Friday, 27 January 2012

New Year's Resolutions 2012

I know, I know, it's almost the end of January; there has just been too much else going on in Jennyland to start telling you about my plan for self-improvement. I'm a great believer that goals should be quantifiable. There are actually 12 of them, too, but I'm only going to tell you about the ones I might mention in the future.

1. Knit 12 pairs of socks

2. Cook 12 new dinners

3. Watch 12 new classic films

4. Read 12 new classic novels

Well, there are also some things I want to do that don't fit in to the great 12 in 2012 thing, and the crafty ones are:
  • Crochet the blanket
  • Learn intarsia
  • Make a hedgehog
  • Make a tea cosy
Hope I get it all done! I guess I still have a whole 11 months, though really not sure that is long enough for me to learn to crochet - there has been lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth by me on that score! I want to make a hedgehog as a pincushion and because it's cute, and I do need a tea cosy, been drinking tepid tea for about a year now.

And because I think it is a valiant effort, here is what I got up to while 'working from home' yesterday.

Three kinds of soup, plus pasta sauce and my non-chili non-meat Chili con Carne, and somehow they did all fit in the freezer.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Minor Disaster

So, you may remember that I was making Lauriel from Ysolda Teague's Little Red in the City. There may have been only a few posts about this, but it has been a big part of my knitting life for the past few months (though that contains a LOT of messing about and getting distracted). It was my first garment, and it took a little getting used to. The pattern is lovely and very well written, the yarn was soft and squishy, just my head wasn't in the game.

So, it's basically been waiting for about a month for me to block it. I might like to think that all this messing about and waiting was because I had an impending sense of doom or something, but I doubt it. Anyway, here it is:

Did you spot the problem? Here it is again, in case you missed it.

Yes, while blocking it, it grew 2" in the sleeves. I was very very bitter, as before it had fitted perfectly. After much cursing and bemoaning the situation, I manned up and decided that the first steps was to reblock it, and the second step is to rehash the sleeves. Unless you guys have any better ideas? Please?? Otherwise the destination for my weekend is Frog City.

PS. Apologies for the state of the photos, but I wasn't going to waste even more time waiting for some decent daylight to photograph it, in the state it's in.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A Trip to Texere

On 28th December, Texere Yarns had an extra open day that I could go to. I have wanted to go for a long while after hearing good things about it, but I was still surprised at just how much yarn there was available. Fortunately, I have learned from previous trips and went prepared with a list. On a piece of scrap paper that was heading for the bin, that turned out to be a receipt from when my dad ordered his graduation gown. He's having a huge clearout but when I do that the most recent 10-20% of stuff from the top gets sorted but the stuff underneath stays in the same state. I guess this is what you find when you have a serious clearout!

I digress. In short, my mental list has five things on it; four jumpers (Angostura, Skelf, Owls, and Spoke), and the Radiating Star Blanket [rav link]. I wanted to buy the yarn for one of these, preferable two. I went with two. I figured my relatives would approve of my spending my Christmas money this way.

So the jumper plan is:

1. Owls in the Texere Yarns Chunky in Turquoise. I love the colour, and think it would show off the pattern well and suit me.

2. Skelf in King Cole Aran in Lavender. I have enjoyed making things in King Cole, it's not expensive but keeps you lovely and warm, and it not overly itchy. I hope the colour will show off the pattern and am less sure about how much it will suit me....

There will hopefully be a comprehensive knitting plan once I've worked out what that should be. I also accidentally bought a little more roving. I really, really will try to learn to spin this year!

Monday, 9 January 2012

FO: Snowbaby Blue

I do not knit for Christmas. It's a policy I have formed, knowing a) my tendency to bite off more than I can chew when choosing a pattern to knit as a gift and so it is late and b) the stress that some of my fellow knitters feel in the months leading up to Christmas ('I have 8 hats to knit in three weeks!', etc.). I do not need the stress of knitting so many gifts at the same time.

However, I do knit for birthdays and M (my other half)'s birthday falls in the week leading up to Christmas. Some months ago, I was browsing ravelry while he was pottering around, looking at the hat I was about to start knitting for myself. He looked over my shoulder and the conversation went something like this:

M: 'That's a lovely-looking hat'
Me: 'I thought so, I'm going to knit it for myself in purple. I'm really looking forward to trying this thing called Fair Isle, where you knit two colours on the same row. I was a resolution of mine to learn it this year, and it's September so I should really crack on with it.'
M: 'You know, I kind of need a hat....'
[long pause]
Me: 'Would you like me to knit one for you?'
M: 'Yes please'
Me: 'In navy?'
M: 'Yes please'
Me: 'For your birthday?'
M: 'Of course'

A few weeks later, after looking at a lot of navy yarns, I even managed to persuade him to come to the yarn shop with me. And to pose for photos when I'd finished. He's a good sort really :)

Pattern: Snowbaby by Eskimimi
Yarn: Artesano Superwash Merino DK, 2 in Navy (6416) and 1 in cream (SFN10). Bought at K1 Yarns, Edinburgh [near the Grassmarket and Victoria St. i.e. very very central].

This does mean we have matching hats. Not intentionally. Don't we look supercool? [not!]

Friday, 6 January 2012

Festive 2011: Acquisitions

Hello again, reader, I hope you had a lovely time over Christmas and New Year; the right amount of rest, relaxation and of course, knitting. It has been a good one here, just the right amount of time with everyone and doing all the things I wanted to, though mostly offline. So there has been a slight backlog of posts for me to write, so there will be a little flurry. I hope for some sort of review of 2011 and a look forward with crafty resolutions for 2012, all in good time.

I seem to have been given a lot of crafty things this year! Though some of them I have scooped up in sales with Christmas money and got using Amazon vouchers, my bookshelf has become much more populated.
I have mostly only flicked through them, but they are looking promising. I am on a mission to collect the Harmony Guides and colourwork seemed like a good choice given my new-found love for it. The sock yarn one-skein wonders will hopefully help with the small mound of single skeins of sock yarn I just keep on buying (especially the Wendy Happy, mentioned in this post (point 4). totally stuck with that one). The two S&B books I intend to read from cover to cover having skimmed several interesting sections, but also contain some promising looking patterns. Stitch! and A Rainbow... are basically cover-to-cover with things I want to make and do, so I'm hoping for more chance to do as Ms. Kidston tells me to and stitch a lot this year.... and The Twelve Knits Of Christmas is being put away for at least the next 10 months! I will write more about each of them when I have used them.

I also treated myself to this beauty in John Lewis with Christmas money from Grandma (the most senior living source of The Craft Gene). I think she would approve.

I have been very much wanting to get a sewing box for a long while now, as my sewing stuff tends to just get shoved in the nearest knitting bag, but not seen a good one yet. I saw this in JL just before Christmas and when I got a little money I knew just where it would go. It even matches my knitting bag! So now my little crafty corner looks like this...

No, I'm not saying how long I tidied it for before that photo was taken.