Saturday, 30 June 2012

Year of Projects 2011-2012 Final Post

So this is it. The final day of the inaugural Year of Projects is here. It's been an absolute blast. Kudos to Keri for coming up with the idea in the first place and a massive thank you to everyone in the Ravelry group for getting on board and getting stuck in.

My original list has changed multiple times over the past twelve months, as you can see from my page! I started with 20 patterns, fairly evenly split between knitting and crochet. By the end, I'd added another five, and removed a total of 12. That leaves thirteen projects to have completed in the last twelve months...

I present to you my eleven finished projects from the list! Clockwise from top left:
The other two projects still on the list are not finished, but they are well on the way to being done. The Cherry Wrap is still waiting the time and space to be blocked and seamed, whereas Eleonora is progressing nicely and should be finished soon.

Lets not forget, that as the first Year winds to a close, a second Year of Projects will be starting tomorrow! I've already set up my new page and decided on at least half of the patterns I'll be using in the coming year. I'm hoping that this year I will not get too distracted with projects not on the list, and stand a better chance of finishing them all.

Friday, 29 June 2012

So close

With just today and tomorrow to go till the first year is over, I thought I'd give you an update on how Eleonora is progressing.

As you can see, I made it through the rather dull stocking stitch back section, and am motoring my way down the second sleeve. I'm about 20 rows short of starting the cuff. While I might get the sleeve finished by the end of tomorrow, once that is done, I have the monumental task of picking up all the stitches around the body for the border. I doubt I'll get that done this weekend!

Switching back from knitting flat to knitting in the round was easier than I anticipated. I just switched over to my DPNs on my final row of flat knitting, then joined in the round and carried on.

I did discover an error in the pattern, when I got to the decreases halfway down the sleeve. They ought to mirror the increases on the right sleeve (five increases evenly spaced with four plain knit rows inbetween each one) but the directions hadn't been reversed properly and left me with only four decreases. I had to rip back and do it again. This was less scary than anticipated, as I used my circular needle to pick up the stitches in the row I wanted to rip back to, then knit back onto my DPNs from that.

I love how this yarn is knitting up. It is so soft and the stitches look beautiful. I don't think I'm in danger of running out, either, which is good news. I've only just joined my fifth ball and have three left, so depending on how much yarn the border takes up, I may have enough spare to knit something small to go with it. I guess I'll find out when I finally cast off!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Exciting weekend

We had a pretty busy couple of days last weekend. First, there was getting up at silly o'clock to watch the rugby - 6am is a ridiculous time for kick off! This meant we were a bit sleepy when we visited Ufton Court for our first wedding venue viewing.

The Elizabethan manor house is gorgeous, but not included in
the summer wedding package without extra charge, sadly

I was really pleased with the venue, as it looks just like the pictures on the website and the people there are wonderfully friendly. We wandered round the house and grounds, as well as getting a proper look at the tithe barn where the ceremony takes place.

We uhmmed and aaahed for a little while, but when they told us they only had one date left in the month we want to marry, we knew we had to make a decision quickly. So we did. Our wedding is provisionally booked for 11th May 2013! The registrar is booked, and the caterer has been approached. It's all systems go! 

The tithe barn viewed from outside the Archery Hall

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Year of Projects update - 24th June

Next week is the final Sunday of the Year of Projects. In a way, I shall be sad when it is over, but I am already looking forward to Year Two!

As next week's post will be saved for a run down of everything I made this year, I thought I'd use today's post to talk about my plans for next year.

I have been thinking about this for some time, and have created a new list and a new page for Year two, which you can find here. I've dug out all of the lovely yarn in my stash that I'd like to use in the next year, and started pairing it to patterns. So far, nine pattern/yarn combinations have been decided on, and I have ten yarns left to assign patterns to. I'm not going to rush into that, as I'm sure I will change my mind multiple times before I cast on! There is also one pattern I would love to knit that I don't have the yarn in my stash for, so I will need to make at least one yarn purchase this year.

