Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 Resolutions

1. Loose more weight, I'm hoping to fit into a size 12 wedding dress by 11th July (yes, a date has been set). 3 stone down, 2 to go.
2. Make the said wedding dress.
3. Make a shawl for the wedding.
4. Make a dress for my little bridesmaid.
5. Knit 12 pairs of socks - one a month - from stash yarn. I want to try a Yarnissima pattern, another Cookie A pattern, one fair isle (hopefully Harika when I get some contrast yarn) and one with twisted stitches. I also have to finish the Kilt Hose.
6. Keep up with the Socktopus sock club patterns.
7. Make another garment for me. Dawn advised something top down with negative ease so it doesn't matter if I lose more weight. Any ideas? I am currently thinking of the Honeycomb vest from Knitty
8. Spend less time online and more time knitting/crocheting/sewing!

The end of 08 Projects

I was going to blog about 2009 resolutions today, but thought a recap of what projects are on the needles/hook would be appropriate.
My February Lady Sweater in Malabrigo worsted. Only 1.5 sleeves to go and I can't wait to wear it.
February Lady Sweater

Train knitting is Oolong Socks from the Twist Collective in Hazel Knits Sock yarn (P.s. This yarn is amazing AND there is a sock club that has just been announced)
Oolong Socks
I managed a Channel Island cast on for these, Lucy Neatby would be proud of me!

A new blanket for an early 2009 arrival.
Billybob's Hexagon Blanket
More hexagons, this time some of them have bobbles, some have cluster stitches, some are just trebles. I'm having fun and I'm happy with the Rowan Classic Cashsoft 4ply colours, even if the yarn is a bit splitty.

Of course I still have the Noro Hexagon blanket and Kerry's Kilt Hose to finish too.
Ravelry has also reminded me that I started a tank top for Toby in the summer, I think this might be the perfect present for Owen's Birthday!

Right, the end of 2008 is nigh, which leaves me with nothing but to wish you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR. I hope 2009 brings you health and happiness.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Non-Sock Review of the Year

I have actually made some items that are not socks this year:
7 hats, 3 blankets, 2 pairs of mittens, 2 pairs of hanswarmers, 2 lace shawls, 2 jumpers for small people, 1 tank top for an even smaller person, 1 knitted elephant, 1 sewn elephant, 2 dresses (only 1 pictured), 1 top, 1 bag and 1 crocheted shawl.
2008 Review

1. BuzzBee & Carys, 2. Rainbow Mittens, 3. Tubey, 4. Beanie, 5. Meret II, 6. Meret by Woollywormhead, 7. Stranded Mitten - NHM #3, 8. cubba 005, 9. Waltzer, 10. Hexagon Baby Blanket, 11. Baby Blanket Number 5, 12. josh blanket final 003, 13. Muir, 14. Swallowtail, 15. cranford 003, 16. oz vest 002, 17. Sidney, 18. owen&carys 090308 017, 19. hugsandkisses 005, 20. fetching_roo 001, 21. flower wrap 005, 22. Stella the elephant, 23. Cath Kidston Tea Towel Market Bag, 24. dress 003, 25. Blue Flower Top

Add all of this lot to my finished socks and that makes 44 finished items for 2008... very nearly 1 a week!

How did I do on those new years resolutions?

1. 2008 will be a year of more knitting for me, and less gift knitting.
Last year 8 out of 35 (23%) of handmade items were for me.

This year 15 out of 44 (34%) of handmade items were for me.
An improvement and I think I am fairly happy with the gift/for me making balance.

2. A year of making bigger garments
I planned on making
A tank top - based on Ms Marigold for me using Rowan Calmer.
An aran type jumper/cardigan jacket using the aran wool I bought in Ireland nearly 2 years ago
Fyne tank top that I have swatched for.

I have made none of these, and haven't managed to finish a garment for me this year, although the February Lady Sweater is nearly completion (much further on than the photo below) with only a sleeve and a half to go.
February Lady Sweater
I have lost 3 stone since April and gone down 3-4 dress sizes, so have been putting off knitting garments because I have been scared that they will be too big when finished (like all my other clothes!) Luckily FLS fits like a dream at the moment. So actually 2008 has been the year of knitting one smaller garment!

3. More lace knitting
Yup, a swallowtail and Muir and lots of lacy socks.

4. Finish the WIPs
Two out of the 4 pairs of socks are done, I have frogged the Pomatomus as there were too many mistakes. The solitary Kilt Hose is in need of a mate!

My Noro hexagon blanket is much futher on. I still have more hexagons to add but it is perfect lap blanket size at the moment.

The jumper and crochet shawl were both finished.

Not too bad on the WIP front.

