Sunday, September 28, 2008

Socktopus SoSeSaSwa Questionnaire

Yes, another swap. I've joined the Socktopus Secret Santa Swap. I'll be knitting a pair of socks for someone and putting together a sock kit parcel for someone else using the Socktopus ethos - can't wait!

1. What are your favourite colours and fibres?

I love purples, and also have a thing about teal at the moment. I like wool (esp merino) and nylon mixes for socks - my socks have a tough time so it is good if they are machine washable.

2. Anything that makes your toes curl? (Fibre, colour, other)

I'm happy to try almost anything! I have some cotton mix yarn for socks that I hated knitting with, it needs to be "springy"

3. Would you describe yourself as a beginner, intermediate or advanced knitter?

I reckon intermediate.

4. Do you have an online wishlist? (Amazon or other)


5. Any new techniques you'd like to learn?

I need to learn how to magic loop. I can knit socks from the toe up, but have never done a toe up heel flap, so that's another thing on the list.

6. What is your favourite:

Snack? Green & Blacks Milk chocolate - although very occasionally at the moment as I'm doing Weight Watchers, so these days it tends to be a banana
Book? Anything by Nick Horby, Ian McEwan, Roald Dahl or the Harry Potter series
Movie? The Wizard of Oz
Music? I love mid 90's - now indie music. Fave's at the moment are The Courteeners, The Holloways, Pigeon Detectives, Arctic Monkey's. Older faves are Ash, The Wonder Stuff, Athlete - stuff like that.

7. What are your favourite items to knit?

Socks, socks and more socks.

8. Any patterns that are top of your queue?

There are lots of socks in my queue, I tend to put them there as a place to browse when starting a new socks. As for other items, I want to knit Liesl by Ysolda, a February Lady Sweater and a tank top for me for work.

9. Do you have any other hobbies?

I have a sewing machine and try to make clothes. I also dabble in growing vegetables and have a lot of courgettes!

10. Tell us about yourself. When did you first pick up your needles? Who/what encouraged you to start knitting? How would you describe your knitting style? Are you a process knitter or a product knitter, etc.

My mum taught me to knit when I was small. I remember making a lot of Jean Greenhowe dolls in my early teens. I picked up my needles only a few times in my late teens/early 20's - usually to make a scarf or a toy. Then friends at work started reproducing and I enjoyed making baby clothes as presents. I also started making bags and ill fitting garments. I discovered knit blogs in 2005 and started blogging in 2006 and I've had something otn ever since. Most of my knitting time is on my commute to work, hence the ridiculous amount of socks I knit. I also knit jumpers/hats/scarves/dresses for the plethora of small children my friends have been producing recently. Lace is my new joy, great for long train journeys. My goal this winter is to make some garments (or even just one garment) for me, that actually fits!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Quidditch Round 1

Here are my answers.
1. At the beginning of the book, Cornelius Fudge is talking to the Muggle Prime Minister. Which member of the Order of the Phoenix has recently been found dead?
c. Emmeline Vance
2. What animal does Bellatrix Lestrange kill when she and her sister, Narcissa, are going to see Professor Snape?
b. Fox
3. What time does Professor Dumbledore collect Harry from Privet Drive?
b. 11 p.m.
4. What did Professor Sluhorn transform into when he was trying to hide from Harry and Professor Dumbledore?
a. An armchair
5. What grade did Harry get for Herbology?
a. E – Exceeds Expectation
6. Herbert Chorley, the Prime Minister’s Junior Minster, has been entertaining the public by impersonating which animal?
b. A duck
7. What is Professor Sprout’s first name?
d. Pomona
8. What is Dumbledore’s idea of ‘a few words’?
d. nitwit, oddment, blubber and tweak
9. Who is Marcus Belby’s famous uncle?
b. Damocles
10. What is Snape’s mother’s name?
b. Eileen Prince

PicturesPost pictures to your blogs or link to the pictures from your blog post.
Professor Sprout
Professor Dumbledore

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


In the last couple of weeks the good and bad have been fairly evenly balanced

The good:
1. I've been to Majorca with work, had lots of fun and didn't spend anything at all!
2. I have reached my 2 stone milestone in my weight loss campain.
3. I bought some new jeans - 2 sizes smaller than in May.

