Tag Archives: grumpy

Draco Malfoy is finished!

Draco Malfoy, the arch-nemesis of Harry Potter, my favourite villain, and the subject of my latest knitting project, is finished! If you had forgotten or missed it, I started knitting him about a year ago…well, OK, last July (2012), and put him down when I got bored. He sat in my WIP Basket for ages, until I decided he was going to be finished.

This project, an illusion knit by Steve Plummer, sparked off a discussion on “The Never-Ending Knit” on Ravelry – join in here.

Draco Malfoy – Illusion Knitting

I made the most concentrated effort I’ve ever made on finishing a project this week with Draco Malfoy. I have literally been knitting non-stop in every available moment. Even quality time with Archie the Bunny has been interrupted by knitting. (Tell me that Archie looks like he’s upset by this arrangement!)

Archie using Draco Malfoy as a blanket.
Archie using Draco Malfoy as a blanket.

The wall-hanging was knit as a companion piece for Harry Potter, both presents for Grumpy. I used King Cole Premier Value Double Knitting yarn in dark green and white for the house colours of Slytherin (green and silver). I used this yarn because it’s 100% acrylic and I would never want to use it for a garment. I knitted it on 2.75 mm needles so that it would be very dense fabric and the illusion would be very obvious.

Draco Malfoy before the tassels were attached.
Draco Malfoy before the tassels were attached.

I haven’t put the wall-hanging on Draco Malfoy yet, and I took the one on Harry off so that I could do them the same. Here they are, side-by-side! Grumpy will hang them opposite each other – after all, arch-nemesis’ must be able to duel to their hearts content.

Arch-nemesis' from the top.
Arch-nemesis’ from the top.
The boys side-by-side. Who is your favourite?
The boys side-by-side. Who is your favourite?

I swear off illusion knitting for a very long time. I vowed after I finished Harry that I would never do another again – well, that was a waste of time, but honestly, I’ve had enough. Just ten lines of knitting takes an hour and a half. Progress is too slow for that.

I’m so excited that I can start doing other projects that it’s taken me a while to decide what to start! Any thoughts?

Much love,

Corrie xx

Harry Potter project on Ravelry
Draco Malfoy project on Ravelry

Harry Potter wall-hanging.
Harry Potter wall-hanging.
Draco Malfoy wall-hanging.
Draco Malfoy wall-hanging.
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WIPW – Draco Malfoy Illusion Knitting

I’m burning the midnight oil tonight, thinking about Draco Malfoy…actually, I have tonsilitis and am finding it impossible to fall asleep as everytime I get close to the brink, my mouth pops open, my tonsils dry out, and they start hurting again. I’ve taken a few paracetamol – hopefully they will sort me out and I’ll be well on my way to Bedfordshire soon. I’m hoping that writing this post about Draco Malfoy will help me by allowing me to lie in tomorrow morning a bit, as I will know I’ve already written it!

Draco Malfoy – Illusion Knitting

I know a lot of people won’t know what the heck illusion knitting is. I think it was invented by Steve Plummer – even if it wasn’t, he is the one who introduced it to me, and the most prolific creator of illusion knitting patterns on the web – that I know of.

View of the Thames (Copyright Woolly Thoughts)
View of the Thames (Copyright Woolly Thoughts)

Steve, and his company Woolly Thoughts, herald this rather mathematical way of knitting for good reason. It’s simply mind-boggling. The basic premise is that by following a pattern that creates stripes in two colours of yarn, with knit and purl stitches creating raised and depressed areas of colour, what appears at first sight to be a striped fabric will actually reveal a picture when viewed at an angle. Doesn’t make sense? I didn’t think so…here’s one I did earlier.

From the front...
From the front…
Viewed at an angle (isn't he beautiful?)
Viewed at an angle (isn’t he beautiful?)

I knit Harry Potter for Grumpy back in 2010 (I can’t believe it was so long ago!). He took me three months, and I knew that one day, Grumpy would want an arch-nemesis to adorn the wall next to Harry.

I started knitting Draco Malfoy in January…2012…and he is now little more than halfway done. The picture, while being incredible as an effect, takes a long time to knit – I rarely have ‘just knitting’ time, and usually all my crafty endeavours take place while I’m in the pub/on a train/chatting to someone in a cafe.

You just can’t do this with illusion knitting. One row is always all knit-stitch – but you have to count out blocks of numbers up to 90 for the return row, and it’s a pain when you get it wrong. Very antisocial when you break in the middle of a conversation for five minutes while you count, or very annoying when you miss your stop on the train because you were in the middle of a row. Yes, I have done that.

Draco Malfoy...Looks a bit strange, doesn't he?
Draco Malfoy…Looks a bit strange, doesn’t he?

