I’m quiet at the moment because I’m working hard on some cards and papercraft stuff – which takes over the entire house! I will be updating my Etsy shop next week, once I have been to a craft fair on Saturday in Kent.
For a taste of what I’m making, check out the below gallery! This is all under the name of Skinny Lizzy, my beautiful doll given to me for my 21st by my Super-Granny. The sewing pattern for her will soon be available!
In the meantime, don’t forget to check out these places of Plutonium Muffins party interest!
Here’s a quick episode on iKnit Fandango for you! I spent a day with Louise of Spin City, and enjoyed spending time with some old friends from, for example, Yarn in the City, Kettle Yarn Co, Purl Alpaca Designs and Pom Pom Quarterly. I also made some new friends, and may or may not have purchased over a thousand yards of lace-weight yarn from Wollmeise. (more…)
I’ve spent a few days working 0n email, Excel spreadsheets and (lo and behold!) blog posts. It’s been a successful week – and I’ve also managed to work on my box of odds and ends that need upcycling, so there are slightly fewer things on my to-do list today. Hurrah! I really enjoyed doing Five on Friday last week, so here’s the next instalment.
I’m also linking with Planet Penny and “Happy Friday” because all of these things have made me happy.
1. Keeping the blog updated
If I do say so myself, I’ve been more successful with the blog this week than I have in several months! Here are my posts from the last seven days. I am particularly enjoying checking out “Hot Right Now” on Ravelry with the purpose of featuring patterns – it is making me actually look at them more than I normally would.
I took one of John’s old waistcoats and converted it into a pillow this week. He used to love this item of clothing, and it sadly got felted in the wash (I will hastily say that I had nothing to do with that particular cycle)! It was such a well-loved part of his wardrobe that I wanted to do something that would keep it in our lives. Searching his cupboard revealed a slightly stained shirt – it was perfect!
I basically just turned the shirt inside out, traced the shape of the waistcoat onto it with a 3cm seam allowance, sewed it up, cut away the excess, then stuffed it. The last step was sewing up the collar so the stuffing didn’t stick out, and then dressing him! The buttons remain part of the functioning pillow, so I can wash the pillow and replace the stuffing if I ever need to.
3. Running a full 5 km
Not quite without breaking a sweat, I have to say….but I’ve got my 5 km down to 33 minutes, and I start increasing distance on Saturday. I’m still a long, long way from 21 km – but I’ll take it. My training regime is now running five times a week (!!!) so you’ll be hearing about this a lot for the next few months. I hope you don’t mind!
4. Simply Knitting
I treated myself to a magazine this week, and I was absolutely thrilled with it. The style of Simply Knitting has changed hugely since the last time I read it, as knitting becomes more mainstream and the trends the designers, bloggers and podcasters focus on are making their way into print. I really adore Kath Garner’s column (her latest question focused on UFOs, and how it takes a bit of a learning curve to realise we aren’t actually talking about aliens), and there was a fabulous article on Juniper Askew, the ‘bendy knitter‘. I won’t get a new subscription to any magazines, because I believe it’s nice to treat myself only occasionally – but I fully recommend Issue 131 of Simply Knitting.
I wasn’t told to say that! Personal opinion.
5. Berroco Ultra Alpaca
I’ve been knitting a hat in worsted weight Berroco Ultra Alpaca, and I have been loving the way the yarn has flowed through my fingers. I knit a Weasley Sweater out of the yarn (this hat is actually from the remnants of that project) and I enjoyed working with it so much the last time, I made my RSI flare up and had to take a month off knitting. There will be more alpaca yarn in my future.
It’s been a thoroughly productive week! I’m off to two events this weekend…sit tight, you’ll find out all about them next week!
If you don’t know yet, I’m one of the biggest Harry Potter nerds to walk the streets of North London circa 2007. I’ve been doing some pattern searching on Ravelry, as I’m supposed to be knitting 12 pairs of socks this year and have not yet started my second pair, let alone third…and inspiration struck when I debated knitting Hermione’s Everyday Socks again.
The designer of these socks, Erica Lueder, has got the best range of Harry Potter inspired socks that I have found so far. Get ready for some amazing designs…
Harry Potter Inspired Socks
Hermione’s Everyday Socks
The first set of HP socks that springs to mind when you mention Harry Potter are Hermione’s Everyday Socks. I’m pretty sure most sock knitters have at least cast these on the past, even if they haven’t necessarily finished them. My dad was the recipient of my pair, in a lovely navy blue Fyberspates skein. The pattern is available in French and German, as well as English, and is a solid knit for anyone looking for a project to just wizz around.
The pattern is very basic, alternating between knit rows, then K1, P1 rows to create a sort of edited moss stitch pattern. They’re fabulous, a good, rugged pair of socks. At the time of writing, they are a free design on Ravelry.
Devil’s Snare Socks
Next up is a lacy pair of socks where the panel of lace has been inspired by Devil’s Snare. The pattern is available in English and French, and is currently free on Ravelry. I can’t make any other comment, as I haven’t knitted them…yet.
