Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Somerset Sock In Wedded Bliss

My somerset sock now has a mate and they are now living together happily ever after and look very cute snuggled up together.

While they're settling into married bliss I've beeing having a think about what magazines to continue to subscribe to. My sub copy of Family Circle Easy Knitting arrived a few days ago and as usual there's something I like in it. It has patterns for socks on 4mm DPNs using 2 strands, so these would be a real quick knit. I like the sound of that......

FCEK is the one subscription that never gives me any troubles. I order it, my copies arrive, no problems. Lovely.

Unfortunately I can't say the same for Vogue Knitting or Interweave Knits. I got so fed up with VK that I cancelled my direct sub with them and took one out with GMC in the UK who are fantastic and since then, no problems. I do love VK though and wouldn't be without it.

Interweave Knits has been a challenge of a subscription from day one, with late issues, missing issues and once an issue arriving without any packaging whatsoever. Funny though that this is the only magazine that keeps sending me reminders to continue my subscription. I think not. I'm waiting on the last issue to arrive of my subscription and that, I think, will be that. There isn't anything I want to make from IK really, a few bits I like but nothing that screams KNIT ME!!! So unless the new issue has something that gets my knitting juices going I won't continue. And even if I decide I still want it, it will be via a UK company. I've learn that lesson the hard way. What I don't get is if FCEK can provide a brilliant subscription service from the US, why can't VK and IK? Anyway, rant over. It's time to move on.

Lizzy is looking lovely. If I get into serious knitting mode I could make a big dent into those sleeves. Whether this will happen or not is anyone's guess. I'm currently on a sock and glove/mitten binge at the moment. Yes, another one.

I ended up frogging my flip-top mittens I'd started from the S&B Nation book as I wasn't happy with the pattern. The thumb didn't have a proper gusset and just wasn't good enough so rip, rip it went. However, I did find this great pattern for mittens using Biggy Print which I'm amending to make them flip-top ones. These will be the 'freezing weather' mittens as boy these mittens are solid! They stand up on their own and would walk if they could. But for sure they will definitely keep out the cold. The pattern uses 8mm DPNs - yes, for Biggy Print! Great was of using up a couple of balls if you're lucky to have some lying around.......will post a photo when they're finished. No doubt I'll make another pair in Rowan Polar that will be quite a bit softer if I decide I'm happy with the design.

Well done Knitty.com for this amazing pattern for a knitted breast prostheses that really got me thinking. What an amazing attitude this woman has - make sure you read right through the article - the ending is superb. If you go through to the designer's site, make sure you have a look at the Watermelon design. How amazing can knitting be? I've never seen anything like this site before and am sure there is nothing similar in the UK. There really should be.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Ally Pally

Well I managed to finish the fringing on my Adriafil Baba scarf on the train to Ally Pally and the Knitting & Stitching Show. Luckily it wasn't that cold on the way home so I didn't end up using it but am very pleased with it and it is very soft and warm and the perfect length for a cream Roxy jacket I have. It was nice to actually use the whole 2 balls and have no leftovers remaining whatsover.

The show was good fun though very, very tiring indeed. By the time I met my best friend and we actually arrived it was almost 2pm and we sat and had a cup of tea and lunch while the Elle Fashion Show was just finishing. Then we were off and ready to go buying. Of course the best stalls are always busy and the ones you're not interested in quite empty but that's always the way. As usual Colinette was the absolute favourite and we couldn't resist buying some Point 5. Unfortunately I have been barred from taking a picture of it as it is a Xmas pressie from my DH. I'm also not allowed the 2 double ended Clover stitch holders that I bought either. Yes, they're for Xmas too.

But here's a picture of the colourway Mist I bought. It is just beautiful and the colour just talked to me and the 8 skeins I got will make a gorgeous jacket.

That was the main purchase at the fair. I didn't end up spending much money on myself as the lovely Knit Tin scarf set I fell in love was equally admired by Joanne so we ended up buying each other one, yep, for Xmas. These tins are fabulous as you get to choose the yarn you want and they make up a kit for you and include the gorgeous Brittany Birch needles and a simple pattern too! The needles are lush and the perfect size for scarf making. They had Rowan Ribbon Twist and various Colinette yarns available for the kits and more that I can't remember. Check out their site at The Knit Tin which will shortly have an online ordering facility. This stall was a great find and had some beautiful stuff. I chose Colinette Point 5 in Lagoon for my kit and boy is it bright and colourful.