The not so good:
1. I got stung by a jellyfish whilst in Majorca! (I'm ok, but I've got a nasty burn on my arm)
2. I really can't get the hang ot the Sockdown secret socks, they have been ripped out about 3 times! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
3. My ipod has died.

I am gutted about my ipod. I've had it for 4.5 years and listened to it virtually every day. It's had a new battery and I thought it would last forever. It seems the hard drive didn't agree. So I have spent the last week cooking up ideas of how to save enough money to buy a new one. Most revolved around making things to sell. However when rummaging in my suitcase full of yarn on Sunday I had a sudden realisation. I needed to destash, I'm sure I could make at least half of the cost towards a new ipod if I sold some yarn. So, here we go. My Ravelry For Sale page is here and my whole yarn stash is here. Take a look and let me know if you want anything, even if it is not for sale at the moment. I have very few things that I am desperate to keep.

I am a little shocked that I love my ipod more than my yarn.... but I'm finding it hard to knit on the train without music (or stories!!).

I have managed some knitting, Christmas socks from the August Yarn Yard sock club
Show-Off Socks
One is finished and the other has 1/2 a foot to finish.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Picture Day

The HSKS6 are having a picture day... here is me in my favourite pose - eating cake!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hufflepuff Quiz

1. Do you knit and/or crochet?
2. How long have you been at your craft?
I've been knitting since I was small and crocheting for about 3 years now.
3. Do you spin? If yes do you use drop spindle or wheel.
Neither, I would like to learn but fear that I don't need another craft to take up my time or any more yarn!
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Do you have any other hobbies?
I sew, I grow vegetables and I watch football (soccer), team is Wolverhampton Wanderers
6. What are your favorite yarns/fibers?
I love Malabrigo, soft laceweights and sturdy sock yarn (anything machine washable for socks!)
7. What are your LEAST favorite yarns/fibers?
Any squeaky acrylics or harsh wool.
8. Are there any yarns that you’ve been eyeing and wanting to try?
Nothing specific, any "new" sock yarns - all my yarn is on Ravelry so you can see what I've tried.
9. What are you currently working on?
Two pairs of socks, Secret of the Stole III and a cardigan for me.
10. What is your favorite Finished Object? (Pictures are welcome.)
Knitting - my mystery stole from last year
ms3 complete 010
and crochet, my new baby blanket
Hexagon Baby Blanket

11. Are their any knitting/crochet techniques that you would like to learn?
I'd like to get better at fair isle.
12. What is you favorite type of book or movie?
True stories or children's fiction
13. Who is your favorite person at Hogwarts?
professor McGonagall
14. Favorite class and/or subject at Hogwarts?
15. How many family members do you have?
I live with my boyfriend
16. What is your favorite Fall activity?
Walking on crunchy fallen leaves
17. How many projects do you have on your needles/hook?
Too Many! - 10 according to Ravelry.
18. What is your favorite type of footwear?
My Birkenstocks or Crocs
19. What is your favorite beverage of choice?
Rooibos or Peppermint tea
20. What is your favorite part of Half-blood Prince?
Dumbledore using the pensieve to teach harry about the horcruxes - it is where it all starts to come together.

Huzzah Hufflepuff!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Horcrux Socks

Yet another finished object!
Horcrux Socks
Started: 1st September
Finished: 10th September
Pattern: Horcrux Socks
Yarn: Bright Dyes in Gryffindor
Needles: 2.5mm
Comments: These are for my Hogwarts Socks Swap Pal - I'm not overly keen on the colours, but she is in Gryffindor, so I hope she likes them. They were a speedy knit, as I left out the ribbing after the Horcrux pattern.
Horcrux Socks
Now all I have to do is find some other goodies to finish off the parcel!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap 6

I've signed up for another Hogwarts sock kit swap. This time I've been sorted into Hufflepuff.

