Yarn Diet Progress

Cruise Countdown

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Advent Adventure - Day 2

And so the madness continues. As I knitted the second clue of the mystery scarf my imagination went into overdrive. I have my work Christmas dinner on the 20th of this month and a lovely wrap would be just the thing to keep me cosy and stylish. Now this one won't be ready by then but, wait a minute, wasn't there one last year and the year before? Why yes there was! And I have the perfect yarn. Some rummaging in stash later and out comes some Assynt by Moonlight yarn by Ripplescrafts in the adorable Carnations colour. Half an hour later and the skeins are wound and off I go with the 2010 pattern http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/advent-calendar-scarf
Here is my progress as of 6pm.

Now this does not mean that I have given up on the other one, not at all. Day 2 was fairly easy going and here is the proof



So now you must be wondering about the socks, well they are coming along too.
Here are Circle Socks http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/circle-socks which were finished this morning and just need washed and blocked.
I must admit to slightly modifying the pattern by extending the circles down the instep and using my preferred heel and toe.

All in all I would say quite a productive day so far and the night is young so goodness knows how much more will be done before bed.

Stay safe and happy crafting

Mary

Saturday, 1 December 2012

That Way Madness Lies

Yes I am officially a fruit loop. As I said last week I am knitting up a storm of socks which all have a deadline of 15th Dec at the latest for postal reasons, so what does this bright and wonderful person do this morning? I succumb to the temptation of my first Advent Scarf KAL. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/advent-calender-scarf-2012
I must be insane!!!
However day 1's knitting is complete and I am somewhat happy with it.


Not too bad for a few hours work. A few hours because of course it has to have beads. And we all know they take a few extra minutes.

So back to the socks and I can report with satisfaction that I have completed 1 pair.


These cosy's are mens socks and just simple stst with my own preferred heel and toe.
There are so many beautiful sock patterns out there, but I find they are mostly for ladies and sometimes a plain sock is best for the male of the species.

Well I have to get back to the socks.

Stay safe and happy crafting

Mary

Friday, 23 November 2012

Sock Satisfaction

Earlier this year I overcame a fear, I found a solution and I took a plunge. That plunge has me hooked. Yes folks I am addicted to knitting socks. Hand knitted socks feel wonderful on your feet, and are a quick and satisfying knit.
My fear was that socks were hard to knit. Too hard for the likes of me to attempt. I have since found out that that is a load of baloney. Socks are probably one of the easiest things I have ever knitted. All it took was a bit of courage and a good simple to follow well written pattern and I was off. My first foray was using thicker yarns and needles. I must admit that I struggled so hard with the DPN's that I almost gave up, they were just too fiddly for me.
That is where the solution came in. Magic loop. It has since become my best friend. I can with a few wee adjustments knit almost any pattern I want. I have tried a few and some have definitely become a firm favourite.
The first socks I knitted were just plain stocking stitch to get into the hang of the different parts of the sock. Then I moved on to try some ribbed and finally some lacy ones.


I love the process of the sock, the cuff, leg (patterned or plain), the magical turn of the heel, the not so magical picking up of the gusset stitches, the foot and finally the toe. And voilĂ  a sock. I have not yet succumbed to the dreaded second sock syndrome as I am still having so much fun as this next picture will prove. 
My current SIP's

As you can see I have 6 pairs on the go and I am loving each and every one. I will try to update my progress at least once a week and keep you informed of what is new in my world of sock knitting.

Stay safe and happy crafting

Mary


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Cruise Ships at Cockenzie!!

Upon perusing the local weekly paper I happened upon this story Cruise Ship Vision for Cockenzie . My immediate thought was, nah it'll never happen, but reading through the story my attitude began to change. I began to be excited by the idea.

A Little Background.