Web of Wool is always a favourite and I bought my friend a kit (yes Xmas again) then decided I wanted one too so she's bought me one as well. I chose a yarn with some new fangled ingredient called Polycolon and came with bamboo Clover DPNs which I haven't tried before. Anna did explain what Polycolon did. Something about keeping your feet dry is what I remember. I also got some fabulous 5" Brittany Birch DPNs and I just love them. They are the perfect length though feel like knitting with toothpicks. They are also blunter than other needles but this doesn't actually make any difference. They are now officially my favourite sock knitting DPNs.

It was lovely to see Sue and Carol at Get Knitted. I also bumped into four of the staff at my local John Lewis on the way in and on the way out.

And that was it really shopping wise, apart from the new Vogue Knitting mag for just £2 which I couldn't resist even though my sub copy arrived on Saturday. Oh yes, and a ball of the brightest sock yarn imaginable. I quickly nipped to Web of Wool again to buy a ball so I could show Joanne how to start knitting a sock. Can you believe she wouldn't let me start my sock kit! So I had to go and get a ball didn't I?

I've been asked for some more info on my Cat jacket which I made using Colinette Point 5 instead of Rowan Big Wool. I used the shade Blue Parrot and the pattern is Cat from the Rowan Big Wool Collection. I wasn't keen on the collar for Cat so followed the pick up instructions for another pattern in the booklet and just knitted it in garter stitch to match the jacket until I was happy with the length. The stitch tension for both of these yarns is the same but Colinette is worked on 12mm needles and Big Wool on 15mm needles for this design. The row gauge is slightly different but as you measure the length anyway it didn't make any difference. It took 7 balls to make the small size. The original pattern had stripes but I just knitted it plain. I got so many comments at the show that I lost count. It was lovely to have complete strangers come up to me and say how lovely she is, but she got so big headed she could hardly contain herself ;)

PS - some Big Wool designs are knitted on 12mm needles so can't be subbed with Point 5 so easily as they have a different tension. Make sure the design has a 7.5 tension first! And of course the yardage will be different so take that into account too.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Letter Have It!

Well she's finally finished and I'm really pleased with her. I'd actually finished knitting her before we we went to St Ives so chucked her in the machine on our return, and only realised after that I'd forgotten to take a picture of her pre-felting. Sue from Get Knitted was right, Colinette Skye does shrink a lot! Good job I made her a little bigger than the small size in the book. Getting a zip was fun as I only took a sample of yarn with me but of course the colour changes after felting and I wasn't happy with it once I got it home. But once the zipped was changed it was all systems go and I'm very happy with my latest bag creation. Seems ages since I last made one but it's only a couple of months.

I think she may be coming with me to Ally Pally on Thursday. She deserves an outing doesn't she?

I finally managed to cast on the 2nd Somerset sock. Socks are weird. As soon as you start one you can't put it down. But then you can happily forget about them. Until the next urge to cast on starts. I really need to get this sock done so I can start on my winter Alpaca ones. Ooh, my feet can hardly wait.

On Saturday we went to see The Moscow Ballet performing Swan Lake which was fabulous. I must have seen Swan Lake 3 times now but each time is as magical. I just love going to the ballet and luckily my DH is happy to indulge me once or twice a year. But coming home reminded me how cold it gets in the evenings now so I may have to bring a scarf with me on Thursday to keep me snug on the journey home. Just have to knit one up then. I spy the Adriafil Baba just asking to be knitted up......

And lastly, here's Thunder have a relaxing time on the sofa. He prefers the cushions without covers apparently. I'd literally just taken one off for washing and he buried himself in it. Lucky bunny!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Accessories Time

Before I went I way I managed to have a good look through Urban Streets and am really impressed with the patterns in it. I'm even thinking about knitting a jumper! Whilst this may not exactly be exciting to most people, it is very unusual for me. I never, ever wear jumpers. Can't bear anything round my neck you see, not even a crew neck and I just find jumpers a bit constricting. And never in a million years will I ever wear a polo neck. In winter all I wear are O'Neill or Animal fleeces that either that have a zipped neck or are zipped jackets. It's so much easier to undo if you get hot rather than the hassle of taking a jumper off. So for me to want to knit a jumper is quite a new thing for me. I guess I'm just a zipped jacket/cardi kind of gal!