In addition to the projects on the list, I will be working on my long term projects: sofa bed afghan, poncho resurrection, the daffodil filet crochet which is currently in hibernation, and the work I started last year when watching Game of Thrones first season, designing and crocheting a blanket based on the books. (I did just hunt back through the blog to find the last time I posted about it, but it's been so long I cant find it!).

In other news, I've hit another couple of awesome blogging milestones... this is my 300th post, and just recently I skipped past 30,000 page views. Both of these are pretty amazing, although the spike in views is entirely down to my crocheted uterus pattern, which is still driving most of the traffic to the site!

I will be organising some sort of giveaway in the next couple of weeks as a thank you to all my lovely readers, when I eventually get some time to myself again!

Friday, 22 June 2012

FO Friday

It's been a while since I last linked up to Tami's FO Friday, but before I scoot off for the weekend I wanted to share a proper photo of my latest project.

Pattern: Waistcoat with Fan Pattern by DROPS design
Yarn: mystery yarn thrifted from an old shawlette. I think it's cotton, and roughly sport weight
Hook: 3.5mm

The yarn started out as a shawlette I was gifted, but I didn't think the colour or fibre suited the pattern used. I was never going to wear it. I made the decision to frog it and re-use the yarn somehow. Frogging the shawl was a nightmare of epic proportions. First up, the picot bind off took days to unravel, and I had to cut the yarn at least three times when I found myself stuck in a knot. Then, I found the yarn itself looked to have already been thrifted from something else, as it was full of knots joining ends together.

Eventually, though, I managed to unravel the damn thing and wind the yarn into a gorgeous cake.

Then I was left with the dilemma - how much yarn did I have and what weight was it? I weighed a small amount of yarn and measured the length, and used this to calculate an approximate yardage and weight. I reckoned I had 420 yards of sport weight. Having seen what the yarn looked like knitted up, and realising I would never wear it if I turned it into something for myself, I went looking for baby patterns. Our niece's Christening is on Sunday, so I decided to make something for her.

I originally decided to try this Jacket with raglan sleeves by DROPS Design, as I thought I'd have enough yardage for it. I started following the directions for the 12/18 month size, as Rosie is 9 months old now, and I have no idea how big or small she is! Unfortunately, I got to the fan pattern and realised I was going to run out of yarn way before finishing the body.

So the yarn was frogged a second time.

By this point, you can imagine my howls of frustration. I was really beginning to hate this yarn! I went back to the drawing board Ravelry and searched again. This time, I found the Waistcoat pattern that matched the jacket I'd already tried. Aha! I thought. No sleeves on this one! I'll need less yardage.

I got started, and ran into difficulties almost straight away. These patterns are so badly written! For starters, it had me crocheting two separate pieces for the first three rows of the back piece, then joining them together to continue the back as one. Instead, I started three rows into the pattern, and when I came to do the fronts, rather than crochet a separate piece and seam together, I joined my yarn to the top of the back and crocheted each front directly from the back piece, remembering to include my three missing rows for the back neck shaping. The only seaming that was required was the underarm seam, done before I started the fan skirt.

It took forever. I am not kidding you. I came so close to throwing it out and just buying her a gift from John Lewis. I detested it by the time I was done. I did the sensible thing, and put it away for a few days, before choosing buttons and weaving in the ends. I'm glad I did, because once I'd done the finishing touches, I fell in love with it again.

 I mean, how could I not love it with these adorable butterfly buttons? We'll be giving it to her on Sunday, and I hope she (by which I of course mean her parents) loves it too.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Butterfly buttons

As I was away at a LRP event this past weekend, I missed out on posting on Sunday. We are so close to finishing this first year of projects and I am starting to realise I won't finish everything in time. Eleonora is going well, but still has a lot of work required before it's finished. As I am away this weekend coming and have visitors the following weekend, I don't think I've got the time to dedicate to it. So I'm deciding not to worry about it, and just finish it when it wants to be finished.