My dear husband and I have been on a number of cruises in our 10 years together. For most of these wonderful holidays we have driven the long and sometimes frightening road to Southampton. We arrive at the port exhausted, feeling dirty and really not up to enjoying the first day of our holiday. Now do not get me wrong the transition through the port is totally trauma free, (unlike some airports I could mention), but it is still a long, long way to go. It can take anywhere between 9 and 12 hours to do the drive, and of course you have the same when you return. Yes you may say we could fly, but see above, (DH has metal pins in his back) or we could take the train but as those of you who know us know DH lives in severe pain and driving is truly the best option as we can stop whenever and he can move about freely and for as long as he needs. 
As DH'S health has deteriorated we have all but given up on ever doing another cruise as the drive we would now deem impossible, so having a cruise terminal almost literally at the foot of our street would once again mean we could save and dream.

The Site

The site they are proposing this development on is currently a coal fired power station with a rail link from the main East Coast Line leading directly in to it. It is less than 5 minutes from the main Edinburgh - London A1 road and is about 30 mins from Edinburgh Airport.
The power station is due to close in March of next year and there is planning to replace it with a gas fired one. The power station has been here all my life as far as I know, so is lets just say over 40 years, and is  now only used as a backup facility and manned by a limited staff. The same would be true for a new one, which as the article says is becoming more remote than ever due to the current economic climate.
As far as I can see this site would be ideal for a development such as a cruise terminal. Just think of the jobs it would bring to the area, the tourists, the kudos to East Lothian of being a port of call. 
East Lothian is a gem of a county, it has scenery, what would at times seem a climate all of it's own and history in spades. What a boost this would be to the county. Yes people would still go on trips into Edinburgh etc, but some would also want to explore what it is East Lothian has to offer, and we do have some wonderful golf courses, beaches, museums, castles, market towns, need I go on? 

My Final Thoughts

Would this be a good thing for the site? Yes.
Would it be good for the county? Yes
Do I want it on my doorstep? Yes 
Do I mind increased traffic and all the people who would come along with the project? No
Do I want to see this area reborn and vibrant? Hell Yes

Scotland has no dedicated Cruise Terminal, we use freight docks or tender passengers from ship to small jetty, don't we as a people want a more positive welcoming picture of our country from the people who have chosen their cruise to include a visit to our wonderful country?
I sure as hell do.

So in conclusion I say Cruise Ships at Cockenzie, BRING IT ON!!

These are my personal views.


Monday, 24 September 2012

You Had to Be There

The Cheeseburger

Scene setter: A BURGER van queue at an event somewhere in the East of Scotland which has a prominent advert for steak and venison burgers.

Whilst standing second in line at said burger van the following was overheard.

Customer : Two chicken burgers, a cheeseburger, a portion of chips and a bottle of water.

The young girl on the van duly makes up the order and asks if the customer wants onions with the burgers? The answer was yes. 
The burgers are placed on the counter before the customer and what followed truly was one of the most bizarre conversations  I have ever encountered.

Customer : What is that? (pointing at the cheeseburger)
Girl : It's your cheeseburger
C : Yes but what is it?
G : Your cheeseburger!
C : Yes I want two chicken burgers, a cheese burger, chips and water.
G : Yes that is what is there!
C : (pointing to the cheeseburger burger) Is that meat?
G : (looking totally confused) Yes it is your cheeseburger!
C : But I do not eat meat, I am vegetarian!

At this point the chef of the burger van who has heard the whole exchange steps in and kindly informs the customer that they have been indeed served with what they asked for. The customer is still protesting that they did not ask for any meat, but a cheeseburger! At which point the man in the van quickly makes up a bun with cheese and onions and hands it to the customer who proceeds to ask for tomato sauce! They are directed to the condiments table and leave.

I discover at this point that I have been holding my breath for a while (and I can only imagine my facial expression) as I watched the scene unfold and I have promptly forgotten what I wanted to order. The girl in the van is still totally baffled, and the chef is lost for words.

As I say, you had to be there.

Stay safe and happy crafting

Mary

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Needles

What do You Use?

