Sunday, January 27, 2008

UK Swap Weekly Comp 2

Mitten progress made this week, but only limited due to the amount of time spent on public transport due to the 'person' who drilled a hole in our petrol tank, and the resultant issues with incorrect parts etc. Anyway, despite almost exhausted interested in the project, they are progressing, and I am still on track to complete by my deadline

This weekend, I had a bit of sewing fun, thanks to Drago(knit)fly's instructions. Look! (yes, thats actually sunshine)
They turned out great. The pink flowery one is for a friend - you can see the scarf that is also for this friend inside - worked out perfectly sized. The lining you probably saw on an earlier post as a skirt for me. The flower version of the leaf colourway was meant to be a trim for the skirt, but it was a bit much. The other bag is for me - a bit girly, but material I had to hand. I think it is for keeping dpns and cable needles in. If I were making more (and I might) I would use a heavier weight interfacing, as they are a little 'unstructured' for me. The flowery one I made first, and uses the 'thirds' proportion when sewing the triangles (you need to see the instructions to understand!), but the second one I sewed closer to the edge of the fabric - it turned a square bag into a rectangular bag. I think I prefer the rectangular.

Also, this weekend, my answers for this weeks question for the UK Swap: Do you subscribe to any magazines (knitting or otherwise)? Or do you prefer to purchase magazines at the newstand? Do you subscribe online to any knitting magazines/newsletters? What does a knitting magazine need to have to catch your fancy and get you to fork out that well-earned cash?

I am not a knitting magazine person - I think mostly because we move fairly often and tend to have small houses that don't accommodate large collections of things. This is also why I have a fairly modest stash. Last year, I acquired three knitting magazines - one was a gift through Secret Pal swap - Interweave knits. I am not a huge fan, although I know many are. Really, there is only one pair of socks in there that I would knit. I also bought a copy of Jo Sharp's Knit Issue 3, which I love, and am knitting things from (and having things knit from for me!) I also bought a copy of Rowan 42, which was intended as part of a gift, but turned out to be a bit big to go shipping across the world. So it has stayed with me, and I love it (although again not sure if I will knit anything from it). I guess I am a sucker for high quality production values! I reckon I would be more likely to subscribe if it looked gorgeous and had lots of things I might knit...but then I think of all the patterns online that I want to knit, and I decide yet again that electronic versions take up so much less space that I don't really need magazines. Maybe.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Did anyone else have a ginger beer plant when they were little?
I can tell you now, it is just as fun as a grown up...maybe even more so (apparently, you can make alcoholic ginger beer from the same plant!). Its all very Enid Blyton here, let me tell you.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Knitterly Resolutions

I have avoided, to date, talking about New Years Resolutions. I am not sure why - it was large in my head at the start of the year, mostly as there was some success last year. But things keep happening, and I keep getting distracted. Not from making them, as I have, but from talking about them. But I have been spurred into action due to my participation in the UK Swap, so specifically I will talk about my knitting resolutions.

Its pretty simple. Basically, my resolution this year is to actually make the things that I knit wearable, even if this means going back and undoing things and spending even more time making the jacket into a cardigan or the vest into a vest that fits. There. Now it is public, I guess I better do it!

On a completely different point, I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words to the person that drilled a hole in our petrol tank, stole our petrol and left us with a non-functional car, so that I had to spend 5 hours getting to and from work today, and may have to for many more days yet, and on which I will have to spend more than what I intended to spend on skiing this year -
dear person. I cannot think of words foul enough to describe what you have done. I only hope that you took the petrol to save your dying grandmother, or something similar, although I think this is generous thinking on my part.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Gift knitting

So, one of the Christmas gifts I knitted finally reached its destination a week or two ago, and photos have been sent of said object in use! So....voila!

Boyfriend socks, but for my dad (so really, father socks).

Nice legs, eh!

They looked absolutely enormous but my mum swore and declared that they matched her secret measurements (by which I mean measurements that she had sneakily made of shoes, socks & feet! How you make a sneaky measurement of a foot I have no idea).
So they seem like a good knit, a good gift and well received! Score one.

I really enjoyed knitting this pattern - it was interesting but not complicated, I finally finally did decent short-row heels, have definately got the hang of figure eight cast on, and learned how to do a sewn bindoff. Yarn was Hjerte Sock 4 superwash in colour 7770 (I think). Olive green, anyway. Lovely stuff - a gift from the wonderful Tikrimari. And there is heaps left over! The other thing I learned was not to knit socks for my father anymore. And never ever knit socks for my brother. As much as I love them, their feet are toooooo long. The point where the leg is as long as the foot is just stupid. And look how short they look on his actual legs! So I am saving my bloke sock mojo for the horrible plain black socks that my beloved will tolerate. Ho hum. Actually, I think that probably means more socks for me.......just in the interests of keeping me interested, you understand!

