Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm not 21 any more.

I have learnt something.
Last night we went out for a leaving party and I had quite a lot to drink.
I learnt that I can still drink like a student.
This morning I also learnt that although I can drag my sorry ass out of bed and into work, I don’t recover from drinking like a student like I did when I was a student. In as much as I groan a lot more, need more cups of tea and succumb to bacon-sausage sandwiches.
Oh well. Live and learn, I’m not 21 any more!

I’m still knitting the things I have been knitting for what seems like ages.
I keep having new ideas though.
I’m designing a new pattern! It’s for a neck-warmer, and it’s going to use this yarn. Pink stuff from K1 This is lovely stuff, I bought it from Ysolda herself at K1 in Edinburgh. It’s a lovely shop, and I managed not to be starstruck. In case you don’t know who Ysolda is, she is a designer in the knitting world. She’s designed some lovely things, I have a sweater of hers in my queue (Snow White, Rav Link) and she’s made some adorable stuffed animals. Anyway, the yarn is Orkney Angora St Magnus D.K. I’m planning something with lace or cables and buttons. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Otherwise, the socks are still going, slowly. It’s the whole second sock syndrome. Interestingly I only seem to get this with socks for OH. It’s probably because with the cuff height that he likes and the fact that he has quite big feet, there’s an awful lot of stitches in these socks. However, the yarn is lovely, the pattern is interesting enough without being complicated. It’s just a lot of stitches!

Lastly, as a reminder to myself, I’ve been touting around for some yarn I’m looking for intended for my secret pal. These three were helpful on Rav:Yarn Yard, Freyalyn on Etsy and the ever lush Violet Green
(I know, they are mainly trying to get my custom, but I know that and I don’t mind if they provide what I’m after!)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

SP12 Q of the week – w/c 25th Aug

Service Announcement:
Sorry, I know the blog is chocka with SP12 stuff at the moment. Normal service on the blog will resume once normal service in my real-life has resumed.
Thank you.

What is your proudest knitting moment?
Well, after my first garter-stitch scarf (which I knit way too wide!) and bag (another square) I decided to branch out into something more interesting. I picked up a “kit” for making a massive throw, which is still technically on the needles. I’m mad proud of my first socks, which are here: Pair o' Socks again It’s a plain sock pattern with the coolest yarn I could find at the time. It’s Opal Feelings 1702. Although there are holes where I picked up the heel flap, I got confused and decreased every row on the toes, and the cast on is a little tight as I only knew how to do one kind of cast on, I love these, my first ever socks. They’ve allowed me to go on to knit lots of socks!
Earl Grey SocksAnkh Socks 8
JaywalkerMonkeys 1

However, I’m also proud of my first ever sweater Manly 1 This was for my boyfriend. He was very patient as I cast on in December 2007 and didn’t finish until July 2008! However, he’s worn it more than once since then, despite the sleeves being a little longer than he would prefer! I think it looks great on, and that’s the thing that makes me proud of it, it’s wearable!
Hopefully I’ll be really proud of loads of other finished objects to come too!

I’m also proud of myself every time I learn a new technique to make my crafting better. I was really pleased when I learnt a different cast-on to use on sock-cuffs, making them stretchier. I was really proud of the cabled scarves I made at Christmas. I was proud of myself when I made a mistake on the monkey socks, realised I couldn’t live with it, dropped the stitches down a couple of rows and fixed it without having to tink or rip-back!.

What is the one thing that you can’t get right?
One thing I can’t get right? Hmm, that’s tough! I bought some cotton yarn and tried to knit a lace cardigan for my Mum (she didn’t know about it, thank goodness). It was hideous yarn barf. I made mistakes, I hadn’t learnt how to decrease in pattern, I didn’t swatch – basically I did everything wrong! But, I’m putting those demons to bed as I’ve cast on for – you guessed it – a lacy cardigan for my Mum! This time I have slightly more forgiving yarn (still cotton, but much softer) and I have pre-read the pattern. I understand what I have to do. I still didn’t swatch, but I can live with that.

If we’re talking about areas to improve in, though, I can talk about that!
  • Learn to knit faster. I know this just requires practice (and an easy pattern) but I’d love to be able to finish a pair of socks in a week. It takes me about 3 weeks, or more, at the moment.
  • Read charts better. I can figure charts out, but I still like written instructions.
  • Design more, and better, patterns. I’ve butchered a basic sock pattern to make my own lacey sock pattern twice now, only one success. I am working on understanding how the patterns work for these things so that I can better design my own versions of them. That includes clothing, bags, socks, whatever I think of!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Secret Pal 12 Package 2!

I know I already blogged twice today, but I just had to post about my recent parcel.

