Monday, 30 June 2008

Gift from Hubby

Trev bought me a gift :) A little prezzy from Purlescence. He had it gift-wrapped for me and everything - it came wrapped in gold paper with a little tag with a message on it - which shall remain private!

But here is what he got me - with lots of close-ups because they are gorgeous:

CIMG2702

CIMG2704

CIMG2710

CIMG2707

CIMG2706

CIMG2711

These are made in Italy from hot forged carbon steel apparently - but they're beautiful. You can't see it in the pictures, but they have the most beautiful blue tint to them in daylight.

They come in a tiny little leather sheath/case thing and they fit perfectly in with my Hamanaka hooks in the case I have for everything. Updated pics of that to come at the weekend. Something else of heirloom quality for my collection! I love how these looks years old and I'm sure they'll last forever.

I love these! Hope to get some Snipz Tipz for these but I don't know how they'll fit in my case after that!

To my lovely Trev - I love you xxx

Started Go For Baroque

When I said in my last post that there were other things in the works, I know I mentioned the Hairpin Lace Cardi Wrap but that wasn't actually what I meant!

I have started to make use of the fingering weight Rowan Cotton I bought on Friday. So on Saturday I swatched for it and miracles of miracles, I was actually able to hit gauge!

Here are some pics of my swatches - both before and after blocking - and I like the look of the swatches after. Fingers crossed I can make the finished item look half decent!

Before blocking:

CIMG2677

CIMG2676

CIMG2678

After blocking:

CIMG2692

CIMG2688

CIMG2684

So far I've done 4 repeats of the pattern and it's coming out ok. I've learned a few things as I've gone along - e.g. that I'm meant to crochet in the chain spaces, rather than the chains themselves, which I didn't do initially because I was following the chart. But it's coming out ok. No pics of it so far though :) Saving those for this weekend once I've done a bit more.

The one thing I'm irritated by is that I think I made my chains too tight - and my work is doing that thing you get when your first row ends up being tighter than the rest of your work. ACK. But if it goes well, I will make another one, which I can do perfectly. But this is a good start.

It's the first time I've done anything so lacy, or worked with yarns so fine - so whatever happens, it will be a good learning experience!

Frogged Cupcake :(

Well I've finally had enough of this! It had sat in hibernation for the last couple of weeks - and the more I think about it, the more worried I was about fit and whether it would look good on me.

Sooo, the whole thing, and the swatch has been frogged and rewound - along with Trev's help. I think it's fair to say that Trev enjoyed the frogging - he got to rip and got into quite a good rhythm!

I had got the whole of the back done (see below) but it just wasn't looking wide enough - despite the fact that I'm not THAT tubby :) I have a bust, but I also have a waist - so perhaps this straight up-straight down pattern isn't for me.

CIMG2648

However there are more things in the works! I may use the reclaimed Rowan Calmer to make the Hairpin Lace Cardi Wrap unless I can find another pattern worth saving it for. The Cardi Wrap could be done with some cheaper acrylic yarn, and is actually meant to use sport-weight, whilst the Calmer is double knit. So it may not be suitable.

But still - I have get over this desire to use the yarn just because it's in my stash! It's perfectly acceptable to have yarn happily sat in my basket.

Isn't it?

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Half Price Yarn at Liberty

I'm not sure whether to thank or curse the ladies at the Stitch and Bitch London group on Ravelry. There happened to be a mention of a half price yarn sale going on.

Now, I tend to be a John Lewis girl - because we have one in Peterborough and the one on Oxford Street is really easy to find - you'd have to be super blind to miss it (and this is coming from someone incredibly short-sighted!) and have never been to Liberty in recent memory. I have vague memories of being dragged round what I think was a Liberty in Cambridge when I was really young - and hating every second of it, as you do when you're small. The trade-off was that I'd get to go book shopping after, but anyway...

I haven't been to the one in London - in fact I had no idea where it was, other than somewhere between John Lewis and All The Fun Of The Fair. So I looked it up yesterday and toddled off at lunchtime. It's actually really close - much closer than either of the other shops and OMG the building is stunning. It's a lovely HUGE old big Tudor building with several floors that looks stunning from the outside. However inside was just as, if not more gorgeous. The only problem was that I felt a bit underdressed as the shop is a tad posh - and I strolled in, in my jeans, trainers and a hoody!

However eventually I managed to find the yarn department and what a department! They have loads of it there - although it's almost all Rowan - but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The main reason I wanted to go was to get some 4 ply cotton - as I'm quite keen to make the Go For Baroque jacket and I had been told there was loads there!

