Tuesday, 25 November 2014

My Fauxdori!

A couple of years (I think!) or so ago, I was lucky enough to get a custom made Roter Faden Taschenbegleiter which I adore even if I no longer keep my iPad mini in it as planned (simply because the smallest small uses my iPad daily!)

I've recently been toying with the idea of keeping a journal/notebook solely for my knitting notes and plans and have been interested in the Midori TN and the resulting Fauxdori's I have seen online.  In my usual fashion, after browsing I decided I'd make my own!

As I generally use an A5 notebook size and that's also the size of my Roter Faden I decided to stick with that size.  A short time playing with some leather, elastic and my craft stash and I'm REALLY happy with the result!

I'm definitely planning on making more.  The leather, whilst gorgeous and already getting a tad battered and lovely, is IMHO a tad thin at just under 2mm.  Other than that I wouldn't change anything!   The elastic is strung for 3 notebooks - those pictured are all handmade using paper and card I have to hand at the moment (being frugal!) and having treated myself to a Lamy Nexx Broad nibbed fountain pen, I'm enjoying writing with fountain pens again - I always used to use them as a preference but have fallen out of the habit in the last decade. 

I think the next one will be pink hehe!

Monday, 24 November 2014

The "I finished something" post

There seems to be far too many plans and WIP's and not a whole lot of FO's of late!  In fact the "plans" part is gradually running away with me, more and more projects catch my eye in a "hmmm, I could tweak that..." or "I need an xyz shawl/hat/gloves" manner and after some Ravelry browsing, yarn window shopping and note taking, I have no time to actually make anything!

Despite my pondering and pontifications I have actually finished a couple of things in the last week.  First off the needles was my Woolly Wormhead Mystery Hat.  I absolutely love the pattern and the yarn but after washing and blocking I felt my hat could've benefited from a longer body as it distinctly beanie like on me.  Possibly due to the fact that whilst I have a child size head, I ideally need some extra length if I'm going for a slouchie hat (which is my go to hat style) which I thought I had sufficiently covered but obviously not enough.  That said, DH thinks it suits me still and I honestly can't be bothered (at the moment!) to rip out the crown and re knit as it's such a lovely hat as is.

I also finished the Hermione Hearts Ron Gloves for my sister's birthday.  The yarn - Bergère de France Idéal - really is a fabulous colour and the stitch definition is gorgeous so I'd highly recommend it and will be using it again!

I really need to cast on something else as I only have hibernating WIP's at the moment - maybe I should finish them LOL but I'm quite enjoying small, quick to finish items!  I have also finally started my first weaving project which is a shawl for MIL and  as I have the stand for my Ashford Knitters Loom, I can quite easily weave whilst watching TV in the evening which is great for relaxing, unlike my usual lace work!  (Excuse imperfections and unevenness...first project!)  The colours are based on her favourite shades and I have to admit I'm unsure as yet as to whether I like it but hopefully she'll like (appreciate!) the end result!

Monday, 17 November 2014

More knitting and some weaving plans!

Despite my many, many plans I still seem to be getting little knitting done -  I should possibly try projects with heavier weight yarn hehe!

The second clue of the Woolly Wormhead Mystery Hat was released last weekend and  a lot of my week has been spent working on the body of the hat.  I have to say, I generally dislike avoid reverse stocking stitch simply because my purling is significantly slower than my knitting (and my tension is always looser if I Norwegian purl) but I've really enjoyed the effect it gives.

I'm making the smallest size in the slouchy version and as the final clue for the crown was released this morning, I should be finished soon!

I'm also still working on the  Hermione Hearts Ron Fingerless Gloves for my sister and am a third of the way through the second glove now.  Sadly no photos as yet as they are a glove that will really benefit from blocking.

My next project will be my first woven shawl on my new Ashford Knitters Loom!  It's a planned Christmas gift for my mother-in-law and will be a wide shawl using the lovely West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply - the warp will be the Butterscotch and the weft, Nutmeg and Cardamom with some Bergere de France Angel added for texture.  Fingers crossed it'll work okay - the yarn colours compliment each other wonderfully so it'll only be my beginner weaving that might let me down...I shall be swatting up on techniques later!

I've also spent some time last week making my own fauxdori and notebooks and have restarted my knitting journal and a bullet journal which I shall have to blog about later this week!..

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Woolly Wormhead Mystery Hat!

Once I began knitting in earnest, I quickly discovered favourite designers and patterns, as I'm sure we all do.  For hats, I also lean towards the fabulous Woolly Wormhead, who never fails to have something amazing in whatever yarn weight or style I'm looking for.  That said, my hat stash is rather poor because a) I have a teeny head and always make my hats too bit in my refusal to admit I have a child size noggin and b) I look bloody ridiculous in the majority of hats!

