Monday, 26 September 2011

U is for... Unable

Due to my M.E, I'm unable to get out and about as much as I'd like. This afternoon though, I felt well enough to go out for a couple of hours. So, my very lovely Mother took my sister and I to Launceston, a nice little town in Cornwall. It took 20 minutes to get there, and as we were driving into Launceston I swear I saw a young man knitting as he was walking down the road!! It looked like he was knitting something green on circular needles, possibly a sock...

After parking the car, we wandered down the street on the hunt for a Cornish Pasty. As we headed down the street my Mum suddenly pulled me towards a shop. 'We're here', she said to me. I looked up to find a small, beautiful, yarn filled shop. My face lit up with excitement as I made my way in.

The shop was, is, beautiful. This wool emporium is something to behold. From the moment you walk in all you see is yarn, yarn and more yarn. And when I say yarn, I'm not talking about 100% acrylic, £1, rubbish. I'm talking about gorgeous, 100% wool, silk blends, alpaca blends, cotton blends and all that jazz. Some are hand-dyed, in gorgeous colourways. Unfortunately they are a little out of my price range at £10-15 a skein, but a few months ago when I was quite poorly my Mum bought me a skein of Colinette Jitterbug - Florentina as a present. 
The shop feels so cozy and comfortable. Despite being a small shop, you could easily spend a few hours in there looking around. I spent about 15 minutes in there, but I would have easily spent longer if I was on my own. 

Rebecca, the owner of the shop, is very lovely indeed. I managed to have a chat with her while I was there, we talked about knitting in the round (she was knitting a beautiful cowl while I was there), lace, crochet and everything else. She talked about the different workshops they hold at the shop, so in November I am going to the Beginners Crochet workshop, which I am very excited about. 

It took me forever to choose, but I finally got myself two skeins of Albero, a Louisa Harding yarn. I am going to make Summer Flies by Donna Griffin, I'm going to need another two skeins though to make it. So that is going on my shopping list for next time I visit, as well as a pair of beautiful wooden circular needles.

So, as you can see I had a fabulous time! After the yarn shop we walked around town, I managed to get myself a dress for the wedding this Friday, some nail varnish, sweeties and a Spicy Chicken Pasty. 

As we walked around town I did notice a bit of yarn bombing!

So now it's time for you to add your links! What does your U stand for?

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Branching Out - Literally!

My beloved Nana and Grandad are coming to stay for a few weeks in October, which I am very much looking forward to. As my Nan is a lace lover, I decided to make her the Branching Out scarf I have been dying to make for weeks on end.

The yarn I have chosen for this project is King Cole Galaxy DK, in the Mars colourway. The colour is gorgeous, and the yarn itself is incredibly soft. It has sequins sown into the yarn, they are distributed quite evenly and unlike other sequin yarns I've tried, it isn't difficult to knit with. You have to be careful when frogging this yarn though, if a sequin gets stuck and then you tug, the yarn snaps. Leaving you with a long bit, a little bit and the skein of yarn.

It does turn a little fuzzy if you re-knit with it, but I've frogged it 6 times so far, and the yarn has coped reasonably well.

Learning to knit lace has been a dream of mine, before I even picked up the needles. I picked Branching Out as I thought it was a easy pattern for a beginner. What gave me that idea, only heaven knows. I've managed to stick with it though, and I'm very pleased I did.

I kept getting lost when I was following the pattern on paper (which resulted in it being ripped several times), so I decided to use the iPhone/iPod Touch App, JKnit. It took about 10 minutes to put the entire pattern into the system, but it was time well spent. Since using the app, I've only had the occasional, easy to fix, mishap!

I've managed to spend little periods of time here and there to knit the scarf, and so far I am on the 20th pattern repeat. It is 83cm long. But not quite long enough, yet. It has used almost 1 skein of yarn so far, I think another half - 3/4 of a skein later, I'll be finished. If you want to see more pictures of the scarf, click here!

For now though, I'm off to check out other WIPs over at Tami's, care to join me? :)

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Bad Beginning

You know how I am with starting new projects, I just can't help myself. So when I found out about One a Day, I knew I had to join in on the fun.

Simply put One a Day (which was started by GingerbreadGirl) is "A CAL/KAL for anyone who wants to tackle a bigger project by doing one element a day!" 

