A knitting blog that includes forrays into soap making, cake baking and anything else that takes my fancy...
Monday, May 29, 2006
Knit Tin Visit
On Saturday Mum and I decided to venture out to Olney to visit the Knit Tin shop as part of my quest to find myself a LYS. On a good day (which this was not), I guess it might take half an hour or so to get there by car from St Albans, but we were dogged by traffic issues, so it seemed miles away! - Although we had a nice pub lunch which helped! Anyway, when we finally arrived, we found out that it is a really nice yarn shop. I would have loved it to have been bigger (I guess the owners probably would too!), but they had lots of lovely things nonetheless (including some huge purple buttons I really fancied). We both came away with Colinette yarn, which I have to say we both fell for in a big way! I bought some Giotto for a gift I am making a friend (more on that when I've finished it and given it to her!) and some Enigma for myself and a little something for my Secret Pal (by the way they gift wrap and post things to Secret Pal's if you want them too!). Mum also bought some of the Giotto yarn(not the Lasso yarn I originally said) and a pattern and has already completed about a third of the cardi she is knitting because it knits up so quickly and is so nice to knit with! I also made Mum buy some Brittany Birch needles which I think she rather pleased with too. She also bought some new Noro yarn which they had in their window knitted up into a really cute belt using 'yo k2tog', which she is going to recreate, funky fastening and all...
So far this is the nicest physical location I have encountered in which to buy yarn and I think I would be most likely to take my chances with the traffic and travel there to treat myself, but I have more yarn stores to try, so I'll reserve judgment till I've been to them too!
Finally a Photo!
I've finally added photos of the jumper I knitted my boyfriend, and even a photo of him proudly wearing it!
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Here is the yarn my SP sent me all rolled into my first ever centre-pull ball. Apparently I am quite impatient because it was all going fine and then I got in a tangle which took half an hour to sort out. I think you'll agree that it looks right at home sitting in between my hearts and butterflies.
Anyway, I tentatively cast on for my first sock and have knitted a few rows. Knitting with DPNs is kind of strange, but the rosewood seems to help as they don't drop out of the wool, which I had heard was a problem with aluminium. Oh and the yarn, or is it the needles, smell lovely. My SP must have a very fragrant home!
Monday, May 22, 2006
WIP - Update (Noro Cardi with the wrong wool)
I thought I should do a quick update of my current WIP, which is nearly finished. I've just got the right sleeve to do. You can see from the picture that the pieces I have done so far are looking a bit wide, which is a bit of a worry. This is perhaps because I am using the wrong wool (as I've mentioned before). I do however have two solutions in mind for this issue - should it actually become an issue that is. One is blocking. I think I've tugged on the yarn quite a bit while knitting it because the texture of the chenille was so uneven that I kept pulling the stitches to check I'd worked them correctly (having not done moss/seed stitch before). Therefore there might be a good chance I can squish the garment smaller when I block it. The other solution is to use some creativity and adjust the garment accordingly; I've been thinkging mostly of using elastic and or ribbon to gather the edges in, and as this cardi/jacket is for a wedding outfit, I think it would suit some embelishment...but we'll see what happens when its done.
I have, however, become rather distracted by a gift I'm knitting a freind for her birthday and the sock yarn that just arrived from my SP, so who knows when this garment will get finished.
- I finally understand why knitters are so promiscuous when it comes to projects!
As is customary in posts about receiving SP parcels, I shall set the scene:
It was blowing a hurricane outside and raining in angular sheets that spliced the view from my window like a wonky Venetian blind....
Ok maybe not....but suffice it to say that it was horrid weather, a Monday morning and I was all wrapped up ready to walk to the library, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when I discovered a parcel just outside my door! And then I got even more excited when I peeked inside (carefully - as instructed by my SP in on the outer wrapping) and caught a glimpse of a long skein of purple, pink and blue wool. So here's what I got:
*A skein of sock wool which has been handpainted by my SP just for me (and in the most perfect colours!),
* a set of rosewood double pointed needles (which I have never seen before and which, by the way, feel divine!),
*a book full of sock patterns and easy to follow instructions from starter socks to advanced sock projects,
* a card covered in hearts (which will go straight into my heart card collection for framing - when my Dad the 'master framer' has time!)