And they weren't wrong! And moreover, it was cheap! Whole bags of 10 balls (so about 1800 yards) reduced from nearly £40 to £20! Bargain - as it would be enough to make the top and have plenty left over. Ideally I was after black, but they didn't have any - so I ended up trying to decide between a sky blue, silver/grey/blue and a dark lilac. In the end I went for the silvery/blue which is officially known as Shale, apparently:

CIMG2642

CIMG2637

Of all the colours I saw I think it's the one that will look best with my colouring, and this will go nicest with the jeans that seem to make up most of my daily outfits.

I've started to swatch for this top - and will blog about that later :)

Now the only problem with buying half price yarn, is that you almost feel obligated to buy twice as much because it's so cheap! So I got suckered in to buying more yarn. I came across some Luxury Cotton DK, that I thought would be perfect for the Lotus Smock pattern I bought recently. So I had to ring Trev to check yardage, but joy of joys, one bag would be enough! Cue purchase of a second bag of yarn - this time reduced to £17.50 from £35.

CIMG2662

CIMG2651

I think this yarn will work really well for the Lotus - with the small amount of silk it has and the rayon/viscose, it should drape beautifully.

So in total I only spent £37.50 - which I think is remarkably restrained given what was on offer! And I only bought yarn for specific things I am planning to make, that were already at the top of my queue! Although it would have been VERY to buy yarn just because it was pretty :)

I am trying to buy some yarn from Ravelry to make the Hairpin Lace Cardi Wrap - I want to buy some black Lion Brand Microspun that's up for sale. So that's 3 or so new projects in the works, along with the Cupcake top I need to finish and Trev's West Ham monkey!

So many projects... so little time :)

Monday, 23 June 2008

A quick thrill!

I don't know why I decided I needed a new iPod cozy, but I did. Perhaps it was because my usual pink and grey one is a bit grubby. Maybe it's because I wanted one in a different style and a different yarn. Maybe it's because I wanted the quick thrill of finishing an item - no matter how small.

I think it was a mix of all 3, but anyway - here we are:

CIMG2610

It's made from blue double knit yarn - part of leftovers I have lying around. I made it according to my pattern - but omitted the flap, pocked and buttonhole/button combo. It's more of a sock with a big crocheted button and a loop to close it off. Quite happy with how it's turned out - quite a nice, slim, streamlined little thing.

Have some more picture:

CIMG2617

CIMG2619

CIMG2623

I may make a few more of these with some more yarn I have laying around - see if I can a few slightly more interesting ones and sell them on Etsy. I'll see how I go.

In other iPod related news, our DVD of Pushing Daisies Season 1 arrived on Saturday - YAY! First thing I did was to whizz it through Handbrake, onto the Mac into iTunes and my iPod! The picture quality for video on these things is surprisingly great - although the screen could obviously be bigger.

But how it entertained me today! I was the victim of three (THREE!) train cancellations this morning on my way to work in London this morning. In the end I decided to get a slow train to guarantee myself a seat, but was more than amply entertained by Chuck and the Pie Maker. We do love Pushing Daisies. It's just adorable. Although I am mad that the DVD contains absolutely no extras whatsoever! But that's no reflection on the brilliantness of the show. Go buy it!

Friday, 20 June 2008

Skater Beanie Pattern

CIMG2475

Here is my tested and revised Skater Beanie pattern. It's available FREE on Ravelry here and via the below link as a FREE pdf download.

free pattern on Ravelry



It has complete sizing instructions so that you can make a custom-fit beanie to fit any head. There are also instructions for whether you want to make the hat with stripes, or without - so it's completely up to you how you want to do it.

The pattern calls for dk or sport weight yarn, but you can actually use any yarn and any hook with this because you work out your measurements as you go along.

Please ensure that you have a tape measure to hand because you do have to take some key measurements and work a few things out before you begin.

The pattern may seem a bit long, but it contains loads of pictures and there's a few things I explain in a lot of depth - in particular the sizing, as it's key to the pattern working.

Please have a read through the pattern before you attempt it for the first time.

So download, and have some fun!

If you're a Ravelry member, you can see some examples of finished hats by clicking here.

BIG thank yous go to my lovely pattern testers, tinyteddies, drmonica, cellemonster and nursepickle.

CIMG2429
CIMG2608

Bah Humbug!

CIMG2608

I actually finished this hat on Sunday (it's now Friday) - I've just been really short on time this week with work and stuff. On Sunday I also finished a swatch of broomstick lace which looked much better and more how it should. I've frogged it already but am a bit more confident about trying it again.

