newly wound yarn by you. newly wound yarn balls by you.

They wind soooo much faster than doing it by hand (obviously), and are so much fun that I now want to wind every single bit of yarn I own into neat little balls.

More on the yarn stash tomorrow. QI has finished, it's way past my bedtime, and I'm currently too infuriated by an email I just received from uni to do anything more that lie comatose in bed with my hot water bottle watching a dvd.

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