Sunday, 29 December 2013

Year of Projects 3: December 29th Update

So here we are, the end of December. Officially halfway through the challenge! I have to say, if I hadn't done a big push over the last few weeks to finish things off, I'd have a lot less finishes to look back on than I do.

Clockwise from top left: Castro, Wingspan, Anna's blanket, Esiotrot
Dan's blanket, Flash of Light, $5 in San Fransisco, Dinosaur

Eight finishes from the list so far this year, which isn't bad going considering how busy I've been. I am also oh so very close to finishing the Obnoxious Socks - I am one cuff away! Am hoping to get that done today and then that's one more finish off the list before the end of 2013. Kayleigh's blanket is also not too far away from being done.

But how does this stack up against the list? Lets have a look.

Existing WIPs

I had a few existing WIPs I wanted to concentrate on this year and get finished. Starlight is still languishing in the depths of my shelves, yet to see the light of day since I last put it down almost a year ago. I just really struggle to find the enthusiasm to knit this. I know the finished shrug will be beautiful. But its beads, and laceweight. I'm just not a fan of laceweight knitting. Peerie Flooers is still waiting to have its ends woven in. I'm just not a fan of doing that either. The socks were the only other carried forward knit, and they are almost done, so at least we have some movement in this category!

Projects carried forward from previous year

These were items I had on my list in year 2, that I still really wanted to knit in year 3. Ishbel is still waiting to be started, although as I don't currently have a shawl on my needles right now, it is looking pretty likely it will be my next cast on. $5 in Paris is done, of course.

The rest of my list

The rest of my list was yarn in my stash that I wanted to use, but hadn't necessarily matched to a pattern. The Cascade Ultra Pima Paints has been turned into a hat, with half the skein remaining for some matching mitts. I may seek out some plain black yarn to pair the remainder with, to make proper mitts instead of half mitts.

The kitchen cotton hasn't really been touched yet, but I am tempted to use this as the antidote to the endless lace-and-beads of Starlight when I get round to knitting that again.

I had earmarked four skeins of fingering weight that was crying out to be turned into shawls. Two of the four have been completed (Wingspan and Flash of Light above), and I have chosen a pattern for definitely one of the remaining two (the Tosh Merino Light I bought in San Fransisco) and I am still debating my pattern choice for the Zauberball.

The socks I haven't started anything yet, mainly because I only want to work on one pair of socks at a time and until the Obnoxious Socks are done, I won't start anything new.

Baby things I think is where I am making the most progress! Two baby blankets done, one almost done, plus a couple of cuddly Christmas presents, means I have done a fair few projects in this category so far this year.

Game of Thrones Blanket

Don't ask me about this! I ordered yarn, I sorted out my charts, but I haven't actually started making it yet. Maybe I will get round to that soon!

Of course, not having a defined list of projects makes it hard to estimate how far through my list I am in percentage terms, but we are halfway through the year and I feel like I'm about halfway through the list, which is ok by me.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a super day yesterday. Christmas in our house was a little subdued this year, as I have been dying of a horrendous 'flu type lurgy and have not really been in the mood. Christmas Eve was perhaps the worst day for it; I went into work but had to come home at lunchtime as I'd reached the point of being so ill that I was just bursting into tears in meeting rooms. I spent the next 12 hours curled up in a duvet on the sofa with my husband and the cat.

I did feel a little better on Christmas Day itself; well enough to cook and eat an amazing roast dinner, although I did spend a fair amount of time wrapped up my duvet watching Doctor Who (I bought Jamie the box set of all the Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant series). The real sign I was feeling better was that in the afternoon, I felt well enough to pick up my knitting again, and finished off a hat I started at the weekend, before I started to feel ill.

The pattern is Odessa and the yarn is Cascade Ultra Pima Paints, which I picked up at Imagiknit in San Fransisco when we were there on our honeymoon. It used less than half the skein, so at some point I may whip up some matching wristwarmers. I just love the way the colours have striped, and spiral around the hat, reflecting the spiralling stitch pattern.

I also love the way the striping changed when I hit the crown decreases.