Potter Name: Daisy Rozier
Rav ID: Rooknits
I am allergic to: Nothing, but I hate the smell of cigarette smoke!
Pets that I have: None
My favorite yarn: Malabrigo - any kind. So soft and gorgeous.
My favorite flavor: Chocolate! Green & Blacks Milk chocolate to be precise.
My favorite holiday: Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas - well as we don't have Thanksgiving in the UK, and Halloween isn't a big thing here I guess it is Christmas.
I would like to receive a: Sock kit
List your favorite brand of needles or hooks, including size and length:Is there a brand that you are dying to try?: I would really like a long 2.5mm addi turbo or knitpicks circular to try magic looping on.
I've participated in HSKS: Two previous rounds.
Do you have a birthday during this swap? Nope.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hexagon Baby Blanket

I've had hexagons on my mind for quite a long time, ever since I first came across Moonstitches blanket and all the wonderful blankets here. I knew these would work out really well with the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino I have left over from other baby blankets I have made.

I didn't have the pattern for the blanket, but thought I could figure it out. After a couple of attempts and a little maths (or rather the realisation if you want 6 sides you need to have a number of stitches divisible by 6!) I managed to come up with a hexagon I was happy with.
Hexagon Baby Blanket
I had 19 colours of Cashmerino plus the ecru for the borders, they are all listed on the Ravelry entry for this project.

I crocheted an inner circle from each colour, then randomly picked a second round colour. Once all the second rounds were completed I added a third circle. I only changed my random choice if it came out as the same colour as the previous round or, when completing sets 2 and 3, if I'd already got that colour combination in that order.
There are 3 "sets" of circles in this blanket - 57 hexagons in total - each colour has been used to make 3 inner, middle and outer circles. I tried to work out a total number of colour combinations, but my maths failed me (and really it wasn't that important!)
Hexagon Baby Blanket
I've also been using Moonstitches joining technique, which eliminated the sewing up. I crocheted most of the ends in as I went. It did take a return train journey to London to trim off the ends and sew in those I didn't catch.
Hexagon Baby Blanket
I filled in the "big" gaps down two of the edges with half hexagons in cream. The border is made of a round of trebles in ecru followed by a round in apple green and then a row of double crochets in apple green along the straight sides.
Hexagon Baby Blanket Mosaic
As ever, I can't resist a mosaic. You can see how much the hexagons opened up after blocking in the bottom left photos.

The blanket was gifted yesterday, 11th September, the day my colleague left to start her maternity leave. She was delighted, I've been trying to talk her out of buying a blanket for the last few weeks, without making it obvious why! The baby is due in a month. Fingers crossed they like their snuggly soft hexagon blanket as much as I do and that Sue gets enough time to enjoy the last month of her pregnancy before they decide to arrive.

The stats
Started: 23rd August 2008
Finished: 8th September 2008
(Wow, that is only just over 2 weeks!)
Pattern: A "copied/modified" version of this from this Japanese craft book.
Hook Size: 3.5mm
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. 19 shades for inner circles, using left overs from previous projects. 4 (or possibly 5) balls of ecru for the borders
Comments: I love how this worked out. I love most of the colour combinations, I was a little worried about some but they don't stand out in the finished blanket. I'm glad I decided to make it as random as I could. The joining technique was breakthough for me, and saved so much time that would have been spent sewing up. It also makes the blanket completely seamless. I'm itching to try crocheting some different shapes how. Triangles maybe?

Monday, September 08, 2008

It really was that good...

