Friday, 24 February 2012

Suffering from Glove Love!

I finished the Irish Hiking Armwarmers yesterday, Mum was incredibly chuffed with them. And so was I, actually. Really pleased that I managed to conquer the DPNs, now I can move onto socks and monsters and other awesome things.

I do have one request, though. I've been looking at sock patterns on Raverly, and I'm really not sure which is the most beginner friendly. If any of you have a moment, would you have a look through them and possibly send me a message (or leave a comment on this post) telling me which one I should have a go at? I would be eternally grateful! 

I uploaded a picture of the Emanelle gloves I did a while ago, onto FaceBook the other day and my older sister left this comment:

WANT ONE PLEASE SIS!! two would be better though! xxxmwahxxx

So, I set to work on her pair. I couldn't find a pattern I preferred over Emanelle, so I just stuck with the same pattern but in a different colour!

I chose James C. Brett Top Value DK in Turquoise, the same yarn I used for my By the Sea French Press cover. It is really good value for money, for two skeins (612 yards/559 metres) I paid £3.58 on Deramores. It knits really well and the colours are lovely. As you can tell, I can't sing its praises loud enough!!

Only took me a day to knit Tamsin's gloves up, I really liked how they turned out. I might even have to knit myself another pair in the same colour!

So as you can see, the glove love is bordering on obsessive. But, I'm enjoying it.

Right now I've cast on for Daisy's Tuck Stitch Helmet, hoping to get some work done on that over the weekend. More about that on Sunday, though!

So, I hope you all have a lovely weekend and that the weather picks up! Grey and cloudy here in the UK at the moment, but we have seen Snowdrops starting to open which means Spring is here - hooray!

Head on over to these wonderful blogs for more Friday Fun!

FO Friday at Tami's Amis and Other Creations
Fibre Arts Friday at Wisdom Begins in Wonder
Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Thursday Book Challenge: Week 3!

If you were here last week, you probably remember the problems I was having with My Lady Ludlow by Elizabeth Gaskell. I've decided to heed Ruth's advice, and come back to the book some other time. So, I decided to pop it away and try something completely different. I had a route through the Kindle, and found a book called The Middle Passage by Julia Golding. I got it for free and to be honest I wasn't expecting much but, I found myself pleasantly surprised!

"Summer 1792. Our favourite adventurer, Cat Royal, is sailing home from the Caribbean in the company of Billy Shepherd. They stumble into a mystery in the Azores involving stargazers, thieves and far too many wasps." -
One brilliant thing the author has done, is that she's made it easy for you to read the book despite it being halfway through the series. The language in the book is easy to understand, characters are easy to identify with, and as the author's descriptions are clear and simple you can easily imagine what characters look like etc. It is really, the perfect children's book. While reading it, I could very easily imagine it as a film...

So, my other book for this week is TimeRiders: The Gates of Rome (Book 5) by Alex Scarrow. At the end of the last book, The Eternal War, we are left with the loss of another team member and more secrets are brought to light. I've not read much of The Gates of Rome yet, but what I've read so far is fantastic. Full of humour, and the uncovering of secrets. Foster also manages to let slip a very big secret at the beginning of the book, which leaves Maddy, Liam & Sal upset, angry and confused.

This book is my favourite in the series so far, and I can't wait to find out how the team are going to get back to 2001 and put history back as it should be.

So, now its over to you! To take part, head on over to your blog and write about your reading for this week. Then when you're finished, get the link to your post (not to your blog, just the post) and then pop it into the Mr.Linky below! All we ask is that you link back to us in your post, and read one or two of the other participants posts.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Well, Paint me Purple and Call me Barney!

A couple of weeks ago the lovely Michelle was having a de-stash, and she very kindly sent me 4 skeins of Lion Brand Cashmere Blend, in Dusty Blue. My Mum was there as I was opening the packet, as soon as she saw the yarn she asked if I'd make her a pair of mittens. After a quick flick through the wonder that is Raverly, I found the Irish Hiking Scarf Armwarmers by Delia Rau Cholakian and set to work!

The yarn is 72% Merino wool, 15& Nylon and13% Cashmere, so the yarn is soooooo incredibly soft. I could sit and cuddle it all day. Such a shame that the yarn was discontinued, but Lion Brand do have another Merino & Cashmere mix yarn which I'm really hoping to have a go with in the near future.