Since opening the package I have been trying to study, but my fingers are itching to play with the wool and needles and I want to make myself a cup of tea and sit down and finally read how to make a sock! I have, however, been rather good and just gazed at my parcel contents periodically, whilst studying, and will wait till tonight to give it more attention, but I thought I'd take a few minutes out to show off my new things and, more importantly, say THANK YOU!!!!!! to my SP!!!!!!
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Find me a decent LYS!!!
I am on a quest to find a decent local yarn store that I can drop into regularly. The following is a list of yarn stores which I intend to visit (if I haven't already) in order to discover what treats they have on offer.
Bishops Stortford- Irene Noad, 1 Farnham Road. Tel: 01279 653701
Boreham Wood - The Wool Shop, 29 Shenley Road. Tel: 02089 052499
Bushey - Mavis, 44 High Street. Tel: 0208 950 5445
Hemel Hempstead - Needlecraft, 142 Cotteralls. Tel: 01442 245383
Hoddesdon - House of Patchwork, 30/32 Tower Centre. Tel: 01992 447544
St Albans - Alisons Wool Shop, 63 Hatfield Road. Tel: 01727 833738
St Albans - Fashion 'n' Fabrics, 24 Beech Road. Tel: 01727 865038
Walkern - Jolie, 80 High Street. Tel: 01438 861717
Watford - John Lewis, The Harlequin. Tel: 01923 244266
Welwyn Garden City - John Lewis. Tel: 01707 323456
Olney - The Knit Tin, 2 Fountain Court, High Street. Tel: 01234 714300
Failing these, I'll have to rely on London...
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
I am intending on posting lots of pictures and descriptions of my 'not-knitted-by-me' special possessions on this blog as I've always been a huge fan of knitted things. My Mum and Dad decided to start me off with a life in knitwear - and indeed with my quest to catalogue my cherished knits - with this image of my Christening dress.
It was knitted for my by my Grandmother (Mummy's Mummy), who was a wonderful knitter. - I also have a gorgeous bedspread knitted by her which I'll show off another time!
from SP8 buttons to Patterns
I've just uploaded my SP8 button (see right hand menu under 'projects'). There were heaps to choose from (how does anybody find the time to knit and make blog buttons?) and I have to admit I also liked these ones,
but I think one is enough!
Anyway, the first thing I'm learning about doing SP8 is that you really get to know the knitting net. I'm not being particularly naughty and surfing instead of studying, but when I do surf, I'm finding all sorts of extra exciting delights.
For example, I've just fallen for this shrug pattern that I saw A Really Good Yarn was knitting.
Its really pretty and I can just imagine it in a nice soft lilac. The only problem is that I know this is beyond my capability at the moment - but one day?! Actually, I am finding it quite hard to find patterns I really like. I realise that one day I might get good enough to design my own patterns, and that would be fabulous, but in the mean time, I'd really like to be knitting patterns for things I'd really like to be wearing!!!
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
I recieved a pretty post card from my Secret Pal - a Dr Hauschka card in fact...mmmmm yummy! - It was so nice to find a cute card sitting on my door mat in between a load of bills! Thanks Secret Pal! x
Friday, May 12, 2006
Teeny Tiny (Noro) Tote
I have a skein of Noro left from knitting my cardigan and have been wondering what to do with it. I have, however, just come across a pattern for knitting and felting either a teeny tiny tote or a teeny tiny gift bag (via Knit Tigger) at Sarah's Threads Craft Closet. They look fab but I have no idea if you can felt Silver Thaw, so I've emailed the pattern designer in the hope of finding out...
My (Not So Secret) Knitting Pal
With all this talk about Secret Pal, I thought I would mention my not so secret but very new knitting pal Luciana. I had drinks with Luciana the other night as I discovered she was setting up a local knitting group and we decided to hook up now as the group doesn’t start till June 12th. She turned out to be really lovely and it was so much fun talking about knitting for hours with someone so much more experienced than me. She showed me lots special yarns from her stash, which made me very jealous as they were often purple and very gorgeous looking; many of her knitting books, which really useful as you can’t tell on Amazon what patterns the books actually contain and showed me a finished sock in Opal, which only made me want to start sock knitting even more!
