Friday, 27 January 2012

By the Sea

Living near the coast, you can't not be inspired by the beautiful colours and landscapes. After my eldest sister claimed the first French Press cozy I designed, Candy Bobble, it left my Mum without a cozy. So, I decided to design her another one with the seaside theme in mind!

So, I give to you, friends and readers, By the Sea!

It is a quick, easy, fun and most importantly, cheap! knit. The pattern is available for free as a PDF download on Ravelry.

For the show knit, I used James C. Brett Top Value Double Knit in Turquoise. Which is  cheap yarn, but really good quality and I will definitely use them again. My Mum found the Seashell buttons by chance, and they work perfectly with the pattern.

For now, head on over to Tami's for more Fab Friday Finishes!! Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A Big Mac Just Fell Out of the Sky!

As I sit here, in my jogging pants and sweatshirt trying to keep an eye on my 3 year old niece as she dances around the room with empty biscuit boxes and orange juice cartons while attempting to write about my lace hat as the fluffy monster that is my dog Lilo, sits on my lap and part of the laptop.

It isn't going well.

And neither is my hat. 

I'm making the Reversible Lace Beanie Hat (no picture on Ravelry as of yet!) from Issue 88 of Simply Knitting (just found this magazine, and I am in love with it. Best magazine I've found so far!) for my little sister Katy. She looks great in hats, which makes me very jealous as I tend to look like Goofy from the Disney channel when I try and wear one.

I'm using Albero by Louisa Harding, that I bought back in September from The Cornwall Yarn Shop down in Launceston. So soft it's unbelievable, unfortunately it did split when I ripped back a row which meant that I knitted the split stitches, thinking they were actual stitches. Which meant the pattern went wrong and I had to rip back another round. But of course that made the stitches split, and then the cycle went round again and again until I got so annoyed I stuffed the it away into the Yarn Box for a time out. I then decided I don't like knitting in the round and will never do it again.

The hat is knitted in the round, and other than my socks (which I messed up as well. But it really wasn't my fault, the pattern is written wrong, honest!) I haven't had much experience with knitting in this way. While I was knitting my socks I decided I didn't like DPNs and much prefer circular needles. So when I decided to cast on this project I headed over to YouTube and learnt how to do Magic Loop.

Once you know how, Magic Loop is really easy and you don't need to worry about losing a DPN (which I did on several occasions) as you have both your needles there all the time. I'm hoping you can knit socks with magic loop, because if you can I will definitely start knitting them again.

Anyway, back to the hat. Another additional factor to the meltdown and time out was because stitches started disappearing, and no matter how many rounds I rip back, I cannot find them. I've looked at each stitch very carefully (a magnifying glass almost came out at one point!) but to no avail.

So, to finally get to my point, I am thinking of frogging the entire thing and starting again. I know that it is a very drastic thing to do but I think in the long run it'll all be worth it. I'm off to say my farewells. It was nice knowing you, Reversible Beanie Hat I. May your successor, Reversible Beanie Hat II, live long and prosper.

I'm off to look for that Big Mac, perhaps it'll be at the end of the rainbow with that massive pot of gold I see in the distance... meanwhile, head on over Tami's where she is hosting some WIP Wednesday fun!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

An Accidental Cross Stitcher

My cousin's piece of handi-work. 
My Great Aunt, Aunt and Cousin are all cross-stitchers. And they're all very, very good. This tradition has sat heavily on my shoulders while I waited for the right moment to learn. That moment was today, at 7am.

After hunting for the thread and fabric, I sat myself down in front of this video by videojugartscrafts, which was really helpful and made certain things such as reading a chart much clearer to understand.

As I didn't have a pattern to follow I did a bit of freestyle. Here is how I got on.

I had a lot of fun doing it, and I can see myself getting seriously obsessed with it... you never know, Tuesdays just might become Stitchin' Tuesdays!

Tune in tomorrow to see the lace hat I'm trying to knit at the moment. All I'm going to say is, it isn't going well!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Pirates of Penzance

©Planet Whale
We've had a crazy couple of weeks as a family, so we decided to let our hair down for a bit and go away for the weekend. We decided to spend it in Penzance, I visited Penzance when I was a little girl and loved it. The one thing I really remember was sitting on the harbour wall, eating fish n' chips while we watched the (wild) dolphins play with the boats in the harbour.

We stayed in Cape Cornwall Golf & Leisure Resort in St. Just. A lovely little place, the staff were really nice and helpful and we had a great time.

