Sunday, 30 September 2012

Year of Projects Update - 30th September

I've been a bit quiet of late, busy times in work (I seem to keep saying this!) and not much time at home this last couple of weeks! However, I have been making steady progress on a couple of my YoP WIPs.

This week I'm going to talk about Momijigari. I cast on last week in a frenzy of new project starts, after deciding the time was right to get out my second skein of Wollmeise and get knitting.

It's such a bright, sunny colour which is perfect for cheering me up now the nights are drawing in and the weather becomes more autumnal.

The pattern is well written, and easy to follow (although, my inner geekiness comes to the fore again, as I've been using a spreadsheet to count my rows and keep track of the simple four row pattern). The main triangle of the shawl is knit end to end; it took me a couple of goes to get the hang of doing yarn overs at the start of the row, but the speed at which I got through the first twenty or so rows was very encouraging!

I love how the colours have pooled, although they did go a bit funny in the middle section with the longest rows. You can see in the photo above the triangular shape beginning to develop, with yarn overs on the left edge ready for picking up the stitches for the lacy border. I came a little unstuck towards the end of the decrease section, when I realised I'd lost track of where I was and had missed an increase about twenty rows back. Nothing for it but to rip back, pick up my stitches and start those twenty rows again!

Picking up the stitches through the yarn overs was really easy, and I very quickly got all 199 stitches on the needle. Not having read ahead in the pattern in any great detail, I got a bit of a shock when I realised row one of the border had me increasing to 333 stitches! I have to admit I was a little concerned about how long it was going to take me to knit the remaining 19 rows, but then I discovered that the lace section is all garter stitch as well! No never ending purl rows! I can't imagine it will take me all that long to finish.

Going by my track record though (I'm looking at you, Cwtch Shawl) I will get halfway through the border then get bored and start something else instead!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Not quite a ta-da

I am so, so close to being able to show off my sofa bed afghan. After running out of yarn and therefore running out of time to get it finished ahead of a family visit last weekend, I was determined to get it done as soon as the new yarn arrived.

I crocheted like a demon, and sure enough, two days ago, I finished the epic trial that was joining all of those blocks together.

As you can see from the bottom right pic, I opted for a plain dc border in the grey. That, I finished yesterday. It is huge. Seriously huge. And I utterly failed on the weaving in the ends as I went, managing only the first section before I got too drawn into the crocheting to bother. So now I have a bazillion ends to weave in.

I've laid it out on the bed to get an idea of how it will look, and it looks amazing. But I'm not sharing it until it's properly finished. Which hopefully will give me an incentive to do so, as I really want to show it off!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

New distractions

After my mammoth spring clean of my WIPS, I found myself on the lookout for new projects to start! I know, the aim of sorting out the WIPs was to encourage me to start working on them again, but the joy of finishing my socks meant I wanted to cast on all the things again.

I ran down my YoP list, and settled on Momijigari. I so enjoyed working with the Wollmeise I used for Hypernova that I've been itching to start knitting with my other skein.

I haven't got very far yet, because it was a little confusing at first. I've got the hang of the pattern now, but I do still need to knit this with my laptop by my side, to keep track of the row count and pattern.

Because of that, I found myself needing a more portable project to take with me to roleplay night on Tuesday! Again, I scanned down the list, and settled on the Koolhaas hat.

This gave me the opportunity to finally start knitting with my gorgeous Candy Skein yarn! I wound it by hand, as I didn't have time to wind it using my swift and ball winder before I left. I've done the ribbing, but before I start on the patterned section I am revisiting the sizing of the hat, as it seems rather small. I need to read through the pattern in more detail and understand the decreases and how they work in pattern, to ensure that if I increase the size, I don't screw it up!

I'll save my raving about the yarn for a proper review, because Tami's yarn deserves more attention than just a footnote on this post.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Spring cleaning my WIPs

I had a bit of a tidy up yesterday, after realising my WIP list was getting out of hand. There were WIPs on my Ravelry page that hadn't seen any progress in months!