They’re for a fingering weight yarn on US 2/2.75 mm needles.
Dumbledore’s Christmas Stockings
One of the most notable lines for knitters in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is “one can never have enough socks”. Erica has taken this as her inspiration, and created a gorgeous design, which looks to me almost like a chessboard. They’re open to interpretation – I’ve mainly included them because of their inspiration! This is another free pattern on Ravelry, available in English.
The Weasley Homestead
Erica states that these socks were inspired by the colourway, which is a Weasley inspired yarn, Flesh from the Cauldron Sock SW. I love the patchwork effect, and the colour really puts me in mind of the lounge in the Burrow (in the films). The pattern is free on Ravelry and available in French and English.
The last of the Erica patterns that I wanted to showcase is Hidden Stairways, a whimsical pair of socks which I love the look of. The stairways at Hogwarts are something I have spent hours thinking about (I lived in a small town, OK?!) and I think she’s captured the spirit fairly well in the stitch pattern. Guess what? It’s free on Ravelry!
From Erica, my Harry Potter eye naturally led me on a journey to find other inspired designs…here’s a list of some of my favourites, found by searching “Harry Potter Socks”.
So, there you have it! A very Harry Potter-ey Saturday treat for you. I’m off to unpack my (new) knitting machine, and immerse myself in learning how to use it for the next two days. Have a great weekend!
October took me a bit by surprise, apparently – I have only just realised that today is the first! This year is flying by, I’m sure it was May like, last month. Anyhoo, time to set my Resolutions down in writing for those of you who aren’t on Ravelry, and if you don’t listen to the podcast…this is going to be short and sweet, I got me some knitting to do!
If you’re interested in joining the group on Ravelry, check out Resolutions Monthly here.
October 2014 Resolutions
I have set myself a few resolutions this month – and they’re not all crafty, either.
Finish Icon Dress – a stretch goal, but feels doable at the moment. I’m about 6 inches into the second half.
Knit the only Christmas Present I’m doing this year – I still have to finish up some spinning before I can get this done, but on track! I also have to pick a pattern…
Get started on rainbow fibre (spinning) – very excited about this! I’m going to be playing with colour for the first time.
Sell more STUFF – lots of things listed on eBay, hurrah. This is partly an effort to declutter, and I still have a few pieces of furniture to go on. I’m looking forward to getting rid of it all.
Learn a tune a day – I’m putting together a list of tunes to learn and have got the music book out already. I’m very much looking forward to the outcomes of this, the podcast will benefit!
I’m feeling like October is going to be a good month. John bought me the below notebook, and it’s going to be instrumental in shaping my life for the next year or so – looking forward to filling it with ideas!
September 2014 Resolutions recap
I had three resolutions in September, and accomplished all of them:
Work on My Favourite Things KAL – success! Got loads done and put it to one side in favour of Icon Dress
Knit at least two inches on Icon Dress – I blew this out of the water!
Decide what to do about legwarmers – I’m going to frog them. I just don’t love them!
So, a successful month, and tonnes to look forward to in October! I can’t wait to see how it all goes.
I cast on “My Favourite Things” by Jill McGee on the last day of August, and I am really enjoying this project! It’s slow going and quite heavy – and I’m using magic loop on needles with a cable that is too short – but I’m really enjoying the project and finding it just as addictive as everyone warned! (more…)
If you’re anything like me – and I’m sure a lot of you are – you notice what other people are wearing; this week, my attention has been drawn by men’s knits. I suddenly realise I am staring at something a bit too intently when I get a funny look – notably, on the tube this morning was a chap with a beautiful snood on. He was quite good-looking (don’t worry, JS doesn’t read this…ha) but I was so struck by the snood I could not keep my eyes off him.
I think I managed to fool him and pretend I was staring into the distance as I was knitting…but I was too embarrassed to ask him for a photo. Not so these guys..
Men’s Knits – Santa
This gorgeous specimen is brought to us by one of my oldest friends, Fred. It’s actually the second knitted Santa hat I’ve seen – JS and I were in a pub last week when he dragged me to stand by the door of the men’s loo so I could admire a man’s hat as he walked out. We have no shame.
I’ve found a few patterns on Ravelry that would make something similar:
I was stewarding at a concert on Tuesday night and was struck by this jumper as it was walked through the door by its owner. I asked him if I could take a photo – and the expression on his face is no doubt due to the slightly strange nature of the question.
Isn’t it lovely? It was even better when he took the coat off, but by this point I was too embarrassed to ask for another photo.
Men’s Knits – cables
Tuesday night’s stewarding was not a solo effort, and my friend was wearing a fantastic jumper with intricate cables all over it. This is not a good photo of it, and I can only apologise for that – I was mainly aiming for the beauty of the refreshments as we had set them out, but you can see some of the detail.