Saturday was when the holiday really kicked off, we got up and ready and headed into town. While on our way we spotted this gorgeous thatched cottage, and I just had to hop out of the car and take a picture.

Mum dropped us off into town while she went and parked the car. So Katy and I just wandered about, popped into Mimi's boutique, which was a really cute little place. Then we wandered over to Knit Wits, we sat at the little table she had there and looked through pattern books and magazines. Saw some really nice stuff, especially the Debbie Bliss books 'A Fine Romance' and 'Baby Cashermino 3'.

After an hour or so off window shopping we met up with Mum and had cake. Bakewell tart to be precise. Which was delicious. While we were wandering the high street we stumbled upon a cinema. So, Katy and I went to see the absolutely brilliant War Horse while Mum went and looked in galleries.

In the evening we grabbed some fish and chips and ate them while looking out onto St. Michael's Mount. We got some lovely shots of the beach while we were there.
We then drove to St.Ives, which is only about 15 minutes away, and got ourselves some desert from Peppers. I had the Chocolate Marquis which is dark chocolate and orange mousse. It was divine. It tasted like a melted Terry's chocolate orange. Yum.

Sunday afternoon we got ourselves a Big Mac and headed on home. We saw plenty of windmills (I might have a slight obsession with them :brow) and sung along to plenty of Coldplay songs.

So it was a great success and we're all really pleased we did it. Cheered us all up no end!

Now, I'm sure you're wondering about my holiday knitting... well, I assure you I did manage to do some knitting. I even learned a new technique while I was there, but that is another post for another day. So stay tuned this week!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Knitting the Town Red

Yesterday afternoon was the ultimate lazy day. I stayed in my pyjamas, watched films and knitted 'til my hands hurt.

I logged onto the computer in the morning and read the Yarn Harlot's latest post. She was knitting mittens and it inspired me to get out my beautiful Strawberry DK from Candy Skein that I bought back in July from the lovely Tami and start knitting the Emanelle fingerless mittens I had queued for Year of Projects.

For some reason I thought I was doing Moss Stitch (seed stitch) so it took several attempts to get 6 rows of 1x1 rib. Finally I got the 'base' of the mitten down and I could get my teeth into the pattern.

I loved, loved, loved knitting these gloves. The Yummy DK is soft to touch, glides across the needles and the strawberry colour just looks delicious. I cannot recommend this yarn enough.  Just buy it, and you'll know what I mean.

Anyway, back to the gloves. Well, everything went swimmingly. The 8 row pattern was easy to remember, and I was soon able to knit without consulting the pattern. When I knitted my Bright and Bold cable bag, I found it a little boring despite the constant colour change. With this cable pattern however, I was knitting with only one colour and  had only one cable to combat, yet it was a lot more interesting. I'm not sure whether this is because I was infatuated with this skein of yarn, or that I genuinely liked the pattern.

I finished the first glove just before dinner, and the moment it was finished it was slipped on my hand and shown off to the family. I waved at my Mum as if I was the Queen while saying, 'Helloooo, hellooooo' in my most regal manner (trying to show my glove off as much as possible). She got the hint and said, 'What a lovely glove, did you knit that yourself?'

I didn't fall asleep until 4am last night (... or should I say this morning?) so I got to work on the second glove. I knitted while wearing the first glove for as long as possible, until I got too hot and had to lay my handy work by my side. I finished it in an hour and a half, and became a happy owner of my first hand-knit gloves.

I'm really pleased with how they turned out, and can't wait to wear them out tomorrow afternoon. Fortunately I have enough yarn for another pair of gloves, so I thought I'd make a pair for my best friend. Not sure if I'll use the same pattern, I'll have to look through Ravelry and see if I can find another pattern to tackle.

So, that is my first completed Year of Projects project this year completed, woohoo! I'm casting on for my Abysall Shawl as we speak, which is the next YOP project I'm going to attempt. So, if you fancy reading some more Year of Project posts head on over to When Did I Become a Knitter where the creator, Kerri, is holding a Mr. Linky. Or, you can pop on over to the Year of Projects group on Ravelry, while I go and help myself to a Galaxy Promise. Yummers. 

Saturday, 7 January 2012

100 Days 100 Words: Yarn

This post was meant to have been published yesterday morning as a scheduled post. But, Blogger decided to throw a temper tantrum and not publish it. I told it 'I wasn't impressed and hoped this behaviour did not happen again', hopefully it'll think about what it has done while it sits with a numb bum on the naughty step. Enjoy!