I’m determined to finish Draco Malfoy before I cast on anything else – my wishlist is getting longer and I’m working harder than ever on finishing him. Here’s to praying that my journey home to Devon this weekend – twelve hours on a train – will see success!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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FO Friday – TJB’s Mittens

I promised this FO Friday yesterday – and here it is! Fingerless Mittens for TJB, the best pianist in my life, a violinist, and a man with cold palms…

TJB’s Mittens

I joke – the reason I had to make the fingerless mittens was because I made him a hat last year, and I wanted to use the same yarn. I only had one ball, and it wasn’t enough to make a pair of fingered mittens. It worked perfectly.

Back of left hand (one person can't take photos of both hands with mittens on!)
Back of left hand (one person can’t take photos of both hands with mittens on!)

The pattern is “Sideways” by Sydney Crabaugh. I have to say that this is currently my favourite pattern. It’s not complicated at all – but it’s so unusual, because the stitches go the opposite direction to that which you are expecting for mittens. Additionally, it takes about two hours to make, if you put your mind to it. It is the most rewarding, excellent pattern if you need to make a quick present for someone.

Palm of the left hand.
Palm of the left hand.

You may remember that I did this for JS‘ Gran a few weeks ago because nobody told me it was her birthday. I started on the train to orchestra, and by the time we got back from orchestra it was done.

Mitts on my violin, looking a lot less fluorescent than they are in RL.
Granny’s Mitts on my violin, looking a lot less fluorescent than they are in RL.

The yarn for TJB‘s mittens is Patons Colourful Twist, and this colourway is Ultimate Mix. I love it, too. It knits up like a dream, it’s an aran yarn so it knits up quickly, it is warm, soft and squishy, and the colours are so, so gorgeous. I wish I had stacks and stacks of it so that I could have a Colourful Twist project on the go all the time! I would put it in a box for me to take out whenever I was feeling slightly rubbish. That’s how much I love it!

This is probably the project I have loved the most since I knitted Grumpy‘s Harry Potter.

BEAUTIFUL mitts.
BEAUTIFUL mitts.

I’ll give them to him the next time I see him – TJB, if you read this post, get excited! (Although I might steal them until then!)

Do you have a project that you’ve got to the end of and thought “actually, I really loved that a lot”, even though you didn’t expect to?

Much love,

Corrie xx

FO Friday with Tami's Amis
FO Friday with Tami’s Amis
m4s0n501
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Color Affection KAL – and Graduation!

I graduated today! That feels so surreal to type – I’ve been five years in the studying for this, and it should have been three years for the degree that I got, so hurrah for me! I got some photos of me in my gown, with my gorgeous man and with my lovely family – unfortunately, nobody is on Facebook with them yet (they’re all at the pub celebrating while I take a time out and hang out with Grumpy because I’m feeling tired and irritable). [ETA – Have added some photos as they came up on Facebook.]

Grumpy doing my hair.
Grumpy doing my hair.
Ready to go...
Ready to go…
The moment in which I graduate...
The moment in which I graduate…

The ceremony was in the Royal Albert Hall. Incredible, right?! I know, I feel so lucky. I felt like I was at Hogwarts, with my gown and the hall with its floating sound dampeners, and my really proud parents. It was awesome. I was petrified about it – two panic attacks and a reluctant “I DON’T WANT TO GET OUT OF BED” this morning. But, once I was actually in London and with my friends and trying to get into my gown, I felt magical. My dad bought me a new book as a gift.

Anyway, as amazing as the ceremony was, it was long. The whole school of Engineering graduated at the same time, and there are a lot of people at Imperial College in each of the three schools (the other two are Science and Medical). I had a good heads up on this – I’ve known people in the last three years of ceremonies, and I managed to find a handbag that would fit my Color Affectionin it. So, I sat and knitted while I was waiting.

Making good progress.
Making good progress.

This wasn’t as rude as it sounded – we weren’t supposed to clap for people, so we didn’t unless there were prize-winners. It gave me a lot of knitting time – I got four rows done (I’m at a stage where each row takes at least 15 minutes) so that was really good. I must be the only person who has ever knitted during graduation – my parents even took several photos of it! Have any of you done it?

We are running to catch a train in a minute, so I’d better head off!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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[Organisation] And the next project is…

I have spent this morning going through my Ravelry queue (again) and deciding what project to cast on next. I’ve just finished the two biggest projects I’ve worked on for a while (the Towersey Shawl and the Dragonfly Jumper, watch this space for FO Friday!), and am now looking for my next victims.

I’m normally a fairly monogamous knitter – I have a few UFO’s at the bottom of my pile, and I’m slowly working my way through them, but the time has come to tackle the next project. Or, set of projects; I’ve been commissioned to make a wall-hanging, two sets of mittens (one for a birthday present, but the recipient knows about them), and a shawl for my darling Grumpy, who just started a PhD and has a very cold office. I’m going to be travelling a fair bit in the next few weeks, and have decided not to travel with big projects anymore – so the mittens will be joining me in travelling, and the shawl will be a work-from-at-home job.

