Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Bring On The Green!

I decided to sort my yarn out this weekend and ended up with a large pile to destash - my tastes have changed dramatically since I started knitting and there are skeins I just know will never be touched.  Whilst uploading endless details to Rav I was lucky enough to snag a set of Signature Needle Arts Circular Needles as they were listed.  These are the last of the needles I'd been itching to try but I was reluctant to purchase as I *always* get hit with custom fees!  These were new and in the UK so I couldn't say no!

They arrived this morning and are absolutely beautiful!  The joins are smooth, the needle shafts slick, the stiletto points...well, lovely and pointy and I can easily see why they are so sought after!  They're a 4mm (and GREEN!!!) which happens to be the size I am knitting my Pop Spots shawl with (on which I have reached the green spots hence the blog title) so I switched over to the Signature's to test them out.  The pair I've got have a 6" shaft which is longer than I'd normally use - I'd probably have gone with a 5" - yet feels great knitting both English and Continental.  The cable is thicker than say the Addi or Hiya Hiya's, but is a tad more flexible than the Chiaogoo Spin.

Overall, I have to say I love them!  I shall finish my Pop Spots on them and see how they feel after an entire project.  Let's hope for my PayPal balance I don't fall hopelessly in love with them hehe!!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

So Not A Sewer!

I've owned a sewing machine for as long as I remember.  It's always been one of those essential household items in our family - rather like a toaster or an electric mixer!  In the 70's my dad was just as likely to be sewing clothes for my mum as she was and mum spent years working as a seamstress for the theatre (and a stint making undies for M&S when we came back to the UK!)   It was a family effort between me and my parents to make my wedding dress as well so I've always been around sewing machines...yet I'd never class myself as a sewer!  I *can* sew but it's something I do more out of necessity than as a hobby.

Until I get inspired to make something that is!  I've needed some large knitting project bags for a while and as I have a small fabric stash (after selling off the huge amount of rare pieces I had collected for having baby carriers made from!) figured I may as well attempt to make my own.  After finding the Open Wide Zippered Pouch from Noodlehead totally perfect for my needs, I decided to pick up some cheap plain polycotton for the lining and a couple of 14" zips off eBay to have a try (before using my nicer fabric!)

I have to admit I am terrible at the whole pressing and measuring part of sewing normally - probably why I am so bad at it!  Considering I can follow complex lace charts and advanced knitting patterns with total ease, I have no idea why simple sewing patterns scare the life out of me!

However, this pattern was SUPER easy!  I've never inserted a zip before but even that was straightforward - especially considering I was whipping this up perched on the edge of the table whilst cooking dinner.  I have to say I was rather shocked that all my seams lined up perfectly and bar a very slight wonky line at the zip I think it's a rather good first effort.  I went for the large size and it's a fabulous size for my needs.   There's things I'd change - I used fusible interfacing which was quite a heavy weight in comparison to the totally flimsy lining/base fabric but I like do my bags to be quite rigid - in future I'd just use a heavier weight lining material.    Plus my zip and lining colour aren't a perfect match which does kind of get my OCD tendencies tingling but that's more just the fact I choose the cheapest green options from two different eBay shops!  Other than that I love it!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Spring is in the air...

Things seem to have been manically busy here yet not much seems to have been done!  My WIP pile is certainly not diminishing, so I'm determined to take some time this week to focus less on the mundane, joy sucking chores (why is the laundry SO constant!) and take some time to relax, knit and be happy!  Spring is most definitely in the air which is always a great mood lifter and the garden is starting to reawaken and bloom...

As far as my WIP List from the beginning of the year goes, here's how I'm doing:

JUL HAT in Yarn Stories Fine Merino and Baby Alpaca DK (Fuchsia) - Completed/FO

ORLA MITTS in Bergere de France Ideal (Meije, Calanque, Vitamine, Citronnier) - Completed/FO

SONNENSEGEL in Noro Kureyon Sock (240) and Drops Brushed Alpaca Silk (02 Hellgrau) - Still in the early stages but in no rush with this one!

THE HUDSON HAT in Lion Brand Amazing (Muana Loa) - Completed/FO

RASPBERRY MITTS in Rico Design Creative Poems Aran (04 and 05) - Still hibernating!

THE HULK (AKA PLUM ISLAND BIG BABY BLANKET) in Cygnet Seriously Chunky (Meadow Green) - Still hibernating (due to very sore wrists!)

BIELLESE in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply (Bubblegum and Sour Apple) - I finally finished the ruffles last week!!  After picking up the 303 stitches along the edge of the ruffle, the slip stitch body is worked in 20 row repeats, and I'm currently half way through the first repeat of seven.  There's a 20 stitch decrease row every 8 rows so even though the pattern is worked bottom up and the rows seem to take FOREVER, it's not actually that daunting.  It helps that I think it already looks stunning so am really pleased I didn't frog it all which did cross my mind on several occasions!!

POP SPOTS by Juju Vail in hand dyed yarn - my good intentions to not cast on anything went out the window a couple of weeks ago when, in dire need of some knitting therapy to improve my mood, I cast on my Pop Spots.  I'm currently halfway through the second colour and it's such a simple but gorgeous pattern! 

My wish list remains the same, with my next few planned projects being:

STARLIGHT SHAWL by Anna Dalvi - I am still planning this is Wollmeise Pure but am leaning towards changing my planned skein of True Love for a solid hot pink, which I think will look better (I still very much prefer my solid colours over variegated skeins)   I have a skein of Himbeere in my stash which might do, although it's obviously a red toned pink so I shall have to dig it out!  I really need to sort the stash drawers anyway...

3 COLOUR CASHMERE COWL by Joji Locatelli - my skeins of Wollmeise arrived and I am completely IN LOVE!  The colour combination of the original was my ideal choice anyway and the three WM colours I chose work tremendously together...I can't WAIT to cast on!

And last but not least on my current wish list is:

HEARTFELT SHAWL by Claire Slade which, having already started once but frogged, I'm looking forward to casting back on as I loved the beading and the hearts in the red WM!

I'm sure there's rather a lot of other things I should add to my wish list but I'm SO determined to complete all of these that I'm hesitant to start adding to my list!  

Whilst I have been incredibly good and haven't added ANY yarn to the stash for the last few weeks (and have even sold off a set of my needles *gasp*) I was lucky enough to win some gorgeous Milburn 4 Ply from a giveaway on the lovely Eden Cottage Yarns blog.  I have some Milburn 4 Ply in my stash already and the Harvest Gold colour I received is sumptuous (my photo's were taken on quite a grey day and don't really do it justice) 

I'm also extremely excited to have booked on the Knit Nottingham couch trip up to Yarndale later on this year!  Between the smalls and not driving it makes getting to yarn festivals a complete no go normally, but this one will only require me to get into Nottingham at some insanely early time and leave the smalls with the husbeast at home (which I think he much prefers over being forced to look at yarn and fibre!)  All I need to do now is save up some money so I can indulge when I get there hehe!