Saturday, December 31, 2005

A Rabbit Is Definitely A Lovable Toy

Oh yes the rabbits are cute aren't they? I'm so pleased with myself for making the Rabbit from Last Minute Knitted Gifts and delighted with the way he's turned out, especially as its the first knitted toy I've ever made. Even darling Thunder is suitably impressed.

I added up all my FOs that I'd completed during 2005 and the grand total came to 35. Not bad eh? So how come my stash doesn't get any smaller then.....

As I'm feeling perkier now and my last post was a bit short on words (yep must have been real ill ;) I thought I'd explain a bit more about my xmas pressies and sale buying. For pressies there was of course 8 skeins of Colinette Point 5 in Mist bought at Ally Pally in Oct, the KnitTin scarf set which contains the beautiful Brittany needles and the 3 skeins of Point 5 in Lagoon that you see in the pic. Then there is yet another sock kit, some wonderful double ended Clover stitch holders, a Rowan Biggy Print scarf kit and a couple balls of handspun 4 ply I got in Cornwall in September and a couple balls of Artesano Alpaca. Which I'm not sure what to do with now as its handwash so no good for socks then.

And in the sales the Cotton Tape is probably for Kitsch in Rowan 37 and the Cotton Braid will end up as a summer cardi. I wasn't expecting Matisse to be discontinued so that was a bit of a surprise. The Rowan HK Cotton will be for bag making and the 2 balls of Calmer I have no idea but I just cannot resist Calmer. It talks to me and whispers sweet nothings at me. So of course I couldn't leave it all there on its own now could I?

I got my wireless router before Christmas and very groovy it is too. I've got over the initial buzz of wandering round from room to room attached to my laptop and things are settling down now. It was very simple to set up. What had me going for a couple of hours were the security settings. But I got there in the end and am so glad I've gone wireless.

I got tagged by UKNITTY so for the first time I'm actually playing. I am usually so bad at stuff like this but this is a nice short one so I thought I'd play. If anyone wants to complete it please count yourself as tagged and if you let me know I'll add a link to your blog. I'm not asking anyone directly as I am so bad myself so it would be just too cheeky for words!

What new knitting techniques did you learn this year?

I learned the Magic Loop method of making socks. And also learned I didn't like it much so the circs are on Ebay and I went straight back to my lovely DPNs. I also did some proper fairisle in the round when I made my earflap hat and enjoyed that lots. Previously I'd done a bit here and there but not enough to say I'd done it properly. It was much easier than that nasty intarsia.....

Which completed project from the last 12 months are you most proud of?

I couldn't possibly just name the one. I'd have the Cat cardi in Colinette Point 5. And Hike in Calmer. Then the Iris shrug in Calmer. And the recent Biggy Print Zipped Jacket. Not forgetting the new Rabbit in Blue Sky Alpaca. We couldn't possibly leave him out now could we?

What was your biggest knitting disaster of the last year?

Easy peasy. That nasty ASC zipped jacket with the stupid STUPID saddle shoulders. Nuff said.

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your knitting in 2005 ?

Realising that I prefer certain types of yarn over others and that there is not much point forcing yourself to knit with something you're not happy with or that gives you arm ache - like cotton. Fine for bags and in small doses but thats about it.

What knit craze grabbed you this year?

Hmmm. Not really a craze type of person. I like what I like and thats that. But I loved Charlotte, the shrug/wrap/stole/capelot whatnot but also saw lots that I definitely did not like.

Finally, some New Years resolutions.

In 2006 I will knit
- lots and lots of course ;)

I will learn to - try and remember to keep my Brittany's out of the way of that needle nibbler, aka Thunder

To become a better knitter I will
- buy more unusual yarns to try, I mean, you don't know till you try eh?

Name the folks you pass this meme on to.

Would you like your name here? Send me a message and I'll add you in if you want to play.

Lastly, all thats left is to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Things Don't Always Go To Plan

Well Christmas didn't quite go as expected. I started being sick last Friday and could only manage to drink sips of water for 2 days. I did manage to cook our lunch on Xmas day and ate a small dinner. As I hadn't eaten for 2 days I managed that ok. I did have lots of pressies to cheer me up and here's a pic of my yarn goodies.