Project 1: Wall-Hanging

Following the Burgh Island wall-hanging I did for my parents, Wonder-Granhas asked me to make one for her. This should be big (as in, A0…eek) and be a farm scene with plough horses, chickens, ducks, sheep and a farmhouse. I rather suspect my main problem is going to be drawing skills – so I took a photo while on my walk last week which will become the template for the scene. This is just at the bottom of the house, and I’m going to substitue the out-buildings for the farm house we live in at the moment, as it’s prettier.

Photo template for wall-hanging.
Photo template for wall-hanging.

I have a board on Pinterest going for this – check it out here. Any comments and suggestions (particularly on the issues of weight and dying my yarn) will be extremely welcome!

Project 2: Mittens for Sleepy

That’s right, another Dwarf has requested knitted items. The specific request was for mittens. He wanted something bright and floral, so I’ve picked out these two patterns from Ravelry, and need to get him to choose his favourite.

Pattern 1: Vinterblomster Mittens by Heidi Mork

Vinterblomster Mittens
Vinterblomster Mittens

Pattern 2: Something Floral by Miranda Grant

Something Floral
Something Floral

I would also like him to choose the colours in my chosen yarn – probably Artesano Merino Superwash DK, as it’s a lovely yarn and I want to love the project as I make it. Does anyone have any better ideas?

Project 3: Mittens for TJB

I made TJB a hat for his birthday last year – my own pattern, known as the “It Looks Like the Sea” hat.

"It Looks Like the Sea" Hat
“It Looks Like the Sea” Hat

He expressed a desire for matching mittens. Luckily, I have a spare amount of that yarn that will hopefully stretch to mittens, and if it doesn’t I will choose a complimentary set. My favoured pattern is Sideways by Sydney Crabaugh, as it is fingerless, which will make my yarn go further! Also, TJB uses a touch-screen phone and is a keen violinist – he may need to use his fingers.

Sideways
Sideways

I love the design of these, and hopefully he will overlook that they aren’t exactly mittens!

Project 4: Grumpy’s Shawl

I have the added benefit of the pattern Grumpy chose in that it can be used in a KAL! Specifically, iMake’s “Color Affection” KAL, which I wanted to join but couldn’t justify buying the yarn for myself! With Grumpy‘s choice made, I purchased Color Affection by Veera Välimäki and am ready to go as soon as my yarn arrives.

Color Affection
Color Affection

I think I’m the only person in the world who hasn’t done a Color Affection yet, and I can’t wait.

What are you going to work on next?

Much love,

Corrie xx

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For Digger

My dog, my Kerrowmoor Gold Digger, my companion through teenagehood, died on Friday the 29th of June. Last week. Do you have any idea how strange it feels or sounds to type that?

Digger in his bed
Digger in his bed

As soon as I found out, I wanted to write a poem. I’ve been struggling with forms and styles ever since. I used to be much better at poetry, but it has been a while. The most simple was the one I liked the most. It’s a haiku.

Kerrowmoor gold dog
His final rest, the last dream
Goodbye, my Digger

Digger at the beach, getting to be an old dog
Digger at the beach, getting to be an old dog

My second reaction was that I wanted to make something. JS and I jumped out of bed (I found out early on Saturday morning) and went to John Lewis in Oxford Street. I bought 4 balls of yellow yarn that matched Digger’s colour exactly – and it was only £30 (with some grey and orange) as there was a sale on.

Playing with him as a young dog
Playing with him as a young dog

It’s taken me a few days to cast-on, although I found the pattern at around 9.30 on Saturday morning. I only did it yesterday, as I’ve been reading my boss’ wifes book “A Golden Age” and trying to get to a point where I can think about Digger without feeling a bone-aching sadness. I’m there. Almost.

We have lift-off! Cast on with Debbie Bliss Amalfi in golden labrador
We have lift-off! Cast on with Debbie Bliss Amalfi in golden labrador
The yarn that will cause this to be a labour of love.
The yarn that will cause this to be a labour of love.

So anyway, the casting-on has happened. We are all good on that front. I think I’m going to hate this yarn. It is Debbie Bliss “Amalfi” and is 70% cotton, 15% viscose, 10% linen and 5% silk. It has NO stretch. My hands hurt already, and I’ve only done two inches.

Chewing on a bone
Chewing on a bone

When I told Wonder-Mum about it, she said she would give me his collar and tag, which means the Digger will go home to Devon, and I want to get it done fairly soon. I’d like to do it before I go home next.