Granny Square Blanket

First to go was this blanket. What originally started as a grand plan to increase the size of a small granny square blanket I bought for the cat years ago lasted long enough to add ten rounds, before I got bored and put it aside. I left it as a WIP as I always intended to go back to it and keep adding rows, but as I've been getting lots of use out of it at its current size, I decided to give up, call it finished and move on. I still haven't woven in the ends, but meh, it's not the end of the world.


Next to face the axe was this dishcloth; I started it in January (!) and it's been sat in the above state for about six months now. I'd even stolen the needle to work on something else, and left it on a different needle to hold the live stitches. I had no inclination to return to it, and needed the placeholder needle for another project, so this has been frogged. I do still want to knit this dishcloth at some point, so I will return to the pattern again, but not for a little while.

Two more WIPs have been reclassified as hibernating, as they haven't been touched in months either.

Cherry Wrap
Cherry Wrap just needs blocking and seaming. I am hopeful that after a big house clean in anticipation of family visiting this weekend, the living room will still be clean and tidy enough for me to tackle it the weekend after. Part of the reason for stalling on this now, though, is because I'm really unsure if I'll like the finished project!

Poncho resurrection

The sheer volume of ends requiring weaving in on my poncho motifs has led to this project lying forlornly in its bag down the side of the sofa since March. As I have so many ends to weave in on the Sofa Bed Afghan,  it may be a while before I feel up to this, so this one is also now officially in time out.


I got frustrated with the picking up of stitches for the border, so this one has also been sadly neglected. As the weather is starting to turn, I am keen to get this one finished so I can start wearing it to work. I've relocated it from hiding in the WIP basket to staring me in the face from the WIP shelf, so hopefully I will find the enthusiasm to deal with it soon. The silly thing is, once the stitches have been picked up it will be the work of a couple of evenings to knit the border, and then it will be finished.

Cwtch Shawl
I am so close to finishing this. The trouble is, it requires a lot of concentration, as I'm in the border, so taking it anywhere is a no go. I've put it on the shelf next to Eleonora, in the hope that I will be guilted into finishing it soon.

Sofa Bed Afghan
Finally, the Sofa Bed Afghan. This was having a brief pause while I waited to get more yarn. I couldn't get it in Hobbycraft, so I had to order online which meant waiting for a few more days. The yarn has arrived now, so I can get cracking again and get this finished. I'd like to get it done by Friday, as I want it finished and on the spare bed when my visitors arrive! I'm not sure that will be achievable though, as I have now been distracted by some new projects, which I'll tell you about tomorrow...

Monday, 17 September 2012

Snappy Happy Monday

We had an office sports day last week, complete with egg and spoon
race, three legged race and welly throwing!

Comparing my sleep patterns

Ends from the sofa bed afghan

Most pathetic cat in the world


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Year of Projects Update - 16th September

Woohoo! Another finish from the list! I've deliberately held off posting until this evening just so I could slip this one in this week.

Pattern: Socks 101 from Knitty
Yarn: King Cole Zig Zag (just over half a ball)
Needles: 2.5mm DPNs

So this is the first pair of socks I've knit. I used the tutorial from Knitty as I wanted to understand how socks worked, without the complication of a pattern on top of things. So plain vanilla socks, knit top down with very simple instructions seemed to be the way forward.

You'd think as it's the end of summer, my legs would be less pale!

I didn't line up my stripes because I couldn't be bothered. I don't mind that they are slightly mismatched! The pattern's not brilliant, although I do feel like I could tackle something more complicated now. I'm actually interested enough to go out and find a different way of doing the heel and the toe as I am not 100% comfortable with the look and feel of the ones on this pair. I think I might try toe up next time, as the socks I crocheted were done toe up and the toes are much less.. pointy than these.