Santa didn't forget about my hobbies though, there were two pattern books hidden in the Christmas tree for me this year.

Knitted Cats & Kittens was from my husband, chosen because of this pattern which reminded him of our very own Mr Fidget. Knit your own Zoo was a gift from friends, the parents of the lucky youngster who we gave the dinosaur to. There are some truly awesome patterns in it, including a giant anteater and meerkats.

I can't start anything new now though, I really need to crack on and finish all my WIPs!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Year of Projects 3: 22nd December update

So here we are, just a few days before Christmas, and a week away from the halfway point of our challenge! This year seems to be flying by, and after several months of not actually finishing anything, I've had a lot of FOs to share over the last couple of weeks. I shared pics of my finished Wingspan on Friday, which leaves only one more FO to share before I've completely caught up. I'm particularly pleased with this one.

It's my finished Dragonfly Wings shawl, which I started back in June as part of Craft from the Cwtch's Summer KAL. It came off the needles in September, but only found its way onto the blocking boards in recent weeks.

The yarn is A Stash Addict Dark Arts Sparkle in the colourway Night Caller. It has a wonderful subtle sparkle thanks to the metallic thread running through the skein, and I just loved the colour combination of purple and grey-ish black. It really does remind me of a dragonfly's wings.

It only used up 60 grams of the skein as well, so I still have 40g left to knit something else! Not sure what yet, but I will try and think of something suitably matchy-matchy for the shawl.

Friday, 20 December 2013

FO: Wingspan

I finished the knitting on this shawl ages ago. Three months ago, in fact. I didn't get around to blocking it at the time as I was deep in frantic last minute cramming for my exam. Once the exam was done and dusted, I found all manner of excuses for why I hadn't blocked it yet. However, after tidying the house in preparation for Christmas, I didn't really have any more excuses!

The yarn is Jawoll Magic Degrade in the excitingly named colourway 85.0017, which I picked up at Unravel at the start of the year. It is so very similar to Zauberball! I did enjoy the process of knitting this shawl, but I have to say, I am not overly enamoured of the finished project.

I don't know if it's the shape of the finished shawl, or if it's the colours of the yarn and the way they have striped, or the fact that the yarn is a little scratchy for my tastes... or if there isn't actually a sensible reason for why I don't particularly love it. 

It seemed a shame for it to sit unused on my shelves, when it could be being worn and loved by someone who will appreciate it more than I do. So it found its way into my pile of homemade Christmas gifts and with any luck, the person I've chosen to give it to will really love it and wear it a lot.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Year of Projects 3: 16th December update

Phew, it's been another busy few weeks. I was away at a LRP event last weekend, and have been ill for most of the week, so not much has been going on worth posting about! But I've got over whatever virus it was that we had, and with Christmas fast approaching, I've gone into overdrive.

I have since put all my amigurumi in the tree, something which is
fast becoming a Christmas tradition in the Jones household

All of the decorations are up, with the exception of the Christmas Stockings as I can't figure out a way to hang them from the fireplace without destroying the mantlepiece. We did an epic Christmas present shopping trip on Sunday, and I spent most of the afternoon and evening wrapping presents and writing Christmas cards.

I haven't made many of our Christmas gifts, mainly because knitting to deadlines is something that really drives me up the wall. However, that said, in the end there are five handmade gifts winging their way to friends and family this year. Two of them were still unfinished when I started wrapping presents yesterday!

This is Esiotrot. The knitting on this tortoise was done months ago. But it was so much sewing! There is a reason I prefer crocheting for toys, as generally speaking there is a lot less faff. All of the limbs, head and tail were knit flat, and had to be sewn up. I was so fed up by the time I was done, but the end result is incredibly cute. I hope its new owner (or at least, her parents, as she is still too young to really appreciate it) loves it as much as I do.

This fantastic little dinosaur was definitely worth the hassle. While I did reach a point yesterday evening when I was about ready to throw it across the room in frustration as I sewed on the legs, I do love this little guy. I've wanted to knit him ever since I saw the pattern, when Jamie gave me the book Knitted Toys by Zoe Mellor for Christmas a few years ago.