Talking with my DH this morning after a squeal of delight by me (more on that later) I got to thinking about my life's journey thus far through knitting.
I first learned to knit when I was just a wee thing, taught by my gran and using the standard long needles which for all I know were all that were available back then. They as I remember were about as long as my arms and I struggled so much with them, but I persevered and mastered the basics of the craft.
The type I started with.
I continued knitting with this type of needle all through my younger years until I gave up due to sad circumstances and never picked up another needle for about 15 years.
When I did begin knitting again it was with the same style of needle and I must admit that looking back I had the same problems, I still found them difficult to manoeuvre and my hands would begin to hurt after just a few rows.
I then decided to try bamboo needles which I was assured were much lighter and would not be so cumbersome. Whilst it is true that I found them lighter and slightly easier to manage I still was not totally convinced, although you will see I still use them for some projects.
Bamboo Needles

Moving on I discovered that there was an alternative, circular knitting needles where two needle tips are attached to each other with a long cable. So I thought what the heck I may as well give it a try. What a revelation these were light easy to handle and I did not get sore hands. I could knit for hours at a time. 
Circular needle
I then discovered Ravelry and this opened up a whole new world of knitting to me. New techniques and patterns, different styles and ideas and of course I learned even more about knitting needles and the endless brands that are available at the touch of a few buttons via the wonderful world of the internet.
Now whilst I was quite happy with the circular needles I had in my tool box, I had also discovered that I wanted to try new things. Something which appealed to me was trying for the first time in my life to knit socks. I tried and failed spectacularly with double pointed needles and actually broke a couple of sets in my endeavours to master them, (so I have none to take pictures of). 
Then I was pointed in the direction of a technique called Magic Loop. I duly studied a few You Tube videos on the subject and off I went. Wow!! What a revelation. I could knit small things in the round, I could try socks!! And so I did, but there was a fly in the ointment for me. I just did not find the cables on my needles malleable enough and I started to struggle once again. I then heard about a certain brand of needle whose cables were more pliable and I decided to give them a try. And so lo and behold I mastered Magic Loop 
A sock in progress on my chosen needles.

And so, back to my squeal of earlier. So far the smallest needle size I have in this brand is 3mm, as I have the interchangeable type. This limits my choices in sock making as most patterns call for a thinner needle, so imaging my delight this morning when just on the off chance I discovered that this brand I use makes fixed circular needles in sizes down to 2mm in my preferred length for magic looping. Today I am one happy bunny. I will order some soon and you will surely see some more pictures of socks in due course.

Stay safe and happy crafting

Mary





Sunday, 16 September 2012

More Summer Knitting

Now for Some More

As I said, I kept on knitting through the dismal Scottish summer and even (shock, horror) challenged myself. Who would have thought just over a year ago that I would knit gorgeous lace shawls, socks and as it has come to pass Fair Isle hats. Not me that is for sure. 
So here goes with the list
1. My beautiful (if I may say so myself) La Vie en Rose shawl
started in January but put to one side for a while for reasons best known to someone out in the ether. Knitted in Tosh Merino light, the pattern is Reminiscence by LilyGo. A wonderful pattern by a superb designer. This is my second shawl by her, the first was my Blooming Fuchsia, and I am already almost finished a third design by her.

2. Next up was my very first attempt at Fair Isle
Bottom side up
Top side

This traditional tammy I knitted for Bec who worked with us at the museum for a short time before moving on to pastures new and promoted. Bec was straight out of Uni and delight of delights a knitter also. Someone with whom I could share the ups and downs of this delightful hobby. She will be missed by us all hence I named her hat, She Came to Scotland and was Loved.
I used a variety of different yarns in this project and found that stranded knitting came easily to me. A great way of using up small amounts of leftovers. Oh and it only took 4 days to knit :)

3. More Fair Isle, yep I was on a roll


This time it is Dollheid, by Kate Davies. Again I used little amounts of yarns and left out the facial features as I was not fully in love with the look.
This hat was knitted for Justine at work who had loved Bec's so much and had a birthday later that week. Ah well it just had to be done.

4. And finally for this post a project I finished months ago, but just never got round to blocking and finishing

this is In Pink a Hitchiker shawl/scarf. A very easy knit, great for mindless TV knitting.

