Thursday, 28 May 2009

Otto so far!

This has been a good few days for learning new techniques. I practised the Italian tubular cast-on yesterday in advance of casting on for my Endpaper Mitts.

Voila, sample:

Italian Tubular Cast-On sample

I'm hoping it will look better on 2.0mm needles and sock yarn, as opposed to the aran yarn and 6.0mm needles I used here. I used a couple of Youtube vids to help me:

Video 1, Video 2.

It looks ok though so hopefully I will be alright.

And I bought and cast on for Otto yesterday! Made good progress throughout the afternoon and the football in the evening and Otto now looks like this:

Otto WIP

Otto WIP

I'm not entirely happy with him. I've just realised that his head is upside down for some reason. Don't know how I managed that. Probably because I followed some other people and did less decreases and repeats on the nose than called for, to avoid him looking too "snouty". Either way, he should still look ok. I only did 2 repeats of rows 43 and 44, making 6 rounds altogether for the nose decreases.

I'm stuffing him with pillow filling to make him baby-safe and washable - another tip from Ravelry. Thank you!

Learned lots of things so far on this bear.

Rather than doing the recommended cast-on as I couldn't get my head around it, I used Emily Ocker's cast-on, which uses a crochet hook and is very similar to the magic cast-ons I do in crochet when making hats or amigurumi.

I've also learned how to do m1r and m1l increases and how to graft, aka Kitchener Stitch. I had to Kitchener his nose and it was going well until I somehow lost one stitch in the middle and then had to bodge the rest of it. I should be able to make it look a bit better when I embroider his nose on. Hopefully.

About halfway through the body at the moment - the directions for the the legs and crotch gusset make zero sense to me right now. Hopefully if I just start "doing" them, it'll be fine.

Soooo annoyed with myself! But I'll carry on with him today and see how much I can get done. Hopefully he'll be a quick project and I can have him done by tomorrow night.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Amelia's Bootees

Well I've finished my first ever pair of knitted bootees:

Amelia's Bootees

Cute eh? I used a pattern called Saartje's Bootees on Ravelry which has over 5,000 projects linked to it so far. I can post the link to the pdf for anyone who doesn't have Rav access - just let me know. On the other hand, why DON'T you have Ravelry access yet? Huh? Come on people :)

Anyway! I really enjoyed this pattern. It's quick and cute, despite there being a lot of ends to weave in. Couple of things I wasn't too happy with on the project:

  • My sewing up of the seams - I officially cannot seam garter stitch. Grr.
  • My button loops. They were terrible. Although I found a tutorial after finishing the first bootee, I had to make the second shoe equally terrible. Will fix next time and use this tutorial from Ysolda instead - Sewn Button Loops.
  • The straps. These straps are not fun. One of them in particular on both shoes didn't come out very well - I think it's the one where you CO 10 stitches and then knit the remainder. On the second bootee I managed to do it the wrong way round so the strap raced the wrong way entirely. After a scream, the shoe went flying out the window. Trev retrieved it later however.
I did learn how to do a kfb increase though - previously all I've learnt has been a few different decreases, so along with learning how to yo on the Odessa hat, I'm building out my decrease repertoire :)

So I will definitely make more of these, but not sure when or for who.

As I needed buttons, I went to my Mum's and raided her button stash - she's been collecting buttons since she was 6 and learned to knit. So many of the buttons had appeared on cardigans and things she made for us all when we were kids - such a trip down memory lane - recognising all these old buttons. In particular I remember and I loved some Jemima Puddleduck and Hunka Munka buttons we found. I have since come to the conclusion that I need a button stash too. Let's see how that goes.

I raided a toggle from Mum's stash too - with the intention of using it on a Calorimetry. I think I may knit one from the Falkland that came as this month's YY club shipment. What do you think?

Latest YY Fibre Club with toggle

I have decided that at some point in the future I need to knit Otto. I think I may knit this for my sister (nephew due in 5 weeks) instead of a pair of bootees. She isn't a very bootee person and I think a little bear would be cute.

Hopefully I will have some more news for you soon on my Endpaper Mitts, but that's enough for now :)

Watch this space!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Baby Geese!

Happy Bank Holiday everyone :)

I am pleased to report that I am no longer in pain! I went to my gym induction on Monday and we tried out some machines and worked out the sorts of things I should be doing. Unfortunately until I get used to exercise, everything is going to hurt, pretty much.

However I am in love with Pilates! I went to a class on Tuesday and could do it, despite struggling a bit. Did the beginner's class on Friday and had a great time. Really want to improve. It's amazing how good you feel after stretching! Positively bounded down the stairs from the gym on Friday - although the fact it was my last day at work for a week might have had something to do with it :)

I also have an FO to report! Woo! Not had one of those for a while.