I did finish something this week - a big something! But it needs a block. So hopefully the sun will come out for two seconds on the weekend, & I can post pics!

Monday, January 14, 2008

UK Swap Questionnaire

As one of my strategies for curing these January doldrums, I signed up to the UK Swap (you should too if you are in the UK, but hurry up 'cause there are limited places!)
So, here is my Quesionnaire. If you aren't my swap partner, this is probably really dull, and I would skip it if I were you. I promise pics of a finished object by the end of the week (maybe the end of the day - am home with a cold, so additional time is available).

Part One: Crafting
Do you knit, crochet, or both? Knit. No crochet for me.

What do you like to make? Stuff that I like. I tend to knit for me, occasionally for others if feeling confident. Seems like I am settling into a pattern of larger knit followed by six months of smaller recovery knits (socks, scarves, etc), but am currently lusting after almost every jumper pattern I see!

Do you have a favourite project? Um, not sure if this is favourite project category, or favourite specific project...categorywise, not really. I do like making socks, but also other things. As far as project goes, this changes alot but is probably my Anemoi mittens. Although somehow, despite my love for them, they are not yet a them, just a one.

Do you have a favourite type of fiber or brand of yarn? Again, not really. I prefer natural fibers, and despite my love of softy things, I find alpaca/mohair things a bit itchy. But still love them! Brand - I do lust after Rowan yarns, and I love Colinette yarns, and I really like hand-dyed things. But generally I am pretty non-committed on the brand thing.

Do you have a least favourite type of yarn? Hmm. Not specifically, but there are things about yarn that I dislike: splitty yarn, yarn that has knots in it, yarn that doesn't wash well, itchy yarn, nasty acrylics, novelty yarns, things that look like hair - you get the picture.

Do you do any other crafts? First I wrote no, but then I realised that I do! I make jewellery (kinda - just beading, nothing fancy. Although I am tempted by that art clay business...), and I sew occasionally, and I love making jams & preserves (is that a craft?). My dearest brews beer & wine & cider, so I kinda got roped into that too (also, you get to drink it, so it is strongly reinforcing)

What knitting do you bring ‘on the go’? Usually socks. But somehow, I rarely knit on the go. I still take something though - security blanket stuff.

What do you carry your ‘on the go’ knitting in? An old handbag that is a polyester satiny bag made from really pretty green print stuff that the lining ripped out of again and again and again until I retired it from everyday service, bought a decent bag, and relegated it to a knitting bag. It is great - can fit straights in and everything, but the detatched lining means that things get a little lost in there, sometimes. Still, I like it.

Do you want something new? Not really - seems like a bit of a waste given most of my knitting is done at home.

Are there any knitting gifts (book, toy, yarn, item, tool) that you have been lusting over? I would really like to be able to knit by proportions rather than patterns, so have been looking at books that can help me with that. Yarn....not much I am really lusting over there, although would like to try knitting with silk sometime. This year, I really wanna try knitting lace (I have my eye on Print 'o the Wave) so laceweight yarn would be cool. I really wanna make Veronik Avery's Shocking! skirt too. Really. So I have been thinking of getting the pattern for that. I don't have any stitch markers...I hear they are useful, but I seem to be doing ok without them using little scraps of wool. I still don't have a means of keeping my circular needles under control, they seem to be taking over my knitting drawer. Anyway, that is probably enough!

Part Two: Your Favourites
What is your favourite colour? Greens. After that, blues, browns (chocolately, not beigey), blacks, red.

What is your least favourite colour? Yellows & oranges. I like camel/tan colours, but they look awful on me.

What scents/smells do you like? Natural ones. I like lavender, rosemary, fresh quinces, cut grass, cakes cooking, coffee brewing.

What don’t you like? Artificial smells. Things that smell like fruit but aren't, highly floral scents.

How do you like to pamper yourself? (bubble bath, hand creams, massage, manicure) My 'regular' pampering is a bath, with some kind of oil/bubble stuff in it. I use handcreams, but prefer them to be practical and unscented. I love massages, but never seem to get around to going to have one. I am really crap at looking after fingernails/feet, etc - always something better to do. Am actually more likely to pamper via tasty treats than by physical treats (e.g., champers, chocolate, cheese).

What goodies to you like to treat your tummy with? (chocolate, biscuits, truffles, etc.) Oh. See above I guess. I like small little treats, that I can spread over a few days, rather than all in one go. I like chocolate (especially white or dark), fudgey things, chocolate & coffee together. I desperately miss Tim Tams, but can't be trusted with them.

Do you prefer tea or coffee while you knit? Tea. Or cocoa. Trying to limit caffeine, so only decaf coffee, and only at work.