My secret pal shipped this latest installment to me, and it arrived on Friday, but I only had chance to collect it today!
Secret Pal 12 Package 2 You might be able to see what there is, but here's the list anyway:
  • Sock Yarn from Cinders Knitting - isn't it fantastic colours? I'll have to try to find out more!
  • Yarn Harlot's latest book, "Things I learned from knitting..." - I've read the first couple of things, it's very funny!
  • 70% cocoa chocolate. Yum.
  • Some pretty and nice-smelling soap
  • and a lovely card
I'm really pleased with this package! The yarn and book are so fab, and I've already begun munching the chocolate.
Thank you Secret Pal, whoever you are. I'm still unable to decipher the return address, and my blog stats (yes, I looked in the end) are no help.

SP12 Q’ of the week (w/c 18th Aug)

What is the best thing you've ever received in the mail/post?

That’s such a hard question! I love getting post of all kinds though. Some of my favourite post is as follows
  • Packages from swaps – I love getting such thoughtful and interesting packages. I’ve been involved in five swaps (including SP12) and have received great goodies each time. read more about SP11 here, here and here, the Discworld “box” swap here and the discworld sock swap here, and the CSI swap is here. Plus see here for my first package in SP12 which was fab!
  • Letters, from anyone really! I do like letters from my Aunt in America. I also enjoy thank you letters and invitations. Isn’t handwritten post a lovely thing?
  • Yarn. Whether it’s yarn from UKarma (a swap group I belong to) or whether it’s yarn I’ve ordered, I love getting yarn in the post. With many of the companies that I order from shipping so quickly it’s almost like being in a shop!
I don’t like receiving bills or junk mail (show me someone who does and I’ll show you a mad person!). However, I don’t consider takeaway menus to be junk mail. That’s a service!

I am very excited today because I finally have time to go to the sorting office and collect the parcel that is waiting for me, and has been since last Friday. I was so busy over the weekend (York-Edinburgh-York-Gainsborough-York in three days) that I couldn’t go on Saturday, so it’s had to wait. I don’t know whether it’s the Noro I ordered from Stash or not. (they had a sale, I suspect it’s all gone now.)

About that holiday...

So, I said I’d tell you about my holiday in France. I’m going to keep it brief.

We did a lot of eating a drinking, as seems to be customary in France.
Nadine and Jaques, who we stayed with, had a cat. cute evil cat We met lots of Leon’s family, spanning several generations. I’m afraid we didn’t take many photos, but here’s the cutest (and newest) Wendy, with her mum, Severine. Severine and Wendy We did, as I said, a lot of drinking.
This is vintage Armegnac from 1949 - it's over 30 years older than me! 1949 Armegnac And I did quite a bit of knitting on my Ravelympic socks. Knitting on a swing Not enough, though, I didn’t finish in time. Oh well. More knitting

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Are you getting enough fibre? (links fixed)

I have SO much to talk about. This post will catch up on the fibre stuff. Then sometime I’ll post about my lovely relaxing holiday in France...

I promised you pictures of the pretty things I bought at the spinning lesson, so here you are. This is Bamboo/Merino from Bonkers Fiber Bonkers Fibre 2 And this is Super-wash Merino from Royale Hare Royale Hare Fibre 1 I bought a spindle too, but haven’t photographed it. I also bought carders online. I’ve also bought a little bit more yarn to make a sweater for mum and some random yarn to make I don’t know what. I bought some Noro in the Stash of Chester

I also received my Discworld Sock Swap package, many thanks to my pal Kate. Swap Socks She makes doody little bags too; mine has Rainbow Brite on it! WOOO!

AND I finished the Monkey socks. I love them. I love the pattern, I love the yarn, I love the fit, I love the colour, I love the heel and the toe and all the bits in between. I love the twisted rib cuff. I love the monkey socks. Monkeys 1 I may knit them again. Next time I’ll do the “no purl” version, for a little variety. But seriously if you knit socks and you think these are pretty – what are you waiting for? Why aren’t you already digging through your stash for some suitable yarn? If you decide to buy yarn, the NDS yarn is called The Natural Dye Studio Alpaca/Merino 4ply/Sock. This was a gift from my secret pal in SP11, but I’ve been back and bought more since! And, NDS have a SALE every Monday, so check them out!
Monkey toe

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

SP12 – Q' of the week! (4 and 11 Aug 2008)

w/c 04/08
Have you ever entered your knitting (or anything else) in the fair? Would you ever consider it?
I’m sure that at some point I have been entered into some kind of dancing show at a fair – in fact I’m pretty sure that my dancing troupe performed at some kind of farming-based show when I was younger.
However, I’ve never baked cakes, made jam or knitted anything for a fair. Perhaps one day the great Yorkshire and Lincolnshire (or wherever I live by then) shows will have these sorts of events one day, then I would probably enter – if only to support the craft!

w/c 11/08
What Olympic event would best describe your knitting/knitting style?

I always have lots on the go at once, so I guess I’m a decathalon-style knitter. Also, like the athletes who compete for the multi-discipline medals, I am not the best at any one thing, but I am a pretty good all-rounder. I even crochet*!
I actually entered the sock-putt for the Ravelympics, but I think I may not finish. I’m that putter who has made it to the event but who drops the shot on their foot. Ho hum.