Men’s Knits – hat
I knitted a hat a few weeks ago for my uncle, which has actually turned into a hat that I’m wearing all the time, has now been given a pompom, and will no longer go to him. This decision was made less because I loved the hat too much, but more because it was slouchy and I realised it wasn’t very manly. But, what the heck is a manly hat? I quite liked this one that I spotted in the lift on the way up from the tube this morning, but again – pompom and slouchy? Either my judgement is off, or this guy’s is!
This is just a selection of the amazing men’s knits I’ve seen this week. What are you wearing?
JS just bought a beautiful new grey jumper with cables, and I adore it – and the fact that he is slowly getting into knitted clothing (although he hasn’t actually realised yet…) He also bought me a knitted dress – here I am modelling it with my ‘non-manly’ pompom hat!
When I say ‘turned traitor’ I know there are some friends who read the blog who may not know what that means. Basically, there is a bit of a ‘thing’ between hand-knitters and machine-knitters, where using a machine is supposedly cheating. I got into quite the discussion about this at my knit and natter group the other week, which was not that enjoyable.
Let me get it straight. I love hand-knitting. I adore it. It’s my passion. But, I’ve always wanted a knitting machine, and it is a totally different craft. It produces a knitted fabric, but has its own set of rules and quirks and patterns, so to my mind, it is not cheating. I love it.
So, the pattern for the machine hat is Rainbow Hat with Cuff by Ginny Schweiss, which is a free pattern on Ravelry. I downloaded it and sat down thinking “this is going to be great, I’m going to make a hat in no time at all”. I had two half-balls of Regia 4-ply in Marrakech and Ombre stripe, so I used them up rather than following the rainbow theme in the pattern.
That was before I realised the different rules and abbreviations that I had to use to actually decipher the pattern in the first place. Before I knew that to knit on a knitting machine you have to hang weights off your knitting. (I used cups filled with about a pound of pennies each. Six of them.) Before I knew that using my vintage machine involves a LOT of physical exertion (think ironing with a really heavy iron).
Relative to using my needles, the hat was made up about an hour more quickly than it would have been otherwise. I spent a long time kneeling on the floor picking up dropped stitches with my arm twisted around the back of the knitting, which ended up in sore knees the following day.
My verdict is that machine knitting is a LOT harder than it looks, it will take some practice to stop dropping stitches, and I absolutely love the new toy and can’t stop thinking about when I’ll next be able to pick it up!
So…who has tried machine knitting here?
PS Head over to Facebook for the chance to win a £20 Amazon voucher! More details here.
Once again, it is the start of a new month, so the start of new resolutions. As I only had one resolution in June, I didn’t do a recap in the middle of it. This is partly because I totally missed the middle of June and only realised how far along the month had gone on about the 28th!
July is my birthday month and I’m feeling the love this morning. I’m going to get a haircut today, and am playing my violin all day. What could be better?
June Resolution recap
My singular resolution in June was:
Knit something I love
With the completion of the Fairisle Mittens, I accomplished this goal. I was extremely pleased with them, and am so happy that they are finally finished. I hadn’t intended them to be the fulfilment of this resolution, but I was shocked at how much I love them!
The Susocks would also qualify. They knitted up so quickly and were gorgeous.
I have three resolutions this month.
Finish my Luxury Gloves
Finish a blanket
Exercise and get back to size 8!
The luxury gloves are a pair I started in 2009! I will get them done today – they’re pinned to my door so I see them everytime I walk past and get a massive surge of guilt. They will be done.
The blanket is a baby blanket for some friends, who are expecting in August. I want to get it done by the end of July so I can go visit them and give it to them in case he is born early! I can’t wait, it’s the first gift I’ve done for one of my friends with respect to babies, and I am in love with the pattern I’m making. (Come back on Wednesday for more info!)
Finally, I was size 8 when I was cycling to and from work everyday in London…I stopped cycling a year ago, and needless to say I am now substantially unfit and do not fit into some of my favourite clothes! I will beat the flab.
That’s all from me. If you have any resolutions or want to start making monthly resolutions, we have a friendly, motivational group on Ravelry – come join us! Looking forward to seeing you…
This year has been the year of learning to design knitting patterns. My first one was rather more complex than this one, which is really just a formula intended for people who want to learn to knit, but don’t want to just make squares!
Garter Stitch Head-Band
I’ve just published the Garter Stitch Head-Band pattern! I designed it for the launch of Coranda.com. I’m really excited about how good such a simple piece of knitting can be, and I really think the button transforms it from just a fairly clumsy piece of knitting to something more beautiful! I’m hoping that loads of people will download it, print it and distribute it around their friends so they can teach the world to knit.
You can find the pattern on Ravelry, or click here to download it. Let me know if you try it or share it with anyone else, I’d love to see others! I also didn’t get anyone to test-knit this, so if you find any issues with it, please let me know.
That’s all from me for now, I need to go to bed. I finished Wonder-Mum‘s socks today, as it’s her birthday! Happy Birthday to my loveliest, gloriousest mummy. I’ll show you all tomorrow, as it’s now 11:30 pm and way, way past my bedtime.