Saturday, 25 August 2007

Fab New Sock Bag, more squares and some crochet

I have a fab new sock bag. Yes, I know I have a few already but I have a lot of WIPs, so another one will be really useful! ;0) I first saw it here a few weeks ago (click on "small bags for small projects on the right) and managed to hold out for a week or two - but couldn't resist and ordered it from Danielle's Etsy shop on the 19th. She mailed it to me on the 20th and it arrived today. FIVE DAYS from the States. *shock* How speedy is that?! I'm really impressed. :0)

It was wrapped beautifully - and I had sweeties ;0) I'm really pleased with the quality of this bag and can't praise Danielle enough. :0) GO TO HER ETSY SHOP AND ORDER YOUR OWN NOW!!!! ;0) You will not be disappointed.

My bag had its first outing this afternoon when I took DS to his friend's 5th birthday party. While the kids bounced like loonies on the bouncy castle, I sat drinking lager and knitting on my Colinette Jitterbug sock. Bliss. :0)

In the pocket was a basic sock pattern, needle and grafting instructions and some fab stitch markers that Danielle sells in her shop.





And the bag is reversible - it's got the Sockapalooza fabric on the inside.

I'm so happy - I'm in sock bag heaven! ;0)
















Elsewhere, I've been knitting more squares.

This one is Ada Fenick's Tree of Life square from the Great American Aran Afghan - see here for details of the individual squares. It's VERY quick to knit - something I approve of! ;0) I have to say, these are the biggest bobbles I've ever knit! They're humungous! But they do look effective. ;0) I liked this square, because it was like painting a picture but with knitting IYSWIM?

I started this at about 11 this morning and finished it about 10.30 this evening. And yes, I do have a life and unfortunately that life did get in the way, as it invariably does. ;0)

In between, I bathed [me and DS ;0) ], hoovered the house, cooked breakfast, lunch and tea (and washed up), cleaned and exercised the rats, took DS to his friend's birthday party and did 3 loads of washing - which dried quickly thanks to the fantastically HOT weather we're having today - YAY! Summer at last!!!!

Now, much as it pains me to give this square away [;0)] it will be added to my auntie's afghan, which is part of her Christmas present. The yarn I'm using is Cascade 220 (Oatmeal) with 5mm Knitpicks Options needles. This is the second square I've knit from this book and both times, I've used different size needles than stated. With the Cascade yarn, I get the correct tension with 5mm so I'm sticking with those for the time being. Also to be added to auntie's afghan, this is the first square from the GAAA I knitted - Jay Campbell's "Play Yard" which is knit in the round.





This is the first time I've used the "knit-in-the-round" technique to get a square but I really enjoyed it.



Both times I followed the charts instead of the written instructions, something I would have avoided like the plague a few months ago. But now I find charts so much easier - the pattern is easier to "read" and I find it makes the knitting much quicker.




Yesterday, I decided to crochet the beaded wrist purse I purchased from DT Craft and Design when I visited Wonderwool Wales a few months ago. This was my first go at using Procion Dyes and I used just one - Deep Purple. It took beautifully. The dyeing took about 6 hours and crocheting the bag took about 3! Here it is:


It's quite small (about 3in around the base and 3.5" tall) but I'm really pleased with how it's turned out. This is my first try at crocheting a bag, and my first go at using beads, which gives the bag a nice "weight". I'm not sure that I'd ever use this, but I'm glad I made it. ;0)

Now, I really must knit a bit more on my Della shawl ....... but that naughty American afghan book keeps demanding my attention! ;0)

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Feeling better :0)

After having vented my frustration last night, I'm now feeling much better. :0) It helped that I had a knitting group meeting this afternoon with Debs, Lane [and her sweet son ;0) ] and new member Jenny - I felt much more relaxed afterwards.

I'm finally ready to show a few photos of FOs. I've mostly been knitting afghan squares, but I'll show some pics of those later. Firstly, I want to show you the socks I'm working on at the moment - with Jitterbug sock yarn by Colinette.
(OMG! I've just seen their new Iona designs - simply lush!)

I can't praise Colinette enough on both their yarns and patterns. I've never had a problem with needing more yarn than stated for projects and their sizing is spot on.

This is the first time I've used Jitterbug and I have heard people complain that they haven't had enough yarn to knit a "decent" sized sock so I was on a bit of a one-woman mission to prove them wrong. I think I may have achieved that mission. ;0)

For these socks, I used a 115g / 291m skein in the Alizarine colourway. I used 2 x 2.5mm Addi Turbo circs. I knit my socks toe up with 60 sts. I knit 60 rows for the foot, then did a short row heel. I then knit 10 rows of SS for the ankle before starting on a 2x2 rib pattern for the leg - I did a massive 95 rows of this and still had some yarn left over. This gave me a leg length of about 7.5 inches. I like the legs of my socks to be long and this yarn certainly delivered. So a big thumbs up to Colinette! :0)

Okay, now for my afghan squares. These are what I've done so far -

From left to right -

Alternating Diagonals in Gooseberry for my dad
Dimpled Delight in Olive for me
Lacy Eyelets and Rib in Fern for my dad