The glove pattern is really fun and simple, and I have been really enjoying knitting it! It took me around 2 hours to knit the left hand glove, which is quite quick really. My Mum really loves the gloves, but as she has Arthritis she asked me to knit a thumb on them.

'Right...' I said. I've not knitted with DPNs on my own before so the panic set it. Thoughts rushed through my head:

'I'm gonna ruin them... they're going to be a mess... I have trouble knitting with two needles, never mind five... how am I meant to knit a thumb without a pattern??'

But I dug through my needle case and found some 5mm DPNs, cuddled up in my bed and just went for it. Using 4 DPNs I picked up and knitted about 20 stitches (really should have counted) and knitted away.

Well paint me purple and call me Barney, it actually worked!

Now I've had this little victory, I'm going to bite the bullet and start those socks again.

So, this evening I'm going to do the second glove and maybe even cast on for my pair of socks. How exciting!!

So now you've seen what I'm working on this week, head on over to Work in Progress Wednesday, where Tami is knitting a beautiful pair of socks. Once you've finished over at Tami's, get over to Ginny's for this weeks Yarn Along!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Twinkle Twinkle, Ball of Yarn... How I Wonder What You'll Be...

After I made my Emanelle fingerless gloves, I had over half a skein of my Strawberry Yummy DK left over. I had no idea what to do with it, and then while I was on holiday I was flicking through the Hats & Mitts supplement from my latest magazine, and found a great pattern called A Hint of Sparkle by Kirstie McLeod. After looking at it, I thought they would be perfect for my best friend Abby.

So as soon as I got back home, I cast on. They only took me a few hours to knit up, and I really enjoyed making them! Included in the magazine were these gorgeous heart buttons, they only gave you 6 but I would love a whole jar full of them!!

As I was putting the parcel together (with a decoupage card I made too!) it didn't feel quite complete, so I flicked through my magazine collection and found the Faye Purse by Sian Brown, which was in Let's Knit Issue 43. Turned out to be perfect, as Abby has just gotten a new phone and iPod Touch, and was talking to me about wanting a new case just a couple of days before. As Abby's iPod is white, I decided to use the white and purple Peter Pan yarn. The yarn is lovely to work with, so incredibly soft and it has sparkly thread running through the yarn so it sparkles under the light. I'm actually using the purple for Daisy's cardigan and ballet pumps!

I was a complete donut and forgot to take a
picture of the case, but fortunately Abby was there to
save the day! Thank you!
The pattern was nice and easy, and knitted up pretty quickly. As I didn't put the yarn into bobbins, it did keep getting tangled, but I've learnt my lesson and will take the time to make it into bobbins next time I try any Fair Isle-type work!

The parcel arrived on her doorstep the next day, and I'm pleased to say that she loves them! *woohoo*

Hopefully on Sunday I'll be able to you Daisy's cardigan and ballet pumps all finished! The pumps just need sewing up, and I just have one more sleeve and the neckband left to do on the cardigan. I am knitting some more gloves too, but you'll have to wait until next week to see them ;)

For now though, head on over to Tami's for F.O Friday (oh, and while you're there, check out her new yarn colourways!), Fibre Arts Friday and Creative Friday for more Finished Object Fun! 

Have a great weekend folks! x

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Thursday Book Challenge: Week 2

Welcome to the second week of the Thursday Book Challenge! To find out more about this meme, head over here.

So, this week I have chosen to read TimeRiders: The Eternal War (Book 4) by Alex Scarrow, My Lady Ludlow by Elizabeth Gaskell and Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne.

But, before I start telling you about this weeks books, here is a quick update on how I did last week.

Last week I set out to read Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell, TimeRiders: The Doomsday Code (Book 3) by Alex Scarrow and The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I managed to read Cranford and TimeRiders 3, both of which I really enjoyed. TimeRiders was full of surprises and secrets... which I hope I will find the answers too soon! Unfortunately, I have managed to lose my library card *facepalm*, so I haven't been able to pick up my reservations. Hopefully sometime next week they'll be  able to sort me out with a new card...