I have to say though, as cute as the patterns in the book are, I'm not sure I'd be tempted to make any more of them. The patterns are not particularly well written; if you were a complete beginner you'd get stuck pretty quickly I think. For the dinosaur particularly, I had to write out parts of the pattern myself in order to make sense of them. And everything is knit flat, then seamed afterwards.

I have a couple more YoP finishes to share which I will do later in the week.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Did I show you this hat?

I'm not sure I remembered to post about this hat I knit the other week. After finishing off my replacement Rapunzel mitts I decided I needed a hat to go with them.

The mitts (well, one of them, I don't appear to have got around
to taking a photo of the pair together!)

I had plenty of yarn left over, so did a quick hunt of Ravelry to see what was around in a quick, slouchy hat for chunky yarn. I found this:

It's the Quick Cable Slouch Hat by Azure, and it really is quick. Two evenings work had it finished, even with the addition of an extra repeat of the cable before the decreases (I wanted it really slouchy). I love how pretty the decreases are in the crown, how the cables all seem to converge on the centre.

I have been wearing it almost constantly since casting off, because it is wonderfully warm. The gloves too. They are my new favourite things.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Year of Projects 3 - 1st December update

Later posting than usual this week, as I was up partying until the wee small hours last night! It's a post worth waiting for though, as I have not just one, but two FOs to share.

$5 in San Francisco is finished! Full notes on the mods I made to the pattern are on my Ravelry project page. I have to say, I am so pleased with this project. It's my first ever jumper and it was so easy to knit. I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I am already planning my second one. And I'm so much in love with the finished jumper itself, I've been wearing it all weekend.

The yarn is Cascade 220 which I bought from Imagiknit when I was in San Francisco on my honeymoon earlier in the year. It was a birthday present to myself. I have enough left over to make some gloves (in the light blue) and perhaps a hat from the remaining dark blue.

My other finish? Flash of Light. I started the Dragonfly Wings shawl back at the end of June, as part of the Crafts from the Cwtch Pick a Boo KAL. The KAL ran till the end of August, but it was the end of September before I finally cast off, as I let myself get put off by the border. I needn't have worried about it, as once I got down to it, it was really simple and I flew through it really quickly!

Blocking is more successful when cats are involved.

I managed to get it on the blocking boards this weekend, after it sat in my basket for two months! I haven't yet had a chance to take photos of the final, finished piece yet, but it is off the boards, the ends have been woven in and it looks amazing.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Frogged Friday

Frogged Friday doesn't quite have the same ring to it as FO Friday, but sad to say, one of my older projects finally found its way into the frog pond yesterday.

Remember this? No, me neither.
Back in February 2012 (as part of the first Year of Projects), I crocheted this cowl out of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. I was still learning a lot about crochet and knitting back then, and still laboured under the illusion that you could crochet anything just as well as you could knit it, and that crocheting clothing out of heavy weight yarn was a good idea.

It goes to show how successful this project was, that I found it languishing at the bottom of my WIP basket, almost two years after completing it. It has never been worn. I've never once found myself thinking "this is the perfect outfit to wear that chunky grey crochet cowl that strangles me with".

So into the frog pond it went.

I now have a big fat squidgy hank of yarn, just crying out to be turned into a far more wearable hat and gloves set, or something equally delightful. I love this yarn too much to have it sat in a box and never be worn. Suggestions on a postcard for suitable patterns please (aran weight, I have 500 yards)!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

I should have a week off more often

If there's something I've learned this week while I've been off work, it's that I really, really needed a week off work! While the grand plans for finishing off all of my outstanding projects hasn't really happened, I have done a lot already this week. $5 in San Fransisco is finished, and just waiting a daylight photo shoot before I can show you (hopefully to be achieved today). I haven't touched anything else!

The River Thames at Odney

On Monday I took a trip into Maidenhead, as I hoped that Sew Crafty might have the material I needed to make Jamie some new LRP kit. Unfortunately they didn't have what I wanted, which cut my shopping trip short and meant I was over an hour early getting to Odney, where we have one of our residential clubs and where I was booked in to have a deep muscle massage at the Serenity Spa.

