Sunday, 30 December 2012

Year of Projects Update 30th December

It's the last YoP Update for 2012! We are officially half way through our second year. I'm quite excited today, as I've taken advantage of all this free time I've had over Christmas to whizz through my outstanding projects, and have managed to get two of my long standing WiPs off the needles. Now I have three YoP Projects waiting for blocking!

The one that's been in the pile for a while is the Cwtch Shawl. I cast this one off at the end of October.

I'm a little concerned my bind off is too tight, which is one of the reasons I haven't blocked it yet.

Next up is Eleonora. This shrug was carried forward form my first YoP list. It's been sat neglected for months because I got fed up halfway through picking up all the stitches for the border. During the weekend before Christmas I finally decided to get on with it, and whizzed through the border really quickly. It's a little tight-fitting at the moment, particularly on my upper arms, so I'm hoping it will stretch out a touch when I block it.

Finally, Peerie Flooers is off the needles. I haven't woven in all my ends yet as you can see! It's quite snug on my head at the moment, I'm hoping after a soak it will relax and fit a little more comfortably. Otherwise, I shall have to find someone with a smaller head than me, that I like enough to give them this labour of love!

Now my 3mm needles are free, I can get started on the Ishbel beret from this year's list. Although I can't decide right now if I want to cast on something new, or continue my drive to clear out the rest of my WiPs and finish Momijigari...

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Of Christmas and presents...

I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas! I really enjoyed my two days off work, chilling out at home with Jamie doing nothing but eating, drinking, knitting and gaming. None of that frantic travelling around the country visiting relatives for us! I got so much done, finishing one long standing WIP (details on Sunday....) and making solid progress on another. We also completed Halo...

Christmas wouldn't be complete without presents though, and a very thoughtful Santa got me the perfect knitter's gifts this year:

First up, this fabulous set of weighing scales for the sole purpose of weighing yarn! Jamie had got fed up of me constantly stealing the scales from the kitchen, so decided I needed my own set just for yarn. The scales fit neatly inside the bowl, so it doesn't take up too much space on my shelves either.

My other knitterly gift was this book of nerdy knitting patterns, inspired by various genre films and TV series. Some of the patterns are a little odd, but on my first flick through I found I actually wanted to knit quite a few of them. Here are some of my faves so far:

Trek Girl Dress (inspired of course by Star Trek)
Horrible Gloves (inspired by Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog)
Aim to Misbehave Jacket (inspired by Firefly)
Light of Earendil shrug (inspired by Lord of the Rings)
Mystique (inspired by the X-Men character, apparently)
Big Bang Girl's Sweater vest (inspired by the Big Bang Theory)

I will also of course be knitting myself a Space Princess hat, althoguh I haven't decided which of Leia's hairstyles I will be mimicking with mine. I suspect I will opt for the danish pastry buns.

Given that I will need to buy new yarn for most of these projects, I doubt you'll be seeing many of them come to life on the blog any time soon. Although I am currently eyeing up my purple Fyberspates lace yarn for the Light of Earendil shrug, which is on my Year of Projects lists, so you never know. It might make an appearance soon!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas folks!

Christmas is finally upon us! It's been a strange build up this year, as work has been crazily busy (and with month end week falling in the same week as Christmas, unfortunately while the rest of you are all enjoying Christmas Eve with your loved ones, I am in work today!). I kept forgetting that Christmas was coming!

Over the last week or so, all of my knitting and crochet projects have been put on hold, in a race to finish my Christmas stockings in time for December 24th. I am very pleased to say that I made it!

Cool Stocking

Star Stocking

Both are patterns by the fabulous Mimi Hill. I have mainly used Patons Diploma Gold DK, although for the Star Stocking there is also a James C Brett Top Value DK and an Adrafil Regina in there as I couldn't get all the colours I wanted in the Patons. I am so pleased with how they have turned out, as my first major colourwork project to be finished. They're not as neat as Mimi's, but they'll certainly do the job this evening!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Year of Projects Update 12th December

I've been quiet this week, you may have noticed. Christmas does funny things to a routine! The combination of Christmas parties, shopping and preparation has left me little time to blog.

I've not been neglecting my crafts, however. Given that I started out this holiday season determined not to make anything, I think I'm doing pretty well. So far, all I've committed to is knitting two giant colourwork Christmas stockings for the house, some mini ornaments for work Christmas presents and a birthday hat and gloves set for a colleague!

Things are going well with the giant stockings (one finished, one about a third done) but as they are not technically YoP projects I won't share my progress today.

Remember this yarn? It, and it's green cousin, are in my list of stash yarns to use up this year. I have two balls of red, and just over a ball of green (remaining from my leafy fingerless mitts). Red and green are perfect Christmas colours, so when I found myself in need of a Secret Santa present, I decided to dig it out and have a go at knitting some mini Christmas ornaments for my colleage.

The pattern I have used is Mini Christmas Stocking Ornaments by Little Cotton Rabbits. Each stocking is knit flat, then seamed. I chose to use the zig zag chart from the pattern for my first sock, and stripes for the second. (You can tell I'm really falling in love with colourwork, can't you!). I will package these up with some chocolates or something (we only have a £5 limit - accountants are all cheapskates).

Emboldened by my success with the tiny stockings, I went in search of other mini knits for the tree. I found the world of tiny sweaters! I knew I had to make one, but as Jamie had already declared "I'm not having my tree turn into a washing line!" I had to find someone to give it to. Salvation came when I remembered a chance remark from one of my friends in work the other week, as he saw me teaching another of my colleagues how to crochet.

