Monday, 25 February 2013

Unravel 2013

Saturday morning saw me waking up at an entirely unreasonable-for-a-weekend time of 8am, to head down to Farnham for this year's Unravel. Checking my phone, I discovered I was actually the lazy one, as Sarah had already been tweeting with excitement almost an hour earlier!

Some of the wonderful items on show around and outside the venue.

As expected, we saw an overwhelming selection of wonderful yarns. I'm glad I took a shopping list with me, otherwise I would have bought far too many skeins I have no need for!

I ran into Sarah outside, as we queued to get in. After a leisurely wander round to orientate ourselves and take a first glance over the stalls, we headed over to Danielle's stall to meet up with fellow Ravellers. Along the way we picked up Nat and Gilly. It was great to finally meet folks in the flesh after sharing our lives with each other for so long online.

Some selected yarn porn from the day. Top row (L-R): A Stash Addict and Indigodragonfly (sold by Aragon Yarns)
Bottom Row (L-R): Sparkleduck, Skein Queen and Natural Dye Studio
I was very excited to discover a UK stockist of Indigodragonfly yarn. Keri has long inspired me to want to buy and knit with this yarn, as everything I've seen her knit using it is fabulous. I resisted buying any this time, but now I know where I can find it, I will definitely consider it next time I am looking for the perfect yarn for a project.

So what did I buy? Last year I came away with one solitary Zauberball (which has just been knit into a Lazy Katy). This year, I went armed with a list, and managed to come away with only one extra skein of yarn.

My purchases

First up on my list was a skein of fingering weight yarn in red, which I will be casting on immediately as I join in Eskimimi's Mrs Tumnus KAL. I squished quite a few skeins from various stalls before settling on this lovely Skein Queen Blush.

It's 80% Merino, 20% Cashmere so it feels very luxurious. I really enjoyed knitting up my Skein Queen Squash (100% merino) so I'm sure I willl enjoy this one too. It's listed as a sport weight, so I will swatch carefully to ensure I hit gauge, but I'm sure the yardage will be ok.

I'd promised myself a skein of Dark Arts from A Stash Addict; I've wanted one ever since she first started dyeing them, but couldn't really justify it until now. But now that I've been converted to sock knitting, I wanted to treat myself. This skein jumped out at me as soon as I got to Danielle's stall. The colourway is Poison and I just love the bright pink/purple against the black. I have to say, having seen all her photos on Instagram this past week of just how hard she worked to get ready for Unravel at such short notice, Danielle did an amazing job. Her stall looked fantastic. I couldn't resist buying more than one skein!

It's another Dark Arts, this time the Dark Arts Sparkle, which has silk content as well as the sparkly fibre. Colourway is Night Caller, and it's a much softer lilac purple than my other skein. While the first is destined to be socks, I can't bear the thought of hiding these beautiful sparkles in my shoes, so this one will become a scarf/shawl. Not sure what yet, as all the Rock + Purl patterns I fell in love with at their stall are laceweight!

I also picked up this ball of Jawoll Magic Degrade. On my list was "another Zauberball in bright colours?" but I didn't see any of those, so when I found this I knew it had to be bought. Again, it will become a shawl, probably a Wingspan, after nosing through the finished projects and finding this one in the same colourway. Isn't it fab!

As you can see in the pic of my purchases above, I also picked up some funky wooden buttons from Danielle, and a teeny tiny crochet hook for better attaching of beads to my Light of Earendil shrug.

All in all, it was a great way to spend five hours of my Saturday (although I was amazed when I got back to the car and realised it had been five hours, as it really didn't feel like it while we were wandering around and nattering away). Hopefully it won't be another full year before we all get together though, as it would be great to meet up with folks inbetween now and next year's Unravel!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Year of Projects Update 24th February

I wanted to make a concerted effort this week, to work through my blocking pile and get long-finished projects finally completed and able to be worn. Of the four projects awaiting blocking, only one has so far made it onto the boards and into my wardrobe (the Baktus, which I shared on Friday). Eleonora and Peerie Flooers require a more complicated approach, which is why they are still languishing in the basket.

Cwtch Shawl in Natural Dye Studio Scheherezade
My Cwtch Shawl made it out of the basket, but after playing with it for a bit I have come to the conclusion that yes, my bind off is too tight and it won't block effectively. This means finding the time to sit down and undo the bind off without dropping any stitches, before finding an alternative bind off that will have more give in it. Luckily, I have a small ball of leftover yarn remaining, so will have the extra yardage required when I get to the end again. I can't remember which bind off I used when I did it the first time, but I'm sure I will figure it out as I unpick it!