Odessa

Unfortunately I finished this had on Thursday night as I wanted to give it to a colleague (more on that later) and so it hadn't dried by Friday morning. I took it to work and plonked it on the windowsill of our office (so it got a nice dose of Oxford Street pollution) but whilst it dried, I didn't have my camera with me. So relied on a colleague's mobile phone, with said colleague also modelling hat:

Odessa

Overall I'm pretty happy with it. The yarn was as splitty as hell - much easier to crochet with than to knit. But it's come out ok. I made a few mistakes with the decreases on the last few rows but thankfully it's close enough to the top to not be noticeable.

Despite the lack of stretch (I used a cotton yarn) it's beautifully soft next to the skin due to the silk/viscose content.

Normally I would have dried the hat at home and waited till after my week off to give it away. However as this hat was something I'd planned to knit for Trev's mum in case she wanted to do chemo and then didn't... I needed to knit it as therapy and then get rid of it.

I've also finished a pair of baby bootees - I just need to add some buttons and they are all done. They're for my new niece, Amelia Louise - Trev's elder sister had her first child last Thursday. So I had to make something :) Will also knit a pair for my sister who is due to have a baby boy in 5 weeks.

Watch this space for piccies - hopefully buying some buttons tomorrow.

So now onto some cute stuff! We've had some lovely weather the last few days and today was SUNNY! Almost unheard of for a Bank Holiday in this country. Normally the days before and after would be nice, but never today. But it was :)

Kooky has been availing herself of the sun and sunbathing at every opportunity - I give you the cuteness:

Kooky Bear in the sun

Kooky Bear in the sun

Today we went for one of our walks down the lake. The geese have had a load of babies recently and I love to go down and see them every spring when they're so tiny!

There's also a swan which has built a nest just near our flat. Apparently it's done this every year for the last 4 years. We couldn't get too close to take a picture as the male was getting a bit angsty, but here's a pic:

Swans Nesting

We also took LOADS of photos of the baby geese. There's too many to list here, so have a nose at this set which will comprise photos of all our local lakeside wildlife while I give you a few highlights :)

Baby Geese 2009

Baby Geese 2009

Baby Geese 2009

Baby Geese 2009

Baby Geese 2009

I love that last photo - the little goslings so sleepy and tucked under mum's wing.

I'm cracking on with some more spinning this week - trying to decide whether or not to cast on for a new knitting project or finish off a WIP.

Going to say goodnight now and watch Kim Bauer totter around in her high heels chasing terrorists in an airport!

Night x

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Owweee

Well I finally joined the gym. My office does corporate membership to the Virgin Active over the street for a bargain price a month and since I'm horridly unfit, it makes sense for me to join.

So I went for the first time on Tuesday. My plan is to do classes - I don't enjoy plodding mindlessly on a machine for half an hour and I think a class will be a better way of dealing with things. So I was at the timetable, looking at the classes. I didn't want to go on my own the first time, so I asked a friend to come with me. I fancied the idea of Pilates, but she didn't want to do that. So we opted to go to Powerplate (Google it if you're unsure of what it is). It's only a 20 minute class - how bad can it be - I thought?

Oooh boy I was wrong. It's Sunday night and I'm still sore. I was crippled as soon as the class finished and it got much worse over the next few days. Going to the loo was agony! My bum and thighs have never been in so much soreness. Things didn't ease up until we went to a Stretch class on Thursday, which is a sort of yoga-stretch thing. I thought it would kill me more, but it actually really helped. So I'm going to have my gym induction tomorrow (to work out how unfit I REALLY am and the sorts of classes I should be doing) and head off to Pilates and Yoga this week. I'm going to stay away from Powerplate for a while!

All this pain has meant I've been unable to spin - which has been very disappointing given the loveliness that has come my way this week.

Lhuna arrived from Limegreenjelly. I know I posted a pic of it last week, but here it is now it's come:

Limegreenjelly - Lhuna

I also purchased something else from Jo this week as I was having a terrible week again (work is very stressful at the moment). It's a merino/bamboo blend and I think it's going to make the coolest, funkiest, stripy socks in the world. I give you Carousel:

Limegreenjelly - Carousel

I love it!

I've had a couple more bits of fibre come this week. Here's the latest Fibre Club Shipment from the Yarn Yard. It's Falkland, which I haven't spun before and the colour way is Dogwood:

The Yarn Yard - Fibre Club April 2009

The Yarn Yard - Fibre Club April 2009

The Yarn Yard - Fibre Club April 2009

The Yarn Yard - Fibre Club April 2009

Pretty huh? :) I think it might make a lovely colour for the Fiddlehead Mittens. I bought the pattern today having seen a beautiful version that someone on Ravelry did using handspun. Here's a link to the project. Gorgeous huh?

