Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shedfest 2012

Last weekend was my annual weekend in York with other knitters, crocheters and spinners from The Yarn yard group on Ravelry. Our main discussion thread is called The Garden Shed, so we are known as "Sheddites" and our weekend in York has become Shedfest!

A wonderful time was had once again in the Bar Convent.
I spent Saturday morning going around the charity shops with Yvette. Here is my haul:

York charity shop acqusitions
A duffle coat for Thomas, a Radley bag (to match my new boots), skittles for Thomas, books, beads and vintage patterns.

We had a secret swap again this year, my parcel was wrapped in this fabulous rainbow fabric. There was also some crayon fabric which I have sent home with Yvette for her to make into one of her fabulous project bags and a bag of Malteasers (which didn't survive the weekend.)

York Swap parcel goodies
Lastly, we raised money for MSF with a p/hop yarn swap, I took a lot of fleece I know I will never use and here is the rainbow of swap yarn I brought home with me.
York P/Hop Stash Acquisitions

I had a fantastic time catching up with old friends and making new ones. Wren taught me how to darn, and I have managed to replace the toe on one holey sock and darn another since I returned home.
I very much enjoyed sampling the sloe gin and raspberry vodka - a must make for me this summer, it was delicious.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Making Monday - A baby sweater on two needles

Ta da, I present to you my first finished item of the year!

February Baby Sweater

This is a Baby Sweater on Two Needles (aka February Baby Sweater) by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I chose to knit mine in a sock-weight yarn from The Knitting Goddess called Same Difference - two skeins of opposite colourways. I cast on 71 stitches and worked the pattern almost as written from there - apart from I kept the arm stitches on waste yarn and knit them in the round after the body was finished. I have a tiny bit of the body yarn left and at least half of the yoke yarn left over. It is chest size of about 19" - so will hopefully fit from about 4-6 months.

This is for a baby born just before Christmas who lives in Australia - knitting the garment in sock weight means it is a fairly light and lacy, but hopefully should be a good cover up layer during Autumn. Fingers crossed  it arrives across the other side of the world safely.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WIP Wednesday - Those damned socks

Way back in October 2007 my friend Kerry and I took a trip to Ally Pally for the knitting and stitching show. I bought two skeins of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn in an airforce blue colourway with the intention of knitting her some knee high socks for Christmas. Luckily for me I didn't tell her which Christmas! I chose the Kilt Hose pattern by Nancy Bush from Folk Socks

By the end of January 2008 I had one sock nearly completed. I did finish that sock in February 2008 and then I got distracted. Distracted for nearly 4 years. Ooops.

However, we now have progress on sock number two.
Kilt Hose Socks
Cuff and ribbing finished. I've started on the leg. How long until I get distracted by something else?

Monday, January 09, 2012

Making Monday - Advent Stockings

I started thinking about making Thomas an advent calendar in 2010, but there just wasn't enough time.
Sometime at the start of October 2011 I took over the dining table with my sewing machine and spread out my fabric and started to make a plan.
My first thought was to sew pockets of coloured fabric onto a felt tree, rather like this one I had seen.
However, after making a few pockets (some too small, some too big) I couldn't see it working. So I embarked on my next idea - little stockings. I have always wanted to knit a series of advent socks, but know I will never get around to it. This was the quick(ish) solution!
Advent Stockings
After a few failed attempts I used a template I found online .
I sewed them inside out with a 1/4" seam allowance, trimmed the seams, turned them inside out and pinked the tops.
Advent Stockings
I then cut out felt circles and numbers (I printed the numbers from Word and cut around them using tiny scissors). Bondaweb was my friend when it came to fixing the numbers. The heat from the iron also helped as it felted the two lots of felt together so the numbers don't stand proud of the circles. The final flurish was to add ribbons and buttons/bells to hang them with.
Advent Stockings
I managed all of this before the 1st December - which I was a bit shocked about because it was done in 10/15 minute bursts, whilst Thomas was napping in the day and I had finished my chores.
This year I filled them with mini Cadbury treat size chocolate bars. (I learnt very quickly not to let Thomas eat the Flake bars!)
Next year I have plans of creating some little knitted items to put into the stockings which we can hang up somewhere to help us count the days as you can't really tell which stockings are full and which are empty when they are hanging up. I've seen this advent garland pattern and feel some of these may work.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

18 Months - Like Father like Son

I think this picture says it all.
Thomas - 18 Months
Or maybe this one says it better... He didn't quite know what to do with himself when confronted with so many tools
Thomas - 18 Months
He spent Saturday "helping" Daddy fit a new towel rail in the downstairs loo.
Thomas - 18 Months
Thomas' favourite present this Christmas? Probably the pretend Bosch power drill I acquired at an NCT sale when he was about 3 months old! Or perhaps the plastic tools found in the charity shop.
However the cart is still good fun (especially when your walking is still very wobbly.)
Thomas - 18 Months
This is the face he pulls when scooting at high speed.
Thomas - 18 Months
Which he spends quite a lot of his time doing. Either that or running around pushing a wooden trolley. His walking is getting better and better, but crawling is still the default.
So that I remember.....
He has 10 teeth, weighs 11.9kg and is 83cm long.
He can say, Mama, Dada, Grandma and Grandpa (but both sound very similar), Nana, cupoftea, shoes, more and bye; he signs for milk/drinks, food and thank you.
He can make the noises for a sheep, cow, dog (most animals go woof woof), cat and monkey. We are working on the pig and trying to teach him that birds go tweet tweet rather than woof (too many Mr Men books I think).