So there you have it, I may have been quiet on the blogging front, but my hands sure have been busy on the needles. Of course I still have way too many WIP's, but I will get there. And now that it is September I suppose the ugly truth of Gift knitting must surely rear it's head. It is still too early to mention fully the C word. No mention of that in this house until November at least.

Stay safe and happy crafting

Mary


Friday, 14 September 2012

Where Does the Time Go?

Hey folks, here I am. I have not forgotten you, but I seem to have forgotten myself. Boy, oh boy how on earth can it be September already?
So what can I say, I have been busy re-organising life in our wee household. I have had to give up full time work to look after DH more, but am still clinging on to very part time hours at the museum. I simply could not bring myself to give it up completely. It is not often that you find a job which you love and which inspires you to give the best of yourself, yet that is how I feel about my wee job, so I am clinging on.
Well you would think that being at home most all of the time would allow me more time to myself, but far from it, the opposite seems to be true and like many retirees I have spoken to have said before, I really do not know how I found the time to go to work.

Summer has Been and Gone

So how was summer for you? For us it was a non-event. The odd nice day here and there interspersed with heavy downpours and grey dreich days. My grand plan was to get DH out of the house and to go on wee jaunts to local places of interest or just down to the beach for a walk with the dog. It just did not happen. Either the weather was too bad or he was not well enough to go out. 
Mind you we are lucky to have a bit of a view from the kitchen window and have enjoyed seeing a different picture every day.
Our view today.
As you can see we have a nice view of the Firth of Forth and on occasion we see the large cruise ships either heading to or from Edinburgh. This gives us much pleasure as it brings back happy memories of past cruises and ports of call.

And on to Knitting

Well the needles have been going what seems like non-stop this summer and I have a few finished projects to share. 

1. Firstly a Wingspan

This was knitted with Rico Poems Sock yarn which I found very splitty, but had such gorgeous colours. I named it Bird of Paradise and gifted it to a friend.

2. A summer top for me
This is knitted in a cotton/acrylic mix which my good friend Gillian gifted me as she did not know what to knit with it. 

3. Another summer top

The same pattern but in a bamboo yarn I had in my stash for years. This was gifted to a friend also.

4. The Rockerfeller mystery KAL

A fantastic project again using up stash. I had no clue what I was knitting and although I did not like the last clue of the pattern and made a few modifications I love the finished shawl. 
This is also a very lucky shawl as it was entered into a finished projects prize draw in the KAL group and won a prize.

I will leave you with this for now and will post the rest of my summer knits in another post very soon. I promise.

Keep safe and happy crafting.

Mary


Friday, 15 June 2012

Flaming June

Flaming June, flaming awful more like. This is supposed to be the time of year when the sun is shining and the evenings go on for ever with the sun barely setting before rising again on a new day. Well here it is dull, dreich, grey and depressing. You poke your nose out the door for a few minutes and you can guarantee you will be drookit in no time. Instead of bright cheery summer clothes we are still wrapped up in wooly jumpers and desperately willing ourselves not to turn on the heating. We are crabbit and unhappy instead of smiling and welcoming. Us Scots are not a weak willed lot when it comes to the weather, we are used to summer being less than perfect, but this year seems to be worse than most so far. We had a bizzare spell of hot sunny days in March which I think got out hopes up, but since then it has seemed all downhill. Ach well still a few months to go before winter sets in once again, here's hoping.

Mind you these cool temperatures are helping the knitting along no end. Where as normally I would be using thinner lighter yarns by this time of the year I can still haul out the warmer projects to work on with these cool evenings.

Food on my Mind
Yesterday evening I was browsing through Ravelry when I stumbled upon a recipe for easy bread rolls. So what? you ask. Well it was one of ingredients which piqued my interest. The recipe sounded just too good to be true, just 4 simple things mixed together and in 15 minutes you would have rolls.
What are the ingredients I hear you ask, well, Self Raising Flour, Sugar, Milk and Mayonnaise. Yes mayonnaise. I was so intrigued I just had to try it. No yeast, no leaving the mix to rise, just mix together and bake.