Last month I finished a hat that had been in my queue for ages - the gorgeous Mrs Jekyll & Little Hyde which I'd stashed the Holst Garn Supersoft for sometime ago.  Although just realised I have no blocked photos!

I absolutely LOVE the finished hat and definitely think thinner yarn weight hats are my new favourites!

With that in mind I couldn't help but sign up for the Woolly Wormhead Mystery Hat KAL.  I finally decided on the skein of Countess Ablaze Count Cashmerino Sock in Radioactive Raspberry Jam and the first instalment of the pattern was released on Saturday.  However, I had to cast on a day late as I was out at the theatre indulging in our current am-dram obsession, this time it was West Side Story by the Long Eaton Operatic Society.  I'm loving the result so far after completing the first clue - the provisional cast on resulting in a fabulous folded double brim...I'm really looking forward to the next clue!

Whilst I wait I've cast on with a new yarn for me - Bergère de France Idéal. 

It's a lovely feeling yarn and is knitting up really nicely on the 3mm needles.  I've decided on a pair of fingerless mitts for my sister, Narelle's, birthday and so am using the turquoise Calanque to make a pair of Hermione Hearts Ron Fingerless Gloves as I love the combination of lace and cables!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

All the yarn!!

As my babywearing days draw to a close it's rather nice to benefit from my stash by using the funds for new hobbies!  As well as the rather lovely (still unused!) loom I recently acquired, I've done a bit of yarn stash enhancement of late - taking advantage of some great sales and offers and forward planning handmade gifts.

Today I've finally got round to sorting out my yarn drawers as all the new skeins had been hastily stuffed away in my expedit!  

There's a fair few different balls of Jeanette Sloan Alpaca DK and Alpaca/Silk 4 Ply which are both gorgeously squishy.  The Lion Brand Amazing is earmarked for a new hat for Rach.  There's a fabulous skein of Countess Ablaze Count Cashmerino Sock which I think may be my skein of choice for the Wooly Wormhead Mystery Hat KAL next month.

I've also stashed some more of West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply which is such a good value yet really lovely yarn to work with, with a great colour palette!

Now I just need the time to knit everything!! 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Autumnal Update!

Hmm, obviously so not very good at the regular blogging lark any more!  I do miss waffling to the vastness of the tintyweb and have plans to set aside some time in my generally disorganised, chaotic life to do so more often. 

The year is rapidly disappearing and the days are most definitely shorter and colder.  Our gorgeous Curly Girl turned 8 last month which was a very pink and Minecraft themed occasion!

One of her presents was a combination of the two with another of my creeper beanies in her choice of colours.  I have to say I abslutely love how these knit up in the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and whilst I keep considering test knitting some in an acrylic yarn for selling, the yarn snob in me doth protest too much!

One of her other birthday presents was pink hair - something she's wanted for ages!  Since being brunette doesn't really lend itself well to going pink without bleaching we decided to bleach and dye her tips since then it was easier to upkeep/change if she hated it.  Suffice to say she (and I) love it!  Harrison also had his undercut bleached and dyed brilliant blue so they both have far funkier hair then me now (I am rocking the faded red with white streak and roots again!)

Knitting wise I've finished a few more shawls including the Drawing Nigh I was working on last time I blogged, the Sonar Shawl in fabulous sparkle yarn and a huge Starburst Pi, which took 200g of Sparkle 4 Ply and I have yet to manage to photograph well!

And since the smallest one is stubbornly independent and refuses the majority of attempts of babywearing nowadays, funds from slings mean I can buy more fibre related things!  After a brief try at weaving at Fun Club I was hooked and bagged myself an Ashford Knitters Loom and Stand to add to my collection of "things to do lots of when they invent the 48 hour day!"

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

WIP Wednesday

There seems to be little time for knitting (or spinning, sewing, crafting in general!) at the moment but having made a substantial effort to restart my diet this week I have been picking up my WIP's more than usual to take my mind of snacking!

Whilst I have two shawls on my needles at the moment, the Biellese is only a few rows into the extensive ruffle edge so I'm mainly working on my Drawing Nigh gradient shawl, in a selection of Jamieson & Smith 2ply Jumper Weight. With two strands of the fingering weight yarn held together, the pattern knits up as worsted weight and is oddly appropriate for the cold, wet weather we are having at the moment! Being a more traditional 100% Shetland wool, it's not the softest at the moment but will be perfect as the autumn/winter shawl this is planned for.  The shawl is knit with five colours of yarn and as I have a bit of a 'thing' for gradient yarn, it's proving fun watching the colours develop as the next strand/colourway of yarn is added! 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A whole lot of not a lot (aka the huge long blog update post!)

I think that pretty much sums up the last few months since I last blogged!

