Wednesday, 29 March 2006

Happy 5th Birthday Sarah!

Five years ago today, at 11:11pm, Sarah Hannah first graced us with her presence - 13 days past her due date. She had very little hair, long limbs, and pointed fingernails and toenails.

Since then she has taught us that she is a bright, determined, thoroughly independent, and very loving person with a keen interest in language and vocabulary. She never lets her asthma get her down, needs to know how everything works, and can't resist a challenge. We, as her family, all love her to bits. :-)

Here she is with her big sister, showing off the pinata that we all made together. Just after this, the other 10 children descended upon us for her party this afternoon.

This morning her birthday card was read out on Milkshake on Channel 5 on the TV, and we even managed to video it. We've all had a fabulous day. Happy Birthday my darling little daughter.

Friday, 24 March 2006

Nearly there

Look - I'm working on my vintage UFO! Yes, the coral crochet cardigan started in Feb 2003 is finally getting the edging it so deserves.

Here's the edging I've added to the sleeve cuffs. I love it and it makes the sleeves nice and long - just how I like 'em for my gorilla-length arms. ;-)

I'm adding the same on the waist hem but with more repeats so it's deeper - which means that I need to buy 2 more balls of that Rowan Cotton Glace tomorrow. It's most definately worth it though. It should be finished before Easter (I know, famous last words!) so I'll hopefully meet the
Lent-along deadline.

Of course I still had to sneak in lots of rows on my beloved Jaywalker.

I've turned the heel - woohoo! Thanks for your help at the Knit Chat last Tuesday
Annette - the way the pattern was worded for that part seemed so weird until I tried it out.

But then what do I know - this is my first ever sock.

BTW Lolly kindly let me know where she bought her gorgeous sock yarn - it's from here. Guess where my next order's going to be from?!

I had to give a presentation yesterday on the subject of my choice as part of a "Presentation and Training Skills" course. Naturally I chose to talk about knitting. :-) I took lots of my yarns with me, so it was very tactile, and got the audience to participate by shouting out the yarns that they knew - not many.

I educated them on lots of knitting related stuff of course, including showing them this and this to prove that knitting is not just for grannies, and taking along this pictured sample of knitted up plastic bag strips.

My eldest daughter took it in to her class today and they had a fun time trying to guess what it was made of. I've been meaning to try this out for a while, and it turned out to be very quick and easy to do. I'm hoping to make a few bags with this technique soon.

Anyway my presentation got a great response (good news for me as I was soooo nervous!) and hopefully we might be getting one or two new recruits coming along to the Beatties Knit Chat soon. Success!

Saturday, 18 March 2006

A flying visit

Just a quick check-in to show you the progress.

First up is my lovely first-ever
Jaywalker sock - nearly at the heel!

Oooh - I just lurve those colour chevrons.. ;-)

Also the first of my butter-soft lilac beaded Mrs Beetons.
It really is a good job that I love this so much otherwise this would be in the frog pile. The Kidsilk Haze is beautiful but I find it a pig to knit with, especially on metal needles. I've heard others say that they find bamboo needles much better to control the slippiness of the yarn - I can well believe it now. I find it rather like knitting with furry sewing thread.

As for the Cashsoft DK - well, if I could only ever knit with this I wouldn't be unhappy..

I can't begin to describe how luxurious this little item feels on my wrist. It really has inspired me to make the second one - that should get rid of this cold weather!

That's your lot for tonight - well I did say it was a flying visit!

Wednesday, 15 March 2006

Oops – I bought some stuff!

I know this is not in the Lent-along spirit but I’m still not smoking and I’m sticking to that excuse.

A few days ago I received my first order from
Laughing Hens – two Addi Turbo circular needles in small sizes for… yes, socks. One circular was delayed and I have to say that the communication from the staff was prompt, friendly, and helpful. Their prices were excellent and I reckon I’ll be using them again.

The other package that arrived came all the way over from the USA – from Little Knits actually. I heard about this online yarn store from UKHandKnitters and promptly leapt over there and ended up ordering this little lot.