Luciana also introduced me to bamboo needles. I have only been using aluminium needles, as that is all I could find near mine and I had no idea there would be that much of a difference if you used bamboo. In fact, she was kind enough to loan me a pair of bamboo needles in 4mm for the cardi/cropped jacket I’m knitting and I have to say they are incredible by comparison. Somehow they seem to slip into the loop more easily than aluminium, but paradoxically seem to hold the loops on the needle better. I certainly wont enjoy giving them back!
Another thing Luciana showed me, which I think might well be her pride and joy, were a pair of massive, outsize knitting needles. I don’t know what measurement they are in mms, but they were huge. At first I thought they might just be ornamental, I couldn’t quite work out how you would use them, but I am starting to get all these ideas for knitting bedspreads and throws that would end up looking like wonderful chunky nets. I might have to add a pair to my birthday/Christmas list – although as my folks already bought me my birthday present (I am indeed incredibly spoilt), I think I might have to find some more friends in the mean time! ;-)
Luciana is also going to the Big Knit In in Brighton at the beginning of June. She has invited me to go along with her and people from the last knitting group she organised in Bedford. It looks like a really fun event and I’d love to go, but I’ll have to see if I can afford a whole day out to knit. I’m also not sure what I want to knit after I finish this cardi/cropped jacket thing and I’d like to be engrossed in some new project if I take a whole day out to just knit and natter…
Oh, and if you are wondering, the image above is of a friendship knot; it seemed appropriate.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
More Knitted Creatures
Finally a Photo!
I've finally added a photo of me (gin and tonic in hand) proudly sporting the Noro cardi I knitted myself a few weeks back (sitting in my parents garden in weather way to hot to wear knitted items!).
Monday, May 08, 2006
'M' is for Melinda!
'M' is for Melinda, my brother's girlfriend who knitted me this fabulous scarf for Christmas! Of course she knew exactly what colour it had to be, and it is made of the softest yarn and as it still isn't that warm in the UK, I'm getting a lot of wear out of it!
My brother (Nick) and Melinda live in Toronto, so Melinda and I don't get to hang out as much as I'd like (even when they visit the UK they go off gallivanting around the country and I don't get quality Melinda time) - so when I set up my knitting blog and signed up for SP8 I emailed Melinda and strongly encouraged her to get on board, and I'm really excited to say that she did ( Melinda's blog is mkm knitting). I am hoping that she and I can share some quality virtual knitting time together through our blogs and that the next time I see her we'll have lots of fun showing off our projects in person!
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Local Knitting Group to Join...
I found the following on the Angel Yarns forums and am meeting with Luciana next week to see how I can help...Yippee!!!
"If you love knitting or you would like to learn how to, come and join us, all ages welcome. A great opportunity to meet new friends, just bring along your current knitting projects. Date: every other Monday of the month, from the 12th of June 2006 Time: 7:30 – 10:30 pm Venue: Fleetville Community Centre, Royal Road, St. Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 4QL Cost: £2.50 - tea and coffee included Contact: Luciana (firstname.lastname@example.org)"
Friday, May 05, 2006
Secret Pal 8 Questionnaire
I'm taking part in Secret Pal 8 which, as I understand it, is a 'match-making' event that unites knitter pen/blog pals in a 3 month friend-making, gift-giving, knitting/crocheting extravaganza. So here is the opening questionnaire - with my answers. I'm a new knitter and I'm new to Secret Pal, which I discovered through reading other knitting blogs and being intrigued by posts about Secret Pal 7. It looked heaps of fun, so here goes...
1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I don’t think I have knitted enough to have formed a firm favourite yarn. Obviously I like soft things, but I’m not someone who finds itchy fibres that itchy either, so I think I’m quite easy on that front. I choose yarn much more for the colour than the fibre.