Life here is still very much a limbo state,  DH is still looking for another job, the landlord still has the house on the market - we have an appointment for a second viewing tonight so fingers crossed they realise they hate it, as if it sells at the moment we are effectively homeless.  We've finally started the application for council/social housing as our situation leaves us as a priority.  It's something we've been eligible for for some time but this house and renting privately was something I was very much holding on to as my last thread of our "pre-redundancy/everything falling apart" life.

In reality, I'm sick of the continual crap, of not being able to afford anything (we obviously don't know how to work the benefits system as we can barely afford food by the end of the month), of feeling ashamed of our situation...the list goes on!  The majority of the time I refuse to wallow in the past and try to look forward but there are days (today obviously being one of them!) when I just wonder why I bother fighting for everything.  It's all just, well, urgh!

Doom and gloom aside, the last few months have been busy with the usual family things.  In March we went on a day trip to Crufts 2014 to show the kids the Discover Dogs exibition.  They have been studying different dog breeds as they are intent on us getting more dogs (Willow is 15 now and very much an old lady who sadly does not have much time left with us) They had a huge amount of fun especially seeing (and cuddling!) their favourite breeds!

The end of March also saw Oliver turning two - it still only seems like yesterday he made his rather speedy entrance!

April 20th would have been mum's 55th birthday and the second without her with us.  We arranged a family visit to the burial site in Lincolnshire and four generations of family were there - my granddad (recovering well since a heart attack earlier that month) and great aunt, dad, my sister with three of her kids and us six.  The burial site was followed by a trip to the local award winning ice cream parlour which the kids thoroughly enjoyed, given the 60 flavours ice cream on offer!

The week after was my 34th birthday.  Blah!  I still hate birthdays but received some lovely gifts from Carla including a gorgeous family tree drawing and we had a lovely day of knitting and cake - what more does a girl need!

Hmm, what else!  A few weeks ago marked our tenth wedding anniversary.  Sadly we had no funds for the renewal of vows we originally planned for this anniversary (or for anything else for that matter!) but sixteen years together, ten years of marriage and what feels like a lifetime of crap to get through, we are closer and more in love than ever ♥ (nb this does not apply when the husbeast is annoying me - then he is a knob jockey hehe)  We actually spent the day back in Leicester as Lee had an interview and the rest of us decided to hang out at New Walk Museum with the dinosaurs and mummies!

Hmm knitting wise, I don't seem to have many FO's to show for the last few months!  After many requests I started knitting Minecraft hats for the kids.  So far I have made two Creeper hats for Vaughan and Oliver using my own chart and intarsia in the round.  Rachael is having the same but in a Pink/Purple colourway and Harrison would like an Enderman hat although I've put the last two on hold until the end of summer so I can fit in some other projects (although the weather is that bad here at the moment they may be needed sooner rather than later!)

I was again totally taken with this years Crafts from the Cwtch Spring Knitalong which was the simple but gorgeous Miss Winkle by Martina Behm.  I opted for a skein of stashed handspun (not my own - acquired in a Rav destash!) and the easily memorised pattern lulled my knitting mojo back...I had been feeling rather uninspired to cast on a new WIP after ripping out two shawls prior to casting Miss Winkle on.  The end result is so pretty and has a subtle sparkle I couldn't capture - I love it!

Phew, I think that's about it...I'll update on current WIP's and life when I'm not balancing the laptop on the boobing toddler! I shall also endeavour to waffle on a more regular basis to ensure posts don't reach such epic proportions again!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Disappearing Days!

I swear my days and weeks are getting shorter!! There really aren't enough hours in the day and time passes in a blur of mundane chores, toddler (aka constant!) breastfeeding and very, very little sleep.
I've been insanely restrained and not cast on a new WIP despite my beads arriving for my next shawl.

I'm determined to finish the damn lovely blanket first and am just starting repeat 7 of 10 so the end is in sight!! Only 45 rows to go squeee!!

I had a dabble in a bit more yarn dyeing last week, with my rekindled love of gradient colours encouraging me to have a try at my own gradient yarn. I decided to play with some Kool Aid, simply because my acid dye stash is very depleted and a skein of Knit Picks Bare Fingering I had lurking in the yarn stash.

I divided the skein into 4 mini skeins (with the help of the kitchen scales and my new mini niddy noddy), without breaking the yarn and ensuring each mini skein was tied off well - I cannot untangle yarn to save my life!! It was then dyed with the following :
Mini skein 1: 3 sachets Peach Mango
Mini skein 2: 2 sachets Peach Mango/1 sachet Watermelon
Mini skein 3: 2 sachets Watermelon/1 sachet Black Cherry
Mini skein 4: 3 sachets Black Cherry 

(although for future reference…3rd mini skein needed less Black Cherry and 4th skein needed more to achieve a better red)

On the whole it worked okay!! A few areas where the skeins were tied had less dye saturation but otherwise worked well and can't wait to try again.