So, onto this weeks. I desperately wanted to find out what happened next in the TimeRiders series, so The Eternal War was my first book of the week. It was very good, but it 'felt' a lot different to the previous books. In actual fact, it felt more like a film script than a book. The storyline was very good, though. It was nice to spend more time with Maddy, the leader of the TimeRiders. I enjoyed getting to know her character more, and learning what makes her tick. The ending was sad, (can't state the reason for fear of *spoiling*) and instead of answering questions, made me ask more! So, I'm really hoping in the 5th book, the Gates of Rome,  we'll be able to find out some answers.

Lady Ludlow from the BBC TV Series,

I decided to carry on with the Elizabeth Gaskell novellas, and so this week I am reading My Lady Ludlow. It is about an aristocratic widow and the way she handles the social and political change of the country. The entire story is told through Miss Dawson, whom Lady Ludlow took into her care at the age of 16, after Margaret's father passed away.

I have to admit, I'm not loving it so far. But whether that is due to the story, or the fact that I'd much rather be knitting Daisy's new cardigan, I'm not quite sure.

So, that is how I'm getting on with my reading this week. Now its over to you! To take part, head on over to your blog and write about your reading for this week. Then when you're finished, get the link to your post (not to your blog, just the post) and then pop it into the Mr.Linky below! All we ask is that you link back to us in your post, and read one or two of the other participants posts.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Knitting, the Universe, and Everything!

Having a new teacup-human in the family (fantastic turn of phrase by AndiSocial) means that you get to knit lots of cute, tiny things. This weeks teacup-human knitting is the Jacket with Moss Stitch Bands and Moss Stitch Shoes, both of which are from the book Baby Knits for Beginners by Debbie Bliss.

The Moss Stitch Shoes, are really pretty. And you'll probably remember me blogging about knitting them not too long ago. I forget why I ended up frogging them... but anyway! Now they're back, and I've really enjoyed knitting them!

Click to see it bigger!
They were really easy to knit, and very fast too! They're sat in my knitting bag now... waiting to be sewn up. So hopefully on Sunday you'll get to see the finished result!

Back Panel
Now, I am knitting the Jacket with Moss Stitch Bands. As it is my first time knitting a garment, I decided to pick something simple to get me going. I started it yesterday, and I'm amazed at how quick it is knitting up! Yesterday I managed to start and finish the back panel, and today I've almost finished the front left panel :)

Front Left Panel
It is basically stocking stitch with (you guessed it) moss stitch bands. As it is a 'mindless' knit, it has meant that I can read while knitting. Which is great news, because I'm really behind on my reading goal already this year. But, more on that tomorrow. 

So now I've entered the world of 'proper knitting' (as my Mother calls it) I've lined up a few more cardigans to try my needle at in the next few weeks. They are: Simply Shrug by Ida Olniansky, Peggy Sue by Linda Wilgus and Dress with Eyelets by Debbie Bliss.The first two for myself, and the latter for my niece Daisy! (Who is going to be the recipient of the Moss Stitch Shoes & Cardi)

So, now its time for you to head on over to Tami's where WIP Wednesday has reached its 80th week - can you believe it??

Have a great week everyone, and don't forget to pop on by tomorrow for the 2nd week of the Thursday Book Challenge!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Thursday Book Challenge: Week 1

Getting your knitting and reading balanced is always tricky. One minute your obsessed with finishing your shawl, and the next you can't seem to put that novella down. Abby (Virtual Stitch) and myself understand much to well the difficulty of this balancing act, and proposed to do something about it. And thus, the Thursday Book Challenge (TBC) was born.

You can find a full explanation of this new meme, here. (If I explained it and then did my post for the week, it would be a good mile long!)

Feel free to use the graphic in your post! 
So, this week I chose to read Cranford by Elizabeth GaskellTimeriders: The Doomsday Code (Book 3) by Alex Scarrow, and, if I can get to the library this Friday, The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

I've watched the BBC Adaptation of Cranford and Return to Cranford, many, many times. And thoroughly enjoyed it. (And may be a little in love with William Buxton) The series' are actually based on three novellas by Mrs. Gaskell: Cranford, My Lady Ludlow and Mr. Harrison's Confessions. And I hope to read them all over the coming weeks.