Isn’t it yummy! There are 3 balls of cotton mix
Regia Surf and 1 hank of the Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Potluck – apparently this is the same yarn as is used for Koigu loveliness.

Once again, the service was excellent as were the prices, so I can thoroughly recommend
Little Knits to you all. The online system resulted in a higher shipping price than required so the shop owner refunded the required PayPal amount. Apparently if you pay by credit card Sue sends you an invoice showing the correct amount first. I will definitely be ordering from them again.

And my final confession of the day – yes I started the Jaywalkers. How could I resist? In my defence I can say that I have now mastered the art of 5dpn knitting (finally) – hooray!

OK so now I’ll go back to my vintage UFOs - at least for a little while each evening anyway…

Saturday, 11 March 2006

Blitzing the vintage UFOs

Ahaha! Another vintage UFO bites the dust!

Here is my eldest modelling the ribby hat and another version of My So Called Scarf, both knitted in Rowan Biggy Print. I was trying to do wristwarmers to go with the hat, but I'd almost finished one and then given up - over a year ago. So frogged it was, and the scarf was born.

Another change of plan too - the set was going to be for DH but our daughters have claimed them instead. I'm just happy to know that my handknits are appreciated.

As for the rest of the vintage list, it's almost gone!
The chevron crochet tunic has been sent off to the charity shop as I wasn't keen on the yarn anyway.

The coral crochet cardigan is now fully re-seamed and looks much better than before. I changed my mind (again!) about the yarn for the edging and after much comparing I bought two balls of Rowan Cotton Glace today - one each of "In The Pink" and "Oyster". Keep watching..

Wednesday, 8 March 2006

Sneak preview

Here you go.. a little taste of what's happening with the Coral Crochet Cardigan.

The chocolate consumption has decreased and the seaming is still progressing well. I'm much happier with the seams done this way - thank goodness!

Fingers crossed it'll keep looking this good...

Monday, 6 March 2006

Chocolate does funny things to me

First up I'd like to say a huge THANX! to all you folks who've left lovely comments about my Lacewing Bolero. That's the most positive praise I've ever received about one of my handknits, and I'm chuffed to bits. You've made my day(s). :-)

So here we have another FO. Woohoo! It's "My So Called Scarf" worked up in 2 balls of Patons Symphony in shade "Fruit Crush", costing me £6.60 in total. It measures 6" wide by 70" long - perfect to wrap up in.

I'm blown away by this. It's an acrylic yarn that feels like a luxurious chenille, resulting in a scarf that is incredibly warm and already my favourite yet. It was going to be a gift but not now - it's all mine!

I do intend to make up a couple of these for Christmas gifts though. I shall use the same yarn in different colourways for each one. The stitch pattern and colour changes are enough to keep my interest right to the end, and it doesn't actually take long to do.

So what next? well yesterday and most of today I spent resting as I had a bout of dizziness whenever I turned my head to a certain position. We're not talking a little gentle spin type dizziness here, more of a knock you off your feet in a split second type of thing. Not pleasant.

I went to the docs today as it was still the same, and was diagnosed with "
Benign Positional Vertigo" i.e. when you put your head in a certain position you go dizzy. Useful that. Luckily it does seem to be easing off a fair bit now, otherwise I would not be sitting here typing right now.

This evening, feeling a fair bit better, I indulged in a bar of
Bournville chocolate again (bought by DH to cheer me up and cuz it's turning into his favourite too!) and picked up the Coral Crochet Cardigan. Yes, the one that I started 3 years ago!

I tried on the cardigan. Great, still fits well, looks neat and smart. Just a little seaming to do on the sleeves, then some edging. No problem.

I opened the chocolate and started eating it, threaded my needle and started seaming. Hmm, it looked better than the other seams which I'd crocheted together.

If something's worth doing, it's worth doing well, right? Well look at this seam. Holes, a strong ridge, etc.

Not good.

I think it actually looked better inside, but I don't want to put the seams on the outside. This is a smart cardigan, not a fashion thingy.

So.... I found the ends and unzipped all those seams. Every one. They came out as quick as a flash too. Scary, that.