2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I don’t have anything to store my needles in. At the moment they are just all jumbled together in the bottom of a big hamper I just bought to hide my wool in!
3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I’ve been knitting for about a year or so, but only really intensively over the last 4 months. I would say that I’m a beginner.
4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
I do have a wish list that in fact is mostly populated with knitting books (to hell with everything else right?!).
5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I like lavender, rose or vanilla but I don’t like anything with too many scents blended together as it gives me a head ache!
6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Yes, in the UK I love Galaxy and Kinder Eggs, and any milk, white or praline chocolate, but if I’m in the US I can’t resist Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups/Peaces.
7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I don’t spin. I’ve dipped my toe in mosaic making and more recently card making, but right now its all about the knit! Oh and I quite like cooking and baking…
8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I have terrible music taste which is a constant source of pain for my boyfriend and other friends who are always trying to teach me; thus am much more used to giving other people’s taste a whirl…
9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
I am all about the colour purple in every shade and tone from deep berry to pale lilac. I probably can’t stress strongly enough my commitment to the colour purple which permeates most of my possessions, although in close second place is hot/strong/vivid pink (never pale pink!) or shades in the magenta and puce realm, and I also add in a bit of red and a touch of teal or pale turquoise. I’m not a fan of yellow or orange, though.
10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I live alone and alas without pets - but I get a good fix of setter and cocker spaniel when I visit my folks!
11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I love to wear scarves and shawls/wraps and even the odd poncho. I also love to wear gloves, mittens and wrist/arm warmers, but I’m a bit picky about hats as I prefer ones with brims or a bit of structure to them (I have a wonderful purple Fedora) and don’t suit ‘beenie’ hats at all!
12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Again I feel I am too new a knitter to have formed an opinion, but I can say that I am definitely trying to knit things I (or those around me) will actually wear and as I love shawls, jackets, cardigans and jumpers I think I’d have to say I’m more inclined to want to knit them. Having said that, I don’t doubt that sock knitting could get quite addictive.
13. What are you knitting right now?
A little cropped jacket/cardigan to go with a stunning dress that I want to wear for a wedding. I’m being a little over ambitious and using a Noro pattern with non-Noro wool, so who knows how that will go…
14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Yes, a friend made me wonderful heart-shaped purple and pink ceramic box with a butterfly painted on it for Christmas, and of course the scarf by Melinda was fab, but they are the only hand made gifts I can remember receiving for a while, but I love them and love knowing the work that went into them too!
15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I haven’t used a circular needle yet, and all the needles I have, which isn’t many (straight: 15mm, 10mm, 8mm, 7mm, 6 ½ mm, 5 ½ mm, 5mm, 4 ½ mm, 4mm, 3mm. circular: 5mm, 3mm) are aluminium or plastic. I’d love to try knitting with bamboo or wood (but I haven’t seen any in any of my local yarn stores) because I have bad circulation and constantly cold hands and I like the idea of picking up needles that don’t feel like ice for the first 10 minutes of knitting time!
16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
No, I don’t even know what they are?!
17. How did you learn to knit?
I don’t really know. My mother can knit and both my grandmothers were avid knitters (my mother’s mother especially), and I remember knitting a jumper out of lots of square patches when I was a Brownie (aged about 10), but I don’t remember who taught me. I really picked it up about 2 years ago, and only really fell in love with it this year, and have been teaching myself with a couple of books (‘Start Knitting’ by Betty Barnden and ‘Stitch and Bitch’ by Debbie Stoller) and getting the odd bit of support from an Aunt.
18. How old is your oldest UFO?
A couple of months old. I started knitting a Popcorn the Bear knitting kit that I got for Christmas but I’m dreading making it up so its been retired for now.
19. What is your favorite holiday?
Halloween! I realise this is odd, particularly for a Brit as we don’t really go in for Halloween celebrations, but I’m not a big Christmas or New Year person and there is something about pumpkins that just does it for me! ;-) Plus I met my boyfriend when I was out in fancy dress for Halloween last year, so its become kind of special to me now for that reason too.