Oh, and I'm sure you're wondering about the project name... one of my friends who mainly crochets once tried to knit a pair of socks, and failed admirably. She is now adamant that it is impossible to knit socks, and that knitters who produce finished pairs have clearly stolen a mostly completed pair of socks from a nearby squirrel, who has done all of the hard work. As I have two resident squirrels in my garden, I will quite happily concede to finding this pair mostly done on the lawn!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

An unexpected halt to progress

I've been motoring through the join-as-you-go part of my sofa bed afghan. At first, I did really well with weaving in the ends as I went, and the whole first panel was completed and neatly sewn in all in one evening.

Forgive the mess and the bad light, it was quite late
The seam you get with joining as you go is very neat. Rather than sewing the entire edge of the squares together, you just crochet the spaces between the dc clusters. The only really tricky part is making sure the corners of each square still look like corners!

Here's a close up of the joining. All of the black edges to these four squares have been added when joining. You can't tell the difference!

Here, I'm joining a big square to a little square. The little square (on the left) has already had it's black final round added; as I crochet the final round onto the big square (on the right), I'm replacing my chain space with a slip stitch into the chain space of the square it's joining. So simple!

This is as far as I've got, laid out on the bed it will live on to give an idea of how it will look when finished. I'm sure the eagle eyed among you will have noticed that my nightmare has come true.. I've run out of yarn! I still have the rest of this panel, and the fifth and final panel to go, plus the border.

The trouble is, this yarn only comes in 400g balls, so I am going to have loads left over. I'm hoping they have it in Hobbycraft as I will be popping in there tomorrow to buy wedding related things; otherwise I'm going to have to justify more yarn purchases as when I order from Deramores, it always seems silly to pay for postage when you could just get more yarn and have free postage. I do need more Marble Chunky for my replacement Crochet Lacy Wrap....

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

And so it begins...

Last night I completed the final square for the sofa bed afghan! Now all that remains is to join them all together. I purposefully left off the final round on each square, so I could join-as-you-go with the final round once all of the squares were completed. I figured this would be easier than sewing or crocheting them all together afterwards, plus leave a neater seam between each block. One quiet evening a few weeks ago, when I had the house to myself, I sat down with a spreadsheet and figured out how to do it.

Starting at the top right corner (meaning a large square was the final square to be completed) I will crochet the final round following the arrows on the diagram. Each time I pick up a new square to add, I will weave in the ends so that I don't have a mammoth task of end weaving waiting for me when I finish. This is slowing down the process somewhat, but I think it's the best option.

So far I have joined two squares! I am hoping there is enough yarn left in the charcoal ball to do all of the join-as-you-go; I have plenty left of the brown, cream and purple so if I don't have enough charcoal left for the border, I will do it in those instead.

In case you were wondering, the numbers around the outside of the join-as-you-go diagram were me trying to count how many stitches I would have on each edge, so I could figure out which border patterns would work!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Year of Projects Update 9th September

I had hoped to be using today's post to celebrate the completion of my first pair of knit socks. However, circumstances have been against me in the last couple of days, so they currently look like this:

I've got to the end of the gusset decreases, so only have the foot and toe to go and sock two will be done. Unfortunately, I can't see myself getting anything done on these in the next few days, as I managed to sprain my wrist again while out on a work do on Friday evening, so working with such small needles is currently impossible.

Moral of this story - don't attempt to do
gymnastics while drunk!

I have been able to crochet though, so have been working on the sofa bed afghan (not technically a YoP WIP).

The pile of squares is growing steadily; just 13 left to make now and I can start joining them. My plan is to weave in the ends of each square as it gets joined.

I might have got a lot more of it done today, but I have spent the last six hours doing nothing but wedding prep! I spent three hours designing the invitation cards, before getting the go ahead from Jamie to order them from Vistaprint. Then I spent another couple of hours designing all of the inserts to go in the cards, like venue directions, menu choices and RSVP cards.

