Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Sad times

Remember this shawl? I made it last year as part of the first Year of Projects. I wasn't sure what I would do with it, until I realised it would be perfect to wear at LRP events as a scarf to keep my neck warm at night.

I took it with me to the event last weekend, but somehow, somewhere on the Sunday evening I lost it. I searched high and low once I'd realised it was gone, but didn't find it. Sad times.

Fortunately it won't take me long to replace it. It only took a few hours to crochet thanks to the chunky yarn and big hook. All I need to do is decide if I want to make it in the same colour, or choose a different colour just in case someone else has found it and it turns up in a pile of lost property next year.

I think I'd choose one of these five, if I did a different colour

Let me know which colour you think would be good. I've tried to look for colours that are relatively neutral and natural, so it doesn't look out of place in my kit. Also, you've got two days left to enter my giveaway, so please check it out if you haven't already!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The joys of blogging

Every now and again, I am reminded of what a fabulous community we have here in the crafting blogosphere. You are all such a lovely bunch of people and I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to get to know you all through the blogs we write.

Things like this...

...which I was awarded last week by Kepanie, and awarded again on Saturday by Emma over at Knit One, Stitch One, Save One?. Thank you for your lovely comments too!

The way we reach out to help each other is also great, whether it's more trivial "I'm stuck with this pattern" sort of help, or the kind, supportive comments we leave on posts which are about more difficult issues. There is something very sincere about it all, which is just wonderful.

My most recent experience of how fabulous this community can be comes from Kate over at Good Purl Gone Bad. Kate is one of the bloggers in the Year of Projects, and as part of that has crocheted a couple of amazing Babette blankets:

Photo copyright Kate Aston

When posting about her most recent one, she threw in a sentence at the end wondering what to do with all her leftovers, and would anyone fancy doing a swap for them. I immediately sent her a message to say "me! me! I'll take your leftovers" and over the last week we have been discussing exactly which yarn she wants in exchange.

The parcels winged their way through the postal system and I am now the happy owner of this gorgeous pile of cotton scraps:

I have diligently weighed them all and added them to my stash on Ravelry. In exchange for this fantastic rainbow of cotton, I sent Kate this gorgeous skein of Lornas Laces Shepherd Sock:

I can't wait to see what she does with it!

Don't forget, my giveaway is still open! Please go and check it out if you haven't already.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Snappy Happy Monday

Cwtch shawl border

Preparing the plums for the freezer

Some of the plums had unexpected extras hiding inside!

Yarn delivery!

Bush cricket invaded my house.

Saturday was the hottest day of the year so far.

We went to the park for a picnic and played with a frisbee.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Year of Projects Update 19th August

Just a quick update from me today, as I'm rather busy packing and preparing for a week in a field! I'm off to a LRP event on Wednesday, and won't be back until Tuesday, so there'll be no update from me next week.

I'm quite pleased to report that despite the hot weather, I've picked up the Cwtch Shawl again and am motoring through the border.

The bright sunlight makes it look purple. Don't be fooled.

It's really starting to be a bit of a squeeze on the needles, but I've not got many rows left before it's done so I shall cope.

It's hard to get a decent shot of the border because it's so scrunched up, but I had a go. I've got about five rows left to finish off the hearts, then seven more rows for the edging. I'm still loving the yarn; it slides across the needles so easily and the stitches look beautiful.

Don't forget to check out my celebratory giveaway!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Celebratory Giveaway!!!

Fireworks 29

I'm having a rather overdue celebration on the blog today. Before we get drawn into the giveaway details, I just wanted to give a quick shout out to Kepanie over at Knitspiring Odyssey, who was ever so kind to award me this yesterday:

Thank you so much for the recognition and for the lovely things you had to say about me and my blog! It really is very much appreciated.

Now, on to the giveaway! I've hit and passed several blogging milestones in the last couple of months, and threatened you all with a giveaway a couple of times. The most recent three milestones have been getting over 100 followers (I love you all!), writing over 300 posts and garnering over 30,000 pageviews. I even managed to catch this snapshot showing me hitting two out of the three back in May

On to the prizes then... up first is a brand spanking new ball of Zauberball sock yarn in a fabulous blue-black colourway.

For some reason my phone uploaded it sideways!

I had a bit of a tired brain moment, and managed to order myself a colour I already had! So rather than return it I thought I'd spread the love and offer it up for a prize!

Because I'm celebrating so many milestones, I thought more than one prize was in order. So here's prize number two!

Two skeins of Knit Picks Shadow Tonal laceweight yarn. I originally bought this yarn way back at the start of the first Year of Projects, but after struggling to knit my Easy Lace Stole out of it all year, I finally bit the bullet and frogged the project. The yarn was soaked and reskeined, albeit in two separate hanks. So now it looks like this:

Colour far more accurate in the first photo
So it's one whole, untouched skein (50g) and two half-skeins (approx 25g each).

Now for the rules.

I am going to run two separate draws, one for each yarn. So there'll be two winners. I will leave the contest open until the 30th August 2012, and will post the winners on Friday 31st August. Any comments left as entries after midnight (GMT) on 30th August will not be counted.

I am willing to post internationally, so anyone can enter. I know quite a few of my readers live on the other side of the pond and I don't want to leave you guys out!

To enter, please leave a comment stating which yarn you would like to win (feel free to enter both draws!), where in the world you are (no need to be more specific than country) and how I can contact you should you win (e.g. rav name or blog address).