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I am jumping on the bandwagon, copying Kate, and giving you a WIP Wednesday post today, what with it being Wednesday and all.
Here we have the beginnings of a (February) Baby sweater on two needles by Elizabeth Zimmerman.
February baby sweater
I am knitting it in The Knitting Goddess "Same Difference" yarn in Colourway Jellybean. This is a pair of skeins, with opposite colourways:

Knitting Goddess

I'm using the pink for the yoke and borders and the green for the body. I'm knitting this at a fairly loose gauge so the lace is particularly lacey. However, as it is destined for a new baby on the other side of the world I don't think that will be a problem.

Monday, January 02, 2012

A Hoot for Christmas

This is the result of another project that has been in my head for a long time. Every little boy needs a burnt orange sweater don't they?

I made an Owlet sweater in December 2009; which ended up too small for its intended recipient who was nearly 2 and ended up being gifted for a 1st Birthday. I loved the finished item, but didn't really want to knit one in anything thicker than aran weight, and the pattern calls for chunky yarn in the larger sizes. So, I hatched a plan. I found some perfect Easyknits Deeply Wicked DK in the colourway "Tangelo" at Fibre Flurry in October. I bought 3 skeins and used two.

I measured Thomas' current favourite jumpers, swatched and did some maths and came up with a plan.
A Christmas Hoot
I cast on 120 stitches to give me an approx 24" chest. I lengthened the yoke by adding a few rows before and after the owls.
I also made the sleeve cuffs long, in the hope that this may still fit next winter. (Fingers crossed!)
A Christmas Hoot
18 Owls in total. Buttons for eyes on the front only (as that is all I had - but I think it works.)
A Christmas Hoot
I could perhaps do with a few more neck decreases - but I wanted to make sure it would fit easily over Thomas' head.
A Christmas Hoot
Perfect with a pair of brown cords on Christmas morning for that 70's retro look :o)

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Hats Galore

In an attempt to catch up on what I've made in the last few months here is a little summary of the headgear produced here at Rooknits.

In December, two more Springtime Hats. This one in chunky weight alpaca merino mix from Fyberspates that I got in a p/hop swap.
Hat's for Evie
And this one in some Malabrigo Worsted I purchased on a recent trip to Loop in London.
Hat's for Evie
At the start of October I made Bimple from Woollywormhead's Bambeanies for Thomas from half a skein of Colinette Iona
Bimple Hat
He wasn't too happy about modelling it, but has been wearing it quite happily since it got colder. Plus the ties mean it stays on!
The colourway is Copperbeach, which meets the boyish but interesting criteria I set myself.
Another Bambeanies knit was Queenie, for a little girl who turned 5 in October. This one is in Noro Silk Garden - and I am very thankful to Caroline who donated the little extra yarn I needed to finish it.

2011 - A review of the projects

2011 here and gone in a blink of an eye. It feels like yesterday I was writing the 2010 post.
I've been at home with Thomas for the whole year. I think I've finally adjusted to life as a housewife/stay at home Mum. I don't find it easy, but I know I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I could still be more organised and tidier, but I'm getting there slowly! There has also been more and more time for crafting in the evenings.

This year I have completed 32 knitting and crochet projects.

5 Jumpers/Cardigans/Vests for Thomas - all of which he wears all the time.
4 shrugs as first birthday presents.
8 hats.
3 pairs of adult socks, one pair of toddler socks and one pair of baby socks
2 blankets
2 bibs
3 shawls
1 cowl
1 tea cosy
1 dinosaur

My 2011 Creations
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

So how did I do with my 2011 goals?

1. There are some very old WIPs that I really need to finish. My Kureyon Hexagon blanket, started in March 2006 being the main one; and these two pairs of pesky long socks.
The blanket is finally finished. I have knit the cuff on my second Kilt Hose sock - this is what I plan on finishing next.

2. Finish my Knit Love Club parcels from last year. I kept up until Thomas was born, I am thinking of these as my sock club for 2011.
Big fail here - I haven't knit any of them.

3. Sort out the stash. I've started this, and everything is now neatly boxed and back in the loft. I just need some time to update Ravelry.
Done, and as I've hardly bought anything this year there hasn't been much to add to it.

4. Back to Weight Watchers to lose the baby weight (so I can fit back into my favourite jeans and Vine Yoke cardi!)
Yes - just over 2 stone lost this year. I've still got a stone to lose for me to be back to my wedding weight, and about 7lbs until I am at my pre-Thomas weight but I'm back in most of my clothes.

5. More baby blankets - another friend has a baby due in March and I'm sure there will be more!
Nope, I ended up knitting a hat and socks for the March baby!

So, onto 2012 - what do I want to achieve:

1. Finish those long socks - the Kilt Hose and my Provence Yarn Yard socks.
2. Make a shawl / shrug of some description for my friend Lauren to wear on her wedding day on the 12th May 2012.
3. Learn double filet crochet - I saw these butterflies that Nic has made and really want to be able to do this!

There are a few other things - I need a new hat, there is a baby due in March who needs a blanket, it is my Mum's 60th in February and I'm currently working on a present for a new Australian baby. I am sure I will want to make Thomas some more jumpers/cardigans and I always need more socks (being at home all the time means I don't wear anything else).