From left to right -

Basket Weave in Oatmeal for me
Diamond Brocade in Olive for me
Lucky Bamboo in Oatmeal for me










From left to right -

Adam's Rib in Airforce Blue for me
Quilted Brocade in Pumpkin for me
Woven Fun in Airforce Blue for me










From left to right -

Bouquets in Lavender for my aunty
Big Bamboo in Mustard for my dad
Daisies in Ice Mint for my aunty










I have another 4 blocks waiting to be washed and blocked - they're all 12 inches after blocking. I finished the most gorgeous "Lamb's Tails" this morning for my aunty in cream - very tactile and nubbly. :0) I chose this design because her name is Mary. As in "Mary had a little lamb". Geddit? ;0)

I'm really enjoying knitting these squares. They're not too big so don't get boring (and some knit up extremely quickly) and they introduce new techniques too (like in the Bouquets square). The patterns for my dad and aunty have come from the Vogue Stitchionaries (Vols. 1 and 2) and are knit in Cascade 220 on 5mm Knit Picks Circs - the ones for myself are from the Yarn Grove's Under Cover Club and are knit using O-Wool Classic on 6mm Denise Interchangeables. Both yarns give 2 squares per 100g skein.

I'm seriously thinking about knitting some squares out of this book. I love the sweater square (so cute!) and like the idea of knitting cables in the round, something I haven't done yet. I can see a few of these squares turning up in my current afghan projects, although I'd like to try every square at some point.

This WIP has now become an FO and is winging its way to my cousin in Southampton. I made her one in cream RYC Cashsoft DK when she had her 2nd baby back in June and she liked it so much she asked for another.

This one is knit using Sirdar Snuggly DK. Not quite as lush as the Cashsoft but still very very soft.

It's a King Cole pattern - # 2242 - which I've had for so long that I don't know if it's still available. It's a 4-row pattern and uses about 300g of DK yarn (which is held double throughout) on 6mm needles and is a very quick knit - this one took me about 8 hours from start to finish. The pattern is easy to memorise and the blanket measures about 20 inches x 27 inches when complete.

I'm still working on Della, although I haven't done any for a few days. I'm at 110 rows at the moment, so only another 90 (or so) to go! ;0) But I'm still enjoying the pattern, which is always good.

Still no news yet on whether my Sockapalooza 4 socks have reached my pal, which is a bit worrying seeing as I mailed them (to the States) over 3 weeks ago. Leyna, if you're reading this - LET ME KNOW IF THEY'VE ARRIVED! Thanks! :0)

(Humour me - they're my babies and I worry about them!!)

I haven't received my socks yet, either, but my pal very kindly e-mailed me and said she's still working on them and they were going to camp with her last week so she could finish them. So hopefully I can start postie-stalking soon. ;0) Fingers crossed! :0)

What a waste of time :0(

Okay. Time for a whinge, I'm afraid. I'm totally fed up of spending my time and money on knitting designs that simply haven't been thought out properly. I've spent an irretrieval amount of hours over the past 12 months knitting a shawl jacket only to find out that I didn't have enough yarn to knit the two sleeves, even though my tension was spot on. So I emailed the designer and then had to pay P&P to have the yarn posted to me. This miffed me to say the very least, but I wanted to finish the jacket so paid the money. The yarn eventually arrived, slightly thicker than the original and a slightly different colour, but I carried on.

This evening, I finished one sleeve and tried the jacket on. I used exactly the measurements as stated in the pattern, again with correct tension, but the sleeves are way too short for me.

AND I STILL DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH YARN!

This means that I'm going to have to e-mail the designer (again), wait for a response (again), pay P&P (again) - for the privilege of having enough yarn to finish the jacket when, in my opinion, there should have been enough yarn included in the kit in the first place - and then wait for the yarn to arrive (again) before I can start the second sleeve. And then I have to undo the first sleeve and make it longer. And more than likely, after I've done all that, I'll hate the thing and never wear it.

AARRGGHH!!!!!!

Quite frankly, I have better things to do with my life.

This jacket is currently stuffed in a dark corner, waiting for the day when I can be bothered to frog it. If that day never comes, then I won't be sorry.

In future, I'll be sticking to companies who I know provide enough yarn with their kits, and who also provide well-written patterns which have been tried and tested.

:0(

Monday, 20 August 2007

This *was* going to be an update :0(

I had every intention of giving an update this morning on what I've been knitting lately. I've added a few more 12" squares to my afghan collection, made one Colinette Jitterbug sock in 1.5 days, knit a few more rows of Della and have almost finished a baby blanket for my cousin.

BUT

Photobucket is refusing to play nicely and for some reason just won't bring the site up on my PC.

SO

my update will have to wait until later because without photos, there really isn't much point! ;0)

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Squeeeee! I've been nominated!

Yay!! I've been nominated by Joy as a Rockin' Girl Blogger. Thanks Joy!

And in honour of this event - and seeing as how I haven't blogged about anything for a whole week ;0) - I thought I'd better show you what I've been working on for the past few days.