I have to admit looking at the shade cards for Rowan Spray doesn't exactly inspire me, but I know from experience that looking at something and knitting it up are two very different things. My 3 favourite designs are Quirk, Clash and Angel. Jury is still undecided on which one will be first. Or it might even be the cute scarf in Simply Knitting a few issues back which was the only good thing about that issue. It only uses 2 balls of Rowan Spray too. Would you believe I don't have even a single knitted scarf to my name? I know, amazing really. Usually far to busy doing more involved stuff but have plans to make a few scarfs for winter. The 2 balls of Adriafil I got in St. Ives are for the same pattern in Simply Knitting. I'm not a fan of massive scarves and this one that slots into itself is just such a fab design.

Saying that though, I saw someone wearing a huge scarf and it looked great. And when I spotted this fab Rowan Knitting Kit in John Lewis I just couldn't resist. Although my husband stole it off me and bought it for Xmas so I will have to wait. I just love the short 15mm needles. This kit is rather a bargain and a fab idea.

I guess the change in weather has brought on this accessory craze. I've read that wearing leg or ankle warmers keeps your feet warm so I've made the Toast ones in Chunky Print from The Next Big Thing to test the theory out. My feet and hand are always cold from autumn onwards so anything that helps has to be a good thing. And can I please stress that the legwarmers are for INDOOR USE ONLY! No, I wouldn't dream of wearing them out and they will probably fit quite nice under my sweat pants at home so probably will hardly be seen.

I also want to make those funky Flip Top glove/mitten things and have found 2 patterns I like. The Plaid Flip Top Mittens have proper fingers and the other is from Stitch'N Bitch Nation and I think they're without fingers. But both have the fab mitten attachment and I can see me wearing these loads. In fact I expect my long suffering DH will make me wear them at home, or possibly in bed. He can't bear my hands being so cold once the weather changes.

Lastly, I managed to replace my much loved Vans skate shoes and here they are again. They are so beautiful aren't they? And to those who are starting to think I've gone a bit barmy, well, you're probably right but I never wear shoes, only trainers and am so fussy it's untrue. It takes me forever to find a new a pair I like when they finally need replacing and by then I can no longer get the same style. So now you know why ruining them was such a disaster for me.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Halterneck Top & Domesticity

Domestic issues have kept me so busy since we've been back. Cars at garages, electricians and plumbers to name just a few. No wonder my pile of items waiting to be finished off is still a pile. I did manage to get a zip for my felted bag which has turned out fabulous. Except now I don't like the colour of the zip so will have to change it.

And of course the absolute disaster that occurred in Sainsbury's involving a bottle of organic virgin olive oil and my beautiful pink Vans trainers did not help one bit. I won't go into detail but they are ruined and I am seriously unhappy as they were my favourites and I wore them all the time. The shop I bought them from no longer has them and I've searched and searched the web and have only come up with 1 possibility and they don't have an online stock facility. This is not good news.

Earlier that day I got an email from DoCrafts saying I'd won a prize - 10 X-Cut punches which was great news with Xmas not to far away. I always make all my cards so will be nice to have new toys to play with. It was a lovely surprise - somehow I enter stuff and never expect to actually win. What a nice surprise. Except the trainer disaster ruined it. And the postie waking me up at 7.15am on a Saturday to give me the parcel wasn't exactly good timing either.

In between domestic issues/crises I have managed to finish the left front of Lizzy though but have managed nowhere near as much knitting as I would have liked. I did manage to sew up the Rowan 4 ply halterneck top that took so long to make it nearly finished me off. It looks gorgeous though, but of course seeing as its now autumn won't get worn till next year.

I did manage a brief trip to JL but they didn't have the new Louisa Harding range I was hoping to see. I'm pretty sure though that it won't be my thing what with the nylon content of some the yarns but I was hoping to at least be able to have a good look. Hey ho. No-one was available that knew if they were having it either which is a shame as it's always good to have new ranges isn't it.

As its that time of year already I got out my lovely Cat from the Big Wool collection and wore it to JL on Saturday. I made mine in Feb this year in Colinette Point 5 and its one of my favourites. I much prefer Rowan patterns to Colinette's own ones and was very pleased with the way it turned out. Isn't it beautiful? You can spot me a mile off wearing it. Very handy. Perhaps I'll wear it to Ally Pally maybe.

Have learnt a lesson about bamboo knitting needles and cute bunnies and now one of my Inox needles had Thunder's teeth marks on them. Still usable, but should have put them a lot further out of his reach. Naughty little rabbit. He is still the sweetest thing and I adore him to bits. He has now taken to licking the sofa as well as his dad.