Come back tomorrow to see what 2009 has in store.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Winter Warmers Swap - Warming your neck

Delle asked...
What is your favourite neck warming pattern?
For instant satisfaction a garter stitch scarf made in Rowan Big wool on 15mm needles.
lakes nov07 010

At the other end of the spectrum, lace scarves appeal greatly. At the top of my list to knit are Gust , Flutter and Argosy
Crocheted scarves are good too... how about this one? (Rav Link)
Do you have a favourite FO?
Something a lot more subtle than the big wool scarf above. I adore my MS3 - it is meant to be a stole but mine is far more scarf like. I love the Malabrigo lace, so snuggly.
ms3 complete 010

Is there a style of neck warmer you particularly like?
However this year I have been drawn towards cowls. I love the Ice Queen pattern, and think it would be amazing in some really fine lace merino.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sock Review

My review of the year starts with the thing I knit most, socks!
Here are the 18 pairs for the year - 5 more than last year and 9 pairs for me! I now have so many pairs of hand knitted socks that they don't fit in the drawer.

Sock Review

1. Christmas Stocking, 2. Honeybee Socks, 3. Express Lane Socks, 4. Show-Off Stranded Socks, 5. Horcrux Socks, 6. Baby Socks, 7. Haystacks Socks, 8. Fruit Pastel Socks, 9. Summer Chevron Socks, 10. stashbuster spiral 001, 11. speedway 008, 12. cranford 002, 13. Embossed Leaves, 14. spiral socks 001, 15. whitby 007, 16. Monkey 013, 17. gentleman sock evening wear 005, 18. lichen_rib 001

It is hard to pick a favourite, I love the embossed leaves pattern, perfect for my green yarn. Whitby are the most snuggly, but not really a practical choice of sock yarn, but really good bed socks. Honeybee, which I gifted to my Socktopus Secret Santa pal were probably the most interesting to knit. The Malabrigo yarn was just divine.

I also still have my Kilt Hose to finish - I WILL cast on number two soon. This was meant to be a Christmas present - for last Christmas, ooops. Sorry Kerry!
I've finally frogged my Koigu Pomatomus as there were too many mistakes and I will be frogging my Harika socks - but I do plan on making these when I find a better contrast yarn.

Finally, do you remember what my sock yarn stash looked like last year?
I reckoned I could knit 77 pairs.
Well this year I have added this little lot to it (plus a few more)... of which only 3 skeins have been knitted.

Sock Yarn
However, I did have a bit of a clear out earlier in the year, swapping and selling quite a lot. My Ravelry counter, which is more or less accurate, tells me I have 48 balls of sock yarn - compared with 54 last January. However that is still far more than I can knit in a year.

So, what are my sock knitting plans for next year?

First up is a pair for my dad's 60th at the end of January. I'm going to use this Regia(fairly boring) Regia. Not sure on a pattern yet. Probably a simple rib, using the channel island cast on I learnt from Lucy Neatby.

Second, I wound this gorgeous Hazel Knits into a ball last night
In preparation to cast on for Oolong from the Twist Collective
I also have my Socktopus Sock Club parcels to look forward to, with the first one arriving in January. Now who thinks I can knit socks solely from my stash next year?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Presents for small people

There hasn't been much time for blogging around here. I've spent the last couple of weeks either out of the house at Christmas parties or furiously knitting Christmas presents. They are all in the post or have been gifted, so here is a run down of the Christmas knitting for little ones.

Rainbow Mittens

Rainbow Mittens Rainbow Mittens
Started:15th November 2008
Finished:21st December 2008
Pattern: Annemor #2 by Terri Shea - but with my own design on the front!
Yarn: Left over Opal Feeling and Opal uni
Ravelry Link

Comments: Very cute - but should possibly matching!

Christmas Stocking
Christmas Stocking
Started: 19th December

Finished: 21st December

Pattern: My own - using my Lucy Neatby garter stitch cuff and heel. Patterns from my Fair Isle book.

Yarn: New Lanark Aran in Bramble and Ecru.

Ravelry Link

Comments: I can't believe how quickly I managed to knit this - 60 stitches on 4mm needles made it fly!

The there were hats galore... However I'm not convinced any of these are going to fit their intended recipients despite having the necessary head measurements (boo).
First there is Tubey (and me looking a little hungover).
Started: 12th December

Finished: 15th December

Pattern: Tubey from Woolly Wormheads Wee Woolly Toppers

Yarn: Dream in Color Classy in Dusky Aurora

Ravelry Link here

I modified the pattern and knit over about 86 stitches as the largest size would have been too small for Toby who is 2 1/2, but as you can see, it now fits me! Oops. At least I have a fairly small head (only 3 cm different to the intended recipient) so I'm hoping it will fit him at some point in the future!

Next up was an I-Cord Beanie for Toby's little brother Josh.
Started:16th Decemeber

Finished: 18th December

Pattern: Baby I-Cord beanie by Woolly Wormhead

Size: L

Yarn: Dream in Color Classy in Blue Lagoon (with the left overs of Dusky Aurora thrown in for good measure)

Ravelry Link

Comments: I think this one isn't going to be long enough, but at least I can add a few more rows if necessary.... I didn't think about how much the edge would curl. Oops.