In it's place, however, and jumping to the front of the blocking queue is my latest finish - Lazy Katy. I am amazed, as it has only taken me a week to knit this shawl. By far, my quickest finish to date.

Here it is in all it's unblocked, wrinkly glory. I am absolutely in love with it. I love that the colour changed back to the bright blue for the bind off row. I still have a fair bit of the Zauberball left as well, just over 180 yards, so if anyone has any ideas about what I could use that up with, I'd be grateful!

It was actually surprisingly easy to block, because once you've got the corner in place and have started pinning out the points of the lace edging, the natural curve forms itself and you don't have to pin the non-lace edge at all. It was a bit hard on the back, as I spent a lot of time leant over the table tweaking a pin here and a pin there to make sure it was even. I will try and get Jamie to take a decent picture of it in action to show you next week.

This leaves me with only one YoP Project currently on the go, the Light of Earendil Shrug. While I will try and add a few rows to it here and there, I will still need to cast on something else for those evenings when I am just too tired for laceweight and beads. Eskimimi's new pattern, the Mrs Tumnus shawl, is my current favourite, especially as she is hosting a KAL over in her Ravelry group starting on March 1st. As I have no yarn on my YoP list that is suitable, it won't count towards this years list, but as I've stuck pretty religiously to my list so far this year (well, with the exception of the Christmas Stockings) I don't mind veering off it for a little while.

Friday, 22 February 2013

FO: Crazy Wave Baktus

I eventually got around to blocking my Baktus this week, so am finally able to show off my crazy, colourful rainbow stripes.

Pattern: Crest of a Wave Baktus by Jan Henley
Yarn: Skein Queen Squash in Baubles
Needle: 4mm

The yarn was a Christmas present in 2011, from my lovely friend Emmylou. It sat in my stash for months, with no real idea what it was going to become.

I had no idea how to deal with yarn that changed colour so often, and in such a bright combination! It wasn't until I knit my Momijigari that I realised that a simple garter stitch pattern might make the most of this yarn.

I loved this project. It was a complete joy from start to finish. The fact that you knit the pointy bits as you go along makes for a much quicker finish as well; one of the things that really slowed down Momijigari was the endless rows after picking up all the stitches for the border, but with the Baktus, this just didn't happen.

I failed utterly to measure it before and after, but trust me, it grew a lot during blocking. The end result is a light and airy shawl that is super warm thanks to its 100% merino content.

It's a bit creased in this pic because I'd worn it twice between blocking
and photographing outside in the daylight!

I think this shows the colours a bit better. At a certain width, you get the whole rainbow in the length of a row, and at other places the points on the border show a whole rainbow in their stripes. The odd pooling I noticed in the first half of the shawl repeated itself as I decreased, which appeals to my love of symmetry! I had been planning on wearing Momijigari to Unravel tomorrow, but now this is finished and blocked I think I might wear this one instead.

Head on over to Tami's to see more FO's today.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Another new project

When I cast off my socks last week, I was left with a choice of three current WIPs to pick back up: the Light of Earendil shrug, my Baskerville hat or the scarf I started as an antidote to the laceweight and beads. I was too ill to concentrate on the shrug, so that has stayed put on my shelves. Baskerville had caused me some problems, as I think I went wrong a few rows back from where I'd put it down. I was too ill to concentrate on that either, so rather than leave it and try to figure out what I'd done wrong later, I have frogged it for now and will start again when I have more brainpower.

That left me with the scarf, which after being left for a few days has lost its appeal. I love the pattern, but think it will work much better in a lovely squishy merino yarn, rather than the acrylic/wool blend I had to hand at the time. So that too has drowned in the frog pond!

I needed a new project. I turned to my YoP list and looked to see what yarns I had in my stash that had already been matched to patterns. I briefly considered casting on one of the other Sherlock Holmes inspired patterns I've earmarked for my Artesano 100% alpaca dk, but as the shawl and mitts are designed for different yarn weights it would involve too much thinking right now to figure out if they need modifying. Next to catch my eye was Ishbel in the gorgeous pink Knit Picks Capretta; I enthused about this long enough to get the yarn down from the shelf and start looking for the right needle, but fell short of casting on when I realised the needle I needed to knit it was in use already for the shrug!

