Friday, December 28, 2007

Well, that was Christmas.

Jo and I did a Christmas Swap. I had her present under my tree from the beginning of December (metaphorically, you understand, the tree didn't actually go up until the 7th) and it was truly lovely to have a surprise pressie waiting for me that I knew was kitterly in content. The Lush soap smells delicious (good thing about Lush that, strong smells for my poor smelless nose). The yarn is great, don't know what I'll make with it yet, maybe a little blanket with mitred squares, i enjoyed those I made for Oliver's blanket so much :o), the planets I haven't had before but they are NICE (I do like chocolate, you know) and THE BAG! Jo makes the most lovely bags, the colour is 'me' (you know .. the purple thang) and the style is practical, I can see me using it, often. It made me laugh out loud when I opened it to find that we had both sent each other yarnimals.
I sent Jo some stitch markers very like these, but the one she sent me is a row marker and the clasp at the top (instead of a ring) makes all the difference when knitting lace. I am thinking lace at the moment, as I am working on an article for Kerrie's Yarn Forward mag and knitting a project to go with it. the yarn is Dee's Sophia and is gorgeous to knit with but I wont spoil the unveiling by giving any hint, so you'll have to wait, tease? me? Yes, mwahahahaha!

The rest of Christmas? A jolly time was had by all. Next year, less consuming and commercialism and more handmade - promise to self - all felt a little hollow somehow. But kids had a good one and everyone played nice :o)
New Years resolution? Do less and do it better. I have been chasing my tail all year struggling to meet one deadline after another and just getting there by the skin of my teeth. i want to enjoy my knitting so I need to be more choosy both about what I knit and also about what other commitments i take on. Less will definitely be more in 2008.
So first priority is to clear the decks of outstanding commitments, knitterly and otherwise.
In my next post ... a homecoming.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Secret Knitting isn't just for Christmas

Jo organised the mitt swap :o) but her mitts never arrived :o( so I thought I would do something about that :o) and I made her these. The pattern is from Anne's shop and she blogs about them here

I knit them in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK and they knit up in a flash and the yarn is lush! I like them so much I see some for me in my future. 1 ball DB Cashmerino DK, 3.75 dpn.

I liked the pattern so much I decided to make a neck warmer in the same stitch and I started with something like this in mind. As I got nearer to that idea, I remembered EZ's Dickies and I decided to add the extension at the base of the neck to keep those drafts out.
I really don't like being cold, you know, and it gets nippy up here :o) DH calls me 'Jacqui Two Coats'! Well now I am Two Coats and a Neck Warmer!

8mm KnitPicks Options, 1 skein of PY Helena Foxglove - colour really like this

lovely aran weight squooshyness. I made it too long so I can either wear it doubled over (for extra warmth) or scrunch it up (for extra warmth) - I like extra warmth. Pattern a combination of Anne's waffle rib and EZ's Dickey (neck warmer) from Knitting Around page 39.

In aran weight I cast on 76 stitches and knit 5 inches of 2 x 2 rib in waffle pattern, cast off 18 stitches at back (or place them on waste yarn) continue in pattern decreasing 1 stitch at each side on each right side row, slipping all first stitches, until 26 stitches remain. Pick up one stitch for each slipped stitch on sides and 18 stitches along the back. Continue in rounds of 2 x 2 rib. Increase half as many stitches again across the back to help the edge fan out and work a short row across the back to help it lie higher at the back. After an inch do that increase round again. Continue until you run out of yarn, cast off using a very big needle so it's nice and loose and stretchy. Wear it and keep warm.

Now to go cast on my mitts :o)

Dee had (another) good idea :o)

Favourite yarn
Have you seen my stash? It has to be Posh but which one? Er, Sophia 2 ply, no, Helena, no, Emily! No. Can I fudge it and have them all?

Favourite needles
KnitPicks Options, I always have the right needle, at first it was a little odd to knit lace on such slippery needles but I adjusted and now other needles seem very grippy. I also like the Addi Lace needles but haven't quite got them in all sizes yet so go back to the Options when necessary.

Favourite new pattern
Irtfa’a Faroese Lace Shawl, by Anne Hanson at Knitspot. This will be done in 2008, promise, as soon as I finish that Fair Isle cardi. I have ordered the same yarn as the model one is knitted in. But I am not confined to admiring lace in black as in 2008 I also want to do my first Neibling and that princes shawl. I guess it's safe to say the lace obsession passion continues.

Favourite project
Has to be the Spring Things like forest canopy it is a well written, easy to follow pattern and my joy in seeing it develop was added to by feeling that the variegated yarn didn't overpower the design and by the wonderful reception it received when I gave it to my best friend.

Favourite knitting blog
Dee for her regular posts (it's good to be able to rely on things and Dee is one of the things I rely on) and thoughtful discussion of all things knitting, and for an insight into a world of reading that I do not belong to, Soo for her inspiration to try difficult things, Annette for helping me not to be the only one who falls over too often (or feels like I might), it is a good thing not to be alone :o) I do hope you are well enough to blog again soon. Yarn Harlot, for leading me into temptation :o) Angel Yarns Forum for sharing and encouraging and enabling my passion for all things knitting. Oh dear, was I only supposed to choose one? And I could go on and on and on ... Ravelry? Still learning how to use it, haven't quite decided if it's a tool or a time suck.