Adobe Illustrator has been indispensable today
I ended my marathon of wedding planning by booking our honeymoon. We are heading to America, spending four nights in San Fransisco before transferring to Las Vegas for five nights. I am so excited about it! Any recommendations from all you local Americans for things to do/places to eat would be very welcome. In particular, I'm keen to get recommendations for restaurants in San Fransisco, as we will be celebrating my birthday while we are out there.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Expanding my nest

Some of you might remember my grand schemes to keep my knitting stash retained within one bookcase. This bookcase, to be precise:

The trouble is, now we've been living here for a couple of months, we've come to realise that although this bookcase is excellent for storing the yarn I'm not using right now, it's not very handy for keeping works in progress in, or easily accessing my needles/stitch markers etc. I started to spread across the rest of the room.

First up came the liberation of a basket to store my WIPs in. It was meant to sit underneath the nesting coffee tables, but very quickly moved to the other side of the room next to the TV as it was easier to get into there. But it was soon full, as the sofa bed afghan takes up a lot of room! I spread to the coffee table next to the sofa (you can just see it in the photo above, with the very sad looking pot plant sitting on top), and the main coffee table in the middle of the living room. 

I know, the peace lily has seen better days. If we can't rescue it a fourth time
we will have to throw it out and get a new plant for this room
We were tidying up on Sunday, and my wonderful almost husband turned to me and said "you know, what you could really do with is a set of drawers or shelves or something to go in that space, so you can put all your knitting stuff there instead of spreading over the tables". Within five minutes I had gone online, reserved a matching bookcase and left the house to go pick it up.

As this is the ninth bookcase of this variety that we have bought, I am quite adept at putting them together so had it built within ten minutes of getting it home.

For now I have just filled it with the things that were there on and under the table before I moved it. When I get a chance, I will go through the taller shelves and rescue all of my needles etc and find a space for them on here too. I may even make a needle storage device that will hang down the side, so my needles and hooks are really accessible. Another side effect, thanks to this set of shelves not being so deep as the coffee table, is that now you can actually sit on both sides of this sofa and have somewhere to put your feet!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

WIP: Sofa bed afghan

I did mean to post this earlier on today, but utterly failed to take photos last night. I've been making solid progress on my sofa bed afghan this week; an evenings work generates at least four of the small squares, or one big one. Last night I was surprisingly productive, making one big square and two little ones.

I've got so many squares now, it's difficult to find the space to lay them out and take photographs! I'm nearly 70% of the way through now, so I've got 52 squares in total with only 23 left to make (5 big, 18 little). It occurred to me today that the one space I do have where I could lay them out to see how far I've got is on the spare bed where the afghan will eventually live.

Handily, this serves multiple purposes. First, look at all those squares! There's loads of them! Second, see how well the colours I've chosen matches the delightful brown colour scheme of our spare room. Third, it gave me the chance to check that the size I'd planned is actually big enough for the bed itself.

Here is my plan, handily colour coded to reflect the layout on the bed. I think it will be exactly the right size once I'm done, as there's an extra round of black to go on every square which will make them all about two inches bigger, plus a border round (yet to be decided exactly what border I will use, as I don't think I like the one that comes with the pattern).

I'm starting to get very excited about finishing this now. I reckon I could have the squares done in a week if I really focus on this and nothing else, although I will be taking my sock to roleplay night tonight as it is far more portable.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Giveaway Winners!!!

A couple of weeks ago I posted up a giveaway to celebrate a few blogging milestones. The closing date has come and gone, and I can now reveal the winners! There were two prizes up for grabs: a skein of Zauberball sock yarn and two skeins of Knit Picks Shadow Tonal lace.

Using my Capucine hat for the draw

First up, the draw for the Zauberball...

Congratulations Renee!

Prize number two, the Knit Picks Shadow Tonal Lace...

Congratulations Emma!

I will be in touch with both winners via Ravelry. I think it's kind of cool that the European yarn will be winging its way across the pond to America, while the American yarn will be staying here in the UK.

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Snappy Happy Monday

Amazing door I found in Gerrards Cross

G&Ts round the fire on Wednesday night last week

Bigger fire on Monday night

Going to bed as it started to get light.

Perfect Friday night, curled up in a duvet on the sofa
with my knitting and Mr Fidget cuddles

Almost ripe apples

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