I have to say, having an hour long massage at the start of my week off was an excellent idea. My back had been causing me all kinds of trouble as the muscles had all seized up from the long hours hunched over my work laptop. It was incredibly relaxing and worth every penny.

My original plan for fitting in all the crafting was to do it in the evenings while we watched TV. Unfortunately, another minor purchase got in the way of that...

Diablo 2 was my favourite PC game for a long time, and I have been eagerly waiting to get my hands on its sequel ever since it was first announced. We have the console version so that Jamie and I can play together. We are having so much fun playing it, that we've not really watched any TV at all this week so far! And of course, I can't knit and play at the same time.

I am hopeful that my plan for the rest of the day (blitzing the house in preparation for Christmas decorating on Sunday) will give me the clean space I need to get my shawls on the blocking board, so at least I will have something to show for my week off besides a clean house and a completed game!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Year of Projects 3: 24th November update

The trouble with long dark winter evenings is that there's never a good time during the week to take photos. Hopefully this week coming I won't have that problem, as I have a week off work and intend to use it wisely. I have 9 different WIPs outstanding at the moment, most of which are on my list, and they need to get sorted out!

1. $5 in San Fransisco. Good grief, this has been waiting the last five or six rounds on the second sleeve for about a month. Half an hour at most and this jumper will be finished. I need to just do it.

2. Obnoxious Socks. Like the jumper, these have languished untouched for a few weeks now. I really would like to finish them before the end of the year, but I may not get around to them this week.

3. Baby Blanket. Not much work needed on this now, but as it's not required till after Christmas it may go into a mini hibernation until then!

4. Esiotrot. All I need to do is stuff and sew on a few limbs and this will be done. A Priority for this week as it's for Christmas.

5. Flash of Light. Just needs to be blocked! Should have plenty of time to get the blocking boards out this week and do some catching up.

6. Wingspan. Also in the blocking queue.

7. Peerie Flooers. It has been almost a year since I finished knitting this hat. I really ought to get around to weaving in those ends and blocking it!

8. Dave. Another toy that needs sewing together. This one has been sitting around in a half finished state for over a year.

9. Starlight. I did briefly entertain hopes that this could be finished in time for my work Christmas party this year. I think possibly next year's party is a more realistic goal!

So, lots to do this week, in addition to all my other plans. Lets hope I actually manage to do some of it!

Monday, 18 November 2013

A productive and restful weekend.

I had the house to myself over the weekend. Things have been so hectic at work lately, I was looking forward to a whole weekend of relaxing and crafting and doing whatever I wanted. It was wonderful. It is always surprising to me just how much you can accomplish when you are not really thinking about what you are trying to achieve; when I reflected back on the weekend after my husband came home, the list of things I did was actually quite impressive!

I read three books (Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and The Pearls of Lutra). I watched most of Children in Need (my favourite part being the Strictly special, although I did get a little bit excited about McBusted), two international rugby games, this week's Strictly Come Dancing, several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and one and a half films (Life of Pi, and half of Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End). I spent several hours wandering around town and acquired new socks (I know, I know, I ought to be knitting them all. But I needed new socks now), new nail varnish and some new clothes. I utterly failed to buy fabric for a LARP costume I am meant to be making for Jamie. I bought two pairs of curtains and successfully hung them all by myself (although, now they are up, I am wondering if perhaps I ought to have ironed them first!). And I did some knitting.

Tomato Hat

One of my friends in work has a four year old daughter, who declared the other week that she absolutely had to have a hat which looked like a tomato. What's a knitter to do?! I whipped this up on Saturday evening; it was a nice quick easy knit and the end result is fab. I am eagerly awaiting the verdict - I understand four year olds can be quite harsh critics...

On Sunday, I decided that it was now cold enough for me to knit myself a pair of gloves. Back in April, I lost the gloves I made to match my Free Rapunzel hat. I've had the yarn to knit the replacements in my stash for some time, but just hadn't got around to it. A short time figuring out how I'd made them the first time around, and I had cast on and flew through the pair.