It is set in the 1840s in the fictional town of Cranford in the north-west of England (although it is believed to be based on Knutsford in Cheshire). The occupants of the town are almost all women and they are all very set in their traditional ways. Miss Mary Smith (who, in my belief, is Elizabeth Gaskell herself) goes to stay with the Jenkyns sisters, Miss Deborah and Miss Matty. The book is really a very long letter written by Miss Smith about the adventures of the Cranford ladies. 

The different stories move like a bullet train, and you don't get to enjoy one story for very long when another one pulls in and takes over. Which, I think is a shame. The book is also a little jumbled. She relates one experience in June for example, then goes back to the November before, and then takes you to another adventure set in the August of next year. 

Despite all this, though, the book is fabulous. I really enjoyed reading it. Things are a lot different in the book to the series (for ex. Captain Brown dies in the book, but lives on in the adaptation) so you do get to enjoy new characters and stories which do not appear in the adaptation.

My favorite character has to be Miss Pole. The free-thinking gossip of the town. She is full of wit, sarcasm and humor and the book would suffer greatly without her. 

I managed to finish the book on Tuesday morning, so it was quite a quick read. I tried to think of Cranford inspired knits, and all I could think of were these lovely fingerless mittens which I could easily see Miss Matty wear. 

I started the Doomsday Code by Alex Scarrow yesterday, and am really enjoying it. As I am not very far into the book I can't give much of an opinion other than I am really enjoying it. It's great to be back with the characters and am looking forward to seeing how they face the challenges that this book brings them.

So, now its your turn! To share you post with us, fill your information into the Mr. Linky below! (Make sure you give us the link to you post and not your home-page) All we ask is that you link back to us in your post so that we can get the word out about this meme, and perhaps read and comment on a few of the other participants posts. But mainly, have fun!!


Sorry about all the hassle with the Mr. Linky, it is working now, but it takes a minute or two to add your link. If you're still having trouble, please tell me by leaving a comment! Thank you, and sorry about all that!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

What does a Blood Thirsty Vampire with a Cold, Knit?

This past week, I haven't been feeling too good. On top of the normal things, I've had inner and outer ear infections in both ears, conjunctivitis in both eyes and a heavy cold. In all honest truth, I looked like I had staggered off the set of a horror film.

When one is attired like a blood-thirsty vampire with a cold, one must knit like a blood-thirsty vampire with a cold. And what does a hungry vampire knit? 

It would probably knit this.

Near the end of September my Nan gave me two child-size skeins of Aran yarn. I decided to knit myself a big, squishy, garter stitch blanket. Something I could knit when I was having a bad day with my M.E (as when I have a bad day, I can't knit. I just mess it all up!), and also something to work at while watching TV. 

Just over 4 months later, and here we are. I've managed to knit my way through a whole child-size skein (875yds/800m) and am onto my second skein. It is measuring 90cm width wise (but I do believe it will be longer when taken off the needles, as it is all squished on there as of present) and 95cm length wise. 

I'm planning on making it big. Something to keep us toasty and warm in the winter. Hopefully I'll finish it before summer, because I don't think I'll be able to cope with knitting it, I'll get far too hot!!

Sorry about the rubbish iPod Camera shots, my normal camera is broken :( 

So, now I no longer look and feel like a blood thirsty vampire with a cold, I can move onto bigger and better knits. Perhaps Reversible Beanie Hat II may appear this time next week... who knows!

For the meantime, head on over to Tami's where she is knitting some beautiful socks!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Do Mi So Do, Do So Mi Do....

When she finished teaching her art class, Mum very kindly bought me a cross stitch kit! She brought home with her Marie from the Aristocats! As it is a Soluble Canvas Kit in did not include fabric, but fortunately we had a small piece floating around the house. 

I did start it last week, but it went terribly wrong so I decided to rip it back and start again on Sunday afternoon. 

It all worked much better the second time around. Once I got into the swing of it I really enjoyed it, and on a few occasions had to force myself to put it down!

I'm really pleased with how it turned out... I know the colours aren't quite what they should be (I got confused, the shades of grey all looked the same!) but I'm pleased with it nonetheless. 

This afternoon I am going to cut it out and put it onto a card. I'll show you my efforts next week! I do also have another cross stitch planned for my younger sister. Mum bought the fabric yesterday and I'm waiting to get the correct colours :) So, hopefully they'll be something to show you next Tuesday! 

Whenever I think Aristocats, I think of Scales and Arpeggios! 

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