Just check out the results!! And yes they tasted just as good as they look. So now this house will never be breadless as long as I make sure I have the tools to make these wee beauties.


Stay safe (and dry) and happy crafting.

Mary

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Summer K.A.L
Well allegedly it is now summer. What better way to while away the long hours trapped in the house by the awful summer weather than joining in with a K.A.L. (knitalong). I have cast on this afternoon the latest fun secret design Summer Dreamz by Cheri McEwan AKA Dartfrog911. Since yesterday was my birthday I felt it appropriate to use yarn I bought with my birthday money last year, so I present to you my choice for this project,

The colour is surf and reminds me of the glorious clear waters seen off the beaches of the northern coasts of Scotland on a clear summers day. 
I promise I will keep you posted with my progress.

As you will have gathered by now, and I fully admit, I have ADD when it comes to knitting. I just seem to love starting new projects, (and am terribly bad at finishing them). This week has been no exception. As well as the above K.A.L. I have also begun a new summer top in a lovely orangey/yellow colour to brighten up this otherwise dismal season so far. I will take some progress pictures soon. Mind you after three attempts at getting the start right, one involving knitting the whole of the first lace section only to find it twisted (Arrrrgh), and another having to tink back almost the whole of one row of 210 stitches, it was nearly ceremoniously chucked out the window. (The way I was feeling the bin would have been too close). The perseverance has paid off though and the top is well on it's way now. Hopefully once it is finished the sun will come out and I will actually be able to wear it. 

Well all this chatting is not helping me get on with my knitting projects, and I have to find the TV remote as for some inexplicable reason my telly has just flicked over to dreaded football.

Stay safe and happy crafting

Mary

P.S. For anyone who wants to join us in the K.A.L. here is the linky Summer Dreamz K.A.L. you can join in for free until 17th June.

Friday, 8 June 2012

S.A.B.L.E.


Have I done it? Eeek I think the time has come to admit I may just have reached that point in a knitter's life that I have reached S.A.B.L.E. (stash acquired beyond life expectancy). 
What makes me think that? Well I was at Gardening Scotland on Sunday past and I spotted a bargain. I had no need to buy more yarn, none whatsoever, but that little devil on my shoulder started telling me this was an offer too great to pass up. So I parted with £12 of my hard earned cash and landed myself a project pack of yarn in various shades of red. Red!, not my colour by a long chalk, (pinks, blues, purples and teals for me please) but red it is. Fingering weight machine knit leftovers, all neatly caked and ready to knit with. How many yards you ask? Well I have taken a wild guess at about 3000. So much yarn in, and here was I this year trying to use up my stash. Oh well, no doubt it will be knit up in time, but as what I have absolutely no idea.
Tempting pack of reds!!

Otherwise since I last was here, (being back at work seriously eats into time for other pursuits) I have managed to complete two, yes two, projects.
The first of these being my glorious Blooming Fuchsia shawl. This was a knit along which kind of got behind, but at last it is done and I am so pleased and proud of the result. Check it out for yourself

Blooming Fuchsia.

I also created a collage of this project which shows the story of said shawl many thanks go to my lovely friend Gill for modelling for me.



Also finally off the needles is my first Pay it Forward 2012 project. This has also been gifted to it's intended who was delighted.

Completed Wingspan

The pattern is so easy to knit, that I am close to finishing my second.

So I will leave you now and get back to my needles in the hope that I will have something new to share soon.

Stay safe and happy crafting.

Mary




Monday, 26 March 2012

Diary of A Knitter - Mar 26th

Oh My Oh My!!



A month has passed and boy what a month. Illness in various forms, one more serious than others has overtaken daily life and left me playing catch-up on everything. Not least this blog.
Well peeps I am back and forgive me please if I repost anything I have previously mentioned, but I really have forgotten where I am.
My yarn diet appears to have slipped somewhat, but I will climb back on the sheep again and get some serious stash burning done. I hereby promise that I will buy no more yarn until my good friend Vicky of The Wool Shop lets me know she has more black Rico Merino in stock. (This does not include the 12 skeins of yarn already in transit from the USA and Lithuania nor my yarn club skein which comes each month, all already bought and paid for).