Sadly, the replacement pair do not match the hat for colour, as the hat is brown and these new gloves are purple. Not the end of the world though, as purple happens to be a favourite colour of mine! I've made these longer than the original, and fixed the placing of the cables that always annoyed me with the first pair. I also used a stretchy bind off this time, which I hadn't done on the previous pairs of mitts I've made from this pattern.

I stayed up later than I should have done last night in order to finish them, but was rewarded with a lovely warm squishy pair of gloves to wear to work today. I have enough yarn left over to make another hat, and for the moment I am thinking of knitting this one as I do love chunky cables and this Debbie Bliss Cashmerino looks fab in cables. It should knit up nice and quickly too. Who knows, I might have that done by the end of the week!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Year of Projects 3: 12th November update

Things sure have been quite in my corner of the internet of late. I wish I could say the same for the rest of my life! Work has been crazy busy, and while I intended to write this post at the weekend I was just too damn tired to do anything apart from sit on my sofa and read. I've read the whole of The Southern Vampire Mysteries in the last week. I found if you started the next book right after finishing the previous one they knit together so well it's like you're reading one giant book instead of ten individual novels!

Not to say I haven't been making anything. Just not things off my list. I ought to be frantically making things for the kids for Christmas, but I haven't touched my planned Christmas projects in weeks months. Mostly in the past week I have been knitting tiny Innocent hats, because they don't require any brainpower whatsoever.

I did successfully finish the second baby blanket though, and on Friday I was able to give both finished blankets to their respective new parents.

Baby Blanket Number One

Anna's blanket was oohed and aahed over by my entire department. I'd made a tag to attach to it, based on the free downloads available at Eskimimi Makes. I took her hand-crocheted care instructions label and attached it to one of my own images, of my own creations. I added my blog address to the photo side and hey presto, professional looking tags with full care instructions, complete with a side order of free advertising for my blog. 

Baby Blanket Number Two

Dan's blanket was a lot less complicated, as I'd only started it to have something to crochet in the car on the way to the wedding last month. But I really like how it turned out, in simple neutral shades of brown, beige and cream. Like all granny squares. it came off the hook a little squiffy, so I pinned it out with my blocking wires and gave it a good steam to make it lie straight.

Baby blanket number three is progressing nicely, I only have a few more squares to do. But it's been a bit neglected this last couple of weeks. Still, baby three is not due till early February, so I have plenty of time!

I have also been reminded today about a promise I made to knit a hat that looks like a tomato, for my friend's four year old daughter. I don't have the yarn I need for that at the moment, so I will have to go shopping. Who knows what else might fall in my basket while I am there....

Saturday, 2 November 2013

In absentia

Well, life has certainly got in the way of crafting and blogging of late. Work has been crazy busy, which leads to late finishes and being far too tired to knit or crochet. I think the most creative I've been in the evenings of late has been colouring in a shoe for a retirement party next week!

Even my weekends are not safe. I had been quite looking forward to a free weekend; time to block Wingspan and Dragonfly Wings, to finish the last few rounds of the sleeve on $5 in San Fransisco and to finish baby blanket number three. Instead, this is what I have been up to today:

I've been working all day! Even tomorrow is not looking safe, as I will most likely have to do more work tomorrow morning. My house looks like a bombsite because it's been so long since I did any housework. It's all very annoying.

I do have some knitting to share though! Innocent were in the office yesterday promoting the Big Knit. They were giving away cute little kits containing 25g balls of Stylecraft Special DK in red, green and yellow, complete with a tiny pair of children's 4mm needles. They had expert knitters on hand to teach people how to knit, but I just took a kit back to my desk and knocked a hat up while I was waiting for things to happen in the system.

It earned me the respect and envy of my colleagues, many of whom had struggled with casting on, or had managed only a few rows. I'm not sure how my little hat is going to get to Innocent, I think they might be popping back next week to collect any finished ones. I'll make sure to ask the lady who organised it when I am back in the office. I was a bit too busy to remember to ask on Friday!