"Could you knit me a onesie?" he asked. I wasn't sure if he was joking or not. I told him in no uncertain terms that asking me to knit him an adult size onesie for Christmas, with just two weeks to go, was not going to happen. He seemed disappointed!

I used the pattern Noel Knit Sweater Ornaments from the Red Heart website. Rather than follow their instructions for patterns (the samples use a multi-coloured yarn that self stripes, as I only had solid colours I needed a colourwork pattern) I figured out a chart to put red zigzagged stripes across the jumper. It was a little fiddly, but I think it came out alright in the end (even if my increases ended up a bit wonky on the sleeves).

I wrapped it up with a note that read: Not quite the "onesie" you wanted, but all I could manage in the time I had... I took the opportunity while he was away from his desk to leave it on his keyboard, imploring my colleage sat next to his desk not to tell him it was from me until he opened it, and only then if he couldn't figure it out for himself. I needn't have worried, as soon as he opened it he laughed and asked her if I'd left it there. He very much appreciated the joke, and said he would take it home to hang on his children's Christmas tree.

He also agreed that I needed more advance warning for a commission of that sort. I don't think I will be knitting him an adult sized onesie at all, but at least he has proved himself knitworthy should the need to give him a present arise again!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Year of Projects update 9th December

I've not really made much reportable progress on my current YoP projects, but what I have been doing is picking out patterns for the rest of the yarn on my list! I've been wearing my Phannie hat a lot recently, and have decided I need more hats in a similar style.

My gorgeous pink Knit Picks Capretta is now waiting to become an Ishbel beret and an Ishbel shawl. I was given a copy of Whimsical Little Knits by Ysolda Teague ages ago and have been meaning to make Ishbel ever since. I think I have enough yarn to make both, although the shawl will be more of a shawlette. I'm going to knit the beret first, then knit the shawl until I run out of yarn.

This colourful Skein Queen Squash is destined to become a Crest of the Wave Baktus, as I think the pattern will suit the crazy colouring of this yarn.

Finally, the Artesano 100% Alpaca will be perfect for two of the three Old Maiden Aunt: At Midnight club patterns. They are not currently available to purchase as individual patterns, but should be in the new year. I think I have enough of this yarn to make Baskerville and Baker Street. Depending on how they go, I may get more of the yarn and make the third pattern, Serpentine Avenue as well.

There are still other yarns which need patterns choosing, but I think I've got enough to be getting on with! I have a few non-list Christmas projects to get through in the next couple of weeks, so I doubt I will get much done from the list between now and the end of December.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Christmas is coming...

December is here! We are getting scarily close to Christmas. I hope all of you who are knitting or crocheting gifts this year are merrily casting off and preparing to wrap everything up ready for December 25th!

I haven't done any Christmas crafting this year. I knew I'd struggle with finding the time to knit people gifts, because if there's one thing the Year of Projects has taught me, it's that once I have a list I will find any excuse to go off piste and work on something completely unrelated! The project I'm sharing today is a prime example of that...

I knew this year I wanted to learn stranded colourwork. I was very generously gifted the yarn and pattern to knit Peerie Flooers so it was almost top of my list for the second YoP. I finally got round to starting it a few weeks ago and quickly discovered that I love knitting stranded colourwork!

Unsurprising then, that when my needles for Peerie Flooers broke, I reached for my new delivery of Patons Diploma Gold and cast on for Eskimimi's Cool Stocking. What was I doing to myself! A pattern and yarn not included in my YoP list, so shouldn't even be on my radar right now. And not only is it one pattern, it's two, because I will also be making the Star Stocking. Both of which, of course, have to be finished before Christmas comes, because what would be the point in knitting them now if they weren't?

Casting on went smoothly, the cuff was nice and quick and before I knew it I was thick in the middle of all those lovely colours.

It is hard to tell in that photo, but I have been finding it harder to do the stranded knitting on dpns. My floats are a lot tighter than they are on Peerie Flooers, so I am going to have to do some serious blocking on this stocking to get it straightened out.

This was my nemesis. It took me three goes to get that toe right (mainly down to my ineptitude at reading the instructions!), but my main concern was the afterthought heel. I am Not A Sock Knitter so this was an alien concept for me. But I put my trust in Mimi and her pattern and just followed all the instructions to the letter (reading and re-reading several times in the case of the heel, so as not to repeat the toe fiasco).

I put a lifeline in the live heel stitches before unpicking my pink waste yarn. I didn't want to have to faff around with my dpns while risking losing the live stitches and having the whole thing unravel on me. It was really weird seeing the sock tube open up like this!

But I did successfully pick up the live stitches with my lifeline, and was able to easily get them back onto my needles. For ease of picking up stitches, I went back down to my 3mm dpns to capture them all, before knitting them back onto 3.5mm needles as I completed the first row of the heel.

Once this heel is finished, I will cast on straight away for stocking number two. It will have taken me about two weeks to get this first one knit, so I still have time (just) to get the second one finished and both of them blocked and finished off before Christmas Eve!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Snappy Happy Monday

We bought Portal 2 last week and have been playing through
the co-operative storyline. Has eaten into my knitting time!

My keys went missing for a week. I really thought I'd lost them,
until Jamie found them hidden in the lining of my handbag!

It became December! Which means I get to see my advent calendar again!
I'll be sharing what gets pulled out of the box each day on Instagram!

I don't normally put the decs up this early, but we are away next weekend.
I'm loving how much space we have for the tree in this house!
Keeping with the Christmas theme, I've been working on my
colourwork Christmas stocking this week.

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