Sunday, 30 March 2014

Year of Projects 3: 30th March update

Well, there is no progress to report on anything, really. A mixture of long days at work and being distracted by projects not on the list have meant zero time has been spent working on either Chunari or the Game of Thrones blanket. In fairness, in the last week, I haven't really spent much time on anything, craft wise.

I had hoped that a nice long weekend (I have tomorrow and Tuesday off work, a much needed break) would give me plenty of time to focus on my outstanding projects. Sadly, I woke up ridiculously early yesterday morning with a horrendous sore throat, which has led to a weekend in which I have done nothing but lie on the sofa watching House on DVD, and playing pointless games on my new iPad (I have rediscovered my love for Diner Dash!).

One thing I have done though, is reorganise my hand knits in the hallway. Now these shelves are no longer required in the study (thanks to last week's IKEA trip), I had to find them a new home. Turns out they fit perfectly at the bottom of the stairs! The boxes on the top shelf are for gloves (left) and hats, while chunkier scarves (shop bought and handmade) sit in boxes at the bottom. This leaves me three whole shelves to spread out my shawls and scarves. At the moment they are just neatly folded but I have been trying to think of other ways to store them, so it shows them off a bit more when they are not being worn.

The other thing I have been trying to do is get a handle on is my Ravelry queue. I recently went through it and matched everything I wanted to knit against yarn in my stash. Separately to this, I started working on my list for next year's YoP, as we are now only a few months away from needing a new list. I was starting to lose track of what I was planning!

Now that I'm getting it all in one place it looks rather overwhelming! Good job I am a selfish crafter, and rarely make things for other people or to deadlines!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Of random things

Spring seems to finally be showing signs of appearing! Bright blue skies are a definite improvement on wind and rain and floods (we escaped the worst of that, thankfully). The trees are starting to show signs of life and the magnolia in my front garden is flowering. I do love my magnolia, but I did get a bit of magnolia-envy at the weekend when I saw one with purple flowers outside my husband's office!

We braved the road into London on Sunday and went to IKEA in Wembley. I've only driven inside the M25 a couple of times before (both trips to Kew Gardens) so it was a bit of an adventure, especially when we realised we were dangerously close to running out of fuel on the motorway. I love going to IKEA. I always see so many things I want to buy. We had a list though, and we're very good and only bought one thing that wasn't on it (a new silicon whisk, as I broke ours recently). The shelves pictured are the reason we went; decent, solid reliable shelves for storing board games and Games Workshop modelling stuff.

The only other really exciting thing that happened this week is that I finally got my very own iPad (a hand-me-down from my husband who has just upgraded). So I'm testing out posting using the Blogpress app. It'll take some getting used to, I think!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Year of Projects 3: 16th March update

Gosh, I've been quiet lately haven't I! The trouble with only have a few projects on the go, and long term projects at that, is that regular updates on them aren't that exciting. Even the most innovative and exciting blogger is going to struggle to get a decent post out of "I've knit 10 more rows on my shawl, and it looks exactly the same as it did before". In all honesty, I've hardly touched Chunari over the last couple of weeks. Projected finish date is now somewhere in May! I'm weeks behind where I was. Ah well, it's not the end of the world. I don't need it till August anyway!

What I have done, though, is get started on my Game of Thrones blanket. The yarn arrived in July last year, but has been sat in a box ever since. The main thing that was putting me off was that in order to knit my charts, I would have to learn how to knit intarsia. What changed that, was this month's issue of Knit Now. With this month's issue came a fabulous 66 page guide to knitting. The directions for intarsia in it are so clear and easy to understand that I felt like I would have no trouble picking it up, so yesterday morning I decided I would start knitting the Stark chart while I watched the rugby.

It started out pretty well, but by the time I had nine different balls of yarn attached to my knitting, I was starting to get in to a real muddle. Lucky for me I never throw anything away, because once I started thinking about ways to resolve the issue, the perfect solution just leapt out at me.

The egg box stops the balls from rolling around. and make it a lot easier to untwist the yarns after each row. Once I'd got the hang of the technique, I started flying through the chart.

So far, so good! I am quite happy with the way the chart is translating into the knitted work, and even on the reverse side, it looks neat. I had to resort to a little bit of stranded knitting in the middle, as it seemed pointless to add a new ball of yarn for just a couple of stitches.

Based on how this chart is knitting up, I have high hopes for the rest of them. The only question really is, which one do I do next?

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

English Paper Piecing experiment

Almost a year ago, I took part in a swap on Ravelry (as part of the UK Swaps group). As the parcel arrived just as we were packing up to move house, I didn't really get much of a chance to play with the contents of the parcel, or spend much time wondering what I was going to do with it. I took a quick snap to share with the group, then put everything away in the box that was carrying my stash to the new house.

The lovely handmade project bag is the perfect size for carrying around my Innocent smoothie hat knitting kit, which lives in the bottom of my work bag for quick knitting fixes in the office. The yarn, four wonderfully soft and squishy balls of Rowan Baby Alpaca DK in three different shades of pinky purples, has been sitting in my stash ever since, and is destined to play a part in the fourth Year of Projects.

However, the part I want to talk about today is that little bag of fabric hexagons, and the Homemade with love magazine. One of the stipulations of the swap was that the parcel had to contain "a new item to pamper/play with". As the lovely person who put my parcel together knew that I was open to trying new crafts, she thought I might want to have a go at English Paper Piecing. The magazine included a pattern/instructions for making a brooch using the technique.

A few days ago, I decided I would give it a go. I'd been doing some sewing at the weekend (nothing too hefty, just replacing buttons on a shirt!) and realised I don't actually own a proper pincushion. The more I thought about it, the more determined I became to make one. That's when I remembered the swap package I'd received, and thought that perhaps a pincushion would be a good small project to try out EPP for the first time.

I spent a good while trying to figure out how to measure the paper hexagons to ensure a neat fit, but in the end I abandoned maths (not my strong point!) and traced around one of the fabric hexies. I then trimmed 1/4 inch off each side, and used that paper hex as a template for all the others. It's might fiddly, attaching the fabric to the paper, but sewing them together afterwards is very quick indeed. I have just a few more seams to do on the second piece, then I'll be ready to join them together.

I have plenty of little fabric hexagons left, so if this is a success, there's scope to do another project before I find myself rushing off to buy a load of fat quarters!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...