I still haven't got round to taking decent pictures of my last shawl (although today's weather would have been ideal) but it's had lots of wear. I realised again today I really need a green shawl as I had nothing matchy matchy for today's Hell Bunny dress! A dress which fits a tad less snugly as I have lost my first stone as of this week which is nice! The severe sugar cravings are still there but only occasionally succumbed to with the odd biscuit or nibble of chocolate (ok...and maybe a creme egg!) so whilst the weight loss isn't as fast as I'm used to at 3ish lbs a week, it is at least much more sustainable than starving myself!!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Rain, rain...

...go away!  Because I can't take any decent FO pictures until you do.  For now a rather naff iPhone pic of the finished "Eva" Anemone Fields shawl.

The colour is sooo reminiscent of Eva Didymos!  I'm loving the beads - which you can barely see in the photo and  am already planning my next beaded shawl hehe.  The Wollmeise (WD Rotkäppchen) I bought from a Ravelry destash has arrived and of the red yarn choices I have is the reddest red so is my current favourite to be cast on methinks.  Just to find some nice red beads now!

I am however determined to finish the green blanket of doom - aka The Hulk before I start anything else!  I've switched back to IC circ's as the huge extreme needles were killing my arms and proving too much of a temptation for the smallest one!  I have 4 repeats of the cable pattern left to do but may add more as I will have more than enough yarn and would like it as big as possible.  Here's hoping the Carpel Tunnel holds off...

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Finally a FO for 2014

This last couple of weeks seem to completely disappeared, a blur of attempting to snatch a few rows of knitting, a few pages of a book (or sleep) in between the mundane household bits! 

Book wise I have finished the first three books of Bella Forrest's "A Shade of Vampire" Series.

A Shade Of Vampire Series

I'm hoping to start book 4 - A Shade of Light - tonight and am looking forward to seeing where Sofia's and Derek's journey leads them, especially with the Hunters involvement!

As for knitting I have (finally) finished my Anemone Fields shawl.  After a LOT of weighing and calculations I took the risk of adding an extra repeat of the Anemone Fields section so I could use all the Laal Bear Shawl Ball - leaving me with a scant 6g left!  Still blocking at the moment but it's insanely pretty and I'm glad I went for beads instead of nupps - will probably be beading everything now!

I'm determined to finish the epic green cabled blanket next although the Heartfelt shawl is very much calling my name as a Valentine's knit!  I'm waiting to cast on though as I have a skein of red Wollmeise on the way before I decide between that and a few fabulous red skeins I've been squirrelling away in the stash!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Blue Monday

I think is more a Yawn Monday than blue here, everyone seems to be in hibernation mode!

Thanks to the very small amount of sleep Oliver deems I can cope on and a generally busy week last week I seem to have had very little time for knitting and reading. 

I'm still working on my Anemone Fields shawl and have just a few rows left of the first repeat of the flower fields section.  I'm hoping to use as much as the yarn as possible to take full advantage of the colour gradient of the shawl ball.  I'm really loving the feel of the knitted fabric with the cashmere content providing a gorgeous softness.

Reading wise, in the last week or so I've only managed to read a few books as tiredness has got the better of me - all my reading is done late at night and it's very much a read or sleep scenario, sleep doesn't win very often!

A fan of her previous Watchers, Witches Avenue and more recent Beyond Love series, I was not disappointed with the new Afterworld Series release of Recruitz by Karice Bolton and am really looking forward to more post apolcalypse zombie action with Rebekah and Preston! 

 Recruitz by Karice Bolton

Elizabeth Hunter stole my heart (and a lot of sleep) with the Elemental Mysteries and Elemental World series.  I was recommended The Scribe and it was a page turner from start to finish!  I was totally immersed in the developing relationship between Ava and Malachi and the Irin/Gregori world, with the cliff hanger ending leaving me desperate for more! One of the most riveting books I have read of late.

The Scribe by Elizabeth Hunter

Whilst I was on the Elizabeth Hunter website I noticed I had missed the new Cambio Springs series so downloaded Shifting Dreams (Totally missing the fact that the Long Ride Home novella was the first book - duh!)  I have to say I really appreciated the fact that the main characters were in their 30's, I guess I'm getting old!  I enjoy Shifter books in general anyway and this was no exception with the story weaving it's magic as the history and characters of the Springs develop.  Definitely another series to add to my favourite list.

Shifting Dreams by Elizabeth Hunter

For now, I'm off to drink more coffee and squeeze in a few rows of knitting if my fingers defrost enough!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

2013 FO's

I didn't manage to finish as many projects as I'd have liked in 2013, nor did I get anywhere near enough time to learn to spin, yet I still managed a reasonable amounts of FO's!