Wednesday, 30 January 2013

I had my hair restyled!

between you and me its not that different!  and I think when I wash and style it myself it definitely WON'T look different, but on the day at least it DID look different.  well, differentish .. you tell me?

What do you think?
(stop looking at the scarf! - ok the scarf is the best bit - its Misty!)


Not often I can shriek "I've FINISHED!" but I have!
Finished is the lovely "Hidden Picture" owl cowl pattern that came from a lovely gift swap from a cyber pal - and its very cosy at the neck too!

I knit it using two balls of Rowan BSB chunky left over from a previous project and its really cosy to wear and doesn't itch like some "wools" can either.
It ended up taking "months" from start to finish but in truth I had it almost ready after about a week but you know me and "startitis" - I'm fine with the START but its the END I struggle with.

I am noting in a book now where I am in my patterns and crossing off as I go the list of stuff OTN's and so far its working.
One of my difficulties is in keeing track of progress, I think I will remember .. for a few days I probably would .. but after a few weeks or months its all gone!  I hope that writing out my pattern and marking my last position with help me feel inspired to pick up projects and continue.

I love this pattern! this is the gorgeous chevron Killing III jumper that I bought as a kit from here and I am enjoying the knitting - its coming along quite quickly too as its only 2 pattern rounds and the first is always "knit knit knit".

Ice Queen is knitting along nicely, I might revise how many sets of repeats I do but I'm enjoying the pattern however I plan to wear it as a cowl and not a snood.

Friday, 25 January 2013

My plans for knitting in 2013

My plans for knitting in 2013 include a more planned approach - I am trying to work on finishing up something before starting something NEW that is similar, eg I have a pair of cowls almost done I will NOT (she tells herself sternly!) I will NOT cast on for another! (sigh .. but I wants to .. it CALLS to me!) you can see my problem?

My problem however, is my responsibility to be grown up about it and not give in and then make excuses when I'm caught out.

So. confession. ok. I confess I have in fact CO for a hat.  even though I wasn't going to, I have.
I confess it because I'm not supposed to CO without finishing something, however I need a hat!
Alright. I don't NEED a hat that much that I break my feeble resolve, but you know what I mean?
I had a need to CO and I reasoned that since its snowing and cccold I could somehow justify it.

Now. this is part of my problem.  Part of me just dashes enthusiastically through my wool stash, my patttern library on Rav. and my books and magazines and I come up gasping for air squeezing yummy project plans and squealing with excitement at it all.
The other part of me is that I am very much a "process" knitter.
In deed "process" is my word for 2013.
When coming up with it I asked my no.2.son studying English to help - after I told him the aim of the exercise to come up with my "word" and my intentions HIS suggestion came within a second of my asking - "FUTILE" .. futile?  hmm oh well, he could be right!?

Well I have to prove him wrong. I have to prove to myself that its not all futile this planning and take steps to demonstrate my resolve to become more organised and take a planned approach - I have all year, surely I can do something with it?

OK. thats the ramble over.
At knit-night this week I was very good I took along my lovely Glencoe scarf to knit and I am making this and the two baby-cardi's as my main knitting project and today I tidied my yarn stash and sorted out those projects I never will finish and ripped back all the knitting and rewound the balls.
I wrote out in a book I found all my plans and here it is:

ongoing projects OTN
 This then is officially my current projects OTN's that I aim to finish up before starting any new:

  1. Killing III chevron jumper
  2. Ice Queen cowl 
  3. Hidden Picture owl-cowl
  4. Glencoe Scarf
  5. Design H baby Sirdar cardi
  6. Blossom baby bolero
  7. Amy Butler hat (new)
  8. Gloves from 5-in-1-adventure Craftsy class
  9. Anderson - baby cardi in dk
  10. Dish cloth
  11. Marlene socks
Doesn't sound so bad? really?  11 projects on the go in varying stages of just CO to nearly ready to complete!  hurrah! I can feel myself rewarded by looking ahead to future projects!?

waiting to go OTN's
 which ARE:
  1. Rams & Yowes blanket and sheepheid tam kit including yarn/pattern
  2. Highland Tweed socks for me in red, and no.2.son in grey
  3. Regia College socks for no.1.son - for Easter holiday
  4. Ripple Cowl a lovely xmas gift from knit-night-pal-Brenda
  5. and Spriggan Cowl a lovely swap-pal from Ravelry group Peggy
 OFF the needles, unpicked and rewound include:

  1. Portree a fairisle tunic releasing a circular needle and 9 balls of felted tweed dk
  2. Nan a stripey cardigan from Jaeger book releasing 16 balls of three Rooster Amerino dk colours
  3. Rebecca shrug releasing 6 balls of aran weight GGH yarn in soft raspberry
Apart from the knitting of projects my other plans for 2013 productive knitting include making sensible choices of matching up a pattern to a yarn I already have both in my stash before buying either.
I have looked through my books and apart from two or three out of Rowan Magazine 53, these are my patterns and books I want to knit from :