I've decided to seam them all in my regular lace-up way that I now do knitted seams. It's gonna look a whole load better.

See, I said chocolate does weird things to me. Now let's see how many more bars I need to actually seam this baby up again.. ;-)

Friday, 3 March 2006

By Jove she's done it!

Ta da!!!
Presenting (at long last) my Lacewing Bolero. It must have been the chocolate that did it. ;-)

I'm soooo pleased with this. You'll have to believe me for now, but this looks lovely on - much better than just laid flat and it fits really well.

I used a Lacewing pattern from my Vogue Dictionary of Knitting Stitches and then my trusty Knitware Sweaters program to design the basic pattern. I modified the fronts to get the curved shaping.

I used 200g (400metres) of Morocco yarn (which I acquired on eBay back in Jan '05) which is an equal blend of linen and acrylic, roughly double knitting weight. I worked the pattern using 5mm needles throughout as I wanted a nice open effect.

Finally I firmed up the front/neck/hem edge with 2 rounds of double crochet on a 4.5mm hook. The sleeves needed no edging as they don't curl and are very slightly scalloped which I like. Oh and I only had about 5 metres of yarn left. ;-)

I love this stitch. It was easy to knit and looks gorgeous. I'm quite tempted to make an entire sweater out of it.

The clasp is one of my favourites, so you have to see it close up.

I'm off to do some knitting. :-)

Thursday, 2 March 2006

Making a start

Do you remember this? It's the Lacewing Bolero that I managed to seam completely incorrectly i.e. sewed in the set-in sleeve as if it were a raglan!

Well posting that list of WIPs and UFOs yesterday spurred me into action, and I started on the bolero again. I've got all the right accessories this time see?

There's a mug of coffee, a bar of
Cadbury's Bourneville chocolate, plus some of my beloved little tools for the job - my angled Clover Chibi seaming needle and my latest acquisition, a set of spiral stitch markers. These work great for holding together the edges to be seamed.

And can you see what else is different? Yes, I actually pressed the garment pieces first. Goodness, I can even tell which piece is which now. Fancy not doing that before. ;-)

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

Time for a Spring Clean

The Rain Dance Shawl is finished but as yet unblocked. I like the look of it spread out, but I do admit to feeling rather granny-ish when wearing it!

I've not dared to pin it out knowing that I’ll be out at work the next day and unable to supervise it. Not that I'm expecting it to run off, but youngest DD has been off school poorly, and little hands tend to be very inquisitive.. ;-)

Goodness knows what the camera has done to the colours this time. It looks like the first ball of yarn was a different dyelot (it wasn't) but it doesn't look like this in real life. Weird!

The Textured Cardigan is also finished as in it has buttons. These are too small for the buttonholes though, and tend to keep slipping open.

Even with bigger buttons it’s still not going to fit me properly. I think it should fit a tall size UK 12 girlie beautifully – unfortunately I’m a large size UK 14.

I don’t know whether to try washing it - which may also stop some of the dreadful shedding from the yarn. Anyone got any flashes of inspiration?

The Giotto Sweater is partly seamed. I’m not finding this very easy going as my skin is so dry atm that the yarn keeps snagging on my hands.

I really need to crack on with it though so that I can get a crochet edging on there and maybe even wear it..

My So Called Scarf is on the 2nd (and final) ball of Patons Symphony and growing nicely.

Mrs Beetons wristwarmers are started but the Kidsilk Haze edging looks awfully baggy to me. I keep checking the pattern but it does say to use the larger needles first. Weird. Maybe it’ll sort itself out as it grows.

My stash of blue-green Wendy Jazz has been restarted (again!) as a
Magic Scarf (hopefully). Watch this space!

I have so many projects “hanging on” that have been ongoing for far too long, such as:
Coral Crochet Cardigan – started Feb-03
Chevron Tunic - started May-03
His Hat & Wristies - started Nov-04
Lacewing Shrug - started Aug-05

I’m feeling rather weighed down by these now. I must get them finished or ditched before I start anything else. Kind of a Project Spring Clean I guess!
Those socks will have to wait for now..