This left me one last choice.

Zauberball in shade Deine Blaue

I bought this at Unravel last year, which means it has been sat in my stash for almost twelve months. I've always known what this yarn will be: Lazy Katy.

The ball started quite dark, alternating between navy and black, but without even noticing at first it suddenly changed to a rather startling bright blue. The body of the shawl is pretty quick to knit up; just a couple of evenings work had me at row 100 and ready to start the border! Finding the yarn a little odd at the moment; it's fairly uneven in thickness and the colour changes are surprising. But I think I'm going to love the finished shawl.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Snappy Happy Monday

Got this fab DPN holder free with this month's Knit Now magazine

Did the suit fittings for the wedding this weekend.
Jamie made me try on his top hat.

Fabulously spooky foggy morning on Sunday

Caught in the act! Fidget decided to sleep on my blocking board
while my baktus scarf was drying.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Year of Projects update February 17th

Nothing like finishing a project to get your knitting mojo back! I've been horrendously ill for the last two weeks, on top of everything else, so all I've really been able to do is basic, simple stocking stitch. Just as well Sarah hosted a sock KAL which encouraged me to try out toe up socks.

Pattern: Wendy's Generic Toe-Up Sock by Wendy D Johnson
Yarn: King Cole Zig Zag
Needles: 2.5mm

I have to say, I am converted to sock knitting after this. I wasn't convinced by it when I knit my last pair of socks, which were knit cuff down. While the socks themselves have seen a lot of use, I find the toes on them ugly and pointy, and dislike having the seam (or at the very least, the feeling of a seam) across my toes. Toe-up socks seemed like a good idea.

It took me 9 days to knit these socks. It took me 18 last time, so toe-up seems to be quicker as well. These socks are slightly longer than the other ones, but I still got bored well before the yarn ran out. I have just under 30g left of it (it seems never ending! I had 4 balls originally, and have made one shawl and three pairs of socks out of it so far!) which I plan to turn into baby socks.

I am quite overwhelmed by the pattern choice for socks on Ravelry though, so any suggestions you have for socks I can knit from my gorgeous Candy Skein yarn would be welcome!

Something more interesting than plain vanilla socks this time I think.....

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Borrowing time

I don't quite know what has happened to the last two weeks; they have passed by in a blur. I do know it's been two weeks since I last posted, which is Just Not Right. A variety of reasons for my absence, most notably the fact that the end of January was the end of our financial year in work, which as you may gather is the busiest time for us accountants. As such, I have been beavering away in the office and not had many evenings free for crafting (which then leaves me with nothing to share here!).

I'd like to say work was the only thing keeping me away, but towards the end of January we also received some rather sad news on the house front. Our landlords want to move back in, so once again we are moving house! We have to be out by the 12th April, so the hunt is now on to find somewhere else to live.

As if all that wasn't enough, the wedding is now only three months away! Fortunately, everything is ticking along nicely with the preparations, so of the three, this one is causing me the least amount of stress. I had hoped I'd have been able to share with you my adventures into proper jewellery making, but I haven't yet had the time to sit down with all my new tools and have a go.

I haven't abandoned my crafting altogether, though. If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen my late entry into the Next Step Sock KAL hosted by Sarah over at Crafts From The Cwtch. Everything I had on the needles already was far too complicated for the state my mind was in when I had the time to knit last week, so I decided to jump in and start knitting another pair of socks.

As the purpose of the KAL is to challenge yourself to take the next step in sock knitting, for me that means knitting them toe-up instead of cuff-down. They are, after all, only my second pair of knit socks! I am using the same yarn as my last pair because I have enough for another pair of socks and I want to make sure I know what I am doing before I break out the Candy Skein Yummy Fingering for my first patterned pair!

I'm following Wendy Johnson's instructions for a basic short row toe and heel sock, because I tried to do Judy's magic cast on once and hated it. I had some issues with the crochet cast on Wendy suggests, but apart from that the short row toe really worked for me.

I have to say, I think I much prefer knitting socks toe up. They fit perfectly, and the toe in particular is a vast improvement on the first pair I knit in terms of comfort. Also, my first project using Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, which as expected, is surprisingly stretchy.

Not to be outdone by second sock syndrome, I have already started on sock number two, and have high hopes that between all the real-life drama I will have time to finish it off before the KAL ends at the end of the month.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...