This is Della, the first project from the Hipknits Project Club (click on the sidebar button for details) -





The yarn is Hipknits Cashmere laceweight in Seaweed. Kerrie, who designed the shawl, says "Della is the highest waterfall in Canada and this shawl was inspired by the idea of a lace pattern that mimicked falling water splashing into a pool at the bottom of the drop". I have to say that the Seawood colour really does look like sunlight dappling on water, so is the perfect yarn for this pattern. When the picture was taken, I had knit about 60 rows of the pattern. Unfortunately, I just haven't been able to find the time to do much more of it this weekend, which is extremely frustrating!
DH and I spent most of Friday at Ikea buying some cupboards for the bedroom (we were desperate for more storage). Saturday morning I had an early hair appointment - I've gone for the chop! More about that tomorrow ;0) - then knitting group in the afternoon. By the time I got home, DH had 2 of the units together. While he worked on the third, I fixed the 8 drawers together. We didn't get to bed until 2.30 this morning! This afternoon, I took DS to his friend's birthday party, and this evening I'm surfing the web for a while.
I fully intend to start work on Della again later - I've got itchy fingers now and can't wait to get some more rows done. I just love how this pattern is knitting up and can't wait to get it finished. :0)
Which I will hopefully do within the next few days as I've got TWO WHOLE WEEKS OFF WORK!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

I fell off the wagon at Colinette

After being on a yarn diet since the end of June and being very good, I fell off the wagon at Colinette yesterday. I decided that this would be my one day off until Christmas. I went to the crochet course and had a brilliant time. I met forum friends old and new - Joy, Christina, Debby and Jackie - and bought a *bit* of yarn. ;0)

Here are some photos - click on them to make them bigger -


This was a selection pack which cost £20. I can't believe how much yarn is crammed into the bag - once I'd got it out, I had a job to get it back in again! There are loads of lovely yarn samples in there - best of all, there is enough Jitterbug in there to make 3 pairs of socks.





The blue, on the left, is about 50g and enough for a pair for DS, the pink/red and light/dark brown is enough to make 2 pairs for myself, with different colours for the heels/toes etc.












Next, I bought 2 skeins of Jitterbug - Alizarine on the left and Tapis on the right. The blue yarn in front was from the sale room and is Banyan yarn (£2 per skein) which I'm going to use to make the Alva cardigan from the Banyan book.






This is 2 skeins of Tao silk (from the sale room). I'm not sure what it's going to be yet but I've got the Arboretum book so may make either a scarf, fingerless mitts or a bag.






This mini bag is what I made while I was at the crochet course. It's only big enough to fit a mobile phone in but I learned some new techniques - joining in new colours, joining the squares together and how to make a handle that won't stretch.


And finally, this is the goodie bag that all participants on the course had. It's got some great yarn samples in it and I can't wait to get started making some squares. I've decided to make some cushion covers for the living room, so these sample yarns will come in really useful.



Thursday, 2 August 2007

Bobbly Bouquets



This is what I'm working on at the moment - the first 12" x 12" square for my Aunty's afghan for Christmas.

It's the Bouquets pattern from the Vogue Stitchionary Vol. 1, and has a 30 row pattern repeat.

I'm using Cascade 220 yarn in the Lavender colourway (which I LOVE) and 5mm Knitpicks Options circs.

I just love the texture of this pattern - it's very 3-D and very touchy-feely - and I love knitting bobbles anyway. The more the merrier, I say. ;0)

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Cotton Cardi


This is the cardi I've been knitting for DS. I've almost finished and just have the collar left to knit.

I used the cheap cotton I bought from Lidl a while back - about £3.00 for 6 x 50g balls I think. I've discovered that I don't particularly like knitting with cotton. It didn't help that this yarn was very "splitty" so I had to be really careful when knitting.




I used a pattern from Ann Budd's book of sweater patterns. It was knit all in one piece to the armholes, then the sleeves were added in and the raglans were worked in one piece, which means

LOOK - NO SEAMS!

So the only bit of sewing up were the sleeve seams.

I (actually) did a swatch because I wasn't sure what the tension of this yarn was and ended up using 3.25 mm needles for the rib and 3.75 mm for the main body.

**DS has asked me to point out that his belly isn't really big - it's just the way he's standing.**

Hmm, an excuse I've used in my time, I do believe! ;0) *LOL*

4 Sweaters in 21 days

Is this a record I wonder? I was so glad to pack up that 4th sweater tonight and will breathe a sigh of relief when it goes off in the post tomorrow. ;0) It took about 3 hours this evening to knit the collar and then sew it up. I didn't have time this evening to do any other knitting but I've got my bag packed and ready for tomorrow with DS's cotton cardigan. It'll be nice to knit with something other than chunky yarn.

Oh, I did use some of the left over King Cole Aero last night to start a crochet afghan for Many Tears Rescue - this is where we had our GSD Lexi from last year. Last Christmas I sent them a few knitted blankets but I thought I'd use up my stash and crochet some this year. It's also much quicker so I'm hoping to make more this year. The KC Aero is very chunky so I'm thinking it may make a nice horse blanket - I've got plenty of yarn left over so size shouldn't be a problem. ;0)

And this bit of crochet will give me a bit of practice ready for my course at Colinette this Saturday. I can't wait! :0)