  1. Colours of Shetland 
  2. Knits Men Want
  3. Hitchhiker
  4. Lace shawl with beads from Craftsty class
  5. Alfur hat from woolly-wormhead that I started and discarded as I didn't get the pattern! but its such a CUTE design I am resolved to knitting it at least once.
In addition there are techniques I want to learn or explore, some of which I have purchased ebooks for and/or signed for Craftsy classes and they include:

  1. Toe up socks - Craftsy class
  2. Steeking!  (gulp!) - Craftsy class and use on Rams and Yowes pattern
  3. Top-down and/or "in the round" garment - I took Portree off the needles for reasons otherwise this would be ideal
  4. Crochet! yes! I want to learn HOW to crochet sufficiently to follow a pattern and say I CAN CROCHET!  I am following Staci's "crochet for knitters" series of video tutorials.
  5. Intarsia.  Ever since discovering how "easy" it is after doing a couple of projects I am looking to knitting something using this style.
 I have pages and pages of lists of my YARN in stash - I am not going to list patterns but I will try and manage my patterns electronically and through Ravelry but writing out a list of my yarns and the needle size/tension of each SHOULD make it more efficient way of matching a favoured pattern or yarn to each other as I go through the year.

I am not going to make grand plans to not BUY any more yarn, indeed I could live to 300 and still not use up half of it, but it IS now mostly packaged up and sorted and my list should make it easier for me to remember WHAT I have and how MUCH of it.

To manage my projects I unpicked a few but I have left 4 garments OTN's to hibernate for now, I want to knit these but not right now.  I need more garments so I will be casting on for these separately from above, but I will pledge to ONLY cast on ONE at a time and complete it first before next one.

In my folder on the pc I have created a file for my projects and I will update a monthly review of what I have achieved, where I have succeeeded and hope to continue this throughout the year but whether I will or not remains to be seen.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Knitting The Queue and whats ON the needles and coming OFF

I have resolved to take a sensible approach to my knitting for 2013.
I want to make FINISHING my main goal!

To that end I am resolved to finishing something before starting something, eg I have at least 4 that I can think of of scarves/cowls/shawls etc all OTN in varying stages of nearly and no where near finished and YET I have several more that I want to put ON some needles.

Apart from the fact that it costs a fortune in buying more needles, I have a stress attack every time I go around to let the cats in or out as behind the side of my sofa lies the evidence! bags and bags and BOXES of KNITTING

I hope I'm not alone, indeed I know I'm not - some friends have confessed too, to having stress attacks over their knitting and I am hoping my new strategy will work to my benefit and wellbing as well as giving me something to WEAR!

I have joined the lovely MoonCalf's "knit the queue" Ravelry group and while I've not updated my personal pledges yet, I have almost! sorted out my priorities and am tagging them "ktq2013" as others are doing.

I will post another time my final projects, but here are some that I have been knitting recently and am determined to finish, not least because two are baby cardi's and the baby is due beginning of Feb!  A second baby-girl for the sister of my brother's former girlfriend with whom he is still friendly.  (actually he is still friendly with all the family which is nice as they are a nice family, and I wish he'd not separated!)

Photos follow:

This lovely owl cowl is nearly finished - Hidden Picture can be found here.  I was lucky to be sent this super US magazine!

Looks fiddly! but actually 3 of the 4 rows is just plain KNIT!  In the round the pattern is easily worked and the beads are added as you knit - Ice Queen can be found here.  I am knitting this as a KAL here.

Glencoe is about 1/3 way through and is a lovely restful knit, although on small needles it is taking time it knits surprisingly quickly and I am hoping to finish it soon - it will complement Merrion nicely as the yarn is the same as well as all the colours in this easy to knit scarf that comes from Martin Storey's Scottish Heritage Knits book which is SCRUMMY.

Design H
"Design H" makes it sound very clinical!  it is, however, Design H from the lovely Sirdar booklet of baby bamboo patterns - I have knit several from here for various recent babies and this is lovely with the detail of pink and white that I added after being inspired by the lovely Staci's baby cardigan featured on one of her videos.

tiny bolero
Blossom!  Although the photo doesn't show it, it is in fact TINY!  especially compared to the pink cardi, this is knit in the delicious Fine Milk Cotton and I have checked both my tension, and the finished size overall and it matches the schematic so I am continuing and just hope Amy has a SMALL baby!
(I'm sure Amy is hoping for a small baby too for different reasons!).
Anyway, if it turns out too small to be of use, it can be donated for prem babies, perhaps?

The yarn is very inclined to split, but I love it although it is knit on TINY needles its knitted up quite quickly in just a few days in fact.  The pattern comes from this book.  and is the left over from the lovely Arielle knitted from here.

Well thats my most pressing projects, I have decided to be sensible and review some of my garments OTN's and make this the first project:-

The lovely chevron design for The Killing III - it comes as a kit from the lovely ladies at Knit'n'caboodle whom I recommend very highly for their service is EXCELLENT and they are just lovely to order from.

I have gloves and socks on the go too, but I plan to complete these and will list them as I do.