Favourite new technique
Magic cast on for toe up socks Finally I get the 'sock thing' and I want to do more now i don't have to worry about running out of yarn :o)

Favourite knitting website
erm ... all of them? No wonder I have no time to knit!

Favourite knitting book
Victorian Lace Today & Heirloom Knitting the first for making me want to knit every pattern in it and for being beautiful and the second for making me want to design and for making me believe I could. But it's a hard choice as I have a book thing going on along side my yarn thing. Hmmm, maybe I should prune the books too. The only book I haven't been grabbed by is the new Cat Bordhi one, can't get my head round that one, need to spend some time learning how to read her work as the results look really good but the style is a barrier for me and I may decide I haven't the necessary capacity. It is such a shame that something she does to make it easier for new knitters makes it harder for me. *sigh* But I can't leave the subject of books without a special mention of everything Elizerbeth Zimmermann, all great books - if you were only going to only get one Knitting Around is a goody. Taught me it's ok to have a sense of humour about it all, and she's very clever and can do things i would never think of.

Favourite knitting spot
Anywhere where there's just me a very hot coffee and chocolate cake, er too much food in there? Actually, I have to confess to liking to knit in public, I take socks to fostering support group meetings, partly for the reaction :o)

Favourite knitting partner
Yarn Snob a virtual friend, and an occasional lunch partner (let's do that again in 2008?) :o) But a favourite because she trusted me when she didn't know me and introduced me to the great world of KnitPicks before Get Knitted started selling their stuff here and when they wouldn't export to the UK. All knitting people are such lovely people.

That was fun but choosing is hard, and I didn't really choose just one did I?

And what did I get? Er. well... 2 of poppy and 3 of holly, still got too much stash :o) but no extra purple, yet. VBG

Done some knitting but it's under wraps until i hear it's arrived and been unwrapped so can't show you :o( maybe next time?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Named & Shamed


er, I've been 'outed' :o)

Ok, I admit it, I ave a thang for purple but actually I am really liking the greens and blues too *shock* might just have to be really naughty and buy it all!

No, really, don't tempt me - I am saving myself for the sales :o)

But, hey, go look - it's beautiful, b e a u t i f u l.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

End of year reflection

At this time of year I am usually feeling rushed and hassled - and this year is no exception.

But this time of year is also a good time to pause and reflect. I really feel that I have no time to knit at the moment. But when I look back over the year I am amazed at how much knitting I have done this year, so for today's post I thought I'd do a little gallery of finished projects.

Maybe I have done quite a lot of knitting after all? :o) And I didn't even make a full week without blogging *rolls eyes* but I did manage not to feel bad about not doing it every day.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

When is enough really enough?

Now! OK I have too much stash, there I've said it!

What brought this realisation home yesterday, was looking for some green yarn. Hi Jo *waves* Jo organised a mitt swap I was in on the AY forum. Sadly, for a reason as yet unknown, Jo's own swap mitts never arrived :o( But as I think it's a good idea having a swap angel who will step in when this happens (and sadly it often does) I have volunteered to knit Jo a pair of mitts. It's ok she knows they will be green... all other details remain a secret and will continue to do so ... shhh!

Anyway, as I said I was looking for green yarn. I found some, well, I found several somes. And I also found lots and lots and lots more. Since baby arrived knitting productivity has slowed somewhat (understatement, ha!) so stash usage has dwindled. I am frightened by the amount of stash I have, and annoyed when DH points out it is flammable *shock* at this stage I think he is just thinking of the fire risk not planning to torch it! *shock* But the comment did lead me to pondering which skeins I would save in an emergency,

Forget the kids, save the stash!

Oh dear! I think it's time to have a sale - happily not a fire sale! Not yet anyway!

So my task for the new year, should I choose to accept it, is to sell surplus stash.

There will be no PY in this sale (I couldn't, I just couldn't, don't ask me to, I couldn't) but Ambermoggie is destashing PY for a very good cause, so go support her by adding to your stash :o)

And the yarn I have just bought wont be in it either, that's the fault of Anne and her beautiful designs.

In another blog related development I have decided I also need to blog and surf less, and knit more :o( If time is limited I can't justify using it for surfing when there's knitting to be done. A dilemma here, without the surfing I risk loosing the 'community' of knitters who have made my return to knitting such a pleasure, risk missing the buzz that led me to Hemlock, socks and other group enthusiasms. But I have enough patterns to last even more lifetimes than the stash will last, and I don't like the competition for my time between internet knitting and real knitting when the time allows. So less really is more; less blogging and more knitting, hopefully.

Finally, I aim to blog once a week for a while to see how it goes. The light is against me anyway as I had a lovely photo planned of the baby knits that I have finished recently, bootees to go with the mitts and hat, but the conditions are pants, as my teens would say, so I'll save that for another day.

For now, then, I'll miss you (sob) but I'll hopefully have more to show you and DH wont be tempted to set light to my stash.

BTW yarn for sale will be offered on the forums so see you there :o) and I'll be here to blog all the lovely knitterly stuff next Sunday. Well, it's a plan of sorts? Hugs

I wonder if I can stick to it?