This has got me thinking about projects I want to make for winter. Obviously I'll need to finish off my CPH, but I think I'll make myself a pair of Evangelines and a matching Gretel hat - slouchy version. Got tons of projects I want to make before that though, so I need to get my skates on over the next few weeks. I have the week after this off work, so I should be able to get plenty of knitting/spinning done.

The final thing to arrive this week was my second spinner's set from Spindlefrog in Pink Pony. I love it. It's so pink and I think it will blend together beautifully. I plan to get some handcards at some point so I can blend things myself.

Here it is:

Spindlefrog - Luxury Spinners Set

Spindlefrog - Luxury Spinners Set

We ordered our new Ikea bookcases the other week and they came on Friday. I put mine (just for stash) together on Friday night. Behold my Stash Case:

My Stashcase

I need to buy 4 x baskets to store my fibre and yarn in but we'll get those the next time we can make it to a store.

I need to try and do as much as possible on my Odessa hat this week. Might even try and do some now, providing the LOST season finale doesn't distract me too much :)

Monday, 4 May 2009

Happy May Day!

Happy May Day everyone :) And naturally, here in the UK it's raining. We got soaked walking back from my parents which is exactly what you'd expect on a day like today.

Anyway, down to prettiness. I've had a whole host of fibre goodness arrive this week, with 2 more (3 more including YY Fibre Club) yet to come. 1 of these packages I've just ordered in a moment of weakness, which, if I think about it, applies to the first one as well, which I ordered on Friday after I promised myself I'd go on a fibre diet.

Whoops.

This was Friday's purchase:



More fibre from Limegreenjelly. This is a merino/silk (70/30) mix called Lhuna.

And I accidentally bought another Luxury Spinners Set from Spindlefrog. I listed the first one I bought on my last blog post and when I saw this pink one tonight, I knew I had to have it. Despite the fact I'm meant to be on a fibre diet right now!



Now these ones I might blend together as they are much more one colour - my Antique set might look a bit muddy if I blended it together. I'll deal with that dilemma when it turns up :)

Here's the fibres I posted about last week having ordered from Jo.

Velvet Snow - 50% merino, 25% silk, 25% cashmere

Limegreenjelly - Velvet Snow

I LOVE this blend. As I explained in my last post, I had to have the fibre when I heard what Jo had named it.

Careless Whisper - 70% merino, 30% seacell

Limegreenjelly - Careless Whisper

This is the first time Jo has worked with seacell - it looks beautifully soft and shiny. Can't wait to spin this up. I think it would be a beautiful laceweight shawl.

I had a few dollars left after buying these 2 and my spindle (pics of that to come) I had a few dollars left so I made my first purchase from Shunklies on Etsy:



This is superfine merino that I've called Flumps - as it reminds me of the marshmallowy things we can get here in the UK.

I think that covers off the fibre purchases! Many and varied though they are. Ahem.

Right, are you ready for some spindle p0rn? Lots and lots of it? Here's some pics of my new 12g Canarywood Featherweight with birch shaft. All of these are with Limegreenjelly fibre. Purple fibre = Pink Cashmere. Grey = Careless Whisper. Plum/Orange = Maybelline.

Bosworth Featherweight Canarywood

Bosworth Featherweight Canarywood

Bosworth Featherweight Canarywood

Bosworth Featherweight Canarywood

Bosworth Featherweight Canarywood

Bosworth Mini  Featherweight

Bosworth Mini  Featherweight

All done! Purty huh? And I've been busy with it too. Been spinning up some of the orange merino Yoshimi gave to me, just to practice spinning super-fine. Currently coming out at about 60wpi:

Featherweight Bossie in action!

Featherweight Bossie in action!

I'm going to 2-ply this into a nice thin laceweight. Don't know what I'll do with it, but the main thing is to practice.

And for a change, I actually have a spinning FO! Well, kinda. Half of one. I've finished half of my Yarn Yard Texel that I was spinning into sock yarn for my Mum. I'm pretty happy with how it's come out. It's the right weight, but because I've overspun (and therefore overplied it) I only have about 80 yards? Anyhow - here's a pic. I've being playing with fds Flickr Toys making picture mosaics. Think it looks cute!

The Yarn Yard - Fibre Club March 2009

And on the knitting front I've been finally making progress with my Odessa hat. I'm on my 3rd try... the first time I cast on too many stitches. The second, I managed to lose some stitches and it was coming out completely wrong. So the third time, I'm using pins every 10 stitches as markers and it's going well. Phew. I have cathartic reasons for wanting to knit this hat, but I'll go into those later.

Odessa WIP

Thank goodness for 3 day weekends! Just a shame I have to go back to work tomorrow :)