Equally, the Cherry Wrap is still sitting in my knitting basket in pieces, waiting to be blocked and seamed. I need to tidy and clean the house before I do that, so perhaps in the week after I've had my visitors the house will be in a suitable state to spread my blocking everywhere!

I can show you this though. I finished the cardigan for our niece Rosie's Christening gift, but had no buttons that were suitable. A quick trip into town yesterday ended in me picking up these gorgeous blue butterfly buttons, which I think go perfectly with the yarn.

Full photos to follow next weekend, once the Christening is over and she's been given her present.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

With needle and thread...

One of the advantages of our new house is having our dining table out all of the time. As long as we are sensible about not piling crap all over it, it means I don't have to rearrange half the house in order to get my sewing machine out!

I had some gorgeous batik fabrics in my box which I'd bought to make LRP kit with. But I hadn't had the time or space until now to get around to it. Last weekend, with another event on the horizon, I decided enough was enough and it was time to get the machine out.

Look at all that space!

All the leaning over the table cutting out endless pieces of fabric has messed with my neck a little bit, but I have to say it was worth it; I am so pleased with the final results!

First up is this vest in a gorgeous blue and pink fabric. I had already made one of these vests before in green, so I knew what I was doing.

Apologies for the poor photo

Next up came the first attempt at the harem pants from the same costume. I had bought this green material to match the green batik I used for my first vest. They are surprisingly easy! Skipped the more complicated wasitband/ties for just elasticating the waist, because I couldn't be bothered with complicated sewing and nobody will see the waist anyway, as I will be wearing a skirt over it or have a belt/scarf around my waist.

A second pair of harem trousers, this time in a nice, goes with everything black. The fabric is polycotton, so they are fairly lightweight. They will be great as an extra layer at cold events, with leggings underneath and skirts over, but also lovely and cool when the weather is hotter just worn on their own.

I am most proud of my skirts. In being economical with my fabric, I had to cut everything out in single layers, which meant pinning out and cutting no less than sixteen panels (as I made two skirts at the same time). I was getting seriously fed up of it by the end! But it was made much easier by having the space to do it properly. And the hems! My God, they went on forever. They are full circle skirts so the bottom hem is never ending. Once again, I abandoned the "proper" waistband casing in favour of just sewing a wide hem at the top and threading elastic through it. I'm quite a lazy seamstress, it has to be said!

The pink and black skirt is my favourite I think. It's so bright! I'm hoping the weather behaves itself this weekend and lets me wear some of it. I'm not looking forward to yet another wet and cold weekend living in my leather trousers!

I still have another shirt planned, in black, but I don't think I'll have time to do that before the weekend. Hopefully I will get some photos of the kit in action to show you next week.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Year of Projects update 10th June

So we've got three weeks left of this first Year of Projects and I am closing in on the final two items on my list. First up is Eleonora, which hasn't had much time spent on it in the last couple of weeks.

I am motoring through the plain stocking stitch back, having finally switched over to the circular needle. I am ten inches through the 23 I am supposed to knit. Not sure I will get this finished by 30th June, as I have no time to knit at all this week. That said, I've got a couple of long car drives ahead of me in the next two weekends, so I might take it along as car knitting after the success I had knitting Jamie's gloves in the car.

The final project on my list, which I haven't really considered until now, is meant to be the Pond Friends Stacking Toy. I put this on the list with the idea of making it for our niece Rosie, but I just couldn't decide if I could make it with the yarns I already had in my stash, or if I needed more. After some debate (and the realisation that the Christening is in two weeks and I still hadn't started anything) I decided to throw that one out of the window and remove it from the list. Cheating, perhaps, this close to the end, but don't worry, I've still got a project on the go for her present!

I haven't taken a photo of the WIP at the moment, because it is frustrating me so much. The original pattern I chose lied about it's yarn requirements (either that or I screwed up my calculations, but I was erring on the side of caution the whole time) and I ran out of yarn before I was done. So I had to frog that and start again with something slightly different. I think I've got enough yarn for this one.