* I actually enjoy crafts generally, I’ve only come across one craft which I don’t find thoroughly enjoyable and that is cross-stitch. Don’t get me wrong, I like the end results! I just don’t have the patience when doing something like that. Perhaps my mistake was choosing a big cross stitch to begin with. Maybe I should have picked a bookmark or greetings card size instead of the one I have which is a foot wide.
Otherwise, I have begun my first quilting project (it has chickens on). It’s been on hold with the curtains needing to be made and with the move into the craft room.
I have also taken up spinning (as you may already know) – photos of the nice spinning stuff to come eventually too. I find spinning very satisfying. It’s pretty relaxing too, although too much spinning results in arm-ache.
I’ve got some yarn to dye too, but I’m waiting on something to dye it with. A lovely lady in the US is sending me some Kool-Aid to have a stab at Kool-Aid dying. I might have a go at food colouring dye too. I figure I should begin with the stuff that can’t kill me or make me ill!
I also have stacks of stuff for making greetings cards with. That’s pretty fun, and although I think the initial outlay is quite high, now we can make a card for most occasions at the drop of a hat!
I’m also interested in learning how to make jewellery, not least so that I can have a stab at making stitch markers. I’ve spotted some “make your own soap” and “make your own candles” things on e-bay which I find intriguing too.
How cool would it be to make soap, make a washcloth and then make a packet for it, all using your own skills? Brilliant.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Je Ne Suis Pas Mort

(I'm Not Dead)

I've just been on holiday, and am not yet sorted out to post pictures of it...
And I have a package from my sock swap partner to talk about...
So watch this space!

J'ai juste été en vacances, et je ne suis pas prêt à signaler des images de lui encore...
Et j'ai un paquet de mon associé d'échange de chaussette à parler...
Observez ainsi cet espace!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

You Spin Me Right Round...

I was planning on not posting until I had taken pretty pictures of my latest acquisitions.
That might mean I never posted again, so instead I am going to break out my best descriptive skillz and see if I can explain to you the lushness of my latest score.

On Sunday, we had a York knitters’ gathering at Minniemoll’s house; where the lovely CarolL and hubby taught us how to spin. It was a really nice few hours. (if you go to CarolL’s blog and link through to her flickr, the spindle o the wisp is mine!)
Having already had a little spinning experience, (I was given the Nancy’s Knit-Knacks Spindle Kit for Christmas by OH) and my own spindle, I feel I had a bit of a head start. That said, some of the other ladies were quickly producing what looked a lot like actual yarn!

A yarn sculpture
Originally uploaded by maryplain
Woo! anyway, I had lots of fun spinning some nice thin singles, and then plying them. I got to try out a nostepinne. A nostepinne is basically a stick, but a bit more glamorous. It is a smooth slightly tapered piece of wood, with a notch around the tip. (It’s really very fallic – though that could be my filthy mind) you can use it to make a center-pull ball for plying with, rather than the Andean bracelet. The Andean bracelet involves wrapping the single around your hand, and around your middle finger. If you’re not careful you can cut off the blood!
So, at the end of the session, CarolL and hubby brought out lots of beautiful spindles and roving for us to drool over peruse and buy.
I picked some superwash merino in pink and blue and green and yellow and white. It made me think of clowns’ faces and sweeties all at once. Resolute that this would be my only purchase (other than my teeny spindle for spinning fine yarn with) I then peeked into the bamboo-merino bag. And there was a lovely pink-and-purple-and-green roving that just screamed out “Tsuki! Buy me!” so I did.
I’m still practicing on the Falkland top that we were practicing with on Sunday. I’m now using my teeny tiny spindle, which is made from walnut wood. It weighs only 14g (unless I mis-remember) and has such a lovely spinning motion.

We’re almost ready for the holiday. I still have to de-fuzz and sort out my nails (I was going to go to the salon, but she’s booked up), I still have to pack the cases although we do have a pile o’stuff we’re taking, which is good. Also, I have to sort out my knitting and crocheting for the journeys.
I will probably be finishing the second monkey on the way down South. I should offer to do some of the driving though. Then I have most of Thursday and possibly some of Friday morning to finish that!
Of course, I can’t take knitting needles on the plane, so thanks to a lovely swapper in the UKarma group on Ravelry, I have some wooden crochet hooks to take instead. I hope to make Fit To Be Tied (Rav link only) from the Happy Hooker. I’m hoping to photocopy those pages so that I don’t have to take the whole book with me! There are a couple of others that I would consider too, but I don’t think that the flight itself is that long.
Then, any time after the start of the Beijing Olympics (20:00 in Beijing, 13:00 BST or 14:00 French time) I can cast on for either of the socks I plan to make for OH. They are also my sock putt entry, so have o be finished by the closing ceremony on the 24th (which is also when OH and I hope to be in Edinburgh for the Festival, so perhaps I’ll get train-based knitting time, though I do have to post that I’ve finished, so really my deadline is the 22nd)
That should be plenty of knitting to be going at, so that’s all I am taking. I am still undecided about whether to take my spindle or not. I’m erring towards not at the moment.