I had a two parcels of yarn arrive last Wednesday (more about that on Saturday!), and inside one of those squishy parcels was two LARGE skeins of Aran. I'd seen these 400g beauties in my Local Yarn Shop many of times, but never had the courage to take a couple of skeins up to the cash register. Fortunately though, my Nan is completely like me when it comes to knitting and she popped two skeins (don't think you can really call them skeins, they're about the size of small child) of Robin Aran with Wool in the Cappuccino colourway in my box of woolly goodies. 

The moment I got back home I cuddled up on the sofa, switched on the TV and watched 'The Day After Tomorrow' (is it just me, or does the film make you feel freezing?!) as I cast on for my new project.

As my Mum is a big garter stitch fan, and we have a very cold few months ahead of us, I decided to knit a Garter Stitch blanket. I'm not knitting from a pattern, simply wingin' it. Using 5mm 80cm circular needles I cast on 160 stitches. I'm not sure how large it'll actually turn out, but when the stitches suddenly flew off the needles it was just a bit bigger than the width of my single bed. So it'll be very interesting to see how large it'll actually turn out.

Now whenever I sit and watch TV Mother's Favourite comes with me. It's great to be able to watch something without the worry of looking down to check for mistakes. As of now, I have knitted 70 rows. Which isn't bad!!

That just about wraps it up for this week, next week I'll be introducing a new project (proving the needles for it have arrived...) and giving you an update on Mother's Favourite. For now, head on over to GingerbreadGirl's for more One a Day posts, or visit the group on Ravelry!

Monday, 19 September 2011

T is for... Tomorrow I Promise to...

Resolutions. They always start out as innocent ideas at first; 'I will only knit from my stash this year' or, 'I will blog every day for a year'.

 Once the idea is planted firmly into our minds, we start planning. We spend hours, upon hours searching our books, magazines and the wonder that is Ravelry for the perfect patterns for our stashed yarn. Or, (if we're going by the second example) we research memes we can take part in, write down article ideas and start working on our photography skills. 

While we plan the excitement builds, we start thinking about our upcoming project more and more. We go to sleep thinking about it, and wake up thinking about it. More and more of our spare time is spent planning.

When the day finally comes for us to start our long-awaited project, we set off at lightning speed. The first week is a breeze, we're finding knitting from our stash is satisfying and writing everyday is easier than we thought. Week two, we slow down a little in our enthusiasm but we're still going. Week three is where the trouble starts to set in. As we visit our favourite blogs, we notice the lovely yarns they are using. We stare longingly at the yarn, then look to the skein sitting on the coffee table. We forget that once upon a time, that skein on the coffee table was once looked upon as the yarn 'I've got to have'. 

By Week Four, we've stopped writing everyday as we have come to view it as a chore. While in town, we walk towards the Local Yarn Store. 'I'll only have a look', you wonder to yourself. Half an hour later you walk out of the shop with a new pair of knitting needles, a new crochet hook and 4 skeins of yarn. Later that evening while looking at your favourite blogs you come across that skein of yarn that tempted you only weeks ago. Out of curiosity you find the yarn on, just to see how much it will cost. You stare at the screen surprised at the price. 'What a bargain. I mean, at the price I can't not buy it. I'd only need... 4 skeins for the shawl so-and-so is making...' Before you know it, another yarn purchase is made. 

I'm not sure about you, but I certainly need to learn from the above and not be so hasty at making new resolutions or setting large projects for myself. I think projects like One a Day though, is certainly going to get my back on track with my knitting. It isn't an overwhelming project, no obsessive rules to stick to, all it takes is doing one row of your project every day. 

Let's hope I am this positive towards the project in a couple weeks time!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Restart

This is only my second YOP Uptdate since the project started in July, which I feel really bad about. But now things in my life are starting to calm down, normal blog service shall resume :)

In my first update I showed you the beginnings of the Tiny Tags hug. I'm pleased to tell you, that I finished it!

Once I got into it, I had a blast. The tags were easy to do once you got the hang of them and the hug worked up pretty fast. My Mum loved it so much, she asked if I could make her one for her French Press. I flicked through the Coffee Cozies book (also written by Alison Howard) but alas there was not one there. So, I designed my own! It took a lot longer than the Mug Hug, but it was still as much fun to knit. You can download the pattern for free on Ravelry!

I am made Stripes, which after On the Edge, is the easiest Hug out of the book. I used yarn from the yarn kit I got free with Issue #31 of Let's Get Crafting: Knit & Crochet Made Easy magazine.

I weaved the yarn ends in as I went, which is a lot quicker than leaving them to the very end. Which I'm sure you'll agree, takes the fun out of any project. As it was just plain Garter Stitch the Mug Hug knitted up very quickly.