One thing I have done this week though is start planning my list for Year Two! We start over again on the 1st July, so head on over to our Ravelry group to get involved.

Thursday, 7 June 2012


I suddenly realised the other day that our niece's Christening is in a couple of weeks, and I hadn't even started on her present yet! I really didn't have a clue what to make, but when I was sorting out my hats, scarves and gloves I found a shawlette I'd been given which I had never worn, not being the right colour or style for me. So I have painstakingly undone the rather irritating picot bind off, and re-wound the yarn to use again.

Not having any clue what the yarn is, I had to do some weighing and measuring to figure out that I have approximately 420 yards of what I think is sport weight yarn. It feels like it might be cotton or a cotton blend, but I'm not sure. I've chosen a pattern, and because speed is of the essence, I've opted for a crocheted cardigan. She'll be around 9 months old by the Christening, so I'm doing the 12/18 months size, in the hope that it will be too big now and she'll grow into it!

I'm quite glad I have a baby girl to knit/crochet for, because I can't think of anything else this yarn could be used for.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Jubilee excursion

We took advantage of the extra public holiday for the Jubilee and went on a road trip down to Stonehenge and Salisbury today.


It was dry the entire drive until we were minutes away from the car park, at which point the heavens opened and we were treated to a rather horrendous torrential downpour. Completely undeterred, we parked up and made our way across the road to the monument.


It's amazing! The stones are huge; even though you can't get properly close to them, you can still appreciate just how big they are and how difficult it would have been to construct. The location is stunning as well, you can really get a feel for why they built it where they did.


We had made grand plans to also visit Woodhenge and the Stone Circle at Avebury, but the driving rain soon changed our minds! Instead, we jumped back in the car and drove down to Salisbury to visit the Cathedral.

Salisbury Cathedral

Absolutely awe-inspiring building. It's enormous. Again, you wonder how exactly they managed to build this in just 38 years, in the 13th century!

Salisbury Cathedral font

One of the highlights of the tour of the Cathedral, which sadly I wasn't allowed to take photographs of, is an original copy of the Magna Carta, signed by King John in 1215.

There are plenty more photos of the trip on my Flickr stream.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Springing into Summer

A couple of months ago, I signed up to a swap on Ravelry in the UK Swap group. Moving house and events sort of got in the way of things, so the posting deadline of next Wednesday really crept up on me unawares! Unlike previous swaps I have done, this one was organised in such a way that we were paired up, and each sent a parcel to the person we were receiving from. So we knew right from the start who was putting our parcel together, and were able to chat fairly openly about it with each other to get an idea of what to put in the box.

I posted my parcel off to my partner today, and also picked up my parcel from her from the sorting office, as it had been posted early and arrived on Wednesday.

My swap partner was Sotoyoshi, and it was her first ever swap. She sent me a wonderful parcel!

The requirements for the swap were yarn, a pattern, a food item, something to pamper or play with and a local item. My local item is the purple table runner, which is Japanese (my swap partner's husband is Japanese, and she lived there for a time herself).

The yarn is gorgeous! It's The Natural Dye Studio Sheherazade in the colourway Wisteria. It's a silk/camel blend, which is beautifully soft. I love the colour; it's the perfect shade for the pattern I was sent on Ravelry, the Cwtch Shawl.

I haven't tried out the bath in our new house yet, so I might treat myself to a relaxing soak over the Jubilee weekend using one of these bath foams.

I was intrigued as to what was inside this pretty little notebook, and pleasantly surprised to discover it contains a reference guide for knitters.

Each card details a different technique or stitch, and will come in really handy as it's small enough to slip inside my knitting bag and carry with me.

I also received this beautiful tatted mat, which will look great on the round antique coffee table I have.

What a great parcel for a first time swapper! I hope she likes what I've sent her as much as I like what I have received.
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