I had a wonderful weekend, Kerry, Paul and I jumped around to Ash on Friday night, they were brilliant. I got up nice and early the next morning and met Delle at Kings Cross. We
made our way to the Horticultural Halls for iKnit and arrived in the queue just in time for the rain to start,however that didn't dampen our spirits.
Jane Sowerby's talk was first, it was a pity we couldn't hear more but her shawls were amazing... I am wondering what to knit first from Victorian Lace Today.
We shopped for a while, had lunch and then queued in the rain again for the Yarn Harlot.
There were lots of people....
iKnit Day with the Yarn Harlot
There were pictures of the sock....This from the other side!
iKnit Day with the Yarn Harlot
I got three books signed and had a random conversation about Toronto!
(Thanks to Rachel for taking the photo)
iKnit Day with the Yarn Harlot
I met so many people, including Dawn and Natalie who I was hoping to see... there were so many amazing handknits, so many people knitting all in one place. It was such a great day.

Yes, I bought stuff too..... but only two things.
1. Angel,Top Left -Some laceweight Angel, Kid Alpaca, Cashmere and silk from the Natural Dye Studio - I was unable to resist the softness.
2. Sushi Sock Roll,Top right - a Sushi sock roll from Easyknits- I was sucked into the latest craze after Natalie and Dawn both had some, I wanted one too! I can see how it will knit up completely differently from skein dyed yarn and I'm excited to try it.
3. Malabrigo Sock - in the middle. Velvet grapes colourway. I bought this from Alice a couple of weeks ago, but it didn't arrive. I collected my two skeins at iKnit, only to get home to find my parcel from Alice. I had ordered Rayon Vert and Velvet Grages, but I am keeping the two skeins of Velvet Grapes. This is amazing, so soft, I am hoping it stays true to the machine washable claims.
I had another parcel waiting for me at home 4. August Sock Club, from the Yarn Yard along with a fabulous skein of 5. Orange bonny for my Sockdown September socks. I must print out the pattern and start knitting!
Oh yes, and there was enough time on the train to finish the blanket... more on that next time as I think it deserves a post of it's own (and some better photos!)
Hexagon Baby Blanket

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A fabulous weekend in store...

I can't wait for it to be Friday evening. I have the most wonderful weekend planned and I'm so excited.

I'm going to see Ash at the Roundhouse in Camden on Friday night. They are playing the whole of "1977" which is one of my favourite albums ever (as well as being the best year to be born in!). In fact, "Girl From Mars" has always been "my song". Yipeeeee.

Now I'm in Wolverhampton, I don't see Kerry nearly enough, so I'm looking forward to jumping around with her like we are still 18 on Friday and spending some "quality time" with her over the course of the weekend.

Then on Saturday it is iKnit. I'm meeting Delle, who is my UK Swap co-host, at Kings Cross and we will be venturing down to Victoria in time to see the talk from Jane Sowerby.

I don't really know what to expect, as I didn't go last year. Will it be really weird to meet lots of people I "know" from blogs and Ravelry? I expect so, but I am still looking forward to it. I'll be wearing my Ravelry badge and looking like my Ravelry avatar - please say hello if you see me!
I must remember to pack my camera!
I must make a shopping list too. There isn't anything I am desperate to buy, which is probably a bad sign. I have to pick up some Malabrigo sock yarn from Alice at Socktopus as the Post Office appears to have lost my order. Grrr. I'm sure I'll be tempted by lots and lots of yummy sock yarn... does anyone have any recommendations?

On Sunday Kerry and I are meeting an old school friend for a long awaited catch up, and I'll be giving her the tiny socks I made, she is 8 months pregnant! I think we'll be chilling out in and around Spitalfields, one of my favourite things to do on a Sunday in London.

Now, train knitting.... how to decide what to take?

The blanket is going well:
Hexagon Baby Blanket

I have 9 more hexagons to add. I then have to decide what to do with the gaps on the side.

Hexagon Baby Blanket

Should I fill them in in cream? Or should I try and Make some half hexagons? Any suggestions? Maybe I need to have a hunt around Ravelry to see what I like, I'm quite happy with the other edge being zig-zaggy!

I've also started a pair of socks for my Hogwarts Sock Swap pal, Horcrux using Bright Dyes Gryffindor yarn. These should be fairly easy iknit knitting!

Horcrux Socks

Should I bring along my Secret of the Stole too? I have 3 hours on the train on Sunday.which is always good lace knitting time... decisions decisions.