Over the past few months, I have received a lot of yarn. Even with all the organizing, my yarn box is almost filled to the brim. I've been giving everything from sock yarn, to recycled silk. And I have no idea what to do with most of it!

Way back in September my Nan sent me a big, squishy package. In there were two child-size skeins of Robin Aran Wool, I had no idea what to do with them when suddenly inspiration struck and I decided to make myself a soft and squishy garter stitch blanket. She also bought me 6 skeins of Wendy Peter Pan Double Knit in purple, and another 6 in white. I'm planning on using them to make cardigans for my nieces.

She also bought me two skeins of Bergere fe France Toison in Hermine and Blason. I have no idea what I could make with either of them, so if you had any suggestions they would be extremely appreciated!

Now, the following couple of skeins are the most interesting, and puzzling. When in Laxey, Isle of Man she found this Recycled Silk. She had a go with it, but decided it wasn't for her. So she thought I might like to have a go with it. Now, I would love to make something with it, as it is lovely, but I have no idea what to do with it. It feels like an Aran weight, but it has strands of it which almost feel Chunky. I'm thinking that a simple stocking stitch scarf might be in its future, as I think you wouldn't be able to see any other stitches because of the colour. 

In September, I decided to make my sister a blanket that would match the colour-scheme of her bedroom. So I ordered 2 skeins each of King Cole Big Value DK in Ocean and Kingfisher. Two skeins each of James C. Brett Top Value DK in Royal Blue and Turquoise. And finally another two skeins of Stylecraft Special Double Knit in White.

My Mum took me to the Cornwall Yarn Shop

Then in October I took part in a swap with my lovely friend Myriah. She sent me two skeins of Rauma Finnullga, which is a Norwegian Fingering Wool. I'm planning on making myself the Abysall shawl by Karen & Karyn. She also bought me a skein of Dale of Norway.

November was the month of sock yarn. I was given Rico Design Superba Chinee which I'm using to make my first ever pair of socks. I was also given Rico Design Superba Mexico and Sirdar Town & Country.

Click here if you'd like to read my previous 100 Days 100 Words posts, or find out how it all started by clicking here.

Have a great weekend! :)

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

À La Mode

Yesterday I was trying to keep calm and carry on knitting. I decided to make some changes to my Year of Projects list, and I am really pleased I did. Goodpurlgonebad managed to sum it up in just one sentence, she said: "I agree too that changing one's mind is generally a good thing and the range of projects will mean that you'll always have something that appeals to cast on."

After writing that post I dived straight for my Yarn Box and pulled out a skein of Peter Pan DK by Wendy that I was given a few months ago by my Nan (come back on Saturday to see my yarn I've procured over the past couple of months, and what I plan to do with it). It's lovely and sparkly, and just the right shade of purple for my gorgeous niece, Daisy.

I'm knitting Moss Stitch Shoes by Debbie Bliss, the pattern is from the book Baby Knits for Beginners, by Debbie Bliss. I am planning on making the Jacket with Moss Stitch Bands in the same yarn as the booties, as soon as I can.

The yarn is nice to work with, very soft and it just glides across the needles. I had to unravel it once or twice due to increasing the wrong way, and it the yarn became very fuzzy, and the sparkly thread ( I think it is) came away from the yarn and kept getting in the way when I was knitting. But other than that, the yarn has been good. I will definitely use it again, and good job really as I have another 5 skeins in purple, and 6 skeins of white!

The pattern is pretty simple to do, had a bit of trouble of increasing 'in pattern' but after a couple of tries I've got the hang of it now. I was meant to use 2.75mm needles for the booties, but as our dear Daisy is growing very fast (as baby's seem to do) by the time I'm finished with these and the cardi (hopefully give them at the same time) she'll be able to wear the pair I am making with 3.5mm needles.

Unfortunately it lacks in instructions for sewing up the shoe, so I am going to beg for help from my Mum and all you lovely Ravelers. Hopefully on Sunday you'll find something that slightly resembles a shoe! 

Well, thats all for now. I'm going to try and get my TV Aerial working as I wait for Super Mario Galaxy to arrive. Woohoo!

For more crafty posts, head over to Tami's WIP Wednesday

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On Knitting

While on my blogging break I was mulling over my Year of Projects choices. I had initially decided to knit my way through the book Mug Hugs by Alison Howard.