Garments that I have decided to unpick and reknit include the lovely Cropped Cardigan, and the equally lovely Nan, simply because I need to streamline what I am knitting to wear and I have seen a lovely pattern in the new Rowan 53 magazine and it would be more helpful to knit that one rather than an older design.  I plan to learn to crochet PROPERLY and use the yarns from Nan to make a blanket/throw.  I might - cough - be calling upon my lovely knit+crochet-pal-SALLY for help! hint hint!!

Yarn has been purchased.  I know.  but to be fair I never said I wasn't going to buy.  You sort of have to, its the law isn't it to keep wool shops going?  I sort of feel that we should support them, what do you think? (that I am making excuses for being a feeble minded woman not able to control urges and resist temptation - bah!).

There will still be posts on the cats, the baking and my weight watching, but I am aiming to concentrate this year on my knitting AND sewing and will mostly blog about that.


actually its been snowing off and on for last couple of days, but today it has snowed ALL day!
I managed to get into work and am due this week some extra days but not sure whether the buses will be running.  No.2.son's College cancelled on Thurs evening for Fridays session but, weirdly, today while there is HUGE amounts they are reserving judgement until 7am tomorrow!

As my son has a nasty cold I would favour him being kept home but as he has exams, I don't want him to lose the time - if College cancels then that is different.

With all this snowy weather its left me more and more inclined to sit down and KNIT but here I thought I'd share some snowy photos of our cats and the garden and leave the knitting to another blog post.

Lilly ventures outside

while Bertie ponders ..
thinks about following her up the garden
but settles for licking the snow off his paws and returning INSIDE
our garden in the snow - Jan 2013

Friday, 11 January 2013

Less Eating, More Knitting!

Read that somewhere on one of the blogs I follow and this is what I hope to do myself this year!
Determined to stick with weight-watchers and lose weight I slipped a bit - inevitably - over the festive period but now as we gradually return to "normal" its back to routine in the kitchen ..

 OK so I start with a photograph of a very chocolately and HUGE "mud pie"!
BUT its not for me/us!
My brother asked me to kindly make one for his friend's 30th birthday celebrations over this weekend as its her favourite dessert having shared one with David on his last birthday.
It is very VERY rich - and full of calories!  600ml of fresh double cream, 200ml of Bailey's and lets not count the "chocolate" and marshmallows!  its VERY rich and for a special occasion only.
It is, I'm told, to serve ten people ..

On the knitting front - Merrion from Tweed is done! and I'm wearing it too!

Its a lovely cardigan - a bit slow to knit on account of the frequent changes of colours for the stripe sequence which varies to give blocks of colour and some are just single rows - the needles are small too but its an interesting knitting and enough going on to keep you on your toes!
I resolved to FINISH this cardigan before starting anything new and next to go OTN's is the lovely grey chevron "Killing III" jumper - can't wait!

Finally! I love books and in the local The Works, I came across this!
and thought what a useful addition to my knitting bag!  at £2.99 its worth it for those moments when you don't have the ipad to hand to look it up and I spent ages in the shop looking at the questions and thinking "how USEFUL!" - if you have a branch of this discount shop, take a look and see if you can get one.

This weekend we take our no.1.son "home" or back to Uni - I can hardly believe its been a month since we were preparing to collect him!  I almost want to keep him here a little longer, but HE is ready to go!  Beginning to find being at home-with-parents a bit tiresome and tedious I think!
I'm pleased that he does enjoy his studies and life away from home, I shall miss him, obviously, but glad that he WANTS to develop his independance.

DH on the otherhand is possibly going to be retired from work in the coming weeks and I shall have another upheaval as we learn to adapt to his being at home f/t and losing his income.
Ordinarily at his age, he would be retiring and enjoying this time of life in a child-free zone, but with us being his second family he still has dependant children so money could become very tight this year as we see our no.2.son through his final year at 6th form collecge (and hopefully onto Uni to study English end of year).

My resolutions for this year are:
To knit more GARMENTS.
To finish something before starting something new/different.
To watch less tv and read more books.
To lose weight and eat sensibly.
To sew again.
I aim to plan and organise myself too, I shall knit/sew what I NEED rather than what I see and think : "I wants one too!"
I want also to keep up to date with my Reader and to join in and comment too, I may cut back on some of the older subscriptions and those that I barely flick through and concentrate on a new revised set of blogs that I currently enjoy.
I have purchased several "Craftsy" classes too and want to aim to work through this to enjoy both the learning experience and the making of something "new" - first on the list is the lovely beaded shawl but I MUST be mindful of my resolve to FINISH something before starting NEW and thus my 5-in-1 adventure gloves need to be completed before I get carried away with pre-threading squillions of lovely beads and unwrapping KSH yarn!

Good luck to everyone with your resolutions or plans for 2013 x

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Knit the queue 2013

Reading through my lovely list of blogs I came across a blogger talking about this! and  I joined!
First I need to look seriously at my list of patterns queued and faved - not to mention in my library!
Half the time I think I just fancy a pattern, or get carried away with the excitement of other knitters Raveling it and I want to join in!
Well this year I have decided to try and develop a sensible manageable approach to tackling both my huge yarn stash and growing list of patterns I "must" knit and I hope to participate in this group over the year to this end - wish me luck!!