Thursday, August 28, 2008

Baby Blanket 6

I've started on the next blanket, another work colleague is expecting in the middle of October and is off on Maternity leave on 11th September. I wonder if I can get this finished by then? I wanted to do something a little different this time and was heavily inspired by Moonstitches blanket and all the wonderful blankets here. I did the maths and prototyped a few patterns and ended up with these hexagons. I've also been using her joining technique so hopefully there will be no sewing up to do - just quite a few ends to sew in!

Baby Hexagons

I'm using the many colours of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino I have left over from previous blankets and a 3.5mm hook. I think this will have to be my commuting project over the next few weeks. If I can get the "inners" done at home then I can just take them and the cream yarn with me on the train each day. I started on Saturday, and today I have this...
Baby Hexagons
I need to go and finish some more "inners" now so I will leave you with the latest Diesel window display.
I wonder if they will let me have the sheep and yarn when they change it?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Prizewinning blanket!

It's baby time amongst my friends and colleagues at the moment. Here is the first present finished, for a baby boy due at the start of November.

Baby Blanket Number 5
Once again I have used a variety of blocks from Jan Eaton's wonderful 200 Crochet Blocks and improvised a border.
Baby Blanket Number 5

Started: 13th July 2008
20th August 2008
Hook: 4mm
Yarn: RYC Cashsoft 4 ply 3 balls each of Weather, Dive and Spring.
Comments: I decided on a different layout this time, making it 4 blocks by 6 rather than the 5 by 5 I have done previously. Hopefully this should make it more cot shaped. I also joined the blocks as I went to save the hideous sewing up at the end. It made the joins quite neat and invisible. I'm really pleased with it and hope Mum and Dad like it!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's Showtime

A couple of months ago at Brum Knit Night I was bemoaning the lack of a craft section in the Wolverhampton show. I was itching to enter my knitting in some kind of "village" show, I'm not even sure why, I just really wanted to! Rachel mentioned the Sandwell Community Show to me and they do have a craft section, so I decided to submit a few items. It turns out the Wolverhampton show is the same weekend as the iKnit day, so I wouldn't have been able to enter anyway!

The Sandwell Community show took place over Bank Holiday weekend, I'd decided to enter items into 6 categories, however when I sent off my application form at the start of August I didn't actually have items to enter into all of these classes. Some frantic crafting has been called for over the last couple of weeks!

This is what I entered:

1. Any other knitted item (not a jumper/cardigan)

I decided that I should enter the most intricate piece of lace in this class, so it was my Mystery Stole /Swan Lake that I chose.

2. Any crocheted item

Most of my crocheted items have been given away, so I had to complete the new baby blanket in time for the show.

3. Any handcrafted item costing less than £8

My Swallowtail Shawl, I figured as the yarn was gifted and the beads were from my stash this one counted!

4. Any handcrafted item costing more than £8

5. A handmade toy (not from a kit)
I had nothing for this category with a week to go until the show. I thought about knitting another Elijah, but it would've been such a rush. I pulled out my sewing books and found Peanut the Wee Elephant in Last Minute Patchwork gifts and decided to try to make him. After a bit of faffing (and lots of mistakes) it came together quite well. Stella the elephant She is called Stella (not after the beer, but the Ida Maria song that has been in my head for months!)

6. An item of babywear

Once again, all baby items have been gifted, and there was no time for anything spectacular, so I decided to stick with some socks.
Baby Socks
Made from my left over Peppermint Pink Yarn Yard Bonny I knit these in two days on the train. They are very sweet and are going towards the present pile for all of the expectant mothers I know. I have enough yarn left, so I think I will make a little hat too.

I went to display my items on Saturday evening, judging commenced at 10am in Sunday morning, however we didn't go back to the show until Monday afternoon. I spent most of Sunday wondering if all the items I exhibited would still be there when I went to collect them and nervously wondering what I'd won.