Update on the Needles


Sylvia's Shawl

  1. Stash Busting Spring Surprise Shawl - On final clue, just need to keep plodding along.
  2. Bird of Paradise - On wedge 5
  3. Another Mystery - Still on clue 2 as I have frogged and restarted using a new yarn. The last one was just too busy for the pattern.
  4. Blooming Fuchsia - Working on final clue. Would like to get this done asap.
  5. La Vie en Rose - Not worked on this for a while. Not a rush job.
  6. In Pink - Just need that final push to finish.
  7. Pure Poetry - The words have dried up. Need to pick this up and get moving.
  8. Champagne Truffle - Have until end of April to do this along with Bon Bon mitts and matching cowl.
  9. Sylvia's Shawl - All done and now being wrapped around beautiful baby Grace.


Close up of border and pattern

There may have been just a few new things started and finished since I was last here as well (oops), I did once tell you I was not monogamous, I am sure I did.
So if we call the above list A, shall we call the below list B?

  1. My First Socks - Yes I knitted a pair of socks 
  2. Rainbow for a Leap Year - Another pair of socks
  3. Bill's Socks -  Does anyone see a theme developing here?
  4. Dumfries Socks - Hmmmmmm




Shown in order clockwise from top left.

There may just be another few things on the needles as well, but I will save them for later to embarrass  myself with share with you.

Stay safe and happy crafting.

Mary x














Sunday, 26 February 2012

Diary of A Knitter - Feb 26th

Arrgh

So it would appear my mojo has run off. I cannot seem to settle to getting on with any one thing. So what to do? It would seem I need to make a plan. I know I need to cut down on my wip's. That would be a good start.

Lets take a look at what I need to do.
Deep breath here.



  1. Stash Busting Spring Surprise Shawl - I am on clue 4 of 8. I just need to do a little every couple of days.
  2. Bird of Paradise - On wedge 3. Not a major work which needs done soon.
  3. Another Mystery - On clue 2. Clue 3 comes out on Friday so I would like to get clue 2 finished before then.
  4. Blooming Fuchsia - Working on final clue. Would like to get this done asap.
  5. La Vie en Rose - Not worked on this for a while. Not a rush job.
  6. In Pink - Just need that final push to finish.
  7. Pure Poetry - The words have dried up. Need to pick this up and get moving.
  8. Champagne Truffle - Have until end of April to do this along with Bon Bon mitts and matching cowl.
  9. Sylvia's Shawl - Must finish this week.


Now that I have got it down I can see the priorities. Hopefully this will help me get going. Maybe sometime this week I will have some progress news.

Using up Scraps

All us knitters end up with leftover scraps of yarn. What to do with them? Well I use my leftover DK weight yarn to make little bags to keep my caked yarns in whilst I use them. Centre pull cakes of yarn loosen as they are used and can become floppy and collapse in on themselves, these little bags help keep the yarn together and neat and tidy.



So simple to make in a couple of hours and finished off with a crochet chain to tie up and keep your yarn in hand. 

Ball sack in use.

The free pattern for this amazing tool can be found here http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ball-sack.

Oh well, back to knitting now.

Stay safe and happy crafting.

