Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Socks, needles and crochet!

First off I am managing to stick to my resolutions for this year to NOT cast on squillions of new projects just because I fancy starting something OR I feel bored with something OTN's and its been hard but I have stuck to my resolve and am pleased with myself.

Update, then, my ripple cowl is still going along slowly but surely - this is the project I cast on with a view to knitting in the continental style with Norwegian purl and its going well if a little slowly.

My socks for no.1.son are finished - he requested another stripe pair and also chose a ball of Regia Jacquard at "his" LYS a branch of Franklins near his Uni digs when we last visited him and as they are self patterning I am knitting a "plain" vanilla sock.
A few weeks ago I made enquiries from Knit'n'Caboodle about the Karbonz range of needles and at the weekend I finally heard from them that they had a pair of 2.5mms and did I still want them?  At £8.50+ postage they are a little pricey BUT I am so pleased with them that I feel its worth the money because this is my usual sock-knitting sized needle and I can report that they are LOVELY to knit with!  Just enough of a satisfying "click" from the tips as you knit, but the stitches are held in place on the needle and not slip-sliding as I feared they might do.

Also new "on the hook" is my first (proper) crochet pattern! 
I have been following Staci's "crochet for knitters" series of videos and though I've had to grapple with the US vs UK abbreviations and terms for crochet, I have just the right yarn to crochet the lovely rugged ripple blanket that is free and accompanies the series - today I am "hooking on" - is that right? one doesn't "cast on" in crochet I'm told, so what does one "do"?  I'm told they "start a project" but that doesn't sound technical enough for me so I am "hooking on" ..
I did my sample to get the techniques right for the stitch and the increases and decreases and the patterns calls for 12+3 so I will work out how many to give me a nice throw over for one of my sofas.

sample to work the stitches and inc/dec's

no.1.son's stripe stocks

no.1.son's vanilla socks

Monday, 25 March 2013

A day out - The Sewing for Pleasure show

Had a lovely day out on Friday! I went to the NEC for the Sewing for Pleasure show with a pal from knit-night and met up with my long-time knit-pal-Sally who also attended and we had a great time - despite the weather quite a few people turned up but it was comfortable, we could get to the stalls but enough to make an atmosphere.

To be honest although I am more of a knitter these days than a sewist, I do still like looking at sewing fabrics and notions but since my shoulder froze a few years ago I've not done much so although I enjoyed looking at these I didn't buy anything!

What I did get I was pleased with and it included a lovely shawl pin, some curved knitters needles for sewing up which I was thrilled to get! and a set of "something beady" which we all fell on in the hopes it was the same gadget that another knit-night-pal showed off recently which is a handy tool for transfering the bead onto a stitch with a little hook a little like a crochet (but not!).  Anyway, it isn't. and we each bought a set which cleared the stall holders stash and even he didn't quite know what they were for but for £1.50 we didn't seem to mind!
Put me in mind, briefly, of a trip to a show many years ago with my long time sew pal Ann, who was the rather loud voice of reason in asking LOUDLY "what, then, is the PURPOSE? what do you DO with it, then?" to the tea bag folding demonstrating man who up to that point had crowds surge upon him for the little packs .. the point? aherm. the point ISN'T the point they just .. well .. you can stick them somewhere!? .. on a card, .. maybe .. ?  Ann didn't give up, she said they were pretty, they did give you a couple of mins excitement transforming from a flat sheet of tissue paper into something prettily folded but once folded WHAT DO YOU DO WITH IT.
what you do, I suspect, is get another one and fold that ..

Anyway the crowd melted after they realised that Ann's voice of reason made sense and saved money and the stall holder managed to grit his teeth and carry on but I don't think we were popular.

So. it just shows.  if one person gets all screechy and excitable, it doesn't take long for it to spread and everyone wants it so we've all got tubes of beady something or others ..

I didn't buy yarn. well ok, I bought one hank of mohair from a stall selling lovely yarns but it wasn't that sort of show - it was just a corner on most and a few of the usual like Black Sheep so I didn't get to put my resolve on not buying yarn put to test.  I did, however, get a pair of knit pro cubix needles and a few other bits and pieces - crochet hooks and back issues of magazines etc.

We watched the fashion show and ate our lunch so had a sit down, and were done by 3pm and home just after 4pm so all in all a grand day out!

the only yarn I bought

the snow didn't put us off

show goodies
What you want most in weather like we are having is a good old fashioned hot steamed pudding!  This weekend I made of Delia Smith's treacle sponge and enjoyed a bowl of custard - yumm pudding and knitting!

This morning the lovely ladies at Knit'n'Caboodle sent me a pack of karbonz dpns which I'd put on my wish list a few weeks ago, and what with the cubix needles too I am going to have to strengthen my resolve to NOT casting on a fresh pair of projects just to try them out!!
I promised Julie I'd let her know how I get on with them but I must finish my son's socks first.
Luckily its a quick knit and a familiar pattern, I am already turning the heel on sock.2 and when they are done I shall cast on for the Regia yarn I bought from Franklins.