I made a bee-line for the exhibition tent when we arrived at the show. The first table I came to was the toy category. Stella hadn't won. She was well beaten by an Alan Dart farmyard, which was fabulous - there is no way I would like to seam all of those tiny pieces. I was a little miffed that some magnetic fish beat her into third place. Maybe she is just a little too retro!

Next up was the baby category. No surprise that the socks didn't win a prize here, there were lots of pastel, acrylic cardigans that saw off the competition from my socks!

From across the table I could see a rosette next to my crochet entry. I ran around the table to see I'd got first prize! Yipeee.

Next to this was the knitting category, first prize again.

I was suitably chuffed. The other entries includes a single bed size afghan in an aran weight acrylic made up of different cable blocks, an intarsia waistcoat, a pair of gloves, and a couple of cushions. There were about 5 or 6 people standing around the exhibits when I arrived and they were talking animatedly about the result. Half of then arguing that they couldn't see why my shawl had won when so much work had gone into the afghan. The other half were counteracting the argument with how fine and detailed the shawl was. I listened with amusement for a couple of minutes before someone said that the blanket obviously took months and months to make. I then interrupted that it had also taken months to make the shawl! I was quite amused when asked, with a look of shock, if I had made it and there were then lots of comments about how "youngsters" today don't knit and how lovely it was to see me knitting etc etc. I think I managed to convince them that there is a whole world of knitters out there - or maybe they just though I was a little barmy!

No more rosettes for me, the two general craft categories had entries ranging from hand made greeting cards, to wooden standard lamps to matchstick big wheels. All very odd. I'm not even sure what criteria was used to judge as the winners seemed completely random. Tony was getting quite heated about how my stuff deserved a rosette, however I won in the categories I really wanted to so I was very pleased.

Here are the winning items:

And some pictures of the amazing vegetables!

A display of fruit and veg from one of the allotments, this came second!

The Heaviest Pumpkin/Squash

Prize winning pot leeks.... this is where the real competition was!

Along with the onions!

Secret of the Stole III - Clue 1

I finished this on Thursday evening, just before the next clue was released but I haven't picked it up again since. I don't think I'll be able to keep up this week as I'm out every night until Friday. Maybe I can do some next weekend...
Secret of the Stole Clue 1

Saturday, August 23, 2008


My socks from my stash for August are Jane's Haystacks socks from the Summer Pick n' Mix collection available at The Yarn Yard
Haystacks Socks
I used the left overs from The Yarn Yard June 07 sock club yarn, which I absolutely love. I made my sockapaloooza socks from this yarn last year - they are one of the pictures on the right hand side of Natalie's blog, which makes me smile every time I see them.
As you can see, there wasn't quite enough plain blue yarn to make the new socks matching, but I don't really care! I love them.
Haystacks Socks
The leg pattern is ingenious and makes the socks grow really fast. These only took about a week and a half of train journeys to Birmingham and back.
Haystacks Socks
I have about 2g of the variegated yarn left, so it really is stash well and truly used up!
Thanks to Jane for another great pattern, and to Natalie for some wonderful colour choices.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Perfect Parcel