I perked up for a couple of hours on Tuesday so we had a very quick trip to the sales and only went in House of Fraser and then John Lewis. For the first time in ages John Lewis had a better selection of sale goodies, though HoF is a little cheaper. And here is the obligatory pic......

Unfortunately I'm still rather unwell and haven't been out of the door since. The only think I've wanted to knit is the lovely rabbit from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. He's almost done and to my surprise I've really enjoyed making him. I've never knitted a toy before but this was has been fun. Maybe it's being ill - who knows?

Hope everyone has enjoyed their holidays - preferably more than I have!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Merry Christmas

I feel like a little production line as I've turned out yet another garment! This week we have the lovely Beth knitted in Ribbon Twist that my DH bought for our anniversary. She took just a week and has been pressed and now only (!) waiting to be sewn up.

I have realised that knitting all my Big Wools first means a big stash reduction. I mean, I have to make a bit more room for the post Christmas sales don't I? I mean you never know what goodies you might spy.

No doubt some Cotton Tape will be got if I find any in my favourite colours. I can't believe Rowan are discontinuing. I love it! Linen Print is going too but I'm not too bothered on that one. What did surprise me is the shade of Yorkshire Tweed DK I got a couple of weeks back is going too. I wonder if any more of that will be around......

I've had to restrain myself from staying on my iBook too long as I OD'd on it and made myself go all weird and dizzy from spending too much time staring in amazement at all the new widgets and flash stuff like expose. Apologies if I'm talking in another language but it's the excitement of a brand spanking new super fast iBook! Oh its so lovely. Looks pretty much like my old iBook but super fast and with the most amazing OS Tiger.

I'd let my OS get a bit behind as I knew the old iBook was on its way out. You can only put up with dodgy connections (my fault - I kept dropping it....) for so long. As the new one is wireless ready I'm getting a wireless router so if I drop it won't damage the connections (again). Oh boy am I in love with my iBook and all its widgets......I mean, Christmas comes each year but new laptops don't do they? My last one I've had for 2.5 years which isn't bad as I'm practically joined at the hip to it....My broadband speed has also been upgraded and wow that seriously makes a difference too.

I promised a pic of me wearing my gorgeous Biggy Print jacket and here it is. I am so pleased with it. Apart from being ever so pretty it is amazingly warm and comfortable and I've been able to wear it out in this cold weather with a micro fleece underneath to keep the wind out.

Lengthening the collar and zip was a great idea too as it keeps my neck warm. I find Big Wool jackets & cardis a bit uncomfortable with even a micro fleece underneath and of course they are just not warm enough on their own and not comfortable under a jacket either. So having a wool jacket I can wear out on its own is superb!!!! And of course I can happily wear my pink flip-top mitts with it. Isn't it nice when stuff all works out well.

Doesn't Thunder look exactly like Gizmo. Blimey, the resemblance is truly amazing. Sorry, I can't help it. The poor bunny gets that done to ears every day. Amuses me no end.....

As its only a few days away now I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and hope they get lots of knitting related goodies from Santa!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Naughty But Nice

Nope, you're eyes are not deceiving you. This is what arrived last Thursday from Get Knitted. Of course, buying the whole set of shorter length Brittany needles in one go is not actually my fault. Firstly, I blame Alison the Rowan Consultant at Cribbs Causeway for showing me her Brittany needles and how purrty they were. And telling me they came in 2 lengths.....THEN Simply Knitting had the utter cheek to advertise that the KnitTin were selling complete sets of Brittany Needles in a needle roll in their latest issue. Well, obviously I was drooling at this point, and conveniently remembered that my husband said he'd buy me a set for my birthday as he thought them very purrty too and that was that. Unfortunately its not actually my birthday till April, but whats a few months difference eh?

I almost, but not quite, feel guilty. I mean I haven't done anything bad or committed a crime. But I have that 'naughty but nice' sensation when you know you've done something you really probably shouldn't have but are just too elated too care!

They are just too beautiful for words. I wasn't too keen on the needle roll idea myself and thought it would be cheaper on their own, and indeed it was. I have sold a load of stuff on Ebay recently so it kind of all works out okay.

Unfortunately my elation was rather short lived. A few hours really was all I managed until my DH came home and told me that the repair job done under warranty on my car that I had picked up the previous EVENING, was bubbling......So was I when I saw it. I was livid. So to cut a long story short I have to go on another 2 hour trek to get it examined yet again then book it in again for yet another 2 hour trek. What a joke. And this is the manufacturers recommended garage. Never again. I tell you, I need those lovely needles just to take my mind off it.