Any particular kind? In the morning, Lady Grey. I used to have this lovely lavender tea (black tea with lavender bits in it - yum!) but can't seem to find it. Also sometimes Genmai Cha.

Favourite mug/cup? Currently, whatever is washed up. I used to have a favourite cup & saucer when we lived in Melbourne, but it seemed stupid to ship it across the world!

Do you listen to/watch anything while you knit? (TVshow-Along, movies, music, podcasts) Usually TV - whatever is on that doesn't drive me nuts! Ideally, Simpsons & Futurama, or a great movie. Very occasionally, Buffy dvds.

Part Three: Living & Past-times
Where do you live in the UK? (General idea not address) Oxford.

Have you always lived here, or did you grow up somewhere else? Grew up in Tasmania, lived in Melbourne for quite a few years, now living in the UK.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Oh, I hate this question! I guess there are a few answers - the place I would like to travel to most would be Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos. If I could only go to one place in the world ever again on holiday, it would be Italy. If I had to chose one place to be forever, it would be Australia.

If you couldn’t go to a knitting group, what other kind of gathering would you go to? (book club, tea party, yoga class, jewelery class, etc.) Maybe book club. I occasionally go to yoga class (less often than I would like). I would like to do a day course in jewellery making, but probably not a regular class.

What’s your style? (elegant, traditional, glamourous, girly, natural, sporty, outgoing, etc.) Yuk. Horrible question. Putting it positively - stylish, simple, hopefully elegant. Negatively - a bit boring & plain. I prefer plains to patterns, tailored to drapey, dark colours to light, waisted to busty, retro to high street.

Final Part:
Any allergies/preferences (fiber-wise or treat-wise)? Nah. Happy with any surprise!

Anything we missed that you’d like your partner to know? I don't think so...I guess they could always ask!

Glimpses of Hope

It has been grey and miserable since we got back from Scotland. The odd patch of brightness, but generally grey and wet. However, there is word from the ground that things are on the move. Also, it is getting lighter - I now get a few moments of day light on my drive to and from work. Makes all the difference.
Ali, at Skeins Her Way, is having a UFO contest - it sounds like the thing I need to get me motivated to do the other mitten. I love mitten number one, I just...well, there are other things I want to knit. So I am publicly saying that I am going to finish the other mitten by Jan 31st. Go check out her site, and join in the unfinished fun!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Been gone so long...

Well, not that long. But I did need a bit of a blog break. And I am not sure that I might not need a bit more... I still don't feel like I have much to say. In the face of this blogging block there are many pictures! None of Xmas knitting yet - bizarrely, they still haven't arrived/been given! But they are out there, I promise.

Anyway, Christmas. It was quiet - just the two of us. Inside. Eating. You get the picture. Here is a bit of the festivities:

And here is my gorgeous present from Simon - unfortunately, I lost this at the first possible opportunity (New Years Eve). Very upsetting - I am in the process of trying to replace it. So this is all I have to remind me at this stage!

Then we headed off to Edinburgh. We spent two nights in Aberlady, East Lothians, to celebrate my birthday. We stayed at Kilspindie House, which was very nice, and we ate at their restaurant, Ducks at Aberlady, which was spectacular. Very very good food. And a lovely New Zealand riesling! One of the main reasons for going to the East Lothians was to combat some of the sea-longing that we were both having - and we sure got our fill!

We also got our fill of castles - favourite castle award has to go to Tantallon, which was unbelivably spectacular - the picture above is of Bass Rock, taken from Tantallon castle. You can see - it was a pretty grey Scottish day, but at the time we didn't realise it was probably the best weather of the whole holiday! Then on to Edinburgh, to visit a very old friend that I haven't seen for ages. It was fantastic to catch up with her, and to have the chance of uninterrupted social interaction! We headed into town for Hogmanay, which was lots of fun. Highlight: Red Hot Chili Pipers. I tell you, they are possibly the best party band - what could be more Scottish than three bagpipers playing rock?!

On New Years Day, we climbed Arthur's Seat. It was fantastic - fantastic atmosphere, fantastically Scottish, fantastically wet. And afterwards, we went to the fantastic Sheeps Heid. That's probably enough for now! There are a few more pics that I might post, but you get the idea. Edinburgh itself was great - I am glad I have gone, and the Scots are lovely and friendly people. They are actually interested in food. The countryside is gorgeous. I am really keen to get to the more outflung parts - the Orkneys & Shetlands maybe? Anyway, another place ticked off the list. And I am really looking forward to planning our holidays for 2008!

And there has been knitting progress - the Jo Sharp cardy is looking great, only half a sleeve & a collar to go! And I went to a yarn shop (with just a little purchasing) - more on that later.