I had been planning a completely different blog post in my head on the train home from work today. However I got home to find a big parcel; a parcel for me. I knew it had to be from my UK Swap Pal and I was very excited.
It was postmarked Cambridge. I then remembered reading on the Ravelry message board that Picperfic had posted a parcel yesterday. Oooh, could it be? I went off on a hunt for scissors and my camera and this is what greeted me when I opened the box:
UK Swap Parcel
I then squealed with delight several times as I took all of the presents out of the bag. It was like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one.
UK Swap Parcel
I then carefully unwrapped each one, marvelling at the thought that had gone into each gift.
UK Swap Parcel
So what do I have? I'll save the bag for last. Mint Marrakech teabags from Ringtons, the pattern for Have a Heart socks designed by Marianne herself, ChaKashan loose tea from Ringtons, a crocheted washcloth, Miffy stickers, beautiful shawl pin, Cafe Tasse Belgian Chocolate, handmade stitchmarkers, honey and beeswax candle with matching honey and beeswax soap from The National Trust, hand recovery skin therapy from Crabtree and Evelyn, a skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot in "Crazy Woman" colourway (this made me laugh a lot) , a skein of dkKnits Technicolor Dream Toes in red/green.
Finally the bag. How amazing is this?
UK Swap Parcel
What is even more amazing is the fabric inside. This round of the UK swap had a photo theme. Well take a look at the photo I chose as my theme and then look at the inside of the bag.
UK Swap Parcel
I can't believe Marianne found Miffy fabric! Please, please, please tell me where it is from and tell me more about the bag, I love it!
Everything in the parcel is so perfect, I couldn't have chosen better myself. All the little treats are things I am sure I will love. I am very intrigued by the tea - it all sounds wonderful and it is coming with me to work tomorrow (in my new bag, which I am now going to take everywhere with me). The yarn is gorgeous, beautiful colourways and I haven't tried either of these before.
As you know I have been co-hosting this swap with Delle. I've been starting to get worried about people not sending parcels, parcels being lost in the post etc etc, but this wonderful package has made me more determined to ensure everyone gets their parcel. I only hope it is as wonderful as mine. It also spurs me on to want to do a round 3!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Present time

The garden is going a bit crazy at the moment.
Garden Aug 08

1. Today's produce, 2. Runner Beans, 3. The Squash (I think), 4. Longest Tomato stem in the world, 5. Cucumber, 6. The Squash (I think)

I have more courgettes than I know what to do with (any recipe suggestions greatfully received). The tomatoes and cucumbers need picking almost every day. In a weeks time we will have more runner beans than we know what to do with. The tomato truss is trying to escape out of the greenhouse door and the butternut squash (I think that is what they are, but they could be pumpkins) are getting bigger every day.

I'm not complaining though. It is very satisfying when you can work from home and go outside to pick your own lunch. Yum.

Being at home today (our office is being refurbished) meant that I could sneak outside and take some pictures of my new sewing project before it is gifted at the weekend. I saw the ones SussexYorkie had made and had to have a go. The sale at Cath Kidston in Selfridges left me in no doubt of what to make my friend for her birthday on Saturday.
Cath Kidston Tea Towel Market Bag
Cath Kidston Tea Towel Market Bag
The tutorial is here.
I bought a purse to match the tea towels and figured I could probably put a clip on the loop for hanging the tea towel so the purse could be attached inside the bag. I also added a magnetic snap fastener.
I must have one for myself.... I think I may be off on a tea towel hunt as I want to make one for my Secret Pal and my UK Swap pal. So if you see any good tea towels let me know!

Talking of secret pal. A parcel arrived from Finland for me today.
Secret pal 12 Parcel
Some gorgeous wool/silk lace yarn, a popular Finnish brand I'm told and sweets with Moomins on. How cool are they???? Thank you secret pal. It was a perfect parcel.

Lastly, I couldn't leave you without a blanket update picture. 16 squares down.
16 Squares
Another pregnancy announcement today means that you are going to be completely sick of blankets by January!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Secret of the Stole III Swatch

As promised, it have completed my swatch for Secret of the Stole III

Secret of the Stole iii Swatch
I tried a number of different beads, but these are the ones I am going to use. They are from Beads Direct.
I have two colours, the ones with a coppery/greenish tinge at top are the ones I used on my Swallowtail shawl and the ones at the bottom are more purple... I think I'm going to mix the two. Secret of the Stole III Swatch
Yarn: Malabrigo Lace weight in "Cuarzo"
Needles: 3.75mm addi turbos

Just a quick update today as I have a birthday present to finish and it is 21:40 already!
I have next week off work, and I have great plans to do lots of knitting and sewing. I'm getting braver with my driving so I am even considering a trip to the Colinette Mill Shop on Wednesday.... however I'm not sure if my bank balance can take it (especially as I had to fix said car last month)! Have you been? Let me know what you thought...