Mary



Sunday, 19 February 2012

Agoraphobia and Me

Normally my posts are about my knitting, this is something completely different that I feel I have to get off my chest.
I have Agoraphobia.
I look normal, I sound normal I can talk to people and carry out some everyday tasks, but underneath my happy demeanour I am a nervous wreck. I may be shaking with fear, I may be having palpitations, I may be perspiring greatly. I feel physically sick each and every time I have to leave the house. Going out alone is almost beyond my capabilities. I can take the dog out to do her business, I can go to work, a place where I have people I know and trust, but a trip to the local shop or heaven forbid a supermarket leaves me in a turmoil for days afterwards. Oh yes at the time I smile and hold my head high like I am perfectly calm and in control, but just like a swan, below the surface the paddling going on is unbelievable. The minute I return to the safety of my wee house with hubby and pets I feel as if the whole axis of my world shifts from one of panic to a relaxed and calm state.
When I am out and about with another person, I have nearly no problems. (Although large supermarkets do still strike fear.) I can enjoy my day out and my surroundings without breaking into panic mode.
Why am I like this? I really cannot answer that question. It at times seems to me that I am being silly. After all I am a middle aged woman. I should be able to deal with whatever. I really have no idea why this has invaded my being. Looking back I used to be a strong, independent woman, working and running a home. I found it hard to say no to people and at times I became a tad overwhelmed with what I had on my plate. Maybe this is the reason, maybe I am afraid that I still cannot say no, that I will become overwhelmed again. One day soon I hope to find out and begin a plan to return to the woman I once was.

Diary of A Knitter - Feb 19th

A Mystery Revealed


So at last after 7 weeks I can finally reveal my first mystery shawl of 2012.

Blocking with Frankie & Mysti looking on.
The shawl pattern was finally published in full this morning and is named Diantha. The KAL was a lovely way to knit this shawl, a clue was revealed every Sunday for 6 weeks and you just follow along at your own pace. I found it very easy to do this and as you know have already signed up for more KAL's as having the pattern broken down in this way seems to make it much less daunting a prospect than being faced with a full pattern. If you are on Ravelry check out the pattern here Diantha.

Getting on with Garter

Three projects I currently have on the needles are knitted purely in garter (knit) stitch. Some people may think projects like this are purely for beginners, but I firmly believe that everyone sometimes needs to go back to basics. They are great TV knitting projects and for me they help with regulating my brain and my tension away from intricate lace patterns.
The first one is Wingspan which I am knitting using Rico Superba Poems, a self striping colourful fingering weight yarn which is really doing all the work.

My Bird of Paradise

The second is another KAL which I found very late on but I decided to join in anyway and work at my own pace. This uses 5 different skeins of yarn, so it is a fabulous stash busting project. I have so far completed just the first clue but I am keen to see this project grow and develop. I was also delighted when after I created my project page the designer, Helen Bingham, contacted me to thank me for joining in. That personal touch from a complete stranger makes me all the more determined to see this through to the finish. 

Clue 1 complete.
The details for this KAL can be found here Mystery Shawl KAL.

And Now for Something Completely Different

The other week I was sent an e-mail which is doing the rounds just now for a 5 minute chocolate cake. I had a look, but did not automatically delete it. For some reason this time I kept it. So last night we were bored and looking for a treat. I remembered the e-mail and decided I had very little to lose. An egg and 5 mins of my time at most. So off I went to the store cupboard and duly followed the instructions (well sort of). I mixed in a jug rather than a mug as states, I poured the batter into 2 mugs and popped them into the microwave for 2 1/2 mins. We could not believe the result.
A delicious light as air chocolate sponge cake, from a few ingredients in less than 5 mins. It truly is as the e-mail states the most dangerous cake in the world. Now you are never more than that long from cake. how wonderful.

Stay safe and happy crafting.

Mary




Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Diary of A Knitter - Feb 8th

One Week In

So a full week of February has passed already. Wow time goes fast in these parts. So you will be wanting to know of my progress. Well I am pleased to report some progress has been made and a new (yes another one!!) project has been started.
Clue 1 completed
First to the progress made. My Blooming Fuchsia shawl is a bottom up affair with a huge cast on of 527 stitches then the rows slowly decrease in size as you follow the clues. It has been slow going, especially with the 2nd row as placing 260ish beads takes time. Mind you all the effort will be worth it as only 1 clue in and I am in love



Beads along the edge.


The second  photo here shows the beautiful beaded edge.













The next project which has had some big progress is Sylvia's Shawl the baby shawl for my work colleague. I have finished the main body of the shawl and am now working the border which incorporates the cast off. The border is worked sideways and you join as you go along. The shawl does not look like much just now as it is bunched up on the needle, but it will soon begin to blossom.