However because I've taken to hairpin lace a bit better, I've bumped up the hairpin lace patterns above the Hourglass Jacket pattern and will attempt those first. However first on my queue is the Go For Baroque jacket as it's standard crochet and something I've really wanted to make for a while.

Back to the hat! I started this a week or so ago, and worked on it on the way to and from (as well as during) the London International Music Show. So this was my project on WWKIP day!

I did the hat this way for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I didn't have enough yarn (or I didn't think so) to make a skater beanie the same as I have done before. Also, Trev wanted a slightly stripier hat. And voila, the Mint Humbug beanie was born! So called because it reminds Trev of the mints we have here in the UK. Don't know if you have them in the States?

CIMG2607

You'll notice that it doesn't have the usual stripes that the other hats have as this one is just solid stripes of 2 rows of dc at a time. So instead of working the 5 dc's rows worth of striping as per the pattern, I worked 4 rows of dc, 1 row of hdc and one row of sc - amending colour where appropriate. The row of hdc and sc is equal to one row of dc.

I've added instructions on how to do this into the pattern - which I've just uploaded onto Ravelry - this will follow in the next post.

Trev loves this hat - he can't wait for the weather to be cooler so he can wear it! It's also a perfect fit for him. I was worried about it coming out a bit big for him, so I added 3 dc decreases - one at the back and then one at each of the sides which managed to make the width overall spot on for him.

CIMG2609

I think I've had enough of hats for a while now!

Sunday, 15 June 2008

New Toys!

Sorry for the delay in putting this post up. I meant to post on Friday, but we were all excited about going to the London Guitar Show yesterday and that kind of threw me off crochet for a while. We got back very early this morning, and since leaving London last night I have developed a stinking cold which is in full flow (no pun intended) as we speak. If I feel this rotten tomorrow, I am not going to work and will be spending the whole day in bed.

Anyway, on Wednesday I had lots of new toys arrive :) I didn't really have the time to play with them properly that night, so all my playing was done on Thursday and Friday. If you recall, I had ordered a number of lovely items from Robynn at Purlescence. So with no further ado, let's go through my purchases!!!

CIMG2494

Soak - this is a lovely wash that you can use for handknits or any delicate item (e.g. cashmere jumpers) and it's great because generally you don't have to rinse anything! You can also use it for spot cleaning, although I haven't tried it yet. I'll be using this for blocking things, and for washing anything I've crocheted along with nice woolly jumpers that belong to Trev & I.

CIMG2482

Lantern Moon Ebony 14" Size 19 (15.0mm) knitting needles
- I bought these for doing broomstick lace and unfortunately my first attempt was so hideous it has been frogged rather than photographed. I'll take some pics next time I try it - so watch out for that in a future post. I had some issues with doing the joins between groups of loops, but I think I may have that sorted now.

These are gorgeous though - lovely and smooth and look fantastic. Have a few more piccies:

CIMG2487

CIMG2490

CIMG2492

Last and by no means least is this:

CIMG2505

My Jenkins Walnut Hairpin Lace Loom - to be used for... Hairpin Lace! I luuurve this thing - it's so beautifully made and a joy to use. It's fully adjustable I bought some extra prongs to go with it, and thankfully my first attempt at Hairpin Lace was MUCH more successful than my first attempt at Broomstick Lace. Oodles more pictures here:

CIMG2514

CIMG2513

CIMG2511

CIMG2510

CIMG2509

CIMG2508

CIMG2507

CIMG2499

CIMG2500

CIMG2502

So yes, loads of pictures!

I've also filled my basked with my stash - now I've been able to get the cat out of it :)

CIMG2520

CIMG2521

However, despite this purchase from Robynn, that's not been all the purchasing I've done recently! Offhand Designs have brought out their new fabrics for the Sabrina bag - something I've always liked - and Robynn has given us the chance to pre-order a bag in the new colours. I couldn't decide between the New York Stripe and the Aquavite.



Eventually, I have decided to go for the Aquavite, with a matching Nina clutch to store all of my crochet bits and pieces:



May take up to 4-6 months to arrive, but it gives me plenty of time to save for it then!

And finally, I ordered another couple of patterns from Stitch Diva today - both involving Hairpin Lace. The Hairpin Lace Cardi Wrap, and the Lotus Smock. Can't wait to attempt them!

Right, that's a lot of stuff to squeeze into one post :)





I leave you, with another picture of Kooky:

CIMG2489