Lastly, there is BuzzBee

Started: 4th December

Finished: 6th December

Pattern: BuzzBee from Wee Woolly Toppers

Size: XL - I added in a few more stitches (it was a little more mathematical than that but I can't remember exactly what I did without my notes in front of me!)

Yarn: Dream in Color Classy in Dusky Aurora

Ravelry Link

Comments: This one is my fave... I'm thinking of making myself one!

Phew.... now I have to decide what to make next. I started playing around with my crochet hook on the train to work this morning - it is blanket time again for a baby due in the first week of Jan. I also have my February Lady Sweater to work on at home... Then there is all that gorgeous Hazel Knits and Malabrigo sock yarn calling my name. The Harika socks to frog and start again. Plus I want to make my dad some socks for his 60th at the end of Jan. I have a Winter Warmers UK Swap present to make before then too. I need more hours in the day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Book Time

The days are so dark and miserable at the moment that there are just about no knitting photo opportunities :o(
So instead, I have a meme that is doing the rounds in blogworld at the moment.

I have seen this on various blogs and I thought it might be fun...
This meme is originally from the Big Read, but with the nature of the web this list has changed considerably from the original list here

Apparently the BBC reckon most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. Instructions:
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Underline those you intend to read
3) Italicise the books you LOVE.
4) Natalie suggests, Post your list so we can try and track down these people who’ve only read 6 and force books upon them.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (at school, I remember getting the book in English class and reading it in a couple of nights, and my English teacher was CROSS that I'd read ahead of the class!!!!)
6 The Bible (only a bit of it)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8= Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (again, at school)
8= His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy (Read in 6th form to prove I was right in not picking A level English, because I could enjoy the book without the work... I didn't really enjoy the book. I remember getting thoroughly bored of the lengthy descriptions!)
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (some, but not all, mostly at school)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier _I have this book, but for some reason have never picked it up.
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (very recently, about 3 years after everyone else!)
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres (I don't think I finished it)
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - (about 4 pages and then I couldn't cope with it anymore)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon (another one that is sitting on the bookshelf)
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon (bought for me by my best friend because the main charater reminded her of me! I've never been sure what to think about that... )
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck (again at school, it makes me think of red slippers with feathers on, a tiny mouse and a massive man in blue dungarees)
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Alborn
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (not all of them)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

31 in total, 34 off the original list here.
I wonder which one I should read next?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Socktopus Secret Santa Swap Parcels

I have received two wonderful parcels from my Sosesaswa Pals
Hand delivered by Alice at the Socktopus Weekend in Norfolk:
Sosesaswa Parcels
My sock parcel was from Mel. She hand dyed some merino tencel for me in my favourite colours, and "Saucy" knitted socks from my Rav queue. They are fabulous, and kept my feet nice and toasty in Norfolk. There was also some chocolate, a Harry Potter notebook, a project bag, the sock pattern, foot cream (which smells divine) mini post-it notes and a few other fab little things.

I got home from Norfolk to find my Sock kit parcel waiting for me from the lovely Alex, who I met in Norfolk!
Sosesaswa Parcels
Some gorgeous Brooklyn Handspun sock yarn in my favourite colour. The coolest robot bag, another fab notebook and purple pen and the best handcream in the world.
A massive thanks to Mel and Alex for such fabulous parcels.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Winter Warmers Swap Questionnaire

Handmade Item Swap
What kind of items are you interested in receiving?
A hat, scarf (especially a cowl), mittens, gloves or socks.
I've knit myself a brown beret and some brown and pink stranded mittens for my winter wardrobe, so something that goes with these would be good.
Do you knit, crochet, or both?
Both, and like both equally.
What is your favourite colour?
Purple, or anything stripey. My winter coat is brown with a very pale pink fleece inside if you wanted to make something to match.
What is your least favourite colour?
To be honest, I like all colours. There isn't anything I really dislike.
What’s your style? (elegant, traditional, glamourous, girly, natural, sporty, outgoing, etc.)
I find this really hard, I'm definitely not glam! A mix of traditional and natural I guess. I'm found mostly in jeans and teeshirts when not at work. I love fair isle and lace designs...
Do you have a favourite type of fiber or brand of yarn?
Mostly natural fibres. Anything with Merino (or Cashmere) is a fave. I'm currently knitting with Malabrigo and Dream in Colour Classy which are both gorgeous. Any "soft" wool is great.
Do you have a least favourite type of yarn?
I can't really do Mohair or anything "fluffy" it tends to make me sneeze.
Do you do any other crafts?
I have a sewing machine and dabble a little. I'm planning on making my wedding dress next year. Eeeek.
Are there any knitting accessories you are interested in receiving?
I'd love some Knitpicks Harmony needles, especially the dpns.
What do you like to eat?
I love G&B's Milk Chocolate, but I'm doing weight watchers at the moment, so would prefer diet friendly treats :o)
Any allergies/preferences (fiber-wise or treat-wise)?
Not apart from the mohair/fluffy yarn thing
Anything we missed that you’d like your partner to know?
Nope, don't think so... Give me a shout if you would like to know more.