Whilst we're on the subject here's a few other bits I got the week before that I kinda forgot to photo. First is the Go Knit Pouch from Get Knitted with the cute Clover Knit Mate Accessories Set and some Jumbo Locking Stitch Markers. I didn't know I actually needed the pouch till my friend Jackie mentioned she wanted one. That was it then. I had to have one, especially once I saw the new Clover set. Boy their stuff is too cute to mention.

Then we have the Baby Bobbi Bear pattern and some Blue Sky Alpacas from Coolwoolz. Although I have the bear pattern now the 2 skeins is for the rabbit from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. It's so luxuriously soft that it will be perfect for the rabbit. No surprise there then.....

The new Knitty is out and for the first time I've fallen in love with one of their designs Tempting II and it has gone straight to the 'must make' list. I have some Calmer I got in a sale ready and waiting.....I will start that around March I reckon.

Another design I fell in love with at first sight is the one on the front cover of Filati FF Book 2 by Jane Ellison. Unfortunately the yarn it uses did not have the same effect as its a high fashion yarn and definitely not my cup of tea so I'm planning on using Chunky Print in Tart instead, another bargain sale purchase. I can picture it in my head so hopefully that will work out well. When I get round to it of course....

And finally to the knitting. Last but definitely not least! So here she is, my latest FO, a gorgeous Biggy Print Zipped Jacket. She is amazingly warm - more so than Big Wool even. I'm really pleased with her so many thanks to Linda for recommending her. As regulars will know I usually prefer to have a pic of me wearing the garment but I've got a little bit more work to do on the zip and then press those seams so will hopefully get some pics this weekend.

Last post I mentioned the Wrist Warmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts which were begging to be made up. Here they are and they're fabulous. I mean, you can knit in them!!! Fabulous pattern and very impressed with the fit, even for my small hands.

That just leaves the sewing up of Lizzy now. She's finally at the front of the queue. I have been hoping the Sewing Up Fairy would come and visit and have been leaving a ball of yarn under my pillow each night, but alas, the fairy has not visited and it looks like I will just have to get on with it. In between finishing off making Christmas cards, decorating the tree, trying to keep the bunny from attacking the tree etc. etc......

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Peruvian Llama Earflap Hat

Oh I just love this hat. It's exactly what I wanted and keeps my ears lovely and warm. Unfortunately my DH has also taken rather a liking to it and is threatening to take it to work so I've had to resort to hiding it. The last thing he took to work I'd knitted was fingerless gloves. He ruined them in one day. How he managed to turn them into a massive ball of fluff I don't know. However, I won't make that mistake again and the hat is staying hidden away well out of sight. It took me ages to find this site and the fab Llama Peruvian Hat pattern. There's another pattern for a Snowflake Hat from this page too. I looked at tons of hats but nothing was quite right. Now of course Interweave Knits have a similar pattern on their website. Always the way eh? I could see myself in another one though.....

There must be something about the hat though as when I took it out to show the manager in House of Fraser (yes, another discount day!) last Thursday there was a bit of a stampede as eagle eyed knitters charged over demanding to know what pattern it was, and what I was knitting it in and of course how lovely it was. Even though it looked rather a tangled mess being only half finished, it had that 'I want one of those' quality about it. It was ever so flattering and my DH watched over these proceedings thoroughly amused.

I only bought 2 balls of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed DK in Goose as it matches my scarf and just kinda caught my eye. My husband bought me Big Wool Fusion in Source for Laura which has been on my list of wants for a while. That was a thank you for some work related stuff I'd done for him. And I can proudly admit that at the current time (ie till the next round of magazines are issued) there are no more projects I want to buy yarn for. How long this lasts is anyones guess but it's a nice feeling, however short it lasts!

Which means of course that all the other designs I initially liked haven't made it to the 'must knit' list. Like Rowan Spray designs......I tried to like the yarn but it just isn't doing it for me. Too much acrylic for my liking I'm afraid and rather expensive, even for my yarn snob tastes! I don't mind paying for luxurious yarn for something I know I'll love knitting and will wear to death but it has to be pretty special to make it to the 'must knit' list. Then how come the must knit list is still so big then???