I don't think I will use the kit to make any more hats, the red and yellow yarn will be a welcome addition to the stash I have put aside for the Game of Thrones blanket as they are the same yarn and shade as the stuff I have already bought!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Year of Projects 3: 13th October update

A little later than usual getting my update up today, but I've only just got home from a lovely weekend away at a friend's wedding.

Buxted Park Hotel

Despite horrendous rain on Friday and today (which led to some truly awful driving conditions - I'll never understand drivers who don't put their lights on when it's raining that badly), the weather held out on Saturday for the wedding itself. The venue was fabulous, and my friend looked absolutely stunning in her beautiful purple dress (made by the wonderful Angrave Designs). Sadly we had to leave early as Jamie developed a migraine, but that did give me an extra few hours in the hotel to work on my latest project!

I've gone a bit baby blanket mad at the minute. There are so many babies arriving in the next few months; while I am not going to get around to making something for all of them, I am trying my best to get as many of them covered as I can!

Anna's blanket is finished (shared on Friday), and I immediately launched into one for Kayleigh, the other pregnant lady in my team at work. I decided to go all out colourful for that one, and have chosen some of my brighter shades of acrylic. The pattern is from Lion Brand (Rav page here) but I am joining as I go rather than making all the squares separately, because it will mean less work to finish it off. I'm on the 8th square out of twenty, so it's going pretty well. Baby is not due till February so I have time to work on this one and don't need to rush.

The third blanket is a simple granny square, started on Friday in the car on the way down to Kent. I have paired up the spare cream from Anna's blanket with some leftover beige yarns from other projects. I've started with the darkest colour and am working out to the cream. Somewhat fortuitously, I ran out of the darkest beige at the end of a round! This one is currently earmarked as a gift for another work colleague, whose wife is due to give birth in November.

There is another November baby in my social circle, so I am currently thinking that once I finish off the granny square, I will dig out some more of my acrylic stash and see what I can throw together for that one as well! The "use up my stash of acrylic and cotton making things for babies and children" part of my list seems to be going well!

Friday, 11 October 2013

FO: Anna's baby blanket

I had hoped to have $5 in San Fransisco finished by today, but that hasn't happened as I got distracted by a new project! More on that on Sunday. Meanwhile, the first of two baby blankets for the pregnant ladies in my team at work is off the hook and almost ready to go.

I couldn't find a shade of mint green yarn that went with the yellow and peach when I went shopping with my friend last weekend, so we compromised on a creamy yellow which is paler than the yellow I've used for the centre.

I think it still works, although the overall effect does render the blanket slightly closer to the "girl" end of the spectrum rather than gender neutral (as we don't know what this baby is going to be, although as Anna is convinced she's having a girl, hopefully it will work out for the best!).

I say almost ready to go, because I haven't woven the ends in yet, and plan to give it a wash and a quick spin in the tumble dryer to soften it up before I give it to her. We've got three more weeks till she goes off on her maternity leave though, so plenty of time to get that all done.

The pattern is the Lacy Round Ripple Blanket by Heather Tucker. Once you get past the centre section, it's a really simple logical pattern from then on in. I stopped after 36 rounds as I felt my blanket was big enough (mine is about 36" across, point to point), as written it stops after 47 rounds, which would have added an extra 12" to the diameter of my blanket and made it enormous. It's a pretty quick pattern to whip up, should you need an emergency gift, but it does get a bit dull.

I used three different DK weight acrylic yarns. The yellow centre is James C Brett Top Value DK, the final ball in a pack of ten I was given by my mother-in-law several years ago. That yarn certainly did me proud for baby gifts! Three blankets, two pillows and a baby hat! I used almost an entire ball for this blanket.

The peach stripe is Stylecraft Special DK in apricot, which I bought to make Rosie Rabbit for our niece when she was born two years ago. I used up my partial ball, about 65g in total.

The final stripe is Hayfield Bonus DK in cream. 86g was the final tally on that one, and I still have one ball spare as I bought two just in case! Luckily, there are other babies to knit/crochet for so I plan to use that for one of the other babies due to arrive soon.