Good luck!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Snappy Happy Monday

I missed out last week, so here's two weeks worth of photos!

awesome clouds over the house

my family

amazing tree outside the Registry office where
we gave notice to marry this week

Caught him in a playful mood

homemade lamb burgers with mint and rosemary from the garden

trying to play Jenga in the pub with empty Jagermeister shots

this poor bird crashed into the upstairs window and almost
knocked himself out! we kept him safe till he recovered

the apples on the tree are almost ready

the plums, however, are ripe and ready to become jam!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Year of Projects update 12th August

Woo! Another finish! I'm off to a great start this year. This has to be one of my quickest knits as well, because this time last week I'd only just added it to the list and ordered the yarn!

I started it on Tuesday, as soon as the yarn arrived. I had a few issues initially, mainly down to tiredness and not reading the pattern correctly, but once I'd got myself straightened out it flew off the needles!

I love that something can look so complicated and yet be so simple to actually knit. Because you're only ever worrying about six stitches at a time, you really don't notice how quickly it grows. By the time I hit the green I didn't even need to reference the pattern any more either.

Forgive my unwashed hair, I had just finished mowing the lawn

I love that the colour change from greens to pinks happens right in the middle.

It used up just under half the ball as well, so I could make another one if I wanted! The beauty being, a second one would be completely different to the first because of the colour changes in the yarn. I might have a look for other patterns I could use it for first though, and fall back on a second one if I can't find anything else I like.

Pattern: Quant by Star Athena
Yarn: James C Brett Monsoon in shade S7
Needles: 5mm dpns and straights

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Adventures in Entrelac

As I mentioned on Sunday, I ordered yarn for a new Year of Projects project last week. Well, it arrived yesterday and I was so excited I simply had to cast on straight away.

The yarn is James C Brett Monsoon in a gorgeous purple/green/pink colourway. The pattern is Quant by Star Athena (free at here). I knew the pattern would involve a new technique for me to learn, having not knit entrelac before, but even before I reached the start of the entrelac section I was learning a different new technique - I-cord!

It's surprisingly simple and effective, and it was quick to grow. I was soon into the headscarf proper.

Unfortunately I hit a bit of a stumbling block when I reached the entrelac section. I managed to make the first base triangles ok (although, I do have a question - if a pattern says to slip a stitch but doesn't specify knitwise or purlwise, what should I do?) but had a bit of a brain fail when I got to the next section, and misread the directions for forming the first diamond. I had to rip back.

Lessons learned so far - James C Brett Monsoon does not frog easily! I was going to frog back to the start of the entrelac, but was having such a bad time unravelling my stitches, that I took it all the way back to the I-cord to start again!

It's far too complicated to take to roleplay night, so it's having some quiet time until tomorrow evening, when I'll be able to concentrate properly on it and get the hang of this entrelac thing.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Year of Projects update 5th August

Just a quick one from me today, as I've worked exclusively on non-YoP projects this week! What I have done though is add a project to my list.

Quant by Star Athena

I've been wanting to knit this for a while now, ever since I included it as a pattern in a swap parcel, along with the Crystal Palace Taos yarn recommended. Seeing another entrelac project over at Stitched Together this week reminded me that I had this pattern in my queue, and the need to order more yarn for my sofa bed afghan led to me searching through the Deramores site for a suitable yarn for this pattern, as I was only a pound short of the free postage!

I've decided to go for James C Brett Monsoon, as it knits up beautifully in entrelac, as demonstrated by these projects on Ravelry. I've chosen shade 7, which apparently looks like this:

Photo stolen from the Deramores website

We shall see how accurate that is when the yarn arrives in the next few days!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Quick sewing fix

After a week of feeling particularly rubbish, it was decided I should own a hot water bottle. Jamie picked one up in town, but couldn't find any covers. I had already searched the Ravelry pattern database and found the perfect pattern that I now desperately want to knit:

Hot Water Platypus by brella

However, I don't have the right yarn in my stash, so if I wanted to use my hot water bottle straight away, I needed an instant solution.

A quick search online located these instructions for sewing a cover and a hunt around the house unearthed an old black fleece scarf that I was going to throw away.

I found a spare sheet of paper to make my pattern, and chopped up my scarf into three handy hot water bottle shaped pieces.

It would have been super quick if I'd got my machine out, but as I was lazing on the sofa watching TV I decided to hand sew the whole thing.

It didn't take that much longer, but I was slowed down massively by my decision to decorate the front of the cover with the fringe from the end of the scarf.

I have to say, I am amazed I haven't owned a hot water bottle until now. It's brilliant! It will be great for taking camping too, especially when I'm in the tent on my own. The fleece cover will be perfect for that, which means once I've knit my platypus I can keep that for home use only.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

WIP Wednesday and Yarn Along

I've been making solid progress on the sofa bed afghan this week. I finished the first third of the blanket, and laid the pieces out on the lawn to check the size.

The gaps between the squares are estimating the width of the
join-as-you-go final round of grey on each square

Lengthwise I think it will be ok; there will be four more rows of squares giving six in total. Widthwise however, I measured it up and don't think it will be wide enough with just four columns, so I have amended my plan and added a further column to one side:

Yellow are the squares I have completed so far

This does mean overall progress has slipped back again, from 33% complete back to 27%. But it is worth it to have a blanket that will be fit for purpose!

I think I will also add a border around the whole thing once I've joined everything together, which will add a few inches to the overall size. I will have to figure out a stitch pattern to use for the border, but before I do that I will have to calculate how many stitches I have on each side.

It's been a while since I linked up with Ginny's Yarn Along, because I haven't been reading lately. I found some time in work last week to pick up my kindle and start reading again, and read my way through Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I'd never read it before, although I have seen several film adaptations of the story (Tim Burton's being the most recent). It was an enjoyable read, but it only took me a couple of hours! I have started a much longer book now, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Still on my free classics kick! I recently watched the BBC adaptation, so I can vaguely recall the story but not enough to spoil the reading of it. I haven't got very far yet, and imagine it will take me a little while to get through it as I find Dickens quite hard going at times.
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