As the work-in-progress, I attempted a lace pattern earlier this afternoon. Long story short, M.E brain fog caused me to make it about 3x too big, chose yarn which meant you couldn't see the pattern, and I kept messing up. I'm going to have a rest this evening and try again tomorrow. I'll keep you informed on my progress.

Now, I'm off to cuddle up on the sofa and prepare for the last round of Auditions of the UK X Factor. I have to say, I'm quite impressed with the panel this year, and the talent. But that's another post for another day. Have a great one!

For more Year of Projects post by bloggers from around the world, either type YOP11-12 into Google, head on over to Kerri's - the creator of this fine project -,or make your way to the Ravelry group Come Blog-a-Long.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

100 Days 100 Words: Teddy Bear

I'm sure, like me, you have a couple of forgotten WIPs hiding under the bed or shoved at the bottom of the cupboard. And if your anything like me, you don't like to admit, or even recall to your mind those Works-in-Progress'. Perhaps they were thrown into the cupboard during a fit of anger and frustration. They might have been popped into a bag and hidden under the bed simply because you ran out of yarn to carry on the project. You probably had the intentions of buying more yarn for the project, but as it always does, life simply got in the way and therefore the WIP was forgotten. 

One of my hidden away WIPs is Henry. Henry is a Honey Bear from the book Knit a Square & Make a Toy. They used the wrong picture on the Ravelry page, so here is what Henry is destined to look like: 

© Cath Muscat 
Isn't he cute? I started this project back in March of this year, when I first started out knitting. My best friend loves Tatty Teddy bears, but I could never find a pattern for one. So, I decided to settle for second best and make her the Honey Bear.

I wasn't on Ravelry then, so unfortunately I have no idea what yarn I am working with. All I can remember from the ball band is that it is DK weight and acrylic. The yarn I am using for feet, arms and part of his head and back, is a dark brown yarn with golden and light brown speckles. It must have some wool mixed in as it is quite soft. I am using a yellowy-orange colour for his tummy, which is okay to work with.

It took me a while to knit all the squares for the toy (there were 10 in all), as I had only been knitting for a couple of weeks. After a quick perusal of the squares I noticed that I seemed to have gotten my tension okay and there are hardly any mistakes. Which is good news!  

Once I had all the squares finished I asked my Mum to help me sew up Henry, as I am a complete and utter novice at sewing. We managed to get all the feet and arms stuffed and sewn and the back and middle sewn together. 

Alas, this is as far as we got. We soon got bored of stuffing and sewing and decided to pop Henry in a bag to try again another day. And, as you know, that day has not yet come. He sits on my bookshelf in my bedroom, bored, alone and in pieces. 

I'm hoping to visit my best friend at the end of the year (if everything goes to plan that is) so Henry must be finished by then. Hopefully one day soon he will be able to come out of the carrier bag and see the light of day.

So, that is the end of another 100 Days 100 Words post. If you would like to read previous posts, and find out how the fun sounded head over here

Monday, 12 September 2011

S is for... Swap

I have always wanted to take part in a swap, and I have finally been given the chance to take part in one!

The codename for the swap is PAL (Pass Along). And in your swap package you must pop in a skein (or two!) of yarn, a postcard with a little message and one or two goodies that are only available in your country.

My swap partner is Myriah, who lives in Norway. She asked me if I could send her a ball of acrylic yarn, as it is not readily available over in Norway. In return, Myriah let me choose the yarn she'll send me, which I thought was very kind. She took pictures of her LYS (which is amaaaazing!) and from that I chose my skein. It took a little time as the selection was vast, but I finally settled on Rauma Finullgan in Orange.

It is a fingering weight yarn, and I can't wait to have a go with it. 

We have to send off our packages by October 15, so I'm busy planning on what to include. As soon as Myriah has received her package I will show you what I sent her, and what I received! 

Monday, 5 September 2011

R is for... Rush!

With my niece/nephew-to-be arriving in a couple of weeks, everyone is rushing around to get everything sorted. With the baby blanket just squares away from being finished, I ran out of yarn. Typical! Instead of just twiddling my thumbs at home while I wait on more yarn, I decided to whip up a few baby booties and mittens.

I don't know about you, but I love baby knits. Quick, easy and ever so cute. I went a little mad with the baby booties and mittens...

Almost finished with the matching booties!
So yes. As you can see I went a little mad. The purple set are going to my friend Jo, who has a gorgeous little girl. And the rest are off to my sister. 

So, time to check out the rest of the ABC Bloggers, click on the links below to find out what R meant to them!

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