This blanket also has the honour of being my first actual finish in this year's Year of Projects!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Year of Projects 3: 6th October update

Progress of two different kinds has been made this week. Firstly, actual, tangible progress on my two WIPs that are closest to completion:

$5 in San Fransisco is so very close to being finished! I have one sleeve left to knit, ends to weave in and I need to figure out how I am going to mark which side is the front, as the front and back are shaped slightly differently for a better fit and I don't want to end up putting it on back to front when I wear it. I am still massively pleased with how this is turning out. The colours aren't quite right in the pic above, the bright blue is more green than it looks in that shot.

Obnoxious socks are going well. I took one off the needles the other day to see how it looked and fitted, and I'm halfway up my calf now. Fit is good, so I am enthusiastic about getting these done. I am close to running out of my first two balls of yarn, so there will be a tricky bit of work to split the third ball in two and match up the colour changes for a smooth transition between the two balls, and to keep the stripes matching.

The other progress I have made is more organisational. As a distraction from my revision last week, I sorted out my stash. It was already pretty sorted, in that everything was stored neatly on shelves, roughly split by weight, but I had no record of what was stored where. Plus, the scraps of left over yarn from previous projects was spread out all over the place. Now, everything is neatly stored, part-balls have been rewound to take up less space, and every single yarn in my stash has a note on Ravelry to say where I've put it. I've also started matching up yarns to patterns in my queue, which means choosing and starting new projects is going to be much easier from now on.

I'm off to Hobbycraft this morning to pick up more yarn for the baby blanket; I'm going to take my leftovers from the yellow and peach I've already used, to make sure I find a mint green that matches. Given how many rows I got out of one ball of the peach, I'm going to need at least 200g I think, but then it will be done and I can start thinking about a present for the other person in my team who is having a baby!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Adventures in London

I had my exam yesterday morning, which meant an early start and getting the train into London. It was the first time I'd been through Reading station since they opened the new bridge, so it was quite exciting for me to see what it was like.

It's all very modern and interesting. But I have to say, I much prefer the character of all the old stations I went through while I was in London.

Left - Liverpool Street Station
Right - top - Notting Hill Gate tube station (circle line)
bottom - Paddington Station

My exam was done by 1pm, which left me several hours in which to jet about the city on the tube and visit lots of shops.

First on my list was Loop, in the Islington area of London. It took me ages to find it, as although Camden Passage itself was easy to spot, there is so much going on around you that you don't look at every shop window as you pass, and the first time I walked past it I was looking opposite at the antique stalls! But I found it eventually, and had a good old nose around inside.

Ikea-style cubby holes, every yarn store's friend!

Seeing all those lovely skeins tucked away in their cubby holes reminded me of Imagiknit in San Fransisco, especially as there were a lot of the same brands here that I found in America (like Malabrigo, MadTosh etc). One thing Loop stocks, though, that no other yarn store in the UK does, is Wollmeise.

At £30 a skein though, I decided I didn't need any more just at the moment. It was tough, as some of those colours are AMAZING.

I didn't leave empty handed though.

I couldn't resist the PINK

Another Zauberball, this time a Crazy pink one. No idea what it will become, but either socks or a shawl/scarf would be fine with me! The silvery-grey is a merino-silk blend sport weight yarn that is oh so soft and smooth and such a wonderful steel grey colour. This is going to be a scarf and it is going to be lovely.

mmmmm grey

Once I was done with Loop, I hopped back on the tube and made my way over to Oxford Street. I wanted to have a nose around our John Lewis branch there, and hopefully find some new slippers in one of the many shops along that road. I was suitably impressed with the size and showiness of the John Lewis, but didn't think the haberdashery department had much more going for it than the one in the John Lewis here in Reading. I also failed utterly to find slippers, anywhere. It's very frustrating as the ones I bought in Asda earlier in the year are falling apart and I really can't do without slippers now it's getting colder in the evenings.

I did get to do a bit of touristy sight-seeing though, as I've never been to Oxford Street before!


Marble Arch

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