Sleeping in his favourite position
Sleeping in his favourite position

I’ll keep you updated on it, as always. I’m plotting my next big project. Can’t choose between finishing Draco for Grumpy, or making myself a shawl. What do you think?

Much love,

Corrie

Making new friends on Dartmoor
Making new friends on Dartmoor
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Knitting App Review — Knit Counter

Hi everyone!

Knit Counter - logo

I thought I’d start reviewing apps for knitting — I’m a bit of an iGeek (JS worked for Apple for a while, and taught me all about the joy of apps when I got my iPad for work purposes), so I have tried a fair few! I only have experience with iDevices, unfortunately, so this is a bit of a niche section of the blog — I do have an HTC phone, and if anyone has discovered any apps that don’t drain the battery life immediately, I would be very interested to know!

Knit Counter -- project landing page
Knit Counter — project landing page

I first downloaded Knit Counter Lite when I started knitting Grumpy’s Harry Potter wall-hanging. I had a few of those little ones that you stick to your needles — but the knitting was so long on the needle that when I had a knit counter on the needle and I put it all away, I would lose the first twenty stitches! I quickly realised the joys of the app, which was simple and convenient — I normally knit while I’m listening to music, either from my iPod or iPad, so it is always available. I quickly upgraded to the full version.

Editing the info in Knit Counter
Editing the info in Knit Counter

Basically, you can have a number of projects going at any one time. You can input all the information — pattern, yarn and needle info, as well as notes — and simply touch the big ‘+’ button to add a stitch. If you make a mistake, you touch “Frog”, and at the same time touch the ‘+’, which has turned into a ‘-‘ symbol. The number of projects is limited in the Lite version, but the flexibility of having a huge number of projects going at the same time, with an accurate count, is priceless.

Hand-Warmers for Wonder-Mum (Copyright Corrie B)
The afore-mentioned handwarmers.

The app is fairly expensive–£2.99–but it’s worth it. It’s revolutionised my knitting. No longer do I have to get to a convenient place within the pattern before I put it down, and I can have a number of projects going. This is really handy, as I get bored of things if I spend too long on them.

Only one negative. It doesn’t have an iPad version yet, and I hate magnifying iPhone apps to 2x. Not such a big deal.

Much love,

Corrie xx

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A Point of View — Harry Potter and Knitting

BBC A Point of View I met my friend Grumpy for tea last night; she is busy revising for exams, and as a result was procrastinating (something that leads to a lot of useful discoveries). She found this article on the BBC website, which initially incensed her for the use of “Harry Potter” and “Google” in the same sentence. An avid Harry Potter fan, I checked it out. (more…)

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Milestone Two – Illusion Knitting

I love Harry Potter — that’s a well-known fact about me, and if you didn’t know that before, you do now!

Harry Potter Illusion - from the front (Copyright Corrie B)
Harry Potter Illusion – from the front.

At uni, I met my dear friend Grumpy*, someone I bonded with quickly on account of (amongst other things) our shared love of the boy wizard. The year after I started knitting in earnest, I decided to have a go at Illusion Knitting. I now knew how to purl, and when I discovered the Harry Potter Illusion pattern by Steve Plummer, it seemed like the perfect summer project.

Illusion Knitting

That particular summer, I was commuting for three hours a day between Leatherhead and London in order to carry out an internship in which I was doing some pretty heavy-duty research into orthopaedics. I spent most of the day reading through pages and pages of scientific papers; and so sleepy mornings and brain-dead evenings on the train were the perfect time to tackle this monstrosity of a project.

Harry Potter Illusion - Harry Revealed (Copyright Corrie B)
Harry Potter Illusion – Harry Revealed

Two skeins of the dreaded King Cole yarn made it into the project. I’m proud to say I dropped one stitch, but didn’t get a single line wrong in the pattern. If you’ve ever done one of these, you’ll know that it’s quite difficult to tell if you’ve gone wrong somewhere, and ripping back a line which may have taken an entire train-journey to complete is more than a little soul-destroying.

When I finally finished knitting him, I didn’t know what to do with the giant piece of fabric I had produced. I got creative, and turned it into a wall hanging, mounting it on a piece of bamboo, twisting gold and red strands around each other to make a connecting cord, and making little tassels to go on the bottom.

Harry Potter Illusion - Mounting (Copyright Corrie B)
Harry Potter Illusion – Mounting.
Harry Potter Illusion - Close-up of Harry (Copyright Corrie B)
Harry Potter Illusion – Close-up of Harry

I presented him to her for Christmas, and I think she was pleased! I certainly was.

Much love,

Corrie xx

* We were studying in The Royal School of Mines — in First Year, a group of seven of us we decided we were all going to be a dwarf from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves“. I challenge you to guess who I am…first person to get it right wins a Plutonium Muffin momento!

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