Sunday, 30 January 2011

More Colours…..

I’ve been playing with my dye pots again. Why?  Well why not.  It’s great fun and I get pretty coloured yarn at the end of it. 


Unfortunately I forgot to charge the battery on my main camera so I had to use the camera on my phone to get a photo to show you.  I’ve got more yarn drying though so I’ll take some decent photos of them all together in a few days and post them up.

On a separate note I finally managed to knit my way out of the knitting black hole which I had been trapped in.  I’m now sewing the wrap vest up and when I get that done you’ll be the first to see some photos of that as well….

Monday, 24 January 2011

Is that an event horizon I see before me?

Have you read any of the Yarn Harlots books?  Have you heard about knitting black holes?  The theory goes like this……

You have a project which you work on for a while, and then (like all good knitters) you measure how long it is.  Now we could all pretend that we do this because we’re perfectionists and want to check our progress/gauge.  But lets be honest here folks…. you’re bored of the pattern and want to know how much is left before the next bit.

You measure it and it’s 15cm.  You have to continue with this pattern until your work measures 22cm.  So you put the kettle on and keep knitting.  Several hours later you measure your work again and it’s 15cm.  Puzzled you knit a few more rows and then measure again, 15cm.

You are stuck in a knitting black hole.  No matter how much you knit, how fast or for how long your knitting simply doesn’t grow.  Some strange quantum version of a black hole is sucking in all your knitting, time and effort.

I’m stuck in one of these right now and it’s a particularly mean and vindictive one.  I’ve been trapped for over a week.  I’ve been knitting, honestly I have.  But nothing is happening!  I know it must be growing as the number of balls of yarn in my project bag is going down at an alarming rate. Sob….

I’d post some photos of what I’m working on but there is no point as it looks exactly the same as the last time (it’s the Wrap Vest).  Sob sob….

Perhaps a cuppa tea will make it seem better – or a different tape measure.  This one may end up as a burnt offering soon….

Saturday, 22 January 2011

A First :-)

Recently I set up a Folksy shop for the yarn I’ve been dyeing.  I love dyeing yarn using natural dyes, Turmeric, Alkanet, Madder etc…..  However I tend to dye much more than I could possibly knit up myself, and so Fantasia Yarns was born.

Libby DK 1

It’s named for my beloved cat (Fantasia) who is no longer with us.  She was very special though and the thought that she can live on in this way somehow makes me smile.

Libby DK 2

Anyway why am I mentioning all this right now?  Well yesterday I made my first online sale.

Libby DK 3

A DK in purple which I named Libby after my friend who loves her purple.

So I am excitedly packaging it up ready to go to it’s new home – I hope they enjoy knitting with it as much as I enjoyed dyeing it…

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Best Intentions……

Remember all those good intentions about finishing projects off before starting any new ones?  Well does buying the stuff to do a project but not actually starting it count?  No! Phew….

poems-1Another local knitter Christine blogged earlier in the week about a fabulous scarf called Volna she had just finished.  So beautiful.  Unfortunately I read the post yesterday just before heading off to meet up with another friend at a cafe next to the Wool Cabin yarn shop in Clacton……  Yeah you know what happened.


poem-2The pattern suggests either a solid colour way or one with long colour repeats.  Now I know as soon as someone says long colour repeats many people immediately reach for the Noro yarns.  But instead I came home with two balls of Rico Design ‘Creative Poems’ Aran.  Different colours but both very very pretty.

Of course they might not end up as a Volna scarf but seriously, at least I had an excuse to buy the yarn.  I normally don’t even bother with an excuse.  Hey come on, give me some credit for at least coming up with an excuse…… 

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Still working on those projects…. Wrap Vest

This week has been a long and stressful one for me.  I’ve been late home every evening for a variety of reasons (mainly involving work) and as a result my knitting time has been severely reduced.  However, I’ve managed some progress on another of my unfinished projects.

Last year I found lots of Rowan Bamboo Tape on offer at a yarn shop near where my mother lives.  It was stupidly cheap and the inner bargain hunter in me just couldn’t let it go so a rather large pile is tucked away out of sight in the cottage.  I’d made a few things out of it already, it has a tendency to stretch so suitable projects are limited.


That's when I came across a pattern book from Patons.  Book 3759 to be precise.  A friend at one of the local knitting groups had it and before I knew what was happening I was sitting at home on my sofa with a copy.  Well it wasn’t my fault that they had a copy in one of the local shops now was it hehe……

I actually like quite a few patterns in this book but judged that the pattern on the cover looked good for the bamboo tape.  After all if it stretches then it shouldn’t matter to much.

Last summer I completed the garter stitch part but since it was my third bamboo project on the trot I decided to take a break from the yarn and knit a few other things for a while.

So after finishing Elle the Elephant last week I decided to cast on the next piece and continue with this project.  I’m doing the patterned trim pieces out of a second colour.  The main body is a chocolate colour so I’ve chosen a slightly off white.