I've been thinking about this for a little while now, and I have decided to scrap my first list and start afresh. I am not in any way saying that Alison's book is a disappointment, it is very good and I'm pleased I bought it. The reason for changing my mind is that I'd like a bit of variety, and a smaller list. You may think, Mug Hugs oh pish posh. I could knit them in my sleep. And I'm sure you could, but I have found some of them too difficult and beyond my skill level for the moment.

In the future I would like to work my way through the book, but for now I would like to have a go at something a little easier.

For my new list, I have a few easier knits but I also have some that will demand not only my full attention but some new skills as well. I want to not only come out of this... 'experience' with some lovely projects, but I would like to come away with new skills that I can use in the future.

So, here is my shiny new list. It isn't particularly long, but that is due to the fact that it is January and I have only 6 months to go until the end of the project. I may add some more projects if I feel I can manage it, but for now I think this list will do me just fine. I will talk more about the patterns when I start knitting them, as I don't want this post to be too long and boring for you all.

In no particular order, here are my Year of Projects! (Or 6 Months of Projects, should I say?)

Moss Stitch Shoes by Debbie Bliss

Jacket with Moss Stitch Bands by Debbie Bliss

Emanelle by Nancy Ricci (completed - see here)

Lazy Days by  Val Pierce (Not yet on the Ravelry Database)

Tuck Stitch Helmet by Sirdar (Not yet on the Ravelry Database)

Beanie Hat by Kirstie McLeod

Monarch Shawl by Denise

Abyssal by Karen and Karyn

Honey Bear by Norma Cambell (read all about my history with my bear Henry, here)

© Helsbels3
I am excited about this new list, I  I'm going to cast on the swatch for the Moss Stitch Shoes this afternoon. I hope they look half as good as Helsbels3 pair!

If you would like to see more Year of Project posts, type YOP11-12 into Google, or head over to the Come-Blog-a-Long group on Ravelry.

Monday, 2 January 2012

My First Knitting Pupil!

I had a couple of friends over yesterday, which was really nice. While Emily and Katy hid in the kitchen and painted their nails, Amy and I decided to get crafty. She noticed my Scrunchable Scarf I'm knitting in the corner of the room, and said "Wow, you're really good at knitting. I can only do the one thing - knit." I got a sudden urge of excitement. "Aw thank you, well... I can teach you if you like..." "Oh, yes please!"

I did a quick fist pump, ran up the stairs (which I shouldn't do. And Mum if you're reading this, I'm sorry.) and did a knee slide across the floor to my yarn box (or, the rectangularcubething for any of you who were reading on Friday). In all the excitement of having my own victim pupil, I pulled out some white cotton (which says it is Aran weight but it is really DK) and a pair of 7mm plastic needles. Which really didn't work, as the needles were  far too big for the yarn. Meaning it looked holey (is that even a word?!), when it should have been nice and neat. 

I decided to teach her Purl, which when teamed with Knit meant that she could do stocking stitch! She just absorbed everything I said and showed her, which was great! She learnt to purl incredibly quickly and was soon asking to learn something else.

We then plodded downstairs, popped Gnomeo and Juliet on in the DVD Player (which was a gift from my Nan when she was clearing out. So much easier to use than an old PS2, thank you Nan!) and I taught her to cast on. 
As with Purl, she learnt how to cast on very quickly. She saw me knitting my scarf and said, "Hey, can I learn to do that stitch you're using for the scarf?" "Of course, I should have thought of it earlier. It is very easy. Simply knit 2, purl 1. Then repeat."

I showed her a row of the k2, p1 and then she had a go herself. For this she used a pair of 4mm bamboo needles (which she found a lot easier to use, stitches don't slip around so easily) and some cheap acrylic. Stylecraft DK in Yellow, to be exact.

She got a little stuck every now and again, but in the whole she did really well. During the rest of the day, wherever she went, so did her knitting. So we may see another knitter coming into the world! :e

I gave her the 4mm needles and DK yarn for her to practice with, as all she had at home was some split-prone cotton, which isn't very good to learn with. In the end, our knitty day looked a little something like this! Minus the chocolate wrappers and nail polish.

Click to enlarge.
It was a lovely day and I hope we can do it again soon. I can't leave without showing you Katy's nails. She borrowed Emily's cracked nail polish (unsure of the brand, sorry) and I just think the end result is fab!

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