Thursday, 28 February 2008

How to fix a bad hair day

I've recently taken to wearing my DDs' hairbands - what a revelation! I prefer to wear my hair down but don't want it hanging over my face making my eyes really sore, so a hairband is the perfect solution.

I do have one hairband that I knitted but it's rather wide - I'm finding that thin ones work best for me. The thin plastic ones with "teeth" stay put and hold my hair in place great, but I end up with grooves behind my ears (I do have a large head!) and a headache by the end of the day.

Hence the need for some more handmade hairbands. I searched online but none of the free patterns took my fancy.

I am really into crocheted loops, circles, ovals, etc right now - goodness knows where that's come from! Anyway when I was playing with some of my boutone yarn recently I was inspired to come up with this hairband. It's simply made from crocheted ovals sewn together, so you can make it whatever length you need.

It's exactly what I wanted - slim, soft, decorative, doesn't slip. The only problem I found is that the boutone yarn makes my scalp itch - it does have quite a harsh wool element to it. So I'm going to make this again using a cotton blend - and try out some alternative designs too.

Before that though, I need to get the second baby project finished.
This time it's for DH's cousin, whose first baby is due on 1st April. I have a good size stash of Rowan All Seasons Cotton, so I'm knitting Lucky from Pipsqueaks in shade Tapestry. Looks like it should be called Buttermilk to me.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Cosy cashmere

The cashmere scarf is finished - 3 months after starting - phew! To be fair though it was my work lunch-break knitting for most of its duration, so progress was slow.

The FO is very long - 100 inches long to be exact (that's over 8 feet long, or 2.5 metres!), and 6.5 inches wide.

I didn't really intend it to be quite this long, but didn't want to waste any of the yummy yarn either.

I used one skein (75g, 700m) of
The Knitting Goddess hand-dyed fingering weight cashmere in the Heather colourway.

On 4mm needles I cast on 58 stitches, followed Wendy's (very easy) Feather and Fan stitch until the yarn almost ran out, cast off, sewed the two ends in, and voila!
One fabulously soft and scrummy scarf. Just in time for spring. ;-)

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Cornish Anniversary

Today is the 1st anniversary of us moving to Cornwall! It's gone so quickly and yet it seems like we've been here for ages.

It's been a year of highs and lows; I wouldn't want to repeat it but I know that moving here was the right decision.

Our lives have changed so much and our DDs now get to grow up in a beautiful part of England, with lots of opportunities that they didn't have access to before.

Although Cornwall is a large county it somehow feels sheltered from the rest of the country, and we love it. Every journey we make reminds us of how lucky we are to be living here, and every trip to the beach puts life's little niggles into perspective. :-)

Of course I can't feel annoyed about anything when I have beautiful flowers like this one at home, in full bloom from DH on Valentine's Day. :-)

Good job seeing as my car's developed random intermittent problems so I never know when it's going to start, and I have the blasted cold that's doing the rounds here.

More good news - the raspberry ripple babyghan is finished after only 8 days of crochet. I used just over 400g of the Sirdar Denim Sport Aran - Della, the shade is "Redcurrant", and I do think it's rather lovely.

It's finished off with a crab stitch (reverse dc) edging just to neaten it up. I'm going to wash it in Fairy and then wrap it up in a white tissue paper bound with a broad pink ribbon and large bow, ready to send when the baby arrives. Let's hope that scan wasn't wrong about it being a girl!

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Feelin' the lurve

Look what DH brought home from work with him! A beautiful bouquet of roses and liles, just for me. They smell divine. :-)

Tonight we're cooking a tasty meal together after the girls have gone to bed - fillet steak, chips, onion rings, peas & grilled tomato, followed by meringue nests with fresh raspberries, double cream, and grated dark chocolate sprinkled over. Yum!

Here's what I've been working on since Saturday - the raspberry ripple babyghan for my expected new niece.