Lastly! at LAST I am learning to crochet!  I can do useful bits with a crochet hook mostly self taught although a few years ago I did attend a "basic beginners" class but as I've not done anything since, I class myself as a novice but following the lovely Staci of who has done a series of free video's of crochet for knitters, I felt inspired to try out the rugged rippled blanket pattern and have plans to make one as a throw for my sofa.

It took a while to get going, it took even longer to "get" the sequence of dec and inc's and I'm still not completely certain I'm doing it right, but doing it I'm going to!  Here is my sample:

Thursday, 21 March 2013

A grand day out and some finished knitting and some NEW knitting OTN's

Firstly! Elise is finished! I am so pleased! it was a quick knit on 7mm's and the cable was interesting enough to make it worth while but easy to memorise once I got into the swing of it.  I knit the back and then did  the two fronts at the same time as I was aware I'd occasionally knit the wrong "pattern" and I wanted it at least to match even if I did repeat errors.  which hopefully I didn't! but who is checking/looking!? not me!

Next I finished off Ice Queen! at last, this has been hanging around for ages, I did it as a KAL a while back and I think we all gradually stepped away from this project but its a shame as once I got back into it it knitted up nice and quickly except for the two picot cast off edges!  the bottom one took me solid 2.5hrs to unravel the waste yarn, pick up live stitches and then bead the edge! was it worth it? yes! all in all I'm pleased with it and plan to wear it to the knit group tonight to show it off.

yesterday we visited our son in his uni digs to take him to the dentist to FINALLY (after some 14months and three dentists later!) get his root filling and crown done.  the dentist is in the town centre, so I couldn't resist popping in to Franklins when we realised we were half and hour early for the appointment - the family sat in the "wool corner" looking forlorn and I bobbed about looking for something to buy.  In the end I opted for a ball of sock yarn which my son chose for socks and a clover soft touch crochet hook because finally I have found a pattern I want to crochet AND I have the yarn already - more on that later!  I picked up another cable for the knit pro needles as you can never have enough cables can you?

Tomorrow I am going to the Sewing for Pleasure stitch show at the NEC, its been years since I've been and I am going with one of the knit group pals and can't wait - the last time I went it was a good show so I have high expectations.

The diet is not going well.  We are going to have a determined joint effort and if we don't get our act together will cancel as its too much to spend money on if we are not doing it properly.  the meds I am on are holding me back, the GP agrees that the side effect includes feeling hungry and weight gain but says that the medical benefits out weigh the down side - but its not HIM getting fatter!?

Pictures to follow ..
my brother, David and I

my brother, husband and no.2. no.1 sons

Elise - cocoon yarn

me with husband and brother, no.1.son at the back

no.1.son at his uni digs

sock yarn

me! wearing Ice Queen!

my continental project! ripple cowl

purchases made at Franklins

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Sewing! a quilt!

As well as knitting there has been SEWING! hurrah! I finally dusted off my sewing machine and sewed a quilt!  I have made it from a free pattern called Delilah and it involves cutting strips of fabric, slicing them and adding strips before trimming and eventually cutting to size.
It measures 36x36" inside the borders, and this is my limit for machine quilting!
I can't say I enjoyed the machining process, it was a lot of fabric to manhandle and my previously frozen shoulder objected to my spending hours at a time on it too!

Anyway, its done and I'm pleased with it!  Thrilled, too, to get my mitred bordered just right - not completely perfect, but good enough!  My long time sew pal who is a quilty expert pointed me in the right direction and I managed the process easily enough!

applying the borders

the blocks pieces together

my fabrics each 0.5m

adding strips to make a block

my lovely corners

I cut all the strips in one go!

before quilting!

After quilting (but before pressing!)

my lovely machine - Bernina Artista 170

Finished knitting cardigan

My New Year's Resolutions to be more organised with my knitting are working!
I am using a notebook and diligently filling in where I am at when I stop and managing to resist casting on for squillions of projects and its paid off in that I have one cardigan knit! and one half way up the back! hurrah!


I enjoyed knitting Elise which is on 7mm's and it chomped the yarn satisfactorily quickly enough to make me want to stick with knitting, but I prefer a 4ply or dk for knitting with pleasure - even though it does take for ever on tiny needles!

Still OTN's is the sock I am knitting for my son, and recently cast on is the Ripple Cowl that a knit-club-pal gifted me for Christmas present - I am using this as my "continental" knitting project having recently completed Anniken Allis's on line course.
Talking of online courses, I think I have signed for just about every knitting class now!! New is the from the inside out lace class and I have a yarn in mind! more later!