I had a think about all the gloves/mittens I had lying around, in various stages of progess. And it dawned on me that I want them to be quick knits with no major headaches. Just a nice easy project so that all you need is a few hours concentration and thats it. But some of them have been not as successful so I had a sort out.

So now Eowyn is frogged and I've gone off RYC Soft Tweed as well. I do want lovely fingerless gloves, but would rather have 100% natural ones rather than any manmade fibres. So the unused ball of Soft Tweed will be returned. Not being able to use Kid Classic probably didn't help matters. I still love the Eowyn pattern, but for me its too pretty and not practical enough. I think the cable will just get in the way. What I really want is the ones in Last Minute Knitted Gifts. And these are what I shall have! I have some leftover Noro Silk Garden just begging to be turned into fingerless gloves ;)

My flip-top fingerless mitts very nearly got frogged although they were pretty much finished. I kind of regret the colour I used. They'd have been suited to gloves without the flip tops really as its such a cutsie colour. Flip-top mitts are kind of funky. But you live and learn. I still like them, my DH loves them though what possessed me to make in that colour I have no idea. Its not like I have a pink scarf or hat...... but they're warm and work well - after a LOT of tweaking and frogging. I ended up ribbing the tops of the mitts and they're much more comfortable and look much better that way too. That just leaves the Biggy Print ones to decide on....

We have a thief in the house. Yes, our adorable bunny Thunder has become a very talented and amusing thief. He steals stuff and runs off with it. He doesn't even care when you tell him off! He really is so naughty. Good job he's so lovable with it. I was tempted to take a picture of him whilst caught in the act but thought that would only encourage him so instead we have a cute bunny pic.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Brutal Truth

Your Birthdate: April 30

You have the type of personality that people either love or hate.

You're opinionated, dramatic, intense, and very outspoken.

And some people can't get enough of you - they're totally addicted.

Others, well, they wish you were a little more reserved.

Your strength: Your flair

Your weakness: If you think it, you say it

Your power color: Scarlet red

Your power symbol: Inverted triangle

Your power month: March

Talk about spot on. It's embarrassing really, now everyone knows just what I'm like!

My husband's one of course made him sound like an angel. What a difference.....

What of course they don't say is that I can of course be a real sweetie and that my DH can be a complete devil. But then they wouldn't be as much fun then would they? Thanks to Mandella (I think!) as it was on her blog I first saw it.

Remember I said the collar wouldn't take long on my Biggy Print jacket. Well, it wouldn't have done if I hadn't run out mid collar. Because of the problem with one of the balls all I was left with was a few ends that I was keeping for sewing up and no way did I want the collar to be full of joins. So off we went again to John Lewis and I was most cross. But the lovely Alison, the Rowan rep in our store, was there and let me have a replacement ball. And off home we went and I redid the collar. BUT then decided I might want a longer collar so I'm waiting till its all sewn up so I can decide on the length as I want the zip to go all the way to the top of the collar. Currently its on the lounge floor. Sleeves have been sewn in. Just waiting for sides and arm seams. Just, she says. Great thing is that it took about 10 mins to do each sleeve! Wow, I like that. Lets hope the rest of the seams are as quick.

Lizzy is waiting for her arms to be pressed and sewn in before I can finish the sewing up and attach the frilly bits on the ends of her arms. The frilly bits on the front are done and look lovely.

For over a week now I've just had no time to myself, hence the late post. I've been making numerous trips back and forth to garages and had no car pretty much most of the time. Having do to a 2 hour trek to the garage that did some work on my car to make sure they would repair the rust that has now appeared on the work they did really didn't help matters much either. They've agreed the work comes under their warranty so its another trek back on Monday and another week without a car......

I have managed to start a lovely hat with earflaps which I'm really enjoying knitting even though it has quite a bit of fairisle. It's made me realise I prefer fairisle to intarsia. Excuse the numerous balls in the picture! A normal person would have 1 ball per colour, but oh no not me. I'm doubling up the main colour with Rowanspun DK and using 4 balls each Rowanspun 4Ply for the other 2 colours. Which makes a delightful mess if I don't keep a very watchful eye on it, even more so as the lovely now discontinued Rowanspun are tweedy yarns which seem to delight in sticking together like glue! Oh I can't wait will its done though. A hat with earflaps. Pure joy!