An ugly duckling about to transform.

Finally for today I have begun yet another mystery KAL, this one I stumbled upon purely by chance whilst browsing Ravelry. It is being run by one of my favourite designers, Cheri McEwan, who is a wonder with both knit and crochet lace designs. The KAL is free to join in and the clues are coming at the sedate pace of one every 2 weeks giving everyone plenty time to complete each one. There are also 3 options as to which style of shawl you choose or you can make it as a blanket or throw.  More details can be found here Mystery KAL.  I have decided to go with a fingering weight circular option using yarn I was given in a swap last year.


Clue 1 complete
Boy did I have fun getting the circle going. Memo to self, do not try to begin magic looping when tired.

That is all for today.

Stay safe and happy crafting.


Saturday, 4 February 2012

Diary of A Knitter - Feb 4th

I Have Been Remiss

Good grief where does the time go. January is well and truly over and here we are in February. I have been terribly remiss at keeping up my diary and sharing my knitting progress with you. So hopefully in this post I will catch up and then I promise I will try to keep up at least weekly updates.


More Out than In

So as January drew to a close I totted up my skeins and was pleased to discover that I had a net decrease of 3. I managed to knit up 13 skeins of yarn and only added 10 to my stash. Not quite the 2-1 I had been aiming for but a decrease nevertheless.
Here is a montage of the 10 skeins I managed to acquire
January 2012

Some very pretty yarns I am sure you will agree.

On the Needles

So what is on the needles then as we begin a new month?
Well at the last count I have 10 projects which I am working on in small bursts.
These are 
  1. Pure Poetry - A circular jacket pattern in Aran weight yarn
  2. Champagne Truffle - A hat for my step-daughter
  3. Sylvia's Shawl - A circular shawl in sport weight cotton mix yarn
  4. For Which it was Intended - A large circular shawl in fingering weight and the Girasole pattern
  5. Birthday Boy - A cabled sweater for my DH whose birthday was in December (oops)
  6. Mystery KAL - A Susanna IC mystery shawl design in fingering weight yarn with beads 
  7. In Pink - A Hitchhiker scarf/shawl. 
  8. La Vie En Rose - A Lily Go lace shawl in light fingering weight
  9. Aurora - A triangular bottom up shawl in a mix of fingering and sport weight yarn
  10. Blooming Fuchsia - A second mystery KAL shawl this time by designer Lily Go
So a fair bit to keep me going then. I am looking forward to sharing my progress with you and please do feel free to comment on anything.

Stay safe and happy crafting.
  

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Diary of A Knitter - Jan 14th

More In Than Out


Oh dear, not a good week for the diet this week. 4 skeins of Ripples Crafts yarn dropped through the door on Tues morning. One was from the monthly yarn club which was an extra surprise Christmas gift from DH. Two were a treat to myself from money given by MIL also for Christmas and the final one was a surprise from Helen the wonderful Ripples Crafts herself who was emptying out a basket of unsold yarns to make space for new stock. Oh well, on the bright side more yarn to choose shawl patterns for.
I have only managed to finish 1 skein of yarn this week, so I have a net gain of 3, oops!!!


Progress in Other Things

There may be a net gain in yarn, but there is a loss in projects on the needles, albeit not a net loss (will come to that later).
The Damask I was knitting for my friend in The Netherlands is off the pins and waiting for blocking, here is a pre-blocking photo

 I am so pleased with this as it is my very first attempt at beading and once I started using larger beads the end product pleased me so much. I can only now hope Yvonne will love it too and wear it with pride. Maybe it will even give her the push to try knitting lace for herself. I know she can do it.



I have also been spurred on to update my other projects with photos, so here is a wee taste of what I currently have on the needles,

Girasole
Reminiscence


Mystery KAL Clue 1




Hitchhiler


Stratosphere Swirl Jacket


It would seem I have a theme of pinks and purples going on in my knitting. I will give you three guesses as to what my favourite colours are!!

Stay safe and happy crafting