It’s a simple pattern on the trim which I have used before for scarves and such.  Since it doesn’t take much concentration it’s been perfect this week when my mind has been worn out and tired by the time I made it home.  You know you’re over worked when the prospect of knitting and purling simply seems to much effort.


Basically you knit 3 rows  and then on the next row wrap the yarn twice around the needle.  This extra ‘stitch’ is then dropped on the next row giving the pattern.  This has been about all I’ve been up to this week. 

On a positive note I’ve moved this project into my nice new (and very appropriate for me) project bag.  This was a Christmas present from my friend Maytheweed.  A cotton tote bag with a slogan on the side.


I think that just about sums up my week……

Sunday, 9 January 2011

On and Off the wagon…..

Like many people my weight (and fitness) fluctuates.  I’ve come to the conclusion that this is normal for the vast majority of people.  For instance last summer I was going to the gym 5 times a week.  Then I changed job and managed it twice in 3 months.  You can guess what happened to my waistline.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go….I even missed it.  It’s just that other things started getting in the way time wise.

So when I have two friends independently mention that they’ve decided to change that aspect of their life to me within 2 days – I took it as a sign.


I now have a gym partner in Mr H from work.  The plan is that we’ll go together and help to motivate each other.  Neither of us has any trouble once we get there, it’s the getting there that we need to help each other with.

I also have a ‘weight’ partner in Miss C.  This is not a diet partner as I don’t do diets.  They don’t work for me.  Let me explain….  I go on a diet, loose weight, resent the diet, come off diet, put on weight….  Hence I don’t do diets anymore.  Instead I try to change my lifestyle.  It’s usually more sustainable.  In fact I’m not planning to make that many changes in that area, just cut out some of the breaktime biscuits at work.


This morning I braved the scales and duly recorded the scary number displayed.  So I’m back on the wagon…….

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Elle is Finished…..



Elle the Elephant


Ollie the Bear and Elle the Elephant

Some finished projects…..

So following on from my desire to reduce the number of unfinished projects I’ve been working on a couple.  This week has been busy as it’s been back to work and a few other personal things going on.  I won’t mention them as they’re other peoples stories and I’m just there in a supporting role, but even support roles take time.

Anyway back to the knitting.  I finished off the ‘Phoenix Tail’ socks that I mentioned in a previous post.  (Then I broke my decision to not start any new projects until the UFO’s had disappeared and cast on another pair of sock in Alpaca – but lets not talk about that).  I just love hand knit socks and having some out of my home dyed yarn makes this pair extra special Winking smile

So I then moved onto Elle the Elephant.  This is actually Elijah by Ysolde which I am doing in a silk yarn I got at Ally Pally this year.  I’d been doing really well with this pattern (despite my gauge lying to me – nasty gauge swatch) then for some reason Elle ended up on the craft dresser at the top of the stairs and when I went to pick up some knitting my hands went to another project.  I don’t know why as the bulk of the work had been done, but such is life and the whimsy of knitting.

I don’t knit many toys so this was the first time I had done one where there is no sewing up afterwards.  Have I ever mentioned how much I loath, detest and outright hate sewing up?  Well I do, so it’s been interesting and fun working on a project that has none.  It’s knit in the round with you picking up stitches to start new parts of the body.  This means you also stuff as you go along giving a real sense of the elephant growing and forming.  One more ear left to go and there’ll be another finished project……

Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Years Resolutions….

Do you make resolutions each year?  Do you ever keep them?

I don’t on both counts.  I don’t make them and hence don’t keep them.  I’ve always thought that if you come up with a good idea to improve your life why wait until a random day in the year.  Start straight away!

So while I was ill before Christmas I decided it would be a good idea to finish off all the works in progress I’ve got piled on top of my stash at the top of the stairs.  This always seems like a lot to me.  Occasionally I build up the courage to peek at them, but I’ve been told it’s really not.  Anyway following the ‘strike while the iron is hot’ idea, I picked up a sock that I had started a couple of months ago.  I love knitting socks and as yet have never suffered from the dreaded second sock syndrome.  However, I did loose my sock knitting mojo a couple of months ago and for the first time ever a sock went into the unfinished pile.

Sock number one however is now duly finished…


and sock number two is on it’s way.


The yarn is one of my own colourways in a two ply BFL and I’m happy with how it’s knitting up.

I’m sure the sock knitters out there will be groaning with the fact that these are plain socks.  They are… I’ll admit it… I only knit plain socks… Why?  Because I had enough trouble getting the gauge right when I started knitting socks without adding pattern into the mix.  I use 2 mm needles and knit a size smaller than the pattern says to get them to come out right.  I love all those fancy sock patterns you see but the thought of putting all that work in (not to mention working out how to change them to a 56 stitch cast on) and then finding that the gauge is off – well that just brings me out in a cold sweat.  So it’s plain sock for this girlie.

What will be next out of the pile once that second sock is finished?  Hmm not sure about that yet…  We’ll just have to see which one takes my fancy ;-)