She's due on 12th April, but seeing as her brother arrived 5 weeks early (nearly 3 years ago now!), I thought I'd better get this blanket done now!

I'm using Sirdar Denim Sport Aran - a baby-friendly machine-washable soft yarn which is very quick to crochet in the Peephole Chevron Stitch from my stitch dictionary. It's three-quarters done already!

Sunday, 10 February 2008


Yes, the moment has come. The Twister is finished.

What a great day to show it off - glorious sunshine but definately cold enough for a merino wool sweater.

I am in love with this yarn. It's so buttery soft that it feels more like angora than merino. I just wish I could get hold of more, but that's not going to happen. It's a one-off.

I'm so pleased with this sweater.
I love the way the design (alternating twist cables with ribs in between) came out.
I love that the pattern matches up around the side seams.
I love the way the colours of the hand-dyed yarn blend together.
I love the fit. OK, it could be a smidge longer, but it will be when I lose weight. ;-)

This was a long project - it ended up as 3 months from initial idea to trying on the FO - but it was so worthwile. The seaming, usually my most hated task, went like a dream thanks to that butter-soft yarn.

And the amount of yarn left over? 22grams! Enough for a small project I think - maybe a headband or similar.

I mentioned some lessons I'd learned along the way - here goes:

1) When planning a stretchy (ribby) design, make sure you add extra to the length; remember that the sideways stretch pulls the garment up shorter when worn.

2) Sketch out the design (as in schematics with stitch pattern in place) in the planning stage - you might find that you want the stitch pattern to match up at the sides/sleeve seams, or you want a cable to split around neckline, etc.

3) Sounds so obvious, but cables and ribs take quite a lot longer to knit in finer yarns, so try to remember this when embarking on a cable sweater knit in DK weight yarn!

4) Bear in mind that highly-patterned designs may look different over a larger area than they do in your swatch - so knit a bigger swatch to make sure you're getting the effect you want.

Ahhh, I'm happy. It was a great challenge and I loved every stitch. I'm off to bask in FO glory.. and wash my hair.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Twister teaser

The talented TutleyMutley dropped by and asked where we had moved from - it was from Wolverhampton in the West Midlands, on 19th Feb 2007. Nearly time to celebrate the first anniversary of starting our new life!

In the meantime, here's a welcome bright patch in our rather grim wintry back garden at the moment - our lovely camellia, coming into full bloom.

The garden resembles more of a building site - and will do for a good while this year - as we're not landscaping it until our extension is completed. And that's not even started yet. ;-)

I had to show you the beautiful sunrises we get here - this one from this morning.

The lefthand picture is from upstairs (we're in a dormer bungalow) - great view across the rooftops of the surrounding bungalows and out over the countryside.

The righthand picture is from our bedroom, which is downstairs, so we get to see the palm trees in the front garden. I never thought I'd live somewhere with palm trees in the garden! :-)

Oh yes, and the knitting i.e the Twister sweater. The knitting is all done! I've seamed the shoulders and sewn in the sleeves; just the side and sleeve seams to do. Hopefully in a couple of evenings I'll have a FO to show you. I even have enough yarn left to sew the seams, and a little more - maybe for a hairband or similar.

I'm starting to compile a list of lessons learned, which I'll share with the FO. Watch this space!

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Skating round Eden

Wow - what a difference weather-wise to last weekend!

We decided to still make the most of the weekend and went ice-skating at The Eden Project - another first in 25 years for me!

We got free admission thanks to the locals annual passes that we bought on our last visit.

Then it was on to the ice for 40 minutes ice-skating - great fun! It was a first for youngest DD and she loved it.

We followed that with a walk around the biomes and a tasty lunch in the main cafe, then tissue flower-making and a local ice-cream. FInally it was time to jump onto the landtrain and the bendy-bus back to the car to avoid the torrential rain.

We're home - no injuries, well-exercised, and ready for a lovely Sunday dinner. Perfect!