20. Is there anything that you collect?
Mainly I collect hearts of all shapes and sizes. I have all sorts of heart shaped ornaments in wood, semi-precious stone, glass, tin, but I also collect things with hearts printed on such as picture frames and functional objects in the shape of hearts such as mirrors or vases. (I also seem to collect all things purple - of course many of my hearts are purple - but this collection might be cast more effectively as a lifestyle choice as much of the contents of my flat is purple). I do, however, have a secondary (and much smaller) collection of butterflies including ones made of feathers, sequins, glitter and even one tiny one tattooed on my bottom ;-)
21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
The books I’m interested in are on my wishlist, but as a new knitter I am always keen to discover books I don’t already know about, and at this stage, books that will either inspire me to learn new techniques, or, conversely, books with relatively simple knits in them that wont scare me off! I don’t have a subscription to a knitting magazine although I’ve just ordered this season’s Rebecca and I have a few of this year’s Simply Knitting magazines. Pattern-wise, I’m finding it extremely hard to track down funky patterns for jackets, cardigans and jumpers or tops.
22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
All of them! As I’m a new knitter there seems to be so much out there that I’d love to have a go at. Right now though I think I’d love to learn how to knit socks and I’d also love to learn some techniques for knitting lacy things like shawls/wraps, cardigans…and I guess also socks!
23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I’d love to be a sock knitter, but I’m not yet! I don’t know what measurements to give, but in the UK my shoe size is a fairly small 3 ½.
24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Completed (a while ago!) - Lilac Bag
I thought I would post a picture of this bag I knitted last year. In fact it was a Christmas present from my brother! He bought me the pattern, yarn, needles and bag handles so that I was all set up and ready to go because he knew I (like his girlfriend) was getting into knitting. Great present no?!
The yarn was a bit tricky to knit with, and I ended up with one side bigger than the other and didn't have the faintest idea how to make it up. In the end I recruited a family friend who is a whizz with textiles (which comes from the endless sewing of sequins onto her daughters roller skating dresses). She put a gorgeous lilac satin lining in it and made it look even all the way round.
As you can almost see from this picture, I use the side of my wardrobe as a storage facility/display for handbags, purses, clutches and various bits of jewellery, and I find that although its a lovely bag to take out, more than anything, this bag looks gorgeous just hung up with other pretty things!
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Knit Kit I'd Kill For!
I've fallen for this kit featured on Cucumber Patch to knit a Hanne Falkenberg jacket called Diva. Its £62.95, which isn't cheap, I haven't the faintest idea how you knit the diagonal stripes - although the kit does include full instructions - and I don't know why I'm looking at winter wear when its actually starting to look like spring outside, but the purple one and the deep pink and purple one look so similar to knits I've owned in the past by Sarah Pacini and Crea that I feel I will have to get my hands on one of these kits at some point - if only for some wardrobe continuity! ;-) But at that price I might have to put it on a birthday list!
Completed - Evening Scarf
I've just finished an evening scarf in Firefly ladder yarn by Sirdar. To be honest, I didn't really follow a pattern - it was at my Mum's house - but just cast on 16 stitches and knitted to a length that felt comfortable, and then added fringing. The colour I used was (of course) pinks and purples which is shade no.0885.
The yarn was a little difficult to knit with at the start, I kept splitting stitches by going through the sides of the ladder. The only real problem was when I dropped a stitch, which immediately laddered down several rows (perhaps THAT'S why they call it ladder yarn), and had to unpick.
This picture doesn't really do it justice, but as I couldn't work out how to take a picture of it on me, I thought I'd knot it all up and show off the colours and silky fringing...
Monday, May 01, 2006
Crochet Critters 2
It turns out I seem to have quite specific taste in Amigurumis. Most of the ones I like are by a Chicago-based artist called Elizabeth (Beth) Doherty. She has a Flickr gallery, a site where you can buy her ‘gurumis’ and a main website with a blog. The ones I like best are Panda (1), Dress Monkey (4), Black Bunny (5), Bikini Kitty (4), Capri Bunny (3